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YEAR OF HELL
 

 

Deep in the cellar of Snake Mountain, surrounded by absolute darkness, was the laboratories and accommodations of Evil-Lyn. This demon that was quite dangerous, even for Skeletor. She was a riddle to both the side of goodness and the side of evil. She wasn’t just one of the brainless soldiers of the Lord of Destruction. She didn't just wait for her orders and hope to play an important part in the conquering Eternia. This didn’t meant that she didn’t work for Skeletor. She could feel his wraith just like everyone else and knew it. But he thought twice before crossing her. `Cause he knew, she had power. Great power. And that he would never be able to control her. So was allowed some special freedoms. The freedom of being alone for example. For months she hadn’t come out of her lab, and no one had been allowed to interrupt her. But now Skeletor was tired of it. He flung open the door to the cellar. "Where are you, witch?" The room was completely filled with dark fog. He couldn’t see anything. "Evil-Lyn!" "Here, Skeletor." She turned on a small light. He went over to her. She sat in front of two empty view screens, her smile illustrated her satisfaction. "Enough!" he shouted in rage. "Since your last plan failed, you’ve been sitting here, doing nothing, while we..." "...while you do what?" she asked irritated. "While you sit up there and do nothing? You've only attempted one or two foolish attacks while I’ve been down here. Or did you think, I don’t know? All I hear from you is big talk, but that those Eternian fools ask themselves often if we’re here still, that’s, what you don’t know. They’re getting so careless that my plan will work perfectly." "Oh, a plan!" he said angered. "And when did you think to tell me?" "When the Royal Family was disintegrated. Shut your mouth again and look here." She switched on one of the view screens. The royal courtyard became visible. Orko and another, female Trollan played with a few children. Farther away, there sat a young woman with long, blonde hair, who was apparently drawing the scene. Her blue dress was very wide but didn’t hide her large belly, on which she placed her hand from time to time and smiled lightly. "The Princess herself" Skeletor murmured. "Not even a year here and she's already pregnant. Now I understand the quick wedding with that clown of warrior she had. The child should arrive very soon now..." "Tonight" Evil-Lyn informed him. "It will be a surprise... But that isn’t what interests me... oh, no!" Two men joined Adora. Both of them carried a baby. "The son and the grandchildren of the King." The Lord of Destruction shook his head. "Those fools reproduce like rats. What a wasteland of life..." "That’s true. But it should be over soon." The witch took on the other view screen. Again the men with the babies became visible. But this time, from Adora's point of view. "What the hell..." "Well, Skeletor..." Evil-Lyn leaned back. "What you don’t know, is, that a few months ago, when you had kidnapped the Princess, I was pretty busy. She has a gadget in her neck, which sends me her thoughts. Not all of them, a certain part is closed off. I can’t see into it. It has to be an unbelievable secret, a unknown power that stops my control over her mind. But I can see enough. In these months past, I have found out enough about her structure of thoughts to bring some... memories into her mind, if I want to. Indirectly, of course. Let me see..." She concentrated shortly. The view screen changed, when Adora looked at Bow. "I have managed to drive her thoughts in a certain direction" Evil-Lyn explained. "I usually don’t know, what will happen next. I can lead her into the darkest corners of her soul. What’s there? Oh, I'll tell you, Skeletor, makes us look good compared to it." Her master didn’t answer. He looked at the screen, fascinated. The normal one showed a laughing Princess, when her husband kissed her. He couldn’t hear anything, but he could imagine the sentimental rubbish well enough. The second screen showed how Adora was reminded by Bow's kiss of a passionate night with him. Skeletor turned away, disgusted. "The human method of reproduction is so primitive!" "I agree. But now comes the most interesting part. For reasons you’ll understand soon, the term sex has two totally different meanings for the Princess. The lighter side is that one. This one comes if she’s with that warrior. But she’s always wandering on a very thin line between this lighter and the other one, which I try to bring her into now. It’s not very difficult, I have managed it often before. Look, master." Darker and darker grew thememories of the Princess. Skeletor's eyes widened. The man who was in Adora's mind now was all too familiar to him. "Hordak!" "Exactly." Stunned, the Lord of Destruction watched his old enemy undress Adora, who was chained to a stone bench, and raped her so brutally, that even he felt slightly ill. This had always been the difference between Hordak and himself. He would have just loved to see the whole Royal Family dead. But as long as they stayed dead, then he saw no reason for torturing them. At least, not with such cruelty.Evil-Lyn didn’t seem to care. "Yes, that’s it. Poor child, isn’t she? I would have mercy, if I had a heart... Hordak has style, don’t you think?" Style? How could you speak of style now? Skeletor suppressed this strange thoughts. If he didn’t knew better, he would have said, he had suddenly became good. But he couldn’t look at the scene. Something in him seemed to break, when he saw the tears of the Princess, how she bit on her lower lip to keep from screaming because of physical and psychic pain she felt. He seemed to hear her silentscreams... Damnit! She was his arch-enemy! "So what now?" he asked the witch. "I’ll explain soon enough... I only want to test if I can control the second memory too... Yeah, here it is. The daughter of the King at fourteen." Skeletor shook his head slowly. God in heaven, why had Hordak let one of his monsters rape a child? He turned away from the screens. He was afraid he would throw up if he watched it any longer. "What’s this all about, witch?" "The consequence you see here." The other view screen showed that Adora had fainted. Worried, Bow held her tightly while Adam came back with Man-At-Arms. "He won’t notice more than a little high blood pressure" Evil-Lyn laughed. "This nice little gadget of mine can do much more. The pressure of bad memories has often made her faint in the last weeks. And no one realizes thatI am responsible for it. As soon as she blacks out, the memories get more intense, so intense, that her soul can’t take it. She’s going more and more crazy." "I don’t see, why how can be useful to us," Skeletor said, showing no interest. "The weaker, her soul gets, the stronger my power over her becomes. I’ll control her more and more and make her obey me without even realizing it. She’ll kill her entire family. And I’m sure, with her help we will even be able to get rid of He-Man and She-Ra. This time, the Sorceress' tricks won’t help. Andif I have to kill them ten different ways." "I suggest, you let me do that" Skeletor mentioned harshly. "How long will it take?" "A year perhaps. It’s not easy. But I’m sure, I can do it. Until then, you shouldn’t attack anymore. They shall become completely careless. Then I can strike." "Do it." He turned around. He didn’t understand it, but his voice didn’t seem to belong to him when he asked: "Do you have to torture the girl that much?" "What?" "Forget it. Go on." He left. Thoughtfully, Evil-Lyn looked at the screens. Weakness. He hadshown weakness. Which meant- her power over him grew stronger. She nodded, smiling cruelly. Princess Adora wouldn’t be the only psycho in a year. Then she would triumph.

