Leanne stepped out of the Thunder Tank, looking up at the familiar walls of Dog City. Tygra was just behind her and frowned as he looked upon the earthen walls. "And here we are again."
"Relax, Tygra." Leanne said, "We'll find the kids, and then we'll get out of here to find the next stone. Then you can stop being such a royal jerk and go back to being the regular jerk you normally are."
"Hey!" Tygra snapped, punching her shoulder.
"Ow!" Leanne scowled at him, "Don't hit girls!" She punched him in the shoulder.
"Hey!" He rubbed the spot that she had hit, "Oh, so that makes it okay for you to hit me?!"
"As a matter of fact, it does." Leanne replied smugly. Tygra rolled his eyes and walked away.
"How are we gonna find the kids?" He asked, looking behind him at Lion-O.
He shrugged, "Split up, look around town. It should be pretty easy to find them."
"I have no idea what these kids look like." Pumyra said.
"That's fine. You can just come with me." Lion-O told her, "We meet back here in an hour." Cheetara looked out into the people of the city, seeing the many faces of the dogs, and finding some little bodies among them.
"I don't think we'll have to." She said, pointing to them. Everyone turned to see Kit and Kat talking to three other kids. They handed them a bag, and they exchanged a few words before turning and waving goodbye.
"That was easy." Leanne commented as the two kittens ran over to them.
"Hi guys!" Kit shouted, waving at them.
"Hey!" Leanne called to them, they came over and held up the bag.
"Check it out, Leanne!" WilyKat said, "We got a Forever Bag!"
"What's a 'forever bag'?" Leanne asked, taking the bag and peeking through the opening to see nothing but darkness.
"I've heard of that." Panthro said, "Some wizard created it a long time ago. It's supposed to be able to hold entire kingdom's worth of treasure. Apparently its insides exist on the Astral Planes."
"For real?" Leanne asked in surprise.
"But it only works if you have the password." Panthro said, he eyed the twins, "Where'd you get that anyway?"
"We kinda stole it." WilyKit said with a shrug. Everyone gave the pair disapproving stares.
"I should be surprised, and yet, I'm not." Leanne said, she handed them back the bag.
"Kit, Kat," Lion-O called the twins over, "This is Pumyra." They looked up at her, and she looked down at them, "She's going to be travelling with us from now on."
"Hi!" The two greeted her.
"Hello." She greeted, shaking the two hands of the kids.
Stories were exchanged of what happened in the kitten's absence, as well as them hearing the story of Pumyra, and the freeing of the Cat slaves. As they were talking, Leanne and Panthro checked the Book of Omens, to see what they could find out about the direction of the next stone. They were disappointed when the Book still directed them straight up. Lion-O, Cheetara, and Tygra had gone into the market to find some supplies to stock up on.
"How in the world are we going to go 'up'?" Leanne asked him, staring down at the book.
"I have no idea." Panthro said with a sigh. He walked out of the Thunder Tank and Leanne looked after him.
"Where are you going?" She asked him.
"Might as well work on the Thunder Tank while we figure it out." Panthro said. Leanne could see how waiting for the Book to redirect them in a much simpler direction was going to take a lot of time. She reached down behind one of the seats in the tank, pulling out her Nana's diary. She moved to sit near the entrance of the tank, flipping through some of the pages, reading about various days in her Nana's life.
September 23rd, 1978—
Today was Melissa's first day of school. I was a little nervous about sending her off, and she was more than a little tearful about leaving me, but she calmed down after talking to her new teacher. It was the first time in a long time that Frank and I had some time alone together. After doing some daily chores that needed to be done, we just sat together and talked. Somewhere in the conversation, I told Frank the truth, and told him that Melissa wasn't his child. We had been so passionate in the beginning, I always thought I could convince him the child was his and we could live happily. To my surprise, he said he knew it the entire time. He had stayed with me from the beginning he learned I was pregnant, and he knew the child wasn't his. God bless this man and his kind heart. I always thought he had married me because he believed I was pregnant with his child and had to take responsibility. I told him this, and he said it was because the birth father wasn't there to take responsibility, he would be there for my child and me. Now I realize just how fortunate I am to have someone like Frank with me. I still love Garflin with all my heart, as one always does with their first love, but I don't think anyone can replace Francis and his incredible heart.
