Courtnie and Alexandra looked out the mall doors and considered their options. The sun was just going down. Did they want to wait another 20 minutes for the bus, or walk the 15 minutes to the campus. While they were thinking, they heard a voice behind them "Hey Court. Long time no see!" Courtnie rolled her eyes. Her ex-boyfriend, Greg. He seemed to be everywhere since they had broken up. Funny, he had never been around when they were going out. Courtnie turned around. "Greg. . . .Hello," she said dryly.
"Hey, I didn't expect to see you at the mall." Greg drove Alex and Courtnie crazy. He always seemed to be there with one of his stupid stories about partying or drinking, or his favorite torture, the tales he spun about being a demon from hell. When they were talking about him, they called him "Asshole." He droned on, "Are you taking the bus, or are you walking?"
"The. . . bus?" Alex guessed. Maybe he was going to be macho and walk back to school. But her hopes were shattered. "Well then I guess we can sit together." Greg said.
"On second thought, we'll walk," Courtnie said grabbing Alex's wrist and walking off quickly. Greg followed them however. "Well then I'm going to walk you home. Someone needs to protect you!" Alex sighed. They were going to have to give up. Greg was going to follow them no matter what, out of some misguided feeling of chivalry.
They walked across the mall parking lot. "Hey, I know a shortcut," Courtnie said, pointing to the woods. "Come on, let's go!" They walked over to the edge of the woods, where there was a small footpath. As they walked along the path, the woods seemed very still, as if the trees were afraid. Alex was freaked out "Hey, it's really quiet here you guys."
Before anyone could answer, a bolt of reddish-orange light shot down in a clearing close to them. Greg yelled something and went crashing through the trees to check it out. Alex and Courtnie didn't see him, because they were running for the edge of the woods.
The next day, Alex and Courtnie were eating lunch and discussing the strange light in the woods. They decided to go back and check it out, because not only were they curious, but the had not heard from Greg all day, which in itself was odd. Alex looked at Courtnie and said "Do you have any more classes?"
"Nope. Why?" Courtnie asked.
"I want to go to the woods and check out the clearing where that light came down last night. I'm kind of worried. We haven't heard from Greg all day. Doesn't that strike you as a little odd?"
"Yeah. Peace and quiet. It's been great!"
"It's strange. I want to go take a look!" Alex said.
"Okay. I'm done eating, and practice isn't till four, your meeting isn't till three, I was just going to the library anyway. Let's go now!" Courtnie said. Alex looked at the floor where her laptop computer, Courtnie's guard bag, and both of their bookbags were. "Do we want to take all of our stuff?"
"Why not?" Alex said. "It was probably nothing, and we'll be right back."
Alex and Courtnie tracked through the woods to the clearing where the light had come down. There was no sign that anyone had been anywhere near by. However, there was a very strange circle in the middle of the clearing, an area where there was no leaves or sticks on the ground. It was very strange. "The truth is out there," Alex said in a spooky voice. Courtnie looked at her. "X-Files." Alex explained. The ground rumbled, as if a bus or large truck had gone by, but they were far from the road, so how? Alex kicked a piece of wood with her heel and it sailed into the circle, and sank into the ground, but neither of the girls noticed this. They were searching the surrounding woods looking for any sign of Greg. Alex ended up on the other side of the clearing from Courtnie, and looked at her. She stepped into the circle at the same time as Courtnie did. As they stepped into the dirt circle, they fell forward, and down as the ground seemed to give way. They fell down and down, screaming and landed on the ground, surrounded by blue and purple fuzzy trees.
"Shit!" Alex said as she sat up and was immediately dizzy with a head rush. She looked around, and reached over to rescue her computer and bag. "Courtnie, are you all right?" She asked of the prone figure lying on the ground.
"Head hurts . . . in pain," came the mumble.
"Okay then, you're fine," Alex said.
"Hey!" Courtnie tried to sit up, and got tangled in the flag bag still strapped to her back. She pulled the strap off in a huff and sat up. "Where are we? And why are the trees fuzzy?"
"Don't know. . .Give me a pole." Alex said.
"What the hell for?" Courtnie asked.
"Self defense?" Alex tried.
"Oy!" Courtnie exclaimed. Then she gave Alex one of the pole from her collection. Alex tried to wave it around like a quarterstaff. "You look ridiculous!" Courtnie said.
" 'Actually it's a buck and a quarter quarter staff, but I ain't telling him that!'" Alex quoted. "Asante Sana Squash . . ." She trailed off as she turned around and was face to face with a giant broom at the other end of the clearing. "Ahhguh!" She screamed.
"Aaah!" The broom seemed equally startled.
"Courtnie, there is a talking, walking broom over there!" Alex exclaimed. " I think I know what's going on here. I watched Fantasia the other night, and this is just a bad dream induced by the NyQuil I took for my cold. But the broom is talking to me instead of the Q," Alex began to babble incoherently. Courtnie decided that someone had to take control of this situation, and she ought to be it.
"Alex get a grip," Courtnie said. She grinned evilly. "Why don't you use the flag, Daffy?"
"Do I look like a freaking Power Ranger?" I have no idea how to use this!" Alex said.
"Umm. You're probably going to laugh. A lot. We just fell through a hole in the woods in our world and landed here in Narnia. Or wherever the heck we are. Narnia at least looked real, according to the books. But maybe you can help us. Where exactly are we, who are you, and who's in charge around here?" Courtnie fished around to see how far the broom thing trusted them.
The broom looked them over. "Well I might be able to answer some of you questions. I'm Broom. And this is not called Narnia, it's called the Whispering Woods. and Since the trees are making a clearing for you, you aren't evil. Why are you here?"
"Well if we knew that we wouldn't have a problem," Alex said. She winced inwardly. What a time for her sarcasm to come blazing in.
"Just a second," Courtnie said. She looked at Alex. "Sidebar!" She said. dragging her friend over to the other end of the clearing. "Look we are going to need help to get out of this one, and your smart ass remarks are not helping any, so if you can't be intelligent, then shut the hell up!" Alex looked contrite, and they walked back over to the broom. "Okay. Take us to the leader, or the person in charge, or whatever," she said to the broom.
"Well, I guess that would be Adora. Come-- Wait, you're not working for the Horde, are you?"
