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Snake Mountain stood tall against the black night sky, an eerie, menacing silhouette.
The demon faces carved in the ancient building cast their striking evil glare over the
rocky surroundings, and the rope bridge swayed and creaked in the wind. The stronghold of
evil was silent as it concealed the evil forces that dwelt inside.
At long last, three gloomy figures approached the ancient mountain. The first one held two sharp, long swords at the ready, gleaming in the darkness. The shaven-headed, eye-patched swordsman called Blade made his way to the ancient fortress with no greater desire than to slash a living being to pieces with his weapons.
Alongside him was a figure clad from head to toe in shining armour, his long, reptilian tail the only area of his skin that was visible. It was Saurod, the reptile mercenary, sparks shooting angrily from his mouthpiece as he made his way through the blackness.
Guiding them both back to their base was a strange looking figure with long, flowing white hair, and black armour heavily attached to his body. Where his right hand should have been, there was only a hook attached to the armour. It was Karg, one of the evil army generals.
The three warriors reached the gates of their base. Karg ripped the gates open, and they entered, into the dark, deadly fortress.
They wordlessly ascended the spiral steps which led to their masters chamber. A large, wooden door barred the way into the large chamber where Skeletor, lord of destruction, spent so much time alone planning his next attempt to take control of Eternia.
Nervously, Karg tapped on the door with his hook.
"Who dares interrupt the thoughts of Skeletor?" came the deep voice of their master.
"It is us, master." replied Karg. "Karg, Blade, and Saurod."
"Enter." came the reply.
The three warriors entered Skeletors chamber. Skeletor sat on his bone throne, with his staff at his side. His large, purple pet, Panthor, slept in a corner.
"Have you succeeded?" Skeletor asked his minions.
Karg fell to his knees before his master. Blade and Saurod then did the same.
"Master .." began Karg, "I am afraid that we failed to destroy the heroic warriors. We managed to hide around the palace, but when they discovered us .. we were outnumbered. We had no choice but to retreat .. and escape with our lives."
"You imbeciles!" shouted Skeletor. "I give you a small, easy task and you fail me! How can I expect to conquer Eternia with you on my side? This is a disgrace to you, Karg- youve always been so efficient in commanding my forces, but even you cant carry out the tasks I give you!" Skeletors demonic eyes blazed an angry red. This had happened all too often, and he was getting sick of it.
"With a larger force we would have won easily!" hissed Saurod from behind his mask. "Three warriors was not enough!"
"I dont understand how you thought we could succeed against that many warriors!" added Blade angrily.
"Silence, fools!" bellowed Skeletor. "Do not even attempt to criticise the lord of destruction. If I feel like doing anything right now, it is killing you three idiots! Giving you the fate you deserve for messing up so many of my schemes! But I will spare your lives this time, for the sole reason that you are three of my most gifted warriors. But get out of my sight! The next time you fail me this way, you will not be so lucky!"
Karg, Blade, and Saurod rose to their feet, turned away from Skeletor, and left the chamber. They sank back into the shadows of Snake Mountain, and sat to rest alongside its rocky walls.
"Its not our fault at all." said Blade. "Surely Skeletor should have realised that He-Man would spot us, and then get all his friends to fight us? We could never stand a chance against so many warriors."
"I really hate that muscle-bound idiot." added Saurod. "Hes done me wrong so many times in the past. It was his lot that trapped my people in their caves back in my home dimension."
"How was that?" asked Karg.
"It was him and his stupid friend, Man-At-Arms, who were exploring my dimension. My people lived for centuries in those caves, and would only ever go leave them to pursue food occasionally. But on He-Mans expedition, they entered our caves hoping to find something of interest. We attacked them, as we hated ordinary humans invading our caves, and He-Man just deflected all our sparks back on us, before blasting shut the entrance to the caves. Since then, my people have had a much harder life, living permanently in the caves."
"How did you get out then?" asked Blade.
"I had been doing my best to fend the heroes off." replied Saurod. "And I escaped from the caves before they blasted them shut, and they didnt notice me. After they left, I knew I had to follow them to avenge my people- but I didnt know what planet they were from, so I just stole a space rocket from the humans, and blasted off to join Horde Prime. He fitted me with my mask and armour, recognised He-Man from my description, and sent me to join Skeletor. Since then I have had no greater desire than to destroy He-Man. I would love to trap him underground, where he could never possibly survive!"
Blade nodded, in empathy with Saurod. He hated He-Man just as much as Saurod did, if not more. Back in Blades youth, on his homeworld, he had been taught swordsmanship by his father, but his thirst for blood and killing had led him to leave home at an early age. After several years of robbing and killing innocent people, he had been arrested, but had attempted to slash the lawmen to pieces as they were about to imprison him. But one man had turned one sword back on Blade, stabbing him in the eye and gouging it out. Blade could still recall the horror and pain he had felt when he suddenly lost sight in his left eye, the sight replaced by pain, and then seeing the eye being flicked onto the ground, oozing with blood. But after being imprisoned, he had ripped through the bars of his prison cell, his strength great enough for him to do this with ease, then he had recovered his swords and joined a group of intergalactic criminals, bent on wreaking havoc throughout the galaxies. After many killings, robberies, and battles, the evil power from the ship was interfered with as it travelled over Eternia. The Spirit of Castle Grayskull had sensed the ship, and was slowing it down, hoping to bring the criminals inside to justice. He-Man had been told of the ship, and he and his forces had voyaged into space to escort the criminals to Prison Star, the universes largest intergalactic prison. But Blade had quickly manned an escape pod from the ship, and travelled down to Eternia where he could join Skeletor and wreak vengeance on He-Man for arresting his fellow criminals.
Karg, Saurod, and all the other warriors for that matter, knew Blades story very well. They all knew of just how badly he hated He-Man.
"We could easily destroy He-Man," said Blade, "if we had something that gave us unlimited power- like He-Man gets from his sword. But is there anything that could give us such power?"
Karg and Saurod pondered the thought. Then, all of a sudden, Karg jumped to his feet in excitement. "The doom crystal!" he exclaimed. "That could be just what we need!"
"What are you talking about, Karg?" asked Blade. "What doom crystal?"
"The one forged by my people, from deep underground, many years ago." replied Karg. "My people forged the crystal so they would be able to possess great power, to defend themselves against any attacks from humans above! So they could stand a chance if they ever got into battle with He-Man and the heroic warriors! I do not know much about what the crystal actually does, as I left my underworld just as they were working on it- but if they would let us borrow it, since it was made for the specific purpose of standing against He-Man, it could be just what we need! Not only will it give us unlimited power, but we could also trap He-Man underground, like Saurod said!"
"Then what are we waiting for?!" asked Blade.
"What do you mean?" hissed Saurod.
"If this crystal is what we need, we mustnt just sit here talking about it! We must try to get it! Come on, Karg, we must tell Skeletor. This will force him to rethink his opinion of us- we must go to him now!"
Karg, Saurod and Blade made their way to the door of Skeletors chamber, and Karg
tapped on the door with his hook.
"Yes, who is it?!" came Skeletors angry voice. He clearly did not want to be interrupted after the villains failure.
"Its us again, my Lord." answered Karg.
"Did you not hear me before? I told you to leave me alone! Youd better have a good reason for interrupting me!"
"Im telling you master, we do! You must let us in!"
"Then get in!" Skeletor answered. "And if I am dissatisfied with your reason, you will suffer the consequences."
Karg entered the chamber, followed by Blade and Saurod. They saw that their masters eyes were blazing with anger, but they were not nervous- they were convinced that he would be satisfied by what they were to say.
"Speak, then!" commanded Skeletor. "And be quick with it!"
"I know of a source of power," began Karg, "that could enable us to finally defeat He-Man."
"And what is this source?"
"It is known as the doom crystal. It was forged by my people, the Skar-vins, in their underground world. Do you remember when you took me into your forces, Skeletor?"
"Yes, the time I saw you leading the band of aliens in another dimension."
"Precisely! I still lived with my people at the time, but was called occasionally to lead evil forces in other dimensions, as I am known throughout the universe for my leadership skills. It was after you asked me to join your forces that I left my underworld, and just then, my people were busy forging a crystal which would have unlimited power, strong enough to destroy He-Man if he ever entered their underground caverns. The crystals power was drawn from Death Mountain, which they had ventured underneath to obtain power. I know not for sure how powerful this crystal is, but since it was created for the specific purpose of destroying He-Man, it could be just what we need!"
"Excellent!" replied Skeletor. "Why did you not tell me of this before?"
"Believe me, my memory of it had not been strong- it was only just then that it came to me! Im sure we can use it!"
"Indeed so." replied the Lord of destruction. "And we should start to look for it right away!"
"But how?" asked Blade.
"Karg must lead you to into his underground world! Surely only he can persuade his people to let us use the crystal!"
"This is marvellous!" said Karg. "It will not only enable us to defeat He-Man- but I can also see my people again and visit my home! We must set off right away!"
"How will we get underground?" hissed Saurod.
"Go deep underneath Snake Mountain." replied Skeletor. "Find Whiplash. He should be able to smash his way through to your peoples world."
"Then we will leave right away!" said Karg, and saluted his master with his hook. "We will not return without the crystal!"
The three warriors bowed before their master, then left the chamber, and made their way down through the deep tunnels of Snake Mountain, into the caverns beneath.
The caverns were unbelievably dark, with nothing to light their way. This was no problem for Saurod or Karg, who were both creatures specially adapted to see in darkness. Blade would occasionally stumble, but he stuck close to his companions so they could guide him.
Suddenly there was a loud crash, and several loud thuds and bangs as a shower of rocks fell from the roof.
"Be prepared!" ordered Karg. "It may be an enemy!"
A dark shape loomed out of the shadows and stepped toward them. It was a large creature, with green, scaly skin and black and purple armour. Coming from its back was a huge, long, thick and green tail. But this was no enemy. It was Whiplash, the very being they were looking for.
"Whiplash!" exclaimed Karg.
"Precisely!" replied the reptile. "What brings you down here? Its not often I see you overground dwellers down here."
"We have come here seeking your help." said Karg. "We must get through into my underworld, as we must obtain something from my people- but dont ask questions, as Im not explaining again. We just need one swipe of your tail, and were through!"
"Ah, yes, your people. The Skar-vins, I think? They allied with my old reptile clan occasionally. I should be able to get you through in no time- if I smash through those rocks there, it leads to some very deep caverns, and you should be able to find your way. So stand back, unless you want a heap of rocks in your face!"
Blade, Karg and Saurod stepped back. Whiplash went over to a rocky wall, then he turned his back to it, drew back his tail, then lashed back and smashed through the rocky wall. There was a large shower of rocks as the wall smashed, then the warriors stepped forward and looked down into the space where the rocks had been cleared. There was a long tunnel leading deep down, and Karg thought he saw the faint glimmer of a blue light at the end of it.
"Perfect!" he exclaimed. "I think I see a blue light- and the blue light is that generated by the various types of fungi which dwell in my peoples caverns. We must make our way down at once!"
Karg thanked Whiplash, and led Blade and Saurod down through the tunnels, to the deep caverns where Kargs people guarded the Doom crystal.
In the royal palace of Eternos city, Man-At-Arms was pacing his laboratory anxiously.
His orange armour was getting rusty and dirty, and he looked a mess, his face strained
with lines of worry. He had lost a new weapon he had put together a few days ago. He had
looked all through the laboratory, and it seemed to be nowhere. He could not rest until
this weapon was found- it was impossible for him to relax with the knowledge that it was
missing. But where could it be? He was sure he remembered leaving it in the weapons
cupboard, but now there was nothing there.
The worst thing was that it wasnt the only weapon to go missing in the last few days. Three other weapons had seemingly vanished without trace in the past week, along with the new working units he had made for the Road Ripper. Had he suddenly lost his mind, and started misplacing everything? Unlikely- he could have sworn he remembered where he put all these things, and Man-At-Arms had always had a good memory. Perhaps it was just Orko playing a practical joke on him? That was what hed suspected all along, but hed confronted Orko earlier about it and the Trollan magician had completely denied it. Man-At-Arms was sure that even Orko wouldnt take a joke this far, and if hed accidentally made the weapons disappear with his magic, he should have confessed by now.
Just then, his beautiful, red-haired stepdaughter Teela entered the lab. She was concerned because shed seen that her father was very worried.
"Anything wrong, Father?" she asked.
"There bloody well is." he replied. "Where are those weapons? And the working units? Everything in this lab seems to be vanishing without a trace! But how?"
"Ive no idea, father. Are you sure youre not just misplacing them?"
"Thats what everyones asking me, and I know Im not! I can remember clearly where I put these things- its obvious that someone has been moving them. And I definitely havent been forgetting to lock the lab either. Teela, you must be honest with me here- is it you thats stealing these things? You might have taken my key. If it is you, then please give them back now, as this has gone beyond a joke."
"Its not me father- I swear!" Teela replied. "Anyway, why would I do a thing like that? Do you think Im that stupid?"
"No, Teela, its just that there has to be some explanation for why these things keep disappearing! Someone must be sneaking into the lab and moving them- and I must know who it is!"
"I can tell you-" she replied, "it isnt me. Ill try and find who it is. Perhaps its Adam. He might have got so bored with just lazing about all the time that hes taken up a new hobby- playing sick jokes!"