Leanne was pulled out of her thoughts when she heard Tygra speaking, "We don't have time to be tinkering with tank upgrades." He said, "Mumm-Ra already has the Sword of Plun-Darr, and if he gets to the next stone before us—"
"We're doomed. I know." Panthro said shortly, "But until that blasted Book of Omens decides to point anywhere but straight up, we're stuck here." Leanne closed her Nana's diary and stood up, going over to where the others were standing. She could hear the metal of the tank creaking as Panthro tightened up one of the bolts. She jumped when she heard a snapping sound, and Panthro growled, throwing away the wrench that carried one half of the bolt he had been working on, "Well, there just went a half a day's work!"
Lion-O sighed, "Sometimes all this tech is more trouble than it's worth. I'm starting to see why our ancestors left it behind."
That was something Leanne never expected to hear from Lion-O. She was about to say so, but another voice spoke up that made her stop from commenting.
"Do my eyes deceive me?" Lion-O turned around to see a familiar dog face carrying a bag full of junk pieces, who smiled at him, "Your Highness! Thank the stars you're alive!"
"Jorma?" Lion-O said in shock. His surprise turned into joy and he smiled widely at the old man, "What are you doing here?" The old dog went up to Lion-O with a smile as bright as his.
"After barely escaping the fall of Thundera, I moved the old junk shop back home." He turned to get a look at Lion-O's group of friends, and let out a low whistle when he laid eyes on the Thunder Tank, "Oh my, what do we have here?" He walked over to it, placing his hand against the cool metal, "Never thought I'd get to see one up close…" He turned back to Lion-O, "You sure know how to travel in style."
Panthro chuckled, "She's my pride and joy." He closed the part of the tank he was working on. Jorma moved to look inside the tank, and his eyes widened when he saw the Book of Omens.
"The fabled Book of Omens…" He murmured, "For so many years, I've dreamed of just seeing it."
"Maybe you can help us figure out what's wrong with the book." Leanne suggested, "The thing keeps pointing straight up no matter what we do."
"Let's get it back to the shop and I'll have a look." Jorma said. Leanne reached down and took the Book of Omens out of its resting place in the tank and carried it, following Jorma. Panthro, Tygra, and Lion-O went with her while Cheetara and Pumyra went off to find more supplies, and Kit and Kat went off to play with their new friends that they had made in Dog City.
Jorma's workshop lay just outside of the city's boundaries underneath a few boulders that had fallen in a landslide a few years ago. Jorma said the place was perfectly safe from anything outside, claiming the boulders provided adequate protection. Inside his shop, the walls and floors had various pieces of technology hanging around. It was the very same organized chaos that had existed in Jorma's old shop in Thundera. Jorma plugged a few wires into the book and put on a pair of magnifying goggles, looking over the book. After about fifteen minutes of him just looking over different parts of the book, Leanne asked him why it was taking him so long to see if there was anything wrong.
"A priceless treasure like the Book of Omens requires the most delicate tools." Jorma replied, "So it may take a little time."
"When you're done there, my right arm could use a tune-up." Panthro said, flexing his mechanical wrist and elbows a little bit.
Lion-O jumped when he felt something tiny moving on his foot and he jumped back to see what looked like a little mechanical bug scurrying across the floor. "Whoa! What's that thing?"
Jorma lifted up his goggles and glared at it, "A nasty little pest."
"It's a spider!" Leanne squealed, jumping back when she saw it. She squirmed in disgust, "Kill it! Kill it! Kill it!" As it passed Tygra, he tried to step on it, only to have the little mechanical thing stab his foot with a small knife.
"Don't worry, I'll take care of it." Jorma said, he whistled, and another little mechanical bug came hovering out of the room behind his workshop, letting out strange metallic coos, as if it was processing data information. It flew by the group, heading straight for the little robot scurrying across the floor. The light bulb it carried on its back lit up and a yellow bolt of lightning shot out, zapping the crawling bug. Once that was done, it flew back to its master, letting out mechanical coos that sounded much happier. Jorma smiled at it as it landed in his hand, "That's Flicker. He helps me keep the scavengers away. Isn't that right?" Flicker let out a few more happy coos, looking up at Jorma as his body put away the flying blades that had given him the ability to hover in the first place. "Yes, Flicker, your giga-spark gets them every time. Good boy!" He walked over to where the remains of the mechanical bug lay, picking it up, "This spider-bot probably sniffed out the book's energy." He threw it over to a corner of his store, and when it landed, it gave off a small explosion, showing that it was completely destroyed.
Lion-O glared at the spider-bot, then over at Flicker, "So, one pest to take care of another."
Flicker flew up from where he had been sitting in Jorma's hand to fly into Lion-O's face, letting out a stream of rapid, angry sounds, his light bulb flashing again and again.
"Oh, don't mind him, Flicker." Jorma said as he headed back to where the book was. "He's just grouchy." He picked up the book, looking over it again. After a moment, he said, "Good news, everyone! The book is in perfect working order!"
