Disclaimer:Only Cougara is mine. Everyone else isn't.
"Jasmine, tell me how you met the Thundercats."
"But Cougara, I told you that one twice already."
"Well, tell it one more time, for an even three."
I laughed. Cougara and I were talking with each other and having the best time. She would tell me the best parts of her on Thundera, then I would tell her about specific events in Manhattan. Especially about becoming part fay, meeting and joining the clan and the adventures I had with the Thundercats. She seemed to really enjoy the Thundercat stories.
"Okay, It all started when I had decided to go do some reading in the castle library," I began.
"And when you reached the doors to it, a portal opened up in the ceiling and it pulled you inside," Cougara added.
"Right. I crashed in some bushes. I noticed it was spring before I turned to stone. When I woke up, I was in one of the storage rooms."
Before I could continue telling the story, there was a knock on the door. "Come in," I called. The door slid open to reveal Lion-O on the other side. And he looked anxious.
"Come on you two. We've got a job to do." He was out the door before either of us could ask any questions. We dashed out of the room and went after Lion-O who ran out the front doors of Cat's Lair and into the Thundertank where the others were waiting.
"Lion-O! What's going on?" I asked before the tank could go roaring off into the forest.
"The mutants are planning another attack on Cat's Lair. We have to go to Castle Plun-darr and stop them before they reach the lair. Cougara jumped into the tank, which took off into the forest. I jumped onto one of the paws of Cat's Lair and glided after my friends.
The flight was long since I was following the tank below me. All the while, however, I thought about what Lion-O had told me. The mutants were planning an attack, huh? Something wasn't right. Why would the mutants plan an attack if they knew the Thundercats would stop them before they even left their castle? That sounded suspiciously like a trap to me. A trap for all the Thundercats.
The Thundertank stopped at the edge of the forest near Castle Plun-darr. I landed beside the tank and took my first good look at the mutant's home. The terrain was gloomy and the castle looked even gloomier than the area surrounding it. I couldn't wait for the trap to be sprung so we could escape it and head back to Cat's Lair. Castle Plun-darr gave me the creeps.
Looking at the passenger side of the tank, which was on my left, I said, "Lion-O, I've got this feeling that this could be a trap."
As if on cue, a dozen or so mutants dropped from the tree branches above us. Two Monkians were behind me and two Jackalmen were in front of me. This would be easy to take care of. I crouched on all four and swept my attackers off their feet with my tail. I jumped onto a tree branch, turned around, and glided into the battle where I knocked several mutants off balance with my wings. Some mutants weren't so easily taken care of. A few of them had weapons.
A reptilian swung a mace attached to a stick with a chain at me. I ducked the spiked ball and detached it from the chain with my claws. The ball hit the ground harmlessly. Another mutant thrust a spear toward me. I leaped away from the point, grabbed a part of the stick and broke the weapon in half. I then knocked the two unconscious by knocking them together.
Suddenly, I felt a sting in my upper right arm. I gave a pained roar. Using my left claws, I swat the dart out of my skin. The effects of the dart started to overcome me. Turning in the direction from which I thought the dart had come, I saw the three leaders of the mutants. I took a step toward them, then collapsed to the ground and sleep overtook me.
I burst from my stone sleep with my customary roar. Realizing that I had been sleeping in stone made me note that I had been held captive for one day. I was certain that I was the only one that had been captured. But…why? Why did they capture me? Well, if they were planning to turn me against the Thundercats, may Jaga help protect me. Deciding that it was time to leave, I walked toward the cell door, and kicked it down with one taloned foot. I ran up the stairs to the door that led out of the dungeons and kicked it down.
Two Jackalmen were on either side of the door. I grabbed them and knocked them unconscious. I ran up the stairs as an alarm blared, indicating my escape. I came to the first window I saw and glided out it. I was free! I gained some height, circled Castle Plun-darr until I was in front of it, then headed for Cat's Lair.
I didn't go very far when I felt a blow hit my left wings and shoulder. I went down and crashed in the nearby forest in a place where the mutants would never find me. As I crashed, I blacked out for the second time in two days.
