- So this mortal cold is what it feels like to be close to death, eh?
- -- King Randor
Appearing in "What Lies Within Part 4"
Synopsis for "What Lies Within Part 4"
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe have travelled deep into the caverns of Mount Zoar, to the entrance of Subternia, where they are challenged by the Circles of the Underworld; obstacles on their path to petition the goddess Zoar for the resurrection of the Sorceress of Castle Grayskull. Unfortunately, they were separated in the Ring of Dreams, and now He-Man and his father King Randor are trapped fighting nightmares there, while Teela and the others are lost in one of the other rings. They have fought the nightmares for what seems like ages when they receive unexpected help from Teela herself.
Fortunately, Teela, MossMan, and Stratos managed to escape the Ring of the Earth and acquire a flying machine, from which they now fire volleys at the nightmares, giving Adam and the king needed reprieve. They toss a rope down, and pull the pair up to safety. Unfortunately, Battle Cat's rescue will not be so easy. With great effort, the cat pounces high into the air, and Teela and He-Man struggle to pull him aboard the ship. Once all are safe, they fly on to the next ring.
Teela explains that the ship come from the Ring of the Sky. After getting lost in the Ring of Earth, Stratos guided them out from above. Like the Ring of Dreams, the Ring of Earth had been sympathetically ravaged and transformed by the horrors that had transpired on the surface world. It had been rendered a perilous waste inhabited only by Rock Men. Fortunately, the Ring of the Sky is unique, in that it connects all of the six rings of the underworld, allowing passage between them.
The Ring of Sky, meanwhile, is filled with airships that the winds of fate have washed up. From there, they hope to get directly to the Ring of Eternity, without the struggle of going through the other Rings first - particularly those of War and Death. Stratos hopes that they are being guided by Zoar herself. Unfortunately, the sky soon darkens, and they begin to see large storms building on the horizon. The Ring of Sky has been negatively affected, just as the others have. As the air grows more chill, Stratos suggests that they might now be passing over the Ring of Death, and will reach the Ring of Eternity in mere hours - so long as the storms don't knock them out of the sky. Knowing that Stratos has been steering for a long time, the King offers to relieve him, but to everyone's displeasure, he begins steering them into the storms. Soon, a bolt of lightning strikes the ship, and sends them careening toward the ground in an explosion.
Though all have survived - albeit uncomfortably - the king is nowhere to be found. Desperately, they search the wreckage to find that they are not alone in the Ring of Death. This realm is home to the First Ones; the Snake Men. Hurriedly, they sift through the debris until Randor answers their call - but he is not himself. He has been corrupted, and now all that remains of him is what lies within - and that is monstrous.
- This book was first published on February 19, 2014.
- Based on a story by Rob David and Lloyd Goldfine.
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