Previously: The Snake Men made themselves comfortable in Snake Mountain. After killing a would-be thief, the Snake Men made their presence known to Skeletor and his crew. Castaspella, Shadow Weaver, and Stinkor found themselves on the run, while Catra and Entrapta snuck away back to Etheria via portal. Skeletor isn't quite sure how he will get out of this one... Adora reunited with Bow and all was well with the universe, barring one minor detail about a kiss between Adora and the pirate Sea Hawk... Mermista dealt with some family drama and also found out that her father's undersea kingdom was about to be attacked by Mer-Man and Octavia. Heroes just can't ever catch a break... The Sorceress also had to inform Adora and Duncan, the current Man-At-Arms, that Eternia was indeed dealing with the fearsome Snake Men yet again...
Adora's Search for Honor
"Are you sure this is a good idea She-Ra?" Duncan asks with a mix of concern and slight dread. A group consisting of She-Ra, Bow, Netossa, and Duncan walk across a rickety bridge towards Snake Mountain. The bridge sways slightly as the group makes their way to the entrance. The sharp angles of Snake Mountain cast a terrifying view against the bright sky. She-Ra speaks with plenty of authority, "I have no doubt that this is a good idea Duncan. We aren't here to start a fight with Skeletor and I have never really been fond of an ambush. Besides, we don't know what we are walking into."
Netossa listens to the two talk as she finds herself thinking of exactly what these creatures called the Snake Men must be like. Are they truly terrifying? Will they pose a tremendous threat? Netossa shakes her head, I've faced off against the Horde. Nothing can be worse than that.
The heroes make their way past the bridge and up a stony flight of stairs. The wind whips through the air blasting the heroes in the face. She-Ra leads the way to an iron gate. She looks over at Duncan, "Are we still on the right path?" Duncan nods, "Yes, just a little further."
Bow and Netossa both look on in awe as they approach a large opening into the entrance of Snake Mountain. "Wow." Netossa mumbles as she carefully walks with She-Ra into Snake Mountain. The rocks around them are in shades of purple and black with slivers of gray throughout. Bow looks at She-Ra. Their eyes meet and he is hoping that they will get through this.
Duncan motions for everyone to pay attention. He points towards a set of large double wooden doors. "Skeletor's throne room is beyond there." She-Ra nods with her sword ready. The heroes stand at the doors in silence. They all wonder what is on the other side. Bow whispers, "Are we sure we want to go in?" She-Ra nods, "Yes. We have no other choice."
She-Ra charges forward tossing the doors wide open. She is expecting a fight or at the very least a large group of enemies staring back at her, but there is nothing, except for Skeletor sitting on his throne, alone. Slouching in his seat, Skeletor groans at his visitors, "If it isn't the smaller and more annoying version of He-Man." She-Ra cautiously walks forward looking around for any surprises, "It's nice to see you too Skeletor."
The evil lord of destruction glares at the princess of power, "What do you want here? Very brave of you to show up..." Bow and Netossa look around as She-Ra discusses her intentions, "Well we haven't heard from you Skeletor. According to He-Man's stories, you and your evil warriors are always busy trying to finish some plan of attack. Lately there hasn't really been so much as a failed ambush by Tri-Klops. Don't tell me you're getting rusty in your old age?"
Skeletor chuckles to himself while continuing to slouch, "Oh you have no idea. Be gone, all of you, before I grow angry." Duncan looks over towards She-Ra. He motions with his eyes that they should probably leave. She-Ra stands tall though, "Skeletor, if you were ever in trouble, we could help you."
Skeletor tilts his head back to laugh mockingly, "Oh you truly are more irritating than He-Man could ever be. The only trouble I see is the one that will befall you all if you don't leave this place at once!" He stands ready to strike with his havoc staff. Raising her hands in the air, She-Ra sighs, "We get it. We will leave. No need for a fight." Skeletor makes a guttural noise in agreement.
Turning away, She-Ra and the others make their haste from Snake Mountain. Once back outside, She-Ra turns to look over the mountain. Netossa shakes her head, "That was most disappointing." Duncan agrees, "I'm not sure what we were expecting to find going in, but something is not right." She-Ra turns to her friends, "You are right Duncan. Something is most definitely not right. Skeletor was the only one there, where were the others? And what of these Snake Men?"
They continue to stand around outside trying to make sense of things. Bow shrugs, "What do we do now She-Ra?" The princess of power sighs, "I'm afraid we do as Skeletor says. We should leave, but we must come up with a better plan. Something is going on in there for sure." She-Ra falls back as the group follows.
