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

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

Chapter 9:
Power
Or: Mites Might be Mighty


Kim picked through a mound of shattered rock and dusty rubble, shifting boulders and large granite stones as best she could. She had to be careful what she moved and where she was standing in case any other debris was dislodged by her efforts, for many sections seemed on the verge of becoming minor landslides.

The local police had arrived not long after Kim had made use of the call box further down the road. And it was not much longer after that when a bulldozer arrived on the scene and began a more effective search of the ruin of Monkey Fist's manor.

Still, it was difficult work. And it seemed unlikely that anyone would find anything until sunrise when there would be more light and hopefully more equipment. Kim had nearly resigned herself to waiting until tomorrow and finding someplace to rest when she heard a shout from the area on the west side of the manor.

'Oy!' an echoing call came from the grounds. 'Something over 'ere!' came the accented voice of one of the bobbies. Kim scrambled down from the pile of stones and ran to the source of the voice.

She followed a Constable to where a pair of officers and a bloodhound were gathered around a larger heap of rock. 'Lestrade?' said the Constable. 'What have you got?'

Lestrade pointed down with his billy club, shining his torch down at the ground. Powdered stone was caked thick on the grass which surrounded the manor beyond the drawbridge, and there was a section at the edge where the rocks were not heaped, but scattered outwards, as if something had pushed free from beneath the rubble.

Kim looked down and felt a chill. Plainly visible on the dusty grass, there was a set of prints that led away from the manor.

'Ruddiest thing I ever seen, Constable Cleese.' said Lestrade. 'Blowed if I know how, but someone did walk out of this nightmare.'

Cleese stared down at the prints. 'Someone's playing games.' he said. 'These aren't footprints - they look like handprints. Are you saying someone pushed his way out from under tons of rock and then started doing handsprings?'

'It's not a prank.' said Kim. 'It was Monkey Fist.'

The policemen looked incredulously at Kim. 'Come off it Ms. Possible.' said Lestrade. 'Monkey Fist? You mean that nutter who gave himself 'ands and feet like a chimp? He 'asn't been here for ages!'

'Trust me, it was him.' said Kim firmly.

Constable Cleese was still shaking his head doubtfully. 'Even if it was him, how could one man alone survive being caught in a wreck like this?'

A short distance away another policeman piped up. 'He wasn't alone, sir.' he said. 'There's another set of prints just here.' The officers turned, and beams from several torches showed the handprints in the dusty grass stopping in front of a different pair of prints that led from the grounds towards the ruins. Kim stared down at the long, thin prints. 'Maze.' she thought.

Cleese was staring around, examining the grounds in a radius of several yards by the torch light. 'The trail goes invisible past here.' he said, pointing to a radius around the manor where the dust became thinner. He gave a nod to the officer who had the bloodhound on a leash, and the officer turned him loose. Kim watched as the dog snuffled around the area for some time, then began whining as it expanded the range of its search.

Cleese shook his head. 'Clever blighters.' he said. 'Masked their scent somehow?'

The officer shrugged. 'Give him a few minutes sir...' he said.

Cleese sighed impatiently and turned back to Kim. 'Right Ms. Possible - you're the one who called us down here. Besides destruction of private property, would you care to explain how you know it was Monkey Fist, and what you were doing here to start with?'

Kim related what she knew. She told them about the robbery at the UNIT building, about Ron's disappearance, Monkey Fist's stone body, the power of the Yono, and as much as she knew about Maze. Then she braced herself for a predictable response. And the policemen did not disappoint her.

'Really Ms. Possible!'
'Of all the outrageous...'
'Utterly daft!'
'Surely you don't expect us to believe...'
'Cock-and-bull story....'
'You Americans and your....'

Kim waited patiently for the exclamations to slow down, then snaked in her reply. 'Is what I just described any weirder than what your Nanny Maim actually did?' Kim said simply.

The policemen all took in a short breath as if to reply, but then they all paused comically for a moment, their faces looking thoughtful, then they all exhaled at once. Some were chewing their lips, others running their hands over their helmets, but all of them looked at a loss to answer. At last Cleese shrugged. 'Point taken Ms. Possible.' he said. 'Well if that Monkey Fist blighter has returned, it's obvious he won't be coming back here. Have you got any idea where he might go now?'

Kim's face blanked as she went back mentally over everything Monkey Fist had said during their battle. But try as she might, she couldn't come up with anything that might be a clue to where he would go. 'Not yet.' she answered. 'Could you guys put out an APB or something?'

Constable Cleese smiled faintly. 'We call it an All Ports Warning out here, miss.' he answered. 'We'll do what we can, but even you have to admit - it's not going to be easy to get other police stations or the general public to take this seriously. Please be on the lookout for a man with monkey hands - may or may not be made of stone - may or may not be traveling with a native American shaman - may or may not be throwing round yellow thunderbolts.'

Kim sighed. 'Yeah, that about sums it up.' she said. 'Any leads you can gather, any information you can get, please pass it along.'

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Kim walked down the cobbled road leading through the grounds. The drawbridge now ended ridiculously at the crumbled heap of Monkey Fist's manor, a display of opulence and security for a building which no longer existed. She took out her Kimmunicator and activated it with its shrill beep. 'Wade - tell me you've got more to go on than 'we'll do what we can'.' she said hopefully.

Wade was typing madly even as he was speaking. 'The scanner sweeps are giving me weird data, Kim. I can detect the movement of two persons up to a point mid way through the grounds, then they sort of.... fade out.' He looked confused and frustrated, as if he thought his computer was playing a prank or being difficult on purpose.

'As if they disappeared?' Kim said.

Wade grimaced. 'I still think it's portal tech, but yeah...' he said.

'So which way did they go?'

Wade was still typing. 'They were heading.... northeast it looks like. Unless they do a crazy Ivan...'

Kim sighed. 'All right.' she said. 'Do a search for any likely hideouts or lairs along that trajectory.'

Wade bit his lip. 'That could translate to a huge amount of space....' he said. 'It'll take a while to go through.'

Kim smiled grimly. 'Longer than a few hours, I'm guessing?' Wade nodded.

'Then I guess a ride home is in order.' she said. 'Also, let's see if we can follow the money. Bates said that Monkey Fist transferred all of his funds to a secure account. Is there any account that's secure from you?'

'None so far.' said Wade with a mischievous smile. 'The world is lucky I'm such a straight arrow, or I'd have so much money....'

'Keep your thoughts pure, Wade.' said Kim, also smiling.

