Chapter 11: Perfidy
Author: Rocket (a.k.a. Roketto/RyunoOhi); Editors: npberryhill & Saucemonkey
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Piccolo's arm stretched, whipping out to whack Goku in the side of the head. The Saiyan careened to the right, teeth gritted, before correcting his fall, then flashing out of sight. The Namek scanned to his right and left...where had he gone? Suddenly, a cry from below him signaled his sparring partner's location. Sucking in a sharp breath, Piccolo released a gust of ki-imbued wind from his mouth, hurling Goku to the ground as he hastily blocked the stinging blast.
"Whew! That was close, Piccolo!" Goku called from the crater he'd made, dusting off his gi. "Hehe...though it's good you're fighting so dirty — I doubt Kooler will fight me fair either!"
Above, the green alien growled. "Goku, come on, I know you're not even trying! You could beat me in seconds if you took this seriously!" His fists clenched, he took a moment to breathe. Goku wasn't even winded, but just keeping up with the Saiyan, even without his transformation, was nothing short of exhausting. 'Were I stronger, we'd probably be even... I know I have the potential, but even with my training, even through my meditation, I'm still held back! Something is missing.' Kami's voice rattled around in his head, telling him how he regretted exiling Piccolo's sire from himself. The Namek gnashed his teeth together at the idea threatening to form from that train of thought. 'Curse him...no, curse them both in their treachery for being my stumbling blocks!' With a roar, he attacked his opponent again, willing his anger to permit him to grow stronger.
"Whoa!" Goku exclaimed, barely dodging a clawed hand heading for his eyes, "Okay then, you want serious? I'll get serious! Haaaaaa-!" The air shimmered briefly as his hair stood up, and then his golden aura unfurled with a rush of wind.
Gohan sat at a patio table next to Krillin, watching the two combatants above intently. "Wow..." the boy breathed, straining to follow his father's movements. Piccolo was still visible, but it was hard for the young hybrid to see his punches and kicks, they were moving so rapidly. "They're amazing, aren't they?"
Krillin rested his head on his hand, smiling at the intensifying fight. "Yup, they sure are. Watching them like this - especially your Dad, Gohan — it's hard to imagine us losing tomorrow, even if Frieza turns on us or something."
The child pouted, releasing a deep sigh. "Yeah, I guess... I still don't get why Mr. Piccolo and Dad won't let me come with them. I can be useful too, right Krillin?"
"Nah, it's not that, Gohan. Your Dad just wants to make sure you're safe, that's all. He didn't have a choice before, y'know? Against Vegeta and Nappa, he didn't have any say, and none of us were expecting a fight on Namek." Krillin grimaced at the memories of hopelessness. "He's just protecting you." At the boy's glum expression, he patted him on the head. "Hey, I'm not goin' either this time, so don't feel bad. You and I've gotta protect this place, just in case, right?"
"I guess you're right," Gohan replied, "but you asked to stay here. I came here today because I wanted to fight. I don't wanna just sit here and do nothing."
"Now Gohan," Krillin said, his voice shifting to a lecturing tone, "You know you're not going to be doing nothing, just like I won't be sitting idly either. We're gonna train. You'll be my training partner, right?" The boy flashed a faint smile, nodding. "Good. Anyway, I'm amazed your Mom even lets you come over here to hang out and train...didn't she say you were behind on your studies?"
Gohan laughed, "Nah, Mom's always worrying about that stuff, but really, I'm ahead of where I'd be if we lived in the city and I went to a public school. On the trip to Namek, I was actually doing advanced work, plus Bulma was teaching me about the physics of space travel and stuff, so I'm way ahead."
"Hehe, well Gohan, if anyone can juggle saving the world and passing the entrance exams to some ritzy school, it's you." The monk rubbed his bald head, inwardly marveling at the kid's nonchalant attitude towards what were supposed to be difficult studies. Above, Goku and Piccolo continued to train relentlessly, making the sound of a thunderstorm on a clear day.
The gravity chamber hummed with the strain of maintaining its artificial pull, as Frieza pushed himself further. Getting used to the gravity was one thing, but acclimating to actually moving — much less fighting — was his current challenge. "Krrgh..!" He released a ball of bright red ki, shooting it outwards forcefully. It traveled in a sharp downward arc, before slamming into the cracked tiled floor a few feet away. "Dammit! It's still not enough..." Concentrating, he formed another attack, this time aiming it upwards and putting more power behind it. On release it streamed forward further than its predecessor before the gravity claimed it. 'That's it,' Frieza thought, 'now let's see if I can control it.' Another orb of ki took shape in his palm, and he repeated his previous motion. As the ball veered toward the floor, he focused on it and pulled with his psychic power. Shakily, the ki blast rose, until he had it traveling parallel to the floor, defying the intense gravity. "Yes...I've done it!" he said satisfactorily to himself. If the weight on him had been bearable, his tail might have flicked up at this little triumph. As of now, he struggled to keep it from dragging on the floor. "Now then," Frieza said, "let me turn it up a bit, and see if I can maintain control just like this..." His fingers heavily weighed on the "up" arrow key on the console, raising the gravity by twenty times. 'Shit!' he thought. Suddenly, his knees buckled, and he barely caught himself on the edge of the panel, gripping the edge fiercely. All at once he felt his exhaustion, panting with the pressure on his bones, feeling as though his lungs were draped in lead, every breath a battle. The weak human's words came back to him, taunting the state he was in. "I will...not...be...weak..!" Frieza said through clenched teeth, willing himself to stand. Bracing himself, he brought one heavy hand up, the muscles burning. "I don't need any help..!" he growled. His hand hovered over the emergency failsafe. Seconds passed, his unnaturally weighted hand trembling. 'I'm not done with this yet! I can't, and won't stop! Not until I'm strong enough!' With a choked cry of anger, he instead pressed the "down" arrow, bringing the gravity back to tolerable levels. His eyes burned with the will to continue, as he carefully pressed the arrow to increase the gravity by one increment, forcing a determined smirk into his face as he felt the pressure.
In another sweltering, humming room, far away from Frieza's trials, Vegeta trained as if possessed. The ship that carried him roared through space, and the warrior within roared with renewed vigor as he shadow-boxed, imagining Son Goku as his current opponent. As he traveled farther from Earth, Vegeta knew he had gotten stronger. It was Earth, with all of its distractions, that had weakened him so. 'But I shall return, someday soon,' the prince thought, 'because when I'm a Super Saiyan, all will bow...and cower...before me!' In his mind, he swapped out Goku for Frieza, and viciously attacked the air before him, visualizing every blow devastating his former master. Still though, his strongest memories of the tyrant, indelible in their persistence, were of him smiling down at Vegeta condescendingly. The Saiyan growled, furiously driving punches through the heated air. Frieza still smirked in his mind, as if to say, "Poor Vegeta...always left in the dust, no matter how hard you try..." He could almost hear the nagging voice, constantly, consistently telling him that he was a failure.
Vegeta screamed, feeling his control begin to slip, his rage consuming his being. For a single moment, he could swear that his swirling aura had turned gold — 'like Kakarot's!' — but then it was gone, and with it, his stamina. The Saiyan prince staggered, then collapsed against the wall, sliding down it to lie on his side. All he could hear was the hum of the gravity machine, blurring together with the thrum of his heartbeat. "Have to...get up..!" he croaked hoarsely. No good. His body had had enough for today. "Computer!" he grated, his voice harsh, as though even his vocal cords bore the strain of the gravity. "Shut down artificial gravity!" A beep from the main console confirmed the command, followed by the chirping sound as the LED display showed the numbers falling, finally reaching zero. Vegeta sighed with relief, stretching out to float amongst the chips of tile and bits of metal from training bots. Absolutely exhausted, he fell into sleep, buoyant in the zero-g but for the weight on his mind.
The day passed, and a new day dawned with the promise of battle, and probable bloodshed. Outside Capsule Corp. stood the Earth's strongest fighters, making final preparations.
"Come on Dad, please," Gohan wheedled, looking up at his father with determination, "I can help out! You know I can!"
Goku sighed, and ruffled the boy's unruly hair. "I know, Gohan, I know you're strong. But this fight isn't like the others we've fought in...it's Frieza's fight, and me an' Piccolo are just going there to back him up in case things go wrong." He glanced at the Arcosian, who stood away from the rest of the group with his back to them. If he'd heard Goku, he made no response.
Gohan pouted, then glowered at the older man. "So? If we're just gonna watch, why can't I come?"
"Because you need to learn prudence and respect," Piccolo interjected bluntly, glaring down at the half-Saiyan, "Apparently you've forgotten them from my training, replacing them instead with impulsivity and recklessness." Gohan's face fell, as embarrassment crept into his eyes.
"Piccolo's right, Gohan," Goku said, "let us make the decision for once, and listen to it. You're not needed in this battle, but I do need you to stay behind and look after your mother and Bulma for me. Can you do that?"
"...Yes, I can. And I will, no matter what." Gohan responded, accepting his two father figures' order. In his haste to prove himself, he had forgotten Mr. Piccolo's training, he realized. 'Discipline...not letting emotions rule you...they're all essential to a warrior, yet I completely ignored them!' Son Gohan resolved to reign in the need to prove himself - this was a test of character that was just as important. Frieza's impatient voice broke him out of his thoughts.
"If you're quite ready, then let's get going," the Arcosian said, sounding haughty and indignant, though his ki signature betrayed a slight unease. "I want to get this over with before Kooler attracts any more unwanted attention to me." He kicked off the ground, shooting into the sky. Piccolo followed, then Goku, after nodding confidently at his son and best friend, followed suite.
"Let me lead, Frieza," Piccolo yelled over the rush of wind, "he hasn't moved from his position yesterday, but you can't sense ki, so just follow us to him."
Grumbling, the Arcosian fell back, allowing the Namek and Saiyan to fly ahead. He'd been so focused on his goal – Kooler – that he'd forgotten that without a scouter, he had no way of finding his brother. 'What could he possibly have planned?' Frieza thought as they flew, 'How could he possibly hope to subdue me?' Trying to figure out Kooler's angle was just as hard as deciphering his Saiyan captor's motives. His older brother was always thinking, scheming, planning for this or that scenario. 'It was no wonder he showed up so soon after I came here...I wouldn't be surprised if he's already taken over both Father's and my duties. That would be just like him.' Balling his fists, Frieza was again reminded of how far he had fallen. One thing was for certain: if he did manage to ever escape this backwater planet, reprisal of his territories would be his first priority to reestablish his dominance. Bringing his mind's focus back to the present, the Arcosian realized they were landing; he'd spent the entire journey consumed in his thoughts.
"Lord Kooler!" Sauza shouted, banging on the metal door, "They're here!" As he raised his fist to knock again, the door suddenly slid open, as he stopped his hand inches away from his master's face.
"I heard you the first time, Sauza," Kooler calmly said as his underling flinched away, expecting a reprimand. He gestured dismissively, relaxing the blue-skinned man somewhat. "My little brother is impatient, yes, but even he has enough manners to wait for me for a few minutes."
Sauza smiled sheepishly – knowing how his master often procrastinated, the captain had learned over the years spent serving the Arcosian to act hastily, anticipating when his master would not. 'Even now, I'm scheduling everything ten minutes too early, so that he arrives on time...it'd be funny, if it hadn't nearly gotten us killed more than once.' The ship's scouters had picked up three energies inbound, and moving fast. He just hoped his lackadaisical lord would see fit to exit the ship before they arrived. "Yes my lord, I'm sure Lord Frieza will wait...but remember, there is the matter of the Saiyan..." He trailed off, trying to read Kooler's face for clues to his emotional state.
"Hmph," Kooler harrumphed indignantly, "far be it for me to worry myself over adhering to such a lower being's schedule. He should know his place. I'll arrive to put him down soon enough." A thin-lipped smirk lifted the corner of his mouth.
