This is by no means a cheerful story. Most of it is sad, or dark. Don’t read it if you don’t like that kind of story. Period. Don’t read it if you can’t handle intricate plot. If you still read this, don’t flame me for adding dry humor. Enough said.
Disclaimer: Except for Jareth(or any other of my original characters) none of the characters are mine. All of the monster species are ©Tecmo (I don’t know what year). You’ve just read the disclaimer. Congratulations, you’re literate.
Chapter 1: Chance Encounter
“Unlock!” A tall, cloaked figure pushed down the button in the shrine. A light flashed and a monster slowly began to appear out of the disk. As it took form, it slowly became recognizable as a Crimson Eyed (Naga/Monol). Overjoyed at being released, the creature bolted for the door. “Not so fast.” The cloaked figure strode quickly towards the monster and gripped the back of its head. “Where do you think you’re going?”
The monster didn’t answer. The figure smirked mirthlessly beneath its hood. “Thought as much. You’re my monster now. My name’s Jareth. Lord Jareth to you. I’ll call you… Zurath. Now follow me.”
Zurath was too stunned to do otherwise. He followed Jareth out of the shrine and to a cave in the forest. “Make yourself at home. ‘Cause you’re gonna be livin’ here for a long time.”
The next morning…
Jareth was awakened early the next morning by a persistent jumping nearby. “Are you awake yet? I have some questions for you.” It was Zurath. “Such as… why did you name me without my consent? Although Zurath isn’t bad as names go. And are you typically referred to a ‘he’ or ‘she’?”
“I named you Zurath because it’s a good name. And I am referred to as ‘she’… sometimes nothing more… I am an outcast, Zurath… because I am different from humans… for better… and for worse.
“Although about what I said yesterday… you’re not really my monster. Nobody can own a monster. If you don’t want to stay here… then feel free to leave. I won’t stop you.”
“I think I’ll stay,” Zurath said quietly. “How are you different? What sets you and hoomans apart?”
A smile broke across Jareth’s face. “This,” she rasped; pulling off the cloak she wore. Underneath the cloak was hidden a pair of pixie wings. “I’ve always felt a sort of kinship for monsters because of this. Anyway. We should probably go hunting if we’re going to eat this morning.”
A group of about 20 Black Dinos leapt out of hiding at the group. “Geez!” Genki yelled. “Don’t these guys ever give up?”
“This is your last chance!” the Captain Black Dino roared. “Give us the magic stone!”
“I’ve had enough of you guys,” Tiger grumbled. “SUPER TORPEDO!” five of the Dinos collapsed and turned into Lost Disks.
“Cherry Blossom Blizzard CHI!!” Mocchi shouted, filling the air with deadly petals. Suezo leapt out, whacking the Dinos with his tail. Genki kicked one of the Dinos in the face, Hare pummeled them with his fists and Golem closed his hands protectively around Holly.
The remaining Dinos ran off, but rather than retreating into the forest they turned and began to pelt the team with Fireballs. One of the fireballs hit Tiger and he fell to the ground. A minute later Suezo, Hare, Genki and Mocchi joined him. Golem used his body to shield the team from the fire but he couldn’t fight back for fear of leaving his friends open to attack. Golem slumped to the ground, no longer able to completely withstand the onslaught of fire.
“LIGHTNING!!!” balls of lightning flew from the trees and struck the Dinos down. When they were all Lost Disks, the attack stopped. Jareth stepped from the trees to admire her work.
“You… you saved us.” Holly said weakly.
“Don’t worry,” Jareth replied, “I wasn’t trying to. I was simply killing off Baddies. Whether their target was you or someone completely different makes no difference to me.”
Zurath slithered from the trees. “Are those… hoomans?” he asked. Jareth nodded. “They don’t look so bad.”
“Looks can be deceiving.” Jareth growled. “You never know just how much trouble they have in store for us.” She looked the group over, and her eyes came to rest on Holly’s dagger. “And from the looks of it, a lot.”
Chapter 2: Some Rescuer You Are!
Suezo was the first one up. “Whadaya mean, a lot of trouble?!”
“Yeah!” Genki joined him. “We don’t cause trouble! We’re just looking for the Phoenix!”
“Well I can hardly say you’re doing a good job on your search,” Jareth growled, “There is no Phoenix here. If you want to even come close to finding the Phoenix, you should analyze the disk before unlocking it. Because if it isn’t the Phoenix…” she gestured toward Mocchi “Some monsters will just slow you down.”
