If You Build a Better Monkey (13)
"That - was - fun," Shego panted as she leaned her hands on her knees and bent over.
Kim wanted to keep moving, but her body felt like it was made of cement, and she slumped against a wall. "Just rest for a minute," she gasped.
They'd just completed a suspenseful race through twisting passageways dimly lit by torches, if at all. Sometimes the only light had come from Shego as handfuls of green fire splashed through the air. When Kim and Shego had fled the chamber they'd been trapped in, their monkey attackers had become emboldened, and they screeched as they scampered after them, some leaping about the walls and even popping out of - yes, more of those hexagonal openings. For a monkey temple, it certainly had reminded Kim of a beehive.
"I don't like running from my enemies," Shego growled.
"Think of it as running toward Monty," Kim said.
They'd bought themselves some time by racing through a small arched doorway. Shego had then used her fire to destroy the keystone, causing debris and rubble to cascade down, blocking the entrance. A few monkeys that made it under in time were summarily knocked out, leaving the two women in a long, sloping corridor free of those pesky monkey holes. Their only two choices were up and down.
"I thought the Balrog was going to show up any minute," Kim added.
Shego looked at her strangely. "The what?"
"Balrog - you know, Lord of the Rings? Ron, um, may have gotten me to watch the movie with him," Kim admitted.
"Sorry," Shego said. "I always let Doctor D translate 'geek'." She looked up. "Guess we should move to higher ground."
"But Ron could be anywhere!" Kim said urgently. "What if we go up and he's down?"
"And what if we go down and he's up?" Shego replied. "At least maybe we can get a signal on your Kimmunicator and reach Wade. He could scan a layout of the temple, detect heat signatures - I don't know, nerd stuff like that."
"You want to go up, fine," Kim said. "But I'll go down."
"All right, all right, fine," Shego muttered. "Sheesh. We'll go down."
"I'm not trying to be difficult, Shego," Kim answered. "I think we should split up. Cover more ground."
"You think I'm going to let you go off by yourself?" Shego asked, surprised. "What if you get jumped by another monkey horde? You're not in very good shape, you know. Some of these bites are going to be infected by tomorrow, I bet."
"I'm Kim Possible. I can do anything, remember?" Kim said. "Including saving Ron."
Shego looked at her. "Okay," she finally said, "but you go up. I'll go down. If you're in really bad shape, you find an exit and get the hell out of here. And take this." She reached over and started scratching at her left wrist, a gesture Kim recognized as unlocking the mechanism that kept her glove in place.
"Hey, what are you doing?" Kim asked, alarmed.
"Giving you one of these," Shego said. "Nothing like a little fire to give the monkeys a fright. Just snap your fingers - " she explained as she started pulling the glove off.
Kim slapped her hand down on Shego's arm, stopping her. "Don't," she said. "This means a lot to me, considering it seems like you're always losing your powers as soon as you get them back, but I'll stick to what I know best."
"Beating the odds."
Shego scowled as she slipped her glove back on. "Fine," she said. "You're so stubborn, Princess."
"Pot calling kettle black there. Shego?"
She'd turned away to head down. "Yeah?"
"You be careful too. I don't know what I'd do without you."
When Shego blushed, she turned a darker shade of green. "Yeah, whatever," she mumbled. "See you topside."
Then she disappeared.
Kim wiped her forehead with her arm. Truth be told, turning down Shego's offer had more to do with keeping HER safe than anything else. But she had to trust now that Shego could take care of herself, just like Shego trusted her.
Now she just had to find Ron.
Ron, as it happened, could take care of himself too.
Still, he could really go for a naco right then.
"Rufus," he said to his little buddy as he crouched warily to one side of the room, "I'm still floating like a butterfly, but I'm still stinging like one too." His knuckles throbbed, but if he'd managed to hurt the creatures through their thick, furry pelts, he couldn't see it.
"Eh?" Rufus asked.
"Sorry, guess you slept through that episode of ESPN Classic," Ron said.