'Good,' Sauza thought, 'looks like he's confident, at least in regards to the mystery Saiyan.' With any luck, this would be the beginning of a new chapter for them. No more scraping by, subsisting on what little recognition King Kold gave his eldest son, no more making do with out-of-date tech and supplies. No more Frieza, taunting them and pushing Kooler closer to a breakdown every time they crossed paths. 'This is a new beginning,' the Brench thought with a smile, 'and I...no, we, get to witness it.' Falling in step with Kooler, the golden-eyed humanoid stood up straighter, maintaining a respectful distance behind his lord as they headed to the main hatch of the ship.
Frieza took a purposeful breath, calming himself as he took in the sight of the familiar round craft that all the Royals used. 'No mistaking it,' he thought, taking in the ship's worn, almost neglected-looking exterior, 'this is Kooler's flagship. He never was one for taking pride in maintenance.' The short Arcosian smirked, remembering how Kooler seethed in his typical controlled way every time Frieza remarked on the shabbiness of the spaceship. But he never snapped at his little brother, never retaliated unless he was in the mood to spend a week straight in a healing tank. 'Looks like I need to remind him again why I am the heir and he is not,' Frieza thought, 'This little act of rebellion toward me will not stand.' The humming of the central hatch broke him out of his reverie, as Kooler's men flew out – only three, Frieza noted – followed by his brother himself. He forced a haughty, appropriately confident smile to his lips.
As Kooler floated out of the ship, he immediately caught sight of his brother – in his final form. 'Hmm... This alleged Saiyan must have truly pushed you, Frieza. And yet, why are you still so confident looking?' The tall Arcosian scanned the sleek, white body, pausing to take in two peculiar scars, one on his chest, the other on his temple above the left eye. What surprised him was that, other than those two old wounds, Frieza had no other marks upon him. 'This makes no sense... I was led to believe Frieza was a captive here after being thoroughly defeated.' he thought with confusion. The Arcosian before him looked less than broken. With a customary fanning sweep of his tail, Frieza spoke his greeting.
"Ea tie, brother," Frieza said, looking up at him, "Why don't you come down here and be sociable? It's disrespectful for you to greet me from so high up, you know."
Kooler's tail twitched with the beginnings of irritation. 'The first words he speaks to me, and of course they are disparaging..!' he thought. Keeping a stoic facial expression, he glided down to the ground, sweeping his tail up and out to mirror Frieza's. "Ea tie, little brother." he said, drawing himself up to his full height, inwardly amused at Frieza's annoyed face. 'Still touchy about your lack of vertical presence, I see.' Kooler finally took notice of the other two beings. He recognized the Namek from before, but also flanking Frieza was a being he unmistakably recognized as a Saiyan. He narrowed his eyes at him, wary.
"Hi there!" the Saiyan said loudly, "You must be Kooler, right? I'm Goku! I felt your presence yesterday – hey, thanks for not causing any trouble 'round here."
Kooler blinked not only at the casual way he'd just been addressed, but because the strange Saiyan had just seemed to thank him. 'This? This is the powerful Saiyan who brought Frieza to heel? Wait...didn't the Namek say that this "Goku" was the one who defeated Frieza? There must be some mistake...' Beside him, a scouter beeped.
"Hmph, neither of them are very impressive," Neizu said from his position at Sauza's side, "but judging from how the Namek just appeared and disappeared yesterday, I'd bet money that they can conceal their fighting power, my lord."
Goku grinned innocently, scratching the back of his head. "Yup! Hey, you guys are pretty sharp; all th' other guys with scouters just assume we're weak!"
Regaining his composure, Kooler chuckled. "My men are no fools, Saiyan. Unlike Frieza, I opt for quality rather than quantity." His tail flicked up, seeing Frieza's annoyed expression.
Goku looked between the two Arcosians, feeling the air almost heat up between them with tense rivalry. 'Man, no wonder Frieza doesn't get along with this guy! He's nothing but insults, and I can feel that he's really got a history with 'im.' he thought.
"I suppose you would have to adapt, wouldn't you?" Frieza said acidly, smirking at the taller alien, "After all, you can't afford numbers, so naturally you'd settle for sycophants to pick up the slack of real work."
"Hey! How da-" Sauza yelled, before Kooler put his hand up, effectively silencing him.
"Forgive my captain," Kooler said in an almost bored tone, "he takes great pride in our cohesiveness as a unit, as do I. Anyway, you know why I'm here Frieza, so why don't you cut the childish insults and come quietly?" Unblinking, his scarlet eyes met his brother's in a tacit test of dominance.
Frieza did not waver, staring right back at Kooler unwaveringly. "Aren't you going to ask me what happened, Kooler? Or does the truth have so little value to you that you would ignore it?"
The purple-skinned Arcosian crossed his arms and smirked. "Oh it's obvious to me what's happened. I have no need of your account — clearly, you're a coward and a deserter." At Frieza's growled response, he continued, "Look at you, coming here today under the guise that you were defeated and captured...do you take me for a fool, brother? Am I stupid in your eyes? I see no evidence that you've been enslaved, nor any signs that you have been mistreated..." He leaned closer to meet Frieza's eyes at his level, "...And we both know what being a slave under a Saiyan looks like." These words he whispered, eyes narrowed and jaw taut with seriousness.
Briefly, Frieza's face lost its snarl, revealing a shocked countenance as his mouth shut, swallowing whatever his intended retort would have been. Disgust mixed with fear briefly manifested in his body language. Then, anger returned to his features, though it was subdued now. "Look... I know that it isn't how it seems, but I truly was held here against my will. I was far more injured before, but–"
"The fact remains that you don't look captive to my eyes now, Frieza," Kooler snapped, "Do you think that the Council will see it any differently? Just accept your fate, and come with me. Who knows, based on your record of loyalty up until this point, they might even settle for imprisoning you, rather than killing you outright. You are still a Royal after all."
'This is really intense,' Goku thought, 'So Frieza really will be brought to justice if he leaves...and I wonder what Kooler meant when he was talking about slavery and Saiyans...' He cleared his throat, bringing everyone's focus to him. "Sorry, it's just...Frieza is kinda tellin' you the truth. We did keep him here, and he was really hurt from our battle. Those scars he has are all that's left, but he almost died at one point."
"And you would know, Saiyan?" Kooler said condescendingly, "Concealed power or not, you don't strike me as the bellicose type, and certainly not the one to defeat my younger brother at his peak. Only a beast of equal or greater ferocity could beat that demon." he spat.
'Interesting choice of words...' Piccolo mused, noting Kooler's look of disdain, and Frieza's clenched fists and downturned eyes, his mouth a hard line taut against his features.
"Believe whatever you want, brother," Frieza said, "but no matter what argument you use, you must know that I will not be taken without a fight — a fight we both know you'll lose." Stepping forward, Frieza's aura became visible as he powered up. Kooler's men wisely switched off their screeching scouters before they could explode from the reading. Turning to Goku, Frieza said, "Remember monkey...this is my fight, and my fight alone. You will not interfere."
The tall Saiyan nodded resolutely. "Whatever you say, Frieza. I won't step in unless you're in trouble." Turning to Sauza, Neizu, and Doore, Goku yelled, "Hey! You guys oughtta stay back, so you don't get hurt, okay?" With that, he retreated away from the two combatants.
"Tch, who does that monkey think he is, giving us orders?!" Doore said, moving to follow and confront the Saiyan, his fists clenched.
"No, he's right, we've gotta move," Sauza said, putting a warning hand on his comrade's shoulder, "Lord Kooler is going to fight." Doore and Neizu turned a shade paler, hastily retreating to the topside of the ship.
Following them, Sauza paused momentarily to take in the approaching battle. The two powerful Arcosians stood facing each other, Frieza's aura already pulsing through the air, while Kooler stood calmly, not bothering to put up a defense...yet. Then there was the weird Saiyan in the orange gi, sitting cross-legged now on an outcropping of rock beside the small stream that wound alongside the battlefield, beside the Namek. 'I get a strange feeling about that one,' Sauza thought, 'He's too calm...and the way he warned us to stand back...it almost reminds me of Lord Kooler.' His lord, he knew, was practically a pariah. A Royal in virtually name alone. That odd divorce from his station led to a strange leadership where the feared tyrant acted almost familiarly with his crew. Sauza had come into his role as Captain expecting an older, more vicious version of Frieza, capricious and volatile. Kooler did have a few choice berserk buttons that would incite a rage more befitting of his younger brother, but other than that, he was tolerable...and surprisingly tolerant. Mistakes did not always spell death as they did in Frieza's ranks, but Kooler managed to instead instill a fierce sense of pride in his subordinates, his disappointment in their shortcomings as painful as any physical rebuke. 'That is why we are strong,' the Brench thought, 'That's why we keep getting stronger, because we know, through our lord, the indignity of being ignored for our lack of strength.' Kooler had pride, yes, but it was less egotism and all-encompassing hubris and more a desire to be better, to earn his successes and own his failures. 'Lord Kooler is humble enough to learn from his mistakes, and he doesn't think it's "beneath him" to learn from a lower creature,' the blue-skinned man thought with admiration, looking at his leader, 'That is why he will win today, and that arrogant bastard Frieza will lose!' Though he had enough restraint to refrain from openly cheering, Sauza couldn't help but grin with pride and anticipation.
Piccolo stood beside where Goku was sitting on a stream-smoothed rock, sensing the energies of the two Arcosians. "Do you really think Frieza will beat him, or are you here for another reason?"
Goku smiled. "I can't put my finger on it just yet, but I think Kooler's stronger than he lets on. He certainly acts confident."
"Or arrogant," Piccolo retorted gruffly, "remember, Frieza acts the same way, even around you."
"Huh. Well, maybe..." The Saiyan looked up at the overcast and dreary sky. "It's going to rain soon. I hope they finish this up before it starts comin' down." He turned his head. "Eh..? Somebody else is coming this way."
Before Piccolo could comment, a crash, the sound of limb striking limb, signaled the brothers' battle beginning. The Namek was astonished at the ferocity with which they fought. There was no warmup, no holding back. It was like watching two dragons fighting, their long tails twining around a punch or kick, clawed hands raking vulnerable eyes and softer flesh with the intent to gouge and maim.
This was the deciding battle, all over again. Kooler hissed as Frieza's tail lashed across his face, snapping his head to the side as he flew back. Vision blurred slightly, he instinctually weaved around a few strikes before retaliating with his own. "Not this time, brother!" he yelled, driving his fist deep into the smaller Arcosian's gut, "I won't let you humiliate me, ever again!"
Frieza coughed, doubling over. "Heh...you think...I purposely embarrassed you? Don't give yourself so much credit!" Swishing through the air, his muscular tail caught Kooler's next punch, deflecting it to the side and leaving him open to attack. Frieza lunged forward, delivering an uppercut to Kooler's jaw. "You're beneath me, and you always have been!" the diminutive tyrant yelled, chasing after him to axe kick him in the stomach. Kooler crumpled, the force of the kick driving a spray of blood from his mouth as he crashed into the ground. His body cracked the ground around him, a shallow crater spider-webbing around him. "If it were up to me, I would simply ignore your existence, brother," Frieza said as Kooler coughed, rolling over painfully, "if only you would make it easier for me to do so." He kicked the older alien in the ribs, earning a stifled groan of pain from Kooler as he sent him flying. "Despite what you might think, I don't hold any ill will towards you." Frieza concluded calmly, firing a volley of Death Beams at his downed opponent.
The purple Arcosian scrambled out of the way, most of the blasts missing him, the rest only grazing his flesh. "Funny, your words and your actions don't seem to be in harmony," he growled. "Besides, indifference and hatred are practically the same. You and father are just deluded in your shared acceptance of them. You dote on and obsess over your enemies and rivals, but neglect your own blood! What the hell kind of sense does that make, Frieza?!"
