SD Gundam Fan Fiction ❯ Like Father, Like Daughter ❯ Like Father, Like Daughter ( One-Shot )
[ A - All Readers ]
This story and my author's notes can also be viewed on my fanfiction account here: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6321601/1/Like_Father_Like_Dau ghter
We used to swim in the same moonlight waters
Into the blue memory
Worth everything I may ever be
Ghost Love Score - Nightwish
Unlike the stormy night when she first escaped to Neotopia, the evening was calm.
Late August was mostly muggy during the day, although evenings were usually much milder and even had a bit of a pleasant breeze to go with it. Especially so with the consideration that the little settlement planet had a fractionally longer seasonal year than Earth before World War III decimated it. Summers and spring were extended while winter and fall lasted only a sparse few months. That particular evening was a bit muggier than usual, though not unbearable in the sense that she could not tolerate it. Otherwise, it was course of events in her life that had taken place over the course of her workday, however, were less than pleasant.
Although Blanc Base was several miles up in the atmosphere in the coolly thin air away from the suffocating summer clamminess, what had gone on between her and Guneagle had been even less bearable. They both argued occasionally, yes, but not as badly as they had then. That much aside, her anger had been so intense that she could not even remember what exactly they had argued about. If that much did not infuriate the femme Gundam alone, Bakunetsumaru's offhand remark about her aggressiveness being a byproduct of her Axian programming set her off. She stormed out leaving the base in a huff, disregarding Chief Haro's orders over her radio to return to the base immediately once she nabbed a gunperry. Although the situation that had conspired was the worst she could remember, it was far from new.
And to think that Chief Haro would have learned to hide the ignition keys to the gunperries after she continuously "borrowed" them the first times around. Without looking back at Blanc Base, she entered the coordinates for her favorite place to think and took off. Chaos Cammerce had come to this spot many times before, anyways. It was where she first entered the dimension, after bailing out on the Dark Axis.
The gunperry set down and its propellers gradually slowed from their perpetual scream and died down to a low hum. The foliage that had been disturbed by the rushing air swept up from the osprey modeled transport settled back into its calm routine and, instead of being permanently drowned out from the sound of the aircraft's quieting engine, the nighttime chorus resumed. Crickets chirped somewhere in the underbrush, an animal rustled somewhere in the woods far behind the ledge, and the sound of the ocean waves crashing up against the bottom of the cliff hissed. The small little spot was always quiet, away from Neotopia and entirely out of range of the city's settlement area. She was breaking several laws by being outside the settlement zone as established by the ECC -- Earth Confederation Committee -- as it was, although it was technically only illegal was caught. That was her thought on the matter, anyways.
The femmebot stepped out from the cockpit of the gunperry and jumped down onto the grass, not even bothering to set up the ramp. The silly thing was useless, she thought. The Gundamess landed gracefully, bending perfectly at the knees to take the brunt of her landing, and the violet, white femme stood to gaze at the clearing. It was a quiet little cliff edge that overlooked the ocean and Neotopia's primary city beyond, covered with a light pasture of grass with the deep forest behind it. The plot of land was ten or so miles beyond Blanc Base's radar, so she knew she wouldn't be found. She never was. Henceforth the primary the reason she was never called out for breaking any laws. Walking forward toward the edge of the cliff, her communications array started to blip annoyingly. She deactivated it without a second thought, not even bothering to check to see who had called. She certainly was not going to talk to Guneagle, and she did not want to have anyone else scolding her for leaving the base so late at night.
A light breeze came in from the north, caressing her commander and v-fin as a reminder to the two worlds she was torn between. The one she wanted to alienate herself from versus the one she wished she could be a part of.
It was finally then that the purple and white femme's onboard detection systems registered that she was not alone. At first, she thought it might have been Guneagle. She dismissed the thought very quickly, taking their argument into consideration. Then she realized that the energy signature being emitted by the nearby intruder was not Neotopian. Beneath the trees at the edge of the forest, approximately fifty feet away, was an entity with a very distinct Axian energy signal.
At first she thought that it was a trap that had been set up for her. After identifying the energy signature however, she realized that she was fine. Chaos made a face, not even bothering to properly the new arrival. "Go away."
Of course, Grappler Gouf was never exactly the mech who took orders from anyone unless they were above him. For the record, very few were. Considering that Cammerce was not one of those few, the cobalt mecha in no way faltered when the demand for him to depart was set upon him. Instead, he sauntered forward from out of the shadows and into the light gloom of the late summer, moonset evening. "Is that how you greet everyone?"
