For Team Luna, things were looking pretty bleak. While on the search for Aletto, the truth was not yet clear to Kissa and Luna. They were fruitlessly searching everywhere around the palace, the city, and the surrounding countryside. It all felt so unreal that their mutual best friend had just seemingly vanished like this.
"Is this the real life, Luna?" Kissa asked her out of frustration.
"Nah, it's just fantasy," Queen Luna replied.
Meanwhile, the two Foxy Elemental Masters, Kasper "Kap" Darwin and Olivia Branch were searching nearby. They had a lot on their minds.
Kap Darwin was not entirely sure why the Queen was so quick to leave the throne room and all responsibilities that came with it to her young daughter. That's not to say Cleo wasn't an impressive specimen. The Foxy were nowhere as racist as the Felona. They actually found the feline bipeds to be a handsome race.
It also happened that nearly eighty percent of the Felona populace was female. This was something neither he nor Olivia could have ever known from mere observation. They had learned this fact from seemingly idle conversation with Kissa Noel.
Olivia took special interest in Kissa Noel, the azure-furred and dark haired Felona who seemed to never be more than ten footfalls away from her Queen. The lovely red-headed Foxy had quickly endeared herself to the Felona. She found them adorable and fascinating, but she somewhat feared them, as well. Like other feline races she'd encountered, they kept their claws retracted until they needed them. Plus, their fangs were far sharper than their cute little grins would ever tell.
Whether it was her fear or just small-talk, Olivia leaned over to her mate and whispered, "Perhaps we should tell them the truth, Kap."
Kap slowly shook his head, "No, we must keep it all a secret..." Before she could ask why, he finished, "For dramatic purposes."
Kap had always loved drama a bit too much. The more intense a situation was, the more intense he wanted to make it. It wasn't that she was concerned that the Felona couldn't handle the surprise that awaited them not far away.
They both already knew what had become of Aletto. Then again, Kap was probably right that it was better that the Felona learn of their sister's fate with their own senses. It would only add to their pain to hear it from the mouths of pups.
Olivia smiled, but her mate's face stayed solemn and serious. Keeping the secret wasn't a joke to him. He also knew what Olivia didn't, that they would have reinforcements should they need them to assist against who once was the Queen's sweet little Aletto...
What Olivia and Kap didn't know was that Arie Starr was the one who had sold out her entire world for very selfish gains. Arie knew that Aletto was the weak link. Without her Aspect of Justice, Queen Luna was very much in trouble.
Aletto was the type of Felona who would say things like this: "I am Aletto Stiletta! I fight for Truth, Justice, and organic catnip!"
Luna Dawnstar was a strict ruler and Aletto was not only her enforcer. She was also the one that the people because of her youthful charm and charisma. Legend has it that people used to say: "9 out of 10 kittens love Aletto Stiletta. The other 1 out of 10 love the after effects of Divine Intervention." Her popularity, plus her naivety, made her the perfect one to turn.
Gina interrupted the story for a moment, "What did Arie have to gain with her betrayal?"
"Don't you already know?" Sam asked.
"Of course! I'm just testing you!"
"Well, Arie was sick of her mother's constant abuse of power. In exchange for information on Team Luna and Felona defenses, Koja offered Arie something she couldn't refuse!"
"We have an all-expenses paid lifetime galactic available this month only!" Koja had told her. "All you have to do: betray your people!"
Arie didn't want anything to do with her mother anyway and was more than happy to leave forever. "OK! When do I leave?"
It was a promise that Koja would keep as soon as he met with Aletto, and watching "101 Ways to Curse Your Kitten" on television. "Time to go curse a kitty," he most certainly said.
Once Aletto met was Aletto, she was a Warrior Princess no more... She had become Stiletto!
As Kap, Olivia, Luna, and Kissa came together in their search, the Felona heard a familiar voice shouting to them from the shadows.
"Hee-hee, I'm back in black!"
Stiletto burst out of the darkness. Olivia rose her hands and sparks began to form between her palms. Kap simply examined the newcomer thoughtfully. Meanwhile, Luna and Kissa stood mortified by the sight.
It was Aletto, all right. At least, it had been Aletto. She still looked relatively the same, although her garments were now dyed a jet-black and her hair dyed a similar but smokier color. Aletto had never been an incredibly pretty girl, but the black along with a strange new fire in Aletto's once soft brown eyes - which turned them a sort of bright hazel - actually gave her a new sort beauty. It was a terrible sort, however.