Kim - or his old Sensei, for that matter - would probably be aghast to see Ron mixing Japanese fighting techniques with American boxing slang, but right now his best strategy appeared to be "rope-a-dope". The two hulking "morillas" looked more tired than he did. Even with monkey agility and speed, as Monkey Fist had claimed, they were still slow, and you couldn't really ask the animals to fight as long as they had, and not show signs of exhaustion. Ron was dodging strikes that had lost a lot of quickness, and hoping they finally keeled over, comatose.
As long as someone with fresh legs didn't enter the picture . . .
"Monkey pretender! I challenge your claim to the position of master!"
"And you just had to think it, didn't you?" he thought.
"Morillas, leave me with the false prodigy," Monkey Fist hissed as he loped through a door that hadn't been open before.
The two genetic mutations seemed all too relieved. One gave Ron a wordless gesture as he shambled out. Ron chose to see it as a sign of respect, although it could have also been a vicious insult.
"Dude, just let it go already," Ron said wearily. "I mean, sorry I got some of your special mojo. You want to be Monkey Master? Take the title, it's yours. I don't even want it!"
"Bad enough that you steal what is mine, but you can't even appreciate it!" Monkey Fist howled.
Ron put a hand over his face. It was like going in circles.
"Come, Stoppable," Fist continued, sneering. "Let us test each other, and see who is the TRUE master of Monkey Kung Fu!"
"Yeah, okay, just one second," Ron said. He reached under his chin with both hands, unbuckled the collar he'd been wearing all this time, and tossed it onto the floor. "I gotta tell you, I've been waiting for a chance to take that off forever!"
Monkey Fist stared at him, stunned. "You - you - put that back on this instant!"
"Why? You going to blow me up if I don't? Oh wait, that's right. You can't blow me up without blowing yourself up too. Uh huh, who's the man now, that's what I'm talking about!"
"Oh really? Well, I'll just go back to the control room, and then we'll see about putting it back on!"
"And then when you come back, how are you going to stop me from taking it off again?"
Monkey Fist spluttered. "Well - you see - I - "
"Besides, dude, you issued the challenge. Winner takes the title," Ron pointed out. "You run out of here now, you forfeit, I'm still the Monkey Master." He frowned. "Yay for me."
Left unable to answer, Monkey Fist finally screamed at the ceiling, jumping up and down and slapping the floor with the palms of his hands. "Ooo! OOOO!"
"Congrats, Monty. You are officially speaking worse English than my little buddy here," Ron told him.
Rufus poked his head out again and guffawed. "Ha ha, busted!"
"Fool!" Monkey Fist finally snarled. "Your powers will be mine!"
Ron smiled. "I've traded punches with Kim Possible, Monkey Fist. Compared to her, who the heck are you?"
"I let HER win!"
"That is why you fail," Ron said sagely.
Possessed by an insane rage that made him look nothing like the English explorer he'd once been, Monkey Fist leapt through the air.
Ron heard the bell and stepped into the ring once more.
"This can't be good," Kim thought.
There were thirty monkeys or more facing her in a half-circle. They faced her, but they did not approach her. They kept a good five yards away from her, in fact. Kim liked to think it was because they were afraid of her, but she didn't think that was it.
She risked a glance behind her through the doors she'd been backed against. The room through the doors appeared to be filled with large machines. One in particular looked very familiar. It looked like something she'd seen used to combine Rufus years ago with Mr. Barkin.
In other words, Kim was about to enter DNAmy's lab.
"You guys probably have some bad memories of this place," she said as she backed inside.
Judging from how they didn't pursue her, she was probably right.
Going deeper into the laboratory, she took out her Kimmunicator again. Maybe this time she could get a signal. "Wade, come in, please," she said, activating it.
And her persistence was rewarded. "Kim, is that you?" Wade asked, his face appearing on the display.
"Wade!" Kim said. "Things are pretty messed up right now."
"You're telling me," he replied. "I've been trying to raise you for a while. What happened?"
