Chapter 10: Remissness

Author: Rocket (a.k.a. Roketto/RyunoOhi); Editors: npberryhill & Saucemonkey

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The first thing Bulma registered was the pounding in her head. It felt like someone had put her skull in a vice, and she groaned at the morning sunlight spearing into her eyes, bringing to life the exquisite hangover she'd been quite blissfully sleeping off. Raising her hand to shield her face, she tried to shift her body, only to meet something solid, seemingly wrapped around her. 'What the..?' she thought groggily, realizing that something rested between her knees. Peeling back the tangled sheets, she saw the long white tail. "Oh shit..." she muttered, trying to forestall her panic. She craned her neck, twisting around as best she could to confirm her worst fears. She was sleeping with Frieza. 'What the hell did I do last night...or what did he do, more importantly?' She wriggled, trying to slip free of him, but even sleeping, his grip was like iron. Her soft, full breasts were pressed against his torso as if the two were melded together. 'Geez, I can barely breathe, he's clinging to me so tightly!' She puffed out her cheeks, blowing a wisp of blue hair out of her eyes. Great. Now she was stuck in the clutches of a potentially murderous space alien, who she may or may not have been seduced by last night. Bulma tried to recall the party, fighting the pounding in her head. After a few futile moments, she finally stretched to reach a pillow, putting it between her eyes and the accosting sunbeam that had awoken her. 'No use, I must have really been hitting the bar hard last night... Guess I gotta wait for him to wake up...' Decision made, she relaxed again, reluctantly settling back against the Arcosian's chest. He had curled completely around her smooth, flawless skin, his tail snaking between her legs, the tip resting under her chin, with his arm over her, almost protectively. 'No way he's suddenly docile just because of this, though,' she reasoned with trepidation, 'I really screwed up this time...when he wakes up, he might even kill me... Dammit Yamcha, why couldn't you just...' She stopped herself mid-thought. He'd accused her, last night, she vaguely remembered, of being equally culpable in this. At the time, her anger and pride had overridden everything else, and she'd first sought drink, then sought payback. 'And now I'm here, like this.' She exhaled, pressing a hand to her throbbing temple. "Uuuugh..." she groaned. That noise brought Frieza around, as he stirred, flexing his tail.

He felt warm. And oddly, relaxed. Rather than awakening from a nightmare, something else had roused him as he slept. A soft moan, and something pressed against him. 'What the...' he thought, disoriented for a moment. His memory from the previous night came in jumbled flashes, though something about this should be urgent... Another noise, and a movement against him, and he finally opened his eyes. A wall of turquoise blue hair obscured his vision, and he instinctively pulled away. "Agh!" He clumsily disentangled his limbs from the human's, scrambling back and off the bed as though he'd been burned by her contact. 'No...' he thought, 'this cannot' Thoughts failed him, as his bedmate sat up, regarding him with a grimace.

"So...heck of a night last night, huh?" Bulma said, massaging her forehead. 'Well, this is it, he's gonna either kill me, or by some miracle I can—'

"Why are you in my bed?!" Frieza exclaimed. He was hoping against hope that this wasn't what it seemed...maybe another nightmare. The human merely shuffled her long white legs between the silky sheets, the cross pattern between them drawing his eye ever so briefly.

"Uh, well..." Bulma hedged, reaching up to attend to her hair, fluffing it out from where it had been pressed against the pillow. "I was hoping you had a better memory of last night than I do. It's all a blur for me."

'All a blur, she says?!' Frieza thought, 'She doesn't remember instigating this whole fiasco?!' He vaguely remembered that much, and his sudden shock turned to annoyance at her. "Funny that you do not recall seducing me, human. I knew you were drunk, but don't even try to escape responsibility for this mess."

Her eyes narrowed. "So what, you think this is all my fault? And hey, if I was so drunk, why didn't you just say no?"

Frieza shivered in recollection, "I tried. You were quite persistent, apparently. I don't recall all of the details myself, suffice to say that you and I—"

"Okay, okay! I get it, no need to paint a picture for me!" Bulma exclaimed. How had that worked, anyway? Her better judgement implored her to refrain from asking. "Alright, so...what now?"

"Now?" Frieza said angrily, "Now I am disgraced, soiled forever thanks to you, which won't be very long once the Saiyan finds out!" He was starting to get worried, imagining the reaction Son Goku would have to this development. His tail nervously wrapped around his ankles, quivering. If he was dead anyway, perhaps it would do well to vent his frustration by killing the human...although, for whatever reason, he didn't want to. 'I should have every reason to want to flay her alive, but...' His conflicted thoughts were cut off by Bulma quickly responding.

"Well if that's your biggest worry, then I won't tell him," Bulma replied, "Besides, it's nobody's business but my own who I, ehem, do you-know-what with."

Frieza stared at her in what looked like shock. "'d really withhold that information?" he asked incredulously. She nodded. His tail curled back behind him again, as he regained his composure. "Good. I don't know what human custom is regarding...situations like this...but I acted in a moment of weakness. That, I regret."

Bulma's eyes widened. "You're apologizing?" Maybe he wasn't so evil, if he was acting this gentlemanly to her.

"No," he quickly corrected, "why would I apologize to you? I merely regret lowering myself, that's all." He crossed his arms over his chest.

Bulma's eyebrows dropped into a scowl. 'Figures, I shouldn't have assumed...' She sighed angrily, gathering the sheets around herself and sliding off the bed. As she did, her firm, round nipples poked through the thin covering, leaving little to the imagination as they hung freely—somehow the wrinkled fabric only further served to accentuate the wide curves of her hips, her thin waist, and her abundant bust. Oblivious, Bulma stood to her feet, her breasts swinging with mind-numbing perfection with each step. "Well then, I guess I'll just find my clothes and go before anyone notices what's up."

Frieza regarded her as she crossed the room wrapped in the soft silk, his curiosity getting the best of him. "Why are you covering yourself? Those garments do little to conceal your figure, and it's not as though I haven't already seen you naked."

She huffed in annoyance. "Yeah, well, you obviously didn't appreciate it. Anyway, we humans have a thing called 'modesty'; it wouldn't hurt for you to try it."

"Oh I get it," Frieza said mockingly, "since humans are always so...permanently indecent, that's why you wear so many clothes. I have no need for or interest in your 'modesty', in that case." His tail swished self-satisfactorily at her annoyed facial expression.

"You're a real closed-minded jerk, you know that?" Bulma returned, "Moreover, I seem to recall last night you were pretty indecent, from what I remember." Her riposte wiped the smirk from his face, replacing it with red. 'Got him there.' Not that she did remember...but her bluff wasn't called, so there must have been some truth there. What she would give to remember what had happened last night... She picked up her dress off the floor of the bathroom—slightly damp, but it was either this or a sheet for her morning dash across the building to her room. "So anyway," she said conversationally, pulling on her clothes, "did you get anything out of last night, or was it all just an exercise in drunken futility?" Frieza paused, and she heard him sit down on the bed.

"I don't know," he said neutrally, "it was...probably nothing."

Exiting the bathroom, Bulma beheld Frieza sitting on the edge of the bed, staring off into the distance through the opposite wall. "Uh..." she got his attention, "what does that mean, exactly? I'm not gonna have to worry about a kid or something, right?"

He raised a brow, looking at her as though she was an idiot. "Do human infants come from eggs?" he asked, with a straight face.

"What? No, of course not!" Bulma retorted.

"Then no, you will not have to worry about anything." he said sarcastically.

'Well that answers one question I'd never have asked', Bulma thought, 'but at least he's right; I don't have to worry. Things could've been a lot worse, I guess.' Gathering up her clutch purse, she headed for the door. "Great. Then I won't tell if you won't, and nobody will be the wiser." She paused to wink through the crack in the door, before pulling it shut behind her with a click.

After she left, Frieza reflected, turning the previous night's events over in his mind. 'Why couldn't I?' he thought, 'Why did it feel as though I couldn't kill her?' It made no sense, though a creeping suspicion worried the back of his mind. 'It's nothing,' he told himself, 'absolutely nothing.' Looking askance at the tangle of sheets on the bed, recalling that foreign feeling of need...Frieza began to wonder if it was possible he had misjudged himself.

A sense of trepidation and unease permeated the rounded ship, as three humanoid aliens brought up views of the planet below on the view screens. "Lord Kooler," said a green-skinned, shaggy-haired man, "this is the planet Earth. As you requested, we've brought up views of population centers, industrial sites visible from space, and—"

"Yes, thank you, Doore, you've done a fine job." Kooler said evenly, though not dismissively. In truth he was vexed, distracted by some shadow of doom that seemed to hang over this peaceful-looking planet. It was nerve-wracking, to have so little information on a potential foe, who potentially injured Frieza, and even potentially killed father. 'So many unknown variables..!' he thought angrily. As expert as his crew was, they could not hack information that did not exist...and as they had gotten closer to Earth, his father's ship's signal had just...cut out. "Neizu," he commanded, "see if you can establish a connection again. Perhaps this planet's sidereal rotation was blocking the signal."

Dutifully, the lanky, sienna-hued alien tapped at the keyboard, inputting the commands to trace the black box. "No good sir, it just isn't there." The tall alien gulped as Kooler growled audibly — Neizu had never seen him quite this on edge before.

"My lord, if I may," a blond alien politely interrupted, "just because the ship's black box was compromised, doesn't mean that it wasn't an accident. Under certain conditions, such as being submerged in corrosive liquids, the shielding would fail, leaving the contents corrupted." He stiffened unconsciously as the tall Arcosian turned to him.

"Under certain conditions, I would be inclined to agree, Sauza." Kooler said. "However, we know of no corrosive acid lakes of note on the surface of this planet. Furthermore, it seems highly unlikely that my father would knowingly put the ship down in the vicinity of anything that could damage it." He knew that Kold was fastidious about his flagship, taking great pains to avoid unnecessary costs. That left sabotage, which was always a possibility, or hostile natives.

As if reading his master's mind, Sauza said, "The dominant species calls themselves humans. They're not very impressive, technologically or militarily, and their average power level is ridiculously weak. If humans are responsible for Lord Kold's ship disappearing, then it is almost certain that they scavenged from it after some other disaster."

'Funny how they insist on referring to it as a "disaster" or "incident" though they are afraid to voice what they really think...' The purple Arcosian sighed heavily. "Alright then, take the ship down. Discreetly. I don't want to have to fend off ground-to-air missiles like the last time you decided to make a big entrance."

Sauza chuckled sheepishly, "Right, understood sir. Quiet drop it is." A smirk graced his aqua-skinned face, as his gloved hands flew over the controls, cloaking the ship from radar and any scouter-analogues the humans might have.

Deep in meditation, Piccolo sat with a rushing waterfall at his back. The thundering sound of the water provided a convenient backdrop of white noise, as he explored the depths of his inner power. A sudden, familiar voice rudely jarred him from his meditations, as he snarled with frustration at being interrupted. "What do you want, old man?" he growled out loud.

Kami's voice came inside his head again, sounding apologetic, and just as pathetic as always. ((Piccolo, I regret disturbing you so, but I sensed something, something that may be a threat to you.))

((A threat to me?' Piccolo scoffed, 'Yeah, right. After Goku, I'm the most powerful thing on this planet, and since I don't sense either his or Frieza's power right now, forgive me if I think you're full of crap.))

A mental sigh escaped in his brain, as though through wisened lips right next to him. ((Piccolo, this isn't the time for pettiness. I fear that Goku and his friends may be in danger, and you with them. This power is...well, it is dark, but not truly evil. I do not know the owner's intentions, just that they are very hateful towards someone. That is all I could perceive. I implore you to heed my warning, Piccolo. As guardian, I cannot ignore what may be a clear and present danger, and as part of me, you have the same obligation to vigilance.))

Piccolo growled, fists clenched in his lap, all the calming effects of his meditation lost. ((You really are something else, trying to rope me into being your errand boy, Kami. I guess it's because you're so weak and decrepit that you're only a Guardian now in name. Goku, Krillin, Tenshinhan...they all surpassed your strength years ago, mere mortals, and yet, you still act as though you're above us all. Even me, your rejected evil half. I've gotten strong enough to destroy you as well, and it's only thanks to our mutually assured destruction that I don't fly up to your ivory tower right now to put you out of your misery.))

