Hi everyone, guess what I'm still alive. I'm sorry it took so long to for this chapter to come out. Life and school completely took over my life. That being said I do plan on continuing the story, but I can't guarantee an update schedule. Thanks for being patient. Now onto the thing everyone really cares about, the next chapter.
The cage I was trapped in was wheeled by several Tamaranean guards through a winding hallway until we came upon an ornately carved door. The scene on the door appeared to depict several Tamaraneans fighting against several alien monsters, or it could have been a picture of penguins doing the limbo. But my money's on the former. Two of the guards opened the door before the rest of them wheeled my cage into a spacious room. I was wheeled into the centre of the room before the guards turned around and left. I looked around in the hope of finding something that might help me escape, but the only things in the room were several oddly shaped pieces of furniture.
I sat down on the floor of the cage and began to think. Why did Blackfire capture me and decide to keep me as a pet? Why was there an ectopuss on another planet? Why couldn't I phase through the bars of the cage? As I pondered the questions I suddenly heard a noise that broke me from my thoughts. It came from my cellmate the ectopuss who was currently staring me down.
"What do you want?" I asked it. The only response I got was a hopeful gurgle. "I'm sorry but I can't escape either." The ectopuss looked down in disappointment. "Don't worry; I'm sure I'll think of something." The ectopuss raised his head and let out a happy gurgle. I continued to think for a few minutes but I couldn't come up with anything. Turning to the ectopuss I asked "You have any ideas?" The only response I got was a blank stare. "Come on this is a partnership, I can't do everything myself". Still just a blank stare. "What if I gave you some incentive?" Finally a response, even if it was just a small gurgle. "What if I gave you a name?" The ectopus gave a small nod and bubbled happily. "What about Phanton, It's a mixture of Phantom and Anton?" I'm pretty sure it didn't like that name since I was now on the receiving end of a glare. It then turned away from me with an indignant look on its face. Was I seriously getting the cold shoulder from an ectopuss of all things? "Fine I just thought being a ghost you'd want something to do with ghosts in your name." Silence. "What about Spencer? It kind of sounds like spectre." More silence. "Fine then if you want some boring name like Fred, be my guest." At the mention of the name the ectopuss spun around and looked at me hopefully. "Seriously, that's the name you like." Now it was giving me the ectopuss version of the puppy dog eyes. "Fine, if you really want to be named Fred" I said reluctantly. The newly christened Fred let out a happy coo.
Suddenly my eyes felt heavy and I let out a loud yawn. The crazy day and my many sleepless nights must be catching up with me. "Well Fred, I'm beat, so I'm going to sleep on the whole escape plan thing and we'll see what we can do tomorrow." Fred let out a soft gurgle of agreement as I lay down. I closed my eyes and was instantly asleep.
It happened again, I'm back in the cave with Slade. He goes through his routine of taunting me before transforming into the grotesque skeleton. It wasn't until I was being dragged into the burning portal that something changed. As I struggled against the multiply bony arms, I felt gravity shift. The next thing I knew I was flung through the air before landing hard on my back. I only had a second to look around and realize I was stuck against the ceiling before I saw a giant pile of bones flying towards me. I was only able to get out a strangle shout before I was buried.
I opened my eyes to find myself in a very similar situation to the one I was in a few seconds ago. I was airborne and moving headfirst towards one of the walls of my cage. My head collided with one of the bars with a dull thud before I landed ungracefully on the ground. Grabbing my head in pain I sat up and looked over to see Blackfire glaring at me with an irritated look on her face and her arm outstretched.
"Jeez could you be any louder," she complained. "You're loud enough to wake the Gorfbarg."
"Loud enough to wake the what now? You know what I don't want to know." With that Blackfire turned to leave. Seeing a chance to finally figure out what was going on, I called out to her. "Wait a second". Blackfire stopped and turned to face me with a look of curiosity. "Why are you holding me here? I'm pretty sure you really don't want me as a pet, do you? Also, why is there an ectopus here on a different planet?"
She pondered for a few seconds before responding. "I guess I can tell you since it's not like you can tell anyone my plan. And it's such a good plan too, it'd be a shame to not tell you." Blackfire practically gloated. "We'll you see ever since I escaped from Gordanian prison I've been planning my revenge on Starfire. First, I overthrew the previous Grand Ruler and took control of Tamaran. Then I orchestrated it, so we would be on the brink of war with the schlurch of Dranthax 4. Now Starfire is forced to marry Glgrdsklechhh to protect the people of Tamaran, and she will have to live the rest of her life trapped like I was. And as for why you're here well my reconnaissance shows Starfire and her idiot friends go to you for help or advice. I needed to be sure you wouldn't mess up my plan so all it took was the right bait to lure you away and out of the picture." She said with a nod to Fred. "You don't know how long it took to capture that, what do you call it, ectopus. I would have been able to implement my plan earlier if it didn't take so long."