"Surely you know why though, Kooler?" Frieza replied, voice still cold and indifferent. "We both know that turning attention to one's enemies allows one to keep their priorities, even when others fall to deception and inattentiveness." He punctuated the last word with a knee to the stomach, then flung Kooler away disdainfully. "You're too soft. Someday, one of your loyal little acolytes will murder you in your sleep, mark my words."
"That's if you don't get to me first, huh?" Kooler smiled mirthlessly. "Unlike you, Frieza, I have the capacity for inspiring respect in my troops, where you merely control them through fear. I'm their god, Frieza. To anyone under you, you're just a demon. You'd even murder me, if I weren't so weak as to be beneath your notice." He sighed angrily. "Unfortunately for you, ignoring me was not a wise move on your part. I'm still here." Kooler taunted, watching as the smaller Arcosian seethed at his words, fists clenched hard enough to draw blood. With an animalistic yell, the younger brother attacked viciously once again.
"Tenshinhan!" Goku called, waving as the green-clad fighter dropped out of the sky with a concerned look on his face. "Guess you felt them fightin' too, huh?"
The three-eyed man glanced at the Saiyan, before focusing on the raging battle in the grassy field before them. "Yeah. So, who is that other alien, and why are he and Frieza fighting? Is he here to destroy the planet?" Tenshinhan looked furtively between the fight and the other three aliens perched atop the familiar-looking ship. As Goku and Piccolo filled him in, he continued to watch, his three eyes darting around to follow the Arcosians' movements. "...So that's it, then?" he asked, "This Kooler person is here just for Frieza? That's suspicious."
Goku nodded, "Yeah, I thought it was odd too at first but...feel his energy. He's totally focused on Frieza right now. There's no maliciousness towards us or this planet. He seemed surprised at me, but I think that's 'cause I'm a Saiyan, and there aren't many of us left to meet, I guess."
Piccolo rolled his eyes. "That's not what had him so surprised, Goku..." he muttered. "It's that you come across as a simple-minded pacifist, when you're not obsessing over fighting. Most Saiyans are like Vegeta."
'This Kooler person only came for vengeance against Frieza,' Tenshinhan thought, 'even though that's his family...' For a moment, the martial artist couldn't help but think of his first master's brother, Tao. The mercenary had still been at the Crane school when he and Chiaotzu had joined under Shen's tutelage, and was thus their "older brother" as per the school's traditions. Even when they were novices, Tao had always been cold, aloof, and most of all vicious towards them, both in and out of training. The three-eyed man had been foolishly loyal, to Shen and to Tao, but in the end, they both betrayed his trust, the latter abusing Tenshinhan's newly-learned mercy to attack his unguarded opponent, brothers no longer. Under his shirt, a long scar still marked that betrayal. He'd known that Tao was ruthless, but the ease at which he had turned on him hurt nevertheless. "Still..." Tenshinhan said out loud, scrutinizing the fighters, "From what you say, Kooler's quite the puzzle. Why come all this way to retrieve Frieza, when he can't back up his threat to remove him by force?" The others looked sideways at him. "You feel it too, don't you Goku?" he asked, "His energy seems tense, like he's straining at the very limits of his abilities...and Frieza is barely exerting himself. In fact, he's merely toying with him."
"Hey!" a voice yelled, interrupting their thoughts. "You! Human! How dare you say such things about Lord Kooler, you trash!" Sauza growled through gritted teeth, landing on the grass before them. Doore and Neizu landed as well, flanking their captain and looking none too amused themselves, scowling darkly. "We've been listening to your little chat, and you have no right to stand there and insult our Lord! You ought to be grateful that Lord Kooler isn't interested in destroying your pathetic little world! One more word and we'll be taking things into our own hands."
Tenshinhan was caught off guard by the blue alien's outburst, but he quickly scoffed, "I don't see why you'd be so loyal to a demon like him, especially if he's anything like his brother."
"Why you!" Sauza's face continued to crumple into a snarling visage. "Lord Kooler is nothing like his brother!"
"It doesn't change the fact that he's outclassed," Tenshinhan stated, "Go ahead, use those machines of yours and prove me wrong."
Doore roared in frustration. "You...WON'T get away with such insults! Raaargh!" He barreled forward, aiming a haymaker punch at the bald human's face—he'd show the ignorant loudmouth. Tenshinhan instantly dodged, directing a palm-heel strike into the green warrior's jaw, shoving him backwards. "Son of a..!" Doore growled, cradling his face.
"Ghrrr..! Don't get cocky, you weak little human!" Neizu yelled, charging an energetic, buzzing ki blast. Piccolo appeared before him, making him flinch as the tall Namek glared at him.
"Tenshinhan, you handle pretty-boy and dimwit. I'll take care of this one myself." Piccolo didn't even bother to remove his weighted cape and turban, merely cracking his knuckles in anticipation of a fight. Neizu, however, was not intimidated, shooting the charged blast at his new opponent with a scream. The Namek grinned, hand raised to bat it away. "Too eas— Aaagh!" he cried as his hand met the charged ball of ki. It was like touching a live wire. "Grr-! Nice trick, but it didn't do much more than annoy me." Neizu had retreated to a safe distance, charging up another electric attack. Piccolo growled, flying to intercept his odd opponent.
Beside him, Tenshinhan had taken a fighting stance, sizing up both Sauza and Doore. 'I think we can take them in a physical brawl, but as the brown guy demonstrated, it looks like they've all got specialized attacks to even the playing field,' he thought. Sauza chuckled, and dashed forward, forcing Tenshinhan on the defensive as a barrage of snake-hand strikes came his way. 'He's fast!' the bald human thought, dodging rapidly for a few moments, 'But he's just doing the same attack over and over. I wonder wh—'
With a flash of light, a sudden, sharp pain manifested in his face, and blood dribbled down Tenshinhan's cut cheek. 'What?!' he thought, reaching up to assess the damage. Only a shallow cut, but if he had been slower in reacting, it might well have been a fatal strike.
Crouched in a confident stance, Sauza laughed. "How do you like that, three-eyes? I call it my Sauza Blade!" He brandished his right hand, wreathed in energy that pulsed outwards, in a rough approximation of a sword. "You're fast, I'll give you that. I'd intended to take you by surprise and end this quickly. But this way I can take my time carving you up!" He charged forward again, as Tenshinhan quickly back-stepped to avoid his attack, dancing around the furious slashes and jabs.
"Urgh..!" Tenshinhan hissed as the ki blade caught his bicep, drawing a dripping scarlet line across the muscle. 'I wondered why he was attacking so predictably before! He was drawing me into a pattern, hoping I wouldn't notice when he changed it up to take my head off.' This man was obviously a tactician, and Tenshinhan found himself hard-pressed to avoid all of his deft attacks at this level. 'Still...he's not the only tricky fighter!' With a kiai, he raised his aura around him, forcing Sauza to cease his attack for a moment. The blond fighter circled him, blade pulsing around his gloved hand.
'What's he up to..?' Sauza thought, cautious to keep his guard up. Kooler had taught all of them that underestimating even a weak opponent could be deadly, and he had taken that piece of advice to heart. His suspicions were confirmed when, suddenly, the human's form wavered, and then... 'What the hell is this?' Sauza thought, blinking to try to clear his vision, 'There's...two of him?' Before he could make sense of it, the two split into four, and smirked. Then, they blurred out of sight. The Brench heard the sound of fabric snapping in the wind, and turned to block the incoming kick — but as he did, another leg came from an impossible angle, hooking around from behind him to strike his face. "Argh!" he growled, retreating. 'This has to be an...an illusion... Right?' He wasn't so sure, though. That kick — both of them, in fact — had felt real. Sauza had no time to think though, finding himself under attack from all sides, desperately blocking and whirling around to defend his blind spots. "D-Doore! A little support would be nice!" he strained, eyes wild, trying to take in all the doppelgangers pounding him from all sides.
"Thought you could handle it, Sauza," Doore grinned, smashing his shoulder into one of the clones, sending it stumbling back, "I know how you hate needing us to back you up, but now that you asked..." He paused to blast the other Tenshinhan sneaking around their flank, "...I'm happy to get in on the action! This guy's fun, ain't he?" Another double punched him in the face, and he growled, "Real fun..!"
Sauza let out a short laugh as he parried another Tenshinhan's knife-hand strike. "Your idea of fun is a little dangerous for my taste, Doore." He kicked the clone back, and immediately was faced with another one. "But they do give a good workout, I'll admit. Color me surprised." He dodged to the side, then leapt into the air to plant his boots into his opponent's spine. As he did, he felt the body beneath him melt away, leaving his feet on the ground, with no trace of the enemy underneath them. 'What now? They went away!' he thought in confusion.
"Not bad, alien," Tenshinhan huffed, recalling the other three doppelgangers, merging with them once again. "I have to say, you strike me as a skilled fighter. So why is it that you choose to be a slave to Frieza's brother? You're smart enough to distance yourself from someone like that." Not that he particularly cared for the alien's well being...but he needed to catch his breath; that technique always took a lot out of him.
Sauza's response shocked the human. "I'm no slave, you moron. I chose to serve under Lord Kooler, and my reasons are my own." Dissipating his energy blade, he crossed his arms condescendingly. "You're still under the false impression that Lord Kooler is anything like his miserable brother Frieza. Figures..."
'So, he's a willing follower..?' Tenshinhan thought, considering this. "Well...you all do the same thing Frieza and his goons do, right? Purge planets and sell them to the highest bidder?" Sauza wrinkled his nose in disdain.
"We're not in the same league as Frieza. Where he collected powerful warriors and was the...I guess you'd say 'business end' of the organization, Kooler and my men are more diplomatic." Sauza ran his hand through his hair. "Purging planets is Frieza's trademark. He's the demon that everyone fears. Kooler is only known by a select few, and when he's known, it's for his unique...finesse." The blue-skinned man smirked at Tenshinhan's quirked eyebrow. "Oh come now, human, I'm sure you have small-scale versions of the Planet Trade Organization in your primitive society. Where obvious, flashy kingpins like Frieza get all the attention, it's the enforcers behind the scenes doing the real heavy lifting." He brandished his sword of energy again. "People like us are the hands in the shadows, quietly pulling all the strings...and cutting them, if need be."
Neizu clashed with Piccolo, his lanky frame allowing him to match the tall Namek blow for punishing blow. The brown-skinned alien traded punches for a while, but was quickly caught by the wrist, as Piccolo scowled at him. 'Hah! He actually thinks I'm only at his level — well, better put that assumption to rest,' Piccolo thought. He growled, sucking in a deep breath, then spat out a yellow beam of energy at his trapped prey. Neizu let out a squeal of surprise, the burst of ki engulfing his head. The Namek smirked cruelly. 'At least I finished him quickly,' he thought, 'Now I should go help Ten—' He was suddenly cut off by a surge of electricity, the alien's hand still firmly gripping him. "What..?! What the hell?" Piccolo shouted, staring in shock at the charred cavity where Neizu's head had been. 'That's...that's impossible! Nothing can survive having its head blown off!' An echoing chuckle sounded, as the walking corpse's chest shook with laughter. Piccolo, thoroughly unnerved, quickly wrested out of the alien's grip, stepping back to assess this absurd situation tactically. A moment later, his confusion evaporated as Neizu's head popped back up — absolutely unscathed. 'So that's it!' he thought, 'That...freak...can retract his head at will and use it to confound enemies who think they've killed him!' He lowered his chin and smirked. "Heh. That's quite a trick you've got there."
"Not a trick, my green friend, just one of my natural abilities," Neizu said smugly, "As Lord Kooler stated, he prefers quality over quantity in his men. No dead weight." With that, the bug-eyed fighter blurred out of sight, reappearing to knock Piccolo back with an elbow strike to the face. "Whereas you, on the other hand, don't seem to be that tricky to me. It's a wonder you've lasted this long against my strength and cunning! Hahahaha!"
