These stories are fan-fiction, and are not intended to infringe on the rights of others in any way. The Thundercats characters are copyrighted by Lorimar Telepictures, Rankin-Bass Productions, Turner Broadcasting, or whoever owns the current rights. I post this freely, and make no profit other than the satisfaction that my fellow fans and I get from these stories. Enjoy!Chapter Two: …and Darkness Fell
“Rrrrrah!” Lion-o shouted in frustration as he slammed his fist down on the console. “Six people murdered in their own homes, and you’re telling me you can’t do anything about it?”
Mandora was losing her patience on the other end of the viewscreen. “Yes, Lion-o. I’m up to my eyes in a mutant rebellion on Shaknarr and I can’t spare you any help.”
Lion-o was absolutely frustrated. “Well, that just isn’t good enough!”
Mandora paused for a moment, glanced to her right, and removed her helmet. Lion-o was surprised as he realized that in all the years he had known her, he never really looked into her eyes before: they were an intense blue, and her face had several old scars running from above her left ear halfway across her forehead. She looked like a wild animal had mauled her long ago.
Lion-o froze as she spoke slowly and deliberately. “Lion-o, you have no idea what’s going on here. I’ve seen things in the last hour that make your problem look like a picnic. You should feel lucky that I was even able to talk to you. Mandora out.”
Lion-o stared blankly at the Thundercat insignia that appeared on the screen after Mandora ended her transmission—he felt embarrassed about upsetting her like that. Lion-o stood up, paced around the control room, and thought to himself. The murders were all very grisly, and whoever was behind it was truly evil. The crime scene pictures he saw really upset him. He and the others had to do something: one murder per day, and no one was any closer to the truth. There were no witnesses except for one student who was in the living room when his roommate was brutally slain in his bedroom. The window was untouched as was the door. Lion-o figured it was the work of evil magic or evil science, and the Sword of Omens wasn’t able to help.
Lion-o had WildKat and his group on alert, but they saw nothing. At least he was happy that he recalled everyone from Third Earth last year with the exception of WilyKit. Her little vacation with the Warrior Maidens had become two years—she had joined the tribe. Aside from her physical appearance and insignia, she looked just like one of them: dressing in basic brown colors and wearing a flower like Queen Willa.
Everyone else vacated Third Earth as WilyKit and her Warrior Maiden family took over the Tower of Omens and the original Cat’s Lair. There were a few thunderians, but Third Earth was becoming more of a vacation spot than anything else. Castle Plundarr was now empty, and Slythe and the others were either rotting in prison or had become part of the mutant population on New Thundera. It seemed that many of the soldiers decided to join the other refugees and settle down. The male to female ratio of the mutant population was closer to normal as they married into several of the broken families, making them whole again.
Pumyra, Bengali, Lynx-o, and Snarfer were living in the new lair. Pumyra and Bengali finally got married and moved into WilyKit’s old room and Lynx-o was in WildKat’s former room. Everything was going great, until the previous week when the first murder happened. Tension was starting to build between the thunderians and mutants after that first incident, and it was getting worse—even though the last victim was a simian miner.
Lion-o set the computer for automatic surveillance as he retired for the evening. Sleep didn’t come easily to him as he worried about the message that was bound to come in tomorrow about someone else slain in their home and how no one saw anything. After six of these, Lion-o and the others felt helpless. Lion-o drifted in a shallow haunted sleep.
The next day WildKat, DeathClaw, and Stripe, and ThunderManx were having an early morning walk. Actually, it was night for them. They played at a party in a friend’s house, and were staggering back at six in the morning. They would return that afternoon for their equipment, but all they wanted was sleep at the moment.
Everyone came back to life as they heard a scream the next block over. All four of them suddenly ran at top speed to see what was happening. They jumped as a window broke out and a bloody thunderian man with a smile on his face ran out. WildKat and DeathClaw tackled him and ThunderManx stood over him to see that he stayed put. People were waking up and coming out of their houses to see what happened. The thunderian looked alot like Lion-o, but he was smaller. He was babbling something about killing all of the mutants and mutant-lovers. ThunderManx was seriously tempted to bounce his skull off the sidewalk to shut him up, but he was a Thundercat now, and that wouldn’t look good in front of the gathering crowd.
