“Luna: The Start of an Empire” by Lucy Goldberg

“Luna…. Luna it’s time to go!” Stella called her white and yellow fur bristling in annoyance. “You know the council only is more likely to convict you if you’re late!” I’d like to tell Stella one thing. I DON’T CARE!!!! Those tyrants can banish me if they want because no matter how many times they tell themselves differently, all it proves is their stupid stupidity. Sure being banished means being locked in the capsule for the rest of forever (being a cat goddess means you can’t die of old age) but I can’t break out. I settle for,

“Maybe I will maybe I won’t.”

“I know you didn’t mean to do it.” She says in that babying tone. “Just come out and let’s go.” She’s right, I didn’t mean to. I tried to blow up Dark, the infamous villain of the galaxy. Instead I hit one star, one little star! And then they go I’ll crazy about it. For Pete’s sake, it was a dwarf star! So now I’m on trial for murder of a star goddess. Well the council brought her back! Best to get this over with.

“Alright I’m coming.” I tell Stella. I slide of the moss bed and walk beside her. She shrinks back a bit. So she was lying about thinking it wasn’t my fault.

The trial is fast. The witnesses against me are eloquent and numerous, the witness for me; half-hearted Stella is scared…. and well she’s only one cat. I barely catch a word of it. But “banished” sticks in my mind. When I am loaded into the pod, I see Stella. She’s standing there half tearful half relieved. For some strange reason I’m not scared. It blasts. I am plastered to the side of the tiny bare pod. When it slowly stops and begins to float aimlessly, I regain sense. Time to bust out of this thing. My first 20 attempts of attacks are futile. I have one plan left…. It could be devastating, but it could work. Anyway it’s better than staying in here forever. 1…2…3 I force myself to do it I shove myself forward and let the energy surge through my front paws. For seconds I think I’m exploding with the pod. But when the blast dies down I’m free. In fact, I’m barely scratched. Suddenly I feel like I’m being watched.

“Well done Luna… Well done indeed.” A deep meow I recognize meets my ears. “Show yourself Dark.” I growl.

In a flash of light he’s in front of me. But I can’t see him much better but I see an outline of a cat and two yellow eyes. “Greetings Luna.” He meows.

“How do you know my name?!” I hiss.

“Luna do you believe for one second that I haven’t been watching you?” He sounds amused, and now that I think of that it would make sense. One question left to ask.

“How did you watch me?” I ask.

“By freeing others from their pods of course.” He smiles. “You are the only banished cat whose pod I didn’t have to break.” He dips his head, which is a sign of respect, but I don’t understand… I tried to kill him!

“Aren’t you mad… mad I tried to kill you?” I ask.

“No, you could never kill me.” I’m thoroughly offended. “At least not yet, when I’m done with you your strength will rival mine. Luna I’m not going to kill you I’m going to train you. I’ve been watching you ever since you tried to kill me. You are the perfect heir.” I don’t like funny sounding words but the only word that can describe how I feel right now is very weird sounding–flabbergasted. He wants to train me! Well I have nothing better to do and power like his is certainly enthralling, so I’ll take him up on his offer.

“Very well.” I say “I accept your offer.” I dip my head and he dips his.

“Good.” He purrs. “Now, your first lesson is how to travel through space. You simply bend your paws in the direction you want to go, and you hold a blast in your paws and lean the direction your paws are pointing. It works. Soon we are approaching a star. With its light I can finally see him clearly.  His fur is not all black. It is flecked with gold and amber tinges. His eyes compliment that look. The light bounces of the gold flecks and makes him glow slightly. I can do nothing but stare. “You know Luna, second lesson of war training with Dark the Terrifying is to not stare at attractive tom-cats. Again with the word flabbergasted.

“Are you saying you are attractive?” I growl.

“No, it is a general rule. Luna, I haven’t seen myself in ten years. Are you saying I’m attractive?

“No.” I hiss, I had to make that sound believable. Drat.

“Luna, you are a good liar, but I can tell a lie better than most cats. Now come we are approaching the planet.”

The planet is not a planet. It is a crushed star. In fact it is the same star that I blew up. “I have to thank you Luna, you made this an excellent base.” Dark purrs. Without you, I don’t know what would have happened, I might have been killed. It takes all my strength not to say “You should have been killed.” I choose to bite my tongue. “Okay Luna lesson three is have dumb allies.” Dark begins.