'Certainly is full of himself,' Piccolo thought, rubbing his cheek and wincing, 'Though he doesn't look it, he hits hard, so I suppose he has every right to be arrogant... But if he thinks I'm not up to his level of craftiness, he has another thing coming!' Growling, Piccolo brought two fingers to his forehead, gathering energy at the tips. "You want cunning, alien?" he shouted. "You've underestimated me!"
"Oh please," Neizu grinned, crossing his arms over his armored chest, "An attack like that, really? I can see something so flashy coming a mile away! You'll never hit me with that."
Piccolo cracked a cocky smile, revealing his fangs. 'Yeah, just keep misjudging me, it'll only be a little longer...' As Neizu continued to laugh and mock his seemingly telegraphed move, Piccolo struck.
"Hahahaha— What?!" Neizu's overconfidence turned to shock as his opponent extended his arm, a spiral beam drilling through the air directly at him. That wasn't what had caught him off guard, though. No, it was that, even as the beam traveled forward toward him, the Namek's arm came with it, stretching and extending to a ridiculous distance. "Shit—!" Neizu cursed as he jumped to the side, away from the attack, which was admittedly faster than he'd thought. As he turned to refocus on his foe, the brilliant light of the attack instead met him, and he barely managed to retract his head in time to avoid losing it. 'He... His arm bent as he attacked so that weird beam could track me! Damnit, I didn't expect that kind of control at this distance!' His thoughts came to a halt as a crushing blow rattled him, as he flailed around, sightless in his current defensive posture.
"Serves you right for underestimating your opponent!" Piccolo roared, pummeling the now-helpless Neizu, his head still hidden, his limbs blindly flailing. The sienna-colored head popped back up with a gasp, and Piccolo relished the crunching sound as his fist met the alien's nose. Neizu let out a garbled cry, clutching his face as he stumbled away from the Namekian fighter, his stance unguarded. "Tch..." Piccolo condescendingly spat as he swept his tall opponent's legs out from under him, depositing the alien on his backside. "You gonna give up now, or will I have to continue to beat you? You're severely outmatched here."
"Alright! Alright, I give up!" Neizu choked, waving one hand as if to keep Piccolo at bay, the other still cradling his injured face. He coughed, spitting a large gob of blood into the grass. "Man, you're something else..." he muttered. He looked up at Piccolo's stern face, unafraid. "So what, now you gonna finish me off?"
Meanwhile, Tenshinhan continued to battle Sauza, with Doore darting in, his huge frame belying his speed. The green behemoth yelled as he charged a two-fisted ki attack, then fired it as Sauza nimbly leapt out of the way. Tenshinhan put on a burst of speed, narrowly missing the destructive orb, but sensing Sauza, he leaned backwards, avoiding the swoosh of the Sauza Blade. Now slightly off-balance, he dropped to the ground, adjusting his wrist and kicking off one hand to kick up at Sauza's jaw. The attack hit home, sending the smaller fighter up and back. Quickly getting back on his feet, the human was confronted with Doore again, this time firing off a dense array of smaller blasts. "Man, these guys just won't let up!" he said out loud, weaving around the small, but potent, attacks. 'And much as I'm loathe to compliment anyone as bad as these guys...they work awfully well together!' he thought with distaste, parrying another sword strike. They weren't getting in each other's way, and seemed to possess full knowledge of the other's skills and techniques. If he'd been any weaker, this might have been a challenge, but as it was, the fight was bordering on annoying. "Enough!" Tenshinhan roared, raising his ki to fling both opponents back. Sufficiently powered-up, he zipped in behind Doore, driving a fist into his kidney from behind. The alien man went down on one knee with a pained cry, but Tenshinhan was already gone, flashing into Sauza's blind spot. "Dodonpa!" he cried, releasing the thin but deadly beam.
As the attack speared through the Brench's calf, he screamed in pain, collapsing almost immediately, clutching the spurting wound. "Aaaaagh! Khhgh.. D-damn you..!" His golden eyes contorted in agony, Sauza nevertheless defiantly looked up as Tenshinhan stood over him.
"You're done, both of you," Tenshinhan said quietly, "And had this been a real fight, you'd also be dead." At Sauza's wide eyes, he made a sound of annoyance. "The fact is that you started all of this over some perceived insult, some slight to your pride or honor, and that's not worth killing you over." He eyed the puddle of blood rapidly soaking through the alien's purple bodysuit. "Now sit still and be quiet, and don't move around too much."
Sauza sat there, numb with shock. "H-hey wait... You're not going to...kill us?" He struggled to get up, wincing and gritting his teeth before the pain forced him to abandon that action. Looking over at Doore, he saw that his comrade, while in moaning in pain, was otherwise okay, sprawling on the ground near him. A few feet away, Neizu too had been vanquished, the intimidating Namek standing over him, but otherwise making no moves to dispatch him. A laugh from behind him drew his attention to the Saiyan. Goku had been content to keep his eyes on the two Arcosians while his friends handled the goons.
"Nope!" Goku said, slightly chiding in tone, "You guys may've attacked first, but that's okay. We'll forgive ya, as long as you don't try anything stupid like that again. Everyone deserves a second chance."
"What are you, insane?!" Sauza comically screeched, his eyes practically bugging out as he leveled a pointed finger at Goku, who sat smiling on his rocky seat. "You're a Saiyan, aren't you? Plus, we just tried to kill your followers! Doesn't that concern you?!"
"Hehe, nope, wrong again," Goku replied, rubbing his nose, "but you're not the only one who's told me I'm crazy. Thing is, I may be a Saiyan, but I just like to fight strong opponents. I don't kill anyone unless they really give me no choice in the matter, simple as that." he concluded with a shrug.
All three aliens were listening now, and shocked into silence. 'What... What a weirdo...' Neizu gulped.
'And I thought I'd seen everything...' Doore mused, his body protesting at the residual pain in his abdomen, 'A pacifist Saiyan though? If that doesn't take the cake, the candles, and the frosting, I don't know what else does!'
Sauza's eye twitched, a look of disbelief seemingly stuck on his face. 'It makes no sense, a Saiyan being this laid back!' he thought. 'It's... This guy's just too much...' A smile crept onto his bloodied face. "Hahaha... Ahahahaha! My goodness, you are an odd one, aren't you? If this is how you behave when you and your friends don't feel threatened, I'd hate to see you lot actually being serious!"
"Well actually..." Goku said nonchalantly, "I am serious about not lettin' you guys hurt anyone or destroy Earth. The last time I had to get serious was when I defeated Frieza, come to think of it..." he trailed off, looking up at the stormy sky before fixing the leader of the squad with a deceptively friendly gaze, "...So be good, okay? I don't wanna have to hurt you, but I will if I have to."
Neizu and Doore's faces took on a blue tint, and even Sauza's face seemed to change shades to reflect his quiet terror. "G-guys..." Sauza turned, whispering to his teammates, "I think we'd better s-stand down, okay? T-that's an order." They both nodded stiffly, all three of them silently thanking their lucky stars that the legendary Saiyan who had so easily defeated Frieza had not turned his wrath upon them.
During their little scuffle with the Armored Squadron, only a few minutes had passed, so when Goku refocused his attention on Frieza and Kooler, they were both still going strong. Kooler was on the offensive, thrusting his arms out in rapid succession, trying to strike at his opponent. For his part, Frieza was unperturbed, merely dodging effortlessly, or slapping the attacks away with his tail.
"How the...hell are you this fast?!" Kooler yelled angrily, continuing the assault, "Last time we fought, I could at least hit you!" His younger brother was stronger, but still... 'Guess my hand will be forced after all,' he thought, 'though at least this time, I have a trump card! It won't hurt though, to lure him into a false sense of security, thinking he's got me beat...' He resolved to continue this weakling act just a little further.
Frieza smirked at Kooler's apparent struggle to hit him, recalling his earlier gravity-enhanced training. "Isn't it obvious...you've been slacking off, brother." He grinned, lashing out with his tail to grasp his brother's incoming punch. "Or perhaps my natural abilities are simply superior." He pulled Kooler into a punishing gut-punch, the older alien's eyes bulging as he wheezed and coughed. Frieza sighed, "Really...you are pathetic, Kooler. I daresay I'm not even trying."
"You...sound a lot like Father, you know," Kooler gasped, "speaking of, mind telling me how he died?" At Frieza's darkened expression, he forced a painful chuckle. "Don't tell me you had a hand in it. Let me guess, the old man died protecting you?" Rage renewed, Frieza charged at him, forcing him to hastily retreat. 'It's working, though,' he thought, 'he always gets sloppy when he's pissed off.' True to his nature, Frieza's ire was affecting his movements, and Kooler's foot found a solid target at last, sending the white-skinned Arcosian backwards with a growl. "Did I strike a nerve, little brother?" Kooler taunted, trying to regain his stamina. "Or could it be that you're angry because of something else? Ah, I know, did Father finally rebuke you? You were always his favorite, but even you are far from fault."
Frieza's face fell, a look of pain crossing his features, before molding itself into a look of pure, unadulterated rage. "Shut up!" He decked Kooler across the face, feeling something crunch beneath his knuckles. "You were always jealous that I was the prodigy, and you were the FAILURE!" Unleashing a barrage of tiny, spark-like ki blasts, he pelted Kooler with them, each small explosion and subsequent cry of pain only serving to rile him more. "You're weak, and you always were!" Frieza ranted, rushing at and kicking his brother repeatedly, "And you..! You have the gall to speak ill of Father for making the right decision?! For supplanting you when everything went to hell?! I earned my place, Kooler, while you were a disgrace to yours!" He fired a massive ki blast at the cloud of smoke around Kooler, panting as he felt the explosion rattle the ground.
Staggering and bruised, Kooler emerged from the dust, fists clenched. "Oh you earned your place, alright. You sold your very soul for it, or so the rumors go." He smiled through bloodied teeth, "How does it feel, Frieza, to be so revered and reviled at the same time? No wonder you clung to Father's affections...they're the only ones you received after y—" With an unearthly screech, Frieza was upon him, blinded by hatred, his limbs lashing out in a dervish of movement.
"Shut up shut up shut up-!" Frieza screamed, pummeling his older brother in a fury. "You h-have no idea...what i-it's like...and you never will, because weaklings like you can't comprehend what I went through..!" Stuttering in his fury, the Arcosian continued to punch, kick, and lash out at his foe, dimly aware at some level that Son Goku was watching, probably waiting for an opportune moment to step in and interrupt his battle. 'Let him try!' Frieza thought angrily, 'We will not be denied this fight; so long in coming as it is!' Beneath him, Kooler still struggled to block, his thick tail protectively coiled in front of his stomach, hands raised to defend his face.
"Brother..." Kooler strained, prompting Frieza to pause in his attack, "...you're right, I have no place to deny that you did not go through hardship to achieve what you did...but I'm not going to pretend that you're an ideal successor, and now that Father is dead, we can't afford someone like you in total control. Look at yourself now, Frieza. If I'm not worthy because of weakness, then you are even less worthy due to madness." Frieza stopped, processing this as Kooler inwardly smirked. 'Insult him first, pretend to sympathize, and then make him question himself...just look at the fool, he's taking the bait.' The older Arcosian knew that fights were won on the mental front as well as the actual battlefield, and he was adept at manipulating lesser foes, winning against foes that were stronger because they...they were mentally weaker. He grinned, rubbing the back of his hand across his face to wipe away a track of blood from his mouth. "The painful truth is you're unstable, Frieza, and everyone knows it. Even Father was frightened of you, initially. He was dead-set on controlling you. He kept you on a short leash, while he gave me, the unfavored child, utmost freedom. Funny, isn't it?" Kooler risked closing his eyes to chuckle, knowing the effect that would have on Frieza.