"The Who?" Alex asked. She looked at the broom. "Look we just fell out of the sky and we are a little shaken up, but I have no idea who the Horde is. We are just lost. And a little confused."
"Well, maybe someone in camp will have an idea of what to do about you." The broom walked off. The girls looked at each other, Alex shrugged, and they followed the broom.
They came to a large clearing where there was a small encampment. The broom was greeted by a frumpy looking woman. "Broom, what did you find?"
Broom realized he had not asked the girls their names. He looked at them. "Well, I fond them in the woods, and they have an interesting story, I think Adora would be interested in.
"Hi, I'm Courtnie. This is Alex. Have we got a story for you!"
"Where are you from dearies?" asked the woman, "I'm Madame Razz, by the way."
"Well I'm from New York, Manhattan actually, and Courtnie is from Lake Placid." Alex said, knowing that those p[laces probably would mean nothing here.
"Hmm. I don't know where on Etheria either of those places are, but--"
"Etheria? Where is that?" Alex exclaimed. She thought of one of the science fiction novels she had read recently. Alternate dimensions. That was it, they had been pulled into an alternate dimension. It was kind of ironic that she wearing her International Federation of Trekkers shirt for this. However, she really wished she was not wearing her very short pleated skirt and heeled lace-up boots with black tights. Courtnie was a little better off in her black spandex dance tights, and sweatshirt. They were still waiting for a reaction to their last comment when a woman came out one of the nearby structures. She was tall and blonde, and had a very regal bearing. She wars wearing what looked like a red leotard over a white turtleneck, and heeled knee-high boots. Alex felt a lot better. The woman looked at them "Who are you?" She asked.
Courtnie and Alex exchanged a glance, and Courtnie spoke. "Well, are you the head honcho here?" she asked.
"Head. . . Honcho?" Adora was confused. "I am Adora, the leader of this little rebellion."
Alexandra's ears seemed to perk up at this. "Rebellion?" She asked. "Against who, Emperor Palpatine?"
Courtnie gave Alex a dirty look. "I don't think so, Alex. This is not some stupid role-playing game. This is for real." Courtnie turned to address Adora. " i'm Courtnie. this is Alexandra. Who are you against?"
Adora looked at her strangely. "You've never heard of the evil Horde?" She asked. "Where are you from?"
Alex knew the answer to that one. "Earth?" this garnered another look from Adora. Adora knew hew mother was from Earth, but she had never heard of anyone from Earth acting like these two. It was all very strange. "I think we need to have a discussion. Come with me." Adora led them to one of the small hut-like structures. As they ducked inside, they blinked to adjust to the lack of light. There were two more people seated at a table in the middle. One was another woman with purple hair, and the other was a man with brown hair and a psychedelic outfit. Alex decided in her mind that psychedelic was the word to describe this Etheria place. She began to be aware of a strange sensation in her fingers, as if they had fallen asleep and were just waking up. Adora introduced them. The man was Bow and the purple haired girl was Glimmer. They were invited to sit down and tell their story. Alex told them how they had been walking through the wood, seen the light, lost Greg, come back, fallen into the purple woods, and met the broom who had brought them here. "So that's our story. I know it sounds really strange, right? Now where are we, and what's going on?"
The three rebels, however, were not fazed. On the other hand, they looked distressed. "Shadow Weaver" Glimmer said.
"Who?" Alex asked. She was extremely curious about this place. Something was tugging at her brain. She promptly shut it up. however, guessing that it was probably that the stereo in their room was still on or some such piddling thing.
"Shadow Weaver is a very powerful, very evil sorceress who works for the Horde. The Horde is trying to take over the planet and enslave it." Adora explained. "We are trying to convince the planet to stand up to the Horde."
"Okay. But how do you explain us?" Courtnie asked. "I mean how does that concern us and being here?"
Glimmer picked up where Adora had left off. "Shadow Weaver must have been experimenting with dimensional travel. You probably fond one of the portals she opened and fell through. But you're here now, and that's what matters."
"So now we're here, What do we--" Courtnie was interrupted by a large furry owlish bird flying in.
"What is it Kowl?" Bow asked.
"Adora, the Horde is attacking the village!" Apparently the bird was named Kowl.
"I'm sorry. We seem to have work to do. Explanations will have to wait." Adora was already halfway to her horse, and the girls followed her.
"Lets go with them I want to see this Horde thing in action. I mean it can't be worse than Microsoft!" Alex said. She grabbed an aluminum pole out of the bag. "You know Karate, and I . . . can spin this thing. Maybe we can help."
Bow overheard the girls Come on, one of you can ride with me and one can ride with Glimmer. Leave your other things here."
They arrived in the village. There were huge robots crashing around, some very weird looking people, and really freaky guy with a white face and blue lips. Bow jumped off his horse and into the fray. Alex looked at Courtnie. "'We ought to have shotguns for this shit,'" she said, quoting. "Let's go!" She ran into the fight doing a Han Solo "YEAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" and brandishing the five foot aluminum pole. Lasers flew from the Troopers weapons, which looked like stun wands.
Courtnie realized that hand to hand would not be of much help here. "Alex wait up!" She called as her friend jumped into the thick of the fight. She heard a thumping behind her and turned around to face a large robot trooper. She planted a kick in it's chest area, and began to pummel it.
Alex had lost sight of Courtnie, having basically ran into the thick of things. She bashed one of the robots in the head with the pole, but was immediately double-teamed by two more robots. She tried for a trip, but the robots managed to pull the pole out of her hands and fling it away. She looked around and realized she had been backed into a corner, and looked for a means of escape. She could feel her hands buzzing like anything. She looked at them and realized they were glowing. The troopers noticed too, and became distracted. Alex pointed at one of them, and a bolt of flame shot from her finger and slammed into the trooper. "Cool!" She thought. She splayed her hand, and the flame grew wider, and the trooper began to spark, The sparks jumped to his buddy, and Alex took cover as both the robots exploded. Alex decided cover would be a good thing, and she watched for anyone else to hit. She saw a woman kick one of the troopers over. She seemed to be extremely strong, and wielded a broadsword. Alex admired her abilities, and heard someone mention the name "She-Ra." Alex guessed that must be the superwoman's name. Alex looked again at what She-Ra was now fighting. It was a strange creature with coal black skin that seemed to shine like it was polished, and beady red eyes that seemed to glow. Alex was startled as she realized that other than the obvious differences it looked a lot like GREG? She was distracted by a large cat coming at her. She screamed and shot fire at it. It yowled and ran away. Alex breathed a sigh if relief and watched as the rebels routed the Horde troops. Alex helped, short circuiting a few more with her new mutant Phoenix power. She became aware of the crowd she had drawn. "Hey Courtnie, look at this!" She said. She looked around, but Courtnie was nowhere to be found. "Hey, where's Courtnie?"
