A Friend In Darkness
All Things Probable 3
A Kim Possible Fanfiction
by Greg Fisk (aka "Slyrr")
Kim Possible is owned/copyrighted by Disney and its affiliates, etc. etc.
This chapter is dedicated to fanfic writer cpneb, wishing him well during his current medical issues,
and wishing him a swift and complete recovery. P.S. - Rhonda says 'Hi'
A Circle Has No Beginning
The Yono Returns
The Yamanouchi School was a rush of activity. Everywhere, students were arming, tying their black belts in place and donning masks. A large clutch of ninja were organized in the courtyard, standing in rigid, neat rows. Master Sensei stood at the head of them, giving out instructions and orders.
Grimm and Ron had left hours ago and night had fallen. Kim had been unable to contact Ron by communicator, and she was worried. It was only Wade's technical skills that allowed him to get through the Ultra-Atmospheric Jammer's interference, but he had been unable to link her up with Ron. But she stood a short distance apart from the assembled Yamanouchi students, and continued trying to contact him periodically.
There was a shout from across the courtyard that rose above the other sounds and Kim looked to see a pair of ninja running in through the gates. They bowed to Sensei, and one of them spoke, his voice sounding slightly breathless through his hood. 'I bring news, Master Sensei. Our scouts have seen an army coming up the trail, heading towards the school.'
'Who leads them?' said Master Sensei, though his tone of voice seemed to indicate that he already knew.
'It is Monkey Fist.' the ninja answered, and Kim felt her hand clenching. 'Unless they change their pace, they will be here in less than half an hour.'
Sensei nodded, and the scouts joined the other assembled ninja. 'An hour of destiny swiftly approaches.' said Sensei, his deep voice rising. 'This time, we stand and fight - not only in defense of our school. We fight to deliver the entire world from domination by evil and darkness. Fear neither - but stand firm and with courage!'
The entire school answered with once voice, which rose in a piercing shout that rang through the night and echoed from the surrounding peaks. 'Hai!'
Kim felt the sound waves of their call ripple through her. There was something infectious about hearing a battle cry from a determined team. Maybe it came from her many years of cheerleading and watching the enthusiasm of the Mad Dogs, but Kim felt a wild desire to lend her own voice to the shout. But if the scouts were right, there wasn't much time left, and she had some things that needed to be taken care of.
Monique tapped her foot restlessly. Kim had rushed her into one of the storage buildings in the sheltered rear courtyard of the Yamanouchi School. It was a modest size building, filled with barrels, gunnysacks and wooden boxes. It had a musty, disused smell. She listened to Kim with a numb feeling of detachment.
'This one is going to be way dangerous.' Kim said. 'The last time you met Monkey Fist he...'
'Threw me off a cliff.' said Monique, shivering. 'Yeah, I kinda remember that.'
'And there are plenty of cliffs around here.' said Kim, her eyes and voice full of concern. 'So I want you to sit this one out. I said I'd make sure nothing happened to you, and right now that means keep you away from Monkey Fist.'
Monique lowered her eyes. 'I want to argue with you.' she said. 'I want to say I'll do something to help. But...' She faltered.
Kim nodded. 'But you know there's nothing you can do.' she said sympathetically. 'You gave Monkey Fist a mean right hook and he didn't even feel it. Please - don't try to take him on again. You've done so much in this caper already. You've proved you're my BFFF a hundred times over. Just wait here until it's over, and if you see Monkey Fist come back here, then clear out as fast as you can.'
Monique shrugged and nodded, still not able to look up at Kim. Sewing Camille Leon into a cloth prison was one thing, but she knew there wasn't anything she could do to Monkey Fist. 'So... what's your plan for beating him?' she said.
Kim ran her hand across her forehead with a short laugh. 'Good comeback.' she said. 'Fact is, I'm not sure either. But I'm going to have a word with Master Sensei to see if I can get some answers. Promise me you'll stay out of sight.'
Monique rolled her eyes. 'Do I have to stay here with him?'
At that moment, Enrique popped out from behind a stack of crates. He whipped a gingham cloth over one of the boxes, and in a flash he laid out a platter with a loaf of bread, two cups, a water skin, and a lit candle. 'Buena suerte!' he said with a broad smile. 'I found several crates with provisions! It may not be the most comfortable of retreats, but at least we are well stored!'
Kim put her hand on Monique's shoulder, smiling faintly. 'Try to make the best of it.' she said, and went out heading back for the main courtyard.
'England may have made a few bad apples like Monkey Fist.' said Enrique, pouring out the water skin into the cups. 'But I cannot fault the words of their Immortal Bard - A loaf of bread, a jug of water, and thou!' He raised his cup and drank.
Monique sighed heavily, sitting warily down on a cask before picking up her own glass and making sure it was only water before taking a sip. After a tense, quiet moment, she spoke. 'Don't you dare try any of that 'this could be our last night on Earth' stuff with me, home-boy!'
Enrique paused in mid-sip. 'You think it might be?' he said. 'That never occurred to me!'
Monique winced, preparing for what was shaping up to be a long night.
Groups of students were moving in teams to various sections of the courtyard when Kim returned. Sensei had only a few people left around him, including Yori, when she approached. 'Master Sensei,' she said. 'I think he's coming for me. I'm not afraid of him - but I am afraid of what he might do to get to me. I think I should...'
Sensei held up his hand to stop her. 'I know what you wish to say, Kim Possible.' he said in his deep, soothing voice. 'You wish to leave the school in an attempt to draw Monkey Fist away and leave Yamanouchi in peace.'
Kim nodded. 'Yeah, pretty much.' she said. 'When the Yono attacked, he tore the school apart. The only reason no one got hurt was because you told the students to evacuate. But now...'
'Now, Kim Possible - there is nowhere safe for them to run.' The ninja master shook his head with a grim smile beneath his beard. 'The entire Earth is under attack by Monkey Fist and his stone soldiers.' he said. 'If we flee this time - where shall we go? To the lowland cities? Those are overrun with golems. To the mountain peaks? How long before we are discovered and captured - or starved out? Yamanouchi is one of the last safe islands of refuge in a world now filled with enemies. Here we shall stay, and we will help to deliver the world from peril - or fall in battle with honor.' Beside him, Yori gave a short nod, her face set and determined.
Kim was impressed and touched by their courage. But she wanted to speak plainly to the ninja master. 'He's got an army of golems in tow.' she said. 'None of the weapons you have here will do anything to stop them. The only thing that might work is the Lotus Blade - and Ron's not here to use it.'
'That is true.' said Sensei, nodding. 'I can only answer by saying this. It was on advice from one whom I trust that the Chosen One left here... with Probable-San.' He ended with a glance towards Toshimiru's dojo.
Rhonda sat in a dorm room, listening to what was happening outside. She sighed. It was too soon. She'd barely been back a full day, and a big battle was shaping up. On the one hand, her time in the spirit world had been spent doing nothing but resting. There was nothing to do there but float around, talk or think. Given that, she should have felt ready for some action.
On the other hand, she had spent much of that 'doing nothing' time doing things that hardly felt like nothing. First there had been the fear of the unknown. Then annoyance at finding herself trapped there with Ron. Then the growing discomfort and pain caused by what Ron called 'bad vibes', and his lessons on how to stop them. There was also the growing misery and despair caused by her infrequent glimpses of Grimm, and always the terrible fear that they would be trapped there forever.
It had certainly not been restful. On the contrary, it had been a spiritual and emotional roller-coaster full of dizzying highs and sickening lows that never seemed to end. Then there was the blissful joy when they had finally been rescued. She had been looking forward to going home and just sleeping for a day or two. Sleep - plain and simple, without fear or worry of any kind. Grimm would understand, and so would Jade. She wanted more than anything just to rest.
But now she was inside enemy territory, and a tremendous battle was looming that she knew she was expected to take part in. She remembered helping Grimm raid Yamanouchi to steal the Lotus Blade just before the mess with Zorpox and the Mega Synaptic Transducer, and wondered if this 'Sensei' guy and his students remembered it. She half expected them to throw her out at any moment. And part of her wouldn't have minded, because she had heard them in the courtyard shouting that Monkey Fist was coming, and she really wasn't anxious to be there when it happened.
Normally she would be helping Monkey Fist with some crazy scheme. As part of Team Probable, she and Grimm had done lots of jobs for him in the past. Finding moldy old scrolls, weird crystal keys, statues or other junk that he had said were essential for his plans to be 'the ultimate monkey master'. But Monkey Fist had helped Maze banish her to the spirit world. Even if he were willing, she didn't want to throw in with him anymore.
If Yamanouchi did throw her out for being Grimm's partner, then her only other option would be to hide somewhere, wait until it was all over and see who won. Without Grimm there, she felt alone and unwanted, just like she'd felt in the spirit world.
She heard the paper door to her room sliding open, and a short man carrying a staff entered. Rhonda glanced once at Chief Sakituya, then looked away again. Rueful trilled softly, looking back and forth between them.
