Thunder Twins
Ancient Spirits of Evil
Written by Erich the Mad Bassist


Crusher Theme from Doom II
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 Eight: Ancient Truths

WildKat looked again towards his sister. What could they do? These huge creatures had them surrounded. She had her “just stay calm and we’ll figure a way out” look, but he wasn’t sure if there was a way. They were approaching a collection of large shacks in a clearing. These were the kayroos’ homes: they were built rather tall, and the twins could see a group of children playing in the distance. These children were expectedly large compared to the wallabs back on the coast.

As they were being led towards a large shack in the middle of “town,” WildKat flashed his “let’s do it” look to WilyKit’s dismay. She shook her head, but he ignored her. WildKat suddenly vaulted off one startled kayroo and did a back flip over the others. He was starting to turn around when one of the kayroo soldiers jumped towards him so fast he had no time to react. WildKat was hauled upward by his throat and had nowhere to go. The others pressed in on WilyKit should she try the same thing.

WilyKit was shoved through the doorway of the central hut. She let out a muffled “Hey!” as she landed on one knee. She quickly regained her composure as she looked at the old kayroo sitting behind a desk. She heard an “Awk!” as her brother was thrown into the room, landing on his side. He quickly got up into a tiger-stance: he was ready to fight his way out or die trying.

Two kayroos rushed in and were about to take him up on his offer when the large kayroo behind the desk suddenly shouted, “No!” The others stopped and eyed him inquisitively. He stood up and dominated the room. There was no sound except the birds outside and WildKat’s stressed breathing. “Leave us! These are Thundercats.”

The closer of the two kayroos dropped his hands. “They are?”

“Yes… leave us now!”

The other looked the twins up and down. “Sorry ‘bout that, but ye were tresspassin’.”

WildKat dropped his hands too. “Uh… think nothing of it.” He was filled with adrenaline still, but his breathing leveled off as the others left the hut and closed the door.

“I was ‘oping to meet some of you in person. My name is Kyle.” The big kayroo walked forward and extended his hand. The twins both shook it, but they were still very nervous. He may have been old, but he was easily twice their height and four times their mass.

WilyKit asked, “Um… Kyle… how do you know we’re Thundercats?”

“Seen your type before in moving pictures… projected by that Mumm-Ra fellow.”

WildKat was now filled with suspicion. “Mumm-Ra?”

“Yes… but first, what is your business ‘round here?”

WilyKit answered, “We were trying to wake Ventack, but we couldn’t.” She felt foolish, but she had a feeling this kayroo would know what she was talking about.

“Hmm… why would you need to wake the great wizard?”

“Mumm-Ra has a successor: Seph-Ra. She’s more violent and evil… she’s killed seven people and…”

Kyle cut her off. “Say n’ more, love… that’s all I needed to hear. Okay, ye can wake the wizard, but I’m taking a chance telling you this.” He had a look of genuine concern on his features. “‘Round a bout ten years ago, Mumm-Ra came here seekin’ ‘ta use Ventack against your kind. I knew ‘e was evil, yes? So, I got buddy-buddy with ‘im, ta see what ‘e was up to. He projected your likenesses for me eyes… talkative he was… anyway, I got the gist of ‘is game and sent ‘im over to the ‘Keepers.’” He gestured in the direction of the lava tubes where they just were.

“You sent Mumm-Ra to Ventack anyway?” WilyKit was alarmed at the thought.

“That isn’t Ventack… well, it is, but it isn’t.”

WildKat added a “Huh?”

“That’s Ventack’s bad self… and there’s no way to wake ‘im. Ventack’s good side ‘as to be ‘wakened before ‘is bad half comes ‘round.”

WildKat was starting to get the picture. “So… you know where the real Ventack is?”

“Right-o!”

The twins both smiled… maybe this trip would work out after all.

“‘Ey… sit down, rest a bit… I’ll send for lunch, ‘ey? Meantime, help yourselves.”

WilyKit eyed a large bowl of fresh-picked figs by the chairs. It was nice to see something familiar in this strange land.

A small band of kayroos escorted the twins to their destination: a hidden lava tube at the edge of their encampment. At the edge, Kyle said, “Okay, it’s your game now…”

WildKat noticed his and the others’ tension. “Huh? What are you going to do?”

