*note: This is based on, and a sequel to, Season 1 Episode 20 "Three Courageous Hearts" of She-ra: Princess of Power. Takes place during my fanficverse storyline "The Big Capture of 2006"--where the Autobots and Decepticons have set aside hostilities to fight the real threat: the Quintessons.
It was a sunny day in Mysticor, on the planet Etheria. This was the homeworld of The Great Rebellion, led by She-ra. A large group of Transformers had gathered outside Queen Castaspella’s castle in the Kingdom of Mysticor, accompanied by Sheba. The winged puma was fairly salivating over the prospect of joining the annual Trickster Competition. And they were not alone. Various humans and other beings were all eagerly awaiting their opportunity to compete.
“So, tell me. What is involved in this ‘Trickster Competition’?” Optimus Prime asked.
Several native Etherians were also nearby—notably among them Adora, Bow, Glimmer, Frosta, Madame Razz, Broom, and Kowl.
“It’s a place where we magic-users can show off their stuff,” Sheba replied.
“Well not just magic-users, dearie,” Madame Razz added.
“Yeah. Some people like to see feats of super-strength. That’s why She-ra’s entering,” Broom stated.
Megatron flexed his arms. “Well, in that case, I’m certain I will prevail,” he said.
Sheba rolled her eyes. “Suuuuuure you can,” she said sarcastically.
“If you gave more of us some Guardian Forces, more of us could enter,” Thundercracker pointed out.
“I’m entering, magic or no magic. I can teleport! That’s got to be worth something,” Skywarp said.
“And I can disappear,” Mirage said.
“I really don’t think a disappearing act is going to impress anyone,” Tracks yawned, “Think about it. We’re on a world where there are wizards and sorceresses and strange monsters. They probably see people vanish all the time.”
“If anyone’s going to win, it’s probably going to be me,” Hound stated, “I can do more with my holograms than Skywarp can do with his teleporting.”
Skywarp cast the Autobot a withering glance. “Heeeey…” he began.
Starscream regarded the exchange with a sigh. “Sheba’s probably going to win,” he said.
Not too far from the main group, Cyclonus, Scourge, and three other Sweeps were waiting for the entrants to register. It was a mere formality; anyone was allowed to enter at the spur of the moment at any time. However, this kept things organized so that people knew when they were on.
Trailbreaker and Windcharger also entered, planning to use their abilities to mimic the effects of magic.
An old man in a red hooded robe and long white beard pushed past the smaller Autobots. “Hey, watch where you’re going!” Huffer complained.
“My apologies,” the man said, “I did not realize you were in line. Merely spectators, yes?”
“Just watching? No way! I’m gonna show off my strength!” Brawn retorted.
The man looked directly at one of the Sweeps. “And are you entering the competition, perchance?”
The Sweep looked downcast. “No, I’m just watching,” he said.
“Yeah, the Sweeps don’t do anything special,” Rumble stated, “Unless you want to count running away.”
“Mind your tongue,” Scourge growled.
“Indeed, I have heard that the sight of superior forces causes the Sweeps to turn tail before the first shot is fired,” the old man remarked, with a laugh. He walked past them, to register.
“He’s right, you know,” Galvatron stated, “You three are incompetent cowards! And you’re little better, Scourge!”
The three Sweeps slunk back. Scourge looked at them and sighed before proceeding with the others into the castle. Sheba briefly turned around and noticed their sad demeanor. “Hey, what’s wrong?” she asked.
“We were just reminded of what a bunch of useless cowards we are,” one of the Sweeps replied.
“Aren’t you going to come in and watch the competition? Maybe that’ll get your mind off it,” Sheba told them.
“Perhaps when it’s your turn,” the Sweep replied, “I think I’d rather remain out here for now.” His brothers nodded in agreement.
“Oh dearie my, let me talk to them,” Madam Razz said to Sheba, “I know what they’re going through.”
“That’s a good idea, Madam,” Adora stated, “Now I’ve got to go find She-ra.”
While Adora went off, the competitors and spectators continued to file into the castle. Castaspella used her magic powers to enable even the largest of the attending Transformers to enter the building.
“It’s too bad there isn’t a handsomeness contest somewhere in all this,” Tracks grumbled to Sunstreaker.
“That’s right, because you’d have to settle for second place,” Sunstreaker replied.
Tracks was about to retort, when Castaspella spoke up.
