Thundercats Fan Fiction ❯ Last Life ❯ Chapter Thirteen: Breaking Free ( Chapter 13 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Chapter ThirteenThey led her through the damp and somewhat dark hallways of Castle Plun-Darr until they reached the lowest and darkest level of the castle, the dungeons. The mutants stopped outside of a prison cell where she could see two figures in the shadows. It was hard to tell who they were from the angle she was staring at, but she was able to get a closer look at them as the one called Slithe ordered his canine cohort to unlock the cell door and she soon found herself being shoved through the door by Monkian into the prison. A pair of hands caught her as the mutants slammed the door behind her and locked it with a loud click.

“Lina! Are you alright?” Asked a familiar voice as Catrina was gently pulled back to her feet. She looked up to see Tygra holding her at arms’ length. Surprise graced her face at seeing Tygra not hypnotized by the Mutants. Tygra looked her over for any sign of injury before finally releasing her. “Good, you weren’t hurt by those mutants.” He breathed a sigh of relief, but he could not relax just yet, not while they were in the Mutants’ evil clutches. If Catrina is captured then the situation is far worse than he had imagined.

”You’re not hypnotized by those creeps?” Catrina asked in surprise as Bengali sat back down. Both he and Tygra had jumped up at seeing the Mutants pushing her into the cell. Tygra was the first to be by her side. She looked between the two Tiger Thunderians in complete and utter confusion. Did she not just saw them at Mumm-Ra’s Pyramid acting strangely?

Bengali just gave his future Lady a soft smile as Tygra dusted her off. “We’ve been in this cell since we last saw you.” His tone told her that Bengali was not too happy at having been caught by their mortal enemies. Tygra did not look too happy either.

“But I saw you two at Moom-er, Mumm-Ra’s Pyramid. The two of you were hypnotized or something…” Catrina said in alarm. The situation was becoming more confusing by the second.

Tygra just crossed his arms across his chest as he leaned against the nearby stonewall and his eyes closed, allowing him to go into thought. “The mutants must have tricked you somehow—unless they did hypnotize us…”

“But with what?” Bengali mused loudly, asking the question that was on his two friends’ minds. His orange counterpart finally opened his eyes and shook his head in defeat.

“I’m not sure, Bengali, but let’s concentrate on getting out of here first. I’d hate to let the Mutants know that we’re giving up so easily.” Tygra glared after the mutants as he said those words before closing his eyes.

“Well, while you’re standing there with your eyes closed, Tygra, I’m going to get us out of here.” Catrina’s words caught the attention of her mentor and the blacksmith, and both of the full-grown males looked over at her as she walked up to the door.

“What do you have in mind, Miss Lina?” Bengali asked curiously. His blue gaze watched the young girl reaching her hand to the side of her head.

“I’m assuming they took away your weapons like they did mine, so, we’re going to have to first search for our weapons and then perhaps try and sneak out of here without drawing their attention.” Catrina answered. Her fingers brushed against a small metal pin that was set into her hair to hold it back out of her face. Smiling, she pulled it out, letting her hair fall down. “But before that, I’m going to use a little First Earth technique I learned when I got locked out of the house.”

Tygra and Bengali exchanged looks with each other before looking back at their friend, but Tygra’s eyes lit up in surprise and delight at seeing the pin in his pupil’s fingers.

“You’re going to pick the lock with that little pin?” Bengali asked in surprise, his eyes widening a bit. Could such a small pin really break the lock on the door to their prison? “That’s—“

“I know it’s not very Thundercatlike,” Catrina said, noticing the slightly disapproving look on Tygra’s face and the exasperation lilting in Bengali’s tone, “but sometimes the ways of the Thundercats can’t solve the problems at hand. We must always look at all possible solutions, even if it means not going by the Code of Thundera. If me picking this lock keeps me from becoming a Thundercat again, then so be it. I never did feel like one anyways.” The preteen turned back to the door and pressing her ear to the part closest to the keyhole, Catrina gently pressed the pin into the keyhole, starting to twist it.

Tygra felt a small ache in his heart at hearing his student’s words. What could have happened to her to make her feel that way? Surely, you do not truly think that way, Lina. He thought, but he kept his words to himself and dismissed them with the shake of his head. There was no time to ponder over Lina’s troubles. The orange tiger Thunderian watched his student as she worked on unlocking the dungeon door. His heart gave a leap at hearing the dull echo of a lock being undone and Catrina sighed in relief.

