The war begins here! As my Grandfather always said: "I do not own ThunderCats!"
Twin blades born from the star,
Twin blades born from Plun-Darr.
One carries an evil power to harness,
The other can finally end the darkness.
ThunderCats: War of Kings
Chapter I: Berbils
The Conquedor knew he would make a fortune today. With all the Ro-Bear Berbils he managed to capture from the Order of the Hand, those stupid Giantors and Trollogs would pay their weight in gold for just one of the walking scrap piles.
The Conquedor chuckled for a bit at the thought of the Order. Even with all the Technology that the Berbils built for them, he was still able to capture some with his tank. Though the slaver did not fear the soldiers, he was afraid of any retribution from Lord Lion-O, the Rebel Prince and "true" Lord of the ThunderCats.
It was three months ago that he had "murdered" General Grune and Head Cleric Jaga. Since that time, Lord Lion-O had joined the Order of the Hand at their "Cats Lair", the mysterious stronghold that's whereabouts are unknown. In opposition, King Claudus and Tygra, the new Crown Prince of Thundera, had pledged to end his treacherous rebellion.
The Conquedor looked to his haul, the various Berbils incarcerated by the disruptor rings. He was also lucky to have captured the "rare acquisition" that he now kept in a steel box, which rocked as the creature struggled to get out.
With a deep breath, the Conquedor stepped out from behind the curtain and onto his stage. The Trollogs and Giantors were there as expected with the canyon giving them some shade from the sun.
"Welcome, my friends!" the Conquedor greeted. "I am so glad that many of you have come to partake in my auction."
With his remote, the disruptor rings helped move the Berbils from behind the curtain and out onto the stage. The Conquedor saw the greed shining in the eyes of both the Trollogs and the Giantors. That was good; greed always made business profits go up.
"Our first lot is this bundle of Ro-Bear Berbils," the slaver said. "The finest builders on Third Earth, they can make whatever you demand of them in a matter of days or even hours. Bidding will now start at one thousand shillecks."
The price went up to about five thousand shillecks with the Giantors being the highest bidders. The Conquedor smiled inside his suit; now he had enough to get those new upgrades for his tank. All he had to do now was sell off the "rare acquisition" and he'd be set for life.
It was then that balls fell around them. Multiple colored paints were soon splattered on the Conquedor and his patrons. This enraged the gathered crowd. Who would dare do this to them?
Twin voices then shouted out. "HEY LOSERS!"
They all turned to see an unbelievable sight. The gathered party saw a pair of kittens on what appears to be floating boards made of steel.
"You have some of our friends over there," the kitten boy said, pointing at the Berbils.
"Yeah," the girl kitten said, "and we aren't leaving until we get them back."
The Conquedor growled. "You're too late," he said. "I already sold them to the Giantors."
The twins smirked again before they threw more multi-colored balls. Instead of paint though, grey smoke emerged from them when they broke. The Giantors and Trollogs coughed as they breathed in the smoke, while the Conquedor tried to wave it out of the way.
By the time the smoke-screen finally cleared out, the Berbils were already gone. The Conquedor saw the tiny machines in ball-form, racing alongside the kittens on their hover boards.
"AFTER THEM!" the slaver yelled, rallying his patrons.
While the Conquedor entered his tank, the Giantors and Trollogs quickly pursued the escapees, stumbling as they tried to keep up. They saw them turn down a path to the right and round the corner. Both groups instantly decided to follow that path.
They all were shocked at what they saw.
With the Berbils by their side, the kittens mockingly waved to the Giantors and Trollogs as they gawked at what was behind them. A gargantuan tank in the shape of a cat rumbled as four cats stood on top of it. They ignored the panther, cheetah, and puma; they only saw the lion that stood in the middle of them.
Lord Lion-O drew the fabled Sword of Omens from the Claw Shield. "Thunder." The blade grew as he slashed the air in front of him. "Thunder." A second slash. "Thunder." The lion slashed a third time before he pointed the blade upward. "THUNDERCATS, HO!"
A red light shot out from the Eye of Thundera, shining the black and red ThunderCats symbol in the sky. Both Giantors and Trollogs never thought they would face Lord Lion-O and his ThunderCats. They watched, full of dread, as all four cats jumped from the tank and attacked.
The puma unfolded her collapsible bow and shot an arrow at the nearest Giantor, hitting him in the leg and causing him to fall. Cheetara was fighting off multiple Trollogs with her Bo staff and Panthro was doing serious damage with his nunchaku. WilyKat and WilyKit distracted their enemies by throwing more explosive pellets at their feet.
One Giantor was attempting to crush Lion-O with his club, repeatedly hammering his weapon downward. Lion-O's many years of fighting in the Ring helped him avoid all these attacks. The lion used his Sword of Omens to cut through the club before he jump kicked the Giantor down.
The ThunderCats surrounded their enemies. "You can surrender now," Lion-O said to them, "and I promise that you will all be spared."
Both Giantors and Trollogs had no time to answer as a rumbling soon echoed through the canyon. They all saw the Conquedor's tank rolling through the passage, the spiked balls crushing everything in their path.