When I came to, I was still in the forest and I had only been out for maybe ten or fifteen minutes. I still had time to leave this area before the mutants decided to try and find me, even thought they never would unless I left this place. Even still, it would take them awhile to catch up to me. Since my wing had been injured, I had to walk back to Cat's Lair. It would take awhile but I was confident that I could make it. Getting to my feet, I began the trip back to the Thundercats.
Hours later, I was still walking. The trip was slow going due to my injuries and needing to rest every so often. I felt like collapsing right then and there. But, I knew if I did the mutants would eventually find me and drag me back to Castle Plun-darr. So, I kept going.
I was getting closer to my friends. I was in the part of the forest where the Warrior Maidens lived in their treetop kingdom. Even though they were Thundercat allies, I didn't want to seem like I was trespassing. However, my injuries had started to cause a great deal of pain and I couldn't go on and endure this pain at the same time, so I welcomed the ground as I once again passed out on my back.
I moaned as I came to consciousness. Opening my eyes, I could make out a blurry shape sitting next to me. A blink cleared everything up. I was lying on a bed with a Warrior Maiden at the foot holding a wet rag in one hand.
"Are you all right, Jasmine?" the maiden asked. Her question took awhile to make it to my brain. When it did, it occurred to me that she used my name and we had never me before.
"Yes, but how did you know my name?"
"Lion-O told me about how he and the other Thundercats were friends with a gargoyle, how she was anointed, that she has magic, and especially her name."
I realized that I had been wearing the sash and had not paid it any attention since I got here. I also wanted to know my rescuer's name.
"By the way," the maiden continued. "My name is Willa." She dabbed the rag on my left shoulder. It stung a little, but it felt good to have it taken care of. Willa then moved the cloth to the wing above it. Once again, it stung.
"It is almost dawn. Would you like to sit up and become human?" Willa asked.
Nodding, I let Willa help me sit up. As I saw the sky lighten, I concentrated on the transformation. A healing warmth surrounded my left shoulder, decreasing the pain by about half. I opened my eyes and saw Willa look a little shocked.
"I should have warned you. It's not a pretty sight. I'm sorry," I apologized.
"It's fine. I just never saw anyone change shape like that before. Now, how did you end up with an injured shoulder and wing?"
I told Willa of the trap the mutants sprung on us, how they tranqued and imprisoned me. And my escape which answered her question. When I finished, Willa suggested that I should head back to Cat's Lair. I agreed and stood up. I thanked Willa for her help and climbed down to the ground. Since I didn't hurt as bad as during the night, the walk was more enjoyable. I could have teleported myself back, but I preferred walking.
It must have been about midday when I caught sight of the Berbil village, which is close to Cat's Lair. I breathed a sigh of relief at knowing that I was safe at last. Nothing could stop me now.
I spoke too soon. No sooner had that thought crossed my mind, then an evil laugh sounded in the air above me. Looking skyward, I saw Mumm-ra. He swooped down towards me saying, "You may have escaped the mutant, but you'll never escape Mumm-ra!"
'Yeah right, creep,' I thought. I ducked his attack and he sailed past. I stood up and ran for cover in some bushes. I hid a few seconds before Mumm-ra swooped by again.
"Why are you after me? I've done you no harm," I asked while somewhat quoting Goliath.
"It is your magic I'm after, young fay. I have never seen such unlimited magic in a person. And I will have it."
'Not if I have anything to do with it,' I thought. I knew that casting a spell was the only way to get Mumm-ra off my tail. Standing up, I began to chant:
I could feel the fay magic welling up inside as I chanted, growing stronger with each word. I opened my eyes (which were closed during the spell casting) and saw they were glowing the green color that was common to the third race. The magic shot from my eyes and hit Mumm-ra who vanished immediately. It worked.
Suddenly, I was hit with immediate fatigue. I must have cast what Puck calls a "whammy spell". Spells like those use a lot of energy. I needed to get back to Cat's Lair. It wasn’t' too far away now.