Piccolo waited almost a full minute before Kami finally replied. ((I am truly sorry that you are estranged from my soul, Piccolo. Your exile was, and is, my greatest failure of judgement. However, do not abandon your common sense in order to spite me. You still care about Goku's young son, do you not? Is not his safety more important than our continued enmity?))

The turbaned Namek choked on his anger, it was so thick in his throat. ((How dare you, old man. Don't presume that I, like you, can get attached to those weaker than I am. Gohan is...a means to an end. Collateral against Son Goku and a possible convert to the Demon style of martial arts that my father invented. That's all, no more, no less. Now get out of my head, you wrinkled old fool.)) Piccolo felt Kami's mental link dissipate, and he relaxed some, feeling he'd won. Minutes later though, and meditation remained elusive. "Rrrgh!" he uncrossed his legs, flying up to land at the top of the waterfall. He closed his eyes, sensing. 'There,' he thought, 'There is a high power in that direction...I must have missed it in meditation. Whatever it is, it doesn't feel like a human...' Scowling, he resolved — of his own free will, damnit — to investigate.

Kooler breathed in the air. Fresh, with the smell of running water and growing things, and utterly different from the sterile, recycled air in space aboard the ship. 'Not a bad planet, for such a backwater place.' Still, he couldn't shake the sense of unease that pervaded the journey here. "Sauza, have we established a perimeter?" he asked, his voice outwardly calm, not betraying his inner feeling of dread.

"Yes, my lord," Sauza answered, "All of our scouters are calibrated to detect higher power levels and we'll be on the lookout for anything lower; nothing is getting past us."

Neizu made a scoffing sound, rolling his bulbous eyes. "As if anything on this planet is a threat to us...much less a threat to you, Lord Kooler." The Arcosian fixed him with a curious gaze, but said nothing.

"Do not be overly confident, Neizu," Sauza admonished, scanning the treeline of the clearing, "you know how Lord Kooler hates arrogance in his men."

"As I also hate it when you doggedly kiss up to me, Sauza." Kooler added wryly, his long, sinewy tail flicking upwards in amusement.

The blond alien looked aghast at the accusation, clearing his throat hastily. "Anyway," Sauza said, "be on your guard. As captain, I'm counting on you two for support."

"Right." Both aliens nodded their heads in understanding. Minutes later, it was Doore who first spotted a blip on his scouter's screen, turning to visually confirm the presence.

"Whoa!" he exclaimed, jumping in shock, "T-that guy...he just appeared out of nowhere!" A tall, muscular figure with pointed ears and green skin floated just shy of the top of a tree, blending into the foliage save for his white cape snapping in the wind. "Hey..." Doore scrutinized the newcomer, "Isn't that a Namekian? I thought the report said Namek was destroyed, so how did this one survive?"

"Don't know," Neizu said, pushing a button on the side of his scouter, "but he's not that strong. Maybe he fled his planet, and he's hiding out here?"

"Or he's a scout for the enemy..." Sauza said quietly, his body tensed up. "Ah—! Lord Kooler, what are you—?!" he questioned as his master rose into the air and flew towards the Namek.

"Sauza, you and the others will stay back, understood?" Kooler called behind him, keeping his gaze fixed on the tall green alien. Coming within a few feet, the Arcosian floated in front of the other alien. "Greetings. What business do you have with me?"

Piccolo frowned. "I could ask you the same. What brings you to my planet?" His eyes traveled from the creature's shiny blue keratin-crested head, to his long, muscular tail. "You're the same as Frieza, aren't you?" he added, more of an accusation than a question.

Kooler's eyes widened slightly, but he smiled cordially as he responded. "Oh, forgive me, I've neglected to introduce myself. So you know Frieza? Then I suppose I am in the correct place after all. I am his elder brother, Kooler. I'm here to investigate what fate befell my little brother and my father, who I believe traveled here with him. You wouldn't happen to know their whereabouts, would you?"

Piccolo stiffened, a bead of sweat running down from beneath his turban. 'This is bad,' he thought, 'his power is almost as great as Frieza's...and I can't take him alone... Dammit, why hasn't anyone else sensed him?!' He decided to stall. "No, not right now. I don't know where either of them are." It wasn't exactly a lie, either. He didn't know where Kold's remains lay, nor where Frieza had disappeared to last night.

The purple Arcosian's face went blank again, guarded. "Not right now, though? So they are here? You're hiding something Namek, and I do suggest you spit it out." His tail began making slow circles in the air behind him, a movement Piccolo took note of.

"Well, yes," Piccolo grunted, feeling more and more uncomfortable with this Arcosian — he had all Frieza's power, and he seemed a hell of a lot more perceptive. "Frieza is here, but if you're here to kill him, you may want to reconsider."

Kooler's face betrayed his annoyance. "Who told you that I am here to dispose of him?" he said evenly, in a voice so calm as to be almost pleasant.

Piccolo decided that he could not afford to lie to this one, but maybe he could, if he played his cards right, get the two evil aliens to annihilate each other. He smirked, putting on a confident front. "Nobody has to tell me. It's obvious you're not here on your own to rescue him, and you don't seem the type to follow orders to retrieve him either without an ulterior motive. If you have a score to settle with him, fine. I will warn you though, you're going to have to get through Son Goku to have a shot at Frieza."

Kooler's brow quirked, as he repeated the name. "Son Goku? You speak of him as though he is stronger than my brother, yet I've never heard of him. Who is he?" Something bothered him about this strange Namekian. If what he said was true, Frieza was alive, as was a potentially greater foe who defeated him. 'In that case, then where the hell is Father in all of this? Surely he would step in if Frieza was in danger.' The thought brought anger bubbling up with a growl in his throat, but he suppressed it, waiting for the green alien's explanation.

"A Saiyan." Piccolo said, watching as shock rose in the tall Arcosian's face. "He defeated Frieza on Namek, and then again after he pursued him here. Now he's keeping him alive, for whatever stupid reasons he has... Like I said, if you wanted to kill him, I won't stand in your way."

Kooler was silent for a moment, tail now twitching back and forth. "Was there another with him?" he said, calm as before, though his eyes now glared at Piccolo, not bothering to hide his malice.

"Another like you? There was, but he was foolish enough to try to blow up this planet. Son Goku put a stop to that. He may be an idiot, but even he has enough sense to know when to act."

"Then... He is...dead?" Kooler asked, voice wavering slightly with hesitation. His tail was back to doing loops behind him, but frenetically now, like he was growing increasingly more agitated.

Piccolo hesitated, weighing his options. Kooler was unpredictable, and he had no idea how the alien would react to Kold's death. However, it looked like the Arcosian already knew what answer to expect, so Piccolo merely nodded in affirmation.

"Curse you, Frieza..." Kooler snarled under his breath, "this is surely your fault..!" His fists were clenched, his dark face punctuated only by the slits of his red eyes, and his bared teeth gritted in anger. With a guttural growl, Kooler locked eyes with Piccolo, staring him down. "Where are they?" he hissed, "I want to face them both personally. Bring both Frieza and this Son Goku to me, and I might spare this planet, do you understand?"

Piccolo gawked at him. It wasn't an outburst of blind rage like he would expect from Frieza, but all the same the Arcosian's energy washed over him in a rush of malice that felt all too familiar. "Ghhr—!" He threw his arms up to buffer himself from the fierce wind Kooler had kicked up. "I... I'll get Goku to agree to your terms," he stuttered, heart racing, "but on three conditions: the first is that you give us time to prepare!" Kooler powered down, his snarling face receding to a slight frown. Dead silent, his red eyes bored into Piccolo's. The Namek gaped at him momentarily, transfixed by those incarnadine eyes full of quiet malice. He gulped before continuing, "Ah...the second condition is that you refrain from destroying this planet," Piccolo continued, thinking quickly, "and the last is that you leave this place in peace after you get what you came for." He stood confidently, willing his body not to quiver.

Kooler's scowl morphed into a mirthless smile, as he began to chuckle. "Such conditions...issued by whom? You? You do realize, my green friend, that you are in no position to bargain?" He grinned predatorily, looming over Piccolo despite his greater height.

Piccolo bared his fangs in defiant response, though he was inwardly shaken. "Yes, I understand how powerful you are. But know this: Son Goku is leagues stronger than Frieza, and although you're a fearsome foe, I can sense that you're not on Frieza's level. And you're in the same form he's in, so you must be close to your maximum."

Kooler growled again, suddenly vicious with fury. "Bring them to me. You have one day, because I'm feeling charitable."

"One day." Piccolo repeated gravely. "Until then, you will leave this planet in peace." Inwardly, his heart sank. 'One day...there's no way we'll be able to get anything meaningful done in such a short period of time!'

"Hmph. Why not, I'll humor you...for now, at least." Kooler, back to a seemingly eerie calm, flew back to his ship, leaving the Namek trembling at his departure.

Piccolo wasted no time in leaving. 'I've got to warn the others! just had to invite disaster by sparing Frieza, and now look at the mess we're in...' He knew better than anyone else the consequences of showing mercy to an enemy, and the stakes if they were to slip up this time.

"So, was that Namek a messenger from the natives or something?" Doore asked in a whisper, crouching down to his blond captain's level.

Sauza shook his head. "Not sure, but whatever he said sure put Lord Kooler in a foul mood. I'm guessing it wasn't good news." He ran a gloved hand through his platinum-blond hair nervously. Kooler had stalked back into the ship, admonishing them to do the same. When pressed, he had tersely said something about keeping his word. They had the prudence not to ask for clarification.

"You think Lord Frieza is alive?" Neizu asked conversationally to cut the tension.

"Who knows?" Doore grumbled, scratching the side of his face absently, "if he is dead, Lord Kooler succeeds, so that would be the best outcome of this little trip."

"If he is alive though, there could be trouble," Sauza reminded them, "Lord Kooler, as you know, does not get on well with his brother, and he's a bit weaker, so we should be prepared to defend him." The other two aliens nodded soberly. They didn't need to be lectured on loyalty, and each man was genuinely dedicated to their Arcosian lord.

Panting, Piccolo touched down outside the large domed building, and wasted no time in entering, storming past Mrs. Briefs and into the kitchen. Goku, he'd sensed, was within, obliviously eating as usual. Piccolo growled in irritation. "Goku!" he barked, "We have a problem."

"I know, Piccolo," the spiky-haired Saiyan mumbled through a mouthful of food, "I felt it too."

The Namek gaped. "What? Why didn't you investigate it, then? Have you any idea who this is?!"

Swallowing, Goku shook his head. "Nah, I could sense that they were strong, but...well, they didn't really seem all that evil. And I knew you'd go see who it was, anyway. So, what're they like? Anyone worth fighting?"

Teeth clenched now, Piccolo resisted the urge to blow up at the Saiyan's nonchalance, forcing himself to be calm. "Yes, Goku, he's strong. What's more, he said that he came for Frieza...and for you, too." That got his attention.

"He came to take Frieza?" Goku repeated, his remaining food forgotten. "Wait...who'd you say this was again?"

"He calls himself Kooler, claims he's Frieza's older brother." Piccolo said gruffly.

Goku flashed back to meeting Vegeta on Kold's ship, prior to blowing it up. 'Kooler...' A grainy picture came to mind, a dark, dour-looking face with the same bright red eyes that Frieza possessed. 'I wasn't expecting anyone to come looking for Frieza, in truth...I figured nobody would seek him out, and I'd have more time to reform him on Earth.' With a deep sigh, he pulled his chair back from the table and stood. "Well, I guess I'd better go tell him."

Piccolo nodded approvingly. "Yes, it's better if he's with his own kind, after all. Let him be somebody else's problem, as long as he doesn't turn around and destroy the Earth. Speaking of, I think that Kooler has a bone to pick with you specifically too. I felt him out, and he doesn't seem interested in destroying the planet, though he did try to bluff and say he could blow it up. He only seemed angry when I let it slip that you defeated Kold."