Back inside the throne room, Skeletor sits up on his throne. He looks around hoping for a moment alone. The moment does not last at all. King Hiss slithers out from the shadows clapping his hands together, "Very good Skeletor. You got rid of them rather quickly, but I must share with you how disappointed I am with you. I was told that He-Man would not be a problem, and now I see we have a new threat..."
Skeletor spits out, "She-Ra is hardly a threat. Pay no attention to her. She won't get in your way." King Hiss nods taking the words in. Calling for help, King Hiss orders Tung Lashor and Rattlor to take Skeletor back to his cell. "You did your part Skeletor, but I still prefer you as my prisoner for now..." King Hiss laughs uncontrollably as Skeletor is led away from his throne room towards a side pathway.
Rattlor and Tung Lashor lead Skeletor through Snake Mountain. As they walk, Skeletor looks through an opening into a large room where most of his evil warriors reside, wrapped up in a strange scaly material. The Snake Men are preparing Beast Man, Spikor, and Whiplash for the upcoming feast. Cursing the current state of affairs, Skeletor is soon thrown into an empty cell in a remote section of Snake Mountain. Rattlor hisses as his tale rattles, "Sleep tight Skeletor." The door slams shut behind Skeletor as he mumbles, "I never sleep." Alone in the cell, Skeletor wonders how he will get out this latest piece of trouble...
***In another section of Snake Mountain that has yet to be touched by the Snake Men, Castaspella, Stinkor, and Shadow Weaver descend upon Evil-Lyn, Trap Jaw, and Tri-Klops. The latter three are busy packing up for their final escape from Snake Mountain. "Hurry Tri-Klops! We've got everything we need, we must leave before they find us!" Evil-Lyn barks. They continue to work completely ignoring Castaspella.
The enchantress from Mystacor shakes her head, "I don't understand. How can you all be planning on leaving this place? Aren't you going to stop those things?" Stinkor nods his head in agreement. Evil-Lyn can only laugh, "Oh you fool! You don't stop the Snake Men, they stop you. I've already been down this road once before, I will not travel it again. I'm leaving this place." Evil-Lyn points to an empty bag full of weapons, "Trap Jaw, there's more room in that bag. Hurry, place your arm attachments in there!"
Castaspella refuses to watch them escape, "If you've already dealt with the Snake Men, why can't you stop them again?" Evil-Lyn sighs, "Listen up really well, the Snake Men cannot be stopped. Their whole purpose in this life is to wreak havoc. They live in a dimensional rift called the Void. King Hiss is their leader and he intends on serving up quite a feast for Serpos." Castaspella wants to know what Serpos is. Evil-Lyn hangs her head in annoyance. Shaking in disbelief, she snaps, "Oh you truly know nothing. Serpos is a giant snake. Once the feast is prepared, Serpos will leave the Void to feast upon Eternia. Out of his excrement will be an entirely new world... a Snake World. Eternia will cease to exist and in its place will be a nightmare."
Shadow Weaver rasps, "Than why are you running?" Tri-Klops groans, "Because, there is no other choice but to run. You saw what King Hiss did to the others." Evil-Lyn adds, "They seem stronger this time. Face it, sticking around Snake Mountain is a death wish. Come on, let's get going." Evil-Lyn motions for Tri-Klops and Trap Jaw to hurry. Castaspella looks at Stinkor for help. She refuses to give up.
Trap Jaw stands there looking at everyone. Evil-Lyn gently pushes him towards the pathway to their freedom. Trap Jaw won't move, "I can't go." Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops are surprised, "What do you mean you can't go?" Trap Jaw looks over at Stinkor, "I don't want to leave Skeletor behind." Evil-Lyn throws her hands up, "Fine! Be a fool like the rest of them." Evil-Lyn tosses her hands in the air towards Castaspella.
Trap Jaw walks towards Stinkor. The smelly evil warrior smiles, "Stinkor glad that Jaw Trap will help." Trap Jaw nods in silence. Shadow Weaver sighs at the absurdity of it all. Evil-Lyn and Tri-Klops hurry off to find their own way out of Snake Mountain.
Castaspella looks at the rag tag group before her, "So... what do we do now?" They all look at each other. Shadow Weaver is losing her sense of smell thanks to Stinkor. Trap Jaw is fixing a new arm attachment that looks like a scythe. Stinkor is smiling, he feels happy to be around people again. Castaspella sighs making a wish that Perfuma is somehow safe...