By the time I was approaching the bridge, I was very tired and also weak. Looking up at the Cat's head, I hoped the scanners were on. Taking two more steps, I collapsed within a few steps of the bridge.
I felt a cool cloth being rubbed gently against my forehead. I knew then that the scanners had been on and that I had been brought into the lair and into a guest room. I groaned softly.
"Jasmine?" I heard a voice say. It was Tygra's voice. I opened my eyes, then blinked. The Thundercat was sitting in a chair next to the bed.
"Thank Jaga, you're alright. What happened?"
I gave Tygra a quick version of everything from escaping the mutants to defeating Mumm-ra. He looked impressed at how I found the strength to actually use my powers since I prefer not to.
It occurred to me that I had no idea how much time has passed since I passed out. "What time is it?" I asked.
"It'll be sunset in about ten minutes. You'll probably want some space for your change."
Nodding, I sat up, slipped out of the bed, and moved so I could see the sun go down and prepare myself for the unavoidable.
When the sun was six minutes away from setting completely, something totally unexpected happened. It started with a throbbing headache. Then, my stomach began to hurt. The pain increased, forcing me to my knees. This wasn't the pain I felt normally. Something was happening. I squeezed my eyes shut and started taking deep breaths, but it didn't matter. A moan escaped my throat. I heard Tygra calling for the other Thundercats.
I was now crouched beside the bed, clutching my stomach with one hand, the other on the floor. My first thought was, 'It can't be the baby. It's not due for eight more months.' The news of my pregnancy had not been told to the Thundercats yet. I planned to tell them before I left.
The pain was so great that I didn't notice the other Thundercats standing in the doorway and that Tygra was now a few feet away from me. Slowly and gradually, the pain stopped. I opened my eyes and looked down. My mouth gaped. My hand wasn't human or gargoyle. It was Thundercat. Tiger-striped skin started from my wrist and continued up. That was all I noticed before the familiar pang hit me and I transformed back to my gargoyle self.
When it was done, I stood up and faced my friends. From the looks on their faces, what I saw had been real. I had turned into a Thundercat, even thought it had only been for about two or three minutes.
"How did that happen?" Lion-O asked, stepping closer toward me.
"I'm not sure." My mind was still dazed from what it saw that I wasn't thinking clearly.
"It must have been Mumm-ra's doing," Tygra suggested.
"It could have even been the dart itself," I added. "Mumm-ra may have put some kind of powder into the tranq and it needed magic to activate it."
"Are you sure?" Lion-O asked.
"If it was to happen at dawn, then it would have happened then."
Suddenly, I was feeling somewhat awkward. I mean, I had been a Thundercat for a couple of minutes and now I felt like we had just met one another. Like it was meeting for the first time. I wasn’t sure what to do.
"Well," Lion-O said, cutting off my train of thought, "I think first of all, that a cure should be found for you." It was then that I realized that Lion-O was talking to me.
"And we can do that in the lab," Tygra added.
"Then, the two of you better get started," Lion-O told us.
Tygra and I left the room and I followed him to the lab. My first impression of the lab when I entered was that finding the cure wouldn't be a problem. Everything that we would need was here as well as our knowledge of what we were finding Tygra's cure before. If we did the procedure we did the first time, we might do it a day earlier than before. And if I remembered correctly, the first step was a sample of blood.
Tygra brought out a needle and I prepared myself for the sting that's felt when the needle pierces the skin. I calmly drew a deep breath while the needle's point started to go in. I kept my breaths deep and calm to avoid feeling too much pain. At last, the needle was withdrawn from me. A small cloth was tied around the puncture.
There was enough blood for two samples. We set them up for closer examination. As I got ready for my first look, I wondered what I would see. I knew I would mostly see normal gargoyle DNA, but would there be something else? Something unusual?
I watched Tygra for a moment as he looked at his sample. Then, I turned to min and looked. I was amazed by what I saw. There were two sets of DNA! But one appeared to be the more dominant of the two. It had to be my gargoyle DNA. And it appeared to be quite normal. I focused on the second, less dominant set. I saw DNA bit that looked slightly but not quite similar to the gargoyle one and I just knew that those bits were my human DNA. But, there was foreign DNA mixed in with it. It didn't look human or gargoyle so it had to be Thundercat DNA.
