11 years ago.
We see a girl, 16 or 17 running through the forests of the Monster World.
"Get back here, you miserable human!"
/You choose. Stay or Go?/
She heard some of Moo's Jell troops emerge into the clearing, yelling for her to reveal herself.
Sobbing, she choked out the word. "Go."
As she slowly fades from sight we can barely make out the words: "It doesn't matter. We got the Metalner, the human won't last long out here anyway."
The view changes to outside a burning apartment building where no one notices one more woman with a few wounds on her body and tears in her eyes.
"Excuse me, miss? Are you alright."
"I'm alone. He's not here anymore."
"We searched all of the building, all that we could. If we couldn't find him..." He sighed, not knowing what to say. "We didn't find anyone else."
She began to choke on her sobs... muttering something strange under her breath.
Something about going back.
---------------------------------------- Present Day:
Genki sighed, staring out the window. Another day, another class. Only now he had to do months of make-up work to get caught up. Painful. And it seemed so meaningless...
"Excuse me Ma'am. I'm the new student they told you about." The slight girl's voice was barely above a whisper.
"Yes...Isra Talner, did I pronounce that right?"
"Yes. Sorry I'm late."
The girl ran her hand through her short black hair. Letting it fall back onto her face, she spoke quietly. "I'm just looking forward to making a fresh start."
Walking past Genki, her eyes widened slightly. There was something about him... She nodded and took the seat next to him.
"Okay, lets get back to work." The teacher said, and class resumed.
"Hey Genki, You've noticed that new girl, Isra, isn't it?"
"Yeah. She's nice. Quiet but nice. Why?
"Be careful alright? Don't you know why she moved here? Why she always keeps away from most people? Look at this."
The boy shoved a newspaper clipping into his hand. Genki read the headline out loud. "Local Boy Killed in Mysterious Accident?" He looked up, bewildered.
"Apparently, he was trying to beat her up or something, and ZAP!"
In another world:
Holly awoke with a start. Taking a glance around the hotel room, she realized Pixie had left again. She'd taken her things with her.
*I guess she just had to go her own way for awhile.* She said, letting out a sigh. *I guess I should be going on my way too.*
But everyplace she wanted to go seemed to offer her nothing but emptiness. Even her village...could she really go home? Now?
Everyone was gone...she'd had a strange vision of Genki, but had that only been a dream?
Holly looked out the window, scanning the horizon for anything out of the ordinary. Finding nothing, she hung her head. "If only I knew what to do."
Pixie glanced around the shrine, content in the fact that no-one would see her. She walked in, basking in the aura of sadness.
*But for some people, this is a beautiful place. A place where a child, or a lover came back from the dead. They don't know what happened here.* She gently laid the two roses, one blue, the other red, bound together in a symbol of unity. *But I thank you for it, my one true friend, and this will have to be enough.*
She walked out of the shrine and spread her wings, catching the bitter winds and sailing into the sky. *For now.*
*There isn't much time for you left, is there? Hatred never dies. It changes and is buried, but it never dies.*
*You're counting things to soon. Hope, trust, loyalty, reason, foresight and love never die either. And now they are completely out of your reach.*
*Foolish guardian, you will die here.*
*Things are already out of balance, Dark one, and are already being repaired. I have a successor waiting, and you know the legend of the ashes the same as I. You are to be pitied. Created as you are, you will never grow, never change...*
*And now, neither will you.*
In a strange place between dimensions, the entity who had guarded the gates died.
And another one plotted.
Night quietly fell over the city, silent witnesses of the passage of time standing at the windows of their respective homes. There was never really an explanation for what happened, the rumors would circulate for years.
The trees seemed dark and foreboding, just the way she liked it. She had always felt more comfortable under the stars. She lay back and began to trace out the constellations in the sky.
Suddenly even that light went dark.
Genki awoke with a start. The darkness in his room, reassuring when he went to bed, had turned crowding and oppressive. He switched on the light...
To see it instantly swallowed by the darkness.
In another world, Holly woke up, drenched in a cold sweat. Something was desperately wrong... "Genki!?"
Nothing. Both of them could perceive nothing but complete darkness, alien and cold.
*Ah...the preemptive strike is mine...*
"MOO!" Genki hissed in anger. "You have a lot to answer for."
Isra twisted her face into one of confusion. "What do you want from me?"