'That makes sense, if he's anything like Frieza,' Goku thought, 'he'd be loyal to him. I don't know how Frieza will feel about this...Vegeta said he didn't get along with his brother, but if he gave him the option of escaping here, then who knows.' Frowning in thought, he nodded at the tall Namek. "Let's go get him, then." Together, he and Piccolo went to find the Arcosian to inform him of this development.

Ripples disturbed the surface of the pond, as Frieza concentrated. His psychic powers had raised a quivering globule of water from the surface, and now he concentrated on it, spinning it in midair, then splitting it into one, two, three separate watery satellites, orbiting in a slow circuit. After the blue-haired woman had left, he hadn't the stomach to remain in his quarters – he knew that all the rooms were cleaned sometime in the late afternoon, and so resolved to stay away until then, finding himself in the garden. It disgusted him to think of what he'd done, so easily. It was shameful, and having to confront the evidence was unthinkable, right now. Throwing himself into training seemed the logical choice to assuage his guilt. Gently, he raised the water spheres up and over his head, dutifully keeping them under control as he nudged them into their new orbits.

"Oh hey, there you are!" Goku called loudly.

Startled, Frieza lost his concentration, and the spheres ruptured, dousing him with pond water. "Damn you, monkey, look what you made me do!" he snapped irritably, shaking his head in an attempt to free himself of the liquid now dripping off of him. "Well, what is it?" he asked angrily.

"Oh, sorry, didn't mean to disturb you," Goku said quickly, "but there's something going on you need to know about." Piccolo stood by him, glaring at Frieza as usual, but looking somewhat less calm than the Arcosian normally perceived.

"You have my attention." Frieza focused on both of them, inwardly wondering if they'd found out about last night, even though the woman said she would not speak of it.

"You've got a brother, right?" the Saiyan asked curiously. "A big brother?"

Frieza blinked. Where had that question come from? "Yes, I do. Why do you need to know?"

"So, he wasn't lying, then," Piccolo said, "hard as it is to believe, I guess you two are related."

The short Arcosian's jaw dropped. "Kooler? He came here? Where is he now?" His facial muscles tightened, a knot of unease forming in his stomach.

Again, Piccolo responded. "On Earth. Ran into him just now. Like you, he doesn't know how to hide his power level. He let me leave unharmed, but only after I agreed to bring both of you to him. Goku, he wants to fight. I don't know what he wants with you."

'This can't be good,' Frieza thought, 'if he's here, then he must have been sent to retrieve me. I could lie and say that I've been held captive, but there's still a high probability I'll be executed for dereliction of duty...maybe even treason.' Unconsciously, his fists clenched, his face displaying his uncertainty.

"Frieza..." Goku said, "just because he's your brother, doesn't mean you have to go with him. You can stay here, and we'll convince him to leave you with us."

The Arcosian growled, though it lacked viciousness. "You needn't shield me, monkey. The truth is that no power in the universe can harbor me, and I was a fool to ever believe that I could simply disappear." Seeing Goku about to interrupt, he forcefully said, "You do not understand the situation, Saiyan. Whatever you think is going on, you are almost certainly mistaken. Kooler would have come if I was alive or dead, as a matter of duty. That said, I won't just be supinely led away to my death. I will handle this myself, is that clear?"

" your death? You mean he's come to kill you?" Goku exclaimed in surprise and horror.

"Not directly, no," Frieza replied, "but I would be tried, and most likely executed for failing to return to my duties." He let that sink in, his Saiyan and Namekian audience quiet, digesting his words.

"Hold, you're stronger than...whoever would judge you...but you'd still let 'em kill you if they decided to?" Goku said in confusion. 'That doesn't sound like Frieza at all...I'd think he'd have no regard for anyone's rules or laws!' he thought incredulously.

"They have their ways," Frieza replied cryptically, "and their decisions are not just important to mete out justice, they serve as a reassurance to the people. Not even royalty or demons are above the law."

"Yet you plan to resist arrest, unless I misunderstood you before," Piccolo said, "Seems rather hypocritical to claim that nobody is beyond the reach of this law, but you want to fight it."

Frieza shrugged. "My guess is that if Kooler is here alone, he's here on a hunch that I was still alive. He didn't come with an armada because he thought there was a good chance I was dead, and he hates to embarrass himself. So, I'll warrant that he hasn't officially made my survival public, meaning that if I defeat him and order him to stay quiet, they'll be none the wiser. Honestly, this works out rather well for me; I do so hate the drudgery of politics, trying to pander to the peons so that they don't all riot at once. As ridiculous as it is that I should have to operate within the Planet Trade Organization's rule of law, it usually makes things easier. In the end though, self-preservation is my highest priority, and I won't pretend to respect anyone who can't make me comply by force." He smirked, though only momentarily. "Though if he intends to drag me back home, I would have a harder time exercising my power over those laws. Kooler has always tried everything in his power to paint me in a bad light, and this little incident would give him some actual, concrete evidence against me." Frieza shook his head. "Unlike the PTO, justice there is far from a joke."

Goku frowned, brows scrunched up. This whole thing was over his head, but Frieza seemed to know how he wanted to handle it. 'If this person takes Frieza back, then I won't have any control over Frieza if he decides to go back to his old ways...or gets killed. But if I don't let Frieza go, then I'm keeping him as a prisoner essentially, and I don't like that idea either...' This was a dilemma in which he could see both sides of the issue, and though he wanted Frieza to pay for his crimes, executing him felt wrong. "Okay Frieza, if you don't want to go, then I won't let him take you by force."

Frieza laughed, and Goku's face went from serious to confused again. "Oh monkey, you have the wrong idea, as I said." He smirked confidently. "I'm not afraid of my dear older brother, not in the least. For nearly as long as I can remember, I've been able to thrash him with little effort. In the contest between strength and seniority...well, let's just say that I inherited all of the family talent." His tail flicked upwards behind him as he chuckled.

"Goku," Piccolo started, "Kooler is only giving us a day to prepare, so we should plan wisely. This is one fight where we'll have some idea of what to expect, so we shouldn't waste this advantage." He turned to Frieza. "That said, you're a part of this too. You need to tell us everything you know about Kooler, if we're going to defeat him."

Frieza scowled at the blunt order. "You won't be defeating him, I will. Nobody fights him but me. Am I clear?"

Goku nodded. "Okay, but if it looks like he's gonna destroy the planet, I'll step in no matter what." He doubted that Frieza would intercept any blasts aimed at the Earth's core, so it would fall to him to defend everyone else. Frieza, he knew, could probably take care of himself. 'Still, if he gets in a bind, I'll be forced to help him out.' he thought. "Let's go tell Krillin about this too. We should probably get ahold of everyone else too, just in case." With that, Earth's hero briskly walked back through the indoor garden, Piccolo and Frieza in tow, to find the monk.

"So it wasn't just my imagination this morning!" Krillin exclaimed, teeth gritted. "I thought I'd sensed something that felt a lot like Frieza, but..!" He slammed his curled fist into the countertop in frustration, holding back enough power to refrain from breaking the granite. "Dammit. Goku, I hate to say it, but...I have no stake in this battle, and I have the feeling I'd only get in the way, if it all goes south. Besides, someone needs to stay here and protect this place, right?" He gestured to his surroundings, before dropping his hands into his lap with a sigh. "I'm just not mentally prepared to go up against another Arcosian, this soon." It felt like a lame, cowardly excuse, but it was the truth. Frieza's arrival had terrified him, after what had happened on Namek, and he had no desire to invite that kind of fear again, not when the Arcosian's presence had already worn his mental fortitude so thin in the past weeks. He started at a weight on his shoulder, looking up to see Goku resting his hand on him, smiling.

"It's okay, Krillin. I know you've had a lot to handle since I came back to Earth, and I know your heart's not in this battle. I'll handle this one though, so you don't have to worry." The Saiyan smiled confidently.

"It's just as well anyway," Piccolo observed gruffly, "we can reduce collateral damage by only bringing Frieza, Goku, and myself — we're the strongest beings on this planet, so if we can't beat him, there's nothing any of you humans can do yourselves." Krillin grimaced at the insult. Piccolo frowned, before adding, "Look, I'm not going to sugar-coat it for you. That's Goku's specialty. I look at things tactically, and assess potential losses before the battle even begins. If you don't like it, train some more and surpass your limits — that's what you humans do best, isn't it?"

Krillin was silent for a moment, his face hard but otherwise blank. "You're right," he said finally, "Not in this fight, but the next one...and the next one after that... No matter what enemies we face after this, Goku, I'll stand by your side to defend Earth, as an ally. I will train, and you'd better believe that I'll get stronger. That's a promise!" He stuck his thumb up and out, his mouth curled into a smirk. Goku returned the gesture of resolve.

Frieza, who had been silent through this unfamiliar interaction, sighed impatiently. "Now that this little show of foolish bravery is over, can we get on with this?" The other three fixed him with faces ranging from mild annoyance to undisguised anger. Ignoring their reactions, he said, "Against Kooler, you can't expect any mercy. Though he is weaker than I am, I do not exaggerate when I say that he is a savvy fighter, of the highest caliber. That's why he has survived as long as he has. Tact and skill go hand-in-hand for him, and he obsesses over training. He's a fanatic."

Goku laughed. "Man, he sounds like he'll be really fun to fight, in that case! In fact, he sounds kinda like me, doesn't he?" He scratched the back of his head, chuckling.

Frieza's face dropped into an annoyed scowl. "This fight will not be 'fun', you idiotic monkey. And besides, you won't be fighting him — that is my duty. As to how similar you two are —" he paused, tapping his chin with his finger "— hmph, you're nothing alike. Suffice it to say that you are both thorns in my side. At least after this I'll only have to deal with one of you." He haughtily flicked his tail, saying, "I suggest that you train. Kooler is not a foe to be taken lightly, and if he's given us a day to prepare, he's either a fool...or he thinks he can win against me." The Arcosian pondered the possibility that his older brother might have an ace in the hole. 'There's no way he's stronger than I am, but perhaps he plans to weaken me somehow, drag me down to his level.'

"Right then, let's not waste any time!" Goku exclaimed, "No time to lose!" With a wide grin, he clapped the short Arcosian on the shoulder. "Hey, you should train with us, Frieza! C'mon, what d'ya say?"

Grimacing, Frieza peeled the offending hand off of himself. "I'd rather not." At Goku's hurt expression, he sighed, "I don't work well with others. Most of my training experience is of the solitary sort." Silence from his Saiyan captor followed, & Frieza took that as his cue to escape the situation. 'I have to be sharp,' he thought as he turned away from the other two, 'Kooler will be on his guard, & I have to be wary.'

In his wake, a disappointed frown settled on Goku's visage. "He's still pushing us away..." The Saiyan warrior sighed, mild frustration visible in his face. "I just don't know what it'll take to break him of this. He has to realize that he can't solve every problem on his own!" Fists balled, he closed his eyes, bowing his head.

"I still think you're too eager to reform him, Goku," Piccolo said, "He obviously doesn't want help, so why the hell are you jumping at every chance to catch him when he falls? You know he hasn't got an ounce of empathy for you."

The spiky-haired head rose, serious onyx eyes meeting the Namek's. "He doesn't know what it is have friendship, or peace, or even real happiness. You don't get it, Piccolo, I was in his mind while I was training on Yardrat and...every time I connected to his thoughts, I was struck by how alone he was. Every thought was negative. It was pain, fear, and rage, all in an endless cycle. I just want him to stop hurting, that's why—"

"So what?" Krillin interrupted, "If he's miserable, don't you think it might be because he deserves to be? He's finally getting his comeuppance, after a lifetime spent murdering innocent souls and carving a swath of fear through the galaxy. Some people are evil, Goku, you have to realize that!"

The tall Namek crossed his arms and looked down his nose at Goku. "I agree. I realize I'm starting to sound like a broken record here, but I'll say it again. It's clear you're not even doing this for him, but for yourself. You spared Vegeta, sure, and after what we saw of him on Namek I think it's fair to say we owed him one. Not only that, but I can even sympathize knowing he's the only other member of your race left. But Frieza, whom you share nothing in common with, deserves no such treatment...tell me, Goku, is there some other reason? Why gamble with Earth's safety for someone as worthless as him? If it's a fight you want, isn't Vegeta enough for you? Out with it, Goku! I'm just trying to understand what value he could possibly have to you."

