Virus

Disclaimer: I don't own Monster Rancher apart from the characters I create.

Author's Note: it's been seven months since 'Rising from the Ashes' oh, and Tomas is Brutus' trainer

* * * * *

"Hey, Holly, wake up"

"Huh, Genki" the young woman slowly opened her eyes,

"Lucas said he'd take us to explore the ruins outside the city today"

"Oh, that's right" Holly replied.

Genki dashed downstairs, calling "Hey, Moochi, you coming with us today?"

"Stay and play with other young monsters-chi?" the little pink monster asked.

"Ok" Genki smiled.

Holly came downstairs, tying her hair back as she did.

"Hey, where's Suezo?" Genki asked.

"Still asleep, I didn't want to wake him" she replied.

Lucas was waiting outside with Emmie, the baby Eared Mew he'd got for his birthday riding on his shoulder.

"Hey, where are Tiger and Myst?" Genki asked.

"Your wolf friend and the Mint said something about helping mom out today" the blonde youth replied "You ready?"

"Sure" Genki replied.

* * * * *

Genki sat beside Holly and they held hands, on the other side of the wheeled boat, Nancy was snuggled up against Hare who had his arm round her, Blue and Minette were sitting next to each other, just talking, while Lucas sat at the helm of the Phoenix, looking thoughtful.

"Is anything wrong?" Holly asked.

"Just thinking about my grandfather for some odd reason"

"Your grandfather?"

"Yeah, he came from a village called Furebirdo, but moved away to make his fortune while still a young man"

"Furebirdo, that was my....village"

"Really, who are your family?" Lucas asked.

"Samuel Yukito, my parents were Nicholas and Ivy"

"Samuel Yukito, he was my grandfather's best friend, what happened to them and the village and the Phoenix Stone? My grandfather talked about that stone a lot"

Blue looked over at Holly, concerned as she sighed and her grip on Genki's hand tightened, then she lifted her head and bravely launched into the tale she had once told the original Searchers.

By the time she had finished, Lucas was looking very uncomfortable.

"I'm sorry, I had no idea" he shifted, looking embarrassed.

"Hey, look, is that it?" Genki crowed, trying to change the subject.

"Yeah" Lucas replied, pulling the wheeled boat to a stop

A large collection of dirty buildings which could have been white once loomed in front of them and everyone got out of the 'Phoenix'.

Once inside one of the laboratories, Emmie ran over to the entrance to a corridor, turned round and squeaked, waving at her master.

"No, Emmie, not today" Lucas smiled.

"What's down there?" Genki asked.

"My workshop, I fix up old datapads like my father...used to do"

"Hey, look, a mystery disc" Genki zoomed over to a console where a mystery disc was supported above it by two metal rods, then the brown-haired youth extended one finger and pressed a large red button on the panel.

"Genki, stop, we don't know what anything does" Holly cried.

But her warning came far too late.

The disc on top of the console slowly opened and a stream of black powder emerged from the disc-like device and was blown towards the group, everyone started coughing.

"What was that?" Genki asked, waving the stuff away from his face.

"Shall we check out more rooms?" Lucas asked.

As the others headed out the room, Nancy started trailing behind, then she stopped and mopped her brow, Hare stopped in concern.

"Nancy, are you ok? You look flushed"

"I'm, I'm fine" she smiled weakly, then suddenly collapsed in his arms.

"Nancy, Nancy, wake up" Hare gently shook her prone form, scared.

Holly came over and felt her forehead "She's burning up"

"Blue, I don't feel so good" Minette clutched at her stomach.

But the Blue Hare clearly had his own problems, kneeling on the tiled floor, a hand resting on his stomach, he coughed once, then started retching.

"Blue" Holly ran over and knelt down next to him.

He turned scared eyes up to the young woman and whispered "What's, what's going on?"

"Emmie" Lucas whispered, as he slowly turned around, the Eared Mew was lying in the blonde youth's arms, coughing badly

"What's happening, what is wrong with them?" Holly cried.

