Lord of Shadows

Disclaimer: I don't legally own Monster Rancher apart from the characters that I create (I know I've said it before and I'll said it again, but give credit to the Gar'en for giving me pointers for this story)

Lord of Shadows pt 1: Reunion

Holly sighed, it had been a year since Moo's defeat and she still missed Genki.

She looked at her friends and shook herself out of her depression, as much as she missed the boy, there was someone who'd more reason to mourn than she did.

Nancy was clearly still grieving, but was reluctant to talk about how she felt.

"Look, Lake City" Blue suddenly pointed.

The beautiful metropolis was sitting on the edge on a lake while its shrine sat on an island with this natural causeway linking it to the land.

They walked into the city and headed for the marketplace.

"Excuse me, we're looking for work" Holly said, looking round hopefully.

But the locals just bowed their heads and moved about their business, Holly sighed and lowered her head in defeat.

"I understand you're looking for some work" a man suddenly walked over to the ex-rebels.

"Yes" Holly replied.

"How are you with babies?" he looked her up and down.

"I, I don't know, why?"

"I'm in charge of the local shrine, but I also run the city's monster orphanage"

"Monster Orphanage?" Holly asked.

"Yes, it's a place where newly unlocked monsters, unwanted and abandoned by their owners can find a new home"

"But who would just throw their monsters like that?" Holly asked.

"People who wind up with a monster which they don't want or those who feel that they won't be able to offer their monster a good home anymore, although I rescue cruelty cases"

"Can we see?" Holly asked.

"Alright, oh by the way, my name's Tobias"

He led them though the streets, then stopped in front of a building that looked like a Roman villa.

"Where are the monsters?" Holly asked.

"In their rooms mostly, I guess" was the reply .

He led them into the kitchen and straight to a simple wooden door at the back.

"Here" Tobias opened the door.

A climbing frame sat out in the back garden at the top, a young male Striker leant against the wood, his head just resting on his arms.

"Who's the pretty lady" a seven year old female Angel walked up.

"Gabrielle, come meet Holly"

But the Angel just blushed and hid behind Tobias' tunic.

"What's up with her?" Holly wondered.

"Gabrielle's terribly shy, it's costing her new owners" Tobias sighed.

Then something crashed into the girl's leg, quickly looking down, Holly saw a baby Rocky Fur staring up at her with wide open eyes.

"Hello" Holly scooped up the tiny monster.

It stared at her for a minute, yawned, snuggled down in her arms, popped its thumb in its mouth, then its eyes closed.

Holly saw Tobias just staring at her in amazement

"What's wrong?"

"I've never seen Crag take to a stranger so fast before, girl, you truly have a gift with children"

"Why wouldn't he trust me?" she asked.

"Crag came from a bad home and he's distrustful of strangers" Tobias said.

"What about Striker? He seems to be angry" Holly asked, gently rocking the sleeping Crag in her arms.

"I know, he's been the longest, no-one wants to adopt him"

"But aren't Strikers meant to be obedient"

"They are, but every time someone considers him, they spot another young monster that they want more"

Holly just looked down at Crag.

"Do you want a job? After that display, I'm prepared to give you one" Tobias said.

"If I do, what's the pay?" Holly asked.

"Bed and board, that includes your monster friends"

Holly smiled, that was she wanted, a roof over their heads and regular meals.

"So, you in?"

Holly extended her hand.

"You don't mind if I put you up in the attic bedroom?"

"No" Holly answered.

"Good, follow me"

Once in the attic, Tobias pulled the beds round so there was two on one side and three on the other, then drew a curtain across the room, dividing the beds.

"What's that for?" Holly asked.

"A boy's side and a girl's side" he explained.

Then Holly yawned.

"Right, everyone to bed" Tobias ordered, gently taking the sleeping Crag from Holly.

Blue and Coal disappeared into the boy's area as Holly, Nancy and Minette all crawled into bed.