*Ah, the little night traveler. And the thorn in my side.*
Genki grabbed his throat as he suddenly struggled to breathe.
Isra completely panicked as the force wrapped itself around her throat. "I want out of here!...I don't understand..." She struggled between breaths. "Let me see the stars!"
There was a fierce burst of light, and something snapped.
"Genki? Genki, are you alright?"
"Holly? Where...am I back?"
"uh-huh. Now don't move. You might be hurt."
"Nope. I'm fine! I'm the Monster Champ and I'm back in the game!!." He said, jumping up. Feeling all the blood rush from his head, he fell back on the bed. "But then again, maybe not."
Holly let out a tense laugh. "How'd you get back? And who's your friend?"
"Who, Isra Talner? I know her from school, but not that well." He sat up again, this time more slowly, glancing over at the girl draped over a chair. "She doesn't say much. I wonder what Moo wanted with her."
Holly jumped back, dropping the tray she was holding. Isra woke up with a start at the sudden noise. "WHAT?" Holly yelled.
"I don't know how, but it was him." Genki let out a sharp breath. "I didn't feel a thing of the others though."
"Maybe you could tell me what's going on?" Isra interjected, rubbing her neck, where a slight bruise was starting to show.
The Siren stared at the water, troubled and bitter. All that blood and the world still wasn't right. So many had awaken to find lovers who'd moved on to another person, friends who had run too far and to fast to be tracked down. The fact that some regained their memories and some didn't. A new world, what a laugh.
What sadistic ancient or god had came up with the idea of fusion? The idea of letting someone die for another like that, making the survivor wear their corpse for the rest of an empty life. The simple fact that they had been brave enough to save lives with their demise instead of just keeling over deemed them unworthy of a new chance at life. What a gyp.
She paused for a second, wondering if the Granity she had met understood that. She had, she looked so heartsick that she must have understood.
"No good deed goes unpunished." She said with a certain finality, slipping under the water. "And hatred never dies."
She spun around at the voice, and screamed as she was consumed.
Pixie glanced up from her glass. None of the other patrons of the shady bar seemed to have heard anything.
*Must have been our imaginations.* She thought to herself. Throwing some gold onto the counter, she walked out the door, punching a couple of drunken suitors on the way. *wait a second...our?*
She stepped out of the bar. A cold and bitter wind had sprung up, but she took no notice.
*Am I loosing my mind?*
She traveled to the East. It seemed like the right way.
The Pirate Dragons rested after the long flight as the three travelers tried to warm up...especially Genki, who was soaked from head to foot after diving for a Mystery Disk.
"Why couldn't she...have died on the land...brr..." Genki said, shivering as Holly wrapped a towel around him.
Isra grabbed one of the two mystery disks that was lying on the ground. Holly took the other, gathered from a snowy peak, and the searchers went on their way.
The nearest Shrine was to the East. It seemed like the right way to go.
"Ah. You again. Your form has changed, but you wear it well enough. Tell me, Hated one-why are you here?"
"There are a few I'd like you to destroy for me."
"I admire you, Moo. Your hatred brings much unneeded death into the world." There was a creak of rotting bone as one monster shifted himself to get a better look at the other. "But I do not serve you."
"I know that. But there are a few...they would seek to destroy you. And they have so much more to accomplish in the name of good."
"Fear not. They will perish now."
"Holly, those Dragons have left. They said to tell you and Genki that they're not your taxi serv..."
Isra let out a strange shriek, tried to backpedal but failed, slipped and knocked her head against the stone floor.
Holly looked up from the controls with sudden shock. Had she done...had something gone wrong?
Grey Wolf was standing in the circle of light, staring at the panicky girl and growling. "Who are you?"
"Hey Grey Wolf. That's a friend of ours. I think you...uh...surprised her." Holly said, laughing a little.
"Cowardly little human." He snarled as she dashed out of the way. "It's good to see you. Where's Tiger? Or the other monsters you traveled with."
"Wait until we bring back Undine and we'll explain."
Holly stood uncomfortably as the realization sunk into Undine and Grey Wolf.
"Why'd you bring us back then?" Undine asked, tears running down her face.
"Moo's back. He's the reason we're here." Isra spoke in her usual near whisper.
"So basically they died for nothing?" Grey Wolf snarled.
"Yeah. That's what it seems like." Holly said, walking toward the entrance of the shrine. "Come on, lets go."