Stripe staggered out of the house and promptly threw up in the bushes. There was someone else’s blood on his right palm, and he looked like he just saw a vision of hell.
It wasn’t long before the scene was swarming with the local police, and Lion-o and the others flew over in the Hovercat. Lion-o looked at the man who could have been a distant cousin and simply asked “Why?”
The other just laughed in his face and bellowed, “You’re all dead, Mutie lovers! Ahh hahahahaha!”
Lion-o didn’t care anymore. He was about to punch this maniac in the face when Panthro hooked his arm, turned him around, and shook his head. Lion-o looked around at the shocked crowd and felt very small. He covered it up with his commanding voice. “You can return to your houses fellow citizens, we finally caught the killer.” He wanted to say more, but figured he should quit while he was ahead and let the police handle it.
Lion-o walked over to WildKat and his friends, who were helping Stripe regain his footing. “Hey, are you guys all right?”
WildKat said, “Yeah. We had a real blowout last night. We must have had everyone in town stuffed in that house. Good thing Skiffy lives far enough away from everyone else or we would have had to bust ourselves for making noise.” His attempt at humor was spoken without emotion.
Panthro asked, “Who the heck is Skiffy?”
ThunderManx answered, “One of our mutant buds. He had a keg, and we helped him drain it.”
Panthro raised an eyebrow as he wondered about his nephew—if he was serving Berbil Beer to teenagers, he could do some serious damage to the Thundercats.
ThunderManx picked up on Panthro's expression and assured him, “Hey, everyone there was over eighteen, except for Racina and her two friends, and they were nowhere near the beer.”
Panthro said, “Just the same, they shouldn’t be with you guys when you’re drinking—it doesn’t look good. Especially…”
ThunderManx joined his uncle in saying, “…since we’re all Thundercats. Yes, I know. They were only there for the music, and so was Trameea. She was with them all night.”
Panthro was hesitant. “I still don’t like it. I’m going to trust you on this, but be careful, okay? The last thing we need is some kind of scandal, especially with the tension from these… murders.” Panthro remembered his own youth, and thought that the legal limit of eighteen years was too young, but it’s not like he didn’t enjoy it himself back then.
ThunderManx put a hand on Panthro’s shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, uncle. Our next show is at the Snarf College Auditorium next week for the annual party, and they don’t allow alcohol at all.”
“You mean the snarfs like your music?”
ThunderManx smiled. “Yeah, they just don’t react normally: they sort of dance to it.”
Panthro was having a hard time imagining that. He smiled slightly and said, “Mind if I come along? This is something I have to see.”
ThunderManx said, “If it’s anything like the time we played there last year, you’ll get a big kick out of it. Hey, bring everyone! We worked a few weird happy tunes into our set, and we have a major surprise this year…” He lowered his voice to a whisper, “Racina and Trameea are gonna open for us: they call themselves ‘Crystal of Omens.’ Um, please don’t tell anyone.”
Panthro chuckled and raised his hand. “Okay, nephew. I won't let the cat out of the bag, promise. Now I gotta see this.”
Lion-o wrapped up a conversation he was having with two of the officers and headed back to WildKat. “Hey kid, wanna come over for a Sunday breakfast?”
WildKat shook his head and said, “Oh man, I don’t think so. We were up all night, and we’re just gonna sleep.”
Stripe added, “Dear Jaga. I don’t think I can sleep after seeing that. Mind if I come over?”
Lion-o nodded solemnly as Stripe shuffled his way to the Hovercat.
Cheetara walked to the front door of the lair to answer the bell. She inhaled sharply with surprise when she saw who it was.
“WilyKit!” The two embraced. “Why did you use the doorbell?”
“What, and spoil the surprise?” WilyKit wore a mischievous grin. Cheetara thought that her age and her living with the Warrior Maidens these last two years would have changed her more. Aside from being slightly shorter than Cheetara, WilyKit still essentially looked the same. Her nose had narrowed some, as well as the rest of her face, and her hair had grown long. She kept it in a pony-tail that began where the “point” of her hair used to be at the back of her head.
