There were no stars.
That was the one thing he didn't like. His only complaint.
At first that was all he could think about, He could not gaze at them when they were locked in this cell. That and how he was still upset over Westley betraying them. Wander was a patient nomad though, and he did not worry about it too much at first, because he still was confident that Westley would change his mind and come join them. So he tried not to worry about it.
So, for now, his only goal was to distract himself from the lack of stars by banjo playing. It always had been his go to comfort activity whenever they were trapped in these dark cells. He would give Sylvia the bunk despite her protests and he would take the floor knowing the banjo was really all he needed. After a while Sylvia stopped protesting and allowed him to go through with his coping mechanisms.
But the sweet notes of a banjo can only help for so long, and the star nomad began to notice that Westley had not come back to see them when the week had ended. Because of this, Wander's stings had started to break and fray.
Sylvia then decided to take matters in her own hands and she told him that she was breaking them out tonight, food and water that they were allowed was lowering, the guards and patrols were becoming more frequent, the weapons bigger, and no Westley was there to break them out.
It seemed that the zbornak had formed this plan too late, because when night fell the door to their cell was roughly yanked open with a echoing creak. Sylvia, before she could even lift her head from the hard cot was shoved against the wall with blasters in her face.
Her friend was yanked from his hat, that was stomped into the ground once it was off the nomad's head, and he was shoved face first in the dirt where they cuffed his furry wrists and dragged him out of the cell. Despite the protests and threats from Sylvia the door was shut and Wander was taken away without so much as an explanation.
She had been screaming and attempting to break out ever since. The guards had learned her tricks however, and the doors to the cells somehow seemed stronger than they were in the past. She was relentless. Sylvia had not seen Wander since that night, and she was going to find out why if it killed her.
"YOU PIP SQUEAK, HALOTOSIS HAVIN' EYESORES! TELL ME WHERE WANDER IS OR I WILL PUNCH YOU SO HARD THAT LORD HATER WILL FEEL IT!"
Usually her yelling was either ignored, or silenced with a zap with a rod, but this time a lone, small watchdog approached out of the shadows of the dark dreary halls, and the two guards near her cell saluted.
Sylvia growled, "You."
It was Westley, he had finally returned to the cells, a little too late because Sylvia had lost all hope in him when her best buddy was taken away from her. She lunged, trying to grab at him through the bars but a quick sting to the wrist and a warning from a guard kept her still seething and furious in her prison.
"You traitor! We trusted you! HE trusted you! How can you live with yourself you florpin'-"
"Easy there, horse. I could easily give them the order to take you out right now." Peepers chirped as he appeared behind the pudgy watchdog. He stood tall and proud, and Sylvia did not like how smug he looked.
"And that's Sergeant Westley to you."
She wanted to slap that dumb grin off the Commander's face but she only snarled and huffed out of her nostrils in his face, saying nothing more.
Peepers merely chuckled and unlocked the cell with his ring of keys. The guards immediately rushed in to cuff the Zbornak's ankles, tail, and wrists together before yanking on her reigns to lead her down the hall of empty cells. She knew they were empty, because she was desperately looking for Wander in every single one. Nothing but rotting bones and water stains.
"So, were we goin' Commander Cyclops? Hopefully taking me to Wander if you know what's good you little ingrates."
Peepers had to halt, and Sylvia braced herself for another zap to her rear, but instead Peeper's hysterical laughing filled the air instead. The commander doubled over and held his stomach as he wheezed, and Sylvia's look of shock must have made it worse because he kicked the dirt and motioned for Westley to talk, because he seemed to have trouble catching his breath.
The little guy had been staring at the ground and tugging at his uniform quietly the whole walk there, not daring to make eye contact with the zbornak. When he was motioned to speak he panicked and stuttered on his words, his voice wavering and it matched his jittery movements perfectly.
"w-we are…taking you to him a-"
"Yes we are!" Peepers laughed, slapping Westley on the back as he looked up at the zbornak with an expression that read true power, and true malice.
"We're going to his execution."
He missed the stars.
He missed seeing anything.
His room had no windows, no cot, only a giant metal door.
He knew this would happen to him. It was inevitable after the first week trapped on Hater's ship, he was number one most hated and he was just surprised he had lasted this long. Sylvia had no idea they would come that night and neither did he, but he knew it would have happened eventually.
He also knew why he was being taken away from her, and the first thing he asked them was to spare her of the same fate.
They later replied cruelly how she was not going to suffer the same fate anyway due to other orders and he thanked them happily. That was the last thing that had past his lips as he was tossed into this solitary cell, and left there to think as the days ticked by til he was to meet his end.
Wander decided that he did not regret trying to befriend the small watchdog known as Westley, he did not regret being kind to hater, and he defiantly did not regret saying hello to the watchdog guards as they re-entered his cell days later. Only to slap his shaking hands and legs in shackles and force him out into the world once more.
