Lost Chronicles II: One World

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 181 - At Peace

Giselle Alberona



Matthew and Eleanora, along with their partner Digimon, landed on the ground before us. Mia stood at my side with Celtinemon, and not far away, BioNymphmon was still engaged in combat with BioCaturamon. Augustus and his Digimon Spirits were facing down ShadowSeraphimon, along with Statuedramon. For the first time that day, the fight was finally beginning to go in our favor. The angst in my chest finally began to subside, especially with the arrival of the twins. I glanced back up at Sakkakumon; the massive beast had not moved since I or any of the others had left the giant maze of a Digimon; however, nine of his ten spheres had darkened; the final sphere, the top right, emitted an ominous, white glow.

“I guess there really is only one of those dimensional masters left,” I said to myself. “Let’s see…I’m pretty sure only Zelda is left inside of Sakkakumon, right?”

“You ought not remain so calm. In the face of your countless sins, fall to your knees, and pray to the almighty Goddess!” BioCaturamon growled. “But fear not; though your sins number many, the Goddess is all-loving and forgiving! Through much turmoil, your souls may be salvaged from the pit of hell yet!”

“I have heard enough of your ramblings about the Goddess! I shall not stand to have her be slandered in such a way!” Celtinemon screamed. “You speak of her with words laced with false kindness, as if you claim to worship her. But what you say about her is nothing of the sort! You treat her like some vengeful deity who cares nothing for her creations! Arcadia is not a hateful Goddess! She loves all of her creations; Human, Digimon, and the Marked!”

“HAH! The Goddess cares not a whit for any living thing — not the least of which is those Marked scum!” BioCaturamon spat. “My Bio Hybrid form — the Digimon I have become — he has met the Goddess almost 1,000 years ago. His memories of her have become one with mine. And my memory of Goddess Arcadia…is that of a cruel and vengeful bitch!”

“Faerie Divider!” Celtinemon flew out at BioCaturamon, but the Exalted Beast grabbed her blade in his teeth and shattered the cold, glowing steel in between his jaws. BioNymphmon suddenly flew in and fired a Lunar Blast directly in the middle of the larger Bio Hybrid’s face. Bahira was flung backwards by the powerful attack, but quickly bounded back and turned into a massive gavel and slammed himself down on Marissa, pinning her to the ground.

“Celtinemon! Let’s take it to the next level! D.N.A. Charge! Overdrive!”

“Celtinemon Digivolve to, Morgannamon! Clear Moon Sky!” BioCaturamon’s gavel form began to glow, and he turned back into his beast form.

“Howl of the Heavens!” A celestial ball of energy formed at the end of Morgannamon’s staff, but as BioCaturamon opened his mouth and began to roar, Morgannamon’s attack vanished. Morgannamon cringed, and the feathers of her wings ruffled themselves, shortly before becoming enveloped in the light of Digivolution and turning back into Celtinemon.

“I-I’m sorry…Giselle,” Celtinemon whimpered through the roar.

“Don’t worry; you did your best,” I said, giving my Digimon partner a kind smile, which seemed to make her feel better.

“Ah, the touching friendship between sisters mercenary,” BioCaturamon sighed. “But, make no mistake; the judgment of the Goddess shall blight out even your mutual love from this world in her righteous fury!”

“Lunar Blast!” BioCaturamon turned around, and BioNymphmon launched a sphere of bright pink energy into the Exalted Beast’s mouth, exploding instantly on impact. BioCaturamon was flung backwards, smoke and blood both pouring out of his mouth and between his sharp fangs.

“CURSE YOU! Goddess’s blood on your accursed heart, wench!”

“Come forth, MegaKabuterimon!” Mia held out a Digimon Talisman, summoning a massive Spirit between Bahira and Marissa. BioCaturamon leapt up, and grabbed MegaKabuterimon’s giant horn in his teeth. The Digimon Spirit tried to shake him off, but to no avail. Finally, MegaKabuterimon slammed his horn onto the ground, and pinned the Bio Hybrid to the ground.

“You poor, twisted soul; corrupted by darkness, you see the Goddess as a being of hatred and evil,” BioNymphmon said sadly. “Let it be by my light that you return to her side, and be accepted by her infinite graces.”

“No…No, wait!”

“Dazzling Gleam!” BioNymphmon’s entire body became enveloped in a bright light; although bright, I had no need to cover my eyes. I too became covered in the light. Its warmth was comforting; I felt all fear inside of me fade away to nothingness. The agony in my heart vanished; the angst in the pit of my stomach settled down. BioCaturamon, however, howled viciously, and began to fade away. “…Poor thing. The Goddess loves us. All of us. Even you…and even someone like ShadowSeraphimon.” BioCaturamon shut his eyes, and lay dead in his Human form, his data vanishing away completely.

“He’s…he’s really gone!” I exclaimed. “Marissa, you did it! You defeated Bahira!” The tiny Bio Hybrid clumsily landed on the ground, and turned back into her Human form, breathing heavily.

“…That…kinda took a lot out of me,” Marissa sighed. “I…I need to rest…for a bit…Sorry…”
Zelda Kasuto


A soft and gentle golden light spilled out onto me. My eyes opened; I lay on the ground on my side. I raised my head, and groggily looked around. Aside from the warm light, there was only pitch-black darkness.

Where am I this time? I wondered. Still inside of Sakkakumon, I knew that much. Gradually, I made myself stand up. Still, I saw nothing. Reluctant to leave this warm and comforting light, I did so anyway. I knew I couldn’t remain still, after all, if I wished to return home. But then suddenly, a row of benches, all facing one direction, materialized in the darkness. What was going on here? I looked closer. The benches that seemed to just pop into existence weren’t simply that; they were pews, like in a church. My heart froze. An ornate podium materialized at the front of the pews. Standing calmly at the podium was none other than my own father, Dominimon.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 182 - Father and Daughter Destiny

Zelda Kasuto



My heart froze. An ornate podium materialized at the front of the pews. Standing calmly at the podium was none other than my own father, Dominimon. The Angel Digimon stepped forward.

…S-Stay calm, Zelda…It…It could be a different Dominimon…It could have started out as an entirely…different Digimon…

“…Zelda, my beloved daughter,” the Digimon said, his voice barely above a whisper.

“No…N-No…”

“Before that man took my life…I never really had the chance to spend much time with you,” Dominimon said. Were I able to see his face behind the steel helm, I knew that he would be smiling. “If I had known I would be forced to leave you, I would have spent as much time as possible with you. No…I would have done something to prevent leaving you, of course…And…I would let you know just how much I love you…Zelda…”

“N-No…why…WHY?!” I screamed. “Why did you have to…”

“Zelda…I’m sorry…I never meant to hurt you,” Dominimon whispered.

“No…not just that…Why…Why did you have to show up inside of Sakkakumon?!” Dominimon looked somewhat taken aback. “I…don’t want to fight you…to get out of here…I’d rather be killed myself than be forced to fight my own father…But I…I have to go back! I have to get back to Lachesis…My friends are waiting for me, and I can’t let them down!”

“Zelda…I’m sorry I never told you about ShadowSeraphimon,” Dominimon whispered. “What he was capable of, and that he was my brother…If I had, then maybe I wouldn’t have…had to leave you. But I never thought that he’d have any need of my DigiCore like this…”

“I know. I-I know…I know how much you love me, father…and I want to tell you how much I love you, and how much I missed you…before I…I…”

“Before you have to fight me.” Hearing the words come out of his mouth struck my heart like the sharpest of swords. Tears dripped down either side of my face, and I nodded my head in response to Dominimon’s statement. Dominimon knelt down next to me, and clasped his hand tenderly over my shoulder. “Zelda…I want you to know, that I could never fight you, as much as you could never fight me. But, it’s as you say; I need to be defeated before you can leave this place.”

“F-F-Father…p-please…don’t…take your own life,” I whispered. “Watching you die once was more than I could bear. I couldn’t…dare…to watch you again. But I…have to, don’t I?”

“Zelda…If that is what you wish…then I shall not do so,” Dominimon said. “You should know…that ShadowSeraphimon foresaw this. The two of us, meeting up like this…He gave me a piece of his darkness.”

“W-What are you talking about?” I asked. Dominimon turned to face me. His Mark, placed at the center of his forehead like Matthew, shone in the light.

“In order to force us to fight, ShadowSeraphimon tainted my DigiCore with his darkness. That way…we can truly fight.” Dominimon stood back up. The darkness of the room seemed to race towards my father, and covered him completely, golden wings and all. “Zelda…let me tell you, one final time, how much I love you…before this side of my mind vanishes completely into the darkness…”

“No…Father, no!!!” A long right arm grew out from the shadows, seemingly made entirely of bone. His golden wings merged, and formed a long, flowing cape. Eventually, the rest of the darkness faded away. My father had turned into a completely different Digimon. “F-Father …?”

“Not…anymore. I am the darkness of ShadowSeraphimon placed into your father’s soul brought to life. My name is Bagramon. People know me as the Sage of Death.”

“No…father…”

“I am not your father, you pathetic sniveling wretch!” With his longer, right arm, Bagramon reached out and struck me across the face. I was sent flying backwards almost two feet, but felt almost no pain when I reached up to feel the wound. It bled, and was undoubtedly a dark shade of red, but still felt no pain.

I guess I just got used to it, from when my mother used to hit me…I smiled. With only his large hand, Bagramon picked me up by my left arm, and placed me back up on my feet.

“Your father…doesn’t exist anymore, princess. And it is by Lord ShadowSeraphimon’s decree that you fall into eternal darkness!” My smile widened just slightly.

…I never thought I’d be thanking ShadowSeraphimon for anything. If it were Dominimon, I don’t know if I could do it. I guess he thought that Bagramon would be just as hard for me. And a younger me might have succumbed. But I’ve changed. Dominimon is…gone. Nothing can change that. And as Bagramon said, he is not my father. I can do this. I will destroy him…and get back home to my friends! That weakling from 500 years ago who used to pathetically stammer in the face of such adversity as this no longer exists; I’m a stronger woman now. I will fight to protect my friends, no matter the cost! “Come forth, Seadramon!”

“Ice Blast!” Bagramon held up his hand, and blocked the attack with ease.

“…I’m a little surprised you chose to fight back, wench,” Bagramon said. “ShadowSeraphimon didn’t think you would. I must give credit where credit is due. But the strength of your Spirits is beyond pathetic!” Bagramon reached and grabbed Seadramon by the neck and tore his head off with a single flick of his wrist. The Spirit tried to fight back, but vanished from sight immediately. It was indeed a gruesome sight that made my stomach lurch, but as a Digimon Spirit, I knew that Seadramon would be okay.

“Okay; one Spirit down…Come forth; Greymon and Dokugumon! Use the combination attack!”

“Poison Thread!”

“Nova Blast!” I smiled. It was a classic, simple combination, but a favorite of ours that we had devised. Dokugumon covered Bagramon in a mass of thread, and Greymon lit it ablaze. Almost immediately, Bagramon was consumed in flames.

“All right, nice work, you two! Okay, Okuwamon! Let’s finish this up!”

“Double Scissor Claw!” The third of my summoned Digimon Spirits rushed out towards the towering Bagramon, and lashed out repeatedly with his sharp, massive claws. Bagramon yelled some unintelligible word or phrase, and slashed Okuwamon with his own claws, instantly defeating the Spirit.

“Savage Cyclone!” From his skeletal claw, Bagramon unleashed a massive windstorm that consumed Greymon and Dokugumon in a dark whirlwind, instantly destroying them as well.

“Jeez…He’s so strong,” I whispered. But then, so was Dominimon…Wait, that’s it! Dominimon!

“Time to say your prayers to the Goddess, princess!” Bagramon growled. “Any final words?”

“…I guess you must think you’re pretty tough, beating up a little girl,” I said slyly. “Gotta say though, you aren’t even close to being as strong as Dominimon. About a fifth, I’d say. Maybe a sixth or seventh. Tenth at most. Pretty weak, really.”

“WHAT?! How dare you?!”

“She dares because she knows it to be true.” It was Mercurymon who spoke, having materialized on his own as he so often did. “Your darkness has made you weak, Bagramon. Dominimon was a strong, powerful warrior! You…are nothing of the sort!”

“…You…YOU WORTHLESS BASTARD! I’ll kill you! I’ll kill ALL of you!!!”

“Go ahead and try, weakling! I knew Dominimon for many a century, and your power does not begin to compare to his! You are a disgrace!”

“Astral Snatcher!”

“Dark Reflection!” Bagramon’s claw reached out and struck one of Mercurymon’s shields. At once, the Demon Lord was struck with a blast of immensely powerful light energy. Bagramon roared in pain, and his arm began to fade away before my very eyes.

“Good riddance…Bagramon,” I whispered gently. Bagramon fell to his knees, and faded away. In his place remained Dominimon. “…F-Father.”

“Zelda…I am…proud of you,” Dominimon whispered. “Thank you…for freeing my soul…”

“…Yes…father,” I whispered. My eyes began to well with tears, but I refused to cry. “I…I love you, father…”

“And I you…my beloved…Zelda,” Dominimon said. “Zelda…I…” I closed my eyes, nodded and smiled, for I knew in my heart that he may be reborn someday. Apollomon and Dianamon were, after all. My sadness faded with the last sight of my father.

“…We’ll meet again someday…Father,” I whispered. The beautiful church shined in a radiant, ivory light. I felt myself being transported from the dimension within Sakkakumon, and out onto the ground of the outside world. I opened my eyes. All of my friends were around me, and that was all that mattered to me. All that remained were ShadowSeraphimon and Sakkakumon. “Mercurymon…let’s do this!”

“To arms, milady!” Mercurymon nodded.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 183 - Rumble Blend

Statuedramon



This is it…everyone’s here! I thought. Everyone who had been trapped inside of Sakkakumon has been freed! We can do this; we can defeat ShadowSeraphimon now!

“Everyone; prepare for battle!” Augustus Maxwell called out. “BlackWarGreymon! Come forth, Beelzemon!” Mia nodded and smiled, summoning the Spirits Aquarimon and BanchoStingmon while Zelda summoned Okuwamon to stand alongside Mercurymon. I Warp Digivolved to my Ultimate level, Seiyaryumon, while at that moment, Karatenmon stepped forward, alongside Celtinemon. ShadowSeraphimon was completely surrounded, but he still did not falter. In fact, he seemed almost thrilled at the current outcome.

“I have escorted the injured members of Lachesis to a safe abode,” I heard Karatenmon whisper to Augustus.

“The injured are the least of your concerns at this moment!” ShadowSeraphimon boasted loudly.

“There is no need to keep up this show of false bravado,” I growled.

“What makes you think it’s just an act?” ShadowSeraphimon asked. “I’m not alone, you know!”

“Yes, a dead Bio Hybrid, and a completely emptied out Sakkakumon; I’d be brave too,” I said sarcastically. ShadowSeraphimon laughed, and from up in the sky, Sakkakumon began to wriggle about violently. “What?! What’s going on, ShadowSeraphimon?!”

“…You’ve forgotten, it seems…Sakkakumon is far more than a labyrinth,” ShadowSeraphimon said. “Sakkakumon is, in and of itself, a living being, as well.” My heart sank. Sakkakumon lowered itself closer to the ground, much smaller than it had been.

“Ah! Master…How good it is to be able to move on my own once more!” Sakkakumon bellowed. “My Lord ShadowSeraphimon, the next time I am to be inhabited by esteemed guests of yours, I do wish you would give me proper warning!”

“Yes, I offer you my apologies, old friend,” ShadowSeraphimon whispered. “I know that storing those DigiCores within you ceases your movement, but I promise, this will be the last time you shall ever need to do such a thing. Because now…you have all the power you will ever need.” Sakkakumon grinned, and began to laugh.

“Yes, yes! Those fools never thought that they would be helping us, did they?!” Sakkakumon asked.

Helping them? No…That can’t be right!

“Permission to show off…my lord?” Sakkakumon asked. ShadowSeraphimon nodded.

“By all means…Show them all the power you have gained from these fools.”

“I won’t let you win! Ivory Blitz!” All of Sakkakumon’s orbs began to coil up and swirl around in the air. My attack was absorbed in one of the sphere’s eyes, and shot right back at me, sending me back down to the ground.

“Prepare for your demise! God Blaze Cannon Reflection!” Sakkakumon revolved around again, and fired another attack from a different sphere’s eye. I rolled over onto my side in time for my body to avoid any direct hits from the golden fireballs, but my wings took several hits in the process.

“No way! That was Morgannamon’s attack! How did Sakkakumon use it?” Giselle asked.

“Is this what…ShadowSeraphimon was talking about?” I whispered to myself.

“While you lot were inside me, fighting against the small army my lord hath gathered, it served two purposes!” Sakkakumon asked. “If you had been defeated by our army, it would have diminished the amount of annoyances standing in our path. But, victorious…your powers used within my worlds, I am able to copy, and use at my leisure. And any other attack used against me, I am able to reflect! None of you stand a chance against the perfection that is Sakkakumon!”

No…this can’t be…

“Everyone! Attack him all at once!” Augustus ordered.

“Terra Destroyer!”

“Double Impact!”

“Goddess Urn!”

“Ivory Blitz!”

“Feather Flare!”

“Shooting Star Sword!”

“Crimson Beast-King Wave!”

“Ice Archery!” Sakkakumon began laughing maniacally, and twisted around once again, absorbing each and every attack fired at him. Grinning directly at me, Sakkakumon revolved once more, and fired all of the attacks back at all of us in every possible direction. I looked around, and saw that while none of Sakkakumon’s reflected attacks directly hit any of my friends, the sheer range kept us all immobile. Sakkakumon grinned, as though this were exactly what he wanted.

“Oh no…Guys, get out of the way!” I called out desperately. “He’s about to use my—!”

“Aurora Force Reflection!” The words rang out, and for a moment, my heart stopped. From Sakkakumon’s mouth, the immense lightning blast of my Sovereign form began charging.

“Damn it!” Spreading my damaged wings as far as I could, I forced myself into the air, and took the brunt force of my most powerful attack. Completely overwhelmed, I was forced back down to the ground in less than a second, flat on my back at my Rookie level once again. “Damn…so…powerful…Stronger than mine…How?!”

“You have been weakened across the span of time, Sovereign!” Sakkakumon said. “Your age is finally catching up with you! You are nothing in the wake of my power!”

“…Maybe…alone, I am…but…I am far from alone!”

“Hah! That may be true, but your friends are even weaker than you! You cannot hope to defeat me!”

Damn it…Hey may be right…But, I still have two more DigiCores left with me! I gave one to Mihiramon to become Baihumon; I still have the Cores of Ebonwumon and Zhuqiaomon. If I could just find their spiritual successors…

“Ice Archery Reflection!”

“Harmony Swords!” Golden swords glistened in the light of the late afternoon sun, striking both relentlessly and elegantly against the fired arrows of gleaming ice fired from one of Sakkakumon’s eyes, striking each arrow just moments after leaving the immense Digimon. “Everyone! Stand tall! If we believe in what we’re fighting for, and we fight for what we believe in, we shall not ever lose!” Karatenmon screamed.

…Hm. An unyielding spirit…and a heart of fire. Looks like I may have found another one…

“Nova Blast Reflection!” Karatenmon swung his sword through the mass of flames shot out at him with ease.

“Karatenmon!” I reached into my shield’s mouth and into the endless abyss within, retrieving the DigiCore of Zhuqiaomon. “Got a little present for you!” The Ultimate looked down at me, and smiled as he saw the Core, glistening as though it were made of flames. “Here, catch!”

“No, not that!” ShadowSeraphimon gasped, alerting Sakkakumon. Karatenmon caught the flung DigiCore, and at once, merged with it. Flames enveloped Karatenmon, and for the first time that day, I saw ShadowSeraphimon shrink back in fear.

“Karatenmon Digivolve to, Zhuqiaomon!”

“No…NO! What the hell have you done, you little bastard?!” ShadowSeraphimon exclaimed. “You’ve unleashed the most savage and brutal of all the Sovereigns…Do you wish to be destroyed as well as us?!”

“No. He doesn’t.” It was the newly evolved Zhuqiaomon who spoke. “To be honest…the flames of my soul are telling me to destroy everything that I see before me. But, Statuedramon trusts me. He trusts me to protect his friends. I don’t know if I have the spirit to meet his expectations, but I shall do whatever is necessary to do my friend proud! Phoenix Fire!” At once, Sakkakumon twisted around in an attempt to absorb Zhuqiaomon’s attack, but the immensity of the flames spewed from Zhuqiaomon’s beak were too much for him to handle, and he was forced back several feet in the air.