"The usual," she sighed. "Trap door, long chute, fall down. I don't know where Ron and Shego are - Ron's fighting for his life, Shego's trying to find him. And DNAmy's mixed up in all this."
"Genetically mutated monkeys, huh?" he guessed sympathetically.
"IS there a monkey Cuddle Buddy?"
"I could have told you that five years ago, Wade, but not any more," Kim said.
"For shame, Kim Possible. For someone who once owned a Pandaroo, you must remember the Goraffe?"
Kim closed her eyes. "Of course. Thank you, mad scientist." She turned around.
"Should I also reacquaint you with THIS model?" DNAmy asked her, waving her arm at the beast that towered over her.
Kim looked at the all-too-familiar giant rabbit with the rhinoceros horn. "No, I remember. Wade, let me get back to you. I have a plushie to take care of."
"Ohh-kay," he said. "I'll give Sappho a heads-up on your position. She's been worried."
"I'm worried about Shego too," Kim murmured before she shut it off. "Rat monkeys, woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers - you know what?" she asked DNAmy. "I'm in the mood to kick a human's ass right now."
DNAmy chortled. "You'll have to get past - "
"Yeah, yeah," Kim said, running forward. Shego had tangled with this beast earlier in the year. She'd also told Kim what happened.
And once again, the monstrosity tried to pounce.
Once again, its intended victim ran between its legs.
The last time, Shego had wounded DNAmy with a cutting remark. Kim used a more straightforward approach - a shot to the jaw.
"Now," Kim said, turning to face the Cuddle Buddy again, "you still want a piece of me?"
It whimpered, looking at the unconscious DNAmy, and plowed through the exit. Kim heard frantic monkeys outside.
She wanted to feel better, but there was no time to feel better. She pulled out her Kimmunicator once again. "Wade, can you still read me?"
"Loud and clear, Kim."
"I'm in DNAmy's laboratory."
"And where's she?"
"Well, Wade, you know," Kim said, glancing at the out-cold scientist, "when you have a really metabolism and you miss a meal or two, you tend to pass out."
"DNAmy has a high metabolism?" Wade asked dubiously. "What does she eat, fifteen meals a day?"
"Long story. Look, if I patch you into DNAmy's computers, can you give me access to any other computer systems Monkey Fist has? Blueprints, security cameras - "
"Kim, come on, who are you talking to?" Wade said. "I don't give you access, I give you control."
"Right, sorry," she said wearily. "Get bit by enough rabid monkeys and a girl can get a little sluggish."
Shego was of two minds concerning Ron. Of course she didn't want him to die. That would hurt Kimmie, hurt her a LOT, and Shego didn't want anything interfering with the life they had. And it wasn't like she wished Stoppable dead. Maybe she wished he lived across the Atlantic Ocean, tops. So if Monkey Fist really was draining his mystical "monkey batteries" so he could kill Ron, then he had to be stopped. There were other reasons he had to be stopped, of course. Like that little incident at her apartment months ago. Plus there was the fact that Monty took the whole monkey thing a BIT too seriously to be entirely sane.
On the other hand, for all his failings, Monkey Fist was one of the best hand-to-hand fighters in the villain community, and if she happened to find Ron getting his clock cleaned - well, she could take some measure of satisfaction in knowing she was going to win her little wager with Pumpkin, couldn't she?
That was predicated on finding him, though, and right now she was bored. She hadn't seen one solitary monkey, even. There was concern that the little simians were focusing their attention on a stubborn SOMEONE who refused to arm herself with glowing plasma flames that terrified the rodent chimps.
Being bored was preferable to such thoughts, though, and she ruthlessly ignored them.
Turning a corner, she skidded to a halt. There was a larger chamber in front of her, better lit than most corridors she'd run through. Inside were two gorillas swaddled in ragged scraps of black cloth. They appeared to be fast asleep.
"Either this is an ambush," she thought, "or ol' Monty is going to have these two peeling potatoes for a month."
