Hey Guys, monokub here! Brand new user to Ao3, Thanks to WingedPegasus for the invite! Anyway I hope you all enjoy this series as I look forward to all the feedback from you guys! Comments are welcomed all over! Leave a like fave, share, etc., whatever you do on this site ^^. All these chapters are on my fanfiction page too, hence i have so much to post here. As such, I have author notes i post at the beginning of chapters for the people over there so if some things don't make sense, ignore them.
Other than that, enjoy ^^!
A/N: A few things to note before we begin.
1, to my fellow RWBY fans, I'll be taking a break from Rwby for awhile. I need to get back the energy i used to have by trying something new, so the latest rwby series is on a short hiatus, sorry.
2, I'll be posting the episodes in 2 parts per episode. For those who know my usual work, I usually write verily long chapters, and while some people love that and all, they also know for rwby's short 10-14 minute episodes, i write near 8k+ chapters. Cause of that, I'll be splitting these into two parts per episode, otherwise I'll be looking at a freaking 15k episode posts, and I dont think anyone wants to go through those incredibly long things XP.
And 3, the last thing, I'll be posting these in both she-ra sections, the old one and newest one. Reason being? Because I'm 90% sure half the She-ra 2018 fanbase is on that side of things such as they are on this one- I almost posted in this in the classic she-ra section myself by accident, so given how easy it is to make that mistake, i'll be posting on both sides so everyone who's a fan of Netflix's she-ra can see this.
So with that said, onto the show ^^!
"Crap!" Catra hissed as she raced down the halls.
Life in the Horde was never easy. You were expected to follow orders, ask questions never, and preform routine training regimes until they came of age and joined the Horde themselves. For the glory of Hordak and the unity of Eternia, all members of the Horde were expected to work hard and earn their keep, prove themselves to their fellow peers, and surpass any and all expectations of their leaders.
That's why it was a sorry morning for Catra herself when she realized she overslept. It was bad enough when she appeared late to her training sessions but it was so much worse when she did it on a constant basis. It wasn't her fault though, at least to her, that she was a heavy sleeper. Being part cat aside she found little to no enjoyment in her line of work. Everyday it was always "do this", "do that", "do all of these things" repeatedly and without end. There was never a break for her.
And a break was the least she wanted out of this.
What she truly wanted was respect. Not once since being raised in this place did anyone ever show her an ounce of courtesy. No one wanted anything to do with her, no one wanted to acknowledge her existence, it was almost like she was diseased or carrying a plague that everyone wanted to avoid. It was tolerable from her fellow teammates and all that, the real trouble came from her superiors that graded and scored her numerous tests, both physical and mental. It always felt like they pushed her harder than everyone else and acted like she as at fault when someone else messed up.
Naturally all of these demerits and bad scores weren't just accepted with a slap on the risk or a stern talking about whatever teamwork-related fancy shmancy piece of garbage they could find in their rulebooks. These ranged from simple things like cleaning an entire room with their own toothbrush, running laps back and forth across a room a hundred times until someone melted down to their kneecaps, to being forced to miss dinner for the night and breakfast before the next training regime. And those were all the easy penalties one could receive around here.
The unlucky ones were never heard from again. The really unlucky ones came back with the inability to recall what they went through without breaking down.
But these sort of things were to be expected for those serving for the greatness of the Horde. To bring absolute peace and rule under all of Eternia under one banner, the followers of Hordak followed these rules and tough schedules without hesitation. They were all too proud to give their life for the Horde, some of them owing them as a form of debt for saving their lives, other out of fear of what would happen if they opposed the Horde.
Thankfully, like many others, Catra found herself on the former end of things. Brought in as an infant like many others, Catra found herself indebted to the great Hordak. Granted, there were times she found it hard to muster any energy to support the Horde, due to the constant abuse she suffered throughout this place, but as long as there was one person who treated her as a person within these grounds, there was hope that anyone else would turn around.
"Catra!" The familiar sound of an overseer shouting at her appearance said otherwise. "You're-
"Late, tardy, run laps after, blah blah blah." Catra shrugged, having heard these words hundreds of times in the past.
"Actually they just went in." Well that was a first. "Now hurry on up or you will be running laps afterwards!"
"Yeah, yeah, I got it." This kind of conversation was about as polite as it got between Catra and anyone else other than her friend.