“My…word! Such strength…much more than Azulongmon, even!” Sakkakumon gasped.

“Sonic Zephyr!” Zhuqiaomon flapped his massive wings, and immediately, Sakkakumon’s spheres dispersed. I gasped.

That orb…the center orb, the one with no eyes! He hasn’t attacked us from there yet! That must be his weak point! “Zhuqiaomon, there! Strike there! The center orb!”

“Blazing Helix!” At the tips of his four wings, Zhuqiaomon formed a massive swirl of flames aimed at that center orb. Sakkakumon trembled as the flames approached him, and with them, his impending doom. He did everything he could to move, but he seemed stuck in place by Zhuqiaomon’s previous attack. The Blazing Helix struck him, and engulfed him in flames. In an instant, Sakkakumon had died. A clump of ashes fell to the ground at ShadowSeraphimon’s feet.

“And now…the real battle begins,” I said to myself.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 184 - ShadowSeraphimon's Testament

Statuedramon



Sakkakumon had just been slain in battle by Zhuqiaomon. ShadowSeraphimon was now, finally, alone. And this time, he seemed to truly be nervous. Karatenmon, as Zhuqiaomon, alighted to the ground before the Fallen Angel, towering over him. ShadowSeraphimon was completely surrounded. I pulled my sword from my shield’s inner dimension and stepped forward, standing between Augustus and Mia.

“…Things do appear grim…But I shall fight to the bitter end!” ShadowSeraphimon spat. “We, who are the chains who lead to his victory; we chains who constrain our enemies movements, their hopes and dreams; we have all been promised as such. We are all undyingly loyal to our lord and master IceDevimon! And it is by his decree that the world be swallowed up in the dark of night! And so, I shall give even my life to help my lord achieve his goal!”

“ShadowSeraphimon…before we begin, I have a question for you,” I said, talking slowly. “A little while ago…did you pay a visit to a man named Geitz Felgrande?”

“Geitz…? Oh, why, yes, I did, in fact!” ShadowSeraphimon cackled. “The poor bastard was trying to cause a schism within your guild, wasn’t he? And I gave him my powers of darkness to become Duskmon in hopes that he would succeed! But, it turned out to be a waste; in the end, he was killed by Aquarimon. But, at least it wasn’t a complete waste of my time!”

“…What do you mean?” I asked.

“Oh, don’t be so coy, blue Sovereign. I know what you and that old man are planning; you needed Geitz to counter a much greater darkness!” ShadowSeraphimon exclaimed. “But, even if he were to somehow miraculously be brought back from the Dark Area, my darkness has corrupted him far too much to be saved!”

…What a fool. I shouldn’t even bother correcting him…and I should keep it a secret from the others now, anyway. And if anyone can drive the evil from Geitz’s heart, it’s Baez…

“Now, enough talk! Come…and FIGHT ME!”

“As you wish! Phoenix Fire!”

“Shadow Shockwave!” ShadowSeraphimon held out his arm, protecting himself from Zhuqiaomon’s flames with a strong, magical barrier. The Fallen Angel flicked his wrist, and the barrier moved forward and struck the massive Sovereign, forcing him back into the air. “Strike of the Seven Dark Stars!”

“Blazing Helix!” The attacks of the two immensely powerful Digimon collided with a massive explosion of fire and darkness that made the earth beneath us tremble.

“Lunatic Dance!”

“Red Lion Dance!” Crescemon and Flaremon charged forward, but only managed to hit the sides of ShadowSeraphimon’s arms, rather than his body. The Fallen Angel managed to overpower the two Ultimate Digimon, and flung them both to the ground.

“Shadow Excalibur!” ShadowSeraphimon drew two shadowy blades from the armor on his arms, but before he could attack, Flaremon launched a fireball in the shape of a lion’s head, striking the Fallen Angel in the face. “Still have some fight in you, even after fighting your way out of Sakkakumon, I see. Let’s see how long that lasts! Shadow Starburst!” A charge of electricity surged through his shadowy blades, both of which he flung at Crescemon, who only had enough time to look up and flinch as the blades lodged themselves in her upper arms, pinning her to the ground. As her blood began to spill, a look of rage flashed in Flaremon’s eyes.

“RED LION DANCE!” Furiously and erratically, Flaremon began aiming punches at ShadowSeraphimon’s head, but to his dismay and increasing anger, each strike missed. He readied one final punch, but ShadowSeraphimon created another shadow blade and jabbed it into Flaremon’s stomach. The Ultimate roared in pain, and fell to his knees.

“Hey, Flaremon! Stand down! Zhuqiaomon! Go in!” I ordered. “Mia, Zelda, Augustus, ready your Spirit Digimon!”

“N-No!” Flaremon roared.

“Damn it, Flaremon, don’t move around too much! And whatever the hell you do, don’t pull that fucking sword out—!” Flaremon stood back up, and in a single motion, removed the shadow blade from his stomach, and flung it to the ground. “FLAREMON, YOU DUMBASS!”

“Sh-Shut…up!” Flaremon said, staggering towards ShadowSeraphimon on unsteady feet. “I’m doing this…by myself!”

“Listen to your friend, Sovereign Blue,” ShadowSeraphimon said calmly. “If he is so eager to die, then I shall abide by his foolish desires! Strike of the Seven Dark Stars!” Flaremon closed his eyes, bracing himself for the impact of the attack, when a large shield of ice erupted from the ground, taking the brunt of ShadowSeraphimon’s attack. Flaremon opened his eyes, and looked towards Crescemon.

“…Why?” he asked. “Why…did you do that? You shouldn’t waste your energy like that…”

“Why?! You idiot…Why do you THINK I saved your life?!” Crescemon snapped. The blades stuck in her arms became sheathed in ice, and then shattered to pieces, leaving the Ultimate free to move. “You, Flaremon…are a thick-headed, arrogant bastard who thinks he has to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, all on his fucking own! You rush into battles without even thinking about how badly you might get hurt! Like just now; you saw me get hurt, and you…you just rushed in, and you got hurt again, because of me…”

“Crescemon…”

“…But that…that’s also why I love you,” Crescemon said in a small voice. “…You don’t give up on anyone. You would never abandon your friends in the thick of battle…But, you…just don’t care about yourself, at all! And that scares me…It scares me when I think that, one of these days, you’ll get your stupid self killed, and I may never see you…ever again…” Without saying a word, Flaremon walked over to Crescemon, and placed a hand over her shoulder.

“Crescemon…I would never do that to you. From all the time I’ve spent with Mattie and Eleanora, and whenever they speak of their parents, I know how hard it is to lose someone important to you. And I…I won’t ever leave your side, Crescemon,” Flaremon whispered, leaning over to kiss Crescemon on the cheek. At that moment, the two Ultimate Digimon became enveloped in two different colored lights, a bright red-orange for Flaremon and a deep blue-violet for Crescemon. Though different in color, I knew that they were both lights of Digivolution.

…It is time. Our King and Queen are returning…Flaremon and Crescemon both turned to face ShadowSeraphimon, glowing in a much brighter and more powerful light of Digivolution.

“Flaremon Digivolve to, Apollomon!”

“Crescemon Digivolve to, Dianamon!”

…They are here. The true leaders of Lachesis have returned, after so many years…Apollomon and Dianamon looked into each other’s eyes, and nodded. ShadowSeraphimon began backing away from the newly evolved pair, only to back into Zhuqiaomon.

“This is the end for you…ShadowSeraphimon!” the exalted Mega screeched.

“Solblaster!”

“Arrow of Artemis!” With nowhere to run, ShadowSeraphimon simply stood and accepted his fate as the attacks of the two powerful Mega Digimon reached him. Engulfed in fire and ice, ShadowSeraphimon simply vanished.

“…Did that get him?” I asked.

“Yes…ShadowSeraphimon will trouble Lachesis no longer,” Apollomon said. “…Ah!”

“What’s wrong?” Dianamon asked.

“…I just realized…when I became this form, the memories…memories from long ago, waiting to resurface…They’ve come back to me,” Apollomon whispered. “Statuedramon…”

“It’s good to have you back, boss,” I whispered.

“No…I’m back, but I’m no longer your King. That is Flamedramon’s job…At least, for now, it is,” Apollomon said.

“Yes; we are simply members of the guild, like you, Statch,” Dianamon added.

“Like…me…” The words, coming from Dianamon, surprised me, to say the least. She had been one of the most condescending towards me in the old days, but always in a friendly and playful way. Thomas…I hope you’re able to see this right now. This great moment…a great evil has been vanquished by our true leaders…Plus, Dianamon’s no longer a bitch to me. That’s a big plus.
ShadowSeraphimon



“…Ah…that…was close,” I whispered. At the moment when Apollomon and Dianamon’s two attacks hit me, I teleported away, although not as quickly as I would have liked. The tips of my wings began to fade away, although slowly, and my entire body was wracked in pain from their combined powers. I looked up at the dark grey sky of the Black Rose Mountains, and sighed. “I have to get back…to IceDevimon…If I don’t hurry, I…”

“ShadowSeraphimon. Be at ease.” As the new voice spoke, a familiar chill swept through the air, but my heart warmed.

“My lord…IceDevimon…I—”

“Do not fret yourself, ShadowSeraphimon,” IceDevimon whispered, materializing in the sky just a few feet above me. “It is all going according to plan…”

“But…master! Bahira and Sakkakumon have been eliminated! I myself am on the verge of death! How is this going well?!” I asked. IceDevimon grinned. I felt the air around me grow colder and colder. “Master…?”

“ShadowSeraphimon…It is as you said. You are close to death. But still, you are about to perform one final service for your master…”

“How do you…mean? I can’t fight…and what good is a chain who cannot restrict the enemy’s movements, their hopes and their dreams?” I asked.

“My word…So, that’s how you interpreted it?” IceDevimon asked. I said nothing, and stared into the crimson eyes of my master. “I call all of you my ‘chains,’ because that is what you are. You are not chains who restrain the enemy…You are chains that restrain a much greater darkness. With your defeat…that darkness is one step closer to becoming free.”

“Master…?”

“With each of my loyal minions that is destroyed, I am that much closer to achieving my goal. You, ShadowSeraphimon, are the next chain to be severed.” IceDevimon began to lower himself to the ground, as a massive icicle formed in his claw.

“…Master…I…am ready. For you, I would give my life. And I offer it now for the greater good.”

“Thank you, ShadowSeraphimon. You…were a good servant. One of my best…but this needs to be done.” I nodded, and stood up, facing my master one final time. IceDevimon drove the icicle deep into my chest, and pierced my heart. All went dark around me. “ShadowSeraphimon…you now give me your life in a noble act of sacrifice, in the wake of the dark god of time and dimensions. And when he is free…all will be as it should.”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 185 - Desert Rose

Larraine



It has been slightly over a week since the defeat of ShadowSeraphimon, and all was exceptionally well in his absence. Of course, it was of a bigger relief to find out that Sparrow had not actually been killed. I had not been able to stop smiling at him or hugging him for the rest of that day; I could not remember a time that I had been happier, knowing a friend that I thought was dead was really and truly alive. And so, with life returning to normal at Lachesis, our worries finally began to decrease. With more and more time to myself, I had decided to take some time off, and travel to the desert province of Cyprus to the south.

“It’s been so long since I’ve seen daddy…Well, my real one, at least; not that stupid old dragon who left me!” I spat, thinking of Statuedramon. I stopped walking for a moment, and took a deep breath in to relax myself. Can’t be in a bad mood when I find daddy, after all! The warm desert sand was soft and comforting, like silk on my bare feet. My home village, Linnea, was finally in sight. I smiled and, hardly able to contain my excitement, I began running the rest of the way to Linnea Village, reaching it in but a few short minutes that seemed an eternity in the process, but at long last, I was home. Ignoring any passersby, I headed straight towards the restaurant that had also served my father’s home. As I came up to it, I saw the faded, painted letters that read “Meramon’s Diner.” I walked in, and immediately spotted Meramon, my father’s younger brother. When I had been found wandering the desert, the younger brother had been only a Candlemon at the time, but by now, he was as tall and almost as powerful as his older brother.

“Larraine! Larraine, dear girl! How are you?” Meramon smiled, that wide familiar smile that was as warm as the flames covering his body.

“Oh, Uncle Meramon, I’ve missed you!” The Champion Digimon and I embraced, and in spite of his flames, I felt no heat; only warmth, a soft and tender warmth. “How’ve you two been? And where’s daddy?”

“We’re both fine, little one; just fine,” Meramon said. “Skull’s in the back, fixing something up for the two of us. You know him; he’ll probably let you have his entire portion if you give him a piteous glance — sad eyes, pouting lip, you know the one.”

“You mean this?” I made the face exactly as Uncle Meramon described.

“Yeah, that’s the one. Skull never could resist that one…”

“Oh, but I would never just steal daddy’s food like that! Could you imagine just how big I’d get if I did that every single day?” I giggled.

“Ah, but you’ve got the Mark, right? It’s hard for you to find enough food to eat,” Meramon said, speaking in a more subdued voice.

“Yeah, I know; trust me, I’ve tried. But still, I’m just a scrawny little thing, no matter how much I eat; just bony and hungry…”

“Jeez, don’t they feed you over at that mercenary guild?” Meramon asked.

“Of course they do, silly! They’re all so nice to me up there! Didn’t you ever read the letters I sent to daddy?” I asked.

“Well, of course; I miss you as much as he does,” Meramon said. “Still…I’m a bit surprised you decided to join that guild in the first place; you hate seeing people get hurt. I can’t imagine that it’s easy for you…”

“Oh, well, I’m not actually a mercenary myself; I’m a dancer! I just dance at the guild hall, and that ups everyone’s morale! Oh, I just love seeing everyone’s smiling faces while I’m dancing; it makes me so happy…”

“Ah, that explains it. I figured that’s what you’d do, with all those lessons you took in your childhood. Never thought it’d get you in a mercenary guild, though.”

“Well, that doesn’t have much of why I joined the guild in the first place,” I said. “I haven’t even told daddy this story yet, but…”

~~~​

It was dark, and rainy. Obviously, I wasn’t in the desert province anymore — it never rains here, obviously. Let’s see…I think it was Celosia Province? Anyway, it was night, and raining; mist covered the ground. There were a few street lights lighting the area, and I was just skipping down the block, when suddenly, someone reached out and grabbed my arm from behind. I didn’t know this at the time, but the man who grabbed me was a man named Barbossa, the leader of the Thanatos bandits. I knew immediately what he had planned when I saw his face. I screamed, and he forced me to the ground, on my stomach. It was at that moment that a woman passing by — my dear friend, Lucia Delbray, and her partner Digimon Mihiramon — came and tried to stop the man from…well, you know. Then, there was some kind of weird, bright blue light, and suddenly, the bandit Barbossa lay on the ground, with almost half of his body torn off, bleeding. I don’t know what really happened just then, and Lucia says she doesn’t know. Anyway, because those two tried so hard to save my life on that night, I decided that I would have to repay them somehow, so I decided to join them and their mercenary guild and help them with the only skill I had at my disposal — my dancing.

~~~​

“…So, that’s what happened…” The unmistakable, gravelly voice of my father spoke warmly and sadly.

“Daddy!!!” Turning around, I jumped instantly into the arms of my father, SkullMeramon, leaning against the closed door to the restaurant’s kitchen.

“Oh, my little desert rose; why didn’t you tell me something that horrible almost happened to you?” SkullMeramon whispered, placing his large arms around my tiny body.

“Daddy, I didn’t want you to worry about me,” I whispered back. I smiled, feeling myself grow sleepy in his warmth.

“Well…I’m just glad to see you, especially seeing you so happy and safe as you are now, my sweet Larraine…”

“Oh, I just remembered; you once told me about that guild when I was little, right?” I asked. “The mercenary guild Lachesis?” SkullMeramon immediately smiled.

“Ah, now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time. Yes…Not too long before I found you, little one, some mercenaries from that guild saved me and my little brother when he was a Candlemon and I was only a Meramon. A swordsman named Thomas, and a Summoner named Zelda—”

“No WAY! Auntie Zelda saved you?! I don’t believe it!” I exclaimed.

“Ah, then she still remains in the guild?” SkullMeramon asked. “Yes, it was her Spirit, Gallantmon, who saved me and Candlemon from one of Etemon’s attacks.”

“There was another one with them, remember, older brother?” Meramon asked.

“Ah, yes…A Digimon called Statuedramon.”

“…What?!”

“Have you met with him as well, darling? He’s sure to still be at the guild as well,” SkullMeramon asked. My eyes narrowed, and I pulled myself away from his embrace.

“That old bastard…I’ll never forgive him!” I head Meramon gasp; I hardly ever swore, and never insulted anybody, so I could understand his shock.

“…What did he do, darling?” SkullMeramon whispered.

“That monster…He…He’s my REAL father, apparently,” I snapped. “But, he left my mother before he even knew she was pregnant with me. He didn’t even know that she died trying to take care of me, and that I was forced to live in that horrible church with Sephyrus, only to be thrown out to the desert winds. If it weren’t for him…I wouldn’t have ever had to suffer all of that! I won’t ever consider him my real father! That’s you, SkullMeramon! YOU’RE my daddy!”

“Oh, Larraine…”

“…I’m sorry, daddy; I didn’t mean to yell at you,” I said, wiping a few stray tears from my eyes.

“Here, darling; why don’t you have a little something to eat and feel better?” SkullMeramon asked. I nodded silently, and began to smile once again.
Statuedramon



“…Now then, with ShadowSeraphimon out of the way, I have a vague idea of who will be ordered to be deployed next,” Reapermon said. He and I, along with Abigail, Flamedramon, Zelda, and Isole, sat in the archive room of the fortress, surrounded by many books and records that lines the walls. “…His name is Horusmon.”

“Wait, HIM?! He’s come back from the dead, too?!” I asked. “Jeez, first Lucemon, then Daemon said that DeathPhantomon was back, and now Horusmon, too?!”

“Also…someone else,” Zelda whispered. “When we were in Shendu Territory, I saw a bright light…It was from Generalmon.”

“Generalmon?! Are you certain?!” I asked.

“He kidnapped me and held me prisoner in his tower, remember? I’d never forget that damn color. It was Generalmon; I’m certain of it,” Zelda said firmly. “I…I didn’t say anything earlier about him because I felt that he wasn’t a threat at the time. Generalmon is smart; I have no doubt that he knew we were there. And obviously, if he were going to fight against us, he’d have attacked us countless times by now. He’s alive, and he knows where we live, and it’s been over two months since we were last in Shendu. He’s not against us; I know it.”

“…You’re right,” I muttered. “Remember his dying words? He was utterly devoted to one of Luna’s ancestors. It wasn’t until his dying moments that he realized that Luna actually was one of her descendants. But now, he knows…None of Luna’s descendants may be here anymore, but there is no way he’d want to sully her memory any more than he’d want to by fighting against us.”

“But, then…does that mean we can necessarily count on him as an ally?” Flamedramon asked.

“…I believe so. Even when he had sworn loyalty to Lilithmon, I don’t think he was ever truly evil. He was…hurting. Grieving. He didn’t know what else to do to get rid of the pain he felt over losing Celina. But, now that Lilithmon is no more, he wouldn’t have anywhere else to go,” Zelda said. “As I said before, if he were still our enemy, then he’d have attacked us by now. The fact that he hasn’t says to me that he at least regrets his previous actions, and no longer means to stand in our way currently.”

“I agree with Zelda; I could tell how much he cared about that woman back when we killed him in Mandala all those years ago,” I said.

“…Very well, then. I’ll try to refrain from burning him when next I see him,” Flamedramon muttered.

“John, darling, must you be so…edgy all the time?” Abigail asked.

“I can’t help it. He kidnapped Zelda, remember? I can’t forgive him for that,” Flamedramon said in a quiet voice.

“You know I can’t either, but if he truly is an ally, then we must accept him as one,” Abigail whispered to her husband, wrapping her arm around one of his.

“I suppose…”

“I’ve not yet heard the name Generalmon before this conversation,” Reapermon added. “Therefore, I believe there is a good chance that, whoever he may have been in the past, he is not an enemy right now. If he was, then I likely would have known of him before now.”

