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Acquiring One's Own Stick

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Mumm-Ra had just gone on a tirade that involved threatening to break Leo’s neck a full sixteen years before his scheduled Retirement Ceremony. Leo knew it was an empty threat. His master thought too highly of Leo to kill off one of his best slaves this early. All the same, in light of what had recently happened and in light of the fact that Mumm-Ra’s Pyramid Ship was scheduled to arrive at the Zaïs system (the location of the War Stone) any day now, Leo thought it best to regard his master with his default expression of obedience and neutrality.

“…You’re to blame for what happened with the Dogs, Leo.” Mumm-Ra said crossly.

Leo swallowed, blinking in genuine confusion. “Forgive me, but…what makes you say that?” Leo asked, as he had not been paying attention to what Mumm-Ra had been saying. It was then that he realized what Mumm-Ra was referring to: the day prior, one of the Cats had let the dogs out from their containment. The question was “Who”, and the problem was that none of the Cats had been forthcoming with regards to an answer. With that in mind, Leo fixed Mumm-Ra with a look that was equal parts exasperated, unimpressed, and wary. Leo did so, being content in the knowledge that it hadn’t been him.

“Ever since you located the last of the Power Stones, you’ve become more and more impertinent.” Mumm-Ra responded.

Leo was baffled at this declaration. It had been Panthera who’d spoken out against Mumm-Ra’s descisions to use the Plun-Darr galaxy to make the sword of the same name. Besides, ever since his revelation at the extent of Mumm-Ra’s villainy, Leo had taken great lengths to conceal his actions and words from his master— Leo froze, eyes widening minutely in panic.

Whiskers, did he find out about our plan? He wondered. If Mumm-Ra found out about the plan that he, Panthera, and the Forger made—forge the Sword of Omens from the Sword of Plun-Darr’s scraps, enhance it with the War Stone after intercepting the latter item from Tygus, and confront Mumm-Ra with the aforementioned sword—all three of them would be in hot water, to put it mildly.

Fortunately for Leo, Mumm-Ra failed to notice Leo’s reaction, as he continued, “Next you’ll be acquiring your own stick!”. At this, Mumm-Ra brandished the Sword of Plun-Darr up in the air, gesturing to it as if to emphasize this point.

Leo’s still-wide eyes darted to the right, to the place where the door to the ship’s main corridor stood silent and unyielding. Thousands of mahes away, down an unused maintenance corridor, the technically-unfinished Sword of Omens lay hidden among the pipes and wiring, where it would (hopefully) remain unfound for the time being. If Mumm-Ra found out that Leo had not only acquired his own stick, but had indirectly asked Mumm-Ra’s own Forger to make him one that had a chance—however remote—of defeating their Master, and all before they were ready? Surely an eternity’s worth of pain and hurt would follow.

Leo would have to be on guard from here on out.