Disclaimer: Unfortunately I don't own anything to do with Monster rancher apart from my own characters (hmph, which aren't worth anything!).


A/N: This is only the prologue. Even though Genki and the others aren't in it, they most definitely will be in the rest of the story. Although there are original characters in this fanfic it isn't centered around them.
BTW, this story doesn't exactly follow what happens in the animé. For example, Durahan has turned traitor to Moo, plus he has a brother Vesuvius (Durahan/Dragon)
Pairings:
Genki/Holly 4eva!
Hare/??
Tiger/??
Pixie/Big Blue

THE PHOENIX KEY


In The Hands Of An Angel

The Key Shall Turn

The Door Shall Be Unlocked

And The Strength Of Five

Shall Bring Forth The Phoenix




Prologue

Alone.

The young Hare hybrid continued to stare forlorn across the shimmering moonlit lake. By now she had lost track of the time, but that didn't matter. Nothing really mattered anymore. Why should it? The one thing that she counted on, the one thing that she had to survive had been taken away from her in one night.

Alone. I don't want to be alone.

Moonlite struck the silvery-coloured Hare's coat as she curled up against the old willow tree, hugging her knees to her chest. Flashes of the terrible battle which had occurred just hours before swarmed her mind. Sickening memories of her friends battling those shadowed creatures simply refused to leave her alone. She saw the human, her human, locked in battle with a heavily armoured humanoid monster

What was his name? She struggled to remember. Closing her eyes she saw the battle as if she were there again.
The armoured monster now stood in the centre of her old village, sword raised high in the air as he announced his triumphant victory.

His namewhat was his name General Vesuvius. She shivered as she rememberd that awful name.

In her minds eye she replayed the battle between her human father and the evil General. She had been forced to watch as Vesuvius struck down her friends and fellow villagers and burn her home to cinders. She had seen her human foster father struck down by the monster who dared to call himself a 'hero of war'.

Mind spinning, the young Hare, North, was almost positive she would throw up. Her throat was beginning to burn and her eyes were watering as the gruesome, bloodstained images of her friends and family continued to plague her vision. Her stomach lurched once more and she doubled over coughing up blood and vomit.

After the shock had worn off, the little rabbit slowly got to her feet and left the cover of the willow's drooping branches for a long refreshing drink. It wasn't until she lifted her head from the shimmering cool lake that she realised it had begun to rain. The sky had lost its calming, serene feel to it. Thunderous looking clouds were slowly beginning to form, blocking the young Hare from the reassuring glow of the moon.

Shivering a little, she crawled back to her shelter under the protective willow tree where she managed to cry herself to sleep.

*******


Half an hour later the young Hare sat bolt upright, ears straining to hear through the pitter-patter of the rain on the lake's silvery surface. She could have sworn she had heard her name being called. Or maybe it had just been a sweet dream...

But then, once again the gruff, fairly familiar voice rang out through the land. Common sense instantly told her that it was just the rain, and nothing more. However, her young curious mind won over, and she set off in search for the owner of the mysterious voice.

Slowly and cautiously the young female left her shelter and made her way passed the lake. She continued to follow the voice until she reached some ruins covered in black ashes. She felt her heart sink to her feet as she realised that it had once been her village's old shrine.

The young Hare hybrid pushed passed the rubble and various lost disks until she found the owner of the voice.
Her eyes widened in delight as she recognised the old Tiger/Golem crossbreed standing in the very centre of the old shrine.
The elderly wolf attempted to move towards the young rabbit, however, his severe battle wounds were beginning to drag him down. The young hare yelped in fright as she saw her friend collapse on the cold hard ground beneath.

She raced to his side begging and pleading for him to stand up. The old Rock Hound lifted his head and gazed at her, love shining in his dull eyes. You're a brave one, kid. The young Hare shook her silvery, soft head and whimpered a muffled reply. The Rock Hound smiled gently. I know I can entrust you with this. He motioned towards a small rusty key which was tied to his limp paw.

The little rabbit glanced at it then back to the Rock Hound with a questioning expression. W-what is it? She asked, struggling to keep her voice from breaking. He knew the old Rock hound hated it when she began her blubbering.

The Rock Hound smiled again. The answer will find you, don't worry. But for now I need you to promise that you will keep it safe.

The little rabbit let her silvery ears droop over her face. Why can't we both keep it safe? She whispered sulkily.

Don't worry, kid. You have enough power to keep it safeand yourself. Gritting his teeth, he struggled to fight the searing pain. It was then that the young rabbit noticed the great, red, gash in his rocky side. North turned pale as she saw the blood, his life force, flowing from the large wound.

The Rock hound saw her large blue eyes, full of fear, and smiled reassuringly. I'll see you soon, kid.
The little Hare curled up against him, laying her head on his long, dark mane.
The Rock Hound closed his eyes and let the white hot pain wash over him. I promise.


Outside the shrine, the rain was getting heavier. The voices of the General's army could still be heard over the howling winds and thunderclaps. The little Hare hybrid and the old Rock Hound lay in the centre of the shrine, one waiting for morning, the other awaiting peace.

********

The infant Hare hybrid opened her eyes, welcoming the light the morning had to give. Groggily, she felt around for the warmth of the Rock Hound's body. But all she found was a rusty key tied to the root of a lost disk.

The salty tears threatened her once more, however she forced them away with all the strength she had left. Now she was alone, and she'd have to get stronger. Fighting for revenge was her main goal and she'd made an oathe to never give up. She would find a way to defeat General Vesuvius and the entire evil army. She could never have known that the being she was actually challenging was beyond Vesuvius; beyond any power she or anyone else had ever known. But her young innoccent mind still believed she could handle anything.