"So… what? The stone is just hanging out on a cloud?" Panthro asked.
"The sky may not be as empty as you think, Panthro." Jorma said, unplugging the cords he had stuck into the book. He stood up, "Let me show you a secret."
The four of them followed Jorma's directions as they rode in the Thunder Tank out to a pretty deserted part of the flatlands that existed outside of Dog City. At first, there didn't seem to be much, just more flatlands, but as they came closer to their destination, it became clearer where Jorma was leading them. It was a huge mountain of abandoned, somewhat broken technology. It coated just a small portion of the huge land, but it was about two miles in diameter. They had to watch where they stepped to make sure they didn't stab their feet on a rogue piece of shrapnel. The further in they went, the more they had to climb over different junk piles.
"I'm the only one who knows about this place." Jorma said, looking over all the different pieces of tech.
"It just looks like a regular old junkyard to me." Leanne said as she climbed up over one of the higher sheets of metal, perching herself at the top to get comfortable.
"Wow, Cheetara and the kids are gonna be sorry they missed this." Tygra said with a sarcastic bite.
Panthro reached down into the piles of tech, pulling out one of the pieces of junk. "Hmm… Not bad." He said, going over it, "I might be able to find some parts I need for the tank."
"You haven't seen anything yet." Jorma replied knowingly. There was a strange rumble above them, like thunder, but there was no thundercloud in the sky, as well as some kind of loud, mechanical groan. Jorma let out an excited laugh, "It's almost time! It's almost time!"
"Uh… You feeling okay, Jorma?" Leanne asked from where she sat on the top of the pile.
Jorma reached down and picked up a thick sheet of metal and held it over his head as he looked skyward, "It's here!" He shouted.
The others looked up into the sky, seeing small glints of sunlight as it reflected off of something, and then they saw huge piles of technology and other junk plummeting down towards them. They all jumped out of the way, trying to get to safety from the falling debris as it all came crashing down into the ground around them. Leanne yelped as the junk she was seated on started to lean backwards, and took her with it. She jumped up into the air with her powers, and immediately regretted doing so when she came right into the line of falling objects. She quickly zoomed out of the way to try and get somewhere safe so she wouldn't be crushed by the huge amount of metal. After a short moment, it all stopped as smaller pieces of metal fell down on top of the huge ones that had come first.
"Isn't it lovely?!" Jorma asked with a grin as he looked at all the fallen metal work, putting down the piece he had grabbed to protect his head.
Tygra glanced up at the sky, and yelped when a final piece of metal landed in front of him. He glared at it for a moment before regaining his composure.
"More like terrifying." Leanne muttered, looking up at the sky.
"Something… Someone is up there." Lion-O said.
"Whoever it is, they've got technology beyond our imagination." Jorma said, joining the four of them as their group came to form up again. Panthro looked over some of the new pieces that had fallen, very interested in what had just happened.
"They also have the next stone." Lion-O said.
Flicker came zooming over to them, urgent, rapid sounds coming from him as he looked to Jorma. His eyes widened when he realized what the little bug bot was saying. He looked around worriedly before grabbing a small armful of technology and running towards the tank.
"We've got to go! Get back to the Thunder Tank!" He shouted as he ran.
"Already?" Panthro asked, "I'm just getting started! This place is a gold mine!"
"You don't understand!" Jorma said, "They're coming!"
"Who's coming?" Lion-O asked.
"The necro-mechs…" Jorma trailed off as he heard the sound of metal hitting metal in the distance. The others looked back to see a group of robots, all of them made from various pieces of machinery, walk across the metal piles towards them.
"Today is just one crazy incident after another." Leanne muttered. Everyone got ready to fight, glaring at the necro-mechs as they stopped. Their mechanical eyes lit up as they scanned the area. Once they were through, they jumped into action, not bothering to give Lion-O and the others a second glance as they headed towards something else. Leanne blinked in surprise, "They're not attacking us?"
"I don't think these machines are after us." Lion-O said, "I think they're after the Thunder Tank." As he spoke, the mechanical minions ran over to the tank, ripping off different parts of it.
"Aw, cripes, my baby!" Panthro shouted, running towards the necro-mechs. They saw him coming and began firing at him and the others, realizing that they were threats to them.