“Clear out… when the bad wizard wakes up, we don’ want to be anywhere near this place.”

WildKat gulped as he felt the adrenaline return to his system. “Oh great.”

“Oh… sorry, almost forgot…” The old kayroo retrieved the twins’ weapons from his backpack.

WilyKit said, “Thanks. For everything.”

“Just keep yer wits about ye, an’ good luck mate.”

WildKat nodded, turned around, took a deep breath, and headed into the tunnel.

The lava tube seemed to go on forever—mostly because it was so convoluted that the twins couldn’t fly their way through. After what seemed like a couple hours of hiking, they finally arrived at the end. They knew they were heading downhill gradually, but they were quite surprised to find themselves at the bottom of a huge cavern: at least four times the size of the one that housed “Evil Ventack.”

“Wow… so that must be him!” WildKat was in awe at the sight of a figure sitting cross-legged in the middle of the room. He looked like the other Ventack, but his features were more pronounced, his horns were bigger, and he looked… uglier.

“Are you sure this is the good half?” WilyKit was obviously nervous.

“I trust the ‘Roos, but geez, this guy looks very wicked! Hey, it’s like the difference between the Ancient Spirits of Evil and the Spirits of Good!”

“You’re right… except this guy looks worse than all the evil spirits put together. He looks like he could be the boss evil spirit.”

WildKat sighed and said, “Well Kit, let’s just get this over with.”

WilyKit stared up at the huge figure. He wore a necklace that looked like it was part of his body: it rose from the stone and terminated in a beautiful dark-blue tetrahedral jewel that was at least a foot long from top to bottom. She started to shiver as she removed the scroll from her pouch. WilyKit looked up at the giant jewel and hesitated for several seconds.

WildKat could feel the tension as his sister started reading the incantation. He knew deep down it would work this time, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to be here—trapped deep underground with this hundred-foot monstrosity.

WilyKit started to shudder as she spoke the words. “V… Ventack! Kham akton ra… forseth d-d-damman pretek!”

The twins immediately backed up to the far wall as the chamber began to heat up. The jewel around Ventack’s neck began to glow… softly at first, but it soon became so bright they couldn’t look directly at it. WildKat thought that this was the most intense blue light he had ever seen—it wasn’t turning white at all, it was simply deep blue—yet too bright to look at. He looked over at WilyKit and saw that her eyes were already closed. He shut his eyes just as the light started to become painfully bright—even the reflected light from the walls. There was a brief, intense flash of heat. The room was dark once more.

WildKat opened his eyes and saw nothing at first, but his eyes soon readjusted to the gloom of the cavern. He heard a crunching sound that made him jump. Ventack was moving, and he was slowly stretching out from the block of stone that seemed to encase him earlier. His breathing reverberated off the walls of the cavern, amplifying the sound. He slowly got up, and stood at his full hundred-foot height. His head was still a long way from the ceiling, so he had no problem stretching. Ventack scanned the room with huge red eyes that were almost lizard-like and slowly sat down against the far wall.

The cavern seemed to shrink in size as he spoke: his incredibly deep voice dominated everything and seemed to crowd the very air the twins were breathing. “You have come for me? This is not good. Why have you come?”

WilyKit spoke hesitantly. “We… we need your help. We have to stop the Ancient Spirits of Evil and their… servant.”

Ventack’s face took on a grim expression. “They seek reunification. This must not be allowed to happen. The eight must not become four. Ancient Spirits they call themselves… nothing has changed.”

WildKat said, “How can we stop the evil ones? They’re stronger than the good ones.”

“Yes, that is true. Do you know what they are and why that is?”

“Uhh… no… um, Mumm-Rana said it was because everyone’s strength comes from their dark side or something.”

Ventack slowly shook his gigantic head. “No, no, no… forget what their servant says. They only tell her what they want to. The original beings are criminals from my home planet. I was an enforcer: sworn to protect the innocent. They are the reason our home world is long-dead.”

The twins didn’t like where this conversation was going. WilyKit said, “But the Spirits of Good… they aren’t… good?”

“They are the good halves of criminals—that is why they are weaker. Yes, they are essentially good, but they are incomplete without their other halves. Beware of them, because reunification is their ultimate goal, and anything that gets in their way is in danger.”