“Welcome, everyone, to Mysticor’s annual Trickster Competition. We have some special guests this year from a distant part of the galaxy. Please welcome them.” The Queen of Mysticor motioned to the gathered Transformers, who alternately bowed, waved, or stood with smug grins. Cheering and clapping ensued.
“And now, our first contestant will be She-ra,” Castaspella continued.
“Wow, starting off with a bang this year,” Bow commented.
“Where is She-ra, anyway?” Glimmer wondered.
“Up here!” a voice shouted. Up in the windowsill high in the wall stood She-ra. She leaped down, doing a midair somersault as she landed. “Now I hope this year I don’t get interrupted,” she stated, before drawing her sword. “I wanted to show you something special. But I’ll need a volunteer from the audience.” She-ra’s finger roved over the assembled Transformers, stopping in front of Grimlock, who happened to be in Dinosaur mode.
“Oh, Me Grimlock get picked! Yay!” the big Dinobot shouted.
“Yes, you’ll do nicely,” She-ra said, “Now I need you to stand right over there.” She pointed to a spot about fifteen feet away from her.
The Dinobot clunked over to the place indicated.
“Now what Me Grimlock do?” he wanted to know.
“Turn on the fire, and aim it at me!” She-ra told him.
“Ummm, you sure you want Me Grimlock do that?”
“Trust me,” She-ra replied with a smile.
“I hope she knows what she’s doing,” Huffer whined.
Grimlock spat a steady stream of flame at She-ra. She drew her sword and held it aloft, and the Sword began absorbing the energy of the attack.
“Keep it up, Grimlock!” She-ra said encouragingly. And though the flamethrower caused the sword to glow slightly, She-ra appeared to feel no effects at all. The handle of the Sword didn’t even get hot.
“Why sword not melt?” Grimlock wondered.
“Impossible!” Megatron murmured.
“Very impressive,” Optimus Prime commented.
“Not bad for a human,” Cyclonus admitted.
“Wonderful, She-ra!” Castaspella commented.
“Alright, you can turn off the flames now,” She-ra stated. Grimlock complied.
She-ra bowed, and took her place among the observers.
“That’s goona be a tough act to follow,” Windcharger whispered to Brawn.
“Now, I believe our next contestant is.......Skywarp?” Castaspella said.
A blue light flickered next to Castaspella, and immediately Skywarp appeared. Mere seconds later, he vanished again, and reappeared half-sitting in one of the enormous window openings high up on the wall. The crowd was quite impressed with this. The black seeker finished up by teleporting back into the contestant performance area and smirking.
“That was quite impressive,” Castaspella told him.
Outside the castle, Madam Razz approached the three Sweeps. “Oh dearies, don’t be so hard on yourselves,” she began, “I’m sure you have talents.”
“We are good at tracking,” one of the Sweeps replied, “Not so good at other things.” He sighed heavily.
“Well, look at us,” Broom added, “We may not look like much, but we saved She-ra.”
One of the other Sweeps cocked an optic brow at the talking broom. “YOU saved She-ra?” he echoed.
“Oh dearie my, yes,” Madam replied, “And we were the only ones who could do it, too.”
Frosta outdid herself this year. She made a frozen statue of Optimus Prime with her ice magic. Glimmer used her light powers to tie up Galvatron, who had volunteered and found to his chagrin that he could not break the magical bonds.
Now it was Megatron’s turn, and he requested a large dense weight be created for him to lift. He did so with great effort. Suddenly there was a rumbling, and the castle itself felt like it was being lifted. Everybody looked outside. The castle was very shortly put back on the ground, and Optimus Prime walked back into the castle’s hall. The stunned look on Megatron's face was priceless.
“Ouch. Upstaged by Prime again,” Sheba snickered.
Starscream sighed and facepalmed.
“Now we have a dual entry. Starscream and Sheba will be competing as a team,” Castaspella said, “This is most unusual, but I have decided to allow it. I am most curious as to what the performance entails.”
The pair took their places opposite each other in the competitor’s area. Sheba stiffened her wings, half-folding them, half holding them out to her sides. Starscream assumed a defensive stance. Several green translucent orbs with red centers appeared and spun clockwise around Sheba, and she vanished. The great dragon Bahamut appeared and fired its Mega Flare attack at Starscream. It did significant damage.
When Sheba reappeared, Starscream summoned the Guardian Force he was currently junctioned to—Shiva. The scantily-clad Ice Queen drew back her hand, which was gathering energy. Then she flung it forward with both hands, and Sheba was caught in a temporary mass of ice. It shattered, doing moderate damage. But Sheba wasn’t done yet. The minute Starscream reappeared, she cast Ultima.