"Please Teela, dont go accusing Adam. He would never do anything of the sort. You underestimate him."
"Underestimate?! All hes done all day is laze about in the gardens! That was probably all he was doing yesterday, when those evil warriors attacked!"
"He isnt that bad, really Teela. Give Adam a break."
She changed the subject back to the missing weapons. She didnt want to have to argue about Adam when her father was already extremely tense. "Actually, I just thought of another possibility." she said. "Those evil warriors could have done it! They did hide around the palace, after all!"
"I would normally go along with that, but remember, that was only yesterday. I seriously doubt if they could have been sneaking into the palace this often without being seen. Anyway, the laboratory door was locked most of yesterday- they could never have done it."
"Then Ive no idea." replied Teela. "I would help you look for it, but I have to do some training. Ill look out for the weapons."
She left his lab and went out into the royal gardens. She was just as confused as her father was about who could be stealing the weapons. Unless someone in the palace really was playing a sick joke (and she was fairly sure it could be Adam) it looked as though there really could be a thief sneaking into the palace to steal them. But who would do that? Skeletor perhaps, but why would he steal a few simple weapons and vehicle units? He would have no use for them. And how could the thief be breaking in? The lab was locked most of the time, even when Man-At-Arms was out. The only way they could sneak into the lab was through the window- and that would be very hard to do, with 24-hour guards being just outside, watching over the vehicle bay.
She walked out into the bright gardens of the Eternian palace. The sun shone, the trees bloomed, birds sang. For the moment, the place was free from evil. Lying under a tall tree, in the shade, was Prince Adam, looking almost fast asleep. Why does he spend so much time asleep?, thought Teela. Hes got the night time for all that. Why could he never go out and do anything useful? He seemed to think that because he was the Prince, and was in such a secure position, that it meant he didnt have to go out and try to achieve anything. Does he have no ambition?, she thought.
Little did Teela know that the reason why Adam rested so much was because he was tired out after having to battle so much as He-Man. His rest was much more well-earned than Teela thought!
Teela approached Adam, and shouted "BOO!" Adam jerked up in shock.
"Ha! Bet I scared you there!" laughed Teela.
"You sure did!" said Adam, clutching his pounding heart. "Why did you do that?"
"Because I cant stand to see you lazing about when you could be doing something worthwhile!"
"Come on Teela .. its a lovely day, isnt that a good enough excuse?"
"Good excuse? Thats a feeble excuse, and by the way, who is it thats stealing all those weapons and working units from my fathers lab? Have any idea?" she glared at him suspiciously.
"Are you saying its me?" asked Adam. "Youre mistaken, Teela. Why would I steal anything?"
"It might be the best thing you can be bothered to do!" Teela exclaimed.
"No, Teela- not me. Youre mistaken. Please go away if youre just going to rant again .."
"Yes, I will go away!" she shouted. "But perhaps I should be harsher with you- I cant understand why my father is so patient! Ive got better things to do than hang about with no-marks like you!"
She turned away from him, and made her way towards the guards training unit. Behind her, she heard Adam mutter something about her, but ignored it. Then she heard Queen Marlena pass Adam by, and say "Dont worry Adam. I know you do more worthwhile than she thinks."
She stopped for a moment. Then she felt all guilty. Perhaps she was being too hard on him. Queen Marlena always seemed impressed with him and surely his mother must know him best? She really couldnt see exactly what he did, but she would go back and apologise later. For now, she would concentrate on her training. He-Man would be impressed to see her doing that.
In Man-At-Arms laboratory, its owner was getting increasingly bad-tempered. "Blast it, where are these damn things?!" he cried. "Who on Eternia is taking them?!!" There was no use in pacing about much longer- they definitely werent in the room. And surely the only possibility was that someone was sneaking in? Yes, there was no use in searching the lab- someone else had them, and instead he must concentrate on finding the thief. The best way to do that would be to place a guard in the lab- and Roboto would be the best choice, since he never slept or grew tired, but unfortunately Roboto was out on a mission. Teela would have to do it, then. She was the finest warrior around at the present moment. Apart from He-Man, of course, but Man-At-Arms did not want to have to force Adam to transform- hed had enough excitement as it was lately. Teela was the best choice, then. Man-At-Arms contacted the training unit, and called for Teela to come to his lab at once.
A few minutes later, Teela entered, dressed in her snake armour.
"You must guard my lab for the rest of the day- and maybe the night." he said. "When you see someone sneaking in, just attack them. Its the only way we can catch the thief."
"Do I have to, father?" complained Teela. "I want to do some more training."
"Yes, but for now you must guard the lab. Itll be good for your warrior skills. And do not contradict me, as youre the finest warrior around. I will leave now, as I need a REST."
He departed at once, without even letting her get another word in. Charming, she thought. But then, he was under a lot of stress at the moment. She would respect his wishes.
Late that night, Teela was still up, watching over the lab. The main light was turned off, so that anyone approaching would think no-one was in. She would surprise whoever was thieving from her father. Several times she thought she heard creaking sounds, but each time she looked, there was nobody there. It was probably just expansion and contraction. She stood there in the silence, waiting to surprise the thief. There was another small creaking sound, but she didnt react- it would be nothing. Then a clawed hand emerged from the blackness, clamped itself over her mouth, and dragged her away, its red eyes shining into hers.
Karg, Blade and Saurod entered the giant underground caverns. This was the deepest
under Eternia that they had ever been. Karg instantly felt at home. The caverns shone blue
with the luminous fungus on the walls, underground rivers trickled beneath them, and bats
flapped from tunnel to tunnel.
"This is the first time Ive been back home in ages." said Karg. "It feels so good to be back here again .."
"Where are your people, Karg?" hissed Saurod.
"We could see one of them any minute now." replied Karg, gazing around the caverns and reminiscing about the many years hed lived there. "This whole underworld belongs to them .. and they travel around the place. But most of them reside beneath the mystic mountains .. and there are probably more now living under Death mountain, as that was where they obtained the crystals energy."
"I think the Skar-vins will be able to help us greatly." said Blade, holding his swords at the ready should an enemy come across. "It should be no trouble persuading them to give us the crystal, when their long lost brother is asking for it."
"They will be more than glad to give it to me." answered Karg. "They told me to call them any time, after I departed to join Skeletor." He recalled how greatly his people had honoured him when he was chosen to help Skeletor. It hadnt been all that long ago, but after the many battles he had fought against the heroic warriors, it felt like ages since he had last been to his homeworld. He first emerged from the underworld after he had successfully lead his people against a team of archaeologists who had tried to extract various ores from their homes. In the attack, one archaeologist had turned a drill on Karg in order to fend him off, and had drilled through his arm, severing his hand. But Karg had only become more aggressive with them after this, and succeeded in turning them away. Horde Prime had witnessed this, and was impressed with Kargs leadership skills, so he had summoned Karg to lead a group of evil demons in another dimension. He also fitted Karg inside a tight, black metal suit, with a hook fixed to the arm to replace his hand. Karg had then travelled to the alien dimension, and after winning, he had become famous throughout the universe. He returned to his people, but was occasionally called upon to lead other alien forces, until one day when Skeletor had been spying on one of Kargs battles. Skeletor was instantly impressed by Kargs ability to control the warriors with his powerful commanding voice and the threats he issued, so once the battle was over, he had summoned him to Snake Mountain where he instantly gave him the position of a general in his army.
Since then, Karg had been one of Skeletors most trusted warriors. Skeletor often relied on him to command the forces when they were sent out. Karg was also trusted to be left in charge of Snake Mountain whenever Skeletor and Evil-Lyn were away. Although Skeletor rarely praised his minions openly, Karg could see that the warlord was generally impressed with him, and he hoped for promotion to second-in-command. Perhaps he would actually get that, once he had obtained the doom crystal for Skeletors use.
So the three evil warriors progressed on through the caverns, to find where the Skar-vins resided. There was no threat to their quest- soon their evil army would possess even greater power than He-Man.
In the morning at the Royal Palace, Man-At-Arms stepped into his laboratory. He would have thought that Teela would have woken him if she had caught the thief- but perhaps she just did not want to waken him when he had been feeling so tense. Or perhaps the thief just hadnt struck in the night. But no matter what the case was, Teela deserved to be congratulated for staying up all night to watch for the thief. He would allow her to rest for today.
He unlocked and opened his laboratory door. And he was faced with a laboratory devoid of human life. Where was Teela?
"Teela?" he called. "Are you here?"
There came no answer. In a state of panic, Man-At-Arms left the lab. He called to one of the King and Queens maidservants.
"Did Teela leave my lab overnight?" he asked her.
"I did not see Teela once last night." replied the maidservant. "As far as I knew, she was guarding the lab."
Without another word, Man-At-Arms took the lift up to Teelas room. He knocked on the door anxiously, but there was no answer. He tried the handle, and the door was unlocked. It swung open .. but Teela was not in her room. She was nowhere to be seen.
Prince Adam came out of the washroom nearby. He was soaking wet and wearing only a towel, having just showered. "Whats wrong, Duncan?" he asked.
"Teela seems to be missing, Adam!" exclaimed Man-At-Arms. "I left her to guard my lab, but now shes nowhere to be seen! Not in the lab, or her room!"
"Hey, the palace is pretty big, Duncan." said Adam. "She could be anywhere!"
"I dont see why she would be anywhere else!" Man-At-Arms replied. "Quickly Adam- get dressed and get everyone up. We must find Teela!"
Adam dressed and woke his parents, then all the maids and guards were alerted, then all the warriors inside the palace. They searched the whole building for Teela, but it quickly became clear that she was not in the building. She was nowhere to be seen.
"Theres only one possibility." said Man-At-Arms. "She was abducted by the thief!"
"Then lets check your lab." replied Adam. "There may be some clues."
Adam and Man-At-Arms returned to the lab. Everything looked the same as it had been left, but when Man-At-Arms checked further, he noticed that a supply of metal that he had been using to build weapons had completely vanished.
"The thief has struck again!" he exclaimed. "And theyve taken Teela! We must find her, Adam. She could be anywhere she could even be .."
"Dont worry, Duncan." Adam interrupted. "Teela may be missing, but I know just the person to find her." He lifted the sword of power from the hidden sheath on his back, raised it high, and shouted:
"BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL ..
I HAVE THE POWER!"
In an instant, there was a flash of light and he was transformed into the mighty
He-Man. Instantly, he rushed through to King Randor and Queen Marlena, who were distraught
at Teelas sudden disappearance.
"Dont worry, your majesty." He-Man told Randor. "I will do my best to find Teela. Im sure she will be okay- remember that she isnt helpless, and should be able to take care of herself."
Man-At-Arms followed through. "Prince Adam is also very shocked at what has happened." he told them. "He is resting to recover from the shock, and does not want to be disturbed."
"I wont disturb him," said Randor, "although I do wish he would do more to help in difficult situations. Still, with He-Man helping us, we stand a fair chance of finding where Teela has been taken. Good luck in your search, He-Man."
"Im not yet sure where she has been taken," said He-Man, "but it seems likely that the thief came in through the window, since the door was completely locked."
"Im afraid thats impossible." said Man-At-Arms. "I have asked the guards if they saw anything, and they say they watched that window the whole night and saw nothing sneak in. It seems therefore that the thief is teleporting into the lab."
"Maybe you should start by looking in Snake Mountain?" suggested Queen Marlena.
"I dont really see why Skeletor would want to steal simple weapons .." said Man-At-Arms, "he has enough of them himself, and these weapons are only ordinary ones, no more powerful than Skeletors. I have a feeling that Skeletor is not responsible for once."
"Then there is only one place we can go to find out." said He-Man.
"Wheres that?" asked Man-At-Arms.
"Castle Grayskull!" replied He-Man. "Come, Duncan- we will go and ask the Sorceress. Her magic should be able to sense where Teela is!"
So He-Man and Man-At-Arms boarded a two-man Wind Raider, and blasted off for Grayskull, eager to find the evil being who had taken Teela from them.
Eventually, He-Man and Man-At-Arms arrived at Grayskull, landed the Wind Raider
outside, then the drawbridge was lowered as the spirit sensed their presence. The two
warriors entered the ancient fortress of heroic magic.
Extendar was inside Grayskull, with the Sorceress. He had been doing some training in Grayskulls gym, and felt in perfect shape. Now he was having a rest, to recover from all the exercise, and was reading the books of the ancients. From these books, he learned a lot about the ages-old struggle on Eternia, which dated back to millions of years ago, when the Snakemen ruled Eternia. The books also contained a lot of wisdom about Grayskull and Eternia, but kept quiet about the supreme secrets which only the Sorceress knew.
It had been rather strange since Extendar had become a warrior .. before he was captured by Hordak and made subject to fiendish experiments which had turned him into the super-powerful cyborg he was today, he had lead a very simple life as a middle-class Eternian athlete. After he had luckily managed to throw off Hordaks mind spell, regained his memory and joined the heroic warriors, he had almost instantly been treated as one of the most important and promising warriors. It was strange, because he had always thought he would be seen as inferior to the rest .. but exactly the opposite had happened, and he had to admit, he was probably one of the most powerful, with his ability to extend his body to giant size. Why had he taken so long to realise just how powerful he was? He had already saved Eternia many times, and much preferred his new cyborg form. And he had Hordak to thank for this wonderful change in life, and the ensured safety of Eternia.