“So, what brings you back here? The festival is over, unless you were planning to attend WildKat’s concert at Snarf College.”
WilyKit tilted her head and frowned a little. “What? As if!” She entered the Lair as she said, “I came here to see you guys and Trameea.”
Cheetara asked, “Pumyra and Bengali have taken over your old bedroom, but I can fix up one of the guest rooms.”
WilyKit shook her head and said, “Thanks, but I’m moving in with Trameea. We’re good friends now, and I’ve been talking with her for hours and hours from the old Cat’s Lair during my watches. Willa and the rest are running things now.” She paused and looked around before meeting Cheetara’s gaze again with a big smile. “I’m finally home.”
Cheetara glanced at her outfit: the two-piece suit that resembled her old uniform. “I see you’re wearing your old colors again.”
WilyKit smiled and said, “Yeah, I figured it was about time I dug out the old pink ‘n’ blue.”
“Kit!” Lion-o practically yelled as he ran down the hall to greet her. He placed his shoulder on her stomach, hooked one arm around the back of her knees and picked her up over his shoulder before she could protest. He started spinning her around like he used to when she was a kid. Lion-o was simply overjoyed at seeing her after all the time she was away. WilyKit pounded his back with her fists and started to shout, “Lion-o! Put me down! Put me down! Put me…” and started to laugh uncontrollably. Yes, she had been away for too long.
Later that afternoon, WildKat was awakened by someone pounding repeatedly on his bedroom door. He had a mild headache, but not too bad. He was quite capable of withstanding a long night of Berbil Beer and loud music at twenty years of age.
WildKat opened the door and squinted against the bright sunlight that was streaming through the front window. “Hey, who opened the curtains?” he complained as he staggered out from his bedroom. He was greeted by the familiar laughter of all four girls and someone else: a laugh he hadn’t heard in a long time. He rubbed his eyes, ducked his head, and threw his hair back in a swift upward motion. It didn’t do much good—his hair fell in all directions from being slept on.
“WilyKit!” He was about to lunge at her for a bear hug, but thought better of it: he needed a shower first. “Uh, what brings you here?”
“Well, lazy bones, I’m moving in with the girls. Do you always wake up after noon?”
“No, it’s Sunday, and we were… did you say you’re moving in?” He was now fully awake, even though he only had three hours of sleep. He felt charged up now.
“Yeah. Willa and the tribe can handle Third Earth without me.”
“Right on! Hey, I’ve got something to show you.” WildKat motioned for her to follow him. Trameea, Racina, and the twins tagged along as they went outside and watched WildKat disappear into the storage shed in the back yard. He emerged with two spaceboards. They weren’t the old boards he and his sister used to fly: these were longer and painted black. One was plain, and the other had an intricate flaming skull design on it.
“Check these out! They’re modeled after the ones the ancients used to ride ocean waves with. I uh, didn’t paint yours yet, but I was going to put some kind of flower design on it.”
WilyKit was surprised. “Wow, thank you! I uh, haven’t flown in a long time.”
“Not from what I’ve heard. Trameea tells me that you’re real good at swinging between trees.”
WilyKit glanced back at her friend, who was smiling at that remark. “Yeah, the maidens put me through alot of training. I can out-distance Monkian now.” She started to blush as she saw the look of curiosity on her brother’s face and quickly changed the subject. “Hey, let’s go for it. Just like old times, brother.”
WildKat’s eyes brightened up. He switched on the power and hopped on his board. WilyKit looked uncertain as she placed her hand on her own hovering black board, pushing it down slightly. It made a much stronger hum than her old board.
WildKat started circling her—his board making a deep humming noise that made it sound like a huge engine that was far from being tapped of its full potential. “It’s got a lot more kick to it. Come on, sis—you’ll love it!”
WilyKit jumped on and noticed footrests slowly emerging from the board in response to her presence. “Well, this is fancy.”