"But why did you do all of this? What has Starfire done to make you hate her this much? She loves you and I'm sure she wouldn't do anything to hurt you." I asked. Apparently, that was the wrong thing to ask since she started shaking in anger.
"You want to know what she did to me. Little miss perfect can do now wrong. She's always been the favourite child. On the day of my birth Tamaran was attacked and many people died. I was blamed for the attack and was treated as an outcast, a pariah even though I am royalty. Not to mention I had a disease that made my body weak when I was a child. But Starfire she had it all, the adoration of our parents and the people of Tamaran, she excelled in everything she did, and she even had my birthright when she was crowned the next RULER OF TAMERAN" Blackfire yelled as she punched the cage in frustration. Taking a few breaths to calm herself, Blackfire continued. "So, you want to know why I hate my sister, it's because she took everything from me. And think that I'd just forgive everything she's done and be one big happy family".
"I understand where you're coming from but – "
"You don't understand anything" Blackfire cut me off, "Do you know what it's like to live in the shadow of someone and no matter what you do, it's never good enough. Have you had the one thing that made you different, made you special torn away from you?"
With that everything started to make sense. Blackfire wasn't a megalomaniac trying to take over her planet, she was a hurt girl trying to reclaim what she lost in the only way she knew how. In a weird way I could relate to her. I have to find some way to help her before what she does ends up blowing up in her face.
"It hurts doesn't it, being ignored by everyone. Having all the attention being shown to your sister while you are forgotten. While I haven't had it as bad I can relate to your situation. Both of my parents are geniuses, even if they're a little eccentric, and my sister is just as smart if not smarter than them. Universities were scouting her since she was a sophomore."
"What is a sofamore?" asked Blackfire.
"It doesn't really matter, I'm just saying she's really smart. Everyone expected me to be some wiz kid as well. It turns I didn't get any of the smart genes and I struggle to pass school. I've been told over and over again that if I was just more like my sister maybe I could make something of myself. But no matter how much I try I can never reach her level" taking a breath I continued. "With such strange parents and being considered an idiot when it came to school, I became the freak and outcast of my school. I didn't have a lot of friends and was constantly bullied."
"Even if you know my pain this doesn't change anything. We aren't magically friends and I'm not going to let you go." Blackfire told me haughtily. "I'm still going through with my plan to destroy Starfire." She started getting up to leave.
"Wait, you didn't let me finish." Blackfire stopped and sat down again before looking at me expectantly. "I'm sure your intelligence on me has information on my powers and abilities. Am I right about that?"
"Yes, you are" she confirmed.
"Then you should know that at any point I could have got back at my sister for everything, or any of the people that called me a freak, but I didn't. Do you want to know why? Because I knew my sister loved me and that she would never intentionally do anything to hurt me. She was always there for me and went out of her way to help me even if sometimes it ended up backfiring. I know Starfire wants the same thing for you. She would never intentionally hurt someone, unless the deserve it. All she wants is for you to be a family again. So please call this whole thing off" I pleaded.
"I can't do that" she said almost apologetically, but after a moment I saw her eyes harden. "I can't stop now, even if I wanted to." She abruptly got up and turned to walk away but stopped herself. "Get comfortable, you're going to be my pet for a long time. But don't worry, I still let my pets out once and to play." I did not like the way she said that or the way she was smiling while she said it.
With that Blackfire walked out of the room. I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding and slumped over in relief. That didn't go well at all. Now feeling wide awake, I curled up in a ball on the hard floor of the cage, attempting to return to sleep in the hopes the whole thing would be over when I woke up. It was going to be a long night.
I awoke to the sound of several loud crashes and thuds along with the occasional shaking of the ground. Sometime around dawn I managed to drift off into a fitful sleep. I was groggy when I woke up and it took me a while to realize what the sounds meant. Someone was fighting. That or the running of the bulls was happening on a completely different planet, which based on some of the stuff I've experienced wouldn't surprise me that much.
Was it the Titans fighting Blackfire? Had the invading army decided to attack before the wedding? Had Fred found a way out and went to get me help? I quickly glanced at the corner of the cage to see Fred curled up into a round ball lazily looking at me.
"I guess that was too much to ask for, you lazy ball of ectoplasm." I said. The only response I got was an indignant burp before Fred turned away from me. "Fine be that way" I said before noticing that it was silent. The sound of fighting had stopped.