Everyone looked uncomfortable. Alex sensed bad news. Bow cleared his throat. "Unfortunately, Courtnie was taken prisoner along with several others."
"Eeep. So how do we break them out?" Alex asked. There was gentle laughter. Pity laughter. "You don't," came a voice from the crowd.
"You have other worries," came a new voice. The crowd parted to let the She-Ra person through.
Alex had to stop and think about that one for a moment. "Huh? Oh, you meant the Phoenix thing. Hey, I do not know where that came from. I truly don't, it just . . .happened," she finished lamely. "I never could do that till I came here." She- Ra did not seem to be listening. Alex went on. "Do you know what's going on?"
"Unfortunately, no. But I do know someone that might. Will you come with me?" She-Ra asked.
"Anything to come up with an answer to this whole deal," Alex responded. "Lead on.
She-Ra led Alex over to her flying unicorn. Alex did a double take when the horse started conversing with She-Ra. She- Ra cupped her hands, and Alex took the cue to mount the horse. She-Ra got on in front of her, and the horse took off.
Alex fought wave after wave of vertigo as they climbed higher and higher. The flew over some fields and seemed to be headed for a mountain range. There was one peak that was higher than all the rest, and they headed straight for it. As they reached the top of the mountain, Alex caught sight of a castle. The horse landed on a flat area, and She-Ra led Alex into the castle. They went to a large chamber, where a shimmering being of pure light illuminated the room. Alex just stared as She-Ra addressed it as Light Hope. She told it what had happened, and introduced him to Alex. Alex felt uncomfortable. Before She-Ra could finish explaining, Light hope cut in. "Alexandra, come closer." She walked up to the light, mesmerized. "I am Light Hope, guardian of Crystal Castle. "Maybe you can help me. I got dropped here, with my friend Courtnie, who is now captured or some such thing. We were looking for a friend of hers, who I kind of found, but boy he spent too much time in the sun. Oh yeah, I found out I can shoot fireballs and stuff out of me. And She-Ra brought me here." She turned to point at her, but She-Ra had disappeared. "Hey, where'd she go?" Alex got the distinct feeling that Light Hope was looking at her, even though it had no visible eyes. It was incredibly freaky.
After a time, Light Hope spoke again. "Alexandra, how long have you known this . . . Greg?"
Alex got the feeling she was being tested. "Well, all my life, actually. I met him when our parents took us to the same play group. We were both adopted, and so since our parents became friends and lived on the same block, we were friends, and went to school together."
"Alexandra, do you remember your birth parents?" The questions continued.
"Nope. They didn't love me enough to want me, and so I want nothing to do with them." Alex was bitter on this subject. She actually really wanted to find her birth parents, to bitch them out, but Alex didn't think Light Hope would really be interested in her feelings.
Light Hope actually seemed satisfied. "You have no memories of your true past but that is no matter. You will remember all someday. For now I will tell you of your true self, Alexandra, but that is not your true name. Your birth parents were not of the planet you came from, they were two of the most powerful sorcerers on Etheria. They loved you very much, so much that when the Horde appeared in the sky, you were sent out of Etheria for your protection, lest you fall into the Horde. The one you know as Greg is also of Etherian origin. He, however was a very powerful demon, a greater threat than the Horde. When Hordak began persecuting Etheria, your parents sent him out before Hordak could persuade the demon to join him. You were ostensibly sent to be the demon's guardian, but were really sent for your own protection. Hordak and Shadow Weaver have managed to call the demon back, and when he was called an awakened spell that was put on you was activated and you were pulled into Etheria to deal with it. You have the power within you to defeat him, and it will surface in time, now that you are on Etheria. You grew up under the care of your adoptive parents, but you have now come home."
Alex was dumbfounded. This was beyond anything she could have even imagined. It was just too strange. "Okay, question time. Why do they need me if they have this She-Ra person, who by the way is like my ride and has such disappeared. How does Courtnie fit into all of this?"
"It is of no concern, She-Ra has other matters to attend to. Courtnie was brought here by with you, it was a mistake. She may make her own choice where she will stay. You are needed because as the child of you parents, you have a power inside of you that can defect this demon. The fire ability is only one of many possibilities. More may manifest, it is yet to be seen. Since your powers have lain dormant for so long it remains to be seen how and when they appear."
Alex was struck by another thought. "Okay. It's obvious I don't really get a choice here, I stay no matter what. I think I would anyway. And I know Greg wouldn't be able to go back, but won't this screw up our lives there? I really love my adoptive parents and don't want them to worry."
"It is of no concern to you right now, your first task is to defeat the demon. Then you can ponder these questions. I will send you back to the Whispering Woods. When you are finished, I will send She-Ra to bring you and Courtnie back here, to decide. Farewell and luck be with you, Starfire." With that Alex felt herself caught up in a glow that seemed to penetrate her to her core.
When the Glow faded, she was at the edge of the woods. She saw a small path and followed it. As she walked she thought about what Light Hope had told her. He reminded her of Yoda in a way, but he spoke better English. Presently she came to the Rebel encampment.
Glimmer was sitting on the ground outside, meditating, when Alexandra appeared at the edge of the clearing. She had a strange look about her. Glimmer was reminded of how Adora had looked when her brother Adam had rescued her from Hordak and brought her back from the Fright Zone, disenchanted. The haunted look, Glimmer decided. She walked over and put an arm around Alex. "Are you all right? Do you want to talk about it?"
"Not really, but I guess I kind of have to," Alex thought no on would believe the strange story. Glimmer led he to Adora who listened to her as she told everything. Except the Starfire part. it was a goofy name and she thought she could come up with a better one. Jean Grey sounded good, as did Phoenix or Wildfire. at the end she asked "What about Courtnie?"