“Mocchi doesn’t slow us down!” Genki yelled. “He’s a great fighter! Probably better than you!”
Jareth smirked. “You’ve got spunk, kid. Too much if you ask me. Now, would you care to test that little remark of yours, or will you admit to speaking irrationally?”
“We can win, chi!” Mocchi said.
“Very well…” Jareth gave the group a bored glance. “Zurath and I will fight any two of you. If we win… I get whatever possession your group values most. If we lose… I’ll give you this.” She pulled a fake Mystery Disk from her pack.
“A Mystery Disk! All right, Mocchi, let’s go!” Genki pulled on his skates and rushed forwards.
“Cherry Blossom Blizzard, CHI!” The air was filled with the deadly petals, all of them aimed at Jareth and Zurath.
“Fire Wall!” Jareth yelled. Fire erupted from her fingertips, destroying the petals. “As you can see, you’re up against a little more than you bargained for.” She leapt aside and Zurath took the lead.
“Evil Bomb!” a huge ball of energy shot toward Genki and Mocchi. The bomb and the team collided, causing the bomb to explode.
“Genki!” Holly screamed as Genki crashed to the ground.
“And the victory goes to… us.” Jareth hardly seemed interested.
“It’s not… over… yet…” Genki growled, pulling himself to his feet. “This battle… isn’t over…”
“You’ve got determination, kid. But it takes more than determination to defeat me. Do you really want to keep going?” Jareth’s voice had gone from arrogant to disdainful. “Give up now… and maybe I’ll let you live.”
“I… never give… up…” Genki gasped.
“Turn Assault!” Zurath shot out from his spot behind Jareth and knocked Genki and Mocchi into the air. They crashed to earth at the same time, eyes spiraling.
“Now I know I am the victor,” Jareth said lazily. “When these two recover, you can decide on my prize.”
“What are we going to give this guy anyway?” Tiger asked the group. “He asked for our most valued possession. We can’t give him the Magic Stone…”
“For your information,” a voice from nearby called, “She does not want your Magic Stone. If you’re at a loss for ideas, just hand over all the cash that you’re carrying.”
“We thought about that,” Hare said, “But we’re pretty much broke.”
Zurath looked at Holly. “What about that there dagger?”
“This dagger… was my father’s…” Holly said softly. “I don’t know if I’d be able to give it up.”
“You won’t have to give anything up,” Genki said suddenly. “I’ll ask for a rematch… and win.”
“That would be utterly idiotic,” Zurath said coolly. “Lord Jareth beat you very badly the first time around. She was kind enough to spare your life. Next time you fight her, you may not be so lucky.”
“I’ll fight her one-on-one.” Genki said with renewed vigor. “So you won’t be there to beat me up. Bring her here. I’ll win this time. I know it.”
Chapter 3: Rematch
“This kid wants a rematch,” Zurath reported to Jareth as she approached Genki and the others. “One-on-one. Should you humor him?”
“What the hell.” Jareth cracked her knuckles. “Sure. As if I’m not bored enough already. I’ll beat him again. Maybe that’ll teach him humility.
“I have decided to accept your challenge,” Jareth called out to Genki. “The rematch will take place here, if you have no objections.”
Genki said nothing, but readied himself to fight. Taking this as readiness, Jareth started off the battle with a Shock. The thin bolts of electricity blasted Genki back into a rock. Genki pulled himself to his feet and lunged for Jareth, swinging his fist to connect with the side of her head. Jareth blinked and retaliated with a solid punch that landed in the middle of Genki’s chest, putting some distance between them.
Genki lunged forward again, but only to be blasted back by another Shock. Jareth smirked as Genki fell to the ground.
“SONIC BLAST!!!” Jareth shouted suddenly.
Genki said nothing, but wondered what it was like to die.
“NOOO!!” Holly screamed. She dove for Genki and tackled him out of the way, just as the attack landed where he had been a split second ago.
Jareth turned to face Holly. “You keep out of this!” she spat, “You and your friends have caused enough trouble for me already! Now get out of my way… this is strictly between me and your friend there.”
“Jareth, the boy would have been killed. I admire anyone who is so fiercely loyal to their friends.” Zurath’s face was set in a scowl, but his tone was full of admiration. “Given the situation, I would have done the same for you. The boy clearly means a great deal to her. It just wouldn’t be right to kill him.”
