Part 15. Part 16.
Part 17. Part 18.
Karg, Saurod, and the Skar-vins stood atop Grayskull with Varlon, who had
just arrived to join them, while Blade was still in the chamber, guarding
the Sorceress. They were there to welcome Skeletor, as he approached on his
flying throne machine. Following him were several evil Rotons, each piloted
by members of his evil band who had come to help him take over the castle.
Skeletor landed his throne right on the roof of Grayskull. He took one
long look over the rocky landscape which surrounded the 300-foot castle.
After so long, the castle was finally his own. And he had never thought
that his conquest of the castle would be this easy. Of course, it had been
Karg that had conquered the castle rather than Skeletor himself, and Karg
had always been a faithful warrior….. so Skeletor knew he would have to
promote Karg to extreme heights. Perhaps he would give him his own segments
of Eternia to rule.
"It’s mine." he declared. "After all this time." Then he turned to Karg. "You have done me very well, Karg. I must admit that I anticipated disaster when you told me you were going after the doom crystal….. but instead, you win me this castle."
"I am ever at your service!" hissed Karg. "Here’s the doomc rystal!" he took the crystal from his pocket and handed it to Skeletor.
Skeletor held the crystal in his fist and shook it in triumph. "And now, as I drain the Sorceress’ powers, and take Grayskull as my own, you must venture back into your underground caverns to find He-Man. And if he’s still alive, you must bring him to me, so he can kneel at my feet before I kill him….. and so he can pay for the many times he’s showed up and foiled my magnificent schemes!"
"I will do so, master." replied Karg. Then he turned to Saurod and the Skar-vins and said "Come on, let’s go!" and they descended the spiral staircase which led down into the castle. Then Skeletor said to the mercenaries in the Rotons "You shall join me inside." and he flicked a switch on his throne, and was teleported inside Grayskull.
In the chamber, as Blade held the Sorceress at knifepoint, Skeletor’s throne materialised inside.
"Master!" exclaimed Blade. "Welcome to Grayskull! What shall I do with the Sorceress? Can I have her body when you’ve killed her?"
"I am not killing her." replied Skeletor. "I am merely draining her powers, so she is reduced to nothing but a weak, ordinary human being. Her powers have kept her young, but now she will age as I drain them." "What’s the point of that?" asked Blade. "She’ll be of no use to you- can’ t I just kill her?"
"You could never kill her, Blade. You could hurt her, but her power will prevent even your swords from killing her. You could only kill her after I have drained her power, and by then she will appear old….. not as beautiful as you like her….. and I know you like exquisite corpses."
Blade threw down his swords. "Go on then, master." he said. "Drain her power."
Just then, the other warriors who had accompanied Skeletor- Ninjor, Evil-Lyn, Kobra Khan and Trap Jaw, entered the chamber.
"We must see you drain her strength." said Evil-Lyn, glaring at the Sorceress evilly. "I have struggled for years to be as powerful as her, but have not quite made it- but once her power is drained, she will cringe at my feet."
"And we’ll stop her if she tries to escape!" said Trap Jaw, raising his arm gun.
"Very well, my warriors." said Skeletor. "And once she is drained of power, I will use her as my slave. She will pay for the many times she has helped foil my schemes." He raised the doom crystal, and aimed it horizontally at the Sorceress. "Now, Sorceress, after ridiculously looking down for so long on a more powerful being than yourself, your power will be drained and you will bow to him, as you always should have done!"
"You were never more powerful than me!" replied the Sorceress angrily, clearly unafraid of the evil warriors around her. "And I still have my magic powers to stop you!" She raised her arms, about to fire at him, but Trap Jaw shot a bolt of power at her from his arm gun, which cut through her right arm. She flinched back and clutched it in pain.
"Now I will drain you of power!" shouted Skeletor, and used his mind to control the immense evil power of the doom crystal. A stream of dazzling white light shot from the powerful crystal, and bathed the Sorceress. She suddenly drew back, feeling weak and helpless. Then she dropped to her knees, and her skin began to change….. losing its smooth texture and ageing in appearance…..
"Now!" laughed Skeletor. "Now you meet your fate!" He laughed maniacally as he watched the Sorceress’ strength fading. Now his victory had finally come…..
