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"Forgotten Life" By: Ryan

"Who am I?" Dante's eerie red eyes blinked as she opened them. She glanced at her body. She was an Evil Hare. The colors that were on her were a reality but were strange. They weren't what she remembered but the more she thought about it the more she realized she couldn't remember anything. She glanced down at the cold, shiny, stainless steel table on which she lay. The face of an Evil Hare glared back at her. It too was not at all familiar but a reality and a part of her. She grabbed her head and winced. A migraine was surging through her head. A short, sharp sting added to the pain. Yet, within seconds she felt no pain at all. "Feeling better?" a computerized robot’s voice asked. She turned to face a rusty Henger that wore the emblem of Moo around his neck. "Uhhh....Yeah. Thanks. Who are you? Who am I? What am I? What happened? What am I doing here?" question after question flowed from her mouth like a river. "Slow down! One at a time. First things first. Now, for starters, I am Rusty, a Henger," She recognized the monster species of Henger. She may have lost her memory but her knowledge had been spared. He continued, "You are Dante. You are of the monster species known as the Evil Hare. All your life you have served Master Moo. You were fighting a renegade band of goodies when a storm blew through. It tore apart the area and a cliff side collapsed on you. The others were able to get you here in time to save your life. Yet you have obviously suffered from amnesia." "Is this all true?" she was smart enough to know better than to just take his word as the truth. "Well, that's up to you." his conclusion certainly was strange. Yet, the more she thought about it the more it seemed real. It seemed suspicious but true. "It-it is." she concluded. "Good. Do you feel up to battling?" he asked. "Y-Yes." she answered. "Okay, then go to this room. You are to join the other Evil Hares." he showed her a map of the castle and pointed to an area out of hundreds. As he turned away, the glare of the light on the emblem caught her eye. She looked down at the table again, out of pure instinct. There on her reflection was the same emblem. Held by a white band that was wrapped around her neck. This was obviously a symbol that all servants of Moo wore.

"Is it anywhere near here?" Genki asked. A moment passed and the magic stone’s glow dimmed. "No. It’s further." Holly said, much to the group’s dismay. They had been wandering around in the desert for who knows how long. "I’m hungry." Suezo complained. "Me too." Hare joined in. "It’s always something with you. Your never pleased!" the sweltering desert heat had made Tiger’s temper rise off the scale. "Oh Yeah! I’ll show you." Hare wasn’t about to back down from a challenge. Especially one from Tiger. Their noses met and both growled, ferociously. "Break it up, chi!" Mocchi came right in the middle and held both of them back. "Fine!" Tiger turned away resentfully. "Humph!" Hare stayed on the other side of the group, far from Tiger. "Wait a minute. What’s that?" Golem pointed to a small shadow off in the distance. With one glance from Suezo they discovered it was a town. "Yippee!" Genki began to run, and was soon joined by the others. The town was full of activity. Mostly in the Monster Fighting Arena. This time they stood in the stands and watched. "I wanna fight!" Hare was swinging his balled fist left and right. "Me too!" Tiger and Hare looked at Genki hopefully. "Sorry guys, the tournament is almost over. See, it’s the last round……a Dento versus an Evil Hare." It was no ordinary Evil Hare. Her symbol-holding-necklace gone, Dante stood ready to battle, an evil grimace smeared across her face. Baddies didn’t usually get vacations but she had weaseled her way out of a few hours of being cooped up in the floating castle. Dante was the type to crave excitement, danger, and fighting. She had entered herself into the contest just for the thrill of fighting. The sharp shrill of the bell clanged over the crowd. The signal to start. She hesitated, waiting for his first move. He launched his vampire-like fangs at her. Her evil grimace turned into an evilly mischievous smile. She did not move. He came within inches of sinking his fangs into her soft black fur but was thrown halfway across the arena with a horrified yelp by a single punishing blow from her fist. He wobbled as he pulled his green body off the ground. His vision blurred and his thoughts strayed but it all came into focus upon that single figure of the one that had just hurt him. He charged wildly with a ferocious yell, his only thought was revenge. Her smile only got bigger. As he came within range she rocketed herself high into the air. She balled her fist and pushed it into the air. Then flipped so that she went down, fist first. The mortifying noise of his bones cracking silenced the crowd. It was broken by a yelp. He was flat on the ground wriggling in pain. The doctors came and pulled him off the arena, carefully. The referee gave her the prize money. A few gawked at the damage, some handed in money owed because of betting on the wrong monster, and the others went on with their affairs. "Did you see that?!" Suezo was astonished. "An entire fight and not one hit!" Genki was still staring at the arena. "That’s a powerful monster! Hey! Where’d it go?" he asked, looking for the victor of the fight. "Oh, well. Let’s go get some food." Holly brushed off the event and led the others to a restaurant. It wasn’t too expensive but Hare had to do some bargaining.