'You should be outside with the others, Katasiistikoowa.' he said. 'Your place is with them.'
'My place is with Grimm.' she said sadly. 'And he's not here. These guys don't need me. No one here even wants me around.'
Sakituya regarded her for a moment. 'You are mistaken, I think.' he said. 'Gentle Paw is always glad to see you - should I bring him in?'
Rhonda yelped, scrabbling backwards. 'You brought that crazy bear with you??' she shrieked. Then she saw the Indian Chief chuckling.
'My apologies.' he said. 'I suppose that was a 'cheap shot'.'
Rhonda put her hands over her head. 'What is wrong with you?' she said. 'You were always like that - even back at camp. Can't you tell that bear scares me to death?'
'I suppose not.' he answered with a smile. 'Just as you cannot seem to tell that Gentle Paw only wishes to be your friend.'
'It doesn't seem like it.' Rhonda said sullenly.
'Many times men refuse to see the truth, and fail to do what they know is right merely because of their perceptions.' he said. Rhonda raised an eyebrow. 'Man in the total sense.' he added. 'I think you will find, if you gave him the chance, that Gentle Paw is very kind and friendly. Just as I think the people outside would be grateful if you joined them for this battle.'
'Not Possible.' said Rhonda. 'The last time we met, it wasn't friendly.'
'Time passes.' said Sakituya. 'Wounds heal. Enemies can become allies.' He slid the door back open and gestured into the night air. 'Challenge the perceptions which bind you, Katasiistikoowa. And you may find that you are stronger than they are.'
Rhonda sighed and got to her feet. Rueful eagerly climbed up her leg and arm and onto her shoulder. She moved slowly to the door. Chief Sakituya patted her shoulder as she passed.
'You are the Bear Priestess, Katasiistsikoowa.' said Sakituya warmly. 'You have not yet fully accepted it - just as you did not fully understand it in the Bear Spirit's hollow. But the realization will come to you in time. Until then, simply do what comes to you... naturally.'
Kim raced across the courtyard towards Toshimiru's dojo. She caught a flutter of light at the top of the short set of stairs leading into the building. A short, diminutive figure was shuffling through the doorway and passing inside. Kim dashed up the stairs in pursuit. 'Hey! Hey!' she shouted.
The Mystical Monkey was crossing the floor of the dojo as she entered in, heading towards the Buddha statue. At her shout, he paused and looked back at her. 'What on your mind, red?' he said in his high, squeaking voice, though there was an almost somber tone to it now.
Kim stared at him. Outside, she could hear the continuing hustle and bustle of running feet and the occasional echoing voice calling out as the Yamanouchi students prepared for battle. 'You're leaving.' she said.
The Mystical Monkey nodded. 'It time for me to go, red.' he said. 'It been fun hanging out wit' you. Good luck.'
'You're going now?' she said. 'Just before the fight starts?'
'You thinking I deserting you.' said the Mystical Monkey, wagging his finger. 'Not so. I already done a lot more for you than I normally do for people in need. Now it time for you to do what you do best.'
Kim shook her head. She was used to being frustrated when the Mystical Monkey was around, and wondered for a moment why she wanted him to stay. 'But I saw you in action.' she said, looking around at the practice dummies, many of which still lay broken on the floor. 'You could totally kick butt!'
'Thank you...' said the Mystical Monkey with a comic bow.
'Then why leave? With your help, Monkey Fist wouldn't stand a chance.' she said, trying to be respectful.
'Oh, I just be in the way.' said the Mystical Monkey with a slow smile. 'You not need me anymore. You got Kim Possible - I hear she pretty tough.'
Kim sighed. Of all the times to be given a pep talk. 'The bad guys coming here are pretty tough too.' said Kim. 'Indestructible golems? Yono-charged Monkey Fist?'
'Odds still even, red.' said the Mystical Monkey. 'Speaking of odd, you got Chosen One. There plenty here going for you.'
Kim sighed, covering her eyes. 'Not Rhonda.' she said. 'She's one of the bad guys. Plus she's a klutz, she's flighty, she's totally unpredictable in a fight...'
'Ooooh!' said the Mystical Monkey, shaking his finger. 'Which Chosen One you talking about, red?'
Kim felt her face flaming. 'Don't... talk like that about Ron!' she said fiercely.
'Just checking.' The Mystical Monkey put up his hands. 'Wanted to make sure you not already forget what you learned on your spiritual journey.'
'I didn't forget.' said Kim. 'How could I?'
'Don't forget then, Chosen One and Chosen One were both in spirit world together.' The Mystical Monkey pursed his lips and stared at her. 'They learn lessons of their own together. And they were both saved together. She not so bad, red. Give her a chance - you might be surprised.'
Kim nodded, but she tried once more. 'You remember what happened the last time the Yono showed up here, right?' she said.
'I remember lots of things.' said the Mystical Monkey. 'But do you remember... that?' and he pointed firmly outside the dojo.
Kim reflexively glanced towards where he was pointing and saw only the bare ground of the courtyard. Even as her eyes darted back, she knew she'd been tricked. The dojo was empty, except for herself. There was no sign of the Mystical Monkey. She sighed, then left the silent dojo.
When Kim got to the bottom of the stairs, she saw Rhonda a short distance away. She was standing in the middle of the courtyard with Rueful on her shoulder. Yamanouchi students were still hurrying back and forth, bustling around her. But somehow she seemed alone and uncomfortable, staring at Kim with a strange look in her blue eyes. Somehow, she knew they were both thinking about the same thing - about their last big encounter.
They were fighting in the labs at YoyoDyne Propulsion systems. Kim had been expecting an easy win, but Rhonda had completely thrown her for a loop with her 'bear powers'. She taunted Kim, sneering. 'Bet you wish your sidekick had powers! Oh wait - he does! So why's he not here pitching in?'
Kim glared at her. 'Maybe he knows I don't need to use powers as a crutch.' she said.
Rhonda's eyes narrowed. 'Or maybe he can't use them for you because you're not important to him.' she said.
'As if.' Kim growled.
Rhonda smirked. 'He used them for us without any trouble.' she said. 'In fact when he was using his Monkey mojo to smack you around it looked like the easiest thing in the world for him.'
Kim bit her lip, recalling her spiritual journey, and the realization that Zorpox was the unfettered aspect of Ron, a part that wanted revenge for all the sacrifices he had made, which Kim had mostly ignored. His Zorpox aspect was focused, skilled, intelligent, determined and ruthless. All the things that Ron wasn't.
'I bet it still steams you royally.' Rhonda had said as their fight continued in the labs. 'You jealous? Jealous because we did more for Ron by making him evil than you ever did for him when he was good? Face it pom-pon - Ron was faster, stronger and smarter when he was on our side! Maybe he only steps up depending on the quality of the company he's with!'
Her reverie ended abruptly. She hadn't been aware of walking towards Rhonda, but she must have been, because Rhonda was now only a few feet away. They stood across from each other, and all seemed silent around them, despite the surrounding clamor of the Yamanouchi School.
'The Mystical Monkey said I should talk to you...' Kim started.
'Chief Sakituya said I should talk to you...' Rhonda said at the same time.
Rhonda blushed and looked away, tugging at her sleeve. 'Look...' said Kim. '...we don't have to like it, but we need to work together if we're gonna stand a chance against Monkey Fist.'
Rhonda still wouldn't look at her, but she nodded. 'I'll do it for Grimm.' she said. 'I know he's counting on me.'
Kim paused, because it sounded almost exactly like something Ron would have said.
And she couldn't stop herself from asking a question she had been wondering in the back of her mind from the first day they had encountered Team Probable. 'What is it about Grimm, anyway?' she said. 'Why do you let him boss you around?'
Rhonda looked up, her face hurt and defiant. 'He doesn't boss me around.' she said. 'I help him out because he's my best friend, and I don't want him to go into a sitch without someone to back him up. He's always been there to help me out when I've been in trouble, and I'll always be there for him.'
'Why are you even friends with him?' Kim said. 'He's manipulative, selfish...'
'You don't know him like I do.' said Rhonda. 'He's a great guy. He's handsome, he's confident, he's sweet....'
'We're talking about Grimm, right?' said Kim squeezing one eye nearly shut.
'Besides, he's a great kisser...' Rhonda went on, a dreamy, unfocused look in her eyes.
'Ew!' said Kim. 'TMI...'
'TMA!' said Rhonda. At Kim's confused look, she said, 'Too Many Acronyms.'
Kim sighed. 'Look - do you want to help or not?'
'Of course I want to help!' said Rhonda. 'I saw what they did to all those people, and to Grimm! And now Grimm's going off to their lair to tackle Maze all by himself...'
'Ron is there too!' said Kim, her temper flaring.
'I'm sorry!' said Rhonda, and she dashed a sudden tear from her eye as she looked away. 'I didn't mean to sound like... It's just... Maze might do to Grimm what he did to me.'