"Good night" Tobias closed the trapdoor after him as he left the attic.

* * * * *

In the darkness, the Shadow-Walker looked round the attic, the female Hare's loneliness had been like a beacon, leading him here.

He hadn't used his ability to control people, mentally and physically for centuries

"And now it begins" he smiled, closing his eyes

* * * * *

"Huh" Nancy stared round.

Then a brown figure walked though the mists towards her, as it drew closer, her eyes widened.

"Hare, I thought you were"

"Like I could stay away from you" he gently stroked her cheek

"I, I missed you" staring into his eyes, Nancy jerked as if stung, the eyes looking back into her own were a cat-like red color with black veins, she backed away.

"You're not Hare" she turned to run.


The female Hare was stopped short by an unseen barrier.

"Look at me"

Nancy slowly turned around, she wanted to fight, to run but it was like the shadowy stranger was draining all her will-power. Gently clasping her cheeks between his hands, he blew a stream of black powder out of his mouth and it slowly trickled in between her lips.

Then Nancy's eyes closed and her head fell forward.

"Now, look at me again"

She slowly lifted her head, opening her eyes and he smiled.

"Good, now, kill the girl" he ordered.

* * * * *

Holly jerked awake as a pair of hands wrapped round her throat.

Nancy was sitting on top of her and the girl saw the female Hare's eyes were now blood-red slits with black veins running though them.

Holly gasped for air and tried to get out a choked scream.

Minette stirred in her sleep, something was wrong, she could felt it. The young pixie slowly opened her eyes, sat up in her bed and then screamed as she saw what was happening.

A few seconds later Blue and Coal both burst though the curtain, paused, then leapt forward to haul Nancy off Holly.

"Nancy, what are you doing?" the Blue Hare cried.

She didn't hear him, straining to break free of the Hare hybrids, eyes fixed on Holly .

"Release" a voice in the female Hare's seemed to say.

Nancy's eyes returned to normal

"What's, what's going on?" she looked down at her hands, confused and then scrabbled away from the others

* * * * *

The Shadow-Walker smiled, that had been easy.

He watched as the girl walked over to the female Hare, then knelt down next to her, the rabbit looked up as the girl rested one hand on her shoulder, they started talking.

He snarled, unable to hear what they were saying, then the girl gently pulled the female Hare closer to her.

"Not that it matters" he hissed, reaching to run a finger down Nancy's image "Tonight"

* * * * *

Holly sighed as she crawled into her bed, Tobias had assigned her a group of young monsters to look after today.

As well as Crag, Gabrielle and Striker, she had to look after Rex, a Prince Hare, Hoarder, a Hound Dragon, Ebony, a female Black Dino and a Daina.

Holly's day had been stretched mostly between finding Ebony's beloved teddy bear after Hoarder had hidden it (not a simple task), then preventing Rex and Daina from fighting (an even less simple task).

The other three had been no problem, Striker had kept quietly to himself, while Crag and Gabrielle had both pottered round after her.

By the sounds of snores and gentle breathing, everyone else was as tired as she was.

Holly's eyes slowly closed, her head fell back into her pillow and in next to no time, she was asleep.

No-one saw the figure which emerged from the dark areas of the attic bedroom.

The Shadow-Walker moved though the room and then stopped by Nancy's bed, gently picking the female Hare up and headed back for the darkness.

Suddenly he stopped by the sleeping figure of Holly and looked down at her.

"Sleep now, girl, for this is the beginning, you will all be mine" he whispered.

The Shadow Walker moved back towards the darkness, making a downwards slicing movement with a finger and a portal opened before him, still carrying the sleeping Nancy, he disappeared though the gateway and it closed behind him.

* * * * *

In his world, Genki stirred in his sleep, it had been six years since his return from the Monster Rancher world.

He was now a handsome sixteen year old youth and had left a trail of broken-hearted teenage girls behind him by turning them down.