The slaver's voice could be heard over the tank's speakers. "You made a mistake making me your enemy, Lord Lion-O. Now you will die. Perhaps I will collect on that bounty your father has on your head."
A moment of panic seized the Lord of the ThunderCats. "Everyone, get in the ThunderTank NOW!"
They didn't need to be told twice. Both ThunderCats and Berbils raced into the gargantuan vehicle as the Giantors and Trollogs raced past it. Panthro started the tank's engine as soon as they were all in.
Panthro had put the tank into full reverse. "Please tell me this thing can go faster," Lion-O said, watching as the Conquedor's tank loomed closer.
"Not unless you want to get out and push," the panther said. "There's bound to be a few flaws since the upgrade."
"Panthro, just shoot this guy already," Pumyra groaned. "The main cannon on the old prototype was powerful enough to bring down the palace gates."
Panthro pointed at the tank, watching as it gained more speed. "Well that isn't the palace gate, now is it?"
Lion-O heard the humming from his sword. "I have an idea," he said, walking to the ladder that led to a hatch. "I'm heading up to the top. I'll keep in touch with my comlink."
Cheetara grabbed onto him before the lion could climb up. "Lion-O, you can't. It's too dangerous."
"I'll be fine, Cheetara," the Rebel Prince tried to assure her. "I need you to trust me on this one."
The cheetah hesitated before she nodded and let him go. Lion-O quickly climbed up the ladder and jumped out of the hatch. The prince steadied himself on top of the tank as he moved to the edge.
Lion-O pressed two of his fingers against his comlink. "Panthro," he said, "fire the cannon at the center of his tank."
"Are you sure about this, Lion-O?"
"Just trust me on this one," the prince said. "Fire on my mark." He drew the Sword of Omens from his shield. The Eye of Thundera glowed bright red as Lion-O aimed it at the tank. "Now!"
A red beam was fired from the sacred jewel as the ThunderTank shot its main cannon; both beams struck the center of the Conquedor's tank. Alone, one beam could hope to do some minimal damage, but together, they managed to get through its armor and attack the engine.
A chain of small explosions rocked through the tank, destroying the treads on one side. The tank drifted to the left and several sparks came out as it scraped against the cliff face. It eventually hit a slope in the cliff and turned onto its side, sliding for several feet before finally coming to a rest.
Lion-O jumped to the ground as the ThunderTank came to a halt and raced to the wrecked vehicle. The Conquedor emerged from his main hatch, falling to the ground as he carried his rifle and a steel box. He caught sight of the Rebel Prince and raised his rifle, but Lion-O merely knocked it out of his hands with the Claw Shield.
The Conquedor held the steel box up to the lion. "Lord Lion-O," he said, "I have a proposition for you. Trade me the Berbils for this rare acquisition; it's worth more than those walking scrap heaps."
Lion-O took the steel box, but pointed the blade of his Sword of Omens at the slaver's throat. "Listen very carefully," the prince said, "do not try to attack us again. If I even think you are anywhere near the Berbils' village, I will hunt you to the ends of Third Earth. NOW LEAVE!"
The Conquedor wasted no time in running as far away as he could from the Lord of the ThunderCats. Lion-O returned to the ThunderTank as the others raced out to meet him.
"Shouldn't we go after him?" Panthro asked. "Won't he try again to capture the Berbils?"
"Don't worry about him," Lion-O said, sheathing the Sword of Omens into the Claw Shield as he shifted the steel box into his right hand. "His customers will probably have a few words with him. Now come on; we need to get the Berbils back home."
To Ro-Bear Bill, the ThunderTank's return was a welcome sight after all that happened, especially with his wife and son racing toward him as they exited.
"Bella! Bebo!" Bill cried happily as he brought them both in a hug. He saw the lion approach as the other Berbils reunited with their families. "Thank you, Lord Lion-O; we owe you a great debt."
"There's no need for that, Bill," the Rebel Prince said. "You've done so much for us already."
Ro-Bear Bill seemed to look around for a moment. "You should know that the Grand Master has been looking for you," he said.
Lion-O swore under his breath; he was hoping to avoid Valern today. He knew that the Grand Master of the Order of the Hand would not be happy with him risking his own life to save the Ro-Bear Berbils. It probably did not help that he also brought along Pumyra, Valern's own daughter, to help with the rescue.
"Lord Lion-O!" Speak of the demon, and the demon shall come. Valern and several of the new Clerics were making their way towards him. "What were you thinking?" he asked. "You needlessly risked your life by going alone without any of your Clerics."
Valern was addressing the Clerics that were sworn to serve both Lion-O and the Order of the Hand. These Clerics did not wear the white robes that those who served Claudus wore; they were dressed in dark blue flexible armor that resembled the Order's soldiers. While the old Clerics wore veils to protect their anonymity, these new lion's head masks covered the lower half of their faces. Though Cheetara was trained to fight with her Bo staff, they were taught how to wield a pair of tonfa.