Kim's anger died, because Rhonda looked genuinely distressed, nothing like the confident spitfire she'd faced in YoyoDyne. As much as she despised Grimm, she decided that she didn't really have anything against Rhonda. She even found herself patting an awkward hand on her shoulder.
'Uh... Come on, calm down.' she said, not sure what else to say.
Rhonda was crying. 'I'm scared...' she sobbed. 'After all that time, and finally getting out of the spirit world. If I lose him now I don't know what I'll do!'
'Look, don't cry.' said Kim, pleadingly. She hadn't liked it when Bonnie had cried about getting dumped by Brick, and this was even worse. 'And don't worry about Grimm, he's tough.' She paused a moment, realizing she had just said something nice about Grimm. 'Besides it's like I said... Ron's with him. They'll be fine.'
Rhonda wiped her eyes again, sniffling. 'Yeah, I guess you're right.' she said. 'If I don't help out, and something happened to you, Ron would be totally bummed.' She paused for a moment. 'He really likes you, you know.' she said. 'In the spirit world, all he could think about was getting back to you. He always worries that he's not good enough for you.'
Kim felt shocked. 'Why would he think that?' she said. 'We've always been best friends...'
Rhonda shrugged. 'Same reasons you were asking me about, I guess.' she said. 'You're popular, you're smart, you're strong... He thinks he's lucky to just be around you, even when you're hauling him around on missions he'd rather not be part of. And he's always afraid that someday you'll wake up - and leave him behind for people who are more like you.'
Kim shook her head. Even after her spiritual journey, even after knowing Ron for years, somehow this had never occurred to her. 'How do you know this?' she asked.
'Because...' said Rhonda, lowering her eyes. 'He and I are a lot alike. And that's how I feel.'
Kim couldn't help feeling touched, even though she was starting to have trouble keeping it straight whether she was talking about how Grimm felt about Rhonda, or how she felt about Ron, or vice-versa. 'If Grimm ever left you to hang with a cooler crowd,' she said, 'then he'd be an even bigger jerk than I thought he was. And I always thought he was a big jerk.' But as she spoke, she felt a weird sensation that she was giving herself the same advice.
Rhonda got a little of her bluster back as she stared at Kim. 'Hey, don't call my BF a jerk!'
Kim held out her hand. Hesitantly, Rhonda took it. And amid the clamor at Yamanouchi, Kim Possible and Rhonda Fatigable shook hands. 'There's still a little more time before the fireworks start.' said Kim. 'Why don't we get together with Sensei and the others and see what we can work out?'
'So... you still want me to pitch in?' she said. 'Even after... everything?'
'Even after.' said Kim, managing a faint smile. 'Let's go.'
After their talk, the urgency and rushed atmosphere of the school seemed to close in on them. Even as they searched for Master Sensei, a pair of masked ninja approached them, leading them quickly towards the main building. 'There is not much time.' said one. 'Master Sensei wishes to speak with both of you.'
They were ushered into the same council room as the one they had used when the Mystical Monkey had ordered Ron and Grimm to journey to the lair in England. Master Sensei was there, and Yori, and other students who had been appointed leaders to different teams.
'Our defensive arrangements have been made.' said the ninja master. 'Our students are armed and deployed across the entire school. But if what you say is correct, our weapons will not be sufficient. Even your battle-suit cannot stop them. We must find some way to counter their invulnerability.'
'But how do you counter something that's invulnerable?' said Kim. 'Plus Monkey Fist has a lot more strength now.' She turned to Rhonda. 'The battle-suit will help, but what exactly can you bring to the table?'
Rhonda looked nervous as the room's attention focused on her, and she cleared her throat before answering. 'Well... Grimm helped me practice how to call on the Great Bear for help.' said Rhonda. 'His power protects me from getting hurt, and it makes me stronger.'
'I remember you had a long range attack.' said Kim. 'What was that thing you used to tear up the YoyoDyne lab?'
'The Spirit Strike?' said Rhonda.
'What would it do to Monkey Fist?'
Rhonda bit her lip. 'I... don't know.' she said. 'It's kind of like an EMP. It weakens people, it disrupts electricity, it even turns off super powers like Hego's - for a while.'
Kim felt ideas exploding in her head. 'Mystical powers too?' she said.
Rhonda nodded. 'Yeah, it broke up Maze's shadow magic. It can tear up anything that's not organic, but it doesn't hurt plants or animals.'
Kim thought she could see now, why the Mystical Monkey had insisted that Rhonda stay at Yamanouchi. The words blazed through her mind - disrupts mystical powers, damages anything that's not organic. She envisioned Monkey Fist, with his petrified, stone skin. And his golem army, bound and enslaved by mystical enchantment. Rhonda's power seemed like the very thing they needed to counter those advantages. She also thought this explained why Maze and Monkey Fist had targeted Ron and Rhonda first before proceeding with their plans. If Rhonda's Spirit Strike could break the golem enchantment, it would have put their whole scheme at risk. And if her power could break the Yono's curse as well, then Rhonda would have been a tremendous danger to them.
'We need you to hit Monkey Fist with the Spirit Strike.' she said. 'If we can do that, we can take him down once and for all.'
'But Monkey Fist is made of stone now!' Rhonda said, sounding distressed. 'What if it slices through him or something? Or what if I miss and hit some of the people he's got with him? I want to stop him, but I don't want to kill anyone - Grimm would never want that!'
Kim blinked, remembering what Grimm had done to Gill at the soda factory in Middleton - dousing him in salt to stop him. It had been ruthless and brutal. But he had said that he wouldn't maim or injure anyone - and she wasn't about to either. 'I don't think it would hurt Monkey Fist.' she said. 'I think it would break the Yono's spell and turn him back to flesh and blood. And a flesh and blood Monkey Fist is something I can handle.' she ended confidently.
'And if we are fortunate,' said Sensei, 'It will also strip him of the Yono's power, leaving him defenseless.'
Rhonda still looked doubtful, but nodded. 'If you say so.' she said. 'But I still don't want to hit any of the golems he's got with him. They didn't ask to be part of this - they were shanghaied. If the strike hurts them....'
'All right.' said Kim. 'Then just be careful that Monkey Fist is the only one you hit.'
'The Spirit Strike isn't really a 'pinpoint accuracy' thing.' said Rhonda. 'I'll stand a better chance of not hitting anyone else if I could get in close.'
'Then we must find a way for you to do this.' said Master Sensei. 'A way for you to hide, as it were, in plain sight.' And he gestured to one of the students, who nodded and handed Rhonda a black bundle. Rhonda unfolded it, and held up a black gi.
'Oh boy...' she said, nervously.
The BIG Battle
The Yamanouchi School was quiet. A soft breeze blew through the courtyard, stirring up zephyrs of dust and rustling leaves on the trees.
Then from outside the walls, there was a sudden flash of yellow light. With a deafening boom, the large doors leading into the courtyard were blasted off their hinges and flew tumbling across the ground.
Through broken rock and settling dust, a lone figure strode through the archway. 'Knock... knock.' said Monkey Fist with a quiet smile. Once inside, he paused, looking back and forth across the courtyard. There was no one to be seen.
Monkey Fist waited in silence for a few seconds and then shouted, his voice echoing through the walls. 'Kim Possible!' he cried out. But no one answered. 'I know you're here! Come out and face me!' He paused again, smirking. 'Or are you afraid?' he taunted.
Another few seconds passed in silence. Then a slender figure walked out from the far side of the courtyard, emerging from behind one of the dorm buildings. Kim Possible halted a dozen paces away from him and the two faced each other with narrowed eyes. Her battle-suit glowed in the surrounding shadows. 'Monkey Fist.' she said simply.
Monkey Fist smiled and spread out his arms. 'Ah, the cheer squad.' he said. 'I almost regret that this will be the last time I address you with that salutation.'
'You don't know how right you are, Monty.' said Kim, raising her arms in a fighting stance.
'Oh I do, Miss Possible.' said Monkey Fist. 'I have been looking forward to this for a long time. You have managed to stay hidden for quite a while, but now your game is played - your race is run. My golem armies are sweeping across the entire Earth even as we speak - as you well know. Soon the world will lie conquered at my feet, and you will join the buffoon as another of my defeated enemies!'
Kim almost felt a sensation of nostalgia as Monkey Fist continued to rant. 'You have nowhere left to run - nowhere to hide - and no one to protect you.' he laughed. 'The time has come to finish what we began at my manor! How fitting that Yamanouchi should be our final battleground.' He glanced aside at the Yono shrine, which still loomed beyond the walls outside the school. 'The very place where you thought you had seen the last of me shall instead become the site of your ultimate defeat!'
Kim felt the thrill of battle coming to her and smiled as she stared back at him. 'If you're trying to talk me into giving up, you'd better hire a new speech writer.' she said.
'And where is the rest of the mighty Yamanouchi School?' said Monkey Fist, looking back and forth. 'I suppose they've all fled like they did last time - leaving their beloved Sensei to defend the School alone. Let them cringe and snivel like cowards if they wish - once I have dealt with you I will find them no matter where they hide!'