She wasted no time leaping into the obstacle course of the training room, using her literal cat-like reflexes to help leap herself from the ground to several of the nearby pillars, jumping from place to place till she managed to reach the top of one of the many pillars. From ahead she could already hear the sound of gunfire, the flashing of lights, and the sounds of blasters going off, assuring her that the rest of the team was already partway through the course. That left things generally easier on her end to manage since it meant they took the liberty of destroying several of the training bots throughout the room, provided any of them could reach her from her vantage point.
Still not wanting to find herself behind any of the other four, especially someone like Kyle, Catra leapt her way between each of the individual pillars, being careful to watch her surroundings of any of the nearby droids. While these roly poly robots were nothing more than training dummies, they were still equipped with blasters capable of paralyzing a rookie trainee or disabling a heavy piece of machinery like a tank. The troubling part to this is that those paralyzed were wearing protective vests, ones that would let them know if they were shot and failed the training session. She had yet to see what would happened if she wasn't protected and got shot by one of these massive blasters, and that's how she intended to keep it.
After a mere thirty seconds she finally came to the end of the training session, having easily avoided the other robots that were too distracted by her dimwitted teammates to pay any attention to her. Below her she could see the only other person she could expect to make it this far into the course, and the only person she considered the closest thing to a friend within this abysmal place.
Adora. The one person that treated Catra with respect. They grew up together since they were infants, they got into trouble even though most of the consequences were forced on Catra rather than shared between the both of them, and she was the only person who saw Catra as one of their own, not some freak with a tail that deserved to be shunned by society or casted aside like a rat. She was her only friend, her only ally in this bleak place.
And she wasn't about to see her friend fail just because her other teammates were too pathetic to keep up with her.
Before Adora could act, Catra brought it upon herself to strike first. Right before the massive droid could fire upon her, she leapt through the air over to the massive construct, catching Adora's surprise and distracting the droid for just a split second, long enough for it to bring a sudden halt to it's cannons as Catra landed on back of the robotic spider-like bot. If there was one feature Catra adored about herself it was her feline traits. They were useful, subtle, and gave her claws sharp enough to dig her hand straight into the control panels of the massive construct's back.
"This looks important." Catra joked aloud as she ripped several wires from the giant mech. Not wanting to waste any opportunity, or take the chance of pulling the wrong wire, Catra continued to scrape and tear out anything and everything she could dig out of the machine. No matter how many sparks, wires, or computer chips she tore from the machine, she didn't relent until she the machine started to rumble with a low-pitched hum ringing out.
Smoke and the sound of it's legs scraping against metal could be heard as the machine slowly started to tumble in upon itself, it's legs folding in place as it began to descend slowly into the hole from whence it came. Grinning to herself, Catra quickly climbed over the giant droid, flipping briefly through the air before landing perfectly ahead of the robot itself, her back turned to it as she simply grinned to the massive wreck. Nothing but broken sheets of metal and wires could be seen strewn about, cables flailing with electrical sparks as the machine collapsed into it's dark pit.
With a smile she turned her attention back to her fellow comrade, Adora looking at her with a small grin and her arms crossed. "Did you seriously just wait all this time for us to do all the work?" Adora asked, earning a chuckle from the cat. "That's low, even for you.
"Oh come on, someone has to know how make an entra-AHHHHHHHH!" Catra's reply was cut short by the time she took a single step forward. If she had paid any attention to her surroundings, specifically the robot behind her, she would've seen one of the cables accidentally lash around her legs just as she began to walk away. The suddenness of the event was enough to catch her off guard and send her tumbling to the ground, almost immediately getting pulled along into the hole with the robot as it descended into darkness.
If there was anything to be thankful of, it was that the cable just as quickly unwrapped around her leg just as the robot fell further below, otherwise she would've been living the rest of her life on a crutch, provided the Horde even kept her in the state she would've been in. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to react to the event, having been distracted by her friend, to grasp any of the surrounding walls or side of the hole as she found herself plunging into darkness, her reflexes failing her the one time she most needed them.
It was only at times like these, those moments that lasted a split second, that she truly envied having a friend. By the time her head just passed the opening of the hole she felt a strong firm grip grasp her hand, saving her from whatever painful fall she would've suffered. Unsurprisingly she was greeted with the smirking expression of her only friend, Adora finding it all too fitting that the cocky cat nearly fell to her fate simply from trying to show off.
"So what joke works here? See you next fall or something? Thanks for hanging around? Let me know, I can do this all day." Adora teased, earning nothing more than a sarcastic chuckle from the cat.
