The Phantom Slaves
Chapter 1. Captured
"Come on, Luna, finish packing!" yelled Sunny. She had already equipped her pink Backpack after stuffing it with these items:
- All her rare items
- Her 5 favorite outfits
- Her purple Giraffe Plushie
- Her white Giraffe Plushie
- Her favorite blanket
- Her pink pillow
- Her Sword and her light blue Long-bow
Sunny could sense Phantoms just a few miles away, so they needed to hurry. Luna yelped, "I can't find my yellow seal or my red one!" "Oh my god Luna, your yellow seal is right on that chair! And have you looked under your bed?!" called Sunny. "Oh, found them!" yipped Luna. She stuffed all of her pack-able belongings into her black Backpack and equipped it. "Come on, Luna, we need to run! They're almost here!" Sunny burst out the door, Luna on her tail. As they dashed into the woods, they were unaware of the danger that lay ahead.. .
After fifteen minutes of running without a break, Luna was so tired she could barely move her chest enough to breathe. Sunny had to stop so her sister could rest. After the break, they began running again. The forest around them became wilted, browned, and dripping with a strange purple goop. Spanish moss shortened their vision length. Luna shrieked and fell to the ground, slipping on the odd goop. Sunny stopped, helped her up, and streaked off with Luna dashing at her side. But then Sunny slipped. She was moving so fast she slid all the way into a large pool of the goop.
A crystal cage dropped onto Sunny as she struggled to move through the goop. Luna shrieked as she slipped in, also caged. Suddenly, a button showed up that said, 'Escape'. Luna and Sunny pressed it in sync, but instead of freeing the two arctic wolves, all it did was alert several Phantoms that their plan had worked.
When the phantoms had arrived, the sisters had long since somehow hidden their backpacks by throwing them into a bush.
Chapter 2. The Prisons
Sunny woke up in a purple metal cell with a window on either side.
A slab of partially rotten meat lay on a stone block on top of a purple metal shelf. Next to the raw pink-brown meat on the shelf was a dish of slimy water, complete with algae growing inside the bowl. A quick glance around showed Sunny that the cell came with a bed made out of goopy piles of rough fabric on a rusty metal shelf attached to the wall near the floor.
The windows were actually only barred views into the neighbors' cells. "LUNA!" she wailed suddenly. She had no idea where her sister was.
"Over here!" came a faint cry from the cell to her left.
Sunny stuffed as much of her face as she could fit through the bars of the window. Sure enough, there was Luna.
She was lying on the hard ground, struggling to crawl towards her bed. "Oh, Luna!" she gasped. Luna was entangled in goopy steel shackles that immobilized her hind legs. Bloodstains covered her forelegs and face. Her long black fur was tangled in bloody knots. "What happened to you?!" screeched Sunny.
Luna gasped in pain before whimpering, "When they took us out of the cages, -which you wouldn't remember- they clubbed you over the head instantly because you looked more powerful than me. The whole time they carried the cages here, you were swearing. A lot. Every sentence you said was some nasty curse-word and something about the Phantoms. Back to the main story, they knocked you out as soon as they opened the cage. I looked weak, but that's only my disguise. They let me out awake. I fought back and killed three Phantoms. They raised the alarm, and soon enough I was fighting for my life. Dozens of Phantoms were around me. I killed about seven more, and I got a Phantom Tentacle. I don't know what it is, what it does, or what it means, but I still have it, even though I lost the battle."
Chapter 3. The Phantom Tentacle
"Here, let me see it," Sunny said, glancing around. A goopy, limp, and strange object was passed through the bars.
It appeared to literally be a Phantom's tentacle. The base was shredded and torn, as though it had been clawed or bitten straight off a Phantom. Sunny thought out loud, "It appears to be a type of... weapon? But it doesn't feel right in my paws. I wonder what would happen if some animal slammed it down on the ground, maybe used it as a club?"
Sunny howled, "PHANTOMS!!!!!" I THINK MY SISTER COULD LOSE THE SHACKLES NOW! SHE WON'T FIGHT BACK!" Sunny said the last words with a meaningful glance at her sister.
After a burly guard unlocked the shackles' padlocks with a spiky key that Sunny instantly memorized, she poked her face through the bars and said, "Luna, we should meet our neighbors!" Then she mouthed, 'Make some allies, so we can get help escaping'.
"Okay!" Luna agreed as Sunny passed the tentacle through the bars.
Chapter 4. Charcoal
Peeking through the bars on the right, Sunny saw a sobbing black Snow Leopard with dark green eyes and blue lightning bolts on his fur.
"Hey, what's wrong?" asked Sunny softly. He turned his head, green eyes wet, and replied hoarsely, "They pushed my brother off the top of the Phantom Crystal machine."
Sunny gasped in horror. And to think she knew how cruel the Phantom could be! "Oh, I'm so sorry! It must be so heartbreaking!"
"You don't understand," he muttered, turning his head away. "What's your name?" called Sunny. "I'm Sunny!" "Charcoal," he grumbled. "Charcoal, come here. I have a plan, and you could be useful."
"How?" he rasped. "Charcoal, you seem smart. Can you calculate the Phantom's rounds?" "Of course I can!" "Okay, I need you to do that for me. Once you do that, I need you to calculate when you'll be able to get the Shackle Key. Since she's killed about ten, the Phantoms put my sister in shackles when they transport her."
"I see," muttered Charcoal. "I can definitely help with this. We must get out."
He lifted his paw, showing a thick scar on the paw pad.
"The Phantoms made a cougar do this to me when I tried to thwart their plans. It was my first day. I thought if I could get away with smashing small parts of the giant engine, instead of plugging in better spark plugs, I could delay the big attack they had planned on. You know that attack, don't you? If it weren't for the Alphas, Jamaa would have been destroyed. Well, the Phantoms caught me when I smashed the pieces. They tried to use a fox to punish me, but she refused. Then they used the cougar. He killed the fox, slashed straight up my pad, and turned into a Phantimal."
"What is a Phantimal?" asked Sunny. "Well, they are animals that have worked with the Phantoms against their will for so long that it became their will. When the animal turns into a Phantimal, it will drop painfully. Phantomy purple square-swirls will appear in its fur, which switches to a dark gray main color, and a black secondary color. Its eyes will be dark purple. The animal loses all of its hope and all of its memories, and deals double damage when punishing an animal."
"That sounds awful!" gasped Sunny.
"And that's not even the worst part. See, as a Phantimal, the beast has 0.0005% control. When it loses that little bit, it turns into a Phantom, and kills the nearest slave."
Sunny gasped. She couldn't let that happen to anyone! Not herself, Not Luna, not Charcoal, not anybody!"Charcoal, listen to me. We. Are. Getting. Out of here."
Chapter 5. Ocean
Luna looked into the bars on her left, spotting a light blue fox with deep blue eyes and the same color fire pattern.
The fox clawed metal scraps ferociously off of a panel on her wall, scooped it into a big pile, and pulled out a blowtorch from under her bed.
"HNNNGG!" grunted the fox, leaping as high a she could off her bed to reach the shelf that had her food and water, only to fall to the ground.
"PHANTOMS! I DEMAND THAT YOU LOWER MY FOOD AND WATER SHELF!" demanded the fox.
"What a bunch of dopes!" she added under her breath, tucking the blowtorch and metal under her bed. "I swear, this cell was designed for a giraffe!"
A large phantom entered the cell containing the fox, unscrewing the bolts in the shelf and lowering the shelf so that the fox could reach it, then screwing the bolts back in.
When the Phantom left, she pulled out the blowtorch again, grabbed her water, and scooped the metal scraps to her. She strapped on some goggles Luna guessed she had swiped from a dead animal, considering the small splatters of blood on the side.