"Well, Captain. How did the experiment go? Is the subject still well or has or test failed yet again?" Moo’s deep voice made Captain Evil Hare uneasy. "Well…she seems well. Her fighting skills are remarkable and she’s pretty smart. The experiment was a success as far as we know. She doesn’t remember a spec of her past and took the synthetic memory hook, line, and sinker. She believes it’s all true. Yet, Dr. Rusty says we must still wait and see. Her memory could return." Captain Evil Hare was bowing but he kept his eyes fixed on Moo. "I’m leaving it up to you, Captain, to make sure this does not occur. We are drawing closer to my sleeping body and I don’t need any interference what so ever. None! But…….if anything out of the ordinary does occur with this "experiment" or anything else under your control, I want to be informed." Moo finished. His gold shoes clanked across the dull, stone floor. His immense figure sent chills up the spine of any in his presence. "Yes, of course, sir!" Captain Evil Hare bowed once again his helmet about to fall off, saluted, and was dismissed. "Plant. Bring in Dr. Rusty." Moo’s demon-like red eyes made Plant shake as he scattered out the door. They were worse than the eyes of the Evil Hares. The Hares sent cold flashes throughout Plant’s body when he looked at their eerie, creepy red eyes but he would prefer theirs over Moo’s any day. Moo was just plan scary and morbid. Within mere seconds he came rushing in clumsily with Dr. Rusty following a little ways behind. He lived up to his name. His rickety old body creaked and screeched like fingers on a chalkboard with every movement. As they entered they bowed. Plant went scuttling out. "I hear that our experiment has gone well." Moo began. "Yes, Master Moo." Rusty’s voice seemed as old as his body. "What does this mean to me?" Moo’s question was odd but Rusty understood perfectly. "The final product of all of our work could quite possibly become reality before we even reach your body. After our breakthrough with the Evil Hare we tested it on much weaker subjects. It turned out quite pleasing. My team is working on your master plan as we speak." Rusty droned on. "Good. You are dismissed." Moo sent the doctor away. "Good." He echoed and topped it all off with a fearsome maniacal laugh.

"Not the best price but the food’s great!" Hare said as he and the others stuffed their faces heartily with food. Genki let his empty bowl clatter on the table then lunged at the ramen noodles. He slurped them down. "I wanted some of that." Suezo whined. "Too bad!" Genki said playfully as he teased Suezo with the last noodle. It was gone in seconds as Genki inhaled it. He went reached for more rice but found the bowl cold and empty. He peered over its edge to find Holly, Tiger, and Hare gulping it down. He looked over to the fruit but in its place in the bowl sat Mocchi rubbing his full tummy. He finally set his sights on a plate full of sizzling steak. He was on the verge of inhaling just as he inhaled the noodles but heard a strange noise behind him. He turned around to see the Evil Hare that had competed earlier in the match. "Hey, it’s you." he said. She finished a bowl of rice, set it down, and turned to him. "What?" she questioned. "It’s you! The Evil Hare from the battle." He explained. "Oh, yeah. Hello, and you are?" she gave him a questioning glance. "I’m Genki! We’re gonna find the-mumph! Mmph!" his sentence was cut off short as Holly smacked her hand over his mouth. "You can’t just tell the whole world. He might be one of the badies, I mean just look at him!" Holly whispered as low as possible while still getting her point across. Now that she mentioned it the Evil hare looked like a probable badie. It looked quite evil. Her right ear was so badly torn up it looked like someone let a toddler with scissors loose on it. The same ear looked to be permanently bent over and a single golden earring adorned it. The Evil Hare’s eyes were a spooky red. Normal for evil hares but this was worse than that. Her voice was an echo of Hare’s. After a second of skimming her over Holly managed to speak, "So, Mr. Evil Hare? You like to fight?" the question hit home. "First of all, it’s Miss. Miss Dante. Second, Yes, I love fighting. Is that a challenge?" she turned her sights away from Genki who still had Holly’s hand over his mouth and over to focus on Holly. She flashed an impatient glare. "No! I was just wondering because you fought so well in the tournament." Holly reassured and backed away. "Oh." Dante let her chopsticks clatter into her wooden bowl and then took a sip of her wine. She directed her attention back to her food and everyone went back to their business.