"I wonder" Lucas suddenly said, one hand resting on his chin.

"What?" Genki asked.

"Follow me"

Still cradling Emmie in his arms, Lucas led Holly and Genki to a room down the corridor Emmie had shown an interest in earlier.

Lucas flicked on the light "Maybe the answer's in here somewhere"

The table was covered in old datapads and tools.

"You fix these?" Holly asked.

"Yes....my father taught me how" Lucas replied.

Genki picked one up randomly and pressed a button on it, the datapad crackled into life

Lab Report beginning

Hello, my name is Professor E.J King. Me and my fellow scientists have created a miracle, a race of special creatures or 'monsters' as some call them. But many of my colleagues fear the possibility of the creatures turning on us one day, so a small group, me included have created the Decimator, an artificial virus which if needs be, will only cull the monster population. We have stored it in a special computer operated storage unit which looks like a monster disc in the lab outside Lake City. I hope that it will not be needed.

End Message

Genki threw the datapad away and ran outside, he ran down the corridor a few feet, then fell to his hands and knees, sobbing

"Genki" Holly was suddenly kneeling next to him.

"It's all my fault" the youth sobbed.

"Genki, you weren't to know, none of us did" Holly gently replied.

He looked up at her and smiled "So I guess we have to find a cure now"

"Yes, but we should make them comfortable first" she replied.

They slowly walked back to the others

"Come on" Genki hauled Minette to her feet "We've got to get you back"

"Wait" Lucas grabbed his arm.

"Hey" the brown-haired youth stared into concerned blue eyes.

"Do you know what will happen if you take three seriously ill monsters into the city? There'll be a lynch mob to protect the healthy ones"

"But we can't leave them dumped on the floor" Holly said.

"We won't have to, I, I explore these ruins often, I know where the old bedrooms are"

"Right, show us, please" Genki replied grimly, looking over at the others.

Holly had Blue and Hare was supporting Nancy, then Lucas led them down a dark corridor, cobwebs on the ceiling.

"Here" the blonde youth opened a door, revealing a room filled with beds.

The others walked in and helped their infected friends in separate beds.

* * * * *

"Genki, am, am I going to die?" Minette's eyes, bright with fever were fixed on him.

"No" the brown-haired youth replied, sitting down on her bed.

As he brushed her hair away from the young pixie's eyes, Genki watched Holly gently trying to make Blue drink some water, but it just kept trickling down the side of the Blue's Hare face.

"Please drink" she suddenly pleaded.

A single tear rolled down her cheek and fell onto Blue's mouth, he licked his lips and his eyes slowly opened.

"Holly" he whispered.

"Here" she said, gently raising him up.

As Holly supported his head with one hand and held the bowl of water with the other, Blue gently cupped it in his hands as well and drank eagerly.

"Tastes good" he muttered before slipping back into the fever again.

Lucas looked round the room, then he headed for the door.

"Where are you going?" Holly asked.

"I'm going back into town, we need my mom, she's a healer"

"Alright, but be back soon"

"Of course" the blonde youth replied.

* * * * *

Lucas skidded the Phoenix to a halt, leapt out, then ran through the city streets.

"Mom, mom" he burst into his mother's herbal healing shop.

Zara Morgan looked up from behind the counter "Luc, what's wrong?"

"We need you out in the ruins, three of the monsters have gone down with some sort of disease" he said quietly.

Un-noticed by the blonde youth and his mother, a thin weaselly-looking man slid out from behind a row of shelves "Well, well" then he slid out the herb shop.

He made his way to a nearby tavern and over to a table where two thuggish-looking men sat, drinking outside a tavern.

"Hey, Tomas, I just heard of some disease that affects monsters, what if it spreads?" he said.

"We need to stop it then, Peter, go get your Green Suezo, we need a teleporter"

Back at the herbal shop, Zara looked deadly serious "If that is the case, we should alert their friends up at the orphanage, Luc"

* * * * *

"C'mon, Nan, I know you can beat this thing, lover" Hare whispered, gently brushing the limp, brown spikes of fur away from her closed eyes.

