Original SWAT Kats Story

Visions

By Kari Gilmore

  • 1 Chapter
  • 11,688 Words

The truth about Katarina and Buster’s past is finally revealed through the spellbook, showing how Katarina became queen and how she became a warlord.

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Author's Notes:

This is gonna be a longer story than usual. But why not? This also follows “Misty and the Harmonies, recently put up. The truth about Katarina and Buster’s past is finally revealed through the spellbook, showing how Katarina became queen and how she became a warlord.

Chapter 1:

Kat walked into the kitchen, combing her hair and yawning.

“Aye, what a night,” she said, sitting at the table and putting her head down on it.

“Good morning, Mary Sunshine,” Jake said, setting a mug of coffee in front of Kat.

“Ah, shut up,” Kat said, grabbing the mug.

“Love you, too, Katney.” Kat rubbed the bangs over her head and sighed.

“Sorry, Jake. I’ve been up walking around for awhile last night, thinking about some dream I had. It was about my past; a part I’ve never seen before… Or that I don’t remember.”

“Hmm.” Then Chance, Ann, Buster, and Tigera came into the kitchen.

“Hey, Clawsons. Ready to hit the obstacle course?” Chance asked.

“Count me in,” Jake said, standing up.

“Count me out,” Kat said.

“What’s the matter, Katney? Afraid we’re gonna beat your tail?” Tigera asked, chuckling. Kat stood up, leaned forward, and growled with her glowing red eyes. “I was only playing with your head, Kat.”

“Well, stop it, Tigera. I’m not in the mood for spilling blood right now.” Kat rested her head on the table again and fell asleep.

“Good thing, too. I don’t feel like losing any. What’s her problem, Jake?”

“She was up last night walking around trying to figure out some weird dream she had about her past,” Jake said, sipping some coffee.

“OK, let’s get going.” He, Chance, Ann, and Tigera went ahead while Buster stayed behind and looked at Kat sleeping on the table.

“Holy kats. She’s finding out the truth,” he said to himself.

“Buster! You coming?” Ann called. He looked back at Ann, then at Kat.

“Uh, yeah, I’m coming, Ann.” Then he ran after them. Later, Buster came back to find Kat watching TV. He sat down next to her. “Anything on?” he asked.

“Trash. Trash. Trash. Ah-ha! Garbage,” Kat said, flipping through the channels. Buster chuckled and sat back. Kat looked at him in her emerald eyes. “You know something that I don’t, Bustopher?”

“What makes you say that?”

“Yes or no?”

“Hey, guys,” Chance said as he and the others came into the room.

“And just as I was getting him to sweat,” Kat said, resting her chin in her palm.

“Huh? What are you talking about, Kat?” Ann asked. Buster took the controller and shut off the TV.

“If everyone who wants to know what’s going on will follow me,” he said, heading towards the hangar. They each exchanged glares and followed him.

Once in the hangar, Kat said, “All right, we’re all here. Now, would you mind telling us why you’ve been so moody lately?”

“It’s a long story,” Buster said, sitting in a chair.

“We’ve got all morning, Buster,” Tigera said as she and everyone else sat down.

“Well, there’s a reason why Kat’s having these dreams. Her memories are returning to her.”

“What? I know my memories,” Kat said.

“For you to understand, I’ll have to start from the beginning. What parts I didn’t know about, I used the spell book to find out.” He opened up Katarina’s spell book, and the pages began to glow. Then live pictures appeared, showing them the past. “The year was 1171, and King Pouncival had returned from the future with his new heiress.”

Oriana, Scotland, 1171.

King Pouncival laid the young kitten into a crib. An African she-kat was behind him.

“I do not believe you should have stolen the child from her parents, King Pouncival,” she said.

“Tsidii, I had no choice. She is the only child in history that resembles our late queen and myself. I need an heiress to the throne and she will make a fine queen one day. I had put a spell on her parents and her brother telling them that their daughter died. They shall not miss her,” the king said, tucking the child in.

“She shall find out in later years, you realize, my king.”

“Aye, she will. But it shall not be you who shall tell her. If you ever tell her, I shall drain you of your life’s fluid. Do I make myself clear, Tsidii?”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” Tsidii said softly and bowing her head. She turned around and left. A tomkat, no more than two years old, stumbled into the room and walked over to the crib to see the kitten sleeping. King Pouncival bent over and picked him up.

“Young Whitetail, you shall become a great warrior one day. Would you like to be a guardian to my new daughter?” Whitetail reached into the crib and tried to touch the kitten. The king chuckled, “I suppose that is a yes. Very well, Young Whitetail. You shall be my daughter’s protector.”

“Whitetail! Whitetail, where are you?” Tsidii’s voice called. She returned into the room, then slowed down when she saw the king was still there. “I am sorry to have Whitetail disturb you, Your Majesty. He is such a knave for two years,” she said, taking Whitetail from the king.

“Nonsense. He is always welcome to come here. He has volunteered to be my daughter’s protector. You may take him for his dinner, Tsidii,” the king said as Tsidii left. Then he turned back to the sleeping kitten in the crib. He noticed a necklace around her neck. He took it off her and looked at it. It had a name on it: “Katarina.” “Tis a beautiful name. My dear Katarina.”

Chapter 2:

1179, 8 years later. Katarina, now 8 years old, was climbing up a huge rock with 8 year old Victoria following. Katarina had dark green eyes and a dress to match, and her long black hair braided with ribbons. Her friend Victoria had sky-blue eyes, wearing a pink dress, and her medium blond hair flowing on her back.

“Katarina! Princess, wait for me! I am not as fast as you are!” Victoria said. Katarina did not slow down. She climbed to the top of the rock, stared, and smiled.

“Oh, Victoria, you must see this! The view is grand.” She helped Victoria up and they both marveled the view.

“Magnificent,” Victoria said.

“Princess Katarina! Victoria! Get down here before the king and my father beat me!” 10 year old Whitetail called from the bottom of the rock. Whitetail was unlike Katarina and his sister Victoria because, for some odd reason, he did not have a Scottish accent while Katarina had a light accent and Victoria had a mid-African accent, most likely gotten from Tsidii. He had grown into a young handsome tomkat with his brown eyes, brown squire robs, and bluish-gray hair to match his fur.

“Oh, brother, you are no fun,” Victoria said, climbing down the rock.

“Aye, who put you in charge of watching us anyway, Whitetail?” Katarina asked as she climbed down the rock.

“Your father, Princess Katarina,” Whitetail replied, helping her down.

“Do not call me Princess. That is only part of who I am. The other part is just as feline as the next she-kat.”

“As you wish, my princess,” Whitetail said, doing a mock bow. Katarina rolled her eyes. Then King Pouncival appeared.

“Ah, Whitetail. And is my daughter behaving herself?” he asked, putting his paw on Whitetail’s shoulder.

