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 Ten: Final Stand
“What do you mean, ‘we don’t have clearance to land?’”
The transport pilot looked at WildKat with an irritated scowl. “I’m sorry, but the Royal House of Thundera says we can’t land.”
WilyKit appeared in the doorway to the cockpit. “What ‘Royal House of Thundera?’”
“Hey, I’m just obeying the law. If I’m denied authorization to land, that’s just…”
WildKat was getting upset. “Authorization? I’ll give you authorization!”
WilyKit was leery of her brother’s tone: he had changed in the last two years since she had left, and wasn’t quite sure of what he might do under pressure. “Wily…” She stopped when he glanced back at her with a frown—clearly irritated by her use of his real name.
“Look buddy, we’re Thundercats, and I’m giving you authorization. I don’t know who the Royal House of Thundera are, but they don’t belong there.” He paused for a moment and scratched his chin. “Can you at least set us down—out of the way somewhere?”
The pilot sighed. “I know who you are, but they were threatening me, okay? This is my livelihood you’re talking about here. I don’t know what kind of civil war you people are having, but I don’t relish the thought of losing my business or worse.”
“What, have you been under a rock or something?”
“I suppose you could say that…”
The pilot’s eyes dodged from one side to the other a couple times and he bit down on his lower lip. He sighed, “Okay, you two can use the escape transporter. I’ll fly low enough to use it, but after that I’m leaving the atmosphere again. You two are on your own.”
WilyKit came forward and placed her hand on the pilot’s shoulder. “Thank you. Can you set us down in the Great Thunderan Forest around… there?”
WildKat raised an eyebrow. “Why there? Why not back at the lair?”
“I’ll explain later. Just set us there please.”
The pilot quickly patted her hand a couple times. “Yeah yeah. I just hope I don’t get shot down for this. Here we go!”
WilyKit and WildKat instinctively grabbed hold of the rails as the transport dove into the atmosphere at a sharp enough angle to be quick, but not quick enough to burn up from air friction. WilyKit motioned to her brother as she made her way towards the escape transporter.
ThunderManx was on edge: he had been in this cell for three days now, ever since Jagrow’s “followers” stormed his house and took everyone prisoner. His energy pike was safely hidden, but it was at home. The others weren’t so fortunate: these thunderian traitors had confiscated their weapons.
Thunderians… this is what bothered ThunderManx: these were his people! In the past, major threats came from outside: the mutants, that evil mummy, a few assorted alien troublemakers, but not fellow thunderians. ThunderManx didn’t have his main weapon, but his father’s armor was still on him—the electrical self-defense system was fully charged and had enough energy to knock out one, maybe two people. ThunderManx stilled himself as three guards approached with a new prisoner. ThunderManx backed up to the far edge of the cell and leaned against the bars—he knew he only had one shot at this. He nodded to the assorted teenagers in the cell with him: they moved away from the bars as the first guard took out his keys.
WilyKit and WildKat materialized at the edge of the forest. Looking around, they didn’t see anyone, so they looked upward to watch the transport climbing towards space. “He’ll be safe,” WildKat said distractedly. He wished he could have come up with a plan, but the fact was everyone knew he and his sister were Thundercats, and they had no idea what was waiting for them in the camp that WilyKit spotted from space with the transport’s nav-computer. She saw the closely packed lifeform readings and figured that they were prisoners, so going there was probably the best thing to do.
WilyKit said, “We should keep moving: they had to see the transport, so they know someone’s down here somewhere.”
WildKat didn’t like this at all. “These trees aren’t tall enough—too bad you can’t use your Warrior Maiden skills here.”
WilyKit shot him a look of disgust. “WilyKat, they’re not monkeys you know!”
WildKat remembered the scene with Nayda and the old Cat’s Lair computer. “Sorry, I didn’t mean…”
“Just shut up and stay low.”
WildKat lightly bit down on his tongue and frowned as he followed his sister. He turned his mind back to the situation as they made their way towards the camp.
ThunderManx waited for the guard to open the door. As he stood there, his attention was drawn towards the new prisoner. She was an unusually tall cheetah with long gold and black striped hair, maybe a whisker shorter than he was. Was she a tiger mix? ThunderManx distracted himself wondering if she was also something else: perhaps puma or lynx? The rich golden-brown background color underneath her spots and stripes suggested it, but he couldn’t tell. Her spots were smaller and covered more of her body than Cheetara’s, and what a body! ThunderManx couldn’t help but stare at her single-strapped top and unusually shaped half leotard, half bikini bottom that revealed her right leg in a way that he found very magnetic.
ThunderManx felt embarrassed when he realized she was looking back at him. He smiled apologetically as he turned his attention back towards the guard who had just managed to unlock the door.
He glanced back at her bright green eyes: their shade was almost fluorescent, and her expression practically shouted that she had no intention of being thrown into this cage, even though the other two guards had a firm hold on her arms. ThunderManx was impressed by the strength in her eyes, and realized that what he thought were reflections from the sun were actually flickering lights slowly growing in intensity behind her slitted pupils. ThunderManx was so distracted by the hypnotic effect of her eyes that he almost forgot the guard. He quickly crossed his arms over his chest and swung his hands upward—the gesture that activated his armor, making the lightning bolt inlays glow and start producing climbing arcs of electricity. Before the guard could react and remove his hand from the key, ThunderManx threw himself against the bars. The armor crackled loudly and the guard shuddered before dropping unconscious to the ground.
ThunderManx quickly dodged around a couple prisoners and made his way towards the door. The two other guards shrieked as fire suddenly covered the mysterious woman’s arms, making them draw their hands back in fear. They took their clubs out and started to approach her.
ThunderManx blind-sided one of the guards who was distracted by the fine layer of fire that was covering her body but not burning her. The other guard continued approaching with his club raised.
The woman extended her right arm towards him, palm open. A column of fire suddenly erupted under the startled guard’s feet, swiftly engulfing him. ThunderManx stood in awe as the guard screamed in pain. He dropped to the ground and started rolling around, but the fire clung to him tenaciously. The woman started to laugh: it was a chilling laugh of revenge that prickled ThunderManx’s hackles; he identified with it all too well and forced himself to approach her.
“Hey, stop! You don’t want to kill him—he’s just… misguided.”
The woman turned towards ThunderManx. He held his breath for a moment when he saw her pupils were wide open and glowing with flickering flames inside. “So? No one touches me!” She looked towards the other guard who was on his knees and holding his face in pain from ThunderManx’s attack.
The other guard screamed as he also erupted in flames, and ThunderManx swallowed hard as he stepped in her path, not knowing if he would be burned for trying to distract her.