"Who are they?" Dante’s voice was barely audible. Her focus was all upon a single thing. Her eyes were heavily baring down upon a photograph. It’s emphasis was two Hares. Both looking exactly alike. They were hugging and laughing. Both looked like the Hare that travels with Genki and Co. The photo along with a few other items were littered on the ground in front of her. All of it rested on a strong, black cloth that was big enough to fit a human baby inside. It was enough to carry all of the items and tie around a stick so it would be easy to carry.

"Hare! Wanna fight?" the identical Hare bounced up to her brother. He was the Hare commonly seen with Genki and Co. "Sure!" he said playfully.

Dante gritted her teeth and grasped her head. "Why am I seeing someone else’s life?!" she growled. She let out a heavy, depressed sigh as she let her arms drop and her face turn from an angry grit to a burdened void. She pulled her attention away from the picture and over to the other items reluctantly. There was a gray bandanna; a medium sized bottle of fresh, cold, clear water; a fruit or two; a very minute notepad; a pencil that proportioned to the notepad; a sharp, shiny pocket knife; and a small, red, bag of gold. She looked up into the sky. The stars twinkled and the moon shown brightly. It was night. The fire behind her crackled as she gathered all the items into the cloth and tied it to the stick she had prepared earlier. She fell asleep but in minutes she awoke again. "Great. It’s gonna be one of those sleepless nights again." Dust built up as she tapped her hand on the ground. Her eerie eyes drifted off not particularly looking at anything. As peacefulness finally set in a boy’s voice came from around the bushes. "Let’s camp here." "Man, those people were so mean." Another voice emerged. "Well, it didn’t help that Tiger was fighting with them left and right." The next voice was reminiscent of her own. "Those idiots couldn’t get anything I told them right. My dinner was ruined and you expect me to sit there and let them win." A raspy voice protested. Dante finally got annoyed to the point where she poked her head above the bushes and started screaming at the seven. "Would you shut up?! God! How’d you ever ‘spect me to get any sleep ‘round here with ya’ll yappin’ and ‘n fightin’?! I ain’t been able to sleep and I was ‘bout to when you started ruinin’ my evenin’! So , just shut up okay?!" she shuffled down back to the ground, griping the whole time. The seven just stared quietly at the place where the figure had appeared. They weren’t sure who or what it was but it was something and it wanted them to be quiet. "Very moody." Suezo commented after a few minutes of silence. "Moody, chi!" Mocchi echoed. "Can’t you take a hint! Shut up!" Dante screamed again. This time she got up and walked straight through the bushes and over to them. She knocked out Mocchi and Suezo in two seconds flat. "Now, if the rest of ya want the same then keep talkin’ but I strongly advise ya don’t." she warned then began to mumble and curse as she walked back to her camp. The necklace caught Genki’s eye. "A badie!" he jolted up and prepared to fight. His roller blades snapped on and her bolted after her. He launched himself off his feet and delivered a punishing blow to her right shoulder with one blade. She hit the ground and lied there a few seconds, seemingly unconscious. Genki huffed as he overlooked her body. Yet all within a second’s time she had bounced back to her feet and gave him a punch that left him with a bloody nose and a kick where the sun don’t shine. He hit his knees and she KOed him with a bone cracking fist to his spine. She turned to the others and glared with hatred. "I am a badie but I did absolutely nothing to hurt you but yell and yellin’ don’t hurt and you started this fight. So don’t blame this on me." she ran back to the bushes. In one swift movement she grabbed her things and extinguished the fire. She turned and left.

