Lost Chronicles II: One World

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 61 - Nocturne of Blood

Lucia Delbray

The bulk of our group stood or sat around the site the campfire that would most likely be made once the sun had set. Of course, a simple fire was the least of our concerns. A chilling fear gripped at all of our hearts, thinking about the small group we sent to scout the large city up ahead that was known as Europa. With my back leaned against Mihiramon’s side, I turned my gaze to the sky. Rather late in the afternoon, the sun was still in the sky, but the very edges of the horizon were beginning to taint the pure, pale blue with an unnerving, dark orange, much like I’ve always imagined the flames of hell to look like. I sighed, and tightly wrapped my fingers around the handle of my pendulum axe.

We’ll get through this…just like everyone keeps saying, I kept thinking. Over and over again, this thought would race through my mind, like my very subconscious was trying to soothe the unrest I felt. But even so, a terrible foreboding wrenched my gut. We…we can do this…We will all get out of here alive…Karen will be waiting for each and every one of us at her ship, and she’ll take us all home.

“So, Lucia…still got the hots for Matthew?” Mihiramon asked.

“DAMN IT, MIHIRAMON!!!!!!”

“…You like my great, great, great…something grandson?” Zelda asked with a confused expression on her face.

“You like my brother?!” Eleanora asked with a maddened glare on her face.

“Seems to be that way ever since that special rock of his got stolen by that thief chick,” Mihiramon said.

“Poor, lucky Matthew,” Sparrow shook his head slowly.

“…I believe you’ve just contradicted yourself, Sir,” Alena said.

“Oh, he does that all the time,” Hawkmon said. I was tempted to laugh at Sparrow’s usual stupidity with all of the others, but my eye was locked with Eleanora’s.

“See what you started, Mihiramon?” I hissed. The large Ultimate shrugged his shoulders. Before I knew it, Eleanora was sitting right next to me, still glaring. “…Hi…?”

“…You really like him?”

“Yeah. I do.”

“…You take good care of him, all right?” Eleanora draped her arm across my chest and wrapped her hand around my shoulder, leaning her head atop my breast. “He means the world to me; don’t you dare break his heart…”

“Could’ve sworn it was Lilliana who liked him,” Edmund said.

“I thought it was Larraine,” Abigail said.

“Well, it probably isn’t me that he likes,” I whispered. “All I know is that he likes someone in our group, and I doubt that it’s me…”

“What do you mean?” Eleanora asked.

“…I think it’s about time for all of us to head out,” I said, trying to change the subject.

“Lucia is correct,” Ulysses said. “I am certain that Alicia has been able to scout the area and find us an escape route by now. Now we just need to meet up with her group and find that escape route, because I’m sure that there are enemies waiting for us in Europa.” All of us looked towards the large city. I picked up my axe and leapt onto Mihiramon’s back. “Everyone…be on your guard. Even you, Leopardmon.”

“Understood,” the Mega level said. I gripped tightly the reins strapped to my partner Digimon, and looked to the city as we all slowly, slowly approached it. My heart pounded faster and faster as we entered Europa. Each building we passed, each alleyway, my heart skipped, expecting a Cyllenian Knight to pop out and strike.

“I told Alicia and her group to wait near this side of the city for us,” Ulysses said. “We should find them soon enough…I hope…”

“…If we don’t find them, should we head back?” Flamedramon asked. From the corner of my eye, I noticed something hidden in the shadows move. Light reflected off of the polished metal surface of a sharpened sword.

“We might not have that option,” I whispered. “We’re not alone.”

“Yeah; I can smell some armor and weapons,” Mihiramon added. I looked to the side, and saw a few other figures shifting around in the alley shadows.

“…We’re surrounded,” Alena said.

“Already?!” Ulysses hissed. Sure enough, from every direction, armor-wearing Humans brandishing sinister weapons, and powerful Digimon marched forward. Hundreds upon hundreds of soldiers had surrounded us. “Where the hell is Alicia?! We need to get through this city to get closer to the castle!”

“You will not be going anywhere, I’m afraid,” a WaruSeadramon said.

“From the shore you stopped at, King Desmond knew you would have to cut through this city, so he positioned over one-thousand of us here in this city,” a Human said. “All of you from Lachesis are in for a rough time!”

“Everyone! Ready yourselves and your Digimon Partners!” Ulysses exclaimed. Those Humans who had Digivices pulled them out, and all of them began to glow as the Summoners retrieved their Talismans. I slid off Mihiramon’s back, and readied my pendulum axe. “Reload, Talosmon! AeroVeedramon! Andromon!”

“Lunamon Digivolve to, Lekismon!”

“Hawkmon Armor Digivolve to, Allomon, the Fangs of Courage!”

“Come forth, Aquarimon!”

“Bio Hybrid DNA Charge! Bio Hybrid Digivolve to, BioLadyDevimon!”

“Come forth, Mercurymon!”

The Digimon surrounding us all smirked at the Digimon on our side, and the Cyllenian Humans did the same for the Humans of Lachesis and Valencia.
“You may all be powerful,” another Cyllenian Knight said. “But you are all severely outnumbered. You have no chance of claiming victory!”

“Everyone; attack!” Ulysses yelled. And so it began. Army clashed against army, will against will, Human against Human, Digimon against Digimon. The civilians all began to panic and flee the sight of our battle. All at once, the Digimon on our side began firing off their strongest attacks at the Cyllenian army. The five Valencian Knights formed a protective ring around Zelda with Mercurymon directly in front of them, shields up and ready to protect his partner. Leopardmon and BioLadyDevimon flew overhead, fighting a Gryphonmon, while AeroVeedramon fought a large MetalGreymon. Edmund and Flamedramon stood back to back, surrounded by a crowd of Cyllenian knights. With all that was going on, it was hard to keep my focus on even a single knight.

Maybe I shouldn’t have climbed off Mihiramon’s back, I thought, holding up my axe to protect myself from a knight’s sword just barely in time. A large hand grasped my wrist from behind, while another wrenched my axe away. I was completely unarmed, and surrounded by heavily armed knights.

“Samurai Tiger Tail!” Mihiramon’s tail struck down all of the knights, and once more, I climbed onto his back. “You gotta quit daydreaming, Lucy. Can’t have you dying on us!”

