Chapter XI: The Forgotten Days IV
2 of 4
Duel between King and Overlord
Triklops gave a low agonizing groan, he felt his mouth slur back to motion. His body felt heavy, very heavy. Limped in-fact, and pain rang all around him with his eyes opening up to brightness and blur, though in a confused state he could feel the position of his limbs dangling at the ends with his body hung over a solid that felt like metal, with the breezing speed of dust and wind blowing at his side, a gradual punishment of spits of rubble to his face in an endless pressured mist of dust.
The dust had a hot insufferable burning smell, like being blasted by immense concentration of fire, that was concentrated and expelled from an exit point by a powerful engine such as the one he heard, drifting in and out but he could make out the key whirring sounds, the beating shudder of the engine vibrating against the metal casing he was on. And the feel…from the layout of the flooring to the noise itself that it was one of their own. Once a property of the evil warriors, now flown by the enemy, but just because Triklops and the others were aligned to the forces of evil didn't mean their captors were the heroes, quite the opposite in fact...
Triklops breathed slowly knowing and remembering that he was beaten down by a snake, the same ones that were piloting it, he was a prisoner and a terrified cry confirmed that they fated to something worse.
The cry came from an unlikely source, at more than 300 pounds of solid muscle, a towering dim witted but ferocious brute was a central part of Skeletor's forces and one not so easily scared, but Beastman was, something had terrified him making Triklops wish he could move out of here but at the same time glad he can't turn behind him. His vision was still no better but he heard something to his right, the sound of the gasp made it to be Trapjaw, he sounded angry at what he saw, fighting against a slur jaw Triklops had to add muscle and authority to it quick, as his ally snapped.
'Quiet!' Triklops hissed. The two remain quiet, only Beastman's cries as something slithered around him was heard, so far the snakes didn't hear them as Trapjaw whispered at him with understandable anger.
'They're going to kill him'
'I can hear that' Triklops with equal anger. 'You act and we'll both be dead before he is!'
'I can't sit like a coward' the whispering exchange was starting to become almost vocal enough to be full exchange of shouts, Triklops tried to keep him focused.'
'My visor, look at it!'
'I said look at it! The front has been torn off but I can feel the back, is it intact on my right?'
'yeah..yea it is'
'Good there's a clip. Red. Tap it and it'll call an emergency fighter via remote on its position. Quickly!'
Triklops felt his head tapped and the click alarmed within his visor but a snake saw the movement as he bellowed at them, it was the giant known as Rattlor.
'Awake eh?' With a sneer.
It was then they heard a scream that would silent the heart with fear, the horrible scream of hearing a violent end as Beastman wailed before a soft wet munch ended it, followed by a heavy sicking swallowing gulp of the former's flesh.
Triklops became silent; the fighter won't arrive in time.
This was it.
A heavy hand backed by immeasurable strength lifted him by the neck, he felt powerful pressure tugging the remaining visor till suddenly and unbearably painful it was ripped off, leaving Triklops with no hope, just an end.
'Good' Mocked Rattlor to Triklops vulnerability 'Now you understand your own futility, now join your friend as you become one with Hiss!'
Another image came in Triklops blurred sight, it was slowly improving but only to the point he saw silhouettes of shapes, and there was one that was a large serpent shape, he could only see the black outline of the thing and that ironically was the best vision he had out of anyone who had ever met this thing. Hiss was not a creature with a humanoid face with pretentious gold skin but a dark monster of emptiness, never able or wanting to stop it's hunger on the defenceless and the weak.
Triklops was watching the living end and in his head he accepted it.
Acceptance did not stop him from screaming though
Trapjaw vowed they would die for this! He seethed at the lizards from the ones flying the craft, to Hiss and Rattlor, especially Rattlor. Triklops was like all the evil warriors bounded by one enemy, there was bicker and bravado all around but warriors do not end their days as meals for a glutton snake! He slowly added strength to his limbs, forcing the feeling back but he didn't want to move just yet, he waited whilst Rattlor bowed his master. If snakes had lips he would had been kissing Hiss's feet as well.
'My king you are restored! Though I offer you an additional meal to end your banquet'
Hiss voice was dry and harsh; his tone didn't soften with praise but found amusement in the false civility of devouring helpless creatures alive praised from Rattlor as 'civil'.
'Considerate, as always my general…though I am in no mood to strip metal from flesh. He is yours'
A hunter's smile gleamed on the general's face. 'My pleasure'
Rattlor walked brazenly, utterly self-assured, so he had no one to blame but himself when Trapjaw's legs sprung to life to deliver a direct kick to Rattlor's centre abs with both legs. Trapjaw rolled back to get on his feet albeit with a stumble, he still felt quite weak, still recovering from being knocked out a while ago, as well as being an arm less. Rattlor however staggered back and wheezed not once but twice, he flashed a look of panic when he realised Hiss looked at him with disapproval.
'A coward's tactic, my king' He claimed 'I will correct this!'
'Then see to it' Ordered Hiss who went from praise to gritting disapproval through his teeth, Rattlor gulped and quickly focused on the 'coward', but with intense fury, yet somehow held back the urge to rush in just yet, instead he made his advance slowly, the craft still had to maintain their movement Rattlor knew that, but also he couldn't afford another loss of face to his king.
Trapjaw felt a sweat trickle on a brow he was cornered near the rear wing of the craft and wondered his options, the heat of the afterburner didn't help nor was Rattlor's slow advance, and if Rattlor had one clear advantage on it was that his adrenaline was far more controlled, disciplined. Trapjaw had a wild sensation to lunge in but knew that for once he couldn't make any mistakes but he felt agitated just waiting for the action to start as Rattlor edged closer and Trapjaw kept himself stationed waiting for the inevitable, the wait gnawed at him, testing his discipline to its limit. Now they were both within each other's striking range, between the unblinked eyes there was that wall of silence and suspense, daring the other to act.
Inevitably, the gnaw was too much as Trapjaw jabbed first fist hitting the general's forearm where solid muscle was unflinched by the assault, he jabbed again and with a tranquil persona of rage, Rattlor moved his head out of the way and again, the snake general retaliated throwing a heavy punch towards the armless side of Trapjaw's body, he moved awkwardly realising his posture was not setup right as Rattlor pressed on with another blow hitting squarely on the flesh half of trapjaw's face but he shook it of, determined not be downed again as he renewed his valour and sprung forward. Throwing his remaining arm in quick and fast, they were burly with no martial discipline but ironically, wildly unpredictable with the general blocking and momentary being too slow to bring his leg back but Trapjaw caught it with a fierce stamp. Rattlor howled and was hit hard on the face, he spun with disbelief at how this was happening but Trapjaw lowered his arm thinking the fight was over but it wasn't.