"Ha. Ha. Ha..."
"Ghhhh." Catra grunted to herself as she straightened out her hair. The locker rooms were empty save for the two friends who continued to settle in for the day, with Catra working on her hair she messed up with the fall and Adora unequipping her training armor. "I seriously can't believe I only got one robot before failing the course."
"You didn't fail the course, you just fell for one trap. Besides, if it makes you feel any better, you got one more robot than Kyle did." Adora commented still in a slightly joking manner.
"Wow, what a surprise! It doesn't."
"Aw come on, you're always so cheerful. I thought you'd be happy that we're both senior cadets now. This means we'll be going out in the field soon, fighting alongside the rest of the Horde!"
"And still taking orders like lapdogs." Catra retorted. "Don't you ever get tired of all the work, all the orders? The higher our ranks climb, the less fun we're going to be able to have around here and the more grunt work we're going to be forced to do."
"Fun? What are you talking about? There's plenty of fun to be had around- HUH!" Adora let out a startled gasp as she pointed away. "Is that a mouse?!"
"What? Where?!" It took several seconds of Adora's snickering and follow up laughter before Catra realized she had been played again for the hundredth time by the exact same trick.
"Hahaha," Adora laughed holding her sides, "are you ever not going to fall for that?"
"I don't know, are you ever going to LET IT GO? It was one time." The humanoid cat muttered with a small pout.
"I know, but for some reason it's always funny."
This. This is exactly what Catra was referring to earlier. These little moments of just the two of them chuckling and joking back and forth were the things they were never going to have once they moved on out in the field. For all Catra knew, they might even be assigned to different sections of Eternia! It's not a thought she wanted to think of, but with all that was going around here, she wouldn't put the possibility past her, especially when they had to follow orders from someone like-
"Adora." A voice greeted as it stepped out of the shadows, catching the two teens by surprise as Catra leaned off the lockers.
"Shadow Weaver." Adora greeted back with a respectful salute. To this, Catra mentally rolled her eyes rather than physically, knowing how easy Shadow Weaver was to anger whenever anyone other than Adora addressed her.
"You have done well." She complimented with a pleasant tone. "You've completed your training course in record time."
"Uh, well that wasn't just me. You know, Catra did, too." Adora gestured to her friend, trying to share the praise.
"Ah, yes." Like every other time Catra was involved with a conversation with Shadow Weaver and Adora, her tone shifted from a friendly and polite demeanor to one of utter annoyance and displeasure. How someone as unmotivated as you completed the course in that time, I'll never know. Personally I would've seen you demoted after your little stunt nearly cost both of your exams. You're quite fortunate someone as dependable as Adora was there to save you."
"Always serving up those pep talks, huh, Shadow Weaver?" Catra tried to joke, only earning the sternful voice and Shadow Weaver's ire.
"Silence!" She barked as her hair blended in to an ever growing darkness behind her. Even something as minimal as a joke with Shadow Weaver was enough to earn the dark witch's wrath. Already Catra could feel the soft coils of Shadow Weaver's magic crawling upon her skin, slowly rising up her body. "Do not be flippant with me, cadet."
Shadow Weaver was the best and worst part of a mother and father put into one. When she addressed Adora, she acted like a mother should be; polite, sincere, only raising her voice only so often if needing to discipline her, which she never did. She was always soft and patient with the young blonde. Then She was the worst part of every abusive father whenever she addressed Catra. Whether it was a joke, or simply crossing her path, almost everything Catra did earned Shadow Weaver's scorn. It was almost as if she had a target on her back that only Shadow Weaver could see.
Not wishing to prolong whatever anger she incurred from Shadow Weaver, Catra pushed aside from pride as her eyes shifted away. "Sorry, Shadow Weaver." With that simple apology, the shadows that crept up her face and the rest of her body immediately receded, vanishing to who knows where.
"Adora," She addressed again in a pleasant tone, "walk with me." She ordered as she slithered away. Unsure of what she wanted or why she wanted only her, Adora gave a puzzled and slightly concerned look to her friend. Being the friend that she was, Catra could only shrug as she crossed her arms, giving her a small smile as Shadow Weaver called her again. "Adora." Shadow Weaver barked again, Adora quickly following behind before she had to be told a third time.