Adora looked at her. "We have spies. Your friend was taken to the Fright Zone, Hordak's lair. Getting her out of there will be tricky."
"I'll go alone if I have to. Actually, I'd prefer it, but if you want to, you can come. I'm going no matter what." Alex thought for a second. "However, I will need to where this Fright Zone place is and where Courtnie is and how to get there and all kinds of stuff like that."
Adora and Glimmer, joined by Bow began to help Alexandra make plans. Alex wanted to pull a full frontal assault, but that was downed by everyone else. They decided to sneak into a back entrance that Adora knew of, and that Alex would sneak around alone, for less chance of detection. The others would wait outside, and wait a specified time before deciding if they would come and help Alex. Alex was happy, and nervous. She would have to rely on her new powers to get through this thing, and what if she ran into this demon thing? What did she have that was so special that would defeat him? Adora told her of what she would find in the Fright Zone. It sounded like some bad Dungeons and Dragons adventure. When they were done planning, Alex said "Well when do we leave?"
"It would be best for you to get some rest before you try to go in there," Adora said. "We'll leave you alone now, and wake you tonight."
Everyone cleared out and Alex was alone with her thoughts. She went over and got her CD player out and put in her Lion King CD. As she listened to the instrumental music, she let her mind wander, trying to conjure up any images of her past here. As she relaxed, she saw an image of a woman with startlingly red hair, and extremely pale skin. The mother concept floated into her head, and she thought this must be her mother. She wondered if her parents had been killed by the Horde or if they were hiding somewhere, waiting for her return. Alex drifted off somewhere in the middle of "King Of Pride Rock" and dreamed.
A ghostly figure in strange red robes appeared. Alex heard a sinister female voice. "Little Starfire has come home. She will be ours, along with her demon pet." Alex sat up sweating. She thought about the dream and wondered if the ability to dream true was part of her power as well. At this point she vehemently hoped not. As she blinked, she realized it was nighttime, and that she had drained the batteries on her player. Adora came into the tent. "Well, good morning. Are you ready to go?"
"Sure, just let me get some caffeine in me." Alex put her CD player away and found the can of Mountain Dew she had stashed. It was warm, but it was caffeine. She downed the whole can in under two minutes and burped. She quickly braided hair into two french pigtails, and looked at Adora. "All right, let's go."
Bow and Glimmer met them outside. Glimmer helped Alex up onto her horse, Adora and Bow had already mounted theirs. They rode off into the night.
As the approached the Fright Zone, Alex couldn't believe how the landscape changed. The light became darker and darker, and the trees scragglier. A huge fortress appeared on the horizon. Alex tried not to feel intimidated, but it was hard. She kept thinking of Jabba's Palace in the Star Wars movies, but shook off the thoughts. She needed to concentrate on getting Courtnie out of here, and back home to Earth. Alex shook out of her reverie as they cam to a stop. Adora pointed out the small service shaft that Alex would have to wriggle through, and gave her directions to the prison level.
Alex prayed she would remember it all as she ran across the small plain, ducking behind rocks and trees, in order to stay covered. She cam to the shaft. There was a small grate over it, and Alex pulled it off. It came off very easily, and Alex realized the screws were rusted away. She crawled into the shaft, and wriggled to the nearest outlet. She landed in a hallway, and recalled Adora's directions. She bolted through a maze of tunnels, corridors and overpasses, until she came to an area that looked like a medieval dungeon. There was one cell guarded by two of Hordak's robot troopers. "Must be Courtnie," Alex thought, and considered her options. She thought she should short them both out with one shot, but there was no guarantee there weren't reinforcements right around the corner. However, her only other option was to run in and try to physically beat the hell out of them, but that was what got Courtnie into this mess. Alex charged her hands, and looked down the corridor. She wondered if she had any other powers, but she needed something she could count on, and the fire would short the wiring. She took careful aim and shot. The flames caught the front trooper right in the head and sparks cascaded down as his partner turned, and got one shot off on the stun prod before the sparks jumped and both robots were melted into a pile of slag on the ground. Alex ran over to let Courtnie out, and watched as the sparks caught the wood door on fire. Alex was in a hurry, so she shot the door to help it along. In a few seconds, the door was a pile of ashes and the smoke cleared to reveal a very shocked Courtnie. "How the hell did you do that?" She asked.
"I'll explain the whole thing later. Right now, we have to get out of here. Come on!" She grabbed Courtnie and took off in the direction they had come. As they ran, Alex heard footsteps behind them. She pulled Courtnie along, and the turned a corner. There, blocking their path was Hordak and the Greg-demon. Hordak laughed at them. He looked them over. "So young," he snarled. "Yet so powerful, so full of potential. if you were to join the Horde--"
Alex cut him off, and shouted over Courtnie's confused "huh wha?" sounds. "Okay Emperor Palpatine, if I only knew the power of the Dark Side, blah blah blah. You fucking wish. if you want to continue quoting good movies 'Do I have to get medieval on your ass?'" With this, Alex shot a bolt of flame at Hordak. It dissipated partway there. "Oops." Alex said.
Hordak laughed at her. "You poor thing," he said. "maybe you'd like to talk with your friend?" He laughed at them, and said something quietly to the demon, and disappeared. Alex and Courtnie were alone with what was once Greg. Alex thought about what to do. "Greg are you in there?"
The being didn't answer. It leaped at them. "Duck!" Alex yelled, looking for cover. She found it and shot a fireball at the demon. It hit him squarely in the chest, but didn't seem to do anything. Courtnie looked her. "What the hell is that?"
"You're not gonna believe this, but you know how Greg gets his kicks telling us he's a demon?" Courtnie nodded. "It's truer than any of us could have thought possible. That's Greg!" She yelled. She saw the demon bearing down on her and screamed. She jumped out of her hiding place as the Greg-demon brought his foot crashing down on top of it. She shot him again as he turned around to face her. She could hear Courtnie screaming in the background, but tuned it out. She remembered Light Hope's words "You have the power within you." She realized that she had better find it quick, or her and Courtnie would be so much paste on the floor. The creature was bearing down on her and she closed her eyes. She could feel something deep within her. She reached for it, grasping, she reached deeper inside herself. . .