Rattlor hit the floor with his hand and supported his body with it, pushing himself back up in the air to great height followed with a brilliant turn of strength and athleticism that carried the heavy end of his tail to club Trapjaw in the face. It sent him down to the floor fast, with the metal plating of his back skull took the force of the impact. He tried to get up but an infuriated Rattlor was top of him trying to smash Trapjaw's metal forehead with the base of his foot, slamming the floor to which it weakened and tore but Trapjaw's skull did not crush amidst it. Pride restored Rattlor planted his heavy foot back onto Trapjaw's chest with a warriors pose of dominance.
'How do you like that, scum?'
Trapjaw didn't move but his eyes shot wide open surprising the general, seizing the chance he grabbed the foot and yanked it to his enough for him to lean forward and snap his metal jaw on the scaled flesh. Rattlor yelped and fell back clutching the foot, no blood but heavy sting of bite persisted, whereas his foe had rubbed the back of his head feeling the metal plate remain intact. Skeletor was right, he truly was dense. Thinking it again for a moment it didn't quite seem the compliment he originally thought of it as. Yet an idea came, it was there for a second but he took it and acted upon it and turned to the to the opening made by his own head. A fist was raised and slammed down into the opening and tugged whatever parts he could get, metal fractured, wires split and oil fumed smoke bellowed as the craft started to lose speed significantly.
He looked at the ground, he could make it out and not a blur as it was, he could risk the jump, but fate had been lenient with him for long enough as something struck him all at the same time at each limb like something bit and burned into him. He about blacked out as the force that did it sent him flying off the craft, to his ending.
Hiss was furious, he should had acted before when his general was trying to crush the evil warrior's metal head onto the floor of the craft, seeing Rattlor wasn't making his enemy bleed, inviting a cheap reprisal that cost the craft its flying momentum! Hiss though took some small satisfaction in using his staff to fire that underling of Skeletor away via a vibrant energy of green personified as serpents, from the staff they hit the fool and carried him off the craft and into the earth deep. Was that really so difficult for Rattlor to do?
The craft had finally stopped with a bump before skidding across the earth, a somewhat underwhelming ending and Hiss was grateful for that for he had no intention of being flung out by gravity like a spoilt child throwing out his toys. Treading on the earth he surveyed the damage and glimpsed at the two snakes and Rattlor.
'My Lord' begged Rattlor, he dreaded what was coming. 'I can-'
'Stay quiet for me? That would be preferred, for your sake. General'
'Rattlor said nothing, Hiss could see his general gulp uneasily and bowed apologetically, more importantly, he remained silent.
Hiss eyed the craft, the damage was done, it wasn't going anywhere but that didn't mean he couldn't. Setting to work he pointed his staff to the ground and again the insidious energy of serpents projected from the staff's pointed and drove themselves into the earth, desecrating it and coiling round inside any cracks and tears, filling each up with a void of endless green, the colour was sickly and unpleasant much like the summoner itself. It was not long before the torn earth was moulded into a model fitting to the serpent king himself, from shaking of the earth to the crushing and reshaping of the earth came a towering snake of the earth, slim headed with a hood similar to that of a cobra. Its length was as long as the skidded landing of the craft and its height was several times of Rattlor himself.
'We travel' Ordered Hiss, the other two snakes complied without question and proceeded to step onto it but Rattlor had a sense of alarm in his words.
'What did I tell you before..?!' Hiss could see it, something was coming straight to them a dark strong object was outlined in the distance that blew away dust to its back against the sun drop and moved relentless amidst the backdrop of rising desert heat, Hiss gave a small nod to his general atoning him for his past errors by this notice. For now at least.
The general stared intensely at the incoming object before musing. 'It moves like a craft, I wager on several Eternian slaves that Kobra Khan has finally scurried to us'
Hiss did not share the same view; his expression bore a look of resentment, something formidable but at the same time unworthy was heading to them. His forked tongue tasted the dry air, within that and the dust was an incoming aura of evil, it was vile, violent, and almost metal to his own but the aura was old and swelled deeper as the craft came nearer. It was a feeling of evil without end. Hiss narrowed his eyes, he had felt this kind of evil before, but as green energy wrapped round his eyes to magnify the vision, he could see a facless creature, a rag of bones beneath its cape whose look of murder matched the aura that sourced from him. Then it came clear to Hiss, that the aura was not the pitiful creature flying to him now, that aura, that power was loaned that creature of rage and bones, from the skill of magic to it's very life, a walking dead of evil, that was only 'living' because something stronger kept him on this world. Then it clicked to Hiss, the aura of that power…he had indeed faced it before…Long ago.
'General, stay behind'
'My king' As he obeyed 'If it's not Khan then who?'
'Scum. It is a scum that has borrowed power in order to be power, it has borrowed so it can live, and live it has without dignity from a power that I cannot stand. I will go, and take from that scum, that power, and its life!'
Hiss commanded the giant snake he created, made of solid earth he pointed to the direction of the incoming craft. 'Go, and feed!'
The giant snake hissed, its sound more from the dark energy of serpents within then the physical structure itself as despite the size the thing moved fast, like the wind breezing past on the blades of grass, just so the snake was the wind on the hard earth and sand, it moved with great speed, driven by a desire to appease its newly acquired sense of hunger becoming larger, peeling earth it moved through onto it, becoming ever more towering, despairing and hungrier as it travelled further out and nearer to the incoming craft. The craft shot blasts into it damaging the thing but not significantly, the green shots absorbed the solid earth but did not breach beneath it. Then there was a glow of power, not from the craft but from the staff, again a power 'borrowed' it shone with intense brightness producing a near deafing force of power, it didn't so much as trouble Hiss creation rather erupted it entirely in a boom of fire and smoke, consuming the craft the attacker was on as well but as Rattlor was about to cheer a chore of riddance did the burning craft fly out the smoke with the pilot still showing his 'face' with eyes dark, pupiless, only small gleams of red in colour, anger in nature. Hiss readied his weapon and reflexes as Skeletor flew out and fired his havoc staff, the beam was solid and linear and Hiss evaded at the latest he could afford before leaping with a stride that made him a king to all others. Skeletor was momentary surprised at how far a height and distance Hiss covered in his leap but raised the staff in time to have the power he carried match the one Hiss wielded, the combination blinded the other snakes and caught the craft as it spiralled down but both combatants flung themselves off before it hit the earth. Hiss landed back on his feet in a show of force breaking the ground beneath. Skeletor had a more control landing, levitating himself using the magic that Hiss could sense, and a repulsing sensation it was as well.
