The screen shows a chibified newscaster narrating a 'Previously on Teen Titans' sketch.
It all finally came down to this. The Teen Titans touched down on Starfire's home planet Tamaran, only to find out that they needed to fight their way through an army of soldiers in order to reach the courtyard where her wedding was taking place. Even worse, the entire castle was like one giant maze, making it that much more difficult for the heroes to find the center. And they didn't have much time to find Starfire either. Because Blackfire was in the planet's orbit, hastily forming a doomsday starbolt that would have the power to annihilate Tamaran and all her people in one fell swoop.
If that wasn't bad enough, Prince Karras still thinks he and Blackfire have the same plan! So he's dispatched his personal warriors, the South Guardians, to seek and destroy any Titan they find in the maze! It's an all-out brawl between Tamaran, the Titans, and the mysterious Psions orchestrating everything from backstage. Can the Titans win the battle and save the damsel in distress?
"I sure hope so!!" Starfire shouts. A chibified Starfire pops into view beside the newscaster, making him fall out of his seat in surprise. She waves like a spastic child at the camera, then zips off. The chibified Teen Titans and the chibified bad guys chase her across the screen. The newscaster watches them leave before adjusting his glasses and clearing his throat.
Ahem. Let us hope so. Stay tuned for the conclusion of this Teen Titans event!
Prince Charming - Part IV
Beast Boy and Raven dodged a swarm of attackers and tried to tackle their way through the horde of flying defenders in an attempt to reach the courtyard by air. Raven flew using her magical powers, while Beast Boy transformed between several different avian species as he fought back. No matter what form he took though, a centurion managed to shave a few feathers off the mutant with every sword swing.
"Azarath Metrion SYNTHOS!" Raven shouted. With a mighty downward wave of her hands, the mystic forced the centurions to hit the castle roof so hard that the wind was knocked out of them. Before they could recover, the two fliers closed the expanse between them and the courtyard airspace. But that was as far as they got before another problem revealed itself.
*THUNK!* Beast Boy slammed into an invisible barrier as strong as a titanium wall. It knocked him senseless, forcing him to revert to his normal form for a few moments as he lost all sense of balance. He fell on the barrier itself and rolled around, clutching his head in animated agony.
Raven took a pot-shot at the barrier with her magic, but to no avail. The deflector shields these people used to defend their castle were beyond tough. There was no way this technology was native. But whatever its origins, it was beyond the Titan's ability to deal with at the moment.
"Not good, not good!" Beast Boy warned. Both fliers high-tailed it out of their when the centurion defenders zoomed after them, ready to exact their revenge for the damages they'd incurred so far. As they fled for safety, Beast Boy drew his communicator from his belt and pushed Cyborg's blue button.
"Dude, come in! We need help up here, pronto!"
"I'm a little busy!" Cyborg grunted, just before the sound of his sonic cannon washed over the comm line. "Did you reach the courtyard?"
"Yes and no." Beast Boy yelped as a warrior tossed a swarm of throwing daggers his way, nearly impaling him with a dozen of them. Luckily, the green 'goblin' was quick on his feet.
"Is it yes, or no!?" Cyborg took another shot at another target, but the sound of metal clashing against metal indicated his target was still there. And the sound of sparks and him yelling wasn't comforting either. "Did you or not!?"
"We can't get inside!" Beast Boy shouted quickly as he flashed between turtle form and human form to avoid damage from a sword strike. He did it so quickly that the communicator didn't even hit the ground before he grabbed it again. "Those funky shields are blocking the ceiling of the courtyard!"
"With the kind of monsters in this system, I'm not surprised!" Cyborg slammed someone with a powerful punch that made the target grunt and groan into unconsciousness. "If you can't get into the courtyard, try to find cover until Blackfire shows up. Then attack her before she enters the castle!"
"If we can't get inside, there's no way she can."
"You want to bet money on that?"
Beast Boy was about to make a witty reply, but a centurion slashed the communicator in half and nearly took Beast Boy's hand with it. The mutant yelped at the close call. He instantly shifted into a gorilla shape to fight back, but that didn't stop his attackers from pressing their assault. Two soldiers were quick enough to slash the giant ape with all their alien might, leaving two bloody gashes in the animal's massive chest. The green gorilla roared in pain as he swung his arms, clearing away the two Tamaraneans who did that to him.
"Beast Boy!" Raven shouted. An attacker from the ground tossed a storm of daggers at her, and her distracted attention made it difficult for her to dodge and block them all. A stray dagger stabbed into her shoulder, making her cry out as her concentration slipped further. Raven fell to the ground, and was met by a charging soldier ready to cleave her in two.
The wounded gorilla intercepted the attack, picking up Raven and shifting into the form of an ostrich as he dodged out of the way. The running bird dashed across the invisible barrier towards the western wall, with Raven clutching his neck for support as she grimaced in pain. With some effort, she reached up for the dagger in her shoulder, and ripped it out with a yell. She wanted to use her magic to get rid of the pain, but she dared not let her concentration focus on anything but clinging to Beast Boy and defending their rear flank from ranged attacks.
The ostrich turned its head expectantly, an animated look of worry in the bird's eyes.
"I'm okay," Raven said as she waved her free arm to sweep away two soldiers that caught up with them. "Find a place where we can heal." Beast Boy nodded and picked up speed before leaping from atop the western wall towards the violet forest surrounding the castle. Just as a second wave of soldiers were about to overtake them, Beast Boy dove into the heaviest bush patch he could find and scurried to safety. The soldiers slowed down and eventually halted, fearing the damage they'd deal to themself by diving into those prickly bushes.
Raven and Beast Boy bit their lips, finding out a little too late just how sharp the prickers on those bushes were. Raven used the lapse in the attack to concentrate on her body and suppress the pain shooting through her own body. Beast Boy was about to let out more noise, but the mystic buried his mouth with her hand. She held her body close to his to cover him with her robe, which was close enough in color to the bushes to camoflauge them.
Tamaranean soldiers moved into the forest, only a few steps away from where they hid. They spoke to each other in their native language, demanding the others to search the bushes. Others complained that searching these bushes was pointless and would hurt them more than help. Most of them presumed that their enemies were dead. The veterans in the group knew better, and affirmed the order. Reluctantly, the soldiers began searching the bushes around them, but only with their eyes and some gentle branch movement.
Raven could feel Beast Boy biting his tongue beneath her hand. She looked into his eyes, and saw them pleading at her. She looked down at his body, pressed so closely against hers, and suppressed a gasp. One of the prickers was stabbed deep into Beast Boy's thigh. The sharp point had to be three or four inches long! It must've hurt like crazy.
Raven was about to whisper something, when a soldier nearby inadvertently alerted them to his presence. He was searching the bush right next to them! Raven knew that Beast Boy wouldn't be able to shift form in this enclosed environment, even if he wanted to change into something smaller. Something about his body affected his ability to change if he was tied up or felt trapped, almost like claustrophobia. It was too risky for him to move with the soldiers searching for them. So he had no choice but to bite his tongue and take the pain.
