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For my Sake

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In many ways, Scorpia knew that her life wasn't exactly the easiest compared to those of her fellow princesses.

Physically, she had pincers and a poisonous tail which people always looked at with a certain fear. She was also a tall buff woman who unfortunately liked crush-hugging. It didn't make befriending people an easy task.

As for her current social state… On the princess side she was the daughter of a king who gave his kingdom away to Hordak, the ruler unanimously disliked by the other princesses and Etheria in general. And on the Horde side, even though she had been made Force Captain after passing the tests successfully, most colleagues saw that as a favor given by Hordak because of her status.

So yeah, Scorpia could have had a better position.

But she never complained. Complaining was against her nature, she preferred to see the bright side of things.

Like the brightest time of her life, the day she had met Catra. Technically, Catra had rejected her like all of her colleagues, but Scorpia had seen in her something that she had seen in herself. An outcast. A pariah.

Oh yes, Catra was just like her, and the moment she had set her eyes on her, she knew they had to become best friends. And they did! Catra eventually trusted Scorpia, despite obviously having trust issues. Adora had been her only friend before after all.

The Super Pal' Duo had gotten even better when Entrapta came along. Pincer, claw and hair, tied together for better and for worse.

Oh, what blessed days for Scorpia. Life had finally rewarded her for her patience. She could have spent many more years like this, with her two best friends, fighting against whoever they needed to. Scorpia would do anything for them.

"What do you mean, Catra's not coming back?!"

"It's like I told you," Entrapta fidgeted. "Hordak didn't trust her anymore, he… He kicked her out."

Scorpia never complained. Scorpia never panicked either.

"This is not possible…" she hyperventilated.

"Scorpia, take it easy!" Entrapta rubbed her back and tried to lead her towards a chair.

"I need to speak to Hordak, it's obviously a mistake! Catra is the most reliable person in the world!"

"Please, no, don't, Scorpia!"

Entrapta had to use her hair to immobilize the strong Force Captain. Scorpia wiggled for several minutes, yelling at her friend to let her go, until some tears started to form at the corners of her eyes.

"Scorpia, please, listen to me!" Entrapta gripped her shoulders as hard as she could. It wasn't enough to keep her on the ground per se, but the genius's voice caught Scorpia's attention. "Hordak decided that Catra was no use to him anymore. That's how it is. We don't know where she is now anyway. She could be dead, she could be in the hands of the rebellion…"

"If that's the case we need to go save her!"

"No, Scorpia!" Entrapta looked around to check if Hordak's little spy demon was around. "If you do that, it's like you're defecting, because now Catra is a traitor. You understand?"

"Catra is not a traitor!" Scorpia snarled.

"Hordak decided she is."

"Well I don't care about Hordak! If I have to change sides or die to find her, I will!"

Entrapta shushed her. "Not so loud!"

"What is wrong with you?! It's like you don't want her back!"

"I do, but I don't want to lose you as well, so please keep it down!"

Scorpia relaxed a bit at those words. It was one of those rare times when she heard Entrapta express affection towards non-robots. Such moments meant a lot to both of them. It also meant that Entrapta was genuinely worried about their situation.

"You can't defect without a plan Scorpia, it's crazy. Hordak will never forgive you, you'll end up alone or as a prisoner of the rebellion, and you won't be able to find Catra at all."

"But if she's at Brightmoon…"

"What are you going to do about it? Set her free by yourself?"

Scorpia's face fell. A wave of utter sadness chased the adrenaline from her body. Entrapta was right. She was powerless on her own.

The genius sat up, letting go of Scorpia. She looked as down as she was. Another rare sight. The last time it had happened was when she had realized that the Princesses wouldn't come back for her a year ago.

"I'm not the best at making social decisions, but right now, I think it's best if we lay low here," Entrapta pursued as she scratched her forearm. Her weird metallic forearm. And hand.

"What is that?!"

Entrapta looked embarrassed. "Just a little gift from Hordak."

"Is that a sort of armor?" Scorpia's natural pep took her over. "It looks cool, show me!"