'True courage cannot stay hidden.'
Monkey Fist paused, hearing the deep, resonant voice. Master Sensei stepped out from the main building, standing beside Kim. Yori silently joined him. There was a quiet rustling from all around, like the sound of many people rising from their chairs. Monkey Fist looked and saw that the battlements, the courtyard and even the roofs of the surrounding buildings were lined with dozens of black hooded ninja. The evening suddenly glittered with barbed light from swords, shuriken, arrows and other weapons held at the ready.
'Leave this place.' said Master Sensei. 'Or you are destined to return to the path of the Yono.'
'Empty words, you pompous fool.' Monkey Fist, and his stone eyes still seemed as if they were gleaming with malice. 'I was sent to walk that path by myself - but I have come back, and I am no longer alone.' He snapped his fingers, and the sound rang like a loud crack through the evening air.
Through the shattered gates, people began filing into the courtyard. Grey and stiff, with emotionless faces, over forty golems flanked Monkey Fist, facing Kim and the Yamanouchi students.
'I could defeat all of you by myself.' he said smugly. 'But I'm in a hurry - so I brought along some help to speed things along. I have a world to conquer after all, and once I finish with you I can get back to more important things - like designing my throne.'
Kim sniffed and shook her head. 'It's a good thing you're stronger, Monkey Fist.' she said. 'Otherwise you'd never be able to hold up that swelled head.'
'Joke if you will, Kim Possible.' Monkey Fist sneered. 'But that's all you can do.' He raised his left arm. A thick metal band looped around his hand, which Kim knew was covering and protecting the emet symbols branded behind his knuckles. 'Unlike our good friend Dr. Drakken, I learn from my encounters.' he said. 'You squandered your only chance to break the golem enchantment at Go City. Ah, but you say you're not impressed with my speeches? Perhaps I should simply show you.'
He turned his head, sweeping his gaze around at the surrounding ninja. 'Yamanouchi - do your worst.' he shouted.
From all directions, a hail of knives and arrows whined through the air. But Monkey Fist stood smiling with his arms calmly folded. Kunai, shuriken, arrows and darts struck him and his golems from all around. The night was filled with the ringing of metal against stone.
But each blade turned against the petrified skin of Monkey Fist and his army. Darts rebounded, spearheads bent and snapped. And piles of spent missiles rose around the feet of the golems as weapons bounced off their stone bodies and fell harmlessly to the ground.
The army stood in the midst of a storm of blades. Nothing seemed to harm them, any more than raindrops on a stone hill. Monkey Fist smirked as he noted that the strikes were not random. All were aimed or focused on his left hand, and the left hands of his golems. He made no attempt to protect himself or his followers. They were already protected.
Each golem had a similar band of steel wrapped around their left hands. The metal was thicker and heavier than anything Sensei and his rabble could hope to penetrate. He almost felt guilty - it would be easy pickings. He would not let himself be distracted by any of Possible's tricks.
At last the attacks halted as the ninja reached for fresh arrows. 'You see?' Monkey Fist crowed. 'None of your attacks can touch me now. Let us see how you deal with my power!' He focused his will, summoning his anger against Kim Possible and letting it rise within him. A yellow glow surrounded him, a blaze of light that arced from his body like electrical energy building to a point where it must leap to a new target.
He spread out his hands and the Yono's destructive energy roared across the courtyard. The ninja scattered, dashing and rolling out if its path. The attack plowed through two of the dorm buildings, splitting them in half and sending debris scattering in all directions.
Shuriken and kunai blades whistled back, but again rebounded from Monkey Fist's body like foam toys. His monkey-ish, cackling laughter rang through the school. 'Attack!' he screamed, and his army surged forward in pursuit of the ninja. 'Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!'
Kim activated her booster soles and sailed over the attacking golems, landing in front of Monkey Fist and charging at him. She struck at him and raised her shield, knocking him back slightly. 'Now that really was so the drama!' she said.
'Julius Caesar was a dramatic play.' Monkey Fist sneered. 'So as you might say - d'oy.' He charged at her, and Kim raised her shield again. The bubble of energy kept Monkey Fist from reaching her, but he was pushing hard with his hands and the shield sparked and shuddered as the suit's power cells strove against his strength.
Monkey Fist grinned at her from outside the shield. 'Maintain that posture, Kim Possible.' he said. 'Once I've turned you to stone, I shall set you next to my throne and use you as a hat rack!' His eyes glowed yellow.
Kim flinched. 'Guess now I find out of the shield works against Yono power...' she thought. The twin beams struck the shield, but did not penetrate. Kim allowed herself a breath of relief as she saw Monkey Fist glaring. He kept pushing against the shield. The power of petrification was fueled by his hate, but it wasn't easy to maintain the levels of hatred he needed to unleash that power. He struggled to re-marshal his emotions while pushing against the shield. But once Kim saw the light fade from his eyes, she dropped the shield and twisted aside.
Monkey Fist lurched forward and fell on the ground, but was on his feet a second later, turning to face Kim. 'You can dodge as much as you want.' he hissed. 'But I only need to get hold of you once.' And with an angry snarl, he rushed at her again.
The Yamanouchi students, in the meantime, were doing their best against the attacking golems. The ninja were much faster and more agile than the petrified statues, and many of them had pole arms and bo staffs, which allowed them to fend off or trip the golems. But they could do nothing to stop them, and the ninja were accomplishing little beyond staying out of their reach.
As Kim and Monkey Fist battled, he focused his hatred again, firing yellow beams out of his eyes. As Kim spun and dived out of the way, one of the beams struck a Yamanouchi student. In a flash of yellow light, the ninja stood frozen and petrified. 'One down.' thought Monkey Fist. But his frustration gave way to anger as Kim continued to deftly avoid his attacks. And his anger triggered the power of destruction.
He sent another blast wave rolling across the ground. The beam nicked off of the edge of Kim's shield and deflected into the wall near the ruined gates, blasting a large section into shards. Kim skittered to the side, keeping herself oriented near the gates so any other stray blasts would not fire into the school grounds. 'I thought 'the ultimate monkey master' would have better aim!' she taunted.
Monkey Fist growled. 'Keeping me angry with your pathetic banter will only guarantee your destruction!' And his body glowed yellow, the energy leaping from his hands in another attack.
Kim used her booster soles to tumble out of the way. This was part of the plan they had made - to distract Monkey Fist and draw away his golems without endangering the Yamanouchi students. A large number of golems were now deep in the courtyard, still engaged against the ninja. Only a small number were still close to Monkey Fist. As the battle raged, a slender ninja dressed in black stole from shadow to shadow across the courtyard. She moved closer to Monkey Fist, with her hand raised....
Monkey Fist's attention was suddenly drawn away from Kim as he heard a yelp and a thud not far from where he stood. He turned his head and saw that a ninja had tripped and fallen to the ground just a few feet away. The ninja looked embarrassed, even behind her mask as she scrabbled back to her feet. He sneered at her. 'The quality of education at this school seems to have diminished.' he said. 'Perhaps you need some time with my instructors.' He gestured, and a gang of five golems surrounded the ninja before she could scramble away.
Kim raced forward. 'Your fight is with me!' she shouted.
A cunning look was on Monkey Fist's face as he answered. 'Ah yes, I had nearly forgotten.' he said. 'An ever-present chink in the armor of any hero. You will fight relentlessly on your own. But if someone else is in danger, your resolve crumbles. Surrender, Kim Possible. Or this unfortunate will be the one to feel my wrath!'
The ninja sniffed, bringing her hands together. 'Don't do me any favors, Donkey Face!' she said insolently, even as the golems seized her.
'That's Monkey Fist.' he said with a perilously cold voice. 'But as you wish. For your first lesson - I shall teach you some manners.' He nodded, and his golem soldiers dog-piled her. Kim rushed forward with a shout, but Monkey Fist blocked her way. 'Now, now.' he smirked. 'I thought you said your fight was with me.'
But Monkey Fist stared in surprise as the ninja girl stood up, sending the golems on top of her flying. She seized one by the wrist and went into a judo toss that sent the golem crashing into a wall nearly fifteen yards away.
'Interesting.' said Monkey Fist, looking more closely at her. The girl's fighting style wasn't nearly as graceful or smooth as the other ninja, neither did it have the determination and skill of Kim Possible's attacks. He saw her outfit was different as well. She didn't have the taped arms and legs of the other students. Instead she had on what looked like a pair of moccasins, brown leather leggings and sleeves, and there was a roll of cloth tied up and tucked at the small of her back. 'You're not one of the Yamanouchi brats.' he growled. 'Who are you?'
The girl pushed one hand palm outward, her ponytail of blonde hair whipping about. 'I'm glad you asked!' she shouted, then she went into a ridiculous dance, hopping on one leg and using the momentum to scoot from side to side. 'I am the terror that flaps in the night!' she cried. 'I am the gunk that just won't scrub off your frying pan! I sing songs of victory that make my enemies cry rivers of defeat! I am... the all-powerful Ninjella!' she ended her dance, planting her feet firmly with her arms raised. The entire battle seemed to pause as Monkey Fist, Kim, the ninja and even the golems stared. 'Yes!' she cried. 'I speak of none other than myself! Ha!'