“UGH! Good shot,” Starscream said, “Now try THIS!” He fired back with a Meltdown spell. When it hit Sheba, it did very little damage, but put her in the Vitality 0 status effect. Sheba fired back with her own Meltdown. Now that both of them were in Vitality 0, Starscream summoned Shiva again. This time it did far more damage.
Sheba quickly cast Esuna on herself. Starscream used his next turn to do the same. Next, Sheba summoned Cerberus. This gave her the ability to cast three spells at once. She pummeled Starscream with Meteor in triplicate.
Starscream staggered and cast Curaga on himself quickly. “Nice going,” he said, “Try this on for size!”
Suddenly the ground began shaking. Sheba lifted off the ground by flapping her wings. “A Quake spell? REALLY? Come on,” she taunted.
“But I didn’t do anything yet!” Starscream protested.
The old man in the red hooded cloak stepped forward. “I think I’ll be taking my turn now, yes,” he said sinisterly.
“This is highly irregular,” Castaspella cut in.
The old man ignored Castaspella and began chanting an incantation. A mist filled the room, and everyone, regardless of whether they were organic or robotic, found themselves completely paralyzed. Once this was done, the cloak dropped. It was now evident that this was no old man. This was a Quintesson—the sorcerer, Mara-al’ Utha. He stood facing Sheba and Starscream and began chanting yet another incantation.
"Sacred words that none do know
From nameless book with mystic glow
Take them now, beyond, below,
A purple vortex opened in the floor beneath the pair, and both Sheba and Starscream fell into it.
“I hear something!” one of the Sweeps said presently, “It sounds very strange. Like an old spell.”
“Old spell? Can you make out the words?” Broom asked.
“Take them down…beyond, below, Salistica, salistico,” the Sweep said.
“Oh dearie my! This is bad!” Madam Razz exclaimed, “Someone’s being cast into the Sixth Dimension!”
“I smell Quintesson!” another Sweep added, “I wasn’t sure before, but I’m positive now!”
“Are we sure Shadow Weaver isn’t here?” Kowl piped up.
“It’s possible,” Madam Razz replied, “If that’s the case, there’s only one way to reverse the spell!”
“And that would be…??” the Third Sweep asked.
“I have to cast the spell to bring them back!” Madam Razz replied.
“So what are you waiting for?” the Sweep wondered.
“I…...forgot the rest of it,” Madam said, hanging her head. But then she perked up. “But we can go look for the Nameless Glowing book again! It’s probably still in the Library in the Valley of the Lost!”
Sheba and Starscream landed with a thud. They looked around and saw that they were in a large grey cavern. It was lit, but the light source wasn’t evident. Sheba shook herself, straightening out the feathers on her wings.
“What was that?” Starscream wanted to know, “How did we end up here?”
“It’s that spell the Red Wizard used,” Sheba replied, “And it sounds familiar! But how would he know about it?”
“Never mind that now,” Starscream said, “I want to get out of here!” He scanned the cavern room and spotted a doorway. “There’s our way out!” He rushed towards the exit, but stopped suddenly when a flash of energy appeared in it.
“Forcefield?” Sheba wondered. The flash had appeared only momentarily, but then reappeared seconds later.
“So we have to try to get out while the forcefield isn’t up,” Starscream said.
“I’ll handle that,” Sheba said. She cast a short-range teleport spell, coinciding with the moment the forcefield dropped. They found themselves in an even larger chamber that had a path running through it. Next to the path was a subterranean river.
“I think I’ll catch a drink while I can,” Sheba said. She bounded over to the edge of the water and started lapping. Her ears pricked. Some strange noises were coming from the other side of the river.
“URGH! URAGHHH! URK!”
Three pink apparitions, without arms or legs, and shaped like tadpoles, came towards Sheba. She backed up, as the creatures approached, and one of them circled around a foreleg and began tugging at it. “Hey, stop that,” Sheba snarled, and cast a Scan spell on the apparition.
“Hmm, weak against water. That gives me an idea.” Sheba remarked, “TIDAL WAVE!” A ring of translucent green orbs with red cores spun out around her, and she and Starscream vanished. A glowing gateway appeared, and a serpentine form that appeared to be made entirely from water came through. In a flash of light, the watery form became Leviathan. The sea serpent GF rose up on a shelf of earth that had appeared beneath him, and then in another flash of bright light, Leviathan converted itself into water again and a torrent flowed down the shelf and pushed away the apparitions. They did not return. Sheba and Starscream reappeared when the Guardian Force had completed its attack.