“Besides climbing a rock like a monkey, yes, my king.”

“Katarina, proper ladies do not climb rocks. That is a matter for tomkats.”

“I understand, Father, but it is such a bore to be tutored all the day. Victoria and I craved a bit of adventure,” Katarina said. Victoria nodded. “Besides, I shall be queen someday, and I will need training to defend the kingdom in battle.”

“You shall be married, and your husband shall do the battling, daughter.” Katarina lowered her eyes.

“Yes, Father.”

“Now, you children run along and play. And I do not want to hear anymore tom games from you, Katarina.” Then Katarina, Whitetail, and Victoria ran off.

“Yes, Father!” Katarina called back.

The king shook his head and sighed, “Youth.” The children ran ahead and Katarina tagged Whitetail.

“You are it!” She and Victoria ran while Whitetail chased.

“Hey, that it not fair! Come back here!” Victoria stopped to catch her breath while Whitetail and Katarina continued their chase. Katarina tripped and started rolling down a hill. She grabbed Whitetail’s sleeve and pulled him down with her. They landed in a pad of grass with Whitetail on top of her. Katarina could not stop giggling. “Eh, you are enjoying yourself, are you not?” Whitetail asked, getting off of her. Katarina continued to giggle as he helped her up. “Ah, my princess, you can be such a pawful at times. I am surprised your father puts up with you.”

“Ah, my guardian, I am surprised my father chose *you* of all tomkats to be the one in charge of his only child,” Katarina said, still giggling.

“Aye. Next they will be telling us that we are to marry.”

“Actually, you are,” a voice said. They both turned around to see a figure under a tree in the shadow. He then stepped into the light.

“Uncle Admetus?” Katarina asked.

“Indeed.”

“We are to be wed when we grow up?” Whitetail asked.

“Aye, you are, Young Whitetail,” Admetus said. Both Katarina and Whitetail looked at each other and twitched their noses.

“Yuck!” they both said.

“I cannot marry him. He is my friend,” Katarina said.

“Aye, and it would be too weird,” Whitetail said.

“It has been decided. It is not my choice, I am afraid. It has been said that the protector of the princess shall wed her when they reach adulthood,” Admetus said.

“When I am queen, I shall change all that,” Katarina said.

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Whitetail said. Admetus chuckled.

“Well, you two go out and have fun. After all, you are the future rulers of Oriana and need to enjoy every minute of your lives before you have to rule the kingdom.” Katarina and Whitetail looked at each other again, and twitched their noses again.

“Yuck!” the both said. Then they ran off. Admetus chuckled darkly as they ran off.

“Enjoy life, little princess. Enjoy it while you can.” Later, Tsidii caught up with the three kittens by the lake.

“And where have you three been, hmm?” Tsidii asked.

“We were only playing, Tsidii,” Victoria said.

“I cannot believe I am going to marry Whitetail when I grow up. I cannot marry him!” Katarina said, hitting the water.

“Where did you hear this from?” Tsidii asked.

“From Uncle Admetus.”

“Oh, do not worry about your uncle. He is just jealous of you. Because of you, he cannot be king. And by the time your time as queen is done, he will be gone.”

“Then Katarina and I are not to wed?” Whitetail asked.

“You are betrothed, yes.”

“Yuck!” both Whitetail and Katarina said.

“So my brother is going to be king one day?” Victoria asked.

“Yes, Victoria. And your brother shall be a fine protector of the kingdom.”

“Why can it not be me? I am the blood of the king; he is no more than my guardian. Why can I not fight for my kingdom?” Katarina asked.

“That is the way it works, my dear. She-kats are not meant to go into battle. They believe we are only useful in mothering their children,” Tsidii said, putting her paw on Katarina’s shoulder.

“Then you cannot teach us how to fight?”

“I could, but then your father would have my head. Literally.”

“He does not have to know. Please, Tsidii?” Tsidii sighed. Throughout the rest of the day, Tsidii taught them how to fight. They each returned home very tired. Katarina was walking towards her room when her father called for her.

“Katarina!” Katarina yawned and went in the direction of the king’s voice.

“Aye, Father?”

“Come. I want to show you something.” She entered his room and saw the king, sitting on his bed with a small chest on his lap. “Come, daughter,” he said. Katarina came closer and sat beside him on the bed. King Pouncival opened the chest and took out a ruby amulet.

“Tis beautiful, Father,” Katarina said, seeing her reflection in the amulet.

“Twas your mother’s. For 50 generations, our family has carried this jewel. Each queen wore this amulet while her king ruled. And now, ’tis your turn to wear it.” He put the amulet around her neck. She looked at it and smiled. “Now, run along and get into bed. Tsidii shall be there in a few minutes to tuck you in.”

“Yes, Father.” With that, she left. 1996. Kat put her paw to her forehead.

“I still don’t remember much of this. Some, I do,” she said, shaking her head.

“Yeah, there are parts of this that even I’ve forgotten. Here’s comes a part that neither of us would know about,” Buster said, pointing at the live pictures. Their attention focused on the pictures again. 1179. Admetus was inside a deep, dark cave as far away from the castle as possible. Three kats were waiting for him inside. One was a female named Ragdoll. One of the males was named Marmalade. And the third male was named Burmese.

“Welcome back, my lord,” Burmese said.

“Be prepared for tomorrow, my friends,” Admetus said, passing by them and sitting on a large stone.

“Be prepared for what?” Ragdoll asked.

“For the death of the king, my dear Ragdoll.”

“He is ill?” Marmalade asked.

“Nay, fool. We are going to kill him. And Katarina as well.”

“The princess?”

“Aye. If the king dies, that shall automatically make her queen and I shall not be king. So, you see, she must join her father in the grave.”

“And what shall we get out of helping you, my lord?” Ragdoll asked.

“If you follow me, I shall let you take over the land and let the Africans hunt for you. Do whatever you shall with the land.”

“I can agree with that,” the three kats said together.

“All right then. Gather around, and you shall hear my plans.”

Chapter 3:

The next evening, King Pouncival took Katarina down by the lake.

“What is it you wish to show me this time, Father?”

“Something very special, Katarina. Something that you do not see very often. Look up at the stars.” Katarina looked up at the stars then saw a shooting star flying across the sky.

“Tis beautiful,” she said.

“Twas the spirit of a king that flew across the sky. He has died tonight. The great kings of the past are up there, watching over us,” King Pouncival said.

“Truthfully?”

“Aye.” Katarina’s eyes searched across the sky.

“Will you be there someday, Father? And leave me behind?”

“I shall be, one day. But I shall never leave you in spirit. If you are ever lost, never say you cannot find a way back home.”

“I promise.”

“Just remember that the great kings shall always be there to guide you. As shall I. They live in you and I.” Katarina sighed to herself as she continued to look at the stars.