There was dead silence as Monkey Fist glared at her disdainfully. Kim didn't watch much anime, but she knew enough about it to realize that if this sitch were an anime, each of the students and even Master Sensei would probably have several purple lines of embarrassment popping up on their foreheads.
'"Ninjella", did you say?' said Monkey Fist at last. 'Well, Ninjella. I think there is something I should tell you.'
'Like what?' said the girl defiantly.
Monkey Fist clenched both hands tight. 'Empty showmanship...' he said, his voice starting low and dangerous, '...makes me angry!' he ended with a ringing shout. The mark of the Yono flared brightly on his hand, and a yellow glow surrounded his body.
'Look out...!' Kim yelled, but the blonde ninja had clapped both hands together and bowed her head. She appeared to be chanting.
The beam of yellow light screamed past, slamming into Ninjella. She was blasted back, pushed by the force of the Yono's destructive power, and smashed into the courtyard wall. The stone split apart, and a wide section of the rampart crumbled.
Monkey Fist smirked with grim satisfaction as he turned back to Kim. 'Tell the rest of your ninja friends to surrender.' he said. 'Or they will suffer the same fate as...' But he stopped as he looked back at the deep, circular depression of cracks in the shattered courtyard wall.
The ninja girl was still there, getting up slowly to her feet. Her black outfit was torn and shredded, but she appeared unharmed. She gripped her gi, and with a swift wrench she flung the ninja garb aside. Beneath it she wore another outfit of brown animal skins and cloth. The roll at the small of her back unfurled, becoming the back of a long, robe-like coat. Two eagle feathers hung from her left ear as her mask fell away and her blonde hair fell free from its ponytail. 'Is... that all you got?' she said, though her voice sounded tired as if she'd lifted a heavy weight.
Monkey Fist stared. 'Well well.' he said quietly. 'It seems the night is destined to be full of surprises. Miss Fatigable, I presume?'
'That's right, jerkface.' Rhonda growled. 'Rhonda's back and its payback time!'
Monkey Fist's voice went deadly cold. 'If you have returned,' he said. 'It means he must have returned as well.'
'If you mean Ron, you're right.' said Kim, circling around until she and Rhonda were close together.
Monkey Fist's face contracted in anger. 'I should have known Sskipoyiwa's power wouldn't be enough to permanently rid the world of someone that annoying!' he said, gritting his teeth. 'Where is he? I wish to make a clean job of things by turning you all into stone!'
'He'll be back soon enough.' said Kim. 'He's just on his way to England so he can blow up your toy Jammer!'
And for the first time since arriving at the school, Monkey Fist felt alarmed. Did they really know where the lair was? If the buffoon was as clumsy and lucky as he remembered, then it was a real possibility that the Jammer might be destroyed. That would free world communications, as well as crippling their ability to petrify more cities. And if Maze was defeated and captured.... 'How irksome.' he said. 'This means I must speed things up here even faster so I can go back and deal with your boyfriend! And as for you Ms. Fatigable, you'll regret siding with the heroes!'
'Hey, you're the one who...' Rhonda sputtered. But Monkey Fist's eyes were glowing brightly.
'Watch it!' Kim shouted, and she dove to the side, pulling Rhonda with her as another petrification beam shot past them.
Rhonda yelped and hopped as she ran behind Kim, with bursts of Yono power sailing past them. They jumped and dived over a pile of bricks and stones made by the rubble of the ruined wall. A flash of yellow light illuminated the rocks, but they were untouched. Another blast came, and then another, but they remained protected behind the broken stones.
'What was with the intro?' Kim snapped. 'You were supposed to do a sneak attack and hit him with the Spirit Strike when he wasn't looking!'
'Sorry.' said Rhonda, looking flustered. 'But Chief Sakituya said I should do what comes naturally - and you have to admit, that 'who are you' was a perfect setup!'
Another blast came, only this one tore apart the rubble, forming a gash between Kim and Rhonda. Monkey Fist had used the power of destruction again. They rolled to the side, with Rhonda cringing behind her now-smaller pile of rocks. 'Now what?' she wailed. 'I'll never get a clean shot like this!'
'I've still got a couple of tricks left, thanks to Wade.' Kim said. 'But call Rueful - I'll need your help.' Rhonda nodded, fishing a silent whistle from her necklace.
Monkey Fist re-focused his anger, preparing to unleash another destructive blast. Just as he felt the Yono's power rising, he saw a flash of white and blue darting out from behind one of the piles of rubble. 'No, Kim Possible.' he thought. 'I will not be distracted from the real threat!' And with a blinding flash, he sent another wave of destructive power at the other pile of bricks, where he was sure Rhonda was hiding.
The blast turned the stones to powder, and a cloud of dust rose, filling the area with a haze that fogged the courtyard. Monkey Fist rushed forward, his fist raised, in case the blast hadn't finished Rhonda. He reached the mass of pulverized rock, but could not see anyone. As the dust settled, he saw behind the rocks there was a dark spot on the ground, which he realized was a hole.
The ground beneath him trembled. There was a roar like a bear, and with a flash of blue light, Rhonda burst out from the ground beneath Monkey Fist. He tumbled in the air, landing heavily on the ground next to the hole he had blasted in the outer wall. He surged back to his feet, his fists clenched. 'You think that makes you clever?' he shouted. 'That you actually managed to pull off such a hackneyed trick as hiding in a foxhole....'
He paused, for there was a soft thud, and he saw a gray metal ball lying on the ground at his feet, which had fallen from above. He looked up and saw a long-tailed weasel waving down at him with a chittering laugh. There was a loud pop, and Monkey Fist was splattered with a thin layer of white as the Moo Goo grenade exploded.
'Way to go Rueful!' Rhonda shouted. Monkey Fist was flailing as the Moo Goo expanded, encasing him in a cocoon of foam. She brought her hands together, chanting and concentrating with all her might.
Monkey Fist stopped struggling as the foam covered him from head to toe, blotting out all sound and vision. He knew he couldn't fight his way out with strength alone. He imagined Kim's face in his mind, using the image to build up his anger again. As the anger increased, he felt the Yono's power rising within him.
Kim saw the balloon of Moo Goo bubbling as a core of yellow light seemed to grow within it. Then with a shout of rage, the foam was blasted apart and Monkey Fist emerged. His angry face made him seem almost feral as he got his bearings, looking around for someone to attack.
But Rhonda was bearing down on him, her hand drawn behind her, each finger surrounded with blue light. Her voice came in a shout that rose above even the din of the surrounding battles.
Having been on the receiving end of one of Rhonda's attacks, Kim thought the sight was even more impressive when she didn't have to worry about dodging it. As Rhonda swung her arm at Monkey Fist, there was a sound like a thunderclap and five sickles of light spread from her fingertips. Monkey Fist was only two feet away from Rhonda as the Spirit Strike swept in an arc straight through his chest. He reeled backwards, falling against the wall behind him. He looked down at his body, and across his torso he saw a wide section that was no longer gray or stony. He felt the cold night air against his skin, and saw pale flesh beneath the folds of his outfit.
The fighting all around paused. The Yamanouchi students and even the golems seemed to hesitate, watching with anticipation to see what the result would be.
Kim looked at him in wild hope - it seemed to have worked. The sections of Monkey Fist's body which had been touched by Rhonda's attack seemed to have returned to normal. If she could hit him again before he recovered, they stood a chance of returning him completely to flesh and blood.
Rhonda also saw it, and she started chanting again, getting ready for another strike. Then there was a flash of yellow that came from Monkey Fist's left hand. The mark of the Yono was flaring brightly. His stone skin spread out from the parts of his body that were still covered, smothering and covering his chest until his whole body was stone again.
Monkey Fist glared at Rhonda in surprise, but also relief. 'A nice try.' he said. 'Sskipoyiwa warned that your powers were dangerous to me, but it seems I cannot be forced off the path of the Yono so easily.' He turned to Kim. 'So you thought to make me flesh again - to weaken me? Well, there is still hope for your plan.' he said with a smug grin. 'Just take my hand, and agree to walk the Yono's path in my place.'
'Not gonna happen.' said Kim, glaring.
'Then it's back to doing this the hard way.' Monkey Fist's body glowed, another beam of yellow lashed out.
Kim dodged, tumbling out of the way. 'Hard way?' she said. 'That was easy!'
But Monkey Fist was smirking. 'I wasn't aiming for you.' Kim looked behind her with a gasp. The destructive beam plowed into the multi-storied wing of one of the buildings, and it began to collapse. A number of Yamanouchi ninja were below the building, still occupied in battling the golems.
Kim used her booster soles and sailed up and over, landing in the midst of the fighting. She raised her shield and covered them just as a rain of cornice and stones fell down on them with a mighty crash.