"Just the people who I don't want to talk to," she hissed, keeping her optics on the water at the bottom of the cliff. The waves collided with the rock, crashing with a roar and sending a soft gale of sea spray high into the air. At least eight years from now, Chaos dully noted, the cliff she and Grappler were standing on now would disappear into the ocean from erosion entirely. "I said leave. I'm not in the mood to fight."
Gouf laughed. It was a musical sounding cackle, light and slightly biting. His presence only continued to efface any hopes of a peaceful evening for her, although what he said next did catch her odd guard. "Neither am I. I just want to talk."
Chaos supposed that she should have been concerned and at least a tad bit nervous at his unusually composed demeanor toward her -- with all due respect, they were enemies -- but Chaos felt none of it. Curiosity got the better of her, never mind the fact that she had come to the cliff solely to avoid socializing in general. She glanced over her shoulder, caught sight of Grappler leaning against a tree at the forest edge, and narrowed her optics. "How did you find me?"
"I was actually waiting for you," he admitted with a sigh. He sounded bored, Chaos noted. The cobalt Axian glanced up from examining his claws at the moon overlooking the ocean. The pink of his optic was bright. "We picked up your energy signature outside Neotopia during a few of the Zakos' reconnaissance missions, and I traced it here and also as belonging to you. I wanted to talk to you for awhile now, but had to get you someplace where we wouldn't be… disturbed." At this, the mech twitched his talons thoughtfully. "I've come out here a few times to see if I could get a word in, but you never showed up. Now you have."
"Lovely," she said sarcastically. She turned away and stared out at the waves rippling across the ocean. She would have never turned her back on him on any other occasion, but it was blatantly clear that he was not going to attack anytime soon. Grappler was an excellent warrior, but he usually made himself more obvious than that. "What do you want?"
She could hear him walking toward her. His footfalls fell against the grass in almost silence, like the wings of an owl swooping in towards its prey. "To convince you to come back with me to the Dark Axis."
"Not going to work, then," she said stiffly. She figured that this would be what he wanted to talk to her about. If he thought he could enervate her resolve and make her go back to the Magna Musai without effort, than she was about to prove him seriously wrong. "I left for a reason. You can't just ask me to come back and expect me to do exactly as I'm told."
Grappler scoffed. At that, she turned her head to look over her shoulder at him. The cobalt mech had stopped walking toward her -- he was much closer now, within decent conversation distance -- and resorted to keeping the space between them by about half a yard. "I never said I was going to ask," he said. "I said I was going to convince. There is a difference, even if your little Gundam processor can't comprehend that."
"Like how your processor can't comprehend that I won't leave no matter what you say?"
Grappler sighed, albeit a bit roughly. He was beginning to become frustrated, obviously. "You're almost as stubborn as Zapper Zaku," he said. He might have been talking to himself judging by his volume and disbelieving tone. Then, much louder, "How do you know that?"
"Because I know it's not the life for me." Her voice rose to an agitated sneer against her own accord, and she turned around to fully face her creator. "I hate fighting, and running away to Neotopia was my only option. I never asked to hurt innocent people who never did anything wrong to us. Being in the Dark Axis may be the right lifestyle for you, but it's not for me. I never wanted that."
"Neither did I, in case you haven't figured out," Grappler bit back suddenly. His claws twitched irritably and his shoulders squared out tensely. It was a defensive posture, although his voice maintained its even sense of boldness. What he said bothered him obviously, and he was trying to hide his own unease through that constant bravado of pseudo iciness. "Did you honestly think that I wanted to be a part of the Dark Axis army? No one ever really does. I used to want to save lives rather than end them, just like how you're saying now. I was a medic, and I wanted to be a doctor. But I learned the hard way that it's easier to end lives than it is to save them. That's why I became a soldier, and why I eventually became a squadron leader."
The hidden emotion in his voice that she was able to pick at startled her a little. Chaos blinked, unable to find words for a moment, before she grabbed the first thing that crossed her mind. "So that's it then? You want to save me from making the mistake of saving lives, then?"
Grappler's mouthpiece twitched. "Putting it bluntly, yes. That's exactly what I'm saying, and it's the truth."
"Then your version of the truth is wrong then," Chaos snapped back. "It's not wrong to save innocent people who don't deserve to be caught in the crossfire of some stupid war."
