A Kim Possible Fanfiction
by Greg Fisk (aka "Slyrr")

Kim Possible is owned/copyrighted by Disney and its affiliates, etc. etc.

Chapter 8:
Clue
Or: Kim Possible - In The Study - With The Candlestick


Kim sat in the back of another hypersonic jet. The helicopter at Yamanouchi had taken her straight to an airport, where the jet had been waiting, along with two ninja pilots. The dedication of the Yamanouchi students was funny at times - even though the pilots were uniformed and wearing flight helmets, they still kept on their ninja hoods. And Kim had a slight surprise during the flight when another ninja seemed to pop up out of nowhere, poised as if to attack. But his hands blurred quickly into his billowing sleeves, whipping out a small bag of peanuts and a can of soda which he presented to Kim, who took them warily.

'Secret ninja refreshments - great.' said Kim, nodding to the ninja, who bowed and vanished as quickly as he had appeared.

The trip from Japan to England took several hours, in which Kim touched base with Wade. 'So... what will you do if you find Monkey Fist at the manor?' he said.

'Same as usual.' said Kim confidently. 'Bust up whatever racket he's got going, make him bring Ron back and then cart him off to jail.'

'You make it sound easy.' said Wade, looking nervous.

'Always is!' said Kim, smiling. And she meant it. As long as there was a clear path in front of her, she'd never worried about what villains might be at the end of it. She could do anything, a fact which none of her enemies seemed to 'get'.

'And the stone thing?' said Wade. 'Hirotaka's no slouch at martial arts - but he said Monkey Fist beat him easy.'

Kim's eyes glinted. 'If he's made of stone, it just means he'll break easier.' she said. 'Remember we took on a whole gang of gargoyles at the second key shrine, and they're all gravel now.'

Wade smiled. 'Just remember to get him to bring Ron back before you turn him into grit for the driveway.'

'Don't worry.' Kim said, her voice more serious. 'Whatever he did to Ron, by the time I'm finished with him, he'll be begging to undo it.' She shut off the Kimmunicator and sat tapping her heels, checking her chute and waiting for the ninja pilots to signal that they were at the drop point.

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The cavernous lair was silent, with only an occasional falling pebble interrupting the quiet which filled the high chambers. The banks of computers and the devices connected to them whirred quietly about their tasks.

From the tunnel-like entrance, there came an approaching sound of heavy footsteps. Two statues that stood on either side of the entrance ground their heads on their stone necks as the footsteps became louder and closer.

Monkey Fist entered the cavern. His stone arms supported the thin, nearly limp form of Maze, who staggered weakly to the rough furniture near the computer station. He sat down in one of the carved chairs, letting out a great sigh. He let his staff fall next to him and leaned his head back, his eyes closed.

Monkey Fist looked at him quietly for a moment, then he strode to the table where the Overthruster, the Transmat and the Harmonicizer sat connected and humming. He opened the case containing the Universal Decryption Matrix and carefully took it out, setting it next to the other devices.

He then labored in silence, consulting manuals and books before he connected the UDM to the hub which linked the other devices together. He tried activating the device several times, fiddling with wires, ports and switches while looking perplexed and often frustrated. At last he seemed satisfied as the UDM whirred and lit up.

He then went to the main computer consoles and carefully checked several websites as well as readouts from several programs. Monkey Fist looked in satisfaction at the computer readouts - which tapped into several scanning satellites as well as Google Earth. On the monitors, each screen showed every nearby city, highlighted with readouts on their electricity use, incoming and outgoing transmissions from cell phones, internet and land lines. He zeroed in on the coordinates of their lair. Nothing was to be seen. Despite their power usage, the mountain where the lair was set up appeared just as black and invisible on the scanners as the uninhabited mountains around them.

He heard a rustle and a sigh from the chair where Maze was sitting. 'Ah, feeling better?' he said, glancing aside.

Maze looked back at him wearily. 'The pain is easing.' he said. 'Another day or two and I should be fully recovered.'

'I'm glad to hear it.' said Monkey Fist. 'Soon we will need your peculiar talents to test the machine. It's initial functions are working well - the lair is now completely hidden from any surveillance, and all our communications will be untraceable.'

Maze nodded. 'And your peculiar talents?' he said, his voice still sounding raspy and strained. 'We still have not found a way to fully harness them. That will be crucial.'

'Truth be told, you were not even sure I would possess them when you freed me from my imprisonment.' said Monkey Fist. Maze did not answer. 'As it happens, your guesses were correct.' Monkey Fist went on. 'This machine will assist in harnessing them - but it will be incumbent on me to unlock them so they can be harnessed.'