“Flaming Arrowheads!” A huge Majiramon flew into the sky, and called forth a rain of fire that struck down nearly all of us. A single flame was all it took to knock Mihiramon over. Talosmon, Leopardmon, Mercurymon, and Flamedramon were the only ones still standing. I was barely conscious, and hardly anyone else was. “Impressive, huh?” Majiramon asked. “That attack has taken out Mega Digimon before; you should all consider yourself lucky to be—” Without warning, Majiramon instantly lowered to the ground. It was at that point that I noticed an arrow directly between his red eyes. More and more arrows flew out and pierced Majiramon’s eyes, and the rest of his long body until he fell all the way to the ground, dead.

“Al…Alicia…?” I looked up just in time to see even more arrows rain down from the top of a skyscraper and into the foreheads, necks, and chests of the Cyllenian Knights. The ones that were hit died instantly, leaving less than two-hundred of them alive.

“Hey! Everyone, get up!” Atop Firamon’s back, Alicia and Matthew descended to the ground. Next to him, Quetzalmon swooped down with Elizabeth, Giselle, and Bokomon on his back. “We gotta go, now!” Alicia yelled.

“Come on! We’ve found the way out!” Matthew added. “The shortcut we found will take us straight to the castle!”

“…Good work…all of you,” Ulysses grunted, using his claymore to help him stand up. “Let us hurry…before reinforcements arrive…” The master held up his Fusion Loader, and returned all of the Digimon to it.

“All right; the road’s kinda hidden, so it took us a bit of a while for us to find it,” Alicia said. “It’s this way…” Alicia began walking, when she came to a stop instantly.
“Alicia…what’s wrong?” I asked. I ran over to the sniper, and gasped. Protruding from her chest was an arrow.

[HR][/HR]
Eliza Wilstrom

With my arrowgun, I could see up close the looks of anguish and despair as the westerners saw their own sniper fall to the ground on her knees. Standing next to me, Eeno whistled, and quietly applauded me.

“My, my...it seems you quite deserve your fearsome reputation, Miss Eliza,” Eeno said. “Oh…but it seems as though she’s still standing…”

“You kiddin’ me? I'm surprised her big ol’ tits didn't block the arrow entirely,” I said. I fired another arrow at the enemy’s sniper, piercing clear through her left knee. BAM! One through her chest. BAM! One in her navel. One in the center of her forehead. One in her neck. One in her—

“I think she’s dead now, Miss Eliza,” Eeno said.

“Oh…so she is,” I said. “What a weakling…and she had the gall to call herself a sniper? Pathetic little slut.”

“Why didn’t you target all of them? Why just their sniper?” Eeno asked.

“…I don’t like thinking that there could be snipers better than me. I simply rid myself of the competition,” I replied. “Plus, with one of their own down, their morale will fall, making it that much easier to destroy them all at once! Or even one at a time, if we felt like it!”

“I see…Well, if you’re all done here, do I have your permission to…intercept them?”

“Do as you wish, Eeno Freightheart.”
“Many thanks, Black General Eliza.”

[HR][/HR]
Lucia Delbray

I couldn’t bring myself to believe what had just happened. Alicia lay dead on the side of a road, drenched in her own blood. Her eyes had glazed over, and all the color had fled from her face. All of us stood around her body, gazing at it in a somber disbelief. Even Isole, who had hated Alicia, had tears filling her eyes as more and more of the dead sniper’s blood spilled out onto the stone pavement. While it was happening, I couldn’t move a muscle. All I could do was look on in horror as Alicia was continuously shot from afar, and while the shooting stopped a few moments after she died, all of us kept our distance from her in case it started up again.

…This cannot be happening, I thought. I promised Isole…I promised everybody that we would all return home safe and alive…Why…Who the hell killed you, Alicia?! Who did this to you?!

“Yikes! She really did a number on your sniper!” At the sound of the unfamiliar voice, I whipped around, gripping my axe tightly. A tall and slender man approached us; on his pale face was a disturbing grin. “Wow…I knew Liza was a good shot, but I never thought she’d be that good of a shot! Geez; an arrow right between the eyes from that far away, and one into her belly button, too…”

“Who the hell are you?!” Ulysses asked.

“Oh, do forgive me; my name is Eeno,” the man said. “I was simply marveling at my superior’s sublime accuracy. She’s one of the three generals of Cyllene, you know.”

“Take us to her! Right now!” I snapped.

“Sorry; ‘fraid I haven’t been given orders to do so,” Eeno shrugged. “But…Miss Eliza did give me permission to slit all of your throats.” From a scabbard hanging at his waist, Eeno retrieved a large bowie knife and held out in front of him, with its sharp blade pointed directly at my neck. “If none of yeh lasses wish to be deflowered, then I suggest you kill me; right here and now!”

“…You…YOU BASTARD! I’LL KILL YOU! I’LL KILL ALL OF YOU! I’LL KILL EVERY CYLLENIAN WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS!” I rushed forward, madly swinging my pendulum axe at Eeno’s head, but with a grin, he nimbly avoided each strike.

“You know…You’re a bit older than the girls I usually have fun with,” Eeno said. “But I’m not too terribly picky. So long as I can have my fun—”

“SHUT UP! SHUT YOUR GODDAMN MOUTH!” I slammed my axe down hard, cutting into Eeno’s right shoulder, but as soon as I did, I realized I had made a big mistake.

“You axe wielders are always so predictable; your violent swings always leave you wide open for a hit,” Eeno said, shoving his knife deeper and deeper into my belly before violently taking it back out and back into his scabbard. I had been stabbed many times in my life, so I had grown somewhat used to the pain, but the pain I felt at this very moment was unlike any I’ve felt before. Eeno must have known, because as I began to collapse to the ground, he grabbed my chin and forced me to look into his revolting eyes. “My knife has been dipped into poison produced by a Digimon called Bacchusmon. If you don’t do anything soon…you’ll die, sweetheart.” And that was the last thing I remember him saying before I blacked out.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 62 - Absolute Death

Augustus Maxwell
Cyllene Castle
2 Hours

“So, they were able to escape you?” Agamemnon asked.

