I decided it'd be better to just start a new thread rather than having people dig into the old thread for anything past part seven. Sorry for those expecting another chapter, but there will be one before the end of this week. On another note, this part of the story is MUCH more PG-13 than the first 7 parts. This project is going to be put on hold for awhile for a few reasons. Part Eight: Homecoming “You’re kidding. Right?” Tygra said to the twins. “She didn’t even know she had kids?” “Yes,” WilKat said, wide-eyed. “I don’t know…I just…I tried…” Kit was still crying. She had wanted so long to see her mother again, but she didn’t even remember them. It was like all the work they had done to get there had just been shoved back into their faces. But they weren’t going to take it. “Tygra,” Cheetara said, holding onto him like Pumyra had done to Lion-O, “we need to help them.” Tygra sighed. “But, how do we even help them?” Cheetara shrugged, just as confused as her male companion. They headed back to the twins’ home. Once again, they knocked on the door, but this time it was Tygra doing it. He didn’t feel like the door would break this time, but was still unsure of what to say. The door then opened, and an older female cat stepped forward once again. “Oh, you must be these cubs’ parents. It’s odd to see a tiger and cheetah together, though,” she said. “Wait, no! We’re not their parents!” Cheetara said. “We really aren’t,” Tygra added. “We’re here because YOU are.” The she-cat laughed, and it was rather unsettling to both Tygra and Cheetara and the twins. She proceeded to deny her cubs’ relation to her. She then kindly asked the cats to leave and closed the door in their faces. “I have an idea,” Kat said. “Let’s go ask the neighbors what happened.” The other cats agreed, and they walked a few minutes to the nearest house. Though they were technically in the settlement, their house was on the very outskirts in order to be located on the farmland they owned. “Why does everyone keep thinking we’re parents?” Cheetara asked Tygra on the way. “Maybe it’s a sign,” he said suggestively, planting another kiss on her cheek this time. Kit and Kat both grumbled in disgust. They didn’t like anything involving romance. “Quiet, Tygra, you’re scaring the kids,” Cheetara said, smiling. She kissed Tygra back. They arrived at the neighbors’ house and they knocked on the door. “Well, looks like our neighbors’ kids have returned,” a cat said who answered the door. He was short and presumably older, garnished with a long, grey beard and very little hair on his head. He invited the cats in, having known Kit and Kat since their childhood. “We have a problem, sir,” Kit said to the cat. “Our mom, she…” “Yes,” the cat interrupted. “She’s a victim of him.” “Him?” Tygra asked. “Is this another curse thing?” The cat chuckled, but then looked rather serious. “This figure, I reckon ‘few months ago, began showin’ up in the middle of the night. He was very tall and had no face, from what people say. The call him the ‘vile one’. I honestly didn’t believe ‘em until I saw him myself. He floated, somehow, across our fields. He seemed to be rather determined. I heard him speakin’ in a weird language, one I ain’t never heard before. He flew towards you’uns’ house and I heard a strange noise. I then seen him fly out, and them lights went out. I worried for your sisters, so I ran as hard as I could over yonder.” “So what happened?” Kat asked. “Were they okay?” The cat shook his head, and the twins immediately broke into tears. Both Tygra and Cheetara attempted to comfort the two cubs, but it wasn’t going to help. “I’m so sorry,” the cat said softly. “It couldn’t have been avoided…” “I know,” Kat said between sobs. “It’s not your fault.” The cats left the elderly cat’s home and sat in silence in the field adjacent to the twins’ home. Both Kit and Kat had calmed down, but Kit still seemed distraught. Kat, on the other hand, looked vengeful and was obviously planning something. “We have to figure out what’s wrong with her,” Kat said, determined. “She’s still in there, somewhere.” “You sound like Lion-O,” Cheetara said. “A lot like him.” Tygra couldn’t help but notice either. Both had lost a loved one to some sort of mind problem and were not going to stop until they regained that person. Tygra, trying to be as sympathetic as possible, quickly devised a plan. “Well, we will wait until nightfall,” he announced after a few minutes of silence, interrupted occasionally by a