“So many kings. I never knew there were so many.”

“And there shall be more long after we are gone.” The next morning, Katarina was back at the lake. She looked at her reflection in the water, then saw Marmalade standing behind her, holding up a sword. She screamed and rolled away as soon as he brought the sword down. Katarina got back to her feet and ran down to were the lake met the river. Ragdoll jumped in front of her, sword in paw. Katarina ran past her, now with both Ragdoll and Marmalade running after her. Admetus was watching in pleasure. Then he saw King Pouncival and Tsidii coming up the road.

“He is cooperating very well. He is exactly where I want him to be,” he said to himself. Then he ran up to them, pretending he was very afraid and worried. “Pouncival!”

“Admetus?” The king looked up to see his brother. “What is the ma–?”

“Two warriors! The waterfall! Katarina is being driven to it!”

“Katarina?!” Katarina continued to run, not realizing that she was heading for a massive waterfall. King Pouncival, Admetus, and Tsidii ran in the direction Admetus had just come from. Katarina was about free of the two who were chasing her until Burmese jumped in front of her, causing her to scream and trip and fall into the river.

“Katarina!” King Pouncival’s voice called.

“Father, help me!” Katarina called. King Pouncival went ahead of Admetus and Tsidii. He ran along the river, keeping up with Katarina in the water. Admetus started running down a path, that would lead him to halfway down the waterfall. Katarina grabbed onto an upcoming rock. That gave King Pouncival the time he needed to jump over some stones to get to her. He grabbed onto her, then started back with her.

“Go ahead of me, daughter,” he said. Katarina complied and jumped onto the bank. King Pouncival was about to jump back onto the bank when a large log knocked him off the stone and into the water.

“Father!” Katarina cried. The king went over the waterfall, then quickly grabbed onto a rock sticking out. Then he saw Admetus standing right to the left of him.

“Admetus! Brother! Help me!” The king held his paw out, and Admetus grabbed onto it. The king released the stone, and was pulled onto the piece of land that Admetus was on. “Thank you, brother,” he said. Then Admetus knocked him off his feet. King Pouncival was now hanging over the ledge, still holding onto his brother’s paw. Admetus retracted his claws, and thrust them into the king’s paw. The king shouted in pain. Admetus had an evil grin on his face.

“Long live the king,” he said, then let him go to fall to his death. He then backed into the shadows as Katarina was looking over the falls just in time to see her father fall.

“*No*!” she screamed. She quickly climbed down the rock side of the waterfall and ran along the river, hoping to find the king. “Father!” she called. She heard no answer. Then she saw something golden along the bank. She bent over and picked it up. Tears came to her eyes as she saw it was her father’s crown, crushed in and barely recognizable. She got down to her knees and cried. Admetus appeared behind her, slowly and silently.

He finally spoke, “Katarina…” Katarina looked over her shoulder to see him, her eyes and cheeks now red from crying. “What have you done?” Admetus finished his sentence.

“There were warriors trying to kill me. He tried to save me. I did not mean for this to happen,” Katarina said, crying. Admetus came to her and held her.

“Of course you did not. No one ever means for these things to happen. But the king is dead, and if you had not come here without his or Whitetail’s protection, he would still be alive.” Katarina sniffled and looked up at him.

“What am I to do?”

“Run away, Katarina, and never return.” Katarina dropped her father’s crown, backed away from him, and ran away. Ragdoll, Burmese, and Marmalade appeared behind Admetus. “Kill her,” Admetus said, without turning around. They complied. Katarina heard them coming and ran faster.

“Get her!” Burmese shouted. Katarina saw she was about to reach a large field of thorn bushes. She found a hole in it that was small enough for her and crawled in. She hurried as fast as she could through the thorn bushes. The three who were chasing her could not get through the bushes in time to get to her. Marmalade tried to cut through with his sword, but after about twenty swings, he gave up.

“We cannot get through, but we must get to her,” he said.

“Well, she is as good as dead anyway. If she ever *does* come back, we shall kill her,” Ragdoll said.

“Did you hear that, Princess? If you ever come back, we shall kill you!” Burmese’s voice shouted out to Katarina, who heard the message. She had made it out of the thorn bushes and had resumed running away from the place she had known as home.

1996.

“This scene, I remember all too well,” Buster said, eyes watering up. “That night, Admetus had told the kingdom about King Pouncival’s death and Katarina’s supposed death. Tsidii had tried to comfort both Victoria and myself, who were in her arms crying. Admetus had already taken the throne and had let Ragdoll, Marmalade, and Burmese take over the land. Tsidii feared the worst.”

“It was very hard on me to lose my father, even though he wasn’t,” Kat said.

“Let’s try to focus on the pictures, please,” Tigera said.

1179.

Several days later, Katarina had wondered into a part of Scotland where it always snowed. Her dress was ripped, her hair was mussed, and she had lost the amulet her father had given her. Exhausted, she collapsed in the snow. She looked ahead and saw a light. She tried to crawl closer, but then she just gave up and closed her eyes. Later, she felt her body get warmer. She opened her eyes. Her vision was blurry. She blinked several times and saw where she was. It was a log cabin with a fire going. She got out of the bed she was put into and went closer to the fire. Then a skinny kat stepped into the room, accompanied by a slightly plumper kat.

“You all right, dear?” the skinny kat asked.

“I suppose I am,” Katarina replied.

“You nearly died out there,” the slightly plump kat said.

“Aye. ‘Twas good fortune you were not far from here,” the skinny kat said. Katarina slightly nodded and stared at the fire.

“What is your name?” The word princess almost came out of her mouth, but she bit her tongue.

“Katarina,” was all she said.

“I am Thomas. And this is my cousin Tabbert,” the skinny kat said.

“I thank you for saving me, but I shall be on my way as soon as the first light of morning comes,” Katarina said.

“Oh? Where are you going from here?” Thomas asked.

“No place that I know of.”

“Where are you from?” Tabbert asked.

“It matters not. I cannot go back.”

“She is an outcast,” Tabbert said to Thomas.

“And so young at that. What did you do, Katarina?” Thomas asked.

“I wish not to talk about it.”

“Anything we can do?”

“Not unless you can change the past.”

“You must put your past behind you. Stay with us and we shall teach you. There are no concerns here,” Tabbert said.

“What have I to lose? Very well, then. I shall stay.”

“Fine. We shall get to work making you a new dress then. Come, cousin.”

Chapter 4:

1187, 8 years later.

In the eight years that Admetus has been king, his henchmen had taken control of the land. The river and ground had dried up because most of the she-kats were forced to overwork and over hunt for food. The sky had turned from blue to gray and the sun was never seen again. Admetus was in the castle in the throne room. Burmese had turned into Admetus’ most trusted advisor.

“What news have you brought me, Burmese?” Admetus asked.