"I’d really like to know, what’s going on" Bow said quietly. He sat atAdora’s bed with her parents and Adam. "Me too" The Princess sat straight up with pillows at the back. She didn’t look ill, actually she wasn’t either. "This is getting really annoying." She tied her hair back and moved her neck with a painful grimace. "I’m completely tensed up. For weeks I haven’t feel well. Of course we could say it’s because of the pregnancy, I mean, tomorrow is the day the child is due, but I think, something else is making me sick." A short pause. "Bow knows,what I mean." He nodded. "The nightmares have started again." "But- Adora, I thought, you have worked through that" the Queen said worried." "I had. I don’t know, why I am dreaming about it again. When I blacked out, it was worse. Then it was all really happening again... Besides... You know the feeling that you don’t want to think of something." "Of course" Randor agreed. "Mostly, you are forced to think of it just then." "That’s exactly what has been happening to me for weeks" his daughter explained. "It’s a feeling that I do not have in my head voluntarily. It's as if there is pressure from outside... I can’t explain it. But one thing is for sure..." She looked around slowly. "I can’t stand it much longer." Before anyone could speak, someonefrom outside knocked. Orko and Dree-Elle came in, hand in hand. The Trollan girl flew to Adora immediately, "Princess! Excuse me, but I heard the last thing you said, and I think I know what’s going on!" Astonished, the others looked at her. "She always had special abilities" Orko said with pride in his voice. "I realized it before, when you got fainted, Adora, and now I’m absolutely sure: You have an alien element in your neck." Terrified, Adora touched her throat. "Call for Man-At-Arms" the King shouted immediately to the guards. "Have no fear, darling. If there is something there, we’ll remove it."
And so it happened. Duncan came at once. He examined Adora, but couldn’t find anything, as he hadn’t been able to for the last few weeks. "It doesn’t mean anything" he murmured. "I’ll look deeper. I have to ask you all to leave this room, except you, Dree-Elle. You can help me, if you want to." "Of course." Worried, the others left. "Princess, I only can give you a local anesthetic, because of the child." "It’s okay. I’m not allergic to pain." She pulled herhair forward. Man-At-Arms gave her an injection and touched her lightly with a scalpel. "Do you feel anything?" "No." "Good. Dree-Elle..." The Trollan concentrated and marked a little point on Adora's pale skin. "Directly over the spine" Duncan groaned. "Whoever did that to you, Princess, has done good work. Don’t move now, please."