The fox then pulled out a detailed sketch of a strange piece of equipment, which was labeled as a 'Machine Stabber'. It was a sharp piece of metal with a textured handle for better grip, a blocker at the top of the handle to keep the paw from sliding onto the sharp piece, a long, sharp end perfect for impaling small parts on a machine, and a cover to make it look like a tool Phantoms would use to fix their horrid machines. The fox examined the sketch closely, then tucked it under her bed and blow-torched the metal scraps, occasionally shaping the object swiftly with her own paw.
When she finished the shape of the stabber, she dunked it in the water, cooling it into one object. The fox concentrated deeply, thinking, measuring, and calculating, until finally, she clawed more metal scraps off the panel and crafted the tool-shaped cover in the same fashion.
When she finished it, she tried the cover on the stabber to find that it fit perfectly, then tucked all her supplies under her bed. "Hello, fox, what is your name?" called Luna, startling the fox.
"Oh, no, did you see all that?"
"Yes, but I won't get you in trouble. That was a very clever design."
"Oh, thanks. My name's Ocean." replied the fox. "Hello, Ocean. Nice to meet you. My name's Luna, and I think you could help. Come here." Ocean trotted over to the bars, stood on her hind legs as high as she could, and whispered,"What's the plan?" "Ocean, I think you could fix these unstable bars in my cell," she said, then whispered so only she and Ocean could hear, "You can make tools to help us escape, you've clearly got craftsmanship all figured out here." "Gotcha. I can probably hijack the cell system and probably the boomseed storage, too, and let 'em rip. Then I could get everyone out through the tunnels I found a while back. Then I can hack the self-destruct, and we'll never see this old dump again." "Amazing plan, Ocean! I'll tell my sister Sunny about it."
Chapter 6. Time for work!
Sunny woke groggily to the sound of a Phantom hitting a button outside of her cell.
She was dragged out of it, screaming in terror. "Shut up right now or you're gonna get it on your first day, and wounds don't heal well in prison!" laughed the Phantom who had pulled her out. She silenced herself as she was hauled to her feet roughly.
Spears prodded her from behind to get her moving. She was taken to the Phantom Crystal machine. There, she saw that several animals had formed an assembly line.
Falcons filled bowls of Crystal Goop. Eagles carried the bowls to a pile, where a large green tiger passed the bowls one by one down a row of neon foxes.
The foxes handed the bowls to a golden lion, who poured the bowls out into a pipe. When the goop passed through the pipe and onto the conveyor belt, it would run through a line of compressing machines, activated by a row of levers.
Multi-colored kangaroos lined up at the levers, pulling down when a grey arctic fox yelled "Pull!". "But where do I go? They've already got it figured out," said Sunny. "Look up," snickered the guard. She did, spotting a ladder.
There were dozens of wheels on top of the machine that powered the conveyor belts, which were being turned by a snow leopard and an arctic wolf hooked onto the wheel each. A snow leopard who was struggling to turn the giant wheel by himself was being punished several times without mercy because he could not work.
Sunny gasped. Charcoal was that leopard!
She scrabbled frantically up the tall, rickety ladder. "Charcoal, I'm here! Phantoms, stop punishing him! He really won't be able to work if he's too hurt to move!" she cried, rushing over to the wheel.
The phantoms turned towards her, grabbing a chain, a spiky collar, and a double-hook. He squeezed the tight collar onto her neck, loosening it, and put the double hook onto the chain. He also attached it to her collar as she realized the chain was welded and gooped onto the wheel.
"Now, you two, stay on opposite sides of the wheel and walk counter-clockwise. If your wheel stops turning, we have a cheetah who has worked here for a while. His expert attack for punishing is to bite a weak spot until the animal faints..." Right as the phantom left laughing manically, the cheetah raced around the corner of the roof.
"How did you get up here?!" cried Sunny as she walked in circles, turning the wheel with Charcoal.
"Don't talk to him. He punishes animals who talk to him while they work because they might not be doing their best when they stop to chat. But, to answer your question, there is a large Phantimal eagle that carries him around," grunted Charcoal, pulling with all his strength.
"Oh, I see. But, will he hurt me because I didn't know?" asked Sunny nervously.
"No, if you're a newcomer and you don't know, he lets you off easy. But he'll probably hurt you next time, unless you can think of a really good excuse he'll believe," replied Charcoal."
Chapter 7. Punishment
The next day for work, Sunny, Luna, Ocean, Charcoal, and a cheetah named Ella (she was bright gold with deep emerald-color spots and same-color eyes) were put into the same room.
No phantoms were in the room with them, but a large lion was. He gave out the instructions, then pretended to leave, fooling everyone.
Sunny was supposed to mix a powder with water to make Trapping Goop, then pour it down a pipe where Luna was supposed to shape the goop into a ball and put it down the conveyor belt to Ella.
Ella would wait until Ocean made a goop rifle, then put it into Ocean's blaster. Ocean was supposed to pass the rifle to Charcoal, who would load up steel crates with loaded blasters.
But, Sunny beat up and broke pieces of the pipe, Luna and Ella did the same on their end, Ocean scavenged for metal pieces she could craft with and Charcoal practiced his best battle moves on the containers.
The lion leaped out with a mighty roar, knocking Charcoal to his feet. Sunny gasped in horror as the lion ripped his claws up the snow leopard's stomach, spattering blood everywhere.
"Charcoal!!!" cried Ocean. "He's like a big brother to me! Every time we've worked in the same room, he's helped me! We- I- How could you!" Ocean went in an angry frenzy, too horrified and raging to speak.
She jumped onto the lion's back, leaving deep claw marks. "You'll be punished twice as harshly now!" roared the lion, slashing her off his back and slamming her to the floor. The blue fox was nearly killed by a crushing blow to the head--with claws included--that sent her flying into the wall.
The lion winced, blood dripping from his black shoulders. His purple mane ruffled. "Ocean!" yelped Luna. "What are we going to do?!"
Luna was in her 'weak' disguise again. She smirked secretly to Sunny, who, realizing exactly what was going to happen, winked back knowingly.
Luna whined, "Please don't hurt me, please, I'm just a yearling."
"Well, you were a bad little puppy. And you know what happens to bad little puppies?" growled the lion.
"THEY GET A BIG, BIG WHOOPING!!!!"
With that, the lion rose onto his hind legs, roaring and slashing at Luna. She easily rolled out of the way, lunging out. Luna tore a chunk out of his hind leg, causing the lion to fall.
He crashed hard onto his back, but he rolled onto his feet. Ella raced in, a battle cry erupting around the room. She bowled over the lion with a yowl of fury. The lion picked her up by the back of her neck, biting in deeper and harder each millisecond, until she fainted.
Blood stained the lion's muzzle as he slammed her around like a ragdoll, finally dropping her. With only Sunny and Luna left to stop this lion from doing his gruesome job, they knew exactly what to do.
The lion's huge, bloody paw swung and nearly whacked Luna in the head. Luna grabbed onto the paw as it whooshed past her muzzle, hitching a ride and tearing a claw as she went flying.
She landed on her paws, skidding to a stop just before she would have hit the wall. Lion's claw in her jaws, she charged the yowling beast and shoved him over, but he slapped her muzzle as he fell, leaving a deep scratch on her face.
Sunny picked up the lion's claw as Luna dropped it, stabbing it into the lion's nose. She stayed there until the last second, causing him to slash his own face.
The lion picked up Sunny, slamming her onto the ground. Her vision hazed and duplicated rapidly. Luna yelled, "Sunny, get up!", snapping her to her feet.
The lion growled, charging rapidly.
Sunny stuck the claw into his eye as Luna jumped onto his back, scraping the lion. The lion fell onto his back purposely, crushing Luna and knocking her out.
He swatted Sunny in the face, but she shook it off, biting his muzzle and clawing his chest. She got so mad at him that, without even thinking, she almost killed the lion.