WildKat started showing off. He was doing handsprings and flips while he was flying. WilyKit could see that he had been doing this a lot lately—he might actually be more agile on a board then she was now, but she thought to herself, “We’ll see…”
WildKat was in the middle of a reverse handstand when his board hit the top edge of the shed. Everyone gasped as his momentum propelled him forward. WildKat landed on his rear end and slid ungraciously for a few feet through the grass on his back. WilyKit and the others started laughing as WildKat got back up and pulled the back of his shirt downward, covering the grass stains on his fur.
WilyKit said, “It looks like some things never change!” All of the girls enjoyed a louder round of laughter. WildKat just shook his head, leapt up to the shed’s roof, and retrieved his board. He coasted it downward until he was next to his sister. “Okay, okay. See that extra switch?” he said as he pointed towards a stud behind the rear footrest. “That gives you full power. Wanna go for it?”
WilyKit curled the right side of her lip in a half-smile, half-sneer. “Okay, you’re on!”
WildKat quickly added, “Don’t hit full power until we get out of town. Here, you’ll need this.” He tossed a small helmet that was mostly framework with a visor to her.
WilyKit wasn’t sure if she liked the looks of this, but it was a temptation she couldn’t ignore. “See you later, guys!” She said as she started to ascend followed by her brother. Trameea and the others waved and started walking towards the park.
WildKat couldn’t be happier than he was now. It had been several years since he and his sister flew together. They had grown apart, and it felt good to be heading out with the wind rushing through his hair and his sister by his side again. He looked over and saw that she felt the same way. WilyKit smiled back: it was a warm, genuine smile. WildKat called out to her. “Hey! Let’s go down the Great River—I’ll race you!”
WilyKit nervously backed off on the throttle and hit the switch. Her spaceboard suddenly vibrated uncomfortably, like a wild horse that couldn’t wait to be unleashed. She hesitated and braced herself before hitting the throttle again. The humming sound quickly shifted upward in pitch and WilyKit felt the breath freezing in her lungs as she was propelled forward like she was in a slingshot.
WildKat patiently waited for his sister to try the throttle out then followed at top speed. WilyKit’s hair was blown back in a straight line as she was crouched very low to the board. She appreciated the visor now, because she was moving at least three times faster than she ever moved on a spaceboard before. The ground was moving by so fast that she almost couldn’t see it below her.
They spent a long time weaving through the canyons and valleys as they followed the Great River towards the coast. After some time, WildKat started to veer to his right towards the desert. Confused, WilyKit followed him. She didn’t realize where they were going until she saw it: that awful black pyramid.
WildKat hit his switch and returned to normal speed. WilyKit caught up to him and shouted, “Hey, what are we doing here? Let’s go back to the river—this is ugly!”
WildKat just yelled, “Aww, come on! Let’s buzz the pyramid!”
WilyKit shook her head and followed him. She had nothing to worry about anyway, Mumm-Ra was retired, but still, she hated this place. She just wanted to get past it and go back to the river with its cool air.
WildKat suddenly slowed down and parked his board. “Hey, someone uncovered it,” he said with a note of concern in his voice as WilyKit pulled up next to him. She did not want to be here. She stayed on her board as WildKat started walking around the side of the ominous black structure. “I haven’t seen it in three years, but it used to be half-buried.”
He ran back and got on his board—he was clearly frightened. “Hey, let’s get out of here. The door’s open on the other side, and there’s big footprints in the sand,” he quickly said as he started to climb.
The Thundercat twins gasped and felt their hearts racing as they heard maniacal laughter behind them. WildKat glanced over his shoulder and screamed “Mumm-Ra!” and started to lose control of his board from panic. He looked straight ahead and concentrated on balancing his board before making the jump to full power—he couldn’t wait to get out of there.
WilyKit hit her button, but before she could accelerate, her board was hit by a blast of red electricity. She screamed as she started falling.