“I guess the locks here aren’t much different than the ones on First Earth.” Catrina joked while carefully pushing the door open. Her words only earned her the shell of a smile from Tygra and a faint one from Bengali as they followed her out into the hallway. The look she got from Tygra made her want to kick herself, if it were possible to kick one's self.

Bengali just placed a hand on his future Lady’s shoulder as Tygra led the way through the dungeons in silence. “Great job, Miss Lina.” He said softly. He casted a quick glance to Tygra before speaking to her again. “Don’t worry about Tygra, he’s been—““Stressed out, I know.” Catrina did not mean to sound so annoyed, but it seems like she and Tygra have been getting off on the wrong foot lately and she did not like it. She could only imagine that her surrogate father did not like it either.

Bengali merely pulled his hand back in slight surprise, but he continued to smile in hopes of keeping up the two Nobles’ spirits up. He could sense the tension between the student and teacher as the three of them walked against the walls, keeping to the shadows. Tygra was leading the way with Catrina walking close behind him and Bengali bringing up the rear.

Even outside of the prison cell, it was still dark and damp. Catrina shivered at seeing a few bones lying around and she grabbed onto Tygra’s arm. Jackalman must be collecting all of these bones to chew on later. She thought to herself.

Tygra glanced down at feeling his student grabbing onto his arm before noticing the piles of bones lying around. He patted the top of her hand gently then he looked towards the end of the hall. There was a stream of light coming through the slits of the bars on the dungeon doors. He knew then that they were reaching the heart of Castle Plun-Darr where the Mutants could be found. They could hear growling sounds from the mutants as the three Thunderians crept closer to the door.

“I say we use those three as bait for the rest of them, Slithe!” Jackalman’s growling voice was loud and full of force. Monkian hooted in agreement. Catrina nearly jumped at hearing a loud cawing sound and she held tighter onto Tygra’s arm.

“Silence, you fools! If we do that, then those annoying fur balls will outnumber us. Even if Lion-O will agree to give up the Sword in exchange for Tygra, Bengali, and his precious Lina, there will always be a chance that the others will do a surprise attack on us.” Slithe growled disapprovingly, playing the scenario in his head.

“Caw! What if we just keep the little brat AND let the tigers go so we can negotiate her freedom for the Sword of Omens. If the girl is Lion-O’s bride-to-be and the future Lady of the Thundercats, then why not have the girl control the Sword of Omens for us?” said a fourth Mutant from the other side of the door.

Catrina felt her heart freeze in her chest and she could not help, but grip Tygra’s arm even tighter. She did not like the conversation going on between the mutants. Tygra took a step closer to the door to better see the going ons in the next room. He could see that the torches on the walls and the few candles sitting on the table lit up the inner chamber. The tiger had a good view of Jackalman’s back and Vultureman could be seen just over his shoulder, but Slithe and Monkian were well out of sight, or at least Jackalman was obscuring his view of them.

“That still won’t do. That Tygra won’t be so willing to leave her side.” Slithe hissed in annoyance, “And I’m sure that girl will resist doing us any favorsssssss.”

“Hoo hoo, then how about keeping Tygra and threatening him with harm to make the girl do our bidding?” Monkian’s gleeful hoots made Tygra feel sick to his stomach. It nearly reminded him of the time the Mutants had hooked him to the Four Winds contraption and tried to pull him apart. It was painful, trying to get out of that damned torture device, but he made it out alive thanks to Lion-O and Panthro.

This is not sounding good.Catrina thought to her two friends, her grip on Tygra tightening from fright.

Tygra looked back at her and shook his head. No, it is not, but we should be going. Should the mutants find us peeking on them, we will be in trouble. I believe the mutants have hidden our weapons in their weapons storage.

Bengali, who had been silently listening in on the conversation between the mutants, looked at his orange counterpart and Catrina. We should split up and search for them.

Good idea, Bengali. Lina, you go with Bengali. We will meet up at the entrance within ten minutes.
Tygra ran off before Catrina could protest, leaving his student alone with Bengali.

Seeing the slightly disappointed look on her face, Bengali placed a hand on Catrina’s shoulder, drawing her into a light hug. Everything will be fine, Miss Lina. The Blacksmith gently pulled her with him by her arm and they started for the opposite direction of Tygra.