"...It's hard to explain," Goku started, rubbing his neck distractedly, " you remember Raditz?"

"Tch, of course I remember the man who almost killed me, and more importantly, got you killed, leaving us in a lurch. Goku, just what kind of an idiot do you take me for?" Piccolo growled.

Goku nodded. "That's all he was to you: 'the man who almost killed me'. An' I could say the exact same thing, except that he did kill me indirectly...but he was my brother, too. I remember when he first told me, and I was so surprised...I think, in that moment, I was almost happy, 'cause I felt he was strong like me, and it was like I wasn't alone anymore. But then, he took Gohan..." The Saiyan's fists curled into fists at his sides. "Then it was like he was different, and I knew I had to think of my family first. If I'd been stronger back then...if I'd been able to subdue him without killing him...maybe he could have been a useful ally. Maybe he would have changed his ways, and renounced the fate that drove him to be just another enemy." Goku massaged the space between his eyebrows, an uncharacteristic sign of stress for him. "Guys, I thought a lot about the decisions I've made, on the way back to Earth, in that pod," he said quietly, "How I could have done things better, so nobody would have to die. I know Raditz didn't fully choose his path in life, and even with that knowledge...I threw him away. My own family. Vegeta said we're all that's left of the Saiyan race. We should be allies, and we shouldn't be killing each other over pointless things..." He gritted his teeth.

"So it's guilt, is it?" Piccolo muttered, "Why am I not surprised... You're far too soft, Son Goku. Even you have to know that some people can't be reformed, or even reasoned with. Your older brother was a pawn, yes, but he also relished causing chaos and destruction. Why should we abide that kind of behavior, when we can just stamp it out?"

"But y'know," Krillin mused, "Saiyans are all like that. They like fighting, & Goku's never been overly violent; he's just enthusiastic about training and stuff — he redirected that need for battle." Although he was on Piccolo's side in regards to reforming Frieza, he could see Goku's argument for Raditz. Surely, the two were different cases, with one being in control of a vast galactic empire, and the other relegated to a mere footsoldier, albeit a superpowered one. Deciding to voice his opinion, he added, "Goku, we know almost nothing about Arcosians. I know you feel a connection to other Saiyans because that's your kin, but Frieza's another story. He's...well, alien. We can't understand his motivations, other than the fact that he doesn't seem to have any interest in changing or becoming peaceful."

"I know," Goku said, dropping his head dejectedly, "You guys are both making sense, but there's more to Frieza than what he shows us, I can feel it. It's like..." He raised his hands in the air, trying to gesture, before lowering them again with an annoyed sound. "...I can't really describe it. It's as though he's been drowning his whole life, trying to swim but with heavy weights on him, and he just struggles and struggles to flounder at the surface. He thinks that if he ever stops fighting, that weight will drag him down. He's battling something the rest of us can't see."

"And you think that by trying to be his friend, you can keep him afloat." Krillin concluded. Goku nodded, and the monk released a tired-sounding sigh. "Man, I'm with Piccolo on this, you care way too much about someone who'd as soon kill you rather than return the favor." The Saiyan's face fell. "Er...that is to say... Geez Goku, I worry about your sanity sometimes," the monk said clumsily, "I just hope that if you manage to get Frieza to your side, he's actually grateful for all you're doing."

The Saiyan from Earth smiled, a glint of knowing in his dark eyes. "He will be. Maybe not now, or anytime soon, but eventually. I'll make sure he knows the value of others' lives, and of alliances you share with people you care about."

Unbeknownst to them, Frieza had decided to stay just within earshot, when he had overheard the beginning of the conversation concerning him. Silently, he stood in the doorway, processing what the three had said. The Namek and the short human were no mystery to him; he knew exactly how threatened they were by his presence. 'Good. Let them continue to fear me, as they should.' he thought with a twitch of his tail. The Saiyan though was once again displaying that unnerving ability to read him a little too well for the Arcosian's comfort. 'So he thinks I'm "drowning", am I?' Pah... The flaw in his simian logic is that before this entire fiasco, I was content. Before he interfered, there was nothing wrong with me.' Still, something in this conversation had caught his interest. The monkey had said that he had been "in his mind", whatever that meant. 'Probably related to that horrible ki-sensing technique,' Frieza thought, 'I'll have to investigate this further; I dismissed it too's clear that it is still a danger to me.'

"What are you up to? Eavesdropping?" a voice suddenly came from behind him. He jumped, whirling around, ready to attack whoever was in his blind spot. Body tensed to attack, he registered that it was the human woman — Bulma. He halted, not sure why he hadn't followed through on impulse. She blinked at his odd reaction, his body jerking first towards her in attack, then back as he seemed to restrain himself with a choked snarl.

"Don't sneak up on me," Frieza ordered her, "If you value your life, then you have no business surprising me like that!" His tail lashed back and forth with his annoyance, to which she merely shrugged.

"Sorry, I'm used to Goku and the others being able to sense me, so I never surprise them. Anyway, what's got you so tense? Besides the obvious?" she said, arching one blue eyebrow.

"It is none of your concern," Frieza brushed off her words, turning away from Bulma, tail still twitching intermittently, "It will have been dealt with by tomorrow, so you needn't worry about it." He paused in thought. "...Although, there is something you might be able to do for me. Is there a place where I may train, undisturbed, without destroying it? As I understand it, you have the technology to create durable training rooms that can withstand a lot of strain."

The genius pursed her lips. "Mm, well, there was gravity training on that ship I lent to Vegeta, plus the one that my father added to Goku's ship before that. I still have the plans we used. Thing is, the only one I have right now is the prototype, and it's not as sound as the later models were. You'll have to be careful with it."

Frieza's expression soured at that. 'Thanks to Vegeta, I'm left with insufficient scraps..!' he thought angrily, ''s better than having nothing, and I can't afford to be picky right now.' It wasn't ideal, but though he was used to having the very best at his disposal, Frieza knew he could make this work in his favor. "Fine," he replied, "show me to this prototype, and show me how it works. After that, you may leave me; I don't want any distractions." The Arcosian prince let her lead him past the laboratories, to another rounded building built off to the side, away from everything else. It looked reinforced, and as Bulma swung the heavy door open with some effort, he took in the spartan appearance: clean tiled floors, and a central shaft in the center that housed what looked like an advanced computerized input system. Not for the first time, he marveled at the humans' ingenuity in building such a thing.

"Okay, this panel—" Bulma said as she pointed to a keyboard, "—controls the gravity. Right now it's off, so it's at 1 G. These arrows are for turning the gravity up, or down. It goes in increments of ten, just to warn you."

Frieza nodded in understanding, walking over to examine the other side of the central pillar. "How high can it go, this machine of yours? If it's worth my while, I should hope it goes past at least a hundred times that."

Instead of answering, Bulma grabbed his arm, trying to pull him back over to the panel she had been explaining. "Hey, will you come back here for a minute? This is important!" she said, when he wouldn't budge. With a sound of annoyance, he pushed her hand away, walking back over to the front panel. She sighed, shaking her head. "Alright, now pay attention. See this button right here?" She tapped a large, red button. He nodded. "This is the failsafe shutdown. Now, this is the prototype, so I didn't even think about it when I was building this thing, but if you're in trouble, and the gravity's too strong, you could have a problem trying to reach it. Goku told me about his experience when he got back from Namek, about how he almost got himself killed, so that's why I'm telling you this now." She stared at him very seriously. "I don't care how tough you think you are. Don't go beyond what you can comfortably handle. I don't want to have Goku come scrape you off the floor like a pancake because you're an idiot."

Frieza wrinkled his nose, slightly baring his teeth at her. "Unlike Saiyans, I possess enough sense to not be suicidal. Not only that, but I doubt I'd even have trouble with the highest setting this thing can offer. And you can forget calling on your monkey friend to help me if I do get in trouble. I've had as much of his 'help' as I can stand lately." He watched as her hands rose, before dropping to her sides, accompanied by a loud exhalation.

"See, that's what I mean," she said, "Whatever. It's your life, I just don't want you breaking my machine. If you wanna go it alone, be my guest, but just remember, if you keep pushing us away and refusing help, you'll end up like you did before, when your cyborg body failed." In a huff, she started stalking towards the door. Bulma paused at the threshold, turning to address Frieza again. "There are some advantages in having friends, you know."

Before he had a chance to answer, she had left. Frieza growled to himself, "Tch, foolish human. As many advantages you might find to surrounding yourself with allies, I am not weak like you. And I know all too well the disadvantages of valuing others above oneself." With nothing more to pry his focus away from the task at hand, he angrily jabbed at the arrow to increase the gravity, feeling his body growing heavier with each increment. "I need no-one."

Hello my loyal SoD readers! Kind of a short chapter this month, but I had real-world responsibilities to overcome in March, plus Megacon ate an entire weekend (See my DeviantArt Journal for more details). Overall, Chapter 9 had the wildest reviews, & people had a lot of questions regarding Bulma & Frieza. It was a test of my confidence in my story-writing to answer all of them, even the uncomfortable ones, but without further ado, I present them to you, uncensored & unabridged. If you have further questions, check out the Special Forum. On to the Q&A!

Q: Very well written as usual. I see Vegeta made the mistake of pushing Goku's Berserk button, threatening his friends, never a good idea, it's the best way to get Goku to go ape on you. Yeesh, Bulma can be harsh, but then again, I can't blame her, then again, in Yamcha's defense, Bulma wasn't always the nicest of them all as in the world tournament arc in Dragonball, she found some interest in a grown-up Goku despite being with Yamcha at the time. Seems like Bulma got a bit too drunk. She's gonna have a hellish hangover after this. Frieza, possibly less as his biology is different & as you said, wine affects him differently & he didn't have as much. I knew the moment Frieza started to mutilate Cold that it was some sort of ritual for him, it may be sick from a human's perspective, but from his perspective, burying the dead is stupid. He still respects his father enough for the death ritual. I'm impressed Frieza managed to resist Drunk!Bulma's advances so long, but he is nothing if not composed, in all his appearances he was perfectly calm and composed. Until Super Saiyan Goku started to lay a beatdown on him starting his Villainous Breakdown. I know this might sound silly for you, but what is Obsequy?

A: Hurray, my first (chronological order) review is not of the torches-&-pitchforks variety! :^D Vegeta is going to learn that pushing Goku's buttons is a bad idea...when he comes back, of course. By then, we shall see if the two Saiyans are a match for each other. Bulma is a passionate person in everything she does, so when she's angry, she's over-the-top. It gets to be a bit too much for a healthy relationship, as Yamcha has discovered. The next morning, she is going to have a wicked hangover...& probably some other regrets. Frieza's complex emotional state this chapter was the most difficult part of all of this, & he's still going through the cliched Five Stages of Grief, in his own stubborn way as usual (which in turn made him susceptible to Bulma's, ahem, influence). The title of this chapter, Obsequy, refers to a funeral rite or ceremony.

Q: Well you did it. You actually wrote something that penetrated the cottony layers of acceptance that have built around me and managed to actually unnerve me with Frieza dismembering and eating Cold. And just when I thought my stomach had turned enough, you make the voice I'd silenced that whispered to me 'I smell a Frieza Bulma pairing' scream out in rage and despair as you did just that. I've never seen that handled well, and I thank you for not going into further detail with the sex scene. Dry heaving isn't very nice. And it's still a love Triangle. Yamcha's angle is too small to count.

A: Well, thank you for being kind in your mild outrage. My fragile author's ego thanks you. Disgust is the main emotion this chapter was meant to evoke, & if Kold's obsequy did it for you...then I have succeeded. Don't fret though, I absolutely promise you that I will never write a chapter like this again. It was important to move the plot forward, but I fought to write it.

Q: Was the Blonde woman the Thief Hasky from Dragon Ball?

A: No, the blonde woman Yamcha met at the bar was just a random person. If it were Hasky, she might have reacted differently to Bulma.