The twins said, “Oh, great” in unison.

“They were scientists who discovered that they could separate the souls of others and integrate them into their own. The soul is an endless source of power, and they found a way to tap into it. People started disappearing, and I was investigating them. What I found was a machine they constructed to harvest the souls of everyone on the planet. I was too late—they had started the process and had already stripped all life from the planet. The only reason I was spared was because I was in the same room as they were. I broke the machine’s power core, and its energy fed back through all five of us. I received most of its power because I was closest to it. An entire planet died because of this, and that terrible power split us all into twin beings: one good and one evil.”

WildKat said, “Oh no. What about your ‘evil half?’”

“He is starting to wake—so I will make this short—but you must know what you’re dealing with.”

Forty miles away, a deafening roar was heard throughout the Undara Lava Tubes. The Keepers of Ventack that were inside the inner chamber were on their hands and knees in front of a giant returning to life. He scanned the room, looked at the kneeling figures, and ripped their souls from their bodies with a single thought. The figures slumped to the floor as he broke through to the surface in a single jump, burying the remains of his former keepers. Scanning the countryside, he started walking towards the Keepers’ encampment.

Ventack continued. “They opened a portal in an attempt to escape me… us… our halves weren’t very different back then, but in the following years, the evil halves developed their characteristics as our good halves became… for lack of a better term, more good. The “Good Spirits” as they call themselves, were too weak to stay in a living form, and had to exist as stone all this time. The “Evil Spirits” are much stronger, but they choose to stay in their stone forms until they have no choice. They live through their evil servant so they may conserve their power. Remember this: if they’re directly threatened, they will revert to flesh and attack—with more power than you can imagine.”

The Keepers were in awe as the former stone giant approached. They all rushed out to greet and worship him. The giant smiled slightly, eyes glowing red; he consumed all their souls at once. As they became part of him, he knew which direction the strangers had left. He also knew they were responsible for waking him. He must get the crystal of power, or destroy this planet trying.

Ventack said, “One moment…” and closed his eyes. “They moved off-planet… so, that is your home. I see… they gave up on this planet producing advanced technology, and decided to prey upon your civilization. They are waiting until you number in the billions before they make their move. Technology means population, so they would harvest your species. They almost harvested this planet, but a great nuclear war in the past prevented that.”

“All throughout Earth’s history, they’ve influenced technology. First, in the country of Atlantica, I attempted to stop them, but the fight that resulted was responsible for an entire continent’s destruction. Because their good halves provided some kind of balance, I decided to enter a long sleep until they became too powerful or the day when the sun here dies. The eight spirits are responsible for the civilization known as Ancient Egypt. The culture that they helped develop was—in a way—a vestige of our culture, except it was a human culture. I find it curious—the air, the Earth, is filled with a large amount of magic energy. Something big happened to the universe while I was asleep.”

WildKat shrugged his shoulders and simply said, “Wow.”

Ventack’s eyes narrowed. “Time grows short… I feel the presence of the other, and he will find me before too long. I must sleep again, but first… here is the means to defeat the evil ones and their servant.” Ventack formed a red ball of light in his hand. “This will totally seal the black pyramid, and cause their energy to feed back on itself. If delivered properly, you will never see them again in your lifetime. Approach.”

The twins slowly walked forward as Ventack extended the hand holding the orb. The orb suddenly condensed into a single green tetrahedral crystal that was three inches long and about two inches wide. It softly glowed, and WilyKit was awestruck by its beauty as she took it from the giant’s hand.

“Throw it into their cauldron of visions—it will do the rest. I must sleep now.”

WildKat said, “Okay, and thank…” WildKat stopped in mid-sentence as another giant figure materialized on the other side of the cavern. He was slightly smaller than Ventack, but that didn’t make him any less intimidating.

Ventack shouted, “Run!”

The twins complied as they heard the two beings starting to fight. They were hurling bright bolts of energy between each other. The evil half started to speak. “You will give me the crystal of power now!”

Ventack shouted, “Not if I sleep first!”

“You will never sleep, I forbid it!” The evil giant rushed the other, and the fight became personal. “I will be the one in control…” “NEVER!”

WilyKit noticed that her brother was no longer with her. “Hey! What are you doing?”

“I’ve got to help him!”