The mystic slowly slid her free hand down to Beast Boy's thigh and shared her magical healing effect with him to suppress the pain. It would hurt still, but not as much as before. Beast Boy's body was still tense from pressing against a woman like this, but he wasn't in searing pain anymore.
The soldier crept up behind them, and Raven pressed closer against her fellow Titan to better conceal them. Her cape covered them completely, and with the hood up they could even hide their heads. But only if Raven kept her face pressed against Beast Boy's cheek. It was embarassing, to say the least. Raven thought it was revolting that she had to be this close to the annoying little worm.
Raven glared at the green Titan, making sure he knew not to get any funny ideas. Beast Boy seemed too preoccupied with his own pain to notice her angry expression. Raven remembered that he'd been heavily wounded in the chest as well. Pressing against him like this was probably agitating those wounds too. Deep down, she felt pity for him. But he knew as well as she did that this was necessary.
Strangely, Raven found it comforting to feel his heartbeat so in-tune with hers. They were almost in perfect sync. The oddity took her mind off the tenseness of the situation. If they were caught in the condition they were in, she didn't think they would survive.
Finally, the soldiers decided that the two invaders had gotten away or died in the bushes somewhere. They flew away, presumably to return to the castle and report the situation to their superiors and compatriots. When the coast was clear, Raven used her magic to push the bush apart as gently as she could, so as not to injure themselves any further. She crawled out and helped Beast Boy do the same. The front of her uniform was soaked with the blood from his chest wounds, and his thigh was still bleeding as well. Even with her healing magic, he was in bad shape.
Raven put a hand on his shoulder to steady him. "Hey... are you alright?"
Beast Boy managed to lift his head to look her face-to-face. He managed a weak smile. "Good thing for us... those guys weren't as sharp... as their swords." After his weak one-liner, Beast Boy slumped forward and fell onto Raven's good shoulder. She shook him lightly, fearing that she would lose her partner if he closed his eyes for too long.
A bolt of mental lightning shot through Raven's mind as she sensed something out of the ordinary. She looked up into the sky above, expecting to see someone flying towards them. When she saw nothing, she squinted her eyes and used some of her magic to help her vision. With some effort, she was able to see what it was that touched her senses.
It was a globe of violet electricity, pulsating in the sky like a distant star. And there was a malevolent presence behind it. Blackfire.
No... Now, Raven realized what Blackfire intended to do. She reached for the communicator clasping her robe together, and touched it to activate it. "Robin, come-"
*SLASH!* A blade came within inches of cutting Raven's other shoulder. But luckily, it sliced the communicator brooch in half instead, causing her robe to fall open. She dodged with just enough quickness to save her life. Or, perhaps her attacker had been targeting the communicator all along.
Raven looked up into the eyes of two aliens dressed in customized warrior garb. One of them was a man holding two daggers of considerable length and dressed in violet-and-black armor. The other was some sort of animal with reptilian features and the look of something animated by a computer, except that it was moving around in real life.
"Unh-unh-unnnh," the man teased, motioning his figure in disapproval. "South Guardians don't like unfair fights. Let's keep this a two-on-two battle... shall we?"
Cyborg grunted as she shambled away from a grizzly battle scene, where dozens of soldiers lay stunned thanks to well-aimed punches and half-powered sonic blasts. Unfortunately, keeping his strength in check meant taking a few blows, resulting in the loss of one of Cyborg's mechanical arms. Wires and chip sets dangled from Cyborg's damaged extremity, and the rest of his titanium body didn't look much better. Since he was cybernetic he didn't feel pain in the metal spots, but he could tell from his onboard computer that his body was in bad condition now.
"You are wounded," said a pretty, female voice. "That's too bad. We were hoping for a challenge today, but we will have to satisfy ourself with you." Cyborg turned to face the voice only to see a vaguely female shape covered in what appeared to be silver slime that literally snaked its way over the organic body underneath. The woman didn't seem at all discomforted by this. In fact, she seemed invigorated by it.
"...You workin' for Blackfire?" Cyborg asked as he stared down his opponent. Deep down, he knew no amount of staring would work on someone with living slime for clothing.
"We serve only Lord Karras," the woman hissed. "We, are Kali. Symbiote and host, forever united as one. And with our divine powers, we will destroy you and protect our sacred homeland."
"Listen, I ain't here to destroy nobody's homeland!" Cyborg said quickly. "That's what your buddy Karras is trying to do!"
"Spare us the talk, and defend yourself!" Kali's arms extended into slimy tentacles that shot towards Cyborg, but he was able to side-step the attack and counter with his remaining sonic blaster. The blast slammed into Kali's body, making her (it? them?) shriek in animalistic pain. Kali ran forward, tackled Cyborg in the gut, and carried him to the wall before crashing into it with a loud SLAM! The deflector shields kept the wall from breaking, but Cyborg still felt the crushing strength of her blow. He brought his elbow down hard on her shoulder, making her stumble slightly, and kneed her in the gut to force her back. When she was more than a step away, Cyborg reared his good arm back and socked her right across the face, making her neck jerk and her body spin in a single circle like a drunk ballet dancer. Cyborg shifted his arm into a sonic cannon again and blasted her at point-blank range, making her shriek once again. The shriek died down into a dull cry, then faded entirely, leaving only the woman's smoking body behind.
Cyborg frowned, then turned. "Sorry." He continued shambling down the hall, hoping to find his way out of the maze quickly. He paused in his trek when he heard the woman chuckling behind him. He looked over his shoulder to see her standing back up, her symbiotic skin slithering even more than before.
"We are not so easily defeated," Kali said icily. "Your friends are discovering this fact as well."
Cyborg growled a warning. "You hurt my friends, you're asking for trouble."
Kali smirked. "Very well." 'She' raised her arm and motioned with her finger for Cyborg to come at her. "Please, give me trouble. Ha ha ha ha..."
Cyborg unsheathed his sonic cannon once again, and blasted her with everything he had. Kali stood there without flinching, cackling like a mad harpy as her symbiote moved furiously to defend her fleshy body. Finally, Cyborg gave up on the cannon and charged for an old fashioned football tackle. But he barely moved her a few inches before her own strength overpowered his. She brought her fists down on his shoulders with enough force to shatter human bone. Cyborg just fell to one knee, before she did it again. There were fist-shaped dents in the Titan's shoulders now.
"Give up, fool! Our strength is beyond that of any race in this galaxy," Kali boasted. "We can move castles and survive earthquakes!"
Cyborg looked up with a confident grin. "So can I." With a solid uppercut, he knocked the symbiote's head back and set her up for an equally fierce punch to the gut. Cyborg boxed her left and right, throwing all his strength into it. Kali reared back and clocked him across the jaw, knocking a tooth loose in the process. They traded blow after blow like this, with Cyborg slowly falling behind since his other arm was barely able to move, let alone inflict damage.