She shivered at the darkness of Castle Plun-Darr. Wilykit maybe adventurous, but even she feared going into the dreaded lair of the Mutants. All the Thundercats avoided this place at all costs. The only time any of the Thundercats even come to this place is if one of their own is in trouble or if the Mutants cause trouble for the residents of Third Earth.

Lying before her was a sinister looking castle in the shape of a dragon. Castle Plun-Darr laid deep in the swamp beyond the Forest of Silence, surrounded by a moat where Wilykit could only guess that evil creatures lurked, guarding the castle from intruders. She could see a drawbridge that was currently drawn up into the mouth of the dragon, preventing entry to the beas belly.

Her lips curled back into a frown. She did not like this. There was no way of entering the castle and there was definitely no way she was going to risk being eaten by the creatures of the moat. The only option left was climbing up the Castle and entering from the top.

“But how would I reach the top?” Wilykit asked herself aloud, staring at the castle from the safety of the bushes. Maybe Wilykat was right, rescuing Lina would be too much for me to handle on my own.

Wilykit was far too deep lost in thought that she failed to see someone coming out from the tall grass behind her. She nearly jumped out of her skin at feeling a hand grabbing her shoulder. When she looked over, she saw her twin brother, Wilykat, coming to her side. Surprise registered on the ginger haired kitten’s face as she stared at him. “What are you doing here, Wilykat?” She asked indignantly.

Wilykat just gave his sister a faint a smile, bringing his hand to scratch the back of his head as he scratched it in his usual nervous manner. Wilykat was not much for doing dare devil stunts or even taking on evil by himself, but he could not just let his sister go to Castle Plun-Darr alone. Not even on a dare would he come here. Like Mumm-Ra’s Pyramid or the Lunataks’ Sky Tomb, he would rather avoid this at all costs.

“I can’t just let you go in there all by yourself, can I?” He asked in an almost rhetorical way. Wilykat’s red eyes gleamed with a certain warmth that was only reserved for his sibling. Wilykit may be the more adventurous one while he was the cautious one, but Wilykat is older. There were plenty of times where even his sister would come to him for comfort—whether it was from fright or for a good cry and it was always during these moments that he had to banish his cautious streak and comfort or protect his sister.

Wilykit’s lips pulled back into a smile and she nodded, hugging her brother. “Thanks, Wilykat.” She then turned back to face Castle Plun-Darr after her twin returned her hug.

Wilykat knelt down by her side and stared at their enemies’ lair, his eyes narrowed. “I sent Sammy to find the others. So, they should be on their way any moment now.” The older of the twins said. His entire body felt tense with fear. He just wanted to hurry up, rescue Lina, and get back to the Cats’ Lair where it is safe. “Any ideas on how to get inside?” The Thundercub asked, keeping his attention focused on the headquarters of the Mutants.

“Not yet, the security around this place is packed tight. I doubt we’ll be able to get in so easily, Wilykat.” Wilykit said softly. She turned her head to look at her brother, her red eyes giving him a questioning gaze.

“Then we’ll have to climb up the side and sneak in from the top.” Wilykat stood up with his sister doing the same. The two of them looked at each other and nodded, smiling at each other. He reached to his hip for his lariat and unhooked it from his belt. “We’ll climb up from the side and take out the guards guarding the top with some…sleep powder.”“ Right! Then we can find Lina and get her back to Cats’ Lair.” Wilykit added, pulling out her own lariat.

The two kittens leapt out from their hiding spot and hopped onto their space boards. They slunk along the curve of the moat, carefully avoiding the defense lasers set along the curvature of it. Wilykit veered to the right as one of the strange demonic looking skulls swiveled around, shooting beams of red-hot lasers out of their mouths. Both of them were crouched on their knees while steering their boards to avoid the lasers aimed at them. They soon came upon what looked like a tunnel of some sort going through the side of the Dragon Shaped Lair.

“Do you see, what I see, Kit?” Wilykat glanced back at his sister, swerving to the left as they quickly approached Castle Plun-Darr.

“It looks like an underwater tunnel, only without water.” His sister nodded with an equally mischievous smile.

“I guess we don’t have to go through the top after all, Kit.”