sniffle from Kit. “We’ll see what happens then.” “How is this going to help Mom?” Kit asked. “She’s just going to stay in her house, denying our existence while we sit out here and do nothing?” Cheetara replied, “We’ll be doing something. We’re going to see who that ‘vile person’ is, and see what he actually does.” Tygra went off to the more “settled” part of the settlement and bought a few food items they could eat while waiting for nightfall. While there, he overheard a conversation between two older cats, presumably farmers, who were also talking about this creature. He apparently had tried to attack a few of the locals, and people were getting very anxious to even sleep at night. This only made Tygra more determined to find this creature and teach him a lesson. He arrived back where Cheetara was with the kittens. “Anything happen?” he asked. “Another person thought I was their mother,” Cheetara grumbled. “Do I really look that old?” Tygra set the food down, and the twins’ hunger got the best of them. “I thought clerics weren’t supposed to care about personal appearance,” he stated in a smooth, snarky tone. “What clerisy?” she replied. “I don’t see one in existence.” “Well, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stick to your morals,” Kit said between a bite of vegetable. “I’ve been reading through your books.” Cheetara was surprised by this. “Interested in becoming a cleric?” “Actually, I am,” she said. “The elephants really gave me a different outlook. I saw how it was similar to yours and I, well, went through your stuff.” Night fell a couple hours later. The cats hid, all a good distance from each other to cover as much land as possible. “I just saw something, over there,” Kit said, pointing. She refused to be parted with Kat. “It’s a tall shadow.” Kat turned, and saw nothing at first. He scouted the area for a few more kinutes when he saw it. It was a tall figure, as explained before. It was traveling rather slow, but was floating a good two feet above the ground. It then turned towards the cub, and showed its face (or rather a lack of one). “Uh, Kit,” WilyKat muttered, “I think he sees us.” “How?” she asked in a whisper. “We’re practically invisible!” “He’s coming this way, fast!” But Kat was prepared. He wasn’t going to sit there and try to hide. While the creature flew towards him, he grabbed his weapon and braced himself, taking an elephant-like stance. He felt the creature fly right by him, and he felt his grapple tug when it caught onto the creature. “I got him!” WilKat cried out, holding onto his grapple as hard as he could. The creature was pulling hard, and it wasn’t going to give up easily. The other cats ran towards him, interested to see what he had discovered. Suddenly, the creature shot a spark of electricity through the wire in Kat’s weapon. Kat was sent flying back as the creature rose up in the air. Tygra and Cheetara stood in awe while Kit went over to check and see if her brother was okay. “Who are you?” Tygra finally asked. “Let’s see,” the creature said. “I’m attacking cats, trying to make their lives more miserable. I killed these cubs’ sibling without the slightest bit of guilt. I wiped their mother’s memory clean of their existence without any regard for their well-being.” “Mumm-Ra,” Cheetara said under her breath. “You got that right, missy,” he hissed. “And I want my little kitty back.” “You took our family,” Kit cried. “You can’t have ANYTHING you want back!” Mumm-Ra charged towards Kit, but Tygra caught him in his whip and shoved the mummy’s face into the ground, laying down on top of him to make sure he could not move. “Look, you worthless sack of bones, you’re never getting her back. You mess with my brother you get me. You get all of us, and this is the last time you’ll have the upper hand.” Tygra then backed up, noticing what he was laying on was in fact not a sack of bones, but a model of a sack of bones. It was a machine, and it had fooled all of them into thinking they were facing a real threat. “What’s wrong?” Cheetara asked. “Why are you letting it go?” “It’s not alive,” Tygra answered. “It’s a fake. It’s just here to distract us. We’ve been tricked.” The cats stood there, feeling rather stupid for not seeing this coming. Kat seemed the most upset, wanting to avenge his fallen siblings. “Does this mean that the thing with mom is fake?” Kit asked. “I’m afraid not,” answered Cheetara. “He did do everything he said. That decoy was only there to send us a message that he is