“I’m afraid so; they had their own Digimon Summoners among them, and their Spirits were able to overpower mine,” I replied.

“Is that so…well, whatever. Eliza’s already reported back; apparently, she was able to take out their sniper. Pretty sure that Eeno’s out having himself a good time.”

Wouldn’t surprise me in the least…

“Well, don’t feel bad or nothing ‘bout losing to the enemy. Even the very best lose a battle every now and then. That’s what makes them the best; they learn from their mistakes, and use them to grow even stronger.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, Green General Agamemnon,” I said, bowing to my superior.

“Anytime, Blue General Augustus,” the older man said. “Now, I need to go check in on a few things. Reflect on this loss, and use it to your advantage.”

“Yes, sir.” Agamemnon and I saluted, and the Green General walked off, leaving me by myself. I turned and leaned on the railing, and looked out at the deepening orange sky. “…The war has begun, has it? …This’ll be the first war I get myself involved in…Did I make the right decision; joining these knights? It was my childhood dream to become a knight, but now I’m not so sure it was the right thing to do…” Behind me, I could hear the hurried shuffling of footsteps. I turned around, only to see the slave, Amber, walk past me. Alarmingly, her clothes were in tatters, leaving barely anything left of them, and there were several fresh cuts all over her body. “Amber!” The young blonde turned around, but she didn’t give me her usual smile. “Amber, what happened to you?! Are you okay?”

“Oh…yes, sir, I am…quite all right,” Amber said, speaking slowly as if unsure of what to say. In one of her rare moments of timidity, she rose her arms to cover her almost naked body, and did her best to avoid my eyes.

“…What happened to you? Why are your clothes torn up?”

“N—Nothing…sir…I…I need to go—”

“Who did this to you?” I gently grabbed the young woman’s shoulder to keep her from leaving. “Who hurt you?”

“…It was…Sir Eeno,” Amber whispered. “But…I’m okay…He didn’t do…anything, really…He just…Ripped my clothes off…and scratched me up a little bit…” As the grim realization of what Eeno must have done to her came to mind, I gently took her arm in mine, and walked her to my room, quietly closing the door behind me.

“…Amber…what did he do to you?” I whispered.

“I…I’ve already told you, Sir…He…he just…” Amber looked down and away.

“…Did he rape you?” Amber’s clear blue eyes began to fill with tears, but even so, she shook her head. After a moment, she threw herself into me, crying into the front of my shirt.

“…I’m sorry…Sir…for lying to you…Eeno…he…he…” Without a word, I placed my arms around the maid’s body and embraced her.

“I’m the one who should be apologizing,” I whispered. “I should have realized that he would have done this to you someday…I could’ve protected you…But I…” I forced myself to leave Amber’s embrace, and looked down at her. “Don’t worry…I’ll make sure that he suffers for what he did to you, Amber.” I slowly walked into my bathroom, and came back out with a few wet washcloths.

“…Sir Augustus? What are you—?”

“We…are going to leave Cyllene.” Amber’s eyes widened. “You were taken at a very young age, so I’m not surprised you don’t remember…but you came from the continent of Arcadia…and I’m going to take you back there.”

“…You would…do that for me?” I nodded. “Augustus…Oh, Sir, Augustus—”

“There’s no need for that now, Amber. I’m not a knight anymore,” I said somberly. Amber smiled up at me.

“…What are the washcloths for?” she asked.

“I want to get you cleaned up as best as I can…from all that’s happened. I’ll get you nice and prettied up for your parents when we find them.” Once more, Amber placed her arms around me, and I could hear her quietly whisper her thanks before sitting down on my bed. Gently, I ran a cloth on her face, removing many years’ worth of dirt and grime. It was then that I discovered that her skin was a pale white, having been kept inside the castle ever since her kidnapping. Upon closer inspection, it seemed that Amber had not been properly bathed or groomed during that time. I raised her legs, and wiped the dirt from her feet, which had left the bottom of them completely blackened. Her fingernails and toenails were a little over an inch long. Her arms and legs were thinned from lack of proper nourishment. I could clearly see her ribcage, and her stomach was caved in. Every last little inch of Amber’s body showed one form of this abuse or another. As I went on, it became harder and harder to look at her directly, and though she smiled, I sensed an overwhelming sadness within her.

“…Am I pretty yet?” Amber asked.

“You were always pretty, Amber; it was…just an expression,” I said, just a little bit surprised at her misunderstanding. “…I’ll need to get something to clean up these scratches so they don’t get infected.” After taking another look at Amber, I untied my cape, and gently wrapped it around her shoulders before walking off. Before I could find something in my bathroom, someone banged on my bedroom door.

“‘Ey, August; you in there, man?” It was Eeno. Amber flinched at his voice, and drew herself up inside my cape. I motioned for her to hide inside my bathroom, and once she was out of sight, I opened the door, and Eeno let himself in. “Oi, this’s been one hell of a day, man; heard from Aggie that the enemy escaped you.”

“…What do you want, Eeno?” I asked.

“Just got back from fighting the enemy myself; stabbed a chick in the gut with my poisoned knife. From there, it was easy for me to escape. All their attention was placed on the girl, so I was able to slink away…but not before dragging away the body of their sniper to…enjoy it,” Eeno smirked. “Man, oh, man, was she delicious…”

“What do you want?”

“Oh, I just came to check in on you, man,” Eeno repeated. “Wanted to make sure those assholes didn’t rough you up or nothing, you know?”

“…Like how you did with Amber?”

“Oh, so you’ve found out, huh? Yeah, that was the most fun I’ve had in months. She was so…tender…”

“…Do you not remember our previous conversation?” I asked. “What I would do to you…if you ever hurt Amber again?”

“Huh? Oh, right…Well, no hard feelings, right, August?”

“I told you not to hurt Amber. And you raped her.” I held up my golden sword, and pressed it against Eeno’s neck.

“Ah, come on…Can’t you take a little joke, bro?”

There is nothing funny about rape!” I screamed. “Eeno…your judgment day is at hand!”

“Augustus, you bastard—” Before he could finish his sentence, I slit Eeno’s throat with the edge of my sword. His blood came spurting out and fell to the floor, and after it, his body. He was still and lifeless in less than a minute.

