"Farewell, my brother, my enemy." A slight breeze blew over Tiger, ruffling his fur. He gave one mournful howl to the darkening sky and padded back over to his friends. No one spoke. The wind blew in their faces, carrying the echoes of Tiger's howl far away from the Lost Disk they left behind…
Later that night, on a bleak mountainside…
Naga peered into the mouth of the cave. Four torches burned within, giving off a flickering orange light. But there was no sign of the one he sought. "Lilim? Are you in here?" he asked.
A shadow stirred at the back of the cave. "I'm here, Naga. What do you want?"
Naga hated her. Lilim was disrespectful to an extreme, and you could never rely on her to be where you wanted her to be. He hadn't wanted to come to her lair himself, but Master Moo had made it clear that this business was to be kept as quiet as possible.
"Nemesis has reawakened," Naga began.
"She was a monster created in the Ancient War. Her powers were meant to equal those of Master Moo and the legendary Phoenix. She was not that strong when she was created, but she was powerful enough. She was put to sleep for centuries during the Ancient War," Naga explained.
"And now she has awakened, and Moo wants us to find her," Lilim finished.
"You'll never be able to find her. She's not an ordinary monster."
"And why should that make her any more difficult to find?" Naga demanded, annoyed. Lilim spoke as though she was already an expert on Nemesis. Naga would have gotten rid of the troublesome Pixie/Joker long ago, but she was as capable as she was a nuisance.
"To all outward appearances," Lilim said. "Nemesis is a human."
"What?!" Naga exclaimed. That would make her almost impossible to find.
Unless…Naga grinned evilly. It was payback time. "Since you know so much about her, Lilim, why don't you take a squad of Dainas (Pixie/Dragon) and begin the search for her?"
"Dainas?" Lilim asked in disgust. "Well, at least it isn't Vanities again. Those fools were always too busy looking in their mirrors to pay attention to the battle or anything else, for that matter." Pity Master Moo had no Vanities to spare. Naga could have asked them to aid Lilim's search. "Now, Naga, if you have nothing more to say…"
"Master Moo wishes me to remind you that we need new members in the Big Bad Four." Naga dreaded having Lilim as his colleague, but at least he wouldn't have to take responsibility if she decided not to show up somewhere.
Besides, with two of the Big Bad Four gone and Gray Wolf long overdue to report, stronger monsters were definitely needed. Even if that meant promoting a little witch like Lilim…
"I've already told you, Naga, I'm not interested. I don't like working with idiots. I do that enough as it is," Lilim said with her usual contempt for everyone besides herself.
"Suit yourself, Lilim. Just be sure to start the search for Nemesis soon." With that, Naga slithered off, relieved to finally get out of there.
He hated dealing with Lilim. Now, he had other things to worry about, such as those two traitors…
Meanwhile, in the forest…
I awoke quickly, sitting up and searching the small clearing with my eyes. I thought I heard…oh. That idiot Thorn again. Couldn't she just have her stupid nightmares quietly?
My name is Pixie, but you probably knew that already. Thorn joined Big Blue and I a week or so ago, and she's been a general pain in the neck ever since. Every night she wakes up, gasping for breath. This time, even Big Blue heard her.
"What's going on?" he asked, sitting up and glancing from side to side.
Thorn, seeing us both up, smiled apologetically. "Sorry. Just a dream."
"Well, now that you have us awake, you may as well tell us about it," I snapped. If this human brat was going to wake me up in the middle of the night, I at least wanted to know the reason.
Thorn looked uncomfortable for a second, then nodded reluctantly. Her smile disappeared as she began. "It's totally dark. It's always dark. I can't see anything or feel anything. Then there are the voices. " 'How can you do this to her? She's a human!' a woman's voice says. I know her. Lily. Doctor Lily. But I can remember nothing more than her name. "A man's voice answers. He is Wyvlo, Doctor Wyvlo. 'And you would feel better if she was a monster, would you?' "Lily is too shocked to reply, so Wyvlo continues. 'That's why she was made this way in the first place, to show us what hypocrites we are! To show the world what a bunch of idiots we've been!' "And that's it. The darkness closes in, and the dream ends."
"Hmph," I said. Talk about melodramatic! But I kind of agreed with that Wyvlo guy. Humans were so full of themselves. They wouldn't dream of harming another human, but they treated us monsters like trash. Dr. Wyvlo sounded like the mad scientist type, but at least he had the right idea.
"Weird, huh?" Thorn commented.
I sighed angrily. "Just get some sleep, and don't wake us up again!"
Although I couldn't help but wonder if it was more than just a dream…
Elsewhere, the next morning…
The Daina soared through the air with four of her comrades and Lilim, who had been acting a little strangely. Lilim was always strange; she was the only monster who had refused a position in the Big Bad Four, and everyone dreaded working with her. She regarded everyone besides herself as hopeless fools, and she took an insane pleasure in destroying things. But everyone agreed that Lilim was as strong as, if not stronger than, any given member of the Big Bad Four. None of the Dainas were going to risk Lilim's wrath by asking her what was wrong.
Lilim was preoccupied with her own thoughts. Nemesis…probably the only person who's ever been nice to me. She wouldn't remember anything, though…I wonder if she's changed? If she's still the same…how can I betray her? But Moo will kill me if I fail…
Later, in the forest…
"I wonder who's going to attack us next?" Thorn asked.