"Freedom was never something I wanted in my life, Kooler," Frieza replied sharply, surprising his brother. "I only wanted power. Power to achieve my goals. Power to defeat my enemies. Power to live, when a weaker person would not survive. You talk about power and freedom as though they are separate concepts, but let me enlighten you, dear brother..." He rushed in, kneeing Kooler in the stomach and doubling him over. "...power and freedom are one and the same." With a growl, the smaller Arcosian lashed his tail across Kooler's exposed back, batting him down to the ground. "I've never cared about what anyone else thinks of me, of what I do or don't do. The opinions of lesser beings are worthless to one such as me." He crossed his arms, tail twitching with annoyance.
"That's...your...weakness..." Kooler said painfully, clutching his ribs as he stood, "It's all well and good if you're strong...and you are, now..." He paused to cough up a gob of blood. "But you won't...no, you can't, always be strong, Frieza! And the minute you show weakness, the instant you are no longer seen as unbreakable, you will die. Your strength isn't infallible, and when you fall...nobody will come to your aid. You've burned all of your bridges, and you have no allies. People like you don't last." Kooler turned to look at his three servants briefly. "There are other and better ways to be strong, that you have never been able to grasp."
Frieza hissed in annoyance, his red eyes narrowed. "You'll stop with that idiotic blather when I break every bone in your body...perhaps I ought to start with your jaw." He was slightly taken aback by Kooler's words, though. Lately, it seems he'd heard lectures from all these weak humans, not to mention the Saiyan, on how great it was to have allies. Frieza didn't buy it, though. 'If I lowered myself to that, I'd be as weak as Kooler is. I'll bet he's even stupid enough to treat his lackeys as equals! Tch, how shameful...' That thought angered him more than any other. That an Arcosian would willingly put themselves on the same level as inconsequential vermin! He ground his teeth, raising his hand to gather energy into the tip of one finger. "I'll show you, Kooler!" he shouted, his tail lashing now, "I may not always be strong, but in comparison to me, you'll always be weak! Death Beam!"
'Damnit!' Kooler thought in a panic, his widened eyes taking in the sight of the deadly attack coming straight at him. Thinking quickly, he jerked his body to the side, but let out a cry of pain as another Death Beam speared through his opposite shoulder. 'Shit! He anticipated I'd just dodge, and set me up!' With a stifled growl, he readied his own version of the signature attack, and fired, ignoring the pain in his shoulder.
Frieza let out a laugh, sending up a ki shield with a careless wave of his hand, harmlessly deflecting the attack. "Hmm...seems you're a bit out of practice, dear brother," he mocked, "You never were very good with those, despite Father's tireless encouragement."
Kooler's brow lowered, his lips raising in a snarl. "Oh, being used as target practice is what you'd call encouragement? You're quite twisted, brother. Come to think of it, you take after Father a lot in that regard!" He yelled with fury as he tried to close the gap, gambling that Frieza wasn't as good a shot in close quarters. That wishful thinking was rewarded with another searing-hot pain as a Death Beam laid open a perfect line of charred, reddened flesh across his left hip. "Aaagh..!" He resisted the urge to touch the angry wound, looking as though a red-hot pipe had been laid against his dark skin. "Grrr, I've had enough of this!" he roared, summoning a burst of speed to duck beneath two more Death Beams, veer around another three, and flip over another, finally coming in close enough in that final movement to come down on Frieza's head with his tail. The momentum of the hit drove Frieza downwards, Kooler pursuing him with fury burning like flame in his eyes, fangs bared. "I...hate...you..!" he screamed, punctuating every word with a punch. The last blow delivered, he leapt back, gathered his energy, and with a cry, fired a Death Beam.
This time, it hit Frieza full-force, as the small Arcosian recovered from the earlier barrage of attacks. "Guh-!" Frieza groaned as the attack managed to punch a hole through the keratin armor on his left leg. 'Damn, he must have enough resolve — or anger — to actually hurt me after all!' Frieza thought. The wound stung, and Frieza knew that he'd probably be unable to put weight on that leg, but he was not concerned. Such an injury didn't change the fact that Kooler was outmatched, and out of energy. Or so he thought. Still mentally assessing the damage, the short Arcosian looked up to see another Death Beam heading towards him — and this one was aimed at his heart. "What the-?!" he cried as he skillfully dodged it, though the shock of seeing another had quickened his heart rate substantially. "What the hell, Kooler?" he said condescendingly, hiding his surprise, "I thought you couldn't manage more than one Death Beam at a time...I take it back; you have improved, it seems. Still, your aim could use some work — you could have killed me, and then you couldn't take me back to face the Council, now could you?" Kooler's stony face was his only response as he raised his hand, finger pointed.
The others stared in shock at the unfolding battle. Sauza and his men appeared to be mildly surprised by how tenaciously Kooler was managing to fight against Frieza, while Son Goku, Piccolo, and Tenshinhan were more focused on the accusations flying than the ki attacks.
In particular, Tenshinhan listened closely to the insults, again thinking of his own formative years. After Tao had left, Master Shen named Tenshinhan as the heir to the mantle of the school...and Tao, when he had caught wind of this, had been less than pleased. The three-eyed man could still vividly remember how he had burst into the training hall, murder in his eyes as he stared the younger man down. It was only Shen's intervention, and a promise of monetary compensation, that had spared him from Tao's wrath. "Now I'm starting to get a clearer picture," Tenshinhan said, "It looks like Kooler's what amounts to a black sheep in their family, and this is more about personal pride than any sense of justice. It is strange though, to think that we're banking on Frieza winning this fight, isn't it?"
Goku nodded. "Yeah, it's really weird. Usually, we're gunning for the underdog, aren't we?" he laughed. "But Kooler, we have no control over...Frieza's another story. An' anyway, I think Frieza winning'll be the best outcome - think about it; he hasn't really been dangerous in a while towards us, and I think he might even be warming up to me a bit."
Piccolo snorted, "You really think so? I think he's playing you for a fool..."
"I wouldn't bet on Lord Kooler losing this fight just yet," Sauza said quietly from his seat on the ground, "And I also don't think Frieza winning will be a favorable outcome. I'm with the Namek on this one; if you think you've tamed Frieza, you're in for a rude awakening."
"You seem like you've got some information on them both that we don't know about," Tenshinhan questioned tacitly, waiting to see what the alien's response would be.
Sauza snorted, "Like I'd tell you anything I know. First off, you put a hole in my leg, and second, I already know you're on Frieza's side, so why would I tell you a thing?"
Tenshinhan frowned. "What, you think we have a way of conveying information to Frieza as he's fighting? We're not that close to him. He's not so much an ally right now as Goku's charge." He turned to indicate the Saiyan with a subtle roll of his eyes.
"Oh, the weird Saiyan, huh?" Neizu piped up. "So lemme get this straight...you defeated Frieza, and then you let him live?" Goku nodded. "Boy, are you stupid. You do know he blew up your home planet, right?"
Goku looked at him with a perplexed expression. "Yeah, I know. It doesn't matter to me, though, 'cause I was raised here on Earth. I'll admit, I was angry at first when I learned of what he did..." he paused, the sight of Vegeta's bloodied, tear-stained face in his mind, "...but I'm not mad anymore. I don't understand why he did it, but that's in the past now, and as long as I can stop him from doing more damage, there's no reason for me to hold a grudge."
All three aliens sighed simultaneously. "Give it up, Neizu," Doore groaned, "You'd have more success talking sense into a rock. This guy's a loon, just as crazy as Frieza..."
"Hey, I'm right here, y'know," Goku protested in a childish tone, "Anyway, what's with that Kooler guy? You all seem to like him. He's different from Frieza, somehow, isn't he?"
Doore said, "Yeah, like night and day. Lord Kooler isn't a homicidal maniac, first of all. I dunno how long you've had Frieza around, but I'm sure you've noticed how short his fuse is."
Goku laughed, "Yeah, he gets worked up real easy. It's not so bad though, if you know how to deal with him."
Sauza cringed. "Tch, you're probably the only person in the whole damn universe who can 'deal with him', Saiyan. Everyone else just ducks and covers, and hopes to hell they're still alive when the smoke clears. I have no idea if that's just the way they all are and Lord Kooler's the exception, or if it's just Frieza and Kold who are like that." The blond alien shifted his weight, tensing at the pain in his leg. "They're the only Arcosians in the entire PTO, as far as I know, and they're all standoffish and secretive. Even Lord Kooler is...well, he's very different from the other races who make up the Planet Trade. If you had to describe the lot of them in one word... Hm, 'elitist' would fit rather well."
Piccolo's brow raised. "The only ones?" he repeated, "You mean those three are the only ones you've ever encountered?" He pondered, 'That, in and of itself, is very strange...' Although the thought of an entire planet full of monstrously strong Arcosians like Kold was troubling, this mystery was even more disturbing. Where, if they even existed, were the rest of them?
Sauza shrugged. "Just those three. Lord Kooler doesn't talk about his past or his home planet. We don't ask. It doesn't tend to come up often, anyway, because of Frieza. Any talk about Lord Kooler's life before he took the three of us on risks reminding him of his brother's past actions. I think some of Frieza's elite team, the Ginyu Force, were originally under Kooler, until that little bastard stole them right out from under his nose." He growled, fists clenched. "When we were assigned to him, he expressly forbid us from bragging about our power levels or abilities. He said it was to improve our discipline and prudence...but I think he was worried he'd lose us. Aside from that, any questions we'd ask about him personally, he'd just change the subject, or if we didn't take the hint, then he'd get angry." The Brench thought back to an incident where Kooler had slammed him against a wall, after he'd innocently asked why he looked so different from King Kold and Frieza. That, Sauza had learned, was one of the things it was wiser to avoid addressing. "Anyway, it isn't polite to pry," he concluded matter-of-factly.
The tacit meaning in that statement seemed to indicate that it was a taboo topic, the Namek thought to himself. "Well, I hope that Frieza doesn't have any other family coming out of the woodwork that'll pursue him here," he said, crossing his arms, "One Arcosian endangering Earth is more than enough for my taste."
"Aw c'mon Piccolo," Goku said, "He's been behaving these past few weeks...and before that, he was hardly a threat anyway with how injured he was." He turned to face Piccolo directly. "Remember, we could say th' same thing about you, not too long ago, and you're—"
"Watch out!" Tenshinhan barked, prompting them all to refocus on the fight — the brothers had engaged in a war of Death Beams, both trying to skewer the other, while blocking themselves from damage with ki shields. In the fracas, a redirected beam ricocheted towards the spectating warriors.
Goku, face suddenly focused, darted in front of the three aliens and swung his hand out to intercept the thin, blood-red beam. "Hya-!" he cried, meeting the attack. With a sharp resound, the Death Beam was no more. Behind the Saiyan, Sauza, Doore, and Neizu gaped. Goku turned around. "You guys okay? I figured, as injured as you are, you couldn't get outta the way in time, and that would've hurt!"
'"That would've hurt", he says,' Sauza thought numbly, 'That would have killed me if he hadn't been there!' Finding his voice, he managed to mutter, "...Yeah, we're fine."
"Good!" Goku said cheerfully, before turning serious, "But you might wanna get back a little further. They're really turning it up, and pretty soon, they'll be getting serious."
"We're not moving," Doore said stubbornly, "Not while our Lord is still fighting. This is our fight as much as it is his." He shook his shaggy head. "We won't abandon him, if he needs our help."
"Yeah," Neizu added, "Frieza won't fight fairly, and even if it means sacrificing ourselves, we will support Lord Kooler. Frieza is treacherous, and against him... I don't know if we'll be able to do much, but..." He trailed off.
Sauza, as opposed to his teammates, was less worried — he alone knew of the powerful new form Kooler possessed, but even with it...against Frieza, would it be enough? 'And what about him..?' the blue-skinned man thought, sneaking a glance at Goku. As friendly as his demeanor was, he was still a Saiyan.