Courtnie watched as her friend battled the monster. "You idiot this is no Dgame this is real!" Was it real? Courtnie was very confused. In the space of five minutes she had seen Alex burn a door and shoot fire from her fingertips. She watched now as Alex began to glow. It began as a small light in her midsection and grew. In about five seconds, Alex's entire body seemed to be one mass glow. Courtnie watched as the glow began to float toward the demon-thing, which stared, confused, at the glowing form.
Alex felt herself rise off the floor. She looked at Courtnie first, then Greg, with a new confidence. She fought in herself to separate the glow from her, and watched as she fell to the floor, the glow remained in the air. She reached out with her hands and directed the glow to Greg. It enveloped him, and paralyzed him. Alex wasn't sure how she did it, but Courtnie knew what to do while he was immobile. "Come on, let's get out of here!" She yelled, grabbing Alex by the wrist. Alex came out of her trance, and they took off running. Alex looked up. There was the shaft she had climbed out of. It was about a foot out of her reach. Meanwhile, the glow had faded from the black demon, and he came after them. Alex looked as the form came crashing toward them. Alex cupped her hands, and boosted Courtnie up to the shaft. courtnie reached down to pull Alex up, nut the demon got there first. "Do that glow thing again!" Courtnie suggested.
"I don't know how!" Alex called desperately as she ducked, avoiding the huge hands trying to claw her. She shot a beam of energy at it. "Where did that come from?" she cried. It stunned the creature long enough for her to clamber up into the shaft with Courtnie's help. Alex led them to the grate she had entered through, and they emerged. Alex and Courtnie shot across the plain to where Bow, Glimmer and Adora were waiting. "I got her, let's get out of here!" Alex yelled. They jumped onto horseback and rode off.
Inside the Fright Zone, Hordak was livid. "Shadow Weaver, what did that little brat do to my new pet?" He had seen what Alex had done, and was not impressed.
"She has no control over her power, She is of no concern. She has not done permanent harm, she is not strong enough to be a threat. Yet." The sorceress tried to placate Hordak.
Hordak thought for a time. "She must be brought to ne. She will stay with the Rebels, and when we capture them we will have her and Adora back!" His mood lifted at the thought.
Alex and Courtnie arrived back at the Rebel encampment, with their new friends. Alex looked around. "That was fun."
Courtnie looked at her. "Okay, X-woman. Explanation time. What was that?"
Alex looked at Courtnie. "Let's go in here. We need to talk." She led Courtnie into the nearby tent. They sat down and told Courtnie everything that Light Hope had told her. Courtnie looked at her, first disbelivingly, then with acceptance. "So, I am staying, since I guess I am supposed to beat that demon thing, but You have a choice. Light Hope is supposed to send this She- Ra person after us. I don't know how he'll know, but I get the feeling he's omnipotent. He's kind of like Yoda. You'll like him." Alex was trying to make the situation humorous. Courtnie was not amused.
"How are you going to close up your other life?" She asked. "You have parents, friends, school a life. Can you really just leave it all for this?"
"These people need help. You saw what they were up against. And now with that thing that used to be Greg, they need me. I am supposedly the one who can defeat this thing. I have to stay it's your choice.
Courtnie looked at her. "You know, it's kind of pretty here, in a psychedelic sort of way. I could get used to living here. One question. Is everyone here some sort of X-Man with weird power?"
"Not sure. I don't think the leader, that Adora person, has any neat powers, unless she's psionic. Bow's only neat trick is the Robin Hood ability with the bow. Duh. No I don't think it's a requirement."
"Okay. You know, I did date him once. I think I could get through to him somehow. Is this place like Narnia, where you can stay as long as you want and time doesn't move in our world?"
"I don't think so." Alex answered. "Let's go. I think that this person will come for us." They went outside, and She-Ra was waiting for them. "I take it you've come here looking for us?"
"Yes. I am to take you." She said.
"Both of us?"
Courtnie looked at Alex. "Where are we going, and how are we going to get there?"
"Swift Wind will take you both. I am to wait here. " The flying unicorn came close to the girls. "Get on, I will take you," it said.
Alex jumped on. Courtnie shook her head, and got on behind Alex. The horse took off and Flew them toward the same mountain that Alex remembered. They arrived, and Alex could fell Courtnie start to breathe again. They went into the castle, and Alex managed to find her way to Light Hope's chamber. "Uhh?" She asked.
"You have returned. Welcome," the light rumbled. Courtnie gasped, and Alex looked at the light. "I couldn't kill him or turn him back. I need to learn how to do all this neat stuff," Alex explained. "Courtnie wants to stay too, but we have lives to close out in the other world. Can you help us?"
Light Hope did not answer, and Alex got that peculiar looked at feeling again. "It will be taken care of. You will stay with the Rebels, Starfire, and learn your powers. Courtnie will also be an asset someday, and must find her own path. I wish you both the best of luck. Return now with Swift Wind, and prepare yourselves, for Hordak already desires your powers, Starfire, and Courtnie because she is an outworlder."
"Okay. Thank You," Alex said.
"What if I change my mind?" Courtnie asked. "Do I have that option?"
"You may, if the time is right."
"Okay," Courtnie said. "Let's go."
They went back outside, to where Swift Wind was waiting. He flew them back to the Whispering Woods where everyone was waiting, and a new face, a brunette woman who radiated power and grace. Glimmer introduced her. "This is Castaspella. She is here to help you learn how to use your powers." Great. A tutor. She-Ra took her leave then, and left the rebels. "Where's Adora?" Alex asked. Just then, Adora appeared in the clearing. "Welcome back," she said. "Will you be staying?"
"Yes. Both of us." Alex said.
And it was only the beginning. . . .
The End Of This Part . . .
Scritch Scritch SCRAAATTTCHHH!!
Alex rolled over to investigate the source of the horrible noise that had jolted her from sound sleep. Of course it was Courtnie, sharpening her sword on a piece of stone. Okay so it was the beginning of the week. "Do you have to do that here?"
"Actually yes. You need to get up." Courtnie smiled sweetly. "The village festival is today, remember. We're leaving in like a half hour for the village and if you don't want to walk, you better be ready."