Her eyes suddenly went dark, and he was relieved to see her pupils reverting to their former state. “You’re right, besides… that takes a lot out of me.” She started to waver as though she was about to faint and ThunderManx stepped forward to catch her. At the last possible moment, she regained her composure and said, “Thanks,” turned around, and walked towards the shack that the guards were using for a shelter.
ThunderManx didn’t know what to think of her as he started to follow, looking side to side for signs of any others.
The woman emerged from the tent wearing an obsidian crystal on a leather necklace. She smiled and said, “See you later, cutie!” She closed her eyes, and the crystal glowed like it had a ruby-red fire burning inside it.
ThunderManx stammered, “Who… who are you?”
Her eyes opened to reveal the same red fire in them, and she smiled again.
ThunderManx’s breath stuck in his throat as he watched her entire body melt and shrink… clothes and all. In a little more than a second, he was looking at a small white house cat… a half grown-up kitten with no hint of clothing except a shiny milk-white crystal hanging from its neck on a smaller version of the same leather necklace.
The kitten looked at him with bright green eyes that hinted at the intellect behind them, gave a single “mew,” and ran off into the woods.
ThunderManx stood there for a whole minute, staring in the direction that she took off in. He couldn’t believe what he just saw, and he started to wonder if he really did see it. His attention returned to the present when he heard someone coming out of the bushes on the other end of the camp. He was about to run for cover, but stopped himself as he recognized his two friends coming towards him.
“Manx! Hey, how are you buddy?”
“Uhh… fine… how was Third Earth?”
WilyKit smiled and said, “You won’t believe what we learned about the Ancient Spirits of Evil!”
ThunderManx was very interested, although his thoughts were distracted by that mysterious thunderian cat-woman-whatever. “Okay, tell me about it on the way—the next camp is a couple miles up that road.”
The twins started walking with ThunderManx. They glanced backward to see that the group of former captives were walking back towards Thundera City. They looked stunned for some reason, but the twins gave it no thought as they started to tell their story.
ThunderManx was outraged. “So, you’re telling me their real goal is to harvest our planet of every living soul when New Thundera is strong and populated by billions of innocent people in the future?”
WilyKit wore a grim expression. “Yes, I’m afraid so. It might be another thousand years, but time doesn’t mean much to them.”
WildKat said, “Then why are they trying to terrorize and take over anyway? I’d think a peaceful, happy population would grow…”
ThunderManx had a sad look in his eyes as the logic of their actions dawned on him. “No… actually, a population that struggles to survive would grow faster. There would be more urgency to… reproduce.” The twins both had looks of surprise at hearing this. “Also, the people born and raised in such conditions would be stronger and the weak would perish. You’d eventually end up with a planet populated by very powerful… souls.” ThunderManx trailed off as he realized what he was saying. Natural selection was one thing, but those principles applied to sentient beings like this was horrible—especially when the end result would be total extinction at the hands of Seph-Ra and her masters.
WilyKit walked ahead a little, scanning for the next camp. When she waved behind herself, the others kept low and spread out through the trees off the trail. She could see four large cages stuffed with prisoners, and they were only being guarded by four of Jagrow’s men. She figured that this would be easy enough.
When she saw WildKat and ThunderManx get into position, she took an arrow from her quiver and drew her bow. Aiming carefully, she released it and quickly ducked back into the foliage.
The guard, who looked like a cross between a lion and a tiger, shouted in surprise as the arrow shattered his laser pistol. The other three guards joined him as they scanned the high grass. “It came from somewhere over there!” One of them shouted.
The others drew their pistols and started firing randomly. All four guards didn’t see ThunderManx come up behind them with a tree branch broken to roughly the same size as his pike. He held the branch sideways, ran over three of them from behind, and quickly swung the end up, practically decapitating the fourth one that WilyKit had disarmed earlier.
WildKat came from the other direction looking around for any more guards. “Damn, Manx… that was fast.”
ThunderManx looked at WildKat with an amused expression. “Disappointed, buddy?”
WildKat spotted one of the guards starting to get up. He quickly stomped on his shoulders, driving him into the ground with a “Whuffff…” WildKat said, “No.”
WilyKit, WildKat, and ThunderManx proceeded to the last camp, only to find it being guarded by one individual. As they released the prisoners, WildKat spotted Trameea and Jackalman standing side by side and smiling. WildKat frowned at Jackalman, and Jackalman answered with a look that said, “Try me, boy.”
Trameea ran up to WildKat and hugged him. He sighed and held her tightly as the others watched. WildKat backed up a bit and looked into her eyes. “What happened? What’s this civil war going on?”
Trameea frowned a bit despite her happiness. “Why did you take off like that?”
WildKat was flustered. “Umm… I… I’m sorry, but Kit and I had to find that wizard.”
“We’ll explain it soon. You know how much I love you. I didn’t want to leave you, but… we had a lot of high-speed flying to do.”
Trameea knew the real reason was because he didn’t want her to fight and that irked her, but she let it slide. “Yeah, I don’t like spaceboard surfing. If there’s a civil war, I don’t know anything about it… all I know is that I woke up in here. A few of the others were taken from public places, but most were moved while they were asleep somehow. Must be mummy-magic.”
WildKat shuddered at that idea: Seph-Ra moving people around without their knowledge. “Everyone here is a child or teenager… I don’t see any adults except…” WildKat looked over at Jackalman. “Okay, furbrain… what are you up to!”
Jackalman sneered, “You should have more respect for your elders, thunder-brat.”
“Elder? You’re nothing but an old dog that would just as soon see me…”
Trameea interrupted. “WilyKat, shut up.”
WildKat looked at Trameea with a shocked expression. “Wha?”
Trameea put her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes. “You heard me… Jackalman was good in there… he helped calm the kids down.”
WildKat looked at Jackalman with disbelief. “Huh?”
“Nyahh hah hah… you heard her. Monkian and I were playing baby-sitter while you and your sister were having a good old time back on Third Earth.”
WildKat was too surprised to respond at first. After a long pause he said, “Uhh… I can’t picture you and Monkian baby-sitting.” He remembered how he had saved Tygra’s life, then kicked his backside and started to smile.
Jackalman looked towards a cluster of children. He laughed a bit as a bewildered Monkian stood up, taking a few of the clinging children up with him.
Jackalman approached WilyKit, who was standing off to the side. She took up a defensive position. “Oh, relax already. I have a favor to ask you.”
WilyKit was very nervous. “Wh… what?”
Jackalman looked sideways at Monkian and back at WilyKit, giving her a look that said he wanted to come closer and talk without the others hearing. WilyKit felt he was sincere, so she let him approach.
