The girls ran for about half an hour, until they reached Grover's Mill. Timoshi looked up at them, cradling Shiara's silver Mon-Orb. The girls didn't even notice the snow had all melted away until they saw Timoshi.
"Where is he!?" Eri demanded, panting hard. "Where's who?" Timoshi blinked. "Ash!" Eri told him. "He came into the club and started to threaten us." Mackenzie informed him. "He told us to meet him here."
"So I did." Came Ash's voice from behind them. The three Slayers turned around, to see Ash standing there, holding a long, thick staff that looked rather gnarled and old. "Let Ash go!" Eri yelled at her father. "He did nothing to you!"
The boyish figure let out a low, deep chuckle, which soon turned into insane laughter. "You still haven't gotten it yet." He said. "There IS no Ash!" The three Slayers dropped back a bit. "What are you talking about!?" Eri demanded. "Ash was real! I saw him, felt him!...Heard him!"
Ash tilted his head to the side, and smirked before straightening it again. "Stupid girl..." he said dryly. "Allow me to explain." he stepped forward, and leaned against his staff. "I was trapped inside that seal for quite some time... approximately seven-hundred and four years, specifically. I wanted out... I so desperately wanted to get out of that realm, and get back to my work."
"That time period doesn't make sense..." Timoshi interrupted, gripping the hilt of his sword. "You escaped in 2001... We all saw you fight Eri."
Ash grinned and continued, "That form in which you saw, wasn't me at all, I'm afraid. You see, I was still quite weak from the attack on my castle back in the 1300s, and I was drained of all my Magick energy, thus I couldn't escape when the time rift tore open the seal. But fortunately, I could still cast smaller spells, not quite as effective, but could still make a point, so I made a ... hologram, if you will. What you fought was just a holographic image of me."
Eri's eyes widened. She wondered why such a strong attack like the one she had dealt out hadn't finished off Sufocus, like it should have.
Ash pushed his glasses up against his face. "What's the year now?... 2004? So yes... four years, technically, because time was rewound and your memories were erased... Anyway, in this year I was growing very weary and bored. I longed to back in this world... I longed for fresh air... Thus, I realised that if I concentrated hard enough, and focused all of my energy, I could come back as a weaker product of my adult-form... So, I chose the form of a child, not much older than any of you. So you see, Eri, there was no Ash. It was me all the time." Ash grinned.
It all came together...it all made sense now. Eri thought about all her encounters with Ash... how he seemed concerned about her eye-sight, all the riddles, him questioning about her birthplace, and asking about being adopted... and even where he was born: Europe!
"I knew it!" Timoshi growled suddenly. "I knew there was something not right about you!" Ash shrugged, smirking. "Oops. You found me out." he giggled.
His face suddenly grew very serious, and he pushed his glasses against his nose once more. "But now, as I have vowed... I'm going to have to kill you all." Ash slowly raised his left hand into the air, and a bright green ball of energy formed in his hand.
"Not if I can help it!" Noa cried out. Before Ash knew what was going on, Noa suddenly cracked him over the back of the head with a crowbar. Ash lost concentration, and stumbled forward, holding his wounded head.
Eri looked up to see her brother panting softly, holding the dull tool in his left hand. "Noa!" she cried out. Noa took a minute to catch his breath. "Kiku and I were driving around, and we saw a bright light flash repeatedly from here, so we decided to come and investigate." Timoshi raised his eyebrow. "And you keep a crowbar in your car?..." Noa smirked. "You never know when you're going to get a flat tire... You have to get the hubcaps off somehow, right?"
Ash slowly rose up, the wound fully healed. Noa looked over at the boy "No body hurts my sister and gets away with it -- So stay down!" he scolded, and punched Ash in the face, sending the boy onto his rump. Noa shook his hand from the hard punch, and looked at Eri. "Seems like your friend here isn't so friendly anymore."
Ash growled, and stood up. He grabbed Noa by the back of his shirt, and threw him away like a piece of garbage. "We're in trouble..." Timoshi replied as the three of them inched backwards.