Then all of a sudden, there was a huge crash and shower of rocks from the ground, filling the whole room and scattering the evil warriors in terror. Two figures sprang out from the hole in the ground, one a red-haired warrior woman in snake armour, the other a tall, muscular man holding a gleaming sword and shouting "I HAVE THE POWER!!!"
Skeletor was so shocked that he dropped the doom crystal, and it lost its effects on the Sorceress, who quickly shot up and regained her strength. "He-Man!" he screamed. "What are you doing here? Karg told me you were close to death, but you look so….. powerful!"
"And wouldn’t you like to know why?" asked He-Man, brandishing his sword. "You must now pay for the way you’ve terrorised Eternia!" said Teela. "You can never win, He-Man!" said Skeletor.
He-Man stepped up to Skeletor, and held the power sword to the warlord’s grotesque, fleshless face. "Then prepare to face the power of Grayskull!"
Down in the caverns of the underworld, Karg, Saurod and the other Skar-vins
were making their way to the stream where they had left He-Man.
"I cannot wait to see that fool begging for mercy at Skeletor’s feet." said Varlon.
"He deserved this fate!" said Karg. They passed through the dark caverns, and eventually their ears were filled with the sound of trickling water from around the corner. They followed in the direction of the sound, and entered the huge cavern, where the underground stream ran.
"We threw He-Man onto a heap of rocks!" said Karg.
"Down there!" Saurod said, pointing. The warriors looked round, expecting to see the broken body of He-Man sprawled across the rocks. But they gasped in horror when they saw that there was nothing there! There was no trace of He-Man in the entire cavern!
"Where’s he gone?" asked Karg in panic. "Did anyone see him escape?"
The Skar-vins shook their heads. "He must have fallen into the stream."
said Varlon. "That stream would easily wash him away!"
"Yes, probably so." replied Karg. "But we must bring someone back to Skeletor! How about those fools trapped in the prison….. particularly the woman, Teela. We should get them and take them to Skeletor."
"Indeed so." said Varlon. Turning to the other Skar-vins, he said "You stay here, so you can attack just in case He-Man is around here. We must make our way to the prison."
Karg, Saurod, and Varlon turned and made their way to the Skar-vins’ prison. They passed through the dark caverns, until they reached the prison. Man-At-Arms was still lying there motionless, possibly dead. Extendar looked as though he was recovering, sitting up against the wall of his cell, but he still looked weak.
"We will take Teela first!" said Karg.
"She is in the cell around that corner." said Varlon, and led Karg and Saurod through to Teela’s cell.
And there they were greeted by the sight of smashed bars, a Skar-vin guard lying unconscious against the wall- and no Teela.
"No!" screamed Varlon. "She has escaped! This can’t happen! It can’t!!!"
"Where can she have gone?!" exclaimed Karg. "Perhaps she has something to do with He-Man’s disappearance!"
"She might….." said Varlon, "but then- He-Man would still be weak, and Teela could never save Eternia by herself! I don’t think this really causes any problems, Karg- Teela and He-Man are probably lost somewhere in the caverns just now! Let’s take that cyborg thing to Skeletor instead!"
They went back to the cell where Extendar was held. Extendar was still sitting up, propping his metal body against the wall.
"Right, you’re coming with us!" shouted Varlon. "He-Man and Teela may have ‘escaped’- but you stand no chance against our might, and you will bow to Skeletor!"
Extendar looked up at them, and uttered out: "I….. don’t….. think….. so……………… FOR I AM EXTENDAR, TOWER OF POWER!" And he shot out his arms, legs, head and torso, then leapt toward the bars and broke through them with ease.
The evil warriors cowered back in terror as they watched the giant being step out from where his cage had been, and look down on them, hands on his hips.
"You guys seem a little scared just now….." he said, "so I’ll be generous and won’t waste my power on weak assholes like you. Now tell me, WHERE is He-Man?"
"We will not tell you!" growled Karg, and his hook glowed bright red, and shot out a laser bolt. But Extendar jumped aside, and grabbed Karg by the neck.
"Tell me!" he demanded, gripping his hand firmly over Karg’s neck.
"I….. do not know….. but Grayskull is being taken over by Skeletor! He is draining the Sorceress’ power!"
Extendar’s eyes opened wide in alarm, and he loosened his grip on Karg.