As far as Genki was concerned, there was only one girl he truly wanted and goodness knows if he would ever see her again


"Who, who's there?"

Genki stared as an old female Mint walked though the darkness towards him.

"Who are you?" he asked.

"My name is not important, boy"

"What do you want?"

"A new threat looms over our world, you must act"

"Why me?" Genki asked.

"Because you are the foretold champion of that world" a familiar voice said into his ear.

"Myst, what do you mean?" he asked, spinning round.

"A long time ago, one of the old Guardians of the Prophet's Crystal, a seer like me got a vision of a young male off-worlder.

This child would protect our world from all dangers"

"But I was the only off-worlder who, you mean" Genki's eyes widened.

"You did not christen yourself the Monster Champ for nothing, boy"

"That's not the point, grandmother" Myst turned back to Genki "Our friends need you"

"What do you mean?"

"Here, let me show you" Myst gently put her hands on Genki's head and he gasped.

He was standing in another world, but the place was a whirling mass of shadows, in the middle, a fairly large landmass was floating.

As the land drew closer, Genki saw a throne which moved like the darkness round him, the man sitting on it also seemed to be made of shadows and Genki's eyes widened. Nancy knelt on the ground next to the throne, her only movement was her breathing.

"She's, she's almost like a puppet" a sorrowful voice said, pulling the youth back into his dream.

Hare had appeared from nowhere, staring up at the image, his eyes wavering.

"And Nancy's only the first, the Shadow-Walker plans to go after the others" Myst piped up

"No, but how do I get?" Genki turned to the two Mints.

"Here" a woman with pale yellow hair walked out of the shadows and offered a white medallion to him.

Genki took it, then looked at the newcomer "Who are you?"

"Remember how I summoned your friend, Holly"

"You, you're the Sorceress" Genki looked down at the medallion.

"That pendant is attuned to the one the girl Holly wears, that and the bond you share will carry you straight to her if you just think it"

"Genki" Hare suddenly stepped forward "Please will you" the words hung unfinished in the air, but no more needed to be said.

"I promise" Genki smiled as he gently squeezed the rabbit's shoulder.

"Ready" Myst smiled.

Genki nodded, then tightened his grip on the white medallion and an image of Holly's smiling face filled his mind.

"I'm coming" he whispered, tears running down his face.

Suddenly there was a flash of white and silver light, he had to close his eyes.

* * * * *

Genki opened his eyes, he was standing in an attic.

Looking around, he saw a familiar brown-haired girl lying in a bed nearby.

"Holly, wake up" he gently shook her awake.

She opened her eyes and slowly focused on his face.

"Genki" she shrieked, throwing her arms round his neck.

"Holly, would you release me, please?"

Genki looked round as Minette sat up in her bed, just staring at him.

Alerted by Holly's scream, Blue and Coal stepped though the curtain and their eyes widened at the sight of him.

"It is a honor"

"Good to see you again"

"Where's Nancy?" Minette suddenly asked.

"Some guy called the Shadow-Walker took her" the brown-haired youth said.

"What?" Holly gasped.

"Don't worry, I made a promise, we will get her back and stop this guy" Genki said.

Lord of Shadows pt 2: Now It's Personal

Author's Note: about my treatment of Coal, I know I wrote the R.S.P.C.E.H, but I am NOT a hypocrite (I just thought it would make a good story) and I apologize for any similarities between my story and anyone else's, but if there are any, they're just coincidences

"He took your friend, will you be ok?" Tobias said, his face full of concern.

"Sure" Holly said, smiling weakly.

"Oh and who's that?"

I'm Genki, an...old friend of Holly"

Look, I'll take over her breakfast duties" Tobias said.

"Thank you" Holly turned to the noisy dining room and watched the chaos that was breakfast which for the young monsters, consisted of glasses of milk, toast and honey and porridge.

"Well, I better get to work" she sighed.

A few seconds later

Genki stood watching as Holly chased after Ebony who was chasing Rex around the table because he had swiped her bowl of porridge.