Suddenly, everyone heard a blaring honking noise. Eri looked over Ash's shoulder to see a red station wagon speed up the path of the park, aiming directly at the four kids. Ash turned around fully, staring at the car hard. The station wagon's headlights flashed brightly, blinding Ash, who wasn't expecting such a thing to happen, and the car ran right into him, making the boy smash into the wind shield, and flip right over the car. The car swerved to its right, and came to a stop.
The passenger door opened, and Kiku poked her head out. "Get in!" she urged. Timoshi helped a dazed Noa into the front seat of the car, and the three kids piled into the back. No sooner had they done this, Kiku stepped on the gas, and was speeding out of the park.
"What the hell was going on back there!?" Kiku demanded, keeping her eyes tensely on the road. "That boy is the guy I was telling you about!" Eri told her sister-in-law. "He's Sufocus!" Kiku raised her eyebrow. "Him? I imagined this Sufocus guy to be more... taller."
"Eri, why do Kiku and Noa know about Sufocus?..." Timoshi asked, raising an eyebrow at her. Eri sighed softly. "When I was at the fair, and that creature attacked... Noa saw me fighting it.. He saved my life." Timoshi put his head back against the seat, not really feeling up to scolding Eri. "I see..." he replied.
Mackenzie looked out the back window, and gasped. "Guys... we have company..." Timoshi looked back to see Ash walking at a steady pace after them. "Oh, shit!" he said gruffly, mostly in disbelief. "Kiku, step on it!"
Kiku sped around a corner, turning onto another street. Ash tilted his head to the side, and steadily followed after the Slayers and their two allies. He turned the corner, and sighed. Lifting his hands to his face, he began to chant something, and a large green vortex opened right behind him. About two dozen Monsters came streaming out. "Find the Slayers and kill them." Ash ordered.
Kiku slowly pulled into the driveway of her home. She and the kids got out, and helped Noa to the front door, even though he kept insisting he was fine.
When they all got settled into the livingroom, Eri proceeded to tell her two siblings what had happened in the past couple days. Timoshi and Mackenzie filled in the parts about school, since Eri was grounded.
"There has to be a way to kill this guy." Noa said, rubbing his forehead with his index finger and thumb. "There is a way..." Eri told him timidly, "but I'm almost too afraid to try it." Noa leaned forward. "What is it?" he asked. Eri sighed. "The Creator.. The book I told you about, told me that Sufocus relies too much on the Monsters... If we destroy the Mon-Orbs, Sufocus will become really weak, and hopefully we can kill him as if he were a normal human being."
"There's only the one problem," Timoshi added. "The Monsters all represent balance to our world. If we destroy them, the would most likely would collapse, and implode."
"That, and the fact that we haven't Slain all of the Monsters... Only a few."
Eri looked up. "Timoshi, what singular Monsters are there?.. I mean.. Monsters that there are only one of?" Timoshi thought for a moment. "He counted them over in his head. "Cloria; Monster of Light, Zorfus; Monster of Dark, Pyroe; Monster of Flame, Tsunami; Monster of Water, Magick Pentacle; Monster of All, Shiara; Monster of Ice, Sand-Loar; Monster of Time, and Mist-Master; Monster of Wind and Fog."
Eri thought hard for a moment. She blinked, and slowly lifted her pendent off from around her neck, and dangled it in front of her. "Monster of All... Wait a second! That's it!" she replied. "What's it?" Mackenzie asked. Before Eri could answer, the front window smashing open could be heard.
"What was that?" Kiku asked, standing up from the other chair. Scraping and clawing could be heard coming towards them. Eri and Timoshi quickly got up off the couch, and quickly summoned their Elemental Weapons from their pendants.
Five Monsters made their way into the livingroom. They snarled and glared at their targets, and got ready to attack. "Kiku, is there a back way out of here?" Timoshi asked. "Yes.." Kiku nodded, clinging to Noa. "Good." Timoshi said. "Mackenzie, take Noa and Kiku out of here. Try to get back to the park ... It'll be safe there." Mackenzie nodded, and the three of them left the room, quickly.
"You ready?" Timoshi asked Eri. "More ready than I'll ever be." Eri answered, firmly. They both pulled out their best mon-Orbs.
"Shiara, Monster of Ice, I summon you to freeze over these Monsters, and keep them from moving!" Timoshi ordered. A large gust of wind blew into the room, and ice pellets attacked the Monsters relentlessly, and soon turned them into large sculptures of frost.
