I just wanted to say thanks for all of the support I have received recently on this story! Your comments were truly inspirational. I'm going to put the negativity behind me and try to finish this story up. I hope you enjoy where this chapter takes us. It definitely sets up where the story is going from here.
Noticing Adam: The Uprising Chapter 24
He couldn't help but be a little disappointed. Adam knew what had to be done. He needed to go back to the Fright Zone and secure his place at Hordak's side as his protégé, but he knew his father's presence, as well as Man-at-Arms', was going to make that task difficult. He already knew they wouldn't agree with his choice to return to the Horde despite how much sense it made.
Focusing his attention on Man-at-Arms, he replied, "I'm glad to see you, old friend. I'm sure your efforts will increase the Rebellion's chances of defeating the Horde tenfold." He smiled warmly before stepping aside to walk around them.
As Adam approached the tent's exit, his father reached out and touched his upper arm. "Where are you going?" he asked.
Steeling himself against the reprimand he was about to endure, he turned back slightly and answered, "The Fright Zone."
Man-at-Arms and King Randor breathed in sharply whereas Teela folded her arms across her chest determinedly. She turned to the king and said, "He's been trying to leave since you left, Your Majesty."
Randor didn't look at Teela; he continued to watch his son, but he did respond. "Then, I thank you for keeping him here." He then stepped in front of Adam and questioned, "Son, what are you thinking?"
Adam sighed for what felt like the millionth time that day. He had already explained his reasoning and no one was listening to him! As a matter of fact, he really doubted that he even needed to explain in the first place. Everyone already knew his reasons and he knew they were just ones—his family just didn't like his plan because he was the one going and he was the one who would have to witness and endure Hordak's cruelty. He couldn't blame his loved ones completely for being concerned, but he was getting tired of being treated like a child.
"What am I thinking?" Adam asked, almost angrily. "I'm thinking about Adora and my friends! I'm thinking about the best way to end this war with the Horde and Skeletor!"
Before King Randor could reply, Duncan stated, "And, how is returning to the Fright Zone accomplishing that?"
Adam pursed his lips together for a moment and then answered sharply, "You know better than that, Duncan. You know war and battle strategies quite well—I don't have to explain it to you." He looked at his father and Teela and continued, "I'm going to make Hordak trust me. He's going to let his guard down eventually, and when he does, that's when the Rebellion and I will strike. I will tell you what's going on and I'll be able to keep an eye on Skeletor and his doings. This is the plan we've had all along from the very beginning. You just don't like it now, because I'm the one doing it and I…had a rough time at first, but I have to do this." He paused and then repeated, "I have to."
"Adam," Randor said beseechingly and Adam closed his eyes in annoyance. He counted to ten and tried to remain calm.
"I'm going back," he stated resolutely. "We don't have a better plan. This is the best one we have and I can do this."
Adam made his way out of the tent quickly before anyone could stop him. He saw Adora, Bow, and the others stand from their spots around the campfire, but he turned away from them. He had to leave camp and he had to go now.
"Adam," he heard his sister call out and his father, who had finally joined them outside, did, as well.
He picked up the pace a little, but before he could get even ten feet away, he heard his father call out, "We do have another plan, son. That's why Duncan is here. It's time to end this war once and for all."
He turned back and stared at his father as Man-at-Arms and Teela came out and stood behind the king. He approached them warily and asked, "What is your plan?"
Randor looked at Adora briefly before pressing his lips together determinedly. "We're going to do what we did to Snake Mountain. We're going to destroy the Horde base."
Adam paused for a moment as he contemplated the king's words, but then he quickly shook his head. "That's never going to work," he replied. "How are we even going to do it? On Eternia, we had every single army on the planet there to oversee it and to help get every living creature out. We can't get an army that size to Etheria, and besides, would we even want to? That would leave Eternia defenseless and surely that would be unwise."
Randor fisted his hands and clenched his jaw temporarily. He then informed them matter-of-factly, "I'm not concerned with emptying the Fright Zone. The only thing I'll be concerned about are the prisoners inside and we'll get them out…"
When the king finally stopped speaking and Adam realized what his father meant, he widened his eyes in disbelief. He instinctively turned to look at Adora, and he could tell she was just as dumbfounded as he was at that moment. Even Teela looked startled, but Man-at-Arms didn't… Shaking himself, confirming that, indeed, this discussion was actually happening, he questioned, "Are you serious?" He noticed then that Adora was approaching his side and he knew with certainty that he now had an ally, at least in this. "You…Father, are you planning on murdering people?" As he spoke, the topic sent chills down his spine, because he knew that was precisely what his father and Man-at-Arms were planning.