Kali completed the exchange with a vicious kick to the groin, followed by a roundhouse as Cyborg practically floated in front of her. The machine slid hard into the farthest wall of the hallway as it diverged into two new passages (forming a 'T' shape, naturally). He tried to get up, but his body refused to cooperate after all the damage it took.
"We will be the victor," Kali said as she wiped away a stray line of blood that had seeped through the symbiote's slime coating. "Had you been at full strength, you might've posed a challenge to us. But as you are now, you are nothing. And now..." Kali lifted her hands, and the symbiote formed vicious claws at the tips of her fingers. "You will DIE!!"
Cyborg punched with all his might, burying his fist in Kali's slimy gut. The symbiote grabbed onto Cyborg's arm and tried to wrench it aside, but the Titan held fast. Kali growled and grabbed his mechanized elbow to help, but Cyborg jerked his opposite shoulder to put his arm in the way. In the split second that she was confused by this, Cyborg shifted the arm surrounded by the symbiote into its sonic cannon form, and mentally pulled the trigger. The sonic blast slammed through Kali's actual body, making her scream in agony as the symbiote vibrated in reciprocation. The violent vibrations from Cyborg's attack eventually ripped through the opposite side of Kali's body, cutting through the symbiote and her torso completely. Her body flew through the air in line with the sonic blast before eventually crashing to the ground.
Cyborg pulled himself to a standing position, his eyes on Kali's limp body. She was still breathing slowly, thanks to the enhanced vitality the symbiote probably gave her. Even with that much damage to the vital organs in her torso, she was still alive. For how long, Cyborg could only guess.
"...I'm sorry," he said truthfully. Fighting evil meant hurting people, but he hated it when the fighting went his far. Nobody deserved to die, even if they were evil.
Kali closed her alien eyes, and her body exhaled its last breath. The symbiote melted off of her, revealing a beautiful Tamaranean woman underneath. Her face, now calm, was very elegant compared to what it had been during the fight.
Regretfully, Cyborg turned and moved on, cradling his broken arm and favoring his good side. He won the fight, but the war for him and his friends wasn't over. It wouldn't be until Starfire and her planet were safe.
Robin rounded the final corner of his hallway and was glad to see that it didn't turn into another hallway. The masked hero looked into a vast room that looked like an armory of some sort. On the walls were hundreds of flags, each with different colors, symbols, and Tamaranean crests from long ago. Robin guessed the flags represented different Tamaran families and clans from history that were somehow tied to the royalty by blood or reputation. Beneath the flags were suits of "armor" made from natural products, with a style similar to ancient oriental kimonos and modern day robes. Hanging beside the suits were various weapons associated with their previous owners, each of them legendary. Looking at the room reminded Robin of the museums back home and gave him a sense of nostalgia. He shook those thoughts from his head in favor of more pressing matters and continued on.
"Like your planet, ours is one with quite a history," said a voice from the rafters. Robin stopped and looked up into the darkness. Kneeling at the highest archway in the center of the room was a man draped in robes as dark as the night sky. As Robin's eyes focused, he could make out many different symbols decorating his outfit - many of which looked familiar...
"Where's Starfire!?" Robin demanded. "And where's the king! I have to warn him about-!"
"The king and his daughter are indisposed at the moment," the man snapped. "And no brigand like you will be permitted to see him! Lord Karras has deemed it so! And I, Feidin, will make sure of that!"
"Karras..." Robin spat the name. If this guy was working under Karras, then Robin wasn't going to be able to talk this guy into moving aside. It looked like he had another fight on his hands.
"I suppose you're going to try and stop me." Robin sneered. "But I don't have time to waste on you. So take my advice and stay up there."
"I intend to," Feidin said with a malicious chuckle. "But not because you asked me to." The man put a palm over a symbol on his robe, and his hand started to glow red as he called forth some mysterious power. Robin took a defensive stance as the man threw his hand forward, seemingly throwing the symbol through the air until it landed on the ground as a red marking. Light shot up from the symbol in a vast, explosive column, and eventually revealed a warrior dressed in a suit of Tamaranean armor and wielding a giant staff.
Robin drew his power pole and extended it just as the summoned warrior attacked. A rapid exchange of attempted hits and sudden parries followed, with the warrior leaping and dodging just as quickly as Robin could. Robin dipped to the side and slashed his pole upwards, knocking the warrior's head back with a loud crack!
Suddenly, another symbol whizzed by Robin's head and came within inches of touching him. The hero's reflexes were quick enough to save him. The symbol slapped against the floor nearby and instantly incinerated that spot in a localized ball of fire. That could've been Robin had he not dodged.
"Fight all you like," Feidin taunted as he reached for two more symbols. "I have trained under the mystic tutors of Vega VI! There is no way you can defeat 'Kanji Magic' with physical force!" With that, he threw the two charged symbols to the ground, and each of them expanded into two more warriors. One of them was a barbaric alien with stone skin and a giant axe, while the other was a geometric figure made from several interlocked rings with barbed tips as long and sharp as daggers. They shot into the fray, forcing Robin to go purely on the defensive as he ducked, leaped, and parried like a fired-up Jackie Chan.
Robin reached for his belt with split-second speed and drew one of his energy disks - specifically the one that blinded targets when it exploded. He leaped up as the barbarian and the warrior tried to tackle him, ending up in each other's grip instead. Robin jumped from the barbarian's shoulder and threw the disk at the wizard with all his might.
Feidin reacted quickly. He revealed his left palm, where another symbol was already prepared. It flashed a Tamaranean ideogram, which froze the disk in mid-flight with some kind of telekinetic power. Feidin waved his arm again, and the disk shot back towards Robin before exploding above the ground at a specific height programmed into the weapon. Robin shielded his eyes just in time, but doing so gave the sightless geometric alien a free shot. The creature spun rapidly like a chain saw and sliced into Robin's shoulder, making him yell in pain as it cut through his titanium polymer costume and into his flesh. Robin smacked the thing aside with his power pole when he opened his eyes again, then leapt to safety a few meters away. He grabbed his shoulder, then gritted his teeth as another yell tried to escape his throat. Robin could tell from the pain he felt that several of the creature's barbs were stuck inside his flesh, cutting deeper every time he tried to move his limb.
"Do you see now?" Feidin taunted, in English as he had this entire battle. Robin assumed some sort of magic was projecting the alien's words into his mind so that he could understand them. It probably had the same effect for Robin's words.
"I see a coward, helping another coward hurt his own people."
"Silence! You cannot beat my army of magical creatures and evocations. I will appease my prince and destroy you!" The summoned servants advanced, ready to continue the attack, while Feidin charged up still more symbols by touching his robe.
Robin gritted his teeth as he gripped his power pole with both hands, and charged into the fray towards the summoned trio. This guy wasn't going to waste any more of his time. Starfire was waiting for him. And so was Karras.