"No, no need, I just-"

Entrapta jumped away from her on her hair, but she wasn't fast enough for someone as trained as Scorpia in impromptu hugs. The Force Captain grabbed her hand and examined it. It looked just like a robot hand, only with a higher-quality design and an excess of buttons. There were probably hidden weapons in there, just like in Hordak's own tech. Scorpia whistled, impressed. Then she looked up on the forearm where the device ended and her face twitched in horror.

"Entrapta… where is your real hand?!"

"Eh, I wasn't particularly attached to it." Her usual hysterical laughter echoed ominously on the walls of the lab. Scorpia widened her eyes, smashing her pincer on her mouth.

"What the hell?! This is- This is horrible, Entrapta, how can he- I'm going to Hordak's."

"Scorpia, don't! He's gonna kill you!"

"He'd better not, I'm the princess of this kingdom after all, half of the soldiers here were my father's or their children. I'm going to give him a piece of my mind…" her face furrowed. She had never been so angry in her life. She needed to smash something on her way, or she would probably try to smash Hordak's face.

"Scorpia please…" Entrapta hugged her from behind. She was trying so hard here. But Hordak had gone way over the line. How could he do that?!

Scorpia had always known that Hordak's treatment of the other kingdoms wasn't the most ethical, but at least she had thought he treated his own people with respect. That's what her father had taught her. Now in a couple of days, he had betrayed the best girl in the world –Catra – and mutilated the best genius in the world.

"Okay I won't, but… Entrapta, this is so wrong… He… He cut your arm off! I can't accept this. This is torture. And you shouldn't accept this treatment either!" she yelled the last words, tears rolling down her cheeks.

Entrapta observed her crying friend for a few seconds, then averted her gaze. What was happening in her head? Scorpia didn't understand. The pain she felt on Entrapta's behalf barely matched the genius's body language.

Entrapta sighed as she rubbed the metal of her tech arm.

"I know, but what do you want to do, run away?"

Scorpia's face brightened, "…you're right! We could run away!" She grinned. "We'll find Catra, we'll set her free, then we'll come back here to kick Hordak's butt, or we'll do whatever she wants anyway, and oh- I know, we'll-"

"Scorpia, hey! Listen, I wasn't being serious. I can't leave."

"Why not?" Scorpia looked into her eyes. Entrapta had always been the hardest to read. Catra buried her feelings deep, but they always surfaced somehow in her attitude. Entrapta though... Her mind was a mystery, and even after a year of bonding with her, Scorpia wasn't sure how to interpret the little shadow she thought she saw in her eyes.

"I started a project, a few months ago. It was after we had investigated the temple in the Whispering Woods. Remember all that First Ones tech I got from there? I used it mostly for our weapons, as Hordak asked. But I also discovered what they contained."

"What is it?"

"Data. Tons of it. Billions of lines of encrypted data. I started to read them, and I learned… Some interesting things."

The frantic glint of excitement was back in her eyes. Scorpia didn't know what she had found, but it must have been good.

"Remember when I told you about my theory? How Etheria is all First One's tech?" Scorpia nodded. Entrapta pushed a button on the machine wired to the computer. When it opened, Scorpia saw many polygonal shaped crystals, aligned in a pattern.

"Well if I'm right… The answer is there, when you read the different pieces all together. The whole temple, Scorpia…it's a history book!"

Entrapta clapped her hands in excitement.

"Wow that's awesome! But you need to be here to analyze all this?"

"Yes. I need my lab, my computer, and the Black Garnet. I use its energy to decrypt the data. I can't read everything though. A big part of it is encrypted with a different key."

"Key?"

"Yes. The Black Garnet's magic is a key to decrypt part of the data. I realized it by mistake when I was doing experiments. But the new key I need…" Entrapta typed in excitement on her computer. Scorpia had NO idea what was happening, but somehow she was glad to see her friend acting normally. As if she hadn't been just mutilated… Another part of Scorpia didn't like that lack of reaction.

"The key I need is something, anything belonging to a First One's body, or a descendant."

"Aren't we all descendants of the First Ones?"

"Nope. Tried it on me. It didn't work."

"Try it on me then, maybe it'll work with a princess who has a runestone?"

"…did it already. I used one of your hairs. Didn't work. I also tried with Perfuma's hair that I found on an old shirt of mine, and with Adora's hair that I found on Catra's pillow."

Well that sounded just like Entrapta.