"Blast!" Evil-Lyn startled. "What is it?" Skeletor asked. "They found the transporter!" She destroyed the view screens in her rage. "Then we have to use plan B. If I can’t destroy her soul, I’ll destroy her body. In a year, Skeletor, as I said. And this can’t be stopped." "I don’t care about that" he hissed. "I don’t want your help anymore! Consider yourself exiled from Snake Mountain!" "What?" Astonished, she looked at him. Threateningly, he held up his staff. "Go! Before I make food for Panthor out of you!" She had been defeated. "Fine, Skeletor. I’ll go. But we'll meet again, I swear!" She disappeared, leaving only a black cloud. "Yes, I count on that" he murmured.

Man-At-Arms was nervous. This was more difficult than he had imagined. One false move and the Princess would die, or be paralyzed for the rest of her life. But he had to finish now, before she bled too much. With a quick movement, he took the tiny steel-plate out of Adora’s neck. "Are you alright?" he asked worried, and closed the cut again. At that moment she became frightened. "Blast!" "What is it?" Duncan asked. "Do you feel something?" She could only nod because of the pain she felt. "What? What it it?" Dree-Elle came to Adora and took her hand. Again she knew. "What do you feel?" Man-At-Arms asked, and had to grin when she shouted: "That I’m going to have a baby in a few hours!"
Actually the Princess didn’t want too many people around during the birth of her child, but somehow, everyone came together, when the contractions began. King Randor thanked Dree-Elle. "How could you know?" he asked. Duncan had already examined the implant, but he hadn’t found anything, so he had given up on it, for now. He examined Adora now. "It will be no problem" he said. "If you say so. I’ll have to believe you" she moaned. "After all I haven’t any experiences... Dree-Elle, it interests me too. How did you know? Blast!" Bow took her hand and she squeezed it tightly, until the contraction was over. Orko’s girlfriend smiled. "I suppose I can very much feel what you do at the present because I’m in the same situation you are in, Princess." She turned to Orko. "Darling- I’m pregnant." The others didn’t known the magician could blush so much. They looked away, discretely, when the two lovers took away their masks for a short kiss. Then they were congratulated. Adora’s `Congratulation´ came so pitifully that they all had to laugh. "Funny" she murmured. "Duncan..." He examined her again. "Oh-oh." "What?" She became immediately alarmed. He grinned. "Your baby is in a little bit of a hurry. Time to push, Princess." It became very quiet. Randor had placed his arm around Marlena, Orko placed his around Dree-Elle. Everyone waited curiously. Adam and Bow sat beside the Princess and supported her. It didn’t take long until she screamed quietly, one last time, and fell back on the pillows exhausted. She took a deep breath. "It's a boy!" Duncan said happily. "Congratulations, Princess... Princess?" She looked so astonished that he thought at first, something was wrong with the child. "Duncan... didn’t you assure me, I would have only one child?" "That’s a joke!" Man-At-Arms examined her a third time. "That’s... impossible!" "Apparently not" the Queen said calmly. "Give me the boy in the meantime, Duncan." Her husband looked on the clock. "I’ll stop. Perhaps Adora beats your record of five minutes, ten seconds between the babies, darling." He was very relaxed too. Exactly four minutes later, a beautiful girl was born. "I don’t believe it..." Duncan murmured. "I do..." Marlena grinned. Her face grew a bit red. "Is there something, I should know?" Adora asked, looking lovingly at her daughter. "Well..." Marlena had to laugh. "It’s because of me, I think... In our family there are often twins... No one can explain it. There were many surprises in the last few generations..." Adora rolled her eyes. "Then I know, what’s awaiting our children..." "Do you have names already?" Orko asked. "Ariella." the Princess answered. "The girl will be called Ariella." "And Nistrem" Bow added, looking at his son. Tenderly the couple kissed each other, paying attention not to interrupt their babies who fell into a silent sleep.