'If it's Monkey Fist's money, no promises.' he answered. 'You can flag a taxi once you're in town. I'll have a ride lined up by the time you reach the nearest airport, and hopefully some more information as well...'

And within the hour, Kim found herself in the coach section of one of the new Eurobus jet liners. 'Thanks for finding a seat for me, Mr. Bean.' she said to the pilot, who escorted her personally to her seat.

'Least I can do for the girl who bailed me out of that disastrous European vacation.' said Mr. Bean. 'If it were up to me, I'd give you seating in first class, but...'

'It's no big.' said Kim, smiling. 'I was just glad to help.'

But later in mid-flight, after a few hours of being wedged tightly between two restless travelers on either side, she found herself glancing longingly towards the curtain divider that led towards the first class section.

The flight was loud and cramped, with fidgety children twisting and squealing in their seats, and parents trying to keep them quiet without looking too heavy-handed. The atmosphere was similar to being inside Smarty-Mart on a really busy day.

She tried to be as surreptitious as she could as she tilted her wrist to activate her Kimmunicator, but the man seated to her left still stared down with interest as Kim began talking to Wade. She had to grapple her other wrist around to screen the image from the man's view and get some privacy.

'Wade - you got anything?' she said, lowering her voice. The noise and controlled bedlam of the coach section made eavesdropping difficult, but Kim still didn't want to give her curious co-passengers unfettered access to her conversation.

'Actually, no.' Wade answered, lowering his own voice as well. 'And on both fronts. I hate sounding like a broken record, but whatever components Monkey Fist and his partner were stealing, it's given them a protective blackout like you wouldn't believe.'

'And the money?' Kim said. 'Could you trace his new account?'

'Well...' Wade paused, glancing aside to where the man sitting next to Kim was leaning closer after hearing the word money. 'Hey, do you mind?' he said, looking straight at the man, who seemed taken aback and leaned away. 'No dice on the money either. Once he withdrew everything from his normal banks, the trail just ends. I've never seen anything like it.'

Kim sighed. 'But.. there must be some kind of unusual purchasing activity, even if we can't prove it's him...'

'I'm looking into that, believe me.' said Wade. 'I'll find a way to track him down. But how about you?'

Kim blinked. 'What... about me?' she said.

'Any thoughts on what you'll do when we find Monkey Fist again?' he looked serious. 'The normal stuff doesn't seem to work on him anymore.'

'No, I guess not.' Kim said. And she felt a sense of apprehension. After fighting and defeating the gargoyles in the key shrine, she had fully expected Monkey Fist to be defeated as well. But the battle in the manor flashed through her mind, and all the moves she had used against Monkey Fist. Like hitting a tank with ping-pong balls, he had simply kept coming back until he had caught her. 'So it's time to try coming up with something abnormal again. Once I get back, we need to put our heads together and talk about the Yono. Go over the scrolls again and get any information that you can. Even if it's just myth or legend, I want to hear it.'

Wade looked doubtful but nodded before the screen faded to black. Kim leaned back, but the man seated next to her spoke. 'That sounded quite exciting! Do you happen to need a sidekick....?' And Kim felt suddenly stung by the question, for the man was seated right where Ron should have been....

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Grimm Probable hiked resolutely up a winding trail that ascended to the dizzying heights of a large mountain in the midst of the forests around Kamp Kwitcherbeliakin. It had taken him some time to find the trail, for when he had first come here, it had been with Rhonda's help. Rhonda - who, despite her reticence, had a deeper connection to these woods and it's secrets than he could ever hope to have. Without her guiding him as she had before, it had been largely memory and luck that led him - along with Rueful. Rueful had spent much of his weasel life on Rhonda's shoulder, and seemed to have picked up on at least some of her mojo.

Plus, Grimm reasoned there was something even deeper. Rueful had been touched by the power of the Great Bear Spirit at the same time Rhonda had. While Rueful had displayed none of Rhonda's abilities, it seemed he could see things that Grimm couldn't see. Rueful's bond to Rhonda as her familiar had become even stronger since their experience at Kwitcherbeliakin. A bond that seemed to rebel against Rhonda's disappearance, drawing Rueful in directions that might bring her back...

So all in all, he was glad to have Rueful close at hand. The weasel scurried ahead of him up the path, sniffing and darting in and out of the coarse, wind-blown scrub brush that grew where the trail hugged the mountain side.

The ascent was tiring, but there was an outcome that he expected. So he focused on keeping his legs bending and straightening as he climbed the trail, even though each step was sending dull pains up and down the tendons of his legs. To take his mind off his fatigue and weariness, he let his thoughts drift to his mission, and the conversation with Chief Sakituya which started him on his lonely journey up the mountain trail....

Chief Sakituya had listened with a frown on his lips as Grimm related the story about what had happened in the UNIT building. Both of them sat Indian-style, facing each other before the hearth of the fireplace inside his cabin. When Grimm reached the end and described Maze's appearance, and how Ron and Rhonda had vanished, the Indian chief sighed and shook his head.

'This is what I feared.' he said, and his voice was full of concern. 'Before Katasistsikoowa defeated him, Maze was able to use your body to channel some of the power of the Great Bear into himself. He no longer needs to wait for nightfall to perform his shadow-medicine. Any shadow will obey him now.'

Grimm held up his communicator. 'During the fight I managed to record the chant Maze used.' he said. Then he clicked a button, and Maze's voice sounded faintly in the room.

Sipimottakiksi, Sipimottakiksi,
Nikaahtomaana nitaaksiistapokska'siimiiwa...

Sakituya looked suddenly away as if he had seen and heard something foul. 'Enough!' he said, holding up his hand. Grimm stopped the playback.

'What does it mean?' he said eagerly. 'If I'm going to find Rhonda - Katasistsikoowa - then I have to know what they did to her! You said she was a chosen one - help me to find her!'

Sakituya sighed heavily. 'I will tell you what I know, Otaatoyiwa. But I fear you will not like the words I shall speak. What you have shown me, what I have heard, is bad medicine. Maze has marked himself as Ipi'kowa, a person who can cast what you would call a curse.'

'A curse?' said Grimm. 'What kind of curse?'

The Indian chief looked down at the floor between where he and Grimm were seated. 'It is a call to the shadows of the night. A call to banish his enemies... to the world of spirits.'

Grimm actually went pale. 'You mean she's... dead?' he whispered, and without his confidence and courage behind it, his voice sounded almost childlike and helpless.