***Deep under the sea in the vast undersea kingdom of Salineas, King Mercier sits atop his throne in a large dome room. Steps made of coral are sprawled out in front of him leading into the water. The set up of Salineas on Eternia is intricate. Domed towers are clustered together. Parts of the towers are filled with water while other areas are basically pockets of air. King Mercier waits patiently for the arrival of his daughters. He is optimistic that his youngest daughter Merlia will arrive with his oldest.
Mercier looks over at one of his guards, "My daughters should both be here soon. You've never gotten the chance to meet my oldest have you?" The mer-guard shakes his head. Mercier grins, "She is wonderful. A spitfire for certain, but she is remarkable. Just like her mother was. I never thought I'd see her again. But somehow she made it to Eternia. My little baby is all grown now." Mercier sighs to himself as he thinks of the past, when his baby girl was ripped from the mer-people. He vows to make up for so much.
The water at the coral steps begins to bubble up bringing Mercier back to the present. The mer-king smiles as he sees someone coming out of the water. The smile melts away though as he notices Mer-Man slowly walk out of the water with a scared Merlia at his side. Gurgling his fishy voice, Mer-Man grins, "Don't make any moves Mercier. I've got a precious item in my hands." Merlia is shaking, "I'm so sorry father."
The mer-king remains calm, "It is alright Merlia. Everything will be alright." Mer-Man gurgles, "Of course it will. My plan to rule the seas will finally work this time." He pulls Merlia closer to his side. She winces in pain as the tip of a knife is pressed into her side. Mercier sighs, "Mer-Man, why must you insist on this? I have always tried to be fair with the waters..."
Mer-Man spits out in anger, "Fair? You know nothing of being fair! I was the true ruler of these seas long before you were ever a part of this world! And then somehow you showed up with your fellow mer-people from some distant planet seeking refuge! You took over and kicked me out of my domain! My kingdom!" His rage is boiling over and Merlia cries out as the knife in her side starts to draw blood.
The mer-king starts to panic, "Mer-Man! Stop this. Let my daughter go. There is no need for this. We can find a way for the seas to be shared for all of us." Mer-Man shakes his head, "I don't think so. The seas will be mine once again. After all this time, I will be successful!" He motions for the king to approach towards the steps. "A trade Mercier?" Mer-Man drags Merlia with him to the throne. King Mercier walks down to the steps in front of the water. He turns to look up at Mer-Man, "There. You have it: My throne. Now let my daughter go."
The two mer-guards in the room stand still watching the events unfold. They want to fight, but neither want to endanger the lives of Merlia or Mercier. Mer-Man tosses his head back in triumph, "Kneel before me! Kneel before the new Lord of the SEA!" Mer-Man slams his right foot on the ground as a slight rumble spreads out across the floor. Merlia falls to her knees. The guards obey as well. Mercier carefully kneels down, his eyes never leaving his daughter, "Merlia, it will all be ok."
As the king is kneeling down, he does not notice more bubbles brewing up from the water. Octavia's tentacles swirl and twirl out of the water before her form begins to emerge. Her bright orange hair is wet and straight. She produces her trademark knives and grins.
"Father! Behind you!" Merlia screams as Octavia drags two knives across the king's back making in X mark across his flesh. Falling to the floor as blood pours freely from his large wound, King Mercier grunts out in pain. Merlia is crying out for her father, but Mer-Man won't let her go. Mer-Man orders Octavia to take the king away.
The deadly octo-woman grabs hold of the king with her tentacles. She drags him down the coral stairs into the water. A trail of blood spills across the stairs and begins to turn the deep blue water a menacing red. Merlia can only scream.
***Deep underneath the ground on Eternia, Perfuma finally begins to wake from a slight slumber. Laying on a warm space, her eyes flutter open. Large ornate trees with no leaves come out from the ceiling above her. She panics for a moment, fearful that she is floating in the air. Preparing for a fall back to Eternia, she soon realizes that she is laying on hard ground and above her are actually vast networks of tree roots. Sitting up, Perfuma rubs her head, "Where am I?" Looking around, Perfuma finds herself amidst in an array of beauty. All kinds of plants, flowers, and trees grow from every which way. Some items seem to be growing from the inside out. Perfuma has never seen anything so strange and beautiful. Her hands travel, delicately touching the life all around her. She feels like she is home.
