The Other Side
    by Sherry

Catra looked on at Mirabel with jealousy. This woman had just come to Etheria and everyone was already talking about her. There was something about her that Catra wished she had. Both were beautiful, but something about Mirabel’s beauty made it impossible to resist her. It was as if she could captivate a person’s soul, with just a passing glance. She had a way of leaving people breathless. She was in a deep slumber on her makeshift cot. Her blonde hair spilled out across her pillow. Catra softly touched a strand of her own ebony hair, unconsciously. She longed for hair like hers: the color of the sun. “Maybe that will get me some attention,” Catra muttered to herself. A soft fire glowed behind the woman and made her appear angelic, but those who knew her, knew that she was far from heavenly. Mirabel was very powerful, but she had not even revealed what she was fully capable of yet… Mirabel sensed that someone was watching her and her eyes snapped open. She sat up quickly and gazed at Catra. “Is there something you want?” Catra backed away slightly, “No… I just… I was just thinking.” “You know, don’t you?” Mirabel asked. “Know what? I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Catra replied. “You know what I am. Isn’t there something that you particularly desire Catra? That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? I can help you get it… or him, that is. Don’t be afraid. Tell me,” she encouraged Catra. Catra turned away quickly, “You couldn’t help me. No one ever could. Especially not you,” she retorted. “You think so? Well, take a look at this. Bow is all alone in the Woods. And he’s not thinking about Alexis,” Mirabel responded, amused. She had raised her hands and projected the image on the wall facing Catra. She looked at it, longingly, but said, “I’m not interested.” “Oh, but I think you are, my friend,” Mirabel smiled. Catra knew it was hopeless. Mirabel obviously knew. “How do you know? What are you?” “I think you already know the answer to that. I am many things, Catra. But for you, I could be a friend. I could be a help to you. There are ways to gain attention. For you, all you would have to do is to get this man to look inside himself and realize his deepest desires. It wouldn’t be very hard. He desires many things. He just needs someone to help him recognize them. You could be that someone. Isn’t that what you truly want?” “But why would he ever even look at me? Whenever he does, it’s with disgust because I am part of the Horde. He’d never be interested in me,” Catra sighed. “And what if you could make him interested? I know a way,” Mirabel purred. “He just needs a little ‘convincing,’ and I know just how to give it to him.” “I’m listening,” Catra spoke up. Mirabel had to stifle back a laugh at how easily she knew it would be to convince Catra to follow her every command. Mirabel continued, “I have a proposition for you, but you must obey me completely. It involves the entire rebellion…”

Part 2

Bow left the Woods, heading for the Swan Inn. It was such a nice evening, he had decided to walk. A gentle breeze whispered through his hair and a strange thought puzzled him. No matter what he did, or where he went, his thoughts were of Catra. The thought was so alien to him that he didn’t know how to react. He had hoped that a few beers would make him forget about her. And if not a few, then maybe a Margarita or two… At least he would be too sick to think about anything after awhile. What was that poem that Alexis always saying? ‘Beer before liquor, you’re getting sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear,’ he remembered. She had so many crazy sayings from Earth. She always knew how to make him laugh. A cloud suddenly vaporized in front of him and Catra emerged. “Catra!” Bow said, shocked. “What are you doing here?” “Relax, Bow,” she soothed him. “I’m not here to harm anyone.” “You still belong to the Horde, making you a threat,” he retorted. “I am a person outside of my allegiance,” she purred. “I just thought I might go out to the Swan Inn and have a pleasant evening. And it looks as though you are headed in the same direction.” “Look, Catra, I don’t want any trouble…” Catra calmly played with a pendant that hung from her neck. “Bow look at me,” she demanded quietly. He did and was amazed at what he saw. Of all the years that he had known her, he had never really looked at her. Just now, he realized how beautiful she actually was. Her eyes were an amazing shade of green that matched the tree leaves, but had so much depth to them. He could imagine just gazing into them for an entire day. Her hair fell just past her shoulders and had a slight wave to it that framed her face. He had never before allowed himself to see Catra as anything but an enemy, a contender. Now he realized just how much of a woman she always was. Something about her tonight made him want to be with her, no matter who she was. “Couldn’t we just forget who we are for one evening?” Catra cooed. “Promise that you’re not up to no good?” he asked. “Would you believe me if I did?” she challenged. “Right now I’m inclined to believe anything you tell me.” He sighed and took her arm. ‘How much harm could she cause by herself?’ he thought. “Shall we?” “Letsss,” she responded. Catra excused herself shortly after she and Bow arrived at the Inn. She entered the restroom and walked over to the mirror. She gazed at her reflection and found herself in a daze. ‘I can’t believe he’s really here with me,’ she thought to herself. ‘I can’t believe I really did it.’ She pulled her hair back past her shoulders and leaned over the sink and splashed some cool water on her face with her hands. When she looked at her reflection again she saw that it had not changed. She was still the same Catra. ‘What is it he sees that was never there before?’ she wondered. But as she looked at herself, she noticed the pendant that hung from her neck. It was a single ruby. One would never notice anything unusual about it, but Catra knew what secrets it held. Even though the jewel was very small, it shimmered in the light with an unusual glow. She had already discovered some of its power. She wondered what else it had in store for her. ‘Thank you, Mirabel,” she whispered to herself. Catra heard a noise behind her and spun around as someone entered the tiny room. She cleared her throat and left, sauntering out to the bar to meet Bow once again.