“It’s Monkian… he’s…” Jackalman tried to find the words and gave up. “He’s stuck on you, and he’s…”
“Well, yeah… Monkian’s been chasing me for two years, and Queen Willa put an arrow in his butt on two occasions. He just won’t leave me alone.”
Jackalman raised his hand to try to quiet her. “You don’t understand then.”
“What’s to understand? An old monkey who wants me?” WilyKit shuddered.
“Well, he is attracted to you, but that’s not what I’m talking about.”
“He’s been feeling guilty all this time for helping Slythe to tie up you and the Warrior Maidens that night. I’ve had to listen to him babble over and over about it for a week now, and he’s driving me crazy. Do me a favor and tell him he’s forgiven or something? Please?”
WilyKit was taken aback by this. “Umm… I… I can’t believe I’m even considering that. He’s chased me for all this time because of a bad feeling? I don’t buy it!”
Jackalman sighed, shook his head, and walked back. “Suit yourself, but I have to live with him.”
WilyKit thought it over. Maybe Jackalman was telling the truth… she never heard him talk like that before, and it was weird—especially after all those years as an enemy. She looked at Monkian, who was now staring at her while he was picking the children off himself. He wore a sad look that made WilyKit wonder, but she wanted nothing to do with him. She quickly turned away and joined her brother as they started to walk back to Thundera City with the party of children and teenagers.
The party of Thundercats and former captives caught up with the others who had left the first encampment earlier. They were resting at a thundryllium mine which was strangely silent. ThunderManx started looking through the equipment shed and noticed all the portable laser cutters were there. He held one up and said, “Well, at least they’re not using these things.”
WildKat muttered, “Small comfort.”
WilyKit gave him a half-smile of agreement. “So…” She looked at the crowd of children and teenagers that represented all of Thundera City. “We’ll scout ahead for trouble, all of you stay behind us, okay?”
Several of the children started crying as the older ones tried to comfort them. This whole scene was unnerving to everyone, and the sooner they started walking again, the better.
ThunderManx hooked his armor up to a mining laser charger and smiled as the lightning bolt designs on his armor started lighting up, indicating that his personal defense system was restored. He unhooked himself, raised his voice, and picked up the broken branch he was using as a weapon. “Okay, let’s go… hey, hold on a second…”
ThunderManx smiled and disappeared into the mine. WilyKit and WildKat looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. ThunderManx emerged from the mine carrying an unconscious Jackal Mutant over his shoulder. He was soon followed by seven people who were being held prisoner inside.
WilyKit, WildKat, and Trameea were all smiles as they recognized the former prisoners. Trameea almost had a squeal in her voice. “Those are the murder victims!”
WildKat said, “They sure are but… what about the remains we saw? The crime scene pictures?” he shuddered slightly as he recalled that one night: “The blood?”
WilyKit scratched her chin and gave her brother a funny look. “Certainly it didn’t cross your mind that Seph-Ra has the ability to fake stuff like that? She has lots of power and a sick mind to back it up.”
WildKat nodded and thought about the goals of the Ancient Spirits of Evil. “I’ll bet she’s under orders not to kill anyone, because she’s a total psycho!”
Jackalman whispered under his breath. “You have no idea, kid.”
The “murder victims” spent a little time relating their stories, which weren’t much to speak of. They all went to sleep in their homes and woke up in that mine inside a steel cage. One of them recalled a dream about being wrapped up like a mummy which pretty much said it all. Two of them were happily reunited with their children.
ThunderManx, WilyKit, WildKat, and Jackalman left together while Trameea, Monkian and the prisoners stayed behind to look after the kids and teens until the situation was resolved. ThunderManx walked slightly ahead, alert for anyone who might try to ambush them. The twins stayed behind Jackalman and always kept him in their sight.
Jackalman smiled, looked sideways at WildKat, and spoke to both of them. “You two still don’t trust me, do you?” He looked forward again and continued to scan ahead as the twins looked at each other and stayed silent. Jackalman said, “Good… nyahh hah hah hah!”
WildKat took that as a personal challenge and picked up his pace until he overtook Jackalman and walked on the path opposite of ThunderManx. He kept looking forward although every fiber of his being was on full alert from their former enemy walking behind him. WilyKit shook her head and held her position. She had nothing to prove to anyone and felt protective towards her brother.
Jackalman had to control himself—he was finding this tension very humorous and almost laughed out loud. He figured he might as well have some fun with it. “Did I tell you that I’m Racina’s uncle?”
WildKat looked back with disbelief. “Huh?”
Jackalman smiled with a glint in his eye. “It’s true! I just found out the other day. She’s the daughter of my sister, who might be alive or dead—I haven’t seen her since I was a cub, but Racina is my niece. Guess what, WilyKat… we’re family! Nyahh hah hah.”
WildKat turned around and stared at Jackalman as he continued walking backwards. “Go to hell! You’re no family of mine!”
Jackalman smiled widely. “Nyahh hah hah hah hah… you first, thunder-brat! Racina’s part of your family… so I am too.”
WilyKit couldn’t stand it anymore. “Will you two shut up?”
Jackalman looked at her sideways and smiled wickedly. “Maybe I will, and maybe I’ll sic Monkian on you.”
WilyKit stopped, growled, and drew an arrow in her bow.
Jackalman stopped walking. “Now what, thunder-kitten? What are you going to do… shoot me? Why don’t you go talk to him? Frankly, I’d rather have you shoot me than go on hearing him whine about ‘Hoo hoo… I didn’t want to tie her up. Hoo hoo… I didn’t want to hurt any Warrior Maidens. Hoo hoo… WilyKit sure is beautiful. Hoo hoo… I got smart enough to leave Slythe. Hoo hoo… I didn’t want to tie her up.’ Shoot me, please!” Jackalman got on his knees, threw his arms wide, and looked towards the sky.
WilyKit shook her head in disgust and resheathed the arrow.
Jackalman started walking again and touched his armband. As he started to shift colors, he said, “Now, if you kids don’t mind, I want to move ahead and do some real scouting. Try not to shoot me in the back.”
WilyKit and WildKat watched Jackalman slowly vanish as he starting running forward. Keeping his eyes on Jackalman’s trail of rising dust, he dropped back and walked with his sister.
“Is it true? Is he Racina’s uncle?”
“Yeah, Trameea told me all about it. She’s got a locket with a picture of Jackalman’s parents, and he somehow got them to release Racina.”
“She’s not being held with the other Thundercats? Umm… if they are being held.” WildKat started to worry.