"That's funny, why did Catra have Adora's hair on her pillow?" Scorpia rubbed her chin.

"I think it belonged to Adora when she was still in the Horde."

"Oooh you're right, that makes sense, Catra likes to get fuelled with hatred towards her enemy even in her sleep," Scorpia nodded. "Did you tell Hordak?"

Entrapta shook her head. "I didn't want to tell him or Catra about it when I didn't even know if I was going to find anything. I just recently decrypted some of the data, and…I think it's best to keep it to ourselves for now."

"Alright. Hordak doesn't deserve to know after what he did anyway," she snarled. "But tell me, how long do you think you need to finish all this?"

"If I get the First Ones component… A few weeks at least."

Scorpia's jaw dropped. That was too long. Way too long.

"Is it that important?"

"Honestly… It might be. At least for Catra. I wanted to tell her before the battle, but she left too quickly."

"If it's for her, we can wait then, but we need to find a First One descendant…"

"What about a sorceress? I haven't thought about that before…" Entrapta hummed.

As the two friends discussed theories, a hidden figure moved silently away from the vent entrance above them. They crawled down the tube, making no sounds, until they reached the light. They double checked if there was anyone or any camera that might spot them, then got out, put a helmet on and walked at a quick pace through the building.

What fools, talking so freely inside the main base. Of course Entrapta was master of the cameras, but anyone could have spied on them. Proof, they just did.

A few minutes later, they entered the infirmary dedicated to the cadets.

"Where have you been Kyle?!"

He took his helmet off, and sat on a chair next to Lonnie's bed. She was glaring at him, clearly annoyed at having been left alone so long. Since she had a broken arm, twisted ankles, plus a few bandages on her stomach, she wouldn't be able to leave for a while. And she was bored. VERY bored, to Kyle's greatest distress.

"I didn't find your card game, sorry."

She groaned. "Seriously, Kyle?" but her face soothed when she saw the sorrow on his face. He was lost in his thoughts. "What's on your mind?"

"Do you think it's wrong? Following the Horde?"

"Shut up," she hissed. "Are you crazy? If somebody hears you…"

"That's the thing, Lonnie. It's gotten bad lately don't you think? We can't even talk freely any more."

"Well that's because of Catra. What a great idea she had, putting cameras everywhere…"

"Cameras don't record our voices."

"I know, I know, but there's a feeling of suspicion everywhere since she did that. Nobody trusts no one anymore."

"And even when we trust somebody…we don't know who might be listening," he snorted as he thought of his previous activity.

"Catra was a good Second-in-Command, she treated us well, but she screwed up with that part. I know it was because of the first rebel invasion, but now we're all suffering from the consequences…"

"Do you think our war is fair?"

Lonnie raised a curious brow. It wasn't like Kyle to wonder such deep questions.

"Is this because of Rogelio?" she asked softly. They looked in sync at the back room, where intensive care was provided. Rogelio was behind that door, in a coma since they had come back from the front, dragging him unconscious and legless with a trail of blood behind him. He was stable now, but would he wake up? They had no idea.

"I just keep wondering…why are we doing this? Is this our war, Lonnie? What will we get from this?"

"I…" she was speechless. "I don't know, I mean… The princesses are bad people and have been attacking us since before we were born."

She was just repeating Shadow Weaver's lessons and she knew it.

"Bad how? Have you met one before?"

"Have you?" Lonnie squinted her eyes at him. "You're not thinking of pulling an Adora on me, are you?"

"No, no!" Kyle denied with big gestures. "I don't think they're all good. But I don't think they're all bad either. Most of them are our age, you know. They were babies too when it all started."

Lonnie didn't answer. Kyle had been disturbing lately. She didn't recognize the frail boy she had trained with for all these years. He had grown.

Kyle stayed a little while longer by her bedside, then he waved goodbye and headed to the intensive care unit. He had to go check on Rogelio.


Another sunset was bathing Brightmoon in a comforting light. Soon the moon would be up in the sky, feeding the moonstone, that shiny rock that stood more powerful than ever, protecting nature around her.

Framing the domain, the Whispering Woods were growing at such a high speed that the war trenches on both sides had to be abandoned, despite the Horde's best efforts to resist with fire-launchers. To no avail. The connection between the runestones was back, unbreakable, and showing no mercy to those who fought against it.