"Hare, I, I" Genki started to say, unaware of the way his friend's fist suddenly clenched around Nancy's hand.

"Don't, Genki, this is your fault, it's because of you the other are in this condition" Hare exploded.

Genki just stared at him, his mouth in shock, then he ran out of the building, tears streaking down his face

"Hare, that was uncalled for" Holly sighed, looking at the door Genki had disappeared through, concerned.

"I'm, I'm sorry, Holly, it's just I don't want to lose her" Hare cradled Nancy's sweat-drenched body against his chest.

Minette blinked, could no-one else see the woman with long pale yellow hair, she had a hand resting on Nancy's stomach as a silver glow surrounded that area

"The unborn child must live" the strange woman whispered.

* * * * *

Genki sat outside the lab, seeing the fevered faces of his friends in his mind's eye.

"It's my fault, it's all my fault" he muttered to himself.

Suddenly something knocked him off the edge of the fountain he was sitting on.

"Wha...." he jumped up and spun round "Brutus"

The Dino smiled and spun his tail at the brown-haired youth again, Genki rolled under it, then leapt to his feet, ready for battle.

Inside, Holly stood at a sink, filling up a bowl with some fresh water with her back to the beds.

"Who...." she heard Hare start to ask but he was cut off.

Holly quickly turned round and she gasped. Hare lay, slumped up against Nancy, blood trickling from his head as three strange men stood by her friends' beds.

"I'm gonna to stop this stinkin' disease before it spreads" the man beside Blue's bed fished a wooden club from his belt and raised it.

Holly grasped her medallion in one hand, she had to do something, she had to....

She felt herself lift slightly off the ground and her hair started to float around her head in a brown aura as her eyes glowed silver-white.

"Witch" someone hissed.

"Get out" she ordered quietly.

"Not without somethin', girl" the man by Blue's bed suddenly grabbed the Blue Hare and hauled him from the room.

Holly slowly returned to normal, what had come over her and she ran forward to have the other men hold her back.

Blue, in his half-conscious state, moaned and weakly tried to remove the man's rough grip on his neck as the club was raised.

"No" Holly screamed, trying to break through the other men's arms.

Suddenly, a hand grabbed the other man's wrist.

"I suggest you leave, Tomas"

"Tobias" Holly cried.

"Stay out of this, orphanage master"

"You want to fight all of us" Tiger growled.

Tomas looked from one to the other, three against seven, he and the others would not stand a chance.

"C'mon boys"

All three men and Brutus turned and walked off, as they left, Tomas looked back at Holly, who shivered at the look in his eyes.

"This isn't over, girly"

"Come on, I'll help you get him back inside" Zara offered, moving forward to help Holly with Blue.

* * * * *

"I'm worried, I, I want to go and get Coal's disc" Holly said, watching the sun go down.

"What?" Genki cried "Are you crazy?"

"Genki, please"

"I'll take her, it's faster in the Phoenix" Lucas offered.

"Thank you" Holly whispered.

A second later

"Be carefu...." Genki started to say before Holly leant forward to gently kiss him on the lips.

"Of course" she replied before getting in the Phoenix.

"Holly, wait up" Suezo hopped in the wheeled boat.

"Ready?" Lucas asked.

Holly nodded and they were off.

* * * * *

A few minutes later

"Go in through this hole and stick to the back-alleys" Lucas advised.

"I'm coming with you" Suezo said.

"No, I can travel faster on my own" Holly replied.

"But...." he started to protest.

"No" she replied, firmly.

"Be careful, we're be waiting right here" Lucas added, concerned.

Holly nodded as she slipped through into the city, unaware that she was being watched.

"Well, well" Brutus moved from the shadows and watched the human girl, un-noticed.

Holly quietly moved through the streets until she reached the orphanage and she slipped in the back door, she slipped upstairs and in her room, where she opened the chest at the foot of her bed, sticking Coal's disc and medallion into her shoulder bag, she stuck his sword in her sash belt.

