Note: Sometimes, something goes wrong with my normal routine. A few unexpected things happen which will delay any writing or e-mailing. At the moment, I can’t seem to e-mail AOL. So, if you don’t get a reply when you try and e-mail, it’s not my fault.
Special thanks to all those who inquired about RT. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be writing such a huge fanfic.
The glasses sat precariously at the tip of the nose. RT removed it, frustrated. She then held the left handle with both her hands with her thumbs over the handle. The trick was to bend it without breaking it. So, she put in enough strength to bend it.
It was not easy. The glasses were made for cats that walk on two legs and not for homo sapiens. Which was the same reason why she was bending it. It did not fit over her ears and the loop of the handles went beyond them.
She was trying to bend them to fit over her small ears, now hidden by the overgrowth of unkempt black hair, hair only thick on her head and not the rest of her. It had taken her some time to get used to the new form she was in, for although she had spent sixteen years being human, one and a half months of being something else did make her human body feel strange. She was glad that she got used to it within two days.
RT was very grateful for good friends in a strange world. She remembered last week when Chance and Jake did the best they could to make her look like a kat and took her to an optician who had quite a lot of questions to ask about her ‘strangely unnatural’ eyes. RT did her best act of fibbing, and all three got away with the precious pair of glasses.
RT sighed. She was beginning to feel the consequences of being away from her family. All the adventures she had had on this planet…or whatever this atmosphere may be, would have been fun if she was able to contact them in any way, but even that was impossible. She thought of a friend who once fractured her arm during one of her high-jump practices. She told her that people usually realise the value of what they possess only after they lose it.
*How very true* RT thought. She smiled at the thought of how her friend sobbed about not being able to watch a cricket match because she was stuck in a hospital.
RT then felt a paw on her shoulder. She looked up from the couch to see Jake. He had some strange equipment in his other paw. It looked like a microphone cum loud speaker cum recorder with some accessories she could not recognise. Overall, the thing looked rather bulky.
“What’s that?” she asked.
Jake cupped his ear and frowned.
RT sighed and pointed to the device. Then she held out her thumb with emphasis as if to ask ‘what?’
Jake made signs which RT couldn’t understand and handed the device to her. RT just looked at it.
With what looked like a sigh, Jake grabbed the earphones and placed it at RT’s ears. Then he took up a microphone and spoke, rather, screamed, “Can you hear me!?”
“OUCH!” yelled RT. Although she couldn’t be heard , her face gave the impression of being in great pain. She took out the earphones and pushed a finger into her ear and shook it hard. “You don’t have to shout!” she yelled.
Jake held out the microphone to her and pushed a switch ‘on’.
RT spoke into the microphone, “You don’t have to shout!”
Chance, who had been watching the scene, stood transfixed. He said something to Jake, eyes wide with astonishment.
“What did you say?” asked RT through the microphone.
Jake, with a frustrated look, placed the earphones at her ears. He then took a second microphone and plugged it into the device and spoke in it, “He says ‘It works’.”
“What is this?”
“Something to bridge the gap between our two frequency bands.” replied Jake with a smile.
“What? I don’t get it.”
“I don’t get it either, Jake.” said Chance, with a baffled look on his face.
RT could hear his voice as if it was somewhere in the background.
“Well, I figured out what was going on with her. Let me explain. RT, got a piece of paper?”
RT rummaged through her trusty school bag and came out with a note book full of chemical equations which she had tried so hard to by heart before she arrived into the cat world.
“Here,” Jake spoke into the mic while drawing a diagram on an empty space under some equations. The diagram consisted of a long band. He divided it into two.
Chance and RT looked eagerly at it.
“This is the Homo Sapien frequency band,” he pointed to the left band. “And this is our frequency band.” he pointed to the right.
“That means?” asked Chance.
“We can hear sounds ranging from a specific low frequency to a higher frequency. We can’t hear any frequencies below or above this range.” explained Jake, making sure he spoke into the mic so that RT could hear. “Apparently, hairless apes seem to hear sounds of lower frequencies.”
“Is that why I keep hearing funny noises?” asked RT. Ever since she changed into a human, she had been picking up sounds like grunts and squeals which got quite loud during the night.
“It could be that your frequency range tallys with the sound range of other animals that live here. Like, that grunting you keep hearing, that must’v been a lizard or somethin’. I dunno. All I know is that your frequency range is lower than ours.”
“OK. So what happened?” said Chance, his head swimming in new information which he thought of sorting out later.
“Well, when RT went through that portal, she mutated into one of us, which means her physical capabilities sorta increased, including her sense of hearing and speech. So,” Jake shaded the entire length of the band “Her hearing range must’ve increased. And now that she’s back to um… normal,” he nodded at RT, who gave a small smirk, “Her hearing range returned back to what it was originally.”
“Oh! So that means she can’t hear what we say and we can’t hear what she’s saying.” deducted Chance.
“Exactly.” said Jake.
“So what does this thing do?” asked RT, slowly analysing what Jake said in her mind.
“That’s something I rigged up ta’ convert lower frequencies ta higher frequencies without disturbing the other sound wave properties. Works somewhat like the radio.”
“Jake, you’re a genius!” RT complemented Jake.
“Yeah, I know.” said Jake, with a most modest voice, but triumph and pride was written all over his face.
RT laughed at the sight.
Chance frowned. “Don’t encourage him, kid. Ya don’ know what he’ll do with that ego of his.”
“As if *you* don’t have one.” replied RT.
“C’mon, RT. All I do is fly. Be easy on me!” Chance clasped his paws together and grinned his trademark grin.
“Why don’t you make yourself useful and bend this handle for me,” RT held out her glasses by one handle,”I’m not strong enough.”
Chance took the glasses, “I also bend handles of glasses for ugly, hareless apes.” He bent the handle with ease and held it out for RT to take.
RT didn’t take it. “Am I *really* that ugly?” she asked with all innocence.
Chance looked at her face and suddenly burst out laughing. Jake, who was watching the action laughed too. After a while, RT began to giggle. Chance wiped his eyes and held RT by her shoulders with one arm while handing her the glasses with the other.
“Nah! I was just kiddin’. Like, I’m an expert in the…. what’s that word? Like *I* know what an average homo sapien looks like, right?” he finished sarcastically.
RT leaned her head against Chance’s solid shoulder, for a moment remembering the affection she used to derive from her older brother when he visited his family.
“I don’t know what I would do without you guys. Thanks for everything.” She took the glasses and tried it on. It wasn’t a perfect fit, but it stayed on her ears. So, she didn’t bother to adjust it any more.
“Now don’t start with that mushy stuff!” said Chance and gave RT’s hair a little ruffle, getting his claws caught in it in the process.
RT squealed when he pulled his claws out.
“You touch my hair again and you’re history!” yelled RT into her microphone and threateningly shook her tiny forefinger.
“You wanna start somethin’?” growled Chance and grinned while lifting up his right sleeve.
RT’s eyes suddenly widened when she saw the grin. She shook her head in small jerks.
“Enough you guys!” cut in Jake, pushing his paw in between them, “How ’bout you two making yerself useful and helping me in the hanger?”
RT shrugged and spoke into her mic, “I’ve got nothing bettre to do…”
“And RT, please don’t use that accent. It’s disgusting !” interrupted Jake
“Aaaah! As if yaaar language is yany *bettre*!” said RT, making sure she stressed every consonant.
“Fine. Now let’s get to work.” finished Jake, pretending not to hear RT.
“Jake, could you replace the mic with one of those things that those singers use on stage? This thing’s really bulky.”
Jake frowned and then understood, “I’ll try and rig up a more compact version. In the meantime all of us have to make do with this.” he nodded at Chance and walked towards the hanger.
Chance turned to RT and picked up the mic Jake had left,”C’mon. Let’s go. Or we’ll never hear the end of it.”
RT sighed. “I’d better. Or I’ll be left with nothing to do. I feel pretty jobless.”
“You’ve been rather moody lately.” Chance frowned a concerned frown.
“Truth is I miss my family, Chance.” RT said softly.
“Yeah, I know how you feel.” said Chance.
“And the times I had with my friends were such fun. We even planned on forming a band.” RT spread an imaginary title with her free hand, “Dhaklips.”
“Yep.” and RT opened her school bag and carefully pushed her ‘frequency translator’ device into it. She then closed the zip making sure there was room for the wires for the earphones and microphone. When she looked up from the couch, she saw Chance walking away, shaking his head . *Dhaklips* she could hear him mutter.
She giggled. She knew the name was funny but that was the idea.
She got up and followed him, carrying the bag on her back. She then held the mike to her mouth and began to sing, pretending she was on her mind’s imaginary stage, where only she was the audience. How those people would have loved to hear her voice! What a big hit their band would have been!
“There isn’t a *single* week where there won’t be anything going wrong in this city of yours.” commented RT after receiving Chance and Jake coming out of the hanger. She was wiping the plate she had just washed in the kitchen. She had heard the Turbokat’s engines and knew that T-bone and Razor were home, safe. She was very worried when they left to tackle a crisis after the Deputy Mayor had called them.
“Not now, RT. I wanna lie down….” was all Chance could say before he went up to his room.
RT noticed his eyes were drowsy and he smelled of singed fur.
“What’s up with him?” she asked, pointing the hand with the cloth in his direction.
“We had to take care of a bank robbery. Chance is tired ’cause he got electrocuted.”
“Oh!” RT almost dropped the plate she was wiping.
“Nothin’ ta worry about. He didn’t get hurt and no bones got broken. It’ll take more than a little shock to take *him* down.” Jake winked at RT.
“I still wish you two’d be careful.” said RT, frowning.
“Don’t worry ’bout us. Now, I’ve got somethin’ ta show ya.”
“New frequency translator?” asked RT, tiny black eyes suddenly alight with excitement.
“Yep. Come on.” Jake motioned her to follow him into the hanger.
“Jake, you gotta teach me all this gadget stuff.”
“Hmmm…I guess it would be no harm.”
“What will I do? I never broke anything…well…except for that time… well I never broke anything lately!”
“OK, OK! I believe you. Now come. I gotta see if it’s your size.”
Jake led RT down the ladder and into the hanger. RT turned to the left to see a new ‘terminated’ mark on the wall. Another victory for the Swat Kats. Jake led her to his work table on which was a more compact version of the heavy device which she now constantly carried on her back.
“Here. Try this on for size.” said Jake , holding up the new device which looked like a compact disc-man with a pair of earphones and a small microphone which could be fitted over RT’s head.
For a few moments RT removed her gear and was plunged into the strange silence again. She could hear a distant humming of something but it was so distant that she could put it behind her mind. As she picked up the light weight device Jake had made and laid it in her open bag, she could hear the humming grow louder. It then became irritating to hear. RT stopped and listened. She didn’t notice Jake’s concerned look and his mouth move. She concentrated on the sound that grew louder and louder.
Jake could see that RT’s eyes were not focused on anything. She was intently listening to something.
“What’s the matter RT ?” asked Jake and then remembered she couldn’t hear him. RT then looked up and stared into space. Her eyes grew wider as she stared. Jake immediately got the notion that something was wrong.
Jake grabbed RT and shook her , “What the heck is wrong!?” he yelled.
RT ‘s gaze shifted to his face. Then she leaned her head to the side to look behind him. Jake followed her gaze. He saw nothing but the Turbokat in the center of the hanger.
“What’s up, RT.” he asked, turning towards her. RT lip read his words and pointed a finger at the Turbokat.
Jake then noticed that it became rather windy in the hanger. For a while he thought it was the breeze from the fan in the corner. But then he noticed that the fan was off . Then he looked back at the Turbokat and then he noticed it.
The water vapour in the air had condensed and was forming a whirlwind over the Turbokat. Then the whirlwind got bigger and it opened to reveal purple and green light.
“Holy Kats !” yelled Jake and ran towards the Turbokat. He instinctively recognised the phenomenon. It was a portal that could only be created by the Pastmaster. But the Pastmaster had lost his watch . Jake wondered ,as he ran towards the Turbokat, how the Pastmaster was able to create a time portal without his watch.
But the thought was pushed to the back of his mind. His mind was now focused on the portal which quickly got more and more violent. And then there was a crack of lightning…..
At that time,Chance wished his dream would never end. He saw in his mind’s eye, a round table with a small, elegant vase with red roses in the middle. There were three candles on either side of the table and Calico Briggs right in front of him, in her trademark pink suit. Chance was in his coveralls. There was no other light in the room. But the soft light had a nice warm feeling about it. Callie was crooning how handsome Chance looked, when she suddenly faded into the darkness behind the table. The darkness itself turned cold and eerie. Chance’s fur suddenly stood on end. The warm feeling that he had felt throughout the dream slowly, but steadily turned cold. Then a breeze blew through the room and blew out the candles. In normal circumstances, Chance would have thought this romantic, but now it just seemed scary. Chance was not afraid of the dark, but this darkness almost had an element of sorcery and evil in it. It was a frightening feeling.
And then, he heard a crash of thunder.
That was what jolted Chance out of his sleep. He listened intently. He could hear a strange hollow, howling sound like the howling of the wind through a tunnel….the hanger!
Chance jumped out of his bed and ran out of his room and towards the hanger. As he arrived, he bumped into RT . She did not have her microphone or her headphones. Her eyes were frantic and she seemed to be yelling something. She pulled at his giant paw and tried to drag him towards the hanger. She didn’t say anything. It wouldn’t have made any difference since she wouldn’t have been heard. Chance understood. He picked her up easily by her waist and rushed into the hanger.
RT’s screams for help then turned into screams of anger.But Chance didn’t hear a word. She thought it better to try and calm down.
The first thing that caught Chance’s eyes was the huge portal, similar to the one like the Pastmaster’s, pulling in the Turbokat, with Jake in it !
“Crud!” yelled Chance and ran for the jet,dropping RT halfway. RT didn’t move. She watched as Chance grabbed the wing of the jet and tried to climb on to it. Jake had the canopy opened and was trying to reach out and grab Chance. He then gave a sudden, quick look at RT.
RT watched as the black jet, still not repaired from the last battle, and her two friends got sucked in , slowly.
It was a last minute decision. She couldn’t stay there. She would be afraid. She needed to be with someone she was familiar with . She couldn’t lose her courage which had it’s roots in her only two friends in a world of enemies and strangers.
RT ran towards the work table, grabbed her bag with the new frequency translator in it and ran towards the portal. Her friends had already been sucked in . There remained an opening just large enough for her to get in , but it was closing fast.
In one last effort. RT jumped, holding on to the bag as tight as she could. She screamed a scream which neither Chance nor Jake could hear. RT felt she was falling fast. She had had her eyes closed so she could not see what was happening. All she felt was a swirling of the wind in her hair and face and suddenly the wind became harsh.
RT felt like she was falling fast. She found it hard to breathe and the air around her was cold and strong, so strong that it would have ripped her body apart. She wondered whether this falling sensation would stop and if it stopped, would she know it.
