In The Shadows Prologue

Disclaimer: I don't own Okage: Shadow King, I wish I did, but I don't.

Ashley was ready to kill her. Ready to take a gun up to her little head. Ready to pull the trigger and not regret it. Ready to…

"Look Ashley! I got straight "A"s for the twenty-first time in a row! So what did you get on your report card?" Megumi bounced up and down like a basketball.

Ashley stared at her report card, two "A"s, one "B", three "C"s, and two "D"s.

"I passed." Ashley sighed nonchalantly stuffing her report card into her pocket hopping Megan wouldn't notice. But, she did.

Megumi reached into her pocket and pulled out the report card. She studied it with fervor. Finally she handed it back to Ashley.

"You know, I offered to tutor you but you said 'no'. So I thought maybe you were doing okay this semester. But it's pretty obvious you need help. Ashley, you need to understand the importance of good grades. Colleges are drawn toward…"

Here we go again. Ashley thought to herself. Her speech about college. I don't care about college! I don't want to even think about it! I've got two more years to worry about college! Some days I wish she'd just disappear.

"Meg, honey, did it ever dawn on you that we're sophomores?" Ashley interrupted.

"Yes…" Meg knew where this was going.

"And did it ever dawn on you I have two more years to improve my grades?"

"Yes but…"

"So let me worry about my grades. You can fret all you want over yours but don't bug me about mine until next year."

"Alright." Meg began to pout.

Ashley and Meg pushed open the double doors in the school lobby and walked outside.

The pair couldn't be any more different if they tried. Meg was the scholarly type. She was always worried about her grades and spent most of her nights doing homework and studying. Ashley was the laid-back type. She could care less about her grades as long as she passed. Her nights were spent watching anime and reading Manga.

Meg was tiny. Ashley was an Amazon. Meg had long brunette hair she kept in a ponytail most the time. Ashley had neck length tan-colored hair, but it being Ashley the color could change next week. Meg was an Okage fan girl. Ashley was not.

No one would ever guess the two were best friends.

Ashley and Meg began walking down the lonely road to Ashley's house. Meg's mom would pick her up after work so instead of sitting in the school Meg would go with Ashley. It was the same day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Nothing ever changed.

"Ash, did you get my message last night?" Meg asked.

"No. I wasn't home until after eleven." Ashley answered.

"I'll tell you now. Remember those people we met last year at the anime convention that live in California?"

"Yeah."

"They sent me a picture of what they dressed up as for the one by them. It seems my Okageness wore off on them." Meg promptly pulled a picture out of her pocket. On it were six people dressed up as characters from Okage: Shadow King.

"Wow! That's pretty sweet!" Ashley smiled looking at the picture.

"They've even got a Stan attached to Ari's back. It probably took them a long time to make him." Meg grinned.

"It's just a bunch of flimsy cardboard. It really isn't that hard to make."

"The King of Darkness is a pile of cardboard? I knew it."

Ashley and Meg burst out laughing. After all it was just a joke. No harm could come from it. Stan wasn't a real person…right?

Standing in a dimly lit corner Stan was fuming.

Cardboard?

He had been called a lot of stupid names in his life. But flimsy cardboard? This was going too far.

Stan had been spying on the girls for some time now. He had to capture one of them if he was going to stop his arch nemesis. Why didn't he kill him when he had the chance?

He had been leaning toward the tall girl. But now the little midget had just made him angry. It was then he decided.

He'd kidnap her.

Ashley started to walk again when all of a sudden a loud scream pierced the air.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Ashley whirled around to see a devious looking man holding onto Meg with his right arm, hand over her mouth.

"I'm sorry to break up the conversation but I'll be needing this pathetic mortal for the time being." He sneered.

"Who…" Ashley gasped in fear.

"I'll never tell you my name you worthless human, you're too low of a being for me to even bother…"

"STANLEY HIHAT TRINIDAD XIV!"

Ashley looked over to see Meg gasping for air.

"His name is Stan. Ashley it's Stan." Meg was terrified.

"Well, well, well. It seems the little one is smarter than I thought. Looks like I'll just have to shut you up." Stan snapped his fingers and Meg went limp.

"Say goodbye to your friend Ashley because you'll never see her again! HA HA HA HA!" Stan cackled villainously.

Ashley watched in horror as Stan began to sink into the shadows taking Meg along with him. Ashley lunged at Stan but it was too late. She smashed into the concrete where Stan had just been standing a minute earlier.

"This can't be happening. This just can't be happening." Ashley muttered to herself. "Stan's not real. He can't be real. This is all a dream. A horrible nightmare."

"No, my dear, this is all real."

Ashley turned around. But there was no one there!

"Don't go looking for me. You won't be able to see me, not yet anyway."

"Who are you? And what the heck just happened?" Ashley cried.

"I cannot tell you my name just yet. You're not ready to know. As for your friend, she is in grave danger. You must listen to me and ask no questions."

Ashley nodded.

"Now Ashley, the adventure your about to embark on will show you the greatest secret of the world. And if you are fast enough you might be able to stop Stan and save your friend. You must be willing to risk your life. And your eternal soul."

"I am." Ashley bit her lip.

"Good. Now tell me Ashley, are you afraid of shadows?"

Author's Note: I hope you like it. I promise it gets better when they go to Okage world. All of your favorites will be there. So please keep reading and write some reviews (no flaming please, that makes me very sad).