"Aaaagh-!" Another scream punctuated the fight, as the younger Arcosian steadily dominated his larger opponent. 'The battle to outlast Frieza is surely a futile one,' Kooler thought as another Death Beam seared a smoking hole through his hand, 'but the more energy he loses, the more complete my inevitable victory will be!' Panting, he tried to curl his hand into a fist, but the pain was too great. 'Can't drag it out too much longer, though...' Everything ached now, but he knew that as soon as he unleashed his new power, it would be worth it, to see the look on Frieza's face. His younger brother's voice snapped him out of his thoughts.
"What's the matter, Kooler?' Frieza called mockingly, his tail held confidently again behind him. 'After your initial burst of speed and power, you're once again back to expected levels of mediocrity,' the younger Arcosian thought. He'd be lying to himself if he didn't admit to enjoying this. It had been so long since he had fought and tortured, smelled the blood and heard the cries of pain as he picked an opponent apart. That it was his brother lessened the pride he felt, somehow, but the cur's prior insults to Father and Frieza himself more than justified it. "Hahaha... You're not even dodging effectively anymore, brother." Another Death Beam, and Kooler howled as it lanced through the middle third of his tail, probably right through the bone, judging from how it now hung limply. "Come now, don't you have any more of that anger from before?" Frieza taunted, firing again, a purposeful, grazing shot that just nicked his brother's ear — playful, almost, in comparison to the rest of the damage. To his credit, Kooler did not scream in pain this time...but his face said volumes as to his state.
Kooler squeezed his eyes shut against the intense pain, as a rivulet of blood trickled down the side of his head. 'That last one...damn him, now he's just playing around with me!' It was no use stalling any longer. If he didn't act now, Frieza could — and would — permanently disable him once he got bored, and then Kooler would have no chance. He took a shaking breath. "You want anger, Frieza? You have no concept of the indignity, the suffering I endured, living in your shadow! Let me tell you something, little brother — fear isn't the only way to unlock new heights of power." Kooler began to power up, ignoring the protest of his broken body, shutting out all sensation until he only focused on the being before him: Frieza. "I...struggled..!" he howled, his form shaking, "I never...stopped...pushing myself!" His field of vision was interrupted by a pulsing red glow in the corners of his eyes, as he felt the first spasms of power surge through to renew his strength. With an unearthly roar, he threw his head back, as spines of keratin erupted like a thorny crown from around his head crest.
"What... What is he doing..?" Frieza murmured, genuinely confused. A sudden twinge, a tingle of ki in his mind, set his adrenaline pumping. He wheeled to look to the Saiyan — but the monkey's hair was still jet-black, and he was looking with concern in their direction. Slowly, the Arcosian turned to face his older brother, the realization of what he was doing finally dawning on him. Like déjà vu, he was standing in the path of a transformation, a form he was wholly unprepared to face, because...it was impossible. A mere myth. 'No, not even that!' he thought numbly, 'This is...beyond all comprehension... What is he?!'
"GRRAAAH!" With another animalistic roar of rage, and, Frieza knew, pain, the purple-skinned Arcosian convulsed, a ripple of power washing outwards from his body — which was bulking up steadily. The armored bracers of chitin on Kooler's arms and legs seemed to bulge outward, growing sharp spurs. His shoulders heaved as the armor plating there ripped up and out, forming arcs of bone-hard armor. Throughout this transformation, Kooler's screaming continued, as his voice distorted, growing deeper, more animalistic as his body morphed into a larger, more intimidating shape. Frieza felt a sense of irrational fear wash over him, as he beheld the sight. Even Kooler's face was becoming more feral, his canine teeth becoming veritable fangs. Finally, his scream tapered down into a laugh, then a low chuckle, almost like a growling predator.
"Hahaha...hehe... So, brother, anything to say? No? Where are all of your witty taunts?" Kooler grinned, his sharp teeth gleaming against his dark skin before an odd, organic mask slid into place over the lower half of his face. "Ah...you're absolutely speechless." The stunning silence was a veritable symphony to his ears. "Good."
Hello my loyal SoD readers! Well, the moment has arrived, & Kooler has finally revealed his hand! I had a ton of fun writing dialogue between Frieza & his big brother, revealing their personalities, interaction, & backstory in between the vicious fighting. Not much else to say about this chapter without giving spoilers about the outcome of this fight, but I look forward to your speculations — place your bets, ladies & gents! In SoD-related news this month, I've recently talked to someone about starting SoD Abridged, so we'll have something else to keep us occupied in the month-long stretch between chapter releases. There will be much hilarity & self-deprecating humor, rest assured. On to the Q&A!
Q: 1) I'm quite surprised you wrote Kami the way you did. Every character up to this point you've written with dignity-but Kami, well if it turns out you don't have a dislike for Kami, I have to wonder why you wrote him as if he's a whining mutt when speaking to Piccolo. They both have an intense hatred for each other, In canon, If Piccolo shoots his mouth off, Kami's going to have some replies to send back at him, and none of them submissive. 2) What is this about Cooler being "not all that evil"? Cooler conquered planets just like Kold and Freeza. Fanon may suggest he's more calm, collected, and mature than Freeza but he is just as capable of committing Freeza's atrocities. 3) I'm curious to see what you're bringing in with this Freeza possible execution due to AWOL. Don't the Cold Family run things? I'm not sure how I feel about our favorite world destroying despot having to answer to bureaucrats on the home planet. 4) Freeza curious why he doesn't kill/hurt/maim Bulma? I called it, her bedroom skills did what Goku couldn't-equip a conscience, lol.
A: Kami may seem very submissive & weak here, but remember - this scene is from Piccolo's perspective, & of course he views Kami negatively. In reality, Kami is manipulating him subtly, by being polite & non-confrontational. It's reverse psychology at its finest. Why is Kooler described as "dark, but not evil"? Don't worry, you'll see. Same goes for Frieza's hint that he's not as omnipotent as he wanted his underlings to think. Kold & his scions may have run things in the PTO, but even they are limited in their actions, though I won't reveal how or why yet. Finally, your theory on why Frieza didn't kill Bulma is...cute, but a tad bit off. Frieza is still Frieza, & his morals are still lacking by our standards.
Q: Ahh, just what I needed to get my spirits up after my father's passing. Thank you, ma'am. Now as for my review: Another well written chapter, however the short length was saddening. Understood, of course, but still saddening. Thank you for the further insights on Goku's thoughts. I'm fairly confident Vegeta won't sit idly by while Kooler is on Earth. Could we be seeing Super Saiyan Vegeta v. Cooler? Hopefully yes, probably no. Now I must go brood over a cup of coffee until the next chapter.
A: Glad that I could brighten your spirits at this dark point in your life. I apologize for the tiny chapter, but real life has its disadvantages. A lot of people were screaming, "Goku is so stupid, continuing to spare Frieza!", so I decided to shed some light on why he's doing it. As for Vegeta...he's way far away from Earth currently, & won't be back in time to fight Kooler. That won't make the fight any less intense, though; there will be plenty of players even without the Saiyan prince.
Q: Well, if Vegeta finds out he is not going to be happy, but short of managing to reach Super Saiyan, he can't do much to Frieza if he pulls out all the stops as it were. I like how calm Bulma is about this, despite that she did want to panic, she managed to stay calm and think rationally, probably due to having been a scientist for years and there have been situations she's been in where it's been very hard and things have nearly gone wrong and she has to stay very calm to succeed since she doesn't really strike me as the kind of boss to just sit at a desk and do paperwork. of course she does have to do paperwork, but she is a more of a hands on type person, she will do paperwork, but she will do things herself if need be, or even just to occupy her mind. It's good to see Piccolo keep his cool here, he may be taller than practically every other Z fighter including Goku who is pretty tall, Cooler does seem more angry then actually evil, in the movie the only reason he was after Goku was for killing Frieza.
A: Slight spoiler: Vegeta won't be finding out, for a long time. When he does...it will be under unusual circumstances. Bulma is learning how NOT to freak out, after her experience on Namek & actually having to take care of herself. Besides, she's in her element here, somewhat. Piccolo is...freakishly tall, compared to almost everyone in the cast. Kooler is closer to his height, but Piccolo's still got a few inches on him. You'll find out in the next chapter what Kooler's angle on this is, & why he's seen by Kami as more "dark" than straight-up "evil".
Q: Whoa, ten chapters already. Go get em, tigress! :D This was an excellent read. Plot holes and inconsistencies were finally addressed, like Bulma's feelings, and Goku's hard-on in making Frieza a good guy. Piccolo benching Krillin was hilarious and I'm really curious to see if the runt will follow through with his promise to be useful for a change. Frieza remains a proud bastard who begins to second guess himself on the inside like crazy, and Cooler makes his entrance on Earth itself. There is a certain irony seeing two aliens acting as emissaries negotiating on behalf of a planet who they both don't belong into, it was a pretty nice touch. Cooler seems less of a dick in Savior of Demons and I'm really curious to see how he and his brother will address each other. My only complaint? The training. 24 hours are not enough to change their power levels, in my opinion - Vegeta trained for months to reach Goku's level. (although there *is* that training session with Korin way, way back ...) 9 out of 10 for me. I didn't realize how short this chapter was until I saw the mail occupying half the space of the story. Keep rocking, gal!
A: I know, ten chapters! I can barely believe it myself - double digits baby~! ヽ(^o^)ノ This chapter was meant to address all the outcry from readers who couldn't fathom why Goku continues to show kindness to Frieza, so hopefully that's elucidated a little better now. Guilt over Raditz' demise has made Goku a little more conscientious of the lives he has to take, as opposed to the lives he could save with a little extra effort, & seeing Frieza in an especially vulnerable position while training on Yardrat gave him the impetus to at least try to sway Frieza over to the side of good. Piccolo's "benching" of Krillin wasn't supposed to be funny, but a more sober look at how useful the humans currently are. Remember, in this universe Trunks didn't arrive from the future to warn them of the Androids, so something has to spur them to train. Speaking of which, Piccolo was hoping to bargain for more than a day to prepare, but by angering Kooler, he was lucky to get 24 hours...so in that time, the heroes can't do much other than mentally & physically prepare to fight an opponent that they know little about, other than the fact that he's as threatening as Frieza was. There will be some fireworks between the Arcosian brothers when they meet, & you're very perceptive to get that Kooler isn't nearly as much of a Bad Boss as Frieza. You'll see how that comes into play...
Q: Well well Roketto old chum, its a shame you have problems with breast obsessed fanboys, because it looks like a lot of them are going to be trying to make friends with you! Was it hard inserting all of those boobacious narrative pieces in with Bulma, did it hurt betraying your core values like that? And suddenly, Krillin seeing Frieza eating his father is the second worse thing that he could have seen that night. But...does that mean Trunks never exists? That's bad. I can see the continuity wizards now, and they don't look happy. Cooler's made it. I hope he poses a decent challenge without having to fall back on his Super form. As intimidating as that is, its also kinda played out. No fault of yours though. Odd that Frieza would submit to his people's justice just like that if need be. What even for? Not dying and being held captive? The amount of Frieza x Bulma fan art, fiction and other you spawned is probably OVER 9000 right now, judging by the reviews alone.
A: It was so hard to insert those little references in the first scene that I didn't do 'em...my editors did, haha. So you can either compliment or blame npberryhill & Sauce. As for Trunks never existing...well, I won't give you any spoilers on that matter. Kooler's definitely going to be a challenge, don't worry. I can't shed any light on Frieza's relationship with the rule of law right now, but I hope you'll keep wondering & speculating on it. As a note, I actually haven't seen a surge of Bulma x Frieza pairings. I guess I don't have that much influence on the online DBZ fan community, lol.
Q: Ah, a fine chapter. I did so look forward to the introduction of Kooler. Seems a rather reasonable sort, and I always did have a spot for weak, but skilled characters. This fight will be quite wonderful. And don't worry. People will remember this for more than lemon. They'll remember this as a finely-written look into Freeza's psyche and what could have been had things turned out a little differently.
A: I too am a fan of those who are Weak But Skilled - they're so much more dynamic than your typical Flying Brick, & if they're villains, all the better! Thanks for your little pep talk; I need to keep reminding myself that R-rated movies are commonplace, & I showed about as much as they typically do.