Her gaze soon falls upon a familiar figure. "Moss Man." She says his name simply. The brutish mass of fuzzy botanical looks over at her, "You look safe." Perfuma nods rubbing her arms, "That is all due to you though. You saved me. Thank you." Moss Man grunts, "Stop trying to thank me."
Dusting herself off, Perfuma looks at him pointedly, "Why must you be so rude? I am only trying to be nice to you." Moss Man shrugs and tries to brush Perfuma away, "You are safe, so that means you can be on your way." Perfuma feels hurt by his words. She looks around the grand space around her, "Is this where you live?"
Moss Man hangs his head, "You know where I live." Perfuma twists her lips together, "We are underground, yes?" Moss Man nods in agreement. Perfuma walks around to look at the interesting nature around her. "It is so beautiful here. I don't see how you could ever want to leave. I want to stay here." The roots of the trees above the ground pour out from the ceiling developing their own unique branches and some have leaves of their own. Perfuma's eyes dazzle as they fall upon flowers that smell divine.
"You can't stay here, you know that right?" Moss Man speaks forcefully. His arms are folded across his chest. Perfuma turns to him, "Why can't I stay with you? We can tour the world together and explore all the nature around us. Both above and under the ground." Moss Man strides towards her and grabs hold of her shoulders, "Stop this! You know that is not possible. You know this, and yet you continue to wish for things that can never be."
Perfuma feels tears begin to well in her eyes, "Why are you treating me this way? Stop being so cruel to me!" Moss Man looks at her and speaks carefully, "Stop all of this now Perfuma. Face the reality around you. I am not real!" With tears streaming down her face, Perfuma screams, "Yes you are! You are incredibly real!"
Moss Man shakes his head, "Enough of this. Enough. You know the truth Perfuma. I am you. And you are me." Perfuma's heart sinks, "No. No. Please. Don't do this. I know you are real! I kissed you! And what of the other people! Teela and the others, they had heard of you long before I ever came here! See, you are real!"
Moss Man sighs, "There was once a real Moss Man. That is true. He was a Master of the Universe and fought with a brave group of heroes to save Eternia from evil. But that man deflected, he left his heroic post. He found himself enraged that the battle between good and evil was destroying the planet. The environment was falling apart, so he just left. He went on his own to participate saving the world in a radical way. His actions to save this world were beyond extreme. He created problems for both good and evil, all in the name of preserving nature..."
Perfuma doesn't want to listen, but she knows what is coming up next. Moss Man sighs, "The real Moss Man died all alone in nature. As his body decomposed there were birds to carry parts of him off to other far flung environments. The wind also scattered pieces of him to other locales. Whatever was left simply melded into the Eternian soil."
Crying out in sadness, Perfuma chokes back tears, "But you are real. You are talking to me right now!" Moss Man shakes his head, "No Perfuma. You are talking for me. It was you who attacked your friends that day outside of Grayskull. You had such a deep seated anger at what the Horde had done to the innocent ground, that you joined with the world around you. You felt Moss Man's memories and essence from every which way and you summoned up an image in his likeness. It was all being controlled by you."
Perfuma shakes her head sobbing, "I never wanted to hurt my friends!" Moss Man holds onto her, "That is why you ended it with the kiss. You embraced all the hurt and suffering you had ever experienced. Perfuma, do you understand? When Tri-Klops attacked the Eternos Palace and you fell off that bridge, it was you that manipulated the grass and plants to rise up. You saved yourself. Just like you saved yourself earlier in Snake Mountain."
Perfuma squeezes the empty shell of moss and flowers standing before her, "But I want you to be real. I need you to be real." Moss Man shakes his head, "You have everything you need to get through this life." Perfuma sighs, "No I don't. People hate me. They think I am silly. They roll their eyes at my name! I'm nothing." Moss Man raises a finger under her chin, "Don't say that Perfuma. You are full of strength and love, you are mighty. It all rests right here..." His hand travels down to her heart. She closes her eyes and places a kiss on the moss, "I wish things could have been different... We would have been perfect for each other..."
Moss Man is silent. There is no response. Perfuma looks around unsure what she should do next. Moss Man grabs hold of her hand, "There is one more thing. Since you sensed and saw my memories, then you know there is one more memory left that you can experience. Take my hand..." Moss Man holds onto her hand. Perfuma feels the ground move underneath her feet. The tree roots and rock create a moving wave beneath them.
