Parts 11-15

Inner Flame: by Lord Jareth

Chapter Eleven: Battle Aftermath

“I can’t believe I lost!” Zurath grumbled.

“Would you shut up already?” Tiger grumbled. “That’s got to be the eightieth time you’ve said that today!”

“Eighty-second,” Suezo said succinctly. “I’ve been counting.”

“Like we all needed to know that,” Zurath grumbled.

“Chill your temper a little,” Jareth said quietly. “I know that sounds weird coming from me, but we entered the tournament so we could pay the hospital bills. I’ll knock Paladin senseless if he gloats, and I’m sure you’ll do the same, but the whole thing was for Hare.”

“Yeah, well… I’m still mad.”

“And I don’t blame you. I’d be furious if I were in your position. But you can’t change it so you’ll have to live with it.”

“Where do you get this philosophy?”

“Because I want the strength to change what I can, the ability to accept what I can’t, and the capacity to tell the difference. But so far, all I have is the first, and even that’s not complete.”

“You can’t tell what you can change and what you can’t?”

“I’m not sure.”

“That’s comforting to hear. And isn’t that quote just a little clichéd?”

“Yeah. So?”


“You are not evil, Jareth,” said a voice from behind them.

“Neh?” Jareth asked, turning to face the speaker.

It was Golem.

“You are not evil, Jareth. You may have served Moo but you are good at heart. I can see it in your eyes.”

“Uh… okay.” Jareth blinked, still trying to let her brain register what had just been said. “Just don’t let it get around. That would blow my whole reputation. Okay?”

“Okay. But I know. And soon the others will, too. I do not need to tell them.”

“Okay, Golem. Whatever.” Jareth started to walk away. “Bye, guys. I’ve got some business to attend. See you later.”

Chapter Twelve: How Cute! A Little Family Reunion!

(Author’s Note: Sir Frostbit did exist. He belonged to my friend, who raised him to be an evil monster so he could get Punch Combo. Sir Frostbit never really liked him.)

The hospital had taken good care of Hare. Three days after being treated, he was his old self again, save a long scar across his chest.

Genki was bright and chipper the morning they left Naxos (No surprise there). Tiger, much like Jareth, had nothing to say about anything. Jareth was none the worse for wear, and seemed unchanged, save the large blue sword strapped to her waist.

“What’s with the sword?” Zurath inquired briskly.

“I really hate to have any connection to Gustav,” Jareth muttered, “But this sword belonged to Sir Frostbit. He was probably old Gustav’s favorite monster. He was strong, never complained, and many people said he was an evil monster. I liked him though.

“Sir Frostbit was a Hound Knight. You know what that is, right?”

“A Durahan with Tiger blood?”

“Yeah. He died when he was about six. He knew he was going to die… he told me to keep the sword… told me I’d make good use of it. When I left Naxos, I didn’t have time to get it, and nobody would want me to come back, even if just for a sword.”

“Is it just a sword, or is it something special?”

“I think it’s magic. It’s still got a bit of Sir Frostbit in it or something. Whenever I’m holding it I can fight like a Durahan, not just a Pixie. I like that, you know.”

“I’ll bet.”

“Something smells funny,” Tiger said suddenly. “I don’t like it.”

“How do you know you aren’t smelling yourself?”

“Shut up, Hare! This isn’t just something normal! It smells… evil.”

“Evil is right!” shouted a voice. A group of Bazulas (Naga/Gali) was heading for them, top speed.

“We just have all the luck, don’t we?” Suezo grumbled.

“Don’t just make comments, stupid!” Jareth snapped. “Fight them! Lightning!”

“Torpedo Attack!”

“Blast Shot!”

“Tongue Slap!”

“Mocchi Cannon!”

“A human… fighting like one of us...?” Captain Bazula said quizzically. “No… that’s impossible…”

“What’s impossible?” Genki shouted, landing on Captain Bazula’s head.

“M-Master Jareth… I thought you were dead!”

“You work for Moo, Bazula. You’re not supposed to think,” Jareth sneered. She leapt forward, executing a perfect V Slash. Captain Bazula shriveled into a Lost Disk.

“Hey…” Paladin said admiringly. “Not bad… for a human.” Jareth’s sword caught him across the chest, sending him to the ground.

“What does that have to do with anything?” she snarled.

“It is Master Jareth!” one of the Bazulas screamed. “Retreat! Retreat!”

“LIGHTNING!” a huge blast of lightning struck the retreating Bazulas and they shriveled into Lost Disks. Pixie and Big Blue stepped onto the scene.

“Did you really have to kill them, Pixie?” Holly asked.

Pixie didn’t respond. She was looking at Jareth with utmost revulsion on her face. “Gustav?” she hissed. “Gustav??”

Jareth’s eyes glittered menacingly as she regarded Pixie; her lips curling back slightly to reveal her pointed white teeth. “You dare liken me to Gustav? Who are you to dare liken me to Gustav?”

“If you aren’t Gustav, then who are you? And why do you look like him?”

“He is my father. Or so everyone says. But he is NOTHING!” tongues of fire seemed to be flying from Jareth’s mouth. Her eyes, though blue, looked like molten steel. “Never liken me to him again. Never.” She turned and walked away, sheathing her sword as she went.

“Now you’ve gone and done it,” Zurath rebuked. “She was just starting to accept the world and you had to go mention Gustav. How do you know him, anyway?”

“How do you know Gustav?” Pixie snapped. “I was his last monster… except for that kid of his. I don’t remember any kind of Naga.”

“Jareth told me about him. Showed me his grave too. You seem like you might want to go spit on it yourself.”

“Gustav’s dead?”


“Who is Gustav?” Golem asked.

“Gustav is—was—the most horrible monster trainer to ever walk the face of the earth. I guess he’s Jareth’s father.”

“He is,” Zurath interrupted.

“If there is such a thing as evil—what a stupid thing to say. Of course there’s such a thing as evil. I know Gustav is evil. It’s a surprise he never joined Moo.” Pixie sighed.

“Jareth joined Moo. Why should Gustav have joined?”

“I don’t know, and I don’t care. What did you say your name was?”


“Well, Zurath… apologize to Jareth for me, when you see her. It would go against my nature to do it myself.”

“Why do you care?”

“Why do I care?” Pixie laughed mirthlessly. “I’m her mother. That’s why. But to tell the truth, I don’t know why I care. Gustav’s blood flows in her veins, so why should I care?”

“She seems to hate Gustav almost as much as you do. You do have a common chord, and even though she carries Gustav’s blood, she didn’t exactly ask to.”

“I guess I’ll just have to accept that. I’ve got to go. This whole thing is getting too sentimental.” She flew onto Big Blue’s shoulder, and he walked away.

Chapter Thirteen: Talk About Your Pain!

A week later, Jareth returned to the group. She was a mess. Her mussed hair, dirty clothes, sallow face and shadowed features were the perfect picture of depression. Holly found her sitting by the smoldering remains of the fire, head resting on her knees, not moving at all.

“Jareth?” she whispered, uncertainly.

“What?” came the coarse reply.

“What happened to you?”

“What do you think?”

“It was something about… what’s his name…?”

“Gustav?” Jareth narrowed her eyes.

“Your father?”

“Don’t call him that! Could you call Moo your father?”


“Then don’t call Gustav my father!”

“Pixie wanted us to apologize for her.”

“For what? I was overreacting.

“She was my mother, wasn’t she? If anyone should be upset, it’s her.”

“Jareth, she cares about you.”

“You think so?”

“Pixie wouldn’t want to apologize if she didn’t care.”

“Are you glad I came back?”

“Zurath’ll be happy to see you.”

“I didn’t ask about Zurath. I asked about you. Are you glad I came back? Or do you feel like Hare would feel if Tiger left?”

“I don’t think they hate each other as much as they say.”

“You’re changing the subject.”

Holly sighed. “I suppose so. You’re a total enigma, you know that? I still don’t know you at all. Maybe I’d like you a lot if I really knew you. I don’t know.”

“Do the others like me?”

“I think you and Tiger have a lot in common, but that doesn’t really tell us anything.”

“Good point. Good night… well, good morning, Holly.” Jareth closed her eyes and slept for what seemed like the first time in several days.

Holly sighed and set herself to tending the fire. She was just beginning to get a blaze going when Genki opened his eyes.

Genki looked over at Jareth. “Jareth?” he mumbled.

“Ssh,” Holly warned. “She’s asleep. From the look of her, she needs it.”

“Okay.” Genki shrugged and began to stoke the fire with the kindling that he had gathered the day before.

Zurath was the next one awake. “Jareth!” he whispered fervently. “You came back! I knew you would!” He took the heavy blue cloak that shrouded Jareth’s form, exposing her wings. “I’d better go wash this,” he said to no one in particular. “Anybody have any laundry that needs washing?”