As they got closer to the underwater channel, they found that they had to crouch even lower on their space boards just to fit through the opening without touching the water. Wilykat quickly tossed the looped end of his lariat to his sister, quietly signaling to her to tie it to the end of her space board.

So we will not get lost. He thought to himself.

She caught the noose and quickly tied it around the small horn of her space board just as they arrived at the tunnel. Once inside, Wilykit remained in the front as they found themselves enveloped by nothing but darkness and the water of the underground moat below them.

“Wilykat, we’re going to have to…”

“I know, Kit!” Wilykat quickly reached to one of the pouches on his belt. Digging blindly inside it, he brought out a pair of strange goggles and tossed them to his sister. “Put the Cat Eyes on, Sis. You’re in front, so, you lead the way!” He ordered in indignation.

Wilykit caught the goggles and slipped them on. Her vision became brighter and she could see the faint outlines of all the objects residing in the darkness. This pair of Cat Eyes may be a prototype, but they would still serve to help her see in the dark. Once the Cat Eyes goggles were secure, Wilykit put on a full burst of speed and they took off for the darkness that loomed ahead of them. Wilykat gripped the edges of his space board as he sister turned a sharp corner, making his board veer to the left a bit, but he managed to keep his board from going too far and crashing into his sister.

“Hold on, Wilykat!”

“Easy…for you to say!” Wilykat murmured, gripping his space board even more tightly as they weaved through the maze that made up the underwater channel. Wilykat was now laying flat on his stomach on his board with one hand holding onto his lariat while the other grasped the edge of his space board. He could barely see his sister up ahead. All he could see was the faint outline of her space board as it quickly whipped to the right again, dodging what he could only guess was a rock that jutted out of the water.

Water sprayed up a bit as their space boards barely touched the surface, skimming over it. They were coming to a halt as Wilykit saw a bright burst of light filtering from the ceiling above them. The light was not bright enough for them to see by alone, but Wilykit could see just fine with the Cat’s Eyes and she stopped directly underneath the hole.

When she looked up, her eyes widened at what she saw. There standing above them over the grating was Tygra. At least she thought it was he.

Sensing the surprise coming from his sister, Wilykat got onto his knees and looked at her. “What is it, Kit?” He asked in a hushed tone.

Wilykit pointed upwards with a single finger. “Wilykat, Tygra’s up there.” She whispered back.

“What?” Wilykat moved his space board a bit closer for a better view and looked up. Much to his surprise, their friend really was standing above them. It seemed like Tygra was looking for something. “Should we call out to him?”
Wilykit nodded. “We need to reach the bars for him to hear us, Wilykat.” The girl tried to stand on her tippy toes to reach the bars of the metal grate, but failed to grab onto them.

“Hold on, Kit.” Wilykat stood to full height and motioned for his sister to climb up onto his shoulders. “Maybe if you climb onto my shoulders, you can reach the bars.” He knelt down, allowing his sister to climb onto his shoulders. Once she was sitting on his shoulders, he slowly rose to his feet, being carefully not to drop his twin. It was then that Wilykit, holding onto her brother’s head, cautiously balanced herself as she rose to her feet while on her older brother’s shoulders.

The younger of the twins found that she could reach the metal grate if she stood a bit taller. “Raise me a little higher, Wilykat.” She said and she found herself being hoisted a bit higher. “Steady.”

“H-hurry up, Kit! I don’t know how long I can hold you up while balancing on the space board…” Wilykat felt his legs beginning to tremble under the combined weight of him and his sister. Normally he would not have any trouble carrying Kit on his shoulders, but it was hard to balance on the space boards with his sister on his shoulders.

“Don’t drop me now, Brother.” Wilykit said softly. As her brother raised her closer to the grating, Wilykit reached out and grabbed onto the metal bars, hoisting herself off her brother’s shoulders. She then brought her legs up to the ceiling as well. The young Thunderian took in a deep breath and mustered all of her courage before gently calling out to Tygra.



He nearly jumped out of his skin at hearing a voice calling out to him. At first, he thought it was Catrina or Bengali hiding somewhere. Not wanting to let his guard down, Tygra withdrew his newly recovered whip from his elbow pad and he glanced around cautiously at the shadows. “Lina? Bengali, is that you?” He asked barely above a whisper. Great Gods, please do not let any of them be captured by the Mutants again.