WildKat was glad that they were flying well above the ground as he executed a tight loop and caught his falling sister in a downward swoop. He still had five feet of altitude to spare as he leveled his board and told her to brace herself. He hit the switch and started flying back at full speed. WilyKit looked behind her and saw something that looked like Mumm-Ra, but wasn’t. It was somehow feminine, and it also had a muzzle. She saw it disappear in a flash of light. The significance of that didn’t hit her at first, until she remembered what Mumm-Ra used to do.
WilyKit screamed, “Look out!” as a dark shape materialized in front of them. WildKat quickly veered to the side, nearly clipping the giant mummy. He heard the laughter again as it started firing random bursts of red lightning at them. Rocks were exploding to their left as WildKat ducked into a ravine and flew low to make themselves more difficult to hit.
WildKat’s heart was racing and he held his head in pain as a sharp evil female voice boomed in his and WilyKit’s heads. “I will be watching you… Ahhh hahahahaha!” WilyKit looked back in time to see the figure shrinking as bandages appeared out of nowhere and wrapped the now-distant mummy before it disappeared in another flash of light. At least she knew that the mummy was low on power and had to return—she had seen that sight often enough.
Neither of them spoke for the next half-hour as they flew directly to Cat’s Lair at top speed.
Cheetara greeted the shaken twins in the hallway as they ran into the Lair. “What happened?” She said with a look of concern.
WildKat stuttered, “Mum…mum…Mumm-Ra’s back!”
WilyKit was also wide-eyed with terror as she said, “Or something like him!”
Cheetara tilted her head sideways. “It couldn't be Mumm-Ra, he's mortal and normal again—or at least normal enough.”
WildKat breathed a little slower now as he set his spaceboard against the wall. “Whatever it… she is, she’s just like Mumm-Ra used to be. Worse, if you ask me.”
WilyKit added, “Yeah, but I saw her—sort of. She has a mouth like a deformed Jackal Mutant with big teeth, and she shot me down. We came back on WilyKat’s board. She gave up: I think she was out of power.”
Cheetara started to frown—this was too much of a coincidence. “Hey, the others are at the courthouse and they just finished quelling a riot.”
The twins looked at each other and back towards Cheetara. “A riot?”
Cheetara walked towards the control room as she explained. “Yes, everyone got out of control as the trial of that serial killer was about to begin. He disappeared as they were bringing him out of his holding cell, or so the guard was saying.”
The twins glanced at each other again and spoke in unison. “Disappeared?”
Cheetara nodded grimly. “Then there was some jackal woman stirring up the crowd saying something about the Thundercats letting him go because he was Lion-o’s cousin.”
WildKat was astonished. “Lion-o has no living cousins, or at least none we know about,” remembering the recent discovery of Panthro’s nephew.
Cheetara had a sad expression as she said, “Yes, but they didn’t know that, and they didn’t care. This is all we need now, mutants hating us. The thunderians at the courthouse started fighting with them, and that didn’t help at all. Lion-o said that when everything calmed down, that jackal was nowhere to be found. This happened about…” Cheetara looked up at the clock. “Fifty minutes ago.”
WildKat gasped as he saw the significance of that. “Oh my Jaga! That must have been why that mummy-thing was out of power. She must have been the killer, and spent the whole day in jail. He had the same laugh, but the voice was different. That would explain the jackal woman too.”
WilyKit shivered and added, “When we got away, she said she’d be watching us.”
Cheetara was very concerned as she wondered what to tell the others. This was not good—it was bad enough that there was a new Mumm-Ra on the loose, but this one didn’t stop at killing innocent people to achieve her goals, and it looked like she meant to do personal damage to the Thundercats and turn the population against them. She looked back at WilyKit and WildKat. “Hey, are you two hungry?”
WildKat hadn’t given it any thought before. Between the surprise of seeing his sister here, the fun, and the terror that followed, he totally forgot about his stomach. He hadn’t eaten a thing since he left home to go to the party last night. He also remembered that he hadn’t showered either. “Yeah, starving! Thanks.”
WilyKit had the look of “he’s always hungry” on her face, but she realized she hadn’t eaten in some time either. “I guess I’ll join in the ‘fridge raid.’”