still ahead of us.” Tygra was not going to be told anything he was involved with was below someone. “I think he’s scared. I think we’re posing more and more of a threat and he’s just trying to make sure we stay out of his path.” “It could be either way,” Cheetara said. “but let’s just go back to New Thundera.” The cats headed back, but not before Kit and Kat said goodbye to their mother through a window in the home, despite her forgetting them. “I’m proud of you two,” Cheetara said. “What did we do to deserve anything?” Kat said gloomily. “Abandon our family?” “Look, I had to leave my mother and father too. I didn’t have a choice either. It may not seem like the right decision sometimes, but your parents only want the best for you and that’s what you got. You have us now, and you don’t have to worry about keeping the farm or feeding a family.” Both Kit and Kat’s moods were brought up by Cheetara’s statement. “And you two acted incredibly mature when it came to what happened. Most others would have went on a rampage but you kept it inside. Sure, you shouldn’t bottle everything up, but there are times where you need to.” They reached New Thundera in the middle of the night. Exhausted, they spent their last minute of consciousness dragging themselves to the palace, where Lion-O, Panthro and Bengali were fast asleep. There were two rooms open in the palace, seemingly set up for the twins and Tygra and Cheetara. “Heh, first time we get a room to ourselves,” Tygra said lazily to Cheetara, almost too tired to force another snarky smile out. “Not the time, Tygra,” Cheetara said. “I think you’re more tired than me.” They helped the twins to their rooms and made sure they were okay before going to their room. Tygra didn’t even bother to change clothes before passing out on the large bed. Cheetara smiled at her boyfriend’s hastiness to get to bed, but was just about as desperate herself. She thought about meditating for a little bit, but decided she needed sleep more than anything. She climbed in next to the large, snoring creature sprawled out over the sheets and fell asleep as well. Part Nine: A New Interest “So, how was your day yesterday?” Kit asked as she chewed her food. All the cats had gathered together and were eating before they headed out to find the next stone. “Pretty boring,” Bengali replied. He had already obliterated his plate of food and was lounging back in his chair with his feet on the table. “I got hit on by some girls, and that was about it.” Lion-O finished chewing a bite of food. “I just relaxed for a little bit. It really helped me a lot,” he stated. “I went for a swim and it felt like the best thing ever.” “Sounds pretty boring,” Tygra sighed. Eating generally made him sleepy, and he was still exhausted from the night before. “Well, you guys were actually attempting to do something,” Lion-O replied. “We were just lounging.” Panthro interrupted, “Actually, I found an old friend.” Lion-O looked at Panthro. “You mean another one?” “Well, yeah, but this one’s good. I promise,” he reassured. “Who is he, or she, or it, or they, or…?” Kat asked curiously. Panthro took a deep breath. “His name is Lynx-O…General Lynx-O, that is. He took the spot either Grune or I was going to get as general because we were searching for the book.” The cats were amused. “Nice to know I’m not the only military cat around here,” Benagli stated smugly. “So, is he going to join us?” Tygra asked. “We could use all the help possible.” Panthro shook his head. “No.” “Why not?” “He’s not of much use to us,” Panthro said. “He’s…well, he’s blind. I don’t see him being a great help with his handicap.” Bengali slammed his paws on the table and stood up dramatically. “Are you serious!?” he exclaimed. “He’s probably one of the best fighters Thundera ever saw. He doesn’t need to see to be an absolute beast at anything!” “But he’s older than me,” Panthro replied, clearly annoyed by the immature tiger. “And he’s got a daughter to take care of.” “Panthro,” Bengali paused, chuckling to himself, “His daughter is Lion-O’s age. She can fend for herself.” Panthro suddenly looked flustered, and the other cats began to pick up on his true feelings. “B…but she’s…she’s crazy, at least from what I heard…” he stuttered nervously. Tygra laughed. “I guess this guy is better than you at something,” he said. “I haven’t seen you this flustered since, well, forever. This guy must be a lot more awesome than you.” “ARE YOU KIDDING? I COULD’VE GOTTEN THAT GENERAL POSITION