“Very well then. Thanks to Zurath’s request, I will spare your miserable lives. But don’t get me wrong-you mean nothing to me. You’re just another group of idiots who dared to challenge me. I’ve come across the likes of you before…” Jareth trailed off, not even bothering to finish her sentence.
“But we’re not just another group of idiots. And you haven’t come across the likes of us before.” Tiger spoke up. His voice was calm, but his eyes were angry. “I won’t speak for my companions, but I honestly can’t see how Zurath can stand you.”
“I am not cruel to my friends. Only my enemies. You have not proven yourselves worthy of my friendship, pup. Your brother, despite working for Moo, is far wiser than you are. You should pay more attention to him… that is, when you aren’t trying to kill each other. How can you travel with those humans? They bring nothing but suffering… and leave nothing but destruction in their wake.”
“That’s not true!!!” with Holly’s support, Genki got to his feet. “Humans aren’t just plague-bringers… and you look pretty human to me.”
Jareth tossed aside her cloak. “Do I now? I have never met a human I could trust. Why should you be any different?” she looked toward Holly. “And you! You are a danger to us all! For are you not the demon’s child?”
Holly was silent.
“And that dagger! Was it not your father’s? Was it not Moo’s? I cannot trust you… for you are the spawn of Moo himself!”
Holly turned and ran out of the clearing, followed by her friends.
Chapter 4: Anger and Remorse
After the group had been gone for some time, Jareth walked out of the cave and toward the edge of the forest. She reached it quickly, and soon came to a steep cliff.
My life seems worthless… I have no family… No one to be there for me… Zurath too young to share my burdens… I close my eyes… And reach inside myself… Reach into my frozen heart… Imagine a time… When I will have true friends… Maybe a family… But I can’t… Because that part of me is empty… I never knew my mother… My father was so awful I took his life myself…
I remember a time that I needed no one… So recent… It ended today… How did they reach me? Awaken old longings I had forgotten I possessed? How? And why am I so drawn to them? They have no real family… Yet they have each other… Is that really enough?
That girl… Her father is Moo… She has no real family either… And yet… She has her friends… And they are her family now.
A single tear trickled down Jareth’s weather-hardened face. She brushed it away quickly, perhaps angrily. Yet another tear followed. And another. Soon the tears were pouring like the rain that had just begun to fall. She stood there for quite some time, until a voice interrupted her.
“Jareth?” It was Zurath. “What’s troubling you?”
“I’m fine,” she lied. “Just leave me alone for a while. I’ll come back a little later, okay? I just need to be by myself… and think things through.”
“Jareth, you’re not fine. I can tell, and I’m not what one would call empathetic. What’s eating you? You haven’t been yourself since those humans came.”
“They just… remind me of everything I never had… I guess that’s why I can’t forgive them… I don’t like their arrogance… they’ll never find the Phoenix and yet they think they can… they think they can save the world… and yet it’s hopeless… just hopeless. Moo is too powerful to defeat. I know that well…” she touched the scar that ran from the inner corner of her left eye to the bottom of her jaw. “Perhaps too well…”
“There’s only one thing you can do. You have to set things right… before it’s too late.” Zurath looked thoughtful, which was strange for one of his species. “They would sooner have you as an ally rather than an enemy. Trust me. You offered them the fake Mystery Disk as a prize, didn’t you?”
“Give them the real one. You still have it, don’t you? It may not have a Phoenix inside, but they want Mystery Disks. It increases their forces. It protects them. And it will be a symbol of your trust… and proof that you are not an enemy.”
“Is that the only way?”
“I’m not sure. I am unfamiliar with human customs.”
“I guess you’re right. Shame you’re mostly Naga. People will think that you’re stupid. Either that… or they’ll say that your intellect was wasted. But I shouldn’t change the subject. I should better find them before it’s too late.”
“Holly!” Genki yelled as he walked through the forest, looking for his friend. “Hey, Holly!” he glared at the ground. “Where is she?” he muttered. “Where could she have gone? HOLLY!!”
Holly heard Genki’s voice. She knew where he was. He’ll find me sooner or later, she thought, I just hope he gets here before… who was that… Jareth does. She sighed and opened her eyes. She looked up into the branches of the tree she sat beneath. How did she know? Holly wondered, brushing a tear from her face, how did she know that Moo was my father?
“There you are!” Genki exclaimed. “We’ve been searching the entire forest looking for you.” He walked up to Holly and put a hand on her shoulder. “Come on. We should leave before Jareth comes to collect her prize.” With Genki’s help, Holly got to her feet. Then they walked off to find the rest of their friends.
