Chapter VII: The Forgotten Days III


The final droid fell in a dull metallic thud and with it the end of man-At-Arms inferno defences but Skeletor was in no mood for gloating, the staff was charged again, destruction flared in the eyes of the ram skull that crowned his staff.

'Boss, there's just a wall'

'How did I ever not notice' Skeletor's reply was of dull sarcasm at his loyal but dim-witted grunt Trapjaw. The staff charged just as everyone took cover with the energy of the staff disintegrating the wall with brutal effect spitting out fragments of solid eternium more than double the strength of eternium forced steel but it's weakness to the havoc staff was no longer speculation, any such doubt was thrown away with the rubble and smoke leaving a clear opening into darkness. Even by Skeletor's standards he could sense something evil and twisted waiting inside, he knew full well what it was as they walked closer, the light from the current room shone inside the dark opening revealing sickly green skin, a flesh made of scales, boring arms and legs but it's headless feature was absent save the half of dozen smaller ones. The long necks and tiny heads bore no resemblance to the creature's main body but unlike the body itself, they moved and even flinched upon the soft light peering into its holding room. The other evil warriors were suddenly disturbed by what they saw, only their fear of their boss made them think twice of running.

'Sk-Sk-Sk-Skeletor!' Said Beastman with understandable anxiety 'It's a Snakeman!'

'Of course I know, why do you think I came here? Now stop stuttering, you're starting to sound like a snake yourself!'

'I don't get it' Inquired Trapjaw 'are we here to make an alliance with Hiss?'

'Not at all Trapjaw. I'm here because the masters couldn't even imprison merman! You think I trust them to keep someone like Hiss in check? I say we forego their notion of 'trial...' His pupils were lit in red, seemingly possessed by his own anger, alit with red rage from deep inside his eye sockets and held his staff firmly raising his tone with fury. '...And just go straight to the execution!'

'Hold it right there Skeletor!'

Skeletor unnaturally lowered the staff, his immediate reaction would had been to turn, curse, fire in one but as he heard the laughable tough impersonation voice of Orko he turned round with the staff lowered. Seeing only the foolish dwarf mage by himself. He smirked thinking of how many minutes he and his men had to toy with this one.

'Oh dear men, it's seems Randor has sent us his finest...court jester' His fellow henchmen chuckled, looking more relaxed and even not worrying about the imprisoned King Hiss now they saw Orko.

'Oh you can laugh all you want but He-Man will be here shortly'

'Well that's a first, an imp gets to the trouble before He-Man does, says a lot about He-Man frankly.' He pointed to the entrance where Orko came from 'The juggling shop is that way, little one'

'Everyone is always telling me there's one and like I tell them, I'll go to it later!'

Skeletor was convinced the imp was delusional by the rightioness upbringing that infested Randor's court, sod unfazed by his own back handed comments but court jester didn't seem to have a brilliant mind to begin with.

'Well this is a first that someone has managed to make me smile all day!' He said with a sneer, Orko's mistake was to reply 'factually'

'Well that's just dumb Skeletor, everyone knows you need lips to smile and...Uh-Oh'

Skeletor's red pupils resurfaced his shot of anger back once again. 'GET THAT LITTLE WRETCH!'

Orko began to ramble apologetically but upon a volley shot from Triklops that just missed him made him aware that diplomacy was out of the window as he used all his flying skills, modified by his panicy reactions to 'expertly' avoid a flurry of attacks from beastman's whip, Trapjaw's gun, Triklops firing a varity of his energy blasts from his visior and Stinktor who was busy pointing the obvious points where Orko had moved to.

'He's there!' Said the pestering Stinktor ' No Over there! No! No! That way!'

'This is why I keep telling you to get a decent weapon Stinktor!' Retorted Skeletor. 'Ideally one that fires as you point, like this!'

Orko freaked and waved his arms as a yellow barrage of destruction beamed out from the staff forcing him to dive out of the way and turned in time to see it's power devour part of the ceiling it had made contact with.

Skeletor looked up to see Orko who flew high enough to pause and look at what he saw. 'Listen well' Advised Skeletor 'Your outnumbered and at best your flying pattern matches Stinktor's sense of direction, so prepare to be my prisoner or else! Now what do you say?'

Orko grabbed out his bag 'I say only this' And held the bag upside down with the opening facing the evil warriors as Skeletor resisted the urge to chuckle as Orko fumed. 'RUSKANBASS!'

