Hello out there, loyal readers! This is my first time writing a standalone fic based upon a fan-favorite property like ThunderCats. A few years ago I've read up on six short ThunderCats comic stories written by Paul Kirchner for Welsh Publishing's ThunderCats Magazine in the late 1980s, and they're only available in the "Magazines" section of ThunderCatsFans-dot-org. I've decided to adapt those stories with Mr. Kirchner's consent and rewrite them as an overarching saga, to give them an epic quality that's ThunderCats-worthy. Also I'll be setting them during the 1987-88 season of ThunderCats. Even if you've never owned all six ThunderCats Magazine issues, the '80s kid in you can never resist reading about our favorite heroic felines. So I hope you enjoy this amazing story I'm presenting to you. I do ask, however, that you read up on the original six stories before reading this one. I'll be working on this story and my Punky Brewster/ThunderCats crossover story, Punks of Thunder, at the same time.
Copyright © 2018 Philip Gipson.
THUNDERCATS: Copyright © Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. and Ted Wolf.
CHAPTER ONE: THE TREE OF TREACHERY
Thunder and lightning flashed around the menacing black pyramid of none other than Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living. More lightning struck the tips of the four obelisks surrounding the pyramid. Inside his central chamber, Mumm-Ra and his faithful dog, Ma-Mutt, had awakened from Mumm-Ra's crypt and headed over to the cauldron to see what evil they could spread on Third Earth this day. As long as evil existed, Mumm-Ra would live forever, as would Ma-Mutt.
"Let us see what is in store for us today, my loathsome dog," he said affectionately to Ma-Mutt, who barked excitedly to his master.
Mumm-Ra raised his arms, and steam came out of the cauldron briefly to show a vision of the Berbil Village's fruit harvest.
"This is the Ro-Bear Berbils' entire food supply," he explained to Ma-Mutt. "It is there that those tin-plated teddy bears supply the ThunderCats with most of it."
Ma-Mutt got a close look at the fruit harvest, and he examined it thoroughly. He then turned to his master and growled softly, wondering what the devil priest had planned.
"Patience, my pretty," reasoned Mumm-Ra, turning to Ma-Mutt and then back to the vision. "I shall fix it so that those miserable furballs will no longer be of help to their wretched feline saviors." With a wave of his left hand, the vision changed to a tree with yellow pear-like fruit. "This very tree shall be the catalyst to the ThunderCats' destruction." He turned again to Ma-Mutt, narrowed his eyes, and smiled wickedly. "And without Lion-O and his loyal friends to protect them, all the people of Third Earth will do our bidding, or perish by our wrath."
The devil priest pointed a finger from his right hand at the tree, and fired a red energy bolt at it. Mumm-Ra's magic was doing its work, as the tree glowed red, suddenly becoming all bent and crooked. After the glow faded, the tree's fruit was suddenly red instead of yellow, a product of Mumm-Ra's genius. Ma-Mutt barked happily, understanding what his master was getting at.
"I have endosed this very tree you see before you, Ma-Mutt, with my own evil influence," Mumm-Ra explained to the dog with plenty of passion. "I know just the right ThunderCat who will go near it." Next, the cauldron showcased all the ThunderCats of Cat's Lair, led by Lion-O, assembled in the lair's council room discussing being invited to the Berbils' nighttime food fest. They looked very eager to participate, Snarf most of all.
"Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha," cackled Mumm-Ra. "This is the perfect opportunity for us to strike." His eyes glowed briefly as he lowered them a bit. His personal encounters with the ThunderCats remained fresh in his mind, especially his first meeting with Lion-O. He would do anything to cleanse them from Third Earth so it would be his once again. He was threatened by them, including recent additions Lynx-O, Pumyra, Ben-Gali, and Snarfer, Snarf's nephew. He knew that without the ThunderCats, the people of Third Earth would fall prey to his evil.
Turning to Ma-Mutt once more, Mumm-Ra got down on one knee and pet his familiar, which Ma-Mutt enjoyed very much. Mumm-Ra stated, "You, my despicable canine, are to go to that exact spot in the Berbil Village, and lure Lion-O there the minute he and his fellows spread out. You will disguise yourself as an old man to entice the Lord of the ThunderCats to taste a piece of the fruit. And then, he'll experience a transformation he'll never forget."
Ma-Mutt barked proudly in reply. Then Mumm-Ra rose up as he and Ma-Mutt looked to see the ThunderCats already heading outside to gather some Berbil fruit. "Aha!" the devil priest exclaimed happily. "Right on time!" This was Ma-Mutt's cue as he took on a fierce stance, his eyes and eventually his whole body glowed red, and he transformed into an old man with balding white hair and a long white beard dressed in a navy-blue robe. He had green eyes that flashed red supernaturally, and he smiled the most evil smile yet.
Mumm-Ra smirked, impressed with his pet's disguise. "Excellent," he said lowly. Pointing to the skylight above the tomb chamber, he exclaimed, "Now go, Ma-Mutt! Go and spread your chaos on the ThunderCats!"
Ma-Mutt nodded, and he floated, turning to the skylight before bending himself and turning into a red energy ball. Then he was off to accomplish his master's mission. Mumm-Ra turned back to the cauldron and spread his arms out, and an image of Lion-O and his ThunderCats standing outside the lair appeared, each of them carrying a basket so they could search for some Berbil fruit, the ThunderKittens already on their spaceboards. Mumm-Ra focused on his oh-so-noble feline foes, and he smiled, his eyes flashing a supernatural red.
"Oh, yes, brave ThunderCats," he muttered darkly. "Your lives will never be the same again after this day."
"I'm so happy that the Berbils invited us to their food harvest tonight," beamed WilyKit as she and her brother WilyKat had out their spaceboards. "It's probably their first harvest since the ThunderCats came to Third Earth."
"I know, right?" agreed WilyKat.
"Today's a special day for Berbils and ThunderCats alike," stated Lion-O. "Ro-Ber-Bill's people helped create Cat's Lair and the Tower of Omens for us. The least we can do is make some kind of contribution for them."
"Lynx-O's team is also on board," added Cheetara. "They'll be arriving in the ThunderStrike."
"Well, tonight should be plenty of fun, it seems," Panthro said with enthusiasm.
"I couldn't agree more, Panthro," Tygra included.
"Reowr. A night full of Berbil food sounds like my kinda treat," chimed in Snarf a bit greedily.
"So, ThunderCats, what're we waiting for?" declared Lion-O. Each of the ThunderCats split up as they dashed ahead into the forest, Cheetara relying on her enhanced speed and the ThunderKittens zooming on their spaceboards. None of them would realize the impending doom that would be placed upon them.
By now, the ThunderCats were searching the entire forest for some Berbil fruit. Lion-O was seemingly all by himself doing just that, with his bucket full of purple-striped bread fruit. Suddenly he noticed a bearded old man in a navy-blue robe resting near a beat-up tree with red fruit on its leaves. The young lord went up to the man and gently shook him awake. The man opened up his green eyes slowly and then turned to Lion-O.
"Oh, hello, young man," he said in the kindest way possible. "I didn't know I was in anyone's way."
"You're not," Lion-O replied. "I'm Lion-O, Lord of the-"
"ThunderCats?" the man finished in shock. He got up in excitement over hearing Lion-O's name and continued with a smile, "I can't believe I almost forgot you people. You're the ones who protect Third Earth from evil, right?"
Somewhat embarrassed, Lion-O said, "News does travel fast around here."