Unfortunately their joy didn’t last long. Adora became very sick. She often had a pain in her neck that intense, she could not even leave her bed. For weeks, Duncan didn’t know what it was. The sensors didn’t show anything. The implant was as useless as before. And the disease grew worse. One time, when Adora had just nursed Ariella, it became that bad, she couldn’t sit anymore. She managed to call a guard, and gave him her baby before she blacked out from the pain.
When she woke up, Bow and Duncan sat on her bed. Never before she had seen them look so serious, and frightened. She realized Bow hadtears in his eyes. "What’s wrong with me?" she asked quietly. "What’shappening?" "Have you heard of the Ribon-syndrome, Princess?" Man-At-Arms asked. "No. What is that?" "An Eternian disease." He paused. "Tell to me, Duncan! I can’t stand it any longer! What is this syndrome?" "You’re infected with a very dangerous virus, Princess. We believe it is from the bacteria that were in the implant. Unfortunately, this syndrome can only be found with sensors when you have it for a long period of time." "But what is it?" she asked again. "A very painful disease, which hardens the bones, until the heartis pressed so much, that it stops beating" Duncan said. "Thanks, just what I did want to know" she said dryly. "And what can you do for it?" The men couldn’t hold back the tears anymore and Adora knew what it meant. "How long?" she asked. "Perhaps a year" Bow said sadly. "My god." She couldn’t say anymore. "Oh my god. Do the others know?" "Yes. They’ll come soon. We wanted to tell you first. And... Adora, you don’t have to go through this. We talked to the Sorceress. She offered that you and Adam tell your secret to everyone. Then you can keep on living as She-Ra, and you won’t feel the disease. It’s your decision." "I... I... oh, Bow!" Crying, she hugged him. Duncan went outside. There was nothing left he could do for the Princess.

 

ONE YEAR LATER

On a bench in front of the Royal Palace there sat a woman. She wore a short, white dress and high-heeled, golden boots. Her blond hair was cut short, around her neck she wore a white scarf. She drew with concentration. When she looked up, another woman sat beside her, with dark eyes and beautiful red, lightly gray hair. "Adora" she said gently. "You were watching me" the Princess smiled. "Hello, Teela-Na." "How do you feel?" "Better" She-Ra said. The older woman put away the scarf, and palpated the throat of the Princess. "Yes, the swelling is nearly gone. Thank goddess. You can’t afford an angina, now, that the Ribon-syndrome attacks your defenses." "Since you’ve taken thatmedical course you’re even superior to Duncan, aren’t you?" She-Ra grinned. "Oh no! But he sure is relieved that I took the job as the doctor. He has enough to deal with the weapons. Who would have thought, Evil-Lyn would show the better attacking-strategy than Skeletor..." The Princess shook her head. "It seems so long, since she has taken the power over Snake Mountain and it hasn’t even been a month yet. I’d really like to know what happened to Skeletor." Teela-Na jerked her shoulders. "I suppose, Evil-Lyn has killed him. One less problem we have to deal with. The Sorceress has enough trouble with that witch alone." "Definitely, but my brother helps her. Since they beganliving together in Grayskull with the children, I think Zoar has felt much better." A load roaring startled them. Battle Cat. "He-Man! Speak of the devil and he’s sure to appear!" Happily, She-Ra hugged him. "Sit down." "How do you feel, sis?" She sighed. She couldn’t bear this question anymore. Although it was clear, everybody asked her. They were worried. But at present she was in a better state of health than she should be at this terminal stage of her disease and so actually she was most glad when she didn’t get reminded of it. "I’m alright. But we miss you very much, brother." He looked at her seriously, "I’m always there for you, you know that." "Yes." She nodded, and moved slightly. Her body as She-Ra couldn't help anymore. She began to feel the pain in this form as well. She suppressed it. "Nevertheless, I wish you were still in the room nearby. Mom and Dad are very worried about you. It’s dangerous, that you’re so close to the battle. First, there was the shock when we told them our secret, and then the sudden changeover of power in Snake Mountain- they’re exhausted from all of this. They’re glad, I don’t fight" she said sarcastically. Adam placed his arm around her shoulders. "Sis, I know, you’d rather be in the battles. But think of your family, of your children. They need you every single hour, you’re still here. Since the enemies know who we really are, the fight is even more dangerous." She sighed again. "I know. Well, do you want to go for a ride? I must get on horseback again, I begin really to miss it. Teela-Na, do you want to join us?" "I’ve got work to do, unfortunately. Tomorrow, okay?" "Okay." With a little difficulty, She-Ra stood up. Adam had to fight back tears. This wasn’t the woman, who had been able to take care of Skeletor and Hordak the same time. This was a frail creature, that only had weeks to live left. He tried not to show his sadness. `If you don’t constantly look like you were on my funeral yet, I can bear it´ Adora had said in the beginning. Bow just came out of the palace, carrying Nistrem. She-Ra explained quickly. "Do you want to come with us?" "Of course. I think, your mother will be more than happy to take care of the babies for a while" he agreed. He-Man left to get his horse, while Adora called for Thunder. The stallion she had got from Frosta, when Spirit had gone to his family on Unicorn Island. Like Cringer he had decided to live on in his second identity. Adora herself had pushed Swift Wind to move to Etheria, but she missed the pegacorn deeply. Of course he always was there for her, when she needed him. Teela-Na helped Adora mount. Duncan's fiancé had always been there for the Princess, completely, from the beginning of her disease on. The friendship between them had become much more deep with that. Bow joined his wife on Arrow. Adora became sad every time, she saw her husband, although she tried not to show it. For herself, she had already begun to say good-bye. And she knew to be part from him, would be the most difficult of all. "Let’s go." He leaned over to her and pulled away the half-length strand of hair out of her pale face. Gently, he wiped off her tears. "Once more, I’d like to hear you laugh, Princess." She leaned against his strong chest like always. She needed these moments, when she felt that their love would always be with her. With their old passion they kissed, until a black horse became visible from the direction of Grayskull. He-Man was in the saddle of a horse, that was a more than unusual sight. They left the palace behind them.