“It is safe to come out, Amber,” I said. “He’s dead.” Slowly, Amber tiptoed back into my bedroom, taking care to keep her distance from Eeno’s corpse.

“…Are you certain…?”

“Watch out!” Inadvertently, Amber stepped foot in Eeno’s blood. At the sight of the crimson liquid, her lips went pale. “…Sorry…”

“No, its…fine,” Amber whispered, wiping the sole of her bare foot across my floor to remove the blood.

“…Are you…ready to leave?” I asked. “We should leave as soon as we can. Do you have anything you need to get before we go?”

“You know they don’t let me have anything of my own,” Amber smiled. “And you…sir?”

“All I need is my sword and my Digimon Spirits…” I looked across the bedroom that had long been my solace in times of need. The place I would hide when afflicted by high levels of stress. Of course, being here had only served to increase my worries and problems. “…I suppose I ought to get you some clothes, Amber.”

“Sir Augustus, you don’t need to go through so much trouble on my behalf,” Amber replied.

“…I sort of already did…” I looked down at Eeno’s corpse. From a dresser, I retrieved a few shirts and jeans, hoping that they wouldn’t be too loose on the malnourished maid.

“…Thank you…for everything…Augustus,” Amber said. “I’ve always felt so…safe…in your presence…and happy…” I smiled at the young woman.
“Save your thanks for when we get to Arcadia, my dear,” I said. “…Just in case…I’m not strong enough to protect you…”

[HR][/HR]
Tamiko

I lay in my bed for hours, staring up into the infinite darkness of night. I couldn’t even move after…what had happened…to Kelik. It was as though the sharpest knife in the world had torn through my chest and pierced my heart. At first, the pain had spread across the rest of body, but it eventually numbed over, leaving behind only the pain in my heart. And yet, after I had awoken, I found myself unable to shed a single tear anymore. Not a single droplet.

I guess I ran out over the course of my life, I thought. And the knowledge I had recently obtained didn’t help me. I heard the entire conversation between my father and Kentaurosmon…and how my father…no, how Desmond had molested me when I was younger. And how he had planned on doing so tonight, and would have had Kentaurosmon not intervened. At this point, I just didn’t know what to think. My bedroom door opened, and once more, Kentaurosmon entered.
“I know you’re awake, my lady,” the Mega level said, quietly closing the door behind him.

“…Kentaurosmon…why…how…I…I don’t know where to begin…”

“Perhaps…I am also to blame for what happened earlier today,” Kentaurosmon said. “Earlier, when I grabbed you…I knew nothing could penetrate UlforceVeedramon’s Tensegrity Shield, and the only thing I could have done for you was to make sure that you didn’t see…And I failed you…”

“No, Kentaurosmon…You are…the only friend I have in the entire world right now,” I said. “And you…you did your best to protect me. I could never spite you for that…And you protected me once more tonight, too…”

“…You were awake for that as well?” I nodded, even though I knew Kentaurosmon couldn’t have seen the small, almost unnoticeable gesture.

“And I…must give you my thanks, Kentaurosmon,” I whispered. “For protecting me not once, but twice…”

“No thanks are necessary, Milady. It is my job to ensure your safety and happiness.” I was surprised by the second word; none of the knights I’d ever heard of were bound to ensure something as trivial as happiness. But as I thought it over, remembering all the times Kentaurosmon had been there for me when my brother had not. I’d known him since I was a child. He had always permitted me to ride on his back, and I remember thinking back to the many hours of fun I spent riding him, which is why it pained me so much to say these next few words.

“…Kentaurosmon…I’m leaving.”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 63 - Dark Night

Kentaurosmon

“…Kentaurosmon…I’m leaving,” Tamiko whispered.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“…It doesn’t matter. Anywhere…Any place in the world will be better than this place. Kentaurosmon…I am not coming back.”

“You–You can’t mean that!” I exclaimed. “My lady…You are the princess of the kingdom of Silverveil; no, of the entire continent of Cyllene! You can’t simply leave!”

“Can’t I?”

“But…what about your people? You have a duty to—”

“I don’t have to do a single thing for them,” Tamiko said flatly. “Why should I care about subjects who cheered at the execution of my brother?!”

“But my lady, the had been misinformed by your father—”

He was a child, Kentaurosmon!” Tamiko screamed. “Kelik…was eight years old…He was just an innocent child, Kentaurosmon! What kind of monsters would applaud the execution of someone his age, traitor or not?!” I stared at her blankly, and remained silent. Not once in my entire life had I ever heard her raise her voice. “…I really thought that you of all people would understand my feelings, Kentaurosmon. I thought we were friends. But you’ve proved me wrong.” Tamiko climbed out of her bed, and walked towards her bedroom door.

“…Tamiko—”
“I don’t want you in my life anymore…Kentaurosmon.” The look in the princess’s eyes was a sight I would never forget. Cold, empty, and emotionless, when they had previously been filled with life, and a gentleness that one would think could forgive even the most heinous crimes. Tamiko closed her bedroom door behind her as she left. I, still in her room, stared down at the floor with remorse and a crushing guilt in my chest.

[HR][/HR]
Tamiko Silverveil

Wiping the tears that were beginning to form in my eyes, I walked as quickly and as quietly as I could so as not to be noticed by Desmond. I’d no doubt that if he found me trying to leave the castle, then there would be nothing I could do to escape, and I would be forever trapped here. As I passed by a slightly ajar door, a hand reached out and grabbed my arm.

“…And just where do you think you’re going, young lady?” my father asked, tightening his grip on my arm.

“Release me at once, Desmond!” I shouted.

“Hey, hey, that’s no way to speak to your father!” Parrotmon squawked loudly. “And don’t address the king by his name!”

“You’re leaving, aren’t you?” Desmond asked, ignoring Parrotmon’s remarks. “Yes…I thought you might when I killed your brother.” To my surprise, the king released his grip on my arm.

“…Why did you do it?” I asked. “Why did you kill my brother?!”

“It simply fit into my agenda rather well,” Desmond said. “Plus, I finally rid myself of the result your mother’s betrayal of me.”