'Gesundheit' The smug calm persona was quickly removed when the bag inexplicably widened it's opening to almost impossible lengths dropping out a trio of the warriors of good, and judging from the brief glimpse of their faces, they seem to share the same mutal shock as he and his men before the impact. Orko cringed and turned away 'That didn't sound good' he admitted.

He looked again and saw everyone sprawled across the floor but already some were getting their footing. Buzz-Off in particular as he staggered to the nearest wall for balance.

'Orko, you prankster! Wait, where is this?' His dizziness was put aside when he saw clearly the apparent host of this complex, the same 'host' his people had won the right to take him to put on Trial. 'Hiss!' He turned seeing Skeletor in particular 'Their here to free King Hiss, Masters to me!'

Skeletor frowned at the assumption made at him. 'Free him? You have got to be kidding!' Buzz-Off was unarmed but his speed and reaction more than made up for it, jumping towards him and began wrestling possession over the havoc staff. 'The only joker is your reputation Skeletor!'

The two wrestled trying to oust power each over the staff and the direction, the masters and the evil warriors were in full conflict with each other but were mindful over what the staff was aiming at pointing to wherever it was moved to. Skeletor started to show his strength gradually overpowering but couldn't keep his balance as the insectoid warrior turned to his wings, beating in a rapid 'buzz' sounding rhythm they picked up his body weight and added momentum to his movement, lifting him not too high but enough make Skeletor on his tiptoes, it caught Skeletor briefly off guard leaving Buzz-Off to suddenly fly into him, pushing him with enough force to slam him into a wall to which the tyrant rebounded off it only for Buzz-Off to punish him with the same move a second time.

And this time Skeletor knew he was pinned.

'Warriors!' It was telling that his command was said with a pained wheeze in his words.

'I'm coming boss!' Trapjaw was the first to answer Skeletor's call with a defiant show of loyalty.

'Here let me help!' Called out Ram-Man thundering at Trapjaw, his pounding feet felt like they shook the room charging upto him with his thick helmet ready to send him flying. Trapjaw gaped at the Ram-Man's element of surprise he simply didn't stand a chance as the blow was directly on his face sending him tumbling across the floor, he was long out cold even by the time his body stopped rolling across the ground.

'Got one down' The boast was short lived as a stinging shot in the back sent Ram-Man crashing to the ground, Triklops the culprit, switched the freshly heated lens of his visor to another one, now aimed at Mekaneck who was on the floor, seemingly helpless.

'Let go of Skeletor or I'll fry your friend here'

'Don't listen to him'

'I'm not listening anyway' Buzz-Off left mek-a-nek's jaw gaping, even Skeletor was surprised by the response 'By my standards, that's a bit out of hand. You sure your fighting on the right side'

'Andreenids don't negotiate with evil' It made Skeletor chuckle ironically at the statement

'You heard him Triklops, no negotiations!'

'Yes, Lord Skeletor!' The visor let up red, Mekaneck shown horror at his seemingly ill fate but Orko screamed in his entrance flying straight down summoning the most feared weapon he could think off, a frying pan. Triklops fired and Orko moved round fast, he raised the pan above his head unintentionally whacking stinktor who had approached from behind to grab him but was clobbered at the first try. The adrenaline in Orko was too much for him not to notice what he just did to Stinktor as he was solely committed in teaching Triklops not to mess with his friends.

WHACK

And triklops was down, mekaneck shown gratitude but was alert. 'Orko move!' Orko moved aside as Mekancek jumped to his feet, he had knocked out beastman earlier and it was clear the beast was up and rampaging again but was caught by Mekaneck's speed response, motivated by the harm Orko could had been and once on his feet fired his neck delivering his head as the punch of the force. It caught Beastman straight in the jaw as he yelped and flew onto his back amidst the rubble.

Orko looked around and was feeling giddy 'I don't believe it!'

'I don't either' It was very rare to see Mekaneck look angry and is he hadn't before then now was clearly a first as he stormed to Buzz-Off, on any other day he would celebrate in beating the odds but he was close to being livid as he ever could. 'What do you mean by 'i'm not listening anyway' have you forgotten who we are? Masters of the universe?!'

''Masters don't babysit their comrades, learn to stand your ground or don't come at all. Now help me restrain this bone head!'