Part 3 “Bow! Bow!” a woman’s voice cried out. “Kowl. Have you seen Bow?” “No I surely haven’t. Have you tried the archery field?” the owl responded. “Yes and the stables. Wherever he went, he left Arrow behind,” Alexis answered him. “Hmm. He does like to go out to the Swan Inn on occasion. You may want to try there,” he suggested. “Thanks, Kowl. You’re the best.” She hugged him and hurried out of the Woods. “Wait!” Kowl shouted. “Don’t you want to take a horse?” “Nah. I’ll just walk. Thanks!” she yelled back. Alexis continued on her way to the Swan Inn. The sun had set long ago and Etheria was beginning to cool down rapidly. She pulled her cloak closely around her shoulders. “Maybe I should’ve taken a horse,” she muttered. She could see her breath when she spoke. The moon was half full, but cast long shadows across the terrain. After a short while, she spotted the Inn. She made her way to the village. She could hear the chatter of the customers from the alley as she passed through. Something grabbed her from behind and whirled her around. Her hair flew around into her face and she couldn’t see for a moment. By the time her vision had cleared the figure had grabbed her by her neck. Her eyes began to tear over and all she could hear was a low chuckle. “Well. Well. Look what the cat dragged in!” Mirabel said sarcastically. “You’re quite a find. What are you doing out here at night all by yourself?” “What do you want, Mirabel?” Alexis gasped. “You know. You ought to be a little nicer to me. I am doing you a favor here,” she responded calmly. She released her grip and Alexis fell to the ground. She looked up at Mirabel. “Oh and just what is that?” she spat. Mirabel was becoming angry. She grabbed Alexis by her long brown hair and forced her to look in the direction of the Inn. “I thought I should be the first to let you know that Bow has his eyes on someone else these days,” she laughed. Alexis looked and was shocked to see Bow and Catra together. But that wasn’t even what had scared her. She was horrified to see that Bow had been slow dancing with Catra. He had his arm wrapped around her waist and they were so close that they almost appeared as if they were one figure. Alexis drew in a deep breath and began rasping. “What’s the matter little one?” Mirabel taunted. “Did you lose something? Or someone rather?” She reached down and pulled Alexis to her feet once more. “Well, he won’t be missing you. Anyway, I’ve got plans for you.” She held the woman by her neck and retreated back into the alley. Alexis tried to fight against her grip, but it was useless. “Bow!” she gasped. “Help me!” She flailed her arms, trying to get someone to notice them, but the streets were empty. And Bow could not possibly hear her cries for help. They vanished within seconds. “I still can’t believe that we’re actually together, in public somewhere,” Catra sighed. Bow looked at her closely. “Does it bother you that much? There is nothing wrong with it. You shouldn’t let the Horde dictate your personal life for you.” “Well it’s not exactly a job that I can just clock out of everyday. And you should talk. You would do anything for She-Ra… or Adora,” Catra replied, looking down at the ground. “You do have a point there. But sometimes I’d love to just quit the rebellion, you know? It gets to the point where I don’t even want to look at them. Especially She-Ra and Adora. They expect so much from me. They act as though I’m a slave at times. I just can’t take it. I am a human being. I need to live my own life. Maybe I should just leave them, but then what would I do?” Bow wondered. “Well… you should have realized by now that you’re fighting a losing battle anyway. The Horde rules this place and they always will. The rebellion holds nothing for you, but broken promises,” Catra said. Just then, she felt a burning sensation from the pendant that she wore. She ignored it and was about to speak to Bow again when the sensation quickly increased to an intense pain. It was actually burning her flesh. “I’ll be back,” she gasped and headed towards the restroom again. Mirabel was sitting across two sinks when Catra entered. “I was wondering how long you would be,” she said. “What are you doing to me?” Catra demanded. Mirabel swung her feet to the ground and casually walked over to Catra. “You are moving too quickly. Bow must not have doubts about the rebellion yet. It will ruin everything if he quits this soon. Don’t you think people will be talking enough about how you are consorting in public tonight? If he goes back to the camp and quits the rebellion right now, they will know that you’re behind it. You have to gradually get under his skin. Do you understand?” “Yes, but aren’t there easier ways of going about this?” Catra asked. “Listen to me carefully, Catra. I will not have you ruining what I’ve worked so hard for. I will get rid of She-Ra, and if you get in my way, you will be next,” she hissed. “Now get out there and make up some excuse as to why you must leave at once. He will have enough thoughts swimming around in his head. You have done far too much already.” “Fine,” Catra rasped. “I will do what you ask of me only because it serves my purpose too, but I will not be treated like a flunky.” “You will be treated according to your actions. You need to remember, Catra, that you are expendable. I am helping you because I want to,” she pushed past Catra and left the room. Catra looked at her reflection in the mirror and saw a small burn-mark in the form of a circle on her chest. The pendant had actually left an imprint in her flesh. “I can’t believe I let myself be a part of thisss,” she spat. “Well, maybe it’s time for me to go.” She turned on her heel and marched out.