Catra just smiled for a bit as she watched her friend leave, her expression slowly changing to a scowl when the two were finally out of sight. This was her life. This was their life. Every day came down to just training, yelling, training, yelling, and if they were lucky, training and yelling. The only difference between her and Adora was that half the time Adora had the joy of not being the one yelled at, not that she expressed this glee audibly.
As she walked out of the locker rooms Catra found herself wondering to herself. Why did she continue to follow orders around here? Why on Eternia did life have to throw her into a lifestyle like this? Being seen as nothing more than a runt who was destined to follow orders for the rest of her life? Always working while someone else took the credit for their hard work while they continued to boss them around without worry or care? This garbage?!
She was meant for something greater than this, her and Adora! And why shouldn't they? They earned it! At least that's the conclusion Catra thought to herself. Both being orphans as infants and being raised in the horrid place that was the Horde? That was a fate some would consider worse than death, and whether or not Catra grew used to that sort of life, it didn't mean she came to find it comforting or happy. Everything about this place screamed oppression for people like her, people others saw as "freaks" just because they were part animal in some nature.
The Fright Zone was the furthest thing from a home. The Horde were the last thing she would call family. Even her so-called allies were the furthest things she had from friends, Adora excluded. Speaking of which...
"Ah-!" Barely registering what she collided into in the first place, Catra just gave an unamused look as she noticed the two guards she bumped into in the hallway. She barely gave them a shrug as she continued walking past them, an evident lack of care coming off from the wildcat. "Watch where you're going, freak!" One of the guards huffed before continuing their patrol.
That was the word that caused Catra's ears to twitch. "What'd you call me?" She growled silently as she walked back to the duo. It'd be easier to look into their eyes if they weren't wearing helmets.
"What? Got cotton in your ears, freak?" The left guard replied.
"This freak happens to be a Senior Cadet now thank you very much." She pointed out. "So show some respect!"
"Oh, a thousand pardons your majesty!" The right guard mockingly bowed as he spoke in a sarcastic tone. "I had no idea I was speaking to such royalty!"
"Do you want us to shine your helmet after we dust your royal throne, your highness? Pffft hahaha!" The guards both broke into laughter as they walked away again from this mockery.
Catra squeezed her claws in anger. She knew getting fed up with guards like these was pointless, and knew attacking them would be a bigger mistake. Senior Cadet or not, they still held seniority over her by several more ranks. Guards such as these would be several ranks higher than her, those trusted to guard the Fright Zone being picked out by lord Hordak himself. Attacking them was a sure way to find herself in a jail cell, regardless if they started a fight or not. Even if she did attack them, that would give someone like Shadow Weaver too much of an excuse to personally destroy Catra herself no matter how much Adora tried to protect her.
All she could do was grit her teeth as she stormed off in the opposite direction as she made a simple vow to herself.
"Those fools will be the first one to pay when I rule all of this..."
It was only a few minutes later of marching down the hallways Catra picked up the familiar scent of her friend. With a mischievous grin, she leapt to the pipes towards the ceiling, leaping from each of the pipes as she followed along the scent to the outside balcony of the base. Sure enough there was Adora, leaning against the rails overlooking the Fright Zone. Surely she had to have some fun bit of news if Shadow Weaver wanted to talk to her in private. With a grin she waited till Adora turned in her direction before leaping in to strike, tackling her to the ground
"Ah-!" Adora let out a startled yelp.
"What'd she say?" Catra asked curiously as her attention shifted to the badge. "Hey what's this?" She examined the strange badge as she leapt onto the side rail. It had a strange green batwing-like design stretching out from the center of the emblem.
"Hey! Give that back!" Adora's attempt to swipe the badge back from the cat was futile as she leapt to a higher pipe above the balcony. It took Catra a short while to determine what the strange badge was, longer to believe it was real.
"No way! You've been promoted?" The slightly embarrassed look on her friends face told her all she needed to know.
"Well... kind of." She replied humbled. "I mean, yeah, I guess. Heh." Catra's eyes widened at this. This was all too good to be true! It didn't matter to her if she herself got promoted or Adora did, all this meant to her was that there was so much fun to be had! "But it's not that big of a deal." Catra jumped down from the pipe as she stood alongside Adora.
"Are you kidding? This is awesome!" She beamed. "We're gonna see the world and conquer it! Adora, I need to blow something up!" She couldn't hold back the pur that escaped her throat as her eyes light up with the sparkling stars of the night sky.
"Um..." It was only with that mumble that Catra snapped back from her hyperness.