He felt extra special as a warrior by having been granted the knowledge that Prince Adam and He-Man were the same person. This was obviously a very great secret seeing as most of the heroic warriors didnt know it, not even Adams parents. He felt honoured to know it. He had found out when Adam and himself had been trapped by King Hiss in a deep pit, with an avalanche of rocks coming down on them from a rocky hill. Extendar had been unable to get them out, having been seriously injured, and so Adam had had no choice but to transform into He-Man in front of Extendar. It had been quite a shock to see the prince, who wasnt even a warrior, turning into the great He-Man before his eyes. But once the secret had been explained, more of the great secrets of Grayskull had been revealed to Extendar, and this was an advantage as he could help cover up for Adams secret identity. And He-Man obviously trusted him greatly for letting him keep this knowledge- if he had not trusted him the Sorceress would have been perfectly capable of wiping it all from his mind.
He-Man now treated Extendar as one of his closest comrades, but the Sorceress tended to treat him with even more dignity. It had been her who told him he could stay at Grayskull any time he wanted, and she had revealed many secrets to him, such as telling him that she was Teelas real mother. It was really comforting to be with the Sorceress, because she always made him feel strong and important, and her presence was so warm and soothing. He loved staying at Grayskull partially because he loved being near her, and he could talk to her at any time because she was always so open to him. Even when he worried he was interrupting her at a bad time, her approach would always dismiss that worry straight away. It seemed like nothing could be a barrier between her and the other warriors. He adored spending time with her, and it was a thrilling sensation to feel the soft whisper of her voice, her gentle, delicate breath upon his face ..
His thoughts were interrupted when He-Man entered the room, with Man-At-Arms at his side.
"Hello, Extendar," He-Man greeted him, "how are things going?"
"Brilliantly." replied Extendar. "Ive been training to improve my strength and agility, and Ive also been learning a lot about Eternian history, and the many battles fought on this world in the past."
"You are proving to be an excellent warrior." said Man-At-Arms. "But I am afraid that it is not pleasant circumstances which bring us here today."
"Why, whats happened?" he asked. "Has Skeletor attacked."
"No .. well, we dont know, actually." replied He-Man. "Whats happened is that someone has been repeatedly stealing from Man-At-Arms laboratory, so he left Teela to guard it last night, but the thief struck again and took Teela with him or her. We have absolutely no idea who the thief is, why they are stealing from us, or how they get in. The door is always locked at night, and the guards have seen no-one climbing through the window- so they seem to be teleporting inside. It is all a complete mystery, and we have no idea where they have taken Teela, so we have come here to see if the Sorceress can sense where she is."
"And I am able to help you." came a voice from behind them. They turned round, and saw the Sorceress entering the room, the wings on her long, feathered cape wrapped around her elegant body.
"If anyone has dared to take my daughter," she said, with a touch of anger in her soft, gentle voice, "I must find them and get Teela back." She closed her eyes, raised her arms and began to concentrate. "In my minds eye, I should be able to see where Teela is."
She stood there still for a few minutes, and then she opened her eyes and said "I saw Teela! She was being kept in a dark prison, and she was shaking the bars in fury! I saw a dark figure standing guard outside, but could not make out its features!"
"Then we must find where this prison is!" said Extendar. "Where shall we look .. Snake Mountain? Viper Tower?"
"I rather doubt those places in this case," said He-Man, "as I can think of no logical reason why Hiss, Skeletor, or even Hordak would want to steal ordinary weapons from Man-At-Arms. Therefore, the aggressors must be from the smaller, less threatening evil armies on Eternia."
"If its just them, then once weve found them itll be no trouble dealing with them."
"Maybe so." said Man-At-Arms. "But what might be difficult is finding exactly where they are."
"Then the Elders will help you!" said the Sorceress. "They will watch over you- and communicate through your sword. The sword will glow brighter as you get closer to Teela!"
He-Man drew his sword, and it began to glow with a very faint light.
"Then we shall begin our search!" he announced. "Come on, my friends- we must find Teela as quickly as possible!"
"Im with you, He-Man!" said Extendar, and the Sorceress bade them farewell, then the three warriors left Grayskull to search for Teela and her captors.
Down in the caverns of the underworld, Karg, Blade and Saurod were continuing their
quest. They had snatched a few hours sleep from time to time, and proceeded through the
dark caverns, the path lit by the blue fungus. They had not yet seen any of the Skar-vins.
"Do the Skar-vins still live here?" asked Blade. "We havent seen a single one yet."
"Patience, Blade." said Karg. "They could be anywhere around us, watching us from the dark. Remember, they go all over the place. We will eventually find them- I know these parts very well, and we are not far from the most densely populated caverns. We will find them soon."
The three warriors continued their way. Eventually, they came to a tunnel with an exit blocked by a type of portcullis.
"Dead end." said Blade. "Well have to turn back."
"This is no dead end!" said Karg. "It is merely a way of stopping enemies from entering! We are likely to find more of my people beyond this gate in fact, there should be someone guarding it! We must move onwards!"
They walked up to the gate, and all of a sudden, a strange-looking creature appeared behind it. The creature resembled Karg to some extent, with the same hairstyle, except it was black and slightly longer. His face was dark and greyish-brown, and he wore a long robe, and held a spear. They had met their first Skar-vin.
"Halt!" the guard said, in a deep, gruff voice. "Who dares enter our territory?" Then his eyes opened wide when he saw Karg, and he exclaimed "Do my eyes decieve me? Is this really you, Karg? Are you back at last?"
"Yes, its me!" replied Karg, in strangely friendly tones, differing greatly from his usual harsh approach. "And its good to see you again too!"
"No point in questioning you-" the guard replied, "youre one of us- and your friends can surely enter, as anyone who accompanies the great Karg is really someone to respect!"
Blade and Saurod felt a warming sense of pride when the guard said this. They had not expected to be welcomed this warmly by the Skar-vins, and they could see that Karg was obviously very well-respected here indeed! The guard raised the portcullis, and the three warriors entered.
"I really never thought youd come back!" said the guard. "How you doing just now? Won against He-Man yet?"
"Our army gets more powerful," replied Karg, "but He-Man continues to beat us. All that shall change soon, however!"
Karg turned to Blade and Saurod to introduce them to his old friend. "This is Lador, he is the guard of my underworld and watches out for intruders. Lador, this is Blade and Saurod, other members of Skeletors army."
"Its great to have you back here!" replied Lador. "Come through and meet the others your name is almost sacred here Karg, and theyll be ecstatic to see you back!"
Karg followed Lador further into the caverns, feeling proud and famous. It was strange how his people seemed to think of him as some sort of god just because he was a powerful warrior, but it sure was good for the ego. He really felt at home with his people underground, and he knew he would return permanently once He-Man was defeated. Even if Skeletor was killed and Karg had the chance of taking his place as ruler of Eternia, he would refuse the offer. He would much rather be emperor of the Skar-vins down here. He remembered when he had been treated as any ordinary Skar-vin in his childhood but things had changed a lot, and there wasnt a single Skar-vin who didnt covet Kargs position.
Lador led Karg, Saurod and Blade into a very large open cavern, with hundreds of Skar-vins passing through, like in a busy city. They had homes built into the rock, over the underground rivers below. Bats flew overhead, and water serpents slithered through the rivers below.
When the Skar-vins saw Karg, they stopped dead in their tracks. Then there followed a commotion, and shouts of "Hes back!"
Karg ventured forth into the crowd of Skar-vins, and shook hands with several old friends. Although Karg was comfortable enough living in Snake Mountain, he knew his best home was with his people in their dark underground world.
There was a sudden silence as a very tall Skar-vin entered the cavern. Like Karg, he had thick, white hair, but he was dressed in elegant long robes, with a gold chain around his neck. He was obviously a very important person.
Karg recognised this being at once. It was the Skar-vins emperor, Varlon. Karg went forward and bowed to the emperor.
"Someone like you does not need to bow even to me." said Varlon, in a dignified, powerful voice. "Welcome back to our world, Karg. Please stay for a while. I wish to make your acquaintance at my home."
"I would be honoured to." replied Karg, and he followed Varlon, with Blade and Saurod at his side. Varlon led them to a large opening, cut in the rock. It was richly furnished, the golden chairs illuminated beautifully by the blue fungi.
"What brings you back to our world then, Karg?" Varlon asked. "And who are your companions?"
Karg introduced Blade and Saurod, then he explained "We have come here seeking the doom crystal. If I recall correctly, it was forged to defeat He-Man if he ever entered these caverns. Since Skeletors desire to destroy He-Man multiplies daily, we felt it would be just what we need to cause He-Mans defeat."
"Precisely," replied Varlon, "and I am more than honoured to let you use the doom crystal. The Skar-vins are becoming a more powerful race, and the doom crystal is one of our greatest achievements. We have not used it yet, as we do not feel the time has yet come, but it is being guarded under Death Mountain. But we have since made many other achievements besides the doom crystal."
"What are these?"
"We continue to advance in technology, and we have our own vehicles down here. The metal we make them from comes from the various ores found in the rocks. But we have also made several other great achievements, and are progressing greatly. I will now lead you to the caverns underneath Death mountain, and as you accompany me, I will show you some of the great wonders of our underworld."
"I am eager to see!" said Karg. "Show us!"
Varlon lead the three warriors out of the cave, each of them knowing that the doom crystal- and the defeat of He-Man- was just within their grasp.
He-Man, Man-At-Arms and Extendar were travelling all over the place, watching the glow
from He-Mans power sword. It didnt seem to be getting any brighter than it had
been at first. They didnt seem to be getting any closer to Teela.
"Where is she?" asked Extendar. "Surely she cant be that far away- but your sword doesnt seem to have got any brighter!"
"It is strange, Extendar." He-Man replied. "This is just as bright as it was back in Grayskull. We dont seem to have got any closer to Teela at all."
"Perhaps she is in Snake Mountain after all?" suggested Man-At-Arms.
"I dont think so." said He-Man. "I tried the direction of Snake Mountain a few minutes ago, and the glow seemed to wane. Ive no idea where she is."
"Well, we still cant give up." said Extendar. "However hard our quest is, as warriors we must not quit."
"Wise words, Extendar." said He-Man. "Lets move on!"
Down below Death Mountain, Varlon was leading Karg, Blade and Saurod through the tunnels.
"I cant wait to get my hands on the doom crystal!" said Saurod. "Then I can have my revenge on He-Man for trapping my people in the caves!"
"And I can pay him back for taking my companions to prison star!" added Blade.
"You must be extra careful with the doom crystal." said Varlon. "It is the most precious object we have down here- if it were dropped, it would be destroyed- and its energy would vanish with it."
"Dont worry, my Lord." said Karg. "I understand how precious it is. I will treat it with the utmost respect!"
"Then behold-" Varlon announced, stepping back against a wall as the warriors reached an archway- "The doom crystal!"
In the centre of the room, on a large round table, guarded by two very dangerous looking Skar-vin warriors with bright red eyes, was a large, bright crystal which shone in the darkness. The three evil warriors immediately detected the presence of strong, evil power- just the power they needed.
Varlon slowly walked up to the table, and gently picked the precious crystal up. Then he turned to Karg, Blade and Saurod, and Karg held out his hand.
Placing the crystal in Kargs hand, Varlon said "Keep this crystal by your side at all times- and do not mistreat it. It will be marvellous for the Skar-vins to know that He-Man can finally be destroyed by our precious crystal."
Karg opened up a small metal box attached to his belt, and put the crystal inside. Locking the box, he said "The crystal will be safe in here. He-Man wont even be able to see that we have it!"
"Shall we return to Snake Mountain now," said Blade, "and show Skeletor that we have succeeded?"
"Not yet!" answered Varlon. "One as honourable as Karg will stay for a short while. And besides, do you not want to see the wonders of the Skar-vin world? The many achievements we have made as our race becomes one of power?"
"Of course!" said Karg. "Show us!"
Varlon led the warriors back through the narrow tunnels of Death Mountain, then back into the open caverns, glowing with the blue fungus. He turned to a cavern on their right, and said "This way- follow me!"
Karg, Blade and Saurod followed him through to the cavern. In the cavern, they saw what looked like a type of prison. Trapped in side-caves behind bars were suffering humans, weak and starved, some collapsed on the ground. Some of the Skar-vin guards were feasting on flesh and blood from the dead humans, ripping through the flesh with their clawed hands.
"I dont believe it!" exclaimed Karg. "This wasnt here when I left! Where do these humans come from?"
"The Skar-vins are getting much better at sneaking aboveground," said Varlon, "and we capture these humans so we can feast on their flesh and steal their riches. But it is not just ordinary humans we catch, for recently we have captured someone very important!"
"Who is this?" asked Karg.
"Follow me." said Varlon. "I will show you!"
He led them past further cages, then spread out one arm as they turned a corner. Karg, Blade and Saurod looked round the corner- and saw Teela, He-Mans trusted warrior, trapped behind solid bars, shaking them in fury!
"Now this IS an achievement!" said Karg in excitement. "Teela is a very valuable source to the heroic warriors. Down here, she will never escape!"