Part 4

Adora was awoken to the sound of voices. They sounded hysterical. She leapt out of bed, dressed herself and went to see them. “What is it?” she called. “Oh, Adora. Thank goodness,” Perfuma spoke up. “We can’t find Alexis anywhere. Kowl said that she went out to the Swan Inn after Bow last night, but she never returned. “Are you certain? Where is Bow?” Adora asked. “That’s just it. He’s been sleeping in his tent. We woke him up and he said that he never saw her last night. Meaning that she never made it there. What should we do?” Perfuma said, alarmed. “Well. You’ve spoken to Kowl?” “Yes, just a moment ago. He said that she walked out there. She didn’t want to take a horse.” “Maybe she just needed some time by herself to think. We really shouldn’t panic just yet,” Adora tried to relieve her friend. “You’re probably right. I just worry about her sometimes,” Perfuma sighed. “Well, she’s a strong girl though. I’m sure she can take care of herself. But make sure the guards keep an eye out for her and let us know as soon as she returns. She does things a lot differently than us because she’s used to being on her own. Sometimes we need to be a little patient with her. She’s not used to answering to people all the time,” Adora reasoned. “That makes sense. I’m sorry I startled you,” Perfuma said and turned to leave. “Think nothing of it.” Adora busied herself with her usual duties for the rest of the morning, but became worried as the hours dragged on and no one heard from Alexis. ‘Something is not right,’ she sensed. ‘We need to go look for her.’ She went to find the others so they could start a search for her. “Alright, Perfuma, you and Frosta should head out towards the Falls. Try to find Mermista and ask if she has seen Alexis. Bow, you, Kowl, and Sweetbee should go to out to Thaymor. Castaspella and She-Ra will check Telan Mountain. She may have gone there to be alone. She could be anywhere. Flutterina and Angella, we’ll need you to scavenge as much of the area by air as you can. Peekablue, you keep searching for her. Glimmer, you stay at Brightmoon in case she shows up there. And Netossa, please stay at the camp in case she comes back. I will get She-Ra so that we can all remain in telepathic contact with each other, “ Adora directed the rebels. “We should all keep our eyes open for the Horde. I have a funny feeling that they are involved in this.” “Do you think they’d hurt her?” Bow asked. “I hope not. Maybe they aren’t even a part of this. But we have to stay on our toes,” Adora responded. “Let’s go!” The day was bright for their search. There was not a cloud in the sky and the wind was almost calm. Adora had just found a quiet place to transform into She-Ra. She had a hard time trying to convince Castaspella to stay behind and wait for her. “It will be faster if I just go with you,” she pressed. Adora was finally able to reason with her. She felt better once she transformed, more confident. She-Ra’s vision was much better than her own and she knew that they would be ready for any attack Hordak could throw at them. She met up Castaspella a few yards away and they began to look for Alexis. “I can’t believe she just wandered off like this in the middle of the night by herself,” Bow muttered. “You mean like you did?” Sweetbee said, trying not to smile. “Well, being around you for too long is enough to drive anyone insane,” Kowl smirked. “Very nice, Kowl. Don’t forget that it was your birdbrain that didn’t think to stop her. Or tell anyone where she had gone for that matter. And at least I took my horse,” Bow retorted, motioning to Arrow. The three were silent for a few moments. A large clamor up ahead, quickened their pace. Sweetbee was the first to discover that Catra was responsible. “What do you suppose she’s doing here?” she whispered when the others caught up to her. They had concealed themselves behind a large granite boulder. Bow pulled her back and held her there as he watched Catra. “You imbeciles can never do anything right. Give me that shovel. I will dig it up myself!” Catra screeched. “But but, Catra, you’re not strong enough to dig through that stuff,” Grizzlor said. “We’ll see about that,” Catra bellowed. She began to tear at the compact surface. Eventually, she was able to start a hole. “Hordak needs a new ragg-berry root for Shadow Weaver’s spell. Our little workers need some ‘inspiration.’ That will keep them quite about their pay raises. And if we don’t come back with it, he will have our hides for dinner tonight. How am I to explain to him that you morons can’t even dig up one little plant?” “So, Catra, it’s good to see that you’re up to your usual. No good,” Sweetbee pronounced. “And it’s not so good to see that now I’ll have to deal with you!” Catra responded. “And me as well,” Bow announced as he stepped out from behind the rock. “Merowr! Today, you are not my problem,” Catra shouted, not the least bit surprised to see Bow, even after the previous night’s events. She knew that he had enough doubts about the Rebellion. It wasn’t necessary for him to quit right away. “Grizzlor, get them!” she ordered. She snatched the plant out of the ground and began to run. “Not this time!” Sweetbee shouted. She formed a honeycomb net between two boulders in front of Catra, knocking her down. Catra scrambled to pick the root up and leave again, but Sweetbee was already forming a net around her. Catra scratched it away and made her way to Sweetbee with her claws extended. “I’ve had about enough of you,” she hissed. She knocked Sweetbee down and landed on top of her. Sweetbee tried to defend herself, but then, suddenly stopped. “You don’t really want to attack me, do you?” Catra asked. The pendant at her neck glistened against the sun’s rays. “All you ever really wanted was to come to Etheria and begin your own kingdom. If you align yourself with Hordak, the power you possess will be limitless.” Catra moved aside to let Sweetbee sit up. “I’m not a fool, Catra,” she retorted. “I know you and I know the Horde.” “You may, but do you know the Rebellion?” Catra took advantage of the doubt she saw in the blonde’s eyes. “How can you be so sure that they are going to let you stay in their band of jackals forever? And is that really where you want you and your people to feel at home? Don’t fight me, Sweetbee. With the Horde, you could have protection. Assurance that you will always have a place to call your own. Stop fooling yourself. Do you really think that the Rebellion can promise you that? And how do you think your people will feel once they know that they are all struggling like moths against an elephant? The Horde is not going anywhere. They’ve been here for twenty years, and they will be here for an eternity longer. Don’t you think that your followers will appreciate the fact that you are a capable leader, smart enough to know where you belong? If you could offer them better protection, they would become a stronger community. They will respect you, Sweetbee.” She could see that she was breaking through to the girl.

