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For my Sake

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It had all started when she'd discovered her whole life had been a lie.

The Horde had always been more than her family. It had been her purpose. Her sense of justice. An emblem of order and peace. Adora had been a part of the brilliant destiny of liberating all of Etheria from the dangerous Princesses who had been terrorizing the civilians for decades.

Training had been hard, of course. Big expectations had been put on her shoulders from day one. Adora had thought of it as a challenge. To have the honor of saving everyone, to be useful to everyone, to do the right thing, she'd had to make sacrifices. She'd had to push herself further and harder than people wanted her to. She'd had to become the greatest soldier she could ever be.

Shadow Weaver's dreams for her had fueled her desire to become better at everything. Even in her everyday life. Even after leading her squad to victory during drills, she had taken it upon herself to protect her friends from the usual bullying that happened in the ranks. A lot of pressure, to be sure. But it had been for the greater good.

Besides, Catra had been there. Her breath of fresh air. Her best friend, who could relieve the tension in Adora's shoulders with only a laugh. Her life wouldn't have been the same without Catra in the Horde. Maybe Adora would have broken down. Maybe Adora would have realized sooner that it was all wrong. Maybe…

Then it had all collapsed.

That night when she met Glimmer and Bow had changed everything. Two years after that night, she still had nightmares where she felt it all again. That horrible feeling of the floor cracking underneath her feet. Her falling endlessly.

Adora had been strong. She had found a new purpose. Built new connections. She had uncovered everything that had been wrong in her past. She had faced Shadow Weaver and called her out on her abuse. It had hurt, but it had felt liberating, too.

Adora had found what was right this time. She had chosen her battle as She-Ra, Princess of Power. She had fought the Horde for all the people they had oppressed. She had fought the Horde with her soul on fire. She had fought with her heart broken every time her blade had crossed Catra's on the field.

Unpredictable Catra, who had kept getting in her head all this time. She had hurt Adora so deeply when she'd refused to leave the Horde with her. It had taken Adora a good year to finally understand what could be going on in Catra's head. Even then, it had taken capturing Catra and saving her from a shady trial to regain her trust.

That was when it had started to go wrong.

Adora had been so sure she had made the right choice when she gave up on her life at the Horde. She had thought she was fighting for the good guys.

The good guys who only accepted her help when she revealed she was She-Ra, the long lost, goddess-like warrior who would save them all according to the Sacred Writings. The good guys who had also condemned Catra to rot in a psychological prison forever within a day of trial.

Adora had been a fool, thinking that things could be simple. Back when she was waiting for her trial, Catra had warned Adora that she was being delusional, wishing for such a utopia. A thousand years of history couldn't be mistake-free. The shadows cast by the Princesses and the Mages of Mystacor were darker than they had seemed at first sight. Catra had also pointed out Adora's natural tendency to overlook bad actions when they weren't obvious. She had to be slapped in the face by evil-doing to notice it. It had her wondering how much of the shadows could hide behind the brightness of the Princesses.

At the end of the trial, Adora had never been more confused.

Then Catra had left. Adora had spent nine months alone with her thoughts, her doubts and fears. What else didn't she realize? What secrets did she still have to discover? How long would she be manipulated by older people and organizations?

She had learned not to trust. She had decided to keep to herself. Until Catra was back, she could bottle everything up and still fight for the Rebellion. The fight in itself had been fair and necessary, since it had been protecting innocent people from Horde raids.

Glimmer and Bow had been worried. So worried. But they had thought Adora had been sad to see Catra leave, then concerned for the Magicat's safety when no news had been heard from her.

Nine months by herself, thinking of how Catra's past as Katriska had been erased to link her to Adora's life. Nine months wondering about her own past.

Her very alien past.

"I haven't told anyone but you."

"You haven't?" Catra asked gently, a puzzled brow raised. "Not even Glimmer and Bow?"

Adora shook her head. She couldn't feel the hand that was clutching the sword.

"Why?"

"Because there's still a chance that it's a lie," Adora exclaimed. "I still can't believe Hordak, and I still-I'm still not ready to accept it."

Catra's features relaxed. "I can understand that."

"Can you?" Adora said a bit forcefully. Catra flinched. "Can you understand how horrible it feels to discover lie after lie after lie? That your whole life has been a lie and even after you thought you made the right choice, the lies keep coming?"

"Well, duh," Catra scoffed. "Did you forget everything I just told you? Everything Entrapta said in the video?"

The famous video that Catra had watched after she escaped the Forbidden Zone last year. The video meant exclusively for Catra, and not for Adora.