"Dont you be so sure!" answered Teela, angrily. "Its your people who had the nerve to steal from my father! He-Man will be looking for you now- and once he finds you, all your new machines will be no more!"
"We have some surprises in store for He-Man." laughed Karg. Then he turned to Varlon, and asked What does she mean by machines?"
"Currently, the Skar-vins have been building their own machines. I told you earlier that we have our own methods of transport now- and also, we are making underground burrowing machines that will help us to expand our underground world. One of us recently found a tunnel which led underneath the Royal palace, and knowing that Man-At-Arms had equipment we could use, we secretly cut open the ground beneath his lab, and made a secret trapdoor. Through this trapdoor, we can enter his lab at any time, and we have stolen several weapons for defence, along with vehicle units for our burrowing machines!"
"This sounds excellent!" said Karg. "The Skar-vin empire is indeed improving! Soon we will be one of the most powerful races on the planet!"
"And its not just our technology thats improving." added Varlon. "Soon we could possess great power. We plan to use our burrowing machine, which is currently being constructed, for an underground attack on Castle Grayskull! Then we can unlock its secrets and leave the drawbridge open for Skeletor!"
"Excellent!" exclaimed Karg.
"Just what we need!" added Blade.
"You shouldnt be so confident!" interrupted Teela. "I dont know how you can expect to get away with this when He-Man is around to stop you!"
"You seem to have a lot of faith in that musclebound idiot, dont you?" said Varlon. "Well, I think youll find that in this case, He-Man has no chance."
"Oh, yes? And whys that?"
"Show her, Karg."
Karg unlocked his belt, took out the doom crystal, then held it in front of Teelas face through the bars. "This is the doom crystal!" he told her. "This has evil power which is capable of defeating He-Man, as it gives its possessor unlimited power! Especially when the crystal was forged to defeat He-Man, we are bound to win with its power!"
Teela gasped in horror, then sank back into her cage, her look of confidence vanishing and turning to one of worry. Varlon laughed, and said "We always knew we couldnt simply leave the crystal lying around when we could destroy He-Man with it! We had to put it to use- but we needed everything to be perfect first, which is why we decided to work on improving our technology! Karg and his friends will journey back to Snake Mountain to show Skeletor the crystal- then their army will have ultimate power. As we attack Grayskull, Skeletor can use the crystal to destroy Grayskulls heroic energy- making it a fortress of evil and doom. Then Skeletor can own the castle, and we can be his main minions! He-Man will become a thing of the past when he tries to stop us!"
He burst into manic, evil laughter, and Karg, Blade and Saurod raised their arms in triumph. Then they took another look at Teela in her cage. She was half-kneeling on the ground, one hand gripping a bar, and her eyes wide open with anger. "Youll never succeed." she said through gritted teeth. "He-Man will stop you!"
But deep inside, she wasnt really that sure. If this doom crystal really was so powerful, perhaps the evil forces really could defeat He-Man? She could not break through the bars, so she had no choice but to wait and hope that He-Man would come her way.
Above, on the surface, He-Man, Extendar and Man-At-Arms were continuing their search.
"This doesnt make sense." said He-Man, watching the glow from his power sword. "We should have got closer to Teela by now."
"I suppose theres still plenty of places we havent tried. Lets have a look around the mystic mountains. Teela could be being hidden there."
The three warriors made their way over in the direction of the mystic mountains. Before long, the snow-capped peaks of the mountains were towering above them, and the cold breeze blew around them. And in the distance, stood a large, black mountain, which looked so evil that it even made He-Man shudder.
"Ive never seen that mountain before." said Extendar. "What is it? Why does it look so evil?"
"Thats Death Mountain." replied He-Man. "Very few people dare venture there, as there have been reports of evil creatures around it. There have been many people who have gone near that mountain, and never returned. Although the mystic mountains are usually peaceful, Death Mountain is a highly feared place."
"Perhaps we should investigate it." said Extendar. "You never know, Teela could be held somewhere nearby."
"I dont think so, Extendar." said He-Man. "It is a dangerous place."
Extendar turned and looked at He-Man, confused. "Why should we not investigate it, just because its dangerous? Have you lost your bravery, He-Man? We three are some of the most powerful warriors on Eternia- Death Mountain should pose no threat to us."
"Im just concerned about you!" He-Man said. "We dont want you to rush into trouble!"
Extendar felt somewhat insulted by this comment. Had He-Man gone mad? Why should he worry about Extendar when hed always treated him like he was so powerful?
"Why should you be so concerned about me?" he asked him. "I know how to take care of myself!" He said it somewhat aggressively- not that he wanted to appear rude towards He-Man, but he found what He-Man had said very unusual indeed.
"Its just .. we dont want to lose such a powerful warrior." said He-Man slowly.
At least he probably meant that as a compliment, thought Extendar. But perhaps He-Man was just being affected by the terror that the mountain seemed to strike into their hearts. Even Extendar himself felt rather unsafe. But he knew that they could not leave without investigating the mountain- it could be the very place they were looking for.
"We should still investigate it." said Extendar. "Maybe Teela is being held there!"
"Im .. not sure." said He-Man. He wandered forth, through the snow. When he was out of hearing range, Extendar turned to Man-At-Arms.
"Why does He-Man seem so reluctant?" he asked him. "Hes meant to be brave!"
"Ive heard tales that Death Mountain is capable of injecting fear into the heart of anyone on the side of good." replied Man-At-Arms. "Our companion Stratos lives near here, and he tells me that he rarely dares fly over Death Mountain- and Stratos is no-one to run away from things. If I admit it myself, I feel rather nervous here." He crossed his arms across his chest and shuddered.
"Me too." added Extendar. "Theres something I really dont like about that mountain."
They watched He-Man, moving forward slowly through the snow, watching his every step. He held out his sword towards Death Mountain, and at that very moment it began to glow with a huge, pulsating light. He-Man suddenly turned away and ran back to his companions.
"She is in Death Mountain!" he exclaimed, shocked. "My sword senses it. Quickly, we must investigate!"
The three warriors ran as fast as they could through the snow, whilst taking the greatest care not to slip. They had hoped to Grayskull that Death Mountain was not where Teela was held- but fate had befallen them. Their task, which they had anticipated to be easy, was going to be much harder than they thought- but as warriors, they knew they had to face it.
They ran towards Death Mountain, and when they reached the dark, foreboding object, He-Man stopped running and motioned for his friends to stay back. Man-At-Arms and Extendar ground to a halt. He-Man held out his sword again, and it began to glow even brighter.
"My sword senses that she is actually inside the mountain!" said He-Man. "That means we have to find some way to break inside- and I could try to crack the mountain open with my sword- but we have no idea of what might spring out on us!"
"I think wed better take a gamble." said Extendar. "Lets just choose a random position- it may be our only hope of rescuing Teela!"
He-Man nodded in favour, and gripped his sword with both hands. He raised it high, and was about to crash it down on the mountains surface, when the warriors were suddenly distracted by a loud rumbling. They looked up, and saw a huge heap of snow rolling down towards them!
"Avalanche!" shouted He-Man, and he and his friends turned in panic and ran for their lives. But a mound of snow, rolling down the mountain, hit Man-At-Arms, and he was knocked off his feet and fell into He-Man, who in turn fell into Extendar. The three warriors rolled and tumbled violently down the mountainside, their bodies being subjected to the most terrible pain as they fell.
As they fell towards the bottom of the mountain, they were suddenly knocked down a deep, dark hole in the ground. They fell down, and each landed with a hard, violent thud. Man-At-Arms was knocked unconscious, He-Man and Extendars powerful bodies prevented them from being that badly hurt, but they felt dazed and helpless.
He-Man just managed to lift his head, though it felt like a huge strain. He looked up, and saw a strange figure with long white hair, tight black armour, and a hook for a hand, looking down on him.
"Welcome!" said Karg.
He-Man stared up at the deadly form of Karg above him. He struggled to speak, and just
managed to utter "Karg
.. what have you
.. done with
"I have put Teela in great danger, He-Man!" Karg replied mockingly. "Perhaps we will kill her soon! And its good to see you in such a helpless state, He-Man- as it means you can add to our prisoners!"
"You .. fiend " stammered He-Man, "I .. will stop .." he struggled to continue, but the effort he made to speak only weakened him more, and he collapsed, feeling almost completely helpless.
"Too right youll stop, He-Man!" laughed Karg. "Well soon put an end to your meddling with the destruction of this planet!"
He went over to Blade, Saurod and Varlon. "We have a most welcome visitor!" he announced, and led them into the cavern where He-Man had fallen.
"He-Man!" exclaimed Blade, his one eye lighting up. "Now, Karg, this is wonderful. Ive always wanted to see my hated enemy in a state like this!" he lifted his swords. "Now lets destroy him!"
Karg reached out his hook, caught Blades sword with it, and hurled it across the cavern. The sword hit the wall, and stuck there.
"Not yet, Blade." Karg said. "We may have He-Man fallen at our feet, but we must wait before destroying him. We need the doom crystal for that!"
"Excellent idea!" added Saurod. "I will also be able to trap He-Man underground- like he did with my people!"
"We will all have our revenge then!" laughed Karg. Then he turned to Varlon. "If you give us a hand, we should be able to escort these fools into the prison cells!"
"Im not sure." replied Varlon. "From what I know of He-Mans strength, he would be able to break through our bars in no time- and hed release all the other prisoners. We do not yet have bars that are strong enough to hold He-Man. The other two should be fine in the jail- but He-Man would be straight out once he regained his strength!"
"Then lets find a better place for He-Man .." hissed Karg, "We could trap him behind a rock wall or somewhere."
"Hmmm .. I know what to do." said Varlon. "You three lift He-Man, and follow me. Well return to the other two later."
Karg, Blade and Saurod bent down to lift the broken body of He-Man. They turned him over to his front, then Karg and Saurod took an arm each, and Blade took his legs. They carried him through the caverns, following Varlon, but they were slow and strained, as even with their combined strength they found it difficult to carry the great weight of He-Man. He-Mans body was covered with cuts and bruises. His eyes were half open, and he uttered several weak groans as he tried in vain to speak. If only Skeletor had the might to damage He-Man this badly!
Eventually, Varlon led them past the cave in which Teela was held.
"He-Man has come to see you, Teela." he taunted.
"Then he will put an end to your schemes, you fiend!" she replied.
Varlon laughed in mockery. "I dont think so .." he said, and motioned for the warriors to come forth. They carried He-Mans body into the cavern. When Teela saw the battered, bruised body of He-Man, she gasped in horror and covered her face. This time it really looked as though He-Man had had it.
"Yes, this is what has become of your beloved hero." mocked Varlon. "And we have two of his other friends hurt too- a cyborg, and your father, whose body just didnt stand a chance against the fall that these warriors had. I wouldnt be surprised if hes dead by now."
Teela shrank back in her cage in terror. Was it really all over for Eternia? He-Man was now almost defeated, and would possibly die, and her father might even be dead already. And the evil warriors had hold of the doom crystal, which could destroy anything good in seconds, and the Skar-vins were planning an underground attack on Grayskull. This time, it really looked as though the conquest of Eternia was near. Teela knew that she had the strength to defeat these warriors, but here she was trapped in this cage, which she couldnt even break through. She couldnt even contact anyone.
The evil warriors laughed at Teelas terror, then carried the body of He-Man back through the dark caverns. Eventually, they passed over a bridge, below which ran an underground stream, trickling through the darkness.
Varlon pointed to the stream. "There." he said. "Throw He-Man down to the rocks just by the stream. It will take him ages to regain his strength- thats if hes strong enough to survive. If he regains it, he will not dare try to swim this stream as the waters are rough, and too many dangerous creatures lurk within. So he will remain on those rocks, ready to be destroyed by the doom crystal! We will drain his power!"
They threw He-Man down onto the rocks by the stream, and he landed with a heavy crash, scattering fragments of rocks into the stream. He was still conscious, as he began to struggle feebly, but he was clearly helpless.
"Excellent!" said Karg. "Now lets deal with the other two!"
They went back to the cavern where the fallen bodies of Man-At-Arms and Extendar lay.
Blade crouched down, and felt Man-At-Arms pulse. It was still going, but he was clearly unconscious, and close to death.
"Hell be gone soon." said Blade. "How about Extendar?"
Extendar was not unconscious, as he struggled in vain to speak. But he was still seriously injured.
"Well put these fools in the cages." said Varlon. "The cyborg should survive, but his body is not strong enough to break through the bars. Man-At-Arms will die before long. He has no chance. Lets get them to the prison."
Varlon and Saurod picked up Man-At-Arms, and Karg and Blade picked up Extendar. The evil warriors carried the injured masters through to the jail, then imprisoned them.
"Perfect." said Varlon. "Now we have He-Man and his friends out of our way."
"Shall we use the doom crystal on them now?" asked Saurod.
"Not yet." Varlon replied. "Lets allow them to suffer for now. We will let them see evil taking over the planet! Now, my friends, we begin our attack on Grayskull!"
Varlon led Karg, Saurod and Blade through the dark tunnels and caverns of the
underworld, their way lit by the blue fungus. Eventually, they reached a cavern in which
several Skar-vins were busy working on a large machine, putting metal components together.