A twig snapped under Jareth’s boot. She muttered something under her breath and continued to walk. Those kids really got to you, Jareth, Jareth said to herself. You must be getting soft after all these years away from humanity. Fool. This should teach you to let your guard down. She continued her walk, this time with a blank mind.
Chapter 5: Jareth’s Story
Early the next morning, Genki and his friends tramped through the forest, hoping that Jareth didn’t show up. Jareth, however, had other ideas.
After a good solid hour of walking, Genki and his friends reached the edge of the forest. “It’s good to be in the sun again,” Suezo said, trying to be cheerful. The rest of the group just nodded.
“Wait.” Jareth strode up to the group, her face set in an unreadable expression.
“Didn’t you beat Genki badly enough the first two times?” Hare growled. “We don’t want any more trouble.”
“No. Nothing like that.” She pulled the Mystery Disk from her bag. “You forgot this.”
“I didn’t win,” Genki said sadly, “The disk isn’t ours.”
“But it is. Go ahead. Take it.” She held out the disk. “You need it more than I do. It isn’t the Phoenix, but it may help you along in your quest.”
“How do we know that we can trust you?” Tiger asked suspiciously.
“You don’t.” Jareth replied bluntly. “Trust isn’t about knowing. Just take the disk. I’m losing my patience.”
Holly walked up nervously to Jareth and took the disk. Jareth said nothing but “There’s a shrine half a mile up the road.” She turned to walk back into the forest.
“Why don’t you come with us?” Genki called suddenly.
“…Come with you?” Jareth asked quizzically. “I couldn’t.”
“Jareth…” Zurath said sternly, slithering from the trees. “Why not? They can clearly use your combat skills to an advantage.”
“It… wouldn’t work…” Jareth said sadly.
“Why not, chi?” Mocchi asked.
Jareth smiled sadly. “It’s a long story…”
“We can listen,” Genki said. “Just as long as it’s not too long.”
A grin cracked across Jareth’s face. “I’m afraid it might be. What the hell. I’ll tell you anyway…
“I was always interested in Moo and the mystery surrounding him. Maybe it was that that made me so susceptible to his control. You see, when Moo was unlocked, I knew it the instant it happened. Call it a sort of sixth sense. I could tell where he was for some reason and thus tracked him down with ease. My anger at my surroundings helped to spur me on, as well. You see, my father was a normal human, but my mother was a pixie. I was the only one of my kind, and because of that everyone around me hated me. Even my father. When I found Moo, he had not yet come to power. I was sort of a sidekick to him… his second-in-command, even after he had grown strong.
“Moo is the closest thing I’ve had to a family. He helped me to seek out those who tormented me at one point in my life and destroy them. I was unknown to many, but those who knew of me feared me as much as they did Moo himself.
“And so, it was like that for ages. Destroying towns, and killing their inhabitants… turning the monsters into baddies… that was my life. And the saddest part is, I loved it. I was as devoted to my job as one could get.
“I was there when your hometown was destroyed, Holly, and I think that was really the reason that I quit my job. I finally saw the suffering that your friends endured to protect you. You see, Moo and I both knew where you were. We could have had you killed. That was when something inside me snapped. I never thought that I would see someone so respectable turn against his own flesh and blood. It could have been the reason that he didn’t kill you… that somewhere deep inside him; he was still your father.
“That night showed me that I was set apart from my colleagues. I was different from them because I did not hate. Yet I remain tied to Moo. Even now, I know all that happens to him. We are linked together… until I find a way to break the chains…”
“That’s some story,” Zurath said when Jareth finished, “How do you feel?”
“Great,” was Jareth’s relieved response. “I feel as though a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders… a weight too great for even me to bear alone. What about the rest of you?”
“That was a great burden that you were forced to carry,” Tiger said quietly. “We all have our secrets. In my case… Grey Wolf is my brother.”
“I guess we’re all in the same boat,” Jareth finished. “We’ve got to work on this together. Who knows? Maybe we will find the Phoenix. Someday.
“You’re awfully quiet, Holly. Something bothering you?”
“Not really… but do you really think that my father is still alive… trapped with Moo bound to his soul?”
“I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what he is inside. I can’t tell. Maybe you can. Just… if I do come with you, don’t talk about it. Please.”