"Indeed, it does," said the old man with a smirk. He gestured to the tree he was sleeping under, stating, "I just needed a place to sleep from the journey I'm on. I'm an explorer, you know," he finished, raising a thumb from his right hand.
"Well, the ThunderCats and I are on a journey to collect some supplies for the Berbil Village's fruit harvest tonight," explained Lion-O. "It's been a while since we've crashed into Third Earth, and we'd like to celebrate our time here with the Berbils."
The man smiled. "Well, that sounds wonderful."
Lion-O almost forgot about the crooked fruit tree the man rested in. He took some pity on it and said, "This tree must not've aged well. Is its fruit any good?"
"Of course it is," the man said. "You should try a piece."
His curiosity peaked, Lion-O replied with valor, "I guess it wouldn't hurt." With his cat-like abilities, he jumped up and grabbed a piece of fruit from the tree. He took a bite of it and swallowed it. "This tastes really good," he commented. He couldn't have been more wrong, as the Eye of Thundera's danger sense went off.
"What?" he said in confusion, turning to the Sword of Omens in his Claw-Shield scabbard. Suddenly he felt queasy. He groaned softly as his entire body began to give out, forcing him to drop his bread fruit basket. He fell on his knees, clasped his head, and shut his eyes hard as the pain increased and he growled with gritted teeth.
What's...what's happening to me? Why do I feel sick all of a sudden? he thought desperately. He instantly keeled over. The old man gave an evil smile, his eyes briefly glowing red. It appeared that he accomplished his job. He turned away from the now-suffering Lion-O and, in a misty flash, vanished from sight.
Cheetara was busy gathering veggie fruit with her extended staff, having already had 10 pieces in her basket. Her sixth sense went off immediately, and she yelped, clasped her head with her free right hand, and closed her eyes. She felt tranced, as if she were hypnotized by somebody. An image of Lion-O in pain appeared in her mind. He was keeled over, like his entire body was being destroyed.
"By Thundera," she breathed. "Lion-O's in terrible trouble. He needs help right away." She aimed her staff in the air, and it shot out a beam which imploded into a brilliant light sphere in the sky. It would be enough for the other ThunderCats to respond to it. They did respond to it, one by one, and a minute later they came to Cheetara's side, the ThunderKittens touching down on their spaceboards. Cheetara retracted her staff and put it back on her gauntlet.
"We came as fast as we could, Cheetara," said Tygra. "What's the matter?"
"I just had a vision of Lion-O in pain," explained the cheetah. "I'm not sure how or why fell ill, but we should go get him before the pain gets worse."
"Oh, reowr," fretted Snarf. "If Lion-O's in danger, then I believe you." All of a sudden, he could pick up a scent. He smelled it, and he felt disgusted, giving off a "yuck."
The other ThunderCats picked up and smelled the same scent, and though they didn't show it like Snarf did, their expressions had told them something felt off in the forest.
"Something smells rotten," Panthro said flatly for the group. "Literally."
"Whatever it is, it could be where Lion-O is at," deduced WilyKit. "I don't think we should waste any more time."
"Right, WilyKit," Kat agreed.
Tygra pulled out his bolo whip's hilt from the back of his clothing. He held it in front of him, and it automatically revealed a small communications unit. He spoke into it in an urgent tone, "Tygra to Tower of Omens. Come in, Tower of Omens. Do you copy?" It was Panthro's idea to install radio units into his nunchuks, Cheetara's staff, Tygra's whip, and even Lion-O's Claw Shield during the incident involving the optocrystal that contained the history of the ThunderCats' former homeworld, Thundera.
The voice of Lynx-O responded from Tygra's radio, "Tower of Omens to Tygra. We're receiving you loud and clear. What's going on at your end?"
"It's Lion-O," replied Tygra. "He's mysteriously fallen ill. The other ThunderCats and I are gonna need help in nursing him back to health."
"That can't be good news," came Ben-Gali's voice. Pumyra, Lynx-O, and I are the most indebted to Lion-O for making us ThunderCats. What kind of illness is he suffering from?"
"We aren't sure, Ben-Gali. That's why we need Pumyra to treat him. Pumyra, would you please come over to the Cat's Lair?"
"All right then, Tygra," said Pumyra resolutely. "If it's that serious, then I'm on my way in the ThunderClaw. I'll take Snarfer with me."
"Oh, boy! A new mission! I can't wait to get started! No, sirree! Snarf snarf!" Snarfer said rather excitedly through the commlink. It seemed that ever since he arrived on Third Earth the first time when he was kidnapped by Plun-Darrian warlord Ratar-O, he felt inspired by the ThunderCats to become an engineer. Though he lacked experience and was young, his heart was in the right place.
"Tower of Omens, over and out," stated Lynx-O. Once the communication was cut, the whip handle returned to normal, and Tygra put it back where it was.
"What happens now, Tygra?" Cheetara asked.
Wasting no time, Tygra replied, "You go get a stretcher for Lion-O so we can carry him back to the lair for treatment."
"I read you." With blazing speed, Cheetara headed for Cat's Lair and back again with the stretcher Tygra requested.
"Let's go then," said Tygra. He turned to the other ThunderCats and ordered, "You guys wait here until Pumyra arrives. And keep your eyes out for a possible ambush."
"No problem, Tygra," agreed Panthro as he, the ThunderKittens, and Snarf nodded yes.
Cheetara and Tygra were off to find the location of their young lord. Once they got there, they noticed a rotten-looking tree with red fruit on its branches. It looked like it was ravaged through time. They took some pity on it, as trees had feelings just like living beings did. At the same time it didn't make sense. How could a tree like this suddenly rot without warning? And why was its fruit so fresh?
Cheetara, her sixth sense still in effect, proclaimed, "This tree isn't naturally rotten somehow. It's been tainted by dark magic. And who do we know would do something like this?"
"Mumm-Ra," Tygra replied matter-of-factly. "Of course that ever-living cretin would try something like this. He'll stop at nothing to get rid of the ThunderCats and regain control of Third Earth."
"Exactly," agreed Cheetara. "But right now, we have to find Lion-O."
Getting back to the task at hand, they looked all over the forest for any sign of Lion-O. It seemed strange that he would just disappear like that without telling anyone. He was writhing in pain a moment ago as Cheetara saw in her vision. What would've caused him to run off like he did?
"Lion-O is somewhere in this forest," Cheetara informed with dread. "I can feel it. We can't have him parading around Third Earth in his condition."
"I know, Cheetara," replied Tygra with equal dread. "He could accidentally contaminate someone if he isn't cured."
The two ThunderCats tried to smell Lion-O's scent, yet again the scent was the same as before when the young lord fell ill. Suddenly it dawned on them both - Lion-O's scent may have been altered because of his illness.
"Lion-O, can you hear us?" Cheetara spoke out, putting down the stretcher. "We just wanna help you."
"Cheetara's right, you know," added Tygra. "We don't have time to play games. It's important that you think about your health."
They both heard movement in the bushes, and immediately Cheetara's sixth sense kicked into high gear. She could feel Lion-O making his move already. She exclaimed, "Tygra, look out from behind!"
Tygra turned, and out came a roaring Lion-O pinning Tygra to the ground, his grip incredibly strong. Tygra got a good look at Lion-O's face - it was crazed, and the young lord now bore vampire-like fangs. His skin took on a mysterious orange tone. Cheetara saw the strange new look for Lion-O, and she didn't like it one bit.