Inside Castaspella’s Castle, the Red Wizard was laughing maniacally at his accomplishment.
“What have you done with them?” Optimus Prime demanded. He still could not move, but he found he could still speak.
“I have sent them into the Sixth Dimension, from which there is no return,” Mara Al Utha replied, “And now that they are gone, it will be much easier to deal with you!”
Shadow Weaver suddenly appeared in a flash of light. “Excellent. You have done well, Wizard. These rebels and their friends will trouble us no further.”
“This idea of yours was a good one,” The Red Wizard said to Shadow Weaver, “By trapping Sheba and Starscream in the sixth dimension, you’ve made my job a lot easier.”
“The Horde transports will be here shortly,” Shadow Weaver said to the paralyzed She-ra, “Then you’ll have the pleasure of a long stay on Beast Island. Ah, ha ha ha ha ha, ohhhh.”
“And my Quintesson brethren will also arrive momentarily,” the Red Wizard said to the group of immobilized Transformers, “You will be our slaves again, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Megatron couldn’t move, but he had to do something. “Soundwave!” he called out.
“What is your command, Megatron?” came the reply.
“Can you eject Laserbeak?” Megatron asked.
“Attempting. Laserbeak, Eject,” Soundwave intoned. Even without being able to push the eject button on his shoulder, somehow his cassette door opened and Laserbeak popped out. The red and white cassette transformed.
“Laserbeak, get help! Quickly!” Megatron ordered.
“Awwwwwk!” Laserbeak squawked, and headed straight for one of the upper windows.
“Don’t let him escape!” Shadow Weaver screeched. She fired magic bolts at the cassette bird, but he easily dodged them.
The Red Wizard also fired magic bolts from his tentacles, but he missed as well.
“Oh well, no matter,” Shadow Weaver said, “That Decepticon is insignificant. There is nothing he can do to stop us.”
“I’d never thought I’d see the day when I was glad Laserbeak got away,” Hound remarked.
Madam Razz was about to hop on Broom to lead the way to the Library in the Valley of the Lost, when Laserbeak spotted them and headed towards them, squawking all the way. When he reached the Sweeps, he hovered in front of them.
“Awwwwk! Awwwwwk awwwk awwwwk!” Laserbeak said.
“Slow down, I can barely understand you,” one of the Sweeps said.
“You can actually understand him?” Broom said, mystified.
Laserbeak continued cawing, though a bit more slowly.
“So, what’s he saying?” Madam Razz wondered.
“He says Shadow Weaver and the Red Wizard have captured the others, including She-ra. The Red Wizard cast a spell that sent Starscream and Sheba down a dimensional warp that opened suddenly in the floor,” the Sweep replied.
“Oh no! Without Sheba, we’re no match for the Red Wizard!” the second Sweep exclaimed.
“Come on! Follow me if you want to save your friends!” Madam Razz shouted, hopping on Broom and taking off. The three Sweeps transformed and followed, along with Laserbeak.
Suddenly Kowl burst forth from some bushes, trailing behind. “Oh, whoo, whoo, wait for me!”
Sheba and Starscream continued through the strange bluish-white cavern. The path led the way to some sort of structure, with carved columns and stairs. There was an open doorway, and they went inside. Not far from the entryway, a large table was located. It was loaded with strange-looking food, as well as the last thing Starscream expected to see in a place like this: a sizable pyramid-stack of Decepticon-fist-sized energon cubes.
As the pair approached the table, a series of red and grey geometric shapes swirled out of nowhere on the other side of the table, forming a triangle and a few circles before coalescing into a strange little humanoid that had a small black goatee. He wore a red tunic with a reddish-pink hood that seemed to be covering pointed ears on the top of his head.
“Good evening, I’ve been expecting you,” the creature said.
“I figured that out when I saw the energon cubes,” Starscream stated, “Who are you?”
“And where the heck are we?” Sheba added.
“I will answer all your questions. But, I’m sure your journey has exhausted you. Perhaps it would be best if you refueled first,” their host stated.
“Good idea!” Starscream said, reaching for a cube.
“We’re almost to the Valley of the Lost,” Madam Razz announced, as the group skimmed over the top of the icy mountain range. Fortunately there were no extremely high winds that might have forced them to cross the mountain on foot. As they approached their destination, and adjusted trajectory for landing, they spotted a couple of Horde Flyers ahead of them. One of them fired a shot at the Library, taking out one of the walls.