I waited worriedly for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably no more than fifteen minutes, feeling both hopeful and full of dread. Finally, a group of Tamaranean guards came in. They were completely stoned faced and I couldn't tell what they were thinking. "He guys, where's the party?" I joked trying to lighten the mood. Ignoring me, one of guards opened my cage, before reaching in a pulling me out. I was marched out of my room and through the winding hallways. While it was a good sign I was out of the cage, being surrounded by guards is never a good sign. They didn't cuff me or do anything to dampen my powers, that was their mistake. As I tensed to strike one of the guards spoke for the first time.
"Don't do anything rash, the Grand Ruler has set you free, don't give us a reason to arrest you again" he said harshly. Taking his warning to heart I slowly relaxed a little. If Blackfire was still the Grand Ruler she would not have let me go, which means –"
While I was lost in thought we arrived at our destination, the same great hall where I was paraded around as a pet just a day ago. Glancing around I saw Starfire surrounded by the Titans while a beat up looking Blackfire was being put in futuristic looking handcuffs. Starfire glanced over in our direction and erupted in a big smile the moment she saw me. A cry of "DANNY" followed by a streak of orange was all I saw before I was enveloped in a bone crushing hug. A few seconds later we were knocked over by the rest of the Titans, except for Raven, that decided to dogpile us. Unable to breathe I struggled for a few seconds as I tried to escape the show of affection but gave up and ended up phased through everyone. The Titan fell into a heap on the ground.
"Dude that wasn't cool" complained Beastboy as he rubbed his sore behind.
"Yay, we were really worried about you" agreed Cyborg.
"Don't worry guys I'm fine. It will take more than being arrested to stop me" I said reassuringly. Glancing around at the damaged hall I said "I looks like a lot happened while I was gone. What'd I miss?"
The Titans told me how they found out about Blackfire's plan to force Starfire to marry along with Starfire's fight with Blackfire. After they finished I told them about my captivity. After my story was finished Starfire became unusually quiet. "I'm sorry Starfire. I tried stop her, but I wasn't able to." I said somberly.
"It's ok friend Danny, I believe she is the 'lost cause'" she said sadly while she watched her sister, now fully restrained, being led away by the same group of guards that released me. Noticing us staring at her, Blackfire sent us a withering glare.
"I'm not so sure. Last night she seemed almost regretful" I pondered. Suddenly I gave a quick snap. "I've got an idea" I leaned in and whispered my plan to Starfire.
When I finished she gave out a squeal of delight and enveloped me in another back breaking hug. "That idea is glorious. I shall do it right away" said Starfire excitedly before zipping off to make the arrangements.
Everyone was silent for a moment before Beastboy piped up, "you go dude" while giving me a thumbs up and a wink. I just shook my head at Beastboy's actions. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw Robin glaring at me. I must be tired, I think I'm seeing things.
Somehow I ended up getting squished into the tiny cockpit of space ship with two other people and an ectopuss. When Starfire announced that she wasn't going to become Tamaran's leader and that she planned bring Blackfire back to earth to join our little rehabilitation center, her words not mine, it was met with mixed response from the Tamaraneans. But eventually they came around.
Starfire and the Titans said goodbye to Galfore while I managed to convince one of the guards to go and grab Fred for me. While he was annoying, the little ectopus was growing on me. Then we made our way to the Titan's spaceships and that's when Robin dropped the bomb. Not even trying to hide his evil smirk, he told us the I had to ride with Beastboy and Blackfire in one tiny ship. He gave some lame excuse about it being because it was my idea or something along that line, but I knew he was trying to get back at me for some reason.
"Get you foot off my back" complained Blackfire as she shifted around trying to find a comfortable position. We were seated on the floor of the floor of Beastboy's ship and there was barely enough room to breath let alone move.
"My foot's nowhere near your back" came my retort. "Besides you're one to talk. Your elbow is in my face."
"It wouldn't be there if you hadn't decided to bring your pet" she said as she gave Fred a small nudge with her arm. Fred, who was currently wedged between us, gave her an indignant gurgle.
"You were the one that brought Fred to Tamaran."
"So? You didn't have to keep him. Plus, what kind of name is Fred anyway?"
"Hey, I didn't choose the name. That's what he wanted to be called." I said defensively.
"Sure" she said sarcastically.
I don't know why Robin did this but if it's a prank war he wants, it's a prank war he'll get. Robin your about to see what a juvenile teen with ghost powers can do when he's motivated. And the best part is you'll never see it coming.