"Great Jaga," she rasped. "What on Third Earth has happened to you, Lion-O?"
"Whatever's happened to him," Tygra said, struggling to break free of the now-crazed lion's hold on him, "it's altered his personality. Hit him with a stun beam."
"I'm on it," said Cheetara quickly. She activated her staff and shot Lion-O in the chest with a stun beam. However...instead of being knocked unconscious, Lion-O looked up to Cheetara with pure rage in his eyes, growling. The cheetah was stunned herself. "But that should've knocked you out," she objected.
Lion-O managed to lift Tygra above him with both arms and then stood up to full height. Facing forward, he threw Tygra like he was literally garbage. Tygra landed hard and rolled once on the ground with a mere grunt. He forced himself to sit up in spite of the pain he was in, looking on as the now-crazed Lion-O had his sights on both of his fellow ThunderCats. Whatever influence he was under, he would never stop until his job was done. Tygra got up and was face to face with Lion-O. He got out his whip and swung it in the air, then entrapped Lion-O with it, hoping to slow the younger ThunderCat down.
"Enough is enough, Lion-O," declared Tygra. "You're coming back with us to Cat's Lair."
"No," said Lion-O strainingly, eyes squinted shut. "Stay away from me. Something's...come over me. I don't know how long I can fight it." Then, as if he developed a split personality, he regained his rage. "Must...destroy...ThunderCats," he growled out. "Must...complete...mission."
"Mission? What mission?" Cheetara asked confusingly.
"No choice...no choice...no choice," muttered Lion-O in that same growly tone. "Can't stop myself. Urges...too strong."
"Yes, you can, Lion-O," Cheetara encouraged. "You're better than this. You-" She stopped herself and looked again at the rotten tree. She gasped, realizing the cause of Lion-O's madness. "The fruit in that tree!" she exclaimed. "It has some degree of magic."
"I'm afraid I've come to that same conclusion, Cheetara," Tygra said grimly. "The fruit was also tampered with. We must get Lion-O away from here before he-"
Tygra didn't get to finish his sentence as Lion-O instantly broke free of Tygra's whip, and the ThunderCat Lord managed to get a hold of the whip, leaving Tygra stupefied while the ThunderCat architect still held the whip's handle. Lion-O, with full force, pulled on the whip and slammed Tygra into Cheetara, forcing her to drop her staff and leaving both ThunderCats disoriented as they landed on the ground. Lion-O put on the Claw Shield, now ready to give two of his fellows a world of hurt. This was certainly going to take a while for the latter ThunderCats to bring him under control.
Panthro, Snarf, and the ThunderKittens remained exactly where they were after Cheetara and Tygra went after Lion-O. Despite Panthro's reassurances, he and the others couldn't hide the uneasy feeling they had. What if Mumm-Ra, the Lunataks, or the Mutants decided to throw a wrench in the works just to let Lion-O die from sickness? No doubt Snarf would be the most upset about it, since he was Lion-O's caretaker for most of his life. It would truly break the morale of the ThunderCats.
"Boy. They've sure been gone for a while," said a wary Kat. "I hope it won't be for much longer."
"I know, Kat," agreed Kit, nodding. "I know."
"I'm more worried about whether Lion-O's okay. Snarf snarf," stated a pensive Snarf.
All of a sudden, they could hear signs of a struggle. They could definitely hear yells, roars, and grunts from Tygra, Cheetara, and Lion-O.
"What's happening over there?" Kit wondered, looking ahead in the direction Cheetara and Tygra went in. Panthro and the others did the same.
"It...it sounds like they're attacking each other," Kat said with dread.
"I don't like the sound of that," whined Snarf.
Panthro felt what his three friends were feeling. The Code of Thundera forbade anything illegal, especially infighting among ThunderCats. If what Kat had said was true, then something had to be done. "ThunderKittens," he ordered, "go see if you can bring our friends back."
"You got it, Panthro," the kittens agreed together. They got on their spaceboards and flew to Cheetara, Tygra, and Lion-O's aid.
Snarf asked Panthro, "Are you sure you were right to send them out there?"
"Aw, don't worry, Snarf," the panther said casually in spite of his unease. "Kat and Kit can take care of themselves. Always have, always will."
Snarf, looking to the sky, said, "Oh, I sure hope that Pumyra and Snarfer will arrive in time before all heck breaks loose. Snarf snarf."
Panthro nodded. "You and I both, old friend. You and I both."
The ThunderKittens reached their destination, and what they saw horrified them to no end - Cheetara, Tygra, and Lion-O suddenly attacking each other.
WilyKat exclaimed, "What in the name of Thundera is going on here?!"
Tygra immediately turned to the ThunderKittens and shouted to them, "Get away from here!"
"Huh?" said a confused WilyKit. "What're you talking about, Tygra?"
Kit had spoken too soon. When Lion-O faced her and Kat, he wasn't as they remembered him. He was just as Cheetara and Tygra saw him - an orange-colored, vampiric-looking demon.
"Holy Thundera!" the twins exclaimed in shock.
Cheetara declared, "Stay back, ThunderKittens. Lion-O's not himself."
"Raaawwwr!" Lion-O roared. "All ThunderCats must be destroyed!" He jumped toward the kittens and dogpiled them, and he stood up and grabbed them tight by their throats, choking them. Their spaceboards fell to the ground, deactivating.
"What's wrong with you, Lion-O?" demanded Kat. "All of us are your friends."
"I can't stop myself," Lion-O insisted. Mumm-Ra's mental hold over him appeared to be pretty strong, and he was struggling inwardly to resist it. "I don't...I don't know how to."
"No. You're...you're wrong," insisted Kit. "We're not just ThunderCats. We're a family - ugh - and families always stick up for each other."
"F...family..." For a minute, the growl in his voice had disappeared; it seemed the twins were breaking through to whatever was making Lion-O act like this. His grip on them subsided a little.
"Yeah, that's right, Lion-O," encouraged Kat. "The ThunderCats are a family. Remember who you are. Remember the Code of Thundera."
Kit added just as encouragingly, "You're the Lord of the ThunderCats. You're responsible for our welfare like we are for yours."
The twins' faith in Lion-O was strong. They seemed to be getting through to him. He finally released his hold on them and uttered under his breath, "The Code...of Thundera..."
The twins recited the code for him so they could push him to fight his madness. "Justice. Truth. Honor. Loyalty."
Tygra seized this opportunity to wrap his whip around the transformed Lion-O before the young lord's dark side could take over again. Lion-O was still in confusion, not even trying to fend off the whip.
"Nice work, ThunderKittens," Tygra commended. "I don't know how much longer Lion-O will fight this urge to slay the ThunderCats off, so we should take him back to Cat's Lair and wait for Pumyra and Snarfer to arrive in the ThunderClaw."
"We promise to explain everything once we're back there," assured Cheetara before Kit and Kat could get a word in.
But then Lion-O's darker nature took him over once more, and he fended off Tygra's whip easily by flexing his arms. He grabbed the kittens by the tufts of their hair, lifting them up and throwing them back with a force so strong, they slammed into two trees and fell down, slipping into the world of unconsciousness.
"Kat! Kit!" exclaimed Tygra with worry. He tried going over to the twins, but in a rapid display, Lion-O slashed Tygra across the left cheek with his Claw Shield arm, leaving red slash marks all over the tiger's face. The ThunderCat architect howled in pain as he clutched his now-scarred face. Cheetara came to her comrade's aid.