"Burn it." Captain Evil Hare glared at an unsuspecting village. His red eyes were curved and his mouth was crooked into an evil grin. His troops launched forward with outcries of war. The village had not surrendered and so it would be destroyed. The people were arrogant and naïve. They fought off the badies and then didn’t put someone on the watch for a possible comeback from the evildoers. A woman ran screaming from her house as flames flooded out the windows. Her baby was clutched tight to her chest and she ran with all her might to escape the Evil Hares but only found they weren’t after her. At least not yet. They were busy destroying her town and all it’s people had. Dante tried to raise her torch to a house but lately her arm had proved positively fragile. The blow to her shoulder had done more than she expected. She kept going. It hurt and she winced the whole time but she set the house ablaze. It’s wooden roof was an inferno in seconds. A family came shuffling out as quickly as possible. Behind the two parents and the oldest son their daughter fell at the doorway. She was unnoticed because of the commotion around her. She was only about four years of age and couldn’t run fast. The roof cracked as the fire ate away at it and a large burning beam above her began to fall. She looked at Dante, knowing she had committed the crime, but Dante gazed at the beam. It would hit the girl. It creaked loose and fell. With no idea what had just came over her, Dante launched herself at the girl and knocked her out of the way and let her own leg take the damage. Both huffed as they looked up. The girl became teary eyed and hugged the Evil Hare that saved her as best she could. Dante picked up the girl and carried her out, limping. She put her down and the building crashed as searing flames poured out from under it. The girl ran to her family and no one had noticed the act of kindness Dante expressed. After the job was done the village was in mere black ashes. No one but Moo’s army of Evil Hares remained. Dante went and planted herself in a little patch of trees for the night. It bothered her. She was told she had never done a good thing in her life but what she had just done seemed familiar. "Agghhhh, probably just some reaction." She brushed off the whole thing and tried to go to sleep. Some bushes ruffled. For a second her eyes remained shut but the noise was continuous and she opened and annoyed scarlet eye. The noise ceased for a few seconds and then came again. "What is that?!" she was getting outraged. Suddenly, Genki emerged from the bush. "Well, well, well, if it isn’t you. You know you shouldn’t have burnt down that village. People lived there." he was right but to her he was obnoxious. "I only follow the orders of those who I serve. Anyway, I’m one of the badies, I’m ‘posed to do bad stuff." She sat back down where she was and she flashed him a quick, challenging glance. They both began to stare at each other. Her eyes curved in concentration and his cemented into a contorted glare of the same. The other six peeked from over the bush to witness the scene. No one moved. "What are they doing?" Suezo looked about worriedly. "They’re just sitting there staring at each other." Hare said. By this time Genki had sat down and both were rigid as they continued this ‘game’ of staring at each other over the fire. "Chi." Mocchi gazed at them. "Not good." Golem stuttered. "I say we end this and battle!" Tiger tried to run at Dante but Holly held him back. "Stop. They are fighting. Look." Holly instructed as she watched the two. The others looked for a second or two and then gave Holly curious looks. "Do you have a fever." Hare put his hand on Holly’s forehead. "No look. They aren’t fighting like you would think. They’re fighting with their eyes. It’s like a staring contest but a lot more serious. When one can’t look the other down anymore they lose and the one who was able to keep on glaring, whether they blink or not, wins. See. Look at their eyes. They’re having their own little war." All six stared at the two. "More serious?" Mocchi asked, softly. "Yeah. Okay, lets say you have a Father, a Daughter, and the daughter’s Fiancee. All sitting in one room. The Father and the Fiancee don’t like each other and want fight but the girl they love is sitting in the same room. They won’t fight cause it might hurt her feelings. So they fight with their eyes. When one backs down the other wins the fight, just like a brawl. Neither want to back down and it could last for hours." Holly’s speech finally finished. "Uhhhh" Hare began but he was interrupted by Holly. "No Hare. Both know it won’t hurt us if they fight but as you can see the Evil Hare doesn’t feel like battling physically. So she challenged Genki with a glance." Holly had explained the whole thing. For the next two hours both sat glaring each other down. Genki stared into Dante’s eerie eyes. Those two eyes seemed to be a whole different dimension of their own. They weren’t a part of the world as the two knew it. Those eyes had a whole different world and a whole different situation. As the clock in the village hit midnight Dante’s ears twitched. Two hours of staring at a child. She grabbed her sack and stood up. She nodded, acknowledging his victory and her defeat. He nodded back in respect. The fight wouldn’t have ended if no one gave in and she did, wisely. It was a more honorable defeat.