"This is our burrowing machine." declared Varlon, spreading his arms wide as he admired the creation. "It is made from metals found in the ores of our underworld, along with the machine units we stole from Man-At-Arms laboratory. And we will be using it to attack Grayskull from underground!"
One of the Skar-vins approached Varlon. He was wearing a metal uniform, a bit like Man-At-Arms, except it was dark in colour. He had shorter hair than most of the Skar-vins, and wore a strange black pair of visors over his face. He looked much like a kind of scientist.
"Our machine is almost finished, sire." he said, in a deep, businesslike voice. "I can guarantee that it will do the job it is made for perfectly. Others of our recruits are currently busy mapping out the way we can reach Grayskull. They will advise us later on precautions we may need to take."
"Excellent work, Sakur." said Varlon. "I think it would be most fitting if Karg here were to lead the attack. After all, we all know how good a leader he makes."
"I would be honoured to!" said Karg. "Once we come from underground, the Sorceress will have no chance against us! The doom crystal will drain all her powers. Wont Skeletor be pleased when he finds this out!"
"Tell Skeletor that we are always at his service." said Varlon. "Even when we capture Grayskull and take it as our own, I nor any other Skar-vins have any desire to take over Eternia. We shall own Grayskull alongside Skeletor, and Skeletor can take the throne of Eternia himself."
"I will contact Skeletor now!" said Karg, and he opened up his wrist-radio, and typed in Skeletors code.
"You are through to the Lord of Destruction!" came Skeletors powerful voice from the radio. "Who are you and what have you to say?"
"My Lord, this is Karg speaking." Karg replied, then he explained what they were up to in every detail, and their planned attack on Grayskull.
"This is excellent!" Skeletor replied in delight. "I thought we stood a decent chance with this doom crystal, but I never thought things would be this good! And how I would love to see He-Man in the state you described! He is finally out of our way. I will join you in your underworld once you are through to Grayskull. Then I will take Grayskull for myself, and then I shall be the one who causes He-Mans death!"
"Of course!" replied Karg. "After the trouble He-Man has caused you, it is appropriate that you have the final revenge on him. I will call you back once we enter Grayskull. Over and out."
"It is such an honour to know that my people have pleased Skeletor so much." said Varlon. "Soon he will take over Eternia .. and its all thanks to us. He may consider us his most important servants after that. And you will be his most important of all, Karg, as it was you who came up with the idea of using the doom crystal."
"Indeed!" replied Karg. "I look forward to being promoted in Skeletors army! I am now eager to start the attack!"
They stood and watched the Skar-vins at work on the drill. More working units were added to it, more pieces of metal, until eventually it was complete- a masterful, powerful-looking vehicle that looked more than capable of causing Grayskulls destruction.
"This is magnificent." exclaimed Varlon in admiration. "With this, and the doom crystal, the forces of evil stand more chance than they ever have before! Eternia will be reduced to a world of poverty, slavery, and suffering- and everyone will bow to Skeletor, while our underworld becomes the most famous place on the planet! I must announce this to our people!"
Varlon left Karg, Blade and Saurod to guard the burrowing machine, and went to his chamber. There, he picked up a large microphone, spoke into it, and his voice was heard through the whole of the underworld.
"My citizens." he began. "A new era is about to dawn on Eternia. Eternia will fall to the forces of evil, and it is the genius of we, the Skar-vins, which will cause its destruction. Our greatest scientists and inventors have constructed a super-powerful burrowing machine, which we will use to attack Castle Grayskull from underground. Not only that, but we also have the doom crystal, which has equal power to that of Grayskull, and will drain the good power from the castle in seconds! Then, we leave the way open for our lord Skeletor to enter. He will take Grayskull for himself, and will have more power than ever before! With this power, he will have no problem taking the throne of Eternia for himself. And before anyone suggests that He-Man may stop him, I can safely inform you that He-Man is here in our underworld, battered and bruised to a helpless state- maybe even close to death! We also have Man-At-Arms, who is dying fast, and the warrior woman Teela, imprisoned and unable to escape! To make things even better, we have a powerful cyborg warrior Extendar, in a state equal to He-Mans. So victory will come soon- and Eternia will suffer a worse defeat than its citizens ever would have imagined! Our home will become a place of great importance, and our roles as servants to Skeletor will be greatly increased. Our much-respected warrior Karg will control the burrowing machine as we advance on Grayskull! The attack begins soon, and soon we will be the masters of the universe!"
A commotion ran through the underworld, excited Skar-vins dashed from cavern to cavern, overjoyed at this news from their leader.
And in the cavern where the machine stood, Karg was just climbing into the cockpit. Blade, Saurod, and some other Skar-vins stepped in with him, armed with weapons stolen from Man-At-Arms laboratory. A team of Skar-vins gave Karg the map of where he was to go. Then Karg started up the machine, and the drill on the front began to whirl.
Then it drilled violently through the rocks, and the whole machine propelled forward through the underworld. The fate of Grayskull was near!
The sound of the Skar-vins drilling machine shook the underworld as it burrowed
through the rocks on its way to Grayskull. There was an extreme mood of excitement
consuming the mind of every Skar-vin. They had never been a particularly technologically
advanced race, so it had come as a sudden change when the machines had been built and the
plans for invading Grayskull were revealed. Now it was a major surprise to know that they
were to be the main cause of the downfall of Eternia, and would be considered
Skeletors most faithful servants. Every budding warrior began training in the hope
of reaching Kargs skills.
But also in the underworld were four helpless, defeated figures. He-Man lay on the rocks by the underground lake, barely conscious, unaware of just how near the fate of his planet was. His muscular body had never suffered so many horrific injuries all at once, and he looked like a beaten wreck. Would he be powerful enough to overcome these injuries?
In the Skar-vins jail, Man-At-Arms lay in one cell, completely unconscious, his mind slipping away. Being only a normal human being with average strength, he had been unable to resist the force of the fall, and was almost bound to die within the next few hours. In the cell next to him lay Extendar, who was still conscious, and felt the shaking of the ground, but was in pain and felt too weak to cry out. He had felt so powerful since he had been given his cyborg attachments, but now he felt helpless and weak.
In the nearby cell, Teela was being held. She was still conscious, but incapable of breaking through the bars. And she knew that as she was kept there, she could do nothing to put an end to the attack on Grayskull. Eternia looked very close indeed to falling prey to the forces of evil.
Meanwhile, Karg was burrowing furiously through the ground in the drilling vehicle. Blade, Saurod and several Skar-vin warriors were sat behind him. Each evil warrior knew that Grayskull would soon pay for the many defeats it had caused them.
Eventually, the rocks in front of them shattered to fragments, revealing a glimmer of light, and a rocky wall. It seem to lead into some pit. Karg stopped the vehicles engine.
"Where are we?" hissed Saurod.
"We are by the abyss of Grayskull." Karg replied. "We will be able to make it through- but you must hold on tight!"
Each evil warrior gripped their seats as tightly as possible, as Karg revved up the engine. Then Karg zoomed the machine straight through to the other side of the abyss, plunging it into the ground directly below Grayskull.
"We are almost there!" he declared in excitement. "Now we can burrow through!"
He quickly turned the vehicle upwards , and it burrowed straight up through the ground towards Grayskull.
Inside Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress sat in deep thought, praying for the safety of Teela. She knew that Teela must be safe, and she tried to communicate a message to her- something she had told her a long time ago- that the mind is as strong a weapon as the body. She hoped this would help Teela to escape from wherever she was being held. And she hoped that He-Man and his friends were having an easy journey as they sought out Teela. From what she knew so far, it seemed that the task would be quite easy- but she couldnt help but feel there was more to it than it seemed ..
Then all of a sudden, her thoughts were interrupted as a huge electronic drilling machine burst up through the ground. Fragments of rock scattered violently about the room. The Sorceress leapt up to face the attacker. The drill ceased burrowing, the cockpit opened, and out stepped Karg, the evil hook-handed Skar-vin.
"Face destruction, Sorceress!" Karg bellowed.
"You fiend!" said the Sorceress angrily. "You alone are no match for the power of Grayskull!"
"Maybe not alone .." said Karg, "but with my comrades, you stand no chance against me!" Blade, Saurod, and the Skar-vins leapt out of the vehicle and stood in front of the Sorceress, fully armed.
"And with the doom crystal, we stand an even better chance!" laughed Karg, and he opened up his belt and took out the evil crystal, and held it in front of the Sorceress.
The Sorceress gasped in horror. This was the doom crystal- the deadly gem forged by the Skar-vins, with evil power almost equal to the power sword! She knew she had to face the great danger threatening Eternia .. but she also knew that this was the closest yet that the evil warriors had come to conquering Eternia. Was there any hope for her beloved planet?
In the Skar-vins prison, Teela was still held tightly behind the bars. She was
not unconscious, she was not even hurt. She did not even fear the Skar-vins around her.
But she wasnt strong enough to break through the bars. It was so annoying- this one
minor thing preventing her from escaping. She felt incredibly concerned for the safety of
Eternia, and distraught knowing that her father and maybe even He-Man could be dead. But
she still felt brave and strong, and she knew she could try her best to save Eternia- if
only she could get free from this damn cage!
It would be no problem for He-Man- with his strength, he would break through the bars with ease. If only she had that strength!
But then, she suddenly heard the soft, delicate voice of the Sorceress in her head. It was speaking some wise words that she had told her a long time ago .. "The mind is just as powerful a weapon as the body. Use your mind and you stand more of a chance of escape!" Teela knew the Sorceress spoke the truth .. perhaps there was some way Teela could use her mind to help her escape?
Then an excellent idea struck her, and she put it into action straight away.
"Help!" she called, purely to attract attention. "Somebody help me!"
She looked through the bars. The first part of her plan had worked- a Skar-vin guard came bustling through.
"Dont think anyone can hear your feeble cries!" the guard said. "With He-Man defeated, and Grayskull being attacked, you can never escape from us!"
"Im not too sure." she answered, sounding confident. "How about fighting me?" she taunted. "Of course, you could never win with your strength .. you couldnt even hurt a fly!"
The Skar-vin guards eyes lit up red, and his face turned to an angry expression.
"How can you say that to me?!" he roared. "You actually believe you could defeat me?! I could never lose to a woman, with barely any strength. Yes, I will fight you- fight you to the death, to pay you back for attempting to insult me!"
He opened up the cage and stepped inside to join Teela. Then he switched into fighting pose.
"Okay, bitch!" he shouted. "Prepare to feel tremendous pain- you can never win!"
"Can I not? Well Ill tell you something- Im no-one to be messed with. I am Teela, the most powerful woman in the universe!" Then she flung her whole body through the air, and landed with a crash on his chest. He fell back against the bars of the cage, and they snapped and fell to the ground!
Teelas way was now unblocked. The guard lay on the ground, clutching his chest and screaming in pain. Teela kicked him in the head, and his body went spiralling along the ground, then she gripped him by the neck and smashed his head against the wall, knocking him unconscious.
Then she left his battered body, and ran through the jail. She saw Man-At-Arms lying close to death in his cage. She went up to the cage and looked upon his body with sorrow.
"I hope to Grayskull that you recover, father." she said softly. "But if you die, I will avenge your death. Eternia now has a spark of hope left now that I have broken free. I will do my best to save our world and put an end to this madness!"
She gazed one last time at her fathers dying form, then she turned and ran through the caverns ahead. She must find He-Man, and see if she could do her best to stop the attack on Grayskull. She would not let Eternia fall to Skeletor!
Teela raced through the dark caverns of the underworld. Several times she was suddenly
leapt upon by a Skar-vin, but each time she would just kick them out of her way. She knew
that one of Kargs main skills had always been to sneak up on people out of nowhere,
and she could see now that that was a common skill among the Skar-vins. But she had
absolutely no fear of the creatures around her. It would be a waste of time to fear
creatures like these when the fate of Eternia was at hand.
She eventually reached a large cavern, with no Skar-vins in sight. Teela gazed around the cavern. The blue light from the fungi on the walls shone on her skin. A large bat flew past. The only sound was the trickling of the underground river below her. There were the occasional ripples at the surface, from the strange creatures that lived underneath.
And lying bruised and beaten, on a small heap of rocks by the stream, was He-Man! His body was covered with deep cuts and bruises, as Teela had seen before. But he was still alive- his limbs were struggling weakly, though he looked only barely conscious. Could she save him? There was no way she could jump down there- she would probably only land in the stream, and the waters looked very rough.
"He-Man!" she called. "Are you alright? Can you hear me?"
He-Mans head turned, and he tried to lift it, but could not manage.
"Teela....." he said weakly. Teela felt great relief to see that He-Man could hear her! But would she be able to save him? He was clearly too weak to escape himself. But if Teela just stood there it wouldnt help. There was no-one around who could help them- the only hope was for Teela to jump into the stream and try to swim to He-Man. It sounded pretty hopeless, as the streams current would doubtlessly be strong enough to drown her, especially if she swam back carrying He-Man..... and she probably wouldnt be strong enough to carry He-Man anyway. But she had to do her best to save the hero of Eternia. It would definitely be a refreshing change after the many times hed had to save her.
She took a deep breath, and dived into the stream. The current was strong, and from time to time she thought she felt something slimy gripping round her leg..... but she swam as hard as she could, and was relieved when she reached the heap of rocks and dragged herself out of the water.
