Chapter 4: Baddies and Resting

It had been about two days or so since I'd last seen Holly and her Suezo. I'd been on my own, traveling slowly toward the nearest town. I had seen very few others: mostly monsters, as well as the occasional human. Unfortunately, I hadn't been able to find a shrine in the small village I had gone through but a day ago, and so I remained traveling with torn and battered clothing on my back, with no possessions other than the package of only two mystery disks now. I hoped that the mystery disk that I'd given Holly might have helped her by now, but it was impossible to know yet. And so, I walked along dirt paths and trails, instead of the main road, in hopes of detouring any of Moo's baddies...

"Halt right there, Human!" a gruff voice said. The mere inflection of the voice made me smirk, as I looked up towards the shadow that loomed over myself. At around 20feet tall, with scaly skin, a long, black tail, and a couple feet long snout, I found myself face to face with a Black Dino. The fact that it wore something like a helmet, as well as Moo's emblem, made it too obvious as to what and who it was. I looked into the monster's eyes with a determined look in my own, just watching the monster. It stepped back a little, but then stopped as several other Dinos stepped up beside it. I knew that the monster couldn't see inside the package, because Dinos had rather weak eyesight, in addition to being a little slow and sometimes clumsy.

Then, it spoke up again. "Human, show me what is in the package, and I will let you live." To this, I shook my head before replying to the monster- I hadn't spoken for almost a week now, and my voice took some getting used to. It was slightly deeper than before, I noticed, as I deigned to talk to the Baddie. "Why do you want to see inside this package, Dino? There's nothing to see. It's just firewood for my family." The Dino smirked slightly, which gave me pause. 'This one is kinda intelligent,' I thought to myself. A Black Dino was a combination of a Dino with a Monol's blood, I knew. Monols were rather intelligent... so, it seemed, this trait had carried over into this Dino. "Boy, you have no axe. I doubt you could chop firewood with your bare hands, so show me the package, or we'll just pry it from your fingers!" It growled at the end of its sentence, and I knew I was in a bit of trouble. There were at least half a dozen other Dinos standing next to the Captain Dino... and who knew how many others were waiting nearby for a signal to strike.

"You want to see the package? Fine, but I'm telling you, there's only firewood." I responded, tilting the package for the Dino to see. It moved closer to get a better look, which was when I grinned slightly. The monster had fallen for my ruse, and that would be his downfall. With a sudden charge of energy, my hands began to accumulate a charge of a blue light, which then expanded quickly, developing a light blue center in the small radius of energy. Then, I uttered the words that would bring my own attack, one I had perfected myself, into being, to strike the monster so close. "Energy Blast!" I exclaimed, and the ball of energy flew from my outstretched hands and into the Dino. The captain had seen my attack forming, but had no chance to avoid it from so close. The energy ball slammed into its head, which knocked it away quite a bit. It lowered its head and rubbed at its eyes, even as it screamed. "Get him!" I knew it was time to go now.

With a sudden burst of speed, I began to run, glad for the day or so of rest I'd gotten from running, as my aching body had managed to heal from the ordeal of Naga's attack. I was still limping a little, but my speed was fortunately enough to outrun the slow Dinos. Dinos are usually somewhat fast (in fact, they are average), however, a Monol is not. In the end, a Black Dino was a bit slower than most others of the Dino species are. As I tried to outrun them, my limping came back to haunt me as they began to catch up. Rushing past trees, branches, and a small stream, I was caught unaware as I fell down and into a small ditch. I winced in pain as my leg was jarred again, and then I felt another, rather searing pain in the area of my scar. My eyes went wide as I stifled a scream in pain, and I barely kept myself still as I heard the resounding thuds of Dinos near me. They hadn't noticed where I fell! I could hear them ask each other where they'd seen me go, and not one of them had a clue. Then, that familiar voice came back as the thudding stopped. It was the Captain Black Dino. "Alright, forget him. He didn't have anything we need or want. Let's get going toward that shrine... The Datons have reported that there are two people there with a mystery disk. We have to go and get that disk, now!"