"He was not alone, Grand Master," Cheetara said, taking her place by her prince's side, "and he was not without a Cleric."
Valern grimaced. "Lord Lion-O may have appointed you as his Head Cleric, Lady Cheetara, but that does not allow the two of you to go off on any unnecessary rescues."
Lion-O frowned at that. "We promised the Ro-Bear Berbils that we would protect them in exchange for their expertise in Technology," he said. "How can they put their trust into us if we cannot fulfill our promise?"
Valern said nothing for a moment. "You were expected to meet with Lady Kotiya at the Cats Lair almost an hour ago," the Grand Master said, agitated. "She has come a long way to pledge her support to your claim to the throne and she cannot be kept waiting for too long."
"I will meet her soon, Valern," Lion-O said. "But now, Lady Cheetara and I must go over some of the knowledge Jaga passed on to us."
Valern nodded before he made his departure, leaving two of the Clerics to stay in the Berbils' village. Lion-O knew that the Grand Master would make no move to stop the prince with his search for the Book of Omens, especially with the threat of Mumm-Ra looming over the horizon. There were now reports of Lizard armies armed with Technological weapons.
Lion-O dismissed the two Clerics and instructed them to stay near the ThunderTank before he walked off with Cheetara. "Don't we already have a basic idea of where the Tower of Omens is?" the cheetah asked as soon as they were both out of earshot.
"We do," Lion-O said, just before he took her hand and dragged the Head Cleric between two buildings. He then brought her into a kiss that left them both breathless for a bit. "I just wanted to be alone with you, if only for a while."
"I think I can understand that," Cheetara said with a slight smirk. "I can only imagine the sort of intentions this Lady Kotiya has for you."
Lion-O pressed a light kiss to her lips. "Well then," he said, "she'll just have to be disappointed. You are the only one for me, Cheetara."
They joined together in another kiss, Lion-O pushing Cheetara against the wall. They both clung together as their embrace became more passionate; Cheetara's fingers ran through her prince's fiery hair, while Lion-O placed one of his hands on the small of her back.
"C'mon WilyKat, hurry it up."
"I'm trying, but it won't open."
Both the cheetah and lion broke away from their embrace to see the Wilys with the Conquedor's steel box. Kat seemed to be attempting to use a lock pick to unlock the box.
"What are you two doing?" Lion-O called out to them. "I thought you were going to help Panthro."
"He and the Berbils went back to their 'secret project', so we're trying to open this box," WilyKat said, struggling with the lock. "But it's really hard to get it open."
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Cheetara asked, concerned. "Whatever's in there might be dangerous."
"But it's been trying to get out since we beat the Conquedor," WilyKit said. "We can't just let it sit in here forever."
The boy Wily smiled brightly as a click sounded from the box. "Got it!" he said cheerfully as he opened it…
…only for the most bizarre creature to jump out of it. The strange creature clung to Lion-O's leg, screeching loudly as it hung on for dear life.
Cheetara quickly extended her staff. "Hold still, Lion-O; I'll get it."
"Wait," WilyKit cried out suddenly, "please don't kill him, Cheetara. He's probably just scared."
Lion-O managed to pry whatever it was off his leg and get a good look at it. The cat-like creature was covered in mahogany colored fur with a light underbelly. Its face was covered in white fur the same color as the fluff of hair at the end of its long tail. The wide green eyes complimented the yellow mowhawk-esque patch of hair on top of its head.
"What is this thing?" Lion-O asked curiously.
The creature looked at the prince with wide eyes before it opened its mouth. "Sssssnnnnnaaarrrfff!"
This confused all those that gathered. "What did it say?" Cheetara asked.
Lion-O though for some time. "I think it said…'snarf'."
Cheetara seemed to be observing the strange creature carefully. "He doesn't seem to be dangerous. The Conquedor said it was a 'rare acquisition', right? Where do you think he found it?"
"Who knows," Lion-O said, "but we can't just let it go out there alone."
The twins suddenly seemed excited. "Does that mean we can keep him, Lion-O?" WilyKit asked.
"Hold on," Cheetara interjected quickly. "I don't think that's a good idea. Who knows where he's been. Plus, he could be carrying diseases we don't know anything about."
"Please," the twins echoed, putting on sad puppy eyes. Cheetara seemed unimpressed by the look in their eyes.
Lion-O suddenly spoke up. "Snarf."
The cheetah turned to him. "What?"
He held up the creature in his arms. "His name is Snarf," Lion-O said. "You can't just get rid of him if he has a name, and his name is Snarf."
Cheetara looked to the twins and their begging eyes before turning back to her prince with a sigh. "Fine," she said, "he can stay with us." Both Wilys gave an exuberant "whoop" as Lion-O flashed a child-like smile. "C'mon, we need to head to the Cats Lair before Valern blows a gasket."
The Rebel Prince followed her after he gave Snarf to Kat and Kit. "We're not taking the ThunderTank, are we?"
"Of course not!" Cheetara exclaimed. "Panthro would kill us both if he knew we took his 'baby'. We'll catch a ride with some of the soldiers."