Chapter 8. Recovery
Sunny woke up with a sore snout, remembering yesterday's fight.
A phantom floated up to her. "I have been ordered to give you the reports from your little fight you picked yesterday. The lion died. Shame, too. We wanted to keep him. He even wanted to work for us without becoming a Phantimal. The rest of you are okay."
As the Phantom left, Sunny immediately checked on Luna, who seemed okay apart from a couple scratches on her face and a sling on her foreleg.
"Oh great Mira, I sure do hope they don't put me on the Crystal Machine before this fixes itself!" sighed Luna.
"Glad to know you're okay. I'll check on Charcoal. Could you give me Ocean's conditions when I return?" asked Sunny. "You too, and sure," replied Luna as they left to check on their friends.
Charcoal huffed queasily as Sunny approached his cell, grumbling, "I'm okay."
He gasped, buckling over.
"No, you're not okay. Come here," sighed Sunny as Charcoal dragged himself over.
"Here, I always keep some Mira Pills with me. They won't completely heal you, but they'll remove pain almost instantly. The downside is, you have to drink the disgusting water from the bowl, or else you might choke," said Sunny.
"Okay," said Charcoal. He took the capsule from her paw and left to grab his bowl and take the pill.
Sunny came back to her sister, handed her a Mira Pill, and told her the instructions. "Ocean's unconscious. Her head is wrapped up and she keeps whining in her sleep. Should I wake her and give her a pill?" asked Luna.
"Yes, I've only heard whining when an animal is scared or hurt. Here's the pill," replied Sunny. She handed Luna another pill and told her to bang the cell bars until Ocean woke up.
"Wait, where's Ella? I want to give her a pill too," said Luna in a whiny voice. "Oh my great Mira. I forgot about her. Phantoms, where is Ella?!" barked Sunny.
A Phantom floated up, sighing. "Ella the cheetah, correct? She is in cell Room 18, Cell 20182, North Wing."
"Would that be anywhere near my cell, Luna's cell, Charcoal's cell, or Ocean's cell?" questioned Sunny, because the area-code or whatever confused her.
"Well, she's actually right next to Charcoal. See you later," sighed the Phantom, leaving. Sunny padded back to the bars on her right, rising onto her hind legs once she reached the window. "Charcoal, apparently Ella is right next to you. Give her this pill if her neck hurts," said Sunny, handing him the pill.
Chapter 9. Volcano
A loud roar startled Ocean. "Volcano, will you K N O C K I T O F F! RIGHT NOW!!!!" she screeched."I'm trying to nap before I have to try to tame that stupid crocodile-cheetah-eagle-coyote-Phantom thingy in half an hour, so I want to try to sleep!"
"WELL I HAVE TO MEET WITH A KING IN 20 MINUTES BECAUSE YOU AND YOUR DUMB FRIENDS KILLED THAT OTHER LION, SO THEY WANT TO KEEP ME INSTEAD!!!!! I WANT TO GET ALL OF MY ANGER OUT BEFORE I MEET HIM OR ELSE I'LL KILL THAT F--------!!!"
"Whoa, holy Mira, Volcano! Calm down before you swear! Who knows how many little leagues were caught!" cried Ocean.
Volcano sighed. "I know, I know. I'm just so- so ANGRY!"
"Try taking a nap. Sleep is very-" she giggled,"-relaxing!" "Alright, fine, fine, fine, I'll try," sighed the red and black lion."Thanks, Volcano."
Chapter 10. The Elemental Animals
One day, after a few weeks of being captured and enslaved, a huge Phantom Guard with a giant spiky club opened Sunny's cell, dragging her out.
Eight other animals were trapped into a multi-animal shackle set. The animals were Ocean, a red and black lion, Charcoal, a brown and white lynx, a white arctic wolf with blue leaf patterns, Ella, a pink fox, and Luna.
Ocean was snarling ferociously, biting at the Phantom who guarded her. The lion was roaring so loudly the Phantom beside him vibrated, the expression in its eye saying 'Help me PLEASE'.
Charcoal paced nervously as Ella gnawed at her chain. The lynx and the wolf stood paw in paw, back to back, making furious noises at each other's guard Phantom.
The pink fox buried her face in her tail, sobbing in terror.
As Sunny was clipped right next to Luna, Luna whispered, "I have no clue what we're about to experience. We might have to meet a king, we might have to fight two kings (but I know we can do that), who knows?"
Suddenly, a large Phantom approached. He hissed,"Sunny in front, followed by Ocean and Rosy at her sides. Then Leaf and Luna follow Ocean at her sides and Charcoal and Volcano follow Rosy at her sides. Ella, three feet behind Ocean. Xavier, three feet behind Rosy."
The animals scrambled to get into that order. They were marched along, down a seemingly dead-end hallway.
Then a Phantom pressed a button. He hissed, "Sire, we're here. And we've brought them. Should we press the blue button now?"
A loud voice sounded on the other side. "OF COURSE YOU SHOULD, IDIOT!"The phantom pressed a large blue button that read, 'Spell Off'. The door opened with a loud whirring sound. A huge King and four smaller Kings came into view. "The spell is off for this room. I think it's time," said the large King. The other Kings finished, "Time to fight!"
Chapter 11. Ella's MagicElla yowled. She stood yowling and swaying her tail.
Her false tail that her father had made for her, her tail that looked like green Elf Tail Armor.
Her tail she had gotten as a cub, when she had been kidnapped.
When she had been kidnapped by a hyena, when he had grabbed her tail.
When she managed to escape the hyena only by accidentally tearing off her tail.
And now, the look in the Kings' eyes, the look that said they would tear off that tail, that look said everything.
And that look triggered in her something she never knew she had.
As a King sent a Phantom after her, that something came forth.
It took hold of her strength, doubling it.
It took hold of her awareness, tripling it.
It took hold of her focus, quadrupling it.
And that new enhanced focus, it concentrated on her paw.
Her paw, the one flying forward, the one glowing a bright green, the one slamming onto the floor.
And as she looked at what that paw had done, a massive boulder of emerald crashed downwards, crushing the Phantom.
Its death erupted into streams of black goop, streams of black goop flying through the air.
Before, her tail had swayed in anger and fear.
Now, it swayed in dominance.
Dominance over the phantoms, and a calm sense.
A calm sense and a look on her face that sniped, "Catch me if you can!"
Chapter 12. The Battle
And with that, it began.
Sunny had studied an elemental animal in books, and she knew what to do if she was one. She knew she wasn't the Jewel one, because she had just seen Ella do that.
Volcano, the black and red lion Sunny had seen earlier, suddenly lunged over her head, snarling. He attached himself ferociously to the smallest King's tentacle, climbing it and swinging himself to different sides as the King tried to slam him off.
"Get it off, get it off, it burns, it burns, it burns!" the King shouted frantically. Smoke was beginning to rise from the tentacle where goop from the scratches spilled out.
The lion made his way to just above the eye. "ELLA! I'M GOING TO NEED YOUR HELP, BECAUSE YOU'RE THE FASTEST!" Volcano roared.
Sunny immediately caught what he was trying to do. A Phantom King's offensive and defensive lightning powers came from his giant eye. Since Ella was a cheetah, she could trick the King into thinking he could crush her, then race out at the last second.
When the King slammed, he would lose his power for thirty seconds, just enough time for Volcano to break the magic. They followed the plan, Ella barely making it out unscathed.
Volcano's paws glowed red as he flexed his deadly claws, slamming them into the King's eye. Smoke rose from the now blind King's new scar.
He began spinning in a rapid circle, deadly to anything that came into his path. Luna had given the Lion's Claw to Charcoal, and had kept the Phantom Tentacle.
Charcoal aimed precisely, shooting the Claw straight through the King's eye, killing it. He ran, tearing the claw out of the corpse's eye.
Sunny knew she wasn't Fire or Jewel, and as Rosy dissolved a King's tentacle with a blinding neon flash, she knew she wasn't Color either.