It only lifted the spirits of the inhabitants even more, and the reparations were proceeding faster than planned. Angella was certain that a few villages and half of the castle could be finished in a couple of weeks.

The queen leaned her elbows on the destroyed windowsill of Glimmer's room. Maybe she was too high on her reborn power, but she had a good feeling about the future. Castaspella's optimism was also contagious, despite their regular quarrels about Catra, Shadow Weaver, Hordak, and Etheria in general. She laughed internally. It was like a divorced couple meeting for the first time in years, putting all their past disagreements back on the table.

However she was annoyed that it had to affect the children. They were fighting the war of their parents. A war they knew very little about, because of their parents' secrecy. Angella admitted it, she was very much at fault as well, and now the kids were trying their best to deal with all yesterday's revelations.

As for Adora…

"You asked to see me, Angella?"

"Yes, dear, please come in- I didn't ask for the evil trio though," she crossed her arms beneath her chest when she saw Glimmer and Bow sitting on a half burnt couch next to Adora.

"We're the emotional support," said Bow as he stuffed his mouth with apple chips.

"Am I that terrifying?" Angella chuckled. "I wanted to know how you're feeling Adora."

"Me? …I'm okay, really."

She didn't look okay though. Even if she tried to put on a brave face, nobody around her was fooled.

"This battle… And what I told you all yesterday, it's a lot to take in, especially for you. I don't want you to burn out Adora. I want you to say whatever's on your mind, without feeling restrained. If I don't understand, I'll ask. I won't deny your feelings or judge you."

"Wish you could be more like that with me…" Glimmer muttered under her breath.

"I promise Angella, I'm fine," Adora started. She looked like she wasn't finished, so the three of them stayed silent. "I'm just… Shaken. I know you don't like Catra, and I know she needs to face a fair trial for her crimes, but I still can't help seeing my best friend down there, hurt, confused and lost."

"I know, dear."

Angella had been mad at Adora during the battle. Mad that she would consider choosing Catra over the rebellion. Mad that she showed Hordak how much Catra meant to her and how much he could blackmail her with that. Mad that she felt more concerned about Catra's injuries over her daughter's. And finally, mad at her power move the day before, when she took Catra to her cell as She-Ra. Giving her a special treatment, and shaming the whole rebellion about their attitude towards the enemy.

Oh yes, Angella hadn't slept a lot that night, thinking of all these events. But as she saw Adora now, this innocent child who had left her whole life behind, including her best friend, to fight for a greater cause, being so miserable and lost… How could she stay angry? The war was over for now, and… Angella had to admit… Adora wasn't in the wrong. They weren't the Horde, and pray to the First Ones they wouldn't ever act like them.

"I've thought a lot about her this year. About us, about the war, what it all meant… So, I wanted to warn you Angella," Adora looked at her intently, with the resolution of a young adult. Such a young adult though. "I will fight for her cause during that trial. Glimmer told me how it worked. I will renounce my vote in the jury to testify for her."

"Are you sure? The loss of your vote… You need to be sure you can convince more than one person-"

"I will."

"Adora, this is a lost cause… You are the only one who knew her before she was Second-in-Command," Glimmer sighed.

"It doesn't matter. I'll speak well enough for people to see her as she is."

"Besides, she is technically the Queen of the Magicats now," Bow noted. "That has to put things into perspective, if she's willing to join us."

"Yes, exactly, she can control the beast now Angella!" Adora exclaimed.

"Really? That's an interesting point for her indeed, she could be a valuable ally," Angella said thoughtfully, then sighed. "You'll have more trouble convincing Mystacor though Adora. They were never fond of the Magicats."

"Why is that, mom? You didn't really explain yesterday."

"Well… What you need to understand is that Mystacor has been our source of knowledge regarding the First Ones and Etheria for a very long time. Since we can't read the First Ones writings, the sorceresses' books are our only way to understand our history and our world.

As you know, the last She-Ra disappeared a thousand years ago, leaving a world in chaos. We don't really know what happened, but more than half of the population died, pretty quickly. When we got back on our feet, we had very little technology and knowledge to build off of. And Mystacor was our pillar, our reference. They were the wisest of all.