Maze nodded. 'Then we should begin training as soon as possible.' he said, making as if to sit up, but he winced and fell back against the chair.

'Soon.' said Monkey Fist, glancing at him. 'As you say - you still need rest. And that is just as well, for there is something I need to tend to.' He turned and began walking back towards the exit, his feet making a dull thunking noise at every step. 'I will be back before long.' he said. 'Please do not touch the machines while I'm away.'

Maze grimaced, fighting up to a full sitting position. 'Maokiiwa - Where are you going? said Maze, his voice suspicious. 'You cannot travel openly in that state without attracting attention, and I cannot mask you again until I have recovered! It was all I could manage to conceal us until we returned here....'

'My ninja skills will be enough for concealment.' said Monkey Fist, pausing and looking back. 'I must return to the manor. I'm expecting.... company.' Then he vanished into the tunnel, his footsteps echoing to silence as Maze stared after him.

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Grimm Probable strode out from Chief Sakituya's cabin at Kamp Kwitcherbeliakin. His expression was one of disappointment, and fear, as well as steely determination. Rueful chittered softly from his perch on the handlebars of the bike outside as Grimm took out his communicator. He punched in a set of numbers and paused. There was a dial tone and a click, then the still, pine scented air of the camp was pierced by a tinny voice from the speakers.

"You've reached the offices of Credible Investigations, paranormal researchers and exterminators. We're not here right now but if you leave a message with your name, number and what kind of otherwordly problem you're having we'll get back to you as soon as we can."

Grimm winced. 'Figures.' he thought, scowling at the LED screen and breaking off the connection without leaving a message. 'The arrogant little twerp keeps turning up when I don't need her, and now in the one sitch where she might actually be useful, she's nowhere to be found.'

He dialed again, and Jade's voice answered. 'Yo - GP!' she said, her voice sounding anxious. 'What'd he say?'

Grimm paused, looking like he wasn't sure how to answer. At last he shrugged. 'I'll fill you in later.' he said. 'Right now I've got some... hiking to do. It could be a while before I get back - in the meantime, keep analyzing the data we've already got.' Jade nodded, then Grimm shut off the communicator.

He looked doubtfully back towards Sakituya's cabin, and then turned to the Ksikkihkíni. From the trunk he took a pack and supplies, then he wheeled the bike to a storage cabin and secured it, activating the defense mechanisms. Then he hoisted his pack, checked several files on his communicator, and left on foot, taking one of the hiking trails and plunging into the surrounding forest with Rueful scurrying behind him.

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Bates sat at a small desk in his room at Monkey Fist's manor. He looked around, taking in the familiar surroundings of the building in which he and his family had served the Fiskes for generations. From the external surroundings, he then moved to internal reflection. He sighed, remembering happier times when his master had been a famed archeologist and the name of Fiske was honored and respected.

Those had been good days, recalling to his mind the stories his grandfather had told him of the times when the sun never set on the British Empire. Safaris, the collecting of artifacts and journeys of exploration were the sport of nobles then, and the Fiskes had been among the greatest.

He had not minded journeying with Lord Montgomery Fiske in those days - indeed he had been honored to join in the adventures, and to be mentioned in the reports of them, even if only in passing. The respect and admiration given to the name of Fiske after a successful recovery was more than enough to put up with the insect bites, the heat and discomfort of camping in the wild as well as the long and sometimes fruitless explorations.

Then the matter of the monkey idols had arisen. Whether the idols were mystical or not, Bates hadn't known or cared. But from the moment his master had collected all four of the idols, it was as if they had set a curse on the Fiske family.

It had been bad enough when his master had gone to that horrible DNAmy woman and had his hands and feet genetically altered. At least he had kept it secret at first. But after the defeat of his master by that blond haired interloper, everything had come out.

Monty Fiske had gone from being a respected member of the community to being the looney with monkey hands. While his master may have been respected by the villains and ne'er-do-wells of the world, his reputation at home had gone, for lack of a better phrase, straight down the loo. But still Bates had kept at his job, partly from family tradition, and partly because it still paid well. He could endure the taunts and whispers he heard from the townsfolk when running errands to maintain the manor, which grew steadily worse every time 'Monkey Fist' made the news for his schemes or his capture at the hands of a teenage girl. But it had been partly a relief when his master had disappeared for a time after setting out to seek some shrine to the Ono, or the Yo-yo, or some such thing.

But his master had returned. Bates would normally have been delighted, but the changes that had come over Monty Fiske had only caused his fears to increase rather than diminish. For the last few weeks he had grown increasingly worried, wondering what madness the manor might soon become a staging platform to enact. And he found he could no longer endure the uncertainty, the seemingly never-ending descent of the Fiske name into ignominy and disrepute. He had quietly been winding up his affairs and there were only a few more things to set in order.