Chapter 13. The Battle part 2
Charcoal's sides heaved. He focused entirely on storms.
He looked down at his paw, not noticing any magic. He focused harder.
A loud noise sounded off. A Phantom King backed away in fear. He jumped at it, knowing what this was instinctively.
Charcoal leaped through the air, flexing his claws, watching them grow longer, watching them shoot sparks. He sliced his claws, leaving a three-foot-long, five-inch-wide gash straight through the King's eye. The shockwave threw Charcoal across the room, but he hit the ground standing, skidding backwards on all four paws.
He leaped again, flying towards the king. He rotated to the side, with a fierce bodyslam that broke the King's magic. 'Everyone jump!' cried Mira in their heads. Charcoal sprang off the top of the King's head to jump, and everyone else hopped onto a random King's tentacle. Huge lightning bolts blasted through the ground as the King's magic ended.
Leaf barely made it up in time, picking up Xavier and putting him onto a tentacle.
Suddenly, Mira screeched in alarm inside of the Elementals' heads. She frantically shouted, 'Use and combine your magic!' Charcoal blinked at this alarm, nearly dousing out the fiery glow to his eye. He growled, lunging at the last King in the room, noticing everybody do the same. Everybody's claws stretched out a little further. Everyone had a glowing eye. Everyone was going to win. They surrounded the King in midair, right eyes glowing neon colors and leaving color trails behind them.
They swung their outstretched paws in the same direction, ripping through the King. The shockwave blasted everyone nearly into the walls, but the Elementals landed on their feet, skidding backwards. The Phantom King made a really WEIRD sound, before erupting into colors and dust.
"We -huff-, we d-did it!" cried Luna weakly. "And now, it's time to stop the Phantoms once and for all," wheezed Ocean, punctuating the sentence by wielding the Machine Stabber.
"Guys, here's the plan. I make everybody the weapon they're most comfortable with, plus I make a few lock picks and a Machine Stabber per Elemental. Then, we find a perfect distraction, be it a malfunctioning machine, another Jammer, yourself, anything to get you away from what you're doing. Once you've got that distraction, go fast. Pick the locks, go into rooms, kill Phantoms, anything you have to do. We meet in the weapon room, quick chat on how the Fox we're gonna get outta here. Then, we grab weapons, as many weapons as we can carry, and go to different wings, passin' 'em out. Any Jammer trapped in their cell, bust 'em outta there.
We gotta get 'em out as quick as we can. Ella, I'll put you in charge of gathering the enslaved Jammers. Volcano, ya gotta keep 'er covered while she's at it. Kill Phantoms, take hits, breathe fire like a frickin' dragon, anything ya gotta do. Xavier, whadd'ya got? Healing?"
"Yes, Ocean, I have healing," said Xavier.
"Okay, good. Your job is to go with Ella and heal all the wounded Jammers she finds. The rest of you that I didn't assign, you just gotta go. Go fast, go far, free slaves, go, go, go. Don't stop till you reach the woods at the edge of the badlands. Wait for the others there. Wish me luck, I'm going to hack into the system. I'm gonna disband the pedaling Phantoms, and I'm gonna hack open the covers. I'm gonna use this thingy and break the cores."
Her voice was rising slightly, as if she were desperate.
"I'm gonna save everyone, I'm gonna avenge everyone! Charcoal's brother, Leaf's father, Xavier's sister, Rosy's aunt, Volcano's mother, Ella's parents, the hundreds of Jammers who died here-" Her voice rose higher still."-M-my- my... My little baby sis..."
Tears started to trickle down her cheeks. Charcoal put a comforting paw on her shoulder, burying his face into her neck in a protective manner. He finally took a steady breath, removing his head from that position and looking at her, face to face.
"We know what you've endured. We've gone through similar things, and we all know how much it hurts. But, we believe in you. We know you can save Jamaa. You can do it, Ocean," he murmured.
She sat beside him for awhile, taking deep breaths, but as soon as most of the Elementals weren't looking, she moshed her face into Charcoal's shoulder, crying. She didn't want anybody to see how much she missed her sis.
Chapter 14: Help from Friends
Volcano woke up in his cell, angry over seemingly nothing. He roared loudly, a signal that everybody had discussed to make sure the others were still in their cells.
Volcano and Charcoal would roar, Ella would chirp, Sunny and Luna would howl, Rosy and Ocean would chatter loudly, Leaf would bark, and Xavier would yowl. He heard all the response noises. Perfect. It was time to discuss the perfect day.
Suddenly, an eagle screeched in response to his roar, and a horse whinnied. The horse called out, "I'm in! I heard the Plan at my work station, and I really wanted to join! Since the Phantoms are idiots, I'll spell my name! M-h-a-r-i-a!" 'Hmm,' thought Volcano, 'A horse and an eagle could be useful.
We could get more Jammers out on the back of a horse, and an eagle could fly Jammers out and come back for more. I could let those two animals in, and then send Charcoal off to protect them.'
"Alright, you two. You're in." The eagle screeched in joy.
Chapter 15: More Work
Sunny yawned, opening her eyes. A Phantom Guard dragged open her cell door, hissing, "You need to go to the boat. There is a river that you must pull it through. The engine quit working, so you must pull the boat to the dock and do the work the Guard there asks of you."
"Sir, yes sir!" responded Sunny. She had learned that if you said 'Sir, yes sir!' to a Phantom when he told you what to do, your meat would wind up a little fresher that night. The Phantom's expression lifted, and she knew she had made the right move.
Sunny trotted to the river, which was literally a long, wide stream of Phantom tar. Gross! Oh, well.
She walked to the front of the malfunctioning boat, but she suddenly stopped, hearing faint cries from the bottom of the boat. There were... animals down there?
She quickly jumped into the boat, running down. There were several creatures down there, all in cages whilst they painfully experienced side effects of the Phantom Labs. "Aha! Caught you!" yelled a Phantom from behind, making her jump.
Sunny whipped around, gasping. It was a guard! "Now you have to kill them all. They gave us a breakthrough, but now they are worthless for experiments. Kill them!" snapped the Phantom. He jabbed Sunny with his sharp spear.
"Ugh, fine!" she yelped. "Please kill us," rasped an experimented fox. "The others are in too much pain to speak, but we all agree on one thing: You should end this." The other experimented animals nodded, some having to nod with their paw due to neck pain.
She tried to walk up to them and quickly stomp their heads, but she wound up petting and comforting them. She just couldn't kill them.
"GET OUT OF THE WAY, IDIOT! CAN'T YOU SEE THEY WANT TO DIE!" shouted the Phantom, lunging forward.
He slapped her in the face so hard she went flying. He leaped from experiment to experiment as she watched in horror, snapping necks, stabbing his spear through heads, and skewering out hearts. Sunny wept in terror and sorrow. She just... couldn't.
Chapter 16: PlansThe Elementals were gathered in a room during their free time. "I suggest we go to a workroom, pretending to supervise," suggested Xavier.
"And then we rally the animals," added Rosy.
"And smash through the walls," finished Charcoal. "We probably want to choose workroom 86-B9, because it's right near the courtyard. We should have the attempt in two days. Tomorrow, we'll spend the day searching the courtyard for escape places," rumbled Volcano.Mharia, a brown horse with sky blue eyes and stars, and Endie, a completely white eagle, were there too. "We should also make escape routes," noted Endie. "Yes," agreed Ella. "Then, we get out of here."
Chapter 17: Preparation
Ocean was hard at work.
There was a huge dent in her cell where she clawed the metal, creating weapons and lock-picks and Machine Stabbers. The fox forged rapidly, working herself to sleep.
She barely stayed up long enough to finish the last lock-pick.