Rhonda saw Kim and the ninja disappear under a cloud of rocks and dust, and she brought her hands together, chanting again. But Monkey Fist seemed to zoom in out of nowhere, propelled by his levitation. His hands gripped Rhonda's and pulled them apart.
'Sskipoyiwa told me everything I need to know about your powers.' he said. 'You can't use your strike if I can bind your hands and stop you from speaking!'
Rhonda grimaced, remembering how Monkey Fist had covered her mouth back in the UNIT labs before they banished her. 'Looks like I'm as strong as you, though.' she said, and indeed they were both quivering in place as if playing a high-intensity game of Mercy. 'You can't trash the school and fight me at the same time!'
'Well observed.' Monkey Fist growled. 'But it does put you in a perfect position for this..!' And Rhonda blanched as his eyes glowed yellow. He was holding her in place, with only a foot or two between their faces, and there was no way she could dodge if he used the power of petrification.
Just as the beams shot out of his eyes, a brown blur tumbled between them. Rhonda wrenched free and pushed hard, falling backwards while Monkey Fist stumbled. There was a thud, and Rhonda looked down to see a small figure lying on the ground next to her.
'Rueful!' she screamed, but the weasel didn't answer. Rueful's petrified body still seemed graceful and lithe as he was frozen while leaping between Monkey Fist and his mistress. Rhonda got to her feet, turning in rage on Monkey Fist. The birthmark on her left shoulder suddenly blazed like a star.
Monkey Fist righted himself. Maze had told him about Rhonda's strength, but he was still surprised that she had broken free from his grip. He concentrated again, marshalling his hatred and preparing to unleash the Yono's power. He heard a female scream, but it seemed somehow mingled with another sound, like a roaring bear.
Rhonda was thundering towards him, and it seemed to Monkey Fist that he saw another figure behind her, the ghostly shade of another girl he didn't recognize. It was a beautiful Indian woman with an identical bear paw mark on her arm. Their movements and posture matched perfectly as Rhonda's fist connected solidly into Monkey Fist's chest.
Kim had lowered her shield soon after the outer face of the building had collapsed. There had not been enough rubble to actually bury them. She and the ninja quickly pushed and heaved the stones away to rejoin the fight. But Kim heard a distant scream and a roar, and then there was a thunderous blast like someone had set off a bomb. She could feel a powerful shockwave pushing through her, and saw Monkey Fist's body sailing through the air. He slammed into another section of the outer wall and blasted through it as if it were made of chalk.
Through the haze of the battle, Kim ran back to Rhonda's side. She was on her knees, cradling something in her hands. 'That was some punch.' Kim said, but Rhonda was crying.
'He hit Rueful..' she sobbed. 'Just like he did with Grimm...'
'We can fix him!' said Kim, though she wasn't really quite sure. 'We just have to stop Monkey Fist!'
'But the Spirit Strike didn't work on him!' she wailed. 'You saw it - that Yono thingy is keeping him petrified!'
'We'll figure something out!' Kim shouted. 'He'll be back any second, and if he petrifies you...'
Rhonda nodded, but she wouldn't let go of Rueful. She carried him towards the center of the courtyard, where Sensei and the Yamanouchi students were fighting off the attacking golems.
'Things go ill, Kim Possible.' said the ninja master. 'The longer this battle goes on, the greater the advantage to Monkey Fist. His golems do not tire, and we cannot hold them off much longer.'
Kim nodded, looking around at the golems and a pair of petrified ninja. Then her eye caught something strange. There was a short, rotund, bearded man in the midst of the ninja, cowering against the base of the statue almost next to her.
'Who are you?' she asked.
The man looked like he was desperately searching for an opening in the attacking golems so he could flee, but he answered in a shaky voice. 'That Monkey Fist blackguard brought me here!' he said in a British accent. 'Don't let him take me again!'
Kim's mouth fell open. 'How come you're not stone?'
'I don't even know for sure how I became stone in the first place!' he shouted. 'But that blonde girl hit me with some kind of light just now, and....' he faltered, his skin going pale as the golems continued pushing closer.
Kim understood at once. 'Stay down!' she said. 'We'll do what we can to protect you!' She turned to Rhonda, who had been listening.
'I must have grazed him when I hit Monkey Fist!' said Rhonda, biting her fingers.
'Your power broke the petrification! You have to hit all the golems directly!'
'But they're everywhere! How can I hit them all...?'
'Can you do a ballerina spin?'
'What?' Rhonda said. 'No - I don't do 'ballerina'!'
'We'll help you!' Kim shouted. 'Get your strike ready and when I give the signal, jump and spin for all you're worth!' Rhonda nodded and gently set Rueful's petrified body down on the pedestal of Toshimiru's statue. Kim looked at Master Sensei, who nodded and turned to Yori. Yori also nodded, and stood so that Rhonda was between Kim and herself.
The Yono Unleashed
Monkey Fist had felt no actual pain when Rhonda had struck him. But he had been surprised by the sheer force of the blow. He clutched at the ground as he flew through the wall, leaving deep gouges in the stony earth. He barely managed to avoid falling off the edge of a cliff over a dozen yards away from the outer wall. 'It seems I'm not the only one who can use anger to become stronger.' he thought.
He gathered his inner focus, using the power of levitation, and shot across the ground. He circled back towards the main entrance, avoiding the large hole in the outer wall, not wanting to go back in through the hole where they might have prepared a counter-attack.
When he passed through the broken gates, he saw his golems had the Yamanouchi students surrounded. The ninja were hemmed in around the statue of Toshimiru, desperately fending off their attackers. Sensei was there as well, and he appeared to be concentrating, his body surrounded by the spherical glow that he used when meditating and levitating.
From the shadowed concealment of one the dorm rooms, Chief Sakituya nodded silently as he saw Rhonda chanting, and the bear mark on her arm was glowing again. Sensei clapped his hands together, and the glowing sphere slid from himself to Rhonda.
'Go!' Kim shouted.
Rhonda leaped and spun as best she could while still chanting. Kim and Yori braced her and leaped, adding their own strength. They pushed hard and flipped backwards, spinning her even faster.
Besides feeling like she was about to throw up on the teacup ride at Disneyland, Rhonda also felt a strange sensation of guidance. She let her arms spread straight out, and as she hit the ground again, she somehow knew what to say and do.
'Everybody down!' Kim shouted, and she threw herself to the ground.
There was an explosive clap like thunder, and from both of Rhonda's arms, white light was spreading out. Not in curved sickles, but in a glowing ring. It swept through the entire courtyard like a white ripple through a shining pond. It passed through golems, buildings and even the outer wall with a roar like a passing train.
Monkey Fist was so surprised that he forgot to duck, and again he felt cold air as the spirit wave slashed through him. The mark of the Yono glowed and his stone skin reformed, covering the broad stripe that was left across his chest by the attack. Rhonda slumped to the ground, looking exhausted, and Monkey Fist gestured wildly to his golems. 'Take them - take them now!' he shouted.
But none of them moved. Instead, there were flashes of yellow light that rippled across each statue. And the residents of Graniton and Basalton backed away from the Yamanouchi students, squeezing their hands free of the steel bands. 'Do not harm them!' Sensei bellowed. 'They are no longer our enemies.'
'Woo hoo!' Rhonda shouted, jumping back to her feet. 'Bear power rules!' At that moment, several of the dorm buildings, and the pedestal which held up the statue of Toshimiru all fell over. The Spirit Wave had sliced through them, and loud thumps and bangs echoed through the courtyard. 'Oops. Sorry.' she ended lamely.
Monkey Fist stared in amazement. With one move, they had freed his entire army, making him the lone attacker. 'Well - I said I could defeat them myself.' he thought angrily. 'They're really making me put my money where my mouth is.' The Yamanouchi ninja were clustered more closely together, making for an easier target. Another destructive blast would certainly take out a large number. It would mean taking out a number of his slaves as well, but it was a small price to pay in exchange for destroying Kim Possible. He focused his anger, letting it build stronger and stronger. The light of the Yono's power steadily grew, becoming a shimmering flame...
Kim was hurriedly trying to usher the freed golems into following the Yamanouchi students. Master Sensei had quickly ordered a squad of ninja to gather the former golems and hurry them to the back of the school, to somewhere safer. Kim spared a second or two to wonder how exactly Monkey Fist's power and Rhonda's power were clashing.
Grimm's petrification has been broken when she had struck out the emet golem symbols on his hand. But Rhonda's strike had done so without touching the emet symbols. Monkey Fist had nearly been freed from his own petrification after he had been hit. But the Yono's power had pulled him back in. There was something else about the Yono's curse that the Spirit Strike couldn't overcome. Maybe Monkey Fist was right, and the only way to break the Yono's curse was for someone else to agree to take his place.
Back when they had cured Grimm, Jade had said that Maze's golem spell and the Yono's power of petrification seemed to depend on one another once the enchantments were sealed. If Rhonda's power could break the petrification, then the golem enchantment obviously wouldn't work on someone who was flesh and blood....