“Are you nuts?”

“Yes… you have a problem with that?”

“I swear, WilyKat you…” The ground suddenly heaved as the fighting giants landed hard. Stones were starting to fall from the ceiling of the lava tube. “Kat! Let’s get out of here!”

“One more second… there!”

“WILYKAT!”

WildKat didn’t acknowledge his sister as he ran into the opening of the cavern. He hit all four of his triggers at once, launching all of his sleep-gas pellets simultaneously. The recoil knocked him backwards, making him land hard on his back. He got back up and saw that his sister had joined him. They saw the two giants locked together, and the evil half was about to grab the good Ventack’s blue crystal.

“No! It is mine! It is…”

“Too late… ha hah haa!” Ventack looked over at the twins, inhaled deeply, and smiled. He whispered, “Thank you, my friends…” as his eyes closed. The evil Ventack started to scream, “NO!” but was cut short. The two of them were slowly returning to their stone states for a very long sleep.

The twins walked in silence back through the lava tube. What they had just witnessed forever changed the way they looked at Mumm-Ra and especially Mumm-Rana. It was clear they could not tell her the bad news, so they had to come up with something. Now, more than ever, they had a real reason to not want to see her. Unfortunately, they were trapped on the other half of the planet with no way home except the portals Mumm-Rana had prepared for them.

WilyKit gasped as she left the mouth of the lava tube. The entire kayroo village was burned to the ground and it looked like the bad copy of Ventack had danced all over their huts and the nearby trees.

WilyKit started to pray that she wouldn’t find any bodies in the wreckage as she started to walk through the debris. WildKat was just standing there—stunned by the immensity of the destruction. For miles around, the forest had been trampled and burned by the angry giant in his search for his better half.

WilyKit finally broke the silence. “Hey! Come here!”

WildKat asked, “What?” as he panted from running across what was left of the village.

“Look: this was some kind of trap to keep Bad Ventack busy. See these wires?”

WildKat suddenly brightened as he started following the wires with his eyes. “Yes, a trap indeed. Those poor kayroos blew up everything they had just so we could have a few minutes with Ventack. We owe them!”

The twins jumped and spun around when a familiar voice boomed behind them. “You owe us nothing, friends…”

“Kyle!”

“This whole place was set up to delay that giant?”

“Yes it was, kids… it was our sworn duty to keep the wizard safe, and that meant from ‘is brother too.”

WildKat said, “But, where will you live?”

Kyle made a gesture of dismissal with his hand. “Ahhh… we’ll be rebuildin’ our homes in no time at all, eh? You needn’t be worryin’ about us, friend.” He scratched his chin as he looked towards the mouth of the lava tube. “Hmm… looks to me like we now have the job of guarding both of ‘em now.”

WilyKit said, “If there’s anything we can do…”

“Nah, it was a good bit of fun. I’ve wanted to do that since I was a wee joey. Now that the show’s over, we’ll be buildin’. Take care, and give me regards to the rest of the Thundercats.” Kyle turned around and started back towards the center of the village where the others were already starting to separate the debris.

WildKat yelled after Kyle. “Thanks for everything!”

Kyle briefly raised his hand and shouted, “Don’t mention it,” as he kept walking away.

WilyKit looked at her brother and shrugged her shoulders. “I guess that’s our cue to get back to the coast—it’ll be dark once we reach the inn.”

WildKat said, “Yeah… let’s go, sis.”

The sun had set earlier than they had anticipated: half of their journey was in darkness, and they were navigating with their “Cat’s Eyes” night vision glasses. They finally reached the town and WildKat couldn’t wait to get his hands on a barrel of Vegemite. The wallab tending the inn was someone new. She seemed to be in her mid-twenties, and had a cheerful smile. The twins introduced themselves.

“Oh yes… I was told to be expectin’ ya! I’m Tass, and ‘Ere ya go sweetie.” The wallab girl stepped back to reveal a barrel that was three feet high, and made of wood.

WildKat was happy… “Wow… that’s big!”

WilyKit looked at her brother with an upturned eyebrow. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

“What?”

“How are we supposed to haul that from Mumm-Rana’s pyramid to the Cat’s Lair?”

“Oh… um… hmm… uh… hey, we’ll be back for this in a few days… I hope… is there a smaller container that we can take with us?”