"Futile!" the wizard shouted. "Attack, my servants! Destroy the infidel!"
Robin proceeded with the utmost delicacy, yet retained all his speed and dexterity. He deflected the barbarian's axe with a well-timed, well-placed hit of his pole. The warrior came next, whom he disarmed with a solid kick to the side of the creature's hand, forcing him to drop the pole. The creature that looked like living barbed wire was last and tried the most direct attack of "tackling" Robin, presumably to entangle and crush him. Robin simply side-stepped that attack and rushed towards the nearest wall. He jumped three steps up the wall before leaping backwards, flipping through the air underneath the archway Feidin was resting on. The wizard reacted slowly and tried to attack with one of his symbols. By the time the symbol flew past Robin's head, two bird-bombs were already sailing through the air towards the beams supporting Feidin's section of the archway. They sliced through the beam easily before sticking into the ceiling. Feidin yelled as he fell the four or five meters to the ground and landed ungracefully on his back, knocking the wind out of him.
Robin landed, turned around, and tossed an energy disk at the spot where Feidin fell. The wizard yelled for his creatures to protect him, but it was for naught. The disk exploded just above Feidin and sprinkled him with a special mixture, which quickly froze the wizard and the air around him. Feidin was a giant ice cube in seconds.
The creatures charged progressively slower, before finally winking out of existence. They left nothing but pungent smoke behind. Without their master's conscious effort, they couldn't exist. And nobody could exert conscious effort if their brain was frozen.
"I've dealt with things far worse than you in Gotham City. You never had a chance against me."
Robin turned and ran out of the room's hallway exit, his left hand resting on his injured right shoulder. He could only hope that his off-hand was enough to deal with Karras, because the fate of Starfire and the planet might depend on it.
Raven cradled Beast Boy as best she could with her attention divided between him and the two aliens getting ready to kill them. Beast Boy looked up, his pain and exhaustion overshadowed by his terror at the new threat.
"I, am Dirkin," said the more human-looking of the two. His words were in Tamaranean, but Raven used her magic to make it possible for Beast Boy and her to understand it. "A Tamaranean warrior from a clan of assassins." He motioned towards the unnatural beast beside him. "This is Skirk, a 'pet' of mine. He's smarter than he looks, and has a taste for mutant biology. Translated for you simple humans, that means he'd really like to eat your green friend there."
"Mmm-ner mermer-fer!," Beast Boy protested into Raven's... um, chest. Raven sweatdropped, then shoved him into a sitting position. He smiled apologetically, then reiterated his comment. "You won't eat me without a fight!"
"Good," Dirkin leered. "Skirk likes to chase his food. And while he's playing with you, I'll entertain myself with the little missy here." The assassin drew two serrated daggers from a pair of sheaths on his belt and twirled the blades expertly. Skirk growled hungrily beside him.
(Are you going to be okay?) Beast Boy whispered as he managed to get on his feet.
(...Yeah,) Raven replied simply, standing as well. (Don't die.)
(Same to you.) Beast Boy shifted into the form of a vicious predatorial dinosaur called a Velociraptor and screeched at Skirk with a bird-like pitch. The animals rammed each other with full force and rolled over each other, each trying to secure a death lock on the other's jugular.
"I can tell by your lack of armaments that you have special powers of some sort," Dirkin noted with an evil smile. "I hope for your sake that your powers can protect you from my blades."
Raven stared eerily at her opponent. "...Worry about yourself."
Dirkin flashed out of sight, and the surrounding air rushed in to fill the vacuum he left behind. Raven knew immediately that was a teleportation effect, since she could do the same with her magic over short distances. She could sense magic in the air, alerting her that this assassin possessed alien magic of some kind.
Raven disappeared into the ground through a dark hole that swallowed her up just as the assassin reappeared behind her. Dirkin slashed at empty air, then flipped backwards as talon-shaped darkness shot from the ground. A dark portal opened a few steps away, and Dirkin immediately reacted by throwing a handful of tiny stars at it. The portal swallowed them up before closing them again. Dirkin expected his magical opponent to appear from that portal, but Raven remained unseen.
"You can't hide forever, little birdie," Dirkin taunted.
Who says I'm going to? In a flash of ebon energies, a giant raven-shaped spirit arose from the earth like a ghost shrouded in black flame. The four-eyed raven cawed mightily, then flapped its wings to full extension.
Dirkin laughed as he danced from foot to foot like a boxer. "A 'Soul Self', used as a stand-in for magicians who practice the arts of astral projection. I have seen this technique many times, child. It does not frighten me."
I'll have to remedy that. Raven chanted her magic words from her hidden location, and the words manifested as three mystical symbols above the projection. The symbols formed into a triangle, then flashed with red light that shot at Dirkin like a storm of lasers. The assassin blinked side-to-side as he rushed forward, his daggers glowing with a magical effect of his own.
"Assassin's Technique - Crucifixion!" Dirkin teleported right in front of the massive raven and stabbed one of his daggers into the heart of the creature. The spirit shrieked as powerful magic shot through its body and Raven's. The bird and Dirkin's dagger flashed out of sight, the sound of a thunderclap announcing their departure. Raven was wrenched into the real world before being bound to a nearby tree by three red blades composed of magic. Two of the blades were in her hands, while the third impaled her feet atop each other at the base of the tree. She literally looked like she was crucified.
The assassin confidently walked forward. "As I said, I've dealt with your kind before. Lord Karras made sure that I developed techniques to combat magical enemies, especially those advanced enough to call upon spirits and the like."
He leaned forward, the tip of his remaining dagger held at Raven's neck. "I don't know how a child like you can be that advanced. But it doesn't matter. You will be dead soon."
"...The reason is simple," Raven whispered, the top half of her face obscured by her hood. Her eyes slowly changed blood red. "Daddy taught me well."
Dirkin was aghast. His mind was flooded with an overwhelming feeling of evil. Not just normal, petty evil, but PURE evil - something that every mortal feared. "What... are you!?"
"The last thing you'll ever see. HA-ha-ha-ha-ha!" Raven's laugh was more feral than anything a real animal could manage. Raven's cloak swooped down on Dirkin and swallowed him up, trapping him in a dark void with nothing but manifestations of his nightmares to keep him company. His screams were fearsome and pitiable, while they lasted.
Raven floated away from the tree as Dirkin's spell dissipated. She landed on the ground, and her appearance slowly returned to normal as she regained control of her senses. Her gamble of using Anger to win paid off, but she didn't feel like she'd won. Raven slumped to the ground, her mind shaken by the experience and the thought of Dirkin dying by her hand.
Beast Boy and Skirk were locked in mortal combat, neither of them able to affect the other. No matter how quickly Beast Boy shifted shapes, Skirk's body seemed to adapt perfectly. If Beast Boy became a predator with claws and teeth, Skirk's skin hardened to unnatural levels. If the Titan became a powerhouse gorilla with muscle to spare, Skirk's muscles became just as strong. If speed became the dominant factor, Skirk became even faster. Beast Boy's thousands of shapes meant nothing if his opponent had thousands of counter-shapes!