“She’s back at home, I guess.”
“I don’t like this, Kit: there’s something fishy about Jackalman.”
WilyKit gave him a look of dismissal and walked ahead a little. “So what else is new?”
A receiver beeped on Seph-Ra’s wrist, waking her. She growled in frustration as she willed her sarcophagus to slide open. She walked towards the cauldron and spoke to no one in general. “Disturbing my beauty sleep makes for a short life.”
Waving her hand over the foul bubbling liquid, she willed the cauldron to show who was trying to contact her. A nervous thunderian showed up on the screen against the background of the control room of the Cat’s Lair. “S… Seph-Ra?”
Seph-Ra’s eyes flared up in irritation. “Spit it out, and fast!”
“Y… yes. The twins are back, and they have released all the prisoners.”
Seph-Ra’s eyes flashed a red so bright she briefly saw reflections they made on the cauldron’s waters. “What? How long ago?”
The thunderian stammered, “I… I don’t know. I just now detected them. They’re headed this way!”
Seph-Ra looked up at the eyes of the giant statues surrounding the cauldron. She was confused… she knew they would have warned her the moment the twin Thundercats had returned. Growling with disgust, she glared into the cauldron and gave the thunderian a look that made him cringe. She switched to a view of Jagrow, who was in the lair’s gym.
Jagrow suddenly stopped his workout as he saw a transparent image of Seph-Ra floating in the air across from him. “What is it, hon?”
“The bastards are back, and they broke everyone out!”
Jagrow stiffened. “What? How? Dammit!” He ran towards the control room.
Deep inside the lair’s holding cell, Tygra and Cheetara collapsed against each other. Cheetara looked into Tygra’s eyes and said, “That was all the strength I had—the kittens will have to fend for themselves now.”
“Don’t worry my love, they’re not kittens anymore. We did what we could.” The others looked worried as Tygra and Cheetara passed out together from using their combined mental abilities to hide the approach and activities of WilyKit, WildKat, and the others.
WilyKit, WildKat, and ThunderManx cautiously left the forest and entered the outskirts of Thundera City. They were all on edge because everything was dead silent. They heard no vehicles, no voices, no machinery, and no music… it was as if the city had died while they were away. WildKat pointed out a small farmhouse where they all saw a lone panther woman working in her garden. As they approached, they could see she was crying to herself.
WildKat approached the distraught woman and asked, “What happened to everyone?”
She looked up at him and sniffed. “Dead… all… dead.”
WilyKit’s expression spoke of sadness, helplessness, and confusion. “Who’s dead?”
The woman buried her face in her hands and sobbed, “My… boys. Seph-Ra killed them.” She looked up into the trio’s saddened faces and screamed with new tears in her eyes. “She killed all the children!”
ThunderManx shook his head and knelt in front of her. “They’re not dead, they were with us in the forest. Our friends are protecting them.”
“No! I saw it happen… we all saw it happen! Lord Jagrow cried at the podium and issued a proclamation… we all need to renew our families and… and… rebuild New Thundera again. I would but… my husband died last year and… and…” she trailed off into a wailing cry. She threw her arms around ThunderManx and sobbed against his chest. ThunderManx looked at WilyKit and WildKat with white-hot anger in his eyes. The three of them were starting to understand what Seph-Ra and Jagrow were doing to their countrymen, and they silently agreed those two would pay dearly.
The three Thundercats cut across the outskirts of Thundera City and approached Cat’s Lair. They could see it was surrounded by thunderians armed with laser pistols and other assorted weapons.
WilyKit was concerned. “How are we supposed to get past them? There’s too many of them, and it’s all open ground.”
WildKat scanned the scene—there seemed to be at least fifty of them patrolling the area, and there was no way they could leave their cover without being spotted. “I don’t think we can do anything… this wind makes our pellets useless too—not that we have much left after our trip to Third Earth.”
ThunderManx growled, “We have to free the others somehow! Why don’t we go back to my house so I can get my pike, and you can get more pellets.”
WilyKit said, “Yes… let’s do that. Besides, I’m dying to know if Racina is okay.”
With that, the trio started taking the long way around Thundera City. The houses they walked past weren’t empty but they were silent. The three of them wore saddened expressions as they walked past one house where they could hear the sound of a couple crying together.
ThunderManx’s face twisted with rage as he drove the end of his branch into the ground, shattering two-thirds of it. “Rrrrrah! I can’t stand this anymore!”
The three of them stiffened as they heard a familiar voice say, “You won’t have to much longer… ahh hahahahahahahahahaaaa!”
ThunderManx held up what remained of his tree branch, now a sharp wooden dagger, and roared with rage. “Seph-Ra! Quit hiding and face us, you witch!”
WildKat activated his launchers, but there were only a few itching and one explosive pellet left. WilyKit had two itching pellets and plenty of arrows left. They all growled as a silver sphere materialized in front of them. It was about a foot in diameter—the size of a snarfball, but it certainly wasn’t a harmless plaything. It floated at chest-level and whined as it spun around at extremely high speed—violating the air surrounding it. If it wasn’t for that sound, they wouldn’t have known it was spinning: it looked like a perfectly stationary polished ball.
Seph-Ra’s withered face appeared on the ball as a reflection, making the trio glance behind them only to find she wasn’t there. She spoke again from the sphere. “Why, I’m not hiding—you know where to find me. Too bad you’ll never get that far. Meet the Soul Scythe: I designed it myself, just for you. Ahh hahahahahahaaaaa!” Her eyes flashed a bright red just before her image and laughter faded out, leaving the sphere spinning madly in space.
The whining suddenly became a metallic whistling as several thin wires snaked out of the sphere. They were invisible, but the trio knew they were there. The pitch of the whistle dropped for a moment, then started climbing as it accelerated to an insane speed like a giant angry hornet. The whistling sound soon became a metallic scream that penetrated to the bone. Dust and pieces of debris started whipping around and the thunderians could feel an unholy wind coming from the evil machination. WildKat narrowly escaped as the sphere suddenly flew straight at him and crashed through the barn behind him with a loud popping sound. It disappeared in what looked like a cloud of dust that settled in a strange pattern.
WildKat’s eyes widened as he realized the dust was “sawdust” made by the ball punching its way through the barn wall. He shuddered as he began to see the three-foot-wide spherical hole that was made in that moment.
Another punching sound on the far side of the barn was heard, making everyone dive for cover. WilyKit crouched behind an old brick well and brought her bow forward, wondering if it would do any good. ThunderManx edged around the corner of a milk shed, wishing he had his weapon. His energy pike was very powerful. His father was a highly skilled fighter, even more so than Panthro, but it was the pike that his enemies feared the most.