Heading back downstairs, she saw the young monsters were gathered around a window, looking outside.

"Miss Holly?"

"What are those men doing outside?"

"Men?" Holly stopped, then quietly moved to the window to look out into the front garden, a mob were standing in the orphanage garden.

"We know you're in there, girl"

Gabrielle screamed as a rock smashed through the window, Holly looked round thinking quickly, she had to get back to the others but at the same time, she couldn't leave the youngsters unprotected.

"Down to the cellar" Holly said, quickly and quietly herding the young monsters from the room.

At the cellar door, Holly watched Hoarder following a Mum Mew down the steps and then Daina, Rex and Ebony slipped past her, one after the other. Gabrielle trotted past, holding Crag in both arms.

"Striker, you're in change, I'm going to lock you in and give you the key, don't unlock it for anyone but me or Tobias" Holly said and locked the cellar door, removed the key and slid it under the door.

"Got it, Miss Holly" Striker's voice came from the other side.

Holly smiled and moved back to the kitchen, slipping out the way she'd came.

As she made her way back to the hole in the wall, a rough hand shot from the shadows and grabbed her upper arm, throwing Holly to the muddy street, as Tomas, his wooden club emerged from the darkness and watched her scrabble into a doorway.

"No way out, girly" he sneered, then raised the club.

Holly pressed Coal's disc to her chest, awaiting Tomas' blow, but it never came, she opened her eyes, a crossbow bolt suddenly had pinned the man's sleeve to another nearby doorframe.

"I never thought humans would stoop to hunting their own kind"

All eyes turned to the sound of the voice, then Holly saw a foot, half-armored in the shadows, the unarmored part was brown and furry, with claws on the toes like, like....a Hare's.

"Who's that?" Tomas demanded.

"You want to know who I am, very well, you'll find me harder prey than an unarmed girl" the armoured foot moved forwards and a hare, a helmet on its head and a broadsword on its back walked into the lighted area of the alley.

Holly stared at the newcomer, why was she reminded of a Durahan as a pair of hooves emerged from the shadows as a centaur stepped out beside the armored hare.

The centaur had the same pattern in its fur as a Celious, but it was brown and white, the fur on its face was identical to a purebred hare's right down to the white patches of fur that stuck out each side of its face, its ears were identical to an Eared Mew's.

The unfamiliar centaur hybrid wore a sleeveless tunic, that ended at its waist where a leather belt hung loosely.

Suddenly stepping forward, the armored rabbit drew his broadsword and held it length-wise in front of his face, his eyes closed, he swung it forward, then sideways, the blade swung into the support post of a nearby balcony

"Get back, girl" the centaur practically threw Holly onto his back and backed away.

With a sudden creaking noise, the balcony collapsed and slid across the street, cutting Tomas off from them.

"Cowards like that aren't worth wasting a good blade on" the armored rabbit had suddenly appeared beside them

"Who are you?" Holly asked.

"We're mercenaries"

Holly paled, she had heard of mercenaries, monsters who hunted other monsters and humans for money

"We're two of the best, me and Steele" the centaur hybrid added "We even hunted the group known as the Searchers a while back"

"What stopped you?" Holly asked.

"We found out Moo was paying us" the armored rabbit replied.

"Can you take me outside the city? I have friends waiting" she asked.

"Sure thing, ma'am" the centaur replied

Once outside the city walls.

"Goodbye, miss" the centaur hybrid said, then the two strangers walked off.

Holly watched them heading north, then walked back to where the other two were waiting.

"Holly" Lucas called.

"Are you alright?" Suezo added.

"Let's go back" she replied.

They were soon back at the lab

"Holly" Genki ran out to greet them.

She smiled and headed inside with her friends

"You're back" Tobias rose from his seat beside Minette's bed.

Holly smiled, then yawned.

"Here" Zara led Holly to a corner and draped a blanket around her shoulders as her eyelids started to droop.

* * * * *

Holly slowly opened her eyes, a familiar man was standing a little way off.