Like an answer, the wind suddenly stopped , and changed direction, from up to rhythmic harsh motions of up and down. RT felt her body being held, by something that felt rather scaly. It was firmly tight around her body, holding her arms and her school bag against her chest. RT refused to open her eyes. She knew , from the feel of the scales ,that she would see something horrible.
The scaly grip squeezed her some more. She felt the circulation to the lower part of her body being slowly cut off. The air was cold and it made her limbs numb. RT still refused to open her eyes.
The air current again changed direction, from rhythmic up and down motions to frantic sweeping in all directions. RT heared a ear shattering screech, like that of a hawk. The grip on her body loosened. This was when she opened her eyes.
All her mind had taken was a sea of white and brown . Then she felt herself falling again. Now the terror of the whole ordeal struck her. She was in the air, with the ground coming towards her at alarming speed!
RT screamed as much as she could, only to be hit by something forcefully. RT grabbed on to it for dear life. Her heart beat fast. This was nothing like what she had experienced before. She held on to whatever it was that she was holding on to and closed her eyes again.
After a moment, she felt the wind ease slightly. She slowly opened her eyes to see that she was on a huge white leaf…no, feather. RT thought of the boat like feather gliding with the wind. The ground was no longer visible to her. It felt strange, light as the air and yet quite strong. RT’s mind filled with the biology she had learnt in lower classes back in school. Birds have feathers, light yet strong, so that the weight on their bodies lessen. Their bones are hollow too….
RT closed her eyes, yet again and waited for the feather to fall down. She breathed a small prayer to her maker and clung tightly to the feather, making sure to lay still so that it wouldn’t topple over. She was thankful for it’s enormous size. Her mind again began to wander. She went back to the biology lesson in her mind . The rise in atmospheric pressure made her drowsy and she slowly dosed back to sleep.
The first sensation Chance felt was a blunt pain in his hip. Instincts made him regain his other senses quickly. His surroundings were dark and cold . It smelt of burnt ashes and mould and a pungent smell he couldn’t decipher. All senses told him one major truth. He was in grave danger.
Chance tried to move and breathed a small sigh of relief when he found that nothing was broken. He slowly got up. The blunt pain on his hip had eased. It must have been caused due to a fall. But from where did he fall?
Once Chance’s eyes got used to the darkness, he could make out stands on the wall where torches burnt not very long ago. Now he knew where the smell of ashes came from. Chance needed a light very badly. He searched his coveralls. He had nothing on him but a screwdriver and a spanner and a few odd nuts and bolts. He then pushed a paw into his hip pocket and brought out the small device that was in it. It was a communicator and tracking device . Chance switched on the communicator and heard static.
“Jake? Do you copy?” he tried. He got nothing but static.
With a grunt, Chance put back the communicator in his hip pocket.
“Guess I’ll have to get outta here the hard way.” he breathed to himself.
Something about the surroundings made his fur stand on end and his tail twitch restlessly. He remembered , during his enforcer days with Jake, they landed up in a similar ‘dungeon’. It was all wet and mouldy and dark. But he had a light and a weapon and a friend. Now he had none of them. He began to wonder where Jake and RT were. He hoped both were all right.
Chance waited for his eyes to get used to the darkness. He then got an idea where he was. It looked like a crossroad of passageways, five of them , all leading into darkness. Chance surveyed the walls and ceiling. The walls had torches and the pillars holding up the ceiling had strange, intricate carvings on them. Chance wasn’t one for art of any kind except cartoons. He looked back at the many corridors.
“Okaaay. Which one?” he muttered.
Suddenly he heare a scratching sound coming from the corridor behind him. He turned around and took his defensive stance. The scratching came closer . Chance strained his eyes to see. And then his eyes were rewarded with a vague sight of a strange red glow. But his mind urged him to run away from it. It was bad news.
Chance waited, and then he heard the same scratching sound coming from another corridor. And then another and then the fourth.
Now the one he was facing was covered with the red glow. From the glow he could see the left wall of the corridor, which meant that it turned to the right. The red glow intensified as if something was approaching fast.
Then Chance heard a hiss and a chatter and a strange clanking. He froze. He knew what those sounds were. He remembered he heared those same sounds when Jake accidentally stepped on a cockraoch. He hated the sound. The sound of crunching exo- skeleton.
And then they came. Swarms of them. Moving fast and sure.
“NOOO!” yelled Chance and turned to run the other way, but the swarm of red glowing centipedes came that way too. Chance looked around himself in horror. He was surrounded.
Now the whole room was lit up with the red glow of the millions and millions of centipedes. All surrounding Chance. There were other little horrors along with them but the majority were centipedes. How Chance *hated* centipedes. Other insects and the like were tolerable to an extent, but centipedes were Chance’s greatest fear. There was a time when he thought they were harmless, until he was bitten by one. He had a fear for them ever since. It was their monstrous looks and their swift agility that he feared. They moved so fast!
It was his worst nightmare come to life. He felt fear and disgust both. Then he made up his mind. He had to overcome his fear. He had to get out of there.
He chose a tunnel and got ready. He counted in his mind. “One , two…THREE!”
Chance took off like a rocket, running as fast as he could, making sure his boots had a good hold on the ground, or the centipedes. He ran through the tunnel, not bothering to look at the grotesque figures that hung from the wall.
As he ran , he noticed that the number of sickening creatures increased. Now there were spiders. And there were beetles. And many others which Chance was in no mood to identify.
And then he noticed why there were so much. He ran straight into a dead end. He turned around and then realised he was standing on the disgusting creatures.
The fur on his body stood on end and he felt as if he was going to pass out. But his nature and will prevented him from doing so.
He took off again, heading back to where he came. Suddenly something fell on him and quickly creeped into his coveralls. Chance yelled and shook his coveralls as he ran. He began to feel nauseous. Now even the walls began to fill with the horrid creatures. It made the walls look as if they were alive.
Chance made sure that his footing was firm. One slip and he would fall right onto the insects.
He arrived at the crossing and without thinking, headed for the corridor straight ahead. He soon began to smell something putrid. He shuddered. He was familiar with the smell. It was cyanide gas. During one of his training sessions ,he had misplaced his oxygen mask. The room was closed and suffocating. And it was filling fast with cyanide gas. If it was not for his partner and close friend, he would have been dead.
Now Jake was not there with him. Chance felt even more afraid. He did not like being alone. The insects were now on the ceiling and were falling off slowly. Some of them fell on Chance which he dusted and shook himself in disgust.
It was another horrible disappointment for Chance as he came to another dead end.
“But how can there be a dead end ? Don’t tell me these things came from nothing!” Chance yelled to himself.
As if to reply , there came a strange laugh which echoed through the tunnel. Then it repeated again, deep throated and faded. Chance growled. And the laugh repeated again, this time with more force.
“You’re really enjoying this, ain’t ya!?” he yelled at the laugh. Getting no reply , he growled again.
“I’m not goin’ down without a fight.” said Chance, and at that time felt his alter ego, T-bone, emerging from the coveralls. The red light coming from the bugs slowly faded. Chance felt himself suddenly carried by a forceful wind that chilled him to the bone. And then all was dark again , like how it was in the beginning when he had gotten there, where ever ‘there’ was.
Chance began to wonder where he was, and whether he was alone.He began to feel himself to see if his fur was harbouring any of those horrors he had encountered. Surprisingly, there were none. Still not satisfied, Chance stood for a minute to feel if anything was crawling on him. He felt nothing but cold. He breathed a sigh of relief, but his mind told him his ordeal was not over.
The darkness and the loneliness of the place was frustrating. If it was one thing Chance hated more than bugs, it was not being able to understand, not being able to know where he was, being left in the dark …
As if reading his thoughts, the laugh came again, this time full throated, and jubilant. And this time Chance could say which gender the owner of the laugh belonged to.
“And to think,” said Chance, not bothering if his enemy heard him, “It’s the dames who have the creepiest laughs….”
The Turbokat headed for the city. Jake could recognise it. It was Megalith city. “Or what’s left of it.” thought Jake to himself. He thought it was safer to go as someone the people could recognise. Jake dug under his seat and pulled out his extra G-suit.
“Just hope that they don’t catch me in my trunks.” he muttered to himself. He was worried about his friends. Chance had slipped off the Turbokat wing and the both of them had lost RT. He wished they were both alright. Something at the back of his mind told him that it was highly doubtful. He still hoped there was some chance of them being alright.
The Turbokat landed on the roof of the castle, the only thing that hadn’t changed. Megalith city, otherwise, looked quite deserted. The whole land itself looked and felt different. Jake, now Razor, had the chance of looking out of the Turbokat windshield. The outside world was definitely not a pretty picture like the first time he and T-bone had arrived.
In the distance, Razor could see a vast plane, dry and devoid of any life. The ground seemed to reflect the dull grey onto the sky. The thick forest that surrounded the castle looked dark and threatening, like a tropical jungle with trees that looked dead. The land was lush and green the last time the Swat Kats had arrived. Now it looked drained of all possible life. Something had gone wrong somewhere. Maybe that was the reason why he was here. Maybe the queen thought her two heroes could rectify this… whatever this plague was. Razor felt uncertainty and a pang of fear.
It was during times like this that he depended upon the company of his partner. The feeling of being alone was not welcomed by him. Razor decided to concentrate on what was going on. After all, he was going to meet Calista again. Razor smiled at the thought. He remembered her last words to him . *You are as sweet as you are brave Sir Razor…*
He suddenly felt a mighty bump which shook him out of his thoughts. The Turbokat had landed. He looked around to see if anything was damaged. Then he looked out of the canopy to see if he was alone.
There was a figure standing . It was a she-kat in the medeival clothes of a Lady. Razor opened the canopy and jumped out on the wing. He stopped when he saw the she kat’s face.
“Nell?” he wondered to himself. She looked just like the she-kat he had met at the nuclear power station and later at the garage. He remembered that they had become good friends. Nell was a friendly she-kat, though shy around other kats. She seemed very much at ease with Jake. And Jake had taken a liking to her.
“Sir Razor of Megakat city?” yelled the she-kat to Razor.
“That’s me.” replied Razor as he jumped down from the wing.
“Wasn’t there a Sir T-bone with you?”
“Er…no. I lost him on the way here.”
It was then that Razor discovered that the she-kat’s voice was quite different from Nell’s. In fact, her voice sounded more familiar.
“Her Majesty was expecting both of you. Where is Sir T-bone?”
“I wish I knew. I have to find him.” said Razor. He was a little embarrassed about the sadness in his voice. The people around here must think that he was a brave and fearless tom-kat. Razor liked the attention, although he sometimes thought they were overdoing it.
“I’m afraid that will have to wait. The Queen has not much time. Follow me. Make haste.”
The she-kat ran into the door of the roof. Razor ran after her. He wondered what she meant by ‘The queen has not much time’. What was wrong with the queen? Razor wished he could get answers to the numerous questions that were popping into his mind .What *was* he doing there? What happened to Megalith city? Was the queen alright?
The she-kat had led him down the stairs and through a few passage ways before she stopped at a door with a lightly coloured curtain on it.
“Please be quiet. The queen is very ill.” said the she-kat in a low voice.
Razor’s heart jumped. Ill? What was wrong with her? He slowly followed the she-kat as she gently opened the door and allowed him in.
The room was huge and grand. On the walls were pictures of ancient kats of whom Razor had not known anything about. In the four corners of the room were statues of kat-gods and other mythological beings. In the center of the room was a huge bed, covered on all sides by a thick curtain. Razor could make out a form lying on the bed with a sheet over it. He softly walked up to the bed and moved a fold of the curtain aside. The first thing that caught his eye was the mass of golden hair, all faded and coarse.
“My Queen?” said Razor softly. The head turned around and Razor looked into the faded green eyes that had lost their former glow. The face which he always pictured as young and fresh was now wrinkled and old. But even in her old age, Calista still looked beautiful. Razor thought so.
The thin mouth curled into a sad smile. A paw raised to touch Razor’s left sideburn. Razor held the hand. It was soft and wrinkled. Yet it shone with the same heavenly glow as it did when it was young.
“You have not changed at all, my hero.” said Calista. Her voice was old yet quite clear for a kat of her age and condition.
“What happened? Why are you in bed?” asked Razor, concerned. Callista gave a hollow laugh.
“I am old now, Sir Razor. My time to go is slowly dawning on me. But I can’t go leaving my city to the mercy of the evil….”
She suddenly began a coughing fit. Razor held her close to him as she coughed. The she-kat, who had till then stood at the door, now came running to the queen’s bed. She quickly poured out a glass of water and, moving Razor aside, held the tip of the glass to the queen’s mouth and fed her the water.
“You must not strain yourself, my queen. You must rest. I will explain to Sir Razor.”
Razor then realised who’s voice the she-kat had. It was his own, only difference was that it was at a higher pitch. He looked at her carefully wondering if he could find any other resemblance to himself. Then he shook his head. It couldn’t be. A she-kat who looked like Nell and talked like him. Unless….
*Nah!* thought Razor and turned his attention back to the queen who had recovered from her coughing fit. She then turned to him and smiled her sad and tired smile.
“Lady Elenor will explain everything to you.” she held the she-kat gently by her arm, “Please stay here. I will listen.”
Then she let go of her arm and rested her head again on the pillow.
“Lady Elenor, huh?” said Razor, turning to the she-kat.
“Yes, Sir Razor. Shall I begin?” replied the she-kat.
RT felt very warm and comfortable. The feeling reminded her of home. Home…everything that she had felt and seen reminded her of home. How homesick can one get? She felt a soft pillow at her head . She wanted to nuzzle deep into it and go back to sleep again. But her curiosity got the better of her. She wanted to know where she was.
RT opened her eyes and saw another pair of eyes staring back at her. For a few long moments she stared, terrified at the two large pair of eyes staring back . She screamed a short scream. The eyes then looked at her . They held a confused expression in them.
RT struggled to sit up. The eyes moved away from their original position and took up a new one. RT could now see the owner of the eyes. She was taken aback by what she saw.
It was a tom-kat, the splitting image of Commander Feral. But the face was younger, and more childish and pleasant. He was wearing hides on his body and feet. His body looked strong and like that of a powerful warrior. But his face was very young. RT estimated , about her age.
The tom-kat opened his mouth and seemed to say something. RT held out her hand as if to tell him to wait. The tom-kat inched back and took up a defense stance. RT sighed. *He must think I’m dangerous* thought RT. This seemed rather silly since the tom-kat was massive.But his face was so pleasant that RT couldn’t possibly be afraid of him.
RT did not like the look of Commander Feral. He always looked serious and the way he looked at her always scared her. He had a rude and mean way about him too. He never seemed to like her either. Maybe it was because she was with the Swat Kats. But no one could really say what went on in Feral’s mind. But the Feral she was looking at now was far from the original. Although his face looked like that of Feral, it showed much youth and a slight shade of innocence. RT wanted to know more about him.