The colonel glared hard at her, temper rising. "Listen to me, Chaos. This isn't the life for you. You were created an Axian, you were programmed an Axian, you are an Axian. Gundamium be damned, you are coming back with--!”
The curious object, thrown from the femme's hand, had struck Grappler in the forehead three inches from the left of the dead center. Grappler Gouf should have been able to see it coming and dodge it otherwise, but he had been so caught up in his furious rant that he had never seen the silly thing until it ricocheted off his head. Although she had not thrown it particularly hard at all, he staggered backward mostly out of surprise regardless. For a moment, Cammerce recalled how she had learned to throw like that. Shute had been teaching her how to play a game called "baseball" that was so popular in one country back on Earth that it was called "The Great American Pastime" or something like that. Unfortunately, after the United States blew themselves sky high in a nuclear civil war just barely before the end of World War III, the sport had become nothing more than a trivial game to pass the time with. Shute loved it. He had been taught how to play by his father, Mark, when the blonde man was actually at home and not locked in his music studio for sometimes days at a time. Unluckily, this left Shute with no one to really play with. Captain could not adequately grasp that the ball was not supposed to be thrown at one hundred and eight miles an hour at a poor unsuspecting pitcher, Zero flew up to avoid getting tagged by basemen, and Baku was close to almost entirely useless in every sense of the way. There was no help in asking Sayla either, as the girl was nearly as useless as Bakunetsumaru.
Then there was Chaos. And Guneagle, too. Just the thought of Guneagle having been the one to teach her how to throw made her inwardly flinch and shut him out of her mind, however. She was still upset with him.
Grappler, in the meantime, had seemingly recovered. His optic was bright with his perplexity as he regained some of his composure and, still several feet back after he staggered there, he looked down at the object that had struck him. Innocently, it lay in the grass with vivid contrast against the green. The brightly colored, spherical shape was guiltless enough as it was, but Gouf glared at it as though it would rear up like a serpent and strike him unsuspectingly once more. He blinked at it, edged forward toward it, and then looked up at her with his optic blazing.
"You just pelted me with an orange!"
Perhaps, had the situation been brighter, Chaos might have found the energy to laugh. She did not. Instead, she turned around and stood facing the ocean again. "There's plenty more where that came from too. I'm not leaving, Grappler. That's the end of it." She narrowed her optics at him and, stretching her arms out, she gestured to the place around her. "This is where I belong."
Bitingly sarcastic. "On a cliff?"
Firm and unmoving. "Neotopia."
"This is absolutely absurd," Grappler retorted. He did not sound nearly as mad as he had been before, but the resounding anger was still there hiding beneath his composure. "I gave you life after an entire year of tinkering with your damn empty hide, and this is the thanks I get? I give you life, shelter, and a purpose, and all I get in return is a stab in the back?"
Chaos Cammerce's growing urge to retort came far too early. She whipped around and glared accusingly at the squadron leader. "Like how the Axia humans treated you before the Dark Axis killed the all?"
Grappler's expression suddenly changed. Chaos had originally presumed that it would grow angrier, but it did the complete opposite. His optic brightened somewhat and his mouthpiece curled back in a grimace. It was not the infuriated look she had expected to see. In fact, it was a look she was not prepared to see at all.
It was hurt.
"Let me tell you something," he said almost unevenly, voice frighteningly soft. "Don't you ever bring up the Axian humans, and don't you ever dare to compare them to the Dark Axis as being in the right of things. I may not have been alive three thousand years ago to witness the abuse personally, but the archives depicting it still exist. We were sold like livestock, worked until we either died or stopped functioning properly, and then we were smelted down, sometimes still alive, to make more robots for the humans to use at their own leisure. We were their slaves." At this, very slowly, he started to pace to the side. Chaos followed him with her optics. He stopped, turned, and began to pace in the opposite direction. His movements were deliberate.
She never noticed that he was getting closer.
"It's a miracle that the General appeared when he did," Grappler said, voice rising in intensity. "He's the one who organized the Axian robots to mobilize and forge the Dark Axis. The humans were slobbish animals that were destroying our region with pollution and their own selfish greed. They were out of control monsters, and we were the only ones who could stop them. And we did stop them. We exterminated every single damn one of those disgusting organics, liberating our own kind. From there, the General decided that we had to help other regions liberate themselves from the humans so that they wouldn't ever have to endure what the Axians only barely survived. After we nearly conquered all of Solar Diorama, we discovered the means to invade other dimensions. Neotopia…" His voice turned icy. "Neotopia is perhaps the worst. It's practically a mirror image of what Axia was like before the humans were overcome with their greed. Everything is fine now, but that won't last. Human nature is a dangerous thing. Their instinct and stupidity will be their downfall. They already resort to slavery now, if you think about it. The GMs working in the factory district, for example. How much do they get paid? Nothing. What about the police department? Nothing. The units working within the Gundam Force itself? Nothing. Sure they get their free repairs and time off, but how long will it be before that gets too expensive for the humans to pull off? How long will it be before they start making the robots work around the clock like animals and not sentient mechanisms? Human nature always finds a way through. Just like it did in Axia, and just like it will here," he said, tone dropping to a near hiss.