Skeletor's annoyance was pretty much clear by his anger who was infuriated on more than just the insult' 'The only bone head here is you three and randor's court jester! What makes you think I would come to rescue someone who toppled me from snake mountain? And tried to take Eternia for himself?'

'Wait, erm are you saying you're not here to free King Hiss' Skeletor glared at Orko.

'Let me put it this way, you lot had stopped me from trying to destroy Hiss, because i don't see the idea how any of you morons can hold him prisoner indefinitely especially when the so called elders couldn't keep him sealed in their 'timeless prison' Then again the elders have a good record of shooing away their problems onto someone else and not actually solving it themselves! And for once when I do something that closely relates to 'doing good' you dimwits step in and berate me for it!'

There was a clap, a very slow and sarcastic one, followed by drawn out dry breaths of hunger that gasped in the air, tasting the scent of their would-be victims, the group turned to see one large brown scaled snake followed by a much smaller greener one, the large was all muscle and power, the other was nimble and cunning but they weren't alone as more snakes were seen stepping out of the shadows. General Rattlor, the large snake stopped clapping and smiled unkindly 'And we thank you 'Masters of the Universe' for that, just as we thank Skeletor for creating a path to Hiss'

The smaller snake, Kobra Khan pointed to Skeletor and the warriors as the direction the other snakes should proceed to. 'Attack! But do not consume, King Hiss will need to restore his strength somehow...'


'You ok kit?'

'I didn't feel like reading anymore for now, it was getting quite dark'

'Well I did tell you, but don't worry you should had kept reading they would had been fine'

Kit returned the sword to lion-O but as she did she had a puzzled look. 'If they were fine then where are they now?' Lion-O couldn't think of an answer to that and the pause gave it away without even having to admit it. Instead he swiftly changed the topic. 'We should keep walking before we find our next clue as to what's down here.

'So what did happen.'

Lion-O teased. 'Well if you kept on reading'

Once they were out of sight the shadowy figures emerged, they followed closely several were women clothed in a red white uniform carrying bows, there was a male with them a huge towering man of scar and muscle with scalps of his hunts, yet he wasn't the leader. The last to step out the shadow was a decorated individual, a mask donned like a falcon dressed in an ancient attire but her jaw and arms shown a youthful skin but she was silent and from that silence radiated a cold and hostile persona. She had been watching them long enough, and now it was time for them to step in. She pointed at where the intruders had went and the small group of female archers ran without sound and yet with urgency but done so in a soundless fashion. The tall male looked to the decorated mask woman, nodded and went into the shadows once, taking short cuts that he alone was able to take, a lone hunter who knew the terrain more than anyone and will be the first to catch the intruders off guard.


From the towering storm of dust, made by their speed and aggression did the 'Lunatak' come out once more in dynamic fashion, bursting out with blistering pace and immediately on the offensive, Cheetara was the faster but the stamina of her rival was matching hers so well and was still calm, still focused and driven, not breathing heavily or cursing. It was a game of cat and mouse, and for someone who was a cat Cheetara was feeling very much like the mouse in this game.

She braced herself as she dropped her speed just to turn around, eyes sharp as she darted forward and stabbed out with her staff, her expression shown barely held frustration in contrast to her rival's coolness, the scarf of the neck his the mouth of the lunatak and the only expression visible was her eyes, cold, never blinking or faltering keeping the same hard stare right from the start. The lunatak sidestep the attack but it wasn't natural, her movement was a sudden blur of darkness as if she was a wind of the night, a trail of black and nothing else. Cheetara relied on her isnstinct, the art of anticipation and turned just as fast to clash her staff with that of her attacker. The two wooden weapons struck and grinded against each other as their owners wrested for dominance, the force of each knock was effecting her balance, the Lunatak hit from all the right angles, rattling Cheetara's staff and delivering the shock to the joints in her shoulders. Cheetara flinched and gritted her teeth, she hadn't had close combat of this nature since jaga training her, how long ago was that? Here her rival was oing everything right, unsettling and frustrating her focus, she guarded her hands well and kept her feet away from any shots from the staff but every time she had to guard she felt her body brise by the vibrating impacts delivered onto her staff. Responding quick she held out the staff horizontally to defend an attack that aiming straight to her head but at the last second she dropped her furthest arm and threw in an uppercut, and failing as she was pushed aside, her face hitting ragged rock but stood, hand over face to try and smother the painful impact, but her newfound enemy offered no sympathy.

