BEFORE ALISTAR COULD set his pick to his guitar, something boomed from the
far end of the Battledome. It was one of the competitor entry doors. A second
boom issued forth from behind it, and this time a large dent appeared in the
door. The audience turned their attention away from the band to watch this disturbance.
"May," Alistar said, "this isn't supposed to
be happening, is it?"
"Uh-uh," May shook her head.
"Then why is it happening?"
A third boom. The dent was very large now.
Flick stepped back. "Something tells me we shouldn't
be here. Something tells me we should be far away from here..."
The door boomed again. There was a metallic squeal
as the bulging door began to split down the middle.
Umbriel stood up. "Does 'something' have any
more pearls of wisdom for us, Flick? Because I'm for getting the heck out of
There was a great crash as the door was rent
in two. A hulking black form emerged from the darkness, its eyes glowing a fiery
"What is that thing?" Flick shouted, near panic.
"How'd it get in here?"
"A Monocerous..." May gasped. "I heard rumours
that the Battledome kept a few for fights, but I never thought they were true..."
There was a twang as Alistar dropped his guitar.
"Those eyes..." he whispered. "It's those eyes again!" Old fears were rekindled
within him. A chill gripped him, and he shivered.
"Alistar," May said as calmly as she could, "stay
right there and don't move. It can't see you if you don't..."
Alistar bolted for the nearest exit. The Monocerous
turned and pawed the ground.
It charged with a terrifying roar that stopped
Alistar in his tracks.
"ALISTAR, WATCH OUT!"
Alistar didn't remember much of what happened
next, it all went so fast. Something hit him from behind with incredible force,
and he went flying. He landed on his left shoulder, and he felt something pop,
followed by a searing pain. He opened his eyes. A red haze gnawed at the corners
of his vision.
The Monocerous snorted and began to close in
Thinking quickly, May grabbed Alistar's guitar
off the ground. It's no Usul Axe, she thought, testing the weight of it in her
paws, but it'll do.
She made it to Alistar's prone form just as the
Monocerous closed the remaining distance.
"Hey ugly!" May shouted.
The Monocerous turned in surprise.
"You've got a spotty bum!"
May swung the guitar with all the strength she
could muster. It came crashing down onto the Monocerous' head, breaking into
pieces as it hit.
The Monocerous snorted and shook its head. With
a surprising turn of speed, it spun around and caught May with its horns, throwing
her aside like an Usuki doll. She landed about ten feet away.
"Miss May, are you all right?"
May got up, rubbing her head. Patterson and Smith
were standing over her. "It certainly took you two long enough."
"Sorry, Miss. Couldn't get through the crowd
"Well don't just stand there gawking like a couple
of ninnies! Go help Alistar!"
The two saluted. "Yes, ma'am!"
Patterson produced a pair of Rainbow Guns from
inside his suit. Smith opened up his hot dog box and quickly assembled a Gelert
Wand. They rushed the Monocerous, weapons blazing. The crowd cheered.
May turned. It was Flick.
"May, are you okay?"
"I'll be fine. Where's Umbriel? Why isn't she
"She's over there."
May looked at where the Shoyru was pointing.
Umbriel was near the wall opposite the Monocerous. Her hands were in front of
her, aimed at the Monocerous. Her eyes were glowing green, and she appeared
to be chanting something.
May looked from Umbriel to the Monocerous and
The eyes were the same! Umbriel seemed
to follow the Monocerous' every dodge and attack as it struggled against the
onslaught of the two Gelerts. May didn't need her college education to recognise
a Fiery Gaze spell when she saw one.
Without thinking, May charged, screaming as she
hurled her body against Umbriel's. The Faerie tumbled to the floor. At the same
moment, the Monocerous succumbed to the relentless assault, falling unconscious
into a heap on the ground.
The crowd went berserk with excitement.
Umbriel got up, rubbing her head. "Ow. What in
blazes did you do that for?"
"Don't play dumb with me, Umbriel. I saw the
whole thing! That was a Fiery Gaze spell you were casting, wasn't it? You were
controlling the thing the whole time! And to think we trusted you! All the while
it was you toying with the band! Alistar was right about you! You really are
nothing but a treacherous Faerie!"
Umbriel looked at the Usul with eyes full of
anger. "How dare you challenge me with such words! After all I've done for this
"After all you've done for this band, I'm surprised
we're still alive! You came along with your flashy drums and expensive gifts,
tricked us into putting our trust in you, and then ruin our only chance at making
it big, nearly killing Alistar in the process! And what did we ever do to you?
Nothing! I was a fool for trusting you, and a fool for not listening to Flick
and Alistar from the start!" May pulled out a Wand of the Light Faerie. She
pointed it at Umbriel. "But I'm not as much a fool as you'd prefer, Umbriel!