Bates sighed and sit down, taking up his pen and pausing every so often, wondering how to best phrase what he was writing.

Milord,
It is with the deepest regret that I inform you I can no longer continue in my current position. I hereby tender my resignation, effective immediately.
Sincerely, your servant
Arthur Alistair Bates, Esq.

He looked over the paper, which represented the termination of nearly a hundred years tradition in his family. He was wondering whether there was some better way to say it, when he suddenly heard a heavy knocking at the front doors....

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Kim walked across the foreboding cobblestone bridge leading from the grounds to Monkey Fist's manor. 'Been a while since I was here.' she thought briefly. 'Even though it wasn't really me, it was holo-me.' She had parachuted down to a perfect landing on the grounds outside the manor, stowing her chute and putting her helmet over the face of a garden bust of Monty Fiske.

In a strange way, she felt coming here was somehow closing the loop. It was in a secret chamber beneath this manor where Ron had first been gifted with the Mystical Monkey Power. She remembered hearing Ron's yelping screams through her Kimmunicator as he was being chased by the genetically altered criminal. She remembered the feeling of utter helplessness, being thousands of miles away from Ron while he was in danger, unable to do anything about it. And then her cousin Larry had taken the Kimmunicator and given Ron the cryptic instruction to remember the Cloud Guardian from Fortress.

And the next thing she knew, she was listening in amazement as Ron reported that Monkey Fist had been defeated and he needed the police to come help clean things up. She'd never given the Mystical Monkey Power much thought after that. Yet it was a thread that had run through Ron's life from the moment he had stepped into the circle of the four Monkey idols within this manor.

The manor itself reminded Kim of a Transylvanian castle, but without the gargoyles and thunderstorms. It had a slightly more homey look to it, with latticed windows shining yellow on the upper floors through the dim twilight. Kim took the heavy brass knocker in her hand and heard the echoing hammer of metal against wood as it rolled through the unseen hallways behind the door.

She waited for nearly a minute before she heard a lock clicking, and then the door creaked open. She saw the short, rotund form of Bates peering around the doorway. Bates saw Kim and his mustached face sprang into a look of sudden worry. 'Bingo.' she thought. 'He knows something.'

Bates seemed on the verge of slamming the door in her face, but Kim pushed her way into the manor without waiting and he began stammering through the usual displays of unnecessary British courtesy. 'Ah... Ms. Possible. To what do I owe this unexpected...'

Kim stared at him. 'Where is he?' she said, and was pleased to see his tan complexion turning several shades paler.

'He.... who?' said Bates, with poorly feigned confusion. 'I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking ab..... Ms. Possible, I beg your pardon!' Kim had turned from him and was heading towards the stairs. 'I say Ms. Possible, this is an intrusion! I must insist...!'

And he followed at her heels, protesting every step of the way until she reached the upstairs study, following the floor plans Wade had uploaded to her Kimmunicator. She looked around the study, opening drawers, checking behind wall paintings, looking for any evidence of current activity.

'Young lady, if you do not stop this vandalism I will be forced to call the police!' Bates said, as Kim swept a number of articles off of the desk to check beneath the blotter.

She paused to glare at him. 'You do that!' she said. 'Let's get as many bobbies down here as you can gather! That way we can have them help search the place for your monkey-fisted boss!' And as he blanched even whiter, she knew that the last thing he wanted was to have a house full of policemen. 'But we don't even need to do that, do we?' she said. 'You know where he is!'

Bates' hands were shaking and his eyes were wide. Sweat was beading on his forehead. 'You... you must leave immediately!' he said, and his voice sank to a pleading whisper.

'I'm not leaving until I find him!' Kim shouted. 'You think I'm fooling around? Note serious face!'

'Ms. Possible, please..!'

'Where is he?' she said, raising her voice even higher, and Bates finally seemed to crack.

'I... I don't know where he is now!' he answered, shaking even harder. 'He came back to the manor several weeks ago, but he only stayed long enough to reorganize his affairs!'

Kim got right in front of him, seizing his collar in one fist. 'What do you mean, reorganize?'

'He... he's planning something - larger and more ambitious than anything I've ever known from him before - but he wouldn't tell me what it was. He emptied all of his accounts and transferred the funds somewhere else because he knew they could be traced! Then he ordered me to look after the manor and simply disappeared, that's all I know, I swear!' He looked utterly terrified, glancing from side to side as he continued. 'Ms. Possible, you're in great danger as long as you stay here! He comes back periodically, but only to make sure I'm following orders - I think he has been expecting you to come....'