Eri held her Mon-orb up. "Electrak, Monster of Electricity, I ask to use your power, for my task at hand!" Eri's sword blade began to glow yellow, and she thrust forward, a heavy wave of lightning shooting forward, and literally shattering the frozen Monsters. Timoshi blinked. "That was easy ... too easy."
Mackenzie and the two adults made their way outside to see that a lot of the houses had been destroyed, and set on fire. Dead people lay in the streets, and Monsters roamed around, searching to the three Slayers.
"Come on!" Mackenzie urged. They ran to the driveway, and got into the car. Kiku eagerly turned the key, put the car into 'Drive' and pressed the gas as hard as she could, speeding out of the area.
Timoshi and Eri ran outside, meeting hordes of Monsters. "Crap." Timoshi grumbled. The Monsters noticed the two Slayers, and slowly made their way to them. Eri and Timoshi let out battle cries, and dashed forward, beginning to cleave Monsters in half from left and right. One by one they all went down, failing in their mission.
Ash stood at the end of the street, clapping as the Slayers disposed of the rest of the Monsters. "Good show." he grinned. "Only a coward would send out an army to do his own dirty work." Timoshi puffed. Ash grinned. "And only a street rat would steal something that's not his."
Ash snapped his fingers, and the zipper on Timoshi's backpack pulled itself back, opening the bag. The Creator slowly floated out, and made its way to Ash. "I'll be taking this, thank you very much." the evil wizard said, grabbing the book in one hand.
He then, flipped through the empty pages of the book, and lifted his index finger to his lips. Ash opened his mouth, and twisted his finger on an eye-tooth, cutting open the tip. He then, lowered the bloody finger to the blank page, and began to draw.
"Stop it!" Eri yelled. "I refuse to see any more suffering!" She raised her sword, and dashed at Ash. She slashed at him, making the book drop to the ground. Ash stumbled backward, and gripped his slashed arm. He winced a bit, and the deep wound slowly began to shrink back, as if the attack never happened.
"You're really a stupid girl..." Ash growled. "How dare you defy your own flesh and blood, Terra. I'm ashamed of you." He thought for a moment. "I should have killed you when you were a born. You were just an accident..."
"Shut up!" Eri screamed. Timoshi stepped forward, and placed his hands on Eri's shoulders, trying to calm her.
"I found the foreign girl wandering around on the streets... She was about to be carted away to the slave pens, when I stepped in and bought her from the police officer." Ash said. "She was obedient, I guess... But she was too snoopy. Though I loved her dearly, and married her soon after, it annoyed me that she wanted to know all about my scientific work."
Ash growled softly. "She died while giving birth to you, Eri. She died, and you killed her... You killed the only thing I loved! I sent you into the future, not only to complete my work, but so I could be rid of you! When I realised you were mixed up with the Monsters when you were 13, I thought you had become like me... But to my great despair, you turned out just like your damnable mother!"
Ash began to tremble. It was obvious he was very frustrated and upset. If it was at Eri or himself, it wasn't known. "Daddy..." Eri said softly. She stepped forward, and slowly walked over to her father. "Get away from me!" Ash yelled at her. "Don't touch me!"
Eri ignored his anger, and walked right up to her father. She raised her hand, and slowly stroked his cheek. "I'm sorry..." she said softly, and slowly wrapped her arms around the quivering figure of the boy. Ash began to whimper, and he hugged his long-lost daughter tightly. "No, my darling... I'm sorry..." he sniffed.
Ash raised an arm from the hug, and a dagger materialized in his hand. "I...I didn't mean to cause so much suffering for you and your friends..." Ash said grimly. Timoshi's eyes widened, seeing the dagger. "Eri, look out!!" he yelled.
Eri went to pull back, but just as she did, Ash thrust the dagger right into her back. Eri's eyes widened, and she gasped softly. Ash gazed into his daughter's suffering eyes thoughtfully, and twisted the dagger roughly. "Daddy.." Eri whispered softly, and fell limp.
"You bastard!!" Timoshi screamed. "I'll fucking kill you!"
Ash yawned softly, and pushed Eri's body to the side. He slowly stood up, and dusted himself off. "My work here is done." he muttered.