She searched for her school bag , and then found it lying next to her. Her bed was in the open and a fire roared not far from her. The sky was cloudy and not the welcoming star lit sky she had always liked to sleep under. It was quite cold and when she reached out for her bag, she immediately wanted to pull it back under the sheet. She pulled the bag close to her and opened it. Taking out the frequency translator device, she checked to see if it was damaged and gave a sigh of releif on finding that it wasn’t. She then put the microphone belt over her head and placed the small mic at her mouth. Then she place the two small earphones on her ears and, after securing the device safely in her school bag, put it on her back.
The tom-kat watched her actions with interest and awe. He still kept his defensive stance as if waiting for her to do something dramatical.
“Can you hear me?” asked RT. Her voice sounding a bit digitalised.
“You speak my language!” said the tom-kat.
RT heard him clearly. His voice was quite young. She thought that he must be about her age.
“Ya. I guess. Where am I?” asked RT.
The tom-kat went up to her and looked her in the eye, “First you tell me who are you and where you come from.”
RT thought it would lead to problems if she refused to tell. Besides, she felt she could trust this cat.
“My name is Arthi.” she began and stopped when he saw intrigue in his expression.
“It sounds magical. Are you a gnome?” asked the tom-kat.
RT wondered whether gnomes here were good or bad. She decided not to take any chances.
“No, I’m not.”
The expression on the tom-kat’s face was not welcomed by her.
“Pity.” he said ,and he sounded quite regretful,”My people would have spared you had you been a gnome.”
*Spared?* thought RT. *Then NOT being a gnome was a bad thing*
“Hallo…Wait…What’s a gnome?” fumbled RT , waving her palms.
The tom-kat thought for a moment,”It’s a creature of magic and good luck.” he said, “But if you are not a gnome, then what manner of creature are you? You certainly fit the description of a gnome, or from what i’ve heared.” he frowned.
“OK, fine. Take it that I am a gnome,” began RT, trying to get out of the mess she had gotten into.
“You just said…” began the tom-kat.
“Forget what I said,” said RT decisively,”I’m a gnome…sort of anyway, and I bring luck…sort of….”
“I may believe you,” said the tom-kat,”But you will have to prove that to my people.”
“Who are your people?”
“First,” the tom-kat now sat down next to RT,”My name is Jason . I come from a long line of Kats known as…”
“Ferals?” guessed RT. This surprised the tom-kat greatly.
“How do you know my ancestral name?” he asked, totally astounded.
“Umm…I’m a gnome. Those are Gnome Powers.” said RT. It sounded very lame, but he fell for it.
“Amaizing! Then you must know more of me?”
“Well…no, actually, I got that information from another…more powerful gnome.” stumbled RT. She was an average liar, and didn’t think twice about lieing, but she would have to muster all her imagination and skill to get out of this mess she had gotten into.
“I understand. You are a young gnome? How old are you?” asked Jason, interested in the strange creature he had met.
“Sixteen running.” she replied.
“And not married?” gasped the other. RT frowned at this. Everyone *had* to talk of marriage when she turned sixteen.
“Sixteen is not the age to marry.” she said bluntly.
“Oh yes! Gnomes marry at an older age, right?”
“Right.” replied RT, smiling. The fellow seemed to be relating humans to gnomes.
“Then I shall continue. I come from Megalith city, yonder.” he pointed out towards a direction. RT could see the tip of an ancient building which looked like those castles in Feudal England. Two twin towers stood high in the horizon.
“You can see the top of Megalith castle from here.” continued Jason.
“You’re leaving Megalith city?” asked RT.
“Yes. A terrible famine had struck the land and our people were forced to leave. We were lucky to find the Roc which I shot down.”
“Yes. It is a huge bird that used to be in plenty around these parts. But after the famine, there is hardly anything to eat. My people were starving when we arrived here. They would have eaten you too if I didn’t stop them.”
RT gulped. One more narrow escape.
“T-Thanks.” she mumbled.
“Oh! No thanks needed.” Jason waved his paw,”It is said in the old code that a knight sould show chivalry to a lady.”
*Thank God for the old code!* thought RT, and gave her prayer of thanks.
“Is this some kind of weather thingy? This famine?” asked RT, after a look at her surroundings. Everything was so dull and lifeless that she felt nauseous.
“It was the work of the evil witch, Lylith.” a dark shadow fell over his face as he spoke the name. RT shuddered. The name and the manner in which it was mentioned was enough to give her goose bumps.
“What happened?” asked RT.
The tom-kat took a deep sigh, “It is a long story, of which I have no pleasure of telling.”
“Maybe, it can help me. I am looking for my friends. They may be able to get rid of this which.”
“Perhaps. Fine, I will tell you.”
Jason looked up at the dark, cloudy sky. RT followed his gaze.
“Will it rain?” she asked. Jason shook his head, “The clouds are not low . They will just block the sunlight. I haven’t seen the sun for many days. As I tell the story, it will all be clear.”
RT nodded and pulled the sheet around her to keep warm. Jason still looked at the sky as he spoke.
“Almost a century ago , two heros had arrived from a distant land and had freed Megalith city from it’s long reign of terror. The queen of Megalith city, Queen Calista , had again taken the crown and had ruled Megalith city wisely and well over.”
“Who were these heros?” asked RT, suddenly curious.
“Sir T-bone and Sir Razor, they were called.”
RT jumped on hearing the names, “T-bone and Razor. *They* are my friends. I need to find them.”
Jason’s face suddenly lit up, “You *know* the heros of Megalith city?” RT nodded fast, “Then maybe, they will be able to rid us off this damn plague.” Jason waved his paw at the open and deserted plane. RT hoped that she wouldn’t be stuck in such a formidable place.
“We’ll find them after you finish your story.” said RT. Jason nodded.
“Many years after, the Queen married and gave birth to a son. The kitten was supposed to have magical powers, even greater than that of the Queen’s. But it had to be nurtured after he attained his youth. Things went on quite well. I lived in the castle as a kitten and I know my way around.
Then one day, a young she-kat came to the Queen. She pleaded for work in the castle and a place to stay. She looked like she had travelled over a very long distance as her feet were cut and bleeding. She looked the most pathetic little angel any one would have ever laid eyes on….I had to admit, even I was fooled, but I was only a kitten then .
The Queen’s heart was touched by the pathetic look of this young she-kat. She took pity on her and gave her work . The she-kat was one of the maids in the castle. If only we had seen the evil in her eyes. She had hidden her eyes well with her knotted hair when she had arrived. No one bothered to look into them. If they looked deeply, they would be able to see pure evil. But this never happened. The she-kat was allowed everywhere in the castle. She had to clean, of course. She did work for many years. We should have noticed something, for she hardly aged . The Queen slowly grew old and weary. It was then time for the witch to strike.
In one room of the castle is kept a magical casket. The casket contains the Evil that the Queen had defeated when she was young. The casket could only be opened my means of a spell that was found in the Book of Spells, which the Queen kept with her. This book had something to do with Sir T-bone and Sir Razor, but I don’t know the right story.”
“I hope they can tell me, if I find them.” said RT, pulling the sheet tighter around her.
“I will hear it too.” Jason smiled, then continued.
” It was so easy for the witch to get hold of this book. She had aquired the Queen’s guard’s attention and had gotten hold of the book and the key to the room. It was *so* easy for her. She let loose the Evil which absorbed into her being. She was then all powerful. All the powers of darkness were at her claw tips. She had called herself Lylith.
It was then that she faced the Queen and unleashed her power. But the Queen’s power was ,again, too much for evil to handle. Besides, as a result of wise rule over Megalith city, the mental energies of the people of the city were good. Lylith was defeated, but she didn’t perish. She decided to take a different approach in conquering Megalith city.
Lylith built a castle to sustain her evil powers. It is well hidden and no one was able to find it. Those who went to look for it, never came back. Such was the fate of the King. Days after the disappearance of the King, the Queen’s son vanished. From that day, disaster had struck Megalith city. Crops began to die and the river began to dry up. There was no food left to eat. The clouds had come and had blocked out the sun for many days. The people were forced to leave to look for a better place to live. The Queen, and a few of her devoted followers, never left the castle. I was forced to move with my family. My father had disappeared as many other knights did, in search of Lylith’s castle. As years went by, things got worse. We are the last that is left of Megalith city. The forest that now surrounds the castle has turned into a guard for the castle. Kats can go out, but they can’t get in. The forest will turn on them. Many brave kats have died that way. The only choice left was to leave quickly. That is why I am here….”
Chance felt his way in the dark. He was now against a wall and was feeling it for an exit out of the strange darkness he was in. The wall was slimy and smelt of mould and dried blood. The smell was nauseating, but Chance did his best to control his feelings, although he felt that he would break down any minute. He kept reminding himself that the place was designed to frighten him to death.*Nice try, but no cigar* he thought as if to mock the laugh that had haunted him a minute ago. He continued down the wall, moving stealthily and making sure he had a good footing on the ground. The last thing he wanted was to fall into a hole, or lose his balance and fall on the ground and get caught off guard.
Then he found that the wall had ended. Chance felt the side of the wall. It looked like as if he had come into a passageway with the wall turning to the opposite side of where he was coming. When he looked on the other side, he surprised and happy to see a faint light coming from the far end of a tunnel. He *had* to make it to that light.
Chance ran head on into the tunnel and towards the light. Nothing else was in his mind but getting to that light at the far end of the tunnel. Whether someone was following him, or watching him, or laughing at him ,now, didn’t matter to him at all. All he wanted was freedom from darkness. A way out of this strange prison.
The light got brighter and brighter as he came closer. And when he got to the light, he found that it was a well lit room with torches on the wall. The carvings on the walls and pillars were of the same intricacy that he found in the room with the insects. Chance shuddered at the thought of insects. His hatred for them now doubled. He wanted out of this madhouse.
Chance put a foot in the room. Seeing that nothing happened he walked in , cautiously looking around him for danger. The walls all around had the same carvings again and again, repeated at various intervals. The torches burnt brightly. There was an open tunnel in front of him that lead into the darkness.Chance took time to look at himself. He was dirty with soot and slime and his palms had slime with a few magots in them.
“YEACH!” grunted Chance as he wiped his paws on his coveralls, making sure he killed all the magots. This place was *disgusting* !
Chance suddenly heared a screech. Then the door behind him shut quickly and hard. He Immediately made off for the door in front of him. But it closed before he could reach it. “Crud!” yelled Chance, banging a fist on the door.
Suddenly, two shafts on either side of the high wall began to pour large amounts of water into the room. Chance watched as the water level of the room slowly rose. Chance had been in a situation like this before. When the alien , Mutilor, captured the Swat Kats and had thrown them into their cargo hold which filled up with water. T-bone and Razor had their oxygen masks then. Now Chance had nothing that could save him. He watched in horror as the water level rose higher and higher. Within a minute, it was up to his waist. There was no way out. Except for the shafts through which the water was coming out. But the shafts were too small to allow someone of Chance’s size in. He was trapped like a rat.
The water level rose higher and higher. Chance despirately hammered the door which locked him in. It didn’t give in. He growled in anguish. This was *not* fair.
“Of course it’s not fair!” the falling water seem to say. The whole thing tormented Chance out of his mind. But he fought to keep his cool. Something in his mind told him not to panic. Althought the situation looked bleak, there *was* a way out. Chance looked around. The water was up to his neck now.
Then he noticed something else, falling the shafts. They hit the water and began to swim frantically. The water was clear, and Chance could see the objects clearly. He froze. Piranas! Those deadly things that could eat a kat live within minutes! If it was one thing Chance hated about water, it was the predators that lived in them. Water was not his element and Piranas were fish he always stayed away from, even if they were at a fish market. This was all he could stand. “What do you want from me!?” he yelled at the walls. Nothing answered him. He gave a deep throated growl of anger. This was not right. There *had* to be a way out. Chance watched the fish swarm towards him. This was it. In all his life, Chance Furlong never thought he would go down like *this*.
Suddenly, the torches were put out. Chance was left in utter darkness again. Fear immediately gripped him. The last place he wanted to die was in the dark. He waited for the pain to come. But nothing came. In fact, he found that his feet touched solid ground. He was still breathing He was alright. But he was left in the dark again.
Razor looked out of the window. The landscape was dull and lifeless. Nothing moved, nothing grew. The forest looked so hostile. The last thing he wanted to do was go in there. The ravine was on the other side of the castle. He only got the view of the city, now lifeless. The scenary was so dull, it made him sick.
“That is all that’s left of Megalith city.” said Lady Elenor as she watched with him. Razor looked back at her. Her manner was calm and collected and serious. She had a look of determination that Razor liked. She was somebody to look up to.
Razor slowly processed in his mind the story so far. He looked back to see the Queen. She had gone through so much. Razor wanted to ease her pain somehow. Maybe rid the city of this Lylith witch.
“The Queen had no one to turn to.” continued Elenor, “So she decided to bring back the two heros that had saved this city once, in the hope that they can do it again.” she turned to Razor and gave a small smirk. Razor ignored it.
“You said that the spell book was with this Lylith chick.”
“The Queen used the model of your flying vessel to bring it back to the Dark Ages. The process had left her drained and ill.”
“So that’s why the Turbokat was sucked into the portal.” Razor remembered the clay model of the Turbokat Calista had used to return them back to Megakat city after their battle with the Pastmaster. So the Pastmaster was not responsible for this mess.
“So what am I supposed to do?” asked Razor.
“Find Lylith and destroy her.” said Elenor.
“And Lady Elenor will go with you.” said Calista from her bed. Both Razor and Elenor turned to look at her. She was sitting up on her bed and looking at them with a small smile on her face.
Both kats walked up to her. Razor put a paw on her cheek, “My Queen, you must rest. You had a hard day.”
“He is right, Your Majesty.” put in Elenor, “You are weak. I will go with Sir Razor.”
“You can’t go. This lady sounds dangerous.” said Razor, looking at Elenor.
“But Sir Razor,” put in Calista, as she lay her head on her pillow, taking hold of both their arms, “Lady Elenor will be of great use to you. She is Megalith city’s greatest archeror. No tom-kat has ever beaten her in a target match.”
Razor cocked an eyebrow. Elenor smiled lightly.
“Sureshot huh?” said Razor, smiling.
“You can say that.” replyed Elenor.
“I’m a pretty good shot myself.” said Razor.
“There is no time for talk. You must find Lylith’s castle before she captures Megalith city.” said Calista in a hoarse voice. Both kats turned their attention towards her. “Once Megalith city is captured, there will be no future for anyone on this earth. She will use Megalith city as the center for conquering the universe. The more power she attains , the easier for her to attain her goal of conquering the universe.”
Razor gulped. There was so much at stake here. If he didn’t stop this which now , it would be the end of all of them.
“We must go now, my Queen.” said Elenor, standing up, “Are you sure you don’t want me here.”
“No ,kitten. You must go . You are needed. I will stay here.”
“Take care , my Queen.” Elenor bent down and kissed Calista’s forehead. Calista let a paw run down the she-kat’s cheek, and smiled.