She said the words without any particular emphasis. But they followed anyway.
"Do we even know where we're going?"
"Nope, we don't. Which is why we're going to end up in the right place." Genki said, marching off.
Pixie couldn't help but feel ill as she walked through the destroyed city. Bodies everywhere, mystery disks drenched in blood.
Golds scattered across the sidewalk. Whoever had done this hadn't stopped to take anything of value.
Why? This town was isolated, had no military value, wasn't on any major trade routes. As far as she knew no-one important lived in a little butt-kiss mining town like this.
She'd just wanted a drink. Damn.
The wind in her face suddenly grew colder and more intense.
"Well if it isn't the traitor."
She spun around. Leaning against one of the ruined walls was a Siren...but not really. Maybe she had been a Siren once. Her hair had turned white and there were red streaks running through her skin.
"Well. You again, hmmm?"
"Moo?" Pixie said, a huge sweatdrop running down her forehead.
"What? You think hatred can't be feminine? This was one of the few bodies not *Overjoyed* by the Phoenix's rising. She serves my purpose. Well enough."
Pixie slowly backed up. She stopped as she heard several growls.
A large group of Tigers, their fur stained with blood, emerged out of the broken buildings.
"Tell me, do they call you Granity now or is it still Pixie?"
Pixie screamed in rage and attacked.
The noise carried a long way. So did the bright light of their attacks.
Holly smiled for the first time in what seemed like weeks as Genki, true to form, raced ahead to see what the trouble was. The rest of the group followed.
Isra screamed when she saw the city, a piercing metallic shriek. She turned to run, but Holly grabbed her.
"Shhh. Its alright."
"Cowardly little thing, isn't she. Doesn't strike me as the type you'd hang out with." Grey Wolf said in a dismissing tone.
"Knock it off Grey Wolf. This is horrible, don't deny it." Genki said, drawing closer to Holly.
"Yeah, Grey Wolf. Cut her some slack. She's new."
"I am NOT a coward." She said, for the first time raising her voice above a whisper. She took in a deep breath, and fighting back a fresh wave of nausea, returned to her usual whisper. "Let's go."
Pixie let of a chain of lightning attacks. Some of the Tigers fell to the ground. Most didn't.
She was tiring, breathing hard. And Moo knew it. Still taunting her.
"Still upset about that servant of yours. I assigned him to you on purpose you know. I saw him *staring* at you after that first battle, remember that? Northtown in the wintertime?"
Pixie grit her teeth, trying in vain to hold back the hatred. The tears in her eyes...she didn't want Moo to see her cry.
"So useful to have that leverage when working with you. But the truth is...I don't need you anymore. I don't need this world anymore, though it's grown too soft to support me. All I need is the gateway." She smiled, too easy a gesture for hatred. "Finish her."
The Tigers charged in a barrage of teeth and lighting.
"Pixie! We're coming!" Genki yelled at the top of his lungs.
A fierce wind suddenly blew up, obscuring all sight with flying sand, dust and gravel. There was a pause of about three seconds, and then the remaining tiger troops tore into the searchers.
Undine took aim and let an arrow fly. She was at a disadvantage, the area had been undergoing a dry spell. Grey Wolf covered for Genki and Holly.
Isra wasn't as skilled in battle. Actually it was pretty safe to say she had no idea what to do, not to mention being small, unarmed and completely without armor. She screamed in horror as she watched the baddie's teeth sink into her arm, the blood staining her clothes.
"Isra?" Holly yelled.
The monster tried to let go of her but couldn't. Her eyes were glowing silver now...strange and unearthly. There was a bright flash and the smell of burnt flesh hung in the air.
The tiger that attacked her shriveled and became a lost disk.
Isra clutched her arm close to her body, trying to stop the bleeding. Someone was calling her name, but she couldn't see who through the blur.
She was aware of hitting the ground...closing her eyes...
"Forget it! There's nothing here to fight for! Lets go!" She was vaguely aware of Grey Wolf yelling something...
"Are all the people in your world this strange Genki, or is where they ship the weird ones?"
"Knock it off Pixie. Hey, she's waking up."
"We had to bandage your arm up. Does it hurt? That was pretty cool back there."
Suddenly she was aware of an intense agony in her arm. "Will it be alright?"
"I hope so...I cleaned the wounds."