"Who says I have to walk?" Alex mumbled sleepily.
"I've seen you try to ride. If you aren't leaving with me then you get to walk cause I am the only one nice enough to give you a ride. I am leaving with the group. You need me so you'll be ready or you get to walk to the village."
Alex rolled back over and groaned.
Half an hour later, Alex was dressed and semi-coherent. Courtnie was saddling Wildfire, her horse. "I can't believe you. What are we doing again?"
Adora looked at her. "The village festival is today and we must go to pay our respect to Queen Angella as well as keeping an eye out for the Horde. You know how badly they want Bright Moon back."
"Cool." A festival was almost as good as a party, and Alex loved a good party. And the prospect of a fight was tempting. Kicking Horde butt was always a good time. Alex had grown to like Etheria, especially the idea of having magic powers. Just as Courtnie had spent her spare time learning to swordfight and honing the martial arts skills she already had, Alex had learned to use her firepower in a number of interesting ways. One of the new ones she was working on was trying to fly. Hey if Storm could ride the winds and hot air rises then . . .
So far no luck. Most of the time she just sort of dropped down to the ground. Like a rock. She had learned a levitation spell from Castaspella but that didn't help much either. Apparently, she wasn't strong enough to use it. Or it didn't work on self, because she could levitate rocks and stack them real nice. . . even without the little green guy on her back. But Adora was still speaking. Alex tuned back in.
". . . And the Rebel run is always a good time." Adora was just finishing up.
Glimmer got a rather dreamy look on her face. "I wonder if the Red Knight will show up this year."
"I hope not" Bow said."
"That's just because he beat you last year, Bow" Kowl put in.
"Who's the Red Knight?" Courtnie asked. Glimmer told them the story of last year's festival when the Red Knight had appeared from part unknown, bested Bow and lent the Rebels a hand. He was unknown and would reveal himself when Etheria was free.
"So you think he'll be back?" Alex asked.
"I hope so" Courtnie said. "I'd love to meet him!" Alex rolled her eyes as Courtnie got on her horse and offered a hand to Alex. The small party rode off.
In the Fright Zone, Hordak was chuckling with glee. The Bright Moon festival was today and the rebel would come out of their forest refuge to join in the merriment. There he could crush them. "Where is my new weapon!" he demanded. His new pet demon, always at his side, growled threateningly.
"Uhh right here Mighty Hordak," Grizzlor and Leech dragged a large cannon-like device into the throne room. Hordak snorted with disgust. "Why is it not attached to the transport!!" He cried.
"Uhh, <shuckt> Right away <schluck> Oh Evil One," Leech said. The black Demon thing growled at them. The henchmen looked worried.
"Never mind. Shadow Weaver!" Hordak demanded. "Fix this!"
Shadow Weaver hissed, and waved her hands in the air.. In a burst of magic, the cannon disappeared, and Shadow Weaver turned to Hordak. "It is done."
"Excellent. Today I crush the rebels!! Let's go crash the party!!" He laughed evily. Leech and Grizzlor soon joined in. Hordak stopped laughing. "What are you laughing at?" He demanded. "No one laughs at the mighty Hordak!" He pressed a button and the pair dropped through the trapdoor. He laughed and stroked his pet. "You will soon have your fun, my pet."
The festival was in full swing when the Rebels arrived. Alex jumped off, followed by Courtnie who clanked as she hit the ground. "What are you carrying, anyway?" Alex asked as she heard the racket.
"My usual. Come on, let go see what's up." Alex rolled her eyes again. Courtnie's "standard" was a dagger, a sword , a whip and a chakram. Not that she knew how to use the last two, but as she said "If you get to play Phoenix I get to play Xena." Alex had to give her that one.
The girls looked around. There was a great deal of revelry about, and the rest of the rebels were clustered about Angella. Alex led Courtnie over. "Good morning your highness."
"Good morning. " Angella responded. "Are either of you planning to join in any of the events today?"
"I don't know. Maybe." Alex said. She really had no idea what was going on today, as she had pretty much spaced out when Adora had spoke of it earlier and didn't want to look like a total ass.
Courtnie was about to respond when there was a great stir among the crowd and a figure approached the queen. It was a Knight clad in red armor. "The Red Knight" Glimmer whispered excitedly.
"Your Highness" The Knight said. I have returned to again compete in the Run."
"Yesss!!!" came Glimmer from behind Alex.
"And who are these lovely ladies?" The Knight asked. "I don't remember you from last year."
"This is Alexandra and Courtnie. They are here from far away to help the Rebellion." Angella introduced them with the standard story. It had been decided that it would be a bad idea to let the word spread where the girls were really from. Angella turned back to Courtnie. "You were about to tell me what you were going to do today."
"Well I was actually thinking about running" she said.
"Ahh, but such a lovely lady as yourself should be surrounded by Knights waiting to champion you, and willing to fight and run for you. You need not run and exert you lovely self," the Knight said..
Alex had never seen her friend turn that red that fast. She grabbed Courtnie's arm. "Uhh we have to ah go to the ah. . you know. . girl stuff.. Angella, please excuse us." She dragged Courtnie off. "Wait for me" Glimmer called. The two of them hauled Courtnie to a nearby alley where she could cool off.
Courtnie sputtered "How dare he . . I mean . . he. . . I thought you said he was a nice guy!!"
"Well, He just paid you a compliment I think and well he doesn't know where you're really from!!"
"Well where I come from that idea is about 400 years out of date!"
"So Court, what are you saying, exactly?" Alex asked.
"He's mine. Help me stretch out. I'm going to beat his ass into the ground!!" Alex and Courtnie set to the business of stretching out while Glimmer described the race to them. Then she went off to tell Angella that Courtnie was definitely racing and to put her name on the official list.
"So do I get to hold your hardware?" Alex asked. Courtnie nodded and pulled off her sword and chakram and handed them to Alex. "I might need the other stuff." Alex nodded, bracing her friend's back. "Come on, the race is gonna start soon."
At the starting line, Courtnie slowly worked her way up to the front where Bow and The Knight were positioned. "Ready for a race, boys?" she asked. the starting sound blared. Courtnie took off. "See you at the finish line!!" She took off.