Inner Flame: by Lord Jareth firstname.lastname@example.org
Section 2- See section 1 for disclaimer and author’s note
Chapter 6: Stormy Relations
“Unlock!” Genki shouted, pushing the button in the shrine and concentrated hard. Red lights danced above the spinning disk and slowly began to take shape. The form slowly became recognizable as that of a sort of humanoid creature. As it became fully formed, the monster became clearly a Durahan. But this was no ordinary Durahan. Its white and gold armor glittered, despite the weak light in the shrine. It was very clearly a Paladin (Durahan/Gali- please note that in the actual Monster Rancher 2 video game, Durahan and Gali are incompatible… which really sucks if you ask me). The young Paladin leapt down from the shrine and swung his sword a few times.
“So you’re the one who unlocked me?” he asked cynically. “I suppose I should thank you.”
“You remind me of someone I know,” Zurath told the young monster severely, “And I don’t think it’s her good points that you highlight.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” the Paladin snapped.
“It means that you’re a cynical jerk who doesn’t know the meaning of gratitude,” Zurath replied. “I thought Paladins were supposed to be pure.”
“Let’s be realistic here,” the paladin grumbled. “Nobody’s perfectly pure. Nobody’s even close.”
“Can’t you even try to be a little nicer?” Genki demanded. “We unlocked you, so you should at least show us a little courtesy!”
“No.” the monster said bluntly, “I can’t try to be nicer. I don’t even want to. Understand?”
“Yes,” Jareth’s booming bass voice called from the door. “Even if they don’t understand, I do. You don’t have to be nice.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Holly asked, concerned. “If he doesn’t learn how to act properly, he could get into trouble.”
“Then you guys can get me out of whatever trouble I get into,” the Paladin said deftly. “I’m going with you guys. Okay?”
“Can we stop you?” Tiger grumbled.
“No,” Paladin said simply. “You can’t stop me. I’m coming whether you like it or not.”
“Well, if you’re coming, the least we can do is see if you’re a good fighter,” Hare said. “Fight with me. If I deem you worthy, you can stay.”
“I accept your challenge, Mr. Hare,” Paladin said smoothly. “I would be glad to battle you. But even if you don’t like my fighting, I’m still coming.”
“Dragon Kick!” Hare screamed, leaping at Paladin with his neat flaming foot technique.
Paladin leapt aside. “Thunderbolt!” he shouted, blasting Hare with powerful bolts of lightning.
Hare leapt up as soon as the attack was done, and charged at Paladin, swinging his fists. Paladin dodged the majority of the blows, but everyone could tell that he was getting tired.
It all happened too fast for anyone to see, but the next thing anyone knew, Paladin was on the ground. Hare, who was about five yards away, smirked in a satisfied way. “Guess I’m the winner, then?”
“No,” Paladin hissed from his place on the ground. “You haven’t even come close to winning. Rush Slash!” he leapt up and ran towards Hare, bringing his sword down hard across his adversary’s body.
For a few seconds, everything seemed to be frozen. Paladin’s sword was still wet with the drops of blood that should have fallen to the ground. Then the moment snapped. Hare fell to the ground, a huge gash across his chest. The bright silver blade of Paladin’s sword was stained by Hare’s dark red blood.
Jareth was the first one to react. She walked over to Hare and looked at him closely. “We’ve got to get him to a hospital,” she said grimly. “If we don’t do something soon, this hare is going to die.” She turned to Suezo. “Suezo, we need you to take a look around. See which way the nearest town is… you know.”
Before Suezo could respond, Golem grabbed him and hurled him into the air. Suezo twirled around a few times, before crashing back to earth. “You’ve really… got… to work… on your… timing… Golem…” he said in his usual pain-induced stupor.
Golem rubbed the back of his head. “Sorry…”
“The town’s that way,” Suezo said, pointing east with his tail.
“Right,” Jareth said, “Let’s go.
As the group walked in the direction that Suezo had indicated, raindrops began to fall. Soon, a huge storm was blowing; the wind whipping about their heads and the raindrops soaking them to the skin.
Chapter 7: Out of the Rain and into the Madness
A few hours passed, and finally the town came into view. It was a pretty big place, with all sorts of buildings and whatnot. The entire place was deserted. The group walked up to the hospital, which they found after about half an hour of searching, only to find a large, windswept CLOSED sign on the doors.
“Damn it!” Jareth shouted. “Is rain going to keep you people from going to work?” She banged on the door helplessly for a couple of minutes; then slumped slowly to the ground.
“We should find a place to stay,” Holly said. “Standing out in the rain won’t help us any.”