They helped the different kingdoms: they learned to analyse Etheria's flows of energy; they taught us to use the runestones; they taught us our history, what our parents couldn't teach us before they died… They remain to this day highly esteemed, hence why they hold the Court of Etheria.

However, there was a kingdom that disagreed with their decisions very often."

The Magicats, Adora thought.

"The Magicats had tried to persuade us for a long time that the planet was dying. And Mystacor wouldn't listen."

The three teenagers didn't dare to breathe.

"Mystacor insisted for a few hundred years that the energy flows were alright, that nothing was wrong. And true enough, the kingdoms were actually expanding at the time. The population increased, and with it, tensions between royalties for more territory.

That was the only point that the Magicats and Mystacor agreed upon. Wars had to be stopped at all cost. However, they differed on the way to do it.

Mystacor convinced royalties to mind their own business and respect their neighbors. It took time to accept, but in the end that's what we did, and it worked for the best. Civilians could travel peacefully if they wanted, but rapidly, the habit of staying within one community engraved itself in our way of thinking. As for royalties, we only met regularly at particular events, like Princess Prom, in mutual respect of each other. If there was any tension, Mystacor was there to be the referee and ease our rivalries.

The Magicats on the other hand wanted us to bond more, they wanted more political arrangements, they wanted to form wider nations. For them, it was essential for the efficiency of the runestones that the princesses work together. They explained that if the runestones were more connected, nature would grow and the planet would live better.

But Mystacor continued to insist that there was no degradation of the planet, that the runestones had never worked so well, and that the Magicats had no proof or knowledge of what they were saying.

They also insisted that bonding would only create rivalries, jealousy, and eventually, war. They didn't hesitate to use the argument of the many fights the Magicats had started to settle disagreements in the past. Kingdoms were bound to argue and make war. The rulers had to be separated, only communicating from afar.

So once again, the Magicats weren't listened to. The kingdoms approved Mystacors' ways, and it went on like this for centuries, until the very end of the Magicats."

"They were right though," said Adora harshly. Angella stared at her, but Adora averted her gaze. Anger could be sensed in her body language. "They were right about the way the runestones work, our power has always reached its peak when we are all together. Besides, right now, since the mask has been fixed, the Whispering Woods are healing. Am I wrong, Angella?"

"No, you are absolutely right. We realized our mistake when the mask was destroyed and we brutally lost our former strength. We realized the runestones were more than portals giving access to magic. They were linked. That's why we formed the Princess Alliance a few years later, to fight against Hordak. Unfortunately it didn't end well, and after Micah's death I… I gave up on it. I gave up on Katriska, once again."

Adora softened as she saw Angella's sad expression.

"It's quite incredible that in a thousand years nobody wanted to believe them," marvelled Bow.

"Well actually, some kingdoms in the south followed the Magicats, and after a few centuries, completely cut ties with us in the North. They lost interest in our lifestyle and eventually decided it would be better to rule their own way. Even Katriska didn't have any contact with them."

Adora frowned. That sounded even more incredible.

"Mystacor's influence is huge," Glimmer pouted. "I love auntie Castaspella, but it's true that she's always right, if you know what I mean."

"In her opinion."

"Mom, why did you never tell us? Why did you never tell me?"

"Because- I'm so sorry Glimmer, it's just- We've failed you so badly. We are the reason you have to fight. All of us, Mermista's father, Frosta's mother and the others… We were ashamed. Very ashamed."

Angella covered her body with her wings. She wouldn't have been able to reveal all of that in front of the whole Alliance. It was already hard enough to see the judgemental look on Adora's face, even if she tried to hide it. Or maybe it was Angella who was imagining things. Maybe she wanted to be judged for her many failures.

"We told you the bare minimum, hoping we could resist the Horde long enough until She-Ra's return."

"You knew she would come?" Bow asked.

"The prophecy said: In time of our greatest need, the Princess of Power will come back to save us and bring balance on Etheria. We tried by ourselves, and failed. We lost the Magicats. We fell harder and lower than we ever had in a thousand years. Faith was all we had left."

Faith. That was exactly how Perfuma had acted the first time they met. She wouldn't fight on her own, she would only rely on the faith that She-Ra would save them.

What had gone so wrong on Etheria for the people to forget about their own strength?