"I want those children." Moo’s impatient voice echoed throughout the castle. "Yes of course Master Moo. We have sent some of our troops out looking for them." Plant cowered at the edge of the throne room. "You may go." with this command Plant scattered away from the room in fear and awe. "The closer we get the more my problems multiply. Yet, in the end it shall be worth all the trouble." Moo gazed out the window. His castle was drawing ever closer to the mountain where his body lie dormant, awaiting the day when he arrived to revive it and destroy the world. Just as he had done long ago.

"Ha!" Dante lunged her fist at the unsuspecting Mocchi. "Chi," he cried in pain. "Cherry Blossom Blizzard!" he turned and attacked her. Then he rolled into a ball and launched at her. She used it to her advantaged and kicked him away. "Why do we keep running into you?" Holly asked. "Fate." Dante shrugged. She looked at the seven. Quite a team. It was nothing new though. As her eyes hit Hare they got wide, as did her mouth, and her mind went blank. A sharp sting ran through her chest and the migraine from when she was in that lab returned. She winced and hit the ground on her knees and held her head. The seven looked at her curiously. "I-I’ll finish this later." She gritted and turned and ran away. "That was strange. She looked like she was in pain." Genki looked at the trail of dust she had left behind. "Yeah, but it happened when she looked at Hare. She looked like she was scared or astonished to see him. Like she knew him." Tiger said. They all looked at Hare, expecting an answer. "What," he backed away, "I don’t know her. I never met and Evil Hare in my life."

"Stupid pain." Dante coughed. Her entire body ached as she leaned against a tree. Her head ached the most. Like something was trying to make her remember but she couldn’t. It finally kicked in.

The two Hares in the picture were there. Both were small toddlers. "Oh, Mommy aren’t they cute." A brunette girl who looks like the classic western damsel picks up both and giggles. "Yes, they are." Her mothers voice coos.

She sits there alone and sighs. The boy Hare comes up and sits down beside her. "What’s wrong, sis?" he asked. "Nothin’." She was lying and he knew it.

"Yes, there is! Come on, you can tell me!"

"Fine. No one here but you and our masters like me. I’m to rebel they said. I don’t wanna act like the other girls. I like fightin’ ‘n playin’ ‘n stuff. Not sittin’ bein’ a lil’ lady." She explains. "Well, that shouldn’t worry you. It’s good that your different. The guys always tell me that the girls say you stay with me too much. Cheer up." He hugs her.

"Hare? Where are you goin’?" she asks as she watches him walking away from the ranch. "I’m going to see the world, sis."

"Can I come?"

"This is one of those solo things.

"I thought we were best friends."

"We are and when I come back I’ll tell you all about it. We’re still best pals but I wanna explore a little alone. That’s all. It’s nothing against you. I promise." He keeps walking.

"Okay. Have a good time!"

"Look at her. She’s all alone. Maybe we should go talk to her." A Blue Fur looks at the lonely Hare. "Nah. She’s not like us. Her brother was her only real friend and he left a long, long time ago. She’s so weird. When he left all the people that she stayed with when he was with her went away and ignore her. What’s so odd is that even though she’s so depressed and always sad and alone, she never cries. She never has." The Blue Fur’s friend says. He is a Prince. "Your right." They both go and join the others. The lone Hare’s head turns and watches them, her eyes docile and lonely. She is on the very edge of breaking down and crying but holds it back.