"Shadow Weaver says... you're not coming." The minute she used the words "Shadow Weaver" Catra instantly knew she wasn't going to like what came after before Adora finished her sentence. And what do you know, she lost every bit of excitement she had building up when she processed what she fully said.
"What?!" Catra stammered with a high screech. "But my time was just as good as yours today! Is this because of that stupid pitfall thing or whatever? Because I still finished it within the record time, we both did! What is Shadow Weaver's problem with me?" She hissed again leaping onto the balcony.
"It doesn't have anything to do with that, I think at least." She struggled to find the right words to say, anything that sounded the least insulting to her best friend. "I mean you are kind of disrespectful."
"Why should I respect her? She's just bitter that she doesn't have any real power that doesn't come from Hordak and everyone knows it!" She pointed out walking across the rail. "I'm sure it must be easy being a people pleaser like you."
"I'm not a pe-" Catra didn't even give her the decency of finishing her sentence, completely ignoring Adora's following plea to come back. With a sigh, the newly deemed Force Captain chased after her feline friend, knowing the usual spot where she could find her.
Life wasn't fair.
That was the one simple rule most people had growing up anywhere in Eternia. For Catra though? She envied those who complained about their own lives being unfair. Those people were nothing more than selfish little pests in the world. She knew they were completely unaware of how potentially good they really had it wherever they were. They had the opportunity to complain about how things weren't given to them, yet for a place like the Fright Zone getting anything at all from someone else was nothing short of a miracle.
All she had around here was this nice little spot at the top of the Fright Zone that could overlook the entire Zone, sitting with her legs curled up on a balcony as she just stared into the distance with her thoughts.
And now, here was Adora's new badge, given to her by the one person in this world who hated Catra's guts to no end. Of course she would get something from Shadow Weaver, she would get anything from Shadow Weaver, she would get everything from Shadow Weaver! Sure she was jealous, but for far more than just a stupid badge.
Adora had someone that cared about her deeply, deeper than she could possibly understand. The same Adora she could hear approaching from behind her.
"Huff... Look, I'm sorry," she apologized as Catra shifted her eyes, "I didn't even think you wanted to be Force Captain."
"I don't." Catra replied in a huff as she handed the badge back to her. "Here, take your stupid badge." It pained Adora to see her friend like this, curled up upon the railings in a pout with her tail strewn across her bare feet. She could understand everything bothering her, she just didn't know the best way to truly cheer her up.
"Come on, Catra. This is what I've been working for my entire life." Adora commented as she leaned over the railings, Catra shifting her eyes back to her. "I was hoping you could, I don't know, be happy for me."
These were the moments she hated Adora. Not when she was complaining, not when she was pouting about something, in fact she found that kinda cute and funny. What she hated was when she was pouting or bothered by something Catra herself did, and usually she always had the right reason to be bothered by whatever she did.
"Ugh, whatever." She grunted. "It's not like I even care. I just want to get out of this place before I die of boredom." She moaned lying back on the rails. "I wonder what's even outside of the Fright Zone anyway."
If there was ever a single thing Adora could do to turn Catra's mood into a full 180*, it was dangling the keys to a skiff over Catra's face.
"Why don't we find out?"
"I take it all back! You're officially awesome!" Whooooooo!" Catra cheered as they soared through the land at top speeds. Not once since they've been taught how to use these Skiffs have they ever been allowed to ride them, much less drive them, across the Fright Zone, or anywhere for that matter. This was the first time Catra actually had actual fun within the last several months, and more importantly, a sense of freedom. "I can't believe you actually stole a skiff!"
"Borrowed," Adora corrected as she piloted the skiff, "please don't make me regret this."
What was there to regret? They were two friends out in the open world, away from the horrid Fright Zone, and, at least to Catra, they were having the time of their lives! "What's there to regret? This is awesome! I've always wanted to drive one of these things. Here, gimme!" Catra insisted, wasting no time to swipe the control from Adora.
"Whoa there, save us enough fuel to make our way back!" Adora warned. She loved hanging out with her best friend, but even she was aware of how reckless the cat could be when she got too excited.
"That is a problem for future Adora and Catra." She stated. No sooner had she sped up the skiff to twice it's speed were the two already wrangling with the controls from each other like little kids fighting over a shared toy.
"I want it!"
"Can't have it!"
"Give it! I'm doing it!"