Courtnie ran, pacing herself. She could hear the Knight's armor clanking behind her and she could hear Bow panting close also. They came to the first obstacle, a pond. There were several rafts for the runners to use, but Courtnie ignored them and dived headfirst into the pond and came up swimming. She could hear the rafts behind her. She dared not look back though. and felt the water give a little when the Knight's raft came up alongside her. He was using his lance as a paddle. Courtnie ignored him and swam harder. They reached the shore at about the same time, and Courtnie took of through the woods again, trying to put as much distance between herself and the others before the next obstacle -- the wall.
After a short while, the wall loomed in her vision. "As long as we're allowed to use stuff" she thought. She pulled out her whip. . . There was a small rock protrusion on the wall. She snapped the whip and it curled neatly around the rock. She began to climb. The clanking of armor was close behind her and she had as stray thought "How in the world is her going to get over this?"
She had her answer in a few seconds ads the Knight pole vaulted over the wall. Courtnie climbed faster and looked down. Bow was just starting his ascent. "Did he . . .?" She asked
"Same as last year. Same tricks," Bow grunted. Courtnie leaped over the wall and sprinted to catch up with the Knight. The long run was here and it was good mile back to the village, and long-distance running was her specialty.
Back at the village there rebels were eagerly awaiting the runners' return. Alex was straining her eyes looking for any sign of the contestants when she saw a black spot on the horizon. Not a runner but something else. Something bad. A Horde flier. "Hey guys. . . Uhh we're about to have some company!" She cried. "There's a bigass Horde thingy headed this way. . .We are in some serious shit!"
"What?" Adora asked. Sometimes it was hard to understand what Alex was saying when she lapsed into what the rest of the rebels called "Earthisms" and she got quite incomprehensible.
"Big bad ship come here make party go boom." Alex said. "Where are they?" She asked, looking for the racers.
Courtnie had the Knight in her sights. He was just ahead of her and the village was just beyond that. She pushed harder to catch up with him. She had to beat him, and she would. All femalehood was on the line here, not just her own wounded pride. She soon caught up with the Knight. He gave a sort of surprised noise as she passed him, but she didn't bother with a reply or even a snide comment which would have been fun. She needed all of her strength to win this race. She was within inches of the finish when a bolt of energy streaked into the middle of the village. She yelped and sprinted the last few feet and came across the line, but no one was there to greet her, the entire village was in a tizzy. And Adora was nowhere to be found .
As soon as Alex had pointed out the Horde weapon, Adora had quietly slipped off to find Spirit. When the energy bolt came from a good mile away, she dashed off to a secluded corner. "For the Honor of Greyskull!" She became She-Ra and Spirit became Swift Wind. They hurried to the village, were there was nothing but mass confusion. There were people running everywhere, grabbing weapons and running for cover. The Horde machine fired another bolt. This one was at closer range and left a smoking hole in the ground.
Alex ran up to Courtnie and stuffed her sword and chakram into her hands. "Congrats Court. However I think we have a bigger problem right now." Alex pointed to the Horde ship, which they could now see was accompanied by many other smaller ships and a legion of troopers, both robots and regular troops. "I think we're in trouble" Courtnie said.
"I'm inclined to agree with you. Look, She-Ra is here, common let's go make ourselves useful." The girls ran up the large group clustered around She-Ra, Glimmer and Bow. "What's the deal?" Alex asked.
"We are going to have to take out that big cannon first. Alex you are going to work with She-Ra on that. The rest of us are going to distract the ground troops." Bow was giving out the orders. "Let's go. Remember, for Freedom!" Everyone scattered to their respective assignments. Alex looked at Courtnie. "You be careful."
"You too." Courtnie got an evil gleam in her eye. "`Two in the box,'"
"`Ready to go'" Alex chimed in "`We be fast'"
"And they be slow!!'" they finished together. The girls slapped a high five. "I feel the need. the need for speed!!" Alex cried. She took off to find out what She-Ra wanted her to do. Courtnie got her sword out and readied herself for a good fight. "Hey Alex. you think that . . well, ah . . "
"Will he have our little friend with him?" Alex chewed her lower lip in thought. "Probably. Can you handle it?"
"I used to hate him so much Alex I thought he was such an ass. Now I would be really happy if he were back with us again." Courtnie looked for a few minutes very much like a little lost girl, looking for an adult to answer all of life's problems again. Then her face resolved itself into a game face. "I can handle it. Let's go." Alex looked at her. She wasn't sure that Courtnie was as ready for this as she had convinced herself that she was. She-Ra came up behind them. "Come on Alex, you and I are leading the group against the Horde cannon. Courtnie you are needed on the ground. I know of your pain, I can feel it, but you must get past that. We will get your friend back and restore him, but for now your task lies ahead of you. Come." She rode away, and Alex shrugged. "Good luck, you. Be careful."
"You too." The two of them went their separate ways. Alex looked up as Courtnie went to join the ground force. The flier with the cannon was now almost directly above them. The thing was enormous, nearly the size of a 747 Alex thought, with the firepower of a tank. This was not going to be easy. Especially on the ground.
Courtnie looked over the legion of robots approaching. There were so many of them, and so few rebels here. There was no way they were going to win this one, especially with that giant cannon. Courtnie steeled herself. "Get rid of the leaders first. They're drones, they need a leader to function." she told herself. "Here they come!!" Someone shouted, just as the swarm topped the hill and spilled into the village, lasers blasting at the resistance force. "AAAAHHHHHH!" Courtnie screamed as she was caught up in the fray. There were two robots on her almost instantly. She screamed and fought back, ducking under the first laser blasts and managing to disarm one with her sword. She ducked through the second one's legs and rolled across the ground to grab the lost laser blaster. She found it and rolled up, blasting the two troopers from a kneeling position. She looked around "Gimme some sugar baby!" She panted, looking for her next target. Catra was a few yards away, directing her troops. Courtnie smiled and started over, slicing and dicing as she went. The Knight came up beside her "My lady please seek refuge from these evil foes!" She looked at him. "Look buster get off my back, I can take care of myself!" She rode away, slicing and dicing as she went.