“Are you saying I’m dumb?” I demand.

“No, no you are my partner, I mean get the near-insane idiots from the other pods to be drones.” He explains. Okay, he makes a point.

“Alright.” I meow. “Now you have to make yourself seem better. Try yelling at them,” Dark says. It’s worth a try.

“Like this,” Dark meows “HEY YOU IDIOTS! TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT YOUR FUTURE LEADER, LUNA!” He yells. The cheers are instantaneous.

My turn. “YEAH THAT’S ME, YOU BETTER BE READY TO FOLLOW ME!” All the cats saluted, I grin at Dark. “You trained them well,” I purr.

“Thank you,” he responds. We move on to more private place. “Next lesson: battle,” he meows plainly. Then, without warning he lunges at me making me slide backward with a burnt side. Okay, he wants me to complain, but I won’t. I lunge back with my bare paws and slice at his shoulder he blocks with a burn ray of… sunlight.

“What?!” I yell, “you have sun powers?!”

“Yes,” he purrs. “Before I was Dark I was Eclipse, when I was banished I changed my name to Dark. Do you understand?” he asks.

“Yes.” I say and lunge. I knock him backward. His shocked expression turns to delight in seconds.

“Good, I did make the right choice for a heir.” He smiles and lunges. This time I’m ready, I jump back send a blast of energy his way. He counters with a blast of energy and in seconds it’s free for all. Total chaos. I have never had so much fun in my life. He teaches me battle moves, and keeps using them and moves that leads to them, until I can do them and their blocks perfectly. When we are finally done, Dark smiles broadly at me. “I change my mind Luna,” he says. “Maybe you could have killed me.”

The councilman Wisp had called a meeting. The rest of the council; Araia, Balsomo, Talc, and finally Sadurn filed in slowly. Wisp began to speak.

“We have less warriors than ever now with Luna banished.” he began. “But we do have Luna’s device.” Hushed whispers come from the rest of the council. “I suggest we take action immediately, and use it to finish Dark for good.” More murmurs, and then Araia spoke up.

“I think it is a good plan, but how will we find the whereabouts of Dark?” she asked. Wisp smiled, he had planned for that question and had formulated a plan.

“Summon Stella.” Was all he had to say. Sadurn nodded and disappeared. Wisp smiled here it was, the plan would be complete, the galaxy would be safe from Dark and his allies. But far away a young she-cat had finally finished training.

Luna blinked. I shook myself and got up. All the morning light that was ever going to shine on the star was shining now. Dark was calling to me so I went.

“I wanted to show you something,” he meowed smiling. “Before you start invading planets, you have to know what you’re fighting for.”

“Okay…” I say, “What are we fighting for?”

“We’re fighting,” he explains, “against the council, let me prompt your understanding, do you ever remember an election on your planet?” Now that I think about it, no I don’t! Blood starts to boil in my veins, I might not have been banished if we had had better council members!

“No, I don’t,” I growl.

Dark smiles, “I thought so,” he purrs, “they have been hiding behind the cover of a just democracy, but it is nothing more than that, a cover. Also, did you know the galaxy archives have been raided by my forces no less than 20 times,” he purrs.

TWENTY TIMES! The council said they’ve only been raided 5, and not only that, they said Dark only did 1!

I growl, “No.”

“I thought so, they’ve been hiding important information from you,” he concludes. Suddenly a black cat comes in with a report in his jaws, “excuse me for a moment,” he purrs to me, I nod. He scans the report then nods. Turning to me he meows with a solemn expression on his face.

“Something they might not tell anyone as well, they’re interrogating your sister currently.”

“Stella?!” I yowl, despite how condescending she can be she’s still my sister.

“I’m going to show them what I’ve learned,” I decide.

“Very well,” Dark responds, “I will show you how to break through the council’s defenses.” We glide through the sky until Dark says we’ve found where they are. He puts his paws on the shield and signals me to do the same.

“Use your most powerful move on it,” he commands. I trust him, please let this not be an attempt to kill me. 1, 2, 3–I do it. This time it’s easier, the pain in my paws subsides faster and I don’t even look burnt.

“With your new power that move will become easy,” Dark purrs. I beam at him, from now on I trust him.    The blast made a hole in the shield that I go through.

“You coming?” I ask.

“No,” he responds, “this is your battle to fight.” I nod and descend. Stella only sees me when I ask her something.