WildKat got an idea and ran towards WilyKit. WilyKit was clearly upset—not only because there was a dangerous ball-thing flying around with the intent of shredding them, but also because her brother was giving away their positions.
WildKat’s eyes were wide with fear as he quickly breathed, “Where’s Manx?”
WilyKit frowned and quickly motioned her head towards the milk shed as she held an explosive arrow in her bow, ready to fire.
WildKat’s eyes went wide again as he heard the metallic scream behind him. The sphere rose above the rooftop and aligned itself so its axis was pointing directly at him.
In her pyramid, Seph-Ra laughed as she saw the image of WildKat in her cauldron starting to run for the shed. “I have you now!” Seph-Ra waved her hands, commanding the sphere to fly towards him. “Oh, this is much more fun than the flight-trainers back on Plundarr… ahhh ha ha haaaaa!”
WildKat ran as fast as he could, nearly slipping as he rounded the corner of the shed. WilyKit’s heart skipped a beat and her adrenal glands went into overdrive as the sphere suddenly lurched forward, flying right over her. There was a sharp metallic shredding as the sphere rounded the shed’s corner, neatly gouging out a six-inch depression as it passed.
Inside the shed, ThunderManx wheeled around with a steel bar he had found. He felt the adrenaline rush through his system when he saw the hole in the corner that the passing sphere created. He looked at the wall as he followed the sound of the sphere outside and jumped when he saw WildKat dive in through the door. WildKat ran to ThunderManx’s side and looked quickly around the shed. He spotted a spool of baling wire and immediately began to unravel it.
Outside, the sphere hovered for a few moments, re-oriented itself, and quickly sped up again. WildKat was too busy throwing wire around to notice, so ThunderManx quickly tackled him to the floor just as the sphere came through the wall effortlessly. It flew through the shed and punched an identical hole in the opposite wall.
ThunderManx quickly got to his feet, hauling the startled WildKat up with him. “What are you doing?”
WildKat spoke between adrenaline-fueled breaths. “No time… hook this to your armor!”
ThunderManx wasn’t sure this was a good idea as he took the end of the wire and pressed it into a hidden terminal on his electric armor.
WildKat broke off the other end of the wire and offered it to ThunderManx. “Here… tie that to that bar.”
“This is crazy!”
“You got a better idea?”
The two Thundercats’ eyes widened as they heard the sphere approaching again. ThunderManx quickly tied the wire and dove to the floor just as the sphere made another pass through the side of the shed. WildKat was standing in a corner and saw the sphere enter at ground level this time.
ThunderManx rolled, barely getting out of the way. WildKat leaped forward and barely managed to clear the sphere as it sped underneath him and exited again. ThunderManx and WildKat looked at one another, breathing rapidly. They silently agreed that staying in there was inviting death.
WilyKit felt she had to do something, but all she had was arrows and a couple of itching pellets. If she distracted the sphere, she would be defenseless against it. She thought about jumping into the well as a last resort, but it was wide enough for the sphere to travel down unhindered. She resigned herself to feeling useless in this situation and hoped they would fare better.
ThunderManx nearly tripped as part of the wire he was holding caught on the shed door. Panicking, he managed to free it as the sphere swung around the side of the shed. He quickly hurled the makeshift spear and switched on his armor as it found its mark. The rod created a small dent and some sparks flew as his armor discharged, but the sphere was unharmed. He quickly unhooked the other end of the wire and ran with WildKat towards the shed with the ball in hot pursuit.
WilyKit swore under her breath as they passed her… now she too had to run. The three of them dove through the hole in the side of the barn and hid behind some hay bales.
WildKat was dripping with nervous sweat as he stammered, “Now what?”
As if in answer to his question, the sphere punched through the wall in front of them on the other side. It hovered and kept spinning at a blinding speed. Seph-Ra’s voice came through loud and clear. “I’m finished fooling around with you… goodbye!”
ThunderManx and WilyKit could easily jump back out, but WildKat was too far away to make it. Desperately, WilyKit tried to distract the sphere with her last two itching powder pellets and an arrow. All were instantly shredded and dispersed by the air currents around the spinning nightmare at the other end of the barn.
Just as it started winding up for another attack, a bright red line appeared around the sphere’s equator. WildKat got up and ran for the door as the sphere started to vibrate uncontrollably. He just managed to clear the doorway as the sphere flew apart, wires and metal shards blossoming in all directions. WilyKit gasped and jumped when a long shard suddenly appeared a few feet away from her, sticking out from the barn’s wall.
The trio took a moment to catch their breath, then jumped as a disembodied voice appeared behind them.
“You kids are dumber than you look…”
WildKat shouted, “Jackalman!”
“The one and only… now, there were plenty of laser pistols back there. Why didn’t you take them?”
ThunderManx and WildKat looked at each other for a long moment and WilyKit growled as she put an arrow back in her quiver.
“Never thought of it, huh? I thought not. You Thundercats have so much to learn.”
WildKat was about to say something but decided against it. Jackalman did make a good point. He could see the same thought was going through ThunderManx’s mind. His energy pike had much more power than his armor, and could melt rock if needed… but he didn’t have it. Taking their pistols didn’t cross his mind either, and he looked furious about not thinking of it at the time.
ThunderManx shrugged his shoulders and sighed. “I guess we do, Jackalman. So, are we going back to my place, or are we waiting for Seph-Ra to make another one of her nasty toys?”
Jackalman smiled invisibly. It was simply too much fun pointing out these young Thundercats’ mistakes… certainly more satisfying than pointing out Slythe’s and Vultureman’s foibles. Slythe only had his temper, and Vultureman always blamed someone or something else. These kids might be annoying, but at least they listen, and they squirm! “So, what are you brats waiting for? Let’s get moving. Nyahh hahahahahaaa!”
Back in her pyramid, Seph-Ra screamed out of frustration. She had expended much energy creating her “ultimate toy,” and now had to rest. She waved her hands over the cauldron once again and contacted Jackrow.
Jackrow and several of his men stopped as Seph-Ra’s image floated before them.
“You only took a few? They’re headed towards their houses! Damn the Moons of Plundarr… I have to sleep! You had better cut them off… or else!”
Jackrow and his men breathed a sigh of relief as her image faded. Jackrow knew her all to well… he might have been her lover, but that wouldn’t stop her from hanging him from her pyramid if he failed her. He immediately called for most of his followers on the communicator.
Jackrow looked at the men who accompanied him. “Well, you heard her. Let’s double-time it to the panther’s house!”