Kim smiled darkly. 'Well he got that much right!' she said.

'Please! He's not the same as you remember him! You must leave, I beg you!'

And from a recessed alcove, nearly black in it's shaded darkness, Kim heard a smooth voice. 'Thank you, Bates.' Bates flinched, looking behind him. 'So good of you to escort the cheer squad to my study.' said the voice, sounding amused and sarcastic. 'Wait outside, I will now entertain our guest.' And from the shadows, a figure emerged. His outfit was slightly different, a bit more stylized than she remembered. His skin was rough and gray, but there was no mistaking the person who now stood by the fireplace with a relaxed smiled on his face.

'Monkey Fist!' Kim said, shaking off an odd sense of deja vu.

'That will be all, Bates.' said Monkey Fist, jerking his head towards the door without even looking at his butler. 'I said wait outside.'

Bates was still shaking. 'M... milord...' he started, but Monkey Fist now looked at him, his face suddenly scowling.

'Now.' he said firmly.

Bates backed away towards the door with a final glance at Kim that was almost pitying. Then he turned and fled, closing the door behind him. Monkey Fist leaned casually against the mantelpiece, looking totally at ease. 'I understand you've been looking for me.' he said. 'Well.... here I am. How may I be of assistance?' And he looked at Kim with a wicked smile.

'What did you do to Ron?' she said, moving towards him.

Monkey Fist looked surprised at the question. 'Only what I've been saying I would do for a long time.' he said, waving his hand. 'Surely over the course of our encounters, I have made my intentions plain?'

Kim felt a surge of anger. He was obviously amused by her demands and was rubbing it in her face, being deliberately vague. 'Tell me where he is and what you did to him!' she said, and both of her hands clenched.

Monkey Fist stared at her. 'No.' he said.

Kim drew even closer, getting within striking distance. 'Tell me where he is!' she said.

'Why should I?' said Monkey Fist with a smile. 'When it's so much more fun to leave you guessing....'

Kim felt a chill. His demeanor was entirely too relaxed. It was as if he didn't know that Kim was tensing for an attack, or like he simply didn't care. He just stood as if warming himself at the hearth. 'Then I hope you've had your fill of fun, because I'm taking you in!' she said.

Monkey Fist laughed, his higher notes sounding like a monkey's shrill cries. 'And how do you intend to do that?' he said. 'I won't go willingly, and you won't be able to force me.'

Kim glared, going into a ready position. 'We'll see.' she said. 'I doubt you'll last long without your monkey ninjas backing you up.'

Monkey Fist waved impatiently. 'I no longer need Monkey Ninjas - I can handle you myself.' he said.

'I doubt you could lay a finger on me!' Kim said, her eyes narrowing.

Monkey Fist held up his hand, extending his pinky. Then with a sudden motion, he whipped his hand down, smashing his finger into the wall behind him. The block he hit shattered and cracks spread through the mortar around it. He raised his hand again, smiling. 'One finger is all I should need.' he said coldly. 'But I am a gentleman above all. You wish to take me by force? I shall let yours be the first blow.' and he stood with his arms outstretched.

As quick as sight, Kim slipped a pair of heavy cuffs from her hip pouch and snapped them over his wrists. There was a soft grinding noise as Monkey Fist raised an eyebrow, then he moved his wrists slowly apart. There was a metallic squeal, the chain stretched as the links bent, then the chain snapped. Monkey Fist pulled the manacle off his right wrist, twisting the metal apart, then he did the same to the manacle on his left wrist. He used both hands and wadded the metal into a rough ball and threw it over his shoulder where it landed on the floor with a heavy thunk. Kim stared in surprise.

'As that was not really a punch, I'll let you have another go.' said Monkey Fist smoothly.

Kim went into a crouch and leaped forward, spinning in mid-air and lashing out with a sweeping kick that landed solidly into Monkey Fist's gut. But it was like kicking solid rock. She pushed, flipping herself backwards and trying to shove him off balance, but he didn't budge at all. Monkey Fist tutted his lips and shook his head. 'You fight like a girl.' he said.

Then he leaped forward. She cartwheeled to the side and caught a glimpse of Monkey Fist's strike smashing his fine mahogany desk to splinters.

They fought, moving through the room in a dance of kung-fu maneuvers. Kim's many styles allowed her to land several punches and kicks, but she drew back in pain each time, her knuckles smarting and her heels stinging as she smashed them uselessly into Monkey Fist's stone hide.

Monkey Fist was still using Tai Shing Pek Kwar, but while he didn't seem to feel any pain, he wasn't nearly as quick. She stayed ahead of his attacks, but he seemed relentless in his assault, with no regard for fear or pain.

