by Richard Ryley

Pixie awoke, sitting bolt upright, screaming as she flailed about
in the darkness. For a few terrifying moments, she could not place
where she was. She was in a damp cave, dimly lit by the moonlight, the
sound of rain pattering on the stone outside. There was a warm body
next to her, a small boy, Genki.

Pixie leaned forward, resting her face in her hands as she
re-oriented herself with the here and now. The dream had been so
vivid. The dream was always vivid. Her Master, the things he had done
to her, the beatings, the pain, the humiliation...

"Are you okay?"

Pixie looked up, to see Genki staring at her. He looked groggy,
half asleep, but obviously concerned. Pixie absently rubbed her ankle.
"No, my ankle was just bothering me, that's all." It still throbbed, a

"Are you sure? I thought I heard you scream."

Pixie looked away from him. This human boy could be so annoying
at times. He just couldn't seem to mind his own business. If he and
his friends hadn't gotten cornered by the Scaled Jells, they wouldn't
even be in this mess.

Genki leaned back. "You had a bad dream, I bet. I've had some
real bad ones, myself. I remember a few months ago, I dreamed that I
was back home, and the Monster World and everything that had happened
to me was just a dream. I was so scared..."

Pixie looked up at him. "'Monster World'?"

"Oh, that's right, you don't know, do you?" Genki grinned. "I'm
not from your world. I was called here, by a Mystery Disk. Where I
come from, there are no monsters. But there's this game, the Monster
Game, and I'm the Champ." He pointed to himself, smiling proudly. "I'm
the Monster Champ, yep, that's me!"

"So I'm just a character in some game, then?"

Genki's smile faded. "Well, no... I mean, I'm here, and you're
all real and all that. I mean, that's what I was so scared of, that I
had lost Mocchi and Holly and all of them forever..."

Pixie stared at him for a moment. "You are a strange child." She
finally said.

"Aw, I don't care if you believe me. The thing is, I'm here now,
and I wouldn't wanna be anywhere else. I mean, I'd like to see my
family again and all, but I've got my friends here, too."

They fell silent, Genki staring out at the rain, Pixie lost in
her own thoughts. Genki finally laid back down again. "We're kinda
alike in a way. I can never go home again. Even if I wanted to, I
don't know how. I guess you're kinda like that, too."

There was another long silence. "I don't want to go back home."
Pixie said, quietly. "There's nothing for me there."

"Well, even if Moo would take you back, you shouldn't want to go
back with him. He's a baddie, and he hurts people."

Pixie wiped at her eye. "I wasn't talking about Moo, child." She
said. "Forget it."

Genki rolled over and looked at her. "Oh. I'm sorry. You meant...
before... when you were..."

"... Owned by humans, yes." Pixie's voice was cold.

"I'm sorry."

"What have you got to be sorry about?" Pixie asked him. "You
weren't there. You don't even..." She sighed. "You don't even WANT to
know what I went through."

"But I can see what it's done to you!" Genki sat up. "That's what
I'm sorry about, that they hurt you so much! That's just WRONG, and I
won't stand for it. If I had those people here..." Genki scowled, his
rage only barely contained. "No one should EVER beat another person,
even if that person is a monster..."

"You hit me," Pixie said, almost casually.

"Well, I know I shouldn't have. But that was different," Genki
said. "You could defend yourself. You could hit back. And you DID. To
beat someone who's defenseless, though, to... to HURT them like

Pixie stared at him for a moment, while he fell silent. Then she
sighed. "Look Genki. The world's just not as simple as you think it
is. I appreciate your... your kindness, but... well, you just have no
idea what humans are capable of."

"Not all humans," Genki said, a little defensively. "And you
know, monsters are capable of hurting people, too..."

"Yeah, Genki... I know."

Genki studied her for a moment, and then smiled. "It'll be okay.
We'll unlock the Phoenix, and it'll turn all the baddies into goodies
again. And maybe it'll make the bad humans turn good, too. And if it
doesn't... well... we'll think of something."

Pixie shook her head. "Let's just get some sleep, Genki. The
Jells will be looking for us again in the morning."

Genki laid back down, and Pixie laid down as well, with her back
to him. She stared at the stone wall of the cave for a long time, then
finally pulled her knees up to her chest, and wrapped her arms around

*This is all you're good for,* her Master had said. In the years
that had followed, she had built an empire, with Moo's help. The
humans that had enslaved her had been her slaves, and she had won the
fear and respect of her underlings. She was happy... except when the
dreams came.

Now, she had given it all up. For what? A little boy, and his
dreams? He could never defeat Moo. He was too trusting, too naive, too
idealistic. She was a fool to believe in him.

And he was a fool to believe in her...

*This is all you're good for.* Pixie drew her arms tighter around
herself. "Why did the Ancients make me look like this?"

"It doesn't matter what you look like on the outside," Genki
said. "All that's important is who you are on the inside."

Pixie turned to look at him, her cheeks burning with
embarassment. She hadn't even realized she'd spoken out loud. But
Genki was still laying there, with his back to her, as if he was still

Pixie turned back towards the stone wall, and laid there, in
silence. After a moment, she began to feel a smile creeping onto her
face. It had been a long, long time since she'd last smiled. She hoped
it would not be as long the next time.

"Good night, Genki."

"Good night, Pixie. Pleasant dreams."