"Hmph." Pixie said turning away.
"Pixie, we need your help for this. Moo's still weak, he...well she...ran from us. We could probably defeat her, maybe..."
"And we had to run from them! And Moo isn't even interested in us anymore, Genki. Moo said that all it was interested in was the "Gateway". And I couldn't go anyway."
"Huh? But why not?"
"Someone as vengeful as me does _not_ belong on the front line in a battle against hatred. You'll be better off if I'm not there. And heh, do you really think you're going to make a difference? You played your trump card and FAILED. Why would the world change?"
"Cause people try and change it!" Genki yelled, chasing after her. "Pixie, this is absurd! We all hate Moo, that's why we're searchers in the first place, come on!"
"So I can lose someone else?" Pixie said as she spun on her heel and walked away.
Undine turned to Grey Wolf and winked.
"If that's what you really want, then go. Moo can tear though the countryside again, old hatreds will flare up. Battle's will start. More naive, bitter kids will be displaced, and they can join Moo, forget who they are, and die." Her voice was filled with spite. "And we can just hand over this gateway thing to Moo. To the East."
Pixie watched for a couple seconds.
She bit her lip and ran after them.
Undine smirked. "Knew she'd give in."
Holly jogged for a few seconds. "Uh Genki?"
"What is it Holly?"
"What did you mean when you said we'd end up in the right place."
"Come on Holly, it's obvious...you can only be in the wrong place if you have a right place to compare it with...and Holly?"
"You'll have to tell me more of the legends from your village."
"You weren't there."
"You seemed to do alright without me."
"Some of my troops died. I don't have the power to recruit many more. We're at a disadvantage, at least here. We could have had them."
"In the East you will find many. And about your troops dying, what else would you expect from me? The most beautiful battles are when both sides perish."
"The last thing I need is that bunch rising from the ashes.
Death Dragon laughed and took off.
Chapter 3: (part one) The City
My name is Nicole, or Nikki. (flash of a woman with blond hair that falls in her face.) I'm human, but I dislike that fact about myself. (A knife)
I'm a rebel, or a runner as they call us. (A mine in the pouring rain) I try and get monsters out of here. I've been one for years, and I'm pretty damn good. If I tell the other rebels to jump, they jump. I earned this, I practically unified the resistance. (a Purple Eye, a Noble Saurian, and a human boy standing behind her.)
To nearly everyone in this town, I'm a crook, a malcontent. If they knew why I am what I am, they'd probably add sexual deviant to the list. (a girl sobbing at the market, crying out for someone)
I steal food for me and my charges. I've killed in cold blood, (a mans body at her feet, her face smeared with blood as she screams at someone) and I feel no shame. They were on the wrong side. It's a shame, so many good people can end up on the wrong side, by deception, deceit, by being raised the wrong way. (A flash of a different girl working in the same market while she watches) Hatred is easy, love is hard...that's what he always told me.
My mother was on the wrong side, and she betrayed me. (A shadow falling on a wall.)
My sister's on the wrong side. (The market)
So was my father, but he wasn't a good person. (body at her feet, a flash of blue eyes, and a scream) ------------------------------------------
The searchers worked their way through the market. This was the first town they'd encountered since leaving the ruins. It was bright and sunny, and the streets were packed. But something seemed...
"Is it just me or does this place give you the creeps?" Isra whispered.
"Yeah, I can't shake the feeling that..."
"How come there are hardly any Monsters on the street?" Pixie asked, making obscene gestures at a man who had bumped into her. Genki nodded as a girl, about 12, 13 years old, with blond hair walked over to greet them.
"Hello. Do you need any help?" The girl asked with a quiet smile.
Genki grinned. "Wyola, right? You work here."
"Yes. Do I know you?"
"Don't show off." Undine whispered, rolling her eyes.
"I don't think so..."
"Okay then. Will you be selling one of you monsters or..."
It took about a split-second for Pixie to react.
The busy crowd went silent for a second. Then pandemonium broke out.
"Don't they have any control over it?"
"Damn rebels...little better than thieves."
Pixie was shaking with anger, as the cries of the crowd grew louder.
"We move!" Genki said, staring wide eyed at the men in uniform coming toward them.
"Good plan. Everybody split up!"