'No.' said Sakituya. 'If she had died, her body would have remained and her spirit would have gone on. She was sent to the world of spirits while still in her body. She drifts now between both worlds, but has no real place in either.'

Grimm leaned forward, a hungry look blazing in his eyes. He was trying to remain calm and show Sakituya respect, but he was plainly fighting the urge to demand more information, to pace himself to ensure he gathered everything. 'If this banishing was... a spell of some kind - there must be a counterspell or some way to break the curse!'

Sakituya nodded only slightly. 'I think so, yes.'

'Can you break the spell?' Grimm said, his teeth gritted with his eagerness.

'No.' he answered simply.

Grimm shook his head. 'I don't believe you.' he said. 'There's more about you than you let on. You know things that I don't - that no one else knows!'

Sakituya looked keenly at him. 'A man can know how a bird flies, but that knowledge does not mean he can fly himself.' Grimm looked confused and impatient, and Sakituya raised his hand, motioning him to silence. Grimm bit his lip, though it was plain he was holding his tongue with great effort. 'I understand enough to know what Maze has done to the Bear Priestess. But that does not mean I can undo it. Shadow-medicine is a lost art I have never practiced. Whatever secrets Maze has discovered in his years of searching, he has kept them well.'

'So what then?' Grimm hissed, his voice a low whisper. 'Are you saying the only way to bring her back is to beat an answer out of Maze? If that's the case, then just point me in the right direction...'

Sakituya looked at him as if disappointed. 'You speak as a white man - with your first instinct to violence. Even under threat of pain, Maze will not help you.'

Grimm's eyes were burning. 'But if Maze is the only one who knows how to bring her back.....'

'I did not say so.' Sakituya broke in quickly. 'As powerful as the shadow-medicine is, there is another power that is greater.'

Grimm paused, then nodded in understanding. 'The same power that defeated Maze in the hollow.' he said. 'The Great Bear Spirit.'

'Yes.' said Sakituya. 'I can only guess, but I believe this guess is good. In order to save Katasistsikoowa, you must commune with the Great Bear. He may guide you and show you what must be done.'

'But the Great Bear has never spoken to me.' said Grimm shaking his head. 'He chose Rhonda to be his Priestess. She was the one who communed with him!'

'Obviously, that will not help you now.' said Sakituya. 'You must find a way to speak with him yourself.'

Grimm stood up, looking determined again. 'I know just where to start.' he said. He had turned and was walking to the door when Chief Sakituya called after him.

'You may know where to start, young Grimm.' he said. 'But as I said, there is a difference between knowing what to do, and actually being able to accomplish it. The Great Bear Spirit watches over us all. I don't doubt that he knows everything that has happened. He also knows of your desire to find her and that you may seek the hollow where Rhonda first encountered her destiny. But do not expect answers to flow to you so easily. You seek a vision that holy men for many centuries have sought their whole lives - and never found.'

Grimm paused, looking back at him. Then he nodded curtly and left, his footsteps fading to silence in the still air outside the cabin.

Grimm's thoughts snapped back to the present as he entered a vast hollow set in the heights of the mountain top. Without waiting, he crossed the echoing space between the cave-like entrance to the hollow, and a recess in the mountain stone at the far end. Within the recess was a boulder, roughly carved into the shape of a bear, nearly nine feet tall. Faintly seen on the earthy floor of the hollow were white lines made of a powder that was mostly scattered and faded with time.

Grimm threw aside his backpack. He looked weather-stained and his hair was unkempt with a thin twig caught in one ragged tangle. He cast himself down in front of the Bear Spirit monument, his voice sounding out with a soft, whispering chant.

Omahkkiaayowa,
Nitsiinihkatsimatsiiwa....

He paused, as if waiting for or expecting some kind of answer. But there was no sound besides a cold wind which circled through the hollow through the vast opening that looked out onto the forest below. He brought his hands together, chanting more loudly.

Omahkkiaayowa,
Nitsiinihkatsimatsiiwa....


But again, nothing happened. Grimm bit his lip, his eyes squeezed shut, his expression darkened as if he were wrestling with impatience or desperation.

Omahkkiaayowa,
Nitsiinihkatsimatsiiwa.....

The night fell and deepened. It passed through dark hours to the pale light of dawn. And through it all, Grimm Probable remained on his knees in the hollow, calling out and waiting for a voice that did not answer....

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Ron floated in the shimmering void of the spirit world. Rhonda was near him, fidgeting. He had lost track of how long they had both remained that way, simply hovering. At first Ron had been worried that Rhonda would try to continue their fight.

'All right monkey boy!' she had said, her fists balled up and her teeth gritted. 'Where am I? What did you and your freaky girlfriend do?'

'Me?' he had answered. 'You and your BF are the evil mercenaries! What did you and your pal Monkey Fist cook up?'

'We didn't cook up anything!' she had answered. 'And in case you didn't notice, I'm here too!'

'Yeah?' Ron had said indignantly. 'Last time I checked the bad guys weren't too picky about who gets caught in the crossfire when they do their thing!'

Rhonda had sputtered, then raised her hand. 'Get him Rueful!' she had shouted.

And instinctively, Ron had also shouted. 'Rufus, you're on!'

And they had both stayed frozen that way for several seconds, pointing at each other with their faces set in furious masks. But nothing had happened. Total silence enveloped them while the mist swirled around them, heedless of their words.

'Oh... right.' Rhonda had said sadly, lowering her arm and looking near her feet as if she had been searching for something that was missing. Several more tense minutes had passed. At last Ron had shaken his head and looked around.

'So if you and Grimm weren't in on this...' he had started.

'Which we weren't!' Rhonda had piped in quickly.

'..And if me and Kim didn't do it...'

'Which I'm still not convinced of!'

'Then what did Monkey Fist do and how do we undo it?' At that, Rhonda's face had fallen into a comical look of confusion. Neither of them had answered.

Time passed, with neither of them speaking to each other. How long they had stayed that way, Ron couldn't be sure. His watch had stopped working, and his communicator showed nothing but static. Rhonda's equipment was similarly useless. Without any measure of time, things seemed to pass eternally slow. Or perhaps it was passing quickly. They simply couldn't tell.

'So....' he said at last. 'We're both stuck here?'

'Yes.' said Rhonda wearily.

'And... we're not sure where 'here' is?'

'No.'

'And we're both stuck here?'

Rhonda glared. 'You just said that!' she said angrily.

'Hey, I'm trying to make conversation!' Ron answered. 'The silent treatment isn't getting us anywhere.'