Timoshi ran forward, and shoved Ash hard onto the ground. Ash let out an insane laugh. "See what killing a loved one can do? It makes one so very angry!" he laughed harder. "I'll slit your throat!" Timoshi yelled. He found a kind of strength he never even knew he had before.
Tim lifted Ash up with both hands, and threw him into a light pole. Ash grunted and slid to the ground. Timoshi panted hard, and made his way to the dazed wizard, and started to punch him repeatedly in the face. "I'll kill you!" Timoshi screamed.
Though Ash bled profusely he just kept laughing. "Stupid boy! It doesn't matter if you kill me! The task I came for is done. Do whatever you wish, but your girlfriend is dead. Face it, and move on!"
Eri's sword began to glow an eerie yellow. It flashed a few times, and slowly began to melt down into a golden Pentagram. It slid upwards, and floated into the air. Ash stopped laughing as he saw this. His eyes widened, and he gasped in terror. Timoshi retracted his blood-covered fists to see the Monster of All floating silently over Eri's body.
"Enough is enough..." The pentagram said in a soft, child-like voice. "You have totally perverted everything that was ever taught to you, Viktor Sufocus..." Ash scrambled to his feet, terrified. "What.. What do you want!?" he yelled out. The pentagram slowly floated forward. "I want to end this." it replied flatly.
The Pentagram turned to Timoshi. "Finish your job, young Slayer. You have been trained for this day... I will not stop you... Slay the Master, and the Army shall follow..." The Pentagram melted back to its sword form, but was all golden now. It dropped at Timoshi's side with a loud clang.
Timoshi shuddered slightly, picking up the sword. "The book lied..." he said to himself. He looked up at Ash, who was trembling in fright. Timoshi's expression turned angry, and he leaped forward, thrusting the sword's blade deep into the wizard's heart.
Ash let out an unearthly scream that could wake the dead. Timoshi twisted the sword, and thrust in deeper. "I will not forget this!!!" Ash bellowed in a deeper, more frightening voice which did not match the boyish body at all. "Go to Hell!" Timoshi yelled, and ripped the sword sideways, tearing Ash clean in half.
Ash let out another howl, and his flesh and hair began to roll off his skin. His eyes rolled around, before falling out of the sockets to the ground. The muscles and guts just melted off the wizard, forming a sizzling ooze all around him.
Timoshi panted hard, and stood back, watching the inanimate skeleton stare at him with an open jaw. Timoshi closed his eyes, and sighed deeply. He could hear the howls and screams of the Monsters all dying. The Mon-Orbs were not destroyed, though. He thought it was just as well, anyway. There had to be some sort of balance in the world.
Everything began to glow a bright green. The fires all faded away, and the damage of things came together, repairing themselves. Bodies of people that lay on the ground began to heal, and wake up. Timoshi sniffed, and picked up the Pentagram, which had now morphed into its pendant form.
Kiku looked around her, and noticed the drastic change. The Monsters had all vanished, and the damage appeared to... not appear! "What -- happened?" she asked. Mackenzie smiled warmly. "They did it... Timoshi and Eri killed Sufocus..."
Kyosuke let out a great laugh. Lakmir stood with him, blinking. "Kyosuke! Lakmir!" Mackenzie said happily. "I'm so glad you two are okay!" Noa saw something in the distance. "Hey, look over there!" he pointed. Everyone followed his gaze.
Timoshi slowly made his way up the path, cradling Eri's limp body close to him. Her glasses had fallen off when she was killed, and Timoshi really didn't want to waste his time looking for them.
Kiku's smile soon faded to a look of distress. "Oh my God..."she said, and pushed passed Noa and Mackenzie, who also realised the condition. Timoshi's body trembled, and he just fell to his knees, holding his love's body close.
Everyone fell to their knees around Timoshi, frantically. "What happened!?" Noa demanded. "I...I couldn't... do anything... He... he tricked her... and..." Timoshi stuttered. He closed his eyes tightly, and began sobbing uncontrollably.
Kyosuke went to stroke Eri's orange hair, when he gasped. Everyone looked over at him. "My.. My body!.." he said, astonished. Random bits of Kyosuke's body began to be soaked with a soft flesh toned colour.