Chapter 18. Preparation 2
Charcoal practiced his best battle moves. He fought hard with training dummies, and grew his strength by the hour. His forelegs bulged, providing power for a gripstrength enough to crush a Phantom easily.
Chapter 19. Exploration
The animals were put to work, cleaning the courtyard.
All the Elementals, plus Mharie and Endie. Perfect. The eleven Jammers cleaned, dusted, mopped, and swept the courtyard.
They'd sneak little explorations in, too. For example, when Endie flew up to dust off the barbed-wire ceiling, he prodded at a corner with the duster, noticing a gap large enough to fit one falcon at a time without damaging them.
Ocean spotted a very soft and tender piece of ground. Poking at it, she felt that it went three feet underground, and all the way past the poisoned barricade.
Chapter 20. Assistance
The Phantoms gave every animal some free time. Now was the time to escape.
Endie rounded up falcons, which were decidedly the first animal to be freed. He ushered them, one by one, through the gap in the courtyard.
A Phantom spotted them, but Charcoal was guarding the escape with Volcano, as he was supposed to do. He stabbed the Phantom, then crushed its stunned body.
Next were the eagles, then the owls, and flamingos, on and on until every animal capable of flight had flown their way to Jamaa. Then came the land animals.
Chapter 21. The Great Loss
There was another animal with the Jammers, an animal known as the Elk.
The Phantoms then figured out the plans. As an Elk clambered through the tunnel Ocean had carved from the soft ground, a Phantom snatched it. Charcoal tried to stop the Phantom, but it was too late.
The Elk was strangled.
Choking noises rang out. Then the Phantom cracked the Heartstone of Elk.
"No!" cried Sunny. Luna immediately ran to comfort her sister, as she knew Sunny couldn't STAND seeing something die.
The Elk of Jamaa were no more.
Chapter 22. Pets
The Elementals were at a meeting in the courtroom. Sunny and Luna sat side by side, tails entwined.
Xavier was sitting on Leaf's head, making sure nobody tried to touch the Arctic Wolf.
Volcano's massive paw gently rested atop Ella's back, whose tail wrapped around his leg.
Charcoal had his tail tucked around Ocean, who was inching closer to him by the minute.
Galaxy gently cradled her pure white kitten Watersky, who she'd rescued from the Pet Prisons.
Endie draped his wing across Mharia's back. "Alright, what's the plan? We've got the flying animals out of here, other than me and-"
"THE PETS!!" screeched Rosy. "OH MY GOD! We have to free them NOW!!!"
"But somebody has to take them all to Jamaa! They'd get slaughtered out here, trying to make it back home by themselves!" cried Mharia.
"Who will take them back? We have to get the pets out of here and back to Jamaa before I blow this place to the ground, not after!" yelped Ocean.
"Right, yes." agreed Endie. "But who will leave for Jamaa? You can't come back once you leave with the pets..."
"I'll go!" blurted Rosy. "I can't let you do that, Rosy," stated Mharia.
"I'm no Elemental, but back in my home, they called me the Prophet. I was able to tell the villagers exactly what would happen as a result of their choices. The Phantoms might have muddled my senses, but you and Ella are going to do something amazing together. I'll go."
Chapter 23. The Pet Plan
"I'm going with you," said Endie. Mharia sighed. "Fine."
"Before you go, take this. I swiped it from the Phantom Control Room," said Ocean. She passed them a map of the Fortress.
"The red sticker is where we are. The green sticker is where the Pet Prison is. I stole some chalk and made a path for you."
"Thank you, Ocean," said Endie. "Wish us luck."
Chapter 24. The Pet Rescue
Mharia trotted quietly to the Pet Prison, plan cycling through her head.
- Go to the Pet Prison.
- Fill the supply bags she'd emptied with pets. (they wouldn't mind being crowded, so long as they were being saved)
- Pass Endie her bags. (he'd carry all of them away)
- If a Phantom saw them, drop to the ground and pretend to be punished by Endie. (he was a registered punisher)
She reached the door, pulling many pets into a bag. When that bag was full, she passed it to Endie. Mharia continued pulling pets into bags until there was one pet left who wouldn't fit.
"Redpaw!" cried Endie. His little auburn kitten was safe!
Suddenly, Mharia heard the unmistakable sound of a nearby Phantom. She quickly hid the bags of pets and shushed them, and put Redpaw with them. The horse dropped to the ground, tapping her hoof to signal Endie's 'attack.'
The Phantom burst in, spear at the ready. He found Mharia on the ground, crying as Endie ripped at her flank with his talons. "What was her crime?" asked the Phantom. "She sneaked the pets out of the prison!" shouted Endie in an angry manner.
The Phantom left with a satisfied look on his face and Mharia stood up. She rubbed the fruit juice off her side while Endie licked the juice off his talons.
"Fly them out now. I'm going to go say goodbye to our friends and then join you," said Mharia.
"I'm going to miss them," said Endie. "Don't worry, I'm sure we'll meet them again," said Mharia. "See you in a little, Mharia," whispered Endie, busting the bars on the window and flying away.
"See you in a little," she responded, quietly trotting down the hall.
Chapter 25. Saying Goodbye
Mharia entered the meeting room. She felt the weight of everyone watching her.
"I came to say goodbye. Endie already took the pets out," she said. Everyone exchanged hugs with her.
"I'm going to miss you guys!"
"We will meet again, we have to!"
"I wish Endie were here to say goodbye too!"
"Will you guys wait for us? At our designated meeting place, after you take the pets to Jamaa?"
"Goodbye, everyone!" said Mharia. "I'll miss you too!" Then she trotted out the door, found a quick opening, and bolted.
Chapter 26. Escape with Difficulties
Endie flapped big, powerful flaps that propelled him forward through the smog-filled air. Suddenly, he heard the sound of hooves galloping across the rocky and uneven ground. He turned his head and saw Mharia furiously charging to keep up with him.
The eagle slowed his pace a bit to let her catch up to him and continued to fly. He heard the pets begin to chatter and he shushed them. Then he heard a whinny and swooped down to Mharia. Her leg was stuck in some tar she'd accidentally stepped in. He pulled her out, but Phantoms spotted the two and began pursuit.
Endie flew at full speed, darting and dashing to avoid lightning fired at him and goop traps in front of him. Mharia kept pace, dodging and swerving around obstacles set for land escapees. Endie ducked into the cover of trees and flew fast and hard. Diving down, he saw Sarepia Forest just ahead.
The eagle swooped town and perched on Mharia's shoulder. "Sarepia Forest is near!" he whisper-shouted.
Then he took off and saw Mharia pump all of her power into her strides. The dying forest around them slowly got healthier and greener, but it was still dripping in goop and Spanish moss. Phantoms were still in pursuit, and Endie had to pick up Mharia to help her escape a high-impossible-to-jump-over lake of Phantom Goop.
He thought he saw something in a bush, but he decided to ignore it until they got the pets to Jamaa. Passing the pets to Mharia, he dove into the ground, rolling and sprawling onto his back with his wings out. Mharia trotted in, set the pets down, and flopped.
Jammers stared at them. Endie was suddenly aware of how strange he must look; goop staining his pristine white feathers, scars rippling down his body, coatings of dried blood on his talons and beak. A grey and white wolf with blue lightning bolts on his fur turned his head.
The wolf wore a navy blue fox hat, a blue worn, a rare blue long, a dark grey elf tail with blue studs, and dark blue elf bracelets. "What are you doing in OUR forest?" asked the wolf menacingly, flicking his tail. Several other wolves dressed in similar fashion rose behind him. "What should we do, Lakestar?" asked an amber copy of the wolf.
"Auburnwind, gather the warriors," commanded the wolf called Lakestar. He turned and bellowed, "Pups! Hide!"
A bunch of tiny wolves into the cave. They were dressed alike, wearing flowers and fox hats.