'You lack discipline'

'I'm full of surprises I can assure you of that!'

'Quite the opposite, your lack of discipline shows you for what you are. An imitator from a gutter background who thinks she can make the top class by showcasing her speed and reflexes in such a predictable fashion.'

'If you're that confident then you should see this coming!'

Throwing herself at unchecked speed Cheetara threw herself into the fight the staff raised and swung wildly, but the Lunatak stood, Cheetara didn't understand but in the beat of the moment she noticed the staff of her adversary was seemingly vanished but it hadn't, just her hands had moved so fast and with precision timing the staff resurfaced in Cheetara's eyes , it was too late and suddenly felt a lump of wood smash into her throat. She barely backed off in time but the impact was there, knocking her back and hitting a rocky surface on her side. She gasped, part shock on missing the full blunt of it and the other part was the realization was that she was struck by it.

'As I was saying' Continued the Lunatak preaching in arrogance 'Your constant manner of attack exposes your limitations to the trained eyes of others' The eyes, the same cursive eyes, so full of calm and self assurance began to...glow, Cheetara couldn't make sense, a dim ring of yellow circled round the Lunatak's black pupils. And I have only begun to fight

Fear crept into Cheetara her words in her mind, again but this time it felt stronger it was as if by looking into eyes she was gaining entry into her mind, she could feel her history, experiences and secrets being slowly torn off her, she had to move. Fast. She ran, faster than she ever could not look back.

And as she ran two hovercraft vehicles came into sight, small, bit like the twins but on sight they were firing at her but the shots were a lot closer and accurate then the lizards ever were, it was a tell tale sign that it weren't lizards attacking, the other was seeing the assailants up close, two kid like youths that were of a similar brood to this 'Lunatak' were they too followers of this mad cult?

She didn't wait to debate on it, she fled for the sake of her life, down a narrow opening, if she didn't plan her next actions within the minute she was gone, as simple as that.


Dobo kept his eyes open, even with the torch on he didn't want to take any chances, he felt able to handle himself but having this 'kat' some lost mere kitten seeking adventurer was more than enough to handicap him should anything go wrong, which was what he was not counting on.

'You think we can stop anytime soon, I need to get back and have something to eat'

It was the third time he said that in the space of half an hour, and Dobo's reply was always the same. 'No.' He was able to respond without a growl but the kid was pushing it, it was imperative they spent more time looking into any tunnels that could lead them further away from the events from above. One thing that dig get his attention that many of these apparent 'tunnels' were almost perfectly rounded, nearly an entire network of these tunnels. It had his attention for sure, whatever they were...

'You think these tunnels could lead even further down?'

'Am sure your other will be fine'

'Hey my other is called my sister' Though only young Kat wasn't afraid to demand others to show respect to him and to his sister, they had their own story of a journey that they wish at times the others took more notice in.

Kat remained quiet, realising he may have provoked the tall dog as Dobo turned and was expecting a growl, a show of teeth, the signs of a mad dog, but to his surprise Dobo shown an apologetic side, despite his fighting livelihood. 'I'm sorry I meant no respect, I'm sure your sister is leading your king to safety' Kat felt he should say sorry more for assuming the dog would react how he would imagine it.

'Well of course she is' He said with sibling pride. 'You ever seen Lion-O lead? He's a really great guy but he's no thinker, that's where my sister comes in, consulting me first of course.'

'Cute, and what would your sister say right now?'

Kat shown a cheeky grin 'Can I go back to get something to eat?' Dobo frowned then eased up

'Your too witty to go round stealing pockets. I always thought the cats looked after their own'

'Your right' Scoffed Kat, painful memories slowly resurfacing. 'Cats look for their own but not for each other, I never understood why it had to be a privilege to see the king, surely anyone can see their leader right?'

Dobo was not in a position to agree with that, it would be hypocrisy but the small cat did make a valid point, in his case, whilst condemning the cats for arrogance and lack of loyalty wasn't he committing the same offence? A controlled baying mob in a stand where they preach out the terms he had given them to decide the fate of the condemned? Wasn't his arena just as classist as the cats themselves?'

'What do you think could have made things better?'

'You're asking me?'

'Well you are a leader aren't you?'

Dobo nodded. 'Yes your right, but to tell you the truth am lost, your eyes are still fresh you see things that I would turn a blind eye to many a time just because it was the ways it always been.'