WilyKit and WildKat landed the spaceboard they were sharing in front of ThunderManx’s house. ThunderManx landed WilyKit’s board with some hesitation; he was not used to travelling this way.
WilyKit, WildKat, and ThunderManx were enthusiastically greeted by a frightened Racina who came running across from her house at full speed. WildKat hugged her very tightly as ThunderManx retrieved his energy pike from a hidden compartment in his bed.
WilyKit said, “Okay, we’re here… now what? We can’t just go back and break out the others… if they’re in the lair, and we can’t just attack Seph-Ra’s pyramid.”
WildKat looked up and broke the hug with Racina. “Oh, yes we will—I’ve had it with that freakin’ mummy!”
“I don’t like this at all, brother…”
ThunderManx emerged from his bedroom holding his weapon at his side. “I’m with Kat. She’s done so much damage, and mostly for the fun of it. Judging from the way Jagrow’s troops are deployed, I’d say they’re expecting us to hit the lair first. I say we attack the mummy first. WilyKit, you said all you have to do is drop that crystal-thing in her pool, right?”
WilyKit had a worried look on her face. “Yes…”
WildKat finished ThunderManx’s thought. “Then let’s do it, we have the element of surprise!”
ThunderManx whipped his pike around his hands a few times, then swung it behind him. The clamps on the back of his armor clicked and grabbed the weapon. He smiled as the lightning bolt designs glowed with new life. He activated his armor’s defenses and smiled wider as electrical arcs started travelling up the designs: ready to administer a nasty jolt to anyone foolish enough to touch him. He switched the armor off and rubbed one of the now-glowing designs with his fingertips. “If only dad was here to see this.”
Racina said, “What am I going to do?”
WildKat replied with a soothing voice, “Just stay here, please? You’ll be okay. Jackalman somehow arranged for you to be set free, I don’t think they’ll be coming for you.”
“But… I’m scared!”
“Yeah, we are too…” WildKat looked up at his sister, unsure of how to handle this.
WilyKit took her cue. “Racina, go back to our house. The basement is big, and it has lots of old junk. It’s not a target like this house, and there’s many places to hide. Just… stay calm, ‘kay?”
Racina hugged WilyKit and sniffed. “‘Kay. I’ll just hang out with Terri and Torrie.”
The others had blank looks.
Racina looked confused. “The Tabby Twins?”
WilyKit shook her head and said, “Yeah, you’ll be safe with them.”
Racina couldn’t help feeling like WilyKit had spoken to her as if she was talking about imaginary friends. She shook her head—the Tabby Twins didn’t seem to exist in the thunderians’ minds once they were out of range.
WildKat led the four of them out the back door and started his spaceboard up. “Come on, Kit… ride with me. Manx? Use her board again—we gotta get this over with now!”
“No need, buddy.”
WilyKit and WildKat looked at each other oddly as ThunderManx ran back into the house. He emerged carrying a smaller plain black spaceboard.
WildKat smiled and laughed. “Holding out on us, huh?”
ThunderManx grinned sheepishly. “Well, I’m not that big on these things, but since I made your boards I couldn’t let you have all the fun. This is the prototype.” He started his board up, which made a harsher metallic sound than the twins’ boards. The twins followed suit and started theirs. Racina’s eyes started tearing up as the trio jumped on their spaceboards and prepared to take off.
Racina yelled over the deep humming that the boards produced. “Be careful!”
WildKat shouted, “We will. You be careful too, huh? See you soon, little sister!”
Racina nodded and ran towards the house she shared with WilyKit, Trameea, and the Tabby Twins.
The trio rose above the rooftops, only to be met with laser fire. They immediately ducked and navigated between the houses near ground level. WildKat was unsteady from having to make this sudden change of course, but he managed to keep his balance as he looked behind himself to see roughly ten armed thunderians being led by Jagrow. He wanted to launch a few itching pellets at them, but he was about to round a corner and didn’t want to lose his balance. He swore he’d make Jagrow pay for what he was doing.
Jagrow stopped and screamed in frustration. Seph-Ra would probably have his hide for this. “Rrrrrrgh! Now we’re stuck until the others get here.”
WilyKit, WildKat, and ThunderManx reached the edge of town and switched their boards to full speed. They had some distance to cover, and were afraid of what awaited them in the black pyramid. WilyKit looked nervously at the others, and they returned her unspoken concerns. This was the only shot they’d get… if it failed, they would have evil on one side, a misguided army on the other, and no one else to help.
As they neared the pyramid, Seph-Ra was awakened with a nasty jolt. Her sarcophagus opened quickly, and she nearly tumbled out on the stone floor. She gasped as she righted herself and looked up at the Ancient Spirits of Evil. Their eyes were glowing a bright yellow, something she hadn’t seen before. “What is it, my masters?” She didn’t like to call anyone her master, but with all the power they had given her along with the potential for eternal life, she couldn’t complain. To her, they were gods, and she was grateful to them, even if they didn’t allow her to go on a thunderian killing spree as she wanted. Maybe they wouldn’t mind if she killed those three meddlers whom, at that moment, were approaching fast. It would certainly be easier than trying to figure out a way to subdue them. She smiled wickedly as she thought to herself, “maybe I’ll just dismember them a bit.”
The four spirits within the statues spoke in an unholy chorus of long-dead voices which gave her a thrill to hear. “It is time… you must stop them!”
“But masters, I have almost no strength…” Her words were cut short as bright yellow beams from the eyes of the four statues suddenly hit her, causing her to scream and double over in pain.
“You will now transform, Seph-Ra! They must be stopped at all costs!”
Seph-Ra clenched her teeth together as the power flowed through her too quickly, freezing her in a kneeling position with her palms on the floor. She tried to scream for her masters to stop, but she couldn’t. In the space of a few seconds, she was fully restored by the energy reserves of the spirits. When she regained enough control over her body to look up, she stared into the four faces of her masters towering over her in their spirit forms. Now that they were no longer wearing their calm stone faces, she could see expressions which told tales of urgency and even a little fear. She wondered how those three posed such a serious threat, but she had no desire to question it. Her priority was to protect them at all costs… because they were the reason she was alive, and would continue to be so long after the star that shone upon Thundera burned itself out.
“Ancient Spirits of Evil… trans…” her words were cut short as semi-solid spirit hands grabbed and lifted her over the cauldron. There was no time for ritual or pleasantries—the spirits were going to part with a good portion of their own strength, and they wanted to waste no time doing it. Seph-Ra instinctively drew and held her breath when they dropped her into the cauldron. She tried to close her eyes, but she no longer had eyes in the classic sense. Her red orbs glowed out of fear for a moment as she hit the surface.