After the last concert, I decided to take precautions, and it seems my fears
were well justified!"
Umbriel's eyes went wide in surprise. "You mean
to tell me you've been suspicious of me all this time?"
"I'm nobody's fool, Umbriel. Certainly not yours.
And nobody double-crosses me without something to show for it! Prepare yourself!"
As May spoke, the wand began to glow with a bright
yellow light. But Umbriel was too fast. As May brought the wand forward, Umbriel's
hand flew out. There was a flash of violet sparks as a bolt of purple lightning
struck May full in the chest. She dropped the wand, and its glow faded.
May gritted her teeth as Umbriel looked down
"Girlie," Umbriel said, "you have no idea what
you and your band have gotten themselves into. Not even Fyora can help you now."
Umbriel opened her wings and took off.
May got up slowly, her quivering limbs still
recovering from the attack. Then, remembering Alistar, she made her way as quickly
as she could to where he lay. Smith and Patterson were already there, seeing
to his wounds, while Flick looked on.
"Is he all right?" she asked.
"Well," said Flick, "currently he is not all
right. But if you're asking if he's going to be all right, then the answer is
Patterson turned to May. "His left shoulder has
been dislocated, and there's probably some strained ligaments, but he should
Smith nodded. "He was very lucky. Not very many
pets have gotten away from a rampaging Monocerous in such good condition. There's
an ambulance waiting outside the 'Dome to take him to the hospital right away.
We'll get him there."
Smith and Patterson took the injured Kyrii by
both ends and carefully carried him to the exit.
As she watched them depart, she heard someone
clear their throat behind her. She and Flick turned around.
"Oh, Mr. Bakomoto, hello."
Bakomoto looked at them furiously. His lips curled
up in a sort of angry sneer, revealing his gleaming white incisors.
"What," he said through his teeth, "is going
May smiled. "Funny you should mention that, sir,
I was just wondering myse..."
"IS THIS YOUR IDEA OF A PUBLICITY STUNT!?" he
barked. "You've ruined the concert! You destroyed my equipment! You humiliated
me in my own stadium! Just look at this mess!" He looked at the platform where
the band was supposed to be performing and narrowed his eyes. "What's this?"
he asked, looking at the drums. "These aren't my drums! What have you done with
"Hehe, yes," said May, "Er, the drums. I... ah...
don't know. Do you know where they are, Flick?"
"I believe Umbriel said she got rid of those
pieces of garbage, didn't she?"
May elbowed him. "You weren't supposed to say
That was all Bakomoto could take. His eyes blazing
and twitching, he drew a Kougra Tech Sword, long and slender.
The crowd burst into cheers. Tonight was turning
out to be more exciting than they had expected.
It was Tuesday morning. The battered remainder of The Crows were gathered at
"What's got you so down, May?" Alistar asked,
his left arm dangling in its sling.
"I'm a bit worried about what Mr. Bakomoto said
last night." Flick laughed. "Which part? 'You'll never play in this town again'?
'I invested thousands in you'? Or was it the part where he started screaming
obscenities and chased us halfway around the Battledome at swordpoint?"
"Take your pick."
Alistar sighed. "So it really was Umbriel all
along, wasn't it?"
"I'm afraid so," May said. "I saw her controlling
the Monocerous at the Battledome." Flick pounded his fist against the coffee
table. "Blast! What are we going to do without a drummer?"
"I'm sure we'll figure something out. I could
always rig something up with a synthesiser..."
Alistar shook his head. "It's just not going
to be the same without Umbriel. In a way I'm kind of sad she's gone."
"Me too," said May dejectedly. "I really wish
she weren't the culprit in all this. I'm going to miss her."
Flick nodded. "Without her, The Crows just don't
seem like The Crows anymore. I feel more like a bluebird."
"We're all a little blue, Flick," Alistar lamented.
"But what choice did we have? It was either her or us. Right?"
"Yeah," agreed May. "But still..." She sighed.
"I wonder where she is right now?"
"Did you feel something just now?"
Outside the door, Smith and Patterson stood guard.
"You mean like a sort of... chill?"
Both turned and looked down the hall. Something
was amiss. They couldn't see the end of the corridor. It was shrouded in darkness.
The darkness was getting closer. A pair of green
eyes could be made out staring from the gloom.
"That can't be good."
As the darkness drew near, Patterson pulled out
his Rainbow Guns.
"I have orders not to allow you to pass, Umbriel,"
he said. "Go back!"
The green eyes only narrowed. The darkness continued
to advance. Patterson fired. The bolts of light disappeared into the darkness.
There was an evil laugh.
The blasts came flying back, erupting into flashes
as they pounded the two Gelerts and sent them flying. They slammed against the
wall and slid to the floor.
"That takes care of those two for a while.
And now, to business."
A dark hand reached for the door.
To be continued...