Sorry for the LONG delay, but writer's block is killing me, i'll finish this story no matter how long it takes me!
Night time descended upon the dome of champions, the sky was blazoned by a blanket of stars, accompanied by several glowing gas planets that seemed to orbit whatever world the Master of Games had decided to call home.
Despite the serenity of the moment, Terra found that she could not sleep, something nagging at insides of her mind as she tossed and turned in her bed. It was all too much to take in, one minute they were playing with the boys at Beast Boy's favourite card game, then the next, they were zapped away to some far off tournament of champions. No way of contacting home, no way of finding out whether the boys were frantically searching for them.
Giving up on all hope of sleeping anytime soon, she got up, walked out of her room, and decided to take up her time honored tradition of star gazing. The Master of Game's pavilion provided quite the view, with a balcony that circled the entirety of the solitary dome, and Terra could not help but notice that the night sky was just as beautiful as all the times she viewed it on Earth, when she found herself a wanderer in the desert. Even though they were not the best of times, Terra found that she could not help but smile, that bit of nostalgia hanging in the air as she lost herself in thoughts gone past.
"Can't sleep either?" A new voice appeared behind her, temporarily sending a jolt through Terra's thoughts. The titan turned around quickly as though expecting an attack, but she relaxed when she realized it was only Raven.
"No." Terra smiled lightly, sitting down at the balcony's ledge, and tucking her knees close to her body. "Just enjoying the view."
Raven nodded, standing just beside Terra and staring up in the same mosaic of lights in the sky.
"I can't reach them." The sorceress said simply, inferring at her previous attempts to contact the rest of the team, to make sure they knew they were okay, but more importantly, to check up on Starfire after she lost the match.
"The Master of Games did say this was another world, maybe we just can't reach them until we win this thing and go home." Terra offered.
"Yes, I know. But still, I would like to know if Star's okay."
"She'll be fine, Starfire's a tough girl, if something's wrong, she'll find a way to let us know."
Terra said reassuringly, hoping that didn't come off too harshly. The whole 'being on a team' business was still new to her. For almost all her life, she was alone, either cast out by the ones she befriended or simply not trusting herself and her powers enough to be around people. Now, she had to worry about other people, people who trusted her with their lives, and people who accepted her, faults and all.
It was refreshing, but at the same time, terrifying.
"Still…" Raven grumbled, her own thoughts too pre-occupied to read the subtle anxiety on Terra's face. "I would feel a lot better knowing."
"Don't worry, we'll finish off this tournament today, then we'll be back home like no one's the wiser." Terra grinned slightly. "Who knows, I may even let you hold my trophy."
Beast Boy said Raven was dull and boring, but the sorceress was proving to be quite a competitor underneath that cold exterior.
Then, Raven did something that sent even bigger chills down Terra's spine.
"Well, win or lose, at least make sure we give Starfire's sister a big whooping." Terra laughed, deflating her own anxiety.
"That I don't mind at all." Raven said flatly, before resuming her gaze at the stars above.
"You miss it. Don't you?" The sorceress said sympathetically, which caused Terra to jerk her head towards Raven in surprise. Was she reading her thoughts?
"I don't have to be a psychic to guess everything you know." She said dryly. "Despite what Beast Boy says I do pay attention to people's emotions."
Terra chuckled. "I guess you can say it that way."
"For a long time, I was living on my own, just running away, I did kind of enjoyed the freedom, never having to worry about anything. Don't get me wrong, I love being part of this team and finally having a place to call home but…..ever since I ran into you guys… things got complicated."
"It gets better." Raven said helpfully, knowing all too well what it felt like when your gifts felt more like a curse.
"You really think so Raven?"
"You're still getting use to being part of team. But sometimes, you have to give time…time. Everything works out in the end." The sorceress said reassuringly.
Terra nodded, then shifted uneasily as she spoke.
"Look, Raven. I know we didn't get along very well. In fact, when I first joined, I knew you didn't like me at all."
"Yup." Raven replied stoically.
The Titan chuckled softly. "So don't feel offended when I ask, but why the pep talk now now?"
"Well, for one thing you saved my room from being trashed in a building sized sink hole. That should at least give you some points." Raven said with her joking-yet-somehow-still-serious tone.
Terra chuckled quietly. "That's positively nice of you, and humor to boot? Completely different from what Beast Boy's been telling me."
The sorceress sighed, then smirked a bit. "One thing you need to learn if you're going to be part of this team, is to think twice before taking cues from Beast Boy."
Terra laughed, and within that laughter, she realized that she didn't mind having a place to belong after all.
She watched smugly as the two titans continued watching the stars, all the while ignoring the Tamaranian hovering in the night sky, behind the two.
Blackfire watched quietly, considering back stabbing them now, eliminate the competition. But something about this tournament didn't seem right to her, and she had a gut feeling that this Master of Games wasn't being completely honest. She didn't know what, but her past experience with deception taught her that something was up. Maybe it was time to pay this Master a visit.