“Down here, Tygra!” The voice was a bit louder this time, and it definitely was not Catrina calling out his name. It sounded a bit like…

He turned his head and looked down. He felt surprise rippling through his entire body at seeing Wilykit’s face through the bars of the metal grate on the floor. “Wilykit? What are you doing here?” The Architect asked in mild shock.

The said Thunderkitten gave him an awkward grin as she answered his question, her hands hanging onto the metal pieces of the grating even more firmly. “Sammy saw the Mutants with Lina, so we came here to rescue her. I guess you thought the same?” The look Tygra gave her told her that she and Wilykat would be grounded once all of them return to Cats’ Lair. “Or not…”

“And…where is Sammy now? I hope she’s somewhere safe?” Tygra’s tone was stern as he said this, and Wilykat spoke aloud to him.

“Of course she’s safe, Tygra! I sent her back to Cats’ Lair with a Unicorn and I got a call from Snarf saying Lion-O and the others are back at the Lair—save for Bengali and Lina that is.” Wilykat received a glare from his sister and he raised his hands up in defense, giving her a faint smile. “It’s the truth…” The Kitten said.

Tygra sighed and knelt before the grating. “Never mind the details right now. We have to get the two of you out of there. I’ll deal with you two Wily kittens later.” The Thunderkittens can be quite a handful sometimes...The Architect finally rose to his feet and pulled out his whip again. “Both of you stand back. I’ll pull the grate up so you two can get in.”

Wilykit dropped down back onto her space board and the two of them stood back, watching as their fellow Thundercat swung the end of his Bolo Whip.

Tygra released his whip, the three-balled ends flying to the metal bars. The whip wrapped tightly around the grated cover. After making sure his whip was secure, the Tiger Thunderian pulled with all of his might. He gritted his teeth, becoming even more determined to pull up the rusted metal.

Seeing that he was having some trouble, Wilykit glanced back at her brother. “Wilykat, let’s help him! Maybe a little explosion from our cherry bombs will help?” She suggested.

Her brother nodded and he reached to the pocket of his belt and pulled out a leather pouch. “Get ready, Kit.” Wilykat said as his twin mirrored his actions.

The two of them pulled out a handful of pellets and threw it up at the metal bars while Tygra continued to tug and pull at his whip, trying to make the metal budge. With the combined force of their cherry bombs and the strength of Tygra’s whip, the metal lattice came undone, coming free of its rusted hinges. It flew through the air, almost hitting the nearby wall if Tygra had not pulled back on his whip. He caught the grating with his free hand before placing it on the floor. The full-grown Thunderian then knelt back down and helped the Thunderkittens through the newly uncovered hole.

“I thought we were going to have to find another way in.” Wilykat breathed a sigh of relief as Tygra pulled him up. He was glad to be out of the underwater channel. He did not much like being in the dark.

“Wilykat, Kit, let’s go find Bengali and Lina, and get out of this place.” Tygra ordered as he looked at his two fellow Thundercats.

“Right!” Wilykit and Wilykat both nodded before the three of them ran off in search of their friends.


They came to Vultureman’s Lab where Catrina and Bengali began their search for their weapons. Catrina dug through the bottom of a chest, her eyebrows furrowing as she moved various instruments tools around. She let out a sigh after a few minutes of searching and shook her head. “I didn’t find anything. Did you find anything, Bengali? Bengali?” The tiger was being oddly quiet. Her lips curled back into a frown at not hearing her friend. She was about to call out to him again when something was pressed to her back.

“Looking for something, fur ball?” A voice crowed behind her, ending in a small “caw.” Catrina’s heart leapt at hearing the drawling voice of Vultureman. “Put your hands in the air and slowly turn around, Thunder brat.” Vultureman ordered, pressing his laser gun more into her back.

Catrina swallowed back her sudden fear and did as she was told. As soon as she turned around, she noticed that Slithe and Jackalman were also in the room. Bengali was lying on the floor, unconscious. Either he fainted or one of the mutants had dealt him a hard enough blow to knock him out.

“Bengali!” She cried out, but Vultureman held his gun even closer to her and she could not help, but growl at him. “What the hell did you do to him?”

Slithe just hissed, laughing in silent amusement. “We gave him a little dose of Thundrainium Powder to weaken him.” The Reptilian said as the others laughed with glee.