"No."

"Then what's up with you? Where is all this coming from?"

"It comes from the disappointment of seeing you act just like all of them. You turned into a perfect politician." Adora's contempt was palpable. Catra's jaw dropped. Her ears drooped in a way that would usually make Adora want to hug her. She felt rage in her chest instead. Pain and rage. Maybe she was finally starting to understand Catra now. Force Captain Catra. Not-a-Magicat-queen Catra.

"You're not making any sense, Adora." Catra looked bitter now. Good.

"I trusted you, Catra!" Adora shouted. "I trusted you, because you were the only one to ever show me what was wrong with the Horde, but also-also with the Rebellion! And now you're just like them! Like all of them! Concealing things from me, lying to me..."

"What?! Adora, I just told you everything!" Catra spread her arms. "Everything you need to know!"

"Because I made you tell me! I made you be honest with me! You were going to keep it all to yourself, weren't you? That's the only thing you've been doing since you've been back!" Adora's volume kept rising. She would wake up the whole camp if she continued. She didn't care. "Did you intend to tell me about Scorpia, by the way?!"

Catra looked guilty for a second. "I had to keep that a secret. For Scorpia's safety. She was snooping around the Horde. She could have been caught. The fewer people who were aware of her mission, the better."

"Because you think I would have made the mistake of talking about it in front of Horde soldiers?" Adora snarled.

"No!" Catra rolled her eyes. Adora felt like slapping her. "Adora, I didn't know who I could trust when I came back with the Alliance of the South, okay? I had good reasons to believe Hordak was-"

"And how can I trust you now, huh? How can I trust that whole insane story?!" Despair squeezed Adora's heart. "You have no proof it's all true! For all you know, Entrapta misread the data." Adora's eyes watered. She was so sick of it. She felt literally sick. Her guts kept twisting inside her body.

“Well, if you need proof…” Catra paused apprehensively, ”I can show you my memories.” She tapped on her mask, but her face expression seemed off. “Or you could talk to Light Hope.”

"Yes, because now I'm allowed to talk to her."

"I never-"

"You kept the crystals for nine months," Adora spat.

"I didn't know it was literally Light Hope!"

"Did Entrapta forget to mention it in her two-hour video about the data she collected from the crystals of Light Hope's Temple?"

"Adora, what is happening to you?" Catra pissed her off. "You don't sound like yourself."

"Oh, yes, because you know me so well. Smart Catra always knows better than oblivious Adora, who can't even see who's good or evil by herself."

Adora could see how stunned Catra looked. She didn't expect her outburst. Of course, she didn't. She had been so focused on her Magicat queen duties. So focused on the prophecy. The fucking prophecy she promised not to follow.

"Adora, I-"

"You know what?" Adora cut her off. She glanced at the crystals popping out from an army bag behind Catra. "You're right. I'm gonna talk to Light Hope. She can't lie. She's a program."

She pointed her sword towards the crystals.

"Adora, wait! She concealed things from you, too. We should go together-"

"No."

She let the magic flow from her chest to her arm, then through the sword. It was more raw than it should have been. More powerful than she expected. When it touched the crystals, a shockwave made Catra and the furniture fall over. The drapes of the tent flew off like a balloon swollen by pressure.

The crystals turned a bright purple. The telekinetic force of She-Ra lifted them from the bags. Three whole bags of crystals rushed out of the tent and into the Whispering Woods. Towards their home, that had been shut down for a year and a half.

The Crystal Castle.


Light Hope was herself again.

Adora had finally fixed the castle, and according to the billions of data Light Hope was collecting at once, it had been one year, seven months, and thirteen days since the castle had been raided, taken over, and dismantled by the Horde.

Light Hope could sense a lot of change in the energy flowing through Etheria. The last runestone had finally been activated again. The mask of the Magicats. This was good. This meant Adora was closer to accomplishing her mission. Restoring balance.

Something was off about that runestone, though. Light Hope scanned through the data, wondering what was troubling her. At first sight, nothing looked out of the ordinary. The mask seemed to work fine, just like the rest of the runestones.

Then what was that primal warning in her artificial mind about?

"Light Hope! Come out! I know you're here!"

There was Adora, ready to train, sword in hand and energy pumped to the max. Light Hope appeared right in front of her in a way that she hoped looked cheerful enough for a human.

"Adora, it is a pleasure to see you again," Light Hope started. She didn't continue. It took her half a second to understand that the energy coming from Adora wasn't normal.