Elenor got up from the bed and turned to go. Razor held the Queen’s paw, “Don’t worry, my Queen. We’ll get this bimbo.” Calista nodded, “My prayers are with you, Sir Razor.” Calista pulled him down gently and gave him a light kiss on the cheek. Razor smiled and let go of her hand. Then he turned and walked with Elenor towards the door.
Razor purposefully walked up the stairs and to the Turbokat followed close behind by Elenor.
“What is your plan, Sir Razor?”
“Just call me ‘Razor’, please. First I gotta repair the Turbokat. Then we use it ta look for Lylith’s castle. I have a funny feeling that we’ll find T-bone when we find Lylith.” Razor then turned to Elenor, “There is another friend I’m lookin’ for. Her name’s RT.”
“Yeah. It’s short for something I can’t pronounce. Anyway, she looks a bit strange too, so you may wanna keep an eye out for her. I fly the jet and you sit at the back. And don’t touch anything unless I tell you to.”
After his lecture, Razor surveyed the damage done to the Turbokat. Elenor smirked behind his back and crossed her arms. She wondered how the Queen had taking such a liking to such a rude person. She thought she would give him one more chance.
“Would you like some help?” she asked.
“Um? Er…yeah. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I’ll need a blacksmith to cover up that damage on the wing there.” Razor pointed to the shattered left wing ,”And some down there too,” He pointed to the lower part of the Turbokat.
“I think all our blacksmiths have left.”
“Great! Now what do we do.”
“We can try and um…fix…ourselves.”
Razor turned to Elenor as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “The stuff will weigh a ton! How can we…?”
“If the both of us worked together, maybe we can repair the damage. I’ll start a furnace right away. Luckily our men had built a furnace right here. Our Queen is quite innovative.”
With that, Elenor ran downstairs to get the materials and the iron. Razor sighed. This was going to be tougher than he thought. Atleast the damage was not that bad. It was worse the last time he had arrived. But they didn’t have any kat-power now. They had to put their heads together. He hoped that it wouldn’t lead to any conflict. Elenor had been slightly hostile towards him from the beginning. He hoped it would change. He didn’t want more problems on his paws.
RT put her bag carefully on her back. “What’s the time?” she asked Jason.
“I haven’t been able to tell time for days. Don’t let it bother you. We won’t be making any stops. The forest is just ahead. Overall, it is only a day’s walk to the castle.”
“A day!?” gasped RT. The thought of walking continuously for a day alone was discouraging. How much more trouble do they have to face?
“Yes. That’s quite a short time.”
“Oh.” RT didn’t want to say more.
“We haven’t got much food.” said Jason, as he pulled a medium sized sack over his back, “We must hurry when we get to the forest. It will attack us at every turn . We must be on our guard.”
“Um, what are our chances of survival.” asked RT, now very frightened of the adventure ahead.
Jason shrugged, “I’m not sure. Let us just pray that we get out alive.”
“Is anyone else coming?”
“No. They are too afraid. But there is a better chance of you living in the forest than you living with them.”
RT remembered the time Jason told her she was saved from being eaten by his people.The choise was made easily. She gulped again. She hoped Jason was right and that she could find Chance and Jake soon and get out of this creepy place.
“Ready?” asked Jason. RT looked up at him. *Now* he looked like Commander Feral. His face was serious and distant. He was thinking of the journey ahead and of the dangers he and his companion were going to face. He was worried.
“I’m ready.” said RT, pulling at her school bag.
“You might need this.” said Jason and pulled out a small dagger. To Jason, it was a small dagger, but to RT, it was a medium sized sword. It was slightly heavy for her, but she managed to hold on to it firmly.
And they were off.
It took them over an hour to reach the edge of the forest. RT gulped again. It looked horribly terrifying. The trees bore a strange colour of grey and mould .There wasn’t a single patch of greenery on them. Mist hung over most of the forest. There was a pathway leading right into it. It was probably used by travellers who came during the time of prosperity. It was right out of a horror film. RT grabbed Jason’s arm. He looked down at her.
“Be brave. The forest senses fear. It will act on that fear. You must show no fear. I will protect you, little one.”
RT nodded in a trance. The smell of the forest was of death and decay. The smell sent a flow of memories through her mind. Memories of a river that ran next to her house. It too smelt of death and decay, and other chemicals which had been dumped into it in the past. This was the smell, and it actually gave her confidence. *Now I know what mom meant by ‘Things happen for our own good’ * thought RT as she held Jason’s arm and walked into the forest.
They walked quickly. Jason’s face was one of determination. He showed absolutely no fear. RT looked up at his face with all admiration. She wished that she could be as brave as him.
“Can we talk?” she asked suddenly. Jason looked down at her.
“Ask what you want, quickly.” he said.
“How old are you?”
Jason gave a small smile, “I’m 19. I hope to become a knight when all this is over.”
“I’m sure you will. You are so brave.”
Jason smiled again, “And you are quite brave too. Now let us make haste.”
They again started walking fast. RT soon forgot the horrors of the forest. All she concentrated on was the path in front of them. For a while , it seemed normal. The forest was deadly quiet. No sound of any insect or animal scurrying about. This was natural as the forest harboured no greenary and smelt horrible. RT decided she would be able to hear more if she switched to a lower frequency band. So she removed one of her earphones.
The sound that reached her was hollow, as if she had just put a sea shell to her ear. She listened as she walked with Jason. The knife in her hand was held tightly. The hollow sound continued in her ear. The same was heared for another half hour.
Suddenly she heared a shreek. She jumped and held on to Jason’s arm. He turned to her. She could hear him say “What’s the matter” as if he was at a distance from her.
“I heared something scream.” she replyed. Her own words sent shivers down her spine.
Jason looked up and pricked his ears. “I don’t hear anything.”
RT’s eyes widened. If Jason could not hear the sound, then it must be an animal or something else.
“There’s something here. I can hear it. You won’t be able to. Only I can.”
“Is that Gnome Power?”
“Ya, sort of.”
The two stopped and listened somemore. RT heared the screech again this time, closer. Then rumbling, then the screech again. It was coming closer and closer. RT tried despirately to find out which diretion the sound was coming from. Then she felt a tug at her sleeve and herself being pulled by Jason.
“This way,” he said , but the sound of the rumbling and the screeches grew so loud that RT couldn’t hear him. She just ran along with him.
Now she could feel the vibrations on the ground. It was as if something enormous was coming after them, at a very high speed. *Like Jurassic Park!* RT thought. Then the vibrations stopped. And so did she. She looked in front of her and found a huge tree trunk, blocking the path.
“How can people get out when this tree trunk is blocking the way?” RT whispered fearfully to Jason.
“Kats can get out. But they can’t get in. The forest will see to that.” whispered back Jason, with all calmness. He touched the tree trunk. Nothing happened. Then he let go of RT’s hand and jumped on top of the tree trunk. He was able to climb on top of it.
“Give me your paw…” said Jason and held out his paw. RT looked at him and held out her hand.
“It’s called a hand.” she said as she held his paw.
“Whatever.” said Jason and cluched her hand to hoist her up the tree trunk. RT made no effort to climb up and she stood her ground.
“What’s wrong now? We must move quickly.” said Jason, frustrated.
“I hear….I hear heartbeats.” said RT, looking up at Jason.
“Heartbeats?” asked Jason.
No sooner had he said that when the tree trunk suddenly moved.
“Jason!” yelled RT, and jumped back. She watched in horror as Jason held on to the tree trunk as it slowly grew scales. RT heared the low rumbling again. She watched as the tree trunk grew legs, and a tail and a head, the head of a giant lizard like creature.
It held up his head and let out a ear shattering screech. RT covered her ears, then put back her earphones to hear less. The sounds now consisted of just the screeches of the dragon, without the hollow sound. The dragon was shaking its head angrily as if to get something off it.
RT ran back a few pases and noticed that Jason was on the dragon’s neck and was trying to stick his sword into his neck. It was hard to see from so far down below.
RT’s mind raced. The ‘dragon’ had its scales on his back. So while he is distraced with Jason, she could try and pierce his stomach.
She ran back, holding the huge dagger firmly. When she came near she dodged the dragon’s tail and legs. It was trashing around, trying to get its head onto its neck to get the irritant off its body. RT noticed that it had almost gotten to the spot. The stomach was open and exposed. She ran towards it and jammed her knife into it.
The dragon let out a powerfull screech and immediately moved its head towards its stomach, where RT was. RT realised that the dragon was not bleeding and stapping a knife into it was not helping. She pulled out her knife and ran in between the dragon’s legs and under its tail. The dragon was nursing the prick it had got on his stomach when Jason again stabbed it on his neck. The dragon let out a screech and pulled its head back to it’s neck and let out a huge ball of fire. The fire didn’t hurt it, but it had almost scorched Jason. He knew it was a wrong time to come out of his hiding place. He decided to irritated the dragon more.
The dragon blew more fireballs on it’s back. Jason could not stand the heat for long. The air he was breathing was now suffocating. But he held on and waited for a chance to escape.
RT, who was on the ground, suddenly heared another screech, this one deeper than the current dragon’s screech.
“No! Not another one !” she moaned.
Sure enough, coming towards the battle scene, was another similar looking lizard. This one was coloured a deeper brown and grey. It headed straight for the other dragon. Or that was what RT thought. The other dragon suddenly moved from it’s place. The darker dragon didn’t change it’s direction. Then RT realised. The dragon was heading for her! She ran towards the other dragon as if to take cover under it’s body. It was still trashing it’s tail around, so RT kept at a distance from it. Then she saw Jason run, then slide down the back of the dragon’s body. The dragon noticed him and blew out a fire ball.
RT yelled and ducked. She felt a blazing heat, and then an arm which held her by the waist and rolled with her into the forest. RT opened her eyes to see Jason, covered in soot.
“There’s another dragon.” she said , pointing to the pathway.
“I don’t think we’ll have to worry about both. Look.” said Jason, pointing to the pathway.
RT saw that the other dragon had bumped into the first. The first yelled out a screech and pushed the other dragon down. The darker one scrambled up and head butted the first. They began to fight. For a few moments, RT and Jason watched the two monsters fight. Then Jason got up and stealthily moved through the trees, followed close behind by RT.
Chance Furlong had never felt so cold and alone in his life. He shivered as he stood in the dark . His clothes were wet and dripping , and the air around him had not helped. He sneezed and wiped his nose with his paw. He felt his clothes and then began to wring the ends of his sleeves and the top of his coveralls. He sneezed again and groaned. *Whoever’s controlling this place is gonna pay for this!* he thought angrily He had not heared the laugh for quite a long time. He wondered who the owner of this horrid place was. He knew it was female, but what did she look like? And how powerful was she?
Suddenly the room lit up with a strange light. Chance staggered back and covered his eyes. For some time he held his tembles and rubbed his eyes. After getting used to the sudden bright light, he had a good look around. There was not much to see, except this room was the biggest he had seen since he came . There were no carvings on the wall. The light didn’t seem to be coming from anywhere in particular. It seemed to be reflecting off the walls. Other than that, the room was featureless. Chance noticed that the cealing was quite low in this room. If he jumped high enough, he would have been able to touch the cealing.
Chance then looked at his watch. It had been a full 5 hours since he had gotten there, give or take an hour or two. Chance had not checked the time ever since he came into the hanger. Once again he wondered where Jake and RT where. He felt rather hungry. It had been a long time since he ate and he wanted to go home and have a nice huge and hot fish pizza with extra food. The thought of food made him feel more hungry. *I can even hear my stomach rumbling* thought Chance as he listened to a faint rumble, which increased. His mind then turned to the room, and then he noticed something. It was *not* his stomach that was rumbling….
The whole room seemed to shake and shiver, and the rumbling increased. *Not again* moaned Chance. He moved towards one of the walls to hold on to it to keep his balance, then decided against it as the wall might fall on him.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a carved pillar shot up from under Chance, pushing him at full speed towards the cealing. Chance recovered from the shock quickly and jumped from the top of the pillar, before it slammed onto the cealing.
Chance staggered back, then barely missed another pillar which shot out from the ground and fastened itself to the low cealing. Chance waited for the next one. One by one the pillars rose from the ground and hit the cealing. Chance dodged them , one by one, as they rose, barely missing a few, and being lifted up by a few.
Then Chance found the ground being raised. He held on to a pillar, and looked up, only to find that the cealing was headed for him. Chance looked frantically around for an opening. There was no opening around for him to get out of , no place to escape. In a few minutes, he would have been squished. Then he noticed something.
The door through which he seemed to have entered from was rising to the cealing and was lightened by a light coming from outside. It was his only chance. He sprinted towards the door as fast as he could. The cealing was now on his back and he had to crawl. He reached the door, but there was no room for his body to move. Chance finally lay down and rolled through the door, and ended up on the other side, before the cealing slammed shut on the floor.
And then, everything went black again. Chance could hear himself say *Crud!*.
RT and Jason moved stealthily throught the forest, in the hope of getting back to the pathway again. RT again removed one earphone to listen to anymore low frequency sounds. Apart from the distant rumble of the dragons, fighting, and the hollow sound, there was nothing else.
Suddenly, the distant rumbling stopped abruptly for a second or two, and then replace by another rumbling, not the low groaning noises of the dragons, but the rumling of something big and heavy, like an earthquake.
“Do you hear something?” asked RT. Jason turned to look at her and then shook his head.
“I heared an earthquake.” said RT, standing still and holding on to Jason’s arm. Jason pricked his ears and listened. Then he turned to RT.
“I hear a distant rumbling. I’m not sure what it is…”
“Where did that pillar come from!?” said RT. She was pointing to a carved pillar which stood at a distance from them, towering high.
“I…I don’t think we’re in the forest anymore, Arthi.” said Jason. RT saw what he meant. Trees diappeared and pillars appeared, all arranged in a row. The rumbling sound now increased, and after a while, it was loud and the ground shook along with the sound. RT held on to Jason , while he held on to a pillar. He put one arm around RT’s waist and pulled her to the pillar. RT closed her eyes untill the rumbling stopped. Then she opened her eyes. Jason had removed his arm from RT and she moved away from the pillar. There was no damage done to the surroundings. They were in a corridor which lead into darkness on one side and into a dull light on the other. The pillars were on either side of the corridor and along it ran a plush, red carpet. On the dark side of the corridor was a figure, who was holding it’s head and shaking it hard as if it had a bad fall. The figure looked up and stared at RT.
RT could make out from the outline that the figure was T-bone. But she was not sure. She took a few steps towards the figure. Then she heared her name, as T-bone would call her.
“RT?” said the low, husky voice.
“T-bone!” yelled RT and ran towards the figure.
Chance heared RT call him ‘T-bone’. He looked down at himself and he found that he was, indeed, in his G-suit with his mask and helmet. Then he looked up to see RT run towards him. At last! A friend! T-bone opened his arms to admit RT into them. RT cried silently , while he held her hard. It felt great to be with someone he knew. Then he looked up again and saw Commander Feral’s face…but it was a rather pleasant face, not hard and cruel . T-bone slowly stood up. The kat was an inch taller than him, but looked as if he was very happy to see him, unlike Feral .