Soaking wet, she gazed down at the broken body of He-Man. If he ever was going to regain his strength, it would take some time. But she had to do something to help him..... so what was there that she could do?
He-Man was only barely aware of Teelas presence. He felt weak and helpless, like he never had before in his life. It felt like a difficult struggle to move any part of his body, even to speak..... even to think. He was in a complete daze, and could not seem to make sense of anything in his mind.
Then he heard a voice in his head..... a familiar voice..... feminine..... soft, mysterious and comforting...... the Sorceress. She was saying "Use your power sword, He-Man. Its your only chance..... I am being attacked..... you must use the sword..... and come to save Eternia..... the sword, He-Man..... use your sword."
He-Man could not seem to make sense of anything, but he made a great effort, and reached his arm behind his back, and writhed the sword out from its sheath. It felt unusually heavy, and he almost dropped it..... but he just managed to cling on to it, and slowly uttered "By..... the..... power..... of..... Grayskull."
Then there was a huge flash of light which shook the whole room, and He-Man leapt to his feet and shouted "I HAVE THE POWER!!!" He stood supremely, holding the sword aloft, his body unharmed, the cuts and bruises completely gone, and feeling stronger than he ever had before.
Teela stood before him in amazement. "He-Man!" she exclaimed. "Youre restored at last! This is excellent!"
"What has been happening?" He-Man asked. "I dont remember anything clearly after the fall....."
Quickly Teela explained everything that had happened, and that they must get to Grayskull to stop Kargs attack.
"This sounds like the closest Eternia has ever been to destruction!" said He-Man. "We must act quickly. If your father does die, we must make sure that his death is not in vain. Extendar should recover, so I will call for him when we need him! But now we must get to Grayskull before they defeat the Sorceress- and before Skeletor can come to claim the castle!"
He gripped his arms round Teela, then he leapt up, and his powerful legs propelled them both upwards to the bridge. It was quite a sensation for Teela, being held in He-Mans arms..... even though he only did it because he had to.
"We must find the way they burrowed into Grayskull!" said He-Man. "We shall soon put an end to their madness!"
So He-Man and Teela darted off to find the way through to Grayskull, their minds filled with a great determination to put an end to the forces of evils most threatening scheme yet.
In Castle Grayskull, The Sorceress had put up a powerful fight against Karg and the
other evil warriors, but there had been too many of them and she was now held captive, in
chains, with Blade standing in front of her brandishing his swords right before her face.
"Dont even try to move, you beauty." Blade said threateningly. "Though I personally have no objection if you do..... cos I love the sight of blood on a beautiful woman. Id bathe in your blood if you dared move."
The Sorceress kept silent. She knew that Blade was probably thinking she was too frightened, but she wasnt scared in the least. She had overheard Karg saying that He-Man was close to death, his body battered and broken..... so she had sent a mind signal to He-Man, telling him to use his sword to regain his strength. Blade seemed to have forgotten about the power of her mind. By now, He-Man should have regained his strength, and would hopefully be on his way to rescue her.
Karg, Saurod, and the other Skar-vins were walking through the corridors, exploring the castle which was soon to become a stronghold of evil.
"The rooms seem to go on for ever....." hissed Saurod.
"There are many secret rooms in the castle." answered Karg, "and they contain the many secrets of Grayskull which even He-Man doesnt know. Once Skeletor has arrived, we can use the doom crystal on the castle and unlock these secrets!"
Saurod looked around the corridor at the many doors, the ancient stone walls, the mysterious sculptures on the walls. "Its good that we have finally won this place." he said. "You and I havent been in Skeletors army for that long, Karg..... but we sure have done well."
"All thanks to me bossing you about and scaring you!" laughed Karg, and nudged Saurod in friendship. This was very out of character for Karg, Saurod thought..... it wasnt often that he was capable of having a laugh with the other warriors, hed always seemed to boss them about and frighten them as though he was their great superior. Now Saurod could see why Karg made such a good commander.
"I must let Varlon and Skeletor know of our victory!" said Karg, and turned on his wrist-radio and punched in Varlons code.
"We have beaten the Sorceress," he told him, "and the castle is now defenceless. We are ready to claim it as our own."
"Excellent!" replied the voice of Varlon. "You must let Skeletor know! I will make my way to Grayskull through the underground passage you made..... and give Skeletor the best possible welcome!"
"I will do that, my Lord." said Karg. "Over and out."
Then he punched in Skeletors code.
"You are through to Skeletor, lord of destruction." came the warlords voice.
Karg quickly told his master what he had just told Varlon. "Marvellous." Skeletor replied. "This is better than I ever hoped for! Once I have claimed Grayskull and sucked its power dry, I must see He-Man and get him to kneel at my feet before he dies! And after that, the Sorceress will be powerless and I will keep her as a slave..... to be highly abused. Yes, you have done well, Karg! The Skar-vins will become my most respected servants..... and you deserve promotion in my army."
"I am honoured, my Lord!" replied Karg. "Over and out."
He-Man and Teela anxiously made their way through the caverns of the underworld. They reached the cavern where the burrowing machine had been, and did not even have to fight the Skar-vins who were in it- they were scientists, not warriors, and the moment that He-Man and Teela brandished their swords, the Skar-vins fled from the cavern in terror. Ahead of He-Man and Teela was a dark, long tunnel.
"This must be the way that Karg burrowed into Grayskull!" exclaimed Teela. "We must get through!"
"And we will save the Sorceress, no matter what the cost!" added He-Man. He and Teela leapt into the tunnel, and made their way frantically but carefully through the rocky passages. Eventually they came to a huge hole, which looked out onto what looked like a rocky cliff edge with another huge hole in it.
"This is the abyss of Grayskull!" said He-Man. "We are almost there- and we must follow Kargs trail into the castle!"
"I feel really angry about them attacking the Sorceress." said Teela, "Ive always felt a great bond between me and her..... but Ive never been able to explain it. Perhaps its just the way she is."
He-Man just nodded. He knew that someday Teela would know that the Sorceress was her mother, and realise the importance of her destiny.
"Quickly, we must make our way through!" He-Man said.
Suddenly, they were interrupted by the deafening sound of sirens in the air above them. He-Man and Teela peered out of the hole and looked upwards.
They saw a huge air vehicle, recognisable as Skeletors hover throne, and it was accompanied by a swarm of evil Rotons, emitting the deadly siren sound..... a warning that fate and destruction was close at hand for Eternia. As He-Man and Teela watched the evil vehicles in horror, they heard a loud, deep and booming voice shouting: "PEOPLE OF ETERNIA..... my victory is near!"
Karg, Saurod, and the Skar-vins stood atop Grayskull with Varlon, who had just arrived
to join them, while Blade was still in the chamber, guarding the Sorceress. They were
there to welcome Skeletor, as he approached on his flying throne machine. Following him
were several evil Rotons, each piloted by members of his evil band who had come to help
him take over the castle.
Skeletor landed his throne right on the roof of Grayskull. He took one long look over the rocky landscape which surrounded the 300-foot castle. After so long, the castle was finally his own. And he had never thought that his conquest of the castle would be this easy. Of course, it had been Karg that had conquered the castle rather than Skeletor himself, and Karg had always been a faithful warrior .. so Skeletor knew he would have to promote Karg to extreme heights. Perhaps he would give him his own segments of Eternia to rule.
"Its mine." he declared. "After all this time." Then he turned to Karg. "You have done me very well, Karg. I must admit that I anticipated disaster when you told me you were going after the doom crystal .. but instead, you win me this castle."
"I am ever at your service!" hissed Karg. "Heres the doom crystal!" he took the crystal from his pocket and handed it to Skeletor.
Skeletor held the crystal in his fist and shook it in triumph. "And now, as I drain the Sorceress powers, and take Grayskull as my own, you must venture back into your underground caverns to find He-Man. And if hes still alive, you must bring him to me, so he can kneel at my feet before I kill him .. and so he can pay for the many times hes showed up and foiled my magnificent schemes!"
"I will do so, master." replied Karg. Then he turned to Saurod and the Skar-vins and said "Come on, lets go!" and they descended the spiral staircase which led down into the castle. Then Skeletor said to the mercenaries in the Rotons "You shall join me inside." and he flicked a switch on his throne, and was teleported inside Grayskull.
In the chamber, as Blade held the Sorceress at knifepoint, Skeletors throne materialised inside.
"Master!" exclaimed Blade. "Welcome to Grayskull! What shall I do with the Sorceress? Can I have her body when youve killed her?"
"I am not killing her." replied Skeletor. "I am merely draining her powers, so she is reduced to nothing but a weak, ordinary human being. Her powers have kept her young, but now she will age as I drain them."
"Whats the point of that?" asked Blade. "Shell be of no use to you- cant I just kill her?"
"You could never kill her, Blade. You could hurt her, but her power will prevent even your swords from killing her. You could only kill her after I have drained her power, and by then she will appear old .. not as beautiful as you like her .. and I know you like exquisite corpses."
Blade threw down his swords, and released her from the wall chains. "Go on then, master." he said. "Drain her power."
Just then, the other warriors who had accompanied Skeletor- Ninjor, Evil-Lyn, Kobra Khan and Trap Jaw, entered the chamber.
We must see you drain her strength." said Evil-Lyn, glaring at the Sorceress evilly. "I have struggled for years to be as powerful as her, but have not quite made it- but once her power is drained, she will cringe at my feet."
"And well stop her if she tries to escape!" said Trap Jaw, raising his arm gun.
"Very well, my warriors." said Skeletor. "And once she is drained of power, I will use her as my slave. She will pay for the many times she has helped foil my schemes." He raised the doom crystal, and aimed it horizontally at the Sorceress. "Now, Sorceress, after ridiculously looking down for so long on a more powerful being than yourself, your power will be drained and you will bow to him, as you always should have done!"
"You were never more powerful than me!" replied the Sorceress angrily, clearly unafraid of the evil warriors around her. "And I still have my magic powers to stop you!" She raised her arms, about to fire at him, but Trap Jaw shot a bolt of power at her from his arm gun, which cut through her right arm. She flinched back and clutched it in pain.
"Now I will drain you of power!" shouted Skeletor, and used his mind to control the immense evil power of the doom crystal. A stream of dazzling white light shot from the powerful crystal, and bathed the Sorceress. She suddenly drew back, feeling weak and helpless. Then she dropped to her knees, and her skin began to change .. losing its smooth texture and ageing in appearance ..
"Now!" laughed Skeletor. "Now you meet your fate!" He laughed maniacally as he watched the Sorceress strength fading. Now his victory had finally come ..
Then all of a sudden, there was a huge crash and shower of rocks from the ground, filling the whole room and scattering the evil warriors in terror. Two figures sprang out from the hole in the ground, one a red-haired warrior woman in snake armour, the other a tall, muscular man holding a gleaming sword and shouting "I HAVE THE POWER!!!"
Skeletor was so shocked that he dropped the doom crystal, and it lost its effects on the Sorceress, who quickly shot up and regained her strength.
"He-Man!" he screamed. "What are you doing here? Karg told me you were close to death, but you look so .. powerful!"
"And wouldnt you like to know why?" asked He-Man, brandishing his sword. "You must now pay for the way youve terrorised Eternia!" said Teela.
"You can never win, He-Man!" said Skeletor.
He-Man stepped up to Skeletor, and held the power sword to the warlords grotesque, fleshless face. "Then prepare to face the power of Grayskull!"
Down in the caverns of the underworld, Karg, Saurod and the other Skar-vins were making
their way to the stream where they had left He-Man.
"I cannot wait to see that fool begging for mercy at Skeletors feet." said Varlon.
"He deserved this fate!" said Karg. They passed through the dark caverns, and eventually their ears were filled with the sound of trickling water from around the corner. They followed in the direction of the sound, and entered the huge cavern, where the underground stream ran.
"We threw He-Man onto a heap of rocks!" said Karg. "Down there!" Saurod said, pointing. The warriors looked round, expecting to see the broken body of He-Man sprawled across the rocks. But they gasped in horror when they saw that there was nothing there! There was no trace of He-Man in the entire cavern!
"Wheres he gone?" asked Karg in panic. "Did anyone see him escape?"
The Skar-vins shook their heads. "He must have fallen into the stream." said Varlon. "That stream would easily wash him away!"
"Yes, probably so." replied Karg. "But we must bring someone back to Skeletor! How about those fools trapped in the prison .. particularly the woman, Teela. We should get them and take them to Skeletor."
"Indeed so." said Varlon. Turning to the other Skar-vins, he said "You stay here, so you can attack just in case He-Man is around here. We must make our way to the prison."
Karg, Saurod, and Varlon turned and made their way to the Skar-vins prison. They passed through the dark caverns, until they reached the prison. Man-At-Arms was still lying there motionless, possibly dead. Extendar looked as though he was recovering, sitting up against the wall of his cell, but he still looked weak.
"We will take Teela first!" said Karg.
"She is in the cell around that corner." said Varlon, and led Karg and Saurod through to Teelas cell.
And there they were greeted by the sight of smashed bars, a Skar-vin guard lying unconscious against the wall- and no Teela.
"No!" screamed Varlon. "She has escaped! This cant happen! It cant!!!"
"Where can she have gone?!" exclaimed Karg. "Perhaps she has something to do with He-Mans disappearance!"