'I need Wade to come up with a math equation that lays all this out - it's too confusing.' Kim thought. At that instant, she saw a light at the further end of the courtyard near the wrecked gates. Monkey Fist was there, and his entire body was blazing with power.
Kim had no time to think, she merely reacted. She drew all the power from her suit and funneled it into the shield, boosting the field of effect. In an instant the shield expanded, but instead of using it to cover multiple persons, she used it to push everyone who was near her across the courtyard. Then she dropped the shield and dived away.
The attack screamed through their midst, but struck no one. Instead it plowed through the wall, across the grounds, and slammed straight into the Yono shrine. The grotesque structure split down the middle like an apple hit by an axe. Stone decorations, outcroppings and masonry flew in all directions with a deafening roar.
Monkey Fist stood still, dumfounded by his blunder while ninja, former golems and Kim got back to their feet. 'Way to go, genius!' Rhonda taunted, leaning out from behind the fallen statue of Toshimiru. 'You fragged your own house!'
'He did the same thing back in England.' said Kim with a faint smile, remembering her experience at Monkey Fist's manor.
'Enough of this!' Monkey Fist shouted, and his voice no longer sounded suave, arrogant or smooth. It was as harsh and grating as stone, and his face was a mask of both anger and hate. 'It is time to show you why the Yono is called the destroyer!!' His body flared like a yellow star, his eyes blazed and his face was a twisted mask of rage. His voice rose to a monkey-ish shriek. 'I.... hate... all of you!!!'
He turned this way and that, sending bursts of light from his eyes criss-crossing through the grounds. Several ninja were caught, and stood petrified in their attempts to dodge. Some of the freed citizens of Graniton and Basalton were turned to stone once again. Yori was struck in mid-leap as she tumbled and flipped through a maze of attacks. She landed on the ground with a rough thud.
Kim dove in front of Rhonda, who fell backwards behind the Toshimiru statue again. Her shield turned a pair of blasts away, but she felt it shudder from the impact. The stunt she had pulled when pushing everyone out of the way of Monkey Fist's attack had put a severe strain on the power cells.
'I'll turn all of you to stone and reduce your precious school to rubble!' Monkey Fist screamed. He rose slowly into the air, looking almost just like the Yono had when it had first attacked the Yamanouchi School.
Monkey Fist didn't seem to be targeting anyone specific anymore. In his blind rage, he lashed out at everything around him, sending petrification beams and destructive blasts all around. And unlike on previous occasions, he didn't seem to be getting tired from the excessive use of his powers. He had either used it so much that he had grown accustomed to it, or his anger was lending him endurance, allowing him to use the Yono's power without relenting.
Kim rolled behind the fallen statue of Toshimiru. 'He'll bring down the whole school!' Kim shouted to Rhonda. 'Can you punch him again like you did a few seconds ago?'
'How?' Rhonda shouted back. 'He's gone all... floatey! He'd stone me before I could get half-way across the court!'
'And the Spirit Strike isn't working on him.' Kim muttered.
'You're the one with the funky suit!' Rhonda said, 'Doesn't it turn into a cannon or anything?'
'Cannon? What kind of hero do you think I am?'
'A pretty weak one I guess!' Rhonda shot back. 'You mean you go into all these sitches without any weapons? You should call it the 'lame-o defense suit', not a battle-suit!'
'It's got one move that still might work.' Kim said. 'But I'll need a distraction....'
'One distraction comin' riiiiight up!' Rhonda. She brought her hands together and began repeating a low chant, while the mark on her arm glowed blue.
She gripped the pedestal of Toshimiru's statue, then with a great heave, she lifted it, using it as both a shield and a weapon, she charged forward. Kim nodded and turned on her stealth mode, darting off to the side and starting to circle around behind Monkey Fist.
Even in his berserk state, Monkey Fist couldn't fail to notice the statue coming at him. His anger kindled, flicking almost easily in another attack that blasted the statue apart. Rhonda stumbled and tripped under the scattered debris, landing nearly in front of Monkey Fist's floating form. She was out in the open with no protection, and waved feebly up at him with a weak smile.
'You're finished, Bear Priestess!' he screamed. Then a large rock knocked hard into the back of his head. He didn't feel pain, rather only the force of the impact, but the taunting voice struck him even harder.
'Save it for me, Monty.' Kim shouted.
Rotating slowly in mid-air, Monkey Fist glared down at Kim. 'I always reserve my best for you.' he hissed. And holding out his hands, he sent another wave of destruction rolling across the ground towards her.
Kim side-stepped and quickly activated her hand module. She wasn't sure exactly what would happen, but since her shield had repelled the petrification beams, she hoped the Yono's energy would also be affected by the hand module. As the destructive blast ripped by next to her, she used the module and scooped away some of the energy. When she pulled her hand back, she was surprised to see that it had worked. She hadn't stopped the beam, but the module now contained a sphere of swirling yellow light.
She pivoted, swung, and hurled the energy back towards Monkey Fist. He looked surprised and annoyed when the blast hit him in the chest as he levitated, sending him flying backwards. He tumbled, crashed and rolled for several seconds before coming to a stop.
He hoisted himself groggily to his elbows. While Kim's maneuver was as characteristically irritating as they often were, he was more impressed by his own power. 'It seems I pack quite the whallop.' he thought grudgingly, sitting up and taking stock of his surroundings. He had landed inside what looked like an ancient dojo. He was about to levitate up and charge back into battle when he realized he was not alone.
Looking quickly to the side, he saw the figure of a monkey swathed in a red robe with gold trim standing by his side. It was looking down at him, shaking his head and tutting his lips. 'And you wanna be my master?' said the strange simian figure. Then it lashed out with a furry foot.
Kim saw Monkey Fist's body flying out of Toshimiru's dojo as if he had been launched by a catapult. She heard what sounded like a shrill monkey screech and saw a blue light fading from inside the dojo. She smiled knowingly. 'Knew he couldn't resist getting one lick in.' she thought.
Monkey Fist plowed into a section of the outer wall that was still standing. There was a shower of dust and rock chips and Kim saw Monkey Fist's legs sticking ridiculously out from the wall, kicking and flailing as he struggled to free himself.
'We have to finish this!' Kim shouted, pulling Rhonda up to her feet.
'But how?' she said. 'The Spirit Strike isn't working! I wish Grimm and Ron were here - we sure could use a hand...'
Kim blinked, a new idea locking into place in her mind. It was exactly the kind of idea that she might have gotten from one of Ron's off-handed comments. 'Did you say... a hand?'
Rhonda nodded, her face blank with confusion. Then understanding broke across her face, and both of them smiled and nodded.
The Path of the Yono
Monkey Fist wrenched himself from the wall, sending plaster and bricks tumbling to the ground. As he righted himself he saw Kim Possible leaping up at him, her arm cocked back in a fist, her voice raised in a loud shout.
'Oh please...' Monkey Fist thought smugly, and he raised his arms to block. She couldn't hope to harm him at all and he braced himself, wondering with amusement if she would break any bones in her hand when she struck him.
Kim was barely a foot or two away from him and their eyes met. Kim suddenly had a faint smile on her lips. Monkey Fist glared back at her. Then Kim twisted and spun to the side, flipping and tumbling out of the way.
Rhonda had been behind her, and she was bringing her own arm down in a slashing motion. Her fingertips were surmounted with a blue glow...
Monkey Fist had no time to dodge as five sickles of white light spread out and swept through him. He fell back against the wall with a shout as a roar like a freight train sounded all around him. The stones of the wall were torn apart behind him with deep slashing grooves in them.
He lowered his arms, looking down as Rhonda stopped in front of him. There were slashes in his body, and his flesh showed beneath them. But once again the mark of the Yono was glowing, and the marks where the spirit strike had removed his stone skin were being covered with rough gray stone.
He smiled with satisfaction, staring back at Rhonda. 'You don't learn any faster than the buffoon.' he said smugly. 'Can't you see that your attack is useless against...' But as he raised his hands back to a ready position, he saw the metal covering around his left hand sliding off. It fell ringing onto the ground in two pieces.
His face turned blank as he saw the Hebrew letters underneath the band were glowing. The marks were now marred by a thick slashing cut left by the spirit strike.
'No...' he said quietly. 'No!!' He reached out towards Rhonda, trying to seize her. But even as he did so, he felt his body stiffening, growing rigid. The mark of the Yono flared brightly once again...
With the golem enchantment on Monkey Fist broken, the Yono's curse returned to full effect. Monkey Fist's will, which had exercised the Yono's power, was subdued. And across the entire world, golems stopped suddenly in their tracks. Flashes of yellow light rippled across each one of Monkey Fist's petrified victims, and they became flesh and blood once again.
The tumult and battle in cities across the US, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and all other nations came to an abrupt halt as the Yono's power broke with Monkey Fist's return to petrified dormancy. There was a worldwide silence for several seconds as petrified victims halted their rampages, blinking and looking around as if they had all awakened from a shared nightmare. Without the Yono's power to keep the people petrified, the golem symbols marked on the backs of their hands no longer had any effect on them....
