Despite the lack of ribbons and confetti around the kingdom, Adora could tell that every inch of Etheria held an endless celebration at the defeat of the Horde and the giant known as Dark Hope. The princess wiped away some sweat from her brow as she had finished helping the local wizards repair yet another home. In a few weeks time, she had been able to use She-ra's healing power to its full extent, making her injuries practically gone. Only moments ago Adora had used this power to aid Casta and during the moment told her about the sword in detail. The Queen was naturally curious about it's power, though she had wanted to confirm another identity that at this point seemed obvious to everyone on Etheria (mostly those in the rebellion of course). Now knowing that she was the princess of power made it easy for one to find out about her brother's secret. Casta had oddly enough been cooperative and understanding about the idea, reasoning that both a She-ra and Adora were needed in different ways and for different times. Unfortunately her friend had discovered yet another obstacle the princess had yet to accomplish. It had been two months since the rebellion took their victory over the Horde but Adora had yet to go to her family.
Each day after the battle felt far more agonizing than the physical pain that the First Ones caused her. Her heart was torn at the thought of going home and exposing her secret to those on Eternia. Adam's situation at the palace was different from hers; the Horde was a huge adversary which had taken over thousands of worlds, a situation where choices that determined life or death had been a weekly risk for her people, while Skeletor was more of a bully in her eyes rather than a conquerer. Even though the twins were both expected at the front lines of a battle, Adora could have easily hid herself among the army of troopers that threatened to destroy the rebellion while Adam's fights were composed of small groups of wizards and swordsmen. Thus it was easier to tell when the prince hadn't attended a brawl and Adora feared that going to Eternia would expose him immediately. There were very few wizards in the Horde and those that she knew of had been destroyed during the reign of the Unholy Kings. If she had taken a portal into her home dimension, then it was practically showing a door to Adam's enemies to go to Etheria and find out about his secret. No, she needed to come up with a more cunning plan to tell her brother. Telepathy between dimensions were weak for one twin to communicate to the other, at best she could only say one or two words to him. Using the sword would have been no better than a gateway portal as she learned from the past that Skeletor had hidden spells used to pick up any magical rifts in their world.
Casta had heard these excuses but could not help but voice that her friend was merely stalling the inevitable.
Adora wanted nothing more than to hug her parents tightly again, to see them and visit for long periods of time. She yearned to learn of her family and all their wonderful hobbies and secrets. The guilt had been eating away at her, though SeaHawk had been very supportive in her actions. Adora was surprised at how well he took her secret; she could tell that he was slightly hurt at her lack of trust in her friends, but after the magnificent battle against the Horde (and the First Ones, though few kingdoms were reluctant to believe that she had faced the gods) nearly everyone on Etheria was too grateful for her deeds to question the shock of her identity. Adora knew that it was only the beginning of this world wide victory, and once everything was set back into some kind of order their, gratitude would soon become suspicious and then the glory could altogether disappear within a few generations. Hopefully since Queen Angella, Glimmer, and Casta had begun to work together to establish a new Etherian government the story of this victory would be preserved with it's glory intact.
Adora then snapped out of her thoughts as she felt a loud engine shake the ground beneath her feet. Turning around the rebel leader grinned slightly as Entrapta was teaching one of the locals to work a new construction device she invented. Surprisingly, the scientist had been willing to change her ways after what MagiTek had done to both her and Shadow Weaver. Entrapta was still under surveillance by a few wizards in the area, but Adora could not see nor sense any desire for power in her. It was as if the woman was lost and the very least she could do was help the rebellion repair the damages she'd done. Some rebels refused to trust her, but the scientist had truly won them over when she destroyed the entire Fright Zone with one swift and clean bomb. Adora had never seen a device such as that weapon before, but it got the job done and even helped some vegetation grow in the area.