Rhonda's face was pouty. 'You're the good guy.' she said. 'Good guys and villains aren't supposed to chat.'

'Well what else can we do?' Ron said.

Rhonda grimaced. 'All right, what's on your mind?' she said.

Ron thought, then spoke. 'So.... we're both stuck here?'

Rhonda stared at him for a moment, then shook her head. 'That's it, I am so out of here!' she said. She turned and flailed her arms and legs as if she were swimming, and she did indeed seem to be getting further away.

Ron sighed and watched as Rhonda continued moving off until she was swallowed by the shadowy mists that curled and billowed around him. He clucked his tongue and started muttering out loud. 'Five... four... three... two... one...'

And coming from the opposite direction, he saw a vague shape moving through the mists. Rhonda looked dumbfounded as she found herself in front of Ron again. 'Hi!' he said, waving cheerily. 'So how'd it go?'

She covered her face with her hands and let out a grating moan of frustration. Ron shook his head. 'Look, this is like the twentieth time you've stormed off. You've gone up, down, backwards, forwards, every direction you can possibly go, and you always wind up here. How many more times are you gonna do this before it sinks in?'

'Because if I let it sink in, that means I'm accepting it!' she snarled. 'And I refuse to accept being stuck in wherever-the-heck-this-is with doofus-boy!'

'All right, listen.' he said. 'You don't like me and I don't like you - we both get that. But if we're gonna find a way out of this mess, we may have to put our heads together.'

There was no ground for her to stand on, but Rhonda still looked like she was digging her toe on an unseen floor. 'OK, you think you're such a brainiac - where do we start?'

Ron looked at her. 'For starters, how about not insulting the only guy you have for company?'

'What, you want to call a truce?' Rhonda sniffed.

'How about we just agree to be polite until we get this figured out?'

Rhonda looked slowly up from her pout. 'And once we do, we can go back to beating the snot out of each other?'

Ron sighed again. 'Yeah, I guess so.' he answered.

Rhonda looked sulky. 'Fine.' she muttered. 'Just remember, I was winning! So when we get back you have to let me overpower you!'

Ron blustered. 'Oh, you were not beating me!'

Rhonda grinned. 'Was me having you in a headlock part of your master plan to defeat me by letting me clobber you 'till I got tired?'

'I was.... preparing my counter-attack!' said Ron.

Rhonda sniffed. 'Fine, don't cooperate. I'll just beat you again anyway...'

'Will not!' said Ron.
'Will too!'
'Will not!'
'Will too!'
'Not!'
'Too!'
'Not!'
'Too!'
'Notnotnotnotnotnotnot!'
'Tootootootootootootoo!'
'Not infinity, I win!'
'I call double infinity, I win!'
'I call infinity infinity!'
'I call triple infinity!'
'There's nothing higher than infinity infinity!'

And Rhonda stopped, her face going into several grimaces before she slumped. 'All right, you win this round with your superior infinity calling skills, but that still doesn't get us out of this dump!'

Ron looked around. 'Well, we need something that'll open a doorway out of here.' he said. 'Or... something we can use to signal for help.'

Rhonda rolled her eyes. 'Wow, that's smart! Hang on, I'll gather some shadowy mist and use it to build a door - and you can make a signal by rubbing two shadows together to start a fire!'

Ron felt nettled. 'Let's hear your ideas then!' he snapped.

'I don't need ideas, Grimm will find me somehow!' she said, but her expression betrayed doubt.

Ron looked at the white band around his wrist which contained the tracking chip Grimm had removed from his neck. He tapped the plastic shield where the chip was set. 'I think if we were anywhere they could find us, they'd have been here by now.' said Ron sadly.

'So.... we're both stuck here?' said Rhonda, and there was a hint of tears at the corners of her eyes.

Ron nodded. And silence fell around them like a cloud.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Kim left the school after cheer practice. Bonnie hadn't looked too pleased to see her back after only one day, but she also seemed leery of baiting her directly since Ron had obviously not returned.

After she had gotten home, she found she could no longer parse words with Ron's parents. They were again understanding when she explained about his disappearance, but it was plain they were concerned and disappointed that she had not been able to find him. Whether they blamed her she couldn't tell. But they accepted her assurance that she would not stop until she had found him.

She hadn't objected when they asked if they should call the police and file a missing person report for Ron, even though Kim didn't think it would do any good. Wade had kept touch with the police at Monkey Fist's manor, and nothing more had been found, so she didn't think the police in the States would have any better luck.

Her heart felt guilty and heavy as she left the Stoppable house. She had started on her way back home, but caught sight of the treehouse in the backyard. Rufus was poking his head out of her hip pouch and looking at it longingly. Kim sighed and started walking towards it. Rufus leaped out and scuttled up the wooden planks nailed to the tree trunk, his pink tail whipped out of sight as he went through the trap door. Kim followed him up.

Rufus was scampering here and there as if soaking in the aura of a presence long missed. Kim gingerly crossed the rickety boards of the floor and sat down in the raggedy old couch. She felt rusty springs poking at her back, but there was a quiet peace that filled the treehouse.

Her eyes fell on a section of the wall that had three words painted in red - 'NO GIRLS ALLOWED'. The letters were heavily scratched, as if Ron had been trying to scrape them off. But he seemed to have given up and merely scraped it so that the 'NO' was reduced to one vertical line and the 'S' was removed. It now looked like '1 GIRL ALLOWED'. Kim smiled weakly. Her elbow nudged against a tin can full of pebbles. A slingshot was nestled in among the stones. An old Nacho caddy, with slightly transparent grease stains, was lying empty on the other armrest.

As she sat there, surrounded by the evidence of Ron's life, the fact of his absence seemed to hit her even more keenly and the silence now seemed hollow rather than peaceful. She saw Rufus pulling something across the floor that looked like a brown, scruffy mop head. With another pang of recognition, she picked up a coonskin cap, held it for a few seconds, then put it on her head as she leaned back into the couch.

'Rufus...' she said heavily. '...I'm not a happy camper....'

Rufus looked at her sadly for a moment before the Kimmunicator on Kim's wrist beeped loudly. Kim answered it almost reflexively. Wade looked like he was on the verge of a greeting, but he stopped and looked at her. 'Are you wearing a Davy Crockett hat?' he said.

Kim pulled off the cap, focusing on the glowing screen. 'Uh... of course not.' she said. 'What's the sitch?'

'It's time for monkey chatter.' he answered, and Kim remembered about the planning session they'd scheduled.

