Author's Note: Warning, this chapter contains violent scenes.
Fisto had been right about one thing; the Horde did not waste any time in making their presence felt. Two days after the Rebels arrival word reached Eternos that a battalion of Horde Troopers were mounting an attack on Arcadia, no doubt intended to seize control of the mines there. King Randor quickly dispatched a team of Heroic Warriors to intercept them. The two forces clashed in the countryside several miles from Arcadia.
Clamp Champ ducked under a laser shot from a Horde Trooper and then lunged forwards with his techno clamp. At the push of a button the red pincers sprang out from their hidden compartments and pinned the Trooper's arms to its sides. Before it could struggle he pressed a second button that sent a high-voltage electrical surge through the robot, completely shorting out its systems. He disengaged the clamp and it collapsed to the ground with a clattering of metal, acrid smoke rising up from its joints.
He took a brief moment to glance around at the battle. It looked as if the Heroic Warriors and Rebels were winning. He caught a glimpse of Glimmer blasting two Troopers with energy beams from her hands and Sweet Bee entangling three more in a honeycomb net.
But then his attention was drawn by a growl and a pained cry. His head whipped around to see Fisto being lifted into the air by a huge, powerful figure covered in brown fur with red eyes and large fangs. Clamp Champ recognised the furry creature from briefings as Grizzlor, one of Hordak's top warriors.
He looks like he could eat Beast Man for breakfast.
With a roar of triumph Grizzlor body-slammed Fisto into the ground with a loud thud. Fisto's body went limp and he lay still.
Without hesitation Clamp Champ charged in. The techno clamp's pincers closed around Grizzlor's torso. He had just enough time to look surprised before Clamp Champ pressed the shock button. Electrical arcs flickered across the brute's body, making his fur stand on end, and he roared in pain.
But he did not fall. To Clamp Champ's disbelief he reached down, gripped the pincers and snapped them off as if they were twigs. Snarling, he swung his fist in a mighty haymaker to his foe's jaw. Clamp Champ barely had time to roll with the blow enough that it didn't take his head off. Even so he was lifted off his feet and spun in mid-air by the force of the punch. He landed hard on the ground and lay stunned.
Grizzlor's fur was still sticking up from the electricity so that he looked like a ball of fluff but that didn't diminish the look of murderous rage on his monstrous face. He reached behind his back and pulled out two vicious-looking blades, a curved scimitar and a broad falchion.
"Your head will make a fine trophy" he growled. He raised his scimitar and swung it down for the finishing blow...
The deadly strike was blocked by a gleaming sword. Grizzlor stepped back and glared at his new opponent.
"Get away from him" said Flutterina firmly. She gripped a pink-hilted sword in her right hand and on her left wrist was an orange shield. Her wings beat in a steady rhythm, keeping her hovering in the air.
"I'll squash you like an insect" Grizzlor snarled.
He attacked with a series of brutal slashes and chops. Steel clanged against steel as Flutterina deflected each blow. In a sudden blur of motion she flew around and aimed a cut at his flank that he narrowly blocked. He swung his falchion at her midriff but she simply moved back slightly and he missed completely
Having regained his wits and gotten to his feet Clamp Champ watched the duel in fascination. Grizzlor was immensely powerful but compared to his opponent he was awkward and ponderous. He looked like a bear swatting at… well, an insect.
By comparison Flutterina was a picture of elegance and precision as she evaded, parried and countered her foe's every action. She moved in battle the same way she had when he had danced with her just a few days ago. Even her wings, which he had feared would be a large target for an opponent, were no hindrance, instead providing her with increased mobility.
Despite her elegant movements she clearly understood the practicalities of combat too as she parried a blow and then punched Grizzlor right in the face with the edge of her shield. His nose broke with a crunch and blood poured down his face as he stumbled back.
Two Horde Troopers opened fire and Flutterina flew straight up into the air, the lasers zipping past below her. Grizzlor used the distraction to turn and run.