The argument went back and forth endlessly as the friends fought over the skiff. All the time as they fought they were completely unaware of the change in speeds, directions they were turning, and just how far from the Fright Zone they were venturing from. They weren't even aware they were nearing a strange forest as the two had tackled each other to the ground of the skiff. By the time either of them got back up, the scenery changed from it's decrepit wasteland appearance to a more tranquil and peaceful-looking forestry, bluish green grass highlighting the trees with numerous and strange plants growing around the surrounding forest.
"Whoa! Catra!" Adora's yelp loosened Catra's grip on the skiff, giving the blond soldier enough time to wrestle control from it and bring the vehicle down to a halt before they crashed.
This was nothing like the two had ever seen before, nor anything like the two knew exist. Was it the power of the evil princesses that gave these plants life or something else? They wouldn't put it past them if the former, often hearing stories of the evilness of the other princesses, being trained day in and day out through their upbringing to defeat these evil fiends.
Yet it did nothing to deter their curiosity of this place.
"Whoa... What is it?" Catra whispered as she looked around, speaking quietly as if something could attack them had she raised her voice.
"I think this must be the Whispering Woods." Adora guessed correctly. "They say there are strange, old monsters in there, and the trees move when you're not looking. Every Horde Squadron sent in there has never come out again."
Old creatures? Moving Trees? No Horde has ever come back alive from? This was awesome!
"Let's go in!" Catra's suggestion caught Adora off guard as she immediately sped up the skiff again.
"Wait, what-? Ahhhhh!" Adora's scream was drowned out by the loud humming of the skiff as Catra sped it straight ahead.
"Woo-hooooo!" Catra cheered having the time of her life.
This was perfect! Everything about this current situation was perfect! Two simple Senior Cadets minding their own business, skipping the fact they stole a skiff, accidentally wandering into the dreaded and dangerous Whispering Woods where no Horde soldier has ever returned where evil monsters and who-knows-what roam? This was promotion material for sure!
All Catra would have to do is venture the skiff a little further into the forest, a simple plan as long as they stayed on board. The deeper they went into the forest, the more likely they would get the respect they deserved when they returned, the respect SHE deserved when they finally returned. Why, if she even ad libs a little by saying she saved Adora from one of those old monster things, she might finally get respect from Shadow Weaver of all people, or at least enough for the old witch to stop pestering her anymore!
Not only that, but if they could do something like find a trophy off a dead animal, some ancient remains, or anything that looked important around here, there's no way Hordak could possibly pass her up on a promotion to Force Captain! Then nothing would be able to keep the two of them separated!
It was perfect! It was simple! It was-
"Catra! Tree!" Adora quickly yelled as she took control of the skiff again. Apparently Catra had been so caught up in her thoughts she didn't even register the tree they nearly crashed into. Luckily thanks to Adora's quick reaction she managed to divert the direction directly upwards, just seconds away from crashing head on into the large tree itself.
Despite preventing the crash, and possibly saving their lives, Catra still found herself a little irritated at the idea of Adora messing up her plan. "I got it, I got it. Just give me back the-"
"Ahhhhhh-!" The few feet of space Catra traveled to shove Adora out of the way was the only few feet necessary to place Catra on the receiving end of a heavily large branch that smacked into her face, bashing her straight in the head and throwing her off the skiff from nearly a hundred feet in the air. There wasn't enough time for Adora to grab for her friend by the time she processed what just happened,
"Catra!" Adora cried out in fear, doing whatever she could to pilot the skiff again. Unfortunately she found her controls hampered by the increased wind resistance against the skiff's sails, a process that became more troubling as Adora was forced to change directions several times to avoid any oncoming collisions. There was no time to make a quick U-turn.
Back on Catra's end of things, the cat found herself thankful for the helmet she always wore from keeping the branch from knocking her out cold. That did little to protect her from the fall as she didn't even have anything close to grab onto. The only thing that came within arm's length of her was another large tree branch that managed to break her fall, crashing straight through it before finally hitting the ground with a large thud.
Following a large flat bushy bed, the last thing Catra registered was a loud crashing noise before everything went black.
"Ngggh..." She groaned a bit to herself as she rubbed her head. Now she was slightly regretting the stupid helmet. It was useful for taking small blows directly to the forehead, but it sure left a ringing sensation all throughout her head when something hard slammed against her whole body - like the ground. If there was any bright side to anything that just happened, it was the fact this bush was here at all to break her fall, even if it didn't lessen the soreness through her whole body. "Huh? Adoraaaa?" Catra called out.