'Right.' she said. 'First off - bullet points. Any sign of Monkey Fist's trail? Any leads on his money? Have you figured out how they're blocking you? How's the overall picture looking?'

'Bullet point answers,' said Wade, 'No. No. Partly yes. Lousy.'

'Partial on number three - I'm listening.' said Kim.

'It's the equipment Team Probable was stealing for them. We know about the Overthruster and the UDM, and I think that they also have the CMC Transmat. Alone, those components are powerhouses for blocking hackers, but combine them together....'

'And you get the ultimate Wade-blocking machine.' Kim said darkly.

'Not just from me - they could be shielded more securely than anyone on earth now. I'm almost sure they've got other components that I don't know about, so I can't even be sure what they've ultimately built.'

Kim felt numb. 'So the trail's gone cold again.' she said. 'We're back to waiting for them to make the next move.'

'Which brings us to monkey chatter.' said Wade. 'When they do make their next move, how are you gonna deal with Monkey Fist?'

'That depends on what you can tell me about the Yono.' Kim said. 'What have you got?'

Wade was typing as he answered. 'This has been tougher than I thought.' he said. 'When the manor went up, so did all of Monkey Fist's research. Luckily he had an on line database I managed to find that has some of his old notes. They don't say much about the Yono itself - just that the Han was it's counterpart and that the Yono was 'the Destroyer'. The scrolls Monkey Fist stole show the location of the original shrine and instructions on how to release the Yono, but it kind of stops there.'

'And other legends about the Yono from other sources?' Kim said.

'Aren't any.' said Wade. 'Whatever information Monkey Fist had, he had all of it.'

Kim thought, tapping her feet on the weathered planks. 'That might explain how Monkey Fist and the Yono were defeated at Yamanouchi - Monkey Fist didn't know what he'd bought into when he freed the Yono.'

Wade smiled. 'My turn to listen.' he said. 'Spill. I know you said you remember fighting the Yono, then there was a bright flash, and then you said you were awake again and it was all over. What really happened?'

'I only know what Ron told me.' Kim answered. 'He said that the Yono released me, Rufus and Sensei from a spell that petrified us because Hana defeated Monkey Fist.'

'Why would the Yono call it quits just because his servant got beat up?' said Wade, looking confused.

Kim shrugged. 'It was something about Monkey Fist walking the path of the Yono. Maybe the Yono's freedom was tied to Monkey Fist somehow.'

'And when Monkey Fist was turned to stone and buried with the shrine, what happened to the Yono himself?' said Wade.

Kim shook her head. 'I don't know. I saw Monkey Fist sinking below the ground with the shrine, but the Yono wasn't there with him...'

Wade was typing on his keyboards as he listened. 'It sounds like the Yono's power is some kind of.... genie thing.' he said. 'I think once someone agrees to walk the Yono's path, they also agree to take the Yono's place. Monkey Fist may have been tricked into becoming something he didn't intend....'

'You mean like... a Yono Jr.?' said Kim.

'More like a Yono in line.' said Wade. 'Whatever the Yono was, he may not be any longer. Now Monkey Fist has essentially taken his place. When Monkey Fist first released him, the Yono was free to do what he wanted and still keep his power - as long as Monkey Fist remained undefeated. Now the Yono may really be free, but his power is still in Monkey Fist.' He paused and sighed. 'I can't believe that actually sounded plausible.' he said.

Kim smiled. 'Wade, if your guesses ran for President, I'd vote for them.'

Wade grinned sheepishly. 'If any of this is true, the Yono's power has limits.' he said. 'It can only be used when someone sets the Yono free and agrees to walk his path. That seems to be the trade-off. The Yono has massive power, but if the person who frees him is defeated, the Yono is defeated too.'

Kim pounded a fist into her palm. 'Monkey Fist was released by Maze.' she said. 'That means if we can defeat him....'

'Then Monkey Fist could turn Maze to stone and set him walking the Yono's path.' said Wade, nodding. 'It might also mean that Monkey Fist will be back, but at least he'll be normal Monkey Fist instead of supercharged-Yono-stone-Monkey Fist.'

'Either way, we'd be down one villain.' said Kim. 'And if we're lucky, then as part of the Yono's curse, if we defeat Maze, then Monkey Fist will have to undo everything that he's done - including whatever they did to Ron!'

Wade nodded again. 'That's just guessing though. But it's as good a guess as I can come up with, given the data.'

'At least when they make their move I'll be ready.' Kim said, standing up. 'I just wish we knew when that would be - and what they're waiting for....'

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Monkey Fist stood in the midst of the cavernous mountain lair. His face was twisted with effort. For the first time since being released from his imprisonment, he felt weary. But this was not a physical weariness. It was much deeper. As discomforting as it was, he still felt grateful in some measure. It was a change of pace that he was able to feel anything. His mind drifted back several days, to the time when both of them had returned from the manor to the lair.

He was standing about ten yards away from a wooden perch. Seated on the perch was a crow, which cocked it's head, eyeing him curiously. Monkey Fist glared back at it in frustration. From off to the side, Maze's voice spoke. 'Again.' he said.

Monkey Fist turned his eyes to Maze. 'A moment if you please.' he said. 'This is not as easy as it looks.'

Maze smirked. 'As it looks like you are doing nothing, that may not be saying much.' he said. 'We have been at this for nearly three days with no progress that I can see.' He glanced down at Monkey Fist's left hand, and saw the mark of the Yono flickering dimly, and an irritated grimace on his face. 'Control yourself.' said Maze quickly. 'It was not meant as an insult against you. That part of the Yono's strength we know of, but unleashing it inside this lair would be foolish.'

Monkey Fist closed his stone eyes and the mark faded. He opened his eyes again and looked at his hand. 'I can unlock that power, but I can't control how it behaves.' he said. 'Not as the Yono did. That will take time and practice, and it is too dangerous to attempt for the moment. The other power eludes me, and my research has no information on it.'

'Then let us proceed with what we know.' said Maze. 'We know that the Yono's destructive power is unleashed by your anger. Perhaps the other ability we seek is tapped by a different emotion.'

'Perhaps.' said Monkey Fist. 'But emotions are not easy to summon on command. The Yono may have known tricks for doing so, but I do not.'

Maze smiled ruefully. 'There is time yet, I suppose.' he said. 'But we are very close. That should be some motivation.'

And so it had gone on. Monkey Fist had spent several days in labored concentration, trying to force up an array of emotions, testing them to see if it triggered anything from the Yono's power. But so far nothing had happened. He had spent so much time staring at the perch and the crow that their images were welded into his mind, seeing them even when he turned away.