'I am Skeletor! Overlord of evil! And digger of your grave!' He shouted intimidatingly.
'You are just cape and bones, whereas I am more' Claimed Hiss with a calm level of arrogance.
'You should not have come back snake. Eternia is mine! You had your shot and failed'
'What is yours?' Hiss Questioned. 'The power is not, that staff is not yours, nor is your 'lair'. Your sense of ownership is an delusion, as is your life'
'The only one who is deluded is you. King!'
'A king buries the bones of his dead. I am KING. Whereas you are the bones that will be beneath the earth I rule!'
'You reigned supreme only in a pit! It would be my pleasure to send Hiss-Highness back into it!'
The fight was as bitter as their words, snake charged firing the havoc staff again and again but Hiss snaked his way around each shot, firing back in turn forcing Skeletor to evade and fire back not magic but the telekinetic show of his swordsmanship as his sword became two and spun towards Hiss, forcing the king to exert some skill in evading the attacks as Skeletor kept up the three way attack of sword and havoc. Hiss found an opening and leapt just from the spot where a sword had just stabbed deep into the spot he had stood a moment ago. It was a quick evasion but hiss had already made his move, again the serpent green energy sunk into the earth but instead rippled its way to Skeletor, rising from it large snapping heads of snakes.
Skeletor cursed and moved quick, leaping other one and putting all his strength to smashing another whilst fixing the havoc staff to destroy one, but Hiss was briefly lost in Skeletor's head and sight with the telekinetic swords now without direction. Skeletor looked round and saw nothing but from the earth come one more snake, the king himself who punched with strength nearing he-man's own knocking Skeletor down but experience to the pain made him respond by flipping back to his feet and being alert, charging with motivated rage and lunged with a straight tackle knocking Hiss off his feet landed on jagged rocks face down though a crunch of a rock his hand gripped on shown he had fight in him getting up. He spat out a greenish substance from his mouth and made his way to Skeletor engaged but a controlled pace keeping the rage at bay till Skeletor was within strangling distance.
The fight at present was an even contest but the decider came not be either of the two but by a flash of blue energy that interrupt the dual and destroyed the ground around they both looked up just in time to see the nose tips of missiles heading towards them. The two villains immediately shared a mutual exchange of survival with the self-styled overlord raising his staff to blanket the shots and the serpent king let his staff expel green waves of snake like energy that swallowed and crushed the bombs, each holding an imprisoned sphere of destruction. The smoke cleared briefly with Skeletor glaring at the man that dared.
'DUNCAN!' By man-at-Arms real name. 'You fool, you take us both on?'
On cue there was a low mechanical whirl sound and the two antagonists look with shock at seeing Man-at-Arms craft that he came by flying by remote from behind with guns armed and hot and fired as soon as their eyes met. The fire was accurate and the two barely turned their defences around but were thrown off by the impact they couldn't shield as well as the crumbling earth, there was a scream as Skeletor fell through the cracks down cliff face and seemingly slid off. Hiss was thrown onto more solid ground by the blasts but was left utterly dazed by the encounter.
'It's over Hiss' Man-at-Arms stated factually, but to Hiss it was still no less as arrogant as boasting, how dare did the Eternian think that he could deduct his strength and breath from him just because he was on the ground and he wasn't? The hover craft from above shot a warning blast at Hiss general remained still, loyalty to the king mattered but so too did staying alive.
Gun well trained but few paces back to be sure with other hand activating his comm multi-tasking between the control of the automated pilot of his airborne craft and contacting Teela. She had briefly contacted him but it went quiet and tried to talk to her since, hoping she was well, had he not seen Hiss on one of Skeletor's crafts from his visor he would had gone to her within a heartbeat.
'Teela, I have Hiss. Respond' The sound of heat and energy burned at the opening of his gun, the warning was there to Tell Hiss to be silent on his chuckle and keep his head down.
Despite his cool exterior he sighed a little when he heard her daughter's word.
The comm wasn't bad but her words were weak.
'Teela, are you ok?'
'Tell him your well. Now!' Hissed Khan at the weakened Teela, defeat and two solid blows to the head had rendered her almost unconscious, it was just as well as Khan had no intention of knocking her out cold just barely compliant in case something like this happened. The plan was to get Hiss back at the designated area but this chance interception of communication simply confirmed his concerns that Hiss life was being handled by a Rattlor that should be killed for making a joke out of the title of general. Khan slowed the craft once he heard the Eternian call out for the girl. At first he played quiet then the thing said it had Hiss and so he dragged Teela across and her speak to the com, the screen was the first thing khan got rid of once he gained control of the craft but the audio had been left. He placed Teela closed and whispered his threats to her, breath of acid could be felt and was a gruesome reminder to the Eternian what would happen had she refused.
''Co-ordinates. Now' Came the next demand, Teela shamefully complied.
'Sending co-ordinates, there should be on the holomap on your craft, is it working?'
Teela felt the tip of the talon press deeply onto the centre of her throat, pressing on the tubed muscle beneath the skin, there was no breach but it was clear what her reply had to be as khan clicked the button and saw the 3-D visual of the map working fine.
'Yes'' A stronger reply from Teela to which Khan smirked as the thing got the message. Man-at-Arms replied from the audio.
'Thank the elders, I mean it Teela. Get here fast. I just need the extra hand till reinforcements arrive. And find Adam. I couldn't get in touch with He-Man, he might know where he is.'
Then the communication was finished, Khan flung Teela to the back and was then distracted by something it was like a click in his mind, a sudden reveal of an immeasurable revealation.
Why would Man-at-Arms, Eternia's most brilliant general warn Adam for help? Adam, who was no man but a boy carrying a man's weapon who lacked even the fighting spirit of his mother? What does the boy know that Eternian's general doesn't? Why would He-Man even consider letting the boy carry his sword...
The craft was revved to life but it was slow and controlled and not yet elevated, Khan's mind was on getting to his king, but his cold calculating mind had unlocked a secret and it could not stop. No not a secret, but a scam right before his very eyes. Everyone's. He didn't think about the sword before, not when it was up close to him from earlier, now that he thought about it that sword was almost identical as was the traits, the hair, and the eyes of its owner. Granted the sword was bigger, but so was the wielder and the boy himself despite possessing such a sword had never displayed mastery with it..