Shego almost leapt out of her boots. "Yeah!"
She turned around and saw nothing. "Kimmie? Where are you?"
"DNAmy's lab. Wade hacked me into the security system. I'm watching you through the security camera over your left shoulder. Monty has the whole temple rigged with them, as well as an intercom system. So he can summon his minions, I guess."
Shego looked where Kim said and, sure enough, a camera with a blinking red light was mounted there. Shego waved her hand hesitantly, and the camera matched her movements. "Are you all right?" she asked.
"Could be worse. Listen, Ron is in the next room."
"What room? There's no door."
"Secret door. Hold on a second."
Shego waited impatiently, and then she remembered the - morillas, they had to be. They were still asleep, despite all the noise Shego had made. They must have been exhausted.
Weren't they supposed to have been fighting Ron? Why the hell were they out here? And why were they so beat?
The wall slowly slid aside, and when Shego looked through the opening, she understood why.
"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more," she murmured.
Ron Stoppable appeared to be winning.
She couldn't say for sure, because both men had frozen when she appeared. Monkey Fist's legs were wrapped around Ron's waist. Ron had a hand around Fist's neck and a fist in midair.
"Should I come back when you two have had your alone time?" Shego asked sardonically, leaning against the wall.
"You! Why aren't you dead?" Monkey Fist demanded.
"Seems to me the 'plan' isn't working out, Monty," Shego said, crooking her fingers in the universal "quotation marks" gesture. "Why are you surprised the other part failed?"
"Shego, where's KP?" Ron asked.
"DNAmy's laboratory, apparently. Looks like she's in control of temple security now. I realize you have to be a monkey to qualify for that position, Monty, but since all humans basically from apes, I'd say she gets in under the grandfather clause."
"I'm not a big believer in intelligent design," Ron added, "but if it means we didn't evolve from apes, I'm for it."
"You dare make jokes at a time like this!" Monkey Fist thundered. "And what have you done with Amy?"
"Don't know, didn't ask, didn't care," Shego said, shrugging. "So, steal his monkey mojo yet?"
"Which of us are you speaking to?" Ron asked.
"She means me! And no, not yet. Either the artifact was flawed, or Stoppable . . . no longer has the power," Monkey Fist muttered.
"Steal whose mojo? Mine?"
"Yeah," Shego told him. "Apparently he's been - " She chuckled. "Letting you win all those times so he could take your powers when you turned twenty-one. And I've officially heard everything."
"It's true!" Monkey Fist howled.
"Hey, if that's what you have to say to yourself so you can look in the mirror in the morning," Shego said indifferently.
"So you think my Monkey Magic is gone?" Ron asked.
"Obviously a buffoon such as yourself lost it without even knowing it was gone!" Fiske snarled.
"Hey, you hear that?" Ron said. "Sounds like this mission comes with a bonus! Although not liking the B-u-f-f word."
"Doy," Shego mumbled. "I'm starting to think I shouldn't have come in."
"Uh, while you're here," Ron replied, "could you maybe give me a hand?"
Shego frowned. "Actually," she finally said grudgingly, "it looks like you're handling him pretty good by yourself."
"Excuse me!" Monkey Fist said.
"What he said," Ron said, although he was mainly surprised by Shego's vote of confidence.
"Yeah, I'm going to go find Kimmie. Maybe have a banana milkshake or something. Come find us when you finish with his sorry baboon ass."
"Now see here! Baboons are - "
Ron interrupted him by finishing his punch, which cut Ron's knuckle but also knocked out one of Monkey Fist's teeth.
"Shego!" Kim said, stopping her as she went back to where the morillas lay. "What are you doing!"
"He's not in any real danger," Shego sighed. "But I'll wait out here, just to make sure. How about you come down and watch? Check out your student's progress."
" . . . Well, okay, I guess."
"Fine," Shego said. She sat against the wall and looked at the sleeping apes. "So, you boys up for a game of gin?"
To be continued . . .