"Are you alright, Tygra?" she inquired.
"I'll be fine, Cheetara," he replied, fighting to ignore the pain and staring down the still-crazed Lion-O. "You get the kids back to the lair."
"I can't leave you to face Lion-O alone," objected Cheetara. "With him acting like this, you'll need all the-"
"I just need to stall him long enough for Pumyra and Snarfer to arrive," the ThunderCat architect assured. "I'm going to have to enter his mind."
"Are you sure you can handle it?" Cheetara wanted to know.
"I've learned from Lion-O's trial of mind power, Cheetara," he said with a smirk, turning to his comrade and referring to one of the five anointment trials Lion-O underwent to become the true Lord of the ThunderCats. "I've also learned how to be one with myself overtime."
"Alright then, Tygra," Cheetara said with a genuine smile, bolstered by Tygra's words. "I'll get the kittens back to the lair right away." She wouldn't be able to carry the kittens and their spaceboards at once, so she sped around Lion-O and picked up the kittens to take them back to Cat's Lair before Lion-O could make a move on all three of them, leaving him and Tygra alone. Lion-O took it upon himself to go after her with his enhanced speed, but Tygra cracked his whip on the ground and ignited a firewall around Lion-O, stopping the ThunderCat Lord in his tracks. Tygra seized his chance after the firewall vanished; he leapt toward Lion-O and placed his fingers on his young lord's face and closed his eyes, going into full concentration. Lion-O found himself suddenly unable to move, as if he'd been tranquilized on the spot.
Despite the scar on his face, Tygra refused to give up on his lord. He'd already deduced who infected that tree and who caused Lion-O to fall under its spell. It was none other than the demon priest himself, Mumm-Ra. The ever-living one would stop at nothing to regain control of Third Earth. But Mumm-Ra wasn't Tygra's primary concern for the moment - Lion-O was.
It's just you and me now, Lion-O, the tiger thought. You're coming back to your people whether you like it or not.
A faint white aura enveloped both ThunderCats as a result of Tygra's mental powers. Once Tygra opened his eyes, they glowed white, as did Lion-O's. Tygra was actually about to go into the mind of the Lord of the ThunderCats to rescue him. They would remain in this state until Tygra accomplished what he set out to do.
Back in the black pyramid, Mumm-Ra and Ma-Mutt had been watching the drama unfold among the ThunderCats with actual glee. By forcing Lion-O to eliminate his own kin, they were one step closer to ruling Third Earth. And even now, they noticed Tygra doing something to Lion-O that Mumm-Ra seemed to not object to. The look on the devil priest's face suggested he had an idea about Tygra's visit inside Lion-O's head.
"So, the great Tygra wants to save his precious lord from himself, eh?" the demon priest taunted, clenching his bony right hand into a fist. "Let him. When he finds Lion-O, I'll give him a surprise he won't ever forget." He smiled, showing off his jagged teeth. His eyes glowed at the very image his cauldron displayed. He would make Tygra's life pretty miserable.
Through a white glow, Tygra successfully entered Lion-O's mind. Seemingly it was an ethereal-looking cloudy haze. That didn't stop Tygra, though. All he had to do was concentrate on finding Lion-O - the real Lion-O. The scar Lion-O inflicted on him in the real world was still present, but he refused to let that stop him. He put his hands to his head and closed his eyes, going into full concentration mode. If he could sense where his young lord was, they would both get out of this jam. A minute passed, and he could hear faintly the muffled voice of Lion-O saying, "Won't...let you...get away...with this...Mumm-Ra."
The voice sounded tired yet determined. Tygra concentrated harder on where Lion-O was located. Once he got a fix on the location, he opened his eyes and instantly teleported.
Tygra arrived immediately at a place that was much different than the one he was in. He looked around, and he realized this place was a replica of Mumm-Ra's tomb, but with a few differences - six lit-up golden torches lined up on all three centers of a deep blue wall, the ground Tygra was on was full of yellow sand, and finally, at the back of the wall was a slightly-altered version of Mumm-Ra's resting place, an open-mouthed gray-colored skull with dull white eyes and white teeth and a magenta sarcophagus-shaped door. Two of Mumm-Ra's Ancient Spirits of Evil, the alligator and the bull, were resting near the crypt. It was a very strange sight indeed, seeing these very statues rest near the resting place of their prized pupil. Something about this whole place didn't sit well with Tygra, but the Code of Thundera came first. He figured Lion-O would be inside the crypt, encased in mummy wrappings.
"Lion-O?" he said to the crypt. "Are you in there?"
There was a moan within the door. Tygra's hunch was correct. Lion-O was here. "T-Tygra?" the Lord of the ThunderCats said weakly.
Coming closer to the crypt, Tygra assured, "I'll have you outta there before you manage to cough up a hairball."
But then the eyes and jaws of the skull glowed green, which startled Tygra. The alligator and bull statues' bodies and eyes glowed red, and they suddenly changed color - green for the alligator and brown for the bull. Their bodies stopped glowing, but their eyes never did. They came to life by turning to state at their target.
Tygra, despite himself, knew that this was Mumm-Ra's doing. He got out his whip and braced himself for a fight. He backed away slightly at the now-living animal-esque spirits as they advanced toward him. "All right then, Mumm-Ra," he dared. "Let's settle this." He unleashed heck upon the spirits by cracking his whip and unleashing an inferno upon them. The fire was so strong, so intense, the spirits didn't seem to stand a chance. Tygra eyed both of them warily, knowing that his pyre show wouldn't stop them. The spirits dissolved the flames and began their battle with Tygra.
The bull went first, shooting gold lightning from his horns. Tygra retracted his whip and did a somersault, dodging the electrical blast that exploded the ground but never damaged the sand. Tygra aimed the tip of his whip at the bull and shot red lasers at him. The blasts were not quite as intense as the bull's lightning, but they were enough to drive the bull back. This provided the alligator the opportunity he needed to charge up the energy in his claws, which glowed burgundy. He performed an X-like motion with them, the energy striking Tygra instantly and knocking him to the ground. The ThunderCat yelled as his outfit became torn slightly and exposed scrapes of his blood. Mumm-Ra was telepathically fighting dirty, but no matter what, a ThunderCat never gave up. So Tygra got back up and ignored the pain in his body, ready for round two. Lion-O's life was in his hands. The Code of Thundera would prevail this day.
"This was just a warm-up, ThunderCat," the alligator spoke.
"But this time...this time you shall perish," proclaimed the bull.
"Sorry to disappoint you, boys," joked Tygra despite the situation he was in, "but as you can see, I'm on a tight schedule."
"Then allow us to to relieve you of your agony," the two spirits said in unison.
And so the battle continued between spirit and ThunderCat.
Outside in the forest, Lion-O and Tygra remained as they were. Panthro and Snarf arrived on the scene thanks to Cheetara giving them the heads up, and they were watching in shock and amazement at what they were witnessing.
"Reowr. Cheetara wasn't joking. I just can't believe Tygra is actually going through with this," Snarf mumbled, careful to not disturb Tygra's concentration. "He's using all of his mental powers at once."
Panthro replied, "I know, Snarf. We'll just have to hope that both he and Lion-O come out in one piece."
"And especially that Pumyra and Snarfer arrive in time," added Snarf. All he and Panthro could do was watch their tranced fellows and see what would happen. A lot was riding on Tygra to do his stuff and get Lion-O to safety. Just then, Snarf and Panthro heard movement in the bushes.
