"Are you all insane?!"
Angella was out of her mind. Wings extended, hair flowing, eyes sending daggers, and sparkle magic erupting from her body as she couldn't control her wrath… At this moment, the sorceresses of Mystacor seemed to remember that she wasn't any queen. She was an Immortal Being.
Castaspella didn't know how to react. She could barely process what had just happened.
Angella had barged in, protesting against the sentence in the middle of the operation, which had immensely annoyed her. Then Adora and Glimmer had appeared in a sparkle cloud. They had made their way to Catra, punching and kicking guards. Glimmer had been knocked out. Catra had fought back, then had fallen into the Forbidden Zone… And Adora had jumped to save her. But the Forbidden Zone had closed just before she could catch Catra.
The sorceress queen looked at the shaking princess who had changed their lives so much since she had turned into She-Ra the first time.
She was a mess.
The High Council had ordered to chain her up when Angella had dropped her gently on the grass after catching her. Adora hadn't even reacted, too shocked by the vision of Catra disappearing forever in the dimension that swallowed her.
Castaspella felt conflicted. She pitied her for losing her friend, but she was extremely irked that she thought she could go against the law, just because she was She-Ra. That wasn't how an organized society worked.
It wouldn't matter so much though, if it was only Adora.
However, her niece and even her sister-in-law tried to oppose the judgement… It wasn't good for the new Rebellion. If they couldn't even agree on a simple trial, how would they be able to take battle decisions together?
Maybe Isidore had been right, and they shouldn't have mingled in this war at all… The First Ones didn't want this to happen…
"You all went over the line!" Angella resumed. "You rush Catra's exile, you hurt my daughter, now you're trying to put Adora in jail?! What's next, a trial for She-Ra? Will you send her to the Forbidden Zone too, for treason as an excuse?!"
"Angella, control yourself," Mortella said acidly. "And please don't say you, as if you weren't part of the decision."
"I was, and I voted for Catra's pardon! I should have interfered..."
"Angella, I don't understand…" said Castaspella. "You asked for this… You asked for our collaboration in the war, for our help, and for this trial!"
"Yes, but not like this! I didn't ask for your psychorigidity and your lack of perspective!"
"We live in a society, we have to follow rules if we don't want to fall into anarchy."
"Are you kidding me?!" Glimmer raged as she was hugging Adora. "Do you really think we're a functioning society?! We've been at war for a decade, we let the Horde take over our lands and kill the civilians we're supposed to protect. We've barely had any interactions between kingdoms, and Mystacor never moved a finger to help any of us! This isn't a society that can follow laws! This…" she waved her arm, gesturing to all of them. "This is a chaotic sack of rulers trying to assert dominance to please the people without putting themselves into question or looking at the big picture!"
Glimmer panted. She met her mother's gaze. Angella looked at her with so much pride and admiration it made her blush.
"My daughter is absolutely right. I have been weak for so long, retreating in front of Hordak, and only she was strong enough to face his forces. She was also the one who brought She-Ra into the Rebellion, overlooking the fact that she was a Horde soldier at the time."
Adora glanced at them for a second but quickly looked away. She wasn't in the mood to listen. Glimmer tightened her embrace around her.
"Adora hadn't committed any problematic crimes at the time," Castaspella answered softly. "She didn't deserve a trial for that, unlike Catra. And I don't understand how you could imagine that people would forgive everything she's done so easily..."
"It is true, but whatever you say, Catra didn't deserve this sentence," Angella concluded, a hard stare on her face. "If you had put things into perspective… You and the civilian jury- because I know the Alliance wasn't the one who sent her to a fate worse than death- you all would have voted for the motion I proposed."
"This isn't fair Angella, you are blaming us after the harm is done," Mortella crossed her arms beneath her chest. "It's a little too easy. Why didn't you say anything before? Why didn't you try to convince us and the people before, like Princess Adora did? And may I remind you that you were the one who rushed the trial in the first place."
"I know. I've made my mistakes…" Angella's face broke, turning back into its previous sadness.
If she hadn't asked for that early trial… If she hadn't felt compelled once again to follow the laws she was taught to believe fair since she was little… Micah would have opened her eyes sooner if he'd been here, like he did during the time of the first Alliance.
Glimmer was the same as her father, she thought fondly. She never let her critical eye close itself even in hard times like this, and she proved it by getting Adora out of prison to save a woman she didn't like but acknowledged as poorly treated.
Angella had failed again. She hadn't expected the jury to go that far. And she hadn't truly realized what a terrible sentence the Forbidden Zone was before she felt that horrible void's aura lingering in the air…
She had been naive and weak. And she had failed Katriska. Once again.
"What is done is unfortunately done, but one thing is certain now. I won't let myself be influenced by you anymore."
Castaspella was speechless. She didn't understand what was happening.
"You are my family, but you were all so wrong on so many levels… You were wrong about Katriska, about the planet, the runestones, Hordak... And every time I fall back into following you…" Angella said bitterly. "From now on, I'll listen to my instinct. So first of all, I am not letting you put Adora back into prison. And you're going to give us back the sword of She-Ra. And second of all...the Alliance will decide together if we still want your help in this war."
The queen took Adora in her arms and flew away. Glimmer teleported right afterwards, leaving the High Council dumbfounded on the cliff.
Strange events were unfolding on Mystacor…
So strange the Council didn't notice the little bot hiding in the bushes, zooming on them.
Midnight! It's witching hour!