Adora raised her sword. She pointed it to Light Hope. "I have some questions for you."

She was trembling. Light Hope could also see traces of tears below her eyes. Her energy was… erratic. "Adora, is something the matter? You are unstable."

"I'm fine," Adora hissed. Or at least, that was how humans would describe her reaction.

"That is contrary to the data I'm receiving from your body. You are feverish and your heart rate is elevated. There is obviously a problem."

"I'll tell you what the problem is!" Adora shouted. "Catra told me everything."

"'Everything' is unlikely. Human brains cannot hold that much information."

"Ugh, I mean she told me the whole story! What happened with Mara, where I come from..." Adora's voice broke.

Light Hope didn't answer for a second as if she was thinking. "Why did she tell you something that you already knew? You saw it yourself."

"What?" Adora lowered her sword. "What did I see myself?"

"Where you come from. You were there, when you were a baby."

"I-Light Hope!" Adora facepalmed. "Babies don't remember anything!"

"Do they? Interesting. I shall take note of this. So, Adora, what is troubling you?"

"I just-I discovered that-" Adora exhaled. "I want you to tell me the whole story. How Etheria was made. I want to hear it from you."

"Etheria was created over two thousand years ago. Telling you everything would take me several months, Adora. I don't mind it, but I am uncertain about your ability to listen for more than a few days."

Adora pinched the bridge of her nose. A sign of irritation, if Light Hope wasn't mistaken. "Just…tell me the essentials. You have ten minutes!"

"Very well."


Catra was running like she had the demons of the Forbidden Zone after her. She jumped over rivers and hopped from tree to tree, barely touching the ground. She was almost flying. She ran with urgency towards one of the places she hated the most in the world. The Crystal Castle. The Temple of Light Hope.

It was the place where she'd had one of her worst arguments with Adora. It was the place where Catra had thought she'd let go of Adora. The place where she'd made Adora her nemesis. The place where she'd decided to blame Adora for everything bad that had happened to her.

Catra dreaded to see that hologram again. Light Hope was only a program, but she knew how to win her battles. Like when she showed Catra the right memories to turn her against Adora. Her manipulation was the most terrifying kind, in Catra's opinion.

Would Light Hope recognize Catra as part of the Princesses, or would she declare her a hostile because of her past as a Force Captain? To be honest, that was the least of Catra's concerns.

"Shit," Catra cursed when she tripped on a tricky root she hadn't seen. She should be careful. The Whispering Woods at night could be deadly. But she had to go faster. She had to catch up with Adora.

Adora…

Catra whimpered in concern and sped up.

Catra had realized how sick Adora was. Why hadn't she acted sooner?! Glimmer had warned her. Catra had tried to pay attention. She'd wanted to find out what was altering Adora's mental and physical health, but so many things had happened in barely a week that she hadn't had the time to pierce through Adora's thick walls.

She should have known Adora would burn out, though. Adora had never been the kind of person to vent her inner turmoil. Adora bottled it all up and took action to forget her anxiety until it became too much. She couldn't control her doubts, but she could control everything else. That was what had irritated Catra the most in the past. How Adora thought she could fix everything through actions. How she thought she could convince Catra to leave the Horde through reasoning instead of acknowledging and talking about the deeper problems rooted between them.

When she'd left Bright Moon for the desert, Catra had made the mistake of thinking Adora would be fine. She'd left her surrounded by her friends, after all. She'd forgotten that Adora had endured the trial, the Forbidden Zone, and Madame Razz's revelations just like Catra.

Catra had been overwhelmed with the knowledge Entrapta provided her and her only. She had forgotten that Adora must have been just as overwhelmed, maybe even more so because she had been kept in the dark all this time. And Catra had made the mistake of using Entrapta's video to tell Adora the truth. What an idiot.

The revelation hadn't gone as Catra had planned at all. It was supposed to happen after the Horde's demise. Catra was supposed to be talking to a peaceful and content Adora. Not to a distraught Adora, eaten by her doubts and guilt. Consumed by the fate of She-Ra.

Catra tightened her fists. She wouldn't let it happen. She wouldn't let Adora suffer. It was the major reason she'd decided to follow the prophecy. She was not going to let their stupid world take Adora away from her. Not again.


"Two thousand, one hundred, and forty-five years ago, the First Ones arrived in our home galaxy through a portal."

Light Hope's robotic voice echoed in the castle while the purplish walls vanished. Space suddenly surrounded Adora. Billions of stars twinkled around her. Beautiful, however deadly silent.