"Hello, Luna. Hi, Kissa," she said, not unfriendly, but not in the usual excitable tones that they were accustomed to from Aletto.
Stiletto drew Dawnbreaker from its sheath behind her back, pointing the blade towards the ground. She'd gained a new sort of strength, as well. The great mass of Dawnbreaker before often threw her off-balance. That was clearly no longer the case. A sly grin grew across her suddenly much prettier face.
"Come no further! I won't just poke you with this!" she warned.
"Aletto? What's happened to you?" Kissa wondered sharply. The Queen's words were caught in her throat, so she let Kissa do the asking for her.
"Your treachery has been repaid in kind," Aletto said.
"What does that mean?" Kissa asked in the stead of the Queen, who was now choking on her words. Luna looked as if she were about to vomit.
"You know full well," Aletto responded, her sly grin turning more evil by the second.
"Aletto," Luna spat out along with a bevy of curses that sounded only like angry mews and roars to Kap and Olivia. But Aletto understood perfectly, and her sly grin began to fade. Kissa's eyes welled with tears.
"Queen Luna, you've been a bad, bad kitty!" snarled a voice from the shadows behind Aletto.
Olivia raised her hands, between her palms a small ball of fire. Kap raised an arm in the shadow's general direction, "Koja!"
"Hey, pretty kitties! Yo, little doggies! Koja is here!"
The Dark Mage Koja seemed to float up beside Aletto, tapping his new apprentice on the shoulder. She smiled at her new master's pleasant gesture.
"She's gorgeous, isn't she?" Koja asked no one in particular. Neither of the Felona dignified the question with a response, although he was not wrong about Aletto's new-found beauty.
The cloaked Dark Mage continued, "An awkward child before, and a full-grown handsome molly now. If she had stayed with you, she would be a feeble, naive kitten forever."
Aletto hadn't grown physically that any of them could tell, but her expression was much more mature, that was for certain. She started to speak again. But she stopped, breathing her words back in before she spoke them.
Koja looked at her funny, wondering why she had suddenly stopped herself from speaking. But all of them could see in her eyes that the old Aletto was still in there somewhere.
"Aletto, please, tell me what I've done wrong!" Luna pleaded. She may as well as have dropped to her knees with how desperate she sounded.
"Stiletto," Aletto replied, "That is my name now."
"Stiletto..." Kissa trailed off.
"Yes, Kissa," Stiletto smiled. She was clearly happy to see her old friend again, even if now it was required that her fluffy blue friend be an enemy. She took a step towards the Felona, before her head snapped to face the Foxy.
"You..." Stiletto began, and suddenly the words she was supposed to say became lost on her.
Koja looked frustrated, waving his paws about frantically, as if he simply didn't know what strings to pull.
"I am Kasper Darwin," Kap said, his red eyes glowing brightly, "Elemental Master of the earth below."
"And I am Olivia Branch," Olivia announced, her blue eyes beginning to shine a sort of blue-violet as the flames intensified between her paws, "Elemental Master of Flame." She then smiled broadly, "YAY, FIRE!" she screamed with glee.
Kap ignored her seemingly random outburst, but both Kissa and Luna, as well as Koja and Aletto - err, Stiletto - looked at each other in astonishment. The Foxy poised to attack Koja, not Stiletto. The student didn't bother to try and defend her master.
As it would turn out, she wouldn't have to.
Kap shouted a command towards the sky, and a sort of meteor shot down from it colliding with Koja. At around the same time, Olivia shouted something that sounded like "Crimson Flame!" and bright red flames erupted from her paws.
Both attacks hit almost simultaneously against Koja. Stiletto watched, unexcited, and when the smoke cleared it was obvious why. A golden aura had surrounded Koja. The meteor had been smashed to bits and the flame had only intensified the glowing shield around the Dark Mage. He was entirely unharmed.
Luna unsheathed CRONOKAI. But her golden sword wasn't glowing. Stiletto soon noticed Dawnbreaker wasn't, either. The golden aura was not only a shield protecting Koja, it was some sort of magical dampening field. Kissa had drawn Hawkmancer, which similarly did not have its regular glow. In any case, she charged Koja.
The Dark Mage didn't bother to look at her as he made a hefty cut towards him. The blade cut through the aura, but the other end seemed to disappear on the other side. As she finished her swing, the end of the blade reemerged completely intact. But now being incredibly off balance, Kissa landed at Koja's thickly-booted feet.