Another charge and she tucked and rolled, planting her heels firmly in his chest and heaving her legs with all her might. There was tremendous weight, but Monkey Fist was taken off balance and thrown straight into the fireplace. Burning logs scattered and rolled from the hearth, tumbling into the room as Monkey Fist regained his feet and rushed at her again. She leaped and landed neatly on top of one of the high bookcases which lined the room.

Monkey Fist stared up at her. 'And I thought today's youth had no appreciation for literature.' he said, sneering.

Kim smiled down at him. 'I love a nice, heavy book!' she said, then she braced herself against the wall and pushed on the shelves with her feet. The bookcase creaked and fell forward like a trap door, falling over Monkey Fist and sending cascades of books down on top of him. She landed on the smooth, dusty backside of the heavy bookcase and was just wondering how to move it so she could check on her enemy. A stone arm burst through the back of the case and Kim leaped back in surprise.

Monkey Fist tore the wood to pieces and emerged, holding one dusty volume. 'SunTzu's Art of War.' he said, glancing at the cover. 'Always an entertaining read.' He threw the book aside and charged.

Kim leaped and flipped over him, tumbling forward and landing in the wheeled sitting chair that was behind Monkey Fist's shattered desk. She spun and rolled off to the side as Monkey Fist attacked again.

Monkey Fist's face betrayed a moment of frustration as Kim rolled out of his reach again. He braced himself and ran at her, keeping his arms raised in case she tried leaping over him again. But Kim had been hoping for just that. She tucked and rolled beneath him, sliding through his legs and pulling the chair with her. Monkey Fist fell into the chair and Kim spun and kicked, sending him spinning towards the closed doorway like an out-of-control top.

Monkey Fist flailed with his arms and legs, but seemed disoriented. He smashed open the heavy door and spun out into the hallway with Kim in pursuit. As she passed through the door she heard another crash and saw Monkey Fist standing up, the chair lying in shattered pieces beneath his feet.

Kim skittered to the side as Monkey Fist rounded again and ran at her like a charging rhino. 'As always, you're making this much more annoying than it has to be!' he snarled.

'As always, happy to oblige!' Kim smiled, dodging him yet again. This time, his punch struck a decorative suit of armor in the corridor, blasting it apart and sending helmet, greaves, chestplate and gauntlets scattering everywhere with a crash. The long halberd it carried fell clattering at Kim's feet.

Kim hooked the shaft with her toes and spun it neatly into her hands, holding it at the ready. She still hesitated to use the bladed end, but as Monkey Fist shifted his stance and came at her, she swung the shaft of the polearm to connect with his head about a foot below the blade.

The halberd came to a total stop as Monkey Fist caught the bladed end in his hand and squeezed, crumpling the metal like tin foil. Then with a wrenching motion, he took the shaft in his other hand and pivoted, whirling around and pulling Kim in a sweeping arc which sent her tumbling down the corridor.

Kim got to her feet as Monkey Fist snapped the polearm in two pieces, throwing them aside. He charged at her again, and Kim rolled to the side. Monkey Fist clutched at her, but his momentum was too great and he shot past her. He turned and his stone feet slipped against the smooth floor. He tumbled and crashed into a rack on the wall, spilling a number of antique weapons. Monkey Fist let out a roaring cry and leaped into the air, spinning and tumbling towards her.

Kim's hand fell on a flail which had fallen from the rack on the wall - a long chain with a spiked ball of iron at the end. Moving quickly, she whirled it in a sweeping curve towards Monkey Fist's ankle.

The chain caught his ankle in mid leap. Kim pulled and heaved, feeling the strain on the tendons in her arms as the chain tightened, throwing Monkey Fist off balance and turning his leap into a rolling tumble that sent him spiraling into the far wall.

There was a smashing sound and a noise of crumbling rock along with a rising cloud of dust. The memory of the blackened gargoyles shattering in the key shrine came to Kim, and she worried for a moment. 'Please - if he's broken, let his head still be able to talk so he can tell me where Ron is!'

But she was both relieved and shocked when Monkey Fist surged back through a gaping hole in the wall, seeming completely undamaged. He faced off against Kim again, smiling. 'Normally the fight would have ended in your favor after a move like that.' he said. 'But I fear the days when I lie groaning and helpless at your feet are long gone!' He paused, looking at Kim, who was gasping and sweating where she stood. Monkey Fist went back into the ready position. 'Feeling tired?' he said, the sneer remaining in his voice. 'I haven't broken a sweat. Well, I couldn't even if I tried. I could fight you all week without needing rest, Kim Possible. And I may well do so - I've enjoyed toying with you.'