"To understand the past of Etheria, you must learn about Eternia, your own planet of origin, because it functions the same as Etheria."

A sphere grew bigger in Adora's line of sight until it turned into what appeared to be a planet. Blue and green colored the surface, clouds floated in the atmosphere, and several moons ran in orbit around the planet.

It looked quite like Etheria.

"This is a holographic representation of Eternia. It is the place where you were born. When the First Ones first arrived there, using a portal, Eternia was not habitable. Its magic, energized by the moons, was flowing wildly across the surface, destroying any potential source of life. However, the First Ones didn't come empty-handed. They brought an advanced technology that allowed them to control the magic and store it inside the planet, thus enabling life."

The scenery changed. Adora recognized the Whispering Woods, growing from dust at an alarming speed. Then a pink orb appeared, glowing while an enormous tree sprouted and contorted around it. The Heart-Blossom. Its holographic image then broke free from the woods, turning into a blurry pink orb, floating above Adora's head. It was virtually joined by the Sea Pearl, then the Black Garnet, the Snow Kingdom's Crystal, and several other runestones Adora didn't know about. They circled around Adora, before rising into the air around a bigger multi-colored stone. That one looked much more powerful than the others.

"The runestones were at the foundation of this technology. The central one is called the Original Runestone, or Planet-Maker. It's the one that will ground the magic of the planet. The other runestones, once firmly connected to the planet and to the Original Runestone, allow the magic to flow through the planet without leaking. Their power depends on the Original Runestone's stability. They are also all connected to each other because of it."

The Original Runestone shone. Adora felt herself pulled towards it against her will. Her heart thumped against her ribcage as she broke out in a cold sweat.

"In order to defend themselves," Light Hope continued, "the First Ones made it so that a chosen few could wield the magic through the runestones."

"The Princesses…" Adora whispered.

"Incorrect. The Guardians," Light Hope replied. "On Eternia, these beings called themselves the Guardians. Only one of them was linked to a runestone all their lives. Upon their death, a new Guardian from the same bloodline was selected arbitrarily."

"This is like on Etheria."

"Not quite, but close. On Etheria, the Princesses can be linked to their runestones while the previous one is still alive, like Princess Glimmer and Queen Angella. Besides, on Etheria the next Princess is more likely to be a direct descendant of the previous one, unlike on Eternia where it could be anyone amongst thousands of cousins sharing a common ancestor."

"Why the difference?"

"Because Etheria's Original Runestone isn't identical to Eternia's. You could say they are like fraternal twins."

Twins…

"As you must have understood by now," Light Hope said matter-of-factly, "Etheria's magic was channeled to create life just like Eternia's, with a Planet-Maker technology. It happened a few hundred years after the First Ones settled on Eternia. So many refugees came in small groups through the portal over the years that soon Eternia was overcrowded. Therefore, the Eternians found another planet that was just like Eternia. A lifeless planet with high magical potential. They called it Etheria, and proceeded to do the exact same thing the First Ones did. They used a Planet-Maker, set runestones into the ground, contained its magic, and made life grow."

Another set of holographic runestones appeared next to the first one. A central multi-colored stone around which a dozen of stones whirled gracefully. A beam of light erupted from the Original Runestones, linking them to each other.

"The Eternians connected the two Original Runestones together to allow easier communication and co-dependency. The two planets were then bonded."

"What about She-Ra?" Adora's voice echoed in the castle. It sounded unfamiliar to her. As if someone else had asked the question.

"She-Ra's sword wasn't originally part of the Planet-Maker technology," Light Hope answered. "When Etheria was rendered habitable, the Eternians made two new runestones with Eternia's Original Runestone material. They crafted two swords to bear these new runestones, and linked each one of them to an Original Runestone. One for Eternia, and one for Etheria. The Guardians who would have the honor to wield the Swords of Power were named She-Ra and He-Man, the Mediators."

So it was all true… Adora felt tears prickling at the corner of her eyes. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out.

"She-Ra and He-Man were meant to unite all the Guardians together to protect the planets and to ensure that life grew. On Eternia, He-Man was also an ambassador for the Guardians with the different rulers of the planet. Unlike the Princesses on Etheria, the Guardians did not rule kingdoms."

A holographic castle appeared. It didn't look like anything Adora knew of. Tall blue towers reached above the clouds. Transparent glass walls showed people walking around big gardens with fountains, animals, and kids' playgrounds. Small boutiques were aligned on the other side of the gardens. There were skiffs everywhere, but they didn't look like the Horde ones.