Thundrainium? Something about that word seemed vaguely familiar to her. It almost sounded like Thundrillium, but she knew what Thundrillium was. She wanted to ask her captors what it was, but she decided against it, fearing that she would find out soon anyways. As if to answer her questions, a strong voice spoke to her, addressing only her.

[b]Thundrainium weakens Thunderians, Lina. It is born deep within the pits of the Earth’s core and forged by the lava in the volcanoes. Beware the powers of Thundrainium. If exposed for long periods, you could die.[/b] The voice seemed to echo throughout the entire room, but only she could hear it for when she looked just over Slithe’s shoulder, she saw a familiar figure. The figure looked a bit transparent, but she could still make out whom it was. It was her father, Jaga. He still wore that same cape and helmet that he wore when she saw him last.

“What are you staring at, Brat?” Slithe looked back to see if anyone was behind him, but found no one. He then looked back at the girl and bared his teeth. “Well? Tell me or I’ll have Vultureman gas you this instant!”

Jackalman laughed, holding his mace in his hand. “Maybe she’s daydreaming, Slithe.” He sneered at her, his golden eyes flashing malevolently. “She just might be wishing that Lion-O come and rescue her.”

Catrina blinked for a few seconds before glaring at the mutants surrounding her and Bengali. “I’m not a damsel in distress and you’re only half right, Jackalman!” With that said, the preteen elbowed Vultureman behind her and quickly swooped down to Bengali’s side.

Vultureman found himself doubling over a bit as he reached a clawed hand to hold his stomach where Catrina gotten him hard with her elbow, dropping his Thundrainium ray gun in the process.

“What are you doing, Vultureman?” Slithe hissed angrily. He went to grab Catrina when he felt a somewhat intense pain going through his hand. Despite the tough scaly skin covering his body, Slithe could still the feel the pain Catrina inflicted on him through biting his hand. A Thunderian’s teeth were exceedingly sharp—like a cat’s. The Reptilian let out another angry hiss, immediately pulling his hand away to nurse it. “You won’t get away with that, little fur ball!” His red eyes glared dangerously at her, narrowing to tiny slits.

Catrina was bent down next the unconscious Bengali, baring her teeth at the Mutants towering over her. Her blue eyes were also narrowed and glaring back at Slithe, daring him to lay a hand on her or her friend. She almost seemed more like an actual Cat than a Thunderian. The fur on her body bristled a bit from the growl building up in the back of her throat. This served to intimidate and scare Slithe a bit, but not much. Slithe was more amused than anything.

Jackalman just laughed a bit. His lips curled back into a sneer, his ears twitching from amusement. “Are you scared of a little girl, Slithe?” The canine mutant taunted and he took a step closer. “Let me show how we Canines handle a little kitten like this one!” Jackalman felt an ancient old instinct flaring to life within his soul, making him feel more alive. His own red eyes went wide and he let out a snarl, making Catrina nearly jump in her own skin.

It was the age-old ritual that has been happening since time began—the never-ending battle, full of hatred—between Felines and Canines. No one knew how or why this hatred was started, but it will not end—not until one side is completely obliterated.

They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity, waiting and daring the other to make a move. Catrina was hunkered next to Bengali, almost sitting over him like a Mother Cat defending its offspring and Jackalman was towering over them with his mace in his hand and his teeth bared, his nose and some of the skin on his snout wrinkling up from using his facial muscles to do so.

While keeping as close to Bengali as possible, Catrina looked around without moving a muscle or her eyes, searching, scanning the room for anything to fight with. Bengali was not looking too good and she was sure that Tygra was waiting for them to meet him by the main entrance of this evil castle. That is when she saw it. A hammer, whose top seemed to be protruding from the open mouth of a white striped tiger, lying on a nearby table. She did not know how it got there or why, but she silently thanked her father and whatever Great Spirit created all things in creation for helping her before making a move. Crouching even lower to the ground, the cat girl found her inner strength and she leapt at Jackalman, knocking him over and using him to jump towards the table.

Jackalman howled with pain at experiencing the intense pain that came with being furiously scratched by Catrina as she made a mad dash for Bengali’s abandoned hammer. While Jackalman nursed his nose, Vultureman, now recovered from the blow Catrina laid upon him minutes before, let out a bird like screech and ran at her. “Get her before she gets Bengali’s hammer!” The Bird wailed loudly. He picked up his Thundrainium gun and aimed it at Catrina. He was ready to fire when an unknown force pulled it out of his hands, making him jump in surprise.