“Where are they? Where did they go?” I ask her. She turns around and stands there with her mouth open.

“L-Luna,” she meows faintly, “h-how did you g-get here?”

“Never mind that, where did the council go they were hurting you one of Dark’s spies-” I blurt out.

“What about Dark’s spies? Luna you haven’t,” she begins.

“Been training with Dark, yes I have,” I interrupt.

“Then where is Dark?” Stella asks.

“If I tell you, you have to come train with us,” I tell her.

“Ok,” she says enthusiasm in her eyes. This is too good to be true.

“Dark and I have been training on the star I blew up, now let’s go!” I growl.

“No Luna, on second thought I won’t go and the council wasn’t hurting me they were promoting me,” she growls. I stand there shocked.

I finally growl, “You are coming with me, willingly or not.”

“And if I refuse?” she asks ice cold.

“You won’t,” I pause

“Good I’ll do that,” she decides.

“Live,” I finish. It’s her turn to be shocked, then she gets angry.

“Let’s see you back it up,” Stella hisses.

“Very well,” I growl and pounce. Energy forms in my paws it’s going to hit her face… and that it crashes to the ground.

“The council promoted me for a reason,” she growls, clawing at me.

“Yeah, to trap me!” I growl aiming a blow at her chest.

“You have no proof!” She yowls aiming a blow at my neck.

“Trust. Me. Work. With. Me,” I growl through gritted teeth.

“No!” she rages, there is hatred in her eyes, they burn like cold fire. It’s hard to believe Dark is the evil one, he never looked like that. But I know something, I won’t get her back, so I have to destroy her. I back her up on a wall and press both paws on her chest.

“Say goodbye sister,” I growl relishing the last word. Her eyes widen, Do I really want to do this? I ask myself. Yes I do the council will heal her, I have to. I close my eyes and do the most powerful blast I can. When she falls limp I open my eyes and look away, and fly through the hole.

Wisp wandered outside the councils’ base and went to find Stella. She was lying there quite burnt and bloody. Oh well, sacrifices had to happen to do the right thing. He approached her.

“What have you found out?” he asked her.

“D-Dark is h-hiding in t-the d-destroyed star,” Stella rasped, “help me.” He could help her, the council could revive cats within a certain period of time of their injury or death. But it would waste time. He had work to do and reviving her would take all of a good five minutes. He turned to her, she gazed up hopefully.

“You served your purpose, we know where Dark is, it’s time for me to serve mine,” he meowed coldly. She looked shocked, he grinned.

“W-what?” she asked. Then she took a sharp breath then another until she breathed no more. Wisp blasted a crude whole in the ground and shoved Stella’s body in it. He selected a large rock and carved. Here lies Stella. a star goddess.

Luna didn’t find out what happened until the next morning.

“Luna,” Dark called her over a grim look on his face, “I’m truly sorry to say your sister is dead.”

“What?!” I yell, “That’s impossible! The council would heal her! Your spy must be wrong! S-she couldn’t be dead….” Dark said nothing but nodded sadly and played the video his spy had hacked from the council.

“I’m sorry Luna, now you understand why we must destroy the council, THEY CARE NOTHING FOR NOBODY!” he boomed the last part his pelt bristling. “No more deaths.” He declared, “We will stop the deaths.” All this time he was the good guy, I think and then I shiver guiltily I tried to kill him.

“I suggest we make plans for war,” I meow, “as Stella once said, let’s see you back it up.” Dark smiled.

“Very well,” he turned to his soldiers, “did you hear that, make plans for war!”

“Erm, thanks, you don’t have do this I gave away our location to Stella… a-and she told the council,” I say quickly. Dark looks surprised then angry then he smiles sadly.

“You trusted your sister,” Dark meowed smiling then he started to grimace, “which you should have been able to do.”

“So you’re not angry?” I ask hopefully.

“No Luna…. I couldn’t be angry I-I love you,” Dark admitted staring at the ground. I just stand there smiling slowly.

“I-I love you too Dark,” I grin. He just smiles and walked out the door.

 

Wisp strolled into the council room again. His fellow council members strolled in.

“Stella’s death was annoying,” he began, “but all the plan is ready now, prepare the machine.”

Luna had barely started making plans when she heard the door blast apart.

I didn’t turn around, I thought it was one of the soldiers again, that was until I heard Dark yell,

“Luna get over here!” I hurry to the area to see Dark hissing at…. three council members.