He-Man led them to a beautiful clearing, where they sat down on the wooden floor to talk, undisturbed. "It’s wonderful here" Adora said, admiringly. "Yes, it is. And far away from Snake Mountain, too" her brother added. "I’ve never seen any of Evil-Lyn's men here. I think, it’s an enchanted area." "How are your children?" Adora asked. "How old are they now?" "One year, eight months, two days exactly" he grinned. "Zoar could even tell you the hours and minutes. They’re fine. But you can’t imagine the ideas such babies have, even at that age... Hey, what’s with Shaka-Re?" Adora's dog acted very strange suddenly. She growled into a certain direction and pulled on her lead. The Princess went to her. "Hey, dearie, what is it?" She ran over the long fur of the Golden Retriever tenderly when she heard, not only Shaka-Re was growling. In the bushes there was something... Carefully she took a closer look. And had to laugh heartily. "Shaka-Re, you heroine! Look, who’s visiting us!" She picked up a strange little dog, which seemed to be mechanic. "It's the one of the manchines, do you remember? What brings you here, little friend? Shaka-Re, stop it! Other dogs do also have the right to exist!" "I think, she’s excited because of something else" He-Man mentioned. "Let her go, then we can follow her. She looks like she wants to show us something." "Okay. Would you help me onto Thunder, please?" They mounted, then Adora let her dog run. "Go!" Immediately Shaka-Re vanished into the bushes, the others behind her. The manchine dog sat in Adam's saddle-bag and seemed to enjoy the wild ride. It was wild, indeed, because Shaka-Re didn’t care if the horse could follow the paths she took. Suddenly a huge fallen tree blocked them. Adora knew if she would search another way, she would loose her Golden Retriever in this strange area and perhaps never find her again. "Come on, Thunder! Jump!" "Adora, are you insane?" Adam shouted behind her. It was forbidden to her because it was bad for her spine. And she had to take care just to stay on horseback at normal speed. Would she make it in the jump? There was no time to think about it now. It was too late for stopping. Adora ignored the pain in her back, when Thunder leapt over the trunk, and stood up. At first she thought that she was going to land in front of her horse, but she managed it to stay on his back somehow. "Wonderful, Thunder!" She heard Bow and Adam surmount the trunk and grinned. Her brother surely had more trouble with it than her... Shaka-Re lowered her speed. The area into which she had lead her master, Adora had never been in. Mountains, surrounded by nothing but silence. They dismounted, the Princess very carefully. But it was useless. She couldn't stand anymore. The effort had taken her power. "Blast!" "She-Ra!" Immediately Bow was by her side and supported her. "If you would listen to us, just once..." He took an syringe out of his pocket. "No!" Adora tried to stand up again. Adam helped her. "It has to be, darling" Bow said calmly. "Otherwise you won’t even be able to stand the ride back." "I said no! I don’t want this poison!" She freed herself from Adam's grasp and supported herself on Thunder. Then the attack subsided. She turned around, towards her husband. "I’m sorry, Bow. I’ve had enough of this medicine. Put away the syringe, please. I don’t want to see it anymore." He did so and hugged her. "Don’t ever do anything like this again, darling, please. You scared me so much when you jumped... I don't think, I will ever forget this." "I promise. I’m sorry, Bow." Adora looked for Shaka-Re, but the dog was nowhere to be found. Bow put down the other dog. "Perhaps he can help us." The mechanic animal ran, but slower, always waiting. It probably had recognized Adora from the last time they had meet, and seemed to know that every step was torture for her, knew it better than the only two years old, impulsive Shaka-Re. But when a cave became visible in the clearing, he trotted faster and entered. His thin barking mixed with a deeper, stronger one. "Shaka-Re! Come here!" Adora shouted- and began to cough immediately. The angina hadn’t let up yet. The Golden Retriever didn’t came. "I’ll get her" Adam said. At the entrance to the cave, he stiffened. His face expressed his astonishment, as he said: "I think, you should see this." "What... oh my god!" Shaka-Re sat in front of a man and looked up at him trustingly. He caressed her fur, and didn’t look up when the visitors came in. It wasn’t necessary. "Skeletor!" Slowly, he lifted his head. "You guessed right." On his lap, the manchine-puppy sat. He seemed to see the Lord of Destruction as his master. "Pretty dog, Princess" Skeletor said with a look at Shaka-Re. "I know" she said icily. "Hm. You’re arrogant since you have cut your hair" he mentioned, arching an eyebrow. He stood up. "If you’re here to fight, you had better leave. I have no interest in dealing with you." "We didn’t even know, you are here" He-Man explained. "We thought, you were dead." "Bullshit!" his enemy groaned. "Evil-Lyn has robbed me off my powers, that was enough." He looked at She-Ra. "You don’t look like you're at your best either. What happened?" "That’s what we should be asking you. Why are you here?" Bow asked. "Is that a question? What can I do in the city? Evil-Lyn has the power over Snake Mountain. I have neither interest nor the possibility to fight against her. I’m fed up with the war." He-Man shook his head. "I never thought I would hear you say that." A pause. "And whose side are you on now?" "Is that important?" It didn’t sound very friendly, but it was clear that Skeletor didn’t have the ambition to fight them anymore. He-Man knew, it was now or never. "Join us, Skeletor! It isn’t too late for you! Fight against the evil! You don’t want to spend the rest of your life here, do you?" He laughed, bitterly. "Will you be my bodyguard, Prince Adam?" "Yes, he’s right, brother." She-Ra didn’t like the idea either. After all, it was because of Skeletor that she was dying. "There are plenty of people, who’d love to kill him." "And what if you were to talk with the Sorceress?" Adam asked. "Or Zodak? Would that be so impossible for you too?" Skeletor thought about it for a moment, then he jerked. "I have nothing to loose, but don’t expect too much. I’ve served evil too long to find absolution somewhere, most of all because I don’t even know if I want it." He looked at She-Ra again. "You haven’t answered my question yet, Princess. What did they do to you?" "Don’t ask me in that silly tone" she hissed. "Because of you I have this syndrome." "Oh, I don’t think so." He stayed calm. "How long have you had it? Since when exactly?" She told him, with anger and rage in her voice. He laughed again. "My god, one of Evil-Lyn's spells actually worked! I can’t believe it! The joke is, if you hadn’t have taken out the implant, nothing would have happened. That was what started the disease! I don’t know, if it will help, but put the implant back where it was. Maybe it is the cure." "And Evil-Lyn can control her soul again," Bow threw in. "First think, then talk" Skeletor advised him. "She doesn’t know the implant is there, and if she knew, it would be useless too. The view screens are damaged." "And how do we know you’re telling the truth?" She-Ra asked. "You don't" he answered. "But I think, you haven’t got much too loose either, have you?" "That’s an understatement" Bow murmured. They went outside. "Come on, Skeletor. The time of hiding is over." "You can ride?" He-Man asked, when they arrived at the place where the horses were. "You can speak?" Skeletor spat back. "Then take my horse." Adam mounted Thunder and pulled his sister up to him. A year ago it had been the other way around... He suppressed it. If Skeletor was right... "My god" he said quietly. "What if it's true!"