Kim felt stymied. She had used several moves against him successfully, which should have put him down for the count, but he just kept coming back again and again. He attacked and she blocked, but the force of his strength nearly overbalanced her, even braced for him as she was. Monkey Fist struck relentlessly, steadily driving her back. Kim was aware she was backing slowly up a spiral staircase until at last she emerged through a trap door and onto the battlements of a high tower, one of four which jutted from each corner of the manor. A chill wind whipped around her and the sky was dim with gray, rolling clouds.

Monkey Fist charged up onto the battlements and swept his arm out, flinging her back like a rag doll. Kim landed and rolled as best she could, but still felt sharp pains on her knee and her back as she scudded across the stone floor. She slammed painfully against the embrasure and kicked out, hooking his leg, trying to pull him off balance. But he was too heavy for her to budge and he snaked an arm out faster than she anticipated, getting a grip on the wide flap at the end of one leg of her flare pants. Kim instinctively tried to grapple his fingers loose, but realized too late that he only wanted to lure her into reaching for him. His other hand closed fast around her wrist and he rose up, jerking Kim to her feet.

Kim felt pain lancing through her arm like fiery needles as the stone fingers tightened. His skin felt hard and totally cold as he strode to the edge of the tower battlements, pulling her along with him. He held her out over the edge and Kim looked down, seeing her feet dangling over a sheer drop of over forty feet.

'You see, Kim Possible?' he said, his voice alight with malice. 'You were never a match for me! In every previous encounter, it was your bungling sidekick who saved you! And now that he is out of the picture, you're nothing!'

'Nothing this!' Kim snarled, and she used Monkey Fist's grip on her to pivot and launched a kick straight into his face. Kim felt the bone-jarring impact, but when she drew back her leg, Monkey Fist was still smiling. He raised his other hand in a feigned gesture of yawning.

'I'm sorry,' he said, his smooth English voice sounding apologetic. 'Did you do something just then?'

Kim gritted her teeth and kicked again, her heel slamming solidly into his nose. But he didn't seem fazed in the slightest.

'Pathetic.' said Monkey Fist, his lips curling into a sneer. 'Fighting a talentless child like you is beneath my dignity. I should just leave you as an example of your weakness - but since I can't have you following me, I will spare you any further humiliation - and simply put you out of my misery!'

Monkey Fist dropped her. Kim saw the walls of the manor blurring past her eyes as she plummeted towards the ground far below, gaining speed. With a quick glance upwards, she saw Monkey Fist leaning over the battlements, a look of triumph on his face. 'You may be stronger Monkey Fist,' she thought, pointing out her wrist. '...but you haven't gotten any smarter.' There was an explosive burst and a whirring sound as her grapple line sped to the sill of one of the tower windows.....

Monkey Fist glared in rage as Kim's body went into a curved and graceful swing, the bone-shattering impact becoming a smooth landing on the grounds below. 'Idiot!' he thought savagely. 'It's smash equipment first - THEN throw hero off building!' He felt furious - with himself for overlooking something so basic, and at Kim for having the audacity to save herself instead of perishing when it was obvious she had no hope of victory.

He went back a few steps, intending to leap down after her. His anger still burned, but it became more calculated as he anticipated the surprise of his adversary when he came crashing down onto her like a meteor. As much as the lack of feeling irked him at times, he had to admit that being invulnerable was an excellent trade-off.

He seemed to even see his anger like a yellow light behind his eyes, then stopped in amazement. It wasn't his imagination - there actually was a yellow light surrounding him, a blazing flame that seemed to match his anger, rising with it, clinging to him like a thing alive and building to a point where it began to leap from his body of it's own accord...

'Oh dear....' he said, looking at his left hand, where the mark of the Yono was suddenly shining a brilliant red.

Inside the mansion, Bates was hiding. He had listened to the sounds of the fight in the study and hallways with increasing worry and disquiet. Now he heard a rumbling from the floors above, and felt the stones beneath his feet starting to shake. There was a yellow glow, an unearthly light that seemed to shine through the very stone of the walls...

Kim was dashing back to the entrance of the manor when the door flew open. Bates nearly bowled her over, tearing down the pathway towards the iron gate, his rotund frame puffing and sweating. Kim looked up to the roof, where she saw a yellow glow that looked somehow familiar....

Then the manor split in half.

There was an ear-rending crack, and a wide seam divided the manor down the middle, as if it had suddenly been stuck with a gigantic blunt axe. The yellow glow tore through the building and Kim barely had an instant to register her shock before she was racing down the walkway after Bates.