"Does it really matter?" I snapped. As if it weren't bad enough that Moo's baddies attacked every few days, now I had this human to deal with.
She couldn't be what she said she was; that was too unlikely. She didn't remember a thing, and she insisted on joining us because she had a feeling or something? Did she really expect me to believe that?
Thorn shrugged. "I guess it doesn't really matter. I was just wondering, is all."
We walked along in silence for a while. Thorn had to be up to something. But what? Was she working for Moo? Nah, Moo would never work with a human. Who else would have anything to do with us? No one. So either she was telling the truth, that she's just some annoying brat with amnesia who decided to follow us, or Big Blue and I have another enemy. I hoped the former was true.
"Do you hate all humans, or is it just me, personally?" Thorn asked out of nowhere.
"Be quiet!" I shouted. Did she actually expect me to answer that? What was I going to do with her? There was no use trying to get rid of her; she'd just follow us anyway. And I couldn't just kill her for being an annoying brat. Even though, sometimes, I wish I could.
"Aw, you're no fun. Ya really are a snob-bucket," she continued.
I glared at her. "Don't push me," I said simply. Maybe I should just zap her with Lightning and be done with it.
"Okay, I'll shut up now," Thorn sighed. How did she always know just when to stop? Just when I decide to do something a bit more drastic than just yell at her, she backs off. It was almost as if she knew what I was thinking. But of course she didn't.
Meanwhile, in Naga's lair…
"You are certain this will work, Bazula?" Naga hissed.
"Oh, yes." The Naga/Gali nodded. Behind him, innumerable Purple Hares (Hare/Naga) grinned evilly. "Those traitors won't know what hit them."
Later, back in the forest…
"Master Pixie," Big Blue said abruptly.
"Hmm?" I glanced down at him.
"Huh?" I looked all around, and then I saw them. Purple flashes between the trees. I sighed and turned to Thorn. "You just had to ask who was going to attack us, didn't you?"
The Purple Hares swaggered out of their hiding places. Their captain stepped forward and addressed us. "Traitors to Master Moo must…ARGH!"
He shriveled into a Lost Disk as I fried him with Lightning. "Fools," I said. They were all the same. Arrogant, assured of their victory, they gloated beforehand. I was sick and tired of listening to it.
"CAPTAIN!" several of the baddies shouted at once. They glared up angrily at me. "YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS! ATTACK!"
I launched myself off of Big Blue's shoulder. "Take this! TORPEDO!"
Several of the Purple Hares shriveled into Lost Disks. Weaklings. But what they lacked in strength they made up for in numbers. I used my attacks as quickly as I could, and still they kept on coming.
They couldn't win, they were far too weak. Even that human twit could easily overpower them. They stood no chance at all. These battles were becoming so easy, so predictable…
"Master Pixie!" Big Blue shouted, charging through the mob of Purple Hares toward me. I turned and saw the Bazula, his Drain attack charged and ready. He was already way too close for comfort and getting closer.
In that instant, time seemed to slow, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to dodge in time. Big Blue was too far away to reach me. Drain, the most powerful Naga intelligence attack. Some small, detached part of me wondered if I could survive that…
Time abruptly resumed it's normal course as something slammed into my side, knocking me out of the way. Someone screamed.
It was Thorn.
Bazula's attack hit her instead of me, and she crumpled to the ground. She had seen what was coming and pushed me to safety. But…why…?
"TORNADO!" Big Blue shouted, breaking apart and spinning into the Bazula.
The Naga type shrieked, then shriveled into a Lost Disk.
I knelt down by Thorn while Big Blue finished off the remaining Purple Hares. The girl groaned and opened her eyes. "Am I still…just a thorn in your side?"
"You're an annoying little human brat and you always will be!" I shouted.
She smiled weakly. It always seemed to amuse her when I said things like that. I'd never understand her. But, maybe…I could try. "But maybe you're something more than that," I said gently.
Her smile grew. "That's gotta be the nicest thing I've ever heard ya say…" Her voice trailed off, and her eyes slowly shut.
For a moment I panicked. She couldn't be…no, she was still breathing. Barely, but she was breathing. "Why did you do that?" I asked. After the way I had treated her…what made her do this for me?
Big Blue walked over to me. "Should I carry her?" he asked. I nodded, not trusting my voice. He lifted Thorn's limp body, and I flew back on his shoulder. I looked about the forest. Lost Disks were strewn all around, all that remained of Moo's latest batch of baddies.
Lilim watched the battle from above, taking care not to be seen. She had sent the Dainas to round up all the humans in the area. But none of them would find Nemesis. So, Lilim thought. Nemesis is traveling with the traitors. She still looks the same… Now what do I do? Hmm…Naga's orders were to find Nemesis, not capture her… Lilim flew off to see how the Dainas were doing. She wouldn't tell them of her discovery…yet.
Hours passed before Thorn finally came to. "Big Blue…ya can put me down now. I can walk." Her voice sounded weak, but Big Blue gently placed her on the ground. She walked slowly, but didn't stumble. She was stronger than I thought. She was still an annoying brat but…well, nobody's perfect. Besides, she put up with me. After today, the least I could do was try and do the same for her.
"Thanks, Thorn," I said.
Thorn looked up at me and smiled. "No big deal." Then, her expression changed to one of exaggerated shock. "Oh my gosh! I don't believe it! It's a miracle!"
"What is?" I asked, confused.
"Pixie," she laughed softly. "You're actually smiling."