The remaining Horde Troopers disengaged, piling into their vehicles and fleeing as fast as they could go. The battle was over.
"We won!" Buzz-Off exclaimed. The Heroic Warriors and Rebels cheered in victory.
Flutterina sheathed her sword and flew over to Clamp Champ. "Are you okay?" she asked, her blue eyes filled with concern.
"I'm fine, thanks to you" he replied. "How did you learn to fight like that?"
"Adora taught me" she replied with a slight bashful look on her face.
"Well you learned well. I've seen many great fighters but that was amazing."
She giggled. "I bet you say that to everyone."
"Yes, but this time I actually mean it."
She laughed some more and then her expression sobered. "I'm sorry about what happened to your clamp" she said.
"No problem, I'll fix it up good as new in no time. I'll have to make some adjustments to make it more effective against Grizzlor if I run into him again."
"Good. I can't always be there to protect you" she said with a playful smile.
Clamp Champ laughed heartily.
Over the next few weeks he and Flutterina continued to see a lot of each other, whether it was in training or strategy sessions, or relaxing after battles. Clamp Champ soon found himself growing very fond of her but he was reluctant to take the first step in elevating their relationship. After all they were in the middle of a war against two very powerful forces. Did he really have time or room in his life for a romantic relationship?
One afternoon while Clamp Champ was performing maintenance on an Attack Trak when he heard someone enter the vehicle bay. He looked up from under the vehicle's hood to see King Randor standing before him.
"Your Majesty" he said as he stood to attention.
"At ease Raenius" said the king with a small smile.
"How can I be of service Your Majesty?" Clamp Champ asked as he wiped his hands with an oily rag.
"I came here to give you some advice old friend" Randor replied. "My son tells me that one of our new allies has made quite an impression on you."
"Do you mean Flutterina?"
"Indeed. While I would never pry into your personal affairs I will say this. You have given many years of dedicated service to Eternia and your loyalty is unquestionable. However while your sense of duty is admirable, do not forget that you have the right to be happy. And do not let a chance at happiness slip you by."
He nodded. "Thank you Your Majesty. I won't."
"I'm glad to hear it. Anyway, I'll leave you to your task now. When you're finished, perhaps you might like to visit the palace gardens?"
"I think I will Your Majesty" he said with a grateful smile.
"Splendid" said Randor. He departed and Clamp Champ resumed his work with renewed energy.
Later that day he asked Flutterina if she would like to go to the palace gardens. She accepted with a delighted smile.
That first date was soon followed by a second, then a third and many more…
Clamp Champ's thoughts returned to the present as Flutterina noticed his reflection in the mirror and turned to look at him with a radiant smile on her face.
"You're back" she said happily. Noticing the regretful look in his face her smile faded. "Is something wrong?"
"No everything's fine" he replied as he entered and sat on the bed. "I'm just sorry you had to wait up for me."
"It's okay, I really don't mind." She came over and sat next to him. "Something's troubling you. What is it?"
He sighed deeply. "I've been so busy with work lately we've barely seen each other. Sometimes I just wonder if I'm being fair to you."
She smiled gently and put a hand on his shoulder. "Raenius, I knew that your work would take up much of your time when we first got together. That sense of duty is part of who you are, part of what makes you the man I love. As long as you come back to me I'll be more than happy."
His face brightened. "How did I ever get so lucky to find someone like you?" He leaned forwards and kissed her tenderly. "I love you Flutterina."
"I love you too Raenius."
Soon after that the couple went to bed, arms wrapped around each other. Before sleep claimed him Clamp Champ thought to himself about what Flutterina had said about coming back to her.
Thank you for being so understanding he thought.
Nonetheless he vowed that tomorrow he would take some time off and take her to the palace gardens. With that thought he fell into a deep, peaceful sleep, knowing that whatever the next day might bring he could face it head-on as long as he faced it with her at his side.
Author's Note: The weapons used by Grizzlor and Flutterina are based on their Masters of the Universe Classics action figures.