“Sir T-bone, I am honoured.” said the kat in a rather young voice and bowed with great respect. T-bone jumped back . He was not used to being bowed at. RT looked up at his face. She then pulled at his G-suit sleeve. T-bone looked down at her.
“His name is Jason. He’s a big fan of yours.” she explained, and then pulled him closer and whispered into his ear, “He’s an ancestor of Commander Feral. That’s why he looks like him.”
“Oh.” whispered back T-bone. And then looked up at Jason’s confused face.
“Great ta meet ya, Jason.” he said and shook Jason’s paw hard. Jason returned the hand shake happily.
“Oh. How cute.” echoed a female voice through the corridor. It took everyone by surprised. RT held on to T-bone, while T-bone showed his fangs. He recognised the voice.
“Come out and show yerself, *which*.” yelled T-bone to the walls. Jason looked around, perplexed. Then a shadow came over his features. He looked, again, like Commander Feral.
“Lylith!” he spat. RT gasped.
“Who’s Lylith?” asked T-bone, looking down at RT, and then at Jason.
As if to answer, everything went black again, for all three of them.
A strange rumbling made Razor look up from his work at the furnace.
“What’s up?” he asked, turning to Elenor, who was holding a pot with hot, melted iron with cloth covered paws. She put the pot back on the furnace and looked at the horizon.
“I don’t know…wait! There’s something coming up. Over there!” she pointed to the horizon. Razor looked and saw an unbelievable sight.
A strange structure rose up from the ground slowly. It took almost five minutes till it was fully exposed. The structure was a castle, dark and forbidding. The hue around it was darker that the surroundings. The look of it was straight from a horror show.
“Lylith’s castle.” whispered Elenor.
“So *that’s* why no one could find it. It was hidden *underground*.” deducted Razor.
“What now?” Elenor turned to Razor.
“If she wants to make an appearance, we’d better give her an audiance.”
“We go after her. Let’s get to work.”
The two turned back to the furnace. Elenor picked up the pot of hot iron and poured it into a mould. While she waited for it to dry, Razor, poured some of the iron on the Turbokat’s wing. *Now I know why T-bone was mad at me* thought Razor, after he wiped off the sweat on his face. He wanted to go right away and apologise to him for the way he had acted the last time he had come there.
“It’s ready.” said Elenor from the furnace.
“I’m coming.” called back Razor. After wiping off more sweat, he arrived at the furnace. He held one side of the mould while Elenor held the other side.
“Ready?” he asked. Elenor nodded.
“One…two…three!” he counted. At ‘three’ the two lifted the heavy mould and quickly moved it to the Turbokat. As soon as they reached there, they dropped it. The mould broke and the iron, which was not thoroughly dry, fell out.
Elenor quickly picked it up with the huge tongs and held it to the bottom of the Turbokat. Razor pushed the sides of the iron towards the bottom and held each side for sometime. Then he poured cold water over the iron. The immense heat dissipated in hot steam, and Razor and Elenor moved away quickly. Then they looked at the Turbokat.
“Not bad.” said Razor, smiling.
“Are we ready to go then?” asked Elenor.
“Yep. I just check my weapons panel and run a systems check and we’re off.”
“Oh. I’ll go get my crossbow.” and Elenor ran again downstares. Razor smiled behind her. She didn’t seem a bit scared about this Lylith character, even though she knew how dangerous this was. *She’s crazy* though Razor shaking his head. Then he looked back at the Turbokat. ” *I’m* crazy!” said Razor aloud.
T-bone found himself standing in front of a mirror after the darkness had cleared away. The mirror reflected him and the wall behind him. The wall bore a strange colour of grey and green. There was a torch which was burning brightly. It caused many strange shadows to fall on the opposite wall. The mirror was oval shaped and had the same intricate designs carved around it’s perimeter. T-bone stared at himself in the mirror as if he were in a daze.
“I agree, it is an awesome sight.” came the familiar female voice from T-bone’s left. He immediately turned to his left to meet the voice. Only one thing was on his mind uptill now : Payback for all he and his friends had suffered. Now his mind seemed to just take in the picture he saw.
The wall was the same colour as the others except for the red tapestry that hung over it, intricate designs of gold surrounding a strange emblem. Two torches, dimly lit, were on either sides of the wall. In the center was a huge throne of some sort covered with red velvet, and on it sat an awesome sight.
T-bone looked at her eyes first. They stared at him with some devilish glee and ,for a short moment, shone a bright red. T-bone could see the red against a dark background. The sight of the eyes unnerved him, and sent shivers down his spine. He wanted to puke that very instant. But he controlled himself and led his attention elsewhere.
Everything else about the she-kat was not that frightening, and even awesome to look at for a tom-kat like T-bone. The kat was all black Her features were sharp and ebony black hair fell like a thundercloud over her head and well shaped shoulders. The huge black tail lay on her lap and her bare arms lay on the arms of the throne. Her legs ,long and powerfully built, lay crossed over each other in front of him. She didn’t wear much , but enough to cover just her body. T-bone unknowingly smiled. In his mind, he made it a point to keep his attention on the she-kat’s body and not her face, so that he could keep his cool. The she-kat smiled at him too. It was a cunning smile , one which T-bone always found attractive.
“I’m glad you like what you see, Sir T-bone.” she said, in an effort to sound seductive. The voice brought T-bone back to his senses. What he heared in the darkness was the same as he heared here. The anger came back into his heart. But he decided to keep his cool. Maybe he could trick her into getting out of here.
“How did you know who I was? I didn’t come here in my uniform.” said T-bone, looking at the she-kat’s face, but making sure not to make eye contact.
“I have studied about the two heros who had saved Megalith city long ago. *You* interested me the most.”
T-bone grinned, “I’m flattered. So what do I call ya?”
“I am called Lylith. Many call me by other names, but for you Lylith is enough.” the she-kat’s eyes glew red again, T-bone again avoided them and turned his attention to her legs. The black tail flickered and then moved from the lap slowly and gracefully. Then the legs uncrossed and moved together. The muscles flexed and moved the body up from the throne. The mass of black, shiny hair fell over the body and the legs moved away from the throne.
“Why don’t you look at my face, Sir T-bone? Is it really too horrifying to look at?” the voice asked, trying it’s best to sound innocent.
T-bone looked up and made an attemt to look at the kat’s eyes. They were not glowing now, but were red slits, like a jungle cat’s eyes. T-bone gathered all his courage and determination and smiled at the she-kat.
“You have a lovely face.” he said, but felt nauseaous inside. He was using all his will power to control himself. Lylith smiled again. “Do you find me attractive?” she asked seductively.
“Very.” whispered T-bone, as he saw the body sway and move towards him. He immediately shook his mind off the thought. He needed to think of something else. His friend and buddy, RT, and Jason. Of course!
“All right! Enough of this! Where are my friends!?” T-bone suddenly showed his anger. Lylith took a step back. Her face registered a shade of surprise but it was soon washed away by a devilish grin.
“You mean your kitten friends? They are safe…with me.” she said evilly, then took a few step forward, “But enough of them. Let us talk about more interesting topics.”
“Not untill I know they’re unhurt.” demanded T-bone, and crossed his arms adamantly. Lylith sighed and stepped back again.
“As you wish.” she said, sounding defeated.
Lylith held out both her paws. Then did a few turns of the claws and wrists which T-bone could not understand. First, a young kat materialised at her side. He looked like a kitten not more than fifteen. His face bore no expression what so ever. Then, to his side, materialised a cage containing RT and Jason.
“T-bone ! Are you alright?” yelled RT from inside. Jason seemed to be rubbing his temples and then he looked up.
“I’m fine, kid. Just having a little chat with the lady here.” T-bone waved his paw at Lylith, who didn’t seem too pleased by his reaction.
When Jason and RT looked at her, both their mouths opened . “Ye gods!” whispered Jason.
“Fine, young kat. I will *not* have those words spoken in my castle.” spat Lylith, and clicked her claws. Jason was immediately wrapped up in chains and had a metal plate over his mouth, held by chains. He yelled through the plate. Only loud muffled noises reached everyone’s ears.
“Jason! Hey! ” RT yelled, first trying to remove Jason’s chains and then turning to Lylith.
“Are you that witch, Lylith?” she demanded.
Lylith’s eyes glew again red and firery, “Silence!” she yelled, her voice becoming lower. T-bone shuddered when he heared the voice. RT backed away from the door of the cage and kept silent.
“Don’t you *dare* hurt her.” growled T-bone.
“But Sir T-bone,” said Lylith, her voice turning back to the feminine tone it was before. She was trying her hardest to look innocent , “I would never endanger the lives of your friends…that is unless they force me to.”
The black tail swayed , and the body began to move gracefully towards T-bone. T-bone wondered whether it would be more dangerous to watch the face instead of the body now, as he was slowly losing his bearings. He took a quick look at Lylith’s eyes. They were the same red slits against a dark background. It brought fear into his heart. He needed to be angry so that he wouldn’t get carried away.
“What makes you think I believe you!?” he spat back.
“I am not interested in them. I want you.” she purred as she came closer to him.
“What do *I* have that you want?” asked T-bone, smirking.
“Well…” began Lylith. She was now dangerously close to T-bone. She lifted her arm, and ran her claws down T-bone’s chest. T-bone did not shudder this time. He suddenly smiled in amusement. Not at Lylith, but at RT, who was staring at him through her cage, with a look of total astonishment and disgust. *What was so disgusting?* he thought,*I’ve been in a situation like this before. I can handle it.*
“Then howcome you kept pushing me in the dark with piranas and centipedes when I was…where I was.” he asked again, this time, not afraid to look at Lylith’s face. She smiled again.
“You were in a part of my castle. I can’t help it if the castle turned on you. You were an intruder and the castle will bring any intruder’s fears to life. I have never seen anyone survive…until today , of course.” Lylith ended with a purr. She came a little more closer and lay a paw on T-bone’s chest. He made no attemt to remove it. If he had to gain this which’s confidence, he had to accept her. His mind was still scanning all the possible ways out. If he could get more information from Lylith.
“Nice setup. What do you do for an encore?” he purred, and slowly moved some of Lylith’s silky black hair from her shoulder. Lylith’s eyes glew with excitement. At the corner of his eye, T-bone could see RT’s face turn to disgust. She lip-synced the work ‘Yuk’. *When will that kid ever grow up!?* wondered T-bone. He quickly turned his attention to the lady . “Why don’t you join me and see? Together , we can take over the whole universe ! ”
“What’s in it for me?” purred T-bone, this time, moving a paw slowly around Lylith’s waist. He could feel her jump in exitement. His mind was suddenly reeling. He fought to gain control over his emotions. Some force was telling him to stop fighting, but he wanted to keep his senses.
“Whatever you want, bold warrior…” whispered Lylith. T-bone suddenly squeezed the side of her waist. His mind was now spinning hard. He suddenly thought of Turmoil. This situation was even worse than the one he faced on board her vessel.Turmoil was a normal she-kat. *My ,how cool she was!* T-bone’s mind thought. Then he pictured Turmoil walking towards him, pretty as a picture. She slipped into his arm, and he looked deep into her eyes. They were dark brown and beautiful to look at. Finally giving up, T-bone’s mind wandered to more pleasant thoughts.
Back in the cage, Jason stared at what was going on, and RT slowly banged her head against the bars of the cage. *You just had to do it, T-bone!*
Razor finished the systems check and was seated comfortably in the cockpit. He hoped that in an emergency, he would be able to maneuver the jet. Although, it would have been safer in the jet if T-bone was flying it. He had to admit it, despite the reckless flying, T-bone always got both of them safe on the ground. Maybe luck was always on their side. He prayed that luck would be there for all of them now.
Lady Elenor was at the weapon’s panel and she was strapped in comfortably. She had her crossbow with her and a quiver of arrows lay at her side. Razor had added some of his ‘tools’ to it and had told her that they would be more effective than normal arrows. She had on tom-kat’s clothing for it was difficult to fight in a gown. Elenor looked at all the different shapes and sizes of lights and buttons. Razor had explained to her what buttons were. She could only understand that they were supposed to make the jet do some actions. She felt like touching one of them, but Razor had forbidden her to. She finally admitted that he new more and had more experience with this strange machine and that he knew best. She sighed deeply.
“You ok back there?” came his voice from behind the front seat.
“Yes…Razor.” came the reply. Razor literally jumped out of his seat.Her voice sounded so much like his!
“Shall we go?” came the voice again.
“Yeah. Hold on. Your ears may get blocked, but nothing else will happen.” said Razor. He flipped a few switches fast and started the engines.
Elenor held on to her seat as the roar of the engines increased. The jet lifted in the air with it’s VTOL engines and, after reaching a considerable height, headed straight for the castle on the dark horizon. After a while, Razor switched on the weapons panel from the cockpit. Elenor jumped when she saw all the lights in front of her switch on and the ‘wall’ in front of her materialise into a moving picture of a plane landscape. on the horizon of the picture, Elenor could see the castle coming close.
“Lady Elenor, I’ve activated the dimentional radar. You will be able to see where we are going.” said Razor from the cockpit.
“It looks so strange.” replied Elenor, “And please call me ‘Elenor’.”
“Ok, Can you interpret the picture?”
“I think so. We are headed for Lylith’s castle, right?”
“Right. We may encounter some trouble. I gotta get you used to the controls. Do you see a stick with a button on top in front of you?”
Elenor looked down at the joystick, “Yes.”
“Good. Hold it and put your thumb on the button. Don’t press it.” Elenor did as she was told.
“Now move it.”
Elenor moved the stick. She then saw a cross appear on the screen and move according to her movement on the stick.
“That cross is your targeting scope. There’s a tree coming up. To fire at the tree press the button. Now let’s see ya do it.”
Elenor spotted the tree on the dimentional radar. In her mind , she calculated. This was just like aiming an arrow at the tree. She moved the joystick so that it stood right at the center of the tree. She then waited for a few seconds, and then pressed the button.
A missle shot from the Turbokat . It hit the tree right at the center and cut it in half. Razor watched in amazement. “I guess you don’t need anymore training.” he said to Elenor. Elenor beamed at her work. Now she felt at home at the weapons panel.
“Next stop, Lylith’s castle.” declared Razor.
As the castle came closer, it looked more and more horrible. Razor suddenly had a strong feeling that his friend was in trouble. He increased the speed of the Turbokat. The jet flew towards the castle. Razor searched around for an entrance.
“There is no door!” said Elenor.
“Then *make* one !” yelled back Razor. Elenor grinned.
The Turbokat flew towards the base of the castle. Elenor aimed at three places on the wall, close to each other.
“I’m switching to Match head Missles. Fire when readly , Elenor.” declared Razor. Elenor waited for a few seconds, then fired at the three targets in succession. The Match head missles flew towards the wall and created a huge explotion which brought down half the wall. Within seconds the Turbokat was in the castle.