“Yeah.” Genki agreed. “Holly’s right. We need to find somewhere to spend the rest of the storm.
“There’s a hotel over there,” Tiger said, gesturing toward a building that had HOTEL written across the top of the doorframe. “They should probably be open.”
Jareth didn’t respond. She just took Hare and walked over to the hotel. As her hands were full, she kicked open the door and walked in. The others followed suit, entering the hotel lobby.
“Right,” Jareth said to the confused clerk, “I want a room for myself, and rooms for my friends here. Got that?”
“Erm… yes.” the clerk replied.
“Good. How many rooms are vacant?”
The clerk checked his list. “Three,” he said carefully.
“Right,” Jareth turned to the group. “Genki, you and Mocchi take the first room. Holly and Suezo take the second. I’ll take the third with Hare and Zurath. Tiger can go where he likes, Golem, you stay in the lobby. Paladin, because you had the nerve to follow us, you can stay in the lobby with Golem.”
“I’ll stay in the lobby as well,” Tiger said. “There’s a fire here.”
“Fine,” Jareth said. “By the way, clerk guy? Where are we?”
“Naxos,” the clerk said proudly. “Most prosperous city for miles around.”
Most of the color drained out of Jareth’s face, but nobody seemed to notice. “Thanks,” she said roughly. “How much do I owe you?”
“Free for tonight,” the clerk said. “I wasn’t expecting anyone to come here tonight.”
The group went up to their rooms. Jareth built a fire in her room and hung up her heavy blue-black cloak to dry. She then took the blanket off one of the beds, folded it up and put it in front of the fire. She put Hare on top of the blanket.
“Make yourself comfortable,” she said to Zurath. “I’m going to see how everybody’s settled in.”
“You’ve changed, Jareth,” Zurath said quietly. “You’re not the same person you were two days ago. What happened?”
“I’m not really sure,” Jareth replied. “I guess I just admitted to myself that I’ve actually got a heart. I hope they haven’t noticed that much.”
“They still don’t know you very well yet. They’ll learn to understand you. Well, you’d better get going.” Zurath changed the subject quickly.
“Right.” Jareth walked out of the room. She walked down the stairs and over to the window in the lobby. Tiger, Paladin and Golem were already asleep. Jareth stared out the window at the rain. The hours slid by. Eventually the clerk went to his room in the back to turn in for the night. Jareth stayed at the window, looking out into the night.
“Why Naxos?” she hissed to herself. “Why now? Everything was going so well…” she shook her head. “Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve got to face my past some time.” The rain began to thin out, and patches of clouds began to wear away. Making some kind of decision, she walked out the door. She didn’t stop until she had reached her destination: the town’s graveyard.
When Jareth reached the graveyard, she walked unerringly to a small, neglected grave at the edge. She paused for a moment; then spat decisively on the grave as she stood before it.
“Take that, old Gustav,” she grumbled angrily. “You don’t deserve to call yourself a Solaris, even in death!” Jareth kicked the muddy mound before her. “I should have killed you long before I did!
“No…” she said after a moment’s thought. “I shouldn’t have killed you… you don’t deserve anything as kind as death… after all… death is just an escape. You never should have been born! The world would have been a better place without you.”
She smiled mirthlessly. “And I wouldn’t have been born either. And Moo would never have gotten so powerful. The world would have been a better place, Gustav. Why were you even born? But… no. You aren’t my father, Gustav. You can’t be. Never in a hundred years could I accept you as my father. Never, do you hear me? Never!” Jareth turned away from the grave, ashamed of her actions.
“What good is it, talking to the dead!” she snarled suddenly. “You can’t hear me, you can’t change nothing! Why do I even bother myself!” she turned and left the graveyard.
Chapter Eight: Reminiscence
Jareth returned to the hotel just as the others were starting to wake up. The fire was dying down in the fireplace in her room. Hare and Zurath slept soundly. Jareth smiled as she looked at the sleeping monsters. They looked so peaceful, despite all of the problems in their lives.
Jareth sat down on the unoccupied bed and began to think. Her past had come back to haunt her, and after visiting Gustav’s grave, she remembered his funeral.
Screen switches to flashback…
“We have gathered here today to commemorate the death of Gustav Solaris, who was perhaps the most hated person in town,” Reverend Frionel said solemnly. “He had no friends in town, so I’m guessing that nobody is genuinely sad that he has died. But as a funeral is not a place to curse those who have passed on, I will not ask anyone to send a message to mister Solaris. Even I can’t think of anything good to say about Gustav, so I guess we’d best not say anything.”