Cammerce nearly shuddered.
Grappler was not done with his speech. His voice did not rise back up from the menacing tone it had taken. "And I'll be a dead mech," he said forebodingly, "before I let my own damn creation help humans as evil as THAT!"
It was then that she realized, far too late, how close he was to her. He lunged, flanking her side and diving forward to strike. She flung herself to the side and braced herself in a defensive posture. She had never seen Grappler attack as aggressively as he had, and it threw her completely off guard as how to adequately respond. Gouf kicked his foot out, making a sharp whoosh when it cut through the air, and nearly caught her in the jaw with the powerful kick. She was incredibly lucky he missed, because her online scanners told her that the blow would have had enough power to break her jaw like a brittle twig. Three times was a charm though, and she was not nearly as lucky when he lashed out a third time. He used the momentum from his last attack to flip sideways in a midair spin and lash out with his other leg. His foot caught her square in the side of the head with enough power to make flashing light, static, and barcode flash in her vision. She was thrown sideways toward the cliff, where she landed just a few inches away from the edge. She could hear pebbles crumbling and falling down the cliff where they wound inevitably hit the water and jagged rocks below. She hauled herself up, careful to move away from the cliff so she would not loose her balance and fall, and she charged for Grappler despite her head still spinning. He braced his legs and did not move, preparing himself for her attack. She threw a fist at him and he dodged it easily, sidestepping with almost comical grace to avoid her poor punch. On dancing feet he moved into her blind spot and elbowed her in the back of her head, sending her stumbling forward desperately trying to regain her lost balance.
"It's a shame," she heard him say over the ringing in her audio receptors, "that you're such a terrible fighter. Maybe if you had stayed on the Magna Musai and finished your training with me, you might actually be a half polished soldier." Another blow struck her, this time to her lower back. She cried out and fell heavily on the ground. Her faceplate snapped open from the blow, giving her a face full of dirt and sea grass. "Zapper Zaku would have killed you three times over by now. Maybe Dom too. You just about broke his heart when you left, poor bastard. He'd probably go easy on you, though." A foot planted itself securely on her head, keeping her down. "But not nearly as easy as I'm going on your right now. You are coming back with me, Chaos. Conscious or unconscious, one way or another. That's a promise."
Chaos figured it would be the latter, as her vision was already starting to fade out and blur. Absently, she thought about Guneagle… and then she finally remembered exactly what they were arguing about. Her souldrive. Not only was it a defect -- there was a crack running through the sphere's glass -- but it was still noticeably fogged with a dark aurora from her time spent in the Dark Axis. Although Kao Lynn was still researching why the souldrive itself was dark, everyone else -- although mostly Bakunetsumaru, as he was still suspicious of her loyalty to begin with -- believed that it had to do with the fact that she was still "evil" from her time spent on the Magna Musai. Thinking about what Grappler had said about the humans though, she knew it were could have been evil at all.
Guneagle thought the same.
The argument came after the examination carried out by Kao Lynn. Captain and Zero had taken Shute back to his home for the evening while Guneagle and Baku escorted Chaos down to the medical laboratory for a scheduled screening. The blazing samurai had been less than conceiting to join them, but Guneagle had insisted. He had done so, undoubtedly, to help the blazing samurai warm up to the Axian femme that was now their ally. Even after nearly a year spent with the Gundam Force, the Arkian was still doubtful of Cammerce's otherwise proven loyalty. After the screening was complete, and once the eccentric man that was Chief Lynn left to run some private tests he had gained from the scans, Guneagle had approached her first out of everyone else already in the room. "Hey babe, don't be nervous or anything like that. No matter what Kao Lynn finds out about the dark aurora, you're fine the way you are."
"Not I'm not," she said firmly. "I'm Axian all the way, Gneagle. And don't call me babe."