“She left you because you are an evil person!” I retorted. “You were always hitting her; yelling at her; ordering her around like she was your slave!”

“…I’ve decided to keep you alive because I need an heir to my throne,” Desmond continued. “I didn’t want that bastard claiming it as his own. But now, you are attempting to leave as well, aren’t you?”

“I can’t be here anymore,” I whispered. “I refuse to inherit a country that applauded the execution of a child!”

“…Very well, then, Tamiko. Go ahead and run. Run as far as you are able to,” Desmond said. I remained silent. “I will not try to stop you.”

“But, Your Majesty; you need an heir!” Parrotmon said. Desmond grinned down maliciously and condescendingly at me.

“She’ll be back. She’s nothing but a sheltered little bird that has no experience with the world outside her pampered life,” he said. “She has no knowledge of outdoor survival, and she’s never exercised once in her life. Tell me, Tamiko…just how far do you think you’ll be able to go until you give up and come crawling back home, hmm?”

“You should just resign to your fate, Tamiko!” Parrotmon said.

“I’m never coming back.”

“So you say…go on, then; go. Leave if you feel that you must. But you and I both know you will never make it alone out there!” I glared at my father, looking at him for what I hoped to be the last time, and turned my back in him, continuing to leave. Without pausing, or taking a look back, I continued on and on, until I finally reached the outer gate. There, I stopped, and looked up at the inky night sky. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the light of the stars tore through the infinite blackness. I kicked off my heels, deciding it would be less tiring without them, and walked into the smooth grass. The cold beads of dew covering the blades of grass tickled my feet, but I kept on moving forward without regret. As I continued on, the sound of a thick pair of wings caught my notice. I turned my head just in time to see Parrotmon soar above my head before landing on the ground in front of me.

“…What do you want, Parrotmon?” I asked.

“You didn’t actually think that I would let you leave, did you?!” the Digimon asked. “Desmond might not think you’ll keep at it, but I know you better than that! I know you meant what you said about not coming back; I know you’d rather die out here than live your life in that castle with Desmond!”

“So what’s your point?” I asked.

“I’m not letting you do this to your father; I’m taking you back to the castle with me!” Parrotmon shrieked, soaring back into the air. “Mjollnir Lightning!” A huge bolt of electricity shot off from Parrotmon’s forehead, knocking me off my feet and to the ground. The Digimon was instantly on top of me, and grasped my arm in one of his talons.

“No! Let go of me!” I struggled as hard as I could, trying to wrench free from Parrotmon’s clutch, but he only reached for me with his other claw. I moved my head just in time to avoid having an eye torn out, but Parrotmon’s claws ripped through my dress as they raked across my back.

“Stop struggling, you bitch!”

“Inferno Frost!” Parrotmon opened his beak, prepared to attack me, but before he could, a single arrow tore through the Digimon’s chest. Parrotmon’s blood splattered across my face and the front of my dress before he fell over backwards.

“…Kentaurosmon?” the Mega Digimon began slowly approaching me. “…Why…did you follow me?” I asked. “You’re not…going to try to take me back to the castle, are you?”

“Where is it you seek to go, my lady?” Kentaurosmon asked.

“…What?” I stared blankly at the Digimon. Kentaurosmon reached out his hand.

“Ken…Kentaurosmon…” Parrotmon wheezed, coughing up a handful of blood. “You…are betraying…Des…mond”

“My lady…Wherever it is you wish to go, I will help you get there,” Kentaurosmon said. “I swear on my life…on everything that I have in this world…that I will help you in any way you desire.”

“…Kentaurosmon…” Tears began to form in my eyes, and no matter how hard I tried to blink them back, they wouldn’t stop.

“What is it, my lady?”

“…I…I’m sorry…I’m sorry about what I said to you earlier!” I ran to the Digimon. He placed his hands around my shoulders as I began to sob uncontrollably.

“No. It is I who should be apologizing. When I spoke to you earlier, I didn’t take your feelings into consideration as I should have. My lady—”

“Kentaurosmon…please…I am no longer the princess of Silverveil Kingdom, or the Cyllene continent,” I said. “Just…call me Tamiko. We are equals. We always have been, I think. We’re friends…and nothing can ever change that. Not Desmond…not even death can change how much I care about you.”
“My…Tamiko…I care…very much about you as well,” Kentaurosmon said. “Now, then; climb onto my back. I shall take you wherever you wish.” I smiled up at my friend, and took his hand, climbing up onto his back as I had done many times in my youth. The two of us rode off into the night sky’s horizon.

[HR][/HR]
Parrotmon

My vision began to grow hazy. Blood began pouring out faster and faster from the arrow wound on my chest. It was becoming nigh impossible to breathe. My last moments were spent staring up at the quarter moon. Or whatever this phase was called; I never bothered to learn them. However, a shadowed figure blocked my view of it.

“What a shame…first, I learn of Zudomon’s betrayal, and now I see you, too, on the verge of death,” the figure said.

“Who…are…you?” I asked.

“…Of the three of us, IceDevimon had given me the highest authority, giving me the ability to Digivolve into my Mega form. In our previous lifetimes, I was known as Asuramon. Now…you may call me Murmuxmon.”

“What…do you want?” I mouthed. Or beaked. Whatever. I didn’t have the voice to talk anymore.

“I have come to save you from the brink of death…Parrotmon,” Murmuxmon said. “Now, just hold still…IceDevimon needs all the pawns he can get. You, me, even the ocean if need be…” I gently shut my eyes, not caring what Murmuxmon was doing anymore. I was simply ready to die.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 64 - The Red General

Eris

“Finally…it is morning,” I said. I grinned widely as sunlight shone through my bedroom window. I sat up in the center of my large bed. Directly across from me stood a lone man, dressed in a dark violet cloak that kept every inch of his body hidden from sight. Every inch, that is, save for his mouth. “Noir…is everything ready for my plan to spring into action?”

“Of course, Your Grace,” the man said. “Everything has gone exactly as I had predicted. Kelik was originally intended to inherit the throne from Desmond, being male. With him now deceased, Tamiko was next in line; but, with her brother murdered, Tamiko removed herself from the picture…leaving you, Queen Eris…the next in line to succeed the Cyllenian Throne.”

