Author's note:This story begins 11 years before the Courageous Seven fought Moo. But the bulk of it takes place 8 years after Moo was defeated.
The woman placed the last of her washed dishes into the cupboard. "Finally," she said, "I'm done. Now we can go."
Her name was Mantle Exigencia. She was a single woman, twenty-nine years of age, and a monster trainer. Actually,she didn't really consider herself to be one; she only had one monster. It was a Liper (Naga/Pixie),and it was everything to her. A friend, a protector, a provider, a pet, and (most taboo of all) a lover. That was what Mantle kept a secret. Anyone would have believed it inappropriate to love a monster in that way, especially a Naga type. Mantle never understood why a man could be a partner to a Pixie type,but if any other monster were to mate with a human, it was "wrong". But she loved Liper, and he loved her back. That was the way it was, with or without society's approval.
Mantle turned to face her monster. He was sitting (as best as a Naga could) on a chair at the kitchen table, his tail drooping down and laying across the floor. He grinned at her.
"At last," he said. "I've been going crazy watching you and waiting like this."
She grinned back."Well, the wait's over."
She walked toward him and placed a kiss on his lips. Then they retreated upstairs for the night.
The next morning, she was throwing up. She saw a doctor to find the source of the problem, and was thrilled to find she was pregnant. After so many tries, she would be a real mother.
Daria Islam experienced the same thing on the same day. Only the father of her child was an Eggplantern (Beaclon/???). While having a relationship with a Naga was considered sick & twisted,a relationship with a Beaclon, particularly one that had almost every aspect of a vegetable, was considered just plain weird. But Daria was much like Mantle;she didn't care what others thought.
Nine months later, two children were born on the same day.
Mantle and Liper named their son Orias. He was mostly Naga in appearance. The body was that of a Naga. But the skin and face were that of a human.
Daria and Eggplantern named their son Colosian. He was mostly human in appearance. The body and flesh was that of a human, but the head looked very much like a Beaclon. Where a normal human's nose would be, there was a large horn sticking out.
They were the crossbreed children, born of human and monster blood.
Each child lived a good life. They were educated well, and were treated kindly by everyone. At first, none but their own parents were willing to accept them, but that soon changed.
Unfortunately, they were both brought up in the time of Moo. Orias was told stories about him. The storytellers would always tell him not to give in to the evil monster. His father told him the same. And Orias never did. He simply wanted to be like him. He had the same craving for power that Yosho did when he became Moo's vessel. So the crossbreed learned ways to get power at a fairly early age. He bought as many books as he could to teach himself the ways of magick. Eventually, he learned an ability that would prove very useful to him. He learned how to make a person's worst nightmare come to life. Not the way a Joker would; Orias was actually able to give a nightmare solid shape and mass.
Colosian also heard the tales of Moo. They scared the hell out of him.
He preferred the legends involving the Phoenix. Unlike Orias, Colosian didn't want power; he wanted to protect the world from evil. So he too studied magick. But he learned to give dreams, not nightmares, solidity.
For nineteen years,they each grew. They soon met and became fast friends. But that all changed when Orias broke his parents' hearts and left home to start his quest for world domination. Colosian had no real choice but to follow.
Eight Years Later
And now, here was Orias, standing on a balcony of his palace.
> Here was Colosian, doing the same in another part of the monster world.
A Pebbly (Wracky/Golem) entered into the presence of Orias. The Wracky sub-breed was the first monster the crossbreed had unlocked. It rarely left his side.
A purebreed Pixie entered into the presence of Colosian. What was said of Pebbly can be said of her. She wore the armor of a fallen Hercules (Durahan/Beaclon), who had trained her in the way of the sword, whenever she went into battle. They had both recently returned from a fight only an hour ago. The armor was still on her, though she wished it weren't. It was very uncomfortable, and she didn't like to be in Colosian's company with it on unless they were side by side on a battlefield. She always wanted to look her best for him; she'd fallen in love with him over the years, though she made little or no indication of that. *******
"Orias," said Pebbly. He was the only one under the crossbreed's command that was given permission to call him by his first name only.
"What is it?" asked Orias.
"We're losing this war."
> "I know. But damn it, the men can only capture so many to bring to me at once, and I can't make real the nightmares of the men! They have none! Without my nightmare army combined with my regular army, what chance do we have?" Orias slammed his fist into a wall. "Damn that Colosian..."
"Actually," Pebbly began,"he's not doing much better."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean he's running out of dreams. His army of dreams is dwindling. Only so many are willing to help, and the fool won't force anyone to."
"Maybe. But I still don't see any way out of this for either side. Neither can win."
"I've received word that somewhere to the South, buried very deep, is a mystery disc. A mystery disc containing a very, very powerful monster. According to some records written by the ancient ones, it's a Punisher (Naga/???). It grew to an enormous size. It's one of the strongest monsters in the history of time, but it can be controlled very easily. A five year old could tell it what to do."
"So you suggest we find this creature."
"Yes. And I know of some very strong monsters and humans scattered across the land who'll stop at nothing to complete this mission."
"Send someone after them then."
"Where would I be without you, Pebbly?"
"Lost without a hope,I suppose." *******
What the Pixie had to say to Colosian was more or less the same thing. She suggested sending for a messenger to find some warriors from the Moo Wars to get ahold of Punisher first.
"Thank you, Mapade."
And so began the next great battle for the monster world.