"Sure thing babe-er, Chaos." He raised a hand to sheepishly rub the back of his helmet in moderate embarrassment. "Sorry to say though, I think you're wrong. Well, I guess you're right actually, but you're still wrong in, uh, kinda a way."
She narrowed her mauve optics at him, momentarily cautious. "Elaborate."
He shuffled his feet a bit nervously. Chaos thought it was cute, then forced the thought of her mind almost as soon as it was conjured. Guneagle started to speak again not a moment later. "Well, uh, sure. Maybe you are an Axian, but you're only an Axian physically. You can be whatever you want, dark souldrive or not."
She had not listened. She began to argue with him for whatever ungodly -- perhaps it had been because she viewed herself as unworthy, maybe Guneagle had called her "babe" again -- until Bakunetsumaru decided to cut in with his own input about her aggressive nature before relating it to her affiliations with her Axian programming. She stormed out on all of them after that, taking a gunperry from the launch bay and flying herself out to her little cliff sanctuary. More or less actually, it had not been an argument at all. She was the one who walked out on him when he only tried to help. She felt horrible instantly, and not because of the pressure Grappler was exerting by stepping on her helmet.
That was when her souldrive activated.
"Hey, what the--?” Grappler saw the light emanating from the femmebot and made the mistake of stepping away from her. Strength renewed, she hauled herself to her feet and turned to look at him.
The energy coursing through her superstructure from her souldrive made her vision clear up so she could see the immense surprise on her creator's face. She pointed at him. "The humans may have turned cruel in Axia, but here in Neotopia they're still pure. They still have a chance at not ending up like the humans that abused the Axians. So long as there's hope for them, I will not let people like you try to annihilate them!"
She lunged, this time having gained the upper hand. Grappler was still quick on his feet in attempting to parry her attack, but his surprise hampered him. With the extra dosage of power her souldrive was handing to her, the punch she delivered to his gut was enough to send him flying. He preformed a midair back flip and landed on his feet, but he fell to one knee when he landed and looked to have trouble standing back up. Chaos charged for him. No longer taken by surprise, Grappler braced himself and raised his arms in a defensive block. Fist glowing, Chaos Cammerce punched him in the dead center of his defensive means. He must not have been prepared to receive such a powerful blow, because he yelped from pain when the armor cracked and he dropped his arms. Seizing her chance, she struck him in the side of the head. The gears in his neck shrieked with immediate disdain. Before he could recover, she delivered one final blow to his stomach.
Grappler was sent sprawling backwards, collapsing heavily at the edge of the cliff. He was considerably closer to the edge than she had been when she had fallen in the same spot. His breaths came out shallowly and, as he strained to shakily sit up, he spat out black liquid from his mouthpiece onto the ground. She had ruptured an oil valve, more than likely. As quickly as it had come on, her souldrive deactivated and she was left staring in awe at what she had done. Grappler Gouf strained to get into a sitting position. "Not bad," he rasped.
Then he lunged for her again.
She was four feet and approximately one inch tall, weighing in at just barely two hundred and fifty pounds. Grappler, on the other hand, was five inches taller and had an additional fifty pounds to him. Despite the fact that she was made out of solid Gundamium, he greatly outclassed her in strength and overall power. However, despite that, his hold on her arm was not nearly as firm as she had expected it to be. She did not attempt to pull away out of the suspicion that he would attempt to subdue her immediately, so she met his gaze instead. Her souldrive was still pumping with energy, but found herself even more confused when she looked up at him. Instead of the fiery glow of red pink that she had expected to see, the Gundamess was only met with his cool stare. For a long time, they locked gazes and said nothing. Their harsh breathing mashed with the chorus of the evening. The crickets, the animals in the forest, and the waves served as the song's melody. Chaos found it unnerving that, whilst she could not read Grappler's collected face, she had no doubt he was reading her expression like a book.
"So that settles it," Grappler said tonelessly after what felt like a very long time. He looked exhausted from their fight and a little like he was going to be sick. That had probably been because she had punched him in the stomach so hard. Slowly, almost reluctantly, he let go of her upper arm and wrist before taking a small, tentative step back. "You're going to stay."
It should have been a question, but it came out of the cobalt Axis lord as a statement. Cammerce clenched her fists and had to force herself to not look at her creator.
Grappler's voice rose up from the silence again. "You'll risk getting yourself killed."
"It's a risk I'll have to take," she said.
"Zapper's been dying to pump a dozen rounds of ammunition into your hide ever since you betrayed us and left."