In Washington DC, Mr. Probable was still desperately trying to prevent the invading golems from reaching the city. But even when many of the golems had suddenly halted a short while ago, their weapons were still unable to harm the remaining attackers. Their march continued drawing closer to the defending ranks of soldiers.
Until a shout rose from the soldiers nearest to him. Many of them were pointing towards the approaching golem troops, and Mr. Probable saw a strange yellow light that seemed to flash briefly on each golem. The attackers halted and scattered in disarray. The soldiers raised their weapons, seeing the enemy's hesitation.
'Hold your fire - Hold your fire!!' Mr. Probable bellowed into a bullhorn. He looked through his binoculars. The attacking forces were no longer gray and stony in appearance - they were flesh colored. Many of them appeared frightened and confused, retreating the way they had come, or taking cover behind whatever they could find on the roads and fields.
He called out to the surrounding troops. 'Stand down men - it's over!'
The troops looked at him questioningly. After all that time of being attacked, they seemed hesitant to believe that it could be over so quickly. But as they saw the enemy was no longer advancing, celebratory cheers and shouts began to ripple through their ranks.
Mr. Probable turned to his radio man. 'Get on the horn to all our other communication posts around the country as fast as you can.' he said. 'Order the troops to stand down and not to attack. If they do, they won't be hitting enemy targets anymore, they'll be attacking innocent civilians.' The radio man nodded, and hastened to obey.
Mr. Probable allowed himself a quiet sigh of relief. If what his son had told him before he left was true, then it was all over. The Diablo robot attacks had halted nearly as quickly when Dr. Drakken had been defeated, and since then, military forces had established a workable procedure to make sure that order was restored as quickly as possible. They had to make sure that the troops transitioned from defense to cleanup. The major threat was over, and what remained was mostly procedural. They would have to make sure no scofflaws tried to take advantage of the confusion once the world realized that the golem menace was over.
His radio man called out. 'Sir - I think the enemy's jamming device is offline! There's a distress call from the UN building in New York...'
Mr. Probable leaned in to look at the small screen on the radio man's communicator. Whoever had sent in the distress call was no longer there. All they could see was a mass of people in suits and various kinds of dignitary robes. They were all pointing wildly around at each other, shouting and shaking their fingers.
'Raise communication with any troops you can in the New York area.' said Mr. Probable. 'Have them help the governor with any cleanup efforts they need.'
'Should we send anyone to the UN building?'
'No.' said Mr. Probable, shaking his head. 'They're fine.'
'Fine?' said the soldier. 'It looks like all they're doing is standing around arguing - they're not accomplishing anything.'
'Yes.' Mr. Probable nodded. 'They're completely back to normal.' The radio man looked confused, but Mr. Probable sighed and adjusted his collar. 'Let's get to work, soldier.' he said. 'There's a lot of frightened people out there that Monkey Fist used for his scheme. We need to round them up, and get them back to their homes.'
He sat down in his jeep, and at Mr. Probable's gesture, the radio man set his equipment down, took the wheel and they drove off to re-organize the troops.
At Yamanouchi, Kim stood up from where she had landed after rolling out of the way. There was a flash of light and a bear-like roar. She heard Monkey Fist's cry, and turned to see Rhonda standing in front of Monkey Fist. Rhonda was shaking and panting, and she flopped onto the ground on her backside, looking exhausted.
Monkey Fist remained still. His left hand was smoking, and Kim could see the emet symbols had been destroyed. Only the mark of the Yono was still visible. It glowed yellow for a moment, then the light faded and the symbol disappeared. By destiny or chance, it seemed to Kim that Monkey Fist had been frozen in the same posture he had been in when he first started walking the path of the Yono - his face angry, his mouth opened as if shouting, his hands raised.
She put her hand on Rhonda's shoulder. 'The plan worked.' said Kim. 'He was distracted enough by me that he didn't see you were the one we were setting up for the attack.'
'Woo hoo.' said Rhonda weakly, pumping one fist half-heartedly in the air.
They both looked up as they heard scattered clapping and cheers. The Yamanouchi students and Master Sensei were surrounding them - and more besides. All of the golem attackers were restored to flesh and blood, and were lending their own voices and applause to the throng. Yori and Sensei bowed to Kim, while the more exuberant students raised their weapons high with loud shouts.
The freed residents of Graniton and Basalton seemed torn by a mixture of emotions. Their enslavement was finally over, and the one who had enslaved them was now defeated. They looked like they weren't sure how to feel.
'Good show, Ms. Possible!' shouted one.
'Ruddy brilliant!' shouted another. 'You gave that blighter exactly what he deserved!'
'We can go home now!' said a tearful woman. 'Thank you Ms. Possible!'
'Oh dear...' said the old woman with the cane. 'Now my arthritis is back...'
And laughter swept through the whole assembly - the relieved, joyful laughter of the victorious. As Kim was mobbed by ninja and former golems, shaking her hand, patting her on the back, she turned her head to Toshimiru's dojo. Just visible inside the shadow of the doorway, she saw the short, hunched figure of the Mystical Monkey. He looked down at her, smiled, nodded his head, and then disappeared.
Rhonda had been pulled to her feet, and was being run through her own gauntlet of handshakes and pats on the shoulder. It felt strange, because she'd spent so long working in secret, slinking in the shadows with Grimm, and laboring hard to make sure no one ever found out anything they did in their mercenary work. One of the women actually hugged her, sobbing her thanks into her shoulder. A strange feeling came over her, looking into the grateful, thankful faces of the former golems. It was a feeling of warmth that seemed to well from deep inside, and she decided she liked it.
Chief Sakituya stood off to the side, smiling at them quietly. He looked up to the night sky, and even the stars seemed to be glittering more brightly in celebration. 'She grows stronger, Great Bear Spirit.' he thought. 'And not only in power. Her heart is also stronger because of what she has endured. I think soon... she will be ready.'
A brown, furry streak zipped in from the side and leaped into Rhonda's arms. 'Rueful, you're OK!' she squealed. 'You were so brave, thank you...' From Rhonda's arms, Rueful's head turned to Monkey Fist and he stuck out his tongue with a wet sounding raspberry.
Above the din and cheering, Rhonda heard a tinny beeping from her hip pouch. Quickly, she ducked out from among the crowd and retreated into the shadows beside one of the dorm buildings that was still standing. She took out her communicator, habitually looking around to make sure no one else was close. Grimm had trained everyone on the team to be careful about where and how they spoke over communicators. Most of the ninja were still gathered around Kim Possible, celebrating the victory. But when Rhonda activated her communicator, it was in a whisper of suppressed excitement.
'Grimm! Is it you? Are you all right?'
Grimm's face appeared on the screen. His bike helmet was on and she recognized the view of the dashboard cam from the Ksikkihkíni. It looked like he was in flight. 'It's me.' he said. 'We just got back to the bike and we're on our way to Heathrow. We haven't been able to get through to you until now. It looks like Wade, Jade and Dad have gotten satellite comm back to a bare-bones minimum. What's happening over there?'
'It's... it's over.' she said, though she could hardly believe it. After all those weeks banished in the spirit world, after all the waiting, angst and uncertainty, it was finally over. 'We beat Monkey Fist! He's just a statue again - and it looks like all the golems he brought with him have turned back into normal people.'
'I knew you could do it, baby.' said Grimm, and there was pride in his smirk. 'That ought to drive the point home to the people on our client list - don't double-cross Team Probable! You did great!'
'How about you?' said Rhonda. 'Did you get Maze? Did you stop him?'
Grimm hesitated. 'I won't say over communicator.' he said. 'But we accomplished our mission. Tell Possible the Jammer's wrecked and the lair is shut down. We'll be on our way back to Yamanouchi as soon as we get to the jet.'
'We?' said Rhonda. 'Does that mean Ron's OK?' Rhonda said, trying to keep the worry out of her voice.
'He's fine.' said Grimm. He lowered his voice almost to a whisper that she could barely hear over the communicator. 'Keep an eye on Monkey Fist until we get there.' he said. 'They may try to question you, but be as tight-lipped as you can. Once we get back, we're putting Operation Clean Sweep into effect.'
It's Not Over
Author: You think the story ends here? You think there's just going to be one more chapter and then everything wraps up in a neat little package with the words 'The End' and that's it? Nooooo. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. The Ultra Atmospheric Jammers may be wrecked. The lair may be destroyed. Monkey Fist may be back on the path of the Yono. The golem attacks may be stopped and all their petrified victims may be freed. But the story is definitely not over!
Sometimes the aftermath can be worse than the storm itself, and the aftermath is only just beginning! Maze is still on the loose. There's a lot of damage to clean up. And now that Maze and Monkey Fist have been defeated, does it mean that Team Probable are reverting back to their old tricks? What is 'Operation Clean Sweep'? All these answers and more are coming soon!