Cheetara smiled and said, “Help yourselves. I have to break the bad news to the others.” She turned around and headed back to the control room as the twins left for the kitchen.
The next few days were tense for everyone. WildKat didn’t leave the house without his weapons—something he hadn’t done in years. The murders apparently stopped, and Lion-o had announced the presence of a “New Mumm-Ra” that was responsible. Most of the mutants believed him, but it didn’t change their attitude much. In Thundera City life went on, but the background tension was everywhere. As benevolent as the Thundercats were, everyone knew that they and the police couldn’t work miracles. People stayed in their homes more at night, even though the logic wasn’t there—the murders all happened behind closed doors—but the instinct to stay home after dark couldn’t be ignored.
Lion-o and the others tried to break into the pyramid, but it was solid. Panthro tried to use explosives to demolish the evil structure, but the ebony stone showed no signs of damage from the blast. They tried a miner’s laser torch and Lion-o tried the Sword of Omens to no avail. There was some kind of new magic at work and it frustrated them. Unlike the mutants under Slythe, Mumm-Ra never murdered anyone. In fact, he favored imprisonment and banishment over killing as though he had some hidden agenda. He had some capacity for mercy, but he never really explained it. This new evil was different, and they were compelled to defeat it.
WilyKit managed to retrieve her spaceboard. It was mostly intact, but the electronics were fried. Panthro took it upon himself to fix it for her.
WilyKit walked into the lair, answering the call that Panthro had made to her earlier. WilyKit’s jaw dropped at the sight of Panthro emerging from his workshop riding her spaceboard. “Panthro!” It was a very funny sight, but she was too shocked to laugh. She noticed that the board sported a new paint job: half was painted pink and the other half blue. She thought it was very cool.
“Yeah, I’ve been test-driving it. That nephew of mine does some fine work. Do you know how fast this thing can go?”
“Oh yes, isn’t it great? Wait a minute, you’re saying ThunderManx made this?”
“Yeah. He never mentioned it, but the circuit boards and drive assemblies have his signature on the inside.”
WilyKit rubbed her chin. “Well, I have to admit that WilyKat managed to find some cool friends.”
Panthro had a big smile on his face as he jumped off the board and watched with an amused look as the footrests and controls retracted into the body of the board with a soft mechanical whine. “He sure has. Here, Tygra painted it for you too,” he said as he switched it off and picked up the forward end to show her the rose that Tygra had worked all night on.
“Wow! Tygra’s awesome,” she said as she looked over the fine details in his work. “It looks too good to ride.”
“Well, it won’t be useful if it just sits in your living room.”
WilyKit laughed as she gave Panthro an enthusiastic hug. “Thank you.”
Panthro rubbed and patted her back with his hand and broke the hug. He looked more serious as he said, “Think nothing of it. Just promise me that you and Kat don’t leave town, okay?”
WilyKit’s expression dropped at the indirect mention of the mummy-thing that was on everyone’s mind. “There’s no problem with that, believe me! No telling what might have happened if she wasn’t low on power that day.”
Panthro nodded with a grimace. He didn’t want to think about that murderous monster getting the kids, or any of them. At least the murders had stopped. An unwanted voice in his mind said, “For now…”
WilyKit and her brother spent that afternoon surfing around town after he got off of work at the thundryllium power cell factory. He was responsible for testing the purity and alignment of the crystals. They made ever-widening circles around town until they were at the edge of the east fork of the Great River. WilyKit wanted to fly to the Gardens of Thundera on the other side, but she knew they were already far enough away from town. Going further would only be tempting fate, and that creature she was trying to put out of her mind.
WildKat switched his spaceboard off and propped it against a tree. WilyKit did the same with hers and noticed her brother looking closely at the rose.
“Yeah. Tygra’s a great artist! It’s not what I had in mind, but I sure like it. It fits you very well.”
WilyKit smirked. “A lot better than that skull of yours would have.”
WildKat laughed in agreement as he sat down next to his sister against a large tree. One of the imports from Third earth was the pine tree. Most of them were planted here, but this was one of the few older ones that were transplanted. There were millions of seedlings all over the planet and they were now a little taller than the twins were. Someday, this would be a real forest.