Beast Boy changed into an eagle and shot into the sky for a moment of safety. He saw Raven on the ground, apparently weak from her battle with the now-missing Dirkin. She didn't look like she would be able to help him, so he had to do this on his own somehow. But how did he beat something that adapted to every shape he took?
Skirk grew a pair of blood-covered, feather wings from his back and flapped them hard to follow Beast Boy into the sky. The alien creature quickly reached the same altitude and maneuvered itself for a pass. Beast Boy changed into a pterodactyl to better accommodate his opponent's size. Skirk swooped by and tried to claw as he passed, but Beast Boy dove to the side to avoid the attack. The fliers traded blows as they passed each other, until both of them had five or six claw marks on their hides. The only problem was that Beast Boy was already injured from before, and Skirk seemed to be healing his injuries at a rapid rate.
The little green Titan gulped. Think fast, Gar. Or you're Skirk-food. Beast Boy thought about the situation carefully. Any time he changed, Skirk's body changed to best suit his needs. And each time, the changes seemed to be voluntary, since they'd only happen when Skirk noticed the change. That meant that if he could somehow trick Skirk, he could win. But how could he trick him, and in what way could he use that to his advantage?
He needed to change into something that didn't have an obvious attack. It had to be something that Skirk couldn't see or hear or smell.
Beast Boy swooped around, as if getting ready to attack again, and Skirk predictably swooped around to meet him again. Beast Boy could see Skirk's talons elongating in preparation for a deadly attack of some kind. But that didn't matter to him. The Titan's next form would drop him no matter how long his claws were.
The moment Beast Boy and Skirk clashed, he changed into a giant jellyfish and splashed onto Skirk's face in an impromptu tackle. He clutched Skirk's head and attacked with this breed's primary attack – paralytic poison. Thousands upon thousands of microscopic barbs in the jellyfish's tendrils stabbed into Skirk's head and neck before injecting him instantly with countless units of poison, far deadlier than any snake or spider poison. Skirk shook its head back and forth, feeling incredible pain from the needle-like shots and the overall strangulation. The creature shifted its upper body into a hard, stone-like substance to block the tendril barbs from getting in any deeper, but by then it was too late. The poison was already working its way into every part of Skirk's body. For this particular breed of jellyfish, the poison attack was near instantaneous. Skirk's body went limp and started to fall. Beast Boy let go before shifting into a bird and floating safely to the ground, while Skirk crashed loudly and painfully.
Beast Boy changed into a human in mid-landing and dropped to one knee to catch his breath. All that shifting had exhausted him, but in the end it proved to be enough. He and Raven were alive. The only problem was that they wouldn't be able to continue on for a while. They needed rest.
Beast Boy slumped back, his eyes closed sleepily. Just a little rest. Then he'd jump back into the fight.
Starfire wanted to help stop the villains invading the castle, but she knew that she wasn't a Teen Titan anymore too. On Tamaran, she was indeed a princess with 'higher' concerns than fighting. And the Vegan system had enemies that even she couldn't hope to defeat. She had to trust her father's judgment in this situation, and she had to trust Karras.
But doing so proved much harder than she imagined. As her and the other nobles fled through the tunnels, led by their royal guards, her mind weighed heavily on the subject. They eventually reached a place deep inside the castle's underground catacombs, which led to an underground carriage drawn by a blorgian earthworm. The nobles took turns getting into the cab at the guards' direction, giving Starfire even more time to think.
"Do not worry about Karras," her father Myand'r said fondly. "He is a fine young man with a strong heart and a swift mind. He will protect you and the kingdom."
"I am sorry to say this father," Starfire started. "But I do not wish to be protected. I wish to protect! Please, let me go back! I can help him!"
"No Koriand'r, it is too dangerous! I will not let my daughter fly into such danger!"
"You let me go to Earth!" she said sharply.
"Earth is not dangerous."
"You do not understand, father!" Starfire said, turning her back on him angrily. "In all my letters, I gave the appearance of Earth being safe because of my constant victories. But many times, the only reason I survived the dangers of Earth's villains was because of my friends! They taught me so much!"
Starfire faced him again, this time with tears in her eyes. "My friends... they gave me the greatest gift in the world – the ability to help people! Now that they are gone, I want to use that gift more than ever! It is the only way I can live up to their memory!"
King Myand'r, ruler of the largest kingdom on his home planet, was at a loss for words. For the first time since their reunion, he realized just how much his daughter had grown up. She was not a child that needed to be protected. She was a young woman with a heart full of love, a soul full of strength, and a purpose driven by both.
"...Please father!" Starfire begged.
Myand'r sighed reluctantly. "...There is an old proverb that your mother liked to remind me of before her passing. 'A warrior is strongest when she is fighting for Love and Friendship.' I never imagined those words would apply to my precious daughter as well."
Starfire smiled. "Then...!"
"Go. I will pray for your safe return. Show us the strength of a 'Teen Titan', as it were."
Starfire buried her father in a hug. "Thank you! I love you so much!"
"And I you. Return safely, dear Kori."
"I shall." Starfire rose off the ground and zipped back into the tunnel from whence they came. She waved to her father one last time, then flew away. Myand'r sadly, but proudly, watched her leave.
"Shall we go, sir?" asked one of the guards. Myand'r was the only noble present that wasn't in the cab.
The king smirked. "You may go. I shall wait for my daughter's return – for good or for ill."
"You have your orders," Myand'r said. He turned, his cape flowing as he did, and slowly walked from the loading zone. "Keep the others safe."
The soldier looked at his fellow guards for suggestions, but none of them knew what to say. Finally, the soldier just nodded and saluted the king's back. "Yes, your majesty." The guards entered the cab quickly, and the earthworm took off with the cab in tow. Soon, Myand'r was alone, his eyes closed in prayer for his daughter's safety.
It was the royal courtyard, where the wedding was to be held. And after a lot of running, Robin finally found it. The masked hero looked around calmly to see if Starfire was there. Unfortunately, the only person waiting for him there was not Starfire. It was a young man, dressed in a warrior's finery and holding a long, rune-covered sword to the side. Robin's eyes thinned angrily as he realized who this noble figure had to be.
"I knew you would eventually make it here, 'Robin'," Karras said, his voice filled with iciness. "The knight has come to rescue the fair princess. Like in the fairy tales, yes?"
Robin clenched his fists tightly, wringing out any air that might've been inside them. "Starfire doesn't deserve to be treated like this. Using her trust and love as a way to usurp power is beyond low. As far as I'm concerned, you're scum."
"That means so much, coming from you," Karras ridiculed. "I've had to put up with descriptions of you for too long. Blackfire thinks you're some kind of threat to my skills as a warrior, or my hold on Starfire's heart. I'm going to prove, once and for all, that you're nothing to me."