'But you can make the difference, we all can right? Your here with us?'

'I am only here because of Panthro, he saved me from making the hardest decision in my life' Recounting Panthro's confession on why he deserted Dobo when they were prisoners at ironically the same arena Dobo himself took charge off. Panthro took the ultimate decision to leave Dobo knowing their next battle was a deathmatch, he had shown a loyalty that even dogs lacked. He had no reason to tell the kid this only that he was indebted with Panthro was reason enough. 'I also need to know what your king will be, if he is truly the saviour some of you are making him out to be'

'And what do you want us cats to think of you?'

'To be greeted without a sword will do well enough for me'

'That's cool' Walking on with Dobo who resumed his normal pace, was going to talk about something else but he too noticed the height of the tunnels. 'Never seen a tunnel so huge, the arc is really high, you think we be in a building or something-whoa!'

Kat tripped on something, he rolled and rubbed his foot. 'owie owie!' Dobo gave a quick inspection. 'It's fine'

'Hey you can't say that's fine!' He demanded a re-examine but Dobo wasn't interested. 'That wasn't even a five second check' Kat claimed.

'I fought in battles, believe me I know when something is broken' He was more interested in what Kat had tripped over, he soon saw it, slightly pulled out of the dirt by kat's foot, it was a dull grey chalk like substance, he touch it but the feel wasn't rock, it was...bone.

'What is it?' Dobo didn't answer at first.

'Wait up there' Kat looked at him, Dobo repeated himself. 'Please'

Kat wasn't sure why, in fact he felt uneasy once more but he trusted him and moved further up the path they came back down on, just not fully out of sight, leaving Dobo to finally inspect, the white substance of bone made him grimly confirm there was something odd here and now that he knew what to look for he looked at the ground for any unusual 'ridges' on the ground. Sure enough he was seeing one, two, five, he was quickly realsing he was seeing more, far more, in fact the path he was on now had dirt thinly veiling over the markings of a broken jaw and winged like fragments.

He had stumbled upon a long forgotten massacre.

'Hey, you ok?'

Dobo quickly turned. 'Yes' he lied, I just need to think for a moment. He peered and searched a little bit more, he was sure the floor moved a little, like there was a vibration or something but as he peered through the floor he could make out the skulls and shapes, none were creatures he recognized but he did see something, it was dirty but an emblem, where the red was marred in dirt and rock of long ago and as he bent down to pick it he heard a monstrous screech that covered the entire cavern. His heart stopped and immediately picked up the emblem and put it in his pocket.

'We need to go!'

He knew there was something odd about the tunnels he just knew it, they weren't built they made by a thing that can move through solid rock as if it was loose gravel just as the solid rock around them began to quake, through the corner of his eye Dobo could see something slither towards their direction. 'NOW!' Kat protested at being picked up by his belt but Dobo was not going to play for catch up as he activated the ear com to Panthro.

'Panthro, the tank get it started.'

The snarl was loud and bloodthirstily clear

'Now!'


AN: I've been in work for ten years, some people I know have been working a lot longer, but you only need to work for a certain time to recognize when part of an essay or report has been rushed, lack of detail, short sentences etc.

I have hit that point in this chapter where it was running without an end, it's not my best but at the same time I can't do any more to it. In other words writing can be at times very unrewarding but what I like about this site is that I can see who has viewed my story, and knowing people from the USA, Germany, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Venezuela, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Canada, France, Spain and the UK, have been following this story is by far the greatest motivator I ever had to keep me going. I also thank the people following the story on alert as well as everyone who have reviewed.

I'm not finished, there is a lot of ground to cover and I have exams and a door supervisor course to go through but I will have the motivation to keep writing because of everyone who has followed this. My work may be flawed or perfect to you all but it would never have happened had there not been an audience to begin with.

Note: eternium is an actual substance from the 2002 He-Man series, and if you think Skeletor had a valid point about Man-At-arms failing in constructing security, that's because it's true. Despite how the show depicts him, there's no denying that Man-At-Arms 'security systems' are high cost failures, even my 4yr old cousin at the time noted on it! I also read on the comic based on He-Man episode 40 (never aired) and redid the prison and Hiss being held in the dark instead of light. (snakes need sunlight to get warm as their coldblooded, by that logic keeping Hiss in a dark room would stop him healing, not the opposite!)