They had left their old enemy at Grayskull, where Zodak had already been waiting. When they had asked him about Adora’s disease, he hadn’t answer. The Sorceress hadn’t known it. "Try it" she had said. They didn’t speak. Adora felt worse every minute. Suddenly, the disease seemed progress faster than ever before. In front of the palace she became unconscious. Bow carried her to Duncan's lab right away. In three sentences they explained. Man-At-Arms called for Teela-Na, took the implant and ordered them: "Out of the room!" The King and the Queen were already waiting for them. Again, they explained. "It's too bad Dree-Elle isn’t here" Adam said. "She could help again." But theTrollan couple were on their planet. Dree-Elle’s baby was due soon. Bow took his son from Marlena. "Thanks for helping, Mom." "Naturally, Bow. We’re the grandparents." It wasn’t take long until the door opened. In despair, the Royals tried to read Duncan's and Teela-Na’s face. What was in their expressions? "Adora is in a coma, your majesties. I don’t know, if it was done in time. It is possible that she won’t ever wake up." Randor hugged Marlena tightly. "Wait!" Man-At-Arms said. "I said it is is possible. It is also possible that she’ll be alright again. I can’t tell." They brought the Princess into her room, where she had Bow and the children around her. Adam took her sword, and changed her back into Adora. "So it has begun- so it shall end, too" he said quietly. They stood around her bed for a while. "All we can do now is wait..." Teela-Na said. "...and hope."