I lay there, shaking my head. 'That must be Holly and Suezo!' I thought to myself, and I got up quickly, throwing away any thoughts of saving myself from these monsters. It was more important that she be able to continue her quest for the Phoenix. I turned to the monsters, and grinned. My chest was bleeding, and I could feel the sticky warmth of the blood on my skin. It reminded me of the fight against a Hare Hound back in Jound's pack. It had clawed my chest, leaving a jagged line of three claw marks along my chest. It hadn't bled much, and it still wasn't, but it was enough to be noticeable. Then, I spoke as I raised my hands into a firing stance. "Energy Blast!"

I launched two more of my energy attacks at the Dinos, and without waiting to see if they'd hit, I was off running. The pounding on the ground marked the fact that there were indeed lots of Black Dinos running after me. I continued running this time, weaving between trees, dodging off to the right and left, before taking a sharp turn toward the left along a road that had opened up before me. I knew that the Dinos were but a minute or two behind me, which left me with little time to make a decision as to which way to go. So, I simply dodged back to the left again, back into the forest, and I hid behind a tree. Looking around the tree and back to where the pounding of clawed feet on ground had stopped, I saw the Dinos about 30 feet back, looking aroudn in the middle of the road. They sniffed the air, but all they got was a snoot full of dust, which they'd created from the sudden stop on the dirt road. I gasped loudly, trying to regain some of my energy as quickly as I could... but, it was slow in happening. The Dinos began to spread out, and then I could see the captain Black Dino now. It had 2 rather large bruises- one on the side of its head, and one directly in its chest. It seemed that I had hit it with another one of my blasts.

Looking up and to the branches above me, I considered climbing the tree, but decided against it. The scar was bleeding freely now, and only from a spot or two along my chest. I didn't want to make it worse- it might become infected, and now, who knew where the nearest village was? A large stomp brought my attention back to the Dinos who had been following me, and I slowly turned my head to see around the tree. I then blinked, and began to sweat, as I found myself face-to-snout with the Black Dino. Our noses touching, the Dino sweated as well as it stopped its forward motion toward me. "He, he, Hello..." I said, just as I fell back when the Dino tried to Bite my head off. Saved by the fall, but certainly not a bell, I scrambled to my feet, and then came up with my own reaction to its attack. Jumping up perfectly, I shifted my body weight into a horizontal motion, and then kicked out with my legs once again. The Dropkick attack caused my feet to slam into the side of the Dino's snout, which made it reel back about a foot before charging at me. 'It hadn't even bothered to tell its comrades that it had found me,' I thought, even as I flew back and against the tree. My mystery disks flew from my hand and into a small hole nearby. I shivered in pain, yelling out a little as I slumped to the ground, my head hanging down as I closed my eyes, waiting for something to happen next.

"Alright, we've had our revenge on the little human... Lets get going to get that mystery disk from the other one!" The captain said, and all the Dinos began to charge out in the direction Holly had gone. At this rate, she'll be overtaken almost by the time they went to unlock the disk, I knew, and I could only hope that I'd given her and Suezo enough time to unlock some help. I'd done what I could: I delayed the monsters for a day or so with the tracks I'd made, and then again for an hour or so with the tricks and attacks I'd done to them. The Dino would be a little sore... but, monsters heal fast, most of the time, and I hadn't done that much damage to them. "I'm sorry..." I said softly, out loud, but to no one in particular. I slowly stood up, holding my tattered shirt against my chest to staunch the bleeding of my scar, even as I walked over to the mystery disks and picked them up. I needed help, and the only way to get some now, I realized, was to unlock some help. 'Thing is,' I thought, 'Where is a shrine?' I got to my feet after picking up the disks, and slowly, carefully, I headed south on the road, limping slowly along it.

Several hours later, I was found by some travelers, who were then nice enough to give me a ride on a truckload of hay, even as their own Dino (a pure bred Dino) pulled them along the road and toward town. The Dino had even mentioned that it had been unlocked in this upcoming town. That alone gave me hope, as I smiled and rested in the back of the truck. One of the men came over and offered me a spare shirt, which I gladly accepted with a smile. "Thank you. I really appreciate your help." I said to them, to which they laughed and told me not to worry about it. Helping others in need was something that all people should do... and even the Dino agreed with that. It turned out that the Dino helped others as well when carting around a large or heavy load for humans. He enjoyed it, and he also got his own stable and food out of the deal too. It seemed that this village had several monsters that would do that as well, from what I gathered from the humans and Dino. Soon, we found ourselves in the town.

