This is a co-authored fic, written by myself and Llamalovesdragons. It is set after Kingdom of the Wicked, and started before Last Stand of Dead Men was announced, so do not worry about any spoilers from that department. Disclaimer, well, the clue should be that this is posted on and in the Skullduggery Pleasant section. So obviously we only own any and all charming OCs, but not a single character from the books.

And many thanks to Bluecat6 for editing our work, it was, is and will always really helpful, and this is your special mention, because you deserve it.

Prologue

It was early evening.

Two girls, twins, were just beginning to wake up.

They were not identical twins, not in just about every way, but they loved each other like siblings do, and had that special connection shared by every twin.

One girl, known to everyone as Shade, though her real name was actually Shadeia, (the by product of a very important naming tradition within their family), was stretching and yawning, the first to rise.

Her longish brown hair was normally swept over her shoulders, and her darker brown eyes were accented by her pale skin and slim black eyebrows. She was thin, and of a medium height and build, and one generally made to sit and ponder life's big questions, not to say she wasn't capable of physical activity that didn't make herself look like a fool, as she possessed some kind of grace.

She also, as another part of her mother's genetics, had giant, brown furred, spiked bat wings. And slightly pointy teeth and of course, bat-like hearing.

Gruff, logical, smart, and arrogant, these were words she was described with. Her haughty, hollow cheeked, thin features held very little emotion, and when she smiled, it held no warmth. Unless the smile was for her sister, and then and only then her features would become friendly. Her ego was enormous, and she knew every secret anyone cared to hide, which only inflated it further.

She was not the type to be lonely however, an uncommon trait amongst people like her, and she was always found in the company of others, and this made her her sister call her a 'nerdy socialite'. Which she was, definitely.

Her sister, so incredibly different from her, was also the closest thing to her.

With a real name of Shadovaa, she also had her name shortened, like her sister, to the convenient, if not slightly ironic, Shadow.

She had unruly short black hair, and freckles marked her cheeks, which weren't half as pale as her sister's. She had the same kind of angular, high cheek boned face as her sister, but it was always graced with a smile, even if it was a slightly crooked smile that stated very clearly how amusing life was. Or her sister, as the case often was.

She had genetics from her father's side, giving her cat-like features, and two black cat ears poked almost rakishly out of her hair. A ridge of fur ran down her spine, from the base of her neck all the way down until it ended at her long typical cat tail. Her hands and feet had black pads, and her senses of hearing, sight and smell were almost as good as those of a cat's, as was her night vision.

She was sarcastic and cynical in nature but very nice, and was always willing and able to lend a hand to anyone, and she greatly believed in 'service with a smile'. Artistic and clever, she was a people person but preferred to be alone or with her closest friends at times, more often than her sister. She could dance (with a partner, anyway) and she loved to play sports, though mostly just because she loved to run and go fast, and she more than a tad competitive to boot.

Both sisters have interesting stories to tell, if you'll hear them.


"Shadow! Come on, do you want to be late to school? Today's the excursion, and I am not missing it for you," Shade called out in annoyance, opening her sister's bedroom door.

Shadow slowly sat up, and brushed her hair out of her eyes. Her bed was, as usual, a mess. Shade was glad she did not have to clean it up each night.

Shadow stretched, a long, languid movement, and got out of bed.

"How can you still be sleepy?" muttered Shade, as she left the room and headed down the stairs, shaking her head.

Shadow shrugged, got out her school clothes and headed for the bathroom.

Five minutes later she emerged in a cloud of steam, her hair sticking up in clumps. Dragging a brush through it, she grabbed everything she would need that day and picked her way down the stairs, avoiding all the creaky bits as she snuck up on her sister.

Then she paused, on the last sep, and sniffed deeply, "Is that bacon I smell, Shade?" she asked, her belly rumbling, her attempts at stealth forgotten as she inhaled deeply and walked up to her sister.

"Yes, and I suppose you want the burned bits? As weird as that is, at least I don't have to eat them." Shade replied, as Shadow went to the table and grabbed a plate full of bacon with burned edges and sat down, wolfing down the bacon like she hadn't eaten in days.

Shade shook her head at her twin and brought her plate over to the table, and began eating, much slower.

Once they had finished Shadow grabbed the dishes, dumped them in the sink and slung her school bag over her shoulder.

Shade put her school bag on as well and they both started towards the door.

"Are we going to take the Tube or ride there?" Shadow asked, when they got to the door.

Shade thought for a moment and then said "Let's ride, it's healthier." Shadow snorted, then grinned.

Both of them grabbed a shiny skateboard with no wheels. Shadow's board was black with a white and blue border.

Shade's board was much more brightly patterned. Light green at one end, purple at the other, with a white and pale blue sharp edged dragonfly in the middle, she liked to think it showed off her personality. No one disagreed, so she assumed she right. Then again, she had often mused, no one would disagree with me. Except Shadow, of course.

Shadow dropped the board to the floor, then jumped on it, and it powered up with a buzz.

Then it hovered above the ground, and Shadow opened the door and flew outside, Shade on her tail.

They raced along several streets, matched more or less evenly, before they stopped beside a short, curvy girl with bubble-gum pink hair and wide blue eyes who was clearly waiting for them. Her eyes burned with the light of an internal fire that matched her intense, fiery personality. She started up her hoverboard, a charcoal grey one covered with flames (despite how cliche that was, she always used the design), and grinned at them.

"That wasn't bad," she commented."You two were pretty evenly matched."

"Yeah, well, I was better," both Shade and Shadow said at the same time. They glared at each other as Magi laughed.

"However, no matter how well you race, you can't beat this." Her grin turned sly.

"Wait, is that...?" Shade started to ask, her eyes wide.

"No way," Shadow breathed, her expression the same.

"It is," Magi confirmed, her expression smug. "Now eat my dust!" She leapt onto her board and sped off. Grinning, Shade and Shadow sped after her.

Shade caught Shadow's eye and Shadow danced her fingers across one palm, at which Shade nodded, a small smile on her face.

Shadow ducked under someone's arm as they opened their restaurant for the day, and piled on the speed. She started to catch up and Magi looked back at her. Shadow assumed a concentration face, but silently counted down.

Three... two... one. Shade came out a side street, having picked up her board and flown over the buildings. Shadow kicked her board up, flicking water from a puddle (it had rained during the day) up at Magi. Magi didn't have the reflexes to dodge it, so she slowed and Shade caught up to her. She smiled at Magi. "It's not the board, Magi. It's the racer," she called tauntingly as she caught up to Shadow.

They leapt off their boards at the same time, landing outside the gates of their high school. They turned to each other and grinned, hitting a high-five as Magi stopped beside them.

"I think you guys cheated. There's two of you against me."

"There's always two of us-" Shadow began.

"-against everyone" finished Shade smoothly.

Shadeia-pronounced Shade-DEE-a

Shadovaa- pronounced Sha-DOV-va

You may be wondering where our favorite crime-fighting duo has gone, but I assure you, they will appear. Next chapter will be Llama's.