Disclaimer~ don't own Monster Rancher etc, etc. The characters, however, do belong to me, so hands off! :p

THE PHOENIX KEY

CHAPTER ONE

After a long period of travelling over ruff terrain, camping out under the stars and fighting off numerous baddie troops, the searchers had made it to Danton, a large village which held it's own monster tournament every year in spring. The group had decided to stick around for a while for one main reason. To find the legendary group named 'The Rebel Force'.

"Genki, over there!" Hare called from the top of the hill. The boisterous youth raced up the hill towards him, Mocchi clinging to his backpack.
"Wow, would you look at the size of that thing." Genki panted, eyes wide with wonder, "It's huge!"
"Really big, chi!"

Suezo glared at the small group on top of the hill, "Would you three tell me what you see already!?!" Genki grinned down at the oversized eyeball, "You're the one with the perfect sight, Suezo. Come see for yourself!"
The remaining searchers clambered up the steep hill towards the young boy and the two monsters.

Holly's eyes immediately lit up at the very sight, "Danton's coliseumit's magnificent!"
Hare grinned, rubbing his hands together, "Yeah! Just think of the prize money!!"
Tiger snorted in disgust, "Don't get your hopes up, Hare. We're too late to enter."
Hare laughed a little nervously, "Who said I'd ever want to enter that tournament." Tiger raised his eyebrows in suspicion as he watched the humanoid rabbit race down the hill after Genki and Mocchi.
"And what was that supposed to mean?" Tiger growled.
"Golem not know." The rock giant shrugged.

Holly silently watched the marble coliseum on the horizon line. She felt that familiar warmth against her chest. The magic stone was now glowing brightly in her hand. The phoenix seemed to point directly at the coliseum.
"I wonder if"
"Holly!! Aren't you coming?!" Genki called from the bottom of the hill. Holly quickly slipped the stone behind her shirt and carried on down the hill towards her friends.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The grand marble coliseum was alive with the cheering and applause of the surrounding people. High upon the large viewing platforms, two announcers, a Bajarl and Usaba, welcomed the crowds.

Usaba: Well it certainly looks like a big turn out for the final round of this years tournament, ay Bajarl?!
Bajarl: That's right Usaba. In each team only two contestants are left standing! Ha, ha, ha!
Usaba: Yes that's right people! On the first team we have our local, and running champs for three years straight, Jaggernaut and Bluuuuuuuuee KATO!

The crowd immediately went wild at the mere mention of the two famous champions.

Bajarl: And on the second team we have our two newcomers this year! Celious and North!!

The crowd wasn't too enthusiastic with their cheering this time, making it painfully clear whose side they were rooting for. At the front of the stands, five monsters watched the surrounding arena, packed with both humans and monsters alike. At the front of the group stood an odd looking female Hare hybrid.
"Hmm, how flattering." She grinned mischievously, "Let's just wait and see who they'll be cheering for after I win the match."
She continued to watch as both Jaggernaut and Blue Kato took their positions in the centre of the arena.


The Danton tournament was no ordinary competition. The contest would continue over three weeks, in which time two Monsters from each team would do battle in separate arenas. The winner of the battle was the one left alive. It was a cruel contest where most monsters were forced into it by greedy masters, hungry for the grand prize money.

The bustling crowds cheered again as Celious and North made an appearance in the ring. Looking around the enormous arena, the female Hare hybrid swallowed a little nervously.
"This place is, eh, kinda bigwouldn't you say?" She stuttered, inching a little closer to the enormous Centaur crossbreed.
"Yes, rather breath-taking isn't it?" Celious smiled down at her.
North sweatdropped, "You can say that againhey, are you nervous?"
Celious raised his eyebrow in amusement, "You said there was nothing to be afraid of, and I believe you."
North glared at him, "Ha, ha! You know very well that I was putting on a show back there!" She admitted, sourly.
"Why, my dear. I had no idea."