With some directions from the helpful citizens of the town, and then being escorted by the Dino, I found myself at the Healer's house. It was a mostly small place from the outside, but after entering, I found that it was actually quite large. The healer had a large basement area that housed some sick monsters, as well as humans, though there were not many of either at the moment. The healer, an old man with a growing, snow-white colored beard, soon came up to me. "I could smell you all the way across the room, young man. Come now, it's time to clean you up." I chuckled softly, even as the healer laughed a little as well, and he guided me over toward a small room in the back. "Now, go get cleaned, young one, and then we will see to your wounds." I did as he said, going into the small room, I found a hot spring within it. The room itself was like a cave, I noticed, closing the door behind me. I laid the new shirt and my old pants on a small ledge near the spring, even as I held the torn up shirt against my scar. Slowly, I stepped into the spring, still wearing my shorts, and I sighed at the heat of the water.

I gasped in pain as I moved to sit down near the side, the hot water coming up toward the scar. Finally, I sat down completely in the water up to my shoulders. The shirt floated away, and I winced as the scar began to sting. I sighed softly, slowly getting used to the sting as I closed my eyes, my mind wandering to think of other things... How was Holly and Suezo doing, I wondered. Was Jound alive? I began to dream as I drifted into a light nap.

I was inside a house. At first, it was all fine: I was doing some sort of chores... perhaps cleaning the dishes? Then, suddenly, everything changed. I screamed as the house began to burn down, the walls melting, the people around me burning to a crisp. Monsters were changing into lost disks left and right as I looked around. Then, I saw the shadows with the red eyes. Shadows in the shapes of Hares, Jells, Tigers... they all intensely burned as they leered at me, laughing, cursing, and pointing at me. And then, even they were gone, screaming in pain as a larger form took shape close by. These eyes were pure white, and they had shot white-hot beams of energy through the house, through humans, monsters, and even the shadows themselves. "And now, little human, you are next!" the voice whispered evilly, the eyes glowing as energy accumulated around and within them, and suddenly the energy flashed over me...

My eyes shot open as I woke up quickly, and I shivered at being so cold so quickly. I looked around, finding myself in the hot spring still, and I sighed softly. I couldn't believe that I had actually dreamt of being destroyed, along with all the other villagers. I shook my head, my eyes closing. I cried for all the people who had been lost, all the monsters that had given their lives to help protect the humans within the village. The village had been close with their monster friends, almost to the point that they had been family, and most times, everyone treated them as family.

About an hour passed, I think, before I calmed down. I felt much better now, having gotten it out of my system. 'It was better to have dealt with it now,' I thought, as I got dressed. I stepped out of the hot spring room, and back into the clinic, where the healer was waiting for me. I wrapped the old shirt around the mystery disks, even as I looked to the healer. "Okay, now get on a bed, kid, I think we can heal you up." I nodded to the healer after he spoke, and I walked over to the nearest bed, which was next to a sleeping Blue-Furred Hare. Lying down, I let the healer do his job, only occasionally speaking or moving as he went about inspecting me. Finally, he got out a salve and smeared it across my scarred chest. I winced, and held my breath as I waited for the burning sensation to go away. I knew from before, that if this sort of salve burned, then infection had begun in the wound. The same thing had happened in my village after the incident with the Hare Hound about a year ago. The wound had healed nicely, but I still had a three-pronged scar in three jagged lines diagonally across my chest. It had opened up again in the fight against the Black Dinos, but at least it wasn't as bad this time.

Once more, my thoughts went to the two searchers, and I mentally prayed to the Phoenix that they would be successful... and I knew that, even behind the scenes, I would do my best to help them as best I could. I doubted I could do much to help them. 'But, every little bit counts' I thought to myself, and I smiled slightly as I dozed off into a restful sleep, my arms still around the mystery disks, dreaming of happier times... Times before the coming of Moo...