"What's happening to him!?" Mackenzie asked, shocked. Timoshi's eyes widened. "He... he's becoming.. alive!" Kyosuke lifted his hand to his face. Almost his entire body wasn't see-through anymore... it was all layered with white cloth, and warm skin!
"Noa..." Mackenzie blinked. "I remember now... You were killed by a Monster.. After they were all sent back into the seal, the exact thing that is happening to Kyosuke must have happened to you!"
Noa's eyes widened. He remembered now too! He thought it was just a dream, but he remembered it now as if it were all real: Herbion attacking him and the car swerving into the oil truck!
Timoshi slowly realised it. "All the souls that Sufocus took... They're being returned to this world!" he said. "Innaho, Kyosuke... You two are coming back to us!.." he declared. Kyosuke grinned, and sat there, as real as you or me. He looked older now.. 16, like he should be. He missed those four years, and he shouldn't have.
Slight coughing sounds came from Eri. Timoshi blinked, and looked down at the girl. She groaned softly, and let out a final cough. "What... happened?..." she asked softly. Timoshi's smile grew wide. "It's all over, my Eri... Sufocus is dead."
Eri's eyes were half closed, and she let out a warm smile.
She remembered last time, when Jhonen, one of the first Slayers said that their memories had to be erased because of the Slaying being done with. Eri waited patently, expecting to wake up any minute from this dream. She blinked, realising this was no dream at all, and was so happy to know she was still in Timoshi's arms.
"I don't want to forget you... Please... Don't let me forget you..."
"Don't worry, Eriya, I won't let that happen..."
It was a sunny afternoon. The birds chirped in the distance, but were soon muffled with the voices of people walking, and talking.
Timoshi looked up at the clock overhead a desk. He sighed, and turned around to face Eri, Kyosuke, Innaho, Lakmir and Mackenzie. He was happy that all his friends were there to see him off.
"It's almost time..." he said softly, putting down his suitcases at either side of him. "Have a good trip." Mackenzie said, smiling. Kyosuke nodded, thinking the exact same thing.
The group had been rather silent on the way up to the train station. There were no words that could really fit this ending chapter in their lives. Timoshi was moving away, Kyosuke and Innaho were back in school, Lakmir was enrolling into an elementary school, and Eri and Mackenzie really had no changes in their lives.
A train engineer walked in from the doors outside. And announced that the train would be leaving in a few minutes. Timoshi sighed, and tilted his head. "I'm really going to miss you guys." he admitted. "Us too." Kyosuke said.
Eri sighed in discomfort, and looked at Timoshi. She suddenly ran forward, and hugged him tightly. Timoshi grunted a bit, not really expecting this. He smiled, and wrapped his arms around Eri tightly. "Promise you'll come back and visit?.." she asked him. Timoshi nodded, and nuzzled the top of Eri's head. "I promise."
The doors to the train opened wide, letting people head out to board. Eri realised this, and hugged Timoshi tighter. She didn't want to let go. She didn't want to say good bye. She closed her eyes, nuzzling Timoshi's chest gently. "I love you..." she whispered, but knew he probably wouldn't say the same.
Timoshi closed his eyes, and rubbed Eri's back. "I love you, too..." he whispered. Eri's eyes opened wide, and she looked up at him, thinking she imagined what he said. Timoshi lifted Eri's chin with the tip of his index finger, gazing into her big, red eyes. He leaned in, and slowly pressed his lips against hers. Eri blushed deeply, and closed her eyes, holding the kiss for as long as she could.
"All aboard!" the engineer called out. The two teens broke their passionate kiss slowly, and let go of each other unwillingly. Timoshi picked up his bags, and sighed softly. "That's my cue... Bye guys.. I'll write soon, okay?" Everyone nodded, and Timoshi smiled at Eri, before turning around.
Eri stood there, staring at Timoshi as he left through those two sliding doors. She watched his body fade to shadow as the smoke from the train traveled across the pathway, until it grew so thick, she couldn't see him any longer.
" It's so hard to say goodbye, but I know we'll always be together in spirit... Farewell, Timoshi..."
All Characters, and story of Monster Slayer are © to Tim Blake and Virtualplay Entertainment™.Virtualplay™ Canada 2003