"The Sorceress! In danger!" He dropped Karg heavily to the ground. "I will not let that happen!" He declared, and he abruptly turned and ran from the prison, darting through the caverns. But he knew he’d never find the way out by choosing random paths….. so he’d have to demand it! The moment a Skar-vin came along, he seized him by the neck as he had done with Karg and demanded: "Tell me the way to Grayskull through these tunnels! And if you don’t, you’ll regret it!"
The Skar-vin struggled to get free, but was no use against Extendar’s powerful grip. "Okay….." he stammered, frightened, "I… I’ll l-lead you there." Extendar dropped him violently, then the frightened Skar-vin led him through the tunnels until they reached the opening into the abyss.
"It’s okay now, I can make my own way from here, sucker!" said Extendar, then he reached his arms forward to grip the hole on the other side of the abyss, and propelled his whole body forward until he was directly underneath Grayskull.
He glanced ahead at the tunnel that led upwards before him. "No need to climb all that way!" he said, "not with my powers!"
In Grayskull’s chamber, a mighty struggle was going on between good and evil, as He-Man fought man-to-man with Skeletor, and Teela and the Sorceress took on Skeletor’s henchmen. The evil warriors outnumbered them, but the combined power of the three was proving an almost equal match.
Ninjor clamped his black-gloved hand over Teela’s neck and forced her to the ground. "Now you die!" he declared.
He-Man turned from Skeletor for a moment, to defend Teela, but Trap Jaw stepped in front of him and raised his gun right up to He-Man’s face. The Sorceress turned to help, but Kobra Khan stepped in front of her and hissed "One step, Sorceress, and my sleep gas knocks you to the ground!"
He-Man looked around him. At this moment, the heroic warriors were almost unable to act. He shook his head and said "Man, we could do with some help just now!"
As if in answer, a gigantic, metal figure burst out from the hole in the ground, spotted the danger that Teela and the Sorceress were in, and picked up Kobra Khan and Ninjor by the necks, then flung them across the room. "Extendar!" exclaimed He-Man, kicking Trap Jaw out of his way. "You arrived just in time!"
"Somehow, I knew Karg wouldn’t be entirely right when he said Skeletor was just about to take over Grayskull." said Extendar, stepping out from the hole and onto the ground of the chamber, towering above the other warriors. He looked over at Skeletor pitifully. "Hey, it seems like this scheme’s gone wrong, Skeletor? He-Man and Teela could never be held in Karg’s crappy caverns for long. Hey, never mind- you just might win next time!"
"You arrogant, pathetic fool!" said Skeletor contemptuously, his eyes glowing bright red. "I have not lost yet! I will still have Grayskull for myself!"?
"Oh, yes?" said Extendar. "Hey, you’ll still have to battle us first! Let ’s give this guy what he deserves, hey?"
"We definitely will, Extendar!" said He-Man, brandishing his glowing power sword.
"You’re right." said the Sorceress, spreading out her wings. "Let’s kick ass!"
As He-Man, Teela, The Sorceress and Extendar advanced on the evil warriors,
Skeletor realised he would never win at this rate. These warriors had
defeated him and his henchmen so many times, so why should they lose this
time? Skeletor knew he would have to think up something before they beat
Then he spotted it on the ground. The doom crystal! He-Man and his friends seemed to have forgotten about that! That would be just what he needed to destroy them!
He-Man charged at Skeletor, wielding the power sword, but Skeletor made a quick effort and dived under He-Man’s legs and caught the doom crystal. Then he jumped to his feet and held it at He-Man. He-Man and his friends stopped dead at the sight of the deadly object.
"Yes, He-Man….." hissed Skeletor, "I still have this….. and I can still destroy you!"
But before he could act further, Teela hurled herself forward, shouted "Oh no you won’t, you bastard!" and punched the crystal, and it flew out of his hand and down the hole in the ground.
In an instant, Skeletor ran to the pit and threw his body down it, without even looking back. He would not let such a precious object go like that. It had the power to destroy Grayskull, and he must use it for that reason. Skeletor’s body flew down the pit, his cape blowing as the air lifted it. He hit the ground hard and heavily, but he simply picked himself up, only slightly stunned. He looked down, and saw the doom crystal shimmering in the darkness, unharmed by its fall. Excellent, he thought. The crystal was still his. He picked it up, and turned, ready to climb back up to the chamber- but he saw The Sorceress, in the form of the falcon Zoar, gliding down the pit after him. She was so quick that she had almost snatched the doom crystal from him before he had noticed her, but he just managed to turn quickly and flee, leaping over the abyss and into the caverns of Karg’s Underworld.