Holly shook her head. “No, it’s still clean from when I did it. But why are you washing? It’s Paladin’s turn, and even that’s not for two more days.”

“The cloak needs washing. Why else would a person want to wash it?” Zurath shrugged and headed off for the creek. Holly turned her attention to the stew she was preparing for breakfast.

Zurath returned some time later with a dripping wet cloak. The stew was finished, and he hung it over the fire.

“What was that for?” Paladin grumbled. “It’s cold out here!”

“I don’t want the cloak to freeze,” Zurath replied reasonably. “Besides, you’re just an empty suit of armor. Why would the cold bother you?”

Paladin glared. “You’re still sore about losing, aren’t you?”

“No, I’m just making a logical conclusion.”

“Suits of armor have feelings too, you know.”

“So what?” Zurath turned his attention to the fire, and began to gently fan the flames. As the heat spread out, Jareth opened her eyes.

“Oh, by the way,” she said coolly, “I found this. You might want to go unlock it.” She indicated a Mystery Disk.

“How do you find the Mystery Disks, chi?” Mocchi asked.

“Dunno,” Jareth replied. “Does it matter? Just go unlock it.” She closed her eyes and went back to sleep.

Chapter Fourteen: Thanatos

They gave you life And in return you gave them hell As cold as ice I hope we live to tell the tale -Shout, Tears For Fears

Genki and Mocchi ran back to the campsite as fast as they could run. The Black Devil (Joker/Monol- this one doesn’t exist any more than Paladin does. Funny… you’d think that this one would be obvious.) that they had unlocked was chasing them.

“Wh-what was that thing?” Genki spluttered.

“Thanatos!” the creature roared proudly. “Of Joker and Monol blood! I am the most horrific being this side of Hell! And you… you are all my slaves.”

“As if being horrific is something to be proud of,” Jareth grumbled. “We gave you life!”

“Your father gave you life,” Thanatos sneered. “And you gave him all kinds of hell! Why should I treat you all with kindness?”

“Gustav was a horrible old bastard. I simply returned the hell he gave to so many others. Besides, did I ever ask for life?”

“Did I?”

“Get out of my sight! SONIC BLAST!!” The energy hit Thanatos full on, knocking him back.

“Hmmm…” Thanatos considered. “You’re good. You’re very good. I’ll leave you alone for now, but make no mistake about it… I will be back. That is a promise.” There was a flash of black light (yes, black light) and he was gone.

“He’s gone, chi!” Mocchi shouted. “You beat him!”

“I don’t know about that,” Jareth growled. “One attack couldn’t have defeated him so easily. I think he’ll be back.”

“Lighten up, Jareth,” Genki said cheerfully. “He can’t be that much worse than Moo, can he?”

Jareth sighed. “That’s what I’m afraid of. I don’t think he’ll be working for Moo. More like enslaving him.”

“You actually think that someone could enslave Moo?” Tiger gave Jareth a skeptical look. “I don’t think so. I’ve seen what he can do.”

“So have I. You forget all those years I spent working with him.”

“All those years?”

“Okay, so it was only for a few years before I ditched the whole thing. So sue me.” Jareth laughed harshly. “I know how powerful Moo is. I also know that he is not the epitome of strength. Moo is not perfect. You have to believe me on this one.”

“I’m doing my best,” Paladin grumbled, “And let me tell you, it’s not easy.”

“His followers hate him as much as we do—well, some of them. Is that a sign of perfection? And why are you still with us? None of us like you, anyway.”

“All right,” Paladin said coldly. “I can tell you don’t want me here. Good bye.” He turned on his heel and walked away.

“What did you do that for?” Hare asked. “The little bugger was starting to grow on me.”

“He was growing on me, too,” Tiger grumbled. “Kind of like slime mold.”

“Come on!” Suezo interjected, “Lighten up a little! This kind of arguing won’t get us anywhere!”

“Suezo is right,” Golem added. “Fighting will not help us. It is better to get along. We will only hurt ourselves, and it will help Moo.”

“Why is it that Golem’s always right about these things?” Zurath rolled his eyes. “He has a better view of this world than any of us, so why don’t we just do what he says?”

“Jareth did have a point about Moo, though. We know that he isn’t perfect!”

“Thanks for your support, Genki. Fat lot of good it does me.” Jareth shook her head. “This whole thing is getting really stupid. From the impression I’ve got, you did a lot better before I came along.”

“Jareth, you and Zurath can help us find the Phoenix and defeat Moo,” Holly said softly. “You aren’t a burden to us, and you’ve certainly made the whole thing more interesting.” She smiled weakly. “I think the whole thing was just a little too perfect before you came along.”

Jareth smiled—if you could call it a smile. Her mouth never lost its severe, stony, carved look, but her eyes seemed to lose some of their hardness. “You want me to stay?”

“No,” Tiger mock-growled. “We have too much in common. You’re taking the tough/morbid/depressed role away from me.”

“Tiger,” Hare said solemnly, “If I didn’t know you better, I’d say you were being funny.”

A deep, throaty, hoarse chuckle filled the area. It carried amusement, yet sounded like whoever was laughing had not done so in ages.

“Wow!” said Genki. “I don’t believe it!”

“I agree,” Zurath replied, “It’s got to be some sort of miracle of nature!”

“What’s so miraculous?” Jareth snapped.

“Jareth,” Zurath said softly, “You laughed.”

“Uh… yeah.” Jareth looked mildly embarrassed. “I guess I did. So what’s your point?”

Chapter Fifteen: Feel No Evil

(Shadow Knight is Durahan/Monol. Guess if it exists?)

Paladin hacked through the brush with his sword. He was still fuming over what Jareth had said. “ ‘Nobody likes you, anyway…’ the hell does she know?” he grumbled. “I hate this life. Why do I even care what they think? They aren’t important!”

“But maybe they are, little brother,” came a deep, unfamiliar voice from behind him. “No one is unimportant. All can make a difference, given the chance… like me, for instance. I am not an extraordinary monster.”

Paladin turned to face the speaker. It was a Durahan-type monster, like a black version of himself. “Who… what… are you?” he hissed.

“Shadow Knight,” came the reply. “My name is Durandel, little brother. Do you not recognize me? Have you forgotten me, Kunari?”

“We have never met before… Durandel. And my name is not Kunari; it is but Paladin, the name of my race. Why do you claim to know me?”

“You have indeed forgotten me,” Durandel said sadly. “We were brothers… I Durandel, you Kunari. Everyone thought that we were polar opposites, yet we were brothers and the best of friends. It hurts me that you have forgotten.”

“I was dead,” Kunari grumbled. “How do you expect me to remember?”

“Dead?” Durandel looked puzzled. “Nay, brother. Not dead. Merely locked inside the Mystery Disks. You cannot die if your soul lives.”

“Don’t try to fancy-talk me!” Kunari snapped. “Why can’t you just talk normally?”

“This is how I am used to speaking.” Durandel sighed. “But I suppose that it really does not matter. Do you think that you can trust me?”

“How should I know?” Kunari grumbled. “I don’t even know you. Does it even matter? Why do you even care?”

“Kunari, if you are unwilling to accept me then there is nothing that I can do. However, if you choose to trust me, I can help you—you and your friends. You care about them more than you let on.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Kunari… don’t you get tired of being angry all the time? Why can’t you accept that you care?”

“That’s none of your business! Leave me alone!” Kunari stomped away in a huff.

Durandel sighed. He knew that he had a lot of work ahead of him. “I have much to do,” he whispered. “This will be even more difficult than I expected. Soul of the great Phoenix, give me strength. I’ll need it.”


The group decided to set up camp as dusk began to fall. Soon there was a fire going, and a stew cooking over it.

As usual, Genki and Mocchi stuffed their faces, Hare and Tiger fought over their shares, and Holly and Zurath ate their painfully small portions in silence. Jareth stared at her stew for a while, and when everyone was finished and Holly and Zurath were looking wistfully at their empty bowls, she handed them hers.

“Here,” she said gruffly. “You need it more than I do.” Holly smiled, and a rare half-moon smirk cracked across Jareth’s face as well.

They slept. Durandel approached the sleeping camp, walked straight up to Holly and gently took the Magic Stone from around her neck. Carefully, he slipped a tiny ring around the place where the stone was attached to the cord. He then left as quickly and silently as he had arrived.

Parts 16-20

Chapter Sixteen: Almost Fatal Illusions

The next morning, when everybody woke up, Kunari was sitting by a roaring fire, cooking a stew.

“Paladin!” Tiger growled. “I thought you were gone this time!”