Monkey Fist felt himself falling. Huge blocks of masonry which had once been his dwelling place were tumbling around him through a gray swirl of billowing dust, the yellow glow around him fading with his shock and surprise. He saw occasional glimpses of familiar objects and possessions flashing in and out of sight as the manor collapsed on top of him, burying him in a heap of rubble, smothering everything into darkness and silence.....

Bates looked at the shattered wreck of the manor. For a moment he considered going back to see if his master was all right somehow, but then he thought better of it. 'Well - it was a good job while it lasted.' he thought, shaking his head. 'Hopefully that position at Buckingham Palace is still open...' Then he turned away.

Kim stood by the wrought iron gates. The low wall which surrounded the estate, the gardens and the grounds were now the only things left of the manor. The building was reduced to a crumbled pile of stone and wood. She listened to the quiet sound of settling dust for several seconds, then slowly raised her Kimmunicator. 'Wade....' she said. 'You there?'

'What up, Kim?' he said, sounding ready for business. Then he caught sight of Kim's expression. Kim tilted her wrist and gave Wade a view of the grounds. 'Woah!' he said. 'Is that the manor? Normally when you wreck a lair, there's something left over....'

'Monkey Fist was here.' Kim said. 'I fought him. Can you scan for....' then she faltered, for given Monkey Fist's stone body, saying scan for life forms didn't seem quite right. But Wade seemed to have caught on.

'Sweeping with UV.... Infrared... Ultrasonics....' he said, pausing at each word. He shook his head. 'Nothing so far. Was he... inside when the manor blew?' Kim nodded. Wade whistled. 'What did you do to the place?'

'It wasn't me.' Kim answered. 'It... looked like the power of the Yono.' Wade clucked his tongue, but said nothing.

Kim sighed. 'Wade, I saw pretty much the same thing here that happened at Yamanouchi. The Yono fired some kind of yellow light, and then the whole school just split down the middle.'

Wade was looking off to the side, biting his lip. 'Uhhh.... huuuuuhhhhh....'

Kim shook her head. 'Wade you saw the pictures! The buildings didn't just fall apart on their own.'

'All right, all right!' Wade said waving his hands in capitulation. 'So what now? Did Monkey Fist tell you anything?'

Kim sighed, looking over the manor again. 'Not really - just vague hints. I'll need to get some people down here to help look through all this.' She looked at the electrical poles outside the manor grounds The wires that connected to the manor were now all dangling from the poles, snapped and sparking. 'But the manor's phone lines are down.' she said. 'Along with the manor itself.'

Wade was typing again. 'The town nearby is small enough that they don't have VOIP.' he said. 'But they actually have an old style call box just down the road - that's your fastest bet for getting the cops and an emergency crew down there.'

Kim nodded. 'I'd better get someone here fast. There's no way we'll be able to dig Monkey Fist out unless we have a backhoe or something.'

'You think he's still.... alive?' Wade said.

Kim looked out over the still and silent heap of debris. 'I don't know.' she said. 'During the fight, nothing I did seemed to hurt him....'

'Kim, a manor fell on top of him!' Wade said. 'Animated statue or not, he's probably shattered to pieces...'

'I know!' Kim answered. 'But Monkey Fist was the only solid lead we had for finding Maze and Ron. If there's even a chance he can still.... talk somehow.... I have to take it.'

Wade sighed and nodded. The screen went blank and Kim went through the iron gate, heading down the road and looking for the police call box....

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-

The dust continued to settle on the huge pile of tumbled stones and bricks which had been Monkey Fist's manor. All was quiet except for the soft hiss of crumbled stone that continued to sift through the rubble.

Maze stepped forth from the shadows outside the grounds, staring at the wreck with a look of mingled wonder and satisfaction. His attention was drawn to a section of the heaped stones that was suddenly shifting, as if something beneath it was squirming and writhing.

There was a grating and a clattering sound as Monkey Fist burst forth, sending larger blocks rolling before him and fresh plumes of dust rising as he struggled free of the remains of his house. He saw Maze and looked affronted, ridiculously trying to brush himself clean and adjusting his outfit.

'Well,' said Maze, his dark eyes glittering. 'You are undamaged, I presume?'

'What are you doing here?' said Monkey Fist peevishly. 'I have everything under control...'

'So I see.' said Maze, looking around at the devastation. 'I warned you something like this might happen. The power of the Yono would normally require decades of training before a mortal could hope to use it safely. You are fortunate that your body is still in its petrified state. Otherwise you could easily have killed yourself....'

Monkey Fist glared sullenly at the remains of his manor. 'Fortunate indeed.' he said.