“Yes…all that stands in my way of truly becoming queen is my elder brother,” I said. “And there is already a plan underway for that obstacle.” The hooded figure nodded, though for once, it was not Noir who had concocted the plan running through my mind, and thus, I chose not to tell it to him, even though he was the most loyal and tight-lipped aid at my side. My stomach growled as I thought of the plan once more, and I climbed out of bed. “Dear Noir…you have my gratitude for everything you have done for me. Without you, I would forever be stuck as a lowly duchess in some barren, ungodly kingdom that nobody remembers the name of. My name would have been lost to the sands of history if not for you…”

“No, my queen…Your success is all that is important to me,” Noir said. “Now, it is time for us to depart; your brother has requested our presence at a meeting.”

“Oh, did he, now? And I suppose he didn’t have anything to say about why it is so important for me to be there?” Noir remained silent. “…That is so like Desmond. Well, no matter. Come along, Noir.” With the smallest struggle, I worked my way out of my bed, and walked over to a mirror to examine myself. My shirt was a good deal snugger than it had been, and it left a bit of my belly exposed, and my breasts had grown much larger.

“How goes the gain, my queen?” Noir asked, smiling kindly at me.

“Very good…I started at about one-hundred, and now, I’m around one-thirty. My belly’s gotten much softer, but it isn’t quite round yet.”

“Do not worry, my queen. It will be soon enough.”

“I should think so! You know, Noir, in more ancient times, being fat was one of the topmost indicators of wealth, as the wealthy have the money to spend on as much food as they can gorge themselves on, leaving the commoners to wither and starve in the streets.”

“How very true, my queen.”

“…Tamiko just doesn’t know what she’s missing. She really was quite pretty, you know; if she had stayed, I’d have helped to fatten her up as much as I could. Wouldn’t she be just adorable with a little potbelly?”

“Very lovely, my queen, but not as exquisite as yourself.” I turned and smiled at Noir.

That man always knows what to say to make a girl happy! “Well, let’s go and get this pointless meeting of Desmond’s over with.”

“As you desire, my queen.” Noir followed me out of my room, and all the way to Desmond’s throne room just a short distance away.

“…So good of you to join us, dear sister,” my elder brother said. The generals Eliza and Agamemnon were in the room as well, and so were UlforceVeedramon and Barbamon. Augustus and Eeno, however, were missing. “Do you know why you have been summoned, Eris?”

“No, brother. Why don’t you enlighten me?” I asked.

“…It seems that last night, Augustus murdered Eeno, and ran off with the slave known as Amber,” Desmond said. “So now, we seem to be one general short. Additionally, my daughter, Tamiko, seems to have run away with Kentaurosmon, murdering my beloved partner Digimon, Parrotmon, in the process.”

“…I see…that is…quite an interesting tale, brother,” I said. Of course, from what Noir had told me, I already knew all of this.

“So, as a result of this, I will be promoting UlforceVeedramon to general in place of Augustus,” Desmond continued.

“Me? A…general?” UlforceVeedramon asked. “Sir, I…I am honored!”

“As of now, I name thee, UlforceVeedramon, the Red General of the Cyllenian Imperial Army.” I glanced over at Noir. The man’s jaw was somewhat ajar.

Strange; this wasn’t something that he had predicted. He told me that Barbamon would be selected…Well, no matter. We don’t know what that one is planning. Perhaps it is for the best that UlforceVeedramon to be in a higher position of power.

“Red General UlforceVeedramon. Black General Eliza Wilstrom. Green General Agamemnon Makovel. You have all been given your orders earlier; now, go out and accomplish your missions. And you as well, Barbamon; go with your superior, Agamemnon.”

“Same old, same old, eh? Well, that’s quite alright with me!” Barbamon cackled.

“You are all dismissed.” The four knights saluted their king, and quietly left the room without another word.

“…Desmond…why was my presence necessary for a simple promotion of a knight?” I asked.

“It wasn’t. Not for the promotion, anyway. I have some…other things I wish to discuss with you, sister,” Desmond said. “…Tamiko has left, as I have told you. That means you, sister, are the next in line to inherit the throne should something befall me.”

“Oh…is that so?”

“I will be watching you carefully, Eris. I know you’ve desired the throne since we were children. If I see you do anything…suspicious…I will have you executed faster than my wife and bastard son!”

“Desmond; I would never do anything like that!” I exclaimed, feigning shock and hurt.
“You have been warned, Eris. And you should know better than anyone else…that I am a man of my word.”

[HR][/HR]
Lucia Delbray

After many hours of wandering the darkest corners of my unconscious mind, my eye instantly flashed open.

“Lucia! You’re awake!” Zelda exclaimed, sitting beside my body on the ground.

“…Zelda…did we all…make it out of Europa?” I asked. My mind was foggy, and my entire body ached with fatigue. “…Alicia! Is she—” I tried to sit up, but a sharp pain in my belly kept me from doing so. With help from Zelda, I slowly lay back down. “What…happened?”

“…Alicia didn’t make it,” Zelda whispered. “We…weren’t even able to…recover her body…We all had to leave as soon as we could; we couldn’t risk sitting out in the open where their sniper could easily take out more of us, and we didn’t want that man to…you know…stab any more of us…”

“…Stab…is that…why I’m in so much pain…?”

“No. The man’s knife was dipped in the poison of a rare Digimon,” Edmund’s voice said. “It took me a while to distill that poison before it spread to the rest of your body. But you’re going to have to lay off the fighting for a while now.”

“…I understand. Tell me…is everybody else…Did…anyone…”

“Nobody else got hurt,” Zelda said. “Mr. Ulysses and Flamedramon have set up a camp just outside of Europa; we’re right in between that city and the castle, according to them.”

“Just a few days on this path should lead us to the castle.” I glanced up, and saw our leader standing, tightly holding onto his claymore. “When you get better, Lucia, we will divide up into groups, and tackle Castle Cyllene from different angles.”

“Yes, sir,” I said weakly.

“You going to be okay to walk?” Mihiramon asked. “I can carry you if you want; we definitely need you to rest up.”