“Oh, NO! I bet they’re trying to prevent us from finding the book!” Madam Razz shouted, “We have to stop them!”
“ATTACK!” One of the Sweeps said, and fired at one of the Flyers. The laser blast took out one of the craft’s wings, and it trailed smoke as it lost altitude and crashed somewhere beyond the Library.
Laserbeak flew in quickly to strafe the other Flyer as it approached. The lasers from the cassette vulture’s optics did massive damage to the Flyer, and the Horde Trooper piloting it bailed out at the last second before it exploded.
Sheba sniffed at the strange fare. Appearing to be satisfied that it didn’t smell off, she tasted it. “Not bad,” she remarked. She began filling herself up with it.
Starscream noticed that the energon wasn’t liquid. Instead, it was gel-like, almost like Jello Jigglers, and thus required a bit of chewing. “This stuff’s great!” he stated.
“I’m glad you approve,” the little humanoid stated, “My name is Salistica, and this is my world, within the Sixth Dimension. It is outside of Space and Time.”
“That’s great and all, but can you tell us how to get out? Our friends are in trouble and we need to help them,” Sheba told him.
“Of course,” Salistica said, “But no-one has ever made it past the fifth level, which is the only way out. The closest anyone ever came was a warrior woman who beat the third level.”
“Warrior woman? He must mean She-ra,” Sheba asided to Starscream.
“And after the fifth level?” Starscream wondered, now on his third cube of energon.
“There is a large metal door that opens with this key,” Salistica replied. As he spoke, a golden key appeared in a flash of green light. It floated towards Starscream, and he grasped for it, but it faded in a greenish mist.
“The key! What happened to it?” Starscream wondered.
“After you complete the fifth level, then you get the key,” Salistica told them.
Starscream narrowed his optics. The disappearing act with the key had raised his suspicions. “I don’t think he’s trustworthy,” he said to Sheba.
“Yeah, I’m getting that vibe out of him too,” Sheba replied, narrowing her eyes.
“You have no choice. Ha, ha, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,” Salistica laughed, and he dissolved into geometric shapes that shrank and vanished.
The next cavern, past Salistica’s dwelling, was narrow with many holes in the walls. Instead of a solid floor, there were floating rocks, as if suspended by an anti-gravity force.
Starscream snorted. “This should be no trouble at all.” He took to the air, flying over and around the levitated rocks easily.
Sheba spread her wings and joined him. “If the forcefield door was level 1, and the river specters were level 2, then this area must be level 3,” she remarked, “That means we get past this, and there’s two more levels to go.”
“This is almost too easy,” Starscream remarked.
There was a strange, cricketlike sound, and it gradually became louder. Hideous looking monstrosities, with khaki-green baglike bodies sporting tentacles, several mouths full of sharp teeth, and a single eye perched on a stalk began emerging from the holes in the wall. The creatures leaped onto the floating rocks, attempting to surround Starscream and Sheba.
“Uh-oh, I guess I spoke too soon,” Starscream added.
“I don’t know what those things can do, but I don’t want to find out,” Sheba said. She cast Firaga on a small group of them. It didn’t seem to slow them down.
Starscream began firing his lasers in an attempt to drive the creatures back. While he did manage to destroy several of the floating rocks, it seemed to have no effect on the creeps.
One of the monsters leaped onto Starscream’s back from behind, and bit him. “It’s draining my energy!” he shrieked, “HELP! GET THIS THING OFF ME!”
Sheba quickly cast Scan, and discovered the monster was weak against water and ice, but absorbed Fire and Thunder. “No wonder the Firaga didn’t work,” she mused, “Okay, hold still! BLIZZAGA!”
The high level ice spell caused the creature to drop off of Starscream, and he kicked it away, where it landed on a floating rock. But soon it was joined by a horde of its fellows.
“They’re still coming,” Sheba said, “I think this calls for desperate measures.”
“I agree,” Starscream stated, and then he realized he was still junctioned to Shiva. “DIAMOND DUST!” he shouted, as green-red orbs appeared and circled around him clockwise, then spun off in all directions. As he and Sheba disappeared, four swirling beams of ice converged on a floating rock, and then a spearlike chunk of ice erupted from it. Shiva was encased inside, and she opened her eyes, then moved her arms to shatter the ice around her. She drew back her right hand as a ball of blue-yellow energy began forming in it. The ball was then thrown forward with both hands, and the blast encased all the little green creeps in solid ice, which then shattered. It took off maximum damage on all the monsters, defeating them.