“That’s a good point,” I mused. “Now, what were you saying about Horusmon?”

“Ah, yes; well, as I said, Horusmon has been reborn. Now, you know his story, do you not?” Reapermon asked.

“Yes; something about being cursed by the gods for abandoning Anubismon,” I replied.

“Yes…well, they aren’t quite ‘Gods’ in the same sense as Goddess Arcadia, mind you, but rather a certain circle of Digimon who live in the desert region. The thing is; Horusmon was reborn, and accepted by them once more.”

“What?! Why would they do a stupid thing like that?!” I exclaimed.

“Well, it is to my understanding that they believe Horusmon to be cleansed of all evil, having been defeated and reborn from a Digi-Egg. But honestly, I have my doubts about that one…”

“I sure don’t blame you,” I spat. “…It was during Horusmon’s last battle that I first became Azulongmon. He mentioned something about me being someone’s servant. At the time, I didn’t know what he meant. But now…” I closed my eyes. Baez…he was talking about you, wasn’t he. My old master…

“Do you think we should go? To the desert?” Flamedramon asked. Reapermon lowered his head and sighed quietly, lost in deep thought.

“…The Digimon of that desert group, formally known as the Royal Order, hold the utmost faith in their reborn ally, much to Anubismon’s rage. If we go, we should obviously make ourselves known to the Order, for they are most definitely an ally to us. If we go unannounced and attack Horusmon, they might see us as an enemy. But, more importantly, we need to decide why we are going, what it is we should accomplish while there, and how long we ought to be gone on this outing,” Reapermon concluded.
Larraine



The sky was a lovely, dark violet rimmed at the horizon with a bright pink tint along its edge. “Ah…now this is the life! Beautiful night sky, cool desert breeze, and all that yummy food in my tummy! I could get used to this!” I raised my arms up above my head and stretched; a small wind wafted by, rustling my dress and sashes. I squeezed the cool, silky sand between my toes, and relaxed, leaning against the front of daddy’s restaurant. Several stars twinkled in the sky, further enhancing its beauty. I smiled as I spotted the constellation of Leomon, the first one that Meramon pointed out to me in my youth. Having then read about Leomon later on, that Digimon inspired courage into me, which was hard to do with all that had happened; it was partially because of the constellation’s legend that I felt that I should join Lachesis.

“…That hair, blue as a midday’s sky…I’d know it anywhere…” I suddenly became alert at the sound of the new voice.

“W-Who’s there?!” I asked, failing to hide any fear I felt at that moment. “I-I’m warning you, my daddy is an Ultimate-level Digimon! If you touch me, he’ll burn you to the ground!”

“Oh, my dear, I’ve not come to bring harm to you. No, those days are long, long gone, my dear…”

“W-Who…are you?” I asked. The voice was slightly familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it.

“And look at you…you’ve grown and matured into such a beautiful woman. Yes, truly you are the treasure of your guild.” A man stepped forward from the shadows. My heart lurched; had there been any room left in my stomach, my heart would have plummeted downwards. That long raven hair, a seemingly-gentle smile, and those dark robes. I clenched my fists, but drew away from him.

“…Sephyrus!”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 186 - The Royal Order

Statuedramon


“…So much to figure out,” I whispered to myself.

“Yes; but, let us just focus on one thing at a time. Why should we go and meet with the Royal Order in the first place?” Reapermon asked.

“Well, to deal with Horusmon, right?” Abigail suggested.

“Yes, but how do you propose we go about doing that?” Reapermon asked. “This ties in with the why, in a sense. We need to figure out what we’re going to do when we get to the desert.”

“We can’t blatantly attack him on sight, as you said,” Zelda said. “Hm…Who’s the leader of the Order?”

“I believe it is a Digimon called GodPhoenixmon,” Reapermon said. “Rumor has it that he was alive when even Arcadia herself was still young.”

“…I…vaguely recall speaking to him once,” I whispered. “My memory’s still a little hazy from those days, but they’re there…He’s a very understanding Digimon, but also very protective of his friends. We’ll have to be careful…”

“So, we go to the desert and find Order, and express our worries about the presence of Horusmon?” Reapermon asked. “I think…it would be best to avoid speaking with Anubismon alone; he’s too wary of Horusmon and almost hostile. It would look suspicious on our part.”

“Agreed; we should seek out this GodPhoenixmon first, if we can,” Flamedramon concluded.

“…Should we talk to Horusmon himself?” I asked. “Maybe not see him alone, but if we went to see him, we could see how he really is; to see if he is redeemed or not.”

“No…I know he is not,” Reapermon said. “I heard from ShadowSeraphimon that Horusmon is still with them…”

“So, why do we not go directly to him and fight him?” Flamedramon asked. “If you have proof, then even GodPhoenixmon would be understanding, correct?”

“…No…He would want obvious proof, not the murmurings of some dead evil Digimon,” I said. “He would need to see Horusmon doing something with his own eyes, or hear it from one of the other members of the Order. That’s the kind of Digimon he is.”

“So then, are we not simply going there to spy on Horusmon, in that case?” Reapermon asked. “That hardly seems an apt reason to visit the Royal Order.”

“Well, if they are our allies, it makes sense that we would have to visit them at some point regardless,” Abigail said.

“You make an excellent point,” Reapermon agreed. “We go to visit them, and voice our concerns about Horusmon while avoiding meeting directly alone with either him or Anubismon. Sound good?”

“Yes; I don’t think the amount of time we spend there is as big of a concern for right now,” Flamedramon said.

“Now…who should go?” I asked.

“I think Larraine is already in the desert; said something to me earlier about wanting some time off,” Flamedramon said. My heart sank. I had a feeling that she was going to see Meramon; she had told me that she viewed him as her father, and not me.

“And you, Statch; you were the only one able to defeat Horusmon, so I think you should go, too,” Flamedramon continued.

“…Oh. Well…I think…you guys can handle this yourself,” I said, avoiding eye contact with everyone in the room.

“You’re not coming with us?” Zelda asked.

“…It’s because Larraine is there,” Abigail whispered.

“I…well, you know what she said; she doesn’t want to have anything to do with me. She…she said she doesn’t think of me as her father. It…hurt…when she said that, but…it’s the truth. She doesn’t want me around her.”

“But, Statch, if it ends up that we have to fight Horusmon, and you aren’t there to fight him…” Reapermon’s voice trailed off.

“Baihumon can do it; he’s a Sovereign too, you know,” I whispered. “Also, Zhuqiaomon. If we can find him—”

“Mihiramon has only become Baihumon once, Statch, and that was only to fight Piedmon, who obviously was weaker than Horusmon,” Flamedramon said.

“Well, what about Zhuqiaomon?” I asked.

“Again, Karatenmon only became him once, and that was only to fight a weaker Digimon,” Flamedramon said. “Besides, we don’t even know where Augustus and those guys went after ShadowSeraphimon died. You’ve got to come with us. I…don’t think I could handle him by myself. I know you could…Sovereign.” I sighed. This was so like Flamedramon, trying to appeal to my sense of duty.

“…Okay. But if Larraine yells at me, I’m putting the blame on you, ‘boss!’” I huffed. And so, it was decided that Zelda, Flamedramon, Abigail, Edmund, Reapermon, Sparrow, Hawkmon, Lucia, Mihiramon, Isole, and I would travel to the desert.
Larraine



“…Sephyrus!”

“Ah, you remember me? Truly, I am flattered,” Sephyrus said, speaking in his usual gentle voice. My heart raced with fear. I was about to call for daddy and Uncle Meramon, but Sephyrus held out a hand to stop me. “Please, my dear, I mean you no harm — although, I do not doubt that you have feelings of anger upon seeing me still alive. But, I do assure you, I am neither willing nor able to harm you any further.”

“You…What…are you…What the hell are you doing here?!” I screamed.

“Ah, an interesting question…You see, I’ve nowhere to go. No place to call home. No reason to be here, there, anywhere…”

“Then, why are you HERE?!” I asked.

“As I told you, my dear…I’ve no place to remain, no place to go. I wander this grand world, and observe all there is to see of our Goddess’s wondrous creation and world,” Sephyrus said calmly.

“Oh, like you care about anything like that!” I snapped. “…Tell me. Why did you throw me out into the desert and leave me to die, huh?! Why…WHY?!” Sephyrus’s smile faded, and turned to a sad frown.

“I was given orders to. Nothing more. My mistress asked for me to empty Cyclamen City of all its inhabitants in search for quintessence. You…know what that is, do you not?”

“A little bit…The…life essence stuff of Humans and Digimon, right?”

“Precisely, my dear. My mistress sought such a substance to lengthen her life. By ridding Cyclamen’s citizens of their lives, I was able to bring their quintessence to my mistress, and she…well, she was eternally grateful to me, naturally.”

“You…you did all that just to extend your own selfish lives?!” I screamed. “You sent me out to the desert…”

“So that I would not have to kill you on my own,” Sephyrus said quietly.

“Th-That…You…”

“Well, I admit that, at the time I made my decision, I didn’t sense much quintessence within you, and I wished to end your…at the time, your annoying screams. But as I grew older, I came to realize why I spared you. It would’ve been easy for the bandit who found you to crush your skull. But, I simply had him toss you into the desert winds. I didn’t want to see a young life die before my eyes.”

“You…Fine, say whatever the hell you want! Don’t ever expect any forgiveness for what you did!”

“Oh, my dear, I would never be as stupid as to expect such a thing. Long have I been awaiting for the Goddess’s judgment to smite me from this earth as I so deserve; obviously, to do so on my own would be a selfish indulgence on my part,” Sephyrus said. “If you would like, my dear…you’ve every right to take my life in retribution for my sins. Would you care to—?”

“NO!!!” I screamed. “…No. I…am not a killer. I am not YOU! I would never take the life of another living thing! I could never…NEVER…do that…”

“Larraine…you are as kind-hearted as you were when we first became acquainted,” Sephyrus whispered softly.

“Well, I wish we’d never met!” I snapped. I turned away from the man and walked away. A bizarre vibration on my wrist stopped me. It was a slim, bracelet-shaped device recently developed by Andromon for long-distance communication for our guild members; Andromon had given it to me just before I left. “…What is it?”

“…raine…Can you…me?” It was Lucia. “Larraine! Can you hear me? Are you there?”

“…Yeah, I’m here. What do you want?” I asked. I could feel Sephyrus looking at me speak to my wrist, but I tried my best to ignore him.

“Are you okay?” Lucia asked. “You sound a little mad…”

“It’s nothing. Now, what do you want?” I asked again.

“A few of us are heading out to Cyprus Desert to a village called Myrta — it’s not too far away from Linnea. We’ll meet you there, okay?”

“…Okay. I’ll be there soon.” I had been to Myrta around three times before — it was a famous desert resort with some of the greatest food I had ever eaten — not that I was all too hungry following the immense meal I gorged myself on.

“Ah, so you are going to Myrta? How wonderful!” Sephyrus exclaimed.

“Who’s that?” Lucia asked. “Is there someone with you, Rainy?”

“No, it’s nobody. Why Myrta?”

“Something about some Royal Order, I think…? I don’t quite recall the name, but I think that was it…”

“Okay; I’ll ask you about it when we get there,” I said. “…Seeya later.”

“Okay, bye!”

“So, you’re visiting the Order?” Sephyrus asked.

“Not that it’s any of your business…but yes, I am.”

“Excellent! I shall accompany you.”

“You will NOT!”

“Ah, but you see, I had plans to speak to their leader, GodPhoenixmon. And you, my dear, are incapable of combat, is this not true?”

“…It…is, but—”

“Then, all the more reason to accompany you. Bandit attacks are common in the desert — likely my own fault — but were you attacked unescorted, it could prove to be disastrous.”

“Oh, yeah, I’d miss out on the chance to have you use me as a Human shield. Fuck off!”

“Larraine…I will be accompanying you, whether you desire my presence or not. And I will speak with GodPhoenixmon of my own volition — again, whether you like it or not. Now, let us proceed.”

“…Ugh! Fine! Let’s get this over with!”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 187 - Missing Ache

Larraine



It had been a short walk — no more than twenty minutes — from Linnea Village to Myrta, and for the most part, it had been a silent one, much to my relief. Sephyrus had said not a word as he followed me through the desert. Had he uttered a single world, I likely would have popped him in the nose, more likely harming myself more than Sephyrus, and having a broken hand is not something I wanted at the moment. I knew he was still behind me, though, and every time I heard him breath, I could feel my rage grow.

However, as I saw the bright colors of Myrta that I had not seen in many years, the multicolored flames of candles, the shimmering golden sands, the pure white stars in the dark violet skies, I felt my angst fade away. Though midnight, many Humans and Digimon, even children, walked the sandy streets with joy on their shining faces. I walked on, aware that Sephyrus was still following me, and found the outdoor bar I had found during my previous visit, roughly thirty years ago.

“…Is there something specific you desire from this place?” Sephyrus asked. Even his voice irked me — that smooth, calm, silky voice, that long flowing raven hair, that perfect smile, and those glittering eyes filled with knowledge and patience, it was then that I realized that he was actually a very lovely man; beautiful and elegant, almost like a woman, but he was still not without a certain manly frame underneath his priest’s robes, his shoulders in particular.

N-No, wait! Damnit, where are these thoughts coming from?! “I need a drink…”

“Well, I’ve plenty of money. Please, drink to your heart’s content, my dear.”

“…Okay.” I was suddenly a little nervous; I’d never had a drop of alcohol before in my life. But, I’d often heard Ulysses say the phrase multiple times whenever he was stressed out, and I knew without a doubt that I was most certainly stressed. The bartender smiled and handed me a large, ornate glass almost half the size of my head, undoubtedly a fancy bauble to please the multitude of tourists. Inside was a bright red liquid that smelled quite fruity, and I immediately felt my hunger return at the smell.

“…Is there a problem?” Sephyrus asked. “You…desired a drink, did you not?”

“Yeah, I did!” Without another moment’s hesitation, I lifted the glass and chugged the entire drink.
Statuedramon



Stars began to fade away in the pale lavender sky as the sun inched its way up the eastern horizon. It was odd, but Myrta actually began to fade away with the stars, and the people went to sleep alongside them, for the most part. Still, there was a good number of people out and about, considering the time.

“It’s almost six in the morning; Larraine should’ve gotten here ours ago, even if she stopped to rest,” Flamedramon said. I grunted in acknowledgement to the other Digimon’s words, and said nothing else.

“I told her to wait for us at the motel,” Lucia mused. “Although, I never did get a response from her…”

“Probably because she knows I’m coming,” I whispered. “Probably hiding, no doubt…”

“Well, Statch, if it’s any consolation, she’ll probably be too pissed off at you to say anything,” Mihiramon suggested.

“Mihiramon, shut up!” Lucia hissed.

“Hey, I’m just givin’ the facts; you told me what she said to him. Sounds like she won’t want to say another word to her old man,” the lumbering Ultimate said casually.

“Well, in some ways, that does make me feel better, I guess,” I said quietly. “Just…forget about it, okay? Whatever happens, happens. Nothing more, and nothing less…”

“Oh, I think it’s a lot more than less,” Abigail said, trying but failing to conceal her laughter as she looked over at an outdoor bar. “Oh, Statch, looks like your little girl found herself a gentleman caller!” I groaned. I looked up, and saw the others walking over to the bar, muttering amongst themselves; all but Zelda and Reapermon, that is.

“…Goddess, has that girl been drinking?!” Flamedramon asked. “Looks like she’s about to fall off her stool laughing…”

“No way! I’ve never seen her drink a drop of alcohol from the time I’ve known her!” Lucia laughed.

“Ooh, this ought to be good,” Mihiramon said.

“Wonder how this’ll affect her dancing?” Sparrow mused. “A drunken dancer; should be a hell of a show…”

“Doesn’t look like she’ll be able to stand longer than two damn seconds; that hangover’s going to be hell for her,” Isole said, hardly trying to conceal one of his rare grins. I looked down and clenched my fists.

“…It shouldn’t have to be this way,” Zelda whispered, speaking out loud the words I had often thought. “I…can understand her dislike of you, if I may be honest. I was in her place with Dominimon, remember?”

“…Yeah. How…did you ever bring yourself to forgive him?” I asked. “You…probably had it worse than she did. She was abandoned by Sephyrus and left to die, but it seemed like she had a pretty good life when Meramon found her…”

“To be honest…I’m not really sure how I was able to forgive Dominimon. I mean…I was never truly angry with him in the first place. I guess…Larraine, in her own eyes, has a father figure in Meramon, so apart from you leaving her in the first place, she may also see you as trying to take Meramon’s position as her father, biological or not. As for me…I never had that kind of person in my life. The closest I ever had was probably Apollomon, but he was more of a boss, you know…? I…I’ve never had a father figure before. Dominimon never had to steal anybody’s position.”

“So…because of Meramon, she still hates me?”

“Well, I’m sure there’s more to it than that, Statch,” Reapermon said. “…Zelda and I both want to help you, but I—”

“No. This isn’t a situation that wants to be helped. So…let’s just leave it at that,” I said firmly.

“And let me give you my first bit of advice. You saying things like that…it’s just another way of you walking away from her,” Reapermon said. “Statuedramon, listen to me; don’t do this to her again. Don’t leave her. It may take a while — maybe even a hundred years. But you can make this work. You can, and you will. You obviously have the time, and I know you have the…charisma to win her over. Just give it time, Statch…”

“…Thank you.” And then, Abigail’s voice yelled the four words that stole away my newfound joy.

“SEPHYRUS?! What the hell are you doing here?!”
 

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Chapter 188 - Dual Sympathy

Abigail Luxord



“…I never thought that you were still alive, after all this time,” I whispered. I had conflicting feelings about seeing Sephyrus again; the last time I saw him, we were allies, regardless of the fact that I had abandoned him and the other Bio Hybrids soon after. He was an easy man to talk to, though I always worried how he would react when he found out that I had sided with Lachesis. He knew of my Mark, and he didn’t treat me any differently, which was rare for me at that time in my life.

“Abigail…I’m happy to see you have been accepted by them,” Sephyrus whispered calmly. A nearly unconscious Larraine had her arm slumped around his shoulder, helping her to stand up. Larraine, meanwhile, had a drunken, silly grin plastered on her blushed face. “They are a truly wonderful guild; I’m glad you’ve found a place where you can be happy, my dear…”

“Y-You knew?” I asked.

“I had a feeling; and then I saw you with Flamedramon, which confirmed my suspicions. Not to mention the ring on your finger.” Sephyrus smiled and, looking over at Edmund, added, “I’m sure your son loves you deeply, my dear.”

“How do you know he’s our son?” Flamedramon asked. “…Am I going to have to burn your ass again?”

“He was always good at figuring these things out back when we worked for Lilithmon. It’s like he’s like a mind-reader,” I said.

“Would that I were, my dear; I am simply skilled at reading people,” Sephyrus said gently. “And…I can see the kindness of Abigail’s eyes within the eyes of their progeny.”

“…I must say, of the stories I’ve heard of you…You aren’t entirely what I expected, Sephyrus,” Edmund said.

“Few things in life rarely are what we expect of them,” Sephyrus explained.

“So, um…what are you doing here, Sephyrus?” I asked. “And, why…is Larraine with you…?”

“Don’t worry; if we have to fight, I’ve got you all covered!” Isole snapped.

“Oh, you needn’t worry about my intentions, my dear. I simply ran into her in Linnea,” Sephyrus said, readjusting Larraine’s weight around his neck.

“Yeshh…he…he’shh…he’shh here wif me now cuzh of banditsh,” Larraine said in a slurred voice.

“What bandits?!” I asked.

“Oh, it was simply a concern of mine; I feared it as a possibility for a lone woman wandering alone in a place like Cyprus Desert to be attacked by desert brigands,” Sephyrus said. “That is why I have decided to accompany her, for the time being.”

“Yes…ever since the death of Barbossa, their numbers seem to have scattered all across Arcadia,” Flamedramon mused.

“But…why is she drunk?” Sparrow asked.

“She…well, she said to me that she was feeling stressed — due to my presence, of course — so, she desired a drink. I…can only assume she has never had an alcoholic beverage before in her life; she’s only had a single glass.”

“I’ve never seen her drink, no,” Lucia replied, taking Larraine from around Sephyrus’s shoulders. “Larraine? Are you okay, dear?”