“Bingo!” yelled Razor , triumphantly.
“What is ‘Bingo’?” asked Elenor from behind.
“I’ll tell you later…what’s that noise?”
Above the noise of the jet’s engines, came a high screeching noise. Suddenly, from the walls, many tentacle like things materialized and grabbed the Turbokat. The two kats inside jerked. Razor increased the thrust of the engines. He was afraid to put it on maximum as he was not sure he could handle that much speed.
“We have to edject!” yelled Razor.
“What does that mean!?” yelled back Elenor.
“We have to jump out!”
“But we’ll fall down into that pit there!”
Razor looked down and gulped. There was no floor to land on. Just a deep , dark pit which didn’t seem to have any end. Razor had to chance the maximum thrust.
“Hold on , Elenor. I may not be able to control the jet!” he yelled to the gunner.
“Don’t be afraid, Razor. You can do it.” yelled back Elenor. She sounded like Razor himself was encouraging him. It built up confidence in his heart.
“Maximum thrust!” declared Razor and pushed the lever to it’s highest, and held on to it and the joystick tightly.
As suspected, the tenticles let go of the jet , and it zoomed straight into another wall. The jet was now in a long corridor, and was moving very fast.
“Razor! Slow down!” yelled Elenor from behind. Nothing happened. She panicked, “Razor! We’re falling!” she yelled again. Suddenly the plane slowed down and eased to a higher level. Elenor breathed a sigh of relief.
“Um…in case we get into anything worse, push the red button on the right arm of your seat. It’s the edject button. It will send your seat out of the jet.” said a groggy voice from the cockpit.
“What happened?” asked Elenor.
“I passed out. The push was too much for me to handle.”
“I’m glad we’re both safe.”
“There’s a dead end ahead. Make a door.”
Elenor shot four missles which belw up a considerable amount of the wall ahead and the jet flew in. Suddenly, a strange red glow began to outline the jet.
“Hey! What’s happening!” yelled Razor.
The glow intensified for a whole minute. And then the Turbokat stopped moving. The glow grew brighter and brighter. When it faded, the jet disappeared, and the two kats inside fell to the ground. The ground opened to allow them into the darkness. Razor grabbed on to Elenor’s waist and shot a grapling hook from his glovatrix. The grappler grabbed on to one of the pillars and Razor reeled both of them to it. When they reached the pillar, they both grabbed on to it.
“Now how do we get out of here?” asked Elenor. As if to answer them, a few slimy tentacles moved over their wrists and ankles and bound them to the pillar.
“Great!” said Razor, sarcastically, “What else can go wrong?”
The pillar suddenly rumbled and began to sink into the ground, slowly.
“Must you open your big mouth, Razor?” asked Elenor as sarcastically. They both struggled to think of a way out. But their bonds were firm and they couldn’t get out. But just as they were about to hit the ground, they became aware of a blackness that overcame them quickly.
Razor and Elenor were stunned by the sudden lighting. They rubbed their eyes and looked around. Razor suddenly spotted T-bone, but T-bone seemed distant and expressionless.
“T-bone! Buddy!” yelled Razor and ran towards his friend, who didn’t show any expression. Razor was suddenly thrown back by a strange force. He hit Elenor, who was still recovering from the shock, and they both rammed into the wall behind.
“T-bone is mine! You can’t have him.” said a female voice. Razor looked up and saw a tall and beautiful, black she-kat, but the look of her eyes told him everything.
“Lylith!” spat Elenor from behind him. Razor then understood what was going on.
“What did you do to my friend!” he demanded. Lylith smiled her devilish smile.
“Why, I didn’t do anything. T-bone has decided to join me.”
“T-bone will *never* do anything like that!” came the reply. The she-kat smiled at him. Her eyes glew the frightening red glow. Razor was, for a moment, facinated by the glow. “Razor! Don’t look into her eyes! She hypnotized T-bone!” yelled a small and familiar female voice. Razor turned away from Lylith to face the voice. He saw another kat and RT inside a cage.
“RT! Thank goodness you’re all right!” said Razor with all relief. The which turned to RT. Her eyes now glew with anger. RT looked away and backed away from the bars and towards Jason, who was still tied with the chains. Lylith came towards the cage.
Razor was about to lunge forward, but tentacles from the wall grabbed his wrists and held them to the wall. The same happened for Elenor. Lylith paid no attention to them. Her full attention was on RT. The little girl shuddered. Lylith then held her paws on either side of her, and she began closing them slowly, her eyes glowing with evil glee.
RT suddenly found the air to her lungs being cut off. She began to gasp despirately for air. Her face turned pale and she fell down on her knees, choking.
“I always wanted to do this.” said Lylith gleefully, “If you knew how much I *hate* kittens! I will squash you like the insect you are. OOh! How I’m enjoying this!” Lylith laughed a low and hidious laughter.
Jason struggled in his bonds. He pulled at one of the chains as hard as he could. The bonds moved slowly, and suddenly, snapped open. Jason shook himself from the chains and pulled the metal plate covering his mouth with a mighty yell. With another growl, he lunged for RT and pulled her away from the force that was holding her. Lylith’s paws were pushed away by the same force which jumped back to her. She growled low and hard. Jason paid no attention to her. He rubbed RT’s back while she breathed hard for air.
“Are you all right?” asked Jason. RT nodded as if in a daze.
Elenor was struggling with her bonds. With her last ounce of strength, she pulled her wrists away from the wall, her teeth gritting with pain. Suddenly, the bonds broke. Elenor moved quickly away from the wall. She picked up the crossbow which was on the floor, pulled an arrow from her quiver, placed it in the crossbow and shot it at Lylith in seconds.
At that moment, Lylith was taken by surprise by the show of strength by Jason. She was even more surprised when she found an arrow through her waist. She looked down at the arrow and then looked at the crossbow from which the arrow came from. The bonds that held Razor slid away and he was free, but he didn’t do anything.
Lylith’s eyes glew with exitement and glee. She smiled a smile that made her expression like that of a mad-kat. “Silly girl! Do you *really* think it will be that easy!?” she echoed. The walls seemed to shiver with her voice. Lylith pulled the arrow out of her waist. No blood seemed to fall out. She then threw it back. It turned into a large fireball and headed straight for Razor and Elenor. They quickly moved out of its way and the fireball hit the wall. Lylith now grew very angry.
“I’ve had enough of this. This is delaying my shedule.” she turned to the figure that was T-bone, “Finish them off!” she ordered.
Without a word, T-bone headed for Elenor. Elenor held out the crossbow and was prepared to shoot.
“Nooo!” yelled Razor and pushed Elenor out of T-bone’s way before she could fire.
“He’s my friend!” he yelled at her, and then felt a sharp pain at his jaw. He fell to the ground and then found T-bone over him.
“T-bone! What’s with you, buddy?” demanded Razor. T-bone didn’t answer and looked blankly at him. He then picked Razor up by his collar and headed for the throne. Razor was too dumbstruck to do anything. Once again, his partner was not himself. Razor kicked T-bone in the stomach. For a moment, T-bone reeled back. But he still had Razor in his grasp. He quickly recovered and carried Razor to the throne.
While T-bone was dealing with Razor, Lylith was giving orders to the young kat next to her. The kat was blond and had most of his features similar to Calista. Elenor took a look at him and immediately recognised him.
“So *you* are the one who took away Prince Aaron!” she deduced.
Lylith laughed her horrible laugh, “Why, who else would have done it?” She then turned to Aaron, “Spell 42. Get to work.” she ordered.
The kat nodded in a trance and made his way to a lever behind the throne. He held it and slowly moved it down. Four pieces of the throne moved away from each other, revealing a glowing pit of fire.
Lylith smiled in glee again. Elenor growled, and then let another arrow loose. It struck Lylith on her neck. She choked for sometime and then pulled the arrow out of her neck. No blood came out again. Lylith turned to Elenor in a fit of rage. Her eyes glew their brightest and her chest began to heive fast. She let out a low growl and fell to the floor on all fours.
Elenor watched in horror as the she-kat’s muscles began to bulge and grow. Her arms grew long and huge, and her legs began to change. Her face grew long and the fangs grew sharper. The tail thickened and grew. Elenor watched as the kat in front of her grew bigger and taller and slowly transformed herself. The resulting creature gave a wild shreek. The black dragon then looked down at the small she-kat in front of her. Elenor backed off, and waited for the worst. The dragon pulled back it’s head and then blew out a fire ball. Elenor jumped out of the way. She then fired an arrow at the dragon. It exploded right at the dragon’s face and took her by surprise. Elenor smiled. It was one of those arrows Razor had made for her.
Razor was having a big problem. All his struggling was not making T-bone come to. And T-bone was now holding him over the burning pit. Razor looked back at his partner’s face. It was as blank as ever.
“T-bone, snap out of it!” yelled Razor and moved his right arm which had the glovatrix. It hit T-bone on his head. T-bone immediately let go of his partner and held his head. Razor grabbed hold of the edge of the pit before he fell in. The heat was intense and he was having trouble breathing.
“T-bone! Help!” he yelled, hoping his partner would come to his senses, “Help me , buddy!”
T-bone woke up from a horrible dream. He began to clear his head by shaking it. Then he heared his partner calling for help. “Razor!” he yelled and ran towards the pit. Seeing Razor hanging at the edge of the pit, he easily lifted him out of it.
“Buddy, are you all right?” he asked, almost near tears.
“I’m fine.” was all Razor could say before he hugged his partner. T-bone returned the hug heartily.
“Hey, where have you been?” asked T-bone.
“I’ll tell you later. Looks like we have a crazy she-kat cum dragon to take care of. We can’t let Lady Elenor have all the fun, can we ?” T-bone looked at the dragon that towered over all of them, and who was now facing Elenor.
“Let’s move. I’ve gotta score ta settle with that bimbo!” said T-bone through his teeth.
“You might need this.” said Razor and removed the extra glovatrix from his g-suit. T-bone took hold of it happily. “At last! Some artillary. Now let’s get ‘er!”
T-bone shot a grappling hook towards the dragon. It grabbed the dragon on her back. She let out another shreek. T-bone reeled himself in and held the dragon by it’s neck. At first, Lylith was surprise and then animal instincts made her shake her head to get the irritant off. Razor had , in the meantime, arrived next to Elenor.
“Need company?” he asked.
“It’s about time. I was worried…” Elenor then gave Razor a look of concern Razor nodded, “Let’s concentrate on helping my partner up there.” Elenor nodded and shot another arrow at the dragon.
RT and Jason, meanwhile, were watching Razor and T-bone, during the time T-bone was under Lylith’s spell. Jason then whispered to RT. He pointed at the blonde tom-kat who seemed to be busy with something at the pit, “That’s Prince Aaron, the Queen’s son. He seems to be in the same spell Lylith cast over Sir T-bone.”
“Why has Lylith captured him?” asked RT.
“Prince Aaron is now old enough to work the spells necessary for Lylith’s conquest of the Universe. He has to be stopped before he executes the spell or all of us are doomed.”
“Why don’t you try and move the bars open?”
“Hmm…I can try. After all, I *did* snap open my chains.”
Jason walked towards the bars of the cage and held two. He then took a deep breath. His muscles flexed and he groaned through his teeth and tried to pry open the bars. Slowly the bars began to move open. RT waited anxiously . After a while, the bars were to a certain distance apart, but not enough for Jason to get through. RT decided to try and squeeze through the bars. She moved sideways, first putting her left foot out, and then, sucking herself inward, moved her whole body out. After she was out she pulled her school bag with her.
“Now for you.” she said, and then turned to the Prince, who was still busy at the pit, throwing in some grape coloured liquid.
“But how are you going to get me out? The only other way is to melt the bars…or by magic.”
“Wait! There is one chance.” said RT. She dug into her school bag, making sure she avoided the wires that work the frequency translator, and brought out a cricket ball.
“What is the ball for?” asked Jason.
“I’m hoping that my skills as a good bowler won’t fail me now. Though I’m a little out of practice…” RT looked at the ball again.
Now that it didn’t seem that she was going to make it to the next year’s inter school cricket match, it didn’t seem to make a difference if she lost it. RT aimed for the prince. She then moved away to give herself plenty of take off space. She breathed hard and then ran forward with the ball. Prince Aaron had, for a moment, lifted his head and was standing with his arms spread and seemed to be chanting something. RT ran then swung her arm and let the ball go in a powerful swing. She grunted and then stopped. It all happened pretty fast. The ball made a direct hit on the kat’s head. RT remembered when she had gotten hit on the head with a cricket ball. The ball was a hard and heavy one, and it caused quite a big bump which she had to nurse for days. But for that moment, the surge of victory overcame her.
She jumped and yelled, “Yes! Bowled out!”
The prince, meanwhile, had reeled back, taken by surprise. He then shook his head and looked around him, bewildered.
Jason yelled, “Prince Aaron! It is I, Jason!”
Aaron turned around and then happiness lit his face up. It was then that RT saw how young he looked. The kat ran towards the cage.
“Jason! Oh, it is so good to see you!”
“Can you get me out of here?” asked Jason. Aaron looked at the cage and then backed away. He then held his arms in the air and chanted.
“Hear this spell, immortals of Age, Let might be free from yonder cage!”
[Author’s note: I’m really bad at poetry, and so the verses written *will* sound lame. ]
Two bars from the cage slowly moved away from each other and created a space enough for Jason to pass through.
“Thank you , your highness.” said Jason and bowed. Aaron rubbed his head and spat, ” For heaven’s sake, Jason. Stop acting like that! I’m *still* your friend.”
Jason looked up and grinned.
“Look, I don’t want to spoil the reunion , but T-bone and Razor are in trouble with the dragon-lady.” RT cut in and pointed at the battle that was taking place a little away from the pit. The good side was losing very badly. No one was able to cause any damage to the dragon. Aaron’s face darkened.
“The only way to get rid of her is to use Spell 20 from the Book of Spells.” Aaron moved away from the two and towards the book on the table.
“Then do it!” urged RT. She took a peak into the book. It was full of strange inscriptions which she could not understand. Aaron flipped through the pages to reach Spell 20.
At that moment, Lylith, who was uptill now trying to get rid of her three opponents, turned around and spotted the two young kats and the strange creature out of the cage and with the spell book. She immediately made for them, howling at the top of her dragon voice.
“She’s coming this way!” yelled Jason.
“Let’s scatter!” yelled RT. She grabbed the spell book from Aaron and ran towards the end of the room. Jason grabbed Aaron and ran to the other side. The dragon followed RT.
RT then ran along side the wall. The dragon followed menacingly behind her. RT then dropped on the ground and rolled towards the Swat Kats and Elenor. When she reached them, T-bone picked them up.
“What ‘ja do *that* for!?” he yelled at her. She pushed the book into his arms.
“Find spell 20. Tear the page and keep it with you. The rest of us have to scatter, ’cause she’s coming!”