Part 5 Sweetbee was trying to fight the ideas that were floating around in her head. She understood what Catra was telling her, but she liked the rebels. But everything Catra was saying was so very tempting that it took all of her strength not to run to the Fright Zone. She felt a loyalty to the Rebellion because they had protected her on more than one occasion. But would they be enough for her and her people? It was quite obvious to her that the Horde was very strong. The Rebellion was not strong enough yet to overthrow them. ‘And they may never be that strong,’ she reasoned. She glanced over at Bow and Grizzlor. Bow was using his bow to keep Grizzlor at a safe distance away from him, but Grizzlor was so strong. She knew that without and help, he would lose this battle. And Leech had already captured Kowl. It was all she needed to see. She turned back to tell Catra that she agreed, but Catra was already gone, along with the ragg-berry plant. She decided that she might as well help Bow out and continue to look for Alexis. But her thoughts were still of Catra’s promise. Once he had gathered himself back together, Bow looked at her and asked,” What happened to Catra?” “Oh, uhh she managed to get away,” Sweetbee stammered. They continued in silence. “She-Ra, we’ve been combing these mountains for hours. She can’t be here,” Castaspella moaned. She-Ra sighed heavily and glanced around as if expecting their friend to appear before them. But not even she was powerful enough to make that happen. They had been wandering in the mountains for what seemed like days. It was late afternoon and wasn’t nearly as sweltering as it had been the entire day, but the women were exhausted. Even She-Ra knew that she wouldn’t be able to continue searching for much longer. They still had heard nothing from Flutterina, Angella, or any of the others. They all checked in with one another briefly, but with no news. She-Ra was having hard time remembering the last time she felt so helpless. She wanted to storm the Fright Zone and demand that Hordak produce Alexis, but they had no proof that the Horde was involved in her disappearance. And as the time lagged on, it seemed more unlikely that they were. Surely by now, they would have made some outlandish demands to the Rebellion in exchange for her release. And She-Ra felt for sure that she would have been able to contact her if she were in the Fright Zone… Unless something terrible had happened to her. But she had considered this possibility as well, and discarded it. Someone would have found out by now. She realized that all there was left to do now was go back to the camp and hold a meeting. Maybe someone would come up with a better plan. “Let’s go back to the Whispering Woods, Casta. She isn’t here. She can’t be.” “I don’t know where else to search,” Frosta said helplessly to Perfuma. “Still no word from Mermista?” she asked. Perfuma shook her head. “No not yet. I really hate to say this, but I think it may be hopeless. I mean, there are a million places on Etheria where she could have gone.” Frosta agreed. “I know, but she is our friend and we have to keep looking.” “But we’ve already searched this whole area,” Perfuma pointed out. Why don’t we wait and see if Mermista has found anything, and then decide where to go from there?” Frosta suggested. “I think she went to the swamps over by the Fright Zone. I hope she gets back soon,” Perfuma shivered. “That place is so creepy. I don’t know how she can go out there by herself.” “Something is bothering me about this whole mess,” Frosta whispered. Her friend almost didn’t even hear her. “What do you mean?” she asked. “It’s just a feeling, I suppose,” Frosta replied. She was looking at Perfuma and saw a shadow steal across the clearing. “But speaking of the Horde… It looks as though we may get some answers after all. Lets go!” “Wait!” Perfuma shouted. “What about Mermista?” “Oh,” Frosta paused. “You stay here. I can handle this. I’ll be right back!” She turned and ran in the direction of the clearing. She moves as quickly as she could between the trees without being noticed. She finally caught up with the figure. Perfuma began to pace in front of the Falls. ‘Why isn’t she back yet?’ she thought. She wasn’t sure who she was more worried about, Frosta or Mermista. She could have been just worried about herself, she thought. She rubbed her arms as she felt a slight chill. ‘That’s funny. There’s no breeze.’ She decided it was best to ignore it. The sun cast long shadows onto the ground, but the air was still warm. She was looking at the ground as she continued to pace, and almost bumped right into Catra. “Oh!” she gasped. “Fantastic,” Catra whined and threw up her arms. “Another rebel. Will this day never end?” “And what are you up to?” Perfuma asked. She tried to regain her composure and appear as threateningly as she could. “Merowr... well, you could just say that I’m out smelling the flowers,” Catra smiled slyly. “You aren’t fit to even look at them,” Perfuma spat. “Is that so? We’ll see about that!” Catra pulled her arm back and hit Perfuma in her side, hard. It knocked her back, but she quickly lunged for Catra. “I don’t need any trouble with you today, Perfuma,” Catra hissed. “I wasn’t the one that came looking for it either. I don’t know what you’re doing here, but I’m going to stop you anyway,” Perfuma replied. She was able to grab a handful of Catra’s hair. She pulled Catra’s head back and grabbed one of her arms, “What is it you want here? And where is Alexis?” Catra ducked around her and pulled her hair back from Peruma’s grasp. “I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about,” she huffed. “Now, if you know what’s best, you will just let me leave, peacefully.” “Let’s not waste anymore time then. We both know that you don’t know how to be ‘peaceful,’” Perfuma chuckled. She moved to push Catra back, but Catra stood her ground. “You asked for it,” she mouthed. “Mantenna! Grizzlor! Get over here now! Hurry!” The two henchmen stumbled out to the Falls. “Get her!” she commanded them. They grabbed her by her arms, and before she could utter a scream, Catra covered her mouth. “I’ll tell you what. I am going to leave here without any trouble from you, but first, you are going to have to listen to me.” Catra fumbled with the pendant at her neck. Perfuma’s eyes were wide and she continued to struggle against the men. “Stop doing that,” Catra ordered her as she caught her gaze. Suddenly, Perfuma’s limbs stopped moving. Try as she might, she could not make them budge. “That’s better,” her enemy laughed. “Now you listen to me. We both know you’re no kind of warrior. You’re as hopeless as those little pansies you create. You are no match for us; any of us.” Catra sauntered up to the girl and cupped her chin in her hand. “But… I’ll bet you don’t know what the rebels really think of you. Do you?” Perfuma narrowed her eyes in suspicion at the cat. But Catra was enjoying herself and she didn’t even notice. “Your ‘friends.’ ‘Your allies.’ Why, I believe they actually referred to you as a nuisance once. I understand that you’re shocked, but it’s time someone showed you just how wonderful those rebels really are. Even Bow once said that you could never be useful to them because you’ll only cower against the Horde. If he were smart, he would be doing the same thing though. I can see that you don'’ believe me, but you will. And do you know why?” Perfuma shook her head. “Because deep down inside, you do have your doubts. You know that there is a slight chance I am right. And you will go back to that camp and keep a watchful eye on your so-called ‘friends’ until you see that I am right. Nothing will convince you better than seeing it with your own eyes. But for now, I must be going. You take care!” Catra remarked, sarcastically. “Come on you two. We have to get back at once.” Mantenna and Grizzlor let Perfuma go. Catra let he fall to the ground before she let her move again. Perfuma jumped up at once and shook her fist at Catra. “I don’t believe you. You are full of disgusting lies. My friends wouldn’t betray me!” “Believe what you want, Perfuma,” Catra howled. She pushed Mantenna and Grizzlor along as they made their way back to the Fright Zone. Perfuma continued to watch them and was suddenly jerked back to reality at the sound of Mermista’s voice. She turned and saw her friend swimming in the water of the Crystal Falls. “Oh, Perfuma. Where is Frosta?” “She saw something and went to find out what it was,” Perfuma responded. “Well, did you find anything?” “I swam all over the Fright Zone and I saw nothing. I even hid and listened to the guards’ conversations to see if they might reveal what cell she is in, but I heard nothing. They were having the usual banter about the slaves, but no one said a word about Alexis at all. I am sorry, but I don’t think she is there.” “You did your best, Mermista. Thank you for the help. Once I tell Frosta…” Perfuma began “Tell me what?” Frosta asked as she walked over to the girls. “Mermista didn’t find any sign of her,” Perfuma answered. Frosta frowned, “Oh. Maybe we should just go back to the camp and wait for She-Ra.” She waved to Mermista; “We’ll let you know if we find her.” “Please do!” Mermista cried. “I will go to the Woods later on once I can get away from my duties here.” She waved back to them and dove under the water. “What did you find?” Perfuma asked Frosta. “What?” She shook her head. “Oh, it was just a girl that was lost. It wasn’t the Horde after all…” she gazed out at the water, at the spot where Mermista had just departed. There were large ripples moving along its surface now. “What is bothering you?” Perfuma asked. “I wish I knew. Let’s go back to the camp,” Frosta said as she looked at her friend. Perfuma decided not to tell her about the encounter with Catra. She was sure now that the Horde had no idea where Alexis was. However, she was not so sure that Catra had been lying; at least, not entirely. The two women solemnly retraced their steps back to the Woods. “You oaf! Do you want her to see us?” Shadow Weaver demanded. She was outside (somewhere) with Imp. Shadow Weaver noticed a shadow passing them overhead and saw that it was Flutterina. “I never did get the butterfly I wanted for my collection because of that She-Ra. But this time, her friend is alone and no one will even notice that she’s missing.” Shadow Weaver waited for her moment and advanced on Flutterina. She cast a spell that created a cloud of shadows around her. "What? Is anyone there?" Flutterina asked frantically as she was enveloped in the shadows. "Angella?" She furrowed her brows and flew above the cloud, narrowly escaping Shadow Weaver's plan of her capture. Seeing that she was free, she made her way back to the Woods as fast as she could. She didn’t stop to even look behind her. "I will get that girl!" Shadow Weaver vowed, shaking her hand at the sky which had turned dark with the coming of nightfall, and disappeared into her own cloud of smoke. Far away in a dark tower of the Fright Zone, was a frightened Alexis. Mirabel was pacing back and forth in front of her figure. She was chained to a wall and watched her captor curiously. "What is it that you want with me?" she asked finally. "Your time will come," was her answer. "And what do you mean by that?" "Silence!" Mirabel demanded. "I am working on it now. Catra will soon have Bow forgetting your very existence" "That will never happen!" Alexis shouted. Mirabel laughed in reply. "Is that so? Maybe there are some things you have yet to learn about your lover. Maybe I should mention how he dreams about your enemy. He wakes in the middle of the night and finds himself searching for her instead of you." Mirabel could hold back her laughter no longer. "You can't do this to me... to him!" Alexis cried. "I already have," Mirabel chuckled. With a wave of her hand, all Alexis could do was watch the scene on her cell wall, horrified, as Bow awoke from a restless slumber and sought out Catra. He wandered outside of Whispering Woods, almost all the way to the Swan Inn when he finally found her... "Catra!" Bow exclaimed. That's funny. I was just thinking about you..." "Rrreally?" she purred and moved closer to him. "I hope they were pleasant thoughts" "You are all that I can think about now," he whispered. "You're in my thoughts constantly, and now you're even in my dreams. Catra, I can't just pretend that you mean nothing to me. I don't know how... or why. but I'm drawn to you. I can't explain it. None of this makes any sense. I came out here hoping to see you. And here you are." "Well, Bow. I Don't know what to say," Catra said him as she placed her hand to the pendant at her chest. She could feel its temperature rise, and she noticed the look in Bow's eyes. They became glassy and he was gazing at her, enchanted again. Catra silently thanked the Gods for her good fortune. She prayed that Bow would forget about Alexis forever. Now was her chance. "Why don't we go to Lavender Pond. We can have some time to ourselves. Maybe I can help you sort this mess out," she suggested. Bow almost nodded his head in agreement with her. She probably could have told him to stab himself at that point and he would have listened... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Noooooooo!" Alexis howled. "You can't do this to him! You can't do this to me!" she cried. Mirabel was gloating as she pulled the projection of Bow and Catra off the wall with her right hand. She flounced her blond hair around as she turned to Alexis, as if flaunting a victory. "There's not a thing you can do to stop me, little one," she chuckled. "And I can do much worse. So I'd watch my tongue if I were you. I am an assassin. And if I become bored with you, I will add your name to my list of 'unfortunates.'" All Alexis could do was sob. She knew there was no way she could escape the handcuffs that held her to the wall. And even if she could, she wouldn't make it past the bars. Her cell was quite large and she'd have to make a dash across the cell and somehow find a way past the thick bars. Mirabel was very powerful. Alexis was no fool. The woman didn't even need doors. She would know if Alexis tried anything. And the last thing Alexis wanted was to die. How could she warn her friends about what was happening to them if she was dead? Mirabel was disgusted at the site of the pitiful girl's sobbing. Her heavy cape flared out as she turned and disappeared. "Oh, Bow. Please don't let them do this to you," Alexis begged. She struggled with the handcuffs, furiously, for a few moments. But she knew it was in vain. Only the dark walls could hear her. She passed out from fear and exhaustion.