"ThunderCats! Ho!" Lion-O shouted, his sword shooting out its powerful red beam at some of the robots; they narrowly avoided the blast and it hit a pile of metal scraps instead. Tygra came running at them, using his whip to deflect any of the shots that came towards him. He used his whip and wrapped it around the metal arm of one of the necro-mechs. It grabbed onto the whip and managed to pull him into the air, throwing him down onto a pile of rubble. Leanne blasted fire from her fingertips, and the necro-mechs jumped back from it, but the instant it was gone, they opened fire on her. She ran back behind some shrapnel for cover and tried to crush them by sending boulders in their direction. They only moved out of the way and kept firing.
Panthro went after one of the bots that was near his tank, grabbing onto its arms with his mechanical ones, which had lengthened to give him some distance between him and the mechanical monstrosity. "You're not the only one here with a built-in hydraulic intensifier!" He growled at it when it tried to fight back. Steam shot out of his elbows as he pushed the necro-mech back. It didn't do much damage, as it easily came back up and went charging back at him again.
Amidst all this fighting, one of the smaller robots got into the Thunder Tank, and found the Book of Omens, while a few others went after different parts of the tank. They all yanked out the parts they wanted, the book included. When the parts were removed, the tank's system couldn't function without what they had taken, and it all began to explode. They all left the vehicle before it had a chance to blow them all up. It was the explosions that got everyone's attention, and they saw the little necro-mech that held the red book.
"We have to stop them! They're going for the Book of Omens!" Lion-O said. Panthro went after them, grabbing onto the arm of the little one, only for it to come off right away, causing him to fall on his back. Lion-O, Leanne, and Tygra all ran after it to try and catch it, but the other necro-mechs wouldn't let that happen. Their eyes glowed brightly, and Leanne felt a strange tingle going up and down her spine. Very soon this tingle became very painful, and she fell to the ground. Jorma and Flicker remained hidden through all this, neither wanting to be involved in such a battle. Although, when Flicker heard the cries of pain that came from Leanne, Lion-O, and Tygra, he began to hover up, going over to help them, but Jorma kept him back for his safety.
When the lights had faded, the necro-mechs were gone, and the junkyard was silent.
Lion-O groaned as he pushed himself up, glaring at where the robots had been standing, "They got the book…" He muttered.
As the others all stood back up, they looked around at all the rubble. Leanne's eyes widened when she saw something familiar in the mess, "That isn't all they got." She said.
The others turned to see what she meant, and they saw the Thunder Tank, or… what was left of it. The necro-mechs had ripped it apart, leaving nothing more than useless parts and mounds of metal remains.
Panthro ran over to it, looking at it with wide eyes. Leanne thought that he just might cry as he looked at what remained of his precious tank. He swallowed down what she assumed was a slur of angry curses. She came over to his side, "I'm sorry, Panthro." She said.
"Got to give those scavengers some credit." Panthro growled, "They were pretty thorough."
"They didn't even leave a trail." Lion-O growled.
"Well, those bots didn't build themselves." Tygra said, looking over what was left of the tank.
"Indeed." Jorma said, coming over to them, "Someone called the 'Soul Sever' did."
"Oh, well that's a pleasant name." Leanne said sarcastically.
"No one's ever seen him. Just his work." Jorma continued, reaching down to pick up a piece of the tank, "While these machines are just products of their programming, Sever is working to create robots with souls." He threw the piece he was holding at Panthro, who caught it easily.
"Machines with souls?" He echoed, "That's impossible."
"You know what else is impossible?" Tygra began, his tone light, "A Cat with robot arms." Leanne let a small grin come onto her face as Panthro looked over his mechanical limbs.
"Fair enough." He said after a moment, a grin of his own on his face.
"Flicker can track the book's electromagnetic signature." Jorma said, the little bug bot in question hovering around his head, "He will lead you to Soul Sever and the book." Flicker took off, humming happily as he went after the signal he was receiving from the Book of Omens, "Try to keep up, he moves fast!" They all ran after the little bot, making sure to keep him in their sights.
"Thanks Jorma!" Leanne called out over her shoulder to the dog as she ran.
"Good luck!" Jorma called back, waving goodbye. Once they were out of ear-shot, he muttered, "You're gonna need it…"
They followed Flicker through the plains, heading to a dark part of the area where a storm was coming in. Leanne thought it strange that such a dry place would have such a gigantic storm coming in, but she saw that there was no rain. Just clouds with lightning and thunder. It was a result of some kind of generator that lay behind the building where Flicker had led them. It reminded her a little of a temple in the way it was set up; with high towers spiraling up into the sky. Flicker began to fly closer to it, and the others followed, passing by many different run-down machines. One of them happened to catch Leanne's eye as they ran.
"It's an air ship." She said as they passed by it, "Like the one we saw in the book."
"If it worked, it could take us up to the next stone." Panthro said.