Oh, Loo-Kee would have loved this! Madame Razz should have told them to come. But Madame Razz would tell them everything afterwards anyway!
They would come back together another time, when Madame Razz is less distracted by her task. They would wander in the halls of the castle together, mocking the majestic statues and growing trees where people would hate to see them.
Hehe, that would be funny.
But first Madame Razz had to enter that secret room that wasn't so secret after all yes? Now she had to take the mask, good, excellent.
And now she had to make sure the guard would see her. Oh, maybe she needed to make some noise. He was too sleepy, he didn't realize Madame Razz slipped in. Perfect. Now that nice soldier was going to hide in that closet and take a good nap…
Hmm, six hours? Yes, six hours should be enough.
Glimmer was playing with her staff, making random objects float in the room under the admiration of Bow. She was glancing from time to time at the bed, where Adora was lying, only showing her back to her friends.
She had been staying still for the whole day, sleeping and crying silently when she thought they couldn't hear her. They had respected her silence, but they insisted on staying with her, to offer her a comforting presence if needed.
She hadn't sent them away.
Glimmer sighed as she let Bow's quiver fall on the ground. She felt terrible about everything that happened.
Her mother was suddenly seeing her as the best of the two of them, but Glimmer wasn't really happy about herself. If she had been true to herself, she would have helped Adora instead of following principles she didn't even totally agree with. She would have talked to Catra a little more to understand her, for Adora. She would have made her best to bring optimal conditions for Catra's trial. She would have convinced her mother to push the trial's date.
But she had let her jealousy set ablaze her grudge against Catra. She had decided to become blind on Adora's arguments regarding the feline, and let her go almost unprepared to face a jury that shred them to pieces.
Glimmer agreed- even reluctantly- that Catra deserved a punishment but also a second chance in this war. And she had known deep down, that Catra would receive a sentence that wouldn't benefit to anyone… But she hadn't done anything to prevent it.
She had finally decided it was enough after Adora was put in jail. But unfortunately it had been too late to react. Her mother had been too astound by the events and still too hesitant to question Mystacor's laws…
All night long the guards had held a firm grip on the princesses, and especially on her, given her teleporting abilities. She hadn't been able to escape before the very end…
She was as much as fault as her mother, and she would blame herself for a long time for that.
"Hey… It's kinda late," Bow whispered. "Maybe we should let her sleep?"
"I'm not sleeping," Adora's voice made them jolt. They hadn't heard her for the whole day. The blonde sat up, face turned towards the open window, as if she was trying to see the Forbidden Zone from there…
She turned around, showing a ferocity in her eyes they didn't expect.
"Are you, um…" Glimmer started hesitantly. "Are you okay?"
"No. I'm not," she pursed her lips. "But I'm done dwelling on all of this."
The rebels stared at her in surprise, waiting for her to continue.
"I made a promise to Catra. And I'm not going to break it again."
"What are you saying…?" Bow asked.
"I'm going to find her, one way or another."
"But Adora, how exactly-"
Glimmer didn't have the time to finish. A cloud of purple smoke erupted all of a sudden in the room with a loud popping sound. The trio raised on their feet, taking a fighting stance by instinct, coughing at the smoke.
"Well, well, you look awfully tired, Mara dear!"
Glimmer frowned but didn't lower her fists when she saw the scrawny figure in front of her. A weird little old woman with big glasses and a broom stuck under her arm, was tapping Adora's hand gently.
Adora had a smile on her face. She put her sword on her back, which reassured Glimmer a bit.
Did she know her…?
"Madame Razz! What are you doing here?"
Oh… That was the famous weird sorceress Adora had met in the Whispering Woods a year ago… The one who led her to the Temple the first time.
"Madame Razz is here to take you berry eating of course!"
Huh? Bow and Glimmer exchanged a puzzled stare.
The weird woman opened her palms. A pile of red berries and a pile of blue ones lied in each hand, glistening under the magical light.
"What does that mean Madame Razz?" Adora asked, as confused as them.
"Don't you have someone to find, Mara dear?"
Three pairs of eyes widened in realization.
"Take the red berries to face your demons and find an old friend on your way. If you succeed, or if you lose yourself in failure and want to go back, take the blue berries to end the story, wake up in your bed, and pretend nothing happened."
Madame Razz put delicately the two little piles on the bed. Then she smiled, waved, put some of her own berries in her mouth, and disappeared in a red cloud.
"What was that?!" Bow's voice grew an octave higher. Glimmer's heart raced in her chest when she saw Adora's face turn grave. She went to the desk, took a little tissue bag used for earrings, and reached for the blue berries.
"No," Glimmer put herself between Adora and the bed. "You are not seriously considering going there, are you?!"
"Glimmer, please step aside."
"Adora! This is way too dangerous! I wasn't kidding when I said nobody ever comes back from the Forbidden Zone."
"Well it's a good thing I have those blue berries with me then."
She pushed Glimmer, put the fruits in the bag that she tied on her belt afterwards, then took the red berries in her hand.
"How can you trust this woman, you don't even know her!" Glimmer panicked. "For all we know these might kill you!"
"Glimmer's right, let Angella examine them at least!" Bow pleaded.
Adora looked up at them, lowering her hand. She was hesitating… Or at least that was what Glimmer thought.
"Sorry guys. I'll be back soon. Cover for me please."
"No!" Glimmer yelled. She jumped in Adora's direction, extending her arms. But Adora had already swallowed the berries.
Glimmer arms only closed on air.
Adora was gone.