Slowly, the people left the graveyard. Finally, all but Jareth and Frionel were gone. “Jareth,” the Reverend said to Jareth, “How do you feel about your father’s death?”
“I’m glad that old bastard’s finally gone,” a younger Jareth grumbled. “He never did me or anyone else any good. Now that he’s dead I can get on with my life. How do you feel about him dying?”
“I’m really not sure,” Frionel replied. “Gustav was never understood. He used to raise monsters… he had a Pixie once. She hated him though, and eventually ran away. Monsters usually get to like their trainers though, and if that Pixie hated him so much…”
“You’re my only friend, Frionel,” Jareth said quietly. “So give me your honest opinion… do you think that I could be related to that Pixie?”
Frionel considered. “I suppose that is possible,” he said. “After all, you do seem to have Pixie blood in you.”
“Seem to?” Jareth sneered. “Where else could the wings have come from?”
End of Flashback
Jareth grabbed the poker that was lying propped against the wall and jabbed a couple of times at the dying embers of the fire. Zurath stirred in his sleep and then slowly opened his eyes.
“Where were you?” he asked sleepily. “You never came back.”
“How would you know?” Jareth replied sharply. “You were asleep.”
“I just know,” Zurath replied knowingly. “It’s all in the instinct.”
Jareth ran one of her hands through her slick silver hair. “I suppose you aren’t going to leave me alone until I tell you?”
“All right. I was born here, in Naxos. My father’s grave is here… that bastard. Everything I knew when I was young is still here, because it wasn’t destroyed by Moo or by me. I went out to think about my past… and to spit on old Gustav’s grave… that’s my father.
“As you may know, I’m only half-human. My mother was a Pixie, and that shows pretty clearly, I think. Old Gustav used to train monsters, one of which was a Pixie… for all I know; she could have been my mother. I don’t even know if she’s alive.
“I only had one friend in my life until I met you. That was Reverend Frionel. I don’t know if he’s still alive or what. I haven’t been here for at least ten years.”
“How old are you, anyway?” Zurath asked suddenly.
“Don’t know. I stopped counting a while back, but I think I’m about twenty.” Jareth shrugged slightly. “Doesn’t really matter. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, just wondering. How old were you when Gustav died?”
“’Bout ten. I left soon after, ’cause nobody but Frionel wanted me to stay. The only thing stopping them from running me out of town was the fact that they were all scared of Gustav. Funny they weren’t scared of me. Though, I couldn’t channel my energy into attacks then, but even so…”
“Enough talk. The hospital should be open now.” Sensing Jareth’s insecurity, Zurath changed the subject.
“Right.” Jareth picked up Hare and walked out of the room.
Chapter Nine: Hospital Bill
The hospital door opened with a bang, and in strode Jareth, Hare carried protectively in her arms.
“I need help for this guy,” she growled. “I’m no doctor, but he doesn’t look so great. I don’t think the wound’s infected yet, but without treatment it could prove fatal.”
“Right,” the clerk at the reception desk said in a snappy manner. “I’ll see to it that he gets help as soon as possible.”
“He needs help now.” Jareth growled. “I have no time to waste.”
“Need your monster fixed up for the battle tournament, eh?”
“Hare is not my monster,” Jareth said curtly. “He belongs to himself. Now, can I get help for him or not?” she glared at the man behind the desk.
“Yes sir. Right away, sir.” The clerk got up. “This way, please.” Jareth followed the man.
They arrived in a room. It was totally plain, save a small bed in the middle and some shelves on the walls. “Put him on the bed.” The clerk gestured at the small cot. “I’ll get a doctor in here to take a look at him. I don’t think that any of the doctors are going to want you around while they’re working, so I think you’d best leave.”
“Is this something personal?” Jareth asked. “I have a lot of grudges against this place, and I’d hate to add another one to my list.” She smirked grimly.
“No… nothing personal,” the clerk replied. “The doctors simply prefer not to have people around while they’re working.”
“Right. Assuming he’s in good hands, I’ll leave.” Jareth walked out of the room and out of the hospital.
Jareth got the bill before Hare was out of the hospital. Disgusted with it, she showed it to the others.
“3000 Golds. And he isn’t even out yet. What are we going to do about that? Where are we going to get the money?”
“I suppose we could enter in the battle tournament,” Zurath suggested. “There’s a pretty good sized cash prize on this one. I checked it out.”