As for the others, Striker tore into a slice of toast and honey hungrily as Gabrielle blew on her spoonful of porridge before putting it in her mouth.

Daina took a sip from her glass, lowered her glass, then wiped the milk mustache away and Hoarder just ate his porridge quietly.

Crag kicked happily in his high-chair and suddenly smashed his spoon down in his breakfast.

The baby mash flew everywhere and a large blob hit Genki in the face.

"I HATE babies" Genki mumbled as Holly came over and gently wiped the baby mash from his face

"Is he your boyfriend, Miss Holly?" Ebony was watching them.


"Of course not"

Genki and Holly turned their gazes away from each other, both blushing.

* * * * *

That night

"Phew, I've never been so tired" Genki collapsed on the new bed Tobias had put in the boys' side for him.

"Welcome to the joys of child-minding" Blue smiled.

"Right, goodnight" the youth grinned back.

In a few minutes, everyone was asleep.

"Huh?" Blue looked round.

Suddenly a figure started walking towards him, Blue smiled.

"Master William" the Blue Hare started forward.

Suddenly Browny was in front of him, snarling with his hackles raised

"Browny, what?"

"That's not Master William" Browny snarled, glancing at Blue.

"Shut up, cur" the old bard aimed a savage kick at Browny, sending him flying.

The Hare Hound skidded to a halt a few feet away.

"Master William wouldn't never do that"

The figure just smiled and too fast for Blue to see, grabbed one of the rabbit's wrists and Blue desperately swung his free hand at the stranger.

"It's not nice to hit" the figure grabbed his other hand.

Blue gasped as he felt an incredible pressure squeezing his wrists, he fell on his knees, gritting his teeth against the unbearable pain.

"Who are you?" he gasped.

Genki slowly opened his eyes, there was a slight warmth just below his neck.

Looking down, he gasped, the medallion the Sorceress had given him was glowing and there was a portal in a dark recess of the boys' half.

The man he had seen in the world of shadows was standing, watching Blue about to enter it.

"What are you doing?" Genki sprang from his bed.

The Shadow-Walker just turned and blew a faint black mist at Genki, the youth dropped to the floor and his eyes slowly closed.

Before he fell asleep, he saw Blue disappear through the portal.

"No" Genki muttered sleepily as his eyes closed.

* * * * *

"Genki, wake up" Holly loomed into his line of vision.

"Huh, Holly"

"What happened?"

"That Shadow-Walker guy, he came again last night, Blue's gone"

Holly gasped, then she ran from the attic, how many more of her friends would she lose.

Genki and Minette glanced at each other and ran after her, no-one noticed Coal watching them, his scarlet eyes narrow.

"So the Shadow-Walker is back" he whispered.

Sitting down on the stairs, Holly tried hard not to cry.

"Don't cry, Miss Holly" a small hand slipped into hers.

Holly turned round, Gabrielle stood behind her, the young Angel sat down next to her.

"Ho'ly" Crag clambered up into Holly's lap.

"He's never spoken before" Gabrielle stared at the tiny Rocky Fur.

"Crag, was that, was that your first word, my name?" the girl smiled through her tears.

"Holly, you ok?" Genki's voice asked from behind her.

"Yeah, I'm fine, run along" she said to the two young monsters.

Heading back, they saw the second door to the attic was open and there was a note on Holly's bed.

Genki picked it up and read it

'To my comrades.

There are many things I haven't told you yet.

The Shadow-Walker is my late mistress' older brother and only the medallions can stop him'

Minette looked at Holly and Genki who was holding the note, fear in her eyes, she was the only one who didn't have one, did that mean.

Running all the way outside, she spread her wings and took off, heading straight for the lake.

"Minette" she heard Holly call after her.

With her eyes full of tears, she saw a familiar black figure standing by the lakeside, practicing his fencing skills.