His heart was racing, his legs kept buckling, and tears slipped from his eyes but Wander refused to let his smile drop from his face. He refused to show fear.
After all, death was just another adventure.
He was stopped in front of a huge door, the watchdogs having to hold his elbows steady or else he would have fell on the floor and had not been able to pick himself back up.
All Wander could think of at this moment was a song, his song on his banjo that he had left behind playing softly into his head over and over. The only thing keeping him from bursting in hysterics at that moment.
That and the fact that Sylvia and Westley were fine, and they were going to be okay all in good time.
A shadow loomed next to the small nomad and Wander had the courage to look up to it. Lord Hater smirked at him and held up a camera, snapping a picture that made Wander wince and recoil from the light.
"Oh this is the happiest day of my life!" the lord cackled, circling around him to take more.
"Say it! Say I won."
"…I-It wasn't a game, Hater." Wander's voice was hoarse but never cruel
"Nonsense! Look, I won, you're in chains and about to bite the dust for glorns sake! Say I won for once! Come ooooon!"
He pointed the camera in Wander's face again and the nomad paused, then smiled weakly at him, causing the lord to stomp his foot and yell.
"WHY ARE YOU SMILING!?"
"I….I just really am gonna miss you, Lord Hater."
Hater threw the camera at the wall and it smashed into a million pieces and Hater's gloves glowed green as electricity popped and crackled in the air as he hissed in the nomad's face.
"WHATEVER! WELL I AM NOT GOING TO MISSS YOU! AND JUST FOR THAT DUMB STUPID GRIN, IM TELLING PEEPERS TO GIVE YOU ALL THE JUICE THAT CHAIRS GOT!"
Shortly after that the doors opened to reveal a multitude of the execution chamber area to be filled to the brim with watchdogs, some hissed and booed at him and some did nothing and glared.
He was dragged along, his feet no longer able to move when he saw it. His final resting place. A metal chair, cold and decked out with lightning bolts a hat with wires above it, with straps and wired restraints to match below.
He stopped himself from letting out a loud whimper and bit his lip to calm himself. Think of the song….think of Sylvia smiling one day and being free…..
A familiar ear splitting screech snapped him out of his nice thoughts and Wander's head whipped around to see his zbornak friend, caged and chained so much that she could barely move. She was putting up a good fight though, thrashing the cage and screaming at the top of her lungs.
Wander paused and they both locked eyes, two eyes that filled with tears and despair as Wander softly choked out, "I'm s-sorry" before he was pulled away again. Sylvia calling and begging him to come back to her.
He couldn't now; he now stood next to that chair as they made it up the stairs. It was too late now.
The screams of profanity and boos from the Watchdogs seemed to cease as Commander Peepers approached the stairs and held out a hand to recall order as he climbed them. By the time he was at the podium next to the chair of death all was quiet except Sylvia's sobbing and thrashing.
"Ahem. Today is truly a great day for all of the Hater Empire. For today, we get rid of, once and for all, the nusicence that is called Wander!"
Some cheers erupted; Wander sang the song again in his head, not taking his eyes off Sylvia. Trying to sing her he song telepathically in a way. Anything to make her smile again. Anything to make her not watch this.
"He is being executed today before you for all of these crimes against us! My fellow watchdogs! Today our enemy is no more and victory will be ours!"
The roars of happiness and battle rose within the chamber as Peepers turned on heel to look at the wanderer, smiling so smugly that it looked like he was about to jump up and down from excitement.
"Who's going to save you now, hero?..." he whispered threateningly, nodding to Sylvia and then pushing him in the chair.
"Any last words?" Peepers turned back to the podium with a small laugh, asking as if it was a joke into the microphone.
Wander slowly glanced out, out past the commander, past the wild watchdogs and to Sylvia and what he found made his small smile return to his face.
Westley was there, and he looked nervous, scared even. But the one thing he noticed was that he looked sorry. And that was all that Wander needed to start singing his last verse. His last song.
"o-oh~ wander…..O-Over yonder….a-and check out this and t-th-that~…."
The restraints were pulled on his wrists, his song too soft and slow and they already lost patience to his singing. Hater might have taken more pictures with another camera but Wander was too focused on his two friends to notice.
"I-If you w-wander….o-over yonder…just be sure to wear y-your-"
The metal helmet was strapped on his furry head tight.
His vision blurred with tears as his feet were finished being strapped on and Peepers held up a giant red remote connected to the chair for all to see before him and hater walked down the stairs so the nomad would be left alone. Left alone to face his final moments.
"A-All the sights t-th-that you will….s-seee….."
More flashes from cameras. More screams from Sylvia, who seemed to mange to topple her cage over from thrashing too hard. And then a countdown ringing in his ears.
But he still sang on.
"a-and you certainly will b-be free…..if-if you…wander….o-over y-yonder…..y-you and…."
Peeper's finger pressed the red button on the remote and then everything eventually went black.