“The people wish you off the throne, Sire. They despise you and curse at the sound of your name. About how you curse at Pouncival’s name,” Burmese said. Admetus gripped onto Burmese’s neck.

“I have told you never to mentioned *that* name in my presence!” he growled.

“A thousand apologies, Sire.” Admetus sighed and released Burmese’s neck.

“What did my brother have that I do not have that made him a great king?”

“Let us see. He had adoring subjects, a loving family, and before she died, he had a devoted queen…”

“I need a queen then. With a queen, I shall have heirs to the throne. Go out and find me a suitable bride, Burmese.” Suddenly, the doors to the throne room busted open. A young she-kat stepped into the room. She had long blonde hair, sky-blue eyes, and a brown cloak over her shoulders and her blue dress.

“Admetus,” she said.

“Ah, Victoria. Your timing could not be more perfect. My, how you have grown,” Admetus said, eyes searching her.

“You must do something. We have been forced to over hunt. If we stop now, there is a chance things will be all right again,” Victoria said, each words causing her to step forward.

“Oh, indeed. And so I shall on one condition.”

“What is that?”

“That you shall be my bride.” With that, he approached her, and Victoria found her back against the wall.

“Keep away from me!” He kept coming. Victoria retracted her claws and raked them across Admetus’ cheek when he was close enough. He shouted and put his paw on his cheek. Victoria looked at the blood on her nails.

“Victoria, you know how I loathe violence. One way or another, you shall be mine.”

“Never, Admetus. Never!” With that, she ran out. Admetus turned back to the throne and headed back to it.

“She does not seem too pleased to be chosen as your bride, Sire,” Burmese said.

“She shall be mine. I shall force her.” As the time came for workers to stop for the night, Victoria went to her house and found her brother Whitetail taking his house out of the stables. Whitetail had grown into a handsome tomkat. He wrapped a cloak around his shoulders and grabbed a staff. Then he mounted his horse. Victoria came to him.

“Whitetail, what are you doing?” she asked.

“I cannot stay here while our home dies like this. I am going out to seek help,” Whitetail replied.

“I am not going to lose you like our brothers, father, and Katarina. If you are going, I shall go as well.”

“I cannot allow it, sister. Our brothers and father went out on their own, with no weapons or horses. I am carrying both. Katarina… Well, we know she is dead, but how she died is a mystery to us all.”

“Brother, please. I wish to help. I cannot stay here while our king is trying to make me his bride.”

“I am sorry. I shall return with help. Farewell, sister.” He bent over, and kissed her on the cheek. Then he kicked his heels on the horse’s side. The horse galloped and then he was gone. Some hours later after Whitetail left, Victoria listened to the sounds of the Africans singing. She said to herself the translation.

“This land of our ancestors is holy.” Then she went out to the stable and retrieved her horse. Once she was back outside, Tsidii met her.

“Where are you going?”

“Tsidii, please. I cannot stay here while our home is like this. I am going after my brother and seek help. Please, do not stop me,” Victoria pleaded. Tsidii stood there for a moment, then removed her cloak and wrapped it on Victoria’s shoulder, then gave her the staff by her side.

“Be careful out there, young one. I do not wish to lose you the way we did Katarina.” Victoria embraced her and mounted onto her horse. The horse galloped down the trail. Tsidii watched her until she disappeared. She blinked and tears came out her eyes.

Chapter 5:

Some days later, Whitetail had reached the snow areas. The horse refused to continue on. He tied the horse to a tree, put a blanket over it, and patted its nose.

“I shall return in a few days,” Whitetail said, taking his staff and putting the hood over his head. Then he walked on. Night soon came. It seemed like hours had gone by, but hardly any had passed. He looked up at the stars, expecting he would find something.

“Oh, Katarina, there are times I wish you were still with us. Without you, I am forever lost.” On the other side of the forest where Whitetail was near, Katarina, now a beautiful young adult, had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders and was walking around outside.

“Oh, Father, home is an empty dream that I have lost to the night. Without you, I feel so alone.” Whitetail continued to walk and soon began to walk through the forest.

“Now I know what they mean when they call it an endless night. It goes on forever.” He then heard a noise. He looked forward and saw Katarina, hiding behind a tree. He sighed, “You startled me.”

“Not as much as you did me, sir,” Katarina said. She then came closer to him, and looked him in the eye. “You seem very familiar to me,” she said.

“And you me,” Whitetail said, taking his hood down.

“Oh, but how could I? I have been here for the last eight years. I have not seen anybody else but my two friends for that long. Pity I could never have fun with them when I was younger.”

“Aye, I suppose. Unlike my sister Victoria and an old friend of ours. Oh, that Katarina could really start trouble if she wished to.” Katarina’s eyes widen.

“My guardian?” Whitetail squinted his eyes and looked deeply into hers.

“My princess?” He broke into a smile. “Katarina, is this really you?”

“Whitetail, is this really *you*?” They embraced each other like mad. “I cannot believe this! What art thou doing here?”

“What am *I* doing here? What art *thou* doing here?”

“Hey! What is going on out here?” a voice called. They stopped hugging and looked. Thomas and Tabbert appeared with lanterns in their paws.

“Thomas, Tabbert, this is Whitetail, one of my best friends from home,” Katarina said.

“Tis a pleasure to meet you, sir,” Tabbert said.

“Aye, ’tis,” Thomas said.

“Oh, wait until everyone finds out you have been here all these years,” Whitetail said, turning to Katarina.

“They… They do not have to know. No one has to know,” she said.

“Aye, they do. Everyone thinks you are dead.”

“They do?” Whitetail nodded, his voice softened a bit.

“Aye. Admetus told us about the waterfall.”

“Did he? Well, what else did he tell you?”

“It matters not. You are alive. And that means… You are the queen.”

“The queen? You must be mistaken, sir,” Thomas said.

“Katarina is not the queen, are you, Katarina?” Tabbert asked.

“Nay,” Katarina replied.

“Katarina?” Whitetail said.

“Nay, I am not the queen. Perhaps I was going to be, but ’twas a long time ago.”

“Uh, could you gents excuse us for a few minutes?” Whitetail turned to Thomas and Tabbert, who turned to Katarina.

“Perhaps you should go.” They nodded and mumbled as they left. Whitetail sighed as he turned his back on Katarina.

“What? What is it?”

“Tis like you are back from the dead. You know not what this shall mean to everyone. Or what it means to me.”

“Tis all right, Whitetail.”

“I have missed you.”

“I have as well.” Before they knew it, they were holding each other. Then they decided to walk together. Thomas and Tabbert were watching.

“Well, would you have ever imagine that we have had a *princess* with us all these years?” Thomas asked.

“Let alone a *queen*?” Tabbert added.

“Never,” the both said. Katarina lead Whitetail down the path, talking along the way.