“It’s Kunari,” came the curt reply. “I have a name, you know.”

“Could have told us a bit sooner, though,” Hare said acidly. “We went all this time without knowing the name of the great Kunari! Now we’ll never be forgiven!” he laughed coldly.

“How stupid are you, anyway?” Jareth growled. “Is this the second or the third time you’ve come back to us after storming off? Just how many more times do you think we’re going to put up with this?”

“Now!” Durandel hissed from the nearby clump of bushes. There was a flash of light, and to everyone who could see her, Holly was gone.

To Jareth and Zurath, there was an aging man with silver hair and hard blue-black eyes.

To Genki and Mocchi, it was Moo.

Tiger saw a sneering Gray Wolf.

Suezo saw a tall, bearded man with small eyes shadowed by heavy brows.

Golem saw a huge black dragon, with red eyes. It laughed eerily.

Hare saw another Hare, with bright red eyes, a cold smirk and a medallion bearing Moo’s emblem.

And Kunari saw Durandel, standing tall and strong, reminding him of everything he wanted so badly to forget.

Holly’s vision blurred, as though there was mist surrounding her. A pounding headache began to throb at her temples.

“Enough!” shouted Durandel.

The illusion shattered. Durandel stepped from the bushes and approached the group.

“Who are you?” he asked them.

Tiger looked at him strangely. “Who are you?” he said groggily. “I feel like I’ve just fought a thousand Moos.”

“A thousand Moos?” Durandel looked mildly shocked. “Have no fear, my friend. There are no thousand Moos. One is bad enough.

“I am Durandel. I am Kunari’s brother, though he denies it. Have no fear, however. We have little in common.

“I can accept my life, while he is constantly in denial. And—”

“Shut up,” Jareth grumbled. “You talk too much.”

“Jareth!” Kunari whined, sweating. “You’re embarrassing me!”

“So what?” Durandel chuckled. “A little embarrassment can be good for you. A nice little lesson in humility, eh?”

“I have humility!” Kunari yelled, leaping at Durandel.

“Stop fighting,” said Golem. “Fighting will get you nowhere.” He shook his head sadly.

Kunari ignored Golem and slashed out at Durandel with his sword. It crashed against a bright blue blade. Kunari turned to face Jareth, who expertly twisted her sword so that Kunari’s fell from his hands to the ground. She regarded him coldly.

“If he *is* your brother, then why are you trying to kill him?”

“He *isn’t* my brother!” Kunari shouted. “Can’t you believe me?”

“I can. But I won’t.”

“So, what was Kunari like before he got locked up?” Zurath asked Durandel loudly.

“Not much different, I am sad to say,” Durandel said sadly. “However, he was a touch more accepting of his position in life. He was my best friend… until the war. He was locked, and I was blessed as the mortals might say… but cursed… with agelessness.”

“Agelessness?” Zurath looked perplexed.

“Sort of like immortality,” Durandel explained. “Except people can still kill me, if they try. My body doesn’t get older, though, so I’ve gotten quite strong over the years.”

“Ah. I see.”

“Shall we be going now?” Durandel asked. The others nodded, and the group walked away.

Kunari shrugged, bent down to pick up his sword and followed them.

“After all,” he said to himself, “What have I got to lose?”

Chapter Seventeen: Biting Fire

A pack of Salamanders (Zuum/Dragon- it exists!) wearing Moo’s emblem appeared from out of the blue and lunged at the group.

“Attack!” shouted the captain. He and his troops fanned out into a triangular formation. Those on the outside of the triangle breathed out jets of fire at the small group.

Mocchi retaliated with his Cherry Blossom Blizzard, Genki leapt out, driving his foot into the head of the nearest Salamander, Kunari attacked with his Air Shot and Durandel with Thunderbolt. Zurath blasted the largest, most powerful Evil Bomb he could muster up at the center of the triangle.

Hare struck down the captain with his Dragon Kick. The captain got up, but only to fall victim to Tiger’s Blizzard attack.

Yet still they came. More and more Salamanders rushed at them, as though there were no end to the troops.

“Get behind me!” Jareth ordered suddenly. “Out of the way! I don’t want to kill any of you!” They complied, and Jareth’s eyes widened suddenly. “Psychic Break!” she shouted, in a voice that was not her own. Almost all of the Salamanders fell prey to Jareth’s Psychic Break, losing their minds and fighting mindlessly with their claws and teeth.

“God’s Anger!!!!!” The blast of energy ripped through the field, tearing up Salamanders, plants, and the field itself.

And yet it was not enough. Twenty Salamanders remained. Jareth collapsed against a tree, her energy spent. “The rest is up to you, guys,” she wheezed. “I can’t do any more…”

They charged out, ready to fight until they fell. And fall they did, for though they were strong, the Salamanders’ combined strength was more than a match for them.

“Run!” Genki shouted. “There’s too many! We can’t fight all of them!”

They ran. The Salamanders, however, were not to be so easily evaded. They circled around, cutting off any possible retreat. Jets of fire blasted into the circle from every direction. Jareth was down first, due to her current state. Zurath followed her soon, then Genki, then Mocchi, then Hare and Tiger. Golem fell too, all of them blacking out from the blasts of fire.


Genki woke up. The first thing he felt was iron shackles around his wrists and ankles. He looked around. Everyone was gone. He was alone in a blank stone cell. There was a door, which he crawled over to, but his chains prevented him from getting all the way. Still tired, he closed his eyes and slept.


Holly and Suezo were locked in a cell much like Genki’s when they woke up. They weren’t chained, though.

“Suezo, what happened?” Holly asked. “Everything’s fuzzy. I don’t remember…”

“We fought a bunch of Salamanders. Needless to say, we lost.”



Kunari and Durandel were chained in a high-security cell. There was no connection to the outside, save a trapdoor in the ceiling that had a grate in it, so that a little light could get through.

“Great,” Kunari grumbled. “I get all the luck. First I get knocked out and captured, now I’m stuck with *you* as a cellmate.”

“You think I like this arrangement?” Durandel snapped. “I’ve given up on you. You aren’t the Kunari I remember. I don’t even think you’re Kunari!”

“Shut up!” Kunari snarled. “If I weren’t chained right now, I’d kill you!”


Zurath, Golem, Tiger and Hare were sealed in large glass cylinders that were filled with a weird green solution. They were unconscious and unmoving.


Jareth woke up chained to a stone slab.

“So you’re awake,” said a cold, grating voice. “Thought you could get away with betraying me?”

“Moo,” Jareth grumbled. “What do you want?”

“An explanation… as to why you betrayed me.”

“I didn’t betray anyone… I came to my senses. I came to empathize with your victims. And I pity you… you were just a weapon. I can’t serve a weapon. Could you?”

“I am no mere weapon… but you have grown soft, Jareth. I am disappointed.”

“So? I don’t serve you any more. But I see you replaced me with the Big Bad Four. What kind of a name is that?”3

“That is unimportant.”

“And it’s ironic that you employed my mother, isn’t it?” Jareth laughed mirthlessly. “You never even knew it, too. Isn’t that something?”

“Shut up.” Moo charged a ball of light in his hands and blasted Jareth with it.

Chapter Eighteen: Psychic Schism

Jareth found herself floating in a mass of inky blackness. Two figures approached her.

“Where am I?” she asked no one in particular.

“Your mind,” said one of the figures.

“How can I be in my own mind?”

“The same way we can be.”

“Who are you people?” Jareth asked.

“I am Jansentier,” said the first figure. “You know me, though I have never before met you in this form. I am your pure monster shade.”

She was like Jareth, only taller—almost as tall as Moo—and clad in black armor… blacker than Monol, blacker than anything Jareth had ever seen before. It seemed to swallow up the light that touched it, cut with lines of dusty gold, midnight blue and bloody red. Sir Frostbit’s sword hung at her waist, the only part of her that was unchanged. Her wings were larger, less like a pixie’s and more like a dragon’s, yet they were burning with what appeared to be phoenix fire. Her teeth looked like a Tiger’s, long, pointed and razor-sharp. Her eyes were like dragon eyes: almond-shaped, not angular like they had been, and blank bright yellow, not the icy blue-black they had been, and slashed down the center with a line of black. Long, loose, stringy hair of the same silver color as Jareth’s hung down her back.

“And I am Khan-reyath,” said the second. “I am your pure human shade. Like Jansentier, I am what might have been, but can never truly be.”

Khan-reyath looked almost exactly like Jareth—other than the lack of wings, there was only one major difference between the two: Khan-reyath was a man.

“How am I supposed to believe that you’re another shade of me?” Jareth sneered. “Last I checked, I wasn’t a man.”

“Pixies can’t be male.” Khan-reyath said simply. “It goes against the world’s physiology. So technically speaking, had you been born a pureblooded human, you would have been me.”