“Ohh, yeah, I’m…hic…I’m gooood,” Larraine said, giving the taller woman a smile. “Oh, yeah…Shephyrush ish shtill a…a…shtill a butthole…but I…I’m good. Yeah…”

“Sephyrus…I was told that Thomas defeated you 500 years ago,” I said. “How did you survive that battle?”

“It was thanks to the quintessence I had gathered alongside Lilithmon,” Sephyrus continued. “I never would have imagined, though, that a simple Human would be enough to destroy my Bio Hybrid form.”

“You can’t transform anymore? Guess you aren’t a threat after all,” Flamedramon said.

“Quite so; Thomas destroyed Premenitmon on that day, and I myself am untrained in true combat. At least, not fully. I know enough to have been able to protect Larraine from any bandit attack, but beyond that, I fear I’d have been quite useless to her.”

“You’d claim to protect her…after abandoning her in the desert?” I turned around; it was Statuedramon who spoke.

“…It has been a while…Statuedramon,” Sephyrus whispered. “You…are her father, no…?”

“Yeah…only found out about it just recently. But, I abandoned her, too…and that’s why she hates me.”

“…Your guild came here to speak with the Order, did it not?” Sephyrus asked.

Why change the subject? I thought. Guess he really isn’t a bad person after all. “Yeah…you guys can go on ahead; I have a few things I wanted to talk to Sephyrus about,” I said.

“…I understand, my dear.”

“Are you sure about this?” Flamedramon whispered.

“Yes…I…for right now, I trust Sephyrus. He can no longer transform, and I can. Even if he is still our enemy, I’ll be safe,” I said.

“…Fine,” Flamedramon spat in a reluctant voice. “I know better than to argue with you when you’ve made up your mind.”

“I swear on my life, Sir Flamedramon, that no harm shall come to Lady Abigail.”

“…She’s stronger than that,” Flamedramon said, turning his back to the two of us.

“This village lies on the border of the desert close to Cyprus Wasteland; quite literally, actually. It is in the wasteland part of this village that you will find the Royal Order,” Sephyrus said.

“…Okay. Got it. Um…thanks, I guess,” Flamedramon whispered. I glanced over my shoulder, and watched Flamedramon, Edmund, Lucia, Mihiramon, Sparrow, Hawkmon, Isole, Zelda, Reapermon, Larraine, and Statuedramon walk into the distance, toward the edge of the Cyprus Desert. I turned back to Sephyrus, and looked into his deep black eyes.

“…Well? What is it that you wish to know, my dear?” Sephyrus asked.

“It…it’s about quintessence, actually,” I said. “What…is it, exactly? I was never sent to find any — not directly, at least. What is it?

“In every living person there is an energy called quintessence. It is a person’s spiritual energy, or life force. The stronger the person, the more quintessence. Lilithmon needed the quintessence to create the Bio Hybrids I told her about. Eventually, she found a way to transfer the energy from a living being into her own body. To do this, a person had to be murdered. Lilithmon then sought to gather quintessence. Her first few Bio Hybrids were failures. However, by experimenting on me, she gained a great knowledge of Human anatomy. Her Bio Hybrids became nearly invincible, indestructible. However, she only created them to help her gather more of it for herself…so she could achieve immortality.”

“But if all of this happened over one-thousand years ago, then how are you still alive? You are no longer a Bio Hybrid, and you haven’t got the Mark…”

“As I said, I allowed Lilithmon to experiment on me. She placed the blood of a Digimon in me. Time is nothing to me now.”

“Don’t you…age?”

“Oh, I do age…just very slowly. I am cursed to walk Arcadia for centuries yet.”

“…I see.”

“Oh, my dear, you needn’t be so sad on my behalf. I have sinned…and this is my punishment.”

“But…how could I not feel sorry for you?! You…”

“Abigail…you are a very kind woman. But, your kindness is wasted on me. I do not deserve it, and you know it.”

“B-But…that…that’s all in the past! Sure, you’ve done some bad things, but you aren’t a bad person! I know you aren’t!”

“…How do you know for sure?” Sephyrus asked.

“Because…Flamedramon told me what he thought were your final words. You had failed Lilithmon…You loved her. And you cried…because you couldn’t be with her anymore…”

“…Abigail…”

“Please, Sephyrus…don’t keep beating yourself up like this! You’re good, I know it!” I said firmly. “…As the wife of the current master of Lachesis…I hereby invite you to join our guild, Lachesis.”

“…W-What…?” For one of the few times in my life, I saw the serene calm on Sephyrus’s face vanish; in its place was utter bewilderment.

“Sephyrus…will you join Lachesis?” I held out my hand to Sephyrus, and looked deep into his eyes.

“You…are serious…”

“What’ll it be?” I asked, speaking as gently as I could. “Will you continue to wallow in self-pity, or will you walk forward and attempt to redeem yourself of the sins you committed? The decision is yours.”
 

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Chapter 189 - Sealed Memories

Lucia Delbray



“…I’ve never been so far south in the desert before,” I whispered. The sky was a deep, fiery orange — Zelda once told me it was this way all day, every day, because of the position of this continent in the world. The soil, the rocks and mountains, all were a dark red. It was warm, but not hot like the desert, and actually rather cool at this time of day. Larraine mumbled something unintelligible in her sleep from atop Mihiramon’s back and tried to turn on her side unsuccessfully.

“Last we were here…Let’s see, we were looking for the Stone Horcrux, weren’t we?” Zelda asked, looking down at Statuedramon.

“Yeah, the one with Myotismon’s soul in it,” Statch nodded. “And that’s where you found that Gigasmon Talisman. That dude helped us a lot during our battles…” The small Rookie came to a sudden stop; his hands reached up and clasped his forehead. “Argh, damnit…He said this would happen…”

“Statch, what’s wrong?! Are you okay?!” Zelda exclaimed, kneeling next to the Digimon.

“Yeah…just a sealed memory…trying to resurface,” Statuedramon grunted. “Don’t know why he had to make this so damn painful…”

Who is ‘he?’ What’s going on? His memories were sealed? By who?! I thought. Who…would do that to him? To a Sovereign? Who COULD do that…?

“…Okay…I’ve been here before. About a thousand years ago, I came here to visit the Order for…something; can’t remember,” Statuedramon said. “And…see that mountain over there? That’s their home.” Statch pointed out at a mountain peak, one much larger than the others that seemed to pierce through the sky like a blade, and up to the very heavens.

“Indeed; I’m glad you haven’t forgotten us after so many years, Blue Sovereign.” It was a gentleman who spoke, I could tell from the sound of his voice. A tall, winged Digimon, an Angel perhaps, landed before us. A black-and-white helmet covered most of his face, showing only a kind smile and a short white beard. Unlike an Angel Digimon, his wings were adorned with rich brown feathers, and he had tanned, darkened skin of a similar shade. Most curiously, despite his mostly humanoid appearance his legs were the most different, instead resembling bird’s legs, though much longer and proportionate to the rest of his body, of course.

“Don’t get too ahead of yourself; my memories were sealed by…somebody. Just remembering your name was a major pain…Gehbmon of the Fertile Land,” Statuedramon said, smiling up at the tall Digimon, who knelt down before the Rookie. “Ah, c’mon, don’t bow, dude; I’m not used to all this pomp and circumstance, you know…”

“I apologize, Sovereign, but it would be unseemly to not do so to a Digimon of your station,” Gehbmon said.

“I know, I know…At least your wife listens to me,” Statch muttered.

“Yes, she’s always been such a caring soul; never wanted to make you feel uncomfortable,” Gehbmon sighed. “And, my lord…I know not if you’ve been made aware, but Horusmon…”

“He’s been reborn; we know,” Flamedramon said. “…That’s why we’re here.”

“Yes…I know your guild has fought against him in the past, but you must believe me that he is no longer evil,” Gehbmon said.

“We appreciate the trust you all hold in your comrades, Gehbmon, but we just wanted to make sure,” I said.

“I understand. You all are welcome to say with us for as long as you desire. I will do you a favor and not tell your reasoning to GodPhoenixmon as well.”

“Thank you, Gehbmon. I have no doubt that he would attack us if he knew why we were here,” Statch said, shaking his head.

“Yes…even the Sovereigns are not safe from the fires of GodPhoenixmon’s wrath,” Gehbmon said gravely.
Larraine



My head throbbed painfully; I opened my eyes but immediately shut them, having been burned by a few distant lights. I tried to sit up, but my belly was swollen with pain and stormed relentlessly with nausea, so I ceased. An immense dizziness followed soon after, when a cool, soft hand covered my forehead.

“Are you okay, darling one…?” I heard a gentle voice ask. I expected her voice, any sound at all, to hurt my head further, but surprisingly, it did not. The cool hand was of an especially great relief, and helped greatly against the pain in my head. I reached up to feel it, and wrapped my fingers around the thumb. It was truly a wonderful sensation amidst the pain I felt, that tears began to well in my eyes. “Oh, you poor little thing; she had told me you had never drank before. The pain must be wretched…”

“…Wh-Where…am I…?” I asked groggily, speaking carefully so as not to further upset my stomach. “…M…Mother…?”

“No, sweetie; my name is Tefnimon. I’m one of the Royal Order, and embodiment of the oceans.”

That’s right…Lucia told me to meet with her in Myrta. That’s about when…right…THAT man was there with me; he must’ve poisoned me…I knew I couldn’t trust that bastard!

“My son, Gehbmon, brought you here with the rest of your friends, and Lucia notified me that you may have drank a little too much the night before,” Tefnimon continued on in her lovely voice. I finally mustered the ability to part my eyes, and saw that the voice belonged to an equally lovely Digimon; Tefnimon had long blue hair, with fins growing where her ears would be, and a long flowing tail, giving her the appearance of a mermaid. Two aqua-green sashes wrapped around her body and covered her otherwise bare chest.

…Oh yeah…guess he didn’t poison me, then…

“Here, why don’t you have something to drink, darling one?” Tefnimon held out a glass of water, but I shook my head.

“N-No…Won’t be able to keep it down…”

“Don’t worry, darling one; this water is made from my Ocean of Blessings attack; you’ll feel much better after drinking it.”

Okay, might as well; it’s not like I could possibly feel any worse…and I am pretty thirsty. With Tefnimon’s aid, I sat up and took a small sip; the water was cool, like ice, and instantly soothed my headache and eased the pain in my belly. I sat up further, and finished the drink. “…Whew. Thanks, Tefnimon…”

“I’m pleased to have been of help to you, darling one. Now then…your friend Lucia told me why you chose to consume such a large amount of alcohol…do you wish to talk about?” Tefnimon asked.

“Why…? Oh, right…Sephyrus. That man…”

“Yes, I’m familiar with his name; Horusmon has mentioned him once or twice as an ally of Lilithmon. What about him?”

“…I don’t want to talk about it,” I said coldly. “Just thinking about that man…Just thinking about what he did to me, even after all these years, makes me sick to my stomach.”

“I understand your distaste for him,” Tefnimon whispered. “But, darling one, you must understand; he is powerless to hurt you or any other. He is with your other friends from the guild at the moment, and he no longer can turn to his Bio Hybrid form, from what they have told me. There’s nothing to be worried about…”

“I know; and I’m not worried about him, or the situation. I’m pissed about it, but I’m not worried.”

“Well…that’s good, I suppose,” Tefnimon said, sounding uncertain about her words.

“…Thank you for taking care of my, Miss Tefnimon,” I said. “I already feel a lot better. Is there anything I could do to thank you?”

“Oh, just get plenty of rest, and get better. That’s all any of us want from you, darling one,” Tefnimon whispered gently, quite obviously pleased that I had changed the subject. “And when you feel up to it, you can meet the rest of the Royal Order. I’m quite certain that you’d get along with Persiamon in particular; she’s a dancer like you, darling one.”

“Oh, yes…I can’t wait…to meet her,” I whispered, laying back down in Tefnimon’s soft bed before becoming overcome by the clutches of sleep.
 

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Chapter 190 - Demigods

Abigail Luxord



“Sephyrus…will you join Lachesis?” I held out my hand to Sephyrus, and looked deep into his eyes.

“You…are serious…”

“What’ll it be?” I asked, speaking as gently as I could. “Will you join us?”

“…Abigail…you…have no idea how much this truly means to me,” Sephyrus whispered; he had lowered his head, obscuring his wisdom-rich black eyes within the shadow cast by the rays of the sun, and yet I could see tears streaming down the sides of his pale face. “Abigail…I…do wish to join your guild…however…”

I sighed. “There’s always a however; I guess I shouldn’t be surprised,” I said quietly. “You don’t want to upset Larraine; that’s it, isn’t it?”

“Yes…Honestly, with her in mind, I’m surprised you even asked me to join,” Sephyrus said.

“But, how could I not? You looked so sad…I didn’t just want to leave you all alone…”

“Oh, Abigail…even after 500 years, you haven’t changed in the slightest,” Sephyrus sighed. “Still trying to be everybody’s mother…”

“I can’t help it; I see someone vulnerable, and I just want to take them in and protect them,” I said. “Just like with Irene…”

“…Irene…Abigail, you don’t want someone like me around,” Sephyrus said firmly. “I was there when she died. I…held her down so Lilithmon—”

“So that Lilithmon could claim her body; the witch Luna told me,” I interrupted. “Apollomon saw her body. He buried her alone, but he revealed what he saw only to Luna, in case…likely some hope that she might be able to revive her with her magic, or something. But Sephyrus, I’m not mad at you for that…at least, not anymore. It was centuries ago, Sephy…”

“…You really are everybody’s mother,” Sephyrus said, laughing lightly to himself. “And thanks to your mixed blood, you are old enough to be so; but I am among the few left alive who is older than you, my dear.”

“Say whatever you want; I’m not going to stop caring about you,” I said. “But…I understand why you don’t want to join. And I won’t force you…”

“…Thank you, Abigail,” Sephyrus whispered. “I…will aid you wherever I can. But I just cannot join your guild. My hands are too stained with the blood of the innocent to be worthy…”

“Sephyrus…you know, Flamedramon and I once thought the same thing about ourselves. Honestly, I think that combined, Flamie and I have killed more than you have. But, we were never shunned when we finally joined. Apollomon, Dianamon, Zelda, Thomas…they all treated us as equals. They never tried to bring us to justice, or anything like that…”

“And, what about Statuedramon?” Sephyrus asked.

“Right…well, he didn’t really mind me joining; I think it was when I undid the top button of my shirt that he really stopped complaining about me,” I laughed. “Flamedramon didn’t exactly have that advantage, you see; it did take a while for Statch to warm up to him…”

“I can only imagine…He’s quite the stubborn one.”

“…Well, that’s enough about that. Let’s get back to the others, shall we?” I asked.

“The word ‘let’s’ implies that I would be accompanying you to these ‘others.’ Are you certain that this is the wisest course of action?” Sephyrus asked in a calm, steady voice.

“Oh, don’t worry about it; I’ll vouch for you.”
Zelda Kasuto



You brought him with you?!” Statuedramon exploded. “Abigail, have you gone insane?!”

“He’s not a stray puppy for you to adopt!” Flamedramon added. “He’s probably the second most evil person we’ve ever fought! Maybe even more so than Lilithmon was!”

Huh…I don’t think I’ve ever heard those two agree on something, I thought, suppressing a small laugh.

“C’mon; he doesn’t even want to join our guild!” Abigail complained. “Well, that’s mostly because of Larraine, I guess, so if she ever stops hating him, I guess he’ll join us.”

“I find this to be doubtful, if I may speak bluntly, but still ever a possibility,” Sephyrus said.

“Like hell you’re joining our guild!” Statch snapped.

“…I’m feeling a bit out of place here,” Sparrow whispered into my ear.

“Join the club,” Hawkmon said. “Who is this Sephyrus chap?”

“I’ll tell you more a bit later,” I whispered back. “Put simply, he was one of our enemies.” Hawkmon and Sparrow both nodded understandingly.

“Hmph; in that case, I’m with Statch and Flamedramon,” Lucia grunted. “No way a former enemy will ever join us!”

“…Um, Lucia? Abigail and Flamedramon are also former enemies of our guild,” I said. “Not to mention Andromon, Tactimon, Lupinemon…”

“Okay, I get it! But, this man…he hurt Larraine. He purposely put her in a situation where she could have died. I can’t forgive that,” Lucia whispered.

“None of us can,” Mihiramon said during a huge yawn. “But, if the leader gives the all-clear for Sephyrus to join, we’ll just have to deal with the situation. That’s life, isn’t it?” Lucia sighed.

“Life…is nothing more than a series of unscripted events that we, the actors on this uneven stage, do nothing more than ad-lib through our misfortune by wishing our pain away, praising the Goddess for sparing our own families while our neighbors lay dying around us in pools of their own blood spilt by their own stupidity and incompetence, if not by people they have never met,” Edmund said.

“…That was well-spoken, young man.” I turned around, and noticed that Gehbmon had landed behind us. “But, you should not speak so ill-mannered of our Goddess. She created us all, and cares for all her children dearly.”

“Except for those of us with the Mark,” I muttered. Gehbmon turned his head to me, but did not seem angry.

“…You…are from the desert region…are you not?” Gehbmon asked me in an even voice.

“I am. I was born there, and spent the first part of my life there,” I replied. “Because of my Mark, I stopped showing signs of aging when I turned 18, or so. The people of the desert…they all treated me with such hatred and scorn, because of my blood. They claimed their hatred was the Goddess’s will, or some such nonsense.”

“I see…I know not how such a decree was made, but it has been the belief of the desert peoples for many centuries,” Gehbmon said. “But, you must know this; the Goddess has never spoken ill of those with your blood. Though you were not created directly by her as Humans and Digimon were, she cares about you all the same. We of the Royal Order have worked for years on end to correct this lie, but it has been so deeply ingrained into their mindset that they refuse to believe otherwise.”

“…The Goddess…doesn’t hate us?” I whispered. Gehbmon shook his head.

“No, my dear. I remember clearly her saying how she desired to see the child of a union between Human and Digimon. That was about 1,000 years ago, when she first went to sleep, but I know that she would rejoice upon seeing you, Zelda, and you as well, Edmund.”

“Unbelievable…To think that all this time…I had always assumed I was just…a mistake,” I said.

“Mr. Gehbmon…I’ve a question. You speak of the Goddess as though you know her on a personal level,” Edmund said. “…Have you truly met her? Has the Goddess ever set foot on this land she created?”

“Indeed; all of us of the Order have spoken with Goddess Arcadia,” a new voice answered. It was a female Digimon who spoke, and now descended from the sky before us. Much like Gehbmon, she had wings and had an angelic appearance, though her left wing was black like a raven, while the other was the purest white I had ever seen. Her long, silver hair flowed all the way down to her knees, while two large strands covered her breasts, leaving the rest of her body uncovered. “Well…I suppose it would be remiss of me to make such a claim; Anubismon and Horusmon had not yet been born at that time, nor were the children of Isis and Bishumon, I believe.”

“You are correct,” Gehbmon nodded. “Everyone, this is my wife, Neuthmon; embodiment of the night sky.” Neuthmon bowed to us modestly, smiling kindly and gently.

“Embodiment…? Are you of the Order all Gods as well?” Edmund asked.

“Demigods, really,” Neuthmon said. “We don’t have the power to create as Arcadia does, and we’re mortal like any other Digimon, though we are a bit stronger than others of our particular species and level. But, we would never outright claim ourselves to be creators, my dear.”

“…What is Horusmon the embodiment of?” I asked suddenly, without even thinking about what I was saying.

“Horusmon…his jurisdiction was warfare,” Neuthmon said calmly. “He’s why you’re all here, correct? You’re worried about our decision to readmit him into our group.”

“Yes, we are; I had heard of your decision from a Tsukaimon back when I pretended to work for IceDevimon,” Reapermon said.

“…If GodPhoenixmon finds out the real reason you’re here, he’ll become unfathomably enraged,” Neuthmon whispered. “He won’t ever forgive you — not even a Sovereign — for accusing one of his friends of treason, no matter their past.”

“I’m aware of that, Neuthmon,” Statuedramon replied. “But, if he is…Well, we can’t just take that risk. Our guild was founded in order to protect this continent and the innocent people who live here, and if that means we have to face the wrath of a Digimon as powerful as a Sovereign, then so be it. I’m not going to let one arrogant Digimon stop me from doing my job.”