"Grandfather" she ran over and hugged him, then looked into his face "Help us, my friends are dying"

Her grandfather just smiled "Follow the little one"

Holly looked down as her eyes slowly widened, her younger self from the time her father had left the village clung to the old man's coat,

"Are you lost?" the younger Holly asked and extended a hand up to her older self.

The little girl led Holly though a metal archway, then up to a door which read 'Medical Research'

"What you seek is in there" Young Holly said.

The older Holly raised her hand and was about to push the door open when....

The girl opened her eyes as she touched cold metal, she was standing in front of a door entitled 'Medical Research'

"Just like my dream" she whispered.

"Holly"

She spun round "Genki"

"Whatta you doing?"

"There's something in that room, something that could help our friends" Holly told him.

"Then let's check it out" he replied.

They entered the room, a machine with a circular tank containing a purple liquid on top of it stood in front in them, there was some kind of tap attached to it.

"This is it, this is the antidote" Holly whispered, stroking the glass gently with one hand.

"Hey, look, a datapad" Genki scooped it up and pressed the 'on' button.

A woman, clearly in her mid-thirties appeared on the crackling screen.

"She...she looks like me" Holly whispered.

"This is Professor Holly DaSilva, a few concerned people have perfected anti-bodies for the Decimator virus and woven them into the genetic material of the creature called the Phoenix, this will make the monster naturally immune to the the virus, for it is our last hope against Moo, it must not become sick in any way, we have also decided to ensure that the survivors don't repeat our mistakes, we have implanted all the memories of our history leading up to the Century War to just a few days after the great battle between Moo and the Phoenix into a monster, we chose a Monol..."

Holly lowered her eyes, then cast her gaze round the room and noticed a large bottle on a table, she picked it up, then headed over to the machine and turned the tap on, filling it with the antidote

"Let's get to the others" she said to Genki.

Back in the bedroom, Holly looked at all her friends.

"Do we have any cups" she asked.

"Yes" Zara brought some over.

Holly poured the antidote into three of the cups and handed them out.

"Here" Genki offered, placing his cup against Minette's mouth, she looked up at him, then drank.

"Drink this" Holly gently pressed a cup to Blue's mouth and watching him swallowing.

"It's the antidote" Hare added, helping Nancy drink.

As their eyes opened, Minette slowly got to her feet, then wobbled, getting up, in spite of looking a bit wobbly himself, Blue got out of his bed, walked over and supported her as Hare helped Nancy from her bed.

Lucas smiled at Holly happily, then his gaze fell on the lost disc she was holding against her chest.

"Can I?" the blonde youth asked, moving forward, his hand extended.

Holly stared at him, then smiled and handed Lucas the lost disc.

"Of course, bring him back to us" she replied, gently.

"Unlock" Lucas ordered gently

When the white light faded, stood there, his scarlet eyes blinking in surprise.

He started to walk forward, but collapsed.

"Steady, you haven't used your legs for a while" Holly said, helping him up, then supporting him.

"Here, you should drink this" Zara offered him a cup of the antidote.

Coal looked sideways at Holly, who nodded, then he took the cup and drank.

* * * * *

Later

After all that happened, we've decided to move on" Genki said.

"What, all of you?" Lucas asked.

"If that's what you want" Zara said, concerned.

"Yes, it is" Holly replied.

"Then...goodbye" Lucas came forward and shook Genki's and Holly's hands.

"Travel safe" Zara nodded.

"The young ones will miss you, Holly" Tobias added.

"Come on, let's go" Genki piped up.

Holly nodded and turned from their Lake City allies, still gently supporting Coal as the Searchers disappeared into the sunset.

* * * * *

Knight Hare (Hare/Durahan) and Stallion (Centaur/Hare)

Both monsters are the prototypes of their sub-breeds, created by Professor Holly DaSilva (Holly's ancestor) during the Ancients' war, this meant Knight Hares and Stallions couldn't go into full manufacturing. They are the only ones of their kind in the Monster world and so have developed a strong brotherly bond with each other.