“So,” said Jareth, turning to Jansentier. “I’d have been you if I were pure monster. Right?”

“Pretty much. We are part of you, you know.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“We will appear when you need us.”

“Shape shift… well, sort of,” Khan-reyath explained. “We’ll just switch places with you at the time.”

“Ah. Well. Okay. I’m going to have to escape from Moo and bust my friends out, so something tells me that that’s a job for Jansentier.”

“Right,” said Jansentier. “I’m out of here. See you later.” She disappeared.


There was a flash of hot white light. Moo reeled back, startled. Jareth’s body disappeared and Jansentier took her place. She pushed past Moo and rushed out to find her friends.

After quite a lot of searching, Jareth—well, Jansentier—broke into the cells that held most of her friends and found the lab that held Zurath, Tiger, Golem and Hare. With the help of the others, she smashed the cylinders and carried them to the hangar for the Iron Birds.

“Exactly who *are* you?” Zurath inquired when he regained consciousness.

“I’ll explain later,” Jansentier replied.

“Shoot them down!” Moo shouted from his fortress. “This time, don’t let them escape! Kill them if you have to!”

Artillery raked the air around them. For a while, they avoided the fire, but eventually the engines were struck and they exploded.

“NOW what do we do?” Genki yelled.

“I fly this thing myself,” Jansentier grumbled. “And my wings aren’t even broken in yet.” She jumped out of the Iron Bird and swooped underneath it, gripping what was left of the engines (which wasn’t much) and flying down to the ground, as far from the fortress as she could.

They landed in an abandoned stone quarry. Large, crumbling stone buildings were built about 250 meters away. Wooden skeletons of houses were left even further from the quarry.

The group advanced toward the blackened skeletons of the houses. A beam fell from the roof to the ground. A smirk spread across Jansentier’s odd—almost demonic—face.

“What *is* this place?” Tiger asked, shivering.

Jansentier’s smirk widened. “Carthan. I destroyed it myself… or rather, Jareth did.”

“Who are you, anyway? You never told us.” Zurath turned to her, waiting for her answer.

“I am Jansentier. I’m Jareth’s pure monster shade. That is to say, I’m what she’d have been had she been pure monster.”

“You look scary, chi.”

Jansentier smiled as she looked down at the little monster, and disappeared. Khan-reyath stood in her place.

“I’m Khan-reyath,” he introduced himself. “You can call me Khan. I’m Jareth’s pure human shade.”

Khan-reyath disappeared and Jareth returned to normal.

“Eee hee hee…” a cold, grating and yet strangely high-pitched voice echoed through the burnt-out village.

Chapter Nineteen: Carthan’s Memories

Thanatos floated toward them. “Hello again,” he sneered. “How nice to see you all again. While you’re all here, I suppose I should tell you the story of the place. Eee hee hee…”

“You know,” Jareth pointed out, “That’s a really annoying laugh.”

“I agree. If you’re as evil as we think you are, you should at least have a more impressive laugh.” Hare glared at Thanatos.

Kunari turned to Durandel. “Shall we get rid of him?”

“Absolutely,” Durandel replied. “That’s the first logical thing that you’ve—”

“Don’t make me mad,” Kunari interrupted him.

“DOUBLE THUNDERBOLT!” they shouted together, blasting Thanatos with lightning.

“Eee hee hee…” Thanatos disappeared.

There was a flash of white light.

When it cleared, and everyone could see clearly, they noticed that the town had been restored. A group of boys ran past them. They were laughing.

Suddenly there was an explosion. The boys jumped back from it, and turned to face another boy—smaller than them—who was now laughing.

“Think you’re so great, don’t’cha Gus?” The largest of the boys sneered.

The boy called Gus looked like a younger, smaller, more forlorn version of Khan-reyath. “My name is Gustav,” he snapped. “And no, I don’t think I’m so great. I’m just proving what losers you all are.” He turned and walked away.

The boys snickered. One of them picked up a rock and heaved it at Gustav, which he caught and hurled back at them. He then continued to walk away, without even looking back once.

“*Gustav*?” Jareth said disgustedly, “Why are they showing me *Gustav*? I don’t need to know anything about him!” She bent to pick up a rock, but her hand passed through it. “Wha…?”

“This is an illusion!” Genki exclaimed. “None of it’s real. They’re just an image of the past.”

“Eee hee hee…” Thanatos materialized in front of them. “So glad you figured that out. But there’s a thing or two that you never knew about old Gus, Jareth. You may like what you see.”

“Why would I care about Gustav?”

“Oh, he’s not as bad as you might think, you know…” Thanatos grinned. “Eee hee hee…” he dematerialized again.

The image of the young Gustav continued to walk down the street. The group of humans, monsters and half-bloods (as a stupidly written generalization), despite having no wish to follow, found themselves being pulled toward Gustav as he walked.

“You’re late.” Gustav was greeted with those words as he entered what appeared to be his house. A man with black hair and gold eyes turned to face him, waving a knife threateningly.

“I-I’m sorry.” Gustav stared at the floor.

“I don’t care. I’m sick of you’re being late! Did you get the stuff I told you to get?” the man glared.

“Yes. Everything.”

“Good. Now get out of my sight. I’m busy now, but later you’d better give me a good excuse for being late.”

Gustav dashed out of the house. “I’ll get him one of these days,” he said bitterly. “And then he’ll know what it means to hurt a Solaris!” he kicked a rock.

“Hey!” said a voice. A Mew approached him. “Watch where you’re kicking those things!”

Gustav blinked. “Uh, who are you?”

“Is that important?” the Mew gave him an odd look. “I don’t see why it would be.”

“You’re awfully cynical for a cat doll,” Gustav said curtly.

“Matte, be nice to him,” called a voice.

“Nice? You want me to be nice? Sometimes I think you ask too much of me.” Matte shook her head slowly.

A girl approached them. “Sorry about Matte,” she said quietly. “She isn’t too fond of strangers… even though we’re travelers. I’m Tesaka. What’s your name?”

Gustav’s face went slightly pink as he looked at Tesaka’s face. Her short brown hair—well, it had been short at one point—fell down over her face and almost obscured her brown eyes from view.

Jareth grimaced as she watched the introduction and idle chatter float about. “She looks like Holly,” she grumbled. Zurath nodded in agreement but listened to their conversation.

“So you’re a monster trainer, huh?” Gustav grinned.

“Yeah. Well, sort of. Matte’s my first monster, but we get along pretty well.”

“Are you leaving town soon?”

“Yes, I’m a traveler. Why do you ask?”

“Well…” Gustav stared at his feet. “My life here isn’t so hot. I was kind of wondering if you’d mind if I joined you on your journey…”

“No,” Tesaka replied. “Not at all. Why? Do you have problems here?”

“Only one,” Gustav replied sullenly.

“What is it?”

“My stepfather… Debuki Thanatos.” Gustav spat in the dirt. “He hates everyone. I want to get away from here.”

“All right. We’ll leave tomorrow morning. I’ll meet you here at nine-thirty.” Tesaka walked off.

“Heh…” Gustav’s face turned red.

The illusion shattered.

Chapter Twenty: Look Beneath the Surface

“That was quite odd,” Kunari shook his head. “Why is he showing us all that?”

“Eee hee hee…” Thanatos appeared in front of them. “You like the little history lesson there? Eee hee hee…”

“You know,” Tiger said coldly, “That laugh is really starting to bother me. I’d hate to have to do something about it.”

“Eee hee hee…” Thanatos laughed. “You can’t.

“And, my good friends, I am no young monster—I’m an old man reborn as a monster. This has been a public service announcement by—”

“Shut up,” Jareth hissed. “Whatever it is, I don’t want to hear it.”

“You father might…” Thanatos grinned. “Eee hee hee…”

“I don’t have a father.”

“That’s a lie, *Lord Jareth*, and you know it. Eee hee hee…” Thanatos laughed again.

Hare sighed. “Don’t you ever get tired of laughing that laugh?”

“Eee hee hee… nope!” Thanatos disappeared.

“There’s something weird about him… I don’t like it…” A wind rushed through Holly’s hair. “He reminds me of Moo…”

“He reminds *me* of Gustav,” said a familiar voice from behind them. Everyone turned to face Pixie as she approached them.

“Me too… in a sick sort of way… he has the same principles as Gustav…” Jareth spat in the dirt at her feet.

“Principles? He wasn’t very principled.” Pixie gave Jareth a look of merged annoyance and mild confusion.

“He had *a* principle,” Jareth said bitterly. “Look out for number one.”

“That sounds about right.”