“So, since you’re a Warrior Maiden now,” WildKat started to get an intense inquisitive look, “How do they… uh… you know…”
WildKat was surprised to hear his sister say that, but they were adults after all. “Uh… yeah. Are there like, men or something?” He wasn’t quite sure how to ask this question.
“I’m not supposed to talk about it,” she said while turning her head away to look at the river.
“Aww, come on, sis! What’s the big secret?”
“Nothing! They just don’t tell outsiders, and you are technically an ‘outsider.’”
WildKat started to speak in a playful tone, “Come on, Kit… let’s hear it!”
WilyKit glanced back at him furtively and said, “No!” She was starting to laugh inside, remembering how long it took them to answer her question even after she was accepted into the tribe.
WilyKit started to laugh as she said “No!” again. She kept stringing her brother along.
WildKat said, “Come on, I won’t tell anyone! Besides, Third Earth is a long way from here.”
WildKat got this pitiful look in his eyes that made WilyKit giggle when he voiced a drawn-out “Please?”
WilyKit shook her head and said, “All right, WilyKat, but you have to promise me to never tell anyone else for as long as you live,” with a straight face.
WildKat nodded and waited for the big revelation. Whatever it was, it had to be good.
WilyKit started. “Okay, they don’t spontaneously get pregnant like we used to joke about.”
“Yeah… I figured that…”
WilyKit held up her hand to quiet him. “Now, there are other tribes with men in them, right?”
“Right…” He was writhing with anticipation, and his sister was playing him like a violin.
“So every once in a while, a maiden jumps one of ‘em.” She maintained her straight face and voice, but it was difficult.
“Yeah. If the baby’s a girl, she grows up to be one of them.”
“Okay. What if it’s a boy?”
WilyKit was fighting hard to keep control of herself as she said, “Then they have a cookout.”
WildKat shot to his feet and loudly said, “That’s disgusting!” He started pacing in quick, tight circles.
WilyKit turned to her side facing away from him with a hand over her mouth. Her face was turning red from trying to suppress herself.
WildKat saw his sister curled up against the tree with her sides heaving. He walked over and looked down at her with knowing eyes. “Okay, verrrry funny! What do they really do?”
WilyKit burst out laughing and wiping tears away from her eyes. WildKat sat back down next to her while shaking his head. He was irritated, but couldn’t help laughing too.
WilyKit regained her composure and said, “Okay, you really want to know? Fine. The maidens don’t marry, but they will fall in love from time to time. When they have a boy, he’s given to his father and he grows up in his village. The other villages consider it an honor to have a Warrior Maiden’s son among them. Happy?”
WildKat said, “That’s the big secret?”
WilyKit nodded once.
WildKat sat back, looked up at the sky, and said, “Interesting. Maybe I should go there sometime and let one of them jump me.”
WildKat shouted, “Oww!” as WilyKit punched him hard on the shoulder. This brought on a game of “Let’s wrestle my sister to the ground and tickle her until she cries ‘Jaga!’” WildKat hadn’t had this much fun in years, and WilyKit was glad she decided to move back. They both felt like kids again.
Afterwards, they relaxed against the tree again and the conversation took on a more serious tone.
WildKat asked, “So, would you like to try making power cells for a living?”
WilyKit thought about it and said, “Why not? Trameea works on the containment line, I’m sure I could fit in there somewhere,” as she gazed across the water.
WildKat smiled—the two most important women in his life working together under the same roof with him was a pleasant thought. “It’s kind of weird, working for money, but the days of the six of us fighting for survival are over. It’s starting to look like Thundera again.”
WilyKit added, “Yeah, except for all the modern appliances, computers, stereos, and stuff. Oh yeah, and the mutants too.”
WildKat’s face took on a look of concern. “Do you think the mutants are going to calm down, now that we know who was… you know.” WildKat was skirting the issue in his mind too.