He did not look back once. He knew that Zoar would still be after him, possibly with He-Man, Teela and Extendar following behind. He must find a place to hide, before he could spring out and drain their strength.
He ran as fast as possible through the dark caverns, when all of a sudden, a white-haired, black-armoured figure stopped him dead in his tracks.
"Karg!" he shrieked. "How did Extendar escape? And how did He-Man get his strength back?"
"I am telling you, master, I have no idea!" Karg replied. "Extendar tricked us and fought past us, but I do not know how He-Man regained his strength. But Man-At-Arms, I assure you- is almost dead."
Skeletor’s eyes lit up (literally) with delight. "Now that’s excellent, Karg. I’ve longed to see that fool meet the fate he deserves. Show me him."
Karg led Skeletor through the caverns and to the prison. There were lots of pieces of wood and iron scattered about after Teela and Extendar’s escapes. Saurod and Varlon stood in one corner.
"We apologise, mighty Skeletor, we could not fend off that metal creature with the enlarging body. He was too powerful for us, and we….."
"Yes, Extendar is very powerful, I can not blame you." Skeletor admitted. "But where is Man-At-Arms? I must see that fool as he dies!"
"Just over in that cell." replied Varlon, pointing.
Skeletor turned and looked over into the cell Varlon had pointed at. There lay the battered body of Man-At-Arms, his helmet and armour dented and scratched, his still face covered with bloody cuts. Skeletor reached his arm through the bars, took Man-At-Arms’ wrist and felt his pulse.
"It is going very slowly." Skeletor said. "Yes, he is close to death. I can express nothing but joy over seeing one of my most hated enemies dying like this. Well done on keeping him held, Karg."
"I am sorry about He-Man and Teela….." Karg began.
"Yes, they always pull up some sort of trick!" Skeletor interrupted. "How I hate them from the heart. They have now driven me from Grayskull, but I will still claim the castle for myself. I still have the doom crystal." he lifted the sacred crystal, gleaming in his hand.
"Then we are safe, master." replied Karg. "If the heroic warriors come along, we will have no trouble destroying them. We can spring up on them."
"It’s unlikely we’d find them in the prison….." said Saurod, "we should look in the main caverns….. but we should hide, and spring up when they come."
"We will do that indeed, Saurod." replied Skeletor. "We must move now into the main caverns and wait for them to arrive. Let’s go." He turned, gesturing for the others to follow, and the evil warriors made their way into a large cavern nearby.
"Hide in the crevices!" said Varlon. Skeletor nodded, and each warrior backed into one of the crevices in the rocky wall.
They seemed to wait there for an age, but then there came the sound of footsteps echoing through the caverns. He-Man entered the cavern, his power sword strapped to his back. The Sorceress followed behind him, then Teela, then Extendar, still in giant size. Skeletor sneaked out of the crevice slowly and stealthily. His warriors and Varlon watched, keeping quiet as the Lord of Destruction tiptoed over to He-Man, his cape gliding along the ground slowly. The heroic warriors didn’t seem to hear him. He raised the doom crystal as he got closer to He-Man…..
Then the Sorceress suddenly turned on her heel and said "You’ve no chance of winning, Skeletor!" The other warriors then spun round to face Skeletor. Skeletor flinched back in shock. "How did you notice me?!" he shrieked, clutching the doom crystal tightly.
"You forget my powers, Lord of Destruction. I can sense when evil approaches me."
"Maybe so, but I will still win! I have the doom crystal!"
"And us too." came a female voice behind him. He looked round, and saw Evil-Lyn sitting in his throne, with Kobra Khan, Ninjor and Trap Jaw at her side. She had teleported from Grayskull into the caverns.
"And us!" added Karg, and he jumped out from the crevice along with Varlon and Saurod.
The heroic warriors were now greatly outnumbered, and Skeletor was free to drain their strength with the doom crystal. Was all lost now?
He-Man brandished his power sword, and Skeletor held out the doom crystal. "Surrender, He-Man." said Skeletor. "You have no chance now….."