"Cheetara can't be back here already," surmised Snarf.
"I doubt that somehow, old friend," Panthro stated.
The two ThunderCats then heard more movement in the bushes. They look their eyes off of their tranced countrymen to see if anyone other than the four of them was in the forest. Around and around they looked and searched, but they found find no trace of the two people who were caused the noise. They decided to backtrack to search everywhere for the intruders, leaving Lion-O and Tygra all by themselves. Everywhere in the forest they searched and looked, and yet they could find no sign of the intruders. The minute they decided to split up, trouble struck. A quick swipe hit Panthro hard and left deep-red claw marks on his back, causing him to yell in pain and collapse on his hands and knees. Snarf heard his friend's cry, and he turned too late to be bashed in the face by a chained mace, going into a coma.
The familiar forms of Monkian and Jackalman came into view, Monkian with his mace and Jackalman with Vultureman's signature metal fork (which he stole from the Mutant genius). They looked at their targets with faces of absolute wickedness. Panthro looked up to see the two Mutants, and it dawned on him that it was they who were hiding in the bushes. His expression turned angry, and he growled lowly.
"Looks like we've got ourselves some fresh supplies. Hoo-hoo," Monkian interated, swinging his mace around.
"Only this time, we'll be taking some fresh fur back to Castle Plun-Darr. Nya-ha-ha-ha," Jackalman added, twirling Vultureman's fork.
"Oh, you two are gonna regret this dearly," Panthro growled, getting back up in spite of the pain on his back. He got into a fighting position.
"What's the matter, Panthro?" mocked Monkian as he and Jackalman also got into fighting positions. "Don't wanna take the heat?"
I have to lure them away from Lion-O, Tygra, and Snarf, Panthro thought. A least fighting these two will allow more time for Tygra to save Lion-O. He briefly turned to Snarf, whose face was somewhat swollen from the blow Monkian dealt him. Snarf's not looking too good, but I'm sure he'll be alright once he's patched up.
Turning back to the two Mutants, Panthro stated to them smugly, "Believe me, Mutants - I am definitely fired up."
Before either Mutant could formulate a response, Panthro grabbed Jackalman by his free arm and threw him across the forest. The Mutant yelped, but he landed rather neatly. Panthro went after him, and Monkian, after a moment of confusion, went after Panthro. The ThunderCat's ploy worked, and now comatose Snarf and tranced Tygra and Lion-O were safely out of harm's way. Hopefully, Pumyra and Snarfer would arrive in time before things got out of hand.
Back inside Lion-O's mind, things between Tygra and the Ancient Spirits of Evil had already heated up. Somehow the mock-up of Mumm-Ra's tomb that the demon priest created to ensnare Lion-O wasn't damaged, possibly because the former designed it too well. Tygra evaded the spirits' onslaught with all the cat-like abilities he could muster. Despite the stress he was under, he refused to crack. He had to save Lion-O. He wrapped his whip around the bull's left hoof leg and tugged with all his might, tripping the bull over; the bull landed with a gigantic thud. The alligator used his tail to send Tygra near the right side of the wall, causing the ThunderCat architect to let go of his bolo whip. The ThunderCat architect groaned and was breathing hard, but his resolve was much stronger than any pain he was enduring. The bull took the whip off of his leg and got back up. He breathed purple acid from his nostrils to take care of Tygra for good. The beaten-up Tygra stood his ground, braced himself for the onslaught. At the last minute, mustering all of his strength, he turned invisible without his whip before the acid could get to him.
At the thought of having one less ThunderCat to worry about, the alligator and bull laughed at their victory over Tygra. They couldn't be any more wrong, however. The bull felt a jerk of his head through his horns. Who or what was doing this to him would pay for this. He reached behind his head to grab the mysterious culprit, but to his surprise he hit his head and collapsed on the floor. Just then, Tygra's whip lifted itself up and retracted itself, and it launched grey-blue bullet-shaped lasers from its bolases at the alligator, forcing him back. The bull looked up to see his comrade being bulldozed by...Tygra's whip? The bull's eyes widened in realization. Of course! he thought with a hint of anger. That foolish ThunderCat can make himself invisible. He took his chance and charged up his horns with electrical white energy. He let loose the energy with a single jerk on the invisible ThunderCat. Tygra screamed in pain as his invisibility was dissolved before the two Ancient Spirits' eyes. He was forced to get down on his right knee as he panted. The alligator recovered from the assault Tygra dealt him, so how he and the bull were ready to deal the finishing blow.
"This is the end for you, ThunderCat!" they exclaimed proudly, their eyes blazing powerfully with sparks coming out of them.
Mumm-Ra was watching the drama unfold in his cauldron with excitement he hadn't felt in years. He was holding Ma-Mutt in his decripit arms and petting him, and Ma-Mutt loved every minute of it. He was also watching what his ever-living master was watching.
"Yes, dear Ma-Mutt," assured Mumm-Ra. "Soon we will have one less ThunderCat to worry about, and Lion-O will then annihilate the other ThunderCats while under my power...before I annihilate him as well." He cackled quietly, and Ma-Mutt echoed that sentiment by growling softly.
Back inside Lion-O's mind, things for Tygra were seemingly about to come to an end. The battered, bruised ThunderCat architect stood firm, defiant as ever. The alligator and bull were about to unleash their deadly eyebeams on him, when suddenly...
"LEAVE TYGRA ALONE!" roared Lion-O inside his crypt-shaped door, startling all three combatants. The door began to crack, indicating that the Lord of the ThunderCats was battling Mumm-Ra's control. It was taking every ounce of his willpower. As the door fully cracked, glowing yellow eyes could be visible. The door finally exploded into shards, revealing Lion-O with his stretched-out arms and clamped-up fists.
"Lion-O," said Tygra weakly. "Is...is it really you?"
"Yes, Tygra, it's me," the latter ThunderCat answered. "Thanks for coming for me. You look pretty totaled."
"I'll be just fine, my friend," stated Tygra with a smile. "ThunderCats look out for each other. It's what we do."
The alligator and bull stared in shock at how easily Lion-O broke free from his prison. And then that shock was replaced by anger. Both ancient spirits' eyes glowed once more to reflect what they were feeling.
Lion-O gave a smile. "Are these guys giving you any trouble?" he asked Tygra.
"It was nothing I couldn't handle," the ThunderCat architect replied jovially.
Lion-O came up to his beat-up fellow ThunderCat and extended a hand. "Once again, old friend, I offer my thanks."
Tygra clasped Lion-O's hand with his own. "You're welcome, Lion-O. Now what say we take care of these Ancient Spirits of Evil?"
Both ThunderCats turned to the alligator and bull spirits, who were still seething over Lion-O's interference. "It would be my pleasure," agreed Lion-O.
Mumm-Ra and Ma-Mutt were not pleased with this turn of events. Ma-Mutt watched everything side by side with his master, and growled very fiercely over Lion-O gaining the upper hand.
"That miserable cub is clearly asking to get hurt," Mumm-Ra snarled. "My plan to have him execute his fellow ThunderCats was supposed to be fool-proof. If I cannot gain control of him mentally, then I'll eliminate him and Tygra equally." He held out his bony hands, and they glowed a bright pink. He was left with no choice but to even the playing field for two brave and mighty ThunderCats.