“Stand aside,” A pale grey tabby hisses.

“Don’t be so kind Wisp,” an amber she-cat purrs, “just fire the device.”

“What device?” Dark growls.

“This one,” a purple tom rolls out… my device.

“No!” I yowl. “You can’t!”

“Let’s test on her,” growled Wisp, “her useless sister couldn’t beat her, and I don’t like unfinished business.”

“Good idea,” the amber she-cat purrs. The gray tabby aims the device, and fires. I close my eyes and prepare to die. But I hear Dark scream.

“NO! NOT LUNA!” I open my eyes to see Dark running toward the device.

“I love you,” he breathes to me. The machine hits and he’s gone just gone. Crushingly, never-coming-back gone. I start to cry as the council members turn to leave. Dark was right they don’t care about anyone. I want to follow them, I want to kill them I want to make them suffer until they know what they did to me. I want to destroy everything they care about and make them serve me. Maybe then they’ll have a taste of what I feel now. I race back into the room and summon one of Dark’s spies, there’s a lump in my throat when I think my spies not Dark’s anymore.

“Dark is dead!” I hiss to them. “Prepare for war send all the squadrons. It. Ends. Now.” The cat nods and rushes off.  Do they care? I wonder, no probably not Dark was their liberator and master nothing else. But can they see he was more than that to me? Soon I hear the gruff voice of one of the cats.

“We are ready Luna,” he meows plainly.

“Good,” I smile. I will take everything the council loves, and be happy about it. “Prepare the pods and take your forces to all major planets, do not kill, do not injure if it can be avoided, I want the least destruction possible just… overpower. But if you come in to one of the council members… do whatever you please.” Destroying the council and their order won’t bring Dark or Stella back, but it is better to be half empty then completely empty.

“Luna, pardon me but where will you be?” the spy asks.

“Destroying the council and setting things half right.” I respond. He nods and rushes out. I take off from the star, if all goes well I will never come back here. When I reach the council’s base my veins burn with fire anger pulses through me. I want them dead, I never felt that way before. When my paws hit the ground I take in a large rock, I move closer to it and read, Here lies Stella, a star goddess. Stella’s gravestone, could they not write anything more could they really just ignore that she gave her life! A burst through the stone into the building and see the council they are smiling at each other and talking, I recognize the three cats who were there when Dark died. “Excuse me I think we have some unfinished business,” I meow menacingly.

“Who? who are you how dare you intrude?!” yowls the gray tom and then he remembers me. “Y-you were the cat… Dark’s accomplice! You deserve to die!”

“I want to die then I could be with Dark,” I answer.

“T-then you deserve…” He can’t find the words.

“I deserve what! You took everything from me, everything! My place in your society! My sister! and finally Dark!”

“I-I’m sorry,” he can sense my strength my power my determination, and he’s scared.

“Sorry about what? What you did or what happened because you did it?!” I ask him furiously. I send a burst of energy from my paws, he blocks it but I keep going. I see red, I see nothing but the council, cats who need to be destroyed. I hear their screams as my power grows as my attacks start hitting them, as they tire.

“B-both,” the gray tom stutters finally.

“LIAR!” I yowl. “You care nothing about me, nothing about anyone you just care about yourself!” I yell the last word and ignite the wall. The wood is protected but nothing my power can’t break, Dark had been teaching to break protection spells. I dodge the explosion at the last second and return after the fire dies down.  Two of the council members are lying motionless, I don’t recognize either of them. The three I recognize look burnt and defeated. They back away as I step closer.

“Tell me your names,” I growl. The gray tabby speaks up.

“I’m Wisp, the amber she-cat is Araia and the purple tom-cat is Balsomo,” he squeaks sounding terrified.

“Listen, you take your orders from me, you serve me and your reward is not ending up as your friends,” I growl gesturing to the two cats laying in the dust. Wisp, Araia and Balsomo just nodded. One of my cats descends on the planet.

“I have a report, we won, I didn’t count the damages, there were 1,000 injuries and 3 accidental deaths,” he reports. I’m not surprised we won, the council has all forces at their disposal no individual planets have armies. There are trillions of cats 1,000 injuries and 3 deaths is almost perfect.

“Great job,” I purr gratefully. Then I turn to the weakened council.

“It’s time for me to build an empire,” I meow.

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