Jackalman yelped at seeing Tygra and the Thunderkittens standing in the doorway. Wilykit and Wilykat seemed to have taken down Monkian on their own for the said ape was lying on the floor in the hallway, unconscious. They used some of their sleeping powder on the idiot no doubt. The Mutant trembled, falling to the floor again. “T-they’re here! T-the o-other Thundercats are h-here, Slithe!” He stuttered in fright. Jackalman may be brave when it comes to ganging up on one of the Thundercats with his fellow Mutants, but when the odds were stacked against him or his companions; he turns tail and runs away. He was a coward at heart. If his ancestors were to see him now, they would be ashamed. Hell, they would probably tear him to shreds as the law of the Jackal Tribe of Plun-Darr decreed it. Any warrior of the said tribe shows any sign of weakness or cowardice shall die a slow and excruciating painful death. However, this was not Plun-Darr. This is Third Earth and he was far away from his home planet…

“Shut up, Jackalman, you blithering idiot!” Slithe growled, but he, too, felt a little frightened at the sudden appearance of the Thunderkittens. If they were here then Lion-O and the others would not be far behind.

Tygra’s mouth bent backwards into a snarl as he growled, his red-orange eyes glaring at the Mutants cowering before him and the Thunderkittens. “You’re not going to do anything, Vultureman!” He pulled back on the whip, making the Thundrainium gun fly from Vultureman’s hand and into his as he caught it.

Vultureman hissed in a birdlike way, glaring at the Tiger. “Caaaw! You think you’re going to get out of here, Tiger?” But Vultureman yelped at feeling a burning sensation on the back of his neck, only a bright blue laser shot past him, disappearing almost instantly before it could fly wildly about the room. When he looked back, he saw Catrina standing on the table with Bengali’s hammer in her hand, the tiger mouth aimed at him. The bird growled, before Wilykit and Wilykat leapt at him.

He fell to the ground under their combined weight and soon, the twin Thunderkittens tied him up alongside Slithe while Jackalman had retreated under the nearby table. With Slithe and Vultureman tied up in the room with the sleeping Monkian in an iron cage, Wilykit and Wilykat both looked around for the fourth Mutant, Jackalman.

“Where’s Jackalman?” Wilykat asked, his red eyes quickly looking around for any sign of the Canine.

Catrina clipped Bengali’s hammer to the side of her belt. “Who cares? Let’s just get out of this place. This castle’s beginning to give me the creeps.” The thirteen-year-old girl said irritably.

Tygra nodded to the preteens and he placed his whip back into its hold before putting Vultureman’s Thundrainium Ray Gun into the inside pocket of his tunic. He then looked at his student and the twins. “I will carry Bengali out of here. Wilykit, Kat, lead the way out.” He ordered.

“Right!” The two Wilies got to their feet and stepped cautiously out into the hallway as the Architect grabbed the unconscious Bengali and hoisted him to his shoulder with relative ease.

Catrina blinked and looked at her teacher as she now sat on the table. “What…about me, Tygra?” She asked diffidently. She stared at the Tiger in slight confusion as he managed to stand up with Bengali on his shoulders.

“You will bring up the rear, Lina. With Bengali’s hammer in your hands, I think you should be able to take care of any Mutants that try sneaking up on us.” Tygra replied, and he motioned for all three of the kids to get moving. “We have to get out of here as quickly possible before Jackalman jumps out at us and frees his friends.” Jackalman’s lips curled back into a snarl, showing the tips of his canines. Me friends with those blithering idiots and that narcissist of a Reptile? In his dreams maybe. The Canine Mutant watched with his golden eyes as Catrina slipped off the table and landed on the ground just within his reach. This time his lips pulled back into a menacing sneer and he slowly reached for the pouch attached to his belt.

While digging through it, his fingers brushed against a small bottle of liquid. It was lucky that Vultureman had made all the Mutants Thundrainium Guns.

Call me a coward, will you? I will show Slithe, Vultureman, and Monkian that Jackalman is now coward. I will show everyone! This single thought seemed to fuel Jackalman with renewed determination and hatred for the Thundercats. He pulled the bottle out of his pouch and withdrawing his Thundrainium Gun from the holster at his hip, Jackalman inserted the capsule of the sloshing red liquid into the barrel of the Ray Gun before taking aim at Catrina’s leg.