Alex looked up. There was the cannon bigger than life, and twice as deadly. She wondered how in the world they were going to break it. It looked rather well armored and was hovering a good fifty feet off the ground, well out of the range of any of her fire powers. She-Ra came over. "Get on!" she ordered. Alex complied. They took off toward the ship.
"I'm going to try and get on the cannon and disable it somehow. I won't get hurt if the metal's hot, I can't be hurt by heat. Just get me close enough to jump." She-Ra nodded. Alex stood up on Swift Wind's back, readying herself for the jump. Swift Wind came closer and closer to the flier. "This is as close as I can get," he said. Alex nodded, closed her eyes for a second, and jumped.
She was hanging in the air for a moment, before she caught the flier, holding on to one of the landing skids, now useless because of the giant cannon on the bottom. She pulled herself up to sit on the skid; tit was that big. Alex looked over the underbelly of the flier. Not much machinery exposed here, Hordak was getting smart, everything was encased in some kind of metal. "Not as easy as I hoped" she though. She looked over at She-Ra, who was trying to draw the fire of the smaller guns and deflecting them with her sword. Most of them were hitting the ship, but doing no damage. Whatever the ship was armored with, it was strong stuff. "Even if I blow this thing up, it probably won't damage the flier," she thought. "Now what?" She felt the cannon's heat near her legs. It was readying to fire again.
Courtnie had decided to make a quick side trip. She made it to the stables and jumped onto Wildfire. The horse could help her, if anything by presenting a more formidable profile. She rode out, to find Catra, who was now just outside the stable, directing her troops. "Hey fuzz brain, why don't you do something besides boss everyone else around!!"
Catra looked around to find the source of the insults flying at her. The Earth brat was in front of her, on horseback, holding a sword. "Mrrooowwww!! What do yoou want, brrat?"
"Your scalp would be nice, and for you, the point of my sword?" Courtnie phrased it as a question, just before she slid off the horse and kicked Catra full in the chest, knocking her to her knees. Catra got back up of course, and the duel began.
Alex realize if the cannon fired again, first of all she was not going to be sitting here much longer, secondly at this close range there wouldn't be much left of the town let alone of either side of combatants. This was serious. She looked at the cannon again and had a sudden thought. Now if she could only pull it off. "If I picked a time to fly it would be now," she thought, casing the spell Casta had taught her. Now or never, she thought and she jumped off the skid, creating a bubble of hot air around her. She felt herself falling, but not as fast as she should have been. She pulled the heat in closer to her and felt herself rising. She was flying!!
Courtnie looked up at Catra, who had her pinned to the ground. Courtnie managed a hand free, took hold of a large hank of blue hair and pulled hard. The resulting screech from Catra was enough to deafen someone, and Courtnie took advantage of the pain her adversary was in. She grabbed the mask off of Catra's head with one hand and tossed her aside with the other. She grabbed her sword off the ground and threw the mask in the air. With one neat motion, she sliced it in half on the way back down. It fell at her feet, in two pieces. "Here Kitty Kitty," she teased. Catra was in no mood to fight her any longer. She ran away, looking for Hordak to face her punishment rather than face Courtnie again. Courtnie tucked the two pieces of mask onto Wildfire's saddlebags before letting him run to the forest. She looked for another target, but the ground crew had things well under control. She looked up to the cannon, and got the shock of her life -- Alex was hovering in mid air!!
Alex had no time to celebrate her victory over gravity, she had another victory to worry about. There in front of her was the flier. Hordak had spotted her and was closing in on her. She was ready to face him, but not what came after her. The black form of the Demon-Greg flew from the open hatch straight at Alex. "Shit!" She said aloud. The Demon took the opportunity to attack her. He flew straight at her, and Alex dropped out of the way. This was bad. Where was She-Ra?
Alex got her answer in a few seconds when the heat from the cannon blast nearly knocked her over. The blast had missed the village and gone shooting off into space, thanks to She-Ra who had twisted the cannon. It was still in working order though, and that was a problem. The other problem. . . Alex had an idea. "Come and get me you pathetic excuse for my best friend's ex!" The demon charged at her, and Alex flew upwards. "Come on pigface, shoot the gun again," she thought between blasts. She got her wish. Apparently, Hordak had not yet realized what was going on and had shot again. "Sorry Greg," she though, as the blast whizzed by, missing her by inches. As she had planned, Greg caught it square in the chest. She took a break from flying, hovering there waiting.
The demon was . . . recovering!!?? The blast had hardly any effect on him at all! He looked at Alex with a "boy that was dumb" look. "Uh Oh" Alex thought. She looked at the demon, closing in on her, and to the cannon. Only one shot at this, and if she was wrong she was toast. She summoned every last bit of strength she had and put it into one huge fireball. She threw it.
It shot through the air, and just as Alex wanted it to, she managed to put it into the mouth of the cannon. Alone it would hardly have damaged it. The cannon was hot from Hordak's overuse of it, and the fireball heated the metal high enough to melt. The mouth melted shut, just as Hordak tried to fire it again. "AAAHHHH" could be heard far and wide when the cannon exploded. Of course as Alex had guessed, it didn't hurt the flier at all, but there was no more superweapon to use. Alex had a few seconds to feel proud of herself before she fell. She felt the sensation of falling, and stopping suddenly. She opened her eyes, not even realizing she had closed them, to find herself on Swift Wind's back again. "Where is he?"
"Hordak has retreated. He took your friend with him," She-Ra said. "Not Courtnie, she's down there and she looks mighty proud of herself."
They landed and Alex got off into a huge bear hug from her best friend. "That was Awesome!" Courtnie laughed. The Knight came up to them "That was an excellent idea. And to you," he turned to Courtnie. "I am sorry I underestimated you. I have never seen someone with skills such as yours."
"That's okay, I should realize that cultures are different everywhere and just because my culture dictates something, it's not the rule." She smiled ruefully. "Friends?" she asked.
"Of course," the Knight said. "Perhaps you will honor me me with a dance before I go?"
"Sure thing!" Courtnie said. Alex looked over at Glimmer, who was turning as green as anything watching the little scene before them. Alex slid up beside her. "If looks could kill Glimmer, you'd be fine in the Fright Zone with the one you have on your face now," she whispered. Glimmer didn't reply, she just flounced off. Alex looked around. "Let's PARTY!!"
Comments, question, thoughts. .