He-Man hesitated as Skeletor aimed the doom crystal at him. He knew that
one rash move could prove fatal. There was no way he was going to surrender
to Skeletor, even if Skeletor insisted he would not harm his friends if he
did. He-Man knew Skeletor better than that, and he knew that Skeletor’s
sole intention was to harm him. It seemed that whether or not He-Man
surrendered, the whole thing could turn into a bloody massacre.
He-Man’s only choice, therefore, was to fight. He must try his best to get the doom crystal out of Skeletor’s clutches. So he quickly drew the power sword, and was a bout to swing it through the air at the doom crystal, but just then, Trap Jaw suddenly raised his arm gun, ready to fire. And if He-Man was fired at, he would be stunned for a second and Skeletor would fire the doom crystal at him and all his friends. But what else could he do? Was there no solution?
"He-Man….." the Sorceress whispered softly, "the doom crystal has powers equal to that of your sword. You must use the sword to combat it!"
He-Man slowly spread out his power sword, slow as possible so he wouldn’t be fired at. Then he gently touched the sword to the doom crystal. A powerful, white glow surrounded the two conflicting objects as they touched. The glow rose and spread, then there was a sudden burst of energy and each warrior shielded their eyes as the whole cavern was filled with blinding light! The light flashed, accompanied by deafening crackles and bangs, then as the light died down, the room was filled with energy- angry evil energy.
The energy from the doom crystal, forged by the evil Skar-vins using the power of Death Mountain, was forming itself into thousands of grisly shapes to combat the heroic power from He-Man’s sword. Gruesome creatures flew wildly through the cavern, so fast that they were merely a blur. All the warriors could make out were flitting shapes, and the occasional glimpse of red eyes, sharp teeth and decaying human faces, accompanied by wild shrieks which coursed right through the heroic warriors’ bodies, and terrifying shouts of "DESTROY THIS GOOD!!! COMBAT THE FORCE OF JUSTICE!!! KILL THOSE WHO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM!!! KILL THEM!!!"
Amidst the flashes of light, the terrifying demons and the deafening cries, Skeletor stood triumphantly, his arms spread out and raised upwards. His eyes glowed brighter than ever before, and his gruesome, decayed face laughed in deranged, evil and triumphant tones which rang through the whole underworld.
"This is the power I have been waiting for!" he declared. "The power….. of evil. Let this be the moment that the universe falls to the knees at the force of destruction! You heroic fools are no longer my superiors! You are my slaves! And I am the ruler of the universe! All beings shall tremble at my feet! The universe will be reduced to a pitiful, suffering place, stricken with poverty and destruction! You shall bow to me!!! BOW to me- or you will suffer the most unforgettable, torturous destruction imaginable!!! YOU SHALL BOW TO ME!!!!!"
He-Man did not wait a second. He turned, and he ran. He ran as fast as his muscular legs could possibly carry him. He ran like a madman, through the caverns of the underworld, past the blue fungus, over the underground streams. There was no way he could face this evil yet. Of course, he was a warrior, but he had had no choice but to run, and recover from the immense shock he had received before daring to face this unspeakable evil.
He spotted a small cavern in the rocky walls, and dived into it. Turning round, he saw Teela, the Sorceress and Extendar diving in to join him.
Teela was trembling with fear.
"It’s all over now, He-Man….." she stammered, shaking, and huddled up to his muscular body in terror. "He… he really has won!"
He-Man put his arm gently around her body, and stroking her arm, softly said "It’s not over yet, Teela. We can still defeat him…..">
"Remember, He-Man, we have the power of the ancients on our side." said The Sorceress. "Unless we lose our power and are reduced to ordinary humans, we always have the chance of winning."
"Yes….. but that’s just what the crystal will do!" said Teela. "It will reduce us to weak, pitiful creatures!"
"Not necessarily." said the Sorceress. "Remember, He-Man’s power sword is just about equal in its power to that of the doom crystal. Although it may seem like Skeletor has the upper hand at the moment, we are almost an equal match. We can fight it. We must never feel we have no chance."
"I admire your….. confidence, Sorceress." said Extendar, sinking his glance into her beautiful form. "You really speak words of wisdom, you know….. that’s why I spend so much time….. In Grayskull….." his voice fell to a whisper, and he shrunk his body and sank his head to the ground. Even he, with his amazing powers, was shaken by the evil energy released by the doom crystal. He remembered when the heroic warriors had just been setting off for their quest, expecting an easy task. Now THIS was some easy task, he thought. It was their most dangerous and threatening yet.