“Come on, there’s the other side,” Sheba stated, heading for the exit, “Level 4, here we come!”
The passageway from the third level led to another cavern, one that had a floor, as well as a rather low ceiling. It was laid out in strange-looking tiles that had odd runes carved into them.
“This seems suspicious,” Sheba said, “After that last level, it can’t be just as simple as walking across a floor.” She picked up a small rock in her paw, and threw it. It landed on one of the tiles, which promptly vanished into thin air, causing the rock to fall.
“Oh great, and there’s not enough room to fly, either,” Starscream grumbled.
Sheba picked up another rock and threw it. This time it landed on a tile that didn’t disappear. “Okay, so we just have to figure out which tiles are safe to step on.”
Starscream pondered. “There’s got to be a faster, more efficient way of doing this,” he said. He thought for a few moments, rubbing his chin. “I’ve got it! I think you’d better summon Cerberus for this.”
“Okay,” Sheba said, “COUNTER ROCKETS!” The background melted away, revealing the gates of Hades, and they swung open to let Cerberus charge through. The three-headed dog howled suddenly, a beam coming out of each mouth that shot upwards into the sky. Cerberus vanished, and Sheba and Starscream reappeared, just in time for the beams to come back down and put them in Double and Triple.
“Now, TRIPLE METEOR!” Starscream shouted. The scenery briefly changed to outer space, and a multitude of falling meteors crashed into the floor. Wherever a meteor hit a false tile, the tile vanished. Soon the correct path was quite evident. It wasn’t entirely straightforward, and required a bit of jumping, but finally they made it to the other side of the room.
“Nice one,” Sheba remarked.
Salistica was watching their progress from his Crystal Ball. “You two have done well so far,” he stated, “But no-one escapes Salistica’s world. No-one!”
The next cavern seemed a little warm as Sheba stepped into it, with Starscream right behind her.
“I wonder what sort of fresh heck this is going to be,” Sheba wondered.
Flames shot up in front of them after only a few steps.
“Are you starting to see a pattern with some of these levels?” Sheba asked Starscream.
“Yes, a lot of things here have elemental weaknesses to water or ice,” Starscream replied.
“Yeah, and in that case, let’s cool things off. TIDAL WAVE!” Sheba called out, summoning the Guardian Force Leviathan. The sea serpent appeared as a round ribbon of water, then coalesced into his solid form. The ground rose up under him, forming a crude sort of stairway. At the top, Leviathan reverted to a liquid state, pouring down the wall of earth and surging forward, putting out the flames.
“Let’s hurry across,” Sheba said, “Just in case that doesn’t hold the flames back for long.”
“You’ll get no argument from me,” Starscream agreed, and the pair rushed through.
As Sheba suspected, flames began shooting up again very soon after they got going, and they found they had to dodge quickly to avoid getting singed. Near the end of the cavern, they could see the metal door they’d been told about. A row of flames suddenly blocked their path.
“I’ll deal with this. DIAMOND DUST!” Starscream said, allowing Shiva to emerge and blast the flames with her frosty attack. The flames died down and they crossed over to where the door was.
“Okay, we’re here, now where’s that key?” Sheba wondered aloud.
“I’ve changed my mind,” Salistica’s voice echoed through the chamber. The geometric shapes reappeared, arranging into the creature’s head. “No-one has ever crossed the fifth level barrier before! I need you to stay so that I may create even more levels! You are among the best I’ve ever seen!”
“I’m flattered,” Starscream said, “But we don’t have time for this. We need to leave, now.”
“You won’t get through that door without the key!” Salistica insisted.
“Wanna bet?” Starscream replied, smirking. He aimed his lasers at the door and fired, demolishing the door.
“I’d thank you for your hospitality, but I’m afraid it would be a backhanded compliment,” Sheba remarked, “We’re outta here!” She and Starscream darted through the opening.
“IMPOSSIBLE!” Salistica cried out, “You may have escaped me, but you’ll never get out of the Sixth Dimension! You’re doomed to remain here, forever!” He laughed maniacally as he dissolved into his grey and red geometric shapes and vanished.
Madam and Broom landed, and rushed to the gaping hole in the Library’s wall. “Oh, I hope we’re not too late,” Madam said. Kowl hovered near her for a moment, then flew inside.