'...not to mention the fact that it was foolish to reveal yourself before the next phase of our plan. The less information Mi'kksiistsikomma has, the better.'

'Then all the more reason to try and finish her now, as we should have done at the UNIT building.' said Monkey Fist dismissively.

'I was too weakened by the shadow-medicine.' said Maze firmly. 'The risk was too great...'

'There was no risk.' said Monkey Fist. 'Probable was imprisoned and helpless. And if nothing else, I have now proven that Kim Possible is no match for me.'

'The plan is not yet in progress.' said Maze firmly. 'Until that happens, we cannot risk the world at large learning anything.' He paused, staring darkly at Monkey Fist. 'What did you tell her?'

Monkey Fist still looked resentful, but he answered calmly. 'That she has no hope of winning. Beyond that I told her nothing.'

Maze nodded. 'Then let us return to the lair before you are tempted to say anything else. What is it your people one said - Loose lips sink ships?'

Monkey Fist growled, but stood beside Maze. In a moment, they were both wreathed in a swirling haze of shadow, then they were gone.

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-

Kim hung up the phone. She had spent several minutes trying to get in touch with the police, several more minutes trying to explain what had happened, then several more minutes persuading them to come and investigate. But when she hung up and began running back down the road to the manor grounds, she heard the faint sound of a siren in the distance, meaning the police were indeed on their way.

She sighed and ground her teeth. The encounter had certainly not gone the way she had hoped it would. The clues were still dancing just beyond her reach. She hoped once they recovered Monkey Fist, or what remained of him, there would be more answers to come. During all the fight, the one question she'd asked more than any other had remained unanswered - Where was Ron?

'Hold on Ron,' she thought. 'I promise - I'll find you!'

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-

Rhonda Fatigable was alone in a formless, shapeless void. In the UNIT building, she had been held by Monkey Fist while Maze, using Kim's body, had used his shadow-medicine to do... something. She remembered a sensation of chilling cold. Then the room had seemed to be growing smaller, more distant. She remembered reaching out to Grimm, who was struggling to reach her, but he was so tangled in wires that he couldn't get free to help her. He grew more distant, as if the room was somehow on a track moving away from her, growing darker and fuzzier... or had she been moving away from them?

Then there was nothing but dark, swirling mists. Shadow and vapor seemed to billow and curl around her, but never took any shape or form that she could focus on. There was not even any ground beneath her feet.

It was worse than being alone in a dark house. At least in a house there were walls to touch, a floor beneath you, sounds and sensations to give some feeling of certainty and position. Here there was nothing. Nothing to see, hear or touch.

She wasn't aware of how long she remained that way. She hoped that it was a dream or a nightmare, and yet there was no waking. She was terrified of the silence, but she was even more terrified of making any noise, for fear of drawing the attention of any unknown horrors that might be lurking in the mists. It was like being a child in a room at night, feeling sure there was something under the bed waiting to seize you.

But eventually the silence and the feeling of utter nothingness became too much. She cried out, her voice little more than a frightened whimper at first.

'Grimm?'

She waited, but there was no answer. No sound but her own voice. 'Grimm?' she said again, louder. Again there was only silence. 'Jade?' she shouted. 'Rueful?'

She looked around wildly. The mists continued curling and wafting, always seeming just as if something might be taking shape or approaching, but never revealing anything. Rhonda felt tears of hopelessness welling in her eyes as she continued shouting.

'Please! Someone - anyone...?!'

And she nearly screamed as a voice came from behind her.

'Rhonda?'

Rhonda whirled, and dimly through the swirling dark gray vapors, she saw the outline of a boy with a mop of blonde hair and freckles on his face.

'Oh no!' Rhonda groaned. 'When I said anyone I didn't mean you!'

Ron Stoppable looked back at Rhonda, and didn't seem any happier to see her than she was to see him.

Next:
Chapter 9

I can be siezed, I can be bought,
I can be gained by accident,
Or hunted through years of long labor.
Yet only a rare few can posess me without harming others - or themselves.
What am I?

Author: Special thanks to Blackbird, who lent use of his character "Jen Credible" from his "Maternal Instinct" AU stories in KP fanfiction. Be sure to check out his stories so you'll know who Grimm mentioned when he tried to call them in the scene near the start of this chapter. Blackbird is planning to make an MI version of Team Probable to use at some point. So I thought it was only fair to have a version of the Credible Agency in the 'normal' KP universe, where Team Probable resides. Also special thanks to author Vampirenaomi, whose story, "The Monkey's Valet", provided inspiration for the scene where Bates leaves for good after the manor is destroyed in this chapter. I thought it was good to give him a proper send-off and let everyone know that Bates will be just fine....

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