“Tis so good to see you again. You have no idea how much I have thought of you,” Katarina said.

“And I you. It has been an endless nightmare that I have never woken up from since we thought you were dead,” Whitetail said.

“Aye, I suppose it would be.” Then Katarina slipped on an ice-covered rock and started tumbling down the hill, bringing Whitetail down with her. They landed in the snow with Whitetail on top of Katarina and his lips pressed against hers. They both had their eyes wide even when Whitetail removed his lips from hers.

“I cannot recall that happening last time we did this,” Whitetail said.

“Nor I. Though I believe I like this one better,” Katarina said. They both chuckled and rubbed heads together.

Meanwhile, Victoria was stopping by a river that was a few hours away from where Katarina and Whitetail were. While her horse took a drink, Victoria splashed water onto her face. She looked at her reflection in the water, then saw something glimmer. Curiously, she reached into the water and picked it up. She pulled out a red amulet.

“This looks vaguely familiar,” she said to herself, the amulet reflecting in her eyes. She looked on the broad, flat part on the back and saw an inscription. “Whoever wears this amulet is known as the queen of Oriana,” she read aloud. “The queen? The last queen would have been Katarina, but… How could this have traveled all this way? Oriana is several days away.” She looked at the amulet’s front again. “Katarina? Then she did not die in Oriana. She is alive?” she asked herself.

Chapter 6:

“Is this not a grand place, Whitetail?” Katarina asked, showing Whitetail the frozen waterfall.

“Tis quite lovely, but I need to understand something. If you have been alive all this time, why did you never return?” Whitetail asked.

“I needed a chance to live a life without being a blue blood, without the servants and guardians. And I have, and ’tis grand,” Katarina said, sitting on a rock. Whitetail sat on a rock near hers and looked at her.

“We have needed you at home.” Katarina turned her eyes away from him.

“No one needs me.”

“Aye, we do! You are the queen.”

“Whitetail, I am not the queen. Oriana has a king, and that is Admetus.” Whitetail put his paw under her chin, and brought her face towards him.

“Katarina, he let his henchmen take over the land.”

“What?”

“Everything is destroyed. Katarina, if you do not do something, we all shall starve.” Katarina got up from the rock and turned her back to Whitetail.

“I cannot go back. You would not understand.”

“What would I not understand?”

“It matters not. Sometimes bad things happen, and there is nothing you can do about it. So why should I interfere?”

“Tis your responsibility.”

“What about *you*? You are Oriana’s protector and *you* left!”

“I left to find help. And I found you. Do you not understand? You are our only hope left.”

“I cannot.”

“What has happened to you? You are not the Katarina I remember.”

“Thou art right. I am not. Art thou satisfied?”

“Nay. Only disappointed.” Katarina looked over her shoulder then started to walk away.

“You are starting to sound like my father. You do not know what I have been through!”

“Well, perhaps if you told me–”

“Never!” Then she disappeared into the forest.

“Katarina!” Whitetail was about to go after her, but then stopped. Give her some time to herself, he thought. Once she reached to stream in the forest, she paced and talked to herself.

“I cannot go back. It would not change anything. You cannot change the past. I cannot ever go home.” Then she looked up at the sky and at the stars. “You said you be here to guide me, Father! But you are not. ‘Tis my fault that you are not.” She sat down in the snow and looked at herself in the water. Then someone stood behind her. She looked back and saw Victoria. “What dost thou want of me, or did thou just come to see the scenery?” Katarina asked, looking back into the water. Victoria dangled the amulet in front of Katarina’s nose.

“I believe this belongs to you, Princess?” she asked. Katarina took the amulet away from Victoria and looked at it.

“My father’s amulet. Where did you find it?”

“In the river not far from here. Thou art my friend Katarina then, art thou not?” Katarina looked at Victoria again, and smiled.

“Victoria. I might have known. If Whitetail is here, his sister is not far behind.”

“Aye, I knew he was here when I saw his horse tied to a tree. You have met with him and he has told you of Oriana’s cruel king?”

“He has.”

“And you are still here?”

“I cannot go back. The reason, I cannot say.”

“What would your father say if he were alive?”

“I… I do not know. I am afraid that I am forgetting him. I have been here half my life.”

“But he *is* alive, in your heart. He lives in you.” Katarina looked into the water. Then she remembered what her father had once told her.

“Remember that the great kings shall always be there to guide you. As shall I. They live in you and I,” she said aloud. Victoria nodded and leaned against her staff. “Well, if… If the kings of the past live in me, so does my father.” She caused ripples in the water, then saw a shadow in the water that was neither Victoria’s not her own. Her eyes widen until the shadow disappeared. “I know what I must do know, but… I will have to face my past if I return.”

“The past can hurt. But, you can either run from it, or learn from it. So what art thou going to do?” Katarina stood there for a moment, then started running away.

“Where art thou going?” Victoria called to her.

“I am going back!” Katarina called back.

“Whitetail and I shall meet with you then!” Meanwhile, Thomas and Tabbert were back at their cabin by the fire. Whitetail busted in, startling them both.

“Have you no manners? I believe you knock before entering our home,” Thomas said.

“Forgive me, but have you seen Katarina?” Whitetail asked, patting the bit of snow off his cloak.

“Was she not with you?” Tabbert asked.

“Aye, but I cannot find her now. Do you know where she is?” Then Victoria appeared in the doorway.

“You shall not find her anywhere around her. The queen has returned,” she said.

“Victoria, what are you–? She has gone back? Truthfully?”

“Gone back? What do you mean?” Thomas asked.

“Katarina has gone back to challenge Admetus and take her place as queen,” Victoria said.

“And without saying good-bye, as well. Hmph.”

Chapter 7:

Over the next few days, Katarina, once again wearing the amulet her father gave her, did not stop running. Only when she did stop was when she came to a dark gray area one night. She climbed up onto a large boulder and looked at the view. The sight terrified her. The land was Oriana.

“Katarina!”

“Wait for us!” Katarina turned around and saw Whitetail and Victoria climbing up the boulder. They stood beside her.

“Tis awful, is it not?” Whitetail asked.

“I did not want to believe you. I am sorry,” Katarina said, still looking at the land.

“It matters not. But what finally convinced you to return?”

“I got some sense knocked into me by Victoria. Besides, this is my kingdom. If I do not fight for it, who shall?”

“I shall.”

“As will I,” Victoria said.

“Tis going to be dangerous,” Whitetail said.

“Whatever it takes, brother. I am not going to stand by while the kingdom continues to suffer.”

“Suffering is key word here,” Thomas said as he and Tabbert were climbing up the boulder.

“Thomas? Tabbert? What art thou doing here?” Katarina asked.

“At your service, my queen,” Tabbert said, kneeling.