"This is the main entertainment building-or mall- of the capital during the time of Mara, just before the Horde discovered the planet. I'm using her memories to show you everything I know about your home planet."

Adora realized tears were rolling down her cheeks. So this was her home planet. It was all real. "What happened…?" she murmured. It was more rhetorical than anything. Light Hope answered anyway.

"The Horde is more ancient than you know, Adora," she said gravely. "It is a wider organization which has ruled over galaxies for thousands of years. The First Ones were actually running away from them, from what I gathered from the data I received. They found a way to escape the Horde's tyranny by using the portal. They left it open for other fugitives, but unfortunately, some small factions of the Horde eventually found it, and thus, found Eternia. They tried to take it over just before Mara broke the connection between our planets and casted us into Despondos a thousand years ago. Around the time you were born, the Eternian population was mostly composed of descendants of the First Ones and descendants of the Horde factions. Their world was divided and engaged into a centuries-long war where the Guardians opposed the Horde descendants."

The Guardians couldn't stop the Horde from invading them in the end, despite being united. What could Adora and the Princesses do against their own Horde problem, when they couldn't even work together successfully ?

The scenery changed again. A young woman with blue eyes, dark skin, and a long braid stepped outside of what looked like a spaceshift. She was looking all around her, amazed by her surroundings. Stars in the sky, a forest behind her, and rails on the horizons with skiffs moving towards… Cities. And ahead of the woman, the Crystal Castle.

"This is…"

"Mara."

Adora gasped. She reached out again to touch the last She-Ra before her. The person she had so many questions about.

"This was her first day on Etheria after she completed her training on Eternia," Light Hope pursued. "She-Ra and He-Man always came from Eternia since their runestones were both made from Eternia's Original Runestone's material. The Princesses, on the contrary, were born directly from the Etherian population. That is why when the connection between the two planets broke a thousand years ago, no She-Ra could rise again."

"Until me," Adora whispered. "Why? Why did it happen? And why me?"

Adora suddenly found herself standing in a cozy room. The moonlight was pouring through a window. Leaning against the wall, a woman was rocking a crib whilst singing softly. She had red hair and blue eyes. Puffy blue eyes.

Adora took a timid step closer. She reached out to the woman, but her hand went through the hologram.

"You were born into a lineage of potential Guardians back on Eternia," Light Hope said. "Since thousands of newborns of the same lineage could become a Guardian, all of them were tested at their birth, to see if they possessed a predisposition to magic. You responded positively to magic when you were born."

Adora leant over the crib. A baby was sleeping peacefully, mouth open. There was a cute unicorn knitted on its pyjama.

"Is that me?"

"Yes. It is you."

Adora gulped. She looked up at the woman, who started crying again.

"You had the predisposition for the Sword of He-Man." Light Hope resumed. "But something unprecedented happened. Your twin brother had the same predisposition as you." Adora froze. "Since both of you could claim the sword, none of the Guardians knew what to do with you."

Adora had a brother. Like what Hordak had told her on the battlefield.

"Hordak told me the truth," Adora whispered. All the stories she'd been told started to add up. If they all added up, the chances of them being wrong lowered drastically.

"Hordak had his eyes on you and your brother since you were born," Light Hope nodded. "You must not be aware of this, but Hordak is the descendant of an important former general of the Horde. He never ceased to believe that the Horde should be on top of the system like it used to be. At the time of this memory," Light Hope pointed to the crying woman above the crib, "he was fighting against the Queen of Grayskull, the ruler of the most ancient kingdom of Eternia."

"Grayskull? Like when I call-" Adora's words died in her throat. For the honor of Grayskull. So that was it. The mysterious Grayskull was an extra-Etherian kingdom. That was all? Why was it that Adora had to say those words to call the sword? "Why did Hordak kidnap me? I don't understand…"

"You and your twin brother held value for all of Eternia, because of that particular situation. Everybody was expecting great things from you."

She-Ra, inside of her, was fighting to wake up. Adora pushed her back. It wasn't the time for giving her control.

"Your parents had to hide you in separate hideouts when they understood that you were in danger. But it wasn't enough. Hordak found you. He kidnapped you when you were two years old."

The woman and the crib disappeared. A tall figure took their place. Dark cloak, red eyes, a sinister rictus, looking down at a baby.

"Hordak…" Adora gritted her teeth.

"Hordak had gathered a massive army from all around Eternia, ready to take over the planet. He intended to use your life as leverage with the Queen of Grayskull before attacking for good, but before he could do it, the remaining Guardians activated the combined powers of the runestones."