"Find anything?" my partner asked.
"Quite a bit." I answered.
"I've noticed two sets of DNA in your blood."
"I saw it too. One was more dominant than the other."
"The gargoyle DNA."
"Yes. The other one, however, I think that's one that needs to be worked on. I saw some parts of human DNA, but the other parts are being covered up."
"So whatever Mumm-ra did, it seems to only affect your human blood. Let's get to work."
The two of us worked well through the night. Extracting the DNA was difficult since humans and Thundercats are so similar. We both helped each other on which parts needed to be extracted and which didn't. As the dawn started approaching, I sensed it coming.
"You know, I was thinking that maybe it only happens just before sunset," Tygra suggested. "Give it a try."
I knew what he meant. Try to become human. I closed my eyes and focused good and hard on my human form. I could feel my extra limbs absorb themselves into my back, my claws on my hands and feet splitting, my fangs and ears shortening and becoming round. However, just as my skin turned tan, I felt something strange happening. Like it was trying to dominate my human self.
I struggled with…whatever it was I was fighting against. A formula of some kind, I guess. The harder I fought it, the stronger it became. Finally, I couldn't fight it anymore and the formula dominated my body.
I opened my eyes, disappointed that I couldn't defeat it on my own. My disappointment was reflected in Tygra's eyes as well as sleepiness. I realized that I was sleepy also.
"Come on. Let's get some sleep and work on it again tonight," Tygra said. As we put our research away carefully, I thought I saw Tygra looking at me in a tender almost loving sort of way. Or maybe I was imagining things because I was tired. After everything was stored securely, we left and headed for our separate rooms to get some sleep.
I was running through the forest. I looked over my shoulder and upward, and saw Mumm-ra above me. He swooped and I ducked. I then noticed that I was human. I was so distracted by this fact that Mumm-ra was given the chance to seize me. I struggled in his grip as the two of us hovered in the air.
"Now, your magic is mine!" Mumm-ra crowed. I felt a strange sensation. I realized that I was being drained of my magic! I saw that I was also changing back into a gargoyle. Mumm-ra dropped me and as I headed toward the ground I started to turn to stone and…
I sat up in bed, my eyes wide, my hand clutching the sheet to my chest, and I was breathing hard. I sighed with relief when I saw that I had been dreaming. I looked around the room and my gaze rested on a mirror that hung on the wall on the left side of the bed. I got up to take a look, remembering Tygra's loving gaze.
I peered into the mirror and got a shock. My hair was white except the top and where the sides formed a hood. They were orange with black stripes. I had five finger tipped with claws. Orange and black skin traveled up my wrists to my neck and sides of my face, then down my body ending at my ankles. My feet were like my hands. My eyes, however, were a light blue.
It was night by the time Tygra and I continued working on the cure. We were still helping each other on figuring out which parts were what. We had gotten half of the work done last night. Now, we were almost done. The puncture from last night was totally healed when I had changed back to a gargoyle at sunset.
"We did it," I declared when dawn was half an hour away. During the night, I told Tygra how I was going to sleep in stone in order to make sure that the cure worked. He agreed that it was a good plan. Now, we had the cure. All we had to do was inject it into my arm and wait for dawn.
As I reached for a syringe, Tygra said, "Wait." Stopping I pulled my hand back and looked at him.
"What is it? Is something wrong?" Inside, I hoped nothing was wrong. The cure was correct. We looked it over at least twice.
Not exactly. It's just that… Jasmine, I ..." Tygra trailed off.
"Yes?" I encouraged him.
"I believe I'm in love with you."
I looked at him in disbelief. I couldn't believe it. First Aladdin, then Brooklyn, now Tygra.
"Tygra, you can't mean that."
"How long have you known?"
"Since this morning."
"I thought I caught you looking at me this morning."
"I wasn't sure it was love then. But after I thought about it, I decided that it had to be."