Koja reached down and patted Kissa on the head. "That's a good kitty. Stay there." His voice was actually quite kind. He definitely meant what he said. Kissa tried to rise, but couldn't, as if her muscles no longer had the strength to lift an ounce.
Luna shouted, "Kissa, just stay there! I'm the one he wants!"
Koja chuckled, "No," he began, before clearing his throat and starting again anew, "Yes, but I don't want you for what you think I want you for."
"It's CRONOKAI you want!" Luna screamed, holding the massive blade out before her. "Come and get it!"
"You're a cute cat," Koja admitted, "But no, I don't want CRONOKAI. I have all of the Soul Swords I need at the moment. Dawnbreaker will be more than sufficient to finish you."
And with that, Dawnbreaker regained its blinding glow. Stiletto lifted it up, poised to strike.
Kissa tried to scream, but her voice had abandoned her, as well. Her tear ducts, on the other hand, were working overtime.
Aletto began to charge until a lightning bolt split the sky. The lot of them looked up, watching a smoky figure descend upon them.
Kap and Olivia smiled. Reinforcements had arrived. It was only one man, but that was all they would need. He was the leader of Elemental Masters himself, the Master of Chaos: Rawley Russo!
"Step aside, kitties!" The fair-furred Foxy hero announced, "This is a job for a Foxy Elemental Master!"
"Stop, Russo!" Stiletto yelled, holding up a stop sign that she conveniently had for just this moment. "You won't get past me!"
"No, Stiletto," Koja said. "Let him come. I am ready for your petty Earth Elements. Bring it on!"
"COMET CRASH!" Russo screamed. A blazing comet fell from the sky at terrific velocity. But when it hit Koja's aura shield it shattered harmlessly with a crack and a dong.
"Is that all you've got, Russo? Seriously, old man! Pick it up!"
"Don't forget us!" Kap called out. "AERO STRIKE!"
"CRIMSON FLARE BLAST!" Olivia screamed.
"Unbelievable!" Kissa remarked. "I've never seen Aurika like that before!"
"How do the Foxy know these abilities?" Luna muttered to herself.
Meanwhile, the Aero Strike bounced off of Koja's shield with a boing. Then the Crimson Flare blast was dissipated into nothing but harmless smoke.
"You foolish Felona!" Koja laughed. "You think Aurika is only a power given to you by your Swords? Think again!"
Stiletto chuckled. "Koja has shown me how to use Aurika without Soul Swords. Like this."
Little dark clouds formed in the sky "NEGAVOLT FURY!" Stiletto screamed. Massive black bolts of lightning struck the ground dangerously close to Luna and Kissa. It was clear that Stiletto had missed on purpose. That was only a warning shot.
"That's it!" Luna yelled, "CRONOKAI, lend me all your power! DIVINE INTER..."
Russo jumped straight into Luna's path. "No, Luna! You CAN'T!"
"Excuse me, Foxy! I have an Intervention to make!"
"Luna, the power is within you, too. Divine Intervention is overkill and will hurt everyone here. We know who the real enemy is already. Point at Koja and scream MOONLIGHT SPEAR!"
"Seriously? Just point at him and shout Moonlight Spear? That's it? Easy."
Luna pointed at Koja, saying, "Moonlight spear?"
"No, no," Russo said shaking his head. "You have to mean it. Scream it with all your might!"
"OK, then," Luna said. "MOONLIGHT SPEAR!!!" she screamed at the top of her lungs.
A massive golden spear launched out of the sky directly at Koja, shattering his aura shield. A part of the spear even punctured his cloak and drew blood. "HOLY HAMMERFALL! AHHH!"
"Wow! I didn't know I could do that!" Luna awed.
"Way to go, Queen Luna!" Kissa congratulated "My turn!"
Kissa held up her sword and shouted, "Hawkmancer! TALON SPIKE!"
"AHH! FLACK!" Koja screamed as two big orange spikes shot out of the air and struck him right through the hole in his shield.
"Let's finish this!" Koja announced, "Ready, Luna?"
"Huh? Meow do we do that?"
"AAAAH!" Koja yelled, holding out his bardiche as if ready to charge Koja.
"Um, ahhh?" Luna stood perplexed.
"MAGIC JUMP!" Russo shouted as he rose into the air well above Koja's head. He whacked Koja in the head with the blunt end of his bardiche.
"Talk about thick-headed!" Russo remarked.
"Oh, I get it!" Luna smiled. "I'll poke him with my sword!"