Q: Quite an interesting chapter! This chapter was quite tense, probably because this will be the biggest fight scene since when Frieza first landed on Earth with his father. He will be in for an extreme shock when he finds out his brother has an additional transformation. If Dr. Gero even exists in this universe, he should be happy that he is about to receive a boatload of data for his androids, most importantly for Cell. :D Now, if you don't mind, I'll ask a few questions and be on my merry way. In regards to the telepathic conversation with Kami, did Piccolo really mean it when he said he didn't care about Gohan (only using him for collateral against Goku, Gohan is too weak to like)? I thought his fusion with Nail slightly changed his personality to one that's more caring. Or was Piccolo only creating a tough-guy bravado in front of his alter-ego so that it looks like he's not becoming soft? Where has little Son Gohan ran off to? I suppose Chi-Chi is forcing him to make-up all of the homework he missed while on Namek. :( Hehe. Anyway, I was just wondering when Gohan will make a return in the story, and if there will be any major role for him in the current storyline.
A: Biggest fight scene since King Kold? You'd better believe it, & I am absolutely stoked to write it. Oh, & Dr. Gero does indeed exist in this universe, but I won't say any more on him, because, y'know, spoileeeers. As for Piccolo, he loathes Kami, so of course he will put on a show of still being the dastardly reincarnation of the Demon King to try to push him away. Where Gohan is concerned though, he does care about him, & slowly, he's starting to extend that sense of duty & protection to the rest of the Earth. Speaking of Gohan, I do try to include everyone in chapters, but with Loads & Loads of Characters, DBZ makes it difficult. Don't worry though, he'll have a larger role in chapters to come.
Q: I am reading both your story and Fall of Lord Frieza. Yours is more in-depth but takes a long time to update and hasn't shown him change completely yet. But Fall of Lord Frieza has more action and is already complete. Overall I am not sure which I like more. Probably Fall of Frieza because I'm a action fan, and I don't like the Bulma x Frieza idea. I also dislike that Future Trunks is not in you story. But you story is still good and has a interesting plot that explores Frieza's damaged personality and it shows more "Acrosian"( I prefer the term Frost Demon for Frieza's race.) culture. I can't wait to read more of your story at the end of this month.
A: My story takes a long time to update because I have a job. :^\ I wish I could write faster, but it's just not happening with my time constraints. To address your other thought, I dislike fanfiction where villains make a very sudden change & become good guys. That's not realistic. So, that's why Frieza is showing gradual character development. I know it's hard to avoid comparisons to TFoLF, but keep in mind that we're different authors, & we're writing different universes. Future Trunks has a ton of fans, but you know what? He doesn't have to travel back in time in every universe, & this universe is one of the many he did not influence. As for Bulma x Frieza, I have already explained in previous reviews that this is not gonna be a permanent thing. Hope you look forward to next month's chapter!
Q: Very nice chapter, I enjoy your version of Kooler. And I noticed a distinct lack of Franch Sauza, though I understand, as it is a bit difficult to do accents.
A: Haha, I have enough trouble typing out the phonetic accent for Son Goku's particular way of speaking, & anyway, in the original Japanese (which is how I always imagine the voices) Sauza doesn't have a distinct accent. Maybe if I ever do SoD: Abridged, I'll give him an over-the-top accent. xD (EDIT: SoD Abridged is gonna be a thing soon, & you'd better believe Sauza's gonna have an accent!)
Q: Another great chapter as always, though I was a little disappointed by the shortness. It's cool though, I understand if you had a busy month. So the much anticipated "morning after" has finally happened, and Frieza and Bulma, now that they're sober, are predictably mortified. I was kind of expecting Frieza to have some sort of mental breakdown though. After all that happened to him before, it seemed that his drunken tryst would have been the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak. I'm also a little surprised Goku or Piccolo didn't catch them considering how closely they're watching Frieza. I thought Goku would have sensed Bulma's presence in Frieza's room and gotten suspicious. Both Bulma and Frieza seem to be doing oddly well at forgetting it ever happened, though I guess they didn't have much time to mull it over because oh snap! Big Bro is here! I just hope the issue of their tryst turns up again; I'm still super curious as to what the consequences of their affair will be and if anyone else will ever find out about it. And speaking of Kooler, here he is finally! You're doing a good job writing him so far considering how little there is in canon to work off of. Movie characters never seem to get enough character development compared to the main series characters, so other than his level-headedness and tactical sense, Kooler's personality seems…a bit flat. So with that said, good luck with trying to build off of that and giving Kooler the personality and backstory he was denied in his two movies. Frieza also seems to be making it clearer that the members of the Cold family perhaps aren't the biggest fish in the galactic sea and that they themselves answer to a higher power. This has me curious as to what this power is… And since the Q and A took up half this chapter, I think I'll make a few comments on that too, since you covered stuff that wasn't clear in the actual chapter and gave some intriguing hints as to where this story is going: "In canon, no villains reformed without reason to change & consistently, that includes having emotional ties to another character." So does that mean Frieza is going to develop feelings for Bulma? I thought you didn't like the idea of those two getting together. "Also, as a note…so far, no Frieza x Bulma artwork has been sent my way." …I…may or may not have made a few sketches…_; _;…I'm far too much of a wuss to post them publicly though. "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 (…)" First human he's had relations with, you say? I'm gonna put 2 and 2 together and conclude that he's not a virgin then. Hmm, now you have me intrigued as to who Frieza's previous sexual partner(s) was/were and how they play into Frieza's past. I don't know whether I should admire or pity Frieza for his ability to shove all his problems onto the back-burner and convince himself that he's okay. I mean, how much more crap can the poor guy take before the tears start falling? I have a feeling that Kooler will have a hand in his eventual breakdown. I suppose you're right on the whole "Bulma and Frieza not getting caught" thing though, since Goku probably can't sense ki in his sleep. Yeah, I guess if Bulma and Frieza's affair will come up again, that definitely means that there will be strings attached. I just hope they're painful strings B] (I like my fics with a hefty dose of drama). So despite the fact that Frieza admitted to having precious little experience with relationships in chap. 9, it appears that he did have at least one in his past and...rrrg the suspense is killing me, damn you! *fidgets uncomfortably* Well, whatever kind of relationship he had, knowing Frieza, I'm sure it was horribly dysfunctional and I can't wait to read about it.
A: Mortified is putting it lightly, but hey, it's the logical reaction. Frieza is more bothered by his indiscretion than he lets on - & you're correct in guessing that he's close to a breakdown. Wonder what'll finally make him crumble..? Chronologically, Bulma barges into Frieza's room long after all the other guests have left, & probably after all her friends were already asleep in their rooms (or meditating, in Piccolo's case), which is why she managed to slip in there without anyone noticing. Everyone definitely would have had more time to dwell on it had Kooler not appeared to threaten them all. The affair will be brought up again, eventually, though. I am hoping to give Kooler a personality & motives that make sense, given what little I could glean from his 2 movies. I won't give any spoilers on who in the universe has power over the Royals, but I encourage you to keep speculating. I'm glad you're reading the Q&A, as a lot of it is my version of All In The Manual, because I get to explain little things & drop hints. Now, Frieza & Bulma will NOT become a couple...but that doesn't mean that it was a fling with no strings attached (there are always loose threads). Who Frieza has had relations with in his past is...a massive spoiler, so I'm keeping a lid on this one for now. Finally...you made sketches? Oh, now you can't just tease me with that knowledge. I'm dying to see if your artwork at all matches up with the scenes in my head. It's just not one of my chapters unless someone (usually Frieza) is having a mental breakdown, haha. Frieza is good at isolating & compartmentalizing his thoughts & feelings, ergo he's very good at convincing himself that he's okay. In my stories, "strings attached" are more like razor-sharp piano wire. :^J Frieza's prior relationship(s) count as particularly cutting examples.
Q: It's strange reading this, and Fall of Lord Frieza together. Good, but strange. I couldn't honestly tell which I like more as I like them both for different reasons. Yours is better in a "if this happened in real life it'd be like this", and his is more "if this was an AU that was shown in the show" I could easily imagine it in episode form. If that makes sense. They're both pretty amazing to be honest. I had this random thought while reading this, and it kept nagging me so I'm going to just put it here. I always felt like Tien in this story would be one of the better people for Frieza to talk to, AND NOT IN THAT WAY, if Tien is ever with anyone it's with Launch imo! The reasons are simple. Out of all the human cast, and pretty much any Z fighters he's the only one who's at one point been a real killer. Yes, Yamcha, and Piccolo were at one point evil, but Piccolo didn't really do much evil himself after he was hatched, and Yamcha was just a bandit rather than a killer whereas Tien was trained by, and was a former assassin. He also is the most standoffish so he'd more easy for him to relate to in that manner, and he also didn't fight Frieza personally on Namek, and on Earth they didn't really do much to each other that would incur Tien's true ire so he can be more objective about it. On the contrary while Frieza doesn't like being made a fool of Tien's ability to stall Frieza, for at least a short time with a clever use of tactics, rather than say blowing up like Krillin did would make it more likely for Frieza to take him a bit more seriously since he has at least some sort of power/skill, which is what Frieza really respects. Not that he'd just instantly change, but Tien has almost always given off the aura that he takes his training, and role as a protector of Earth seriously. Especially when compared to Yamcha, or Krillin, although Krillin looks like he's changing that this chapter. Even if Frieza said that he was still weak compared to him, and Tien could tell him how before he made friends with the Z fighters he was incredibly weak (since in DB we're talking about sub 200 PL's here), and it had turned him into what he was today someone who is effectively tens of thousands times stronger than then so imagine what it could do for someone as strong as Frieza was already. Tien is smart enough to appeal to Frieza's desire for strength. I fully admit however that Tien is my favorite character in the whole show though so I could be biased. Although Frieza is my 2nd favorite. Oh lord...Vegeta is going to get Frieza's sloppy seconds...when he finds out...it's gonna be great. The problem with Frieza's redemption is that every take he steps forward will also have one taken back. For example in the near future he's going to get help with Cooler, but he'll most likely have to explain the whole in the mind thing. Then in the future he'll have to deal with Vegeta letting him know that he gave him very confidential information. It'll be a very bumpy ride.
A: Hehe, I tend to lean towards realism, because I'm the sort of person who analyzes any fiction that I read, trying to figure out how it could plausibly work in real life (or raging over mistakes made by the creators!). Tenshinhan is going to be an important parallel to Frieza, & it's actually rather scary that you're bringing him up now; it's as though you're reading my script! _ ᶸ Shhhhhh! Don't give any more hints, you!
Q: Hmm... I don't really have much to say about this chapter really. Stuff just... kinda happened. I am interested to see what exactly the Z-Fighters can all get done in a day and where exactly this all goes. I'm also interested to see how you'll be handling Cooler's fifth form. If I do have one complaint, it's that Piccolo seems a tad... well underdeveloped. Kind of like his character has taken a leap back to Dragon Ball what with his plotting and whatnot. I'm not certain what his character was like at this point in the manga, but in the anime he was at least a little bit less abrasive. I suppose, however, this is all up to interpretation.
A: This is a transitional chapter, so not a whole lot of action yet. In just a day, they can't improve much, but they can sharpen their skills - especially Frieza, who hasn't had a real fight since coming to Earth. Piccolo in this chapter mostly had interactions that speak to his tactician nature, so he will come across as blunt. He's getting progressively less antisocial, though, and becoming more of a team player.