"She might .." said Varlon, "but then- He-Man would still be weak, and Teela could never save Eternia by herself! I dont think this really causes any problems, Karg- Teela and He-Man are probably lost somewhere in the caverns just now! Lets take that cyborg thing to Skeletor instead!"
They went back to the cell where Extendar was held. Extendar was still sitting up, propping his metal body against the wall.
"Right, youre coming with us!" shouted Varlon. "He-Man and Teela may have escaped- but you stand no chance against our might, and you will bow to Skeletor!"
Extendar looked up at them, and uttered out: "I .. dont .. think .. so FOR I AM EXTENDAR, TOWER OF POWER!" And he shot out his arms, legs, head and torso, then leapt toward the bars and broke through them with ease.
The evil warriors cowered back in terror as they watched the giant being step out from where his cage had been, and look down on them, hands on his hips.
"You guys seem a little scared just now .." he said, "so Ill be generous and wont waste my power on weak assholes like you. Now tell me, WHERE is He-Man?"
"We will not tell you!" growled Karg, and his hook glowed bright red, and shot out a laser bolt. But Extendar jumped aside, and grabbed Karg by the neck.
"Tell me!" he demanded, gripping his hand firmly over Kargs neck.
"I .. do not know .. but Grayskull is being taken over by Skeletor! He is draining the Sorceress power!"
Extendars eyes opened wide in alarm, and he loosened his grip on Karg. "The Sorceress! In danger!" He dropped Karg heavily to the ground. "I will not let that happen!" He declared, and he abruptly turned and ran from the prison, darting through the caverns. But he knew hed never find the way out by choosing random paths .. so hed have to demand it! The moment a Skar-vin came along, he seized him by the neck as he had done with Karg and demanded: "Tell me the way to Grayskull through these tunnels! And if you dont, youll regret it!"
The Skar-vin struggled to get free, but was no use against Extendars powerful grip. "Okay .." he stammered, frightened, "I Ill l-lead you there." Extendar dropped him violently, then the frightened Skar-vin led him through the tunnels until they reached the opening into the abyss.
"Its okay now, I can make my own way from here, sucker!" said Extendar, then he reached his arms forward to grip the hole on the other side of the abyss, and propelled his whole body forward until he was directly underneath Grayskull.
He glanced ahead at the tunnel that led upwards before him. "No need to climb all that way!" he said, "not with my powers!"
In Grayskulls chamber, a mighty struggle was going on between good and evil, as
He-Man fought man-to-man with Skeletor, and Teela and the Sorceress took on
Skeletors henchmen. The evil warriors outnumbered them, but the combined power of
the three was proving an almost equal match.
Ninjor clamped his black-gloved hand over Teelas neck and forced her to the ground. "Now you die!" he declared.
He-Man turned from Skeletor for a moment, to defend Teela, but Trap Jaw stepped in front of him and raised his gun right up to He-Mans face. The Sorceress turned to help, but Kobra Khan stepped in front of her and hissed "One step, Sorceress, and my sleep gas knocks you to the ground!"
He-Man looked around him. At this moment, the heroic warriors were almost unable to act. He shook his head and said "Man, we could do with some help just now!"
As if in answer, a gigantic, metal figure burst out from the hole in the ground, spotted the danger that Teela and the Sorceress were in, and picked up Kobra Khan and Ninjor by the necks, then flung them across the room.
"Extendar!" exclaimed He-Man, kicking Trap Jaw out of his way. "You arrived just in time!"
"Somehow, I knew Karg wouldnt be entirely right when he said Skeletor was just about to take over Grayskull." said Extendar, stepping out from the hole and onto the ground of the chamber, towering above the other warriors. He looked over at Skeletor pitifully. "Hey, it seems like this schemes gone wrong, Skeletor? He-Man and Teela could never be held in Kargs crappy caverns for long. Hey, never mind- you just might win next time!"
"You arrogant, pathetic fool!" said Skeletor contemptuously, his eyes glowing bright red. "I have not lost yet! I will still have Grayskull for myself!"
"Oh, yes?" said Extendar. "Hey, youll still have to battle us first! Lets give this guy what he deserves, hey?"
"We definitely will, Extendar!" said He-Man, brandishing his glowing power sword.
"Youre right." said the Sorceress, spreading out her wings. "Lets kick ass!"
As He-Man, Teela, The Sorceress and Extendar advanced on the evil warriors, Skeletor
realised he would never win at this rate. These warriors had defeated him and his henchmen
so many times, so why should they lose this time? Skeletor knew he would have to think up
something before they beat him
Then he spotted it on the ground. The doom crystal! He-Man and his friends seemed to have forgotten about that! That would be just what he needed to destroy them!
He-Man charged at Skeletor, wielding the power sword, but Skeletor made a quick effort and dived under He-Mans legs and caught the doom crystal. Then he jumped to his feet and held it at He-Man. He-Man and his friends stopped dead at the sight of the deadly object.
"Yes, He-Man .." hissed Skeletor, "I still have this .. and I can still destroy you!"
But before he could act further, Teela hurled herself forward, shouted "Oh no you wont, you bastard!" and punched the crystal, and it flew out of his hand and down the hole in the ground.
In an instant, Skeletor ran to the pit and threw his body down it, without even looking back. He would not let such a precious object go like that. It had the power to destroy Grayskull, and he must use it for that reason. Skeletors body flew down the pit, his cape blowing as the air lifted it. He hit the ground hard and heavily, but he simply picked himself up, only slightly stunned. He looked down, and saw the doom crystal shimmering in the darkness, unharmed by its fall. Excellent, he thought. The crystal was still his. He picked it up, and turned, ready to climb back up to the chamber- but he saw The Sorceress, in the form of the falcon Zoar, gliding down the pit after him. She was so quick that she had almost snatched the doom crystal from him before he had noticed her, but he just managed to turn quickly and flee, leaping over the abyss and into the caverns of Kargs Underworld.
He did not look back once. He knew that Zoar would still be after him, possibly with He-Man, Teela and Extendar following behind. He must find a place to hide, before he could spring out and drain their strength.
He ran as fast as possible through the dark caverns, when all of a sudden, a white-haired, black-armoured figure stopped him dead in his tracks.
"Karg!" he shrieked. "How did Extendar escape? And how did He-Man get his strength back?"
"I am telling you, master, I have no idea!" Karg replied. "Extendar tricked us and fought past us, but I do not know how He-Man regained his strength. But Man-At-Arms, I assure you- is almost dead."
Skeletors eyes lit up (literally) with delight. "Now thats excellent, Karg. Ive longed to see that fool meet the fate he deserves. Show me him."
Karg led Skeletor through the caverns and to the prison. There were lots of pieces of wood and iron scattered about after Teela and Extendars escapes. Saurod and Varlon stood in one corner.
"We apologise, mighty Skeletor, we could not fend off that metal creature with the enlarging body. He was too powerful for us, and we .."
"Yes, Extendar is very powerful, I can not blame you." Skeletor admitted. "But where is Man-At-Arms? I must see that fool as he dies!"
"Just over in that cell." replied Varlon, pointing.
Skeletor turned and looked over into the cell Varlon had pointed at. There lay the battered body of Man-At-Arms, his helmet and armour dented and scratched, his still face covered with bloody cuts. Skeletor reached his arm through the bars, took Man-At-Arms wrist and felt his pulse.
"It is going very slowly." Skeletor said. "Yes, he is close to death. I can express nothing but joy over seeing one of my most hated enemies dying like this. Well done on keeping him held, Karg."
"I am sorry about He-Man and Teela .." Karg began.
"Yes, they always pull up some sort of trick!" Skeletor interrupted. "How I hate them from the heart. They have now driven me from Grayskull, but I will still claim the castle for myself. I still have the doom crystal." he lifted the sacred crystal, gleaming in his hand.
"Then we are safe, master." replied Karg. "If the heroic warriors come along, we will have no trouble destroying them. We can spring up on them."
"Its unlikely wed find them in the prison .." said Saurod, "we should look in the main caverns .. but we should hide, and spring up when they come."
"We will do that indeed, Saurod." replied Skeletor. "We must move now into the main caverns and wait for them to arrive. Lets go." He turned, gesturing for the others to follow, and the evil warriors made their way into a large cavern nearby.
"Hide in the crevices!" said Varlon. Skeletor nodded, and each warrior backed into one of the crevices in the rocky wall.
They seemed to wait there for an age, but then there came the sound of footsteps echoing through the caverns. He-Man entered the cavern, his power sword strapped to his back. The Sorceress followed behind him, then Teela, then Extendar, still in giant size. Skeletor sneaked out of the crevice slowly and stealthily. His warriors and Varlon watched, keeping quiet as the Lord of Destruction tiptoed over to He-Man, his cape gliding along the ground slowly. The heroic warriors didnt seem to hear him. He raised the doom crystal as he got closer to He-Man ..
Then the Sorceress suddenly turned on her heel and said "Youve no chance of winning, Skeletor!" The other warriors then spun round to face Skeletor.
Skeletor flinched back in shock. "How did you notice me?!" he shrieked, clutching the doom crystal tightly.
"You forget my powers, Lord of Destruction. I can sense when evil approaches me."
"Maybe so, but I will still win! I have the doom crystal!"
"And us too." came a female voice behind him. He looked round, and saw Evil-Lyn sitting in his throne, with Kobra Khan, Ninjor and Trap Jaw at her side. She had teleported from Grayskull into the caverns.
"And us!" added Karg, and he jumped out from the crevice along with Varlon and Saurod.
The heroic warriors were now greatly outnumbered, and Skeletor was free to drain their strength with the doom crystal. Was all lost now?
He-Man brandished his power sword, and Skeletor held out the doom crystal. "Surrender, He-Man." said Skeletor. "You have no chance now .."
He-Man hesitated as Skeletor aimed the doom crystal at him. He knew that one rash move
could prove fatal. There was no way he was going to surrender to Skeletor, even if
Skeletor insisted he would not harm his friends if he did. He-Man knew Skeletor better
than that, and he knew that Skeletors sole intention was to harm him. It seemed that
whether or not He-Man surrendered, the whole thing could turn into a bloody massacre.
He-Mans only choice, therefore, was to fight. He must try his best to get the doom crystal out of Skeletors clutches. So he quickly drew the power sword, and was a bout to swing it through the air at the doom crystal, but just then, Trap Jaw suddenly raised his arm gun, ready to fire. And if He-Man was fired at, he would be stunned for a second and Skeletor would fire the doom crystal at him and all his friends. But what else could he do? Was there no solution?
"He-Man .." the Sorceress whispered softly, "the doom crystal has powers equal to that of your sword. You must use the sword to combat it!"
He-Man slowly spread out his power sword, slow as possible so he wouldnt be fired at. Then he gently touched the sword to the doom crystal. A powerful, white glow surrounded the two conflicting objects as they touched. The glow rose and spread, then there was a sudden burst of energy and each warrior shielded their eyes as the whole cavern was filled with blinding light! The light flashed, accompanied by deafening crackles and bangs, then as the light died down, the room was filled with energy- angry evil energy. The energy from the doom crystal, forged by the evil Skar-vins using the power of Death Mountain, was forming itself into thousands of grisly shapes to combat the heroic power from He-Mans sword. Gruesome creatures flew wildly through the cavern, so fast that they were merely a blur. All the warriors could make out were flitting shapes, and the occasional glimpse of red eyes, sharp teeth and decaying human faces, accompanied by wild shrieks which coursed right through the heroic warriors bodies, and terrifying shouts of "DESTROY THIS GOOD!!! COMBAT THE FORCE OF JUSTICE!!! KILL THOSE WHO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM!!! KILL THEM!!!"
Amidst the flashes of light, the terrifying demons and the deafening cries, Skeletor stood triumphantly, his arms spread out and raised upwards. His eyes glowed brighter than ever before, and his gruesome, decayed face laughed in deranged, evil and triumphant tones which rang through the whole underworld.
"This is the power I have been waiting for!" he declared. "The power .. of evil. Let this be the moment that the universe falls to the knees at the force of destruction! You heroic fools are no longer my superiors! You are my slaves! And I am the ruler of the universe! All beings shall tremble at my feet! The universe will be reduced to a pitiful, suffering place, stricken with poverty and destruction! You shall bow to me!!! BOW to me- or you will suffer the most unforgettable, torturous destruction imaginable!!! YOU SHALL BOW TO ME!!!!!"
He-Man did not wait a second. He turned, and he ran. He ran as fast as his muscular legs could possibly carry him. He ran like a madman, through the caverns of the underworld, past the blue fungus, over the underground streams. There was no way he could face this evil yet. Of course, he was a warrior, but he had had no choice but to run, and recover from the immense shock he had received before daring to face this unspeakable evil.
He spotted a small cavern in the rocky walls, and dived into it. Turning round, he saw Teela, the Sorceress and Extendar diving in to join him. Teela was trembling with fear.
"Its all over now, He-Man .." she stammered, shaking, and huddled up to his muscular body in terror. "He he really has won!"
He-Man put his arm gently around her body, and stroking her arm, softly said "Its not over yet, Teela. We can still defeat him .."
"Remember, He-Man, we have the power of the ancients on our side." said The Sorceress. "Unless we lose our power and are reduced to ordinary humans, we always have the chance of winning."