Part 6 .... He would have listened if he hadn't seen the pendant Catra was fiddling with. The strange shade of red caught his attention. It reminded him of something... Alexis's hair in the sunset. He shook his head as he saw a flash of her. "I have to go," he murmured. "But, Bow..." Catra began. "What?" he shouted suddenly. "What do you want with me? Wait a minute. Do you know where Alexis is?" "What?" Cat hissed. "What are you talking about?" Bow grabbed her shoulders and shook her violently. "I don't know what you're up to, but I am ordering you to tell me where Alexis is now!" Catra was on the verge of tears, "Let me go!" He shoved her away and she fell. She sat on her side as she glared up at him. She used her hand to pull her hair away from her eyes. "I don't know what you 'think' I am doing. I thought we might possibly being calling a true between each other. But now you're accusing me of holding your girlfriend prisoner. Rowr! You have gone too far. Maybe you should learn how to keep better ties to her before you accuse me. Hiss. Now get out of my way before I claw your eyes out. She jumped up and lunged for him, but he grabbed her wrist and held her steady. He glared at her, "Now look what you've done, Catra. You've made me even more suspicious. I'd watch my little tail if I were you because I may just come along and cut it off while you're not looking. And if I do find out that you were involved with her disappearance, you will be the first little kitty that will use up every one of her nine lives in a minute's time. I hope I make myself clear." "Cryssstal," she pulled her arm away and fled. Alexis tossed her head side to side and groaned. Her arms were numb from being chained to the wall for so long. The air still held the musty smell that was becoming all too familiar with Alexis. She was afraid to open her eyes because she knew the scene before her had not changed any. A deep depression was beginning to seep into her psyche. She knew the source; her friends. Where were they? Why hasn’t anyone tried to save her? But a deeper thought troubled her all the more; where was Bow? Then she thought, bitterly, “He’s probably painting the town with Catra. How could he betray me- How could he betray the rebellion? He practically started it and now he’s deserting them for Catra.” The name left a sour taste in her mouth, and tears in her eyes. For the first time in months, she longed to be back on Earth, even though it was only a wasteland now. She tried for what had to be the thousandth time to kneel. She wanted to give her arms a break from the strain. She thought she had moved them, but she couldn’t be sure. All she felt now was pain… She slowly lowered her head and was about to sleep again, when she saw a flash out of the corner of her eye. She was certain her mind was playing games with her when she saw Bow’s cape. She tried to call out to him, but her voice was hoarse. “Bow,” she whimpered. It hurt when she tried to yell, but he hadn’t heard her. She forced herself to call out to him again. This time, she had managed to find her voice. He barely heard her, but he had turned around. Alexis’ heart began to race. It was really him! He had been searching for her. “Alexis?” he murmured. He rushed to her cell door and tried to bust it open. He was about to reach for a blast arrow. “No no,” Alexis whispered. “She’ll hear you.” Bow looked at her questioningly. “Mirabel,” she answered. “We’ve underestimated her. She’s very strong. You have to make sure she doesn’t find out you’re here.” Bow nodded and reached into his quiver. He revealed a very small arrowhead. He furrowed his brow and began to work on the lock. Within seconds, he had the door open. He ran to Alexis and freed her from the chains. She collapsed to the floor and he held her for a moment. “I’m so sorry I didn’t find you sooner. You’re so weak. If I didn’t find you, you may not have had much longer…” Alexis used the last bit of her strength to raise her head so she could look into his eyes, “Don’t talk like that. You’re here now. You didn’t leave me.” She actually managed a smile. “Leave you?” a look of confusion crossed his face. “Honey, I love you.” He leaned over her and kissed her tenderly. She had never felt anything so wonderful in her entire life. After being locked up in the cell for days, she didn’t think that she would ever leave. And now Bow was with her… She felt complete again. Bow gently picked her up in his arms and was about to take her out of the dungeon when they heard an evil chuckle in the distance. “Oh no,” Alexis hushed. “Wake up, girl!” Mirabel commanded. Alexis opened her eyes and cried out. It had all been a dream. Bow wasn’t here. She was alone… alone with this monster before her. “It seems that things are not going according to my plan. I knew I couldn’t trust that buffoon, Catra,” Mirabel paced in front of her. “No matter. I’ll just have Grizzlor here keep an eye on you while I head out to Galacia to finish what’s begun. I have worked far too long to have that cat mess things up now. I just thought I’d wake you so you could see who I’ve chosen to keep you company. I’m sure you’ll miss me!” Mirabel’s eyes were like stone. Alexis felt a chill as she gazed up at her. The witch’s evil laughter haunted her and left her feeling nauseous. Her captor vanished, and she was left with the heavy breathing of the beast that would keep watch over her. She couldn’t even look at him. All she could do was sob. “Oh, Bow. Where are you?” she wept. Catra and Mirabel stood on a small hill overlooking Castle Chill. The sun’s rays glistened in the snow and made it sparkle as if millions of finite crystals were scattered across the ground. The weight of the heavy air matched the stress that could be felt between the two women. Mirabel towered triumphantly over Catra. Her long cloak just reached the ground and grazed the snow. She was not about to give up in her quest. Catra’s mishaps had only been minor setbacks in her eyes. She would still have her chance. Catra, on the other hand, was slouched. She knew that she was responsible for what had happened with Bow. Her cheeks flushed as the thought of him entered her mind. No matter what he had said or done to her, she still cared for him more deeply than he could ever know. And she knew that her only chance to win him over again was to obey Mirabel. Mirabel was angry with her, but she also felt a certain fondness for the girl, as if she were a younger sister. She was allowing her this one last chance to prove herself. Even her duties with the Horde couldn’t hold her back from trying to win Bow’s affection. She had completely disregarded every one of Hordak’s orders in the past three days. Mirabel looked on at Castle Chill and then to Catra. “You know the plan. All you have to do is convince Frosta that the rebels do not trust her. They believe that she is responsible for Lexy’s disappearance and they are going to storm her castle until they find her.” “But what if she doesn’t believe me? Frosta is very smart. She might see right through me,” Catra protested. “She won’t. As long as you have that pendant, she will agree with everything you say. I got the stone from a very powerful wizard right before I killed him. Most of his power lies within that stone and it is in my control now. You have nothing to worry about. Just reassure her that you are her ally and then bring her to me. I’ll be in the courtyard behind the castle, waiting for you.” Catra nodded. She believed the story behind the pendant. Mirabel was a very serious woman, and very ruthless. Slowly, she made her way to the castle. She didn’t mind the cold; she actually preferred it. It was a definite improvement over the slave mines. She had been there on occasion before. Catra had only met Frosta a few times. She knew that Frosta was very strong. She hoped that the pendant would work, but she was still very doubtful. The main entrance to the castle was lightly guarded. Frosta never had much need for an army to guard the castle because Hordak had always thought Galacia was a waste of time for him. He was always too busy trying to take over the Whispering Woods. The guards noticed her at once and stood taller. Catra pulled her cape around her neck. As she made her way to the castle, she touched the pendant. “I have come to speak with Frosta. I have some very important news for her. I am not here to harm her.” The two guards stared at her and then at each other. One was very young, probably no older than seventeen. He almost looked comical in his outfit. The hat he wore on his head was a bit too large for him and hung just above his eyes. The other guard was older. He had a thick mustache and was very well built. He did not seem as convinced as the younger guard about Catra’s story. She stood closer to him and held her hand to her throat again. “Please, I must see her.” He thought for a moment and then gestured, “This way.” She followed him through the main corridor. The castle was a very elaborate ice crystal. It was surprisingly warm inside. Along the walls were many tapestries and rows of crystal statues. The walls themselves reflected like mirrors. The ground was very smooth. She felt as though she were gliding through the castle. They finally reached the throne room, which was guarded by a few more guards. Two were young men and one was a woman. The older man told her to wait with them until he spoke with Frosta. She agreed. This was Catra’s first visit to the castle, and she drank the site of it in. She didn’t even notice the two male guards gawking at her.