He stared at the crow again for long minutes. Still nothing happened except for the brief times when it flew to one of the tables where Maze had set out food and water for it. Otherwise it simply remained on its perch, staring back at him. Monkey Fist ground his stone teeth. He was truly growing to despise the bird. It seemed to mock him with its indifference. 'Yes....' he thought, and his eyes narrowed. 'I truly hate that bird....'

And Maze was awakened from his rest across the cavern by a bright yellow glow that flared up like a sun brought inside. He looked over to where Monkey Fist stood and saw the mark of the Yono glowing bright on his left hand. Twin yellow beams of light lanced out from his eyes and locked onto the crow, which had flinched as if it were about to take flight. But before it could move, the black color of its feathers lightened to gray and it became rough in appearance. The light then faded, and Monkey Fist hunched over with his large hands on his knees. He was not gasping, but everything about his posture conveyed a sudden exhaustion.

There was a grating clunk, and Maze saw the crow lying on the floor of the cavern. He quickly walked over and picked it up in his hands. The bird had been turned to stone, its entire body frozen. Tenderly, he carried it over to one of the stone tables and set it down. Petrified, the features on the crow's feathers seemed somehow more intricate and beautiful than if it were flesh. No sculptor on earth could make a stone replica as detailed as this. He glanced back towards the twin statues which stood vigil at the entrance of the tunnel leading out of the cavern. They looked childishly crude by comparison.

Monkey Fist shambled wearily to his side. His voice was labored and he leaned heavily on the edge of the table. 'What other abilities the Yono had I don't know.' he said. 'But these two I do know; it's ability to destroy - and its ability to turn creatures to stone.'

Maze nodded, still awestruck by what he was seeing. 'How was it done?'

'You were right.' Monkey Fist answered. 'While anger summons the power of destruction, it seems the power of stone is triggered by hate.' He leaned over and picked up a seven-pound sledge hammer, holding it out. 'Well?' he said. 'What are you waiting for? The time has come to see whether the plan will work, or if we have merely been wasting our time.'

Maze took the hammer reluctantly. He looked down at the bird, hesitating. 'There must be another way.' he said. 'To destroy it would be a crime against nature...'

'Go ahead and try.' said Monkey Fist, a smile on his lips. 'You won't be able to.' Maze gently tapped the crow with the hammer. But not one fiber of its feathers broke. Monkey Fist chuckled. 'Surely you can hit harder than that?' he said. Maze glared, then struck a second time with a sharper tap. Again, no damage seemed to come over the bird.

Monkey Fist watched patiently as Maze struck again and again, becoming bolder each time and striking with increasing force until he was hitting with all his strength. But not even a chip was to be seen breaking off.

Only when Maze paused, sweating and catching his breath, did Monkey Fist speak again. 'You see?' he said. 'When the power of the Yono petrifies a victim, they don't turn into ordinary stone. It's enchanted - much stronger than anything found on this earth.'

Maze wiped his brow and looked down at the petrified crow, and his eyes were dancing with anticipation.

'I have seen it with my own eyes.' said Monkey Fist. 'Kim Possible was turned to stone by the Yono. She fell from the top of the Yono shrine - a drop of over forty feet onto another stone surface. Any statue made of normal stone would have been pulverized. I expected the satisfaction of watching her shatter into a thousand pieces. But she sustained no damage whatsoever.'

'And this power still lives within you.' said Maze quietly. 'I suspected through my research - but this is beyond my expectations...'

'Now couple it with your own power.' said Monkey Fist. 'Let us see what happens.'

Maze nodded and stood silently for a moment, concentrating hard. He took a metal brand from his pouch and tied it to his palm, then began to chant.

Emet - Sipimottakiksi,
Nikaahtomaana nitaanistsi'toyiiwa...


Dark shadows crept out from the surrounding walls of the lair, swirling around Maze like black smoke. He gritted his teeth and continued to chant.

Emet - Sipimottakiksi,
Nikaahtomaana nitaanistsi'toyiiwa!

He laid his hand on the left wing of the crow statue. There was a hiss and a plume of smoke and Maze stepped back, gasping for breath. Three strange characters were branded onto the left wing of the crow. Otherwise, nothing seemed to have happened.

'Command it.' said Monkey Fist, his voice quietly eager.

Maze paused a moment. Then he said, 'Arise.'

And the crow began to move. Stiffly, it rolled and rose to a perching position. It cocked its head and looked up at Maze, as if waiting for more orders.

Monkey Fist laughed softly. 'Well done.' he said. 'We have the weapons and the magic. Your plan will work.'

Maze looked back at him. 'My main concern at the start still has not been resolved.' he said. 'Even bringing one statue to life requires great effort for me. And it is obvious that using the power of the Yono is a great strain on you. Though your body has limitless endurance, it is a different strength that fuels the Yono - strength of will and spirit - which your physical endurance will not improve...'

'True indeed.' said Monkey Fist. 'Which is why we have labored to gather components for the machine. I promised you a solution to that problem. And that solution is already in our hands. Now all that remains... is a field test.' And he glanced over at the machine, which hummed and whirred as if it too was waiting to be commanded.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Kim was getting ready for bed after nearly three gut-wrenching days in which nothing had happened. She knew Wade had been working hard, but hadn't found anything either. Kim had sighed during one of her lessons at school and reflected on past missions, comparing them to the sitch she was now going through. In other missions, she had laughed at the pride and ego of her super-villain adversaries. They were so impatient to carry out their schemes, so sure that their plans were flawless, that they acted too quickly and left themselves vulnerable. Kim had often wondered why none of them ever learned from their mistakes, and wished darkly that Maze and Monkey Fist were more like Drakken.

Monkey Fist and Maze were playing a very cold game. They were moving slowly, cautiously, and making sure their actions were calculated and measured. It was a feeling she didn't like in the slightest, the main reason being that it delayed getting more information about Ron and how to bring him back. She had planned out her own moves very carefully in anticipation of when she found Monkey Fist again. But it still hinged on him moving back out into the open.

She finished washing up and was going back into her bedroom when she saw Rufus. He was looking at one of the pictures Kim had on her nightstand near the bed. One was of herself and Ron standing arm in arm. Rufus looked sadly up at Kim and squeaked, and to her surprise it seemed as if Rufus was actually speaking. 'Hmm-hmmm.... Ron...'

A feeling of helplessness struck Kim and she bit her lip, putting her hand on Rufus's head and petting him softly. 'I know.' she said. 'I know....'