So much for her big idea. Now, if Adora felt like tattling, she was going to find herself on the receiving end of whatever backlash this genius plan had for her. She didn't know which direction she came from thanks to the fall, which meant there was a 50/50 chance of either getting lost in the woods and possibly eaten by something, or, if she was lucky, finding her way back to the Fright Zone, after she found Adora of course.
That was when a strange glow suddenly caught her attention.
"Huh?" Of the many things she thought she would see within this place, a mysterious sword tangled in roots was the very last thing on her mind. She felt like her body was reacting on it's own as she approached the mysterious blade, being mesmerized by it's brilliant light. "Whoa... Awesome."
She didn't know what it was. She didn't know where she was. All she did know was that this was possibly the biggest thing she needed to get her promotion. Sure, falling out of the skiff and crashing to the ground put a damper on things, but as long as she came back with something that looked important, a mysterious glowing sword growing out of some roots seeming like a good start, then this all would've been worth it.
"This is so worth a promotion!" Catra declared as she reached for the sword. The moment she touched the tip of the hilt though, she let out a gasp as everything around her began to be engulfed in a blinding light.
All at once, numerous images began to flash within her head. Strange symbols, various planets, mysteriously large gems, the cosmos themselves, all began flashing within her mind. All of this played on as a strange voice began echoing in her mind.
"Balance must be restored." It stated. "Etheria must seek a hero." The next two things Catra saw were very confusing to her. The first one was an ancient-looking temple, one she was sure were within these very woods given the scenery surrounding it.
As for the latter image however, it was not only confusing, but harder to make out given the blinding light that surrounded it. All she could see here was a mysterious swordsman, possibly a knight, with flowing long hair and a cape, standing on what appeared to be a cliffside. Whether she was willing herself closer or the strange voice was controlling her imagery, she found herself being drawn closer to the mysterious figure, followed by what sounded like a baby's cry.
That was when everything began to distort in front of her.
"A...ra...Ra..." Just as the figure itself turned it's head, it's piercing white eyes looking at Catra herself, she felt everything becoming blurry. The strange sound of static began to hiss around her as the images themselves began to distort. Everything began to distort like a television breaking down. The previous images coming back to her were now distorted messes of what they once were, some of them filled with a reg pigment, others distorting like a screen cracking before her very eyes.
"Err... Or... Inv...Er..." The source of the mysterious figure finally revealed itself to her briefly, appearing as a mysteriously tall purple woman, who became just as distorted as the previous images did, all while everything around her was swallowed in a surrounding darkness. "Err... Y-Y-You are n-n-not-"
"What are you talking about?" Catra finally found her voice as she asked the strange figure. "Not what? You're not making any sense!"
Normally this kind of conversation would've annoyed Catra to no end, feeling like she was speaking to someone over a broken radio. But for the first time, she found herself more curious and confused on a situation, and slightly afraid. "Must what? What do I have to do?!"
The voice began to fade as darkness slowly filled her vision.
"Catra... Catra..." Were the last recognizable words she could gather before everything went dark, almost immediately being filled again as the voice changed to one of familiarity.
"Catra? Catra!" Adora screamed again as Catra's vision returned, finding her right on top of herself with worry in her eyes.
"WHOAREYOU-!" Catra herself screamed as she shot up, paying little mind as she accidentally collided her helmet into Adora's forehead as she did, pushing her off her body.
"Ow!" Adora whined rubbing her poor innocent forehead.
"Huh? Huh? Huh?" Catra couldn't explain to herself why she was freaking out. Every ounce of wonder and need for information was slowly replaced by confusion as she looked around. Everything looked the same as it did when she looked up the first time, almost down to the exact detail in every way. She was back in the forest, sitting up like she did before, and still in the flat bush that broke her fall! Annoyingly enough even her soreness was back to the same way like when she woke up the first time.
The only key differences now was that Adora was here, rubbing her head for reasons Catra hadn't picked up on, and the strange sword that took her on a hallucinatory trip was nowhere to be seen. Not the sword, not the roots that entangled it, nothing! It was like neither of the two ever existed in the first place.
"What are you talking about?" Adora asked, finally getting through to her delirious friend.
"Adora?" Catra blinked as she looked to kneeling friend. It was thanks to her presence that the anxiety of her confusion finally washed away, still doing little to remove her confusion. "W-Where... where's the sword?"
"The sword?" Adora questioned as the two got up.