Q: I am going to ignore the elephant in the room (I'll PM my thoughts about it to you), and comment on what I liked / disliked about this chapter. Likes: I liked the fact that Krillin faced his fears and decided to tail his killer ALL ON HIS OWN while the others are preparing a party. I loved the fact when the monk commented on possibly having a mental link with Frieza (this opens so many possibilities my head can explode). It was also very interesting to see Frieza's ritual from an Earthling's POV, in order to make it look truly gory and alien. Yamcha and Bulma's relationship had a slight resurgence before plummeting down to hell. I like how we think the same way, trying to save the relationship while an unfortunate arrival blows it to bits (mine was Trunks, yours was the bar girl). I also like how we both break Frieza physically and mentally, yet pursued completely different paths. I used guilt, you used shame. I love how you make Frieza break by basically having everyone be nice to him. It's a very interesting way to make a deconstruction, and you make it work brilliantly. Dislikes: The Goku / Frieza relationship is getting repetitive and old. Frieza makes a threat, Goku replies with a "I'll let that slide, Frieza but if you do that again ...", Frieza growls/spats/retorts and then change subjects or something else happens. While it works the first five times, I think it's safe to assume by now that Frieza is an intelligent enough creature to understand that threatening Goku *just doesn't work*. It's established that Goku is the strongest of the two. It's established that if Frieza pulls any crap he's gonna get his ass whipped by the Legendary Super Saiyan. So this 'I bitch! / Stop Bitching or else!' mechanic needs either to evolve or go away. Cooler's appearance. Too soon? I mean, how long is King Kold declared missing/dead? How long has it been since he died? Longer than the return-home trip Kold would've made if he and Frieza defeated the Earthlings and Goku? And how long does it take for Cooler to declare Kold and Frieza dead and absorb their portfolio? It seemed to me only a few days have passed since chapter 3, so it seems really weird to see Cooler so incredibly soon into the story. Could you please clarify or remind me how long has it been since Kold died? All in all, I liked the chapter, despite the elephant in the room (more to that on my PM). Keep rocking Rocket gal!

A: I looked forward to your PM with trepidation, because I know from a storytelling standpoint, this was a big risk. However, I am willing to defend my decision reasonably, so I welcome your critique. Krillin is stepping up and evolving as a character, becoming more self-sufficient, instead of just being a satellite character in Goku's group of friends. His witnessing what Frieza did will also force some changes in how he looks at things. Bulma and Yamcha are, IMO, doomed to fail due to fate, and circumstances will always conspire to drive a wedge between them, so nothing surprising there. Breaking Frieza, I realize, is getting old, so I needed this chapter to reverse his personality back to his normal, confident self (albeit with slight alterations). That plays into your first point of contention for the chapter, as after this point, Frieza will not be as outwardly defiant. His first glimmer of character change came when he backed down from fighting & arguing with Goku this chapter. As for Kooler's appearance being too soon, I disagree. First of all, ships that have implied FTL travel ought to have near-FTL communications, meaning that the distress signal from Kold's ship would have alerted Kooler quickly. Kooler is brutally efficient, so it's not inconceivable that he'd planned on what he would do if/when an opportunity arose to take control. As for time scaling, Frieza would have been unconscious in the period between chapters 7-8 for almost a week, so that gives you some perspective.

Q: The quality of your writing is above & beyond what I've come to expect on this site, & it's a crime that this story doesn't have more attention in comparison to some of the trashy, thoughtless drabble that people seem to like. I'll admit that this Frieza development is slightly off-putting, but I certainly trust in your writing enough to see where this is going. Keep up the excellent writing.

A: Thank you for your kind review. I won't decry drabbles or less "serious" fics, because obviously, some people write them to get better at writing. Me, I just jumped right into the world of writing DBZ fanfics feet-first, & started using my experience as a technical writer as a buoy. So I'm kinda doing it backwards. xD As to your other sentiment, know that Frieza's actions this chapter are off-putting for me, as well...even though I know where this story's going, some scenes are just painful to write. Thanks for deciding not to abandon ship with this development; I promise you won't regret it!

Q: The way you wrote that Frieza & Bulma "interaction" was awesome. That's all I really have to say. Great work so far. Oh you shouldn't have to worry 'bout that – "redeeming" Freeza [sic] is far more memorable; I just liked the way Freeza's cold and distant upfront finally shattered. Oh? Well, the scene itself seems to of turned out very nicely, by my account, at-least.

A: Ahaha...well...thanks? I honestly do NOT want this story to be known for "that one lemon scene", but I will take your compliment graciously. It's a little-known fact that I am a bit of a prude, so writing this was beyond hard for me... ⋝_⋜ᶸ

Q: I just had to skip "it." If I was a crack shipper, It'd be either Bulma x Master Roshi, or Bulma x Oolong...Come to think of it, Bulma x Freeza sounds far normal than what I'd ship. Beyond that, I don't know how to feel about the hookup, not because the aforementioned squick, but because the chance of Freeza changing because of Bulma of all people. It was well stated Vegeta changed because of family-So the reason why Vegeta stopped being so genocidal was because Bulma p*ssy whipped him into submission? And I don't know about Bulma being used like that to bring Freeza down to an ally. Freeza is worst off than Vegeta, and Bulma being used as a tool to take down a far worst evil...Yeah I don't know how I feel about that. I really hope that Bulma's love isn't the reason for Freeza's eventual reform, I really don't.

A: Your prerogative to skip it, & really, you won't have missed all that much. Character development comes in the next chapter, when everyone's sober again. There are different canon interpretations of exactly why/when Vegeta stopped being wholly evil, but most people agree that Bulma had a big hand in it. As for Bulma being used to bring Frieza down to an ally...she wasn't thinking about redeeming Frieza primarily, she was more focused on spiting Yamcha, & almost anyone would be fair game. Frieza too had selfish motives for his part in this. As for the whole "Love Redeems" trope...I'm not a big fan of it, because it's not entirely logical, so Frieza will be reformed due to other factors, not just this chapter's actions. Thanks for reading!

Q: Oh Kais...does... does this mean that Trunks will still be born, but will be half-Arcosian?

A: NOPE. Biologically, that would be impossible. Fear not. Humans & Arcosians are not compatible species, so you needn't worry about implausible hybrids in my story. One area that I refuse to suspend my disbelief in is the realm of interspecies romance. Can it be done? Yes. Will anything come of it? Not unless the two species involved are at least similar on a basic biological level, e.g. humans & Saiyans.

Q: 0_0 trunks's purple hair! That's the perfect explanation!

A: ...NOPE. xD Though I applaud your sense of humor.

Q: I was not expecting that at all. I'd let Bulma teach me any time, but sadly I'm not some vicious alien. Or, y'know, she's not real. While I am glad that this won't be a common occurrence (don't get me wrong, it was nice to read and, admittedly, it was oddly... exciting, so to speak, but it feels somewhat weird, but ultimately you explained your reasoning, and I fully trust that this will have served its purpose), it's good to know that you can write this kind of stuff that well, too. Especially considering you came up with Frieza's anatomy, it's even more impressive. Also glad to see Kooler finally showing his face. Ultimately, I feel like this chapter started taking Frieza towards a less... asshole-ish path, not just because of what happened with Bulma, but his previous inner monologue as well. He's starting to doubt himself more, and ultimately that seems to be leading him towards where Goku hoped he would. But then again, that's just the impression I get from it. Also, your comment on how you can't see Bulma with anyone other than Vegeta gives me hope that he, too, will come around.

A: Bulma, I always felt, is an aggressive woman who knows what she wants, & that's how she managed to win over Vegeta in canon. He wouldn't have stuck with her if she'd been a meek wallflower-type. So hopefully, that assertiveness makes sense in my characterization of her. As for Frieza, I took great care to realistically come up with something that biologically made sense, drawing from real-world examples of non-mammalian anatomy & physiology, so I appreciate that you appreciate that! You're right that he's slowly starting to change. I dislike fics that take a character who is squarely evil, & then suddenly make them a good guy with no real character development, so that's a big part of why this is slow-going for our favorite Arcosian tyrant. The same will hold true for the Saiyan prince, if he survives his off-Earth training & returns.

Q: So...Frieza does have the parts to do that kind of activity with a human? Is it hidden? Or did he improvise with his tail? Also, if his tail is used for that purpose, I suppose I could see why he outright blew up Krillin after he circumcised it!

A: Your first guess is correct. Even with a Mature rating, I didn't feel comfortable describing everything in great detail, so I used the common author trick of, "show, not tell". Quick biology lesson: Mammals, including humans, are the only major class of animal to have fully-exposed sex organs (with a few exceptions, such as marine mammals like whales), because of our high body temperature. Our own internal temperature effectively kills or damages our genetic material, unless we carry it away from the body. Other creatures, those that are exothermic, don't have this problem because they are in essence "room temperature" - their homeostasis is dependent on their environment. Think about the last time you looked at a dog, a snake, & a bird. Could you tell if they were externally male or female? Most people can confidently identify male & female dogs, but have trouble with the other two, because males of non-mammalian species have protractile "equipment" stored safely within the body. Lack of visual evidence can lead to a faulty assumption of gender based on a human-centric knowledge base.

Q: Well, can't say I haven't been dreading this since fairly early on. I'm sure you realise that since we've already seen Bulma x Vegeta in canon, repeating that plot for Frieza is not very gripping stuff (i'm certain it's been done before many times in excruciating soap opera detail), and would be way too cliche/lazy/fanwanky for a decent fic like this. But... given the quality so far I'm confident that this liaison is going to cause some interesting problems/aftermath and doesn't just end up with Bulma reforming Frieza with the power of improbable interspecies sex.

A: Well, if you've been dreading it, then it was foreshadowed well enough, I take it? I definitely didn't want this to come out of nowhere, so I dropped little hints leading up to it, as I do with most of my plot twists. I promise that I will not rewrite the Bulma x Vegeta relationship with Frieza substituted in, but there WILL be consequences to their tryst. I thank you for having confidence enough to trust the direction in which I take this story from here.

Q: Ah, I can't provide a very elucidating review at the moment lol This was a very enjoyable chapter for me because BulmaxFrieza is a very guilty pleasure I enjoy imbibing in now and again - alas, there are so few. I'm very interested in what comes of the 'union' so to speak and look forward to your next chapter ;3

A: Heh, well, sorry to disappoint, but though crack pairings are most fangirls' guilty pleasures, this story's got bigger & better aspirations. ᴖᴗᴖᶸ I do hope you'll continue reading despite this miiiiiinor disappointment.

Q: Welp, Bulma gets another entry on the page for "Boldly Coming." The burial scene was strangely touching, though I'm fond of Viking funeral practices so I may be biased. Good chapter, interesting character development, and I'll leave it there before I start making jokes based on my knowledge of reptilian reproductive physiology. I realize that was a somber and emotional occasion, and I'm making a real effort not to chime in with horribly timed jokes as much. Though now I feel inattentive for not noticing the belligerent sexual tension from the early chapters.

A: You're welcome to add that entry to the official TVTropes page, hehe. Vikings burial rituals did have an influence on the Arcosian death rites, so good catch on your part. Thank you also for refraining from making any jokes. Considering how flirtatious Bulma acts towards many characters, you're forgiven for chalking it up to her being her normal self. ;^)

Q: Well... umm... yeah... that happened... I'm trying here not to make a joke here about... some things... I'm not gonna lie, scene did make me a bit uncomfortable... itty bitty bit. Maybe the pairing or the suddenness of it, but something just made it all feel off is all. This is personal views of course. Switching gears now: Good stuff. I liked the whole scene with Kold's funeral. Very dark and entertaining. I did kinda see it coming with the whole misunderstanding business, but not in a bad way. The Yamcha and Bulma scene... well I actually had inappropriate (for the scene) music playing and... it turned out to be more comedic for me is all really. I am kinda gonna side with Yamcha though (aside from the possible cheating) as he did have some fair points. Not to say Bulma is unjustified, but few would disagree her ego fills a very large room. Well, it was a fun chapter and thanks for the read!

A: As uncomfortable as it made you, imagine how I felt writing it. Dx it's all downhill from here, as far as uncomfortable & awkward scenes go. Glad you liked the Scattering scene & the other high points of this chapter!