Under the magic-infused water, she could see the source of her power at the bottom… a large, bright red tetrahedral crystal which had the power to bend space and time. Oh, to be able to get inside of it, to command that tremendous power, but it was the spirits’ power to control—not hers. The crystal suddenly lit up with a blinding light, and she felt its power flowing all around her. She suddenly knew what she had to do.
Fighting off the instinctive urge for self-preservation, Seph-Ra released the breath she was holding. It was a futile gesture anyway—she wasn’t really alive, but her instincts tried to tell her otherwise. She shuddered as she inhaled the cauldron’s waters and felt the crystal’s malevolent force flowing through her. She threw her head back and laughed silently under the surface as she felt the force building inside her: many times stronger than what she was used to receiving from her masters. She felt her body rapidly decay and crumble away as a newer form of herself emerged from within. She felt like she could do anything.
WilyKit, WildKat, and ThunderManx approached the pyramid with almost no idea how to proceed. They knew what had to be done to stop the Ancient Spirits of Evil, but thinking about it and doing it were two different things.
The three Thundercats felt their breaths freeze in their lungs as a gigantic version of Seph-Ra materialized outside her pyramid. She didn’t look in their direction however. She was busy looking over her own body, obviously entranced by how big it was: she towered over her pyramid. After flexing the muscles in her right arm a couple times, her smile changed to a more sinister form as she formed a fireball in her hand. She casually looked up and launched the fireball at the three interlopers.
All three easily dodged the fireball, but it split behind them to become three. WilyKit was the first to see them and wheeled around on her spaceboard. She quickly fired an arrow, but it only made the fireball wobble off course before it picked up speed and made a beeline for her. ThunderManx twisted the grips of his energy pike slightly, causing it to charge up. He blasted the first fireball and the one that was headed for WildKat. He skewered the last fireball which was heading for him. He shouted as residual energy from the fireball flowed over his arms, burning him slightly.
WildKat looked back towards the pyramid. “Hey! Where did she go?” The others looked around nervously. This was not good! Suddenly, three different Seph-Ra’s appeared in front of them. WildKat had to change course quickly to avoid hitting the copy of her that had materialized in front of him.
Split up, the three copies of Seph-Ra pursued their prey. WildKat fired an explosive pellet at his, but the pellet merely passed through her and exploded harmlessly on the ground.
WilyKit tried firing an arrow at the copy that was chasing her, but it also passed through her. She yelled, “Hey, these are illusions!”
ThunderManx fired his energy pike at the third copy and glanced back at WilyKit. When he looked back, Seph-Ra said, “Not all illusions…” and deflected his energy bolt back at him. ThunderManx screamed as the energy from his own pike shocked and sent him tumbling off of his space board to land hard on the ground.
The other copies of Seph-Ra vanished, leaving the one giant standing over the fallen ThunderManx. She raised her hands and laughed as they glowed a bright red, ready to vaporize the struggling panther. WildKat shouted at her as he tried to change his course to distract her, but his panic caused him to lose his balance, sending him into the side of the pyramid. WildKat and spaceboard both tumbled down the black pyramid face before they came to rest in the surrounding sand.
Seph-Ra suddenly shouted as the collective voice of the Ancient Spirits of Evil filled her head. “No! You will not kill him! He will have strong offspring.” Seph-Ra muttered under her breath at her masters. She sent a weaker bolt of red lightning through ThunderManx, making him scream and lose consciousness.
Seph-Ra asked about the other two but her masters remained silent. She supposed that whatever their evil long-range plan was, it involved the twins’ descendents also. She would still try to kill them, only letting the spirits get in her way if it came to that.
Seph-Ra was brought out of her reverie by small explosions coming from her pyramid. WildKat was on his feet trying to blast his way inside. Seph-Ra knew the pyramid was in no danger, but she was angered nevertheless. She started running at full speed towards WildKat.
WilyKit hovered briefly over ThunderManx. She was relieved to see that he was breathing and took off for the pyramid. She started to feel the strange power rising within her again. It was something she felt after… after Mumm-Rana sacrificed herself to save her life! The thought of Mumm-Rana triggered something in her memory and in the power. She suddenly understood what she had to do.
WildKat was cursing at the doorway into the pyramid. His explosive pellets were having no effect, and Seph-Ra, still in her giant form, was shaking the ground as she ran towards him. He fired off a few itching pellets towards her face, but she waved her hand and made them disappear before they could explode. WildKat looked around: there was no way to escape the approaching giant, save for his spaceboard. He whistled to it, and was relieved to see it was still functioning. He jumped on it, and quickly punched the throttle to full speed.
Seph-Ra curled the corner of her mouth into an evil half-smile as she sent out another bolt of red energy which hit WildKat, sending his board flying like a missile and sending his unconscious body into the ground.
WilyKit heard her brother scream on the other side of the pyramid, but she kept her attention focused on the doorway under her slender hands. She felt Mumm-Rana’s force unlocking the black pyramid.
Seph-Ra suddenly gripped her head in pain as her masters forcefully turned her attention to the far side of the pyramid where the real threat was making a forced entry into their sanctuary.
Seph-Ra cursed and sent out a powerful bolt of red lightning towards her, but to no avail. WilyKit was already inside. Seph-Ra cursed again and teleported herself back inside to stop her.
In the gloom of the entryway, WilyKit could barely see in front of herself. She had been in this pyramid before, and she knew it well. The adrenaline that flowed through her body every time she had to visit this evil place and the one back on Third Earth had burned the passageways into her memory. She could find her way blindfolded. Her eyes finally adjusted to the darkness, only to be plunged into further darkness as the doorway she had forced open with Mumm-Rana’s essence closed behind her. She felt almost sick from the excessive adrenaline pumping through her system as her heart raced inside her chest. The energy that flowed through her didn’t help either.
She sank against the wall and stifled her nervous breathing as she finally saw the inner chamber. She couldn’t see the eyes of the statues from where she was, but she could see the bright yellow glow diffused on their stone bodies. She somehow knew it was the color of panic: the Ancient Spirits of Evil were afraid of her, and that made them much more dangerous. She realized they couldn’t see her because of Mumm-Rana’s energy within, but they knew she was somewhere between the door and the interior.
WilyKit gasped in surprise as a force field suddenly appeared at the end of the tunnel. Seph-Ra shrunk down to her “normal” nine-foot warrior size and peered into the tunnel ahead. She laughed wickedly as she spotted WilyKit fifty feet into the tunnel. “Well, well… you’ve come so far, yet gained nothing. Know what we do to our enemies in space? Aaaaahahahahahahahaaaa!”