“How did he treat you guys on a personal level?” Jareth asked. “I never saw a lot of his monsters. I didn’t even know about more than half of them…”

“Hey!” Suezo yelled. “Are we invisible or something?”

“No,” Jareth said curtly. “You’re an eyesore. Don’t I have the right to… to carry on… a conversation with my mother?”

“You two have a lot of lost ground to cover,” Golem said quietly. “Twenty years, is it?”

Jareth considered. “About that much.”

“Has it really been that long?”

“Yeah… mom. It has. Serving Moo made time seem short for me. Maybe you too.”

“Time isn’t really the issue here. You were as much as a problem to me as Gustav was.”

“Are you serious?”


“Well, then I guess I’ll go back into my painfully stereotyped role of being the depressed, withdrawn, antagonistic psycho.” Jareth began to walk away slowly.

Pixie shrugged. “Must be the human in her.”

“But…” Zurath began to follow Jareth.

“No.” Pixie put her hand on his shoulder to stop him. “Let her go. She’ll be back.”

“That’s almost too much to ask…” Kunari stuck his sword into the dirt. “She’s crazy, and I don’t think she likes any of us.”

“Drop the last five words off your sentence!” Jareth shouted over her shoulder. “It would be more accurate!”

“Us… of… any… likes… she… HEY!” He shouted suddenly. “Are you saying I don’t think?”

Only the wind answered him.

Chapters 21-25

“Some friend she is,” Kunari muttered. “You’d think by now she’d learn to be a little nicer.”

“Hmm…” Durandel muttered. “To refer to Freud’s teaching, this is all the result of early childhood trauma, and that’s probably true, but it’s more complex than that.”

Holly looked at him. “Who’s Freud?”

“Just some guy.” Durandel sighed. “I’ve lived so long it’s hard to remember who’s dead and for how long.”

“This is too depressing for me,” Genki addressed the group. “Your depression is sapping my energy! I’m losing my old personality.”

“That’s no good,” said a husky voice.

Everyone jumped. “Who are you?” Hare demanded.

“I am the Guardian of the Souls,” the voice replied. “I am the Nameless One… the Formless One… the One with No Face… call me what you will, but join me. There is something you must see.” They were pulled into a swirling blue portal.


There were fires everywhere. Not big infernos, just small tongues of flame in every color a person could imagine.

“I didn’t know they made black fire,” Zurath commented.

“Me neither, chi.” Mocchi observed a purple flame.

“What exactly are these flames?” Holly asked nobody in particular. “They seem kind of familiar. Well, some of them.” She gestured at a weak-looking flame the color of drying blood. “Like this one.”

“That’s your father,” the voice explained. “You see how weak it is? He’s dying… that is what gives Moo his power… dying souls.”

“These are souls?” Genki asked, amazed.

“Precisely… find one and look closer.”

Kunari selected a dark blue flame with streaks of silver and black in it. He looked deep into the center of the flame and nearly dropped it when he saw what it contained.

“Jareth!” he spat. “Sometimes I’ve wondered if you even have a soul.” The flame flickered, and then flared angrily.

“Ah yes,” said the voice. “You’ve found your friend Jareth. I was hoping you’d do so… it’s and interesting case.”

“What do you mean by that?” Durandel asked.

“It’s not every day you see a soul detached from the body that houses it. Can you honestly say that you are surprised?” the voice chuckled slightly.

Pixie was looking at a bright red-gold flame. Her eyes were flashing madly, as though she had seen something that had made her angrier than anything she had ever seen before. “Everything I belived…” she hissed. “Everything… about you… what was it all for?”

“Gustav is another interesting case. You might say he and Jareth are more alike than any father and his kid than I’ve ever seen before.”

“If Gustav and Jareth are so alike then why is Jareth still alive?” Pixie snapped.

“You don’t know everything about Gustav,” the voice said quietly. “As a matter of fact, you don’t really know *anything* about him.”

“Is that so?”

“Gustav never caused you any misery,” the voice declared in a strangely exaggerated tone, “He went through almost as much pain as you did.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Pixie glared in the direction of the voice.

“I choose not to divulge in that information at this time,” the voice said pompously.

“Just tell us!” Suezo grumbled sarcastically. “We’re on the edges of our seats as it is, and now you aren’t telling us!”

“Yeah,” Tiger joined in. “Tell us what happened. Don’t we at least deserve to know?”

“My dear young friend,” the voice said coldly, “If you had gotten what you deserved, you would be serving Moo. Fate is not concerned with who deserves what.”

“You aren’t Fate,” Hare commented. “And if we do deserve to know, can’t you make an exception and tell us?”

“I want my energy and my old personality back!” Genki complained. “I don’t care how, but I don’t like what I’m turning into.”

“Thanatos has cursed you, young Genki. He has taken your optimism and vigor and twisting them for his own corrupt purposes. When you defeat him, the curse will be broken. There may be another way but I don’t know what it is.”

“How could Thanatos have cursed Genki?” Holly asked, puzzled. “We didn’t notice anything unusual. He just sort of… lost his energy.”

“Thanatos has been around quite a while, my dear,” the voice explained. “He specializes in making others miserable, and has learned many curses which he can execute without any detection. He’s been doing it all of his long, miserable life.”

“How long *has* Thanatos been around, anyway?”

“Thanatos has been around, in one form or another, for as long as monsters have existed. He was one of the scientists who created Moo. By harnessing the power of reincarnation, he has attained near-immortality.

“But it’s getting late. I should really let you all go.”

And they were falling… back through the swirling blue portal they had come through.

Chapter Twenty-two: Tears and Charcoal

Another burnt-out town. There were too many of them. Too many to count.

“All my fault,” Jareth grumbled. “Yet another place of murder. I hate what I did… I hate myself…”

“Hating yourself won’t change anything,” a voice said cuttingly from behind Jareth. She turned to face a Ghost. “And if you’re going to feel sorry for yourself, do it somewhere else… or do you have no respect for the dead?”

“What do you know?” Jareth grumbled. “Have no respect for the dead indeed… I *am* dead, damn it! And who are you, anyway?”

“Winston,” came the clipped reply. “I haunt this place. I died here… my master too. Leave the dead in peace.”

“Your references to the dead sound like you got them out of a book,” Jareth said curtly. “And you bother me about having no respect…”

“Lack of creativity is not the same as a lack of respect.”

“Well, at least you’re THAT honest.”

“And you care because…?”

“Who said I cared? Get out of my sight!”

“Ooh… the human’s threatening me!” the Ghost sneered.

“LIGHTNING!” Jareth thundered (no pun intended). The bolts of crackling, glowing electricity blasted the Ghost mercilessly. “You think I’m just some stupid human? You mean the deadly, heartless, evil Lord Jareth has already been forgotten?”

“L-Lord Jareth…?” the Ghost mumbled through its badly burnt mouth. “But everyone said that you were dead…”

“Probably because they thought that I was as good as dead when I left Moo’s service.”

“You betrayed Moo?”

“Yeah. So?”

“All the rumors made you out to be some veteran of Moo’s… died fighting off some overwhelmingly large group of rebels or something…”

“How many times have rumors been true?”

“…Not many.”

“There. See?”

“What’s your point here?”

“Be damned if I know.” Jareth spat in the dirt. “And by the way… back then there was absolutely no way I would die fighting rebels.”

“Okay. Why did you betray Moo and join the goodies?”

“I don’t consider myself a ‘goodie’. I just don’t like Moo as much as I used to.”

“So you’re a neutral?”

“I don’t know what I am, Winston. So don’t ask.”

“You’re looking for the Phoenix, aren’t you?”

“Yeah. So?”

“Want me to help out?”

“Don’t search with my little group. I think I have too much to care about, anyway.”

“Too much to care about?”

“Too many friends… if I care about much more, I’m going to end up loving the whole world like some goddamned hippie.” Jareth sighed. “That pretty much goes against my whole persona.”

“You’re too depressed. You’re probably depressing your friends.”

“So what?”

“Look, I can’t help you if you won’t let me.”

“Who asked you to help me, -Winston-?”

“You’re impossible!”

“So what?” Jareth glared at the ghost. “I’m not here to be kind, or understanding, or willing to learn or change… you’re expecting everything to work, Winston… I figured you’d have learned the truth long ago.”

“I don’t!”

“You don’t want to admit it, but you know it. Winston, why are you staying here?”

“I died when Kulrich was burned.”

“So? What does that have to do with anything?”

“If I leave alone, I’ll just die again. Trust me, it’s bad enough the first time.”

“Oh? I always imagined death as just sort of leaving and moving on into another existence.”

“Usually it is. But in my case I couldn’t die normally. You can’t really die if you haven’t finished living.” Winston paused for a moment and looked at the sky. “I was only a baby when I died. So I couldn’t. Now I’m alone… Jareth, I don’t know what to do!”