Entrapta, as Razzella had said, proved useful to the rebels and had begun teaching them technology. Since the magic in the world, originated by the First Ones, was slowly fading away. The trust of the Horde scientist throughout the rebellion had been aided by none other than Madame Razz herself. The witch chose not to tell the rebels of her true origins in fear that they would reject her association with the First Ones, and claimed that she had used a youth spell to make her appear younger and that it would wear off within time.
In reality, Razzella had told Adora that her body was now mortal and that she would only live as long as any other being on Etheria.
The princess wondered if Madame felt any sorrow about the thought of dying after so long, but decided not to question it as she had never seen the old witch act so cheerful. Even during all the joy around her and the thoughts of her family, Adora also could not forget about Hordak. He sacrificed himself to make sure she wouldn't get hit by any of the beams emitted by the castle, he risked his own life for her safety. None of this peace or universe that existed now would have still been here without his help. Before she realized it the day had grown dark with most of the civilians ready to retire for the day. Bow cast the rebel leader a concerned gaze as she had apparently stood in the same spot for quite some time.
"Don't worry about me, Bow, I just need to take a break," she walked away before he could get a good look at her sorrowful expression.
Adora decided to walk on her own to the restored Whispering Woods. Her friends were concerned about her aloof behavior, and the princess just was not in the mood to assure them that she was all right (especially since that would have been a lie). As she walked deeper into the forest, Adora stopped upon hearing two voices in the distance. Very few rebels remained in the camp after the Horde was defeated, and fled elsewhere to find another home in a less crowded area. She then took very light steps closer to the sound and nearly froze in shock at the familiar sounds.
"No, Imp we are not going to take their food," the man grunted a response. "We will only keep what we hunted on the way here, there will be no more stealing unless the situation is dire."
"But I'm huuuuungry," the whiny creature groaned.
"You'll just have to wait unti-"
Suddenly, the princess emerged from the bushes with tears in her eyes while the two stared at her in shock. Adora attempted to form some kind of response or at least be able to inquire about the space ship behind the two but instead hugged Hordak as tight as she could. Her sudden appearance surprised him greatly but the physical contact drew him back into reality a bit. He did not feel deserving of this woman's hug, though her sobbing made him return the gesture gently.
Adora drew back slightly with wide eyes, "How-how did you escape?"
"Well if you must know" Imp puffed out his chest proudly. "Hordak found this small ship locked down in the entrance of the castle!"
"It was most likely from Arch-Arach's earlier invasion due to the unusual shape," he spoke with confidence. "Perhaps it was a vessel used by a soldier, but either way we made it out. Imp saw the ship and actually managed to pull me towards it a little."
Adora raised a brow, "Did he now?"
"Hordak transformed the bottom of his feet into wheels so I could move him," Imp nodded to his friend's legs.
The princess looked down and noticed that below his knees were robotic limbs that he no doubt transformed until his bones healed properly. Adora pulled back a little.
"Let me turn into She-ra, my healing powers can help you recover completely this time."
Hordak shook his head, "That won't be necessary, I've already asked too much of you during my time here. Adora, it is wonderful to see you again, but we have to finish this farewell soon as I must get back to my work."
"Yeah!" the blue beast interrupted again. "After that no good Entrapta blew up the Fright Zone a week ago the only parts we could find to repair this thing are near the rebel camp."
Adora's shook her head and looked at Hordak with a desperate gaze, "Wait, I don't understand, are you leaving? There is no reason to do that, you can come back to the rebellion and help us here!"
"I can't Adora, there are other missions I must tackle elsewhere. Imp and I are going to help free the other worlds we helped conquer. I know most of the generals in the planets closest to this galaxy and they would most definitely keep the planet conquered under their rule, Horde Prime or not," the dark warrior crossed his arms. "These generals are powerful but paranoid as well. Worst case scenario is that they form an allegiance of some kind despite their famed treachery and I cannot allow another intergalactic army to gain power, not again."
The princess had been taken aback at his determination to travel to the countless worlds that the Horde conquered. Most would have considered his actions to be foolish for then the rest of his life would become nothing more than battles against an endless force. Adora clenched her fists at the thought of other worlds suffering just as Etheria had for so many years. She was about to respond, but Hordak had caught her movement before she could offer.