Despite using that terminology to unsettle the king, Randor stood tall and explained, "I wouldn't call it murder. This is war, and the Ancients know the Horde deserves every bit of punishment we can give them."
"Punishment? You mean death!" he cried out to his father. He reached out, grabbed Adora's hand, and squeezed it comfortingly as she reached him. "You can't do this!"
"And, why not?" King Randor asked. "Why should I spare them? Look at what they have done to your own family! Look at what they have done to you, your sister, and this planet!"
Adam shook his head and answered, "Because it's the right thing to do, Father! We are better than this. We are not killers; we should never aim to become what we despise and that's precisely what we would be doing! We'd be no better than they are!"
Before Randor could respond or Adam could say anything more, Adora entered the conversation. "I have seen a lot in my time with the Horde. None of you know as well as I do what they are capable of, Father, but I have to agree with Adam. I don't want my brother to return to the Fright Zone because I don't want him to change, and likewise, the same can be said in this situation. This would change you, and if you do it, you will regret it for the rest of your life, I can guarantee that. Surely, you know this to be true."
King Randor nodded. "Actually, I do know that, but I can't think about this as an ordinary man and an individual right now. I have two planets to be concerned about. I have the means to stop this once and for all. Think about the lives we could save. Think about the weeks or months of torment we could stop the people of Etheria from enduring. I'm thinking as a king and this is an option for us…"
Adam grimaced and reasoned, "An option? Yes. Something we should actually do? No. Father, we can't do this. We just can't. It would…change everything." He shook his head again as he looked down at the ground.
Then, Adora added, "And, please, think about this as a father, too: it would devastate us—me and Adam." A tear slipped down her cheek as she whispered loud enough for everyone to hear. "I'm not with the Horde anymore, but they raised me. I grew up there. I have friends within those walls, and not everyone is bad. Some are just surviving even if they aren't slaves or prisoners. I can't bear to see you kill them or even Hordak and Shadow Weaver. I can't be a part of that, Father. In fact…" she paused as she looked at Adam. He could tell she was hoping he would understand what she was about to say. "…I'll probably try to stop you."
Adam nodded and agreed firmly, "I will, too."
The Royal Family stared at each other for several long moments before King Randor blew out an enormous breath and approached his children. He threw his arms around them and Adam and Adora fell into him gratefully, hugging tightly.
"Please tell me you've changed your mind," Adam mumbled.
Randor pulled back slightly and said, "I never made my mind up definitively. I discussed it with Man-at-Arms on Eternia and I wanted your opinions." He lifted a hand to his brow to rub it wearily. "I just want this to be over with. I want you both back home, safe and sound. I would do anything for that to happen…anything."
Adam knew without a doubt the king meant what he said. Regardless, he wouldn't allow his father to go too far. "I understand; truly, I do, but surely you can see that such extremities would only bring more heartache. Not only would you be killing Adora's friends, you might bring a larger problem to the planet. Horde Prime might show up and then where would we be?"
"Something tells me we're going to have to face him before it's all over, anyway" was the king's reply.
Adam nodded in agreement. He had that feeling, too, but that day was not today. They had to do this a little at a time. They had to weaken the Horde's hold on the planet. They had to make Etheria undesirable as his father had once done with Eternia. He knew without a doubt the Horde wanted Etheria because it had been so easily obtained. The army didn't receive the resistance here that they did on Eternia and that made a big difference in his mind. If the Etherians were able to fight back and win most battles, the Horde would lose interest and leave. And hopefully, the Rebellion would manage to gather significant prisoners before the Horde left: there was no way he wanted to allow Hordak or Skeletor to escape. They had much to answer for…
Knowing in his heart he was making the right choice, he said, "I must return to the Fright Zone, Father. It's our only reasonable choice. I'll be careful, I promise, and if things get too rough, I promise I'll find a way to return to the Whispering Woods. This is our best bet for right now until something better comes along. Please trust me, Father."
I hope you enjoyed the chapter! Let me know what you think, please, if you're so inclined!