Later in the night, Rufus lay curled and sleeping in his basket. Kim, however, slept fitfully. Her dreams were troubled with visions of Monkey Fist, indestructible and laughing, with Ron reaching out to her as he disappeared into a black vortex of shadow.

'Ron....' she called out in her sleep.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

In the spirit world, Ron was trying to stave off boredom. Now that he was sure he was in no danger, he was trying everything he knew to keep himself occupied. What he was waiting for, he wasn't sure. Nothing he had tried had opened any 'doors' in the mists around him. He'd even concentrated hard and been able to use his Mystical Monkey Power, but it made no difference. Everything remained gray, phantom-like and indistinct.

Rhonda had stayed quietly by his side, saying nothing. She whimpered occasionally, is if fighting some kind of dread or discomfort. Ron was just wondering whether he felt like trying to sleep when he heard something that sent a jolt of shock running through him. Faint and echoing, as if from a great distance, he heard a voice.

'Ron....'

He glanced over at Rhonda, but she didn't move and didn't seem to have heard anything. Then the mists in front of him seemed to swirl and part, and something took shape in front of him, as if he were viewing it through a foggy window.

'Kim!' he shouted, seeing her face. She looked like she was asleep, but it was definitely her.

Rhonda jerked and flailed with surprise at Ron's shout. 'What?' she shouted. 'What did you do that for?'

Ron ignored her. 'Kim!' he yelled again. 'Come on KP, wake up! I'm right here, look at me!'

Rhonda looked back and forth. 'Whadda you mean "Kim"?' she said. 'Who are you yelling at?'

Ron sputtered and pulled Rhonda next to him, pointing her head at the dim window that swam in front of him. 'It's Kim, look!'

'Look where?' Rhonda said, sounding frustrated.

'She's right there, can't you see her?' he yelled.

'I don't see anything but the mist channel!' she shouted back.

'Kim...!' Ron cried out, but even as he did so, the window in front of him seemed to be fading, spreading out, and the image it showed blended into the gray mists until once again there was nothing else to be seen. 'Kim......!' he yelled at the top of his lungs....

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

'Ron!' Kim shouted, jerking awake. She whirled her head back and forth in the darkness, her breath coming in gasps. In her dream, she had heard Ron calling out to her, telling her to wake up. It had seemed so real, but as she looked around through the night shadows, she saw only the dim, familiar shapes of the things in her room.

She laid back down, breathing hard, pulling herself together. 'Easy girl,' she thought. 'It was just a dream...' She couldn't afford to wig out. Ron needed her rock solid, to bring him back safe and sound. She felt her heartbeat returning to normal, but sleep did not return so easily.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

There was nothing to pace on, but Ron was still pacing back and forth. 'I'm telling you I saw her!' he was saying. 'I heard her....'

Rhonda looked upset. 'That's not fair!' she said. 'How come you can see her, but I can't see Grimm?'

Ron was too excited to answer. 'She's looking for me...' he said. 'I've got to find a way to point her the right direction... What IS the right direction?'

Rhonda persisted. 'Well how did you do it just then?'

'How would I know?' said Ron, impatient at the interruption of his train of thought. 'I'm just doofus-boy, remember?'

Rhonda flinched. 'Sorry...' she said softly.

Ron waved his hands in front of him as if it would somehow gather clarity to his mind. 'OK - she needs to find me. We can start by figuring out exactly where we are.' He looked around. 'Well, there's nothing to see. Nothing to hear. Nothing to do....'

'So... we're in Wyoming?' said Rhonda.

Ron snickered. 'Good one!' he said. 'But if we were in Wyoming there would be some world-class steak houses...'

'Guess so.' said Rhonda, putting a hand on her stomach. 'But I'm not really hungry....'

Ron paused. 'Me neither!' he said. 'And that's... just not right!' He thought about it more. 'It really isn't right - this is totally wrong! We must have been here at least couple of days, but I'm not hungry at all! I've missed dinner, breakfast, second breakfast....'

'And brunch, elevensies and afternoon tea!' Rhonda piped in. They both sighed wistfully.

'I loved that movie....' they both said at the same time, then looked at each other awkwardly.

'But the point is, I should be ravenous and I'm not!' said Ron. 'Come to think of it, I don't feel tired either. And I haven't needed to... use the facilities.' he ended sheepishly. 'How about you?'

'Ew, gorchy!' said Rhonda, wincing. 'But... no. Good thing too, 'cuz that would be...'

'Awkweird.' they both said together, and they paused.

'So...' Ron went on again. 'I guess this could be some kind of stasis trap where time never really passes.'

Rhonda looked as if she were remembering something, then spoke with a faraway look in her eye. 'I was first struck by the absence of time. Having depended on it so completely as both a measure of myself, and my life....'

And with a gasp, Ron picked up where she paused. 'Moving backwards into the perpetual night - it consumes all purpose, indeed all passion and will.'

Their eyes met. 'X-Files.' said Rhonda.

'Season 3!' said Ron.

'The Blessing Way!' they both said, smiling, then they looked off into the void and sighed again. 'I loved that episode...' they said together.

Then Rhonda jerked her head back to him. 'Wait... Anasazi - Indians! Monkey Fist wasn't alone at the lab. Maze was there with him! He'd hijacked Kim's body, but it was him!'

'Maze?' said Ron.

'No, it's pronounced mah-zay.' said Rhonda. 'But he's.... a shadow shaman. I can't explain it all, but he uses bad mojo with a spirit guide twist. Maybe we're in some kind of... spirit trap.'

'We're ghosts?' said Ron, looking panicked. He started pinching and slapping himself, he even sniffed his armpits. 'But how can we be ghosts? I can feel myself, I can feel my heart beating...'

Rhonda had a faraway look in her eyes, as if thinking back. 'I don't think we're ghosts.' she said. 'This isn't the first time that weird spirit stuff started happening when Maze showed up. It might be how you saw your stuck-up GF just now.'

Ron stared. 'Well he's your fellow bad guy, can't you call in a favor and get him to show us the way out?'

Rhonda laughed mirthlessly. 'Maze's not my pal.' she said. 'He threw me and Grimm off a cliff the last time we met.' She paused. 'Grimm knew it was Maze back at the lab.' she said softly. 'He's bound to figure out what they did to us. Ooooh, I wouldn't want to be Maze once Grimm tracks him down!'

'Uh... hello?' said Ron. 'He's got Rocky Baboona for backup!'