"After all this, you can finally go back to your true family," the Hordian choked for a moment but regained his composure a little. "Really, it's best that you forget about the one who took you away from them."
Adora stood both angry and confused at the man who had both ruined and saved her life. After all they had been through together could he not see what a powerful team the made? They defeated the gods themselves to get this far and now he refused her help? The princess took a deep breath and started to calm down. Adora then opened her eyes and stood proudly, her figure unable to face the man.
"I'm only going to call you this once, so you better listen."
Hordak swallowed a bit of saliva while his hands twitched in anticipation. Like a true soldier her expression was unreadable and stoic. Curiously the dark warrior tilted his head and waited for some kind of response.
"Goodbye, Father. and I wish you good luck."
Tears welled up in Hordak's eyes as he desperately tried to fight them back. Imp who had apparently entered the machine to activate the ship's engines and called for him to get inside.
"Goodbye, my daughter," he said under his breath.
As the door to the ship closed, Adora quickly turned around and finally gazed upon the fully repaired ship take off slowly. Then as quick as a shooting star into the sky the vessel flew into space emitting a loud boom after take off. The princess covered her ears at the sound only to run outside the woods in a vain attempt to search for him through the stars.
At that moment Bow, one of the few who stayed in the rebel camp, rushed to Adora's side gazing at the burnt vegetation in curiously, "What happened here? What was all that noise about?"
"It was Hope," Adora replied. "Hope for the future."
And here is the epilogue!
Let me just say right now that this is the end of 'Doubt' and there will be no sequel. If you are interested in writing one then you must e-mail me with a complete (or mostly complete) idea of what you want to do along with a chapter of one of your own stories to show off your writings skills. I am very protective and picky when it comes to my story so don't be upset if I reject it.
My god, how can this be over?
You all who have stuck around since the beginning have proven to be far more patient than one could ask for. Thank you goes out to all my readers and reviewers out there. Thank you to Delora for your wonderful input and helpful advice about beta readers and my writing. Also I would like to thank Asher Tye for his patience with my slow updates in art and writing! Thank you to everyone!
There were many goals I wanted to accomplish in Doubt, some more obvious than others. Not having grown up in the 80s I found out about She-ra only recently during high school. There was some potential in the story and shockingly enough one with a female main character. I found her plot far more developed and interesting than the more popular show known as He-man (though I do tend to make that obvious even in this fanfic). It was disappointing to find out that She-ra had no consistent story nor an actual ending to a particularly huge adversary. So 'Doubt' was born to create my own take on the ending of the cartoon with some criticism of the show itself inside (once again, you all have probably seen this in my not so subtle writing). I wanted to say that even with a female main character a story can still be epic and unique for all those involved. It is my dream to one day create a show of my own, but that probably will not be for quite some time.
The She-ra cartoon, despite the disgustingly girly names and titles did have a better story line and an actual origin for Adora's power (unlike in the He-man show which gave no such introduction until the bad 200x version came out). I wanted to improve the story since there was potential in it and no matter what, I had to make this point.
It has been a great pleasure writing 'Doubt' but I must confess that there is another story that I wanted to do for a long time. Having a fanfic in the She-ra section get so many reviews has given me confidence in my plot ideas (though the writing could obviously use some work). The next story, for those who are interested, has to do with Beast Wars transformers. Just as 'Doubt' finished the She-ra cartoon, this fic will give a proper ending to the Beast Wars universe that Beast Machines just could not live up to. Unfortunately school starts again in two days which means that this story cannot be started until december of this year. An author alert option exists if you are interested, but otherwise it will not be for a while though I assure you that this time I will have a beta reader so the many mistakes you've seen here in 'Doubt' will hopefully decrease in the next one.
There is nothing more I can say other than that I'm a little sad that it is over. I will continue to update art relating to this fanfic in my deviant art account (link to it is in my profile) in the future. Thank you all and I hope you enjoyed the ride!