She swooped down and sat on the ground, her arms round her knees

"Is anything wrong, milady?"

Minette looked up as Coal suddenly sat down next to her.

"The medallion protects you, but I don't have one, I, I"

Coal fingered his pendant for a minute before slowly removing it and hanging it round her neck.


Minette looked down at it.

"Thank you" she whispered.

"Well, well, well, gallantry will be your undoing, Commander Coal"

Both monsters spun around as the Shadow-Walker emerged from underneath a tree.

"Get out of here" Coal said, glancing at the young pixie.


"Go" he gave Minette a quick push.

Sobbing, the young pixie spread her wings and took off back to the orphanage as the Evil Hare faced their enemy.

"Stupid creature, giving away the one thing which protects you"

Coal turned to run, but the Shadow-Walker summoned a small black shadowy star shape and threw it at the retreating Evil Hare.

It buried itself in Coal's back, his scarlet eyes widened as he fell to his knees and collapsed.

The Shadow-Walker strode over and grabbed the gray tuft of fur on top of Coal's head, lifting the Evil Hare's head up like this.

"Pathetic, if this was my sister's bodyguard, I'm surprised that she lived so long" he sneered as he let Coal's head drop back down.

Slinging the black-furred hare over one shoulder, he turned and ran a finger down in the middle of the air, the Shadow-Walker carried the unconscious Coal into the portal he had opened.

* * * * *

"Look, it's Minette"

The young pixie flew towards Genki and Holly and then she collapsed on her hands and knees as a white circular object hanging round her neck fell out of her top.

"Isn't that Co...." Genki started to say when Holly suddenly jabbed him in the ribs on seeing Minette's tear-stained face.

"What happened?" Holly asked gently.

"He gave it to me, but then the Shadow-Walker" Minette stopped.

Genki and Holly looked at each other.

"Stay here, we'll go help him" the youth said.

Then the two young humans were off, running in the direction Minette had come from.

Reaching the lakeside, they found nothing.

"We're too late" Holly said.

Genki's hands clenched into fists.

"We have to rescue them, all of them" he said.

* * * * *

Coal slowly opened his eyes, then saw he was being forced to kneel in front of the Shadow-Walker by Blue and Nancy.

"Aahh, my late sister's protector is finally awake" the shadowy figure raised his hand and suddenly struck the Evil Hare round the face.

"ALL.....THOSE.....TIMES.....YOU.....INFERRED" the Shadow-Walker shrieked, each word being enforced by another blow.

One, two, three, four times, Coal just took the blows in silence, each one forcing his head to one side.

"We could have became the Shadow-Witch, the greatest being in this world, but did you know of that"

"Yes, she had no wish to merge with you, become part of your evil"

"All the times you and that damn Lepus prevented me getting to my sister with those blasted medallions.

Do you know of the powers they possess" the Shadow-Walker knelt down in front of Coal "Why did you stop me all those times"

The black-furred Hare stared back at him, no fear in his scarlet eyes "You know why, because of the darkness in your heart"

The Shadow-Walker stood up and gestured to Coal's captors.

"Release him"

Blue and Nancy both stepped back as the Shadow-Walker lunged forward and grabbed Coal by the neck of his tunic.

Lifting the Evil Hare off the ground like this, then starting from the forehead, he ran one finger down Coal's face.

"I'll enjoy making you mine" he hissed, almost lovingly.

Lord of Shadows pt 3: Evil and Innocence

Author's Note: about my treatment of Coal, I know I wrote the R.S.P.C.E.H, but I am NOT a hypocrite (I just thought it would make a good story) and I apologize for any similarities between my story and anyone else's, but if there are any, they're just coincidences

"Damn, I feel so helpless" Genki slammed his fist into his hand "That guy has three of our friends and I don't know how to get to his lair"

He sat around a table in the dining room with Holly and Tobias, Minette and all the youngsters had gone to bed.

"Well, it's getting on, maybe an early night will help" Tobias said, getting up and leaving the room.