“…Very well-spoken, Sovereign Blue,” Gehbmon smiled. “I do hope you know that, with GodPhoenixmon in mind, we truly hope nothing like that ever has to happen. We don’t wish to betray our leader, but we also have no wish to fight against Lachesis. That…would make us no better than IceDevimon, in my eyes.”

“And, where is Horusmon right now?” I asked.

“He’s over in Myrta right now, running a few errands for his mother, Nefertimon. He should be back in about half an hour,” Neuthmon said. “In the meantime, why don’t we introduce you to the rest of the Royal Order?”

“Ah, yes; it’s been a while since I’ve seen those guys,” Statch said. “It’ll be nice to see them all again…”
 

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Chapter 191 - Hunter Goddess

Zelda Kasuto



Gehbmon and Neuthmon lead us around their large home in the face of their mountain, a warm and reasonably well-lit cavern that had a temple-like structure, with dancing red flames contained within golden torches all around the room. Soft violet tapestries hung from each of the golden-stone walls. An opening in the ceiling exposed the orange sky, directly above a modestly decorated gold altar roughly the same height as Statuedramon.

“It’s like the stage Larraine dances on back home,” Sparrow whispered.

“You mean that blue-haired darling you brought with you?” Neuthmon asked.

“Yes; I do hope she’s feeling better,” Lucia said.

“Don’t worry; with Tefnimon’s help, she’ll be better in no time. And when that time comes, we can introduce her to our own dancer, Persiamon,” Gehbmon said.

“I don’t think that’ll be happening anytime soon, Uncle Gehb.” The voice, a female, sounded somewhat annoyed, but also quite calm. A tail flicked around one of the torches that lined the altar.

“How long have you been here, Neithmon?” Gehbmon asked in a warm voice.

“…Long enough to see your oh-so precious Persiamon slack off her combat exercises and take her tenth nap of the day,” Neithmon replied through clenched teeth. She was a cat-like Digimon, that much I could tell; her hair was a flaming red, more so than the flames that lit the room, and in clawed hands she held a bow, which she was currently adjusting the bowstring of.

“Oh…well, yes, your sister, she does lead a tiring life,” Neuthmon said gently. “You understand, don’t you, dear?”

“Yeah, yeah, I got it; all like her more than me. You know, even though all she does is ignore you and flail her arms about like a lunatic. But, why wouldn’t you like her more? She’s SO much prettier than me. And you all LET her slack off and sleep all day long! So, yes, Neuthmon, I understand JUST how truly easy she has it here, so don’t patronize me and pretend that you care about my feelings, because all of you have made it clear since I was a child…that you don’t.”

…No way…these kinds of things have been happening in the Royal Order? That’s so sad…

“Neithmon…you say these kinds of things every day, but do you really believe your words?” Gehbmon asked. Neithmon rolled her scarlet eyes, and slinked down from the altar, purposely avoiding looking either Gehbmon or Neuthmon in the eyes.

…I can’t let myself forget Reapermon’s words as we first set out. He believed that it was only a possibility that Horusmon may not be evil…and if Horusmon isn’t, then someone else here is, like at the Tower of Progression…He said to look for signs of hostility… We’ll have to watch Neithmon closely. I glanced over at Reapermon, who gave me a small and barely noticeable nod.

“Well…I guess I don’t fully believe it…But sometimes, the way you all dote on Persiamon makes me feel like you don’t care about me,” Neithmon said.

“…I think we came at a bad time,” Sparrow whispered to me.

“It does seem a mite awkward,” Edmund added. “Ought we leave and return at a different time?”

“No, this isn’t abnormal behavior; at least for Neithmon,” Gehbmon replied. “As you see before you, she’s fierce and feisty…but peerlessly kind, loving, and loyal to our group. She may say that she feels that way at times, but we all know it isn’t true; even Neithmon doesn’t really believe it. All of us care deeply about her, and I know this love is most certainly reciprocated.”

“Is that so…”

“…I apologize for my outburst, honored guests of Lachesis,” Neithmon said with a sigh. “I simply woke up having a particularly bad day; although I know this hardly constitutes as an apology, I wish to offer you my share of all the things I bagged today.”

“All the…what?” Hawkmon blinked.

“Oh, yes, Neithmon is an exceptional huntress,” Gehbmon interjected. “None of us can even come close to matching her skill with a bow. If not for her, we likely would have all starved to death ages ago.”

“C’mon…don’t flatter me like that,” Neithmon whispered. Her voice was much softer, as were her sharp eyes, and there was a gentle scarlet flushing on her cheeks. “Got some Bullmon, some Boarmon…bagged an Akatorimon a while back, a real big one…All kinds of meat, really. Whaddya want? It ain’t poisoned or nothing.”

“Maybe later, dear; we’re here on official business,” Abigail said.

“Right…here to check out Horusmon, aren’t you? Should’ve guessed if yer all the way out here. Hate to break it to you, though, but old hawk-head won’t be back for a while now. Some urgent business, or whatever…”

“Yes, we were told it might take a while; we don’t mind staying here for as long as it takes,” Reapermon said.

“Well, just so long as you don’t let GodPhoenixmon in on why you’re really here, you should be fine,” Neithmon whispered.

Hm…maybe we don’t need to watch her after all…But, then again, Reapermon would probably have us keep an eye on Tefnimon, of all Digimon. He’s so suspicious; I guess working for IceDevimon, even undercover as he was, would do that to you…

“…Mm…what’s with all the noise…?” A soft and gentle voice spoke up, following a deep yawn. “Isn’t Neithmon back with dinner yet? I’m so hungry…”

“I’m sitting right next to you, ya dork!” Neithmon snapped. From atop the altar, another Digimon sat up next to Neithmon. “Persiamon, would it kill you to be more aware of your surroundings?”

“Aw, but sis, I just woke up,” Persiamon yawned. Her long hair draped itself over her tiny shoulders and glinted in the light of the nearby torches, and was a dark, silky black to contrast with the regular reddish-brown of the species.

“Meeee-YOW! Does kitty want her tummy rubbed?” Sparrow asked in what he liked to refer to as his “seductive voice.”

“SPARROW!” Lucia reached over and slapped the axeman on the back of his head.

“Sure, that sounds nice,” Persiamon said, smiling while beginning to purr.

“PERSIAMON!” Neithmon reached over and slapped her sister on the back of her head.

“What’s wrong? I like having my tummy rubbed,” Persiamon pouted.

“Persiamon, you are a member of the Royal Order! The LEAST you could do is act like it once in a while!” Neithmon hissed. “This means no more acting like a little kitten and asking total strangers for belly rubs! You’re the older sibling, after all; it’s time you started acting like it.”

“Okay…I’ll try…but does this mean you won’t let me have milk saucers anymore? I really like those…”

“…Just take a little responsibility; take pride in your job as one of the Royal Order, okay?” Neithmon asked in a calmer voice. Once more, I glanced over at Reapermon, and once more, he nodded.

He still wants me to watch her…It’s hard to pin down her personality. One minute, she seems angrier than a Waspmon, and the next, she’s really calm and caring…

“I hate to interrupt this, but there is something I wish to ask of you,” Reapermon said quietly. “…Does the Royal Order safeguard a gemstone of any kind?”
 

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Chapter 192 - Wrath of the Gods

Zelda Kasuto



“I hate to interrupt this, but there is something I wish to ask of you,” Reapermon said quietly. “…Does the Royal Order safeguard a gemstone of any kind?”

“A…gemstone? What do you mean?” Gehbmon asked.

“Just a small jewel, really, more than likely one of a vibrant color,” Reapermon said. “The reason I ask is because several enemies have shown an interest in such things. I’m sure you know of the Tower of Guidance? Just recently…it nearly fell to enemy forces.” Gehbmon and Neuthmon both gasped and looked at each other worriedly.

“You…are certain of this?!” Neuthmon asked.

“You say it with such certainty; were you there when it happened?” Gehbmon asked.

“That we were. One of its guardians was on the enemy’s side, too,” Flamedramon said.

“Unspeakable…The four guardians of the tower were elected by GodPhoenixmon himself! There’s no way one of them could be…evil,” Gehbmon whispered.

“…Was it Amiri?” Neuthmon asked quietly.

“Yes; he and Gryphonmon conspired the defeat of the other guardians, and they murdered Jarod,” I said.

“Oh…they killed Mr. Jarod…?” Persiamon asked in between a few yawns. “Hm…He and Craniamon were both pretty strong, too…”

“But, why…Why would Amiri turn traitor?” Gehbmon asked.

“Well, we weren’t told the details, but he was definitely after a Gemstone that rested atop the Tower of Guidance,” Reapermon said. “And it wasn’t just Amiri; based on what a few others told me, it seems that many of our enemies are after such Gems. Duke Tchang Zu of Shendu planned an invasion of his brother’s city to claim one. A thief named Lira Elric stole a Gem from one of our guild’s members. In another instance, an Ikkakumon and Hookmon stole yet another from our guild’s previous master, Ulysses. I know they’re connected…and I don’t believe that the resurrection of Horusmon is only a coincidence. If you do indeed have such a Gemstone, then I believe that Horusmon might be after it.”

“Nah …we don’t have anything like that here!” a new voice laughed. I looked around for the new speaker, but saw nobody. “You can bet if we did, our Nature Goddess, Nefertimon, would’ve taken it for herself! Nya ha ha!” It wasn’t until I looked down that I saw who the voice belonged to; a Digimon much shorter even than Statuedramon, appearing to be closer in height to Bokomon, just barely up to my knees. An ancient helmet covered his eyes, and in his hands was a battle axe that stood as tall as its wielder. As he spoke and laughed, he left his tongue hanging out, in the center of which was the Mark.

“Father…how long have you been here?” Neithmon asked.

“I’ve been here the whole time! What, you only now noticed me?!” the small Digimon laughed.

What?! Their father?! No way! That little guy?! I stared down at the bizarre Digimon as he juggled his axe around in the air as if he didn’t have a care in the world. And he has the Mark, too; and if they aren’t adopted, then Persiamon and Neithmon have it, too…

“Bishumon is correct,” Gehbmon said, motioning towards the small Digimon. “We of the Order safeguard no such gemstone, or what you will. GodPhoenixmon has learned of these recent events, but he chose to disregard them, as we’ve nothing to guard.”

“Nothing to guard…? I always thought your group safeguarded something,” I mused.

“Nah, we got nothing like that,” Bishumon said. “Nothing…that can be physically stolen, that is.”

“Ah…a secret, perhaps?” Edmund asked.

“…Yes. A secret detailing Goddess Arcadia. That was the reason for the founding of our group, dear ones,” another Digimon spoke gently. Walking into the room, she looked human-like, standing only slightly taller than me. Her long, chocolaty hair fell to her slim waist, and she had a gentle, if shy, look in her blue eyes, and wore a shiny, gold-bronze cowbell around her neck. Two short, curved horns poked out from her hair on either side of her head, her feet were hooves, and a long tail, adorned with a Holy Ring, twitched shyly behind her. She wore a cropped blue tank top, a blue dress that ended above her hooves, and held an oddly-shaped gold staff close to her body, also in a shy manner.

“Ah…Welcome, my lady,” Gehbmon said, smiling at the newcomer. “Warriors of Lachesis, I’d like to introduce you to Lady Hathoramon, wife of GodPhoenixmon; she is the second-in-command here at the Royal Order.”

“I-I didn’t mean to intrude, everyone,” Hathoramon said meekly. “I, um…GodPhoenixmon sent me to get you…He…He wants to speak with you. W-Which one of you is Lachesis…?”

“Oh, none of us are named Lachesis, milady; that’s the name of our guild,” I said. “We are all members of Lachesis.”

“O-Oh! I-I-I’m s-sorry! I…I didn’t mean to imply…”

“Don’t worry about it; just take us to GodPhoenixmon,” Flamedramon said. “Jeez…I have a feeling this isn’t going to be an easy conversation…”

“N-No! GodPhoenixmon isn’t mad at you!” Hathoramon exclaimed. “He just…wants to talk to you a little bit; I promise, t-that’s all he wants from you…”

“You know…After all these years, I still never figured why a fragile little thing like you wanted to be with that asshole,” Statuedramon said. “…Even though I forgot about it for five-hundred years…”

“Oh, he’s really nice…once you get to know him, I guess,” Hathoramon whispered. “You’ll see for yourself…In case you don’t remember that, too…”

~~~

Hathoramon lead us through a stairway through the mountain, chiseled from the earth rather than being constructed from anything, and like the room that preceded it, was lined with several blazing torches and filled with a solid, earthy scent. The stairway wasn’t terribly steep, although this only seemed increased their number. Two large torches were built into a wall at the end of the hallway, on opposing sides of a large doorway. Hathoramon came to a swift stop as we reached them, and turned back to face us.

“U-Um…okay…GodPhoenixmon is in the room up ahead,” the Digimon said quietly. “…Please be careful…If he knows why you’re really here…”

“We won’t let him find out,” Flamedramon whispered back. All of us agreed in unison, but Statuedramon remained silent on this, steadily gazing across the room we had entered, as if lost in thought.

“We’ll be careful; we promise,” I added, hoping that I truly spoke for Statuedramon as well as the others. Hathoramon nodded, and led us into the room. A large square room, one with another golden altar, but this one much larger than the one Persiamon slept upon, being about half the size of the room. A single, rounded and short torch sat at the center of the altar.

“…We’re here, GodPhoenixmon,” Statuedramon said. “Show yourself, will ya?” All at once, a massive crimson flame materialized within the torch. The flame swirled around, and it took the form of a Digimon. At first, it seemed like a regular Phoenixmon, but its orange and red feathers, not to mention its massive size, distinguished it from the more familiar Digimon.

“Sovereign of the East…how long has it been?” GodPhoenixmon asked in a deep, thundering voice that echoed around the walls of the room.

“Not long enough, I’m afraid,” Statuedramon responded. “I got most of my memories back. That included the memory…of what happened on that day.”

“…I see,” GodPhoenixmon sighed. “So…my theory turned out to be sound after all, didn’t it?”

“Yeah…Ophanimon deserted because of Ba—”

“HALT! Do not dare to speak his name!” GodPhoenixmon roared.

“…Fine. But, not talking about him won’t make him go away, you know,” Statuedramon said. “I didn’t want to believe your theory at first, about the reason she left the Goddess and Seraphimon…”

“Well…it is all in the past. Ophanimon has been revived, and Lilithmon has been slain by Fanglongmon ages ago, as I’ve heard,” GodPhoenixmon said in a calmer voice. “So, what brings you here today, my old friend?”

“…You weren’t told?” Statch asked.

“I have been told, yes. But, I want to hear it in your own words,” GodPhoenixmon said. “Statuedramon…why did you come here, to Cyprus? Do not hide anything from me.”

“…We’re here because of Horusmon.” I nearly gasped. A cold silence fell upon the room. GodPhoenixmon narrowed his eyes, and glared down at the much smaller Rookie Digimon.

“…Eastern Sovereign. I knew your guild would venture to our desert once I admitted Horusmon back into our group…but your guild must have one hell of a death wish, accusing my friend so easily.”

“I accuse nobody; I only wish for you to make certain of your choice to let Horusmon back—!”

“SILENCE!” GodPhoenixmon roared. “I WILL NOT ALLOW FOR YOU TO SLANDER MY BRETHREN! SOVEREIGN BLUE…I WILL NOT GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO REPENT FOR YOUR WORDS!!!” The massive Digimon spread his fiery wings and took flight. The ceiling overhead collapsed, and GodPhoenixmon rushed into the sky like a winged fireball. Large boulders rained down on us, but a magic barrier from Edmund protected us all from harm. “Come! Fight me, Sovereign Blue!”

“…You aren’t giving me a choice in the matter, are you?” Statch sighed.

Why the hell did you tell him?!” Flamedramon hissed. “This is precisely what we were trying so hard to avoid!

“Just trust me on this,” Statuedramon said plainly, speaking in a low voice.

“WATCH…AS FIRE RAINS DOWN ON ALL THOSE YOU CALL KIN! YOU CONDEMN MY FRIENDS — MY FAMILY! THEN I SHALL DO THE SAME TO YOU AND YOURS!!!”

“…You may be stronger…but I’m not going to lose to you. You hot-headed bastard…I’ve been waiting more than a lifetime to give you what you deserve! Statuedramon Warp Digivolve to, Azulongmon!” Statuedramon flew up into the sky after GodPhoenixmon, becoming twice as large as the Exalted Bird.
 

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Chapter 193 - God of War

Flamedramon



“You hot-headed bastard…I’ve been waiting more than a lifetime to give you what you deserve. Statuedramon Warp Digivolve to, Azulongmon!” Statuedramon flew up into the sky after GodPhoenixmon, becoming twice as large as the Exalted Bird.

“Oh…G-GodPhoenixmon…why must you do this?” I heard Hathoramon whispered.

“Hm…Don’t worry. If Azulongmon wins…he won’t kill your husband,” I whispered. “That’s just the kind of guy the little shrimp is…”

“It…it isn’t GodPhoenixmon getting hurt that I’m worried about,” Hathoramon whispered. “It’s his…anger. It’s clouding his judgment again…”

“Hathoramon…what do you think about Horusmon?” Zelda asked. “Does he seem…normal, to you?”

“W-Well…to be honest, he hasn’t shown any signs of still being influenced by darkness…but, I…I’m sorry…I don’t really know what to think right now,” Hathoramon sniffled. “I just don’t want anyone to get hurt…Why do they…have to do this…? They should be the best of friends, those two…”

“Nah; Statch already has a best friend,” I said, thinking back to Thomas Kasuto. “…Statch is only doing what needs to be done. He’s usually the one to go out of control, but when someone else does it, he’s always the first to make everything right. If anyone can do it…Azulongmon can. He’ll protect us…and his opponent. That’s what the Digimon Sovereigns do. They’re guardians.”

“…I know.”

“Aurora Force!” Azulongmon curled into a circle, and fired a blast of lightning at GodPhoenixmon, but an aura of flames rose up from his feathers, and shielded him from the attack.

“Your lightning…is of no use against me, Guardian of the East! God Phoenix Hellfire!”

“Lightning Whip!” GodPhoenixmon opened his beak and let loose an endless stream of crimson flames, but Azulongmon quickly retaliated, and clamped the Exalted Bird’s beak shut with a thing, flexible bolt of lightning. “Aurora Force!” GodPhoenixmon was once more blasted with blue lightning, but with a massive wingbeat, he managed to shake Azulongmon off.

“I told you…for insulting my friends…I WILL DESTROY YOU! Phoenix Starlight Explosion!” Dark crimson orbs formed around GodPhoenixmon’s wings, and one by one, they shot out beams of fire out at Azulongmon; the Sovereign tried hard to dodge them all, but a single blast to his head caused him to lose altitude and begin falling back down to the ground.

“Azulongmon!”

“Azulongmon! Get the hell back up there, you little runt!” I screamed.

“I’m…trying,” Azulongmon grunted. The massive Holy Dragon twisted his long body around, and flew back up to GodPhoenixmon.

“It’s no use…You have been sentenced to hell, and you plummet to the very depths of the earth!” GodPhoenixmon roared.

“Isn’t there…anything that we can do?” Abigail asked.

“‘Fraid not; none of us stand a chance against a Mega Digimon of GodPhoenixmon’s caliber…not even me,” I said.

“No,” Hathoramon whispered. “GodPhoenixmon…isn’t a Mega. He’s beyond that…He…he’s an Ultra level Digimon. Higher than Azulongmon and the other Sovereign Digimon…Only very few Digimon can truly hope to stand a chance against him. There’s no way we could interfere in this battle; we’d be destroyed…”

“Right; all we can do is sit and watch the ensuing battle,” Edmund agreed.

“But, Azulongmon; he’s holding back because he doesn’t want to hurt GodPhoenixmon,” Zelda whispered. “But, GodPhoenixmon doesn’t share the same sentiments; he’s willing to burn down the entire world over something so trivial…”

“Y-Yes…and Azulongmon knows why, too,” Hathoramon whispered. “He wasn’t always so temperamental…It’s because of his sister…that GodPhoenixmon is like this…”

“GodPhoenixmon has a sister?” I asked.

“His sister — my sister in-law — betrayed us, and joined the enemy’s side. GodPhoenixmon trusted her so deeply…And now, all this going on with Horusmon…He’s so determined to not lose another person he cares about to the darkness that tempted his sister; that’s why he’s lashing out at Azulongmon…”

“That explains a lot,” Abigail said. “I’ve been in that position; willing to do what’s necessary…”

“We can’t let this go on,” I said. “Hathoramon, is there anyone else here who can stand up to GodPhoenixmon? Azulongmon can’t do this alone!”

“…Y-Yes…There is,” Hathoramon stammered. “…The only one of the Royal Order who can stand up to my husband in battle; our second strongest, I guess you could say…is our very own God of War…”

“Aurora Force!”

“Phoenix Starlight Explosion!” Once again, fire and lightning clashed in the sky, meeting each other with a devastating explosion that shook the air. However, GodPhoenixmon’s attack tore through, and hit Azulongmon once more. “Bastard…return to nothingness, like your memories! God Phoenix Hellfire!”

“Thunderous Judgment…of Mighty Osiris!” Another bolt of lightning, this one a shimmering gold as opposed to Azulongmon’s infinite blueness, dropped down from the sky and obliterated GodPhoenixmon’s flames.

“…Why have you come here…? Well, Horusmon?” GodPhoenixmon looked up as another Digimon descended slowly from the clouds.

“GodPhoenixmon…please, don’t do this; not for my sake,” the newcomer whispered. “Azulongmon has every right to distrust me; he was the one who killed me in my previous life.”

“And yet…”

“Your sister was born with a heart of darkness. That cannot be helped…but you cannot allow what happened in the distant past to cloud your judgment in the present,” Horusmon whispered. “I know you don’t want to lose anyone else to the darkness that took your sister…and I know what happened to me still weighs heavily on your mind…but you cannot vent your anger upon Lachesis when they are only attempting to assist us! There are far more important issues our two groups must deal with! We cannot fight amongst ourselves when we have IceDevimon to worry about!” GodPhoenixmon silently lowered his head and shut his eyes. He flapped his massive wings one last time, and disappeared into the clouds above. “GodPhoenixmon…I know it hurts; we all do. But you cannot allow your pain to drive everything you do…”

“…Horusmon.” Azulongmon lowered his head to look the Ancient God directly in the eyes.

“It has been a while, Azulongmon,” Horusmon nodded. “…Did you ever learn the meaning of my final words?”

“I did. When you said that I was ‘his’ servant, you were referring to Fanglongmon, were you not?” Azulongmon asked.

“I was. At the time, I didn’t know that you had lost your memory when I said that, but I’m glad to see that it has returned, Eastern Sovereign,” Horusmon said.

“As am I…God of War.”
 

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Chapter 194 - Horusmon's Tale of Treason

Statuedramon



Horusmon lead our group through the sacred mountain, all the way through the main room at the mountain’s base and to the outdoors. “…I am glad we can meet again, and finally, we meet as allies. I understand the cause for our meeting at this time, though…You’re here because you don’t trust me, correct?”

“It’s not that entirely,” I said quickly. “We just…we wanted to make sure everything was okay, given your past…”

“I see. It doesn’t matter if you believe me, but I will say that I am no longer…on the side of darkness,” Horusmon said. “And not solely because Lilithmon is gone; I had a lot of time to think while in the Dark Area…and my old friends were gracious enough to understand my deep regret, and readmit me to their organization.”

“Um…If you don’t mind me asking, why were you forced to leave in the first place?” Zelda asked.

“…It was because of Anubismon; something terrible that I did to him,” Horusmon whispered.