FROM HIM WITH MY HANDS AND FEET BEHIND MY BACK!!!” Panthro yelled. “Okay, Panthro, we obviously need this guy if he’s as good as you,” Lion-O laughed. The cats went to the older cat’s house, which Panthro had found the other day. They knocked on the door, and it opened, revealing a large male cat. He had spotted yellow-ish fur and a large amount of hair coming off his ears. He was also bald, and wore red and black armor. His eyes had an obvious film coating them, suggesting that he was, in fact, blind. However, he didn’t seem to be affected by it. He also seemed to be in rather exceptional physical shape, despite his age. “Lynxana, we have some visitors,” he called out behind him. The cats watched as a female cat came running up behind Lynx-O. She shared his same color scheme of fur, but had long, brown hair tied off in a long pony tail. She wore a purple outfit and was just slightly under Lion-O’s height. “These are the royalty of New Thundera, plus a few friends,” Lynx-O introduced his daughter to the cats. “And, Lion-O and company, this is Lynxana, my daughter. I am Lynx-O, as you probably know.” His voice had an age to it, but was still very deep and powerful. The female cat immediately blushed and stared at Lion-O, infatuated with him. “Um, hi,” Lion-O said, “But how did you know who are are?” “Scent,” he quickly replied. “It’s quite simple. Since my eyes are not the best I can hear and smell much better than even the best of cats.” “Enough about him,” Lynxana interrupted. “I want to know about YOU, Lion-O! Are you currently available?” Lion-O stood still, rather flustered. His paw itched at the back of his neck rather nervously. “I uh, I’m…I wanted to know if you two could help us, you know, search for the next stone.” Both cats gasped. “Well, I’d be honored,” said Lynx-O. “I will be ready.” “Spending a few months with the king? This is my dream come true!” Lynxana cheered. Lion-O looked rather nervous, blushing just a little. “Looks like someone’s back on the market,” Tygra whispered to Lion-O, purring a little just to make his brother feel even more uncomfortable. “Shut up, Tygra, at least I have a sword,” Lion-O snapped back. The cats left the city with their two new additions, followed by citizens praising them and already longing for their king’s return. Lion-O got a few more “offers” from the short distance from Lynx-O’s home, but surprisingly (to Lion-O) Lynxana shoved them all off. Lion-O could almost see the crush in her eyes. She was hooked on him, and he didn’t like it. It was nothing against her, but he had only known her for a grand total of five minutes. She was defending him like he was her mate. Nevertheless, the headed towards their Feliner, ready to face whatever may come their way. Lynx-O decided to start up a conversation. “So, Panthro, how are things?” Lynx-O asked, somewhat chuckling. “Grrr, fine,” Panthro grumbled. “Oh, come on, old pal,” Lynx-O said, hitting a cat on the shoulder. “Ow, what was that for?” Cheetara cried out. Lynx-O looked shocked. “Oh, sorry, I thought you were…never mind.” He looked rather embarrassed after this. “You okay?” Tygra asked Cheetara. “Yeah, it just surprised me.” Panthro looked like he was remembering something. “We’ve been friends since, well, ever. I can’t remember a time without him. When he became the general, well, Grune kinda rubbed off on me. I felt horrible afterward, and I would like to say sorry, Lynx-O.” Lynx-O grabbed Panthro’s shoulder, finally able to choose the right cat. “It’s fine. I’m still better than you.” “I bet on Mumm-Ra’s life you’re not,” Panthro replied, harmlessly punching Lynx-O in the shoulder. “Her, what happened to your arms?” Lynx-O asked. “They feel…different.” “They got…misplaced,” Lion-O said. “He has new ones now.” “I’m not even going to try to understand that,” Lynx-O laughed. WilyKit, feeling rather excluded from the conversation (along with her brother) asked, “So how do you make up for not seeing?” “Well, I hear a lot and have a heightened sense of smell,” he said. “So I can sense stuff pretty well.” “Oh okay,” WilyKit replied. “That’s pretty cool.” “So Lion-O,” Lynxana interrupted, holding onto the lion’s shoulder. “Any plans on what we’re doing next?” “We’re searching for the next stone,” he said, trying to shrug the new cat off his shoulder. “That’s it for now.” “…and?” “Well, we’re going to try to help our fellow cat Pumyra. She’s kinda…lost.” “Oh, okay,” she said, now sulking. Lion-O knew this was getting out of hand.