"The next stone won't matter if we can't get the book back." Lion-O said as they approached the doors. They were wide open and they all walked in. Leanne shuddered as she looked around at the walls. The room was so cold, and seeing all the wires and machinery lying around and going through the walls made it seem even colder, and much less inviting.
"The stuff of nightmares…" Tygra murmured as they went further in. Leanne had to agree with him there. All this darkness and coldness did make her think of nightmares.
As they came into the main room, they saw six tunnels that didn't lead anywhere along the walls, and there was a huge piece of machinery on the back of the wall where all the wires that went throughout the building met. This was behind an important-looking table where the Book of Omens was being suspended in the air by electrical waves that danced all around it.
"It's the book!" Lion-O whispered when he saw it. Flicker wasted no time in flying forward, intending to finish the mission his master had entrusted him to do for Lion-O. "Flicker! Wait!" He didn't listen as he went over to the book, and was about to use his giga-spark to shut off the machine that held the book, when a large hand grabbed him and pulled him away from it.
"What do we have here?" A voice said, everyone saw a strange man, whose body seemed to be made almost entirely of machines stood up. His limbs were long and gangly, and he seemed to wear some sort of metallic robe of some kind, but what got them the most were the huge scythes that were folded like wings on his back. This could be no one but Soul Sever. He looked at Flicker with his bright green eyes, "An amusing trinket?"
"You better not hurt him." Panthro growled.
"There is nothing to hurt." He replied, "He is merely wires and a product of programming, but no soul. He is incomplete." He tossed Flicker away as he turned to them, "As are all you. Perfect souls trapped in imperfect vessels."
"Hey! I happen to like the way I look!" Leanne snapped at him.
"Why have you disturbed me?!" Soul Sever shouted angrily, silencing anything else Leanne might have said.
"We've come here for the Book of Omens!" Lion-O said, pointing to where the book was suspended.
"I'm afraid that's impossible." Soul Sever said, "Not after I've seen the incredible potential of this artifact."
"And I've seen that potential in the hands of a mad man." Lion-O growled, "I won't allow it!"
"Then you see technology as an evil?" Soul Sever asked him.
"It's hard not to," Lion-O said, "When the scourge was used to destroy everything I held dear!"
"What you call a scourge is all that gives me hope." Soul Sever said. He looked up at something behind him, and the others looked as well, to see three ghostly white orbs with long, wispy tails moving back and forth in cylindrical containers. "Before technology, my only obsession was my family. But a sickness overwhelmed them, one for which traditional medicine had no cure. So I turned to the Necro Mechers, a cult that harvested the technology that had been shunned by so much of Third Earth. If anyone could help, it would be these mysterious strangers. They managed to keep my family alive, but there was a price to be paid." Soul Sever put his hand against his chest, "They turned me into a weapon to further their cause." Leanne looked at him with wide eyes, wondering just what kind of pain and measures had to be taken in order to create a person such as him. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Tygra pulling out his whip, and when Soul Sever turned his back, Tygra was gone as well. "Their machines prolonged my family's life, but it wasn't much of a life. I argued that, if their natural bodies had failed, let us make better ones! The Necro Mechers warned that that would be a perversion of the balance between nature and technology. They had tried before with disastrous consequence. They would not allow it again, so I destroyed them." The way he said it made Leanne wonder if the machinery in his body had kept his sanity. He sounded so cold and cruel, like the room they were in. Surely if this was a man who loved his family, he wouldn't have gone to such extremes? "Through further experiments, I succeeded in capturing my family's souls. And here, those precious souls have waited for the perfect host. A task I was beginning to believe was impossible, until this book was brought to me." Leanne looked back up at the white orbs, her eyes widening at the sight of it. She had never seen souls outside of a body before, and it was so strange to look at three of them as they moved around their containers, as if looking for a way out.
"We can help you, and your family." Lion-O said, "But we need the book to do that."
"No one will ever touch this book but me!" Soul Sever said, "I suggest that if you value your fragile organic life, you will leave now."
Lion-O sighed and turned to Panthro, "We're leaving." The other two followed him as he began to head out the door. Tygra would grab the book and sneak off before Soul Sever had a chance to notice.
"Wait." They stopped, "There was another one with you." Leanne glanced nervously at the others.
"Uh, your story bored him so he… left in the middle." Panthro said. The Jewel of Omens quickly sensed his lie, but Leanne didn't need the jewel to tell her that. Panthro wasn't the best liar, it seemed.
Soul Sever's eyes turned red and he looked around the room. He glanced over to where the book was, and held out his hand, a huge electric bolt shooting out. Tygra suddenly became visible again, and he fell to the ground.