WilyKit said, “Racina is optimistic, but she’s pretty young. Many of the mutants don’t approve of her being a Thundercat, but they do appreciate us. They know we welcomed them, protected them, and gave them homes. Tygra spent time with many of them over the years. Pumyra healed many of them too, so I don’t think they’ll be too quick to turn against us.”
WildKat was still concerned. “Yeah, but that riot footage…”
WilyKit cut him off. “Remember the look on that mutant woman that the cameras caught? She looked like she was concentrating very hard. I think she was using her power to make everyone mad.”
WilyKat started scratching his head. “That would explain Tygnarr the shopkeeper. I saw him in the video: he had a look of rage on his face that came from nowhere just before all hell broke loose. He’s not like that at all.”
The twins sat silent for the next half-hour, looking across the river and pondering their future as WildKat threw an occasional stone in the water.
Later that night, the Thundercats were all invited for dinner at ThunderManx’s house. The subject of Tygnarr and his uncharacteristic behavior came up, and Tygra started discussing tiger mentality.
“We were supposedly one of the most violent clans in the distant past,” he said with a wave of his hand. Everyone at the table was hanging on his every word, as well as the others who were eating in the living room. There were simply too many of them to eat at the dinner table, so there were plates and glasses covering the coffee table and any other stable surface within reach. Cheetara, Pumyra, Bengali, Terri, Torri, Snarf, and Snarfer were craning their necks around at full attention.
“We weren’t as skilled as the panther clans, but my ancestors were very treacherous. When the great clan wars finally ended and the first Code of Thundera was adopted, we developed our mental abilities. So yes, we tigers do have an underlying evil in our nature. That’s why I’ve always had a difficult time dealing with ah… certain things.”
The newest Thundercats had no idea what he was talking about, but they knew WildKat or someone would fill them in later. Right now, the story had them all entranced. The Tabby Twins had a strange knowing look on their faces and sat silently.
“I only met Tygnarr last year when WildKat invited him over for feast day. He does have good mental balance, but not enough to fight off the mummy’s influence.” It wasn’t said out loud, but the Thundercats who had made the trip in Jaga’s ship were all too aware of Tygra’s past problems with Mumm-Ra. Tygra was upset about the juice bar in town that bore the name “Silky’s Club.” WildKat had assured him that it was just coincidence, but Tygra couldn’t get it out of his mind.
Tygra wrapped up his speech. “At least we’re prepared for her as much as we can be.” He resumed working on his meatfruitloaf.
That evening, everyone was treated to a loud jam session. Panthro couldn’t stand the volume of it, but he knew talent when he saw it. WildKat was becoming quite accomplished at his new skill, as useless as Panthro thought it was, but Panthro never shared that thought. Kat was family, and that was all that mattered.
Tygra was more impressed. He picked up on the emotions behind the compositions. He was uncomfortable, but his appreciation for art was the deciding factor for him.
Cheetara was responding to the angry energy, and she felt uncomfortable as well. The adrenaline level of the music made her want to run. She knew that by the time this night was over, she would return to Cat’s Lair under her own power.
Bengali and Lion-o were another story. They had attended a few of their concerts in the past, and were making everyone laugh from whipping each other around and slamming into each other like teenagers out of control. The fact that ThunderManx brought out a bottle of Candyfruit Wine at dinner (and Bengali and Lion-o drank most of it) helped them get into the crazy mood they were in.
WilyKit didn’t exactly like the music, but she was having too much fun laughing with her four new roommates and Pumyra to care. The spectacle that Lion-o and Bengali were putting on was just too funny.
Snarfer and Snarf were sitting in the corner watching it all. Snarfer was swaying with a silly grin on his face while Snarf just sat there with a look of concern watching Lion-o bounce off of Bengali and the walls. He didn’t like seeing his former charge intoxicated like this, no matter how old he was or how much fun he was having. Thunderians had an underlying violent streak, and Snarf knew this music was slowly bringing it to the surface. He could only wonder why they were so popular among the Snarf College students.
The evening ended with everyone exchanging hugs and handshakes as they said goodnight to each other. WilyKit and her friends stayed to help the guys clean up, and Cheetara ran all the way back to the lair at top speed.