It should be impossible and he was running through some logical conclusions but if there was a scant of evidence to build on then Hiss would be very pleased indeed, and it was the very thought of Hiss upon seeing his king transform was there possibility to back up his claims. Was the mighty Mazro not himself a timid old hermit once as described by his informant? Khan always had good sources and his latest one was no exception who kindly told him of Skeletor's movements in advance, just as he told her of Rattlor's plan to save Hiss. There were too many coincidences, for everyone he nit-picked he was unveiling the larger picture at long last.
Man-at-arms didn't want Adam...it was a coded message to tell that boy to become...
He was enlightened but only with the evils that came with it, he revved the craft into full gear and raced to the destination, his eyes looked at the red spot on the hologram and smirked.
Man-at-Arms would not see what was coming.
Now he had to wait, all were silent, the Snakemen, Rattlor and the king himself, a lesser man would buckle under the pressure of this situation but Man-at-arms maintained composure.
Rattlor tried to move, Duncan knew because the craft immediately fired a single shot that where the General was positioned, the direction of his sounding agony suggested he didn't move any further from his position since.
'Its on stun. The next one may not be'
With the craft as his eyes for the back he could keep his two on Hiss, the king kept his head down but he had no intention to stay quiet.
'I see you use violence to maintain authority. A noble trait'
'I use controlled measures Hiss'
'That's how you Eternians describe it as? Amusing'
If you have anything important I suggest you say it, or keep quiet.'
'Only this, I was banished by the elders yet here i am. I was 'slain' by one of the elders yet here I am. I will always be back, and you? Regardless of what you may think. You do not have the power to defeat me'
'You can say that at the Andreenid's court'
It was subtle at first, there was a a soft vibrating vibe pulsing from beneath the ground, Duncan looked at the ground to see dust and sand from the floor thrown up by a foot or so, the mostly muted impact was of a blunt thud but his body and joints could feel the ripple of something coming from below. His mind was in a semi state of denial, it couldn't have been possible...
Then the entire party froze as there was a roar, a true roar of absolute anger with yellow lights erupting from beneath the ground, the automated craft turn down to engage but was vaporized at the spot. Man-at-Arms gasped as something moved through the dust and smoke in the air and from it, came a seething Skeletor, levitating and surrounded by a sphere of the havoc's light.
'Three words Duncan.' The words matched the hostility of his eyes 'I CAN FLY!'
Skeletor let himself drop and slam the ground with the havoc, the force of which sent the entire party flying, Duncan hit the ground by his shoulder whilst Rattlor hit face first on rock, he looked at the other grunt snakes. 'Don't stand there! Go fight for your king!' With no sense of irony.
Hiss meanwhile remained the only other candidate that landed on his feet without fuss.
'Come to try again?' Sneered the King.
'There's no more tries for you Hiss!' Retorted the overlord.
Duncan gasped as he saw himself no longer as a bystander but as a lamb between both sides of the slaughterhouse.
'Teela' He said hurriedly to the comm. 'Skeletor is here. Hurry!'
He knew Teela wouldn't bother with a quick reply, he expected her to be putting more focus into getting here fast, for now he had the unintended assistance of the other snakes who came at Skeletor in a futile show of force making him waste time ridding them on the spot but then having to contend with the sudden assault from Hiss. The clash was brutal, energy clashed and mutual hatred inflicted harm to anything that was near to them.
Duncan tried to get another shot in but noticed there was one snake that didn't throw themselves into suicide in the name of their king. And with a roar did Rattlor came charging into Duncan, he barely had time to angle the gun at the general and fired a shot that only singed past Rattlor. He missed and the response was Rattlor smashing the gun as if it was made of paper almost catching Duncan's arm too but was escaped unharmed though exposed in the air and to harm. He knew he had to be careful more then ever. Rattlor eyed him and spoke with pretentious courtesy about honour and valour..
'Hand to hand combat is proper conduct between generals'
Duncan was quickly dismissive to his claim.
'I've seen your manner of conduct and there's nothing honourable about it'
Rattlor chuckled, his truer and darker self-spoke out, impressed as he was amused by Dunan's deduction. 'So you're not naïve. Good, then you will make better sport then your break-a-nek friend was, I had hoped to have his blood on my hands, but all I got was rust and bolts!'
Mace extended as Eternia's general swung into action, Rattlor was a brute of immense strength but he quickly found that Man-at-Arms technique equalled to his might alone, as well as the seemingly impervious snake armour, withstanding all of Rattlor's violence. In turn amidst the battering Duncan saw a break and jabbed in with single straight shots of his fingers hitting sensitive joints of the snake's body. Rattlor staggered back and hissed out his pain as livid at the Eternian.
'There are times I wish I had Kahn's acid!'
Unfazed by Man-at-Arms relentless assault he modified his fight to grappling, grabbing the arms and wrestling up close, both for a moment were even and it seemed Rattlor would struggle till the snake smirked and tilted Duncan off his feet and kneed him on the raised body. Duncan shouted in agony as Rattlor then delivered a heavy kick sending his foe into a tumble across dirt.
'Your too weak for a general'
'And your too stupid to be one!'
Rattlor just heard a tiny buzz on his chest as some kind of device was stuck onto his thick hide without knowing and then there was a flash and a bang as flame and power punched into his chest, the smoke and fire bruised his chest but he remained intack and enraged as ever.
Again the two fought, Man-at-Arms trying his upmost to not receive another hit, he was already stripped of his gun and number of hardware left was running short with the most essential for the victor between Hiss and Skeletor. He fended and countered, trying to find a way to break through Rattlor's defence but a minute was a long time in a fight, and against Rattlor's sheer strength and resilience he could only keep up at the snake's tempo for so long. Till finally the snake clubbed Duncan's exposed arm with his tail, no bone broke but it made the muscles scream, despite all his training he too flinched and dropped his guard. Then came Rattlor with his neck stretching out fangs exposed for the face. Duncan's body was trained to react without thinking, instinct drove his speed, and it saved him. Just, tilting his head forward letting the helmet absorb the bite and pulling himself free before Rattlor could crush it with his jaw.
Duncan fell to the ground awkwardly; he lost good footing and saw Rattlor discard the helmet. Not far the sound of power and villainy clashed still. Duncan tried to get up despite knowing the fight was over, yet Rattlor moved as quick as he was from the start and kicked the Eternian onto the dirt before slamming his foot on Duncan. He showed a twisted glee as he carried on rubbing his pressure and strength from his foot onto the hapless Duncan who gasped whilst trying to fight off the footing that was crushing him. He even laughed as he saw Duncan try to reach out for the mace.
'Go ahead my fool; amuse me to your last breath!'