“You don’t have to know, kid.” Jareth sighed. “I’m twenty already and I still haven’t lived yet. Well… I don’t know either.”

“Do you even want to know?”

Chapter Twenty-three: Nothing Ever Lasts Forever

“I’ve been cursed…” Genki mumbled over and over again. “Cursed…”

“Genki, you’ve got to get over this,” Holly said softly, touching Genki’s arm. “If… well, when… we defeat Thanatos, it’ll be broken. You can’t let knowing about this curse change you any more than the curse itself.”

“Holly’s right,” Durandel told him. “You’ve been cursed, but there are many worse curses you could be shouldering.”

Genki glared at him. “Like what?”

“Like the most notorious curse ever… worst for the soft of heart… whenever someone is kind to you or offers you charity, they will suffer… until you find love. But at least that can be broken.” Durandel sighed. “Although our friend Kunari would probably appreciate it.”

“Hey,” Kunari whined. “I’m not that bad. I wouldn’t want someone who helped me to suffer.”

“Well, that’s good. I haven’t been cursed, but I don’t feel right,” Hare grumbled.

“None of us feel right, Hare,” Tiger said softly, barely above a whisper. “I don’t think we’ll ever feel completely right. Everything’s changed us. Maybe for the worse, but I don’t think so.”

“You need help on your quest,” a voice said, echoing about the forest they had appeared in. “I will give you what you need… an ally from an enemy.”

“It’s you!” Genki snapped. “What do you want?”

“I want to help you, Genki. I may have told you about the curse, but I didn’t curse you, you know.”

“I know, I know…” Genki stared at the ground. “I just want to blame somebody…”

“We all do, Genki. Blame Gustav. He can be your scapegoat, as well as a powerful ally.”

“Gustav?” Pixie snarled. “You want us to accept help from Gustav? You must be crazy.”

“Being immortal does that to a person. But I am seroius about Gustav. He can help you.”

“Why would he even want to?”

“Revenge,” said an old, tired-sounding voice. “I want revenge. I won’t sleep until I get it.” The speaker stepped into the light. Shaggy silver hair hung down his back like a lion’s mane. His blue-black eyes, so much like Jareth’s, flashed with a familiar pain. “Blame me all you want. My weakness of will deserves it. I should have been stronger.”

“Stronger than what?” Pixie hissed. “We don’t need you. Didn’t you die?”

“No,” Gustav said tiredly. “I didn’t. I wanted to, but I didn’t. I couldn’t die. But Thanatos…”

“What about Thanatos?” Holly prompted.

“He… he possessed me. Took total control of me… and forced me to see the misery he caused. I should have known that running couldn’t protect me for long…”


“I ran away from home when I was thirteen. Left Carthan forever.”

“Jareth burnt it to the ground, you know.” Tiger pointed out.

“Really? Pointless revenge… but I suppose that was my fault. Everything’s my fault now…” Gustav brushed a tear off his cheek.

“Gustav… you’d better stop now. I almost don’t hate you any more.” Pixie tried to glare at Gustav but failed.

“Going soft are you?” Gustav laughed mirthlessly. “Thanatos would be ashamed. It’s his fault really. If it weren’t for him, so much pain could have been avoided. But I couldn’t fight him…”

“Gustav.” Zurath looked at him seriously. “If it weren’t for Thanatos, Jareth wouldn’t exist. So we can say he did one thing right.”

“Yeah. One thing. This whole world still would have been better without him.” Kunari shrugged. “He was a scientist originally, you know. One of the ones who created Moo.”

“No kidding. You’re right, the world would have been better without him.” Tiger’s eyes narrowed. “There’s too much pain.”

“Pain is inevitable, Tiger,” Golem pointed out. “You can choose pain or emptiness. Even with your pain, you have purpose, and that makes your life worth it.”

“You’re right, Golem…” Suezo sweated. “As always… can’t you ever be wrong?”

“I don’t need to be wrong, Suezo.”

“I was being sarcastic!”


“I think I’m going to like you guys.”

“Don’t get used to it, Gustav!”

“Okay, okay. Whatever you say, Miss Pixie.”

“You’re weird, Gus.” Zurath chuckled.

“My name is Gustav.”

“Let’s not start that again.”

Chapter Twenty-four: I Can’t See

Jareth bolted upright. “Gustav!” she shouted suddenly. “He’s alive!”

“Who’s Gustav?” Winston asked.

“My father.”

“Oh. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”

“Originally, I’d say no. But now I’m not so sure.”


“Don’t ask. Just don’t ask. I barely even know the guy… oh never mind. I don’t know what I’m talking about.”

“Do you hope to see him any time soon?”

“Don’t know.” Jareth looked up at the sky. “Sometimes… I look to the sky. Feel the weight of the world upon my shoulders…wonder what it’s all about. I can’t see where I’m headed…I’m alone in the dark. I can’t find the light when I can’t care…so I’ve got to care about something, or I’ll be in the dark again.”

“We’re all in the dark. Sometimes I can’t see either.”

“What kind of monster were you?”

“A Noble Jell. Why do you ask?”

“A Noble Jell named Winston?”

“Yes, I was a Noble Jell named Winston. Get over it.”

“I’d rather be a Bazula than a Noble Jell.”

“Well, I was the Noble Jell, not you, so you have nothing to worry about.”

“I’m not worried. I was just saying—”

“I know what you were saying.”

“This is stupid.”

“You’re right. Hmm… maybe I should bring you with me after all.”

“Aren’t you worried about loving the whole world like some stupid hippie?”

“You can care without loving, Winston.”

“Well, Jareth, I’d say that you’d know better than me on this one.”

Jareth stood up. “Well, that’s enough of that. I’m going to go say hello to *daddy*… heh. Want to come with me?”


“Make up your mind, Winston. I’m leaving in five minutes.”

“All right. I’ll come with you. But this is for your sake, not mine.”

“Don’t do me any favors, Winston.”

“I’m not! I mean… oh, never mind!” Winston shrugged. “I suppose I’m just using you as a ticket out of this two-bit dump.”

Jareth rolled her eyes. “Oh, I’m SO flattered. A ticket out of this two-bit dump. Is that all I am?”

“I… I… uh…” Winston looked around.

“I don’t need an answer. Just come on… before I change my mind.”

“Right then… let’s be off!” Winston skipped ahead. “I feel alive again!”

“You’re a ghost,” Jareth pointed out. “You’re already dead.”

“You know what I mean!” Winston shot back.

Before either of them knew it, Kulrich was out of proper human sight… not that either of them were proper humans.

“I still can’t see,” Jareth muttered. “I can’t see anything at all sometimes…”

“We’re all blind at some point in our lives. Stop it, Jareth. You’re depressing me.”

“Sorry, Winston. It’s my nature.”

“I’ve kind of figured that out by now. Can’t you at least try?”



“It’s too easy not to try, Winston. I never see the need.”

“Jareth, at the rate you’re going, if you *do* unlock the Phoenix, you’ll depress it to much for it to be of any help to this battle.”

“Well, I’m glad to see you have so much faith in me.”

“I was being sarcastic, you know.”

“I know, Winston. I know.”

Chapter Twenty-five: The Bloody Reunion!

All of the years I’ve spent in search of myself And I’m still in the dark ‘Cause I can’t seem to find the light alone

-Styx, “Man in the wilderness”

“Let’s not start that again,” Gustav mimicked. “You really don’t want any problems in your perfect little world, do you?”

“My world is far from perfect.” Zurath said curtly. “You of all people should know that, Gustav Solaris… if Jareth is indeed wrong and you deserve to keep that name. You’d better shape up, Gus. You and I aren’t going to star off well.”

“My name is Gustav, monster. And the whole thing is Thanatos’ fault, not mine.”

“Shut up, old man.” Jareth and Winston approached the group. “You’ve caused enough problems as it is. Don’t make it any worse.

“You want to know what’s up with Thanatos? I’ll tell you. He planned the whole thing and he hasn’t been around since the beginning of time or whenever… he came forward in time, became your stepfather, possessed you, and stole my power when I was born—the power manifested in Jansentier—and took it back to aid in the creation of Moo. That’s what’s up with Thanatos, old man. Don’t pin all the blame on him, either. You wanted to get revenge on everyone who hurt you… especially good old Yoshiko. He’s got a twisted role in this story, I’ll tell you.”

“My father’s name is Yoshiko,” Holly muttered.

“The Yoshiko I refer to *is* your father, Holly,” Jareth said smoothly. “Your mother dumped old Gus here for him. Didn’t you know that?”

Holly glared at Jareth. “Why would I know something like that? I was too young, and besides, it was none of my business.”