"Yes .. but thats just what the crystal will do!" said Teela. "It will reduce us to weak, pitiful creatures!"
"Not necessarily." said the Sorceress. "Remember, He-Mans power sword is just about equal in its power to that of the doom crystal. Although it may seem like Skeletor has the upper hand at the moment, we are almost an equal match. We can fight it. We must never feel we have no chance."
"I admire your .. confidence, Sorceress." said Extendar, sinking his glance into her beautiful form. "You really speak words of wisdom, you know .. thats why I spend so much time .. In Grayskull .." his voice fell to a whisper, and he shrunk his body and sank his head to the ground. Even he, with his amazing powers, was shaken by the evil energy released by the doom crystal. He remembered when the heroic warriors had just been setting off for their quest, expecting an easy task. Now THIS was some easy task, he thought. It was their most dangerous and threatening yet.
Brightly-coloured beams of light whizzed past the small cavern. The force from the doom crystal was spreading around the whole underworld, and they heard the excited cries of the triumphant Skar-vins echoing throughout the caverns.
"I must go now." said He-Man. "I must fight this force. A whole planet .. a whole universes safety is at risk. And I must put an end to this evil- even if I die trying."
Teela laid her hand on his muscular chest. "Good journey, He-Man .. may the elders protect you."
"Someone will have to stay to look after Teela." said the Sorceress. "She is too shaken to fight."
"Then I will stay with her until she recovers from the shock." said Extendar. "You are very powerful, Sorceress, you will defeat this evil. I will join you when you need help the most. Good journey, Sorceress .. and you too, He-Man."
"We will do our best." assured He-Man. Then he and the Sorceress departed from the small cavern, and made their way through the underworld.
"How it disturbs me to see Teela so afraid .. and to have to lose her and Extendar in this fight." said He-Man. "This is just the time that we could do with as many warriors as possible."
"Remember, the elders are on our side." said the Sorceress. "They will never let us down."
All of a sudden there was a huge shower of rocks as the Skar-vins drilling machine came blasting through the caverns, propelled by Karg. They had recovered it from Castle Grayskull. It was accompanied by a mass of swirling energy emitted from the doom crystal, and He-Man and the Sorceress dived out of the way into opposite sides of the cavern.
Karg jumped out of the machine, followed by Saurod, Blade, and a group of Skar-vins wielding pickaxes and knives.
"Seize them!" shrieked Karg. "Destroy He-Man!"
Normally just this group of warriors would be no trouble for He-Man to deal with, but when they were backed by gruesome demon faces coming from nowhere, they seemed more than just a threat. He-Man swished his power sword through the air, but then all of a sudden, there was a terrifying flash of lightning, and the face of Skeletor, enlarged and transparent, appeared hovering in mid-air, the red eyes glowing in triumph! The mouth opened and emitted a deafening laugh, and the face came whooshing towards He-Man, who fell back against the cavern wall, dropping his sword.
"YOUR DEATH IS NEAR, HE-MAN." shrieked the booming voice of Skeletor. "FEEL THE FORCE OF THE DOOM CRYSTAL!"
Then He-Mans eyes were clouded by nothing but the faces of demons, hollow eyes, red eyes, mouths dripping slime. And they were all backed by the maniacal laugh of Skeletor.
He-Man felt like an electric current was running through his body. He gasped and panted for breath. But he felt his strength slipping away, his muscle mass decreasing, the electric current coursing throughout his entire body ..
Then there was silence. He opened his eyes, and the faces were gone. The cavern was empty. But in no way was he safe. Somehow He-Man could sense that Skeletor was on his way to claim He-Mans soul. But He-Man felt weak and unable to defend himself.
He looked around, and saw the body of the Sorceress slumped over a rock. She, too, had clearly been attacked by the forces from the doom crystal. Her arms hung down loosely, and her head-dress had fallen off, revealing her long, flowing black hair running down the face of the rock.
"He-Man .." she stammered weakly, "they were here .. they are coming for us .. our time is up."
He-Man laid his head against the rocky wall. "Yes." he whispered. "Our time is up."
His eyes were distracted by a faint, glowing light. Turning his head gently to the
right, he noticed that the glow emitted from his sword. It was a faint glow, accompanied
by light crackles. Then he heard a voice. Not an evil voice. It was the voice of a wise,
"You have not lost yet He-Man, saviour of Eternia."
"Wha who?" stammered He-Man.
The light surrounded the whole sword, and out burst the form of an elderly man, with a long, white beard and long robes.
"My name .. is He-Ro." said the old man.
"He-Ro of legend?" asked He-Man.
"Yes, it is I. I who saved Eternia from the menace of the Snake men, many centuries ago. And He-Man, I heard your name mentioned many times, even all those years ago. The legends always foretold that a man named He-Man would come to save Eternia if danger threatened again. And I am unspeakably proud of the way you have saved this planet many times."
"But now .. I am weak." replied He-Man. "The doom crystal has destroyed me .. I cannot save Eternia now."
"You can." replied He-Ro. "Together with the elders of Eternia, led by the powerful Keclar, I will help you- and the Sorceress. Just follow me." He-Ro walked over to the pathway in the centre of the cavern. He-Man got up, and anxiously followed him.
He-Ro motioned for the Sorceress to join them. She got up, still weak, and stumbled over to where He-Man and He-Ro stood.
"Now both of you raise your arms." He-Ro said.
They did so.
"And by the power of Grayskull and the power of the elders .. let your power be increased to the utmost extremes!"
There was a huge flash of light, and in an instant, He-Man and the Sorceress were surrounded by a large group of elderly men, most with long beards and draped in robes. The elders chanted some ancient Eternian words. Nothing was distinguishable .. just the sound of the elders voices, chanting repeatedly. He-Man heard "By the power of Grayskull .. by the power of Grayskull .." whispered several times by an unseen force.
Then the bodies of himself and the Sorceress were raised several feet off the ground, and they felt their bodies being pumped up with unspeakable energy! Their forms were surrounded by amazing white light, and together, He-Ro and the elders shouted with dignity:
"BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL .. YOU HAVE THE POWER!"
Then everything became a blur .. He-Man and the Sorceress felt their bodies spinning round frantically, so fast that they saw nothing around them. Then all of a sudden, they found themselves placed firmly on the ground, the sword of power glowing in He-Mans hand, and both of them feeling more powerful than ever before. The cavern around them was completely empty.
"He-Ro?" whispered He-Man.
"They have gone, my friend." replied the Sorceress. "But they helped us, and we are now more powerful than ever before."
Just then, Teela and Extendar walked in to join them. "What happened?" Teela said. "We seemed to suddenly find ourselves outside this cavern .. and we thought we saw all these old men, and heard these voices .. but now we feel so strong, and ready to fight."
"Its the power of the ancients." said He-Man. "And now, we must use it to fight Skeletor with our utmost skill!" He raised the sword of power, it glowed brightly, and the four champions of good rushed through the caverns to do battle with evil.
The caverns of the underworld were filled with all sorts of foul creatures. And they
were evil beyond belief. But as Skeletor and his evil warriors marched through them, ready
for the destruction of He-Man, they were stopped dead in their tracks.
He-Man was running at them, looking stronger and even braver than before. Behind him was the Sorceress, who was shooting energy from her fingertips all throughout the cavern, knocking several evil warriors to the ground. Behind her was Teela, who then leapt through the cavern, bringing her heavy kicks down on the evil warriors who remained standing. And behind her was Extendar, who was swelled to such a huge size that the Skar-vin warriors fled the cavern in terror.
"We do not fear the doom crystal, Skeletor!" said He-Man. "Yes, that crystal is powerful enough to destroy us. But never can we possibly be destroyed, while we have the powers of the ancients on our side!!!"
"But how did this happen?" demanded Skeletor. "When I last saw you, you were so .. weak."
"It must be such a pain for you to see us win so many times, but never know how." replied He-Man. "Lets just say that we get a hell of a lot more backup than you do."
Skeletors eyes glowed in anger, and he threw his body at He-Man. Now this accursed fighter had overcome the power of the doom crystal. Skeletor must kill him now, so he could never escape his schemes again!
But Skeletors attempt to kill He-Man was in vain, as the warrior sent the demonic warlord flying back through the cavern with a bolt of power from his sword. Skeletor lay panting at the side of the cavern. Varlon and Karg stared at He-Man in amazement. The other warriors were scattered about the cavern in dazed heaps after the blows delivered by Teela and the Sorceress.
"Time and time again .." said Skeletor, "you overcome me, He-Man. No matter what my scheme is .."
He-Man stepped over to Skeletor. "Then make peace, Skeletor. You should know now that you cannot possibly defeat the masters of the universe. Your wisest choice would be to make peace with us. Leave your evil ways behind. You are intelligent, Skeletor, even if I say so myself, and were you to become good, we would give you a decent place in society, and give you a new human form so you can forget your evil past. Will you make peace?"
Skeletor sank back, the glow in his eyes died down, and he shook his head slowly. "No, He-Man." he said. "You do not understand what my reasons are for wanting to rule Eternia, and own Grayskull. And if I made peace with you, I could never be ruler of Eternia, or owner of Grayskull. I must fight for it .. and I will not rest until I win it!"
The warlord shot to his feet, a defeated but determined man, and he spread out his arms, and he and his warriors were bathed in a bright yellow light, then vanished, teleported back to Snake Mountain.
"Hes gone." said Teela, relieved. "Well done, He-Man. And you, Extendar .. and the Sorceress. Thank goodness we have won."
All that was left was Varlon and the Skar-vins. Varlon walked up to He-Man, and offered his hand.
"I make peace, He-Man." he said gently. "I can never deny that my ways are evil, as are those of my people, and we do not intend to convert to your side. But we have seen now that your power is too great for us. Even our doom crystal could not destroy you." He lifted the fallen crystal from the ground, and held it out towards He-Man. He-Man raised his sword, and brought it down heavily on the crystal. For a moment, there was a brief glow, as the evil forces inside the crystal reacted with He-Mans sword. But then, the crystal shattered into a thousand fragments, and was no more.
"We will make no further attacks on Grayskull, or the palace." declared Varlon. "And we shall only serve Skeletor again if he really needs us. Our desire has never been to rule Eternia, we hoped to own some of the secrets of Grayskull, but we know now that that can never be. So we will stay here in our underworld, continue to advance our technology, but only with the resources we have down here. Our underworld is a separate place from your world, and we will leave you in peace."
He-Man shook Varlons hand. "I am more than happy to agree to it." he said.
"Now I will help you get back to Grayskull- but first, I will release the prisoners!"
Varlon led them to the jail, and let the many starved prisoners free. The people reacted with amazement that the Skar-vin emperor was actually freeing them. Varlon told his people to lead them all above ground.
Then the last prisoner was none other than Man-At-Arms, very close to death.
"Your death is avenged, father." said Teela.
"Hes not dead yet." said The Sorceress, "maybe we can save him .."
"We will take him to Grayskull and get help." said He-Man. "We will go back now! Varlon, can you lead us to Grayskull?"
"I sure can." he replied.
Varlon led the heroic warriors through to the hole that looked out onto the abyss. He allowed the heroic warriors to leap to the other side, then he told He-Man to use his sword to seal the hole. Varlon bid farewell to the heroic warriors, and He-Man aimed his sword at the hole, which began to seal up at once, preventing the Skar-vins from ever entering Grayskull again.
"Thats our hardest battle .. over." He-Man declared.
"And if we can win battles that hard " said Teela, "we sure are powerful. And you really are amazing, He-Man, with that skill .."
"The real hero is .. He-Ro." said He-Man. "It was he who helped us. He is worthy of that name."
"And we have shown that with the power of the ancients on our side, we can defeat the forces of evil .. no matter what their plan!" said the Sorceress. "And now- we must repair the damage to Grayskull, and save Man-at-Arms!"
She teleported them up to the chamber of Grayskull, and as He-Man used his sword to seal the hole in the ground, The Sorceress laid Man-At-Arms battered body down on the ground, and she, Teela and Extendar knelt over him.
She spread out her arms, and called on her great powers of healing. Her hands glowed bright, then she brought them down to the scientists body, and his eyes opened, the cuts vanished, and he regained his strength.
Sitting up, he said "What happened? I dont seem to remember .. anything."
"We have just had our most difficult battle ever." said the Sorceress. "But we are safe now, and will tell you everything."
"We are just very glad that youre safe again." said He-Man, lifting his friend to his feet.
"You must seal up the ground beneath the trapdoor in his lab." said Teela. "That will prevent any more attacks in case the Skar-vins try again!"
The Sorceress laid her hands on He-Mans shoulders, and said "Now, He-Man, you and I are more powerful than ever. We stand an even greater chance of defeating evil, and I am sure that the day we wipe Skeletor from our world is drawing near. With your bravery and skill, my powers, and the elders of Eternia on our side, Skeletor can never hope to defeat us. You are a magnificent champion, He-Man, and you deserve the title of the greatest defender in the universe!"
Teela walked up to He-Man, and gazed at him in admiration. "I couldnt agree more. You are magnificent, He-Man- but why cant Prince Adam be the same?"
"You never know .." said the Sorceress, winking at He-Man. "Someday Adam could turn out to be much more like He-Man than you think .."