Part 7 “I’m not waiting around here anymore, Adora,” Bow argued. “And just what are you going to do, Bow? We do not know where Alexis is. Besides, we need to stay together.” “Adora, that is insane. We have had these little search parties for days no and there’s no sign of her. I don’t care what you think about it…I think she’s locked up in the Fright Zone. And I’m going to get her out.” “Bow please,” Adora begged. “You have no idea what you’d be going up against. We’ll make a plan and go there together. If we break apart now, we have no chance of getting her back safely.” “Adora,” Perfuma spoke up. “Yes?” “What if this really has nothing to do with the Horde? What if we are facing something more powerful?” she asked. Adora quickly dismissed the idea. “That’s not possible. I would know. I have to agree with Bow on this one.” “That’s different!” Bow exclaimed. Glimmer couldn’t help but smile at him. She had been listening to the argument. “But it does make more sense,” she said. “We would have known by now if someone else was involved.” “You’re right. I suppose they would have just jumped right out and announced their arrival,” Perfuma remarked. No one seemed to notice the tone in her voice. They continued to make plans. It had been decided (without her) that Alexis had to be in the Fright Zone, and they were going to get her back. Perfuma left them and ran into Sweetbee on her way out of the Woods. “Where are you going in such a rush?” she asked. “Oh,” Perfuma exclaimed. “I didn’t see you. Sorry.” She looked at the trees. “I was just leaving. I can see that I’m not wanted here.” “Don’t be silly, Perfuma. What is it?” She could see that her friend was serious. “They insist that Hordak is holding Lexy prisoner. I just think that they’re wrong, and that they should think before just heading into the Fright Zone,” she spat. Sweetbee was shocked,” They’re going to the Fright Zone? Well, why didn’t they tell anyone? They’re going to need help.” “Apparently, they don’t think so.” Perfuma stalked away, leaving behind a bewildered Sweetbee.

Part 8 Catra made her way to Frosta’s throne. She moved stealthily, as if ready to pounce. She was nervous that she would be ambushed if she got too close to the Empress. “What do you want, Catra?” Frosta demanded sharply. “I am very busy, and I’m warning you that I have no time for any games.” Catra stood firm, despite her uneasiness. “I have a proposition for you,” she began. “And what you makes you think I’d make any deal with you?” Frosta spoke as if to a bug. “Because I more about your own friends than you do. Or should I say ‘enemies?’” Catra tilted her head, slyly as she pronounced the last word. “Perhaps you didn’t hear me the first time. I said that I was much too busy…” “I think you will find the time to listen to me,” Catra purred. “Especially when I tell you that the Rebellion is making plans to take over your very kingdom.” “And what proof do you have?” Frosta asked, calmly. “Well, I can’t show you any proof right now, but I can tell you that they believe that you are holding Alexis,” Catra continued. “And they are planning an ambush on you at this very moment. You know, Adora is the leader of the entire mess. She said that she always suspected you weren’t to be trusted.” “Oh she said that?” Frosta was amused by what was being suggested to her. “I know you don’t believe me, but you have to admit that Adora has always been jealous of you. Her wildest wish is to have a kingdom like yours. You and I both know she is power hungry. Look how quickly she took the Rebellion away from Bow and Glimmer. Then she is brazen enough to belittle them in front of the very people they used to lead against us.” Catra could tell by the look in Frosta’s eyes that she had hit a nerve so she went on. “You know yourself that she doesn’t think you are a capable leader, at least, not as much as her.” Frosta had stepped down from her throne and walked slowly over to Catra. She could not think of anything to say in defense of Adora. Catra prowled around her, knowing that she was slowly going to have control over Frosta, as long as she kept her cool. “You’ve seen her look at you with contempt, haven’t you? You know exactly what I’m talking about,” she paused. She wanted Frosta to have a moment to think about everything. “You know…” she said. “If you swore your allegiance to the Horde, you could still rule this kingdom and have another entire army at your disposal for the Rebellion’s little uproars.” Frosta quickly came to her senses. “Oh so that’s your game, is it? I have news for you, Catra. I will never join the Horde. And furthermore, I know for a fact that Adora would never try to ambush me. She is my friend. I’m so sorry that you have no concept of the term. Now if you’ll excuse me…” she turned away. Catra became frantic, and then she remembered the pendant. She touched it and felt the familiar fire within the stone. “Wait,” she cried as she gripped Frosta’s shoulder. The woman turned and gazed at her with disinterest. “What is it now?” “I just want you to think about what you’re giving up by continuing this pathetic attempt to overthrow the Horde. Face it, Frosta. The Horde is a very powerful force. It has remained in power for twenty years now. Only your family has been in power longer. And it has only been so because your position was inherited. The Horde never wanted to be your enemy. We have always wanted to be your ally. It was only when you chose to help the Rebels that you made yourselves our enemies. You are a woman of power, Frosta. Don’t throw that all away for those ingrates. They don’t appreciate you. They never have. You and I both know that’s true. Join the side that will allow you to live out your greatest potential. You know that your kingdom was meant for so much more. It won’t be if you continue to help those Rebels.” Catra had a glint in her eye as she spoke the words. They seemed to flow like honey. And she could see that she was breaking down Frosta’s wall of defense. Frosta’s doubt about her friends was clear. ‘What have they ever really done for me anyway?’ she thought. ‘And Catra is right. I have seen he way Adora looks down on me. She does think she could do a much better job than I do. Running a Rebellion and ruling a Kingdom are two very different things. But Adora is power hungry. She treats Glimmer as if she were just a child. And Bow…’ Frosta fought the tears that were forming in her eyes. She couldn’t let Catra see that she was crestfallen. All she ever really wanted was for the Polar Caps to be as wonderful as they were when her parents were alive. She always feared that she would never be able to live up to their legend. But if she joined the Horde, she would have so much more power. Perhaps the Kingdom could be restored to the greatness that it was in the past if she was not constantly fighting with the Horde. Maybe the Horde would even bring back some of the richness that the kingdom now lacked. Frosta bit her lip and turned to face Catra. “If I agree to join forces with the Horde, how can I be certain that I will still have my power as leader, and that the people here will not just become more slaves for Hordak?” “What can I give you besides my word?” Catra exclaimed. “You are a very strong leader, Frosta. You and I both know what you are capable of. Now is your chance to prove that to everyone, especially the rebels… And Adora.” As She-Ra and Bow made their way inside the Fright Zone, they tried to remain as quite as possible. Bow was actually amazed that She-Ra seems to know exactly where she was going. She had found a secret tunnel that led to the jail cells. He was glad that she had convinced him to allow her to join him. Perfuma and Sweetbee had remained at the Woods, still certain that the Horde was not behind Lexy’s disappearance at all. Glimmer and a handful of rebels including Flutterina fended off any Horde troopers that might stray across the opening that She-Ra had made in an unobtrusive wall underneath the Fright Zone. So far, no troopers had found their way towards them. She-Ra and Bow continued to scavenge through the basement, but Bow’s hope was deteriorating by the second. He knew before they came across the last sequence of cells that Alexis was no in the Fright Zone. They began to free the other prisoners, and She-Ra noticed a strange green glow in one of the cells. “Bow, come look at this,” she commented. “What is it?” he asked as he freed a grateful old man who was mumbling praises to him. “This,” she pointed. A figure began to emerge in the haze. First the blond hair was present, and then her entire figure. It was Mirabel! “So,” she hissed. “I see you’ve come looking for ‘Alexis.’ As you can see, she is not here.” She cackled as she announced, “She is within a cell in my quarters.” Bow raised his Bow, ready to strike her, but was surprised as the smoke overcame She-Ra and him. He could not steady his arrow enough to get a clear shot at Mirabel because the smoke was choking them. A moment later, they were inside Mirabel’s chambers, and the smoke disintegrated. Alexis noticed the commotion and looked up. She was not certain if she was dreaming or not when she saw She-Ra and Bow materialize. She was so overcome with hopelessness that she passed out again. Mirabel laughed maniacally as she watched the girl. “Foolish earthling girl.” She turned to her enemies. “So what’s she worth to you?” Infuriated, Bow was crouched, ready to attack when Mirabel introduced her surprise ally: Frosta. Catra led her out into the light so that She-Ra and Bow could see her. “Now,” Mirabel commanded. “Freeze them!” Frosta raised her arm as she sobbed. Despite the hatred that she felt towards Catra and Mirabel, she felt that she had no choice. ‘For my kingdom,” she thought as she allowed herself to release a freeze ray towards her former friends. She-Ra and Bow and Bow didn’t even have a chance to brace themselves for the effects of Frosta’s ray… But a web-like barrier caught the ray. Sweetbee proceeded to fly around Frosta, rendering her helpless as she wrapped a honeycomb net around her. Perfuma threw a seed at Mirabel, hoping it would slow the evil woman down, and cause her to fall into to a deep sleep. She-Ra was almost reduced to tears as she watched her friends come to their rescue. But their victory was far from developing. Frosta had frozen Sweetbee’s net, and had already stopped Sweetbee from further assisting the Rebels. She had already directing herself towards Perfuma when She-Ra saw what was happening. Catra was willing her to continue her assault. “They were never really your friends! You have to stop them from succeeding. It’s the only way you’ll really be free.” Frosta’s only comfort was to give herself up. She was a mindless zombie at Catra’s will as she attacked the Rebels; unaware of the pain she was causing. ‘For my kingdom,” she thought over and over. ‘It’s the only way to really protect my kingdom.’ “No, Frosta!” She-Ra screamed as she tried to break through to her friend. “You’re not part of the Horde. You never were. You were always a Rebel. And we need you now!” Frosta shook her head. She had always considered herself a Rebel, even though she lived far from Whispering Woods. The Rebels had always called her family; they never questioned her. And they were not about to start now… “Frosta, we are still your friends,” She-Ra encouraged her. “No matter what, we will always support you.” Mirabel and Catra could see that She-Ra was getting through to Frosta. They turned their attention to Alexis; where’s Bow’s attention had been all along. He aimed at Catra’s heart, and was about to release an explosion arrow, when he turned to Mirabel at the last second. She had no time to react as the arrow cracked through her sternum. In seconds, she herself, was reduced to nothing more than a cloud of smoke. Catra screamed as she closed her eyes while the arrow approached her ally. She did not see the arrow strike Mirabel. Alexis awoke to Catra’s scream and watched Mirabel fall to the ground and disappear. Catra was in tears and did not open her eyes for a few moments, as she was sure the arrow had struck her. Alexis watched her, curiously. Taking advantage that Catra was detained; Bow tried to free Alexis. He was able to break the lock on her cell door, and grabbed her into his arms. Alexis was no sure whether or not she dreaming, and began to cry again… ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~` And then Alexis woke in her tent. The sun was just breaking over the horizon. She rose and watched it make it’s way through the trees. Adora awoke shortly after, and they prepared a small breakfast before the other Rebels woke up. Alexis was quite shaken by her dream. She could not helping herself from asking Adora, “Is Mirabel really gone?” Adora smiled at her new friend as she replied, patiently, “Who is Mirabel?”