WilyKit’s panic reached deeper as she realized the air was starting to get thin. Looking around, she knew she’d never survive unless she somehow got through that force field. She ran towards Seph-Ra, but each step became less steady than the last. She felt a terrible pressure from inside her eardrums as she tried to equalize her inner ears by swallowing and going through quick yawning motions. She tripped and fell four feet from the force field. Gasping for breath, she felt like her body was starting to inflate. Digging into the last of her reserves, she got to one foot and hurled herself blindly at the force field. As she had hoped, the essence of Mumm-Rana acted like a key, breaking the force field as though it were a giant soap bubble. She shouted as all the pressure returned, making a loud boom that reverberated throughout the passageways of the black pyramid.
Lying on her side, now deaf from the reversed pressure inside her ears, she looked up at Seph-Ra, who had a look of disbelief on her canine face. WilyKit slowly got to her feet, felt her ears pop uncomfortably, and called upon the energy that was inside her.
She calmly drew an arrow as a blue aura started rising from her, illuminating the inside of the pyramid with a dim glow. All the adrenaline faded away as well as the hammering of her heart. Everything slowed down in this silent moment, where she felt all of the energy inside her from Mumm-Rana flowing into the head of her arrow.
Seph-Ra fired off a blast, but it was like slow motion to WilyKit, who easily dodged out of the way. She brought her bow and arrow around and released it. The arrow sliced slowly through the air, leaving a bluish trail behind it. Seph-Ra’s eyes went wide as she tried to get out of its way, but wasn’t fast enough. The arrow pierced the spot below her collarbone where it met her shoulder.
Seph-Ra howled in pain as the blue energy spread throughout her body, robbing it of most of its energy. Seph-Ra realized this was a nastier version of the blue orb that Lion-o had tried to use against her earlier, only to find that “Jagrow” wasn’t her. She screamed with equal halves of pain and frustration as she felt all of her extra energy being sucked out of her. Her bandages materialized around her and wrapped her up as she shrunk down to her normal mummy status. She wished she hadn’t given up her mortal form at that moment, because as a normal jackal she was quite strong. She was dependent on her pyramid and masters, and right now that wasn’t a good thing.
The air inside suddenly grew hotter and the eyes of the four statues glowed a blinding white. WilyKit immediately knew what was happening: the Ancient Spirits of Evil were using the strength they’ve been gathering for many millenia to attempt to stop her. She closed one hand around the crystal in her pouch and ran for the cauldron.
As she approached, the statues expanded, sloughing off large chunks of rock. It was as if four morbid butterflies were emerging from their chrysali. As giant living beings, the four ancients were far uglier than Ventack was. Their skin was a reddish mottled yellow, and their eyes glowed a deep ruby red. WilyKit wanted to stare into those magnetic eyes, but she resisted and started dodging white-hot blasts of energy which punched through the stones around her.
She made a mad dash for the cauldron, only to be cut off by a quickly-erected force field. Now, she was pinned between it, and the four god-like beings that slowly walked around to cut her off. They all looked down at her, breathing in hot, fetid blasts of air that stank of millions of deaths over millions of years. She had no more of Mumm-Rana’s energy left, so the force field might as well have been a brick wall.
WilyKit drew her breath and withdrew the crystal from her pouch. She touched it to the force field, causing it to warp around it. The four giant figures screamed in unison as they tried to rush at her. She pushed the crystal all the way through and heard a satisfying splash as it hit the cauldron’s waters. The four ancients fell over each other, as it had been many thousands of years since they last had to walk as mortals. WilyKit bolted for the door and barely missed being punched all the way through by a white beam from one of the ancients. Seph-Ra was standing, staggering in the tunnel opening. She blocked the exit route in her lesser mummified form—holding an old ceremonial knife in one withered hand. If she was going to die, she would take this Thundercat with her.
WilyKit tried to run around her, but Seph-Ra dug her claws into WilyKit’s arm and swung at her with the knife. Screaming, WilyKit knocked the knife out of her free hand, then punched Seph-Ra repeatedly on the side of her head while shouting, “I… have… had… enough… of…” WilyKit freed her arm and backed up a little bit while Seph-Ra reeled, trying to hold herself up. WilyKit screamed at a volume she didn’t know she could achieve: “YOU!!!” WilyKit ran forward, leapt, and spun around backwards in a spinning heel-kick that would have been the envy of any martial-arts expert on any planet. Her foot connected solidly, separating Seph-Ra’s head from her torso with a crunch.
WilyKit hunched over with her hands on her upper thighs, panting. Nervous sweat dripped from her forehead and matted her hair against it. She was shocked at seeing Seph-Ra’s head, still very animated but with a shocked expression, rolling down the tunnel. The rest of Seph-Ra’s body collapsed, but her hands were still moving. WilyKit could see that her head was commanding her body to crawl towards it. She hunched lower and looked back at the interior chamber. One of the ancients was desperately trying to fish out the crystal, but was rewarded by his arm burning up from the energy that was starting to be released from the two crystals merging at the bottom of the cauldron. The stone of the pyramid began to glow, fed by golden energy that was weaving its way up from the cauldron. The floor started to vibrate, getting louder and louder.
Realizing what was happening, WilyKit ran outside as quickly as her feet could carry her. She was greeted by a battered WildKat and ThunderManx who quickly scooped her up as she happily collapsed in their arms. She moaned, “Move move move… get away… full speeeeeeed…”
ThunderManx, having regained more of his strength, lifted WilyKit over his shoulder and fired up his space board. WildKat had lost his board, but was able to find his sister’s to escape on. They glanced at the pyramid to see a strange yellowish aura growing around it. The aura solidified like an airtight coating over the surface of the pyramid. The energy trapped within the pyramid and spires made the stone start to glow… at first a dull red, but it soon became a blinding white. The three Thundercats sped along on their space boards at high speed as a blinding white flash appeared behind them. The trio on two boards descended into the canyon that the Great River ran through and huddled against each other on the ground just as the shockwave passed by overhead. The boom was deafening, and lasted an unnaturally long time.
WilyKit was the first to look up. They were all covered with a layer of dirt and small rocks. They stumbled to their feet, brushing themselves. WilyKit looked at the blood on her arm where Seph-Ra had grabbed her, then towards the clean water and started undressing herself. ThunderManx glanced her way and was a little shocked, but he was too exhausted to care. He and WildKat looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and started removing their own armor and suits. After all, it wasn’t that long ago they didn’t need clothing to cover their fur. The three Thundercats spent the next two hours relaxing and nursing their wounds in the cool water of the river.