“…I hate it when I’m an inconvenience to everyone,” I whispered. “You should just leave me behind—”

“That is not going to happen,” Ulysses interjected. “You’re one of our best, and we need you in peak condition. But more than that, Lucia, we of Lachesis do not abandon our friends. We don’t leave them behind. We don’t let them die. That is what makes our guild what it is. We are not just going to leave you behind because you were injured, Lucia. Do you understand?”

“…Yes, sir.”

“Very good. We will stay here and rest until your injury has fully recovered. With Edmund’s help, that should only take a few days at the most.”

“But what if they find us while we’re waiting?” I asked.

“There is no need to be concerned; a sentry has been appointed to watch over our base while we rest,” Edmund said. “We would have had to do so with or without your injury, Lucia, so you need not feel guilty about anything that has happened.”

“Speaking of, our shift just ended,” Sparrow said, walking up to me with Hawkmon at his side. “Didn’t see anything suspicious, sir.”

“I see. Now, AeroVeedramon…it is your turn,” Ulysses said.

“Again? Damn…just when I got comfortable for my next nap,” the dragon said, lazily spreading his wings and taking flight. “For fuck’s sake…why does this always happen to—” Before the Digimon could finish his sentence, an unseen force struck his wing, making him spiral back down to the ground.

What?! What the hell just happened?! AeroVeedramon landed face-first into the ground. His right wing was torn, and bent at an unnatural angle. Flying above him was an even larger Digimon with a similar coloration. “Who the hell are you?!” I yelled.

“Hear me, warriors of Lachesis; you stand before UlforceVeedramon, Red General of the Cyllene Imperial Army! I stand before you on orders of King Desmond!” the Digimon said, slowly descending to the ground. AeroVeedramon dug his face out of the ground, and glared at the larger Digimon. “I apologize for doing this to you, my evolutionary relative. But you are an enemy of Cyllene…and you must be destroyed as per King Desmond’s wishes!”

“Oh, bite me!” AeroVeedramon snapped. “I’ve heard enough of you idiot soldiers praising that pathetic son of a bitch, so just shut your mouth and fight me!”

Wow…I’ve never seen AeroVeedramon so pumped to fight,
I thought. Is this…because of what happened to Alicia?

“As you desire, Ultimate. Ulforce Sabre!” UlforceVeedramon thrusted his sabre into AeroVeedramon’s undamaged wing, moving so fast that I blinked and missed the Mega level’s movements.

“Magnum Crusher!” AeroVeedramon grabbed the opposing Digimon by the neck, and with his other arm, cut into the Mega’s body with a Twister Sabre.

“The Ray of Victory!” UlforceVeedramon blasted AeroVeedramon with a beam fired from his chest, breaking free of the Ultimate’s grasp.

“V-Wing Blade!”

“Dragon Impulse X!” The attacks of the two dragon Digimon collided, sending both Digimon flying backwards. “Damn it…he actually hurt me?!” UlforceVeedramon stood immediately back up, readying his sword for another attack, but stopped when he saw AeroVeedramon on the ground, defeated and unconscious. “…To think that a non-Spirit Ultimate-level like him was strong enough to hurt me…I didn’t see this coming…”

“Black Aura Blast!” Leopardmon’s attack caught UlforceVeedramon off guard, knocking the Cyllenian off his feet and to the ground. “You may be able to defeat an Ultimate…but do you think you stand a chance against me?!” Leopardmon asked.

“…And a Digimon as strong as Leopardmon amongst them…This is not good…” UlforceVeedramon looked around at our group, carefully observing all of us. “…I shall retreat for now, warriors of Lachesis. But know this; you may have defeated me, and Blue General Augustus, but there are many, many more you will be forced to clash against; most of them are even more powerful than I.” In an instant, UlforceVeedramon vanished from sight.

“…He wasn’t trying to destroy us,” I said. “From the way he fought…I could tell that he was only fighting to see just how strong we all are.”

“So, he wasn’t giving it his all?” Charlotte asked. I shook my head. I looked around my group of friends, comforted by their presence in wake of recent events.
…Wait a minute. Where’s Wayland?!

[HR][/HR]
Eliza Wilstrom
1 Hour

He’s almost here; he’s almost here! I excitedly scurried around my room in the castle, checking to see that I had everything that I needed. I examined myself in a mirror, and for the fifteenth time, I straightened out the pretty black dress that I bought for tonight. My heart was aquiver with joy, anticipation, and slight nervousness at the thought of my expected guest. Nervousness, and fear mostly of rejection. The man I was expecting to night was the first man who had ever shown any romantic interest in me, and though I wanted nothing more than to spend the entirety of my day off gazing into his soulful eyes, I readied myself for possible rejection, as I had done many times before. But the man was kind and gentle, and seemed to show interest in the fact that I was a knight. And to think, I simply chanced upon him walking down the streets of Europa! A knock on my door broke me free from my thoughts, and my heart jumped to a stop. Okay, he’s here, now. Don’t blow it, Eliza! Slowly, I opened my door, hoping that it wasn’t somebody else. But, to my relief, it was the man I had been yearning to be with since the moment I laid eyes upon him.

“Good afternoon, Eliza,” he said, smiling kindly at me. “…You look very beautiful.”

“Why, thank you, Wayland!”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 65 - Forever Yours

Tamiko Silverveil

“Tamiko…how are you holding up?” Kentaurosmon asked. “We can stop to rest for a while if you wish.”

“I’m fine, Kentaurosmon; remember, you’re the one doing all the walking. I should be asking how you are holding up,” I replied, smiling up at the Mega Digimon from his back. “I’m not too heavy for you to carry anymore, am I? Because I can walk if you get too tired…”

“…Tamiko…there’s something that I’ve been meaning to discuss with you.” Kentaurosmon stopped walking, and turned around to face me. “My lady…I have no doubt in my mind that, wherever we go, people will recognize you.”

“…Okay? Is that…bad?” I asked.

“My lady, we are trying to stay low so as not to alert your father’s attention,” Kentaurosmon continued. “If people see you…then your father could easily find us.”

“So…are you saying we should be disguised or something?”

“I believe it may be our wisest course of action at this time, my lady.”