Q: Well, this is unexpected, to say the very least. Oddly, I didn't feel any sort of revulsion from Frieza's burial rite, probably because I figured out why Krillin was so revolted- namely, he didn't understand what he was doing, and lacked the inclination to properly consider it, though finding that while watching him systematically rip his dad to pieces would be pretty difficult, yup. But I knew exactly why he was doing it, so... I guess I was kinda detached from it? I don't know. *shrugs* Either way, I found it a lot easier to sympathize with Frieza in that whole scene then I did Krillin. Sad to see Yamcha being dumped like that, though if he REALLY lied to her like that I guess he kinda had it coming. Can't say I don't feel a little bad, but eh. And there's the last part... when I read the part where Bulma kissed him, my sister half-jokingly said next they'd be sleeping together, but turns out she was right! Just... wow. I never would have seen that coming, and it was very well written. And you saying that it won't last leads me to wonder why, so here's my guesses: 1. The others somehow find out, possibly because Bulma left the door open or Goku sensing their ki, and this leads her to distance herself from Frieza so she doesn't lose her friends, etc. 2. Frieza insists in some manner that it won't be a relationship. Conversely, Bulma does the insisting. Or both do. I wouldn't be surprised if when they both woke up they solemnly agree to never speak of this again. 3. Vegeta shows up, she falls for him instead. 4. Biological incompatibility, possibly in conjunction with 3. Anyway, those are our theories, and thank you again for your wonderful writing. Also, my sister has a slightly perverse theory on Frieza, in fact, if you want to hear it. She speculates that because Arcosians are exothermic, and humans aren't, Frieza would actually be more attracted to Bulma or another human than he would his own race, due to the heat she gives off. What do you think? See you next review...

A: People seem to be divided between disgust & neutrality with the Scattering scene. I tried to write it in a way that would provoke shock & horror, by using Krillin's perspective. He's the audience surrogate here, the one sane man in the group who still questions why they're letting a killer like Frieza live. As for Bulma & Yamcha...all I can say is, poor communication kills. Glad you think that the last half of the chapter was well-written. I did foreshadow it somewhat, & there is logic to it. I won't say which of your theories are right, but some of them are. ~_^ Regarding ambient body heat, that's actually exactly what I had in mind for my theories. xD. Give your sister a gold star on my behalf!

Q: Well, that was an interesting chapter. The ritual for the departed was interesting. The head on the spike reminded me of a tombstone in a way, if he intended to leave it there and not just have it there for the ceremony I mean, a permanent identifying marker. Eating the heart as a symbol I guess makes sense, I mean it kind of symbolised life doesn't it? More so than the bladder, liver or something. The thing I don't really understand is the dismemberment, is it just so the Arcosian performing the ritual doesn't have to make a much larger fire? I imagine you've given thought to this being something that developed in their culture over a great period of time as with human body disposal rituals, so there would have to be a reason for every part of it rather than just 'this will seem weird to a human and make good reading'. Apart from the head and heart it is pretty much just burning the corpse, if Krillin wasn't so freaked out he should have been able to see it as a form of cremation, I mean doesn't the fancy knife indicate it is some kind of ritual and not just Frieza desecrating his father's corpse? But yeah, twisting off the head and eating the heart is bound to freak you out if you don't know what is going on I suppose. Quite glad there was a mention of Kooler rather than have him just appear at some point. Poor Yamcha, the guy might be a bit of a tool but still I felt a little bad for him there. Okay, the xeno sexy time. You should have given Frieza a pair of wangs like some reptiles have just to freak people out a little more, well I would have found it hilarious for this scene at least. :-P So do Arcosians have live young or lay eggs? The mention of the female curvy hip shape implies live young to me. Yes I'm more interested in the hypothetical biology and culture than zomg Bulma X Frieza shipping, not sure if that makes me more or less weird than people getting off on it. :-/

A: Glad you enjoyed the Scattering. To answer your first question, yes, the skull on a pole is to be a semi-permanent marker for the site. Dismembering the body is symbolic, as Arcosians believe that the soul cannot leave the body until it has been taken apart – either through natural means such as weathering & animal scavenging, or preferably the way that Frieza demonstrated. I indeed put a lot of thought into this & other aspects of Arcosian culture, beyond just making it squicky for readers. Speaking of which, I originally toyed with the idea of hemipenes, before rejecting that idea in favor of something that, plausibly, might be more compatible. There are other reasons why though besides the fact that I was afraid of driving readers away with disgust. Arcosians are oviparous, to answer your other question. Wider hips on females is a direct correlation to an upright, bipedal stance. Note: for more questions regarding Arcosian biology, etc., check out the special SoD forum - you can find a link to it on my profile.

Q: Great chapter, little saucy, but when you're buzzed anything can happen, pity that friezaxbulma won't last. I never even imagined it till this chapter and I already liked it. Already knowing that there is a HUGE cultural difference between any two alien races I was not that shocked with the Remembrance Ritual Frieza underwent. I love how you are taking so many liberties with Frieza's race. That is what I like about Toriyama not focusing on these races, they are almost blank slates to be carved into whatever we like. Any plans to bring in Kuriza? I know he's non-canon but what if Cooler used him as a political hostage? I mean it would be an opportunity to see more culture differences or similarities if he were to be rescued (or wished back to life). Only one thing bothers me and I can't remember if you touched on this or not. Now I know how paranoid Frieza is around the earthlings especially Goku,, but he has to transform down to control his power. Being in his true form, he should be shattering glasses, ripping hinges off of doors, flattening silverware, breaking furniture etc. like when Goku and Gohan were transformed into super saiyans for a week.

A: I continue to be amazed at how positive some people feel about this pairing. Kuriza, unfortunately, will not be appearing in SoD. Although I consider him canon, he does not exist in this universe, sadly. As far as Frieza's transformations go, my theories have his First Form as his natural state, with each new form a true transformation, not a suppression. He had roughly a year after Namek to get used to his highest form's power, though he did break the door last chapter (mostly because he was annoyed).

Q: This chapter had an..."Unexpected" end, it started good, I thought it would explore more of the Arcosian culture, like how they deal with funerals, BUT...then the party came and I expected hilarity when drunk Bulma appeared...but THIS?! I prayed hard for this to not happen, but. it. Did, why? WHY? It reminded me of how the Swamp thing and Abby had sex in the saga of the swamp thing vol 2 (it was NOT a pleasant read) please...just tell me why! Let me tell you why is wrong: Frieza is 60, SIXTY years old. He could be her grandfather! For that reason it made me cringe. Not only a human and a alien cuddled, a OLD alien and a young human cuddled!

A: apologies for upsetting you, but it had to be done, from a storytelling standpoint. In canon, no villains reformed without reason to change, & consistently, that includes having emotional ties to another character. Don't worry though, I promise to never write a scene like the end of Ch. 9 again. I am surprised that you have more of a problem with the age difference than anything else, but keep in mind that Arcosians age, physically & mentally, more slowly than humans. Frieza is psychologically closer to a young adult, for his species.

Q: Ummmm...Anyway, not even gonna comment all THIS, but, do you think they could, y'know, breed, have kids? 'Cuz, if I recall correctly, you'd kinda rejected those theories. And...EWWWWWWWWW! Yeah, sorry about that XD And I'd think his crotch(like ours)'d've something to do with it(or at least the inside), anyway, huh...Sorry about that again XD And did Bulma really just do..Reach...Where...Bah, ok, goddammit, this's confusing(and kinda gross/weird too), just let it go...

A: Nope, vastly incompatible species cannot produce offspring, unless it's a lab-created chimera, & even that's improbable. If you're confused by the, ah, mechanics of it all, please check out the special forum for Savior of Demons.

Q: Well then...I had to read through this one twice to absorb all the shock. First we find out that Arcosians are ritual cannibals, which is interesting considering some real world tribes practice similar funerary rites to this day. Krillin's outrage at Frieza's ritual and Frieza's equal disgust at the fact that humans bury their dead (just like we bury our trash, that actually made me stop and think a bit) is a prime example of just how different Frieza's beliefs and worldview is to everyone else's. Then the second bomb dropped. Now, as a rabid Frieza fangirl myself, I was kinda hoping you'd write some sexy times into the story, but I didn't think you'd actually do it (I'm not complaining :3) and with Bulma of all people! Now, you seem to be implying that this little fling won't evolve into a relationship which I totally agree with. Honestly, I just can't imagine Frieza in a romantic relationship; it's just too OOC for him. If I were to make an educated guess, I think they'll both wake up deeply regretting their actions since neither of them were thinking straight at the time: Bulma was smashed and mad about Yamcha and Frieza was an emotional trainwreck and at least half-drunk to top it off. They both did it for selfish reasons; both were just trying to distract themselves from their own personal troubles and it didn't seem like there was much attraction between them. Unfortunately, I have a hunch that this little encounter will put Frieza in an even worse emotional state once the alcohol wears off and the shame of what he just did hits him full force, after all, he seems to come from a very elitist and xenophobic culture which probably considers interspecies sex a grave taboo. As for Bulma, is it just me or did it seem like she took advantage of Frieza's delicate emotional state to get what she wanted? I dunno, maybe she really did seduce him to help him feel better and her reasons really were selfless, but I don't think she would have taken it that far if she hadn't gotten into that fight with Yamcha. tldr; this has to be one of the most emotionally complicated sex scenes I've ever read and that's a big breath of fresh air for fanfiction. I've stated my predictions as to the repercussions of Frieza and Bulma's wild night, but can't wait to see what you come up with in the next chapter! Also, nice creative touch with the whole vibrating thing Frieza does in lieu of a kiss. If I remember my reptile biology, I believe male crocodiles do something similar to attract a mate.

A: I applaud your analysis of this chapter; you've picked up almost everything I was trying to convey! Ritual cannibalism is a strange thing to modern humans, but it's not that far removed from some of the things we do to this day - Catholic Communion, anyone? Even though it's "symbolic", you're still eating flesh & drinking blood. Arcosians are simply more true to the roots of their rituals. Burying the dead is, again, something many people think is universal - but it's not. Aside from cremation, there are above-ground standing coffins that are reused by some African tribes, sky burials in India (the Scattering was inspired partly by these), & a plethora of other obsequies in the world. Onto the next "bomb", I'm glad that, despite being a rabid Frieza Fangirl (nothing wrong with that, btw), you can see that Frieza isn't a good candidate for a romantic relationship. Or really, any healthy emotional relationship at this point. You're right that both Bulma & Frieza did what they did out of selfishness, & Frieza would feel more negatively about it when sober. You'll find out why it's a particularly bad taboo for him soon enough, though I hinted at it this chapter. Final note: holy cow, the crocodilian vibrating! YOU ACTUALLY GOT IT! High-five ! (Д)ノ↖(^▽^)↗ You're the only one who correctly figured out my inspiration for that, good job. I base a lot of Arcosian behavior on crocodiles, plus other large reptiles like monitors & Komodo Dragons.

Q: Once again, great chapter! I find myself having to look up most chapter titles, which necessarily isn't a bad thing as I learn a lot of new words that way. :-) The Wheelo chapter was awesome, the fighting and the overall usefulness of the whole team was very joyful to read. Now about this chapter. It was very well written, although the intercourse between Bulma and Freeza felt...wrong, it still got more and more reasonable throughout the whole "act". I mean, Bulma certainly is the type to enjoy that kind of stuff and she always struck me as someone with no inhibitions at all, at least until she got Trunks with Vegeta. Just to clarify something very important: does Freeza have a penis that gets exposed when he gets aroused? I think that needs to get addressed seeing how in depth the rest of their adventure was described. I look forward to see how things will develop, and how this'll affect Bulma and Vegeta's relationship. Anyhow, great job, I'm looking forward to the next chapter! Don't rush it, take your time, and please don't give Vegeta erectile dysfunction when he's with Bulma since chances are, if he finds out, that he'll picture Bulma X Freeza everytime he wants to get intimate with her. I wouldn't blame him if he did, though!