Grey Wolf and Undine ran off, Pixie took to the air, Isra ran one way, Genki another, and Holly a final way as the Policemen tried to grab them. Chaos broke out in the Market, and in the people running this way and that, from the viewpoint on top of a nearby shrine, you could even see one or two monsters try take a break for it.
"Hey, Purple Eye?"
"With your telepathy and teleport attacks you could probably get those monsters out pretty quick, no?"
"Sure ma'am. I could do it with my tail tied behind my back." The small purple monster winked and vanished in a flash of light.
"Try and help them out?"
"Sure Takao. I think these punks are on the right side. I think that's pretty rare, don't you?"
The boy kissed her on the cheek and began to climb down.
Holly sucked in air and leaned against the wall, trying to hold her breath so that her heavy breathing wouldn't keep her from hearing any coming footsteps.
*Poor Pixie, this must have been like a slap in the face to her. At least she got away.*
She fell to her knees looking up.
*I hope.* Slowly despair began to take over her thoughts. *Who am I kidding. Without the magic stone, I'm not that much of a help.*
"Hello, pretty lady."
Holly jumped up and spun around. No policemen, just an average looking boy, about 19, spiky orange hair, a kind smile. But her eyes kept traveling to the nasty dirk that hung at his waist. Serrated. Wickedly curved. Deadly, no doubt.
"You have one yourself, Little Lady." He said, pointing to her dagger, then quickly offering his hand to her "It's a precaution in my line of work. And if you were with that Granity that knocked out the market girl this morning, I'm in luck."
"I was..." She said, backing away.
"Don't worry lady, I'm not with the Police. In fact..."
"They hate me. This way?"
Holly followed him.
The tunnel looked like it was going to fall down on her...It was ancient...and damp, and dark, and cold.
Holly glanced around, quickly returning her eyes to the broken path in front of her. In all fairness, it was more pothole than path. "So who are you anyway?"
"My name Takao. And you're?"
"Holly. I was at the final battle with Moo. My friends..."
"Then we thank you. Now that the lost disks have changed, there are a lot more rebels and the tension has been ratcheted up a few notches." They could hear someone one the street yelling. "More than a few. No offence, but you came at a bad time."
"Rebels for what? What about Gen..."
"Fighters for Life, Liberty and Lovers Reunited. Generally, we try and smuggle monsters out of here, attack traders, that kind of thing."
Noticing the look of worry on her face, he sighed and continued on. "And if you expect me to go back up there, and comb the city for however many people who are probably hiding like us, you're nuts. It's crawling with soldiers. Shit, why are people like you coming to this dump for anyway?"
"Moo came back. She's looking for something called the Gateway. We found a ruined town, and since then this has been the first city we've come across."
"Gateway..." Suddenly he looked sad and distant, slinking back into his skin. "I've heard of it."
"What is it?" Noticing how pale he had turned, she became nervous. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah." He sat down on a piece of rock. "Sit down. We can't go much further till nightfall, and well, I hope your friends have the sense to keep their heads low."
"They do...well most of them." *Please Genki, for once be patient...And Pixie, try and keep your head* She added silently.
"About the gateway thing, you'll have to ask Nicole."
"A friend of mine. An old friend of mine...She, well she knew a monster who used to work on expeditions. I remember him mentioning a gateway once. She might remember what he told her."
"Can't we ask him?"
"Wake up!" Holly was shaking him, trying strop him from screaming. "You were screaming and besides, It's night."
"Okay then. I'm sorry."
"Must have been pretty bad."
"An old memory....Holly, was it?"
"Yeah...what about my friends."
"We'll keep our eyes open." He quickly climbed out of the tunnel onto the darkened street. He turned and extended his hand to her. "But no promises."
Holly looked down the darkened alley sadly. No side of any of them, but it was a big city, too much to hope for, really...
"Hey Takao. Who's the girl?" The woman asked, appearing out of nowhere with a Purple Eye by her side.
To be continued...
“...and Holly, this is Nicole. Before I forget, I have to ask you something. Did Moaigon ever mention a Gateway to you…I mean.”
Nicole went silent, and stood there glaring at Takao. If looks could kill... But he just rolled his eyes. She continued. “We found some of the girl’s friends. We practically had to tie the boy up to him from running out to look for you.”
“All of them? Who’d you find?”
“Two humans, a boy and a girl, the Granity, a Grey Wolf, and the Undine.”
“That’s all of them.”