This was getting out of hand. I needed to set this Thundercat straight! Fast!
"Tygra, we can't be in love. In a few minutes, I'll be cured and then one day and night later, I'll leave and return home."
"I've thought about that. I had considered forgetting about the cure. But I knew that it wouldn't be an honorable thing to do."
"You made the right choice."
"But I still love you."
I sighed softly. We were back to square one. Neither of us was giving up on our cause. Which one of us was going to relent? Well, Tygra was set on loving me, so I suppose I could put my relationship with Tygra between friends and love. That way both of us would, hopefully, be satisfied.
"Let's get you cured," Tygra's voice cut into my thoughts. Looking at him, I saw a filled syringe in his hands. Smiling, I held out my arm and the needle went it and emptied its contents in my bloodstream. I was cured. By then, dawn was minutes away.
"You can stay in the lab today," Tygra offered.
"Thank you. And when I wake up tonight, I'll have some news for you and the other Thundercats." I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before choosing a pose and turning to stone. I saw the look of surprise and shock on Tygra's face before I fell asleep.
Tygra and I were in the Black Pyramid. Mumm-ra had captured me and Tygra had followed below to save me. He freed me, but we were pinned down as Mumm-ra fired magic bolts at us. The exit was to our left. All we had to do was wait for Mumm-ra to become exhausted and then make a run for it. Just as I hoped for, there was a pause in the magic bombardment. The two of us ran for cover that was closer to the exit. I hid behind a solid statue and looked at Tygra as he dove for cover just as the bombardment started again. One of the bolt Tygra! I saw the Thundercat hold his side before falling unconscious.
My eyes glowed brightly. I roared a "Noooo!" before leaping out to avenge my fallen friend. I attacked the bandaged enemy while avoiding the blasts. I managed to grab Mumm-ra, force him back into the casket and pull the cover over it. I ran back to Tygra, picked him up, and ran for the exit. I ran out of Mumm-ra's territory, across The Desert of Sinking Sands (or rather glided), and stopped when we reached The Forest of the Enchanted Unicorns. I laid Tygra down on the ground as he began to stir.
"How are you feeling, Tygra?" I asked.
"Hurt. I don't think I'm going to make it."
"No. Don't say that. You're going to be fine."
I saw Tygra take a deep, shaky breath before saying, "Remember Jasmine, I love you." I saw his eyes roll up into his head. His eyes closed and his head rolled to one side.
"No. Tygra, no! Come back. Please. I love you." I laid my head on his chest, eyes closed with tears running down my cheeks.
I broke out of the stone surrounding me with a roar, which quickly turned into a choking sob, when I remembered my sad dream. I couldn't believe that my subconscious was telling me that I might possibly be falling for Tygra. And I had Brooklyn back home. I swallowed the lump in my throat as the lab doors opened and Tygra stepped in.
"Sleep well?" Tygra joked.
Smiling, I joked back, "Like a rock. Speaking of which," I gestured at the stone bits. "I'll get this cleaned up."
"Let me give you a hand." The two of us swept up the stone and disposed of it. When that was done with, we left the lab and headed toward the Council Room where, Tygra told me, the others were waiting. Before we entered, I told Tygra that next time we were alone, I would turn into a Thundercat for him, solving his love crisis. He agreed and he walked into the Council room. I followed.
The eight other Thundercats and one Thunderian were seated at the table waiting for us. Tygra took his seat between Panthro and Cheetara and I took mine between Panthro and Lion-O.
"Tygra told us that you said you had some news for us," Lion-O began.
I nodded slowly while my mind raced, trying to put the news into words. "Well, last month, the doctor at Castle Wyvern told me that I'm…pregnant."
"That's great!" Cougara exclaimed.
"It isn't just any baby though," I added. "I was told that it's going to be a human/gargoyle hybrid."
"Wow!" Wily-Kit said.
The Thundercats started to ask more questions on how I became pregnant with a hybrid and if I would survive the birth process, which I was certain I would. We didn't stop discussing the news until it was almost dawn.
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