"Tygra!" Lion-O ran towards his brother, only be stopped by the necro-mechs.
"You wanted to help my cause?!" Soul Sever snapped angrily, "Then yours will be the next souls to be severed!" Everyone looked at him with wide eyes, and before they could blink, the necro-mechs had grabbed each of them. They all struggled against the machines, but they would not relent until they shoved them down on metal tables, strapping them to it. Each of the tables connected to one of the six tunnels along the walls. Leanne, Lion-O, and Panthro were all put on one side, while Tygra was put on the other. The tunnels lit up, humming as they came to life, getting ready to perform whatever task they were made to do.
"Your book has allowed me power I'd only ever imagined." Soul Sever said, "No longer must we know our greatest weaknesses! Disease, age, pain…"
"You know, I really don't mind most of those." Tygra said as he struggled against his restraints.
"Free us. Now!" Lion-O shouted.
"You will be freed. Of life's greatest restraint: death." Soul Sever said, "But first, for the sake of my loved ones, I must be sure the process will work."
"What the blazes are you planning to do to us?!" Panthro shouted at him. Soul Sever didn't reply as he began typing in some things on the main computer. The tables, which had previously been upright, when down on their backs as the machines' hums became even louder.
"Now this won't hurt at all." Soul Sever said, "In fact, nothing ever will again."
Everyone began shouting their protests as the machines started to slowly pull in the tables. Everyone struggled against their restraints, trying to get free.
Suddenly, with high-pitched, mechanical sounds were heard as Flicker came buzzing over to them. He used his giga spark to stop the machine that was pulling in Lion-O, and the restraints released him. Lion-O smiled at the little bug bot, having never been so thankful for him before. "Maybe you're not so bad, after all." Flicker let out a sound of happiness before using his giga-spark on Panthro's table, and then Leanne's. He didn't aim in the same place he had with Lion-O, so their restraints weren't released right away, but the machines did stop, and they were thankful for that much. Flicker turned and was about to do the same for Tygra, but Soul Sever reached out, and flicked the little bug bot away to the floor. Flicker landed with a small thud on the ground, sparks coming from where his mechanics had been charging up.
Lion-O turned, drawing his sword just in time to block the scythes that had unfolded from Soul Sever's back. He swiped at him again and again, "It's a pity you cannot see what I'm trying to do!" He said.
"What's that?" Lion-O asked scathingly as he started attacking him, "Rob us of the humanity technology stole from you?!"
Since Tygra's table hadn't stopped, he was pulled into the machine completely, and he let out a cry of pain as something electrocuted him. Leanne and Panthro struggled against their restraints, trying to get out to help their friends, but they were on pretty tightly.
Lion-O fell to the ground, rolling to the side just in time to avoid Soul Sever's scythe from where it would have pierced his skull.
"I'm afraid nothing can stop progress!" He said to Lion-O.
As he spoke, Tygra's soul was sucked out of his body and put into the machine. The wispy green waves were directed upwards, and into the pile of machinery waiting at the top. Leanne watched with wide eyes as the machinery began to move mid-air, taking a familiar form that looked something like Tygra, but it definitely wasn't. This machine had Tygra's soul in it, and it let out a mechanical roar as it came to life.
"Tygra!" Leanne shouted. She looked to where Tygra's body was in the machine, but saw that it was nothing more than a soulless shell now.
"It worked! It worked!" Soul Sever shouted happily as he looked up at the robotic Tygra. He turned to where the souls waited in their containers, "Soon, you will all be in my arms once again." The robot jumped down from where it had been previously, landing in front of Soul Sever. He waved his hands toward him as he stepped back, "Come to me, my perfect creation!" The machine slowly stepped toward him, but after the third step, it stopped, the metal body twitching as sparks flew from it. "No… No! This can't be happening!" The arm shot out and went through the wall, grabbing some mechanics from another part of the building. The other arm did the same. Each part of it kept grabbing more machinery and added it on to itself. "I can fix this!" Soul Sever cried frantically as he ran back to the main computer.
"You can fix what?!" Lion-O asked, shouting over the sound of metal against metal. The robot Tygra let out another mechanical roar as the body got bigger, "What's happening to him?!"
Finally, after so much struggling, Panthro managed to break through his restraints. He ran over to where Leanne was and yanked them off, freeing her. They all ran to where the mechanical body's appendages were growing at an alarming rate. They did their best to keep it at bay, Lion-O cutting up the strange grey tubes that held them together, Panthro grabbing at them and pulling them back, and Leanne blowing them back with her wind powers. It didn't do much good as it just kept getting bigger until it was almost as big as the room itself.