Chapter 5: Unlocking a Family

A full week passed after I came to this village. I learned that its name is Yorinkia, and that the people here had very nice lives. A mill managed to grind flour, which was used to create bread. The mill itself was set up next to a river, which used the flowing water to turn large gears that would grind the grain. Monsters here were employed with humans, helping the smaller humans with the chores that needed done. Tigers and Hares were employed used to help cart grain to and from the mills, as well as to bring water to the farmlands. Golems and Dinos were employed to cart large amounts of material around, from rocks and boulders to hay and grass. Pixies (few though they were) were used to help plant the seeds and bulbs in gardens and farmland. Their speed and ability to fly, I saw, allowed them to sow the seeds much faster than any humans could.

After the week, I was deemed fit by the village healer. I was still on crutches, unfortunately, and I'd had a splint done for my leg. One was on the thigh area, the other on my lower leg, they were tied together by some stiff rope. I was able to walk easily, but the splints made it difficult, if not impossible, to run. My scar had shrunk with the multiple uses of the salve every day upon it. I was able to breathe much easier now. I was also allowed to stay at the Healer's clinic until I was ready to continue on my journey. However, sleep was a different problem. Every other night, I would have the same dream of watching everyone in the village be destroyed... and then I would be killed too, by that Naga. I'd wake up in a cold sweat, gasping for breath.

Today, however, was to be much different than the other days that I had been here. 'I'm going to have a family again,' I thought, as I looked up to the doorway that led into the large shrine. I looked to the two mystery disks that I held in my hands and smiled. 'Perhaps now, I can rest easy at night,' I wondered, closing my eyes as visions of the burning village passed through my mind. I opened them again as I shivered... thinking about that scene always gave me the shivers, and made me cold. Suddenly, I heard a familiar voice behind me, and I turned to see four beings that I hadn't thought that I would ever see. One was a small, pink monster that I had never seen before. It had large, black beady eyes and a beak-like mouth. I could only guess as to the kind of attacks such a monster might be able to produce.

The other being was a young brown haired boy who was walking bare-footed. He looked around ten or so... but perhaps he was eleven. He had a pack on his back which seemed to be full of something, and then there was some strange contraption hanging down from below that pack. They looked like shoes, I thought... yet, they also had wheels on them. I had never seen such strange looking shoes before. The kid looked my way and his eyes seemed to be filled with pity... I guess it was because of my appearance.

The other two, however, I'd known for a while. I hadn't seen them for a week or so, but I recognized them easily. It was Holly and Suezo! I couldn't believe it. The mere fact that they had been able to thwart any Baddies that had been in their way made me happy. Holly and Suezo glanced toward me as I smiled politely... but they must not have recognized me. The four simply walked past, with Genki looking at me as if sizing me up before deciding that I wasn't a threat at all. Into the shrine they'd gone... and after a few moments, they emerged with a new baby Spot Dino. I smiled as I went into the shrine after they were done... and Holly gasped, realizing who I was. I winked to her, and motioned for her to stay quiet. She smiled and nodded back to me before turning back to her small group, who had just been confronted before the steps of the shrine by an elderly couple who had a jacket and a pair of old shoes in their hands.

I walked into the shrine, and sighed softly. I wasn't the last survivor! There were 2 others, alive and well. That alone, I knew, would allow me to sleep comfortably tonight. Today was going great. I was fully healed up and rarin' to go, I just found out the other two from my village were alive... and now, it was time to unlock my two mystery disks and release the monsters within them. I stepped onto the circular platform, and the lights in the dragon mouths surrounding the circle in four spots came on. As I reached the center, I took the first disk and placed it in the opening. With the other still in hand, I went to the control panel. I pressed on the large panel, and a light went on under the mystery disk. It began to spin fast, as I exerted a little more pressure upon it with each passing second. Suddenly, lights began to spark around the entire platform area, and I exerted more pressure. The energy within the shrine intensified, and suddenly, I knew it was time. "Unlock!"