This was indeed a glorious way to watch someone fail and succumb to his strength that he failed to ignore a harmless squeak. At first. It squeaked again and he could feel a cold fear bristle against his hard scaled skin. His eyes slid to where that sound was coming from and there he saw a furry small looking mammal. It looked 'harmless' at him but the thing he saw made him experience a traumatic flashback for his mind imagined it as it was, when that red imp of a jester used magic to make it ten times as large and made him appreciate his cell when it came to him. It wasn't the same thing anymore...or was it? Rattlor no longer could control that trauma speaking from a stuttering jaw he panicked.
An innocent squeak by the chance creature just stared at him with bafflement; Rattlor took a step back, twitching to the creature's cry.
'Stay away, I'm warning you' Said the nearly seven foot brute to the near eighteen centimetre high mammal, a contrast of size as it was a contrast between the bafflement of one and the total fear from the other as Rattlor panicked and whimpered. 'Get away yu—you monster!'
Some rationale stepped back into the general, only because he just realized as he stepped back he took his foot of someone...but it was too late as Man-at-Arms sprung to life with a sucker punch in the form of a mace.
'Actually it's called a mongoose' As he took a full swing to the head, reducing Rattlor to a daze crashing down to the ground.
There the mongoose hopped its way to stand tall on Rattlor's chest looking down curiously at what it saw as a monster too, for since when did snakes had limbs? If it's expression could had been worded.
With Rattlor down and not part of the concern did Duncan have a dark thought, a deeply vengeful urge to crush the snake's skull in one fell blow…but he would not be blinded by the notion of retribution. Destroying evil does not create 'good'. He understood that wisdom from Randor more than ever. Words of a friend stayed his hand from straying with red.
Even if what Rattlor said was true, he would still hold the snake to trial, justice was in the hands of the people, not the person he concluded. It was what separated the minds of Eternia to the minds of Skeletor and Hiss.
There was another flash of power, a clashing merging flash of yellow and green as the havoc tested its power to that of the snake king. In another time this would had been an interesting observation as the two powers were not recorded to have fought before, but whoever won still likely had the means to take him out. He had to have something till Teela arrive, she was the closest to assistance, and He-Man was still missing. this was not good but the battle would be over soon, if he had his gun he would have the range advantage. He scoured the landscape with his visor and saw something damaged but lens intact...and with the emergency kit, he had he might just turn it to his advantage...
The more the two fight the more Skeletor's sockets shone the blood red of his anger as pupils, the rage, his enraged soul was there for Hiss to see. Putting all effort into his staff he fought Hiss opposing, firing projectile to the other and slamming at close to each other's, the centre of the earth deeper and deeper as each strike took away each layer of the surface and rock beneath. The surrounding field area was scorched and torn by the two violent interactions, a great sound of power was detonated the escaping force blasted away previous untouched earth with burning light and winds. They hated each other but they were at least honest about it and their attempts to kill each other were proof of it in its own perverse way.
The two were too matched, each other too direct and linear in their own way but something happened amidst the struggle, the havoc staff Skeletor held on was at one point holding it to shield himself from Hiss gradual rise in power but then the overlord rose to his full height and readied the staff. He could feel Hiss power as it bore down on him, the hungering sounds of the snakes biting away at the havoc's power but he had something that kept him going, made him stronger even. His resolve to live and be destined, he bargained to see his face restored no matter what, he was exiled and came yet came back. Regardless of how old Hiss was and how powerful he maybe, he never had the power to free himself. Khan did that, did anyone help him? Did he accept exile? Never! He fought to overcome, to win and be the ruler he shall be! His staff gleamed with power and from it exerted even greater power. Greater hate.
Now Hiss was finally feeling the strain of Skeletor's renaissance.
'HOW?' He shouted.
'Your powerful Hiss' Admitted Skeletor 'but I endure! I always have, and the staff is limitless in its raw power as I am in my determination. I have been tested, and beat every one of them!'
With that the havoc's power pushed the greenish light of Hiss power further back, the tables were turning, now the breakthrough came and with it came the dawn of how much a different era Hiss was in, here was a figure who could match him in vanity and ambition, there was one at last...
From afar was the sight of a yellow field of energy engulfing the green light, it slammed the opposing power down and from it came a brilliant rise of power, it was like seeing the sun rise from the line of the horizon but that semi dome lost its shape and flashed a deadly power, it was simply composed of harmless light but powerful winds as it blasted against almost everything with staggering strength. In the centre was the real damage as its centre stage revealed heat sizzling in the air and the crater had expanded greatly but everything beneath it was flattened. Yet the play had not run its course for the two had staged their fight still remained standing, barely, but still standing with a score to settle.
Skeletor breathed deeply getting some breath into his lungs and work some strength back into his arms. He saw Hiss survived, somewhat, the snake was on all fours, the staff was broken he had lost the energy clash. He looked up at Skeletor like he just shredded his prejudice and presumption just this once.
'Re…Remarkable.' Hiss admitted. 'I was stronger, yet you prevailed. How? What is there that you hate more than anything to carry on? What do you hate more than me?'
'Myself' Skeletor said bluntly. His eyes no longer harboured red; instead there was only darkness when he said it. But Hiss could see it now, here was a being that sacrificed everything to become something more, everything he had he took, but each one had a price and he persisted with it. He suffered but fought on, to defy the low expectations and cynics, to defy his limitations but more to it he defied fate and its personification, the elders. Hiss raised himself on one knee and looked at his rival.
'I see that now, you have fought your entire life, you are evil as am I, nut like me you are a warrior too. I can value that but my people will always come first'
Hiss body broke up and serpent bodies and heads formed a transcending from King to Hydra, all voices spoke as one and echoed their insidious tone as one.
'Prepare yourself overlord. We fight now, to the end!'
'I only fight to yours!'
Skeletor still kept his fight in as him not opting for the havoc at it was telekinetically attached to his back, but to the trade of his dual blades, it wasn't he had no power or strength but that he would show how much he was to be ruler and how much power he had by taking Hiss live up close. Their rage was kept in control, their sight of each other was clear as the two came for one more dance to the death. Parrying. Cancelling. And out-manoeuvring each other's power and skill.
The pace was slower, the fight was gruelling the two came near to their endgame but despite their villainy and occasional deceit between the other this was a moment they respected in the end to see out as noble as intended, partly so either one could brag about it the end but also it was their own way of proving themselves to say that this was when they were more than just opportunists, that they could defeat their adversary with strength, skill and bravery regardless of their villainy, creating a deed composing of those three traits that it rivals the merits of gods and time.