A: Obsequy is a fun word; I encourage everyone to expand their vocabulary when writing fanfiction, because it will do nothing but help you. "No inhibitions" is a great way to describe Bulma, haha. She has no qualms about non-humans, provided they're similar enough. To answer your next question, yes. There are more details in other reviews above, as well as in the Special Forum.

Q: I was completely expecting Bulma X Frieza, to be honest XD Overall, good chapter.

A: Oh goodie, that means it wasn't completely out of left field. ^_^

Q: So can Arcosian-human pairings produce children, then, or are the two species too dissimilar to do so? Seeing as how the topic becomes relevant in this chapter, and all. I also meant to ask, why the sudden decision by Frieza that he basically can't go any lower, and so sleeping with a human wouldn't be that bad for him or his pride? It seems a bit sudden, given how long it took Vegeta in canon to finally figure out that that much pride is bad for him... although drunkenness may have assisted Frieza's decision, I suppose and/or append. (And since the topic has been broached, how do Arcosians breed in this story, anyway? Internal fertilisation is a given, it seems, but like, do they lay eggs, or does it involve live birth, or what?)

A: The two species are incompatible in the viable offspring department. With two very different ways of breeding, it's an impossibility. Frieza has been through quite a lot, & all in a relatively short period of time. So, his reactions will be less controlled, & more emotional than logical. With everyone else in the universe thinking he's dead, suddenly he has no boundaries to stick to. Rationality has taken flight from him, at least for this brief period. To answer your other question, Arcosians are oviparous, meaning that they lay eggs.

Q: So, in this universe, Frieza's the rebound guy? Well, at least that makes pregnancy less likely. It doesn't seem that Arcosians are particularly sexually compatible with humans, though Frieza and Bulma managed a decent workaround. I'm not surprised that Krillin freaked at the Arcosian funerary rites. I am a bit saddened that he was still bothered by them once he knew their purpose. I mean, just on earth we have so many different burial procedures. We, as a species have no place spitting on dismemberment and burning. Reading this, having not seen Frieza's arc recently, I wonder sometimes how much of your Frieza is good character interpretation and how much is just you as Frieza. Chaotic Stupid Evil? Definitely your personality showing. Also, party etiquette is just as bad on Arcos as here: ", drink, make small talk, don't kill the other guests"?

A: Yup, since Vegeta isn't present at the pivotal moment, Bulma found the next closest mistake to make. At least she won't have to worry about an unplanned child though, as you said. Krillin is still unnerved, even after learning about the Scattering ritual, because he holds a significant bias towards Frieza – obvious, because Frieza killed him, & he's still not quite over that yet. I try to stay true to Frieza's character, but with no canon comparisons to make for this scene, I went for a logical deduction of how he'd act. As for Arcosians' party etiquette, Frieza was making a joke – those are his rules, & the last bit is not necessarily applicable to others.

Q: So does Frieza have a penis or what? If it comes out from the base of his tail it must be extremely long for it to be visible from the front. And did Frieza splooge all over the sheets or something? :D

A: Figured I'd get lots of reviews of this nature. Yes, he has one. The base of his tail is equivalent to what are called erogenous zones in humans, so by stimulating that, you get mechanical arousal, which serves the same function in every species (in his case, his actual equipment comes out from the front, right where you'd think it would appear). That's why he was somewhat agitated that his partner didn't have a tail to press against. The whole thing is a semi-realistic take on how awkward interspecies sex would logically be. Where humans & Saiyans are at least somewhat similar, Arcosians are very different.

Q: That was done very well... That was actually tasteful. It had the perfect amount of detail. Enough to make me blush and also not make the sex scene the focus of the chapter. Oh man. Phew. I was reading the reviews and a lot of people don't like it, but honestly Bulma is in character and the progression of events was really natural. Well done. I think people don't like that bit because it made them feel uncomfortable, that is, took them out of their comfort zone. They'll get over it.

A: I thank you for your compliment! I wouldn't call it totally tasteful, but...there are more graphic things to be read on this website. I know I'm tame compared to them. Anyway, the scene is supposed to make readers uncomfortable, because a big science fiction trope is Boldly Coming/Interspecies Romance, which works great when you have humanoid aliens like Saiyans (or rubber forehead Star Trek-style aliens), but is harder to swallow with more disparity between species. I wanted to capture just how awkward it is when both individuals are running on instincts, but those instincts don't necessarily match up.

Q: Haha sorry but I am a bit disgusted by what transpired towards the end of the chapter.

A: Understandable, given the context. The whole chapter was meant to provoke uncomfortable feelings, & I think I achieved that end.

Q: Okay so, I'm a little confused about Frieza's behavior with Bulma at the end of this chapter. Was Frieza really in such a horrible state of mind that he'd go against everything he believes and sleep with a lower life form that he has no feelings for? And why was he so docile during the actual sex? Considering his violent and sadistic tendencies, I'd think he'd at least be a bit more, um, domineering with Bulma if not downright rough. Don't get me wrong, the scene was tastefully done and very well-written, but Frieza just seemed a

A: You've answered your own questions. Frieza is extremely psychologically & emotionally imbalanced, ergo why he acted in such a way. Everything about his entire worldview has either been crushed, or been under negative scrutiny, & don't forget, he's still dealing with feelings of grief for his father. He's been fighting constantly against his situation for so long that he just wanted some catharsis, so for once he isn't trying to exert control, & is just letting go.

Q: Excellent! Please, don't just put Bulma and Vegeta together because they were in canon, we've seen that relationship done to death. If nothing else, at least make it a painful love triangle. Just be different please. Love your work.

A: I believe that canon is the best reference for relationships, so eventually, Bulma & Vegeta will become a couple. However, that's not to say it will be exactly as canon, & Frieza will definitely have had an influence in this universe. What that influence will be, you'll just have to be patient in order to find out. ^_~

Q: I started reading your fiction a few days ago and was instantly hooked. The excellent descriptions and the in depth dialogue and monologues are great. I absolutely cannot wait for the next chapter to come out. All of the twists are so exciting! I love Frieza's personality and his character development that has allowed us to see a little bit of what his life and culture has been like. Toriyama didn't mean for him to be too much other than an over powered, evil lizard that could transform, but you have given him a personality and a history. Excellent job ma'am. I applaud you.

A: Thank you, dear reader, for your encouraging words. Plot twists are fun for me to write, as is world-building & character development. I'm glad you like my take on Frieza, & I hope you'll continue to read & review!

Q: I have to say what an interesting chapter and the entire scene with Frieza and Bulma wasn't what I expected I will give you some credit for being original though between what went with Bulma and Yamcha since I figured the only reason both never got together was personality issues since Vegeta is as stubborn as Bulma when it comes to anything. But aren't you a bit concerned that you might have added to the rule 34 Frieza/human pairings with what happened between both of them in this chapter and I'm kinda surprised with what everything Frieza went though he was even willing to mate with something he would have considered a monkey since I could never see Frieza being the rebound guy and I'm kinda surprised he even went that far with another creature even if Bulma was pretty much the one who seduced Frieza into it. A good overall chapter Roketto just don't be surprised if people start sending you Frieza/Bulma pictures on DeviantArt in the future. :P

A: Well, the pairing is far from original, but doing it plausibly is much more rare. I am aware that it violates a lot of people's expectations, but I'm known for shocking plot twists, & so far, most readers have been understanding, if a little squicked out. That's my intended reaction, actually — both Frieza & Bulma were not at their sanest, so don't be surprised when one or both of them feel revolted in this next chapter. Also, as a far, no Frieza x Bulma artwork has been sent my way. Not sure whether to be relieved or secretly disappointed. xD

Q: This was, as ever, a superbly written chapter. I kind of saw the death ritual and the subsequent cultural misunderstanding coming, but it was still well written and well handled. Seeing it all through Krillin's perspective really creating an uncomfortable feeling of voyeuristically looking on a forbidden ritual (it made me feel bad as well as slightly sickened). I'm a little surprised that the Z-fighters all took such an immediate negative reaction - given their knowledge of other species and that there may be differences in ritual, not to mention rituals like that are not uncommon in human history - but I guess fear of Frieza, plus wanting to assume the worst constantly, led to that outcome. And hey another opportunity to be voyeuristic! It was well handled and actually felt like a surprisingly heart-warming moment. You wrote it well, giving enough detail to understand without going too far to make it unpleasant. I'm glad to find another proponent of the 'Bulma made the first move' view! My mind now can't help wondering if this was in fact the great tyrant's first time though... darn you! -_- And the white elephant finally makes his appearance. Yay! I'm looking forward to Kooler and Frieza's confrontation. Given the sheer amount of bad luck he's currently having I'm almost surprised that Kooler didn't burst in on him and Bulma. Now that would have been a heck of a reunion! xD

A: Glad you liked how the obsequy scene was handled. From the audience's perspective, it's easy to say, "oh, I know this will look bad to the heroes & they'll freak out", but from a character's perspective, it makes sense because they don't have the extra information gained through reader omniscience. Krillin was my choice for this because, as you said, he's acting as an uncomfortable, voyeuristic lens to view it through. In my estimation, Goku & the others aren't well-versed in alien diversity, so they would have no knowledge of or tolerance for alien rituals. Remember, Goku doesn't consider himself a Saiyan, & Piccolo has no memory of Namek. Earth's habits are all they've been exposed to. Moving on to the next voyeuristic scene (Hah!), I'm actually quite surprised that you found it heart-warming. I suppose it's a valid interpretation, underneath the many layers of angst & despair that the scene was built on, haha. You're also the only person to ask if this was Frieza's first time. I'll only answer by saying that it was his first time with a human partner, hence all of his (understandable) confusion.

Q: Just finished reading this chapter and I've gotta say, that Bulma x Frieza scene was so hot it nearly drowned out the entire rest of the chapter. Awesome work. I must say the Arcosian funerary rite felt so fitting and realistic. At first I was expecting something more akin to a Viking funeral pyre but that just fits so much better.

A: Well, as I feared, you're right; the end of the chapter eclipsed everything else entirely. xD Still, I am glad that you appreciated the obsequy & thought it was realistic.

Q: Before I even touch on the later part of this chapter I have to say that I found your concept of Arcosian funeral customs to be quite fascinating, both the actual act and the beliefs that accompany them, and while I can understand why seeing that would shock Krillin and that given his loathing and resentment towards Frieza it's rather natural he would assume the worst I'm surprised none of the others had the thought that maybe that was what was supposed to happen, him being from an unknown culture and all. Now onto the events of the party, lets see, drunk Bulma trying to put the moves on our resident villainous lead was quite hilarious, and when she inadvertently invaded his room my first thought was 'uh oh,' quickly turning into "its official, she can seduce anything," concluding with "ok, this is...surprisingly intriguing" for that reason I shall reserve the summoning of dark entities for if Bulma somehow ends up pregnant for this, well now that I am caught up with the story I eagerly await your next update. You certainly accomplished making them different, not the heart part as throughout history such things have occurred but the ritual dismemberment of the body... pretty sure that's unique. Also I just have to say THANK YOU for actually having the common sense to realize that, I mean Saiyans and humans I can sorta see, they are both primates at least so its plausible, but far too many of the couples people come up with make no sense. And yes given that Arcosians are reptilian seeming and it didn't seem like conventional sex I figured it wasn't going to happen, still had to be said :)

A: Thanks for the kind words regarding this chapter. The funerary rites of even human cultures can vary wildly, & that's not even getting into what other sentient animals (elephants come to mind) do, so in my mind, Arcosians' rituals had to be...different. The level of disgust that humans (in-universe as well as among my readers) would have as a knee-jerk reaction was easily exploitable, too, so that's another reason I went with this choice. "Surprisingly intriguing" is probably the best reaction I've gotten as of yet to the end of this chapter, haha. You needn't worry about unleashing your dark entities on me though, as the two species are quite incompatible, thankfully. The whole scene should be a tip-off to that, but I still have to reiterate it, I suppose, because every denizen of the Internet is used to shipping every species without a hitch, where it's usually implausible to do so. You're not just fighting psychology & enculturation, you're also going against your own biology, so it makes the whole thing realistically awkward. Indeed. Hearts are usually seen as the "engine" of the body because they stop when you die, so many cultures naturally have rituals surrounding them. The ritual dismemberment was as alien as I could get a funerary rite without it seeming too out of sorts. In India, there is actually a thing called a sky burial, which is the closest humans come to an Arcosian Scattering. However, they just break the body up, & let vultures & other birds do the rest. With a Scattering it's a bit more involved. Glad you're one of the few who can appreciate common sense. Interspecies romance may be plausible among sentients, but the physical side of it will almost never be natural, or even compatible. If you look at the variety of life here on Earth, you'll see that reproductive organs in a species are designed like a lock & key to prevent futile breeding with incompatible mates. That alone is meant to be a deterrent. However, I hit upon the idea of convergent evolution as an explanation why humans, Saiyans, & to a lesser extent Arcosians have roughly the same equipment. It all comes down to being both sentient & highly social animals with a huge emphasis on emotional bonding. That, & evolving on separate planets helped.