~~~​

It happened in the year 205. The two of us, we were the best of friends. Cousins, actually; my father, Oseiramon, was the brother of Anubismon’s father, Sethmon. We went everywhere together, ever since we were at the Rookie level. Since we were part of the Royal Order, it didn’t take us very long to reach our Mega level forms, compared to most other Digimon. However, when we were Champion level…we both met an Angel Digimon called D’arcmon. Beautiful, kind, and a valiant warrior…she instantly captured both of our eyes, and our attention. But she only had eyes…for him. He was stronger and braver, or maybe she sensed the dark future I would have. That choice of hers, it never left my mind; I grew more and more jealous of Anubismon by the day. As it would happen, D’arcmon would later be slain in battle against the forces of IceDevimon, and Anubismon was seriously wounded. I…had the chance to save him, but my jealousy led me to betray him. Instead of choosing to save him…I attacked him, and finished him off. Anubismon died…because of me, and my ridiculous envy. It wasn’t until my second death, at the hands of Deckerdramon in Lotisea, that I began to think about my past actions. I spent many a century in the Dark Area, more than enough time for me to ponder the great order of things…

~~~

“…And so, when I was reborn 70 years ago, I dared to show my treasonous face before my old comrades…and they accepted me,” Horusmon concluded. “Even though I betrayed them…they accepted my apologies…They understood the pain in my heart; my regret…everything.”

“Because you are a part of our family, my child…” Another Digimon flew up to us, landing gracefully before us in the sand.

“Oh…Nefertimon; I didn’t realize you were back,” I whispered. This Nefertimon in particular was colored rose rather than violet and gold.

“I could say the same with you, Statuedramon,” Nefertimon whispered gently, nuzzling her head against me. “How have you been, little one?”

“Nefertimon, we’ve been over this before; I was there when you hatched from your Digi-Egg. I am older than you. You don’t have to be so motherly with me…”

“I will be whether you like it or not,” Nefertimon said. “All of you are my precious babies, even if you are older than me. Especially you…Horusmon.”

“Mother…”

“And it wasn’t entirely your apologizing that convinced GodPhoenixmon and the others. Your father and I had to put in a good word for you, my beloved son,” Nefertimon said. “But it all worked out in the end…You are once again with your family.”

“Yes…Yes, I am,” Horusmon whispered.

“Is something wrong, my son?” Nefertimon asked.

“Reapermon has told me that…He is suspicious of someone here,” Horusmon whispered. “He worked with IceDevimon as an undercover agent. Someone here…is working for IceDevimon…”

“Someone…no, not you!” Nefertimon exclaimed. “Not you…correct…?”

“Mother, they have an understandable suspicion of me because of my past,” Horusmon said. “I have told them that I am no longer with IceDevimon, but it is their choice whether or not to believe me.”

“…He saved me during my fight against GodPhoenixmon; I choose to place my trust in Horusmon,” I said. “But then…I also don’t know who else to suspect here. GodPhoenixmon is aggressive, but there’s no way he’d be evil…”

“I don’t want to suspect anybody, either, but…”

“What is it, darling? You can tell your mother,” Nefertimon said gently.

“…It’s Father. Well, Father, and Uncle…”

“I-I see…Well, I can understand why you would suspect them, darling,” Nefertimon stammered. “But, well…I’m just not entirely certain about them working for IceDevimon…”

“Your father? Are you talking about Oseiramon?” I asked.

“The God of Death…Doesn’t it make sense that someone who domains over darkness would work with IceDevimon?” Horusmon asked. “And then there’s Uncle Sethmon, the God of Chaos…”

“Hm…Those two sure have always reveled in their private time, don’t they?” I pondered. “You may be on to something, Horusmon…”

“…I…hate to say such things,” Horusmon whispered. “But I trust in Reapermon’s word. Someone among us…is with the enemy.”
Baez



“…This…is most peculiar,” I murmured.

“Something wrong, old man?” Geitz asked. I looked to the young man, who had just returned to his Human form after successfully becoming the Legendary Warrior Loewemon. Indeed, his transformation prowess had grown stronger over the months. However, to my dismay, he would still occasionally become Duskmon. This came as no surprise to me, though; he always had been speaking of power, even before I had found him.

“Your guild has traveled the desert region, or at least Statuedramon is,” I said.

“Huh, you can tell stuff like that?”

“He’s one of my Four Sovereigns; I can tell where they are at all moments,” I answered. “I can also tell that he gave the DigiCores of two other Sovereigns, Zhuqiaomon and Baihumon, to a Karatenmon and Mihiramon, and he still holds on to the DigiCore of Ebonwumon.”

“The little runt made old Mihiramon a new Sovereign? Must’ve been desperate,” Geitz said to himself. “So, is there a problem, old man?”

“…Have you heard about the Royal Order, Geitz?”

“The Royal what? No, what’s their deal?” Geitz asked.

“A small group dedicated to the Goddess. They’re lead by a volatile Digimon called GodPhoenixmon…And I’m just surprised Statuedramon went down there is all,” I said. “I do hope nothing is wrong…”

“Well, what could possibly be wrong?”

“Hm, anything…or nothing, my child. With Statuedramon involved, it could range from a pleasure trip to something more dangerous…”

“Yeah, it was something pretty big, all right,” a voice from the shadows suddenly chimed in.

“How long have you been back…Lira?” I asked. “Sorry…I mean, ‘the Great Thief Lira Elric.’”

“A few hours, actually; I just wanted to see how long it would take you to notice me!” the girl called Lira giggled. “But, then you started getting all serious, so I thought hiding probably wouldn’t be good. So, I came to tell you that I bugged Coronamon, and I learned from him that Reapermon suspects someone in that Order.”

“What?! Th-That cannot be!” I exclaimed. “The Royal Order serves Goddess Arcadia! Horusmon was reborn after the incident with Lilithmon! There should be no more darkness within the Order!”

“That ain’t what the Reaper said; he heard from one of IceDevimon’s goons that there’s someone down under who’s been in the underworld.”

“Lira…are you absolutely certain of this?!” I grabbed the young woman by the shoulders, and looked directly in the eyes.

“That’s all I can know for now, Sov; Coronamon didn’t go with them!” Lira said.

“There’s nothing we can do about it, old man; we’re all the way in the mountains of Elphierr Territory. Too far away to be of any help,” Geitz said.

“Evil guy’s right; we’d just get in the way since he can’t control his transformations,” Lira added.

“…The hell are you, anyway?” Geitz asked, sounding slightly annoyed.

“Me? I’m the great thief Lira Elric!”

“Yeah, you said that already; why are you helping the old man?”

“Well, it’s pretty obvious, really; he’s the one who gave me my mission!” Lira exclaimed.

“Yeah…? And just what is your mission?”

“That, buddy of mine, is a seeeeee-cret!” Lira said, blowing Geitz a kiss.

“Lira, he’s safe; you can tell him,” Baez said solemnly.

“Oh, fiiiine…So, you ever see this?” Lira reached into her purse and pulled out a green Gemstone.

“N-No way…That belonged to Matthew! How’d you get that?!” Geitz exclaimed. “The kid said something about that belonging to his folks…”

“Yeah…this is the one,” Lira whispered sadly. “I…had to snatch it from him. That was my mission.”

“…Yer a sick old man, you know that?!” Geitz glared at me, and slowly began approaching me. “That was a keepsake of his parents! Do you know what some of us would do to have something like that with us?! And you asked this thief chick to steal it from him?! What is your problem?!”

“Wasn’t just his; took one from the king of the eastern continent, and his sister, too,” Lira added, pulling out a brown gem and then a violet gem. “I also got one of my own.” A fourth gem left Lira’s purse, this one almost crystal clear.

“What do you need all these for?” Geitz asked.

“Can you not sense it, my son?” I asked. “An overwhelming darkness sits within these four gemstones, as well as ten others scattered across this continent. Lira’s mission is to gather them so they do not fall into the hands of IceDevimon. If they were…if IceDevimon were to gain even one of these 14 Gemstones…not even the Goddess would be able to save us. We all will descend into everlasting darkness…”

“…Okay. I guess I have to trust you on this, whether I believe you or not,” Geitz sighed. “But, are you really willing to trust a common thief with something like this? What if she takes them for herself or whatever?”

“Not to worry; I have the utmost faith in Lira Elric,” I said gently. “And she is no common thief, I assure you.”

“You got that right! As the princess of Nymphaea Province, I gotta have at least a little class if I’m going to be a thief!” Lira smirked.

“T…The…princess?!” Geitz staggered, and stared at Lira. “You…you’re the princess of that damn tundra?!”

“What can I say? My parents owed Baez big time, so they sent me off disguised as a thief from a young age to find all these gemstones,” Lira shrugged. “But, come now, Geitz; surely this might explain just how breathtakingly gorgeous I am, wouldn’t it? A princess deserves to be pretty.”

“…You guys are weird,” Geitz muttered to himself.

“Well, silly can be cuter than clever, wouldn’t you say?” Lira asked, winking at Geitz.

“…Hey, old man…if you have this chick gathering up all the gemstones, why do you need me?” Geitz asked. “Why does it matter, if Lira gets all the gems?”

“Strictly a precautionary measure, my son,” I said calmly. “Lady Lira has stated that she wasn’t able to get the gemstone from the Tower of Progression, so we can assume that the enemy already has that one. If that is the case, then they may indeed have others. If IceDevimon intends to use the darkness within the gems to lay waste to the world, then we will have to counter his dark ambitions with enough power to destroy him. We will need the strength of the Ten Legendary Warriors. And you, Geitz, have been chosen by destiny to be one of them. That is the destiny ShadowSeraphimon sought to bring to ruin. And that is why you train. We will need the true power of Loewemon in order to win, and not Duskmon.”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 195 - Signs of Darkness

Statuedramon



“I…hate to say such things,” Horusmon whispered. “But I trust in Reapermon’s intuition. Someone among us…is with the enemy.”

“Yeah…You’re right. I’ve sensed it for a while now; a darkness that has grown in size since we have arrived,” I said. “When we first got here, I thought it was you, Horusmon…But now, it’s too far away to be you. We’ll need to hurry and find the source of that darkness before it becomes too strong for us to defeat.”

“So, what should we do? This is your area of expertise, Sovereign,” Flamedramon said.

“…I need to speak with Oseiramon, and I need to do it alone,” I said. “He’s a lot like GodPhoenixmon; always been a bit quick to anger.”

“Are you sure you want to go alone? You weren’t really able to talk sense into GodPhoenixmon, and he nearly got you killed,” Abigail said.

“Don’t worry; Oseiramon is only a Champion level. If things get ugly, I can handle him easily. I don’t think he’ll try, though; he knows he’s not as strong as me.”

“Are you sure about this?” Flamedramon glanced at me from the corner of his eye, the same look he always gave to me whenever I acted rashly, or otherwise unintelligently. I saw it a lot.

“I am. I may not be this guild’s master, but this is my order, Flamedramon. I want you guys to go with Horusmon and Hathoramon to find Sethmon, okay? Do that while I’m speaking with Oseiramon.”

“Okay…what do you want us to talk about?” Lucia asked.

“Just let Horusmon take the lead. He’ll know what to say,” I replied. “…You always were a smooth talker. But still, you’re getting off easy. Sethmon doesn’t have a temper like Oseiramon and GodPhoenixmon. You don’t have anything to worry about.” A bright light enveloped my body, and I Digivolved to my Champion form, Shenlongmon.

“…Be careful, Statch,” Zelda whispered.

“I will. I don’t have any choice, my dear,” I whispered back, spreading out my wings as I spoke. “If all goes well…then we may be able to return to the guild hall on the morrow.”

“And if it doesn’t?” Flamedramon asked.

“…Let’s hope I won’t have to answer that question,” was all I said before taking flight. 100 feet into the sky, I looked down and surveyed the landscape. Much like the sky, the land itself was a deep, orange-gold color. A thin, misty cloud passed beneath me, casting a pale shadow on the earth below. It didn’t take me long to find Oseiramon’s personal, small mountain; it was due north of the larger mountain cave the rest of the Order lived. A few others dotted the landscape, but apart from them, there was not much else in sight. I began my descent, and flew in through an opening at the top of the mountain.

“…So…you have finally arrived,” a deep voice growled.

“Oseiramon, we need to talk,” I said, turning back into my Rookie level.

“What is the problem?” Oseiramon asked. The Dark Dragon spoke in a quiet, annoyed voice, and remained hidden in the shadows where only his glowing eyes could be seen. “You…wish to speak of the erroneous choices of my errant son, Sovereign Blue?”

“Something like that, yeah…Only, it isn’t the errant son. It’s his old man,” I answered.

“Oh? And what have I done to warrant interrogation?” Oseiramon asked.

“Reapermon says an evil presence is here in Cyprus Wasteland. And…now that I’m here, I get the feeling that he’s right. There’s definitely something amiss.”

“And you think I am to blame?” Oseiramon growled. “Surely my reborn son is a more worthy cause for suspicion than I.”

“Don’t get me wrong; he was the reason we all came down here in the first place. But, he saved me from the wrath of GodPhoenixmon. He has my trust…No, he has earned it. And here you are, his father, condemning him to darkness!”

“So what if I am?! That boy has condemned himself long ago when he murdered Anubismon over his own foolish lust and envy!”

“He’s still your son, you old bastard. He isn’t evil anymore! But someone here is!” I yelled.

“…And you think it’s me?” Oseiramon asked.

“Only one way for me to find out. Hit me with everything you’ve got, Oseiramon!”
Flamedramon



Horusmon lead us in the opposite direction that Shenlongmon flew, into a cave at the base of another mountain.

“So, this is where Sethmon lives?” I asked, igniting my claws to light our way through the cave.

“Yes…Uncle Sethmon always did like it in the dark,” Horusmon said. “Father — I mean, Oseiramon, does so because the sunlight hurts his eyes, but all Digimon of his species are like that.”

“Do you know what you’re going to say your uncle yet, Horusmon?” Abigail asked.

“More or less…Like Statch said, Uncle Sethmon is very slow to anger, so we don’t have to worry too much about how he’ll react to whatever we say to him. In fact, he probably already knows why you’ve come here with me, and even without me as your mediator, you’re sure to be fine.”

“All the same, we appreciate you being here with us,” I said. “With all that’s been going on, who knows just how Sethmon will react?”

“…That’s a fair point. But still, I know we’ll be fine,” Horusmon said firmly. “Sethmon…he was the first to speak up in my defense back then, along with my mother. Even though Anubismon was his son, he still came to my defense when I was on trial after I…Well, you know.”

“That’s definitely not how I would react if someone killed Edmund!” Abigail snapped, tightly grabbing our son by the arm.

“Yesh…I can undershtand why that would caushe for confushion, my dear,” a gruff voice whispered.

“Uncle Sethmon…” Horusmon knelt down before the shadows of the cave at the one who spoke.

“That you, Horushmon? Didn’t think you’d be ‘ere wif’ ‘em. Yeh here to ashk me shomethin,’ ain’t yah, Horush?” Sethmon approached our group from the deepest shadows of the cave. He was a large, four-legged beast Digimon with bright red fur.

“If you know that I want to ask you something, then you should know what it’s about,” Horusmon said.

“Yesh…I knew the members of Lacheshish would vishit me as shoon ash Horushmon wash reborn,” Sethmon whispered.

“…I don’t think you quite understand,” I said. “Sethmon…We aren’t suspicious of your nephew. Not anymore…”

“Oh? Then, what’sh the problem?” Sethmon asked. “…It’sh me yer wonderin’ about, ain’t it…?”

“Uncle Sethmon, please understand; you have little contact with the rest of the Order, and you spend a lot of your time alone in this cave. You can’t blame us for being at least a little suspicious,” Horusmon said.

“…Sho, you shenshed the darknessh ash well, my child,” Sethmon whispered.

“Not me; it was all Reapermon and Azulongmon’s doing; they simply notified me of this growing darkness, Uncle,” Horusmon continued. “You and Oseiramon both dwell in the deep darkness of your abodes, with little contact with the rest of the Order. How do we know you haven’t been in contact with IceDevimon’s troops? Or even that madman himself?!”

“I can undershtand your concherns, my shweet nephew,” Sethmon said. “But shtill…even though I am a Dark Animal…though I may be among the Nightmare Sholdiersh…and yesh, I am the god of dishorder and violensh! But I am not tainted by darknessh! But, my mindsh eye…it hash sheen who ish…”

“Who…who is it…?” I asked.

“Horushmon…the one our allied guild ish after…ish—” Sethmon suddenly stopped talking, and a golden magic circle apparated beneath Sethmon’s feet. “N-No…Horushmon, RUN!!!” A massive pyramid of light formed around Sethmon’s body, and a square, stone spike rose up from the ground, impaling the Digimon and killing him in an instant. The entire room shook with the force of the attack.

“…Sethmon…SETHMON!!!” Horusmon ran to the spot Sethmon had been only moments before, falling to his knees as the last pieces of Sethmon’s data flew away. “No…Uncle…Uncle Sethmon…”

“Heh…heh…heh…Your uncle…and my father. Fading away into the dust…” A new voice spoke, and soft footsteps sounded through the cave.

“Y-Your…father?! No…HOW COULD YOU DO THIS, ANUBISMON?!” Horusmon shrieked.

“Now, now, Horusmon…isn’t that what my mother said when you killed me all those years ago?” Anubismon asked.
 

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Chapter 196 - Death of Rebirth

Horusmon



“No way…That guy’s really Anubismon?” Flamedramon whispered.

“Anubismon! Why did you kill your own father?!” I repeated.

“…He was more of a father to you than he ever was to me,” Anubismon whispered. “He and Nepthysmon always did prefer you, their nephew, over their own son, you know. I actually knew that before you killed me. Everyone liked you more than me; Persiamon, Tefnimon, even GodPhoenixmon’s treasonous sister. All of them!”

“Is that so? Then, is that why D’arcmon chose you over me?” I asked hotly.

“And is that why you started the battle that got her killed?! And is that why you killed me when you should have saved me?!”

“…Yes. That is exactly why I killed the both of you back then, Anubismon. I aggravated the troops of IceDevimon, and purposely lead the two of you to your deaths. I did that all because of my envy.”

“You’re pathetic, Horusmon!” Anubismon hissed.

“Yes, I am. I already had so much more than you, and yet I wanted more. I wanted D’arcmon, too. I couldn’t live with the fact that she chose you over me. I felt like I was betrayed when she did that, but I was the traitor back then, huh?”

“Yes, you were. And now, it seems that we’ve changed places, Horusmon.”

“…We have. And that’s why I have to kill you again, I’m afraid,” I whispered sadly. “And hopefully…you’ll be reborn the right way…God of Rebirth.”

“Good luck trying, God of Warfare! Pyramid Power!” I closed my eyes, and awaited the attack. Another magical circle formed, encircling the entire room beneath us as it quaked with its power, but a different tremor countered its own power and dissolved the magic circle by the time I opened my eyes. “What?! What have you done, traitor?!”

I’m not the traitor here; not anymore. And what I’ve done; I didn’t come alone. And unlike you…I still have friends!” I turned my head to glance at Mihiramon, who had disrupted Anubismon’s attack with his own. “And because of that…we will stop you! We will save you from yourself, Anubismon!”

I don’t want to be saved! I am at peace with my life now! And soon, I will take YOUR life, Horusmon!

“Listen; like it or not, we will stop you,” Flamedramon said, walking up next to me. “Unlike Horusmon, we won’t exactly be doing it to save you. We just want to stop you. We want to stop IceDevimon. We will do whatever it takes to achieve our goal, even if I have to burn this damned mountain to the ground!”

“You can certainly try, but I assure you, getting past me will make your battle against Lilithmon seem like a walk in the park!” Anubismon snapped.

“Huh. Good thing I hate walks in the park,” Flamedramon smirked.

“Amemit! Devour their souls! Destroy their DigiCores! Grind them into dust until there’s nothing left of them!” Anubismon yelled. A massive shadow formed around the Wizard Digimon, growing larger and larger until it crashed through the ceiling of the cave and formed a bizarre, unrecognizable shape in the orange sky.

“Flamedramon, get ready!” I exclaimed.

“Way ahead of you.” The flames around Flamedramon’s claws swirled and roared, and struck the massive shadow Anubismon summoned. “…Nothing’s happening, Horusmon!”

“I didn’t expect it to…Nobody’s been able to stop that attack before, not even GodPhoenixmon,” I said quietly.

“Then what the hell are we supposed to do?! Just let this bastard kill us all?!”

“No…I won’t let that happen,” I answered. “And there are others who share in my sentiment. Look up, Flamedramon…” From beyond the summoned shadow, a long, serpentine dragon spiraled across the sky, approaching us with astonishing speed.

“Executive Thunder!”

“Sword of Dragon’s Soul!”

“…Looks like Statch finally made it,” Flamedramon whispered. The attacks of the two Digimon crashed into Anubismon’s monster.

“Yes, and he brought Oseiramon with him,” I added. “See what I mean? Anubismon is all alone. Even if he is stronger than us, there is no way he could defeat us all, Flamedramon.”

“Yeah.”

“ANUBISMON! How dare you betray the Royal Order?!” Oseiramon roared. “You are a disgrace to your family!”

“…Say what you want, old man. IceDevimon is the only family that I need!” Anubismon hollered. “ICEDEVIMON’S BLOOD ON MY FAMILY’S NAME!”

“Ebon Flames of Purgatory!” As soon as I opened my beak, the shadowy monster summoned by Anubismon moved to protect his master from my attack.

“Slifer Strike!” Oseiramon swooped down from the sky and struck Anubismon from behind with the spikes on his tail.

“…A good try, Uncle. But you are nowhere near strong enough to stop me! Amemit!” Anubismon’s shadowy monster reached out and grabbed Oseiramon’s serpentine body out of the sky, flinging Statuedramon off of his head and down to the ground.

“Thundurus Judgment of Mighty Osiris!” A massive black cloud formed in the sky, directly above Oseiramon.

“Are you insane?! Amemit is impervious to all harm! Oseiramon is the only one who will get hurt, you fool!” Anubismon yelled. A bolt of lightning dropped down and struck Amemit, and with it, Oseiramon. “You hit him anyway…? Heh. I warned you, Oseiramon. Horusmon is not to be trusted!”

“EXECUTIVE THUNDER!” Oseiramon spread out his massive wings, surging with electrical energy, and dispersed the shadows of Amemit.

“What…is going on?!” Anubismon asked. Oseiramon opened his mouth, and unleashed a large blast of electricity directly at Anubismon.

“Sacred lightning…not unlike the way I was killed, by Azulongmon,” I whispered. Anubismon’s golden feathers were instantly singed, and large bits of his body faded away into bits of data. “My lightning attack…it will not harm Oseiramon. Rather…it will strengthen my father’s power. You are finished…Anubismon.”

“N…No…So…easily defeated…again, by you,” Anubismon gasped. “Have I not…suffered enough underneath your shadow…Horusmon?!”

“Yes, Anubismon, you have. That is why I had to kill you…so that your suffering may come to an end…”

“You poor, misguided youth…If Statuedramon hadn’t come to me when he did, your suffering might not have been able to come to an end,” Oseiramon sighed. “I am grateful for the wisdom of his words…He knew I was unable to harm a true comrade; that’s how he knew I wasn’t in league with IceDevimon.”

“…I see…Fair enough,” Anubismon whispered. “…Now, I…I guess I understand how you must have felt…Horusmon…on that day…But even so…revive me one-hundred more times, and my decision to side with IceDevimon will NEVER change!”

“I understand…It really should be me in place of you, dying once more,” I said. “You deserved so much better…And to be honest…you deserved her more than I ever did.”

“…Thank…you,” Anubismon said. “…I will tell you one thing…for that…IceDevimon, he’s…”

“What is he up to?” Flamedramon asked.

“Please, tell us; we must know everything that he’s planning,” Reapermon added.

“The…Gemstones,” Anubismon gasped. “He’s after…those jewels…”

“What jewels?” I asked. “Why does IceDevimon need simple trinkets?”

“Not…the jewels…The power within…He needs that…power,” Anubismon whispered. “Fourteen Gemstones…will be the death of you all…” Anubismon shut his eyes one final time, and faded away.

“…Goodbye…Anubismon,” I whispered.
Flamedramon



Two days have passed since the death of Anubismon. Statuedramon insisted we stay as long as we did after all that occurred, but now, we were all preparing to leave.

“…I cannot apologize enough for what I have done to your guild in the past,” Horusmon whispered. “And for the recent actions of Anubismon, as well…I never thought that he would…turn evil like that…”

“Don’t worry about it; you’ve more than earned our trust and your own forgiveness,” Statuedramon said. “I just wish GodPhoenixmon didn’t up and disappear after our little, um, argument. It doesn’t feel right to leave without apologizing to him…”

“Don’t worry; he’ll be back. He always returns after throwing one of his temper-tantrums,” Horusmon smiled. “…You’re going after them, aren’t you, Lachesis?”

“Yes. We need to find out what Anubismon meant about those gemstones,” I said. “We’ll make a quick stop at the guild fortress, and then we’ll have to be on our way again. Also…” I glanced over my shoulder at Larraine, who stood as far away as possible from both Statuedramon and Sephyrus. “…Never mind. We simply need to work as fast as we can. You understand.”

“I do. I apologize that none of us will be able to accompany you for this…but sometime in the future, I’ve no doubt that a war will begin against the troops of IceDevimon…and we will be ready to aid you,” Horusmon said. “You can count on it.”

“We will. We trust you, Horusmon, and when the time comes for us to fight, I am glad it will be alongside you and your group,” I said.
 

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Chapter 197 - Fourteen Gemstones

Lucia Delbray



Lachesis Fortress, even cold and dusty as it was in the early morning rain, never seemed all the more comforting and beautiful to me than after spending a long time in the desert. The cool stone edifice offered great relief to our weary, overheated bodies.

“…I see nothing much has changed in the past several hundred years,” Sephyrus whispered. “Flamedramon, wasn’t it you that burned this fortress down all those years ago?”

“Shut up,” Flamedramon said in a scathing voice. “The only reason we allowed you to come with us is so we can keep a damn eye on you. You say you aren’t a Bio Hybrid anymore, but how do we know for sure? I don’t trust you, reptile. I’d rather keep you where I can watch every one of your damn movements.”

“I understand completely; and I thank you for your…mercy,” Sephyrus smiled.

“If we don’t trust this bastard, why don’t we just kill him and get it over with?!” Larraine said hotly, speaking under her breath.

“Rainy, darling, please understand; he has a vast knowledge of quintessence, this world’s history, and many other things that could prove valuable to our guild,” I said. “I don’t trust him either, so I promise to do all that I can to keep him away from you, okay?”

“Fine…But I’m borrowing Isole’s dagger in case he gets too close,” Larraine said, quickly slipping the weapon in question from the navy blue sash at Isole’s waist.

“I didn’t okay this decision of yours, you know!” Isole said hotly, blushing slightly from Larraine’s sudden touch. “…But, I won’t argue. I don’t trust that guy either. I’ve got a few more in my room. Keep it.”

“Well, I may not keep it for long; it certainly looks like that man’s neck wants this dagger more than I do,” Larraine hissed.

“Larraine, that’s enough,” Flamedramon said calmly. “We’ll be watching both of you — you for your protection, of course. Sephyrus will be kept in the guild’s dungeon under constant guard, so you don’t need to worry about him.”

“…Our fortress has a dungeon?” I asked.

“Apollomon didn’t build this place, you know. I asked him once, and he said it’s been around since Goddess Arcadia walked the earth,” Flamedramon responded. “You hear that, Sephyrus? You won’t see the light of day for a long time.”

“My soul has been plunged into eternal darkness since the day I met Lilithmon. I am very much accustomed to it, you see,” Sephyrus said.

“Hmph. Don’t tempt me to put you in a sunlit cage, you bastard,” Flamedramon whispered. “Edmund, take him away, and gather the others. We have a few things we need to discuss…”

“Yes, father,” the mage said promptly.