The Hare Hybrid watched the Centaur for a moment. He was the essence of calm. How could she ever match up to someone like him? These thoughts were suddenly shattered by the whiny tone of the monsters before them.
"Oh little girlie." The Blue Kato sang in a mocking tone of voice. "So you're my opponent, ha! This'll be quick."

Celious quickly shot North a warning glance and whispered, "Don't let your anger control your actions. You must fight with a clear head." North nodded narrowing her eyes and bringing her fists forward in defense. Blue Kato was a little taken aback as he saw her now unsheathed claws; sharpened blades gleaming in the light.
Snarling, the four opponents leapt into heated battle.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Genki's eyes widened in shock as he watched the battle from the white marble balcony. So far the crimson eyed Jaggernaut had easily been defeated by the gallant Celious. His Mystery Disk had been removed and now the only two monsters left fighting were Blue Kato and the mysterious Hare hybrid. Genki had never seen such speed before. The two were moving so fast so that all he could make out was a silvery, blue blur darting across the arena floor.


Suddenly North was caught off by Blue Kato's fist flying into her chest. The crowd gasped as the power of his punch threw her into the solid marble wall. North fell to her knees, gasping for air.


"Arg! I can't watch" Suezo whined, burrowing himself in Holly's stomach. "Tell me when it's over."

Genki kept his clear brown eyes trained on the silver furred rabbit. Furrowing his dark eyebrows, he swore that he could see a light coming from the green tie around her wrist. Was he imagining things? Or was he simply going crazy? Nevertheless, he kept his watch on her.


North sweated as the smirk on the Blue Kato's face increased. Slowly he began to advance on her, grinning from ear to ear.
"Looks like the little girlie isn't so tough after all." He smirked, sharp talons at the ready.
Growling, the Hare hybrid leapt into the air in a ball of bright light. The Blue Kato spun around, eyes wide with shock at her unexpected move. Before North had even landed, she had called out her attack, sending bolts of powerful white lighting charging towards him.
When the blinding bright light finally faded away, only a lone lost disk was left in the centre of the arena.

The surrounding crowd's cheering was now ear-splitting. North was bent on one knee, panting heavily. Genki watched as two more monsters, an Earedmew and a Mustardy, raced to meet her in the centre of the arena.

Holly shivered a little, leaning against Golem's leg for support, "Genki, I think we should leave now." She said in a small voice. The young girl had found the whole tournament to be very unsettling. To her there just didn't seem any point in destroying someone for money.

Hare nodded a little shakily, "Yeah. That was a bit too much to take."
Suezo grumbled, "Especially before dinner time."
"Golem, not like this tournament. Fighting bad. Makes no sense." Holly sighed heavily, leading the group through the arched doorway and away from the coliseum.

Genki, however, stayed pinned against the balcony, his eyes still focused on the Hare hybrid. Tiger watched the young boy's face with concern.
"Genki. You alright kid?"
There was a short silence before Genki turned to the lupine monster with his usual cheerful grin. "Ha! Don't worry Tiger, I'm fine. C'mon, let's catch up!" With that, the young boy turned on his heel and raced after the other Searchers.
Tiger furrowed his brow in suspicion. He never understood why Genki always covered up what he was feeling with a simple smile. However, the blue wolf mused, he couldn't really object. Shaking his head, Tiger followed after the young human.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


The tavern was busier than usual, filled to the brim with drunken monsters and humans. The Searchers had come in hope of a place to stay for the night. However, the tavern had been booked for weeks because of the grand tournament. Holly shivered, not able to understand why so many people would want to see monsters destroy each other.

Holly had decided, upon both Suezo and Mocchi's whining, that they would stay for something to eat. So the small group finally settled by the window, silently watching people go by. Each member of the group was trying to keep their minds focused on the reason they had come to the village. 'The Rebel Force'. But from what they had just witnessed, it was proving a hard task.

However, a silvery white flash caught the corner of Hare's eye. Turning around, the humanoid rabbit immediately recognised the small band of monsters at the back of the room.