Brightly-coloured beams of light whizzed past the small cavern. The force from the doom crystal was spreading around the whole underworld, and they heard the excited cries of the triumphant Skar-vins echoing throughout the caverns.
"I must go now." said He-Man. "I must fight this force. A whole planet….. a whole universe’s safety is at risk. And I must put an end to this evil- even if I die trying."
Teela laid her hand on his muscular chest. "Good journey, He-Man….. may the elders protect you."
"Someone will have to stay to look after Teela." said the Sorceress. "She is too shaken to fight."
"Then I will stay with her until she recovers from the shock." said Extendar. "You are very powerful, Sorceress, you will defeat this evil. I will join you when you need help the most. Good journey, Sorceress….. and you too, He-Man."
"We will do our best." assured He-Man. Then he and the Sorceress departed from the small cavern, and made their way through the underworld.
"How it disturbs me to see Teela so afraid….. and to have to lose her and Extendar in this fight." said He-Man. "This is just the time that we could do with as many warriors as possible."
"Remember, the elders are on our side." said the Sorceress. "They will never let us down."
All of a sudden there was a huge shower of rocks as the Skar-vins’ drilling machine came blasting through the caverns, propelled by Karg. They had recovered it from Castle Grayskull. It was accompanied by a mass of swirling energy emitted from the doom crystal, and He-Man and the Sorceress dived out of the way into opposite sides of the cavern.
Karg jumped out of the machine, followed by Saurod, Blade, and a group of Skar-vins wielding pickaxes and knives.
"Seize them!" shrieked Karg. "Destroy He-Man!"
Normally just this group of warriors would be no trouble for He-Man to deal with, but when they were backed by gruesome demon faces coming from nowhere, they seemed more than just a threat. He-Man swished his power sword through the air, but then all of a sudden, there was a terrifying flash of lightning, and the face of Skeletor, enlarged and transparent, appeared hovering in mid-air, the red eyes glowing in triumph! The mouth opened and emitted a deafening laugh, and the face came whooshing towards He-Man, who fell back against the cavern wall, dropping his sword.
"YOUR DEATH IS NEAR, HE-MAN." shrieked the booming voice of Skeletor. "FEEL THE FORCE OF THE DOOM CRYSTAL!"
Then He-Man’s eyes were clouded by nothing but the faces of demons, hollow eyes, red eyes, mouths dripping slime. And they were all backed by the maniacal laugh of Skeletor.
He-Man felt like an electric current was running through his body. He gasped and panted for breath. But he felt his strength slipping away, his muscle mass decreasing, the electric current coursing throughout his entire body…..
Then there was silence. He opened his eyes, and the faces were gone. The cavern was empty. But in no way was he safe. Somehow He-Man could sense that Skeletor was on his way to claim He-Man’s soul. But He-Man felt weak and unable to defend himself.
He looked around, and saw the body of the Sorceress slumped over a rock. She, too, had clearly been attacked by the forces from the doom crystal. Her arms hung down loosely, and her head-dress had fallen off, revealing her long, flowing black hair running down the face of the rock.
"He-Man….." she stammered weakly, "they were here….. they are coming for us….. our time is up."
He-Man laid his head against the rocky wall. "Yes." he whispered. "Our time is up."
His eyes were distracted by a faint, glowing light. Turning his head gently
to the right, he noticed that the glow emitted from his sword. It was a
faint glow, accompanied by light crackles. Then he heard a voice. Not an
evil voice. It was the voice of a wise, elderly man.
"You have not lost yet He-Man, saviour of Eternia."
"Wha… who?" stammered He-Man.
The light surrounded the whole sword, and out burst the form of an elderly man, with a long, white beard and long robes.
"My name….. is He-Ro." said the old man.
"He-Ro of legend?" asked He-Man.
"Yes, it is I. I who saved Eternia from the menace of the Snake men, many centuries ago. And He-Man, I heard your name mentioned many times, even all those years ago. The legends always foretold that a man named He-Man would come to save Eternia if danger threatened again. And I am unspeakably proud of the way you have saved this planet many times."
"But now….. I am weak." replied He-Man. "The doom crystal has destroyed me….. I cannot save Eternia now."