"No! No! I can control this!" Soul Sever said, working quickly at the main computer, "I just have to make some adjustments!"
As Lion-O sliced off another tube, he shouted, "This is what the Necro Mechers warned you of!"
Soul Sever ignored him as he kept working, "At this size, he will need to feed on more souls just to stay alive!" He kept working as the robot went over to the containers that held his family's souls, "Stay away from them!" The robot knocked him back with a heavy kick that sent him into the wall. He cracked open the containers and sucked down the wispy, white orbs, "No!" The robot Tygra let out another roar, and Soul Sever looked at him, his metal jaw agape. "What have I done?"
Lion-O ran up to the computer, "How do we stop it?!" He asked.
"We can't!" Soul Sever shouted, "Only a powerful electrical pulse into the book will disrupt the process!"
Flicker flew up beside Lion-O and he looked at the little bug bot with wide eyes. "Like a giga-spark!" He turned to it, "Flicker, you know what to do!" The little robot gave off a sound of agreement and began to hover over to the book, but Soul Sever grabbed him, stopping him from going any further. "What are you doing?!"
"I can't let this happen!" Soul Sever said, "It will destroy more than that beast! Your friend's soul may have a body to return to, my family does not!" Lion-O looked back at the remains of the containers that held his family's souls. "I can't lose them!"
"You already lost them!" Lion-O said, "Now it's time you let them go!" Soul Sever stared at him for a moment, seeing his point. If he didn't act, that thing would just get bigger and bigger and swallow more souls. His family couldn't live that way, not in the belly of some monster. Perhaps it was time. He opened his hand and Flicker flew over to the Book of Omens, his giga-spark shooting out and zapping the book. Once he had, the book responded with a pulse of its own that threw Flicker back. The entire room became bathed in red light as the book was able to stop the robotic Tygra from moving. The light coming from the book grew brighter and brighter, and suddenly, it stopped. Released from the electrical hold that the machine had on it, the book fell to the floor.
The souls that the machine had swallowed all flew out of it, and the machinery turned into a pile of rubble on the ground. Tygra's soul went back to his own body, while the other three circled around Soul Sever's head, as if to say goodbye. As they flew up, Soul Sever called out to them, trying to stop them, but they didn't listen, "No! No! No!" They flew up into the sky until they were no longer discernible among the storm clouds. "No…" Tears fell from Soul Sever's eyes as he looked up at where his family had disappeared to.
Panthro and Leanne went over to Tygra, releasing his restraints as he regained consciousness and pushed himself up.
"How're you feeling?" Leanne asked him, wondering if the whole soul-leaving-the-body thing had screwed something up.
He shrugged, "I've been worse… I think."
The pair helped him off the table, helping him to get his bearings again as he got used to being back in his organic body.
Lion-O went over to the book and picked it up. He glanced to the side and looked sadly on what he saw, "Flicker…"
The little bug bot was on the ground, his light bulb broken, and his wings damaged. There was no hum of electricity going through him, and he didn't move. The reaction pulse of the book severely damaged his inner-workings. Lion-O didn't expect the little guy to come back, not without some serious repairs being done.
Soul Sever gently picked up the little bug bot's remains, holding it in his hand, "He knew this would be the consequence. His programming shouldn't have allowed it." He said.
"Which means something else did." Lion-O said, "Something greater. In the end, technology isn't the disease, or the cure, and I can't blame it for how evil minds may use it."
"Good to see you're back to yourself." Leanne said as she and the others came up behind him. He gave her a small smile, and she returned it.
Soul Sever leaned back against his desk, his head in his hands. "Now go. Take your book, and let me grieve in peace." They did as he wanted and left him alone. They were silent as they walked out of the building. Tygra had recovered quickly, and seemed completely fine as they left to get back to the others.
"So… What was it like? Having your soul leave your body and put into a metal one?" Leanne asked, walking beside Tygra.
"It was… cold." He said, "And hard. It was like being inside a metal box. One that was indestructible. And there was this numb feeling all over. The entire time I was there… I felt pretty weak."
"You felt weak?" Leanne asked, "Tygra, you were a ten-foot-tall robot with huge claws, and possibly laser eyes! How did you feel weak?"
He shrugged, "I don't know. With this body, I know I can get stronger if I wanted to, but in that one, my strength was set. I couldn't change it. I felt stuck."
"I bet that's why you needed to grab all that stuff. To get bigger and feel stronger." Leanne said.
"I don't know, most of it is still a blur to me." Tygra said, rubbing his head.