The Sweeps transformed to robot mode and landed near Madam. “I’m detecting a strange energy source,” one of them said, “It’s coming from in there.” His pink claw pointed inside the Library’s fallen wall.
“Hey, this is the Inner Library, isn’t it?” Broom stated.
“You know, I think you’re right,” Madam replied, “I’m going to need a little help here, dearies. Tell me when I’m getting warmer.” She used her magic to lift great chunks of the wall and set it aside, uncovering some books in the process.
One of the Sweeps didn’t wait for Madam to clear all the rubble, instead he pawed away the ruined wall with his claws. “We are definitely very close.” Another swipe of his claws, and a yellow glow burst up under his talons.
“There it is! The Nameless Glowing Book!” Madam Razz shouted in excitement. She picked it up.
The Sweep who had been helping dig peered over Madam’s shoulder as she opened it.“You can read this ancient language?” he wondered.
“Eh, Madam’s pretty ancient, herself,” Broom said.
“I heard that,” Madam said crossly. She briefly scanned the page. “Everyone ready?” she asked.
Broom and Kowl got closer, and the Sweeps and Laserbeak took the hint and drew nearer also.
“Now, Madam, you have to be careful with this spell,” Broom reminded her, “One wrong word…”
“I know, Broom,” Madam reassured him, then she began the incantation. “Sacred words which none do know, from ancient book with mystic glow. Take us now, beyond, below, Salistica, Salistico!”
As Madam recited the spell, a purple whirlwind appeared around the group, and suddenly a hole opened in the floor. Madam and Broom dived down it, and Kowl, Laserbeak, and the Sweeps followed, transforming to Sweepcraft mode. A blast of multicolored bright lights greeted them, and then suddenly they were in the Sixth Dimension.
“Oh, look, there they are!” Madam exclaimed.
“Awwwwwwk!” Laserbeak squawked.
Starscream paused and looked up. “Laserbeak?! Sweeps?!” he exclaimed.
“Madam Razz?!” Sheba said.
“Need directions out of here?” Madam asked.
“Yes!” Starscream said enthusiastically.
“Well then come on, follow us, and hurry!” Madam encouraged.
Starscream wasted no time, he immediately transformed to jet mode and headed upwards, and Sheba spread her wings, leaping into the air and flying as fast as she could after Madam Razz and the others.
Several Horde Troopers were standing guard over the paralyzed prisoners in Castaspella’s castle. “Is the transport from Beast Island here yet?” one of them asked.
“No, not yet. I hope it gets here soon. This place looks so nice it gives me the creeps,” another Trooper answered.
“Yeah, give me the Fright Zone any day,” the first Trooper said.
Suddenly, near where the Troopers were standing, the hole in the floor that Sheba and Starscream had fallen into began glowing. Starscream erupted through it, transforming and landing. Soon Sheba, the Sweeps, Laserbeak, Madam, Broom, and Kowl emerged as well. The instant they landed, Starscream, Laserbeak, and the Sweeps began firing at the Troopers.
“Uh-oh, I’m getting out of here!” the first trooper exclaimed, and bolted. His fellow soon joined him after a few more blasts from Starscream’s lasers.
Shadow Weaver had left, but the Red Wizard was still there. “NO! It’s not possible!” he shouted. The three Sweeps transformed and charged at the Red Wizard, attempting to shred him with their claws. He responded by blasting each of them with magical beams that froze them in place. While he was thus distracted, both Starscream and Sheba had cast Esuna. Sheba used one on She-ra, and Starscream targeted Thundercracker.
“I-I can move again!” Thundercracker exclaimed.
“Thanks!” She-ra said to Sheba, “Those Troopers are going to be in big trouble when Hordak finds out they left their post!” She drew her sword, just in time to reflect a spell blast from the Red Wizard.
“Great, now hurry up and junction Siren and Ifrit!” Sheba called out. The two Guardian Forces appeared as they were transferred, leaping from Sheba to Thundercracker, and he absorbed them. “Equip the Treatment ability!” Sheba added.
Thundercracker did as he was told, and cast Treatment on Megatron to remove the paralysis.
“Excellent work,” Megatron said, “Now it’s MY turn!” He aimed his cannon at the Red Wizard and fired. Only a hastily conjured Shield spell prevented the Red Wizard from sustaining any damage.
Laserbeak flew to Megatron and squawked, landing on Megatron’s forearm and perching.