"WHAT" Genki cried.

"He's right, maybe we'll have thought of something in the morning" Holly said.

"Yeah, I guess" the youth sighed.

As they walked towards the attic bedroom.

"I wonder if by now, Hare would be thinking a plan" Genki said.

Holly looked a little sad at the thought of their lost friend, Genki could have kicked himself.

"I'm sorry" he slipped his hand into hers as they mounted the attic stairs.

* * * * *

"Huh, hello" Genki stared around him.

"Hello, boy" the Sorceress' voice seemed to echo out of nowhere.

"What do you want?"

"You wish to reach the land of the Shadow-Walker"

"Yes, I have to rescue my friends"

"Then know this, the medallions possess a greater power than everyone knows.

You can use yours to get to my brother's kingdom and rescue your friends if you so wish"

Genki jerked awake, slowly getting up out of bed, he stopped for a minute to stare at Blue's and Coal's empty beds, then he crept across the attic and entered the girls' sleeping area.

Genki crept up to Holly's bed and gently shook her shoulder, then covered her mouth with his hand as she jerked awake.

The youth put his finger to his lips, pointing at the sleeping Minette, Holly nodded in understanding.

"What?" she whispered.

"The Sorceress said the medallion is the key"

"And" Holly asked.

"And I'm going to the Shadow-Walker's lair, it's the only chance we've got. I want you to stay here, Holly, it's safer"

"But, Genki" she suddenly stared into his eyes and slowly nodded.

"Ok, but please be careful" the young woman pleaded.


"Genki, I, I love you"

He stared at her and their lips drew closer and closer, finally meeting in this gentle, but passionate kiss.

"It's time to go" he pulled away, put his hand on his medallion and disappeared in a flash of white light.

* * * * *

Genki stared, he was in the world he had seen in his dream.

"Hello" the youth called gently.

A blue furry streak flashed out of nowhere and knocked him to the ground, then Blue and Nancy were standing over him.

As Genki lay, staring up at his friends, the medallion started to glow, suddenly there was a huge white flash of light.

Blinking furiously to clear his vision, Genki looked round, Blue and Nancy both lay a few feet from him, it looked like they were both asleep, their chest gently rising and falling.

The youth pulled them both closer and grasped the medallion, concentrated on getting back, then the three figures were swallowed up by a white light.

* * * * *

"You enjoying the picnic" Holly smiled at the youngsters, trying not to worry.

It was morning and Genki still wasn't back, the picnic had been Tobias's idea, she knew he was trying to help.

"Yeah" they chorused.

"Hoarder, go get some more ham" she said, smiling.

As soon as the Hound Dragon had gone.

"Having fun"

Holly looked up, the Shadow-Walker stood under a tree, watching them.

"Gabrielle, watch Crag" Holly picked him up, gently pushing the baby Rocky Fur into the young Angel's arms and then stepped forwards.

Suddenly Striker, Rex, Ebony and Daina moved in front of her.

"We'll protect you, Miss Holly"

"No, wait"


The Shadow-Walker grabbed Daina's leg as she swooped down and threw her into Rex, they went flying into a tree and both slumped to the ground.

Forming his fingers into claws, he quickly spun round and slashed Ebony, who was sneaking up on him across the face.

Ebony just slumped to the ground, fingering the deep gashes on her face in total shock.

Spinning back around, the Shadow-Walker grabbed Striker by the throat.

"Stop it, they're just children"

"I know" he smiled, tightening his grip.

Suddenly Holly dashed the pitcher of lemonade in his face.

"Hmm, a fiery one, how about a little reunion between friends" the Shadow-Walker said as he released his grip on Striker, who collapsed in a heap, then stuck Holly to the ground.

"Coal" Holly whispered, seeing the black-furred figure emerge from behind him.

Suddenly she rolled away as the Evil Hare's sword hit the ground where she had been lying.