The wolf called Auburnwind rallied a bunch of wolves that were probably the "warriors." Smaller wolves, which were called "apprentices" by Auburnwind, guarded the cave fiercely.
Chapter 27. They Definitely Claimed Sarepia...
"Please, we don't want any trouble," said Mharia uneasily.
"We aren't your average clan. I don't care how much battle experience you have, we WILL overpower you to make you leave SeaClan alone," growled Lakestar.
"Wait... clan?" asked Endie.
"Well, you look like you both have had PLENTY of battle," growled Lakestar.
"Wait!" cried Mharia. "We were enslaved by Phantoms for years!"
The wolf ignored her.
"ATTACK!!" he shouted. Ten wolves pounced onto Mharia. She reared and bucked violently, throwing a few off. The rest latched on. "I'm sorry!" she cried before stomping on a wolf's ankle. It fell off and she threw herself into a tree, knocking the rest off. She kicked a wolf that was climbing Endie's wings while he was busy pushing wolves away with his talons.
Mharia bolted, a fresh bite wound on her leg slowing her down. Endie flew behind her, clawing any wolf that tried to chase them. Reaching Jamaa Township, they gave the pets to an adoption center, saying that the pets belonged to people and to find the owners.
Chapter 28. Sneaking Out the Horses, Deer, and Llamas
Charcoal rolled over, falling off his bed and hitting the floor with a groan.
Suddenly a fierce feeling tore through his body. He clutched his stomach with a groan and grabbed the meat off the shelf. He hadn't eaten at all this month, other than biting off pieces of the inside of his mouth and eating it.
Charcoal looked at the meat.Suddenly, he didn't have much of an appetite...
He put the meat back, leaning through the bars.
"Sunny, do you have any meat in good condition?" he asked pleadingly.
A yellow paw passed some meat that wasn't rotting or covered in goop at all!
"Thank you so much!" he said, stuffing his short muzzle through the bars.
Phantoms arrived, hauling Elementals from their cages.
"Hello, kind sir. May I make a work request today?" asked Charcoal sweetly.
The Phantom glared at him and said, "If you don't want to work in the courtyard, then I guess..."
"Wait, actually, forget I said that. I do want to work in the courtyard," said Charcoal, glancing at Ocean. She swayed her tail, signaling that everyone worked there today.
In the courtyard, horses, deer, and llamas frolicked about, dusting and sweeping and trying to heave rocks over the tunnel entrance.
Charcoal flicked his claws against a rock, the sound ringing around the courtyard. He shoved rocks off the entrance to the tunnel.
"Attention everyone, we're gonna have to patch it up from the other side," said Charcoal, hoping the Phantoms that could hear him believed his fib. The horses climbed through, then the llamas, and then the deer. Some began to patch it up, but Charcoal climbed through and growled.
"Run!" he hissed. "Run to Jamaa and don't stop till you get there!"
A deer nodded and started sprinting across the badlands. The rest followed, but a Phantom heard the thundering hooves. Charcoal leaped off a rock, diving through the flying animal hole. He fired lightning bolts at a Phantom and soon wiped out all of the pursuers.
A llama glanced over her shoulder gratefully, and Charcoal nodded back. He sat, watching, until the animals were out of his sight. He focused his ears and heard the first set of hooves charging onto soft grass. They had made it to the forest.
The leopard climbed back through the tunnel.
"They're safe," he said to his friends.
Chapter 29. Taming Sessions
Ocean woke up to the clang of metal on metal. A Phantom had banged his armored tentacle on her cell door. He opened it, shouting, "Fox, wake your sorry tail up and go tame the Hybrid!"
---Ocean walked slowly to the Hybrid's room, nervous knots twisting in her stomach. She pressed the panel to open the door, and quickly walked inside, scared to let the beast out. The fox quickly pushed a button, trapping herself in with the Hybrid. She punched a light button, illuminating the darkest of shadows.
A horrifying creature stared back at her, blinking in the light. No goop stained its claws, only blood.
A horrible realization dawned on her. This creature didn't need to be tamed. It was tamed as soon as it was created, for the Phantoms at least.
This wasn't a taming session.
This was survival.
The Hybrid wrapped its incredibly long tongue around its snout, scraping off a bit of dried blood. And suddenly, it attacked.
Ocean was thrown to the ground by the violent force of its front claws pushing into her chest. It ripped through her skin, arousing a shriek of pain from the fox. The Hybrid gripped her, flinging her across the room and into the wall before she could react. A crunch of metal and bone caused another cry.
As she dropped off the wall, Ocean spotted a faint fox-shaped indentation in the wall where she'd hit. She threw herself at the beast, claws out. She firmly scrabbled at its knee, barely forcing her way through its thick, armored scales.
Ocean twisted around, latching onto and tearing off a feather with her jaws. A fierce, dragon-like cry rewarded her efforts. The Hybrid launched itself into the air, hanging off a ceiling bar with its hind claws and studying her like a bat.
Then, she heard a sound like glass shattering into a million pieces and everything went dark.
At first she thought she'd blacked out, but then she heard a whoosh, like something swooping past her head. A drip landed on her nose, and she knew all too well that it was blood from the fresh scratch on its knee.
Suddenly, something sharp, like dragon talons, planted itself into her shoulders. She kicked and fought in the darkness, managing to land a blow on a scaly ankle above her head, but it continued to carry her up. Suddenly, she heard another whoosh, and whatever held her flung her roughly.
She tried to dive to the ground, but the more animal-like claws that had ripped her chest earlier grabbed her shoulders again. She was adjusted until she stared into two dark red eyes that glowed faintly, just enough so that she could see them.
A long, purple tongue stained and dripping with blood from all its kills wrapped around a faintly visible muzzle. Dragon-like jaws snapped open, unhinged like a snake about to strike.
'That's what it's going to do to me,' thought Ocean in horror.
Chapter 30. Strike
Two fangs slowly extended their way out of the mouth. Blood trickled off of the fangs as they reached hungrily towards Ocean.
She closed her eyes and whispered something.
"Last. Words?" rasped the creature.
"Y-you can- You can t-talk!?" cried Ocean in surprise.
Fangs swooped towards her, and she squirmed out of the creature's grip just in time. She heard a shocked roar as it pierced its own paw. She dropped for a while, and Ocean wondered if the fall would kill her when suddenly she was grabbed by a wave that gently swished her to the ground.
"W-what? My powers work in here?" she asked herself in astonishment. She heard another swoosh by her head and wished Sunny were there to light up the room.
The hallways were still lit up!
The door panel!
It all came crashing through her brain. If she found the button, she could let herself out into the halls and survive this creature.
If she found the button.
She flung her paws out, charging energy through them and bracing her back against a wall. A large swoosh and a startled squawking, bubbly roar sounded off. It sounded like she'd hit the beast and then submerged its head halfway through.
Ocean kept smaller waves flowing all around the area with one paw. She occasionally sent a blast of water up at the bar and in the air. Suddenly, she heard a furious growl as another roar sounded. A red glow very faintly lit the area, but she still couldn't see anything other than the beast's eyes.
But what would cause him to glow his eyes?
She just had to keep hitting him and he'd light the whole area like a streetlamp!
Ocean sent forth several waves, each arousing a furious growl and a burst of red light, until she could clearly see the room.
The Dark Slayer was standing right in front of the button.
Ocean encased herself in a large wave, then shot herself forward.
She heard a roar as water slapped the beast in the face. She clawed its chest as the force of the water knocked it down.
"How does this feel?!" she spat in fury, slicing her claws through its more tender chest. Then she hit the button, slammed the creature across the room with another wave, bolted outside, and smacked the button to close the door.
Chapter 31. Ella's Nightmare
Ella, a happy little cheetah cub, was romping around the beach while her parents napped peacefully in the sun. She splashed through the waves, joy written all over every feature in her face.
Present Ella watched in terror. No! Anything but today, she wanted to shout. But she couldn't.