Afar however there was at least one spectator, hidden as he finalized the design on the damaged headset of the former Triklops. It was torn in two but Duncan had fixed far worse and in such desperate times prompted the divine intervention of innovation. Connecting circuits to his own spare parts and transistors, even sealing the lens for a time so light could be projected as the destructive force intended. He took a sniper's position and was placed opposite to where the sun was so as not have the lens reflect in their sight. He breathed slowly; his own visor gave him the close-up as his mind calculated the range and probability of the shot. He worked hard to keep his fingers still and not tremble. If he missed one it was over, if he could make a hit and another in quick succession he had a chance. He breathed out his stress, eerie sense of calmness crept in as he zoned himself to the target and fired.
Hiss felt the blast and reeled back, it did not kill him, there was not enough power for that and Duncan was not prepared to resort to it anyway, he guessed correctly that Hiss was on his last legs and just collapsed to the shot. He reacted to Skeletor and fired yet the skull faced tyrant still had some speed and turned his body away from the shot and held the havoc in defence raising a barrier, though leaning slightly on his own weapon. Regardless it was still bad, as Duncan knew the visor was overheating on the lens, was there enough to break that field? He tried again feeling it getting hotter and burning in his hands. Skeletor remained steadfast but was struggling to gain focus, and then with one final villainous cry he screamed out the name of his enemy, he knew full well who was doing this and he would make him pay.
The dome of energy that shielded Skeletor exploded in expansion pushing away dirt and earth before, even Hiss was thrown away and hit the earth with a groan unsure just what was going on. Duncan remained speechless as he saw the Skeletor's defiance resurge again. The blast faded away into light and Skeletor stood, breathing heavily but the red pupils had resurfaced from the void within his sockets. Duncan could see a snarl from the visor but he didn't need the visor to see those burning pupils. Duncan swallowed hard. This was it he dreaded as Skeletor ran, havoc drawn heading to him head on.
There was no point running as Duncan moved in his fingers were trembling despite his stoic look, the feel of that certain fear, the one that was foreboding to the heart and soul was there.
He was seeing death come, but he would face it in the heat and sand where air was sterile and bitter, he would face Skeletor no matter what. He tried again. The shot punched dirt but not the target. A silent cure and with trembling fingers he tried to aim again.
Skeletor fired, the shot had no accuracy and perhaps wasn't intended as sand and fire boomed beside Duncan as he walked on refocusing aim. Skeletor was letting him what was to come, he corrected his aim, they were closer now he could see the expressions and feel the evil getting close. Duncan snarled with dry coated sand lips and gripped Triklops visor and cursed as he fired another shot, this time it hit very close to Skeletor. The flash and spread of sand and earth covered him but Skeletor ran through, seething but with apparent awkwardness as his movement was slowed.
Seizing on this Duncan twitched his fingers on the visor whilst marching down with eyes on the evil, but he can feel the visor burning, heat of metal and escaping heat from the lens. Had he used his last shot? He wondered that as he guessed his aim as Skeletor took his, would he prevail in shooting down the tyrant? Or listen to the manic laughter as he lay to be slowly buried amidst the sands? The moment of knowing was coming ever closer, seconds and the trigger from either foe was all that's left, but the answer if Duncan's visor still had power or if Skeletor shot first was never answered and became a haunting what if as explosions from a foreign source broke up their self-colliding path. Duncan could hear the screaming sound of metal racing against air as he saw a craft close in.
The shot knocked Skeletor flying hitting the dirt but getting up with some resignation in his growl, Duncan broke his stoic face, he was happy truly. He was saved, Teela saved him.
Teela! Teela! He waved happily then his eyes shown horror as he saw another flash of light and the entire earth erupt above him.
Khan smirked, it didn't matter if the blast didn't hit Man-at-Arms directly, it still took him down to the ground leaving a fatigued Skeletor in his path. He took no chances with this one, also in this day their paths had crossed too many times. Skeletor's hold on the staff was wavering, the shielded energy waned.
Khan twisted the hand gear to full and breaking it, he let the craft nosedive in a direct line as he hurled himself off with the captured Teela and rolled down the sand and dirt. The time between the jump and smashing into Skeletor was small but there was still enough time for him to see the craft slam into the overlord and carry him across the earth past behind a dune where the craft had nosedived to. It escaped khan's sight but the firey blast was easy to see as it grew out from behind the dune making the snake crackle in glee. He picked himself up, knowing he had finished the job, though noticing with weariness that Man-at-Arms still held onto some crude design he tried to point at Khan but he simply just raised his hood and the spat of acid followed destroying Man-at-Arms last hope. With that out of the way he went to the back of the dune just in case and saw nothing but scattered debris and a large fire spread across the infected area, flames taller than he was. Skeletor was finished.
Khan smiled 'It was what he would had wanted'
With the threat gone Khan returned back to the two weak Eternians and yanked them violently to their feet, and made no hesitation in striking the back and legs of his captives, forcing them to moves themselves as he commanded. A king needs subjects and that was what he intended to offer Hiss with, the service of slaves. 'MOVE IT!' He screamed, as they lumbered pitifully before Hiss but they couldn't get close as Khan struck them to their knees and walked to his King offering their lives in his hands.
'My King, you are safe.' Reassured Khan.
Hiss winced in pain but managed to gradually get up by his own accord, flat out refusing Khan's gesture of a hand.
'And what of Skeletor?'
'Dead, my king. I killed him for you'
'You disappoint me Khan' Said a low hostile tone, khan trembled back, he couldn't fathom why he would be so displeased. 'Sire I don't understand?'
'You took away a victory I worked so hard to gain, and you swoop in claiming it.'
'No. No! of course not, i would never dream of that' immediately he was on all fours grovelling to his king but khan remembered something. 'Bu-But my King, I have a prisoner, daughter of Eternia's general. Teela.'
'Ah yes' He noticed her lying in the distance with the meddling general that shot him earlier.
'She was a snake once, like her father. I always thought it suited her better'
Khan dared to look up'
'My King is pleased?'
'I am forgiving' He stressed to which Khan grovelled.
'Yes my king you are!'
Hiss simply smiled at khan's cowardice as it shown his wisdom and fear in knowing how great he was to him, then the king's cold eyes stared at the other Eternian prisoner, the general that shot him, and there was no rage or want of retribution for that shot earlier. Instead his eyes were cold and void, he looked at man-at-Arms as nothing more than worthless.
'You' Hiss walked with the most upright posture, flexing his arms by his sides and squeezing his fists tightly, the Eternian's face had a chink of fear, Hiss would see to it that he would carve terror all over his face. 'Eternian. Maker of machines, you are a solider. You will stand and allege yourself to your new King'
Surprisingly Man-at-arms did stand slowly and did his best to challenge his frail state of being to appearing strong, defiant.