She smirked as she flew, eyeing the chain that hung from her neck, and the red jewel attached to it, giving her aura a menacing red glow.
The Jewel of Charta.
It was a red gem from the Swamp Moons of Drenthax IV, known for amplifying a Tamaranian's abilities to the point where they became twice as strong, as her naïve sister found out the hard way. The jewels were notoriously rare, the mines being owned by a certain Schlurch crimelord that guarded them jealously, but she had managed to secure one that had been stolen.
It was worth every penny purchasing this from those Alpha Centauri smugglers, and even more so to see the faces of those pathetic guards when she single handedly tore her way out of prison.
With that happy thought, she quietly perched herself outside the balcony of the tallest tower of the Dome, deducing that this was where the Master of Games resided. That, and the maniacal laughter she heard erupting from his chambers.
Well, that settles that theory.
Blackfire smirked, now she'll find out what this Master was really up to.
She quietly floated beneath the balcony, but she was caught off guard with the glow of green chakra emitting from the room.
"Starfire?" Blackfire whispered, slightly outraged that her sister was still here after she was fairly backstabbed in the last round. The villainess navigated around the balcony, poppng her head up to gaze the green Starbolt….
…on the palm of the Master of Games.
"Truly amazing….." The Master chuckled as he sprouted wings on his back, hovering just as he demolished a practice dummy with a green starbolt and yellow stinger blast.
The Master of Games adapted himself to Starfire's powers, as he landed, and crushed a piece of stone in his hand like it was made of sand.
"These prizes have even more potential than the last bunch. I can't wait until the next round, then I will show my last, misguided batch of champions just what a true winner is."
Blackfire's eyes widened even more as she saw the red encrusted Jewel around his neck, emitting muffled screams as he powered up, producing two Kunai in his hands, while the grinning mask of Chesire formed to cover half his face.
"Just as you'll find out now….my little heroine."
Before Blackfire could even move in surprise, the Master threw them straight at her, propelled by Starfire's strength, the kunai demolished the stone railings of the balcony, sending Blackfire hovering backwards, guard up.
"Heroine? Don't make me laugh." Blackfire smirked, powering up her Jewel of Charta. So the Master of games was using this tournament for his own benefit, herding heroes and heroines with the promise of a prize, only he would end up winning it all.
Blackfire couldn't help but admire the simplicity of it all.
"As much as I would love to hear by darling sister suffer." The Tamaranian smiled, her eyes blazing red with energy. "I'll be taking her, and that lovely jewel off your hands."
"Ah," The Master of Games smiled in recognition. "The infamous Blackfire, I see you live up to your reputation. And I also noticed that you've paid your own visit to the moons of Drenthax before." He smiled, pointing to the Jewel that Blackfire carried around her neck.
"So what if I have?" Blackfire did her best to hide her surprise.
"I am quite familiar with the Jewels of Charta you see, being an interdimensional being and all." The Master of Games said nonchalantly as he sprouted Bumblebee's wings, charging Starfire's bolts in one hand while producing two more Kunai in the other.
"Am I supposed to be impressed?" Blackfire said, slightly annoyed.
"No, but I bet the Schlurch's never told you about the other moons, or the other types of jewels." The Master smiled, lifting his own ruby amulet up for Blackfire to see. "Some are known to increase power, such as yours, while others have more subtle, but just as valuable abilities."
Then, the Master's smile vanished in dark glare. "Know this too, young Champion, that you are cheating, and I do not abide cheating in my tournament. I'm afraid that's grounds for disqualification."
A devilish grin appeared on the Master's face as he charged up his eyes with Starfire's starbolts, shooting a pair of beams straight at the shocked Tamaranian.
Then, just as quickly as it began, with a blast and a scream, it was over.
"AND welcome, Heroines, to the second day of the tournament!" The Master of Games, resplendent in a large cloak that covered his massiveframe, shouted as his voice echoed the chambers as the four remaining competitors were teleported back into the ring.
Raven, Terra, Rouge and Argent suddenly found themselves zapped back into the dome, the lightning and smoke vanishing just as soon as it had appeared.
"Best of luck today," Argent smirked at her fellow competitors, "though I'd imagine you Blokes will need it."
"This ends today." Rouge said all too seriously, as though this was just a waste of her time. "I am tired of dealing with children."
"Rae," Terra smirked at her fellow team mate. "Best of luck."
"Yeah." Raven nodded, then eyed the arena. "Hey, where's Blackfire?"
"I'm afraid the heroine was caught trying to sabotage her fellow competitors, needless to say, she's been disqualified." The Master explained.
"Figures." Raven said tersely.
The Master however, went on. "In any case, let us begin the tournament! In the semi final rounds, we have."
"Terra versus Madame Rouge." Both Terra and Madame rouge vanished in a cloud of smoke.
"Raven versus Argent." The remaining two heroines followed suit.
"May the Best Heroine win!"