Catrina barely took one-step towards the door when she felt something shooting past her, barely missing her leg and flew past Tygra and the others as they ducked. “What the hell was that?” The girl yelled in surprise. She looked back, but just as she did, Jackalman leapt out from under Vultureman’s Work Table and she was soon in his arms, the gun aimed at her.

“Jackalman, you blasted Mutant!” Tygra snarled, his orange eyes becoming slits. Wilykit and Wilykat both glared at him. Their hands reached at their sides, but no one made a move as Jackalman pressed the gun into Catrina’s neck.

“One false move and I’ll pump your precious future Lady full of Thundrainium and she’ll be as weak as a newborn kitten!” Jackalman laughed at his own threat, refusing to relax his grip on the girl. His heart danced with delight at seeing the pained expression on both the Thunderkittens’ faces and Tygra’s. However, the expression on the older Thundercat’s face was more of anger than it was of pain and frustration.

“Good job, Jackalman! Now free us, yessssss?” Slithe hissed, looking balefully at the rust colored furred Mutant. His red eyes glared at Jackalman as he laughed again.

“Sorry, Slithe! But I am in charge now. I have Lion-O’s beloved Catrina, or should I say, Catlina?” Jackalman’s words made Catrina’s stomach do a sickening flop and she almost wish she were back on First Earth—where everything made better sense.

Lion-O, hurry, please… Catrina thought forlornly from Jackalman’s grip. Tears stung her eyes as she closed them. She was willing herself to wake up from this nightmare and be back in her bed on Thundera. Her heart hammered hard in her rib cage, sending an overflow of blood to her ears as Jackalman tightened his grip around her neck. She could feel the Thundrainium Gun pressed to the side of her neck as Tygra took one-step forward. She saw that it was a tiny step, but it was still enough to make her captor a bit nervous or tense to say the least.

Jackalman bared his teeth at Tygra’s action and his golden eyes narrowed. “Don’t make me hurt your precious student, Tiger!” The Canine snarled. He did not want his newfound confidence to be torn down by some stupid Cat—A Thundercat no less.

The entire world seemed at a standstill as they all stood there, eyes darting back and forth as though waiting for the other to make a move. Little details were more noticeable now like the little notch in Jackalman’s left ear that is barely noticeable unless you were close enough to see it or the faint scar Tygra had on his hands from a childhood injury. Catrina could even hear water dripping from some unknown crack or hole somewhere in the Castle and landing on the stone floor below, making a nearly nonexistent splash. It felt like her heart was beating in her throat now as she remained in Jackalman’s grip.

Jackalman’s arm was pressing hard against her throat, constricting nearly all of her air supply, making it hard to breathe. She was beginning to see blue dots blotting her vision as she struggled to breathe.

Tygra’s orange eyes went wide with shock and fear, and he yelled out to Jackalman. “Let her go, Jackalman! Please!” He could see Catrina reaching up and grabbing onto Jackalman’s arm, her fingers scratching furiously.

Just a little more...Jackalman thought with a sneer. He added just a bit more pressure, being careful not break the girl’s bones in her neck. Mumm-Ra did say he needed her after all. She is worth more alive than dead. There would be no telling what Lion-O or Tygra would do if he—or anyone else—killed Catrina—especially Lion-O. The said Lord of the Thundercats would go into a fitting rage and might possibly seek out blood.

Catrina felt all breath slowly leaving her. Her knees were beginning to buckle at this point. She took one last feeble breath before speaking. At first, her words were barely audible and Jackalman had to strain his ears. His golden eyes flickered to his captive, feeling a little curious at her words. “What was that, you little fur ball?” The Dog Warrior asked slyly.

Catrina just merely looked at Tygra and the Thunderkittens who were staring back at her with equally inquisitive gazes. “I…s-said, ‘Thunder…thunder… thunder! Thundercats!’”

“Ho!” A loud battle cry rang through the air, seeming to make the whole room tremble a bit, as a beam of light pierced through the hallway. Loud growls and yells could be heard outside the room. The Mutant Guards were obviously caught in a battle with someone or something, and only one guess flickered in Jackalman’s mind.

The Thundercats!