'If I know Grimm, he's already figuring a way around that.' Rhonda smiled. 'There's no way they'll stand a chance against Grimm once he works out a plan.' said Rhonda confidently. 'Not unless.... they do something unexpected.'

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Maze stood before a hollowed recess inside the lair. He had been watching Monkey Fist as he read books, worked with tools and set up yet more machines. At last Monkey Fist stepped back, looking at the end result with some satisfaction. 'What is this?' Maze asked, looking at the construct with a heavy scowl.

Monkey Fist smiled indulgently. 'It is called an Immersion Pod.' he said. 'It was developed by Everlot Inc. so that people who play their... video games would be able to feel as if they were really inside the virtual worlds instead of watching from the outside.'

Maze snorted in distaste. 'So the white man prefers a fake world of illusion and deception to the reality of the natural world. That does not surprise me.'

Monkey Fist shrugged. 'Yes well anyway, they used to use caps, but their latest versions have refined the experience with these pods which provide a sense of total immersion.'

Maze looked as if he were losing interest. 'And what does this... game have to do with the plan?'

Monkey Fist chuckled. 'Not the game - the technology.' He pointed to the many wires and cables that threaded and curled from the machines on the table, now connected and worming into the Immersion Pod so it looked like an egg-shaped spider in the center of a metallic web. 'I am no technical genius, but I have connected the Immersion Pod to the machines we have already gathered.'

'To what end?' said Maze.

Monkey Fist's smile widened. 'Why, to solve the problem which has vexed you.' he answered.

Maze looked almost nervous. 'Surely you do not expect me to sit within that... monstrosity?' he said.

'Not without a demonstration.' Monkey Fist answered, and he strode to the Immersion Pod, which hissed open as he touched a latch on its side. He stood in a metal framework that had what looked like metal clamps to hold a person's arms, legs, back and neck. They curled around Monkey Fist as the hatch closed.

Maze felt a shiver at the sight, which seemed unearthly and sinister to him. But he looked in through the plastic window and saw a metallic cap lowering onto Monkey Fist's brow, with a strange pair of goggles swiveling down and covering his eyes. 'Remember!' he said, raising his voice, not sure if Monkey Fist could hear inside the Pod. 'The test may fail, or attract too much attention if we use a heavily populated region. We should start someplace... small.'

'Do not worry.' Monkey Fist said, his voice slightly muffled. 'I am quite familiar with the geography of England. And I think I know just the place...'

Inside the pod, Monkey Fist was gripping a pair of handles. He flicked open a cap that covered a red button on the grip near his right hand, then pressed it. Maze stepped back as power from the generators flooded through the wires into the machines with a throbbing whine...

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

The town of Graniton was quiet and rustic. The inhabitants were fiercely proud of their home, even though it was clear that it was well on it's way to becoming a ghost town. With only about twenty houses and one store, life in Graniton would be described by any visitor as 'quaint' if they were polite, and 'dull' if they weren't.

Nestled in a mountain valley, and with only one long road connecting it to a highway, hardly anyone went there unless they needed to. And besides population, the need to be there was also in short supply. They had some farming, a nearby lake and a spectacular view, but besides that, Graniton had little to offer by way of trade or tourism.

The few children who had been born there had moved to other cities once they were older and educated, having little taste for the quiet life, yearning for something more modern. As a result, the town was dwindling. There were barely twenty residents left, mostly middle-aged or older.

This problem wove in and out of nearly every conversation for the remaining persons who dwelt there, but as much as they spoke of it, none of them could come up with a way to solve it. Many seemed resigned to the fact that their town would one day fade out of existence completely, though they would stoutly deny it if asked.

Two such men were walking home from the farming fields just outside of town after a long day's work tending the crops. Both were similarly dressed in brown trousers, gray jackets and dark brown caps. They were looking forward to an evening of relaxation at the local pub, though it was sure to be quiet.

'How's your back, Clay?' asked one, a short stocky man who looked like he might have been a prize fighter in his youth. 'Still botherin' ye?'

'Aye.' said Clayton, who was taller and thinner, but still looked hale. 'Not much of a trade-off for bein' able to tell when it's about to rain, I'll tell you. How 'bout you, Slate? Heard from your boy lately? Say anything new?'

'Ar.' Slate answered, shaking his head. 'Same ol' thing - I'll come back to visit soon when I get the time.'

'Young folks today - always too busy t'remember their roots.' said Clayton, shaking his head. 'If it's more time he's needin', there's plenty of work to be done back here that'll leave his evenings free an' still keep a roof over his head.'

'Aye.' said Slate. 'But again it's the same ol' thing - I want a life that's a bit more exciting.'

Clayton sniffed. 'Excitement? Why there's plenty to be had here. Just because we haven't got a disco, or whatever it is those young folks call 'em these days....'

They had reached the turnoff on the main road of the town that led to the pub. They could see the building ahead of them, a dim yellow light streaming out from it's main doors. They had both turned and were headed towards it when they noticed another yellow light growing around them.

The sun was setting and the sky had been darkening, but it suddenly grew brighter as if the sun had reappeared in the sky. The light from the door of the pub seemed to be getting dimmer by comparison. Clayton and Slate looked up and above the canopy of gray clouds, they saw a glowing spot that was getting brighter.

Doors and windows were opening here and there as the other residents looked out curiously at the light in the sky. The pub owner stepped out and stood beside Slate and Clayton. 'What the devil is that...?' he asked, though neither Slate nor Clayton answered.

The clouds were pierced. A beam of yellow lanced down from the sky, bathing the entire town in its glow.

Clayton gasped. A strange feeling of numbness was creeping over him. And while it removed the pain from his back, this brought him no happiness, for his entire body was stiffening. He could no longer move his hands. He turned his head to look at Slate, and even his neck was growing stiff, immobile. He saw a similar look of surprise on Slate's face, which seemed as if his very skin was turning gray and rough.....

After a few seconds, the light disappeared. Dusk fell again, as dim and gloomy as it had been before. All was utterly silent. Over twenty statues stood in the streets, or looking out of doors and windows.

All questions about Graniton's problems had, in less than ten seconds, been rendered completely moot.

Coming Soon:
Chapter 10

Whether remote or direct, men prize me highly.
What am I?

Author: A hearty thank you to one and all who voted the All Things Probable series as "Best Series" in the Golden Fannie awards for KP Fanfiction this year. And also for voting Grimm Probable "Best Original Character". Read up on the awards show and give a well-earned thank you to Zaratan, who hosted a magnificent show. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3961729/1/The_Third_Annual_Fannie_Awards

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