"Well, so long as you're back to normal." She replied. The group kept walking on, heading back to Dog City, where their friends waited for them.
Lucas sat on the edge of his bed, his elbows resting on his knees, and his linked hands resting against his forehead. His eyes were wide as he stared down at the floor, doing what he could to try and block out the thoughts from his most recent nightmare. His heart was still pounding, he could hear it beating roughly in his ears. He jumped almost a foot in the air when he heard someone knocking on the door to the room he had been given. He stared at it for a moment, then sighed, getting up, knowing that it must be around morning by now. He pulled on his hoodie before he answered the door, seeing a lizard standing on the other side.
"Yes?" Lucas asked him. The soldier knelt down as he had been ordered to do by Mumm-Ra, and Lucas made no point in stopping him. He had already learned that the lizards feared going against Mumm-Ra more than any form of death, and they didn't want to go against his orders.
"Lord Mumm-Ra is calling for a meeting of all his generals." The lizard said, "He said it was urgent, and that you are to report to him immediately." Lucas nodded.
"Thank you, I'll be there in a moment." He said, "You can leave now." The lizard nodded and stood, walking away from Lucas but never turning his back on him. Lucas shut the door and looked around at the room, sighing. Working as one of Mumm-Ra's generals was pretty cushy, compared to the grunt work the soldiers had to do, but he still hated every second of it. Every now and then, he would work by Slithe as he was instructed to do by Lord Mumm-Ra, but that was basically the only contact he ever really got out of anyone there. Mumm-Ra preferred solitude to company, so he was left alone almost always. He avoided Atticus and Kanar whenever he could. The last thing he wanted to deal with was those two, especially now. Lucas knew what was happening here was wrong, and that Mumm-Ra was a tyrant who ruled through fear. He wasn't going to deny that he wasn't afraid of him. The demonic leader terrified him, and he should have left his temple long ago, but he was too afraid to try. He was sure Mumm-Ra wouldn't react well to his betrayal. He went over to a mirror in the room and looked at his face, seeing his eyes had little dark circles beneath, and his face looked a little sunken. He noticed he had become a little paler, too, since there was never any sunshine around the temple.
He brushed his fingers through his bleached hair and left, heading to where all of Mumm-Ra's meetings took place; the throne room. When he arrived, he saw that Kanar, Atticus, and Slithe were already there, and all eyes turned to him as he entered.
"Sorry I'm late…" He murmured tiredly as he sat down by Slithe.
"Now that we are all in attendance," Mumm-Ra rasped out, "We can begin." He waved his hand over the Well of Souls, showing a very large city that floated among the clouds. "It is here that we will find the next stone."
"Is that a mountain, My Lord?" Slithe asked.
"No, it is the city of the birds." Atticus said with a small growl, "I tried to reach it, but was stopped by a colony that rested on a mountain. That was when you recruited me."
"Indeed." Mumm-Ra said, nodding, "We are to travel to this city next. My generals, I expect you all to do your duty. Slithe, you Kanar and Atticus will help to lead my forces to their city to claim the stone."
"And… what will I do, My Lord?" Lucas asked, in his mind he was begging Please don't make me go, please don't make me go, please don't make me go.
"You are to come with us, and retrieve the girl who bears the Jewel of Omens." Mumm-Ra said, "I do not think you are ready to lead my forces just yet."
Lucas gulped a little in fear, "…Yes, Lord Mumm-Ra."
"And you are also to oversee the fliers as they are being made." Mumm-Ra continued, "Make sure that they are complete, and that they will be ready for our journey. Slithe will assist you, should it be required." Lucas nodded once.
"My Lord, how can you be sure of our victory?" Slithe asked, "You are normally much less calm when creating these missions."
Mumm-Ra grinned, "We have a spy among the ThunderCats." Lucas looked up when Mumm-Ra waved his hand again, showing Pumyra as she talked with Cheetara about something in Dog City. The two of them looked up as Tygra went over to them, and when Cheetara went to greet him, he embraced her, and held her close, "Pumyra shall fight for us when the time comes."
"How can you be so sure of her loyalty?" Slithe asked.
"Because she desires vengeance," Mumm-Ra said, "In her, there is no emotion stronger than that of her hatred towards the ThunderCats' king." The Well of Souls showed Pumyra as she was speaking to Lion-O about something. "She will serve us well."
I know you guys have waited a long time for this. I hope it was worth the wait! I don't suspect that it is though, it's not really my best work...
Anyway, I love you all! Thank you for all the favorites and the watches!
PS- If you caught the Futurama reference, kudos to you! (I couldn't help myself, I just HAD to put it in there.)