With these new thoughts and goals, the young Hare tied the rusty key around her wrist, said her farewells and left the only home she had ever known.

~*~*~*~

(AN: Around 5 years later. Genki & co. are in the middle of their quest.)


The ex-baddie, General Durahan, stood alone at the edge of the cliff. His once piercing red eyes, which had struck fear into the hearts of millions, were now dull and lifeless. He began feeling an unfamiliar sensation in his chest. It wasn't any kind of physical pain. It was more a feeling of hurt and betrayal. And when he thought about it, that made sense. He had been betrayed; betrayed by his 'loyal' troops, betrayed by Lilim, and most importantly, he had been betrayed by his own brother.

He had never realised how twisted and evil everyone had became under Muu's reign. Many of Muu's baddies weren't evil on the inside. Pixie and Big Blue were prime examples.

However, Lilim and Vesuvius, his brother, always had a rather disturbing darkness lurking in their souls, not unlike Master Muu's. Durahan continued to stare into the fiery setting sun on the far horizon. He knew Muu's troops would find him eventually. So Durahan would await his fate, for he was too tired to run anymore.

"Traitor!" A voice hollered from behind.

Durahan spun round to find his brother standing only a few feet away from him. Vesuvius glared at him, his menacing red eyes glinting in the light of the sun.

"Traitor." He hissed again. Durahan stood his ground at the edge of the cliff. No matter what, he would never lose his pride.

"Hmm, I'm impressed. You've come to fight your big brother all alone." Durahan smirked.

Vesuvius drew his sword and stepped forward, ready for battle. "You're no brother of mine." Sword held high above his head, the red dragon knight leapt high into the air, preparing Durahan's killing blow. Durahan swiftly leapt out of the way and Vesuvius' blade came crashing down on the rocky ground. Durahan glanced at the immense vertical drop behind him, and grit his teeth nervously.

He turned back to face his brother, just in time to see a razor-sharp edged shield spinning towards him. Ducking and rolling to the side in the nick of time, Durahan managed to land a safe distance away from Vesuvius.

"What's wrong with you! I know you're stronger than this Durahan! Fight!!" Vesuvius roared, laughing like a mad-man. "I thought you loved the blood of others on your hands!"

Durahan shook his head, as he crouched on one knee. "I don't wish to fight you."

Vesuvius smirked as he kicked the dust up in Durahan's face. "This isn't a fairytale my dear brother. You get no wishes, so fight! You may strike me down, but don't dare play me the fool and say you don't want to fight!"

Durahan sighed softly and slowly rose to his feet. Leaning forward he unsheathed his own shining sword.

Vesuvius looked directly into his eyes and smiled sweetly, showing off his yellowing razor-sharp fangs. "You'd better be as good as they say you are, or you'll be sorry."

Durahan kept his eyes steady on the sun behind Vesuvius. "I'm already sorry. Sorry I didn't betray Muu sooner."

Enraged, Vesuvius leapt into battle, gleaming sword held high above his head. Durahan skilfully ducked out of the way, and spun around in an attempt to catch Vesuvius with his back turned. However, the red knight was faster than he had originally thought. Vesuvius spun around in mid flight and threw his sword towards Durahan's gut. In a flash Durahan had somersaulted over his head, spun round, and kicked Vesuvius sharp in the back of his knee, sending him tumbling forward.

Vesuvius glanced back at Durahan, smiling nervously. "Hmm, you are strong."
"That's what they say." Durahan panted.

Vesuvius quickly got to his feet. "Well it doesn't matter anyway. A lot of your fancy moves aren't going to defeat me. You'll have to try a lot harder than that Durahan!"

Durahan simply smirked at him which seemed to enrage Vesuvius even more. The Dragon Knight charged at him, swinging the magnificent sword over his head and roaring at the top of his lungs. Durahan didn't budge. Vesuvius was but a couple of feet away from him, already bringing his heavy blade down upon the silver knight.

Durahan knew his brother's every move and skilfully leapt into the air, within an inch of the blade, and somersaulted over his head. Vesuvius's sword came crashing down on the cliff causing small rocks and stones to go flying in all directions.

Durahan watched the collapsed form of his brother lying on the ground infront of him. Suddenly, he felt pity seep into his heart. Durahan sighed softly and slowly extended his hand to Vesuvius.

His face covered by shadow, Vesuvius glanced at Durahan's extended hand and grinned evilly. With fake innocence painted on his face, Vesuvius glanced up at his brother. "Even though I tried to destroy you...you still forgive me?" Vesuvius said using a softer tone of voice. Taking Durahan's hand he slowly got to his feet.

"Of course. You are my brother. I could never destroy you." Durahan said softly, placing his hand on his younger brother's shoulder. "Everyone has good inside them." Durahan smiled compassionately.

Vesuvius glanced at Durahan's hand resting on his shoulder. "It's a shame, brother." Vesuvius placed his own hand on top of Durahan's. "We never did have much in common."

Durahan's eyes widened as he recognised the black spark returned in Vesuvius's eyes. As he gazed into his brother's face, all he could see was pure hatred and finally Durahan realised that this was the way Vesuvius would always be. He had been completely possessed by evil; completely possessed by Muu.

In a flash Vesuvius grabbed Durahan's arm and thrown him full force over the edge of the cliff.

Smiling to himself, Vesuvius stood triumphantly at the edge of the cliff and watched Durahan fall to his death.
"Survival of the fittest my dear brother. You lose."

~*~*~*~

If you have any comments, good or bad, please email me (aves76@hotmail.com). Oh yeah, and if anyone hasn't seen the second series of Monster Rancher and wanna know who the hell General Durahan is, just ask me.
Seeya! ^.~