Q: OMG, OMG, OMG... I have to say that out of all the chapters you have written so far that this has to be the best one yet. And like I promised a veeery long time ago, I'll review this story I suppose, gotta do it someday, so why not now right. Anyway from the description at the beginning I could already make out that it would be a kind of gory chapter, since well the M rating even thought I would never have guessed that... no wait, more on that later.

So first things first, I loved how you delved into the rituals of Frieza preparing Cold's body, and also how gory you actually made it, even thought it was through Krillins eyes, but still it was a very interesting read. Especially how detailed you made it, unlike some other parts ( but again more on that later ) I could actually see that by dismembering the limbs and other parts of Cold's body, like his head, body armor and heart that he in that way could put the soul free, kind of like the Egyptians did back in the day. And I was very surprised that you even made him eat Cold's heart, I suppose that it's a common alien thing to resort to that kind of cannibalism, it kind of reminds me of Roger from American dad and in many ways they are quite alike as well and they are also in a very similar position as well that like Goku is taking care of Frieza like Stan is taking care of Roger, and their personalities and temper/psychotic murdering issues are also quite the same. ( Roger is also the reason that I like the show as much as I do) But is suppose that that's beside the point. Could eating his heart also possibly mean that he will always have a part of Cold with him, which begs a different question. Because right now Frieza is performing the ritual, but if Cold died on their planet or so that the other family members can get to him, do they perform the rituals together, or does somebody else perform it like a professional undertaker, and who has the honor then to eat the heart, but those are just a few little questions of mine. And also I like how you made wine drinking something like that's pretty common among sophisticated people or rich people a kind of ritual thing for the Ice-jins/ arcosians, it's something I myself have never considered, but I did assume that another reason may have been so that Frieza keeps himself calm since he is pretty much a very aggressive type of person or another reason that seemed quite logical to me was that it makes him warm, like the russian people drink alcoholic drinks so it keeps them warm in the cold climate, but I do however don't think that the cold would affect him that much, after all he can survive the most horrid of conditions after all and even survive in space, but I agree with you on the fact that the Ice-jins/arcosians do enjoy warmth and heat, like a warm body but again more on that later... So yes I enjoyed that part very much. So now for the secondish part. Personally I think that adding Cooler to the mix now probably was a little bit too soon, but I suppose that you have a reason for that and his part in this chapter wasn't really long anyway so it doesn't matter that much, also I like the more relaxed trait that Cooler has and that he openly says that his men, or Frieza's men, don't have to be afraid of him to a certain extent, I can see that from him quite well. Also for vegeta's part we can see that he is training pretty hard to become a super saiyan, with not that much result at the moment, and we can see that he thinks about a certain person, a certain person that his most hated enemy that destroyed and stole everything from him including himself has slept with, ooohhh I can sooo see vegeta turning super saiyan 3 just from knowing that little fact, and Frieza standing there all smug looking with a troll face look, butttt again I'll talk later about that. Also what I did enjoy as well was the fact that you give otherwise forgotten characters, like krillin or gohan and even yamcha, a chance to talk as well. That way it stays balanced and it doesn't get boring that only goku, frieza and bulma are talking, not that it would make the story worse, but it certainly is a positive aspect I like in it. And so now finallyyyyy I can talk about the third part of this chapter, and I have to say I tooootaly didn't see it coming, mostly because I always read the DBM comment section and mostly yours since they are the most interesting, and I always got the idea that you are kind of a prude, not in a bad way but that's just the way you kind of acted at certain moments, especially with certain frieza and cell fanart. So I was very surprised that you even went this route, with Bulma out of all the people, but then again you are right about her liking alien species a little bit to much and add to it that Frieza is quite the bad boy/man since he is a prince and overlord of a large portion of the Northern galaxy it makes him quite desirable for people like Bulma. Also since Frieza and vegeta are kind of alike in many ways like them being psychotic murderers, conquerors, royalty, having a bad past and well being evil I can see this swap kind of happening, so kudos to you since writing this kind of couple isn't very easy and it would look very bad if it's not pulled out well, so once again a good job. And that another thing I like about your portrait of frieza, that he isn't a macho man and a womanizer, because really I could never see that in Frieza's nature ever, so you really pulled it out fantastically. Especially his shy nature, or more so that he is really inexperienced with females. However even thought that I'm glad that you didn't went the route that if Bulma entered frieza's room en then the chapter would have ended and the next one would have started with them waking up next to each other, I am very very glad that you didn't do that ( personally I hate when people do that ) But I find personally that you could have written the last part a little bit more detailed because certain things in the very last bit where a little bit unclear and even confusing, however I do understand it though since this is probably the first time that you wrote something in that context and it did was a touchy subject. And also why didn't it work when bulma was grabbing frieza from the front and it did when she grabbed the base of his tail, does that count for all Ice-jins or only for frieza for the matter. I did however liked the nuzzling part quite much and also the fact that frieza doesn't really know what a kiss is, which is odd really, but it does make sense when you think about it. And this is also the second story that involves the friezaXbulma pairing that I really like, they do make for an interesting couple indeed. And now for more in general, even though I'm not really a fan of your Ice-jin/ arcosian theory, not that I hate it, far from it, because certain parts in your theory I certainly agree with, but I personally go with salagir's theory more because for me it makes more sense and it fits the cannon more aswell. And also I like to see that frieza's family are the only know Ice-jins alive at the moment, which makes sense because royal families are often know for their true blood and that they only have children with the members of their family, and since I see frieza as a hermaphrodite it would make sense as well, I have seen that a lot of fanfictions also go by this theory ( the fact that frieza is a hermaphrodite ) Also what I don't really like about your story is that you blame it all on frieza's past that that's why he became the tyrant he is, and that Cold is a heartless bastard, because in the anime for me he seemed like he really cared a lot for him, more so than just a blood bond ( after all frieza is daddy's little princess : p ) so yeah, not really a fan of that subject in your story, and personally it's a little bit overused as well, what I think is that Cold spoiled frieza a lot and also of the fame, fortune and power that the family has in their power frieza can permit himself everything he wants and that he thinks that he is a god and all other creatures are mere filth for him, that would actually make more sense to me, and lets not forget the favoritism that cold has for frieza and cooler is a second to him, which is often seen in siblings ( and I know this very well from personal experience ) I suppose that that was all for now, and I certainly can't wait for the chapter today, so keep up the good work, I'm really looking forward to it. PS I still want to know what those things were in frieza's secret box, probably something from his mother.

A: Best yet? Thanks for the compliment! Yes, now you know why there's a Mature rating for this fic. For the Scattering, you're correct in guessing that it's meant to be reminiscent of ancient Egyptian rituals, but there are also influences from other cultures as well, including the ritual cannibalism. I will say that I loathe Western animation with VERY few exceptions, & that program in particular is one that I dislike greatly, so any similarities you find between my storyline & that are unrelated. Back on topic, yes, eating the heart is meant to transfer the deceased person's soul to their living relatives, & in normal circumstances, all direct blood relatives within a family would divide the heart up. Wine too plays a large role in their culture & ceremonies, & for Frieza specifically, he does tend to use it to keep himself on an even keel, so it's a bit like self-medicating. Alcohol making you warm is an illusory bodily perception, so that's not one of the functions of the wine, I'm afraid. Kooler will be an interesting character to write, as he's very different from Frieza, & has very different motivations. If/when Vegeta finds out about what happened in this last chapter...I cannot reveal yet. Sorry! I am a prude, but this story called for a mature approach to realistically writing that particular scene, so I took a deep breath, drank some wine, & tried hard to smash all the common Lemon stereotypes. A lot of other readers wanted more detail to it, but just as many wished that I'd put less effort into describing things, so I suppose I struck a good balance. If you do want to know more about the mechanics of it, you can check out the Special Forum. I will say that the method Bulma used to get Frieza the same in all Arcosians. As for the rest of your review, I've said before that Salagir's theories are little more than nonsense, & I stand by that. Frieza's past hasn't been entirely revealed yet, so don't pass judgement so quickly on whether it's cliched or not. His relationship with Kold, too, is a bit more complicated. All in good time. Finally, that box...I love that people are still speculating about its contents. That's going to make the reveal that much more powerful.

Q: I love your writing. Please smite anyone that doesn't appreciate your, 'crime of opportunity'. keep up the work. :] I'm getting off-topic here but i was reading that you have an illness or needed surgery etc. Just letting you know, whatever hardship you may be going through, that you have my support and best wishes. Someday there will be a cure, hang in there!

A: Hehe, I wish I could smite people through the Internet! :^D Alas, I cannot, so no cyber-murdering of trolls for me. Er...I'm not currently ill, not sure where you heard that...but thank you anyway for your kind wishes. (I do have a ton of medical issues, but they're all controlled, more or less)

Q: Hey, is there a relationship between Bulma and Frieza on the ninth chapter?

A: I...wouldn't call it a relationship. More like a totally uninhibited fling.

Q: I must say that there were moments where I asked myself: WHAT AM I READING?! 0_o But anyways, nice chapter. I actually like how you focused on Arcosian biology and funeral customs being completely different from humans.

A: Haha, trust me, there were moments when I asked myself, "WHAT AM I WRITING?!" _ o That said, I am glad you enjoyed the obsequy portion of the chapter, as I really worked hard on that to make it believable.

Q: Nice! Surprised at the pairing but if you can make it work...

A: It won't work in the long run, but it will affect other changes in this universe.

Reviews for previous chapters:

Q: Chapter 2: Famicide Man, Frieza is a real head case. He's hallucinating, he's freaking out, & most of all, he gets mad at Goku for sparing his life… when he was the one that begged Goku to spare him. "Cursing is, in my opinion, a sign of a weak mind that lacks eloquence. People who drop F-bombs every two words do not have my respect, period."

*Cue Hallelujah Chorus* YES!(I feel like filling the character limit with exclamation marks) thank you for validating my own views on this. You have given me hope in humanity for the first time in… forever!

A: Ah, you're only on Chapter 2. Frieza will be getting worse before he gets better, & if you think he's a head case now...well, I won't spoil you. As for my views on cursing...thank YOU for validating my philosophy. To me it's got nothing to do with religion or upbringing, but with discipline.

Q: Chapter 4: Exordium Well, four chapters in so suppose it would be rude not to review, regarding last chapter I'm going to just say it, it's quite refreshing to see someone take proper precautions during their transformation & characters actively trying to stop their enemy from transforming, which really seems like the obvious solution. As for Frieza dang, you have managed to take one of the most sadistic & downright evil characters in DBZ & simultaneously kept him in character & made him someone it's easy to feel sorry for, nice job. & your fight scenes, it explains a lot that you actually practice martial arts yourself, they seem very well executed. In conclusion looking forward to reading more, keep up the amazing work.

A: Huzzah, I have made yet another reader feel sympathetic towards Frieza! My story seeks to explore the differing perspectives of both the heroes & the villains, giving a bit of background on why they are the way they are, & what drives them. Flat characters are the bane of any fanfic, so I try my hardest to make everyone's motives plausible. I'm also a fan of non-conventional story elements, so I often utilize my own areas of expertise/interest, such as martial arts, xenobiology, & psychoanalysis, to make the story richer & more of a novel read. Glad you appreciate my effort!