“Don’t look at me,” Tiger grumbled. “Last time I entered a battle tournament for the money, we ended up with Hare following us.”
“I’ll enter,” Zurath volunteered, before Suezo or Mocchi could speak up. “You guys have seen me fight before. I think I’d be the best gamble.”
“How much is the prize, anyway?” Genki asked.
“8000 Golds. I think that should be enough, don’t you?” Zurath smiled, which was a weird sight, with him being of Naga blood.
“Alright. It’s settled. Zurath, let’s go register.” Jareth turned and began to walk away.
“HEY!” yelled Paladin. “What about me?”
“Enter if you want to,” Zurath told him, “First and second prize money could help out. Or you can keep the second prize money for yourself. I don’t care.”
Paladin stomped off in a huff. Zurath followed Jareth to go register.
“Not very nice, is he?” Suezo commented as Zurath left.
“He’s spent all his life with Jareth,” Tiger pointed out. “How nice could that make a person?”
“Tiger, you should give them a chance,” Holly scolded. “We’ve only known them for a couple of days. There’s probably a reason for the way they’re acting.”
“Yeah.” Tiger grumbled. “Sure.”
Chapter Ten: The Battle Tournament
“Good luck,” Jareth said gruffly. “I’m in the audience from here on in. Remember, it’s an elimination-type tournament, so if you lose you’re out for good. I think you can do this, though.”
“Thanks Jareth.” Zurath smiled. “That’s probably the nicest thing I’ve ever heard you say. I’ll win this tournament, no sweat.”
“Great,” Jareth said coolly. “I hope your skills match your bravado.”
“Jareth!” Zurath pretended to be hurt. “Didn’t you see me take out Genki and Mocchi? Have you no faith in me?”
“Of course I do,” came the smooth reply. “Just don’t hurt ’em too bad.”
Meanwhile, Paladin was in his dressing room… still mad. “I’ll beat him,” he grumbled. “I’ll show him who’s the greatest around here. Just wait until I wipe that smirk off his face!”
Zurath stepped out into the ring. He was up for the first round of battle. Facing him was a smirking Doodle. They moved forward and took their positions.
“Fight!” the judge shouted.
Zurath backed up. “Turn Assault!” he shouted, spinning forward and knocking the Doodle to the ground.
The Doodle was up fast. It backed up slightly and muttered something. A huge stiletto heel crashed to the ground inches from where Zurath stood. “Yaah!” he spluttered. “Grrr…” he inched closer to the Doodle, who appeared to be lost in a daydream. “Drain,” he hissed, sapping energy from the unsuspecting drawing. The Doodle collapsed, unconscious.”
“And the winner is… Zurath!” the judge shouted. The crowd cheered.
“Up next… Zurath and Jihad!” Zurath shrugged and took his place at the outside of the ring.
As the two monsters strode up to one another, Zurath got a good look at his opponent. It was a huge Ragnaroks (Dragon/Monol).
Jihad began the battle by slashing at Zurath, but it was badly judged and more for scare tactics than anything else.
“Drain,” Zurath hissed. The green glow enveloped Jihad and began to sap his energy, just as it had done to the Doodle. However, Jihad was not as easily defeated. He reared back, breaking the attack’s effect.
“Flutter,” Jihad said coarsely. Zurath saw the attack coming, but he couldn’t get his muscles to respond. The Flutter attack hit him full force, knocking the wind out of him. He scrambled up, barely dodging the Trample that was headed for him.
“Evil Bomb,” he growled, sending the ball of energy for Jihad’s neck. Jihad roared in anger and pain. “Eye Beam,” Zurath whispered. A beam of light shot from his eyes, striking Jihad and knocking him unconscious.
Zurath sat in his dressing room for the next few fights. When he was called, he slithered up to the ring, not really knowing what to expect.
When Zurath saw his opponent for the next fight, he reeled as though he had been struck.
It was Paladin.
“This is the final round! The judge shouted. Ready! Fight!”
“Drill Assault,” Zurath growled, leaping into the air. His tail stiffened into a spike and he fell hard on Paladin.
“You’re good,” Paladin sneered, “But no good enough. Slash Combo!” he ran forward, his sword swinging left and right, in smooth, fell swoops and jagged, intricate ones as well. Zurath flinched as the blade struck him.
“Wicked Bomb,” he hissed, firing a circular blast of energy, which Paladin skillfully dodged.
“Air Shot,” Paladin sneered. The blast connected, and Zurath blacked out.