“We are going to fight your uncle for *this*?” Thomas asked, referring to the destroyed and overworked land.

“Aye, Thomas. ‘Tis our home,” Katarina said.

“If it is important to you, we are with you to the end.” A few moments later, they were climbing the castle walls and hid on the walk. They peered through the firing holes and saw several guards who were drawn away by Thomas and Tabbert.

“Whitetail, Victoria, find Tsidii and gather up the Africans. I shall look for Admetus,” Katarina said. They nodded and left. Katarina continued crawling further down the walk, until she heard Admetus’ voice practically screaming.

“Tsidii!” She peered through the firing holes to find Tsidii, making her way through the crowd and up to the throne.

“Yes, Admetus?”

“Where is your hunting party? They are not doing their duty of finding Victoria,” Admetus said, pacing in front of her.

“We have looked everywhere. She is not here,” Tsidii said.

“Nay! You are not looking hard enough!”

“Tis over. She is gone from here. While searching, we have discovered there is no food left. We have one choice left. We must leave Oriana.”

“We are not going anywhere.”

“Then thou has sentenced us to death!”

“Then so be it!”

“You cannot do that.”

“I am the king. I can do what I wish.”

“If you were only half the king that Pouncival was, you would never–!” Admetus slapped her at the sound of Pouncival’s name.

“I am ten times the king Pouncival was!” Katarina’s eyes widen, causing her to stand up and growl. Admetus looked up to see her, and backed away. “Who art thou?” he asked as she jumped off the walk and walked over to Tsidii, who was knocked to the ground. She gently shook her, and glared at Admetus. Tsidii looked up at her.

“Who art thou?” she asked.

“Tis I,” Katarina said. Tsidii looked at the amulet Katarina was wearing, then remembered.

“Katarina? Thou art alive? But… But how can that be?”

“It matters not. I am home.”

“Katarina? Katarina. I am a little surprised to see you…” Admetus said sweetly. Then he turned to gave an angry glare at Ragdoll, Marmalade, and Burmese. “Alive,” he ended. The three henchmen gulped and backed away into the shadows.

“Give me one reason why I should not rip you apart,” Katarina said, approaching Admetus. Admetus back away, eventually, had his back to the wall.

“Katarina, you do not understand. The pressures of ruling a kingdom–”

“Are no longer yours. Step down, Admetus.”

“Well, I would, dear child. But there is one slight problem. These people…” Admetus pointed at several guards and henchmen on the walk.

“They believe that I am the kingdom’s ruler.”

“Well, we do not,” Victoria said, leading several African she-kats along with Whitetail, Thomas, and Tabbert. Some of the Africans helped Tsidii back to her feet.

“Katarina is the rightful queen,” Whitetail said.

“The choice is yours, Admetus. Step down or fight,” Katarina said.

“Must this end in violence? I would hate to be responsible for the death of a family member, would you not agree, Katarina?” Admetus said, standing between Katarina and Whitetail and Victoria.

“That is not going to work, Admetus. I have put it behind me.”

“And your faithful subjects? Have *they* put it behind them?”

“Katarina, what is he talking about?” Whitetail asked.

“Ah, so you have not told them your secret?” Admetus asked, walking behind Katarina. Then he walked back in front of both her and the group.

“Well, Katarina, now is your chance to tell them who is responsible for your father’s death.” All eyes turned to Katarina. The hard expression on Katarina’s face softened.

“I am.” Soft murmurs were spoken about the group. Tsidii walked up to her.

“Tis not true. Tell me ’tis not true,” she begged.

Katarina stared at the ground and said, “Tis true.”

“She admits it! Murderer!” a guard shouted.

“Nay! ‘Twas an accident!” Katarina said as the guards came towards her and she backed away.

“If not for you, Pouncival would still be alive! ‘Tis your fault he is dead! Do you deny it?” Admetus asked, ahead of the guards.

“I do not.”

“Then you are guilty!”

“I am not a murderer!” Soon, they were outside the castle and nearing a cliff, but Katarina could not see.

“Oh, Katarina, thou art in trouble again. But Pouncival is not here to save you. And now, everyone knows why!” Admetus shouted. Then Katarina fell backwards and grabbed onto the ledge.

“Katarina!” Whitetail shouted. Thunder struck a patch of dead wood, causing a fire below. Katarina tried to pull herself back up.

“Now, this looks familiar. Oh, of course. This is just the way your father looked before he died,” Admetus said, kneeling down to Katarina. She was about to slip off when Admetus’ grabbed onto her paw, retracted his nails, and dug them into her paw.

He bent over to her ear and whispered, “And here is *my* little secret. *I* killed Pouncival.” Katarina’s eyes widen and she remembered watching her father falling down the waterfall and hearing herself screaming. With fury in her eyes, she jumped back on top, pinning Admetus to the ground.

“Murderer!” she shouted.

“Katarina, please!” Admetus said.

“Tell them the truth! *Now*!”

“Never!” She gripped her paw, now bleeding, onto his neck, choking him. “All right! I killed Pouncival!” Admetus said. With that, Admetus’ guards sprung onto Katarina, allowing Admetus to run away past the Africans. The group went to help Katarina. Once she was clear, Whitetail tossed her a sword and scabbard.

“Take care of our false king, Katarina!” he said.

“Count on it!” Katarina said, grabbing a pair of leather gloves off the ground and running after Admetus. Whitetail then grabbed another sword and battled. A guard was about to strike him, but Victoria grabbed a vase and smashed it over his head.

“I believe you are getting the hang of it, sister,” he said.

“I suppose I am,” Victoria said, grabbing a sword. Thomas and Tabbert tossed some guards over their shoulders while the Africans fought with their paws. Then they noticed fire spreading. They quickly retreated. Meanwhile, Katarina had found Admetus inside the castle, now starting to be surrounded by flames. She bared her sword and gripped onto it with both gloved paws.

“Murderer,” she hissed.

“Katarina, have mercy, I beg you,” Admetus said, backing away.

“You do not deserve to live.”

“What are you going to do? You would not kill your own uncle.”

“Nay, Admetus. I am not like you.”

“Oh, thank you, Katarina. I shall make it up to you one day. How shall I repay you?”

“Run away, Admetus, and never return.” Admetus backed away and came to a burning campfire.

“Aye. Of course. As you wish…” Then her picked up some stray burning coals and threw them at her, hissing, “Your Majesty!” The coals struck her eyes, causing her to scream. Admetus attack with his sword, striking her arm. Katarina grunted, and swung her sword against his. They both fought for several minutes until Admetus slapped Katarina across her face with his claws retracted. She fell onto her back and saw his sword over his head. “This time, I shall destroy you myself!” The flames rose higher outside the castle, until rain finally came down and extinguished the fire. The fighters slowly approached the castle.