“Sure… ‘ang on… ‘ere… that’ll be two gold pieces.” She produced a small canister from the supply closet.

WildKat said, “Thanks…”

“Not a problem, love… will ye’ be needin’ a room?”

WildKat was about to say “yes” when his sister cut him off. “No, but thank you.”

“Kit, I’m exhausted… what are you…”

“Let’s just walk to the portal, get the Mumm-Rana thing over with, and get back home. We can sleep on the transport.”

“But sis…”

“Hey, I’m exhausted too, but we’re needed back home.”

WildKat paused, he was starting to feel that tension again—wondering what was happening on New Thundera. “Okay, you’re right.” He looked at the young wallab woman. “Thank you.”

“You come back now,” she said with a wink. WilyKit suppressed a giggle, turned around, and walked out with her brother close behind.

After clearing the sea wall, they found the portals waiting for them. They just appeared out of nowhere as they approached, getting brighter as they got nearer. WilyKit and WildKat looked at each other and spoke in unison: “Here goes nothing…”

The twins quickly closed their eyes—the light was blinding! Mumm-Rana’s pyramid had a more open design, and their eyes were accustomed to the night they had just left. WildKat was very anxious for his eyes to adjust because he wanted to leave as soon as possible. He kept trying to open his eyes, but the combination of exhaustion and sunlight stung him repeatedly.

Both twins drew hitched breaths as they heard a familiar voice a few feet away. “What did Ventack say?”

They didn’t like that question being the first thing she said. WildKat tried to open his eyes again, but quickly shouted and put his hand over them. It didn’t hurt that much anymore, but he was trying to buy some time to think of something. WilyKit was in the same boat.

“WilyKit, WilyKat… relax, and let your eyes recover.” Mumm-Rana spoke in a soothing voice, but the twins wanted to get out of there more than anything.

WildKat slowly opened his eyes and looked at her… Mumm-Rana had a look of concern, and that troubled him greatly. He couldn’t lie to her, it was obvious the “Spirits of Good” knew that Ventack was awakened, so maybe they knew he was asleep again.

“Um… well, we woke the wizard, but his evil half tried to take him over. I put them both back to sleep, but the trip was a bust—we didn’t really learn anything.”

“What did he say?”

WildKat noticed she had a look of… fear! This was not good. He also saw the statues’ eyes glowing in his peripheral vision. “Uh… not much. We didn’t have enough time, but he did give us a spell to stop the Evil Spirits.” WildKat’s heart skipped a beat. He wished he had said, “spell to stop Seph-Ra,” but now it was too late.

Mumm-Rana said, “That is good… they must be…” her expression turned to one of someone who was being forced to do something they didn’t want to. The twins noticed the statues’ eyes flickered a brighter blue for a moment.

Mumm-Rana’s expression turned to normal as she said, “…stopped. What kind of spell?”

WilyKit said, “I don’t know… it’s just a talisman that’s supposed to trap Seph-Ra inside her pyramid.”

The statues’ eyes flickered red for a moment, and Mumm-Rana held her head in pain. They knew what was happening, and the twins were readying themselves for a fast flight out of there.

Mumm-Rana shook her head and said, “No… this isn’t right…” The statues’ eyes glowed a steady red now, and so did Mumm-Rana’s eyes. Mumm-Rana spoke in a forced voice. “You must give us the crystal, only we can use it to stop our evil brothers.”

That was all the twins needed to hear. They jumped on their spaceboards and started flying towards the nearest opening. The doorways suddenly slammed shut as slabs of stone dropped from hidden recesses. The pyramid was dark, save for the opening at the apex that allowed some sunlight to enter. WilyKit and WildKat both realized that this pyramid felt like the black pyramid with its semi-darkness.

The twins stopped their forward movement and hovered before Mumm-Rana, who was levitating in their direction. Her eyes were still glowing red. “We need the crystal… it’s urgent!”

WildKat started to feel anger from being trapped like this. “Why don’t you let her speak! Mumm-Rana, what’s going on?”

Mumm-Rana was fighting her masters now… a bluish tint slowly entered her eyes. “N… nn… no… Ancient Spirits of Good, this is not right! You stand for all that is good, and this is not right!” Her face had a look of shock, as if she were a child whose parents suddenly told her to leave and never come back.