Q: I really liked this chapter. It gave us more insight on how the siblings view each other. I'm very interested in finding out how the law of the planet trade organization could currently subdue and then execute a being as powerful as Frieza. Only Cold or Cooler in his 5th form would be able to do so. I hope Bulma doesn't get an STD. Also if Frieza can inject poison with his fangs doesn't it stand to reason his erm...ejaculate has corrosive/poisonous or any other harmful chemical/bacterial properties to it? I can't wait to find out why Frieza's worried about the law of Arcos. Like the Nameks I'm suspecting that different Arcosians are adept at different things. So far we've only seen ones like Frieza and his family (adept levels of fighting skill, power and telekinesis). I'm guessing Frieza and co are analogous to the super nameks? As in an extreme example of a certain characteristic of their race(in this case the "fighter class")? Can any Arcosian obtain a transformation if they train enough or is there more to it then that? Please don't indulge me in any details if you must spoil anything important to answer my questions.
A: Oho, how Frieza & Kooler see each other will really impact their fight in the coming chapter. As for Frieza submitting to the law...well, we've seen that he doesn't plan to, & the PTO's law holds no sway over him anyway. Arcos' law is what has him worried. As for your second question, in any other case, a human might need to be worried about unprotected intercourse, but between different species, who evolved on different planets, there is less risk of transmissible disease. Besides that, Arcosian venom is only found in their saliva after it's released in response to stress. Unless it is injected directly into the bloodstream through an open wound (Arcosians do not have fangs to inject the venom), it's harmless, much like drinking snake venom. I can't give any more insight into why Arcos' law is such that Frieza would submit to it, but you are correct that Arcosians specialize in certain things, much as Nameks & Saiyans do. However, their specialty is probably not what you'd think, especially by looking at the Kold family line. There's more to transforming than training, & there have been hints throughout SoD as to some aspects of it, so it's important to not overlook anything in this story.
Q: Great chapter for all its shortness. Especially all the Piccolo! I enjoy getting the perspectives of all of the characters you write, but his is my favorite. Because Piccolo is awesome. And thank you, Bulma, for showing us the fail safe (and building one in, even in a prototype). Both having it exist and having her point it out shows the practical side of her intelligence. I was surprised, however, that she and Frieza actually managed to sleep together. At minimum, I would have expected Frieza to wake up first since, as far as we know, he does not usually sleep cuddled with people. Quick question: how do you think Kooler would feel about being describes as not "all that evil"? Looking forward to chapter 11.
A: Glad you liked it, despite it lacking the length of my other chapters (I blame Megacon). Piccolo's perspectives are almost as fun to write as Frieza's, because they're both intelligent, & in Piccolo's case he was once a villain, so he's still figuring out how he sees himself, & how he wants others to see him. I also like writing surly, grumpy Piccolo in juxtaposition with Kami. Bulma's failsafe was something I felt was important, as any engineer worth their salt wouldn't leave such a flaw in the final product...but a prototype is a laboratory for fixing your errors. As to your next question, Frieza is going through some crises of personality, not to mention the effects the drinks had on him, so that would be why he tolerated Bulma's presence, even unconsciously. As you saw though, as soon as he woke up, it was back to being cold & standoffish. In an earlier draft of that scene, he was actually going to fling her into a wall on reflex, but I decided that would be too humorous (or too damaging if I made it serious), so it was revised to the milder reaction you saw in the final draft. I think Kooler wouldn't mind that Kami thinks he's less evil than Frieza, because in his mind, he isn't. Remember, many villains from their own perspective see themselves as heroes.
Q: Great Chapter Roketto you handled the one night stand between frieza, and bulma, very spot on and kept both of them in character. I could see frieza throwing a bit of negative fit but i can still see him keeping himself in control and go with more reason and logical thinking than killing bulma since frieza admitted while Bulma was drunk even he kinda consented to the act even if he wasn't in his right mind which does show frieza making more logical choices than reducing people to dust. The plot indeed does thicken now with coola coming to earth and hope to see what you regard the 5th transformation since in my research i have always seen the 5th transformation being more of a complete mastery of the body like the arcosan has hit his/her peak and completely mastered what his/her body can handle and which the body goes though a advance body modification to house new growth of power to allow the arcosan a much higher advancement of power and potential since frieza was always shown to have greater potential than his brother in some area's even his father King Kold i always figured in a way frieza was like a arcosan version of goku when it came to fighting and potential to get stronger since even when they both fought at full power frieza held his own against SSJ goku even though goku was stronger than frieza during their blood fight on namek frieza shown that it wasn't just raw power that could win a fight. It does make me curious if trunks will be born in the Savior of demon's universe since in a way i can't see vegeta wanting anything to do with bulma down the road if he finds out that she had a night with frieza even if it's a one night stand the thought might either make him puke or just outright ignore her since the thought of him being the one having the second slice of the pie might leave a sour taste in his mouth. Keep up the good work Roketto you're a really good writer and all credits to your great work.
A: Frieza does know how to be logical & not blow up (or blow others up) at every little inconvenience, but he's still not in the habit of acting like that yet. I won't say much yet about Kooler's training & forms, but I do find it interesting that you are finding similarities between Frieza and Goku. On your other observation, indeed Vegeta would have serious problems with Bulma, if he knew of Frieza's involvement...but since nobody else knows, he may not find out...at least not any time soon.
Q: Awww... the power of love (well alright one-night stands) is making Frieza question himself. And technically humans do have eggs, so this could be one hell of a plot twist being stored up ;P Alright, serious now - you handled the morning after scene very well. Bulma and Frieza's respective discomforts and feelings on the night before were laid out well. I'm liking the drip-drip progression of Frieza's learning about the others and their motives as well, and the slowly journey he himself is making in terms of questioning himself. The change in his character (becoming less violent and aggressive, physically and verbally, towards others) is done subtly - and his growing ease and calm (for want of better words) is demonstrated well through his more open talking of the PTO and its justice system as well as his ability to shape and control the droplets of water with his mind. And Kooler arrives proper! I like how you're doing his character. He's quite different to Frieza - less rash and prone to anger, calm and more willing to engage with others before he makes his move, as well as having a more informal relationship with his subordinates. He seems like a rather decent person. But you also give clever hints of that being a facade, with the same kind of angry and cruel creature not lurking too far below. It's remarkably unsettling. I'm looking forward to seeing what expression Frieza's face adopts when Kooler reveals his fifth form. I suspect it will be a picture!
A: Nooo, no plot twists concerning ova, I swear. Though I'm known for my crazy plot points, that one is just impossible for even me to pull off realistically. Even discounting different gestation periods & chromosome counts, there's the huge issue of Arcosians being oviparous, & humans giving live birth. It simply will not work. I do like the fact that you are acknowledging that Frieza's change in personality & outlook is subtle - too many people complain that he hasn't changed at all, but in small ways, he certainly has, & it's the little differences that add up to a big change. Kooler is a whole different kind of character compared to Frieza, & even though you have some good guesses, I haven't given you enough background on the eldest son of Kold yet for you to figure him out completely. He's a lot more complex in my story than canon made him, hopefully. I do love that you used the word "unsettling" to describe him, though.
Q: i like how the story is going, the showdown with cooler will be Epic, few questions: 1. i know you said that kuriza in this story does not exist but wouldn't it be possible for maybe in the far future of sod for him to be born? p.s. i loved in bttl the chapter with kuriza you helped write. 2. when will we start to see frieza see the error of his ways and atone? 3. what is arcos the planet like anyway? 4. will you make a way so that the humans can keep up with goku and frieza? it was great to see krillin decide not to be left behind and tien take on frieza alone and i always like stories where the humans don't fall behind and get left in the dirt. 5. will frieza's mother play a role in this story? also will the arcosians besides cooler and frieza play a role in the story?
A: 1. Thanks for your compliments on Break Through the Limit; I enjoyed helping out on that chapter! (Also, shameless plug: go read BTtL, it is indeed a great fic!) On Kuriza though...you are underestimating Arcosians' longevity. In canon, Kuriza would probably have to have been born before the events of Dragonball, in order to show up around the time of Neko Majin Z. Taking that into account, I do have a future plot point in mind that addresses why he does not exist in the SoD universe. 2. Eventually. Remember, he has been living his life as a thoroughly evil individual, for most of his life. Making a full conversion to "good guy" does not happen overnight. 3. For some info on Arcos, see my DeviantArt. I have some art of it there that was used in Honor Trip for some chapter covers. 4. Mmmmmaaaaybe. I like the humans, I really do, so I can confidently say that they will not be useless in this universe. 5. That's semi-classified. With all the hype I give her though, you can bet that Isa is going to play a major role in this story, though I can't say when or how. As for other Arcosians...well, you'll just have to wait & see.
Q: Well, moving on from the previous one, it's good to see Bulma survived her crazy idea. While I didn't expect otherwise, it was still a relief to see it. Frieza's thoughts over the matter made sense, and Bulma's also did... in some ways, those two seem just about as meant for one another as Bulma and Vegeta. The only major difference is that Frieza is less outwardly human. But as if that wasn't enough trouble, now Cooler decided to crash the party. I'm a bit surprised Kami noticed him as soon as he did, but all in all, it makes a certain sense he would - he always seems more perceptive in fics than in canon. What to me doesn't make that much sense is that Piccolo is still so adamantly saying that he doesn't care about Gohan at all. Come on, the guy took a killing blast from Nappa for the kid when he was much more evil, why does he insist on saying he wants Gohan to become some Demon King III after the fusion with Nail made him much kinder? Granted, he was talking to Kami (who I know he's far from fond of) and he said in canon at a later point that all he wanted was to conquer the world, and yes, the fact Kami is, in some way, treating Piccolo like an errand boy doesn't help... but Gohan wasn't involved in any of that. All in all, while that doesn't seem completely out of character, it seems just to stretch the rope... not too much, but just barely. Of course, this is just my opinion. You're free to portray any character as you want. And that aside, you set up a good amount of conflict with Cooler's arrival, and the possible implications it might have for Frieza, Goku, and everyone involved. The one day interval was quite a surprise... I wonder if the Hyperbolic Time Chamber will somehow be involved in any of that. Still, it doesn't seem to me that it necessarily needs to. After all Goku defeated King Cold, who was stronger than Cooler, so at least to me, it's not really a matter of whether Cooler will be defeated, but more by who, and how long it will take. But who knows, maybe you'll have some surprise in store for us readers. With that said, I guess waiting for it is the only thing that's left. All in all, it was a good chapter, and I can safely say I look forward to the next!
A: I found that in writing scenes between Bulma & Frieza, I was capitalizing on how alike Frieza is to Vegeta, so it wasn't really that much of a stretch to substitute one for the other at a critical point in this universe. I figured that Kami would notice Kooler first arriving, because he's supposed to be the Guardian of Earth anyway - what else would he be doing, other than watching for potential threats? As for Piccolo's seemingly villainous manner, he's not fooling anyone, least of all Kami, but he's putting up a front with lots of bluster anyway. The fact that he makes a point of saying that Gohan is unimportant to him is a dead giveaway that he cares about the kid. It's a bit too early in the story to be using the Room of Spirit & Time to train, given how strong Goku is compared to every current threat.
Reviews for Previous Chapters:
Q: Chapter 2: Famicide: Mad narrative skills bro. Captivating and well written.
A: Why thank you. Unfortunately, I am not a "bro", but with a unisex nickname, that is an easy mistake to make, trust me. xD
Q: Chapter 3: Discomfiture: Well that was... gruesome. And unexpectedly tragic. Never thought I'd feel pity for Frieza, of all people.
A: Chapter 3 tends to really punch people in the gut, no matter how you feel about Frieza before you read it. Glad that you got the full effect of it, & I hope you'll continue reading.
Q: Chapter 8: Daemon: cool chapter, i wanted to ask, if frieza didn't kill wheelo, would he have accepted goku's offer and maybe have changed his ways and lived in peace?
A: Possibly. Who knows, he could have been a useful ally, or at least another helping hand for Bulma & her Dad in the lab. After all, what he really wanted was recognition, an opportunity to exercise his great genius, & a way to improve humanity (in his eyes). Aside from that last goal, the Briefs would be happy to let him pursue those goals. Alas, Frieza took out his frustration on him.