Jareth laughed. “Such a good little girl,” she sneered. “I’ll bet your parents are *real* proud of you.”

“Jareth, do us all a favor and stop picking on people.” Winston jumped up on to Jareth’s head. “You’re making them miserable, you know.”

“Yeah, Winston… I know.”

“Found yourself a guardian angel, Jareth?” Zurath glared at Winston. “Sure looks like it.”

“I don’t have a guardian angel, Zurath, and I never did.” Jareth went from cold and cynical to tired in an instant. “I don’t have one and I don’t need one. Who do you think I am, anyway?” she shook her head, exasperated. “I’m in an antisocial mood right now. See you all later.”

Jareth disappeared and Khan-reyath took her place. “Hello, old man.” A soft chuckle emerged from his lips. “I don’t believe we’ve met before.”

“Who are you?” Gustav asked uncertainly. “I don’t know you.”

“Like I said, old man, I don’t believe we’ve met before. I’m your son, old man.”

“I don’t have a son.”

“You would have done if *I* hadn’t been the little leech’s mother,” Pixie snapped.

Zurath glared at her. “You’re calling Jareth a leech?”

“What does it sound like?” Pixie snapped. “All kids are leeches.”

“You want to hate her too? Shame.” Gustav stuck his hands in his pockets. “Though I don’t suppose I can blame you, really. After all…”

“I don’t think Jareth would be too happy with you for talking about this, Gustav,” Tiger cut in. “After all, Khan isn’t going to be here forever.”

“I can talk about whatever I damn well please!” Gustav snapped. “She’s my kid!”

“That’s got to be one of the most insulting things you can say about someone like Jareth, Gustav.” Durandel put a hand on Gustav’s shoulder. “She belongs to herself, and she’ll cut a man to ribbons if he tries to state otherwise.”

“Ya got that right.” Kunari laughed. “Don’t want to get cut to ribbons, do ya Gus?”

“I’m not sure quite what I want.” Gustav sighed. “I don’t know… help me…”

“What I want to know is how Jareth knew all of that about Moo and Thanatos,” Tiger growled. “She wasn’t gone all that long. How could she have figured it out?”

“She always knew, Tiger,” Khan-reyath explained, though nobody really knew what he was talking about. “She always knew about Moo and Thanatos. When Thanatos stole her powers, he left her with that memory. I just don’t know what brought the memory to the surface.”

“How come you don’t know that?” Suezo snapped. “You’re the same person!”

“That’s where everyone makes the same mistake.” Khan-reyath sighed. “We aren’t the same person. We’re shades of what could have been, and we’re different parts of one person’s persona. If we were to be… say… merged into one being, you’d find exactly who we all are.”

“Do we really want to know?” Zurath grumbled. “Judging by what the three shades are like, whoever they actually are could be the most powerful and terrible being to ever walk the face of this earth.”

“That’s all too likely… I don’t want to know what they are… but at the same time, they could be more powerful than Moo… maybe even more powerful than the Phoenix.” Winston tossed his head back. “You *will* accept that as potential reality, right?”

Khan-reyath mumbled something, then his legs crumpled beneath him. Everyone turned to look at him, body sprawled across the ground.


Chapter Twenty-six: A Scream in the Darkness

“Khan!” Holly screamed.

“Khan, wake up!” Kunari began to shake Khan-reyath’s body anxiously, tense from his rare display of emotion. “Come on man, don’t die on me!”

“Khan… Khan, wake up, dammit! We have to know what’s wrong with you before you die…” Zurath shook his head slowly. “You can’t die on us… but if there’s nothing wrong, try to talk some sense into Jareth, okay?”

A flicker of recognition showed briefly on Khan-reyath’s face. “I’ll try,” a voice said in Zurath’s head. “I don’t know what’s happening to us… none of us know… this is probably Jareth’s memories…”

“Khan, how are you talking in my head?”

“I’ve left my body, so this is the only way I can communicate. Don’t worry about me, Zurath… I’m fine. Tell the others not to worry.”

“We can hear you,” Hare said indignantly, “And I, for one, was *not* worried.”

“Okay, Hare. I’m assuming you can tell we know you’re lying?” Winston grinned, but there was no humor in it.

“Yeah, pretty much. That’s who I am.”

“Okay, just checking.”

“So we have NOTHING to worry about?!” Kunari spluttered, furious. “You mean I got all upset for nothing?! This is an outrage! I’m not emotional!”

Durandel smiled. “Your reaction to Khan’s situation—and your reaction to knowing that there is nothing to worry about—suggests otherwise. Don’t sweat it, Kunari. It’s okay, and NONE of us here want your lovely ARMOR to rust.” He chuckled.

“Are you making fun of me?” Kunari snapped.

“Lighten up,” Khan-reyath’s telepathic voice said coolly. “It’s okay, dude. Really.”

“It’s not okay!!” Kunari screamed. He would have dissolved in tears if he were capable of them. “It’s never okay! Never!!”

“You’re an empty suit of armor, Kunari.” Hare glared at him. “Get a hold of yourself.”

“Hare, Hare, Hare… how can I explain this?” Durandel shook his head. “Just because we are incapable of tears doesn’t mean we have no reason to shed them… we feel, just as you do… we laugh as you do… we hurt as you do… AND WE ARE MORE THAN JUST EMPTY SUITS OF ARMOR. Remember that…”

“Whatever…” Hare rolled his eyes. “I’m kind of confused about this whole thing, you know.”

“Moo was created thanks to Thanatos…” Gustav sighed and rested his head on his hands. “He stole the power to create Moo… even without the power, Jareth is strong… great and terrible… what could she have been, and how powerful could she have been if she had kept it…?”

“Shut up, old man,” Khan-reyath’s telepathic voice muttered. “Nobody’s listening to you, anyway. So shut up.”

“Now you listen here, son,” Gustav began in an over-exaggeratedly pompous tone, “I don’t want you acting out too much, you hear?”

“Shut up, Gus.” Suezo glared at him. “Fit the scene. You’re being too funny.”

“Who needs humor when everyone is all depressed?” Tiger regarded Gustav with disdain. “You *are* depressing, geezer. Don’t try to be funny.”

“I’m *not* a geezer,” Gustav protested. “I’m only forty-five. That’s not old by today’s medical standards.”

“Tell that to your insurance company, old man,” Khan-reyath laughed. “They’ll like you better if you’re an old geez.” His body stirred for a moment, then disappeared.

“NOW what’s going on…” Gustav shook his head resignedly. “I must be getting old after all… I don’t understand you kids.”

A cool, eerie laugh echoed around—and through—their minds. Khan-reyath was laughing at all of them, and they knew it.

Chapter Twenty-seven: Thorn in my Side

(Author’s stupid note, or disclaimer, or whatever you want to call it: I don’t own Thorn. She belongs to my friend Lauren—you know, the one who writes the Thorn stories?)

“Stop slurping,” Jareth growled.

“I can slurp if I want to,” Jansentier snapped.

“This is MY subconscious, Jansentier, so kindly step out if you want to slurp your coffee.” Jareth glared.

Khan-reyath walked over to where they were floating with a cappuccino in his hand. “Why don’t you just stop fighting? Oh, and stop slurping, Jansentier.”

“Where did ya get the coffee?” a girl approached them.

Cold blue-black eyes met bright green ones. “How did you get here?” Jareth hissed. “And since you’re stuck in my subconscious, why are you asking about the COFFEE?”

The girl blinked. “I’m in your subconscious?”

“That’s right, cookie.” Jareth grinned. “What are you doing here, and how did you get here?”

“I don’t know the answers to either of those questions, and my name’s Thorn, not Cookie.” She regarded Jareth for a moment. “Ya remind me of someone I know.”

“Oh?” Jareth’s grin dropped. “How flattering. Who was it?”

Thorn considered. “A pixie named Pixie.”

“Very original name there,” Jansentier put in. “Who thought of it? And, more importantly, why is it a better name than mine?”

“Because nobody wonders about how to pronounce it when they see it written down? It isn’t a better name.” Jareth shrugged.

“What *are* your names, anyway?”



“Khan-reyath. And I’m not—”

“Shut up, Khan,” Jareth interrupted before he could finish his sentence. “What kind of a name is Thorn, anyway?”

Thorn shrugged. “My real name’s Nemesis. I just like Thorn better.”

Khan-reyath laughed. “I would too, if it was me.”

“It’s not you though, is it?” Jareth smirked at Khan. “I’d rather be Nemesis than Thorn, but Thorn suits you just fine.”

“Pixie was the one who gave me the idea. Said that I was—”

“Just a thorn in her side?”


“I’ll see you later then, Thorn.” Jareth stood up. “And don’t go rifling through my mind while I’m away though, you hear?”