All four moved in different directions. The dragon, for a moment followed RT. Then, noticing that it was T-bone who had the book, made after him. T-bone had managed to find Spell 20 and had stuffed it in his g-suit pocket. He now held the book without the spell. He stood his ground and turned his attention to the dragon.
“It’s yours, sweetheart!” he yelled, and threw the book at her. The dragon moved forward and snapped, catching the book in it’s mouth. It then began to glow in a bright red light and shrink. T-bone didn’t look back after he fled towards the group. He brought out the page with the spell and gave it to Aaron.
“Quick, before she realises it’s missing! We’ll cover ya.”
The group surrounded Aaron , so that he won’t be harmed if anything happened. Lylith , now back to her usual self, opened the book to the last page. She grinned at it. “Looks like I have the last laugh. I can execute Spell 42 on my own !” The book moved out of her paws and floated in mid air for her to read. She was about to begin when she heared T-bone’s voice.
“It ain’t over yet, Lylith. You *still* have ta get through with us!” Lylith smiled again, “But you saw for yourself that you can’t stop me. You had the chance to join me, but now you’re too late. You shall join the others and crumble to your doom!”
She turned to the spell and chanted.
“Hear this spell, all generations Let myself……..”
she couldn’t continue as she heared the rumbling of the pit and the voice of the prince speak.
“Hear this spell, evil one, Let your evil be undone, Let good return, come what may. Begone to where you spawned, and stay!”
The which looked at him in panic. Aaron looked back calmly. A chest suddenly materialised over the firey pit and stayed there for a moment. Then it fell into the pit. Lylith watched it fall with all the dismay a kat’s face can show. Suddenly she bent forward in pain and held her stomach. The wounds which had healed now opened and bled. The kat fell on her knees and looked up at T-bone, silently asking for help. T-bone’s heart filled with guilt. Maybe things would have been different if he had been stronger. Then he shook his head from the thought. The she-kat had made him suffer emotionally and had put his friends in great danger.
“For what you’ve done, Lylith, you don’t deserve any sympathy!” he spat, pointing his index claw at the kat. For a moment, she looked at him, alarmed at his words. She slowly shook her head as if to say she was innocent, and then, with a sigh of defeat, she lay her head on the floor and groaned.
The group watched as the kat literally melted into a skeleton and the vapour from the body flowed into the pit with a low mourn. After the vapours flowed in, the four pieces of the throne moved and closed over the pit. All that was left of Lylith was a skeleton that lay on the ground. For long minutes no one spoke.
“Is it over?” whispered T-bone. As if to answer, the group heared a rumbling sound and felt the ground shake. Pieces of the wall began to dislodge from the main wall and fall to the ground. Aaron turned to the group.
“This place is going to fall. We have to leave, NOW!”
The kats and the human clung together and ran after Aaron. They had to find the way out quickly or they would be crushed under tons of rock.
“Where’s the Turbokat!?” yelled Razor, suddenly remembering the jet.
“No time for that! We must get out of here!” yelled back Aaron.
The group ran as fast as they could through the caverns.Razor was thankful that Elenor had made all those holes in the walls. Because of that, they had a straight passageway out. T-bone was glad he didn’t have to grope around in the dark anymore.
The group ran as fast as they could when suddenly, they heared a loud yell from Razor.
“Razor!” yelled T-bone and turned back. A huge piece of the wall had landed on Razor’s tail. T-bone winced , thinking of the pain Razor must have been feeling. He ran back to his partner, followed by Jason. They slowly lifed the slab and Razor gently pulled his tail from under it .
“Buddy, you’re in no shape to run…” said T-bone and he picked up Razor, who was holding one end of his tail and blowing at the other, hurt end. Both T-bone and Jason ran as quickly as they could. Soon , they reached the hole in the wall which showed the outside landscape. Outside, the others were waiting.
“Hurry! The castle will fall any minute!” yelled Aaron. Sure enough, the castle began to sink into the ground quickly and the hole in the wall was closing fast. T-bone rushed through with Razor in his arms. Jason jumped through before the hole closed.
“What about the Turbokat!?” yelled Razor again.
“What *is* this Turbokat?” asked Aaron.
“It’s the vehicle that Sir Razor and I arrived in.” said Elenor. Aaron shook his head. “It’s too late to go back and get it. The castle is sinking.”
Razor watched as the castle quickly sunk to the ground. Then T-bone cut in, “Razor, call the Turbokat by remote control.”
“I hope the signal will get through.” said Razor. As the group ran away from the site of the castle, Razor punched the buttons on his glovatrix to call the Turbokat. Who knows where Lylith had kept it.
The group ran as far away from the castle as they could and hid behind a desolate rock in the landscape. They waited for the Turbokat to respond. Then, as the castle tower sank low into the ground, the roar of the jet’s engines were heared over the rumbling of the rocks of the castle. The group could see a black jet fly over the castle and head for them. “Yes!” yelled T-bone and Razor together.
As the Turbokat left the site, the castle sunk lower and lower. Suddenly , there was a huge explotion which shook the ground on which the group was standing. They looked from the rock and saw the Turbokat coming towards them, leaving behind a huge black cloud which hung over the foundation of the castle. The Turbokat slowed down as it reached it’s destination next to the rock and its VTOL engines activated. Razor pushed a button on his glovatrix. The jet slowly set itself down on the ground next to where the group was standing.
“Ye Gods!” whispered Jason in awe. T-bone just shook his head and smiled. “Looks like we’re back in business, buddy.” he said to Razor.
“What about my tail!?” winced Razor, now carefully holding his hurt tail in his paw.
“And what about that huge black cloud which is acting up?” asked RT, pointing to the black cloud , now lighting up with electric bolts and sounding thunder. It seemed to be spreading fast. The cloudy sky too seemed to move with the wind that now blew over the plane.
“It just means that it’s going to rain.” said Jason, as he put a paw over RT’s shoulder. No sooner had he said this when it started to drizzle.
“Is this a good thing?” asked T-bone.
“For the land, yes. But not for us, and especially not for Sir Razor.” said Elenor.
“We need shelter. The rain seems to be getting stronger.” said Aaron feeling the raindrops fall on his hand.
“Let’s take the Turbokat.” declared T-bone, “I’ll fly. Lady Elenor and the blond kid can sit in the weapons panel. Razor, can you ride the Cyclotron?”
“Slowly.” responded Razor.
“Then I guess three of you’ll have ta settle in the Cyclotron. Razor nodded T-bone then turned to Jason. The huge kat nodded in return.
T-bone jumped onto the wing of the Turbokat and helped Elenor and Aaron onto it.
“By the way, Sir T-bone. My name is Aaron.” said Aaron politely.
“He is the queen’s son.” added Elenor.
“The Queen!?” asked T-bone in surprise, “You mean Callie…um…Calista?”
Elenor nodded. T-bone was stunned for a moment, and then a huge grin spread over his face.
“Well , wha da ya know…” . He then held Aaron’s paw and shook it hard. “Nice meetin’ ya. Let’s go see ya mommy.” The three kats settled comfortably in the Turbokat, and T-bone closed the canopy.
“Razor, I’m opening the bomb bay doors.” declared T-bone and pushed a button.
“I copy ya , T-bone.” came the reply over the radio.
The bomb-bay doors of the Turbokat opened and the other three got into the jet. “This is wonderful!” whispered Jason as he turned around and took in the scene.
“Ok, it’s facinating. Now get onto the bike.” said RT, pushing Jason onto the Cyclotron. Jason sat down comfortably and RT sat on his lap.
“Watch out for my tail. It still hurts.” said Razor and winced a little. The storm outside was now raging and the thunder roared loud and long.
“We’re ready T-bone.” said Razor over his communicator.
“Roger. Launching Cyclotron.” returned T-bone. The next thing the three on the Cyclotron knew was that they were out in the rain and heading for the forest ahead.
“Do we have to face those monsters again?” asked RT, turning to Jason. Jason looked up to have a look at the forest. He could only make out a landscape with very few trees. The mist had risen and the forest didn’t look as threatening as it did before.
“I don’t think we will have a problem.” he returned.
“Next stop, Megalith castle.” said Razor and he accelerated the Cyclotron.
Meanwhile, T-bone followed the Cyclotron and flew to jet to Megalith castle.
Elenor came out of Calista’s room, looking very heart-broken.
“What happened?” asked Razor, holding her by her shoulder’s. The she-kat gave a sigh before she continued, “The Queen would like to thank all of you for saving her kingdom and her son. She would also like the rule to be passed on to King Aaron…”
“What about her?” asked Razor again. Elenor looked at the floor as she spoke.
“The Queen is free from all worldly pain.”
“What the heck does *that* supposed ta mean!?” spat Razor. Elenor didn’t look up.
“It means she passed away.” RT answered for her. Her face was one of determination. Razor paid no attention to her. He ran into Calista’s room, followed by T-bone. RT looked at Elenor. She felt very bad about what had happened. She walked upto the she-kat and lay a hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry.” she managed to say, but it sounded so lame. Elenor turned around and smiled.
“The Queen died quite happily. She said that it was the happiest moment of her life when she was reunited with her son. Her soul will rest in peace. Besides, her time is over. It is time for a new reign to start rebuilding Megalith city. We will start afresh.” Elenor again looked down, “We all have to die someday.” RT nodded.
“I felt the same way when my grandmother died…” she then shrugged “I guess we’ll just have to get used to it.” Elenor nodded.
T-bone and Razor then came out, looking very empty and expressionless.
“Aaron won’t be coming out for a while.” said T-bone, “He has to think stuff over.”
Then Aaron showed his face through the curtains. “I must start now. First, I will take care of Sir Razor’s tail.”
All of them looked at the new king of Megalith city with wonder. Then Jason came out of the room, holding Aaron by the shoulders. “We have to carry out the Queen’s cremation.”
The cremation ceremony was over in a short time. It was done inside Megalith castle in a special chamber due to the heavy rain which continued since the previous day. The outside world still looked dull, but the river had swelled up and was flowing rapidly. Aaron said that that was the first step to bringing back fertility to the land, for if there was no river there would be no civilization.
Other than a few guards, there were only six people in the castle Jason and Elenor sat together to formulate a plan to bring back the people and to attract traders so that the city would be prosperous again. It was a rather difficult task for the new king. King Aaron, then sat at the fire- place, warming himself and looking through the book of spells which he had brought from Lylith’s castle.
“How’s ya tail, bud?” asked T-bone, sitting next to Razor near the fire.
“Good as new.” declared Razor, and to prove it , he moved his tail in all the possible directions.
“What did ja do to it, your majesty?” asked Razor, turning to Aaron. He looked up from the spell book.
“The healing spell. It’s one of my favourites. And *please* call me Aaron.”
“First time I ever saw a humble king.” said RT, “You’ll do very well if you keep that up.”
Aaron blushed for a moment. He then tore out a page from the spell book and threw it it the fire. The page crackled in the flames and was soon reduced to ashes.
“What was that?” asked RT.
“The spell that brought Lylith to life. Now no one can use it.”
“So now she’s gone forever?”
Aaron shrugged, “I’m not sure. Maybe someone else knows the spell. I won’t bet on it.”
Then Aaron continued, “My mother always told me something.There is darkness everywhere, and to drive away that darkness, we light a fire. Once we see the light we are not afraid. But the darkness is still there around the light. Who knows what lurks in the darkness. But maybe someday katkind will find out. In the meantime, let us just hope we are safe.”
He then tore another page and threw it in the fire.
“What was that?” asked Razor.
“Another spell that could have been used for evil.”
“Are you going to get rid of the time-travel spells?”
Aaron shook his head, “I know it is dangerous, but the spells can also be used for good purposes.”
“Can you send me back to my home?” asked RT suddenly, hoping that the answer was ‘yes’.
“Why don’t you wanna stay with us?” asked T-bone.
“T-bone, I don’t fit in this world. I belong somewhere else. I’m really homesick. I miss my parents and my family and friends. I don’t have a future if I stay.”
“Where are you from?” asked Aaron, interested.
“I’m not sure how you will understand it.”
“Maybe I can try and read your mind. But it is a difficult spell. I haven’t tried it before.”
“Well, try it now… please.” said RT, folding her palms together. T-bone looked at it and sighed. He didn’t think that RT really felt homesick, and what she had said was right. It would have been selfish of him to ask her to stay.
“Ok, I’ll try.” said Aaron and went through the spell book, looking for the right spell. RT went up to T-bone and Razor.
“Why would you want me to stay?” she asked T-bone. T-bone thought for a moment.
“I guess life was more fun with you. I really like you, like a little sister I never had one before.”
“Guess I don’t know how good I have it. You’re just like my big brother, Rahul.”
“Well…he’s smarter.” T-bone made a face.
“I look up to him a lot. He doesn’t like competing with me, but he is fun when he comes home. He’s almost like you.”
“Does he attract bad dames too?” asked T-bone jokingly.
“Nah! In fact, he doesn’t attract any. Poor guy. He keeps whining about it.”
“No different from T-bone.” said Razor and grinned.
“Wan’ me ta cause more injury to that tail of yours?” threatened T-bone and flexed his claws.
“Calm down T-bone. I was only tellin’ the truth.”
“Oh yeah. When was the last time you told me the truth?”
“Why T-bone, ” Razor made a rather innocent face, “Do you think I, your most trusted friend and companion would lie to you?”
“Yeah!” blurted out T-bone.
“In that case, why in the world should I disappoint you ?”
RT giggled , “He got you, bro.” she laid a hand on T-bone who was gritting his teeth.
“Arthi, I’m ready.” called Aaron from the fireplace, “Come here and take a seat. I may take some time.”
RT walked up to Aaron and sat opposite him.
“You will see all that you have been through ever since you came here. Now let me have your paws.”
“They’re called ‘hands’.” said RT and gave her hands to Aaron. He shrugged and took them. His paws felt soft in RT’s hands. She relaxed immediately.
“Now close your eyes and open your mind to me.”
“Wait! Will you get to see all my secrets?” asked RT, suddenly pulling her hands away.
Aaron smiled, “Maybe. But I’ll do my best not to pay any attention to them.”
“Look, this is the only way I can find out where you are from. If you would like to refuse, I have no objection.”
RT thought for sometime. She finally held her hands out, “Please don’t laugh.” she said meekly.
“I’ll try.” said Aaron and held her hands again.
RT closed her eyes and tried to let loose all her thoughts. For sometime she stayed that way.
Then she heard Aaron’s voice. “Arthi, you’re resisting. Let your mind flow. Don’t be scared.”
RT nodded and wondered how she would help Aaron to read her mind. She then thought of sleep, a little lullabye which used to come on TV and would always put her to sleep. Slowly, she drifted, and felt hersef lifting. She then found herself on her Kinetic Honda, riding fast on the open street. She remembered it very clearly.
Suddenly, the portal appeared before her, and she skidded and went into it. Then she felt herself lift in the air at awesome speed. To her surprise, she was able to breathe. She found herself looking at the landscape and then the whole country, and then the whole continent, and then the earth. She gazed at it in wonder. How beautiful it looked from up there.