~~~

“…Fourteen gemstones,” I muttered. “That was what Anubismon said, right?”

“Correct; I had Apollomon entrust one to the new guildmaster when he retired, but from what I’ve been told, that one’s been taken,” Statuedramon said.

“What?! You mean…you actually had one of those things, and you didn’t tell us?!” Flamedramon roared.

“What would it matter if it isn’t in our possession, Flamedramon? Besides…it wasn’t just an ordinary gem I found…It used to be a Horcrux made by Lilithmon,” Statuedramon said. “That gem used to be part of the Immortal’s Necklace that held a portion of SkullCaliphmon’s soul. Thomas kept it with him even after all the events that occurred because it was a gift for him from Zelda…”

“Yes…I remember you telling me all of this before you left; your master told you to leave it with Apollomon and the others,” Zelda whispered. “All that time, you knew it was…well, a Gemstone…?”

“Yeah. There were two souls tied to that gem at one point,” Statuedramon said.

“…There’s something else,” Eleanora piped up. “Matthew…he…he may have had one as well…”

“What?! You can’t be serious!” Flamedramon exclaimed.

“…Was it the jewel the thief girl stole from you?” I asked.

“Yeah…I dunno if it was one of those fourteen gemstones, but that’s the one El meant,” Matthew said.

“And another…back when we were at the Tower of Progression, Amiri took something, remember?” Reapermon asked. “That tower…I’m almost positive it was safeguarding one of those gems.”

“Fourteen total; we’ve got no idea how many they may already have,” I said. “Three at the very least from what you’ve all said. Maybe more…Actually, probably more, knowing how sneaky those bastards can be.”

“Lucia’s right; they may even have ten or twelve by now,” Statuedramon said. “But…there may be something worth checking out.”

“What is it? We’ll take any chance we can get,” Flamedramon said.

“The Tower of Guidance was safekeeping one, remember? I think there may be a chance that others may be in the possession of other important people and rulers,” Statch continued. “The five territories of Celicia; the four provinces and their rulers; is it not possible that those rulers safeguard such things?”

“AHHHHH!!!! Ah, man, I’m an idiot!” I shouted out. “Guys, I just remembered something; remember when we were shipwrecked in Shendu Territory?! That emperor asked us to protect a gemstone from his crazy-ass brother!”

“Yes…The two of you may be on to something,” Flamedramon whispered. “That may indeed help us decide our next move.”

“So, we need to travel to each of the territories?” Abigail asked. “Shendu, Cherifia, Valneva, Elphierr, and Valencia…”

“Not to mention the Nymphaea, Lotisea, and Cyprus provinces,” I added. “Looks like we have a lot of work cut out for us…”

“Right…and we don’t have much time in which to do it,” Flamedramon said. “I hate to say this, but it looks like we’ll have to split up again. Gods, I hate this…”

“We don’t have much of a choice, darling,” Abigail said. “But with all the unknown enemies running on the loose, we’ll have to divide our strongest fighters when we form our groups.”

“Right; for now, let’s just focus on visiting the five territories of Celicia,” Statuedramon said. “Even if the other leaders don’t have any information about the gemstones, we’re sure to find some good leads that’ll point us in the right direction.”

“We’re going to need to form some damn good groups, though,” I said. “Isole, dear, do you think you could—?”

“Yeah, I’ve got it covered,” Isole interrupted. “As the guild’s tactician, I vow to do my best on arranging the groups, and to do it as fast as I can.”
 

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Chapter 198 - Master Silvanna

Lucia Delbray



My group, along with the other four groups put together by Isole, left the guild hall two days ago, and just yesterday we had crossed the border of Valencia east into Elphierr territory. It was still a long way to our destination of Shendu Territory, and I had another destination in mind before arriving, close to the northeastern border of Elphierr, as we walked through the Savage Prairie. Mihiramon, Larraine, Tactimon, Sparrow, Hawkmon, and Lloyd all accompanied me to that destination. It was decided that Heather, Loralyn, Wisemon, Madelyn, and Alphonse would remain behind at the guild, so as not to leave our fortress completely undefended.

“How long will it take for us to reach your master’s home?” Larraine asked, breaking the silence.

“Not much longer, dear; less than ten minutes, I believe,” I responded. “Are you getting tired?”

“Yeah, I’m tired…of getting stalked by that bastard,” Larraine sighed under her breath. I turned to look over my shoulder, and to my surprise, I found none other than Sephyrus following behind us in complete silence, less than ten feet away.

W-What the—?! How did I not notice him before?! Did he just now show up? Or, was he following us this whole time? And if so, who released him…?

“Let us keep going; he is the least of our concerns right now,” Tactimon whispered. “We must hurry to your master’s home so that we can arrive in Shendu on time.”

“I know…We can’t stay long, but I feel it in my gut; visiting her right now will undoubtedly be helpful for us,” I said. “Even if she doesn’t know anything about these gemstones, I know talking to her will give us some insights about fighting whatever enemies we’ll be facing. She’s always been like that; from inspiring confidence in the broken-spirited to giving tips on fighting enemies one has never fought before, my master will be the best person for us to visit right now.”

“Well…you’ve always known what’s best for us,” Lloyd said. “Even though you’re the second youngest one here right now, you’re looking after us like the guildmaster would.”

“I’m only doing what’s necessary to prevent any casualties for us; nothing more. But I promise; casualties on the enemy’s side will quickly and steadily begin to increase, sooner or later.”

“Jeez, you’re just as scary as ever,” Sparrow sighed. “So, this master of yours…what is he like?”

“She. Master Silvanna is a woman, and a master of all the martial arts that exist in our world,” I said. “And Sparrow…don’t even try to flirt with her, do you hear me?”

“Aw, why not?” Sparrow whined. “C’mon, she’s GOT to be a stunning beauty, right? Right?”

“She is…very lovely, Sparrow. But if you try flirting with her…you may very will die,” I whispered. “She’ll snap your neck until your eyes pop and their jelly pours out of your nose. And then, she’ll rip your head off, and shove it—”

“L-Lucia, that’s enough, please,” Larraine groaned.

“Sorry…That’s just the kind of person Master Silvanna is,” I said.

“Yeah…she nearly beat the ever-loving crap out of me for tearing your eye out that one time,” Mihiramon added. “Ugh…just thinking about seeing her again is making my tail bush up…”

“Is she really that scary…?” Larraine asked.

“…She’s …absolutely terrifying!” I practically screamed. “Oh, Goddess Arcadia, what the hell was I thinking coming all the way here to visit her?! I mean, I know her home’s pretty much on the way to Shendu, but what the hell?! Oh, no…”

“Wow…I’ve never seen Lucia so afraid of anything before,” I heard Sparrow whisper.

“I suppose all the pressure of being in charge is starting to get to her,” Lloyd added.

“Perhaps we ought to vacate the surrounding area before she cracks?” Hawkmon suggested.

“I NEVER CRACK!” I shouted. “I just…have a few, occasional lapses in sanity, that’s all.”

“…Sounds like cracking to me,” Sparrow said quietly.

“SHUT UP! NOW…! Now…let’s keep going. We’re almost there! Now let’s GO!” I ran ahead of the others, up to the top of a grassy knoll, and saw at once my teacher’s home. My heart sank as I laid eyes on the pure white building, made entirely of wood, at the heart of a descent in the Prairie.

“Is this your master’s home?” Tactimon asked.

“…Y…Yes,” I whispered. “…Um…Maybe if we keep going, she won’t notice us…”

“Lucia, we’re already here; let’s just go see her and get it over with,” Mihiramon grunted. “Get it…over with…Like our lives may soon be…”

“Guys…? I think you’re a little too late,” Lloyd said nervously. “Someone’s coming…” My heart came to a complete and total stop.

H-Here she comes…Master…Silvanna…A rather short, youthful-looking woman, garbed in a black martial arts gi, was slowly walking up to us. Her blonde hair was tied in a shoulder-length ponytail, and flowed gracefully behind her in a gentle breeze. To my complete and utter surprise, she had a smile on her face. I froze up, and instinctively reached for the sword I hung from my back. Before I knew it, Silvanna had already approached us. Barely coming up past my shoulders at 4’08” tall, Silvanna smiled kindly up into my eyes.

“Lucia…it’s been so long, my dear,” Silvanna said. “Come here…”

I-Is she…asking for a hug…? Reluctantly, I bent my knees, expecting an embrace, when Silvanna rammed her fist into my stomach, knocking the wind clear out of me. I fell to the ground, and heard Silvanna chuckle.

“Hmph…Looks like you’ve gotten soft in more than one way,” Silvanna said in her usual rough voice. “Last time I did that, I broke several bones in my hand. Now, I walk away uninjured…What a stroke of luck you came to see me, eh, Lucia? Your belly is as soft as cotton.”

“Y…Ye…s…Master,” I wheezed.

“Well? What are you doing still on the ground? Did I really do so much damage?” Silvanna asked. “C’mon…Lemme see that smile.” Silvanna reached down and picked me up by the back of my shirt collar.

“Silvanna…still as brutal as ever,” Mihiramon sighed.

“Oh, Mihiramon; I didn’t see you back there,” Silvanna said in a remarkably kind voice. “Come here, darling…”

“Bite me. I ain’t falling for that, you psycho,” Mihiramon laughed.

