A continuation from part 1 of this series, where Samurai Jack arrived in Etheria.
|Adora laughed like a howling hyena.
She chuckled a little bit more.
"You look ridiculous in such a mis-matched outfit. Take these instead," throwing Jack the cloak Glimmer had given her to wear when she first came to Bright Moon.
"It's a shock that Glimmer's mom even took you seriously!" and continued laughing to herself. Jack responded defensively.
"It’s not bad! I've worn worse, like the time I went into a rave to stop it from corrupting the minds of children. I sure looked silly then!"
While no one else knew what in the world he was talking about, they did not want to embarrass themselves in front of their new friend, so they stayed silent.
They only had some of an idea of what the message on Bow's tracker pad meant. It was Adora's hope that Light Hope, a purplish blue-colored holographic persona, created by the First Ones, who seemed to be family-oriented and peaceful, to be the facilitator of Etheria, would be able to help them further. It was a long shot because Light Hope had chastised Adora in the past for not following her orders. She had also angered Adora by saying that she should be dedicated to restoring balance to Etheria, and heal the planet, rather than trying to help her friends, arguing that her emotional attachments were dangerous and would pull her down. In some ways, Light Hope was like Shadow Weaver. Both tried to manipulate Adora in certain ways, although by this time, Adora was wise to such manipulation and would not accept it. Even so, Adora reassured herself that the quest her, Glimmer, Bow, and Jack were a part of intertwined with the duty of She-Ra, which she could embody, especially when her friends were in danger or needed help.
They continued their journey deep into the Whispering Woods. Since they strangely encountered no hostile demons and creatures, they were soon upon the site of a mysterious structure, built by the First Ones. It had a glimmering beacon on top, shining on those below. The decrepit looking structure, the Crystal Castle, was clearly more than it seemed from a first glance, serving as a headquarters, of sorts, for She-Ra, although Adora didn't like going there often. It was also a dimensional crossing of sorts, although only certain individuals could go through dimensions. Adora led the way, opening the passageway into the castle itself. She soon shouted "For the Honor of Grayskull!," transforming into She-Ra. She soon met Light Hope, who had been awaiting her arrival since her last visit. In preparation, Bow handed her his tracker pad with the constellation, while everyone else stood patiently as she quizzed Light Hope.
“What does this message mean? Me and my friends have been trying to figure it out, to no avail."
In a halting, computer-like tone, Light Hope told her:
"The constellation you speak of was named by the First Ones, who came from another world. It was meant to guide their ships as they peopled this world and to mark a dramatic event. It was before Maura stranded the Etheria and its moons in the dimension of Despondos.
With delight, she responded with the argument that a dramatic event was happening at the present. Still the question lingered about the specifics of a "dramatic event." Was it an event one with positive consequences or with negative ones? As would be expected, Light Hope did not give any further information but only wanted Adora to continue her training and stay there. She continued to pressure Adora even when she asked if any of the First Ones, were still alive. Not wanting to do this, as she was about to leave and transform into her usual form as Adora, she had one more question, reminding herself of Jack's predicament.
"Is there an inter-dimensional time travel portal on Etheria?"
Once again, in a robotic way, Light Hope responded.
"No current portals exist, but one is being built on the land of Etheria and is shrouded by evil."
Adora was intrigued.
"Shrouded by evil? What do you mean?"
Light Hope explained further. While her vision inside the Fright Zone was clouded, she could see Entrapta's thoughts, where she was constantly thinking about how to improve a portal, building it with Hordak’s help. This made it clear that the Horde really wanted to get its hands on First One technology for their nefarious purposes.
These revelations disturbed not only Adora but everyone else. A portal? Entrapta working with Hordak? Why was Entrapta working to turn the lightness of the world into darkness? Did she have no conscience of her own? From what Bow and Glimmer had told her earlier, that she was happy in the Fright Zone, having her technology and everything else, this confirmed her worst fears. With this answer, Adora turned around and walked out of the castle, with everyone else following, dismayed at what she had learned.
They had more questions than answers, especially when it came to the portal and the reason the First Ones had disappeared. Clearly, they had powerful technology that allowed them to send holographic images into outer space itself. This made it possible that a previous technology killed them off, even though they had a unique language that only a few could read at the present, making it effectively dead. However, the First Ones could have, as easily, decided to colonize another nearby world, leaving Etheria in the dust. All of this meant that the trip had not been worth it as much as they had hoped. It was lucky no one else has tried to speak to Light Hope, as it would have set off alarms and triggered a self-defense mechanism of the castle itself, which had left Adora fighting for her life on at least two occasions in the past. There was no need in that happening again.
As they journeyed onward, Jack thanked Adora, now transformed back into her usual form, for asking about the dimensional portal. He lamented the trip had not been as fruitful, not giving them the detail the others in the group had hoped and longed for. Still he was pleased such a portal existed and wanted to go into the Fright Zone itself and use it. Bow, Glimmer, and Adora warned him to not do this. Instead they convinced him to go to the private library of Bow's dads, Lance and George. They would look at the library's collections on Serrenia, while they would work to figure out the meaning of the message. Jack could, as Bow suggested, ask about dimensional portals, something that the library probably had information on, since they had vast collections.
Of course, visiting the library would not help Bow, Glimmer, and Adora fully comprehend the message, but it was one of their best opportunities to figure out what it meant. Even though Etheria had multiple kingdoms, such as Bright Moon, Plumeria, Salineas, Dryl, Kingdom of Snows, and Mystacor, and various villages and towns like Elberon, Thaymor, and Alwyn, along with the Fright Zone, the main base of the Horde and its armies, there was no archives or repository of knowledge that was all-encompassing. An archives definitely needed to be built, without a question, but the best time for that to happen would be after the demise and defeat of the Horde, especially since there was an inevitable battle between the Rebellion and the Horde without question. In the meantime, the world's knowledge was scattered, making it extremely hard for anyone to access.