'You. Are. No. King'
Hiss eyes however were as unflinching as the Eternian's.
'You shot me earlier, from afar. There are no words to describe the pain that I felt back then, and nothing I say will make you understand it. But I will make you feel it!'
The rage was no longer suppressed, its violence had found a template in Hiss' fist, exorcising its spite in one singular strike, slamming into the thickest plate of Duncan's chest armour. It was almost folded like paper as it gave way to Hiss great strength, pushing steel in, making it cave in and expand on Duncan's chest, the sound of the blow was terrible but Duncan's cry was even more so. It snapped Teela briefly as her instinct warned her of the horror and she saw the strength in her life become weak and the heart of her pride about to die.
Hiss smirked as he heard the distress but still eyed Duncan who cried painfully, Hiss pulled back his hand and shook off all the metal and caught him again before he fell, by the neck like some poor animal ready to be tortured again..
'You will make machines for me now'
'N-Never' Hiss applied a not so subtle squeeze from his fingers, Duncan cried in response, Hiss growled, seeking to correct the fool.
'Never? You dare fathom such a concept? Such arrogance was a short lived shell of flesh and bone. You think you can stand defiant forever? You can't even stand strong to fifty years without needing a stick! Instead I shall test your defiant resolve in a much shorter time frame. That time being your daughter's.'
Part of Hiss Hydra-like form that rested beneath the facade of his humanoid existence came to being as he dropped man-at-Arms so he can witness his 'test' as Hiss arms attacked his child. One wrapped round Teela's neck, in a last ditch move Teela raised her arms to try and guard her neck and face but the snake body just wrapped round the arms and face regardless and brought them all together in a bone-pressing squeeze.
'Hiss! Shouted Duncan, he couldn't bring himself to beg but shouted as if he could command the snake king to obey, but Hiss chuckled at Duncan's evident desperation and simply sought to carry on even more as Teela bore the brunt of the pain and began crying out in pain trying to fight and break out and stop the Hiss hurting her. Hiss laughed again but it was at Duncan.
'Didn't you say never?'
Hiss looked to see the second head raise above the other one that had tied Teela and raised its venomous fangs as it lowered its head closer to the girl, smelling the fear and more importantly the smell of her blood...to which the limb retracted of its own accord. Hiss feeling thoughts of the limbs that had held Teela down had received them. The blood he smelled, it was a similar smell to one he had tasted a while ago. He frowned and letting Teela drop as the snakes reformed to his humanoid arm. he didn't let Duncan go as he looked closely at him and sniffed at his face.
'You do not share her blood. How strange In fact...you share nothing with her'
Man-at-arms remain silent, no defiance but distraught, Hiss looked at him, the man was hiding something.
'Go on...' teased hiss.
Duncan said nothing but his lips trembled, almost being weighed down with truth. Hiss had lost his patience.
'So be it' tiring of the game now, he sought to go straight for the kill.
The slithering sound of muscle noosed itself harder onto Teela, there was another anguish cry, just as the angst was evident on Duncan's face, he felt a tooth crack under his tense jaw and with a painful tone mixing of physical and emotional he shouted for the King to stop. Hiss saw Duncan's face differently; it was that of a man who had all but said he had relented.
'Yes, I see now. Now that is a face I expected of you Eternian' On cue he let his snaked arms retire and reshape to his more humanoid look as a singular arm. It happened all so quickly, Teela fell to the ground.
'Father' She whispered weakly, she was slipping out of consciousness that she never really picked up what Hiss said next.
'Huh, is that what you think? He eyed Duncan again and grinned 'Is that what she really thinks? We both know you are not her father, but I know who her mother is. Make me machines worthy for snakes and I promise you Grayskull will be attacked LAST.'
Man at Arms just lowered his eyes submissively.
'Good. It is a shame though she has not your blood...You would had been a good father-in-law'
'No!' On cue Khan came to strike Duncan unconscious, Hiss left him to carry the two prisoners with him as he sought to recreate another serpent out of stone and dirt for transport.
'Now' Hiss eyed the aftermath surroundings of battle. 'Where's my gen-'
'HELP! WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP! IT'S ON ME! FOR THE FEAR OF SERPOS SOMEBODY HELP ME!'
'..General' There was a tempered look about him, if there was a sound of a distress by that a hiss of defiance and the sound of clashing he would jump into the fray, but Hiss heard no struggle and the voice was all too panicky for what he expected from a general. Khan kept himself behind so he could express the smirk he couldn't hide. Hiss led the way and what he saw shocked him, behind some rocks was his general, the great strong Rattlor, slayer of his king's enemies held paralysed by a mongoose. Not a mongoose humanoid if there was such a thing or a monstrous 12ft a court magician was alleged to have made once, but a hand size furry rodent of one and it sat there on the general's bare chest as a conqueror, making the most intimidating sound every known.
To the general it seemed.
Hiss remained eerily stationary at how utterly unimpressed he was at this sight, Khan stepped forward with pleasantry to his King. 'Allow me to rescue him' Hiss kept his annoyed brow, saying nothing but clearly letting Khan get on with it anyway as he was in no mood for this sorry site before him. Khan propped up his hood and hissed out with acidic breath. The mongoose could hear the fearless hiss from khan as well smell something burning and brewing from the snake's face, it was more enough of a warning to make it scamper off. It ran off well before Khan could spit the acid from his venom, but he wasn't aiming for the rodent anyway. At the last moment Rattlor had his senses clicked back in, his phobia and trauma of the damm creature was gone just as he smelled burning acid on its way. He quickly rolled away the floor he laid on earlier and felt it burn behind him prompting him to stand up with anger in his reptilian eyes.
'You little snake!'
'It was an honest mistake' Claimed Khan raising his arms to gesture his innocence. 'I didn't think it would move so fast...or that you could be held down by one so small...'
Rattlor marched his fearsome build to the runt, he was a pitiful contrast to what he was, perhaps he should had spared that court magician just so Khan deal with an oversized version of those fur-things. Hiss quickly stepped in.
'I've seen enough incompetence from you both today. I'm I clear?'
'Yes my king' They both said, even that had a competitive element to who could say it first and better than the other.
'Now where are regrouping at?' Demanded Hiss
Khan stepped in quick, he was on a mission to please and was high on confidence.
'My King, Rattlor did have a location in mind but I have secured your return to Snake Moutain'
Rattlor looked hard at his rival, this was news to him.
'Since when did you manage that?'
'But my general you were busy with your brawling and all, I didn't want to mention it, at least till we had reinforcements at your planned rendezvous but I had a source from snake mountain who let us knew about Skeletor arriving at the prison. Not only did I gather good warning as we arrived in time, but also I helped ensure Hiss had the glory of knowing his servant would be there to help best the finest of the so-called evil warriors.'