"Hey, aren't they the rebels Pixie and Big Blue told us about?" He whispered to no one in particular. Genki glanced over at the table in the far corner of the bar. There sat seven rather ruff looking characters engrossed in a game of poker.

The first three monsters he focused on were the meanest looking of the bunch and seemed to be together. A stubborn looking Trojan was currently dealing out the cards to the other six. He seemed to be the leader of his group. On his right side was a sly looking Salamander. Genki glanced to the left side of the centaur hybrid. There sat the hellish looking Skull Capped. He swallowed nervously. Skull Capped always sent shivers down his spine.
Genki quickly turned his attention to the other four monsters. His eyes widened as he matched the description Pixie had given them of 'The Rebel Force' to the four monsters who were sitting across from the Trojan's 'posse'.

In the middle sat a fierce looking Terror Dog with burning red eyes, who was currently watching the Trojan deal the cards very carefully. He was obviously an untrusting character and the eldest of the second group. He seemed to fit Pixie's description perfectly. As did the other three monsters beside him. First the playful young Earedmew and the crafty looking Mustardy. Finally his eyes settled down on the familiar female Hare hybrid at the edge of the table.
Ha! I knew it was her. Hmm, North ay? Genki grinned happily to himself. But where are the other two? He wondered, remembering how Pixie had given the searchers six descriptions.

"Do you really think that's them Genki?" Holly whispered in his ear as she studied the four gambling monsters.
Hare looked unimpressed, "Great, all this time we've been searching for a few money crazed gamblers?" Arms crossed, he slumped back into his chair, "Pretty pathetic if you ask me."
Tiger snarled. "Huh. You're one to talk!"
Hare sweatdropped and grinned. "Heh-heh. Well ahhthat's beside the point!"

Suezo hopped down from his stool, glancing back at the others. "Well? Are you guys gonna sit around and argue all night, or are we gonna get this over and done with?!"
Holly smiled, "That's a first Suezo. You're not usually the one who gives the pep talk."
Suezo frowned at her, "I just wanna get this over with so we can get onto dinner!" and with that the eyeball began hopping over to the table followed closely by Genki and Hare.

Holly and Mocchi glanced back at Tiger, "Aren't you coming Tiger?" Holly asked quietly.
Tiger stared down at the Tavern's floor with an unreadable expression, "Uh, no. I'll stay here. You go ahead with Genki."
Sensing that Tiger didn't want to explain anything, Holly simply nodded and followed the others. Mocchi however, leapt beside him and slung his little pink flabby arm over the blue wolf's neck. "Don't worry Tiger, chi. Mocchi stay and keep you company!" He giggled, and hugged the wolf affectionately.
Tiger growled and pulled away, his face now hidden in the dark shadows.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

North stretched and sighed triumphantly. "Well gentlemen, it was a really nice game. But now, I bid you farewell." The three furious monsters got up from their seats, raging about their defeat. The second they'd left, the Mustardy and the Hare hybrid pulled their eyelids down and stuck out their tongues.
"Ha! Ha! What losers! That Salamander don't know anything 'bout cheating! Heh, heh!" The Mustardy laughed, high-fiving the little Earedmew beside him. "Yeah did you see their faces?! I thought Trojan was gonna erupt!" The young monster gave a childish chuckle. Even the Terror dog seemed pretty smug about their triumph.

Eyes sparkling and grinning from ear to ear, North quickly scooped all the money into a little leather pouch, "Goodbye losers, hellooo money!"

"Ahem, excuse memam?" Came a small voice.

The four monsters looked up at the little group addressing them. Jeice (the Mustardy) squinted his eyes at Genki, "Whoa, kid you're so pink it hurts to look at you! What do ya want?" The searchers had suddenly lost their nerve. Even Genki looked a little embarrassed. "Well I uhh, was wondering, umm, uhhhh" Genki began nervously scratching the back of his head.