"Blackfire is going to kill everyone on this planet," Robin snapped. "Including you."
Karras chuckled. "I'm afraid you're mistaken. A mind as simple as yours can't grasp the cunning plan we've concocted."
"Then let me try to spell it out for you," Robin said coldly. "There is only one reason the Psions, a race capable of destroying planets with their armies and technology, would ever consider working with you in an assassination attempt."
Karras' face betrayed his astonishment. "You know about the assassination attempt?"
Robin continued. "The only thing the Psions and Blackfire are after is Starfire. They want their weapon back. And the only way they can get her back is if her spirit is broken... by losing her friends and family in one big swoop. That's what this is all about."
The prince was dumbfounded. "Wh-what!?"
"You didn't know?" Robin said with mock surprise. "You honestly thought they were going to help you become the planet's sole ruler? Perhaps my 'simple mind' is misreading all the obvious clues. Or perhaps... you've been had."
"Lies!" Karras shouted.
"Starfire is the only thing that matters to them!" Robin yelled back. "She's the key to all of this! The Psions are going to blow up the whole planet and everyone on it, counting on Starfire's enhanced abilities to let her survive. And when she realizes that her home and her family is gone, she'll be crushed and become nothing but an empty shell of her former self. They'll make her a slave again, and then they'll have nothing to fear. Because her and Blackfire are the only things they truly fear."
"Lies!" Karras repeated. "She is nothing but a pawn! She means nothing to them!"
"If that's true," Robin said evenly. "Then why is Blackfire in orbit right now, when she should be down here helping you?" Robin pointed up towards the sky without turning his head. His finger pointed straight at the large violet orb, high above the atmosphere. "And how do you explain that? It looks a lot like a starbolt to me..."
Karras growled and brought his sword before him. "I've heard enough! I'm going to sever your head and force that red-haired twit to see it. Then I'll laugh at her pain and tell her how pathetic you really are!" The Tamaranean floated centimeters above the ground and shot across the courtyard like a bullet, bringing his sword down on Robin. The hero's power pole was already out and blocked the attack just in time. The duel had begun.
"You give that child too much credit!" Karras snarled as he swung his sword rapidly and powerfully, forcing Robin back with each hit. "She and her sister are nothing compared to me!"
Robin parried as best he could with his injured shoulder, which continued to bleed thanks to the barbs wedged inside the wound. "I've shot Starfire at point blank range with a thermal blaster without so much as cutting a hair. And Blackfire is even stronger than her. Next to the 'Kryptonian', they may be the strongest aliens in the universe. The only thing holding them back is adolescence. If the Psions turn Starfire into a mindless brute, they'd have nothing to fear - in this system or any other!"
Karras caught Robin's hand with the edge of his blade, cutting through his glove and flesh with ease. The warrior then brought his sword down hard, slicing through the power pole and spraying sparks in all directions as a result. Karras missed on the follow-up strike and was off-balance enough for Robin to twist the sword from his grasp, sending it clattering to the ground. The fighters, now unarmed, started trading punches and kicks in a martial arts battle of epic scope.
Karras' right hook slammed Robin in the jaw, spinning him around in mid-air from sheer force. He kicked straight up and sent Robin flailing high in the air before crashing on the ground. The prince flew over and slammed a foot on Robin's wounded shoulder, making him howl in pain. Robin gritted his teeth and kicked the back of Karras' head as hard as he could, knocking the warrior forward and allowing Robin to get back on his feet. The Boy Wonder threw so many punches in such a short time that Karras could only see flashes of green fists between hits. The alien somehow managed to block a punch, and the two warriors clutched each other in powerful holds – Robin had the prince's wrist, and Karras had Robin's elbow. It was a judo-style tug-of-war.
"You may be right," Karras admitted through gritted teeth. "But if I am going to be betrayed and killed, I want to die fighting like a true warrior. And I want to die knowing that some mangy, lovey-dovey human is not my equal!!" Karras pushed with a sudden burst of strength and snapped Robin's elbow, twisting his arm to the side at an unnatural angle. Robin cried at the sudden shock to his system, but his yell was cut short by a powerful knee to the gut that knocked him away and made him roll across the ground.
Karras caught his breath, then methodically walked over to where his sword lay. He picked the weapon up and closed the distance between him and Robin, who lay on the ground in a crumpled heap as he tried to lift himself up.
"I think I have proved my point without a doubt. I will take good care of Koriand'r, like I promised her after your convenient death," Karras sneered.
Robin growled from the ground, and in his anger managed to lift himself to a kneeling position with the less injured of his two arms. But there was not much he could do beyond that in his current state.
Karras lifted his sword high, his eyes locked with Robin's. "This ends now."
Just as the sword came down, a violent explosion crashed into the blade's side in mid-swing. Karras finished the cut, only the find that he missed Robin because of his now much shorter weapon. The upper half of the sword twirled around in mid-air, flying upwards at an arc before falling down with gravity a few meters away. Karras watched the edge of the blade impale the ground. But the truly shocking sight was his bride standing at a tunnel entrance behind it. And she looked pissed.
"Koriand'r!? What are you doing here!?"
Starfire flew across the courtyard until she was hovering just in front of Karras, her eyes looking down the short distance to his. She towered above him since she was hovering, but her glare was the truly intimidating factor at that moment. Her eyes were bright green and burning with thermonuclear fury. It was like looking at a volcano on the verge of eruption.
"H-how long have you been there?" Karras stuttered, trying to sound suave.
"Long enough." Starfire grabbed the edge of Karras' collar and lifted him off the ground easily. "How dare you try to hurt my friends! You.... YOU...!" Her anger was so strong that her hands were literally burning Karras' collar. He struggled to break free of her grip, until the collar ripped on its own after burning away most of its solidity. The prince stumbled backwards, with Starfire floating towards him slowly. He continued this until his back hit the wall, at which point he slumped downards until he was a crumpled heap of gibbering fear.
"Starfire, don't!" Robin shouted. Starfire snapped out of her angry prowl, and her gentle eyes looked down at Robin, who was barely on his knees. His masked expression remained intense even in his weak state.
Starfire turned and gave the prince an angry glare as she summoned energy to her hand. He whimpered in terror, thinking she was about to end his life. Instead, she blasted away the crown on his head, turning it and most of his hair into flakes of ash.
"You are a traitor. As such, you are relieved of your crown and your rights as a Tamaran citizen. I can execute you, or you can leave this planet and never return. Be glad that Robin was here to remind me of that!"
Karras didn't protest. He jumped into the sky as fast as he could, and never looked back. It wasn't long before he was a distant twinkle in the sky. He wisely stayed away from the part of the sky where Blackfire was, because she probably would've killed him the moment he showed his face.
Robin looked up at the floating princess, still garbed in her wedding outfit. She, in turn, looked down at him with eyes that seemed to twinkle like the starlight she was named after. It was as if a spark inside her was suddenly burning to life.