Unfortunately for Koja, CRONOKAI was a bit too sharp to just poke him. Luna rushed into him and ran him through. "This CAN'T be good for my health!" he yelled in extreme pain.
"Or I could run him through with it..." Luna muttered.
Koja's wounds were clearly fatal at this point. His hood fell back, revealing that he was much younger than anyone would have assumed. He was a handsome young Foxy with snow-white fur and black patches around his eyes. His silver hair was quite unruly and his floppy white ears had black tips.
He fell backward, bleeding out everywhere, and gasping his final words. "Mother Matiya, please forgive me... Father Munro, I did my best, but... worry not, I will be... avenged!"
"Oh, my Goddess!" Kissa declared, "He was so cute!"
Stiletto walked up beside her, looking in disgust at her now deceased master lying there in pathetic defeat.
"Then why the cloak fetish?" she asked no one in particular.
While she tried to show only disgust, it was clear that she was holding back tears. It seemed that she and Koja had struck a deep connection in such a short time. It seemed they were more alike than anyone wanted to believe.
Stiletto forced a smile to her face and began to raise Dawnbreaker against Luna. "Anyway, for killing my new master, you die now!"
"Um, no?" Luna scoffed.
Stiletto grinned evilly and summoned some Negavolt Fury clouds.
"Oh, yeah?" Luna challenged. "Bring it on, traitor!"
Suddenly, Stiletto dropped her sword with a clang, and tears fell from her eyes. "Wait, what have I done?"
She paused and contemplated for a moment as Luna just watched her. Finally, Stiletto composed herself. "No, enough of this crap! I have a master to avenge! Justice must be served!"
She smiled evilly. "I'm sorry, Luna. But, you must die!" She produced a pair of extremely sharp wristblades and armed herself with them. "Say hello to my wristies, Sharpy and Stabby!"
Then, Stiletto disappeared. "Huh, where did she go?" Luna wondered.
"Right behind you!" Aletto announced. "He, he!"
Before anyone else could react, both wristblades were impaled through her back. It looked like a mortally wounding attack.
"Aletto, no..." Luna gasped. She collapsed in a heap, apparently immediately dead.
"Well, now my job is done!" Stiletto announced. "So long, Kissa, my old friend... Shady, time to go."
Into the shadows, she went alongside a very odd looking silhouette of a Foxy.
"Where'd she go?" Kissa asked in tears.
"And who's Shady?" Kap asked.
"I'm not sure," Russo said. "She might have meant Shadoura. If that's the case, this was unexpected. We must go after them!"
"No, we must not follow her!" said a raspy, but quite familiar voice. It was Luna, apparently risen from the dead. She was in extremely bad shape, however. The bottom half of her hair was soaked in blood, and she was still bleeding out of her back and mouth.
"Queen Luna, you're alive!" Kissa celebrated, doing a little dance and acting silly.
"Now's not a time to celebrate..." Luna said flatly, her voice still raspy.
"But you survived! How!?"
"I'm not that easy to kill, you know! And I had to fool Aletto into leaving."
"She disappeared with some sketchy shadow named Shady!"
"I know," Luna admitted. "But CRONOKAI told me we had to let her go."
Olivia's jaw dropped open and she smiled widely, "Your sword talks to you!?"
"Hey, I want a talking sword!" Kap whined.
"We must go and report to our Mother," Russo said.
"Thanks, Russo," Luna said. "I hope you find this Shady..."
"Right! Zetta, it's time to go!"
A strange pink creature hovered over from behind the Foxy. She had red wings and resembled a cross between a deer and a Felona. She was the strangest thing the Felona had ever seen. This was Zee Zetta, a Polari, a species they would be seeing a lot more of!
"Right-O, Rawley!" she said.
"Oh my Goddess!" Kissa exclaimed. "She's so pink and purty!"
"Mind if I tag along?" Luna asked.
Kissa burst into tears. "What!? Where are you going?"
"Luna, you can't come back to Miranda Prime with us," Russo insisted.
"No, but where I'm going is on your way. CRONOKAI has revealed my destiny!"
"I'm not a taxi service," Zetta said. "But I'll help if I can!"
"Kissa, tell Soluna to meet me at the Fairest Grounds."
"Why baby Soluna?" Kissa wondered nervously. "You know she's not up to traveling!"
"Yes, Kissa. I know. Just trust me."
"Did your Sword tell you to..." Kissa trailed off.
"Have faith. And trust me!"