"You can." replied He-Ro. "Together with the elders of Eternia, led by the powerful Keclar, I will help you- and the Sorceress. Just follow me." He-Ro walked over to the pathway in the centre of the cavern. He-Man got up, and anxiously followed him.
He-Ro motioned for the Sorceress to join them. She got up, still weak, and stumbled over to where He-Man and He-Ro stood.
"Now both of you raise your arms." He-Ro said.
They did so.
"And by the power of Grayskull and the power of the elders….. let your power be increased to the utmost extremes!"
There was a huge flash of light, and in an instant, He-Man and the Sorceress were surrounded by a large group of elderly men, most with long beards and draped in robes. The elders chanted some ancient Eternian words. Nothing was distinguishable….. just the sound of the elders’ voices, chanting repeatedly. He-Man heard "By the power of Grayskull….. by the power of Grayskull….." whispered several times by an unseen force.
Then the bodies of himself and the Sorceress were raised several feet off the ground, and they felt their bodies being pumped up with unspeakable energy! Their forms were surrounded by amazing white light, and together, He-Ro and the elders shouted with dignity:
"BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL….. YOU HAVE THE POWER!"
Then everything became a blur….. He-Man and the Sorceress felt their bodies spinning round frantically, so fast that they saw nothing around them. Then all of a sudden, they found themselves placed firmly on the ground, the sword of power glowing in He-Man’s hand, and both of them feeling more powerful than ever before.
The cavern around them was completely empty.
"He-Ro?" whispered He-Man.
"They have gone, my friend." replied the Sorceress. "But they helped us, and we are now more powerful than ever before."
Just then, Teela and Extendar walked in to join them. "What happened?"
Teela said. "We seemed to suddenly find ourselves outside this cavern…..
and we thought we saw all these old men, and heard these voices….. but now we feel so strong, and ready to fight."
"It’s the power of the ancients." said He-Man. "And now, we must use it to fight Skeletor with our utmost skill!" He raised the sword of power, it glowed brightly, and the four champions of good rushed through the caverns to do battle with evil.
The caverns of the underworld were filled with all sorts of foul creatures.
And they were evil beyond belief. But as Skeletor and his evil warriors
marched through them, ready for the destruction of He-Man, they were stopped
dead in their tracks.
He-Man was running at them, looking stronger and even braver than before. Behind him was the Sorceress, who was shooting energy from her fingertips all throughout the cavern, knocking several evil warriors to the ground. Behind her was Teela, who then leapt through the cavern, bringing her heavy kicks down on the evil warriors who remained standing. And behind her was Extendar, who was swelled to such a huge size that the Skar-vin warriors fled the cavern in terror.
"We do not fear the doom crystal, Skeletor!" said He-Man. "Yes, that crystal is powerful enough to destroy us. But never can we possibly be destroyed, while we have the powers of the ancients on our side!!!"
"But how did this happen?" demanded Skeletor. "When I last saw you, you were so….. weak."
"It must be such a pain for you to see us win so many times, but never know how." replied He-Man. "Let’s just say that we get a hell of a lot more backup than you do."
Skeletor’s eyes glowed in anger, and he threw his body at He-Man. Now this accursed fighter had overcome the power of the doom crystal. Skeletor must kill him now, so he could never escape his schemes again!
But Skeletor’s attempt to kill He-Man was in vain, as the warrior sent the demonic warlord flying back through the cavern with a bolt of power from his sword. Skeletor lay panting at the side of the cavern. Varlon and Karg stared at He-Man in amazement. The other warriors were scattered about the cavern in dazed heaps after the blows delivered by Teela and the Sorceress. "Time and time again….." said Skeletor, "you overcome me, He-Man. No matter what my scheme is….."
He-Man stepped over to Skeletor. "Then make peace, Skeletor. You should know now that you cannot possibly defeat the masters of the universe. Your wisest choice would be to make peace with us. Leave your evil ways behind. You are intelligent, Skeletor, even if I say so myself, and were you to become good, we would give you a decent place in society, and give you a new human form so you can forget your evil past. Will you make peace?"
Skeletor sank back, the glow in his eyes died down, and he shook his head slowly. "No, He-Man." he said. "You do not understand what my reasons are for wanting to rule Eternia, and own Grayskull. And if I made peace with you, I could never be ruler of Eternia, or owner of Grayskull. I must fight for it….. and I will not rest until I win it!"