Starfire descended on Robin and gripped him tightly in a fierce hug, making him grunt in pain. She cried his name many times, her face rubbing against his and her arms refusing to let go. Her words were punctuated by tearful gasps of sheer joy as she realized that Robin was really alive and in her arms at that very moment. It wasn't a dream, an illusion, or a fantasy – it was real.
"Robin! Robin, Robin... *sniff* I... I... *sniff*"
"Hey, take it easy Star," he said with a gentle smile. "Squeeze any harder and you'll break the rest of me." Starfire cried and laughed at the same time, and only hugged him harder as her feelings took over. Robin regretted ever joking about being broken in half, because he was certain it would actually happen this time. Luckily, his body survived her tearful adulation.
"I thought my happiness was gone forever," Starfire said, when she could speak again. "I thought... my life would be one of sadness and loneliness."
"I'd never let that happen," Robin replied. "The others and I went through a lot to get here because we care about you. We all want you to be happy – just as happy as you make us."
"Oh, Robin..." Starfire leaned close, as if to kiss him, but a sound caught both their attentions before she could connect. The violet orb pulsating in the sky for the last ten minutes or so was finally on the move, and it seemed to be bigger than ever, even from orbit. The sound of its movement was like a meteor crashing through the atmosphere, littering the planet with noise from its sheer size and speed.
"Blackfire..." Robin announced. "We're too late..."
"No we are not!" Starfire declared. She looked at Robin fondly. "I will protect you, as you have done so many times for me."
Robin didn't know what to say. His smooth tongue failed him when it mattered most.
"Please hold this for me." Starfire removed her wedding tiara and placed it in Robin's hands, then closed it gently with her own.
"A momento of the trip?"
"A reminder of the future," Starfire corrected. She kissed Robin's cheek gently. "Our future." Starfire floated upwards, then launched herself into the tunnels and through the maze at incredible speed before finally swooping upwards to intercept the falling starbolt.
"Starfire!" Robin called out. But she was already gone. And from the look of Blackfire's attack, it didn't look like she would be coming back.
Blackfire took a deep breath, inhaling the ether in space since there wasn't any oxygen around to fill her lungs. With her planetbusting attack finally complete, she could feel the tension that gripped her body those ten long minutes disappear. Now, it was just a matter of waiting for the planet to blow up, and for Starfire to go crazy as a result. She couldn't wait to see what her bubbly little sister would look like in such a dejected state. It would be such satisfying revenge.
"All I have to do is wait for the 'bolt to hit, then I can pick up sis' and go home." Blackfire watched her super-sized starbolt fall towards the planet, barrelling through and disintegrating clouds as it did so. She was proud of her work, and equally proud of her fine piece of work as it flew towards its ultimate goal.
She was proud, that is, until it stopped in mid-air.
"What the...?" Blackfire gave it a firm nudge with the same part of her mind that she aimed all her starbolts with, urging it to keep moving forward. But something else was holding it back. Another force was keeping it from moving forward. But the only way something could do that is if it could control the energy's movement as well.
"It can't be," Blackfire growled. "There's no way she could stop that thing by herself." Blackfire decided that it was just a fluke – some sort of charged air pocket that was interfering with the starbolt's movement. She nudged the energy ball more forcefully this time, demanding that it keep falling. It picked up speed somewhat, but it quickly crawled to a halt the moment her insistant urging stopped. She continued "pushing" the starbolt along, but doing so for a prolonged period gave her a headache and didn't accomplish much. Blackfire's irritation grew.
"Okay, that's it. Whatever is doing that is going to get a piece of me." Blackfire quickly flew through the atmosphere towards the altitude where her starbolt hovered. She flew around the building-sized globe until she found the perpetrator of the delay. As she expected, it was her little brat of a sister. Somehow, against Blackfire's better judgement, Starfire was holding the most powerful starbolt ever formed at bay.
"What is WITH you!?" Blackfire yelled. "Why do you always have to ruin my plans! Can't you think about ME for once!?"
Starfire glowered at her sister. "Stop this, sister, or I will stop you!"
"Well, duh," Blackfire snapped back. Without delay, the evil girl charged and tackled her sister in the side before carrying them both into a cloud-filled area. The massive starbolt continued its flight path towards the planet.
"You're looking pretty as usual," Blackfire taunted in her usual manner, not expecting much of a fist-fight out of her sister. She held the girl's wrists like actual siblings might in a mundane fight. "I'm surprised that Robin didn't throw you on the ground and-"
Starfire jerked one of her hands out of her sister's grip and punched Blackfire solidly in the face. The black-haired beauty floated backwards in surprise, her hand resting on the spot where she'd been hit. She gaped at Starfire, whose expression was totally serious and totally unafraid. She wasn't having second thoughts about this fight, like their last encounter. She was a totally different girl.
"You learned to throw a punch," Blackfire said, rubbing her cheek. "I'm proud of you, sis'. You're finally acting like a warrior, the way the Psions want you to act."
"Those mean people will not hurt my home," Starfire declared. "And neither will you." She rushed forward to throw another punch. But this time, Blackfire reacted with the famed "alien martial arts" moves that she flaunted verbally. She parried the flying punch before throwing one of her own. Starfire caught the punch, which shocked Blackfire again, long enough for the hero to forearm the older girl and back-fist her in the side of the head!
Blackfire recovered quickly and turned to face her sister again, this time with her eyes glowing purple. "You're really starting to annoy me!"
"Then, why do you not attack me with a starbolt?" Starfire challenged.
Blackfire reared her hand back, but she stopped herself just in time. "...Nice try, Kori. But I'm not going to mess this up that easily. If I were to throw even a little starbolt at you, that big one would lose its consistency."
"Even now, it is difficult for you to maintain its form," Starfire said confidently. "If we face off, you will inevitably lose control of your attack, for I am not under any such limitations."
"You're assuming of course that your wimpy punch could break my concentration," Blackfire smirked. "Get real, sister. You couldn't hurt me, even if I was asleep and in nothing but my nakkies."
"We shall see," Starfire growled. She shot forward and punched with all her might. Her sister deftly dodged it with a gentle side-step, and continued to do so as Starfire threw punch after punch. Starfire managed to connect with one, but it did little more than make Blackfire back off few steps. She didn't even seem phased by it otherwise.
"Come on Kori, you can do better than that!" Blackfire pressed on. "I'm not even fighting! I thought Robie-poo meant something to you. Aren't you going to at least try?"
Starfire's eyes glowed green as she called on her own starbolts and threw a flurry of them. Blackfire turned her back and curled up into a ball to minimize the damage, since there was little she could do to dodge the bolts at such close range. Starfire exhausted her momentary strength after launching close to twenty starbolts in rapid succession, peppering her sister with smoking burns on her body armor, and presumably the skin beneath it.
Blackfire frowned intently. "Ooooouch! I was just kidding! Gee~ez..."