A low rumble shook the pyramid, and the twins realized the statues were starting to crumble. No, not crumble… the stone was flaking off to reveal flesh that was forming underneath. The “Spirits” were coming back to life, and they weren’t happy that they were being forced to do it.

“Let’s get out of here, Kit!” The interior of the pyramid suddenly darkened, and the twins feared that their only way out was sealed. They looked upward, but the apex wasn’t closed: there was a storm outside, much like the storms the black pyramid had when its tenant was up to no good.

WilyKit screamed, “Look out!”

WildKat ducked and barely missed being swiped by a giant clawed hand. These “Ancient Spirits” were deceptively fast, and two of them were hovering above… blocking the pyramid’s only opening.

In the confusion, the spirits-come-to-life forgot about their servant. Mumm-Rana fired twin bolts of blue energy at one of the side doors, shattering it. “Run! Now!” The twins spent no time thinking about it: they flew out as fast as was possible. The sky was blue around the horizon, but a giant circular storm cloud hung over the white pyramid. Intense lightning bolts danced between the obelisks and the cloud.

“WilyKit… let’s hit that spire! If Amok could do it, so can we!”

WilyKit nodded and they both flew towards the nearest obelisk. WildKat fired explosive pellets from one launcher and used his free hand to throw more from his pouch. WilyKit also threw pellets from her pouch. The stone was starting to crack, but it wasn’t breaking. Both twins shuddered as they heard Mumm-Rana screaming in pain, as her masters’ fury was undoubtedly being unleashed upon her.

WildKat realized to his horror that the “Spirits” were floating up through the top of the pyramid. One of them raised his hands, and intense red lightning struck WilyKit. WildKat screamed after his sister, but she was out cold. She landed hard, tumbling with her spaceboard.

WildKat screamed at the giant beings as he launched the rest of his pellets, but they were stopped by an invisible force field they threw around themselves. They all raised their hands now, and WildKat executed some very tight maneuvers on his board as bright red bolts of energy struck the ground all around him. He lost control of his flight as a near miss kicked up a spray of sand that got into his eyes, blinding him. He rolled, staggered into a retreating kneeling position, and desperately tried to clear his eyes. When he did, he saw all four giants hovering in front of him, eyes glowing an intense red.

The giants shifted their attention as Mumm-Rana’s voice was heard one last time. It had an angry intensity that the twins never heard from her before. “I do not understand this madness… you were supposed to stand for all that is good… but now, if you are not of the pure goodness that I was led to believe in, thousands of years ago… I do not wish to live to serve you a moment longer!”

All four giants screamed “NO!” as she lashed out at her own pyramid. Lightning left her hands and disappeared into the storm cloud above. The cloud answered with intense white lightning that cascaded down towards the pyramid’s obelisks. The lightning intensified, passing between pyramid and cloud, getting more intense with each pass. All four obelisks suddenly exploded, sending chunks of stone in all directions. The “Spirits of Goodness” screamed as they reverted to stone and fell to the ground. They shattered on impact, turning into mixed fragments and dust.

WildKat dusted himself off and noticed that his sister was still lying prone on the ground. He screamed as he ran towards her. She wasn’t breathing! WildKat’s eyes flooded with tears as he tried to remember Tygra’s medical training. “One Thundera, two Thundera, come on, Kit… breathe! Please!” It wasn’t working, but WildKat wasn’t about to give up. He tried for what seemed like an eternity to revive his sister—he felt himself dying inside as he desperately tried to bring her back.

WildKat jumped back as a tendril of blue energy shocked him and his sister. He looked back at the source and saw what was left of Mumm-Rana emptying herself of the last of her energy. She had what looked like a smile on her face as it decayed beyond recognition and her body became one with the sand. WilyKit suddenly drew a breath and started coughing as a few more sparks danced around her body and faded. WildKat’s face lit up with joy as he hugged his sister in the sand.

WilyKit was confused. “Oww! Get off me, WilyKat! What are you trying to do, kill me?”

WildKat released his embrace and helped his sister up to a sitting position. She wore a confused look on her face as she saw all the destruction around them. “What happened?”

WildKat started laughing as tears streamed down his face. He clutched his sister again, but she didn’t resist.

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