“There is not a chance that she could have beaten him. What shall we do now?” Whitetail asked. Suddenly, the doors to the castle swung open and a figure stood there. No one could tell who it was, but kneeled down, for they knew whoever it was is the ruler of the kingdom. The figure walked out, past the citizens and stopped in front of Victoria and Whitetail, both kneeling and looking down at the ground. A sword touched down on both of Whitetail’s shoulders, then on Victoria’s. They both looked up to see a sword covered in blood, and Katarina holding the sword.

“Arise, Sir Whitetail and Lady Victoria,” she said. They both stood up and looked at her, then at the bloody sword.

“Tis not your blood, I hope,” Whitetail said.

“Nay. ‘Twas his. My father’s soul can now rest in peace knowing that I am on the throne and his murder has been avenged,” Katarina said. Whitetail put his paw on her uncut cheek and leaned forward to her. Just as they were about to kiss, Tsidii cleared her throat. Katarina turned to see her.

“Come, Katarina. ‘Tis time to follow your father’s footsteps and become queen,” Tsidii said. Katarina stepped forward and went back onto the ledge. He hair flew rapidly in the wind and got wet from the rain. She took the amulet off from around her neck and raised it over her head.

“Guide me through my days of rule, Father.” Lightning struck the amulet, which started to glow. The kingdom cheered to see its glow. Suddenly, a blinding flash appeared, then Katarina received a white dress and a golden crown on her head. Then the ground began to change. Grass, plants, and crops were growing back and the rivers were filling up with water again. The gray clouds cleared to show a new day was forming. The kingdom cheered. They looked and saw the sun rising. Katarina walked over to Whitetail.

“I thought I would never see it again,” he said.

“As did I,” Katarina said. He turned to her.

“As I was afraid I had lost you so long ago.”

“My knight.”

“My queen.” He pulled her close, and they kissed.

1996.

“So that’s why you’ve been acting moody lately,” Kat said, turning to Buster.

“The two of you…” Chance started.

“Were in love,” Jake finished.

“Oh, Buster, I’m sorry. I had no idea,” Kat said.

“I’ve managed to forget, but seeing you and Jake together… Makes me look back and see us like that,” Buster said, ears drooping and eyes lowering.

“Wait a minute. Weren’t you two betrothed?” Ann asked.

“Yeah, didn’t you get married?” Tigera asked.

“You’ll find out soon enough. Be patient, ladies,” Buster said, turning his attention to the live pictures.

“This reminds me too much of TV,” Chance said.

“Yeah, but no one’s changing the channels,” Tigera said.

“And since you’re watching it, it’s not Scaredy Kat,” Jake said.

“OK, guys, quiet down.”

Chapter 8:

1190, 3 years later.

Katarina was at her desk, signing a few papers when a servant busted into the room. Whitetail was by her side, getting ready with the sword.

“That shall not be necessary, my love,” she said. Whitetail placed the sword back in its scabbard. Katarina then turned to the servant. “Now, what have you to inform me, sir?”

“A kingdom in the Isle of Skye, my Queen, is declaring war upon us,” he said, handing her the declaration of war. Katarina skimmed through it and slammed her fist on the desk.

“This is an outrage! Why would they be declaring war upon us?”

“There were some old followers from here and they were telling the villagers that we insulted them. Word has it they were loyal to one of our past rulers.”

“The henchmen of my uncle, Admetus. But I banished them three years ago. There is no way!”

“Do we take up this war, Queen Katarina?” Whitetail asked.

“Nay, we shall not. We shall merely travel there and explain to them that the kats who insulted them are traitors to our kingdom. Sir Whitetail, gather our bravest knights together. We shall travel tonight.” She grabbed a bandanna that was lying beside her desk and put it over her head.

1996.

“And so we traveled. But when we got there, they had their swords and shields ready. We had no choice but to fight,” Kat said.

“Katarina wore the mask because if anyone had lived from the war and would swear revenge, they would not know her face. She wore them in every battle fought,” Buster explained.

1190.

A fire was started on many of the homes. Several lives were lost. One young she-kat, only a child, cried out when her mother was killed. She then saw Victoria battling. The kitten grabbed a nearby arrow and a bow on the ground. She loaded the arrow into the bow, pulled the string back, and released the arrow. Katarina heard a scream of pain. She turned her head and saw Victoria with an arrow in her side.

“Victoria!” She watched her old friend fall to the ground. Katarina ran past the other kats battling and ran to Victoria. Her eyes watered up and she saw a fresh wound on her friend’s side. She lifted her paw up, and released it. It was limp. “No. No!” She cried. Whitetail rushed up to her and froze to see his sister on the ground.

“Oh, no…” Katarina stood up and turned to her warriors who stopped battling to look at her and wait for her instructions.

“My Queen, they wish to know what to do now,” Whitetail said. Katarina stared coldly at the villagers.

“Kill them.” And her soldiers complied.

1996.

“The child, of course, was Jettona. Only a pawful survived that night. That battle is still fresh in my mind. Jettona releasing the arrow, Victoria’s scream, her body falling to the ground and would never get back up again,” Kat said, wiping the tears from her eyes.

“That night, we had a funeral pyre for the soldiers who lost their lives to this battle. Only four had died, but our queen was very upset about it,” Buster said.

1190.

Four separate pyres burned that night. Katarina was singing mournfully in Swahili. When the time had come for the soldiers to sleep, Katarina stayed long after the pyres had stopped burning. Tsidii came to her and put her paw on her shoulder.

“Were you this upset when you thought I had died 11 years ago?” Katarina asked.

“Yes, but we did not see your body then. We saw Victoria’s and that made it harder for us. You must try to forget about this, Katarina,” Tsidii said.

“How can I? My best friend is gone with the angels. I know she lives in me just as my father does, but that is not the same as seeing her all the time. I cannot go on without her.” She grabbed a dagger near her and put the point of it to her chest.

“Katarina, we cannot lose a queen. The one who killed her is still breathes. Do you not wish to find and kill her?” Katarina stopped and placed the dagger back on the ground.

“Come, child. It shall hurt less in the morning.” Tsidii lead Katarina to her tent.

1996.

“But it did not hurt less. For several weeks, I had been mourning her death and made several attempts of suicide. But Tsidii continued to convince me not to,” Katarina said.

“Must’ve been hard on both of you,” Tigera said to her and Buster.

“It was,” Buster said. 1190, 3 months later. Katarina was in her tent, going over the war plans. Whitetail came inside.

“What have you to report?” Katarina asked, turning around to look at him.

“The soldiers are ready and are waiting your orders, my love,” Whitetail said.

“Good. We take no prisoners, Sir Whitetail. Understood?” Whitetail nodded and turned to leave. “And, Sir Whitetail?”

“Yes, my Queen?” Whitetail asked, turning back to her.

“Until I find the bitch who killed Victoria, you are only my captain, nothing more or less. Understood?”