“Aw, I’ve trained you so well, Mihiramon!” Silvanna cooed. “…Hm? I don’t see little Isole anywhere…”

“She…back…in the guild,” I wheezed, struggling and failing to free myself from Silvanna’s grasp. “Master…”

“Huh? Oh, that’s right; I forgot you joined a mercenary guild when you finished training with me,” Silvanna said. “…You guys, you don’t have to stand so far away from me; I’m only this rough on any pupils I take on, you hear?”

“Y-Yes! Understood!” Sparrow exclaimed. He and Larraine were hiding behind Mihiramon, while Hawkmon flew high up above us in the sky.

“My lady…I do not mean to interrupt such a…heartwarming reunion, but there are matters of which we must speak.”

“…S…Sephyrus…?”

“What are you even following us around for, anyway?!” Tactimon asked. The man walked past Mihiramon and those hiding behind him, ignoring Tactimon’s question.

“Time is of the essence; now, please…have you a gemstone that you’re safeguarding?” Sephyrus asked.

“…What are you talking about?” Silvanna asked. “Do I look like the sort of woman who would have treasure and jewelry?”

“…You haven’t answered my question,” Sephyrus said. “Have you any knowledge of special gemstones the evil ones are after?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about; I don’t know anything about gemstones of any kind, priest,” Silvanna responded. “Lucia, did you really come all this way with your guildmates just to ask me such a ridiculous question?”

“No…No, I didn’t,” I said, finally breaking loose of Silvanna’s grasp. “Those, um, evil ones that Sephyrus here mentioned; we don’t really know who they are…they’re after these gemstones for some reason. I really couldn’t fathom a guess why…but regardless of whether or not they find those jewels, we’ll have to fight them.”

“Ah, I gotcha…You just need a little advice, right?” Silvanna asked.

“Not so much advice; we just…need guidance, Master. We don’t know what’s going to happen to us in our future; one of my guildmates, Wisemon, told us that our destiny is fast approaching, and at the speed at which it is doing so, we may not survive. We…need your help, Master Silvanna…” Silvanna, with her deep blue eyes, looked directly into my own. She stared, as if looking all the way into my soul. I, too, looked deep into her eyes, practically begging her for her guidance. “Master…”

“…You haven’t changed a bit, Lucia. Honest as ever. I’ll help you however I can,” Silvanna sighed. “Honestly…where would you be without me, little one?” I smiled.

“Master…”

“Silvanna…thanks for the help,” Mihiramon said. “But…we’ve also got another appointment. We’re due to a meeting with the Emperor of Shendu Territory tomorrow afternoon. We don’t have much time.”

“Understood…Well, I suppose I can’t put you through any of the old training regimens. Fighting the unknown is indeed a very dangerous thing, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, especially with who you say you’re fighting. It is a noble cause, my student, and I will help you and your friends however I can. I’ll prepare you all, mentally, for the unknown. Half of any battle is fought in the mind. If you don’t think you’ll win, then you won’t. And if you fight against evil…then you HAVE to win. I won’t allow any student of mine succumb to the darkness.”
 

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Chapter 199 - By Decree of the Emperor

Lucia Delbray



For the second time within the span of a year, I laid eyes upon the Royal Castle of Shendu Territory, having arrived at Shendu earlier this morning. As soon as we had arrived, we were allowed in the castle’s outdoor courtyard by the guards, where we were told to wait.

“I do hope we aren’t too late for our meeting,” Hawkmon said. “We did spend somewhat of a long time with Miss Silvanna the other day…”

“Don’t worry; every moment spent with her was one well spent,” I said.

“Even when she punched you in the tummy?” Larraine asked. “Does it still hurt? She left a pretty big bruise when she hit you…”

“Y-Yes…to both of your questions,” I whispered. “She may have broken a rib or two…”

“That doesn’t sound good; will you be able to fight if we need to?” Tactimon asked.

“Yeah; I always got beat up when we used to spar back in the day. All the bruises and broken bones I got back then only made me stronger. This pain is nothing; trust me, I’ve felt worse,” I said.

“Spoken…like a true warrior.” A massive pair of violet wings appeared in the sky, bringing down a Digimon clad in pure white armor.

“Dynasmon! How’ve you been?” Sparrow exclaimed.

“Things here have been quite well since the warriors of Lachesis brought an end to the Emperor’s mad brother,” the Exalted Dragon replied, bowing down before us on the stone flooring. “…Flamedramon and Zelda are not with you? I was told your guild was coming to speak with the emperor. Where is your leader?”

“I apologize, Dynasmon, but they had business elsewhere,” I said. “It was decided we would all split into smaller groups in order to deal with the task at hand.”

“…And what task might that be?” Dynasmon asked. “You do wish to meet with the emperor, do you not? His majesty does not like to be kept waiting.”

“Yes, we do need to speak to him, but—”

“Excellent. Then let us not wait a moment longer, shall we?” Dynasmon grabbed my wrist gently but firmly, and pulled me through the courtyard and into the castle.

“Wait, Dynasmon—”

“His chamber is right this way, Lady Lucia. Come! We mustn’t be late!” Dynasmon insisted. I glanced over my shoulder, and saw my friends reluctantly following after me. Dynasmon lead us to a massive, ornately-decorated golden pair of doors that opened themselves to a single wave of Dynasmon’s free claw. “My lord! I have brought you the warriors of Lachesis!” The Exalted Knight pulled me into what could only be the Emperor’s throne room. A large golden throne sat at the opposite end of the room where Tso Lan sat, and next to it was a smaller throne where sat his daughter, Princess Lan Fan. Dynasmon immediately bowed down once more, releasing me from his grip in the face of Emperor Tso Lan.

“Thank you, Dynasmon; you are dismissed, now,” Tso Lan said.

“Excuse me, sir; if it isn’t too much of an inconvenience, I would like to request that Dynasmon remain here,” I whispered.

“…I’ve no problem with this; remain here as the lady requires,” Tso Lan said.

“I understand, my emperor; I am honored by both of your requests,” Dynasmon said, not once raising his head.

“Now, then…why have you requested an audience with me on this day, warriors of Lachesis?” the Emperor asked.

“Your majesty…there are things of grave import that we must discuss with you,” I said.

“Ah, yes…what request can I grant you? I paid your guild for your assistance when you fought my brother, but if there is some other request I can grant you, I’d be honored to do so,” Tso Lan said. “If it is of grave import…then do you perhaps need our aid? I can lend you as many soldiers as you may need.”

“Actually…it concerns your, um…your Royal Gemstone,” I began.

“…What about it?”

“Please, understand; like your brother, there is someone else after your gemstone,” I continued. “Someone…well, it may be a group, but your gem is being targeted once again.”

“Damn it all…My gem is always the center of attention in the minds of worthless thieves,” Tso Lan spat.

“Such as it is, these thieves may be highly organized, highly skilled, and highly powerful. You’ve heard stories of IceDevimon, haven’t you?” I asked. Tso Lan nodded, but glared almost menacingly at me. “We believe that whoever is after your gem may be with him. That is why I would like to suggest that—”

“Suggest WHAT, exactly?” Tso Lan growled. “…You don’t actually mean to take my gemstone away from me, do you?! Don’t be preposterous, Lucia!”

“Your majesty, please, just listen to me—”

“SILENCE!” The emperor rose up, and walked down the golden stairway that lead to his throne. “You know that I cannot simply hand over this gemstone, not even to you and your guild! Not even my own daughter may so much as touch this jewel until she becomes Empress!”

“Emperor Tso Lan…”

“I cannot allow you to stay here in my castle. I order you to leave!”

“Your Majesty!” Dynasmon rose to his feet, staring at his liege in shock, but Tso Lan ignored the outburst from his knight.

“I trust NOBODY with the Royal Gemstone of Shendu! What makes you think I’d simply hand it over to a penniless mercenary?!”

“Your majesty; Lucia, not to mention the others of Lachesis, is not some regular sellsword! Her guild has not only saved the gem in question, but also the entire world at multiple times throughout history as we know it!”

“…That matters not to me. The only thing that matters is the history of my kingdom! None may take this gem from its Emperor or Empress!” Tso Lan shouted. “Begone! I order you all to leave at once! Leave Shendu Territory!”

“Father, please!” Lan Fan exclaimed.

“Leave now, or I shall have you executed for treason!” Tso Lan snapped, ignoring the words of both Dynasmon and his daughter. “I don’t trust you! I don’t trust ANY of you! The gemstone is MINE!”

…That look in his eyes…I didn’t see it last time…Could this be…why IceDevimon wants those gems? “…Yes, your majesty…We shall leave immediately.”

“Lucia…” Larraine glanced up at me uncertainly, holding on tightly to my arm while standing behind me. “We…we just got here…Should we really go…?”

“It looks like we don’t have a choice. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be killed in battle than be executed by someone who should be one of our allies,” I said.

“W-Well, I, um, I’d just rather not die in the first place,” Larraine whimpered.

“Then go. And never show yourselves before me ever again. Asking for the Royal Gemstone is out of the question. Any of my ancestors would have you killed on the spot for saying such things; you should consider yourself lucky it is I you speak with and not one of them. Now, LEAVE!!!”

“…Fine. We’ll take our leave of you, sir,” I said quietly. “…Sorry for everything, your majesty.” I turned around, facing my allies. “Sorry, everyone…I dragged us all here for nothing, it looks like,” I whispered as soon as we had left the throne room.

“Don’t worry about it; it isn’t your fault that things turned out this way,” Tactimon said, following me out of the throne room with the others. It was a quiet walk for most of our way through the castle.

“…It did seem like our talk with the emperor went a lot faster than it should have,” Lloyd said quietly.

“Yes; part of me wonders if it’s because of that gemstone,” I said. “Not like how the emperor reacted to it, but his reaction and aggression in general; it seems likely, if not obvious, that these gems have some sort of magic bound to them. Why else would IceDevimon’s forces search for them? And in the presence of such magical power, maybe the personality of the emperor changed somehow…” The bright light of the mid-afternoon sun shone above all our heads as we left the castle. “…There’s so much we don’t know; I wish we had the luxury of time to do some research, but because we know so little about these gems, we really can’t wait any longer…”

“…A moment, please.” Larraine’s grip on my arm tightened at the sound of Dynasmon’s voice.

“You followed us all the way out of the castle?” I asked. “What would your emperor say if he knew you were speaking to exiles like us?”

“I doubt he would care, as long as we don’t plot to steal his gem,” Dynasmon said. “…I overhead what you said, about the gemstones and their magic.”

“What do you know about them?!” I exclaimed. “Please, anything that you can tell us about them would be most appreciated!”

“Of course; my knowledge is shallow still, but I will share what I do know,” Dynasmon whispered. The lot of us continued our walk, aiming to get as far away from the castle as we could so as not to be overheard. “…I was a knight of Shendu roughly forty years before the emperor’s birth. As a child, he was much like his daughter, Lan Fan; shy, polite, empathetic, and kind-hearted. Even now, our emperor truly is a kind man; he only does and says what he does because he believes it will benefit his kingdom in some way or another. Above all else, he cares for the well-being of his daughter.”

“But…we helped them; I don’t understand why he won’t trust us,” Larraine said sadly.

Dynasmon sighed. “…On the emperor’s 18th birthday, the day of his coronation, he was given the Royal Gemstone by his father. That was when…I noticed the first change in his personality. He started showing less trust in others. It’s not so much that he closed himself off to everyone he knew; he simply stopped trusting those he didn’t know. He limited trade between Shendu and the other territories to a bare minimum, and he refused to meet with the other royal families. All of this happened the very day he first touched that gem…”
Tso Lan



An entire minute was spent in silence after the departure of Lucia and the other members of Lachesis. Following that, Dynasmon left the room of his own accord, saying nothing as he did so. I knew he had gone after them, but that wasn’t what bothered me. What bothered me was the things I had said to the members of Lachesis. Had I always been so…cruel? For most of my life, at least since becoming the emperor, it was as though I performed all of my actions as though in a daze. I looked down at my hand, and clenched my fist. When did life become so complicated? Yes, I had been raised to be an emperor since my childhood, but life then was filled with joy, and great anticipation of my coming title. I had had a beautiful wife, and a precious daughter was born to us before my wife left this world to illness.

“…Father…are you okay?” Lan Fan asked. I remained silent. “Father…how could you? How could you turn your back on our cherished allies? How could you be so…cruel?”

“Cruel…? How DARE YOU?!” I screamed. My daughter flinched at the tone of my voice, and backed away from me into a corner of the room. “You think me cruel?! Your mother would have remained a wretched commoner had I not squirted you into her belly! And you would have borne the full brunt of nearby royals for being born from a nobody! I PROTECTED YOU WITH MY LIFE!!!” I blinked. My daughter was on the floor, trembling before me with tears streaming from her wide, golden eyes down her face. “…Lan Fan…” Once again, I was instantly ashamed of myself. Not once in her entire life had I ever raised my voice while speaking to her, nor had I ever spoken ill of either her or her mother.

What’s wrong with me?! What am I becoming…? Reduced to shouting at my own beloved daughter…driving away ally after ally…all of this because of some stupid gemstone. What is wrong with me…? I knelt down next to my daughter, and gently stroked the side of her face. “I’m sorry…I…I don’t know…Something is wrong…with me. Lan Fan…I’m so sorry…”
 

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Chapter 200 - Princess of a Brighter Tomorrow

Edmund Luxord



The Royal Castle of Valencia Territory shone down upon my group like a shining beacon of hope within this maelstrom of uncertainty. Trionfimon, Lilliana, Kamemon, Isole, Andromon, Sieglinde, and Lupinemon all stared up in awe at the castle; from what I was told, I was the only one who had seen it in person. Valencia, along with Shendu, was so far the only kingdom where our faces were known and accepted as allies, though only because we had not yet met with the royals of the other territories. Our trip was by far the shortest, taking less than ten minutes to make our way from our guildhall to the castle, and it would likely serve as the least trying task — Princess Micaiah was a kindhearted and gentle soul, and though she was not yet old enough to be queen following the passing of her parents and brother, I knew her to be capable of stopping the one and only problem we may have had to face on that day — Omnimon.

“The throne room is at the end of this hallway,” the Valencian knight Alena said kindly. “Um…sorry about all the weird decorations around the castle; as you may remember, our princess recently vacationed in Shendu Territory, and was quite enamored with their particular…er, sense of aesthetics, as it were…”

“No need to apologize; I must admit that I am also rather taken with the interior design,” I mused. “It must’ve taken a lot of work to do all this…”

“Not really; Omnimon did almost all of it when he heard Micaiah was so fond of it,” Alena laughed. “…Speaking of Omnimon…why did you need to speak with him today? And where is Master Ulysses?”

…She…wasn’t told about the master…No, now is not the time to dwell on it. “Our guild split up into groups to seek out the Royals of the five territories. Our master is…in Elphierr at the moment.”

“Oh, I see…But, why do you need to visit all the Royals in the first place?” Alena asked. “…Is something big about to happen again?”

“I’m afraid so; we haven’t many specifics apart from the fact that our enemy is after some special gemstones,” I sighed.

“Oh! You mean like the one Mr. Omnimon has?!” a cheerful voice asked.

“M-Milady! I apologize, I didn’t see you there!” Alena practically shrieked, bowing down on the floor to Princess Micaiah.

“Yeah! So, Mr. Omnimon, he has this special jewel that he only ever lets me see, so I thought it could be the one you were talking about!” Micaiah spoke quickly, ignoring Alena’s rushed honorifics.

“You’re serious?! Omnimon actually has a gemstone?!” I exclaimed. “My lady, please, you must tell us about it! IceDevimon is after these gemstones that the royals have!”

“Okay! Well…It’s kinda diamond-shaped, and also clear, like it’s made of ice or something,” Micaiah began. “But, it isn’t cold or anything, and Omnimon keeps it close to him all the time, and won’t let anyone else see it except for me, and…Hm…Well, one time, he beat up Siebold pretty bad for asking to see it, that was about a year ago…And…that’s about all I know about it!”

“I-I see…”

“That description…It sounds similar to Matthew’s gemstone,” Isole whispered.

“Yes. I don’t doubt that there’s a connection between them. But I still have so many questions; questions that I’m worried won’t be answered until it’s too late,” I said.

“Hm? Did you say something, Mr. Edmund?” Micaiah asked.

“…He’s saying that we’re all doomed,” a deep voice said slowly. A black cape shuffled from around the corner of the hallway.

“Oh! Hi, Mr. Omnimon! How long have you been there?” Micaiah asked.

“I, um, just got here! It’s not like I was eavesdropping on you or anything!” Omnimon stammered.

“Oh, okay!” Micaiah smiled up at the Exalted Knight.

Is she…kidding, or is she just that naïve?

“…Whatever the case…Whether or not IceDevimon gets ahold of my gemstone, I will not allow those bastards to bring harm to Lady Micaiah. I will kill him with my own two hands if necessary,” Omnimon said. “…I will do this much for you, son of Flamedramon; I will allow you to lay eyes upon my jewel, for all that you and your guild has done for my liege.” Omnimon held out his right hand, and released a small crystal from the tip of his cannon. “This…is what our enemies seek.” Micaiah’s description was spot-on; Omnimon’s jewel looked exactly like a crystal of ice, completely colorless.

“Wow…so pretty!” Micaiah exclaimed.

“I can sense a dreadfully powerful magic coming from within this crystal. I’ve had it ever since all the kingdoms were formed, but I don’t know anything about it. I’ve had this feeling that I’ve had to protect this from IceDevimon, as much as I had to protect Micaiah and her ancestors.”

“A Digimon called Anubismon told us that IceDevimon is coming after these gemstones; we know next to nothing about them, and we don’t even know how many there even are. Omnimon, if you please…we can help you protect this gemstone.”

“Yes…I know you all to be capable of this, but I’m going to decline your offer,” Omnimon said. “It’s nothing personal; I just feel like this is my…personal mission. Don’t get me wrong, I deeply appreciate your offer, but I am going to do this on my own. Do you understand me?”

“I understand perfectly, Omnimon, but IceDevimon’s forces are going to start searching for these gemstones. What will happen if they arrive at the front door of your castle, Omnimon? Will you take responsibility for any lives lost when IceDevimon’s forces arrive?” I asked, hoping my voice didn’t sound too intimidating.

“…I will. But, I will make certain no lives are lost, apart from the enemy’s,” Omnimon said sternly. “Rest assured…IceDevimon will not succeed, Edmund Luxord.”

“That’s what we’re all hoping; but unfortunately, life doesn’t exactly go according to one’s desires. Omnimon, please…If you won’t allow us to take your gem into custody, then allow us to remain here to help you protect it and Lady Micaiah. Please…”

“Heh…I guess you won’t budge on this decision, will you, son of Flamedramon? Very well…your group may remain in this castle as long as you desire,” Omnimon said.
IceDevimon



“I see…so…things are beginning go along as planned,” I whispered. “Master…the gemstones are being searched for as we speak by Lachesis. Shall we make our move as well…?”

“…No. That is not a necessity yet, IceDevimon. The various armies are moving out as well, my servant. The warriors of Lachesis, their allies, none of them are a match for those armies. Let things go on as they will. Do not involve yourself in this battle if you know what is good for you.”

“Do not fear, master; I won’t bother myself in this pointless battle. It’ll be more fun to allow him to do the honors to tear out their bowels and feed them to the vermin of hell,” I said, giving my master a fanged smile. My master shifted around in the shadows, and I could tell he was glaring at me. “…Does this displease you, my master?”

“No…I’m fine with that one taking the glory. I’m simply wondering if he’ll succeed or not.”

“Master, how can you wonder that? Lachesis will win, no matter what. Is that not obvious? You are the only one who can stop them, my master. It is only at the very end of things…that they will fall victim to your power.”

“You sound quite confident about this, IceDevimon; how do you know it will play out this way?” my master asked.

“I know it…because I was walking on this world from the very first days of its creation. I spoke with the Goddess on many different occasions; she has imparted her wisdom unto me whenever I did. But of course, you already know this…because I was once a part of you, my master.”

“So you were. But you haven’t answered my question, IceDevimon.”

“Oh, master, don’t be like that; I simply enjoy thinking of the many ways Lachesis will come to an end. Imagining you destroy them all is my favorite vision.”

“…I see. But, do not waste your time with these silly daydreams of yours, IceDevimon. Remember, though you will not involve yourself with the war to come, you still have work to do. Do not disappoint me.”

“It shall be as you say…Master Baephomon,” I whispered, bowing to my master as both he and the shadow he dwelled in vanished from sight, leaving me completely alone.
 
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