“Okay. But only if ya tell me where ya got the coffee.”

“Machine over there.” Jareth pointed. “I’m off now. Behave yourself, you hear?”

“Okay.” Thorn walked over to the machine. “Let’s see here…”

Jareth reached the edge of her consciousness and leapt into the wall that separated her subconscious from what others call ‘reality’.

Little did she realize what was in store for her.


“Jareth, where have you been, and what—” Zurath broke off in the middle of his sentence and started laughing.

Jareth glared. “What? What’s so funny?”

“Y-you’ve got a—” Zurath dissolved in giggles. “An—umbrella—sticking—out—of—the—back—of—your—shirt!”


“You’ve got an umbrella sticking out of the back of your shirt,” Durandel said matter-of-factly. “I can’t really see why it’s so funny though…” he shrugged. “I’m old. Even older than Gustav here.”

“THAT DOESN’T SAY VERY MUCH,” Gustav insisted tightly.

“It says enough. Besides, if anyone knew exactly how *much* older you are, that would say something…” Jareth shrugged.

Zurath arched an eyebrow—an impressive feat for someone without any eyebrows—and turned toward Jareth. “So you’re just popping up here and there as it suits you, like some sort of sprite or fairy or… never mind.”

Jareth shrugged. “Yeah, pretty much. I’m no fairy though, and I don’t appreciate the connection very much.”

“I’m not going to be getting into the habit.”

“Good.” Jareth grinned suddenly. “This is just great. My whole life is becoming one comedy routine. I liked it better when we were all depressed.”

“In that case…” Golem sighed. “Why are you smiling?”

“This isn’t a *happy* smile, you ass,” Jareth said cheerfully. “It’s an insane one. Can’t you tell the difference?” she rolled her eyes.

“Why are you acting so weird, chi?” Mocchi stuck his head into the circle of conversation. “You don’t usually act like this.”

“It’s Jareth,” Suezo said with an exasperated look. “Why do you expect her to make sense?”

“I *resemble* that remark.” Jareth fell to her knees, laughing.

Durandel blinked. “There is something distinctly wrong here.”

“Oh… shut… up…” Jareth gasped. “You’re being stupid again, old fart.”

“I am *not* an old fart,” Durandel protested. “That’s Gus.”

“I’m NOT an old FART!” Gustav hissed. “I’m forty-five years old. I’m old enough to drink, but not too old to—”

“Shut up, old man.” Tiger glared at him. “We don’t care how old you are. You’re the old man of the group and that’s final. Understood?”





Jareth stood up straight suddenly. A horrible smile twisted her features almost beyond recognition. “New freedom…”

Pixie gave her a quizzical look. “What?”

“Eee hee hee…” Jareth’s face contorted even more. “Eee hee hee…”

Gustav’s face tightened. “Why, damn you, why?” he spat. “Damn you, old man… damn you to… whatever awaits you.” He looked around. “Anyone have a weapon? Preferably a dagger.”

Holly blinked. “What do you want a dagger for?”

“You’ll see. Don’t worry about it, okay?”

“All right.” Holly pulled the dagger from her belt and handed it to Gustav. “But what do you want it for?”

“You’ll see. I’d rather not explain, if that’s all right.” Gustav slipped the dagger into his boot. “When I came back from… wherever I was, I wasn’t allowed to bring weapons. Don’t worry, Holly. It’ll come back to you in one piece.”

Chapter Twenty-nine: Behind the Bloody Mask





“Eee hee hee…” Jareth fell again.

“Gustav, stand guard here.” Zurath said in a clipped voice. “Kunari and Durandel, go hunt. We need to eat. Everyone, watch for signs of problems elsewhere. Pixie, blast her with lightning or something if she tries to kill anyone. I’m going to go find a shrink.” He slithered away.

“This sucks.” Tiger lay down by the fire, across from Hare. “Hey Hare… do you trust those two to come back with meat?”

“No. Do you?”

“Not in the least. I’m going to hunt on my own. See you all later.” He got up and left.

“So… we’re left alone with a psycho?” Genki grinned sadly and put his feet up on a rock. “Is she going to kill us all?”

Pixie gritted her teeth. “Not if I have any say in the present happenings. Didn’t you hear Zurath’s request of me? If she tries to kill anyone, blast her with lightning.”

“All right then. No trouble… just do me a favor?”

“Sure, Genki. What?”

“Don’t kill her. She packs a mean punch and our fighting reserves will totally depleted if she dies.”

“Going soft? Or just dependent?”

“Do I have to choose one?”

“Yes, Genki. Choose.”

“I’ll pick the latter. We aren’t getting any weaker, but Moo’s troops are getting stronger, and Jareth and her alter egoes have become the backbone of our fighting force… so don’t kill her if you can help it. Okay?”

“Genki, I couldn’t kill Jareth if I wanted to. She’s strong… too strong.”

“How strong is too strong?”

“Stronger than any human or monster… save Moo. She seems to have a trace of his power… at least, that’s what it looks like.”

“Moo’s power?” Hare shook his head. “I don’t know about that, but the thought scares me. What do the rest of you think?”

“I don’t know about Moo, chi.” Mocchi shook his head. “But Jareth isn’t bad like Moo.”

“I don’t think so either… but I don’t know how he figures in on this whole scheme.” Gustav shook his head… it was becoming a habit. “There’s some tie between them, I know that, but I don’t quite know what…”

“You guys are just trying to fill the time with meaningless words,” Golem interrupted. “You don’t care that much about the theory. You just want to belive that you know what Jareth’s problem is. Can’t you just let her be Jareth?”

“That *does* sound like the best idea,” Holly said quietly. “You guys can shut up and rest your voices for a while. And stop trying to figure Jareth out. One thing I’ve learned is that if you think you’ve got her figured out she’ll contradict everything you thought completely.”

“Holly’s right,” Gustav put in. “In my brief bits of freedom I divided my time between trying to be a father and trying to figure her out, but I never figured her out and decided that people really just want consistency.”

“Let’s just shut up,” Suezo grumbled. “I want to take a nap, and you should rest your voices.” He shut his eye.








Jareth’s body lurched like a rag doll on a string.

Chapter Thirty: What you Have to Lose…

As the thrashing subsided, Jareth slowly got to her feet. A maniacal grin spread across her face, twisting the normally serious, dark, even somewhat handsome features more than anyone’s face should twist.

“Eee hee hee…” the horrible and painfully familiar laugh spilled from the base of Jareth’s throat. “Eee hee hee…”

Gustav’s eyes widened. “I should have *known*!” he hissed. “I should have been able to recognise that anywhere. We all should have…”

Suezo opened his eye and blinked a couple of times. “What? What’s going on? What’s the commotion?”

Gustav’s features darkened to a cold, biting fury that matched anything—perhaps even outdid—anything Jareth had ever shown before. “Thanatos.”

Suezo paled. “No way…”

Gustav nodded grimly. “I’ve laughed that laugh myself… too many times for my liking, I’ll tell you that. I’d know it any time, anywhere…” a single tear trickled down his face. “I know what I have to do… but I… just… CAN’T!!! I CAN’T DO IT!!!”

“Can’t do what?” Tiger was back, dragging some sort of animal behind him. “What’s happened?”

“Thanatos…” Pixie stared toward the sky. “Find out what he has to do… and we’ll do it for him.”

“What is it, old man?” Tiger asked him. “What do you have to do? Tell us.”

“We… can’t… do it!” Gustav snapped. “I won’t do it, and I won’t let *you* do it either! Nobody will! Is that clear?”

Kunari and Durandel returned, empty handed. Durandel looked affronted at the sight that greeted his eyes. Kunari stood still, regarding the scene with cool indifference.

“So… what happened here?” Kunari walked up to Genki, who was looking shocked and afraid at what he saw.

“Thanatos…” Genki trailed off.

“That’s what everyone’s saying!” Kunari snapped. “What does it mean?”

“Ask Gustav.” Genki shrugged. “He shold know. I don’t.”

“So what is it?” Durandel asked softly, holding Gustav up by his shoulders. “What happened, and what can we do to help?”

“All we can do is wait,” Gustav said sadly. “There’s nothing we can do to help her.”

Suddenly, with a horrible grin, Jareth lunged forward, sword upraised, toward Holly.

“NO!” Gustav screamed, choking. “NOOOO!!! Jareth! Fight!”

Jareth didn’t stop.

Gustav looked at Holly’s terrified expression, whipped her dagger from his boot and lunged, knocking Jareth to the ground and kicking up a huge cloud of dust.

When the dust cleared, Jareth lay on the ground, Holly’s dagger buried to the hilt in the left side of her chest.

Mooove on!

Next Parts
The Final Parts