The fight between Tygra and Lion-O and the alligator and bull spirits began instantly as the spirits launched deadly eyebeams at their smaller foes, only for the two ThunderCats to dodge opposite of each other. Lion-O put on his Claw Shield and unsheated the Sword of Omens from it. Cupping the sword with both hands, he raised it in the sir and shouted, "Ho!", and in an instant the sword changed to its longsword form, the Eye of Thundera replacing itself with the symbol of the ThunderCats. Lion-O gripped the sword tightly in his hands as he and Tygra braced for more combat.
"It looks like Mumm-Ra's stepping up his ThunderCat kill game," Tygra said worriedly.
"Then it's time we step up our own game," declared Lion-O.
"Right, my friend," Tygra agreed, retracting his whip.
The alligator and bull fired their eyebeams at their smaller enemies, who in turn countered by firing beams from their own weapons - Lion-O with the Eye of Thundera and Tygra with the tip of his whip. Everything around all four of them was bathed in the brilliant hue of red. It was a brief sight to behold for sure, for the battle of wills would continue until two of them would give out.
We're inside my mind, right, Tygra? Lion-O communicated telepathically to his fellow ThunderCat.
Yes, Lion-O, answered Tygra. The two of us can do whatever we want here. And that means...
No holding back, ever, declared the ThunderCat Lord.
Both ThunderCats channeled a lot more of themselves into their weapons, whose lasers gave a lot more power at the alligator and bull spirits. But the spirits easily blinked their eyes and dodged the ThunderCats' laser assault, which pierced the wall but oddly never disintegrated it. The spirits stood up and conjured a mace and club, respectively.
"That's strange. Why didn't that wall disintegrate?" wondered Lion-O.
"Same reason the ground never had scorch marks when these guys attacked me," deduced Tygra. "I suspect that dear old 'mummy' has made this place a little too perfect."
The alligator and bull raised their weapons at their enemies and came at them. Both ThunderCats leapt upwards, but the spirits used this chance to use their free hands to smack Lion-O and Tygra into both sides of the wall. They fell to the sandy ground with thuds while still holding their weapons. The alligator and bull brought their weapons down on Lion-O and Tygra full force, but a strange force prevented the spirits from inflicting pain on their feline foes. The spirits tried again and again, yet they just couldn't get to their seemingly unconscious enemies. It turned out that Lion-O and Tygra, remembering Tygra's trial of mind power, had invented invisible force fields around themselves. They knew they couldn't keep it up for long, however. They still needed to free Lion-O's own mind from Mumm-Ra's influence. At last the alligator and bull stopped and retracted their weapons, but they were far from done with this fight.
Lion-O and Tygra dissolved their force fields and slowly got up on their knees to see their giant enemies conjure up a scythe and an arming sword, respectively. Lion-O's nose was slightly bleeding and his lower lip swollen, but he remained fixated on fighting the good fight just as Tygra was. The alligator brought his scythe down upon Tygra, and the bull brought his sword down upon Lion-O. But with their cat-like reflexes still intact, the two ThunderCats leapt toward the left side of the wall before the spirits' weapons landed their blows, and charged toward the spirits head on. They used their single fists to hit the spirits' stomachs, knocking their large enemies into the wall with a giant boom that easily rattled the whole chamber. Lion-O and Tygra felt the impact but remained standing in spite of it. The spirits got back up and immediately supercharged their weapons with their own energy. Lion-O and Tygra prepared themselves for more. They wanted nothing more than to end this mental nightmare that they were currently in. And end it they would.
Pumyra and Snarfer were flying the ThunderClaw to the very location that Tygra informed them of, Snarfer holding a medium dark-gray bag with the ThunderCat symbol. Pumyra prayed to Jaga that it wouldn't be too late to cure Lion-O, and Snarfer did his best to stay optimistic despite worry consuming him at the moment. Whatever was making Lion-O ill surely wouldn't bode well for all the ThunderCats or the very code they always upholded.
"We're almost there, Snarfer," assured Pumyra.
"That's right," agreed Snarfer. "It all depends on us to help out Lion-O. Uncle Snarf must be having a field day looking after him."
Pumyra chuckled, "I'll bet he is."
They reached the forest at last, and Pumyra set down the ThunderClaw so that she and Snarfer could go to Lion-O directly. Snarfer handed the bag over to her. When they entered the forest, they could see a comatose, swollen-faced Snarf laying on the ground. They gasped at the sight of the elder before them. What could've done this to him?
Panthro saw Pumyra and Snarfer just now, having sent Jackalman and Monkian packing. He met up with them and explained all that went on, including how Jackalman and Monkian ambushed him and Snarf. It became clear to Pumyra and Snarfer that now, more than ever, the fight to spread the Code of Thundera was paramount.
"That sounds terrible, Panthro," Snarfer said, his anger rising. "I just can't believe that Mumm-Ra would do that to Lion-O, just to wipe the ThunderCats out. And the Mutants just had pick right now to start a fight with us even."
"You look after Snarf, Snarfer," suggested Pumyra. "Panthro and I will go see Tygra and Lion-O to see if their mission is accomplished." She handed Snarfer a special bottle of ointment for Snarf.
"No problem, Pumyra. You can both count on me. No sweat. Snarf snarf," Snarfer said with assurance as he took the ointment.
"Thanks, friend," Panthro said to the young Snarf with a smile. He and Pumyra then went to the spot that Tygra and Lion-O were in, and they were careful not to disturb the tiger and lion's trance. All they could do was pray to Jaga that they would come out of it alive. Nothing else mattered at this moment.
"You can do it, you two," Panthro encouraged quietly. "You can beat this."
"I second that," added Pumyra with equal gusto.
The battle inside Lion-O's mind was undoubtedly fierce. Both he, Tygra, and the two Ancient Spirits of Evil - who had already retracted their weapons - continued waging war against one another. Only two of them would come out on top. Lion-O's suspenders were torn off, exposing his scraped, cream-colored stomach, which indicated that the alligator did a little roughhousing on the young lord...and yet, Lion-O remained standing in spite of that. The bull shot fire through his nostrils in an attempt to burn Lion-O and Tygra, but Lion-O used his Claw Shield to deflect the flames onto the alligator, who was knocked down instantly by his comrade's attack. This allowed Tygra to crack his whip onto the ground and form a large energy net of silver to encase both ancient spirits.
"What say we wrap this up, old friend?" said Lion-O to Tygra.
"Couldn't agree more, Lion-O," the elder architect agreed as he retracted his whip yet again.
Both ThunderCats raised their weapon arms (Lion-O's sword arm and Tygra's whip arm) in an X-shaped position. They closed their eyes and concentrated, channeling every ounce of themselves into their weapons. Soon enough, their bodies and weapons started glowing a linear blue. While this was going on, the bull and alligator fired their laser vision onto Tygra's net, freeing themselves in an instant. Their anger was quite strong, so they focused all of their energy on putting out the light of their smaller enemies, their bodies glowing red once again. The bull formed a red sphere in his left hoof and the alligator formed one in his right hand, and they merged it into a sphere the size of Lion-O and Tygra. They threw it at the two ThunderCats in full force, and it collided with them, exploding hugely.
The bull and alligator stood firm, waiting for the smoke to clear so they could see for good if they obliterated their foes. As it cleared, they widened their eyes as they were treated with the ultimate surprise - Lion-O and Tygra facing them with that very same blue glow. The two ThunderCats' eyes were glowing golden, leaving only their slits.
"Is that all you've got?" Lion-O challenged the spirits.
"No matter what you throw at us, we'll never stop fighting," Tygra declared, "because ThunderCats never surrender."