The warlord shot to his feet, a defeated but determined man, and he spread out his arms, and he and his warriors were bathed in a bright yellow light, then vanished, teleported back to Snake Mountain.
"He’s gone." said Teela, relieved. "Well done, He-Man. And you, Extendar….. and the Sorceress. Thank goodness we have won."
All that was left was Varlon and the Skar-vins. Varlon walked up to He-Man, and offered his hand.
"I make peace, He-Man." he said gently. "I can never deny that my ways are evil, as are those of my people, and we do not intend to convert to your side. But we have seen now that your power is too great for us. Even our doom crystal could not destroy you." He lifted the fallen crystal from the ground, and held it out towards He-Man. He-Man raised his sword, and brought it down heavily on the crystal. For a moment, there was a brief glow, as the evil forces inside the crystal reacted with He-Man’s sword.
But then, the crystal shattered into a thousand fragments, and was no more. "We will make no further attacks on Grayskull, or the palace." declared Varlon. "And we shall only serve Skeletor again if he really needs us. Our desire has never been to rule Eternia, we hoped to own some of the secrets of Grayskull, but we know now that that can never be. So we will stay here in our underworld, continue to advance our technology, but only with the resources we have down here. Our underworld is a separate place from your world, and we will leave you in peace."
He-Man shook Varlon’s hand. "I am more than happy to agree to it." he said.
"Now I will help you get back to Grayskull- but first, I will release the prisoners!"
Varlon led them to the jail, and let the many starved prisoners free. The people reacted with amazement that the Skar-vin emperor was actually freeing them. Varlon told his people to lead them all above ground.
Then after they had gone, the last prisoner was none other than Man-At-Arms, very close to death.
"Your death is avenged, father." said Teela, kneeling by her father's body. "He’s not dead yet." said The Sorceress, "maybe we can save him….." "We will take him to Grayskull and get help." said He-Man. "We will go back now! Varlon, can you lead us to Grayskull?"
"I sure can." he replied. "Follow me."
Varlon led the heroic warriors through to the hole that looked out onto the
abyss. He allowed the heroic warriors to leap to the other side, then he
told He-Man to use his sword to seal the hole. Varlon bid farewell to the
heroic warriors, and He-Man aimed his sword at the hole, which began to seal
up at once, preventing the Skar-vins from ever entering Grayskull again.
"That’s our hardest battle….. over." He-Man declared.
"And if we can win battles that hard…" said Teela, "we sure are powerful. And you really are amazing, He-Man, with that skill….."
"The real hero is….. He-Ro." said He-Man. "It was he who helped us. He is worthy of that name."
"And we have shown that with the power of the ancients on our side, we can defeat the forces of evil….. no matter what their plan!" said the Sorceress. "And now- we must repair the damage to Grayskull, and save Man-at-Arms!" She teleported them up to the chamber of Grayskull, and as He-Man used his sword to seal the hole in the ground, The Sorceress laid Man-At-Arms’ battered body down on the ground, and she, Teela and Extendar knelt over him.
She spread out her arms, and called on her great powers of healing. Her hands glowed bright, then she brought them down to the scientist’s body, and his eyes opened, the cuts vanished, and he regained his strength.
Sitting up, he said "What happened? I don’t seem to remember….. anything." "We have just had our most difficult battle ever." said the Sorceress. "But we are safe now, and will tell you everything."
"We are just very glad that you’re safe again." said He-Man, lifting his friend to his feet.
"You must seal up the ground beneath the trapdoor in his lab." said Teela to He-Man. "That will prevent any more attacks in case the Skar-vins try again!"
The Sorceress laid her hands on He-Man’s shoulders, and said "Now, He-Man, you and I are more powerful than ever. We stand an even greater chance of defeating evil, and I am sure that the day we wipe Skeletor from our world is drawing near. With your bravery and skill, my powers, and the elders of Eternia on our side, Skeletor can never hope to defeat us. You are a magnificent champion, He-Man, and you deserve the title of the greatest defender in the universe!"
Teela walked up to He-Man, and gazed at him in admiration. "I couldn’t agree more. You are magnificent, He-Man- but why can’t Prince Adam be the same?"
"You never know….." said the Sorceress, winking at He-Man. "Someday Adam could turn out to be much more like He-Man than you think….."
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