Grabbing a tray from the picnic spread, Holly just lay on her back, holding it up in front of her face as Coal took another swing at her.

"Stop it, Coal, please, it's me" she pleaded.

Then as he stared down at the girl, the black-furred hare's scarlet eyes seemed to soften and he started breathing heavily.

"You can beat him" Holly called encouragement.

"Yaah" Coal suddenly cried, threads of spittle flying from his mouth, then he spun round and prepared to throw his sword straight at the Shadow-Walker.

"Now, now, none of that" the shadowy figure just raised a finger and pointed it at the Evil Hare.

Coal froze, his sword still raised and his arm shaking, then he looked back at Holly.

"You may have broken free for a few seconds, but never ever threaten me while under my control" the Shadow-Walker hissed venomously, making a jabbing movement towards his own stomach.

Coal's eyes widened and Holly screamed as time seemed to slow down, then the Evil Hare slowly fell back into the grass.

With tears running down her face, she quickly scrabbled over to him, Coal lay, gasping on the ground, his own sword sticking out of his stomach and his paws resting on its hilt as if the Evil Hare was weakly trying to pull it out.

Holly gasped and her hand flew out to her mouth at the sight of the crimson stain slowly spreading across Coal's tunic, then her gaze was drawn to the hilt, he still had his hands round it.

"Here, let me" she whispered, gently removing the black fingers from the weapon's handle.

Closing her eyes, she pulled the blood-covered blade from his stomach and threw it away as hard as she could.

He smiled faintly up at Holly as a trickle of blood ran down his cheek, slowly cutting through his black fur like a thin red river and then Coal reached for her hand as if it would give him some small comfort.

Getting into a crouching position, Holly gently pulled the Evil Hare's head up onto her lap and slipped her slender hand into his outstretched one and started stroking the gray fur on top of his head.

Then Coal's scarlet eyes closed for the last time and his grip on Holly's hand relaxed, on an impulse, she leant and gently kissed him on the forehead as he disappeared in a white glow.

A few seconds later, the girl's body started to shake with her sobs as she stared at the vine-covered disc which stood where only one minute ago, one of her friends had laid dying.

The Shadow-Walker smiled, then turning, opened a portal back to his realm.

"Until we meet again" he whispered and then disappeared through it, leaving the young woman alone with her grief.

"Holly" a hand suddenly rested on her shoulder.

She spun round, Genki stood behind her, beyond him, she could see Nancy and Blue lying face-down in the grass.

"Who is?" the youth started to ask, staring at the disc.

She turned tear-filled eyes up to him.

"Coal" he realized.

Together, the two young humans knelt in front of the disc, mourning.

* * * * *

One day later.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Tobias asked.

"Yeah, I think Holly needs some time alone after.....yesterday" Genki replied "And you will look after them" the youth added.

Blue and Nancy had still not woken up and Minette had said she was staying with them.

"Of course" was the reply.

A little way off, Holly smiled sadly and hugged the stone circle closer to her chest with one arm.

"Holly" Minette suddenly walked up to her.

The young pixie pressed something into her hand.

"Here, it is his, after all"

Holly stared down at the white medallion in her hand.

"But what if the Shadow-Walker returns"

"I'll take my chances" Minette said bravely.

Holly wrapped her fingers around the pendant for a minute.

"Here, please hold this" she carefully handed the disc to the young pixie, then undid her shoulder bag and slipped Coal's medallion in.

As soon as she had put it away, Holly gently took the disc back.

"Here" Tobias suddenly pushed something into Genki's hands.

Looking down, the youth saw Coal's sword, Tobias had got it cleaned up and brought a sheath and a proper belt for it.

Genki smiled, took it and fastened it round his waist.

Then Genki and Holly turned and headed out the gate as Tobias and Minette watched them leave.

"Will they be back?"

Tobias put one arm around the young pixie's shoulders.

"I don't know" he replied, watching the two young humans disappear among the crowd.

The End (for now)