Hologram Hordak suddenly looked around him, fear distorting his skeletal face. Purple rays of light surrounded him. He screamed.

Light Hope's voice remained as steady as ever. "They opened a portal and casted Hordak's headquarters away, along with a few of his generals, and you, without their knowledge."

"To Etheria," Adora sucked in a breath. Her hands started to shake.

"Yes. It was the first time they managed to connect Etheria to Eternia in a thousand years. It wasn't their intention. They only wanted to open a portal to get rid of Hordak. They were really lucky. The statistical chances of opening a portal were close to zero in the state of imbalance the planets have been facing since Mara damaged the connection."

It all matched what Entrapta had discovered from the crystals. But maybe the crystals were wrong. Maybe Light Hope was wrong. How could Adora be sure? This was all insane.

"Thus," Light Hope concluded, "your magical predisposition for He-Man's Sword, and the short reconnection between Eternia and Etheria awakened the power of its twin, She-Ra, when you arrived on Etheria."

"What a convenient coincidence that it was me who got kidnapped and not any other future Guardian baby…" Adora said bitterly.

"There was a very low probability of it happening, but after a thousand years, I would still call it the product of chance," Light Hope corrected. "The Sword of She-Ra recognized you and chose you, but it would have probably chosen any other magical being linked to the magic of Eternia."

"Great consolation," Adora snorted. She was angry. Angry about her life having been so twisted just because she was chosen. Angry that a part of her still liked to be chosen.

"How your connection to She-Ra survived after the portal you came through closed is still a mystery to me. My data analyses suggest that your Eternian magical abilities might have sufficed to hold She-Ra in."

"Light Hope…" Adora suddenly understood what was happening to her. Why she was feeling so unstable. Why it was so hard to keep in control. "How much longer can I hold She-Ra in?"

"I do not know. What is certain though, is that Etheria has been slowly dying for a thousand years. What Mara did caused a leak in the runestone system. Magic has been leaking ever since then, draining life from the planet. Moreover, the desert has been spreading at an alarming rate since the portal sent Hordak and yourself on Etheria, suggesting that the leak has only increased because of this event. Adora, there is only one thing you can do."

Adora tightened her fists in rage as she waited for the inevitable.

"Adora, if you want Etheria to stop dying, you need to fix what Mara's done. You need to fix the connection between our two planets."

There it was. Her destiny.

Light Hope raised an eyebrow, "I can sense a great disturbance in your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as in your magical stability. Allow me to scan you so that I can find the problem with your body."

"No!" Adora shouted. "I am not a program to be fixed," she hissed. "Tell me exactly what Mara's done, and why. I won't fix anything until I know why it happened. Why did Mara break the connection?"

"Because she was emotionally compromised-"

"No. Stop that bullshit!" Adora shouted. "I want the facts. All the facts. Show me what happened! I want-I need to see!"

I need to see if Mara was right or wrong…

"Very well."


Catra was so close. She could see the temple’s beam of light through the woods. Soon she would find Adora. She would show her how it all happened. How the story was made. Memory by memory. She would use the mask of the Magicats, like she should have done. Like she would have done if she hadn’t been all freaked out herself by the recent events. Or if she hadn’t been so reluctant to use the power of the mask out of pure fear of losing her sense of self.

"Shit…" She cursed when a headache tried to make her skull explode. She halted, panting and leaning against a tree. "No, no, no, not now!"

She knew this kind of headache. A memory was awakening from the depth of her mask's magic.

It was a grey, rainy day. Halfmoon's main agora was empty. People stayed locked inside their homes as they waited for the next rays of sun to peek through the clouds.

"Not this one! Dammit!" Catra knew this one already. She knew it by heart. Why was it coming up now?

A woman was rocking on a swing chair that was hanging on a branch of the biggest tree of the park. She had taken her hat off, protected from the rain by the bushy foliage of the tree. Her long braid was swaying with the wind. She looked so sad, looking in the distance.

"Mara!"

The woman met her gaze. She smiled and it seemed like the whole place was suddenly brighter despite the lack of sun.

"Alondra!"

The Magicat leapt towards Mara, who caught her in her arms. They fell off the swing chair onto the ground, laughing like it was the best day of their lives.

"I missed you so much," Alondra said, as she caressed Mara's cheek. Mara dug her fingers in Alondra's hair and scratched her nape, which elicited a purr. She pulled Alondra in and kissed her on the mouth.

"I missed you, too, darling."