“Yes, my Queen,” he said softly, bowing his head and leaving.

1996.

“It was then that I realized that Victoria’s death had changed her. She was no longer the lady I loved. Nor was I the knight she loved. From then on, I was only her captain,” Buster said, watching the pictures.

“But that still doesn’t explain why I don’t remember most of this. I thought the Fire Skull changed me, not Victoria’s death,” Kat said, looking at Buster.

“You’ll find out. Just wait.”

1190.

One night, Katarina took out the amulet her father gave her and looked at it.

“It has a power all its own. If it could bring back the land, then perhaps it can aid me in some way,” she said to herself. She spoke in Swahili, then the amulet started to glow. The beams engulfed her, giving her silver battle armor. She extended her claws that now had a metallic shine to them. She swung them at a metal pole, and caused it to fall in a few pieces. She opened her eyes, which now glowed a ruby red.

She chuckled darkly, “If they did not fear me before, they shall now.”

1996.

“She won several battles and hardly lost any of her soldiers. She was feared more with the claws that could cut steel or stone and her demon-like eyes. And I thought she was changed forever,” Buster said.

1194, four years later.

Katarina and her soldiers had finally returned to Oriana after a few years of fighting the wars. Katarina took to her chamber and laid down on the bed. After several moments, she decided to look in her father’s bedroom to see if he had anything that would aid her in battle. She entered his room and looked through his drawers. Then she found a talisman with a bird on the front. She looked at it curiously.

“Tis the phoenix gate.” Katarina looked over her shoulder to see Tsidii. “Your father used it to travel through time,” she said.

“How does it work?” Katarina asked, turning it over and over again.

“Speak the incantation, think of a time and place, and it shall take you there.” She told her the incantation and then left the room. Katarina stood there and spoke the incantation, then disappeared in a ball of fire.

1971.

Katarina appeared outside a small apartment and peered through the window. She saw a crib and a bed inside. Suddenly, someone appeared the same way she did. She recognized him as he picked up a kitten in the crib.

“Father?” She watched as two kats, male and female, broke into the room. She saw her father say something, and then the two of them froze. Then he disappeared again.

“I must find out what he is doing with that child.” She spoke in Latin again and disappeared.

1171.

She reappeared outside her father’s bedroom and peered inside. She hid behind the door as a younger Tsidii walked out with Whitetail when he was two. She then looked back inside to see her father taking a necklace off the kitten he had stolen.

“Katarina. ‘Tis a beautiful name. My dear Katarina,” King Pouncival said. Katarina’s eyes widened. She spoke in Latin and disappeared.

1971.

She reappeared in New York City in the same year her father had taken the kitten which she found out it was her. She wondered in the snow-covered streets, then noticed some kats gathered around a street lamp.

“Do you have the rock?” a female asked.

“Do you have the cash?” one of the kats asked. The she-kat picked up a briefcase filled with money. The other kat pulled out a paper bag and pulled out a large red ruby. The she-kat smiled and took it.

“Ah, the Devil’s Eye. It’s been far too long since I’ve felt its power.” Then she noticed a mother carrying her kitten with her was watching the conversation.

“What are you doing here?!” The mother ran with her child with her. The she-kat followed. She caught up to the mother, who dropped the baby in a snowbank. Katarina watched in horror as she saw the she-kat reach into the mother’s chest and pulled out her heart. The mother died. The she-kat then picked up the kitten wrapped up in blankets and walked over to a well. She was about to drop it in when she heard a voice.

“Do not kill the boy yet, Jettona. Let him suffer a bit first. If it were me, I would put a spell on him that would last a lifetime. Never allow him to have friends unless he is outside orphanage grounds,” the voice said.

“Sounds like an excellent idea, Father. Who knows? Maybe this little brat is a descendant of my mother’s murderer, the queen of Oriana in 1190.” Katarina gasped.

“She is Victoria’s murderer? But how? Unless she is a daughter of Satan. That has to be it,” she said to herself as she watched Jettona take the kitten away.

1996.

“That kitten was me, wasn’t it?” Jake asked.

“I’m afraid so. I used the gate to watch you develop over time, then followed you to MegaKat City where you joined the Enforcers. Of course, you know that story,” Kat said. The group nodded.

“Didn’t you go after Jettona?” Ann asked.

“Of course. I returned to my century and then started to fight her through her years. Eventually, I returned.”

1195, one year later.

Katarina was on the throne, thinking to herself. Whitetail and Tsidii were outside the room, looking through the crack in the door.

“Tsidii, I have been thinking,” Whitetail said.

“Yes? About what?” Tsidii asked.

“Methinks we should erase a few of her memories and give her new ones.”

“Such as?”

“Say her father did not die when she was 8, but when she was 16, that shall have her think she has had more training. Tell her that her uncle did not kill her father or took over the throne and that she was not exiled. Tell her that we were never in love. And that one of our enemies, the Fire Skull perhaps, put a spell on her, thus making her a warlord. I think it shall help her considerably.”

“It may not last a lifetime, but it shall be done.” Tsidii spoke a Swahili spell. A blue mist floated into the throne room and surrounded Katarina. Her memories were quickly erased and replaced with the ones Whitetail created.

1996.

“And, of course, you know the other memories. All the memories the other memories about Venus, Xena, and Vitalini were true. I was a food tester for you and was poisoned several times, making you go to the past and collect the lilacs while training with the warrior princess Xena. Satan did come to your tent one night and planted his daughter in you. And Venus did watch you fight your battles with Jettona,” Buster said as the pictures died.

“Aye, I do remember them and now the others. But why did you erase my memories?” Kat asked.

“I had to. You would’ve been better if you never had felt that guilt. But like Tsidii said, it didn’t last forever. Your dreams were visions of the past returning to you. Now you know.” He got up and climbed up the ladder. Ann climbed up after him.

“It must’ve been hell for you back then, Buster,” she said.

“Don’t feel sorry for me, Annie. I’ve been with the pain for a long while. I’ve managed to forget. If you’re about to kiss me, don’t do it because you’re sorry for me like you were when we battled Vitalini,” Buster said, walking outside and looking at the sun set.

“Buster… I’m about to kiss you not just because I feel sorry for you. It’s also because I love you.” Buster turned to look at her, and that’s when she kissed him. Buster pulled back, but then kissed her again. The others were watching this.

“Well, if they weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend before, they are now,” Tigera said.

“Yep,” Chance said, putting his arm around Tigera’s waste.

“Looks like the whole Swat Kat team is now in couples, eh, love?” Kat asked, looking at Jake.

“Yep, but only one of ’em is married,” Jake said, watching the sun go down.

“How do you feel knowing that the past you knew was a lie, Katney?” Chance asked.

“A little strange, but it’ll be in the past soon.”

THE END

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