"That’s it! I’m going to find him." she starts to run down the road but a rumbling like an earthquake stops her and all on the ranch. "What is that, mommy?" The girl hugs her mother in fear. "We aren’t supposed to have earthquakes!" the Prince from before explains. "It’s Moo." The mother says as a hoard of troops invades. The mother, her child, and a few monsters hide in the cellar. The others are taken to Moo’s castle. "This one will do." Dr. Rusty points at the Hare. "Shouldn’t we do something?" the Blue Fur asks her friend. "No. It’s better her. She’s already lonely, she has nothing but a bag of material things. If you stop them you’ll be taken too." He explains. They take the Hare into the laboratory and tie her to a familiar stainless steel table. A machine holding a needle injects a black liquid into her body and she blacks out. She reawakens……as an Evil Hare.

"It’s me." Dante said, staring at her hands. ‘I’m that lonely Hare. I was the one no one liked. And the one that did like me, my brother. He…..he is the Hare that travels with the boy." Her teeth clinched together. "Moo lied to me. They all did. They’ll pay. They’ll pay for making me fight on a side against someone I love! For making me fight against my own flesh and blood, my brother. They’ll pay."

"Genki!" Holly cried. The seven were being attacked by an army of Moo’s Dino’s. Genki was beating one up but another sneaked up behind him. Mocchi knocked it away. "Torpedo!" Tiger’s horns blasted some of the Dino’s. Hare punched a few away. Suezo did the same move Mocchi did. Still more attacked and the seven fought on. "They’ve trapped Hare!" One of the Dino’s had Hare pinned to the ground. Out of nowhere a black fist smashed into the Dino’s eye blinding him and leaving him on the ground, gritting in pain. It was Dante. She shook the blood from her fist. "Why did you save me?" Hare asked, both ignoring the fight around them. Dante didn’t speak but fished around in her bag. She pulled out the photo and simply handed it to him. "Dante. It’s you. Your body has changed but I knew it was strange how you looked and acted and talked when we met at the restaurant. It was you all along." Hare thought as he stared at the picture. He hugged her. "Sister, what has Moo done to you?"

"Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. If I can survive all that’s happened to me then I’ll be fine." Tears came to Dante’s eyes. For the first time in her life she began to cry. She wiped the tears away and both went back to battle. "Traitor!" Captain Dino screamed. "Darned right!" Dante delivered a punch to his gut. Another Dino quietly followed her. With a sudden kick it shattered her right shoulder. The one that had been hurt by Genki’s roller blades, the one that seemed it would never heal. She fell unconscious. Hare knocked both out cold and picked her up. The remaining Dino’s retreated.

"Who is she, Hare?" the seven sat in front of the campfire, Dante lied unconscious with her shoulder bandaged, a few feet away. "S-She’s my sister." He finally managed, drawing in the brown dirt with a stick. "So, you have a sister that’s one of the badies? Kinda like Tiger." Holly said. "She’s not one anymore. She fought on our side and the pendant that all of Moo’s people wear is gone, she only has that bag. We were best friends. I was her only friend cause nobody really like her. But I left the ranch and went to explore. She had no one after that, I guess. She used to be just like me but Moo did something to her. She used to be a thorough bred Hare and he turned her into that." "Well, the good thing is that she is not only back on our side but back with you. You should be happy." Genki said.

"Yeah. I guess your right."

"Are you sure you won’t join us?" Genki asked. It was morning. Dante was about to go along her way. "Yeah, my life’s gotten way off track and I’m gonna start back at the ranch. Maybe I’ll see ya sometime. I hope your journey goes well. Moo won’t stand a chance…..And if ya ever need it I might be around to help. Word gets ‘round fast and I might be able to help. Just ‘pends on where I am." Hare walks up to her.

"Looks like we’re parting ways again."

"Well, this time I actually believe I’ll see ya ‘gain. " they hug.

"Bye, sis!"

"See ya, bro!" she walks away waving at the seven who are all doing the same. "I’ve finally got a chance to start over. Maybe life won’t be so bad." She finally turns away and looks ahead. The sun is bright in the clear sky. "It’s already getting brighter."

The End