This wasn't entirely true, in fact Hiss was still somewhat annoyed khan took his glory in finishing Skeletor but perhaps he shouldn't mistake opportunism for fanatical loyalty.
'And who is your source?' Snarled Rattlor, 'Not Evil-Lyn again?' He mocked.
'I keep my sources quiet, just as you kept quiet about the Masters of the Universe prowling when you told me to do a simple scouting task.'
'You were a scout, you were to expect it!' He argued with a quick dismissal of Khan's claim.
'Then you should expect to know I don't discuss trade secrets with you, but I will say that with Skeletor gone, we don't need to rendezvous with the others, they can meet up with us at Snake mountain, with no Skeletor there is only a feast for my-our king'
'Then it is settled' Said Hiss, but it wasn't not quite.
'My King, there is one more thing I think you will like to hear'
Hiss was listening.
'He-Man is not Grayskull'
'That I know Khan, he is a shadow to that name'
'Even shadows have names my King, like Adam, the prince of Eternia'
'What?' Mocked Rattlor. 'Please don't tell me you sniff your own acid as well?'
Khan growled but remained his cool. 'I speak the truth; the sword is similar as is the beast he rides and the features, blond, naive. It is him via Grayskull's power! I know this because that general asked the girl captive here to get Adam for He-Man. Why would a boy be entrusted to request the greatest-one of the great powers known?'
'You're going too far with this!' Ranted rattler, Khan retreated on his footsteps quickly but Hiss stepped in.
'Wait. He commanded, he bore a thoughtful expression. 'Khan may have a point, I fought He-Man and he was not Grayskull and neither is Adam, but by that power of Grayskull he can be and, the connection is there, in the blood of that Teela, it has the same taste that my venom tasted the bird who defends...this brings opportunities. Bring them all to snake mountain. I will take it myself!'
'How will we get the other snakes?' Asked Rattlor. Hiss response was to create two snakes vessels out of stone like before, he pointed to the slightly fiercer one. It was most likely intended but Rattlor didn't comment as his king commanded:
'Go to it and tell it where to go, and come back to my mountain, understand?'
Rattlor said nothing but bowed, he set to the snake and told its destination is to go, arms folded he stood prideful but hiding damaged pride within as he travelled reroute to gather the other snakes. Hiss turned to khan.
'You done well Khan. Very well indeed'
Khan bowed with a smile, as he then went to collect the prisoners, but he knew Rattlor well, more about him then if they were friends, which was thankfully not the case. The general would imagine that Khan's insistence on that there were mines during the way to the prison was just a ruse to slow the group down, till Skeletor got there. He would be right, but Rattlor can only speculate, just as he could only speculate at who was his informer on Skeletor's movements and of Snake mountain.
He did find himself wondering about his informer's motives though, the informer a young blonde girl a recent 'apprentice' for the dangerous Marzo but he was never loyal to Skeletor and had not been part of the 'evil warriors' since the failed attempt by their brief stint as the council of evil. So for this girl to say of Skeletor's movements meant Marzo had secretly turned the remaining evil warriors into deserters and make them his recruits, a sign he was making a move for power somewhere.
Did Marzo know the girl was Khan's informer? Khan considered that but it was unlikely, even though she came to him to be an informer Marzo wouldn't had asked her to get a deal with a power as dangerous as his, but for now Marzo was not a direct threat. Yet.
Regardless, the informer had proven to be invaluable and Khan had benefited from it without doubt, it could be a case of both powers having a mutual agreement in dissecting competition, she had informed of Skeletor's movement and Skeletor was taken care of, Marzo gains the recruits and the snakes reclaim snake Mountain. If there was a motive then it was a win-all for all involved in the scheme. Who did Skeletor have that was competent? His closest aides are gone, Evil-Lyn was not heard of since her failed attempt to revive the old foe of the snakes, including that his sanctuary as well as the well of darkness were gone forever, taking away his return points. Khan wouldn't be complacent about the old foe however, Hiss most certainly wasn't but its clear even Evil-Lyn had no chance of bringing him back to Eternia, leaving her with what? No friends with the Snakemen for one and had Skeletor finally conquered Eternia she would had been entitled to the ruins and nothing more at best, her deceit had burned all her bridges. Lyn had no comebacks and she probably knew that herself which was why she was gone and most likely not part of Skeletor's group. She had no motives to stay and without Skeletor or her then Snake Mountain was defenceless and ripe for liberation again. As for the informer he knew little of her except of her exploits in conning a peasant militia in handing over Coridite, a rare substance and it was that which got Marzo to recruit her in the first place. Should Hiss turn man-at-Arms into a slave snake that will build the machines as commanded perhaps he can contact his informer for some of this material also to enhance such terrible devices.
The captured Eternians were on board the stone crafted snake ready to move at Hiss command but Khan noticed his King looked unusually distracted, he looked far into the sky peering beyond the hemisphere as if something out there caught his attention. His face was stone and it betrayed no emotion, he then turned his attention away from it, onto Khan, the stone snake and his captives.
Still the look of his face shown no emotion but he didn't look pleased either, he had the look that he caught the glimpse of something new, maybe something that was as terrible as he was, the old foe perhaps? No Hiss had known the old foe long enough to know what his presence would be like, but this one seemed to have eluded his senses for other than that brief moment. He had no certainty of what it was but from the look of it he didn't seem pleased by it either.
'Return me to the mountain of my throne' Commanded Hiss and the stone snake obeyed carrying the group on board through the badlands, Khan saw his king's face had remained unchanged but if he could guess he would say his King might have sensed something that he hoped was just part of his imagination.
AN: The second part of Chapter IV as promised, there is a lot going and I wasn't going to cram everything in, not when Skeletor and Hiss deserve their own rematch, something fans of the 2002 series were denied in seeing. Again some things are referenced, Rattlor's incident with the mongoose is recalled, and Khan still remembers that Rattlor used him as a decoy (without telling him) And there's an allusion to the comic that showed part of 'episode 40' intro story where Man-at-Arms got kidnapped as the snakes free Hiss (the TV show was cancelled by then) and a scheme to make him build snake machines.
The last paragraph is a reference to several incidents that happened in the last season, but it does build up on Mumm-Ra's account from the last chapter which will be covered and hasn't been forgotten. There are hints as well as to the backstory of the informer. Bear in mind though that is something I had to reword slightly because If I used the name of actual people who guarded the Coridite it would had been politically incorrect to say the least.