Baby Ella swayed her tail, accidentally tipping over a crab. She turned, scooped it up in her paws, and dropped it gently into the nearest oncoming wave, watching it scuttle away with a satisfied smile on her tiny muzzle.
A hyena approached her. "Do you want to play with me, little miss?" he asked politely.
"NO! SAY NO, LITTLE ME!" Ella roared at herself, but the tiny cub couldn't hear her.
"Of course I do, mister!" chirped Ella.
"Okay, let's play hide and seek!" said the hyena. "I'll count first."
The cub scampered away and crouched behind a giant clam as the hyena began to count. When he reached 20, he looked for her, scooping her up and saying, "Found you!" when he did. She erupted into giggles and put her paws over her eyes.
"I'll give you a hint, I'm going to be on the left side of the beach," said the hyena. Ella's family was on the right side, as were most of the Jammers. "Okay!" said Ella, beginning to count.
Saying 20, she scampered to the left side of the beach. Ella pounded her paws on the ground. "No, Ella, no!" she shouted. Baby Ella didn't listen.
Ella looked all over the left side until she was in a spot where nobody else could see her. The hyena burst out of hiding, grabbed her tail by the base in his jaws, slapped a paw over her mouth, and bolted. He raced towards his speedboat, which was on a dock a few hundred feet away.
"No, Ella! I tried to warn you!" screeched Ella furiously.
Baby Ella fought and kicked, managing to plant her paws on the underside of the hyena's mouth. She pushed, and blood spattered across the sand.
The cub's face contorted with pain so great she couldn't scream. She pushed herself into full sprint mode, charging into view and forcing cries for help and howls of pain out of her mouth. A trail of blood followed the cub. As soon as she burst into view, the hyena noticed she was gone and began pursuit.
Baby Ella's shrieks woke her parents, who charged up to meet her. Ella's mother grabbed her scruff and ran to their site on the beach, while Ella's father engaged in combat with her attacker.
"Ella, honey, what happened?" asked her father after warding off the hyena and charging back to his family.
"He wanted me to p-play with him, a-and then he hid over-there, and-and then I f-found him and he t-t-took my tail!" bawled Baby Ella.
"I'll make you another one," promised her father.
Suddenly, the hyena came back and murdered her parents right in front of her.
Ella woke up, shaking. Her past had just flung itself into her face, and she struggled to wipe it away and forget. She knew that the last part, the one that had terrified her into the waking world, wasn't real.The hyena had killed her father in front of her face, but he hadn't done it then. He'd done it in the prisons when her parents refused to work. When her parents were killed, the hyena was a registered punisher, but before then he was a capturing tool. Ella stroked her false tail, attempting to comfort herself. It only made her miss her parents.
She sighed, about ready to cry. Charcoal poked his muzzle through the bars. "Ella, are you okay?"
"With a twist."
"Want to talk?"
"Sure, okay." Talking always made Ella feel better.
Chapter 32. Xavier's Work
 a good song for this)
Xavier walked into the Phantom Labs, pressing his paw on a pawprint-scanner to identify himself as a registered labworker.
He walked in, shuddering at the sight. Phantoms zapped other Phantoms and then splashed goop on them. Other Phantoms hung in cages while a fox dissected a fresh Phantom. A Phantimal was being tested to see if it could turn random Jammers into Phantoms.
Worst of all were the experiments being done on the Jammers. Phantoms zapped some Jammers and forcefed something strange to others. A couple tigers were being pinned down while something was injected into them. A coyote trapped in a giant bottle of translucent goop was pounding on the glass and starting to sprout tentacles all over its body.
Xavier's job was to wait at his desk until his next experimental tools were given to him. He walked over to his desk and plopped down on the stool. Xavier tidied up his desk; the maps and notes were carefully stacked in size order and placed in his folder, his folder went on the left side of his desk, his Phantom paperweight went in the top right corner, his books were stacked in size order on the folder, and he cleared some room on the right side of his desk to put supplies.
Today's experimental tools: a syringe, a spoon, a dropper, some test tubes, a burner, and a stun gun, along with the usual: three pots with different types of goop in each, extra paper for notes, and a pencil.
Today's test subject: a small bunny who was strapped down to a metal board. "No! Please don't hurt me!" she cried, trying to wriggle out of the straps. Xavier had grown used to this and was nearly immune to the subjects' behavior.
He tightened the straps until she could barely move. Her eyes were wide and filled with tears. "P-please, no!" she whimpered.
Today's instructions: Either discover a more effective torture or turn the bunny into a Phantom. Make it hurt, or else. Make it slow, or else. There has to be screaming and begging for mercy, or else.
Xavier decided to try discovering a torture because it was easier to follow the instructions that way. "Hmm... If I just..." He trailed off in thought, mixing the different goop types and putting them over the burner. The bunny managed to nearly knock over his bottle with her ears.
Xavier sighed, lifting his paw into the air and flicking out his claws. He put a gag in her mouth and sliced off her ears from top to bottom. She screamed so hard through the gag that her eyes bulged a little bit. When she stopped, he removed the gag.
"You're not supposed to mess with my stuff," he hissed before returning to his work. The bottle's cork was nearly popped off with powerful fizzing, so he turned off the burner and let the serum chill. Then, he sliced open a cut in her chest. She started to scream a bit more, but he slid his claws into her mouth and down her throat, scraping the area so it hurt to scream.
She didn't scream afterwards, but her eyes said it all.
Xavier made four concoctions. The first, he put in the wound in her chest. She gave a small cry, but didn't do any further indications of pain. The second, he filled the dropper with and dripped into her eye. He placed his paw over her other eye.
"Stop it, I can't see!" He scribbled a note and taped it to the second bottle:
Instant Blinding Potion
The third, he poured into her mouth. She screamed and screamed, occasionally managing a "Make it stop!" or a "Mercy, please! Please!" He pried open her tiny bunny muzzle and found that it had dissolved her tongue.
He labeled it:
Torture; Put In Mouth
The fourth he filled the syringe with and stabbed it harshly into the bunny's outer thigh. She gave a final scream before a black, slimy coating covered her skin and rushed up to her head. He stabbed a little more into her face and an eye sprouted.
Xavier wrote a label for the final bottle:
Chapter 33. Volcanic Eruption
Volcano sat, a Phantom King in front of him. He wrapped his tail around his leg and pressed his paw onto its tip to keep it from lashing in fury.
The King hissed, "Are you sure you don't want to work with us? Your meat will be fresh, you will get to control anyone you want..." Volcano growled, then hid it behind some coughing.
The King snapped, "What was that?!"
"S-sorry, sir, it's a bit smoggy in here," wheezed Volcano. "Ah yes, then we will build you an air filter," said the Phantom in a tempting voice.
Volcano then caught the look on the Phantom King's expression when he pretended to look away and think on the offer.
He was grinning evilly.
Volcano roared, "I won't work for you! I won't work with you! I won't help you! I'll DESTROY YOU!"
The King lunged forwards, tentacle swinging violently out at Volcano.
"NO MORE FIGHTING! NO MORE! WE WILL OVERPOWER YOU!" roared Volcano, grabbing into the tentacle and burning it harshly.
He was smashed over his head, but not before he fired up bursts of lava from the ground that wound up killing the King.
Chapter 34. Death (this is gonna be a FUN ONE, haha)
Luna woke herself, blinking tiredly. She forced herself to wake up, and stand up, and just get out of bed, and walk to the door.
Luna pressed her ear to the door, hearing Phantoms approaching.
The door opened, and she barely had enough time to keep from tumbling out. A Phantom shackled her and led her down the hallway.
"This way, child. Boy, do we have a special day ahead for you, ha," snickered the Phantom as he opened a door.
Luna gasped as she saw what lay in wait for her. Animals lined up on a platform, rope tied around each of their necks. A lever was placed next to them.