"INSOLENCE!" roared the bull. "No one defies the power of Mumm-Ra!"
"Third Earth has been infested too long with the likes of the ThunderCats," snarled the alligator. "Once all of you are out of the way, it will be ours once more." He and his ally charged up the energy in their eyes, preparing to deliver a true world of hurt to Lion-O and Tygra.
"We'll see about that," said Lion-O icily as he and Tygra prepared themselves. "ThunderCats..."
"HOOOOO!" both ThunderCats chorused. They leapt into the air at the precise moment that the bull and alligator let loose their energy blasts and the former two shot ethereal-looking blue energy from their weaponry. For a minute, it seemed like a stalemate, as the four enemies were dead set on achieving victory.
"This world is ours, wretches," boasted the bull. "Your kind as no place in it."
"It is time for evil to reclaim its rightful place as the sole ruler of all," added the alligator.
"For the glory of Mumm-Ra the Ever-Living!" they exclaimed harmoniously as they steadily increased their power.
"We ThunderCats live by a code that's most sacred to us," retorted Lion-O, his and Tygra's new power giving them a special flight ability. "It's one that not even you two can squat out."
"Justice! Truth! Honor! Loyalty!" exclaimed Tygra.
Lion-O continued passionately, "And as long as we stay true to our ideals, we will never bow down to the power of darkness!"
As if on cue, the two ThunderCats' blue glows intensified, as did their energy blasts. The blasts cancelled out the bull and alligators', and the ancient spirits became blinded by the impact as evidenced by their eyes' black sockets. They screamed in agony and covered their sockets. But that wasn't all. Lion-O and Tygra attacked the spirits at the same time, Lion-O cutting the alligator in half with the Sword of Omens and Tygra cracking his whip against the bull. Both spirits became engulfed in their enemies power and imploded on impact, turning everything white.
Mumm-Ra and Ma-Mutt watched in horror as his cauldron glowed the exact same color that Lion-O and Tygra did. The glow blasted itself upwards, knocking Mumm-Ra and Ma-Mutt to the ground, then fizzled out.
"No! It cannot be!" exclaimed the devil priest. He quickly got up and spread his arms out to see what went wrong with his plan, as did Ma-Mutt. Immediately the cauldron showed Lion-O and Tygra lying unconscious in the forest on opposite sides from fending off the darkness within the former's mind. Lion-O was still the same as he was when he tasted the tainted fruit. Next the cauldron showed Mumm-Ra and Ma-Mutt the very tree he cursed with his magic; the tree, like Lion-O, remained the way it was. The other ThunderCats would find a way to cure Lion-O, no doubt, though Mumm-Ra could take some relief that today hadn't been a total loss for him.
Ma-Mutt was also pleased that the tree remained cursed. His eyes glowed red briefly, signifying his master's will had been done. He and Mumm-Ra both knew that the ThunderCats still posed a threat to them, however. He looked to his ever-living master for whatever move was about to come next. Fortunately Mumm-Ra was already formulating said next move, just from the smile on his face.
"While Lion-O and most of the ThunderCats are at their weakest for the moment, dear Ma-Mutt," the devil priest informed his beloved pet, "we can unleash the Berserkers and the Mutants on the rest of those infernal furballs, then have them personally delivered to us so that we can execute them on the spot. I shall inform them tonight that they will unleash chaos upon our foes tomorrow. And I have a very special job for you concerning the Lunataks."
Mumm-Ra knelt before Ma-Mutt and whispered this very special plan to the dog. Ma-Mutt liked the sound of that. He barked and jumped up and down happily.
"Oh, I'm so glad you agree, my horrid hound!" exclaimed Mumm-Ra with joy, standing back up. "The Code of Thundera shall be forever eclipsed by darkness!" He laughed as maniacally as he could, determined to carry out his next phase of eliminating the ThunderCats.
Pumyra and Panthro stood before the seemingly-unconscious forms of Tygra and Lion-O. They bent down to feel their fellows' pulses, and could tell that they were breathing, but barely. Clearly the latter ThunderCats had put up quite a struggle mentally.
"It looks like they'll be okay," Pumyra said assuredly. "We'd better get them back to the lair."
"Let's not forget Snarf," reminded Panthro. "What the Mutants did to him he may have a hard time recovering from emotionally."
Pumyra chuckled, "Knowing him, he might just brush it off with his comedy. The best we can do is support him."
"Amen to that, Pumyra," Panthro agreed.
And with that, the two active ThunderCats picked up their comrades. Pumyra picked up Lion-O with her arms and held him in that position, while Panthro had Tygra latched onto his left shoulder. They made their way to Snarfer and the still-comatose Snarf. The younger Snarf was sitting right by his still-comatose uncle, whose face was dulled by Pumyra's ointment.
Snarfer stood up and noticed Pumyra and Panthro carrying the unconscious forms of Lion-O and Tygra; he also noticed the odd skin color Lion-O had.
"Golly. What's wrong with Lion-O?" he asked.
"I estimate that it was Mumm-Ra's handiwork," answered Pumyra. Despite how strong Lion-O was, the physical training Pumyra had underwent gave her amazing upper body strength. "We'd better take him and Tygra back to the lair while we still can."
"And, Snarfer, since you've become so well versed in technology, perhaps you can guide us back with the ThunderClaw," suggested Panthro as he scooped up Snarf.
Snarfer beamed at this suggestion and said with a salute, "No problem, Panthro. I'll get you guys there. Snarf snarf."
The younger Snarf led the others to the ThunderClaw. He got in front of the controls while Pumyra sat in the back with the unconscious Lion-O. He activated the ship's hover mode and slowly flew back to the Cat's Lair. Panthro, still carrying Snarf and Tygra, followed Snarfer's lead. It would be a very good trek for sure.
For the rest of the day, the ThunderCats who were injured were given as much care as possible. Pumyra and Snarfer helped make sure of that. Lion-O, Snarf, and the ThunderKittens had been confined to bedrest for the rest of the day until they were up and running again. The ThunderKittens and Snarf would be given and drinks to help with their recovery, but Lion-O was a different story. An antidote would be required to restore Lion-O's skin to what it was, but what he almost did - eliminating the ThunderCats - would stay with him forever. Although Mumm-Ra had a hand in that, inwardly Lion-O couldn't help feeling partially responsible. He felt like a failure to himself and his people. He swore to uphold the Code of Thundera and almost discarded it completely today. Despite whatever reassurance his fellow ThunderCats would give him, his faith was shaken. He felt that, in a way, Mumm-Ra had the last laugh. He was resting in his personal quarters currently, with his suspenders and boots on one side and the scabbarded Sword of Omens on the other. On the floor by his side was Snarf, who had a Snarf-sized makeshift bed made for him by Snarfer and the ThunderKittens. Today was pretty rough on the ThunderCats as a whole for sure. They'd need a while before they were back on their feet.
Pumyra came to Lion-O's quarters and quitely observed him and Snarf in their slumber. She thought back to the time that Lion-O came aboard the Berserkers' ship when she, Ben-Gali, and Lynx-O were Hammerhand's prisoners. All three of them immediately recognized him, having thought that they were the planet Thundera's only survivors just as Lion-O and his crew thought they were the only survivors. Lion-O did his best to rescue them, but in the end he was outclassed. They saw him again at Fire Rock Mountain, as well as his fellow ThunderCats; fortunately back then, Lynx-O managed to train himself, Ben-Gali, and Pumyra to put up a fight despite the mountain's fumes emitting a radiation deadly to Thunderians - Thundranium. They were taken in by Lion-O's crew and welcomed by them, and Lion-O personally anointed the trio ThunderCats. Pumyra would never, ever forget what Lion-O did for her, Ben-Gali, and Lynx-O, and she allowed a smile on her face at her lord and his former caretaker. Indeed they were some of the bravest people she'd ever known.