It was springtime. Adora had been in a coma for a month now. While outside He-Man, Bow and the other warriors fought back the enemies more and more, the Princess had to fight her own battle. Medicine didn’t help, she had to defeat the deadly disease herself. The members of her family were always around. Bow in the evening, the King in the morning, the Queen with the children in the afternoon. The rebels often came, and Sea Hawk sat by her side a few days as well. But Adora didn’t wake up. It was useless. Man-At-Arms finally told the Royals so. "Sir, I know how you feel. But I don't think Adora wants to be kept alive by machines alone. Either she breathes on her own when we switch off the controls- or it is over." With that, he left. He knew they all had to think about it, together. They decided after many long discussions todo it.

They had already set farewell. Now it was time. For a moment, Bow looked like he would protest at the last second, but then he said harshly: "Take it off, Duncan." The machines stopped in time with the steady high sounds, which had shown Adora's heartbeat. It was much too quiet in the little room now, until Marlena began to cry. She had lost her daughter again. And this time, it was forever. With tears in his eyes himself, Randor hugged her. He saw his son standing beside himself, totally lost, and hugged him too. Bow covered his face with his hands. It was over. Man-At-Arms and Teela-Na turned around and went to the door. He had placed an arm round her shoulders and felt her trembling, while she quietly sobbed. And then, suddenly, a noise. It was very quiet, but it really startled Duncan. He went to the bed again. Nothing. Had it only been an illusion? But then he saw and heard it clearly: Adora was breathing! First, only in very shallow breaths, but she was breathing! "Your majesties!" At this moment her heart began to beat again. "My god!" Stunned, Teela-Na took the hand of the Princess, which was warmer than since weeks. There was a pulse there! Duncan examined her with a little gadget that he held over her body. "Unbelievable! No sign of the Ribon-syndrome anymore! She’s completely recovered again! It's a miracle!" "I’ll get the children" Bow said. Adam helped him. Ariella and Nistrem were already asleep. They were cute babies. Unlike Adam’s children they weren’t identical. Ariella had Adora's blond hair and the dark eyes of her father, while Nistrem had dark hair and looked into the world through the big blue eyes of his mother. Gently, Bow woke them and sat down with Adam by Adora’s side again. And then it happened, what no one had dared to hope for anymore: The Princess opened her eyes. She turned her head slowly, saw her husband and her babies, and she smiled lightly. Silently, Bow hugged his wife, crying happy tears, and then gave her children to her. "Mommy!" Ariella suddenly said clearly. "Mommy!" "Yes, darling" Adorasaid happily. "Mummy’s here. And I won’t leave you alone anymore."

Another month had passed. Adora was well and already fighting again- ifthere was anything to fight. Evil-Lyn’s troopers were nearly defeated. The witch hardly ever attacked. She knew she had lost. The Royal Family had managed it to beat her thanks to Skeletor’s help as well. After a long talk with Zodak, he had decided to join them. It seemed as if all would be well again, but the Sorceress knew, it wouldn’t. When Zodak paid her a visit, she wasn’t surprised. "What’s going on?" she asked. "What has happened, Zodak?" "It’s very serious" he said. "The parallels have been changed." "What? But you told me, you have taken care of everything!" "We thought so. But when the Voyager caused the split in the space-time - continuum, it caused chaos. And now we realized, that it has happened, what had never been allowed to happen: Two persons of parallel worlds were interchanged." "Oh no!" Zoar was horrified. "But don’t tell me now that it’s..." It was her. Zodak’s face told all. "Will you tell her?" he asked Zoar. She closed her eyes for a moment. It would be more than difficult. "I will."