The Phantom positioned her on the platform at a lever.
"Your job is to pull the levers. The crowd will tell you whether to pull it down slow or fast."
"You want me to what?!"
"Pull the levers," hissed the Phantom, "when the crowd gets large."
"And hang these innocent animals?!" cried Luna.
"Or else we'll hang you," confirmed the Phantom, grabbing her paw and placing it on the first lever.
A crowd of Phantoms, Phantimals, and sick, twisted animals that enjoyed working for the Phantoms gathered to watch.
"Go!" ordered the Phantom.
The wolf who was up rasped, "Please, please don't kill me. My daughter-- She knows I'm here. I don't want her hopes shattered."
With an (encouraging??) gentle zap from the Phantom Guard, she turned towards the crowd.
"Fast!" came a cry. "I'm sorry," Luna whispered to the wolf.
Her paw shoved down on the lever and the floor dropped out from under the wolf. He screamed but it was quickly cut off. The wolf's corpse dangled there.
Other animals were next. Luna, sobbing, walked across the platform, pulling levers and watching as corpses fell.
And the last animal fell, and an uncontrollably weeping wolf was led back to her cell.
Chapter 35. No Happy Ending For Them
The Hybrid sat in its cage. The animals were breaking through its body again, and it was having a moment.
Last time it happened, the Hybrid could barely control the animals. It had spoken to the fox.
Then the Phantom came roaring through its brain. But the animals were stronger.
After all, four-to-one is hardly fair.
They fought it out.
The Hybrid pounded its paws against the walls, shrieking and wailing, each animal grieving for the life it had lost.
And then, a thought from the coyote came through.
"Let's kill ourselves."
The eagle agreed. "Yes. It will be the happiest ending we could have."
The crocodile hissed, "The only other option is to continue on in this horrible body."
The cheetah sighed, "In four days, we will take our lives. Each day, one of us will take control and say goodbye to everything while the other three keep the Phantom out of our heads."
The Hybrid realized tears were running down its face as all its good souls agreed. It didn't want to die, NONE of them wanted to die, but it was the only way.
Their happy ending was stripped away from them the second they were led into the lab.
There was no true happy ending for any of them, but if they didn't want to keep doing the most horrible things to innocent animals, then they would have the Hybrid kill itself.
The Hybrid slammed the button to open the door to its room.
Chapter 36. Day One: Eagle Says Goodbye
The Hybrid was walking around, muttering in a slightly different voice than what it normally had.
It walked into the Phantom Lab. Grabbing a Phantom's tentacle, it growled in the eagle's voice, "Head Science! Where?"
Trembling, the Phantom pointed a tentacle. The Hybrid released the Phantom and walked away.
Bursting into the Head of Scientific Phantom Research's office, it snarled, "You."
The black fox adjusted his silver nerds and looked up with a wave. "Hello, Hybrid. How are you today?"
"It is I."
"Say, you sound sort of different. Reminds me of the screams the eagle made when part of his body dissolved into the rest of the animals--"
"Eagle," rumbled the Hybrid.
The fox suddenly shrank back against the wall.
Three scars were visible on the fox's ear. The Hybrid grinned, remembering when the eagle had attacked the scientist.
"Hate you," it hissed.
"Going die, first you need know what I say."
The Hybrid rose to its hind feet and let out a furious roar.
"Hate you! Hurt when experiments! Pain great when fused!"
The fox appeared traumatized and lightheaded. "I just did what they told me! But I am happy to be in this position," he muttered.
The Hybrid stormed out with a furious eagle screech and tromped back to its cage.
Chapter 37. Day 2: Crocodile Says Goodbye
The Hybrid, controlled by the crocodile, wandered around the North Wing until it found a cell with a blue fox.
Perfect. This was exactly who it wanted to see.
The Hybrid pounded on the door, waking the fox. She cried out in alarm when it opened the door.
The crocodile's voice came through.
"S-stay back! I don't want to fight you, but I will if I have to!"
It walked into the room, closing the door behind it. "Said, sorry for hurt you. Calm."
"O-oh. Uh, thank you. And, I'm sorry too. I only hurt you because you attacked me, but I know you didn't want to," Ocean murmured.
The Hybrid walked up to the fox. It reached out to her, embracing her in a large hug. She hugged back. "I forgive you for whatever you did to any animal you met," Ocean murmured to it as she tightened her forelegs around its neck, burying her muzzle in its feathers.
Chapter 38. Day 3: Coyote Says Goodbye
The Hybrid was controlled by the Coyote today. And the Coyote was a particularly violent creature.
The Hybrid walked into a workroom. The animals inside were trying to build a large machine, but a few eagles perched on the top of it kept crushing important pieces in their talons or ripping off pieces to throw at Phantoms.
The Hybrid flung its head up and roared, "OUT THE WAY!" Animals turned and ran, forming a circle 15 feet away from the machine.
It charged directly into the machine, hacking and slashing. It gave several shocks to the machine and flapped its wings, dislodging vital pieces.
Several animals joined in, destroying the ragged hunks of scrap metal.
Then a fleet of Phantom Guards burst into the room. An eagle who was on the top of the machine hurled a chunk of metal at a guard, leaving himself completely open from behind. A Phantom Guard zipped up behind him and thrust his spear forward.
The spear stopped.
The Phantom looked up with a gulp to see two glowing red eyes staring down at him. The tip of the spear had harmlessly poked into the Hybrid's foreleg.
Flinging its head into the air, the Hybrid let out a roar that seemed to shake the ground. Lightning bolts whizzed through the room, ricocheting off the walls and onto Phantoms. Black dust clouded the air and black goop stained the walls and floor. However, a large, burly Phantom King decked in golden armor quickly captured the Hybrid before it could do much more damage, though.
Chapter 38. Day 4: Cheetah Says Goodbye
The cheetah was always a more emotional animal, and today was no different. Her vessel, the Hybrid, cried her tears almost every day. She missed her husband. She missed her daughter.
All she wanted was to see them again.
The Hybrid was walking to visit all the cells of the animals the cheetah knew as a slave. Stopping at the last cell to visit, tears welled in its eyes.
This was the cell her daughter was kept in.
Gently knocking on the tightly shut door, the cheetah forced her voice into the Hybrid. "Darling dearest, are you awake?"
A bang sounded inside the room. "Mama?" cried a voice.
"Yes, dear?" asked the Hybrid sweetly in the cheetah's voice.
The Hybrid grabbed a Phantom, pressing its tentacle on a pad and opening the compartment where the opening button was kept. Stabbing a claw into its eye, it killed it and pressed the button.
Gasping, Ella stared at the Hybrid. "M-mama?" she asked. "W-what...?"
The Hybrid shook its head, holding a claw gently to its lips. It walked forwards and wrapped its wings around Ella, along with its from legs. "Shhh, it's okay..."
Ella sobbed into its shoulder. "B-but how... I-I thought you died!"
"I was part of an experiment and was fused into this body. But I'm here now, sshh, it's okay," it cooed softly into her ear.
"I-I'm so happy you're alive!" cried Ella.
"Darling, I won't be for much longer," whispered the Hybrid sadly.
"W-w-why not?" asked Ella, crushed by the sudden weight of the statement.
"The Phantom part of this body will keep controlling the rest and hurting innocent animals if all of us don't die," murmured the Hybrid. "I just wanted to see you again."
Chapter 39: "Death"
The Hybrid sat in its cell. Shakily lifting a claw, it grabbed its neck. Squeezing its eyes shut, it flexed its claws into its throat.
A blinding white light. It's so bright it hurts.
"Where are we?!" cried out the Cheetah, panicking. "I.. I think we're dead," responded the Coyote. "Say, it's really bright in here. I can't see anyone!"
"Don't worry! We'll get out of here when Mira comes!" the Crocodile confidently shouted.