The Hare hybrid had begun drumming her fingers on the table impatiently, "Listen kid, do we know you?"
"Eh, no but." Holly tried to reply.
"Do you know us?"
"Not really but,"
"Are you looking for a game of poker?" Jeice asked equally as bored as the Hare hybrid beside him.
"Well I," Hare was immediately cut off by Suezo who leapt forward to speak.
"We, as you may have heard, are 'the Searchers'." The eyeball announced proudly. That seemed to waken Genki up.
"Yeah, and we've been looking for the leader of 'The Rebel Force'." He said, looking directly at North.

The female Hare raised her eyebrow, "You meanme?" The four monsters suddenly began laughing, "Listen kid, I dunno what wacko told you that, but I ain't no hero."
Jeice picked up the pouch of golds and got to his feet, "Go back to your mommy and daddy. It's way past your bedtime kids!" And with that, the small group of monsters followed the Mustardy to the tavern door.

Suezo and Hare stood rooted to the spot, fuming. "How rude can you get!" Hare muttered beneath his breath.
"Yeah, what a lousy bunch. C'mon Genki, let's go get somethin' to eat." Suezo said, hopping back to the table where Mocchi and Tiger still waited.

Tiger and Mocchi looked up at the group expectantly. "Well, what happened?" Tiger asked.
The group sat down dejectedly. "Nothing happened." Holly sighed, clutching her magic stone.

She hadn't realised how excited she had been when they had laid eyes on the four gambling monsters. For once it had actually felt like they were getting somewhere. But they were wrong. They hadn't found the famous 'Rebel Force'.
Holly looked up at her friends. They looked just as blue as she was. Were they all beginning to lose hope? Even she found it hard to believe the prospect of finding the other rebelsmaybe even the Phoenix.

No. We can't give up because Genki's here. She smiled, And he'll never let us give up.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Piercing red eyes studied the vast valley below, dark cape billowing in the breeze. General Vesuvius grinned wickedly, ~This should be an easy mission. Sorceror will take care of those medeling searchers.~ Turning on his heel, the giant warrior marched towards the Iron Bird. ~And I'll get all the credit from our *dear* Master Moo.~

My Character Bios

THE REBEL FORCE


North ~ (Hare/???)
Description: ((Lightning Hare)) Look a lot like Pulsars (hare/tiger) except that their fur is a silvery light shade of blue, and they have no horn. They can be quite fierce in battle because of their speed and razor sharp retractable claws (both Kato traits).

On the outside, the female Hare hybrid is an energetic character who, like Jeice, doesn't take much very seriously. However, on the inside she is seeking revenge for her old village. When she was younger her village and family were destroyed by the Evil General Vesuvius and his army. After that she was on her own until she met up with a cocky young Mustardy and a shy Hare Hound.

Jeice ~ (Zuum/Suezo) = Jeice tends not to take things very seriously. He and North tend to fight a lot, but when it comes down to it they are loyal friends having known each other from the very beginning. (he was kinda based on Jeice from Dragon Ball Z. ALL HAIL JEICE AND THE GINYU FORCE!!......or not. ignore me.)

Aiko ~ Hare Hound (Tiger/Hare) = The female Hare Hound can be rather shy at times, but is an essential part of 'The Rebel Force'. Like Holly, she is the more reasonable side to the group. She also has a thing for the great Tiger Of The Wind, however she keeps her feelings hidden well.

Itchy ~ Earedmew (Mew/Hare) = If North has a sidekick then, Itchy would be the one! The young playful Mew hybrid is always up for a good fight, now matter how young he is!

Terror ~ Terror Dog (Tiger/Monol) = Terror (Known as 'Terror of the Night') is the eldest member of the Rebel Force, not to mention the wisest. This is what probably tics Tiger Of The Wind off!

Celious ~ (Centaur/Tiger) = Honour means everything to Celious. He is a noble monster who wouldn't think twice about giving up his life in order to save his friends.

Ok, so that was awful. :( Please r+r........please?