"Then let him," she said. She looked back up at Grappler to meet his gaze again, critical. "Why do you care so much?"
She was incredibly surprised to see him smiling. "Well, I guess when you spend an entire year building something from the ground up, you get attached to it. Now I guess I can understand how Zapper feels about the Zakos…"
That particular comment struck her as a bit odd. Grappler was always one to distance himself away from relating to Zapper Zaku by any means possible, and the way he was comparing himself to his fellow squadron leader was pretty profound. There was absolutely no denying that Zapper was very fond of the Zakos, and more than once Chaos had observed him going back in the middle of battles to retrieve a fallen soldier that either could not get out of the line of fire or was injured. Many times Zapper had put his own life on the line for the little green dye cast robots. As much as Chaos hated the mech, she were could help but feel a twinge of respect for him at the same time. Of course though, presently, there was the fact that Grappler Gouf had still compared himself to Zapper in that sense. Except it wasn't the Zakos that the clawed squad leader was willing to risk life and limb to protect.
Surprise struck her hard enough to give her a mild case a whiplash. Her wish to response to his comparison came a moment too late, as he interrupted her attempt to formulate her response.
"Well, it's late. I should probably get back before anyone realizes I'm gone… the commander dislikes unauthorized use of the Zakorello gate." Just then, the cobalt mech made a face. "He hasn't been happy with me at all as of late. Not that I can blame him."
Chaos bit her lip. Despite herself, she felt inclined to ask. "You could come with us, you know," she said. "Back to Blanc Base with me, I mean. You don't have to go back to the Dark Axis. The humans here really are different, Grappler. I don't think even for a second that they'll ever end up as bad as the Axian humans did."
Grappler's grin widened considerably. He laughed a low, genuinely humorous laugh. The uncharacteristically warm tone made Cammerce nearly flash a smile of her own… although she withheld it as soon as she realized that her faceplate was still down. Hoping the Axian would not notice, she gave the internal command for the mask to close back over her mouth. As she did, Gouf turned toward the cliff to look out at the ocean and the blinking lights of the city beyond. She turned back toward the cliff and followed his gaze. Undoubtedly, he was looking for Blanc Base. "It's an interesting idea, I'll admit. Interesting, but not very realistic. My fidelity is with the Dark Axis… and yours is here." At this, he turned to look at her. His expression was hard again, but also softer than his usual cold visage. "Birds of a feather flock together."
Although Chaos had hidden her face again, she knew that it had probably been fruitless to keep Grappler from reading her expression. Axians were uncannily excellent at reading expressions, she knew. She could feel the beginnings of tears forming in her optics, though only because she had been so moved by the colonel's act of consideration. It was the first time she had ever received such a thing from an Axian, let alone the one who was responsible for her creation. "Thank you, Grappler."
He waved his clawed hand dismissively. He turned back toward the forest and began to walk toward it without sparing her another look. Perhaps, she thought, he were could bear looking at her. "Take care of yourself, Chaos. The next time we meet, we're enemies. I'll keep Zapper off your case as long as I can, but no promises."
Which was a lie, she thought. Although she knew that Grappler was certainly better at it than she was, she could read him too. She knew that he was willing to protect her with her life, and at all costs.
"It's easier to end lives than it is to save them," Grappler had said.
"Easier," she thought to herself, "but not impossible. I know you'll risk your life to make sure of that."
Suddenly, almost too quiet for her to hear, he spoke again. It caught her so off guard that, flabbergasted, she twirled around to face him. He was already gone. Briefly, she had to wonder whether or not he was ever really there at all. She had lost his energy signature without even realizing, and it was almost as if he had evaporated into the forest. The only evidence of him ever being there was her soreness from their fight… that, and also the condition of her souldrive when she exposed it. Curiosity gained the better of her and she gave the internal command to make her chest plate unveil. The souldrive was bright, completely void of any dark aurora lingering in it. Whatever darkness remained within it had vanished when it activated, no doubt.
Although the conversation was over, it had settled in far deeper and much more quickly than any pep talk from Shute could have ever hoped to. Grappler Gouf's words had sunk in deep, leaving her alone once more with only her thoughts, newly unearthed doubts, and now pure souldrive. Just as well, there was also that one last thing he said before disappearing.
To an extent, those words chilled her. Not enough to frighten her, but enough to leave its impact on her. Like the moonlight's reflection against the waters of ocean. To her, it was worth everything she might ever be. A blue memory.
"Like father, like daughter."