“You have done well, Laserbeak,” Megatron replied, “Very well, indeed.”
“Madam, there’s gotta be something you can do to remove the paralysis spell on the rest of our friends all at once,” She-ra said, as she deflected another magical blast that the Red Wizard had tossed at her.
“Oh dearie my, let me see,” Madam Razz said, poking her chin with a finger thoughtfully. “Wait a second, I’ve got it!” She cracked her knuckles, preparing herself. “Razzle-dazzle, sizzle smoov. Paralyzed friends, now free to groove!” White sparkles appeared as Madam moved her fingers while casting the spell, and there was a larger flash.
Suddenly, everyone who was still paralyzed started dancing – including the newly-paralyzed three Sweeps.
“What’s going on?” Brawn called out, as he seemed to be doing some form of the Mashed Potato.
“I-I can’t stop dancing!” Bow exclaimed, while going through the steps of The Hustle.
“MOVE, Madam, not groove!” Broom said, facepalming.
“They can move again, can’t they?” Madam said, closing her eyes, crossing her arms, and grinning.
Madam’s counterspell soon wore off, and the Red Wizard now faced not only She-ra, but a full contingent of magic users, both organic and robotic, not to mention a multitude of Autobot and Decepticon weapons were now pointed straight at him.
Sheba cast Dispel on the Red Wizard to remove his Shield.
“You’ve lost,” Optimus Prime stated, as he glared at the Quintesson sorcerer.
“Merely a minor setback. But I shall have my revenge!” the Red Wizard shouted.
“Not today,” Castaspella said sternly, stepping forward. “Leave this place, and never return!” Her hand started glowing, in preparation for casting a spell.
The Quintesson sorcerer, seeing that he was clearly outnumbered and outmatched, raised his tentacles and immediately converted into a bolt of energy, which flew through a window, vanishing from their sight.
“Thank goodness he’s gone,” She-ra stated.
“He’ll be back,” Megatron told her.
Castaspella used her powers to close the hole in the floor. “Now, without further ado, I think we can continue with the competition.”
As the other humans, Autobots, and Decepticons competed, Sheba sat near She-ra as they spectated.
“So, hey, She-ra, your buddy Salistica tried to recruit us to help him make new levels,” Sheba said.
“Oh, really? When I left his world, there were only three levels, but he said he’d make two more,” She-ra replied.
“Oh, he did just that,” Sheba told her, “And weirdly enough, he also happened to have energon cubes on his dining room table.”
“Our host was a nuisance, but I’ll say this for him: he really knows how to get good energon,” Starscream remarked.
“I’m curious, what did the new levels look like?” She-ra pressed further.
“Level four had a really low ceiling and it was full of false tiles on the floor that disappeared if anything touched them, like your foot,” Sheba replied, “Starscream and I took care of that with a few Meteor spells. The fifth level was a fire cavern, and we had to use water and ice summons to beat back the flames so we could get across. Oh, and I don’t suppose you ever got to find out, but the monsters in the third level absorb energy when they bite.”
“Ugh,” She-ra said, “I guess you two found out the hard way.”
“Don’t remind me,” Starscream said.
“Do you mind?” Megatron spoke up, “You’re too distracting!”
“Sorry,” She-ra said apologetically.
Once all the contestants had performed, Castaspella prepared to give out the awards. She had several medallions on ribbons in her hand. “This year, I am pleased to announce that the winners of this year’s contest showed an incredible amount of bravery. At great risk to themselves, they saved us all. Come forward Madam Razz, Broom, Kowl, Laserbeak, and you three Sweeps.”
“You know, I never thought that metallic chicken would ever get an award for bravery,” Skywarp commented.
“You and me both,” Hound stated.
The selected winners came forward, and allowed Castaspella to place a medallion around each of their necks.
Soundwave’s expression was inscrutable as always, but his optics seemed to almost glow with pride.
“The Sweeps? Getting an award for bravery? What’s next? A Dinobot getting awarded for super-intelligence?” Galvatron snorted.
“Me Grimlock been there, done that,” the Dinobot Commander replied.
“And I bet you never thought you’d win TWO awards for bravery,” Broom said to Kowl. The little owl promptly fainted, falling on his back.
She-ra sat beside the fainted Kowl and helped him to sit up. “My hero!” she said, laughing.
Starscream sat with his head in his hands. “After all we went through, we didn’t even win,” he grumbled.
Sheba put her paw on his shoulder. “Eh, let them have their moment. There’s always next year.”