Lynx-O, Ben-Gali, and I will forever be indebted to you, Lion-O, and the rest of the ThunderCats, thought Pumyra gratefully. We'll keep doing our best to live up to the Code of Thundera. After her little trip down memory lane, Pumyra left Lion-O and Snarf to rest, so she could work with the still-standing ThunderCats on an antidote to physically return Lion-O to the way he was before he ate that tainted fruit. He would have a hangover for sure from today.
Tygra, Panthro, Cheetara, Pumyra, and Snarfer were in Tygra's laboratory working on an antidote for Lion-O as per Tygra's instructions, gathering the necessary ingredients to make said potion possible. They were using a caramel-colored bowl. Pumyra had special herbs gifted to her by the Warrior Maidens that she brought from her medical bag to speed up the process. Tygra, despite his tumultuous mind link with Lion-O, was as laser-focused as the others on their young lord's welfare. Lion-O wasn't just the Lord of the ThunderCats to them - he was a friend, a compatriot, and an overall good person. And by Thundera, they weren't about to let him down now. He could be careless sometimes, but his heart was always in the right place. The ThunderCats were each other's rock, and Lion-O was the glue that held the group together. He was first and foremost on the minds of everybody in the lab. Finally they reached a breakthrough with their antidote, which was colored tan, and with Pumyra's special herbs they would succeed in curing Lion-O. She dropped them into the bowl, and they melted into the potion. The ThunderCats would call it "soup" for Lion-O.
"An instant success," beamed Tygra.
"Well, guys," Pumyra said, "I'd say we did good here."
"You're right, Pumyra," agreed Panthro. "This should get Lion-O up and running again."
"I just can't imagine what he's going through right now," a concerned Cheetara said. "All we can do is simply be there for him."
"You said it, Cheetara," chimed in Snarfer. "He's our friend. We'll do our very best to help him out. No sweat. Snarf snarf."
"Let's get this thing to Lion-O while it's still good," Panthro stated, marveling at what they accomplished.
"I'll go get a cart," Cheetara said quickly, dashing out just as quickly with her superspeed and then back again before her fellows with a silver-colored steel cart with a brown tray and a silver spoon on it. She held the tray out for Panthro, who put the bowl on top of the cart and the spoon in the bowl. Below he noticed a piece of candy fruit pie and a glass cup of water.
"Are those for Snarf as well?" he asked.
"They sure are," answered Cheetara. "The pie's got a very special recipe I'm sure he'll like."
"Courtesy of my genius," teased Pumyra.
"I simply helped you realize it," Cheetara added. "The pie oughta re-energize Snarf in no time, just as our potion will do the same for Lion-O."
"If we're going to do this, let's do this," Panthro stated confidently.
"Right." Cheetara then proceeded to walk to Lion-O's quarters normally with the loaded cart.
"I certainly hope Lion-O and Snarf will like what we've made for them," Pumyra said.
Panthro came over to Pumyra and placed a comforting hand on her left shoulder. "I'm sure they will, Pumyra," he assured her. "Now why don't we get something to eat and then check things out in the control room?"
"I'd appreciate that, Panthro," Pumyra said with a smirk.
"It should keep us occupied long enough," stated Tygra.
"Then let's go, ThunderCats!" exclaimed Snarfer excitedly.
Cheetara made it to Lion-O's quarters and could see that both Lion-O and Snarf were currently knocked out. There was no denying the bond that the lion and his former nanny shared, she mused. It had always been strong even in the darkest of times. Not even the destruction of the ThunderCats' beloved Thundera could keep Lion-O and Snarf apart. Cheetara picked up the candy fruit pie and lemonade and placed them beside Snarf, knowing that Pumyra's special recipe for the pie would attract his attention. Next, she brought the cart a little closer to Lion-O's bed, lining it up near him so he could get a good smell out of its aroma.
"You and Snarf have such a strong friendship, Lion-O," she spoke to the comatose young lord with a smile. "It's easy to see why you're so inseparable. On Thundera, Snarf wasted no time in watching over you for most of your life. And now on Third Earth, you two continue to live up to the loyalty part of the Code of Thundera. I pray that you'll find the strength to overcome today's ordeal." On that note, she took her leave so that Lion-O and Snarf would be by themselves yet again.
After a few minutes, the sleeping Lion-O began to sniff the special aroma that his soup had. He slowly started to open his eyes. Once he fully opened them and gained his bearings, he could see that he was in his personal chambers at Cat's Lair. He slowly sat up and could see his soup on a silver cart. He wasn't sure who delivered it, but its aroma was so strong, he didn't seem to care. He brought the tray carrying the bowl to him and took a sip of the soup. To his delight, it tasted real good. He would have to ask the other ThunderCats about this soup when the time was right. For now he needed to eat it up in order to get his strength back on track.
Below him, Snarf had woken up to the smell of the new candy fruit pie that was made just for him. The smell was so strong, Snarf just had to eat the pie. And eat it he did. He devoured it as if there was no tomorrow. Candy fruit was his favorite type of fruit from the Berbils out of every other fruit they harvested; sometimes he would pluck some candy fruit from the Berbils' bushes and snack on it. After he ate up the pie, he picked up his water cup and took three sips of the drink before using it up entirely. He didn't know how the pie tasted so good, but he enjoyed eating it.
Soon the two longtime friends went back to sleep, having had their meals of the day. Now it would be up to said meals' special ingredients to do their stuff. And do their stuff they did, for slowly but surely, both ThunderCats' conditions began to lessen. They would be as good as new in a few hours.
Nighttime came at last, and the Berbils had been informed by the ThunderCats of what happened later today concerning Lion-O, the ThunderKittens, and Snarf. Feeling bad, Ro-Ber-Bill and his people decided to bring their food harvest to Cat's Lair. Each serving was in the dining and council rooms. It was the least the Berbils could do after everything they and the ThunderCats had done for each other. The ThunderCats appreciated this kind gesture from the latter people. The bond between both sides remained as strong as ever, even after all they'd been through. WilyKit and WilyKat were recovering nicely from their brief fight with Lion-O, while Lion-O and Snarf had physically healed thanks to the meals provided to them. ThunderCat and Berbil alike participated in the food harvest and even managed to play games. Lion-O had heard what Cheetara said about him and Snarf being inseparable while he was comatose, so that somewhat put him at ease. He still needed time to emotionally recover from today's trauma, though, so the Berbils' food harvest provided him with a good distraction. Said harvest remained in good spirits throughout. Absolutely nothing seemed to disrupt it.
Throughout all the festivities, the spirit of Jaga watched from a distance inside the lair, even though only Lion-O could see him. The ThunderCat elder was feeling proud of his people for what they accomplished today, most notably Lion-O and Tygra. His pride, however, did not keep him from knowing that this peace was temporary. He sensed that the forces of evil were far from defeated. He knew that more trials and tribulations awaited his people, and that they would continue to fight the good fight.
You have done well this day, my fellow ThunderCats, thought Jaga. So long as there is darkness, there shall always be light. May the Code of Thundera continue to prosper for you on Third Earth.