"T-T-The sword!" Catra explained as she walked a few yards ahead. "I-It was right here, there were roots everywhere, I touched it, a-a-and then this big purple lady or whoever showed me all these really weird images!"
"Yeah!" Catra's tail shot up for a moment in glee, feeling as if Adora knew what she meant. "I-I never got her name, but she was so mysterious! Then, I saw like a dozen different pictures in my head, then I saw another person, or at least I think she was a person cause her eye was seriously glowy, then everything started to get scary, and weird, and it was like this person was on a radio or something, and then-!'
"Catra, Catra, slow down, you're not making any sense!" Adora said, frantically shaking her friend by the shoulders. "None of this could've happened, you were only gone for a minute!"
"I-? A minute?" That revelation finally snapped Catra back to reality, despite not getting rid of the sirens of panic going off in the back of her mind. "That's... No, no, no, that's not possible. I mean that person, she was-"
"There was no person!" Adora stated as a matter of fact. "You were lying here for maybe thirty seconds before I finally found you, it took a dozen more just to wake you up."
"But that's..." Catra shook and rubbed her own head as she paced back and forth. "N-No... No that can't be right... I was awake for probably several minutes before I woke up again- I mean..." She managed to catch the last line of confusing dialogue herself. "I mean that' can't be right I can't just wake up and then wake up again... I don't think... unless...! Oh my gosh, I finally understand now!"
"Yes!... I must've gotten brain damage." It was the only detail that made sense to her! She fell from incredible heights, was so focused on finding something that could get her a promotion, and then after she hit her head hard enough with either the branch from earlier or the ground the bush barely cushioned her fall from, she hallucinated the events that felt like minutes had passed despite the fact only seconds had. "I mean what else could it be?"
"Brain damage?" Adora couldn't help but smirk slightly as she raised a brow. As worried as she was for her friend, it was rather humorous hearing her suddenly declare that she induced brain damage from her fall. "I'm pretty sure you weren't brain damaged, Catra."
"But it has to be brain damage! Wait, would I even know if I was brain damaged? Can I be aware of I'm brain damaged?" All of this confusion was adding on to an already-growing headache, making it harder to determine if she was brain damaged or not. The fact of the matter is, she knew the sword was nowhere to be seen, yet she felt like there had to be a sword beyond all reasonable doubt. She was almost certain the imaginary sword was real, yet at the same time wasn't sure if it was real.
It was such a headache!
"Well like I said, there was nothing here except you when I found you." Adora said trying to sound calming. "Whatever you thought you saw it must've been in your dream. Now come on, we've wasted enough time here. We better get back before Shadow Weaver finds out we're gone." She said, walking back over to the parked skiff.
"Y-Yeah.. Yeah you're right." Catra found little point in arguing. Amongst the alternatives, wasting time wondering "what if" was a lot worse than angering Shadow Weaver. Here they were, in the middle of a forest they had no permission from Shadow Weaver or Hordak to be in, after stealing a skiff, and nearly crashing in the middle of the Whispering Woods and getting stranded in the middle of nowhere.
With a heavy sigh to herself, Catra followed behind as the two cadets hopped back into the skiff, wasting no time to get a move on and out of these woods. Today had been a rather tiring day for the young catgirl, one she wasn't sure if she wanted an explanation for. In less than a day she became a Senior Cadet, found her friend getting promoted without her, stole a skiff Adora insisted they just borrowed, got thrown off a skiff from nearly a hundred feet in the air, and took a hallucinatory trip after touching a sword, which was most likely the result of severe brain damage she was suffering.
Despite all of this however, something was nagging at her. Something was telling her from the back of her mind that she needed to go back. Something told Catra she needed to do all of this, like it would help her accomplish one of her biggest dreams. Whatever the case was, there was one deepening concern that continued to cross her mind.
What was her dream trying to warn her about?
A/N: And with that, that concludes Part 1 of part 1 of The Sword ^^. I gotta say I really do love this series despite how recently i got into it! I know this episode seems fairly similar to the original version with only a few key differences, and the future ones will be based on the episodes too, but i promise there will be some good/big changes between this series and the official series, so you guys can expect some fun differences here and there. While I will still keep to the series as best as possible, i promise to throw in a few sun surprises and scenes here and there.
Be sure to leave your thoughts and reviews too if you enjoyed it! The faster I get feedback, the more positive energy i receive and the sooner the updates come so I know people want more of this ^^!