"You do not take me seriously! You will lose because of that!"
"Oh, I'm taking you seriously sis'," Blackfire said as she dusted her armor off. "It's just that my mind is on other things, remember? Like that starbolt that's about five seconds away from impact."
"Huh! NO!!" Starfire cried. She flew down as fast as her body could carry her. She broke the sound barrier easily, creating a deafening boom as she shot like a bullet to ground level, then went underneath the starbolt before it impacted with the ground. She "caught" the bolt with her hands and her mind, forcing it to stop with every last ounce of her will. She succeeded, but stopping the bolt was all she was able to do. She could not find the strength to move it or dissipate it safely.
"I think it's time to stick a fork in you, sister," Blackfire quipped as she held her palm out and focused. "Because you're DONE!" She brought her own will to bear on the starbolt, and "pushed" it strongly towards its intended target at the center of the planet. But there was that defiant speck beneath the bolt that held it back. Starfire refused to give up, so Blackfire continued with her insistance. The battle of wills raged on.
I... can't do it... Starfire thought fearfully. Her sister was just so strong. She couldn't beat her even when she was distracted. What did she hope to do against such a dominating force?
My friends. Father. I am so sorry. I have failed you all. Starfire felt her knees giving out, and she fell to one knee. The starbolt continued to press down on her relentlessly. It wouldn't be long before the rest of her strength gave away.
"Don't give up, Star!" shouted a familiar voice. Starfire gasped as she felt a pair of strong, metallic hands hold her up. Starfire looked to her side, and saw Cyborg's friendly face smiling down at her.
"We're not giving up on you Star!" he cheered. "You're the only one who can stop this thing. And win or lose, I'm right beside you!"
"We all are," drolled another familiar voice. Starfire looked to the other side, and saw Raven holding her as well. The dreary mystic gave her a rare smile. "Don't be afraid."
"There's no way that psychotic witch gets away with this!" said another friend. Beast Boy grabbed one of her arms and helped straighten it out, holding it up with his physical strength and his spiritual support. "You have to win. 'Cause who else is going to laugh at my jokes!"
Starfire looked expectantly to her remaining flank. She saw Robin walking towards her, his body fully healed as if by magic (Raven's magic?). In the glare of the starbolt, it almost looked like Robin wasn't entirely there – like a ghost or something. In fact, all of her friends seemed that way. Was the light playing tricks on her? Or was she simply tired and her vision was foggy? In the end, Starfire was more interested in their warmth and their support than their appearance, so she ignored it.
"We're here for you Star," Robin said, holding up her other arm with his. "Because we love you."
"...I love you too," Starfire cried.
With renewed purpose, she focused her full attention on the starbolt. She pushed herself to a standing position, straightening her legs out and raising her arms as high as she could. The starbolt slowly reversed its direction and started to lose its violet hue.
High above the planet, Blackfire was denouncing the incredible situation. "How did she...!? It's impossible!!"
In a flash, the massive starbolt erupted with green light and catapulted through the air on a reverse track towards its origin. Blackfire's eyes widened as the planetbusting 'bolt shot towards her like a cannonball.
"....Way to go sis. Show those Psions what you're made of."
The planetbuster collided with Blackfire and exploded with nuclear fire, creating a ring of energy that swept outwards from the source like a ripple in a pond. The roar of the explosion was like thunder washing over the entire planet, and the force of the explosion shook the surface furiously like an earthquake.
Starfire fell to the ground from the force, despite the friends she lot were there to catch her. Her eyes closed, and exhaustion took away her consciousness. In her sleep, she could not see the beautiful showers of light that fell from the sky, like fireworks during one of Earth's "new year" celebrations.
It was ironic that something so destructive could also be so beautiful at the same time.
[San Francisco | Two weeks later...]
After all the events on Tamaran, Starfire was glad to be home with her friends. Her father and the other nobles decided that they didn't need princes and princesses to make peace with each other, so they decided that she would be sent back to continue her life on the "safe" planet Earth. Starfire was more than happy to oblige. She promised to return if there was ever trouble like this again, or if Blackfire returned (because Starfire doubted that they'd seen the last of her tough-as-nails sister). Starfire said goodbye to her father, and they parted as they'd done long ago when she first went to Earth.
They were able to return home thanks to some help from a ship called the Brigadoon that landed on Tamaran a few days after the incident. Apparently, the ship's captain was related to Daddy somehow. Starfire didn't know how, since she never got around to meeting the captain, but she was glad he was there to help.
"All right, movie time!" Beast Boy announced. "Since this is the first movie night we've had together since we came back to good ol' mother Earth, I let Star pick out some of the movies this time."
"Didn't we try this once already?" Cyborg asked from the kitchen, where he was preparing a super-jumbo bag of popcorn. "And we ended up watching a documentary on the life and death of a porta-potty?"
"They make documentaries on that?" Raven commented.
"Trust me, these are good choices," Beast Boy said. "Star wanted very specific kinds of movies, but I was able to help her find what she wanted without falling into documentary territory."
"Well, let's get the show on the road then," Robin cheered. He plopped on the couch next to Star, who eagerly awaited for the potato-couching to start as well. Raven took a seat in one of the lounge chairs, and Cyborg whipped out his new beanbag chair (complete with extra padding for his megaton butt).
"Alright, two choices," Beast Boy announced. He held up both DVD's. "We've got Disney's Snow White, or Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves!"
Cyborg's hand shot up. "Prince of Thieves! Mad props to Kevin Costner!"
"Ple~ase," Raven groaned in disagreement.
"I have dibs on the second movie, so either one is fine with me," Beast Boy said. "Robin, you're the tie breaker. Which is it?"
Robin seemed surprised by the movie choices still, but he eventually decided on one. "If Cy' wants Kevin Costner, then I'm gonna have to say... Snow White."
"What!?" Cyborg said, his head enlarging to five times normal size in his animated anger. "Yo, that is way un-cool!" Robin just grinned in satisfaction, and Starfire giggled.
"Snow White it is!" Beast Boy put the DVD into the player expertly and grabbed the remote before Cyborg could claim it for himself. He started the show, and the classic Disney movie began. Starfire watched it eagerly, while the others resisted because of its childish connotations. Every now and then though, the other Titans found themselves becoming interested in this historic animation piece – particularly around the singing parts.Some day my prince will come...
Some day we'll meet again.
And away to his castle we'll go...
To be happy forever I know.
Some day when spring is here...
We'll find our love anew.
And the birds will sing...
And wedding bells will ring...
Some day when my dreams come true.
Starfire clutched Robin's arm and lay her head on his shoulder as she watched the film for the first time. When Snow White finished singing one of her beautiful songs, Robin casually leaned over and kissed Star gently. She cooed softly in response, completely content. The Titans watched the movie in peace, enjoying each other's company as they had so many times before.
Life was good. And after all that had happened, Starfire was glad to know that it would always be that way, as long as she had hope in her heart.