After the disappointing time at the Crystal Castle, Adora internally questioned herself. It was part of the emotional strain she faced on a daily basis especially as the "guardian" or "hope" of the Rebellion when she was She-Ra. She did not see herself as worthy to hold the Sword of Protection. After all, not only had Bow and Glimmer been captured in the past, but Entrapta was left behind, when they thought she died in a fiery explosion, and defected to the Horde. She also thought of Catra, who felt betrayed that Adora had left the Fright Zone and joined the Rebellion, ultimately leading Catra to be part of the evil they were fighting. Light Hope seemed less of a form of hope but rather a light of disappointment. Adora knew that Light Hope's human protocol was outdated, and wasn't running at full-capacity, and knew there was a less-than-inspirational protocol in place. Still, this didn't help. In frustration, she threw down the sword and fell to the ground, crying, muttering about how she had failed all of them, most of all, herself. While Glimmer was often short-tempered, stubborn, and impulsive, she was disturbed by this outburst. It was unlike anything she had ever seen, even worse than what had happened before the Battle of Bright Moon. If it kept up, she worried that She-Ra would not be able to help fight off the Horde and the Princess Alliance would shatter apart, something she had worked so hard to build. While their new friend, Jack, was a determined warrior, he was no She-Ra. As such it was clear that Adora's inability to fight would be a huge loss for the Rebellion.
"Adora, it isn't your fault we don't know everything about the message. We will keep trying and questing to figure out what it means."
Further comforting her, she cheerfully pointed something out.
"Light Hope did answer your questions, even the one on time travel. While her answers were inadequate, they are still a starting point!"
Bow then jumped in.
"No matter what Light Hope told you, still be strong and persevere. We can't stop now, not when our quest is just beginning. Not when..."
"We have so many battles left to fight! Best friend squad to the rescue!"
Even Jack came in and tried to comfort her, as he had with other travelers during his travels across Earth, trying to escape the clutches of Aku. While he was often stoic, he was no stranger to emotion or to comforting lost souls.
With all this encouragement, Adora wiped the tears off her face and quickly stood up.
"What Light Hope said still concerns me, as does the video we saw in the Crimson Waste, but it won't stop me in my quest to learn the truth about this message and She-Ra."
"It is," she shouted, "my DESTINY!"
To comfort herself, she looked again at Jack's ruffled shirt, which had reappeared as he had taken off the cloak, she had given him, and let out a hearty laugh. She was soon joined by Bow and Glimmer, joking about Jack's silly shirt.
"You know," she smiled, "I could sew part of a kimono for you, using my magic powers, since our play fight earlier ripped it."
Jack was puzzled. She continued.
"My sword can turn into other objects, like a pitcher, lasso, flute, cup, chain mace, and shield."
She then delivered the final punch line, like the end of a good joke.
"So why can't I turn it into a magic sewing needle?"
Humbled, Jack described how he, after rough fights, would find the appropriate materials, and repair his kimono to its normal, un-ripped, unaltered state.
"That's no matter. I could still put it together with magic or at least I'll try."
Bow warned her of what had happened when she tried to heal Glimmer, arguing the same could happen again, leading to another failure.
Considering Bow’s plea, Adora posed a compromise. She would turn her sword into a magic sewing needle, but Jack would sew his own kimono, which had been made of silk and satin. Like an apparition, a set of silkworms secreted a strong, fibrous, and elastic material, as did a set of spiders, appeared on nearby trees, spinning a filamentous and silky material. Seeing the opportunity to prove herself useful once again, Adora shouted, “For the Honor of Grayskull!," turning her sword into a magical sewing needle, which exuded good will and positivity. Jack would use the surrounding silk to reconstruct the top half of his kimono. He knew that silk was the most desired product for such a garment, although others used hemp, linen, satin, or even cotton. It didn’t seem to be worth mentioning this fact because it would confuse his newfound friends more, since none of those plants existed on this world.
Since She-Ra's powers only lasted briefly when she was not holding her sword or a weapon transformed from the sword, Jack had to act quickly. In no time at all, he sewed the whole upper part of the kimono. Bowing to her, he handed her the magical needle back, which she transformed back into a sword, and quickly put the sword in a sheath on her back, after she turned back into original form as Adora. Bow and Glimmer looked at Jack's new improved kimono, which was like his old one since it had the same style. They were in awe, realizing he was emanating the energy of a great warrior, just like Adora when she was She-Ra.
Unlike Glimmer, Bow, and Adora, Jack's clothes gave him relatively mobility and ability to change depending on the circumstances. In the past, he had changed his clothes to blend into the light, turned his kimono into a sail to carry him upwards, and created clothes for a desert environment. While his choice of a kimono made his clothing much more traditional in his dress than anyone else, it did not mean they respected him less, or vice versa.
With that, Bow proposed a solution which they had discussed earlier: journeying to the private library of his dads. While there, they would look at what the library had on Serrenia, Mara, and inter-dimensional travel. While Glimmer grumbled, they all agreed to continue the quest to the wonderful place of learning and self-discovery willingly. After all, the library would probably have the right information that fulfilled their needs, just like other libraries in that dimension and others aimed to do in order to effectively serve their users. This time, the excursion would not be clouded through deceit by Bow not only to his friends, but to his parents. It would be, in some ways, an adventure. Taking inspiration from his favorite sea captain, Sea Hawk, Bow exclaimed "Onward to Knowledge!" while Glimmer rolled her eyes.