“The girl blew up a small platoon of warriors when they tried to grab her. It made them relatively easy to find.”
“Oh.” Holly said sweatdropping.
“Purple Eye! You know where to go!”
There was a flash of light, and Holly found herself in yet another cave “Holly!” Genki yelled, tied up against one of the walls.
Holly gave Nicole a glare. “Okay, Literally tie him up.” She muttered.
“I still don’t trust you.” Pixie said as Nicole passed out the soup. Nicole seemed unaffected.
“How come Pixie?” Genki asked, joining the small group as the rebels passed out bowls of soup.
“In Northtown, where I grew up, there’d be humans, some monsters too, who’d say they’d rescue you, but would just sell you again, usually to someone worse than the Master you’d had. I don’t know you very well and I don’t trust humans in this sort of situation. No offence.”
“I’m not. It’s completely understandable. I don’t trust humans either.” Nicole said, drinking her own soup quietly.
She suddenly dropped the bowl as sirens stared to shriek in the city above them.
“Oh god, what now?”
Genki scanned the crowd. No sign of Takao and the others. They’d all been split up pretty quickly in the chaos, although the searchers had managed to hold on to each other. Most of the people were trying to hide, fight, or get away...although judging by the corpses on the street, people hadn’t been having much luck with any of the above options.
“Okay, Moo’s troops are two blocks over, one block up, they seem to be heading toward the center of town. If we went south-east we could probably get out of town without being caught.”
“Pixie, we have to help these people!” Holly yelled.
“They don’t deserve to be saved! There are too many, and they’re in a panic.”
“They don’t know any better, and like there aren’t any kids or monsters here, Pixie, come on.”
“I was a general for years, Genki, I can recognize a lost cause. And there is absolutely nothing more deadly than people in a panic.”
“I’m with Pixie on this one.”
“You too, Grey Wolf?” Genki yelled.
“I don’t think she knows were here.” Pixie said, jumping into the air, eventually perching on a tall building that gave a good view of the surrounding city.
“We’ll always know where you are, traitor.” Pixie screamed as the building blew into tiny bits and Death Dragon revealed himself.
“Pixie!” Genki yelled as he and Holly ran to her aid.
“You’re not hurt?”
Pixie slowly stood, looking herself over. “We’re fine. Nothing broken.”
“You sure? That was a pretty nasty fall. And what do you mean We’re?”
“Genki, I think we’ve got other problems right now.” Pixie said as Death Dragon turned around for another attack.
“This way! Nicole yelled, opening a hidden door.
“What about Takao?” Purple Eye asked as Nicole grabbed her.
“No time. He knows every path in this city. This way!”
The tunnel led far underground and soon the Searchers relaxed. The tunnel was too narrow for Death Dragon, and although he clawed at the entrance, they were soon too far underground for him to catch them. They walked for what seemed like hours in silence, each listening to their own inner voices.
“Where do you think you’re going with them Nicole?”
“Out of the city Takao, what do you think. Hey Gran…Pixie? Can you give us some light?”
It took a split second between the time that Pixie’s light illuminated the tunnel and Nicole’s reaction.
“YOU BASTARD!!” She said between sobs. “I TRUSTED YOU!”
“Too bad.” He said, firelight reflecting off the medallion pinned to his chest. “Get them, remember that Moo wants the girl.” He stepped back and let the Jells attack them.
It’s hard to battle in such close quarters. Basically they ran through the labyrinth, fighting until they lost them.
They lost some of their own as well.
Holly groaned as Genki shook her gently. They were outside.
“Are you alright Holly?” He said, carefully avoiding the question. “We’re in a place Nicole and the other rebels say is safe. And we can always move out quickly.”
“Where’s Isra? Undine?”
“We don’t know Holly, but we’re sure they’re okay.”
Holly sat up, staring at Genki. He was willing to lie just to make her feel better...she smiled through her pain and got to her feet.
“Yeah. What about Grey Wolf and Pixie?”
“The former’s okay, I think. Pixie...they beat her up pretty bad, and she just kept throwing herself at them.” He took a deep breath. “She hasn’t woken up yet.”
Many years ago...
“Hey? Are you okay? What’s your name?”
“I’m Takao. It means “dutiful husband” Want to be friends?”
“Will you hit me?” She said in a small voice.
“No. That’s mean! Why are you sad.”