"You called, Zoar?" "Yes, Adora. Sit down, please." Seriously, the Sorceress looked at her ward. How should she tell her? "Adora... We have a problem. Did you realize something- strange the last few weeks?" "Strange? Could you be more exact, please?" The Princess looked puzzled. "I don’t know... Perhaps you spoke of something from the past and the people didn’t remember it happening?" "Now that you say it..." She-Ra became thoughtful. "Yes, indeed. I didn’t think much about it, but that has happened at times. Why?" "Adora, I’m afraid, I have to tell you that you’ve just passed two years of your life too much.""Pardon?" "Two years ago, a week after you got married with Bow, a starship called `Voyager´ crossed this quadrant. Do you remember the storm on Etheria, where you had your honeymoon?" "Of course. We were outside and had to run into the house quickly." "And did you see anything strange?" the Sorceress asked. "How could you know that? Yes, I thought a flash of lightning struck me, the storm was so close. But Bow didn’t see anything, so I thought I was mistaken." "You weren’t" Zoar said. "The technology of the Voyager opened a door between the parallel worlds. And you ran straight through it. Like your double on the other world. Do you understand? You were interchanged!" "What do you mean about parallel worlds? There are two... Etherias?" Adora became very pale. "Yes, that’s it. The last years two shouldn’t have happened, especially not the year of hell you went through. On the parallel world Evil-Lyn didn’t succeed with her plan to control your thoughts. You never got the disease there." "And now?" the Princess asked. "Zodak offered me a very risky solution. We can try to change you back, but there's a chance that something could go wrong. If it works, you’ll begin in your honeymoon again." "And if not?" "You could possibly get lost in the space-time - line. Both of you." Zoar didn’t spare her ward with telling her, how dangerous it was. "Does the other Adora know?" "Yes. She’s ready to do it. Now it’s up to you." TheSorceress knew before Adora answered. "Let’s start" the Princess said.

Zodak had opened the door. She only had to pass through. But there was one thing she needed to know, "Zoar- what about my children? Will they be born again?" "They will, Adora. And on this Eternia I will take care of them, I promise." "Thanks." They hugged shortly. "Go now, Princess. And good luck." Adora took a deep breath- and went through the yellow gate.

In the Q-continuum, everything was silent. Zodak had to ask himself, why he had come here. Should he be the dog for a while? Relax after everything that happened? Or the scarecrow? He sighed. When the founders found out that he had interfered in the Eternian and Etherian time-space - line again, he would be the scarecrow soon enough. Who was it now? He took a closer look and grinned. "Q! How nice to meet you! In exile again? What have you done this time?" "Oh, just a little game with Cathy..." his friend said, jerking. Zodak foresaw something suddenly. And he didn’t like it at all. "Don’t tell me, you´re responsible for the trouble on Eternia!" "Eternia? Never heard of it..." But his face said something different. "How could you?" Zodak asked, astonished. "Do you know, what you have done to them?" "You care too much for these people, Q" his friend said. "I mean, you even let them do something primitive like giving you a name and call you that name! Leave them alone! They have enough problems without you." "Don't try to fool me, I know you better than you yourself do. These planets fascinate you. Otherwise you wouldn´t be here. But one thing I swear: You won't bring the people on Eternia and Etheria in trouble anymore. Hear me, Q! You're my friend, but I won't let you interfere in their businesses." Q laughed hard. "And what did you do all the time, if I may ask? I'm a god. You can't forbid me something, remember?" Away he was. And Zodak had to go too. The founders had called. It was time for a sermon. When he took a last look at Etheria, he saw, astonished, that Adora - both Adora's - had no memory of the passed two years anymore. He hadn’t done this, he wasn’t allowed to, so... He turned round and saw Q again. "I live a different life, Zodak" he said. "But I’m no bastard." He vanished. Apparently the founders had released him from staying in the continuum for now. Which meant, that it was Zodak’s turn now. He sat down in front of the hut and decided to rest for half an eternity.

"Bow, where are you going?" Adora asked. "Didn’t you want to visit Casta today?" he asked, arching his eyebrows. She looked out of the window. The sky was cloudy. "Actually I wanted to, yes. But a storm is coming." "She-Ra is afraid of a storm?" he laughed. "Come on, what’s up?" She jerked. "I can’t explain it, but I don’t think, we should go out there." Bow knew that his wife had foreseen things before. "Well, if you think so... Although I have the strange feeling, you only want to stay here because of..." She went over to him and kissed him passionately. "Exactly." And they made love throughout the whole evening. Afterwards, Adora was tired. It had already grown dark outside. She smiled, when she felt her baby moving and laid Bow's hand on her belly. "An active child" he grinned. "You know what?" Thoughtfully, Adora looked in his eyes. "Somehow I have a feeling, I will give birth to twins..."

 

THE END...?-
THE FIGHT GOES ON!!!