She then moved away from it, and went above. She could see the sun in the middle and the planets as they rotated around it. Time seemed to be speeding up as the planets moved around the sun at awesome speed.
Then the sun began to increase in size and become dull and red. RT watched in horror as it swallowed the whole solar system, and it *still* grew bigger and bigger.
And suddenly, there was a blinding flash of light. RT covered her eyes but didn’t feel anything. When she opened them she saw a swirling cloud of gas and dust. It quickly began to concentrate at the center and form a huge and bright ball: Another sun. Then the gas cloud dissipated and formed many balls of gas around the sun.
RT paid attention to only one of them, which was situated at the same place her home planet was. The gas began to cool down, and it quickly began to grow blue, green and brown. And the , RT was quickly brought towards the blue planet and into its atmosphere.
It was then that she woke up, breathing hard. She had realised what had happened. The blast she saw was a Supernova and what she had witnessed was the birth of a new solar system from the remains of the old one. She had travelled *too* far into the future. She remembered how a classmate of hers explained the process of the birth and death of a star. She was not interested in it then, and just labelled the girl as a crackpot. But, now she felt the whole horror of it. She thought that her classmate would had handled this better. Why did it have to be her?
“Are you alright, kid?” asked T-bone holding RT’s shivering hand.
RT burst into tears and lay her head on T-bone’s chest. T-bone stroked her back and began to pacify her with words of ‘It’s alright’, ‘It’s OK’ and ‘I’m here for you.’
“What happened?” asked Razor. Aaron looked as stunned as Razor.
“I never knew…I never knew….” he began, and then shook his head, “What I saw was too unbelievable! I don’t understand it….”
“What!? Where did she come from?”
“I’m not sure.” then Aaron began to explain to Razor all that he had seen.
Razor understood it well. The only reason why Aaron was acting so strangely was because during the Dark Ages, no one knew that they were part of a solar system.
“T-bone, she must have travelled over 10 billion years into her future.” said Razor.
“Holy Kats! That sure *is* a long way from home. I still can’t believe there was another solar system before ours.”
“I wanna go home!” sobbed RT through T-bone’s chest, “This wasn’t meant to be! Why me, T-bone?”
T-bone just shook his head, “Maybe Aaron can take you back into time. He still has those time travelling spells.”
“But 10 billion years is almost uncountable!” countered Aaron, “There is no spell to take anyone that far…”
“How far into the past can you go?” asked Razor.
Aaron consulted his spell book again. While he spent time on the book, T-bone and Razor concentrated on pacifying RT who was still sobbing and muttering something in her second language.
“I got it! The maximum you can travel is to the time when life was beginning on the earth.” chimed Aaron.
“Can’t you go any further?”
“But that would be too difficult. Only the most experienced can try that. I don’t know if I have that much power.”
“Why don’t ya try?” said T-bone, “What do we have ta lose?”
“Well, for one thing, the barrier between our two worlds is too large. If the spell doesn’t work, she may be stuck in Limbo forever, and I won’t be able to reach her. Or she may be stuck in her world’s ancient times and I still won’t be able to reach her. Once she crosses the barrier, there is no hope of bringing her back.”
“Now *thats* risky.” remarked Razor.
“I have to chance it.” said RT, looking up after wasting her tears.
“But RT, it would be safer for you to stay here.” said Razor.
“It would be safer for me to go. If I stay, I may be found by the other cats and then they’ll treat me like some kind of monster. I’d…I’d rather die..”
“Now enough of that!” yelled T-bone.
“Sorry. But I *have* to get out of here.” RT lay her head on T-bone’s chest again. T-bone put a paw on her back and stroked gently.
“I guess we’ll have to go through with this. And she’s right. She’ll have a better chance of surviving out there than here.”
“But I still don’t know if I can do this.” said Aaron.
“There’s always a first time.” piped in Jason. Everyone looked up to see him standing at the door with Elenor. He walked upto Aaron and put his arm over his shoulder, “I hope Arthi can stay for my knighting ceremony.” he said with a grin.
“So , you’re finally going to be a knight. Well ok, I’ll come.” said RT, wiping some lingering tears away.
“But it isn’t even certain that she is going away…” began Aaron and was stopped by Jason who gave him a tight squeeze on his shoulder.
“You have to have a little more faith in yourself. How do you expect to rule a kingdom when you don’t have faith?”
“Ruling a kingdom is different and playing with magic is different.” said Aaron.
“And you’re exceptionally good at both. It is your destiny. You must have a little more faith in your abilities.”
“I have faith in you.” cut in RT. Aaron looked at the little girl in surprise. So much responsibility! Aaron thought that it was a miracle that he had gotten this far. Maybe he *really* didn’t know his own capabilities.
“Alright. I’ll try.” he said.
The two Swat Kats cheered him, and Jason gave him another squeeze on the shoulder.
“Now I am proud of the King of Megalith City.”
The rain continued throughout the morning of the next day. And then, Elenor spotted the first rays of the sun. It shone from behind a dark cloud which quickly moved away. The rays of the sun scattered over the plains and the trees. The land now showed patches of green and brown. The river was now blue and it sparkled delightfully in the sun. The first rays of hope. All the occupants of the castle came out to see the sight. They were all filled with joy and happiness and hope of a new day and a new era. Elenor burst into tears and started crying for joy. Razor held her close to him and smiled at the beautiful scene before his eyes. There was definately hope that things would be alright.
The same day was Jason’s knighting ceremony. All occupants of Megalith Castle had surrounded the throne of the King. He was now decked in his royal cloak and he wore his crown. Jason had walked up to him and had knelt on one knee before him. Aaron then turned to the back of the throne and pulled out a huge and shiny sword. He had a little trouble holding on to it and he avoided Jason’s smiles. After he had gotten a firm grip on the sword, he tapped Jason’s left and right shoulder in succession. Jason bowed his head in respect.
“Arise, Sir Feral.” said Aaron, and smiled. Jason beamed wide and got back on his feet. He then walked upto Aaron and gave him a huge bear hug, which Aaron returned heartily. The Swat Kats, Elenor and RT cheered happily. Sir Feral was the happiest kat in the whole of Megalith city.
For the rest of the day , Aaron began to prepare himself for the business of getting RT back to her home. for the whole day, RT felt slightly empty. She had no idea what she was in for and didn’t seem to care either. Her mind kept telling her that everything would be alright. She had cracked a few jokes with Razor and had played ‘wresling’ with T-bone. She began to tease Jason , now Sir Feral, about meeting a pretty she-kat and getting married, and Sir Feral, the tom-kat that he was, seemed to think it was a good idea. Razor, meanwhile, had a chat with Lady Elenor.
“You look just like a friend I know.” said Razor.
“But you sound almost like me…”
“Yes. I’ve noticed that.”
“What do you make of it?”
“I don’t think I want to go deeper into this, Son.”
“Son!?” Razor jumped back.
“Huh? Pardon ?” Elenor was a little surprised by Razor’s reaction.
“You can’t call me ‘Son’. I’m *older* than you !”
“But you are far from the future. Besides, I feel like you are my son.”
Razor stared at the she-kat. Her eyes smiled at him and she giggled. “I’m happy that I met a decendant of mine. Now I know that I *will* find a husband.”
“How can you tell that I’m your decendant?”
“Much of our traits are similar. Besides, King Aaron had called me aside and had pointed this fact to me. I think that friend of yours is related to you and you don’t know it. How can you not know your own roots?”
Razor shrugged, “No one bothered to ask me. No one bothers about roots where I come from.”
“Pity. They say here that a kat who does not know his roots is nothing.”
“I’m not much back at home.” Razor shrugged again.
“Hey Razor! I’m going!” yelled RT from the other side of the corridor. Razor and Elenor followed her into the room.
The room looked just like the room in the tower where Calista had sent the two Swat Kats back to the future the last time they had landed there. The huge well in the middle was full of the strange coloured liquid Calista had used. It was stirring slowly. King Aaron had kept the spell book on the stand and had asked for RT to come near him. Before RT went T-bone asked if any of her stuff would go with her.
“The spell is quite strong. She won’t remember anything of this world or of you. She will get back all her belongings that are in this world and you will get back all you have given her.”
RT gulped, and then looked at T-bone and Razor. She wanted to remember them. They had been her friends and her companions. How could she forget them? She walked upto them.
“I’ll miss both of you. Thanks for everything.”
“Now don’t start all that mushy stuff!” said T-bone and grinned. He then ruffled her hair, making sure he didn’t get his claws caught again. RT giggled and then hugged him tight. She then went up to Razor and did the same. She then unzipped her school bag and took out the frequency translator
“I won’t be needing this.” she said and removed her earplugs and her microphone. She handed then to Razor along with the rest of the equipment. Razor smiled and patted RT on the shoulder. Without any further delay, RT ran upto Aaron, who had patiently waited for her.
“Ready?” RT could see Aaron lip-sync the word.
Aaron held her hands and closed his eyes.
RT closed her eyes too. She didn’t hear anything for a few long minutes. Then she felt herself being picked up into the air. The hollow sound of the wind blowing into her face could be heard. She still didn’t dare to open her eyes.
She thought of home and her room, her bed, her cats, her mother and the exams she would have to face. The exams were not at all as bad as what she had been through. But still, it meant slogging.
She suddenly felt a tug under her arm. She ignored it and felt for Aaron’s paw. She couldn’t feel it, and she panicked. Again the tug came. And she jumped. The wind stopped and she opened her eyes. She jumped away from her desk, panting.
The class supervisor pulled her paper from under her arms. She felt herself and wondered why she was doing that. What was she looking for? What happened? She could hear chuckles from the boys and giggles from the girls behind her. She slowly turned to face the class supervisor. It was Mr. J, the name given to him by the students in the school.
He looked straight into her eyes and gave a smirk. “You think this is your bedroom!?” he demanded sternly.
The low giggles of her class students could be heard.
“N-No sir.” she answered as if in a daze.
More giggles could be heard. Why *were* they giggling, she wondered. Don’t they know what I’ve been through?… What *have* I been through…?
“Don’t do this again, understood?”
“Yes sir, sorry sir….” she managed to say. The master then, thankfully, moved away from her seat. She sat there for a long time, trying to remember the dream she had, but she couldn’t recall it. It had disappeared completely from her mind.
Aaron had collasped on the floor and Sir Feral had helped him up onto a chair. The group of kats crowded around the chair and Elenor had splshed some water on his face. With a small groan, he opened his eyes.
“What happened?” asked T-bone, concerned.
“She is fine. Now let me rest.” he replied abruptly. They didn’t bother him anymore . Sir Feral picked him up and carried him to his room. There he lay him on his bed, drew the curtains and had walked out without a sound.
Overnight, the landscape had become a beautiful light green. Elenor spent most of her time looking out of the window with Sir Feral. The two of them had discussed with each other the matters of the city. The new and lush land which the city had now would prove quite useful in attracting traders. And, the position of Megalith city would serve them good too, as it did in the past.
T-bone and Razor ran a systems check on the jet, so that it would be ready for the trip to the future. King Aaron was, surprisingly, up and about in the wee hours of dawn and was preparing the pool in the room to take the jet home. He mentioned himself that after what he had been through with RT, sending the Swat Kats home would be a piece of cake.
So, the chamber was ready by afternoon and the Swat Kats were ready to go home.
“I will see you in the future.” said Elenor to Razor and winked. Razor grinned and gave her a hug which she returned heartily.
“And we’ll be seeing you to…Sir Feral.” said T-bone. Sir Feral just smiled and nodded.
“By the way, lighten up.” added T-bone, and he got into the Turbokat. Sir Feral frowned at the remark, and then shrugged. There was probably no meaning to that one.
“Farewell, heroes!” yelled Aaron from his room in the Castle tower. The Swat Kats waved back and T-bone started the engines. Within a short while the portal formed over the castle and the Turbokat flew into it. It went through the time tunnel and arrived at the other side, into the Swat Kats’ present.
“It feels great ta be home and see daylight again, Razor!” said T-bone and flew the jet straight towards the hanger.
“Roger that, T-bone. And when I get home I gotta talk ta Nell about her blood line.”
“Fancy that, Nell being related ta you. I wish I could find some relatives like that.”
“Why? Ya got me.”
“And that’s supposed ta make me feel happy?”
“Well…how can ya be so mean!? After all those years ta gether…”
“Hey! Easy, buddy! I was just kiddin’ .” T-bone chuckled.
“Heh. Yeah. Funny.” smirked Razor sarcastically. Strange how things turn out right in the end.
Both the Swat Kats agreed that the Megakat City skyline never looked more beautiful.
Arthi Agarwal walked out of the school building and towards the parking lot in a daze. The evening sun made the evergreen trees in the school campus look orange and yellow, dabbed in the gorgeous sunlight. Arthi’s mind was still blank and she still tried to remember what she was trying to remember. She was so engrossed that she did not hear a girl’s voice call out her name. Then a loud yell made her jump.
“Oye! Sevedu!” it yelled. She turned around to see her close friend running towards her.
“What happened in class, da? You slept over your paper. Did you finish it?”
“I..I don’t know…” Arthi managed to say.
“Thevai-a? Sleeping during the exam?”
“I didn’t sleep…that is, I don’t remember anything.”
“Seri Ma. Can you drop me off today?”
The two walked up to the parking lot and Arthi fished her keys out of her pocket. Then she heared a boy’s voice.
“Aye! Arthi! Ball, kudu di!” the boy on the cycle yelled.
“Ball…? Oh ya!” Arthi opened her school bag and rumaged through it. She was surprised to find the ball missing. “Funny. I could have sworn I took it today.” she said.
“Maybe you forgot. Try and look for it at home. You better get it or you’ll have to buy me a new ball.” the boy threatened. Arthi just nodded and went for her bike.
“What’s wrong, da?” asked her friend, concerned. She put an arm around her shoulder.
“I know the reason why the ball is missing. But I can’t remember it.”
“Then don’t try to remember it. Concentrate on the exams. Next will be Maths. ” Arthi groaned. “Exactly.” said her friend, “So we’d bettre reach home fast.”
“Don’t say that ‘bettre’ thing. It’s not nice.”
“Since when did you get *that* idea?”
Arthi thought and then waved all thoughts out of her mind.
“Never mind. Forget it. Let’s go home.”
Author’s note : The reason why I used so many Tamil words in the last bit is to make it sound authentic. It’s not that I don’t know the English words for it. I made up a glossary to help you out.
Thanks for reading!
Yaar : Hindi equivalent for ‘Buddy’. See the previous RT stories.
Sevedu : A deaf person (since RT was not responding to her name)
da : Tamil equivalent for ‘Dude’. Nice way to call a friend.
Thevai-a ? : Was it necessary?
Seri, ma. : ok ,girl.
Ball kudu, di : Give the ball, (‘di’ is a rather rough way to call a girl)
Navigate This Author's Stories
Disclaimer: SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron is copyright to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 1995. All other characters and material within this page are the property of their respective creators.