“My daddy took my best friend away...and now bad things will happen to her...”
“Why’d they take her away?”
“I donno!! She was cool! She could fly an’ she was smart!!” The little girl was crying now.
“Your dad can’t take me away! I’ll stay with you!”
She stopped crying as he smiled at her. “...Will you always be my friend?”
“Yeah, my “Dutiful husband””
“I’ve been looking for you. I really got gypped in the name department. Your name comes from the goddess of Victory, Nike...But roses are roses, and this is something big...you’ve been acting strange recently. Is your father picking on you again?”
“I have a secret Takao. Will you help me...Dutiful husband?”
“Hell yeah, Nikki. We’re friends, right?”
My name is Nicole and my best friend just betrayed me.
I trusted him with everything. With my heart.
When I was 15 my father bought another Monster. I’ve forgotten how many monsters lived and died at my father’s ranch between the Jilt who fascinated me and was sold away and Moaigon, but I remember that I fell in love with him. He used to work on expeditions, but had caught something in his chest...he told me he loved me, and yeah, it seems banal, but I loved him back. When he was sold to a mine, he worsened and died. That’s why I fight like I do. For what I do.
My Father found out and sold him. He nearly beat me to death. That’s why I killed him.
My Mother was destroyed by the scandal, and hung herself. That’s why she betrayed me.
My sister...She probably died in the battle just now. But I’ll never know. She was entrusted to a friend of my father’s. And she got a job as a Market girl. Guess we don’t...didn’t share that many genes. It’s ironic. She was the one that started all this.
And Takao...Takao let everyone who knew us think that I was going out with HIM, instead of with Moaigon...
I wonder if he hated me for that?
“Wake up Ma’am!”
“Purple Eye, leave me alone. Unless Moo’s at our door.”
“Well, Moaigon, I tried but...”
He’s holding me now, and I’m crying...and I have no idea if I make any sense at all...
It’s not okay, but it’s better.
“I was wondering when you would come here, Genki.” She pronounced the words in a low voice, like she was unsure how her voice would sound.
“You’re awake. That’s good. Do you want anything to...”
“I’m not Pixie, Genki. She’s still asleep.” The Granity narrowed her eyes, and in the dim light they seemed almost black. “But she won’t listen to me. I want you to take care of her.”
“What do you mean. You...She...” Genki sweatdropped. “Umm...”
“Take care of her. That’s what she needs, and I can’t help her now.” She closed her eyes, falling back into sleep.
Genki walked out the door, feeling slightly unnerved.
“Genki? When did you get here?” Pixie asked, stretching and shaking her head.
“Ahh...not long. Do you want something to eat?”
“No...we’re... I’M fine. But Genki, I think I’m losing my mind.”
“I know. Maybe...you should listen to the voices in your head.” He stared at his shoes. “One of them really cares about you.”
She stared at him for a long moment. “Not funny.” She finally replied.
“Well” She said, rolling over on the narrow cot in the corner of the training room. Her workouts were always exhausting, but it was better than being confined to her old cell...which was all she could remember of before.
“You don't have any finesse whatsoever, no idea how to conserve your power.”
“Yeah, whatever you say...Master.” She mumbled under her breath as he handed her some water.
“You are woefully uninformed, near completely ignorant of this world - although you are perceptive, untrained...and that’s a shame because that...” He said in his strange voice, pointing at the scorch marks on the wall. “Is a display of raw power unseen since they dragged a starving Pixie in here years ago.”
“You'll need to learn proper tactics, diplomacy, history...the fine art of poisoning food and water...”
She began to choke on the water she was drinking.
He laughed at her. “Don't DO that to me, Master Gali...” She told him, trying her best to sound stern, but she was laughing too.
“Take care, Night Travel, and be careful.”
She walked out into the hallway, careful to disguise the sound of her footsteps. Never know what you might hear if you were quiet. Her silver skin was a little conspicuous, but she still liked it, apart from the strange mark on her arm that looked like an old bite scar that she couldn’t account for.
Had she looked like this before? She couldn't say. All she could remember was a smell of burnt flesh, being left in the dark, away from the light, from any chance of understanding what HER power was. Then the cell.
Away from the stars. A neat little ball of resentments.
She loved what her Master had called her. Night Travel. The only person in the world who had ever known what her name meant. How to say it perfectly.
Isra. Night Travel.