Together Perfuma and the image of Moss Man travel through the underground beauty of Eternia. The planet reaches out to Perfuma in all its splendor. Tree roots create new and intricate paths for her to travel. Flowers bloom in an array of colors and scents. The life around her wants to reach out, to touch her, to thank her for everything she stands for. Perfuma can only cry, "This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen..." She holds onto the shell of Moss Man as they zoom through the majestic world around her. They pass water falls that flow every which way. The tree roots sing to her. Moss Man whispers, "It's almost time..."
Perfuma shakes her head, "No. I'm not ready..." Moss Man grabs her, they face each other. Perfuma looks into his face and she can see herself looking back. Moss Man smiles, "You are ready Perfuma." She cries out and kisses Moss Man one last time. She feels the flowers bloom brighter. The ground shifts and opens. There is a bright light, it is the sun light. Perfuma can only close her eyes as she floats to the surface.
With the ground closed behind her, Perfuma rolls over to her side. She takes a deep breath trying to maintain composure. She kisses the ground, whispering, "I will never forget you." Her fingers trace the spot where her lips touched. Looking around her, Perfuma realizes that there is still more to do. The Snake Men are loose. Wiping her eyes, Perfuma gets up, "I've got to find my friends. Before it is all too late."
***Under the sea, Octavia drags King Mercier to a spot on the sea floor. He is in pain and bleeding. The salt water stings against his open wound. Trying not to move much, King Mercier recoils in pain as Octavia pierces his open wound with fish hooks. The hooks are attached to chains tied around wooden posts. King Mercier can't move as his flesh is hooked. The flesh is open and exposed on his back. Octavia looks at him and smirks, "The creatures of the sea are hungry King Mercier."
Octavia smiles before swimming off. The King hangs his head, feeling his life draining away. He can hear a large mass swimming towards him. He anticipates the moment when the first bites will occur. He wonders how long it will take before he feels nothing...
***Above the ground, Perfuma races along to the Eternos Palace. As she is making her way to the entrance, she notices She-Ra and a few others heading to the Palace. Perfuma calls out for everyone. She screams out for Bow, "What are you doing here!?"
Bow hugs her tight, "A long story Perfuma. But I am here now." Netossa and Duncan both wave. She-Ra smiles, "Perfuma, where have you been? We have been worried." Perfuma looks down at the ground, "It is a long story of my own. But the most important thing is that I was kidnapped!"
She-Ra covers a hand to her mouth, "By who?" Perfuma rolls her eyes, "Catra and her friend Entrapta. I was taken to Snake Mountain, and it got so crazy. There were these snake guys that showed up and they were all crazy. And Castaspella was there with some guy that smells atrocious. Oh She-Ra, things are not good right now. We've got to help Castaspella!"
Duncan has a headache, "So the Snake Men are really here..." She-Ra nods, "It would appear so." The heroes rush off to figure out exactly how they will handle this new threat of the Snake Men!
***King Mercier can hear the movement behind him of what he can only guess is a swarm of hungry sea creatures. His nerves reach a fevered point as he feels the presence of something behind him. Closing his eyes tight, the mer-king prepares for sharp teeth to tear into his flesh. Instead he feels the hooks being carefully removed from his flesh.
He looks over at a most surprising sight, Mermista is there helping him. Nodding with a nervous smile, Mermista quickly gathers her father from the sea floor and they swim towards a safe domed tower. Swimming to a pocket of air, Mermista looks over at her father, "Are you ok?"
King Mercier nods slowly, "Yes. I believe so. I need to sit here for a second. Salineas is under attack." Mermista nods, "I know. I noticed there were some guards attacking the sea creatures. Where is Mer-Man?"
"He has Merlia, in my throne room." Mermista listens and she worries for her sister. Preparing to take off, Mermista pauses as her father grabs her arm, "Mermista, you aren't doing this alone."
Mermista smiles to herself, "I will be fine. Rest here and then find a way to help when you can. I don't want Merlia getting hurt!" Mermista turns to leave, but pauses one more time. She turns to quickly hug her father. King Mercier has tears in his eyes as he holds onto his daughter, "Be careful."
Mermista nods and then jumps back into the water. The Kingdom of Salineas is in chaos. Mermista swims with a purpose picking up a coral sword along the way, which is good, because she is planning on driving it through Mer-Man's chest...
A Water War!
She-Ra vs. the Snake Men!
And Frosta deals with her distaste for Bright Moon living!