The shrine almost seemed to blink as the energy accumulated over and into the disk. Within a moment, the transmutation of mystery disk into monster was complete. I closed my eyes for a moment, able to hear the sighing of the newly-released monster as it began to wake. Then, I opened my eyes, ready to inspect the new monster I would be taking care of. My eyes went wide as I gazed upon the first monster I'd ever unlocked. It was very... small. It was also cute. It had small, feathery wings. Its hair was green. And, it even had a small horn sticking out near the top of its forehead. It was very cute.

It was a Unico. 'Amazing...' I thought to myself, even as the small pixie yawned on the shrine platform. I stepped out from behind the control panel, and smiled warmly to the new monster. The Unico blinked, and looked at me with her wide eyes. I walked close to her, and then leaned down to kneel beside her. "Hello, Unico... I'm Tyson." I said to her, and I scooped her up in my arms. Unico was shivering slightly, being either afraid or cold, as I held her against my chest lightly. I felt her short, horse-like tail brush against my leg, and I smiled as I carried her over to the control panel. I set her down beside it carefully, before taking the other mystery disk in my hands. "Stay here please, okay Unico?" I said, smiling to her warmly before heading over to the Shrine platform again. I slipped the disk into place easily, and then walked back over to Unico, scooping her up in my arms again. She wasn't shivering this time, which I took as a good sign. "Here Unico... this is how you unlock a monster."

I took her small hands in mine and placed them on the large panel. With my larger hands helping hers, we pushed downward on the panel slowly. Unico watched the spinning disk in amazement as it spun, and then the energy flew in the air. She gasped in surprise as she watched the energy, and I smiled. "Push down hard now, Unico!" I said, and she did so quickly, using her whole body to provide the necessary weight. "Unlock!" I exclaimed, helping Unico to press down on the panel. The light grew bright and Unico cried in alarm, jumping into my arms, as the energy all gathered into the mystery disk. Even as I felt Unico's horn press against my neck, I smiled softly, gently trying to keep myself from getting impaled. Even then, the lights died down as the monster emerged from its disk.

It was a small, segmented body that had emerged. Two eyes blinked several times. A total of six legs along its sides were visible. It had a shell over its body, I noticed. Suddenly, I knew just what type of monster this was, and I smiled. It was a Worm. It is often a good friend to have, when it came to getting somewhere fast. Though not as tough as a Golem or Durahan, a Worm was still very good at taking and dishing out hits. Basically, a Worm is pretty much average in all regards. A good worker, as well as a good friend...

I was thinking all this when I noticed that Unico had leapt from my arms, and to the ground. Stumbling a little, it began to cry softly. I looked to Unico and smiled warmly, moving to pick her up and into my arms before going over to the worm and picking him up carefully as well. "Unico, this is Worm. Worm, this is Unico." I told them both, and I smiled. Then, Unico smiled, and finally, the Worm smiled as well. I knew that I had just found myself a new family with these two... hopefully, others might join us as well. I began to walk out of the shrine, when I heard footsteps hurry away. I glanced toward the doorway, and found that Holly had been watching the entire proceedings. I smiled warmly, and told the two small monsters in my arms "That girl is our hope... and we must help her if we can." I said to them softly, only to hear a soft whining sound. I glanced to the two monsters and smiles. Both had their eyes closed, and they were breathing gently. "Well, perhaps we had better wait a little while before leaving town." I said to myself, and smiled, heading toward the Healer's house to rest for a while... my crutches left behind in the shrine, as I knew that I could not afford to use them now that I had two new monsters to care for.

I entered the clinic, and headed toward the area that had been closed off slightly, giving me a room of my own. I lay down upon the bed slowly, and smiled, both monsters snuggling up against me. It was at this time that I closed my eyes, and I dozed off... having a dream about having a family once again... and I smiled as I napped, unaware that both of my new family members were doing the same. This had been a good day... hopefully, the next few days would be too.

However, no one knows what the future shall bring... not even the Phoenix itself. But, the search for the Phoenix is another story. This story is to be told for the people who are not always remembered... and yet, they contribute just as much in their own ways. History may not recognize their deeds, or their names, but they do their best to help the main players in this game of chess. The pieces are being positioned at this point... and none yet are ready to strike. Stay tuned for Chapter 6!

Author's Note: I will wait for at least two more reviews before continuing on with this series. Please, write more than simply "Good fic," okay? I want to know how to make this better.