“I see…Oh, but; I don’t have anything I could disguise myself with,” I said. “And all I have to wear is this dress that Parrotmon tore up…”

“We’re very close to Europa, my lady. Once there, we can find a store to produce a good disguise for you, Tamiko. As for me…”

“…Are you going to wear clothes, too?”

“No, my lady. May I ask that you climb down off my back?”

“Of course!” Smiling at the Digimon, I slid down off of his back, and watched as he crossed his arms over his chest. Kentaurosmon began to shine brilliantly, and I watched in amazement as his glowing figure shrunk before my eyes.

“Tamiko…As Kentaurosmon, I would have been far too easily recognized. To ensure our security, I have turned myself back into my Rookie level for the first time in over ten years. My name now is Kudamon.”

“Kudamon…? You…You’re so…so…cute!!!!” I picked up the tiny Digimon, and nestled his soft fur against my cheek.

“…Y—Yes…quite,” Kudamon mumbled. “N—Now, my lady…I’ve an attack that can help with your disguise, if you’d like.” Without any effort, Kudamon was able to squirm his thin body out of my hands and back onto the ground. “Close your eyes, my lady. Zekkoushou!” Once again, Kudamon emitted a blinding light; closing my eyes wasn’t even enough to block the light, and I had to raise my arms to block the harsh light. Soon, the light vanished, and when I opened my eyes, nothing seemed to be different.

“…Kudamon? What did you do?” I asked.

“I’ve changed the color of your hair,” the small Digimon answered. “It isn’t much, but I changed your hair from black to white. That should at least fool whoever we see at Europa into thinking you’re someone else for the time being. But we should try to keep your face hidden; try to avoid eye contact, and keep your face low. Or try to pretend you’re shy or…something to that effect.”

“…I can do the other things, but pretending to be shy sounds difficult,” I admitted.

“Well, no matter. Let’s get going to Europa. I’ve got enough Florin with me to be able to afford more appropriate clothing for traveling and a disguise, as well as for food and supplies.”

“…Hey, Kudamon…where should we go?” I asked.

“I do not know, Tamiko. But I know you’ll be able to think of something; you’re smart. I have the utmost faith in your abilities, my lady.”

“Oh…Thank you,” I said, feeling my face heat up in a blush. Kudamon smiled up at me and leaped into the air before curling around my shoulders.

“We’re almost at Europa, my lady. Let’s keep going,” Kudamon said. I gently scratched the small Digimon behind the ears, and continued walking until we finally reached the city.

“…Um, Kudamon? I…I’ve never been here before,” I whispered. “Could you…help me navigate? I don’t want to get lost…”

“Never fear, my lady. Just stay on this road,” Kudamon said. “At the very end should be a supermarket of sorts with a boutique inside…Ah, yes; there it is!”

“Wow! It’s almost as big as—”

“Shhh!” Kudamon placed his tiny hand over my mouth to stop me from saying how it neared Castle Silverveil in size.

“…Sorry, Kudamon,” I whispered. After a moment of staring up at the vastly large market, I walked right in. At once, I was able to locate the boutique. “Wow! There’s so many people and clothes!” I ran right in to the store, completely mesmerized by the assortment they had on display. Not just clothes, but also jewelry, makeup, shoes, and even apparel for men and Digimon. “Oh, look at this necklace, Kudamon! It’s so sparkly and pretty—!”

“Uh, Milady…that is not a necklace,” Kudamon said. “That is…uh…it’s…worn around the, uh…the waist, if you will, milady…”

“…My waist? Oh, but…nobody will be able to see it through my clothes...”

“Yes, well…That is…sort of the point, milady,” Kudamon said, his cheeks beginning to flush with embarrassment. “Typically, the people who wear this sort of thing…are dancers…Dancers who often leave their midriffs exposed, uh, milady…”

“They leave their midriffs...exposed?!”

“Not just, milady,” Kudamon continued. “Their legs, their chests, their, er…buttocks…”

“But…Oh, b—but father would never approve if I were to wear clothing so…Oh…” I sat down on a nearby bench, and ran the gold-colored chain through my fingers. It was metal, but felt surprisingly soft, almost as if it were made of silk. “Kudamon…I’ve come a long way from home, haven’t I?”

“It’s too late to have regrets now, milady,” Kudamon said. “What’s done is done. You were the princess of Silverveil, but you are now your own person, who is free to make decisions for herself…Tamiko.”

“…Yes. You are right, Kudamon.” I smiled at the small Rookie. “And thank you…for calling me by my name. I am no longer the princess of Silverveil. We are now equals…and friends forever.”

“Mila…Tamiko…I am pleased to hear you say so,” Kudamon bowed.

“But even though I used to be a princess, I will still need a disguise,” I continued. “And if that means I have to dress in clothes a princess would never wear…If I must show more skin than what I am used to…then I will do it.”

“Tamiko...”

“Also, if I'm going to be in disguise, I will need a different name,” I said.

“Do you have anything in mind, Tamiko?”

“…Well…I was thinking…maybe my mother’s name,” I said.

“Sapphira? Yes, that is a very lovely name; it shall suit you perfectly, Tamiko,” Kudamon said. “Now, then…what sort of clothing would you prefer to wear for your disguise…?”

“Hey there! You look kinda lost!” A smiling girl, looking to be close to my age, walked up to me and Kudamon. “Is this your first time at a boutique? I could help you out if you’d like!”

“Oh…uh, actually, this is my first time here,” I said.

Be careful, Tamiko,” Kudamon whispered into my ear.

“…Um…I’m looking for…um…Some clothes?”

“Well…you’ve come to the right place, then! Oh, my name is Giselle! It’s nice to meet you!”

“Yes…My name is Sapphira,” I said. “I don’t really know what I’m really looking for…”

“Are you a dancer?” Giselle asked. “That’s a really pretty belly dance chain you’ve got there!”

“I…yes, I wish to become a better dancer,” I replied. That, at least, was true; before she was killed, my mother was in the middle of teaching me how to dance. I had been meaning to continue learning to honor her memory, but I didn’t exactly have anyone else in my life to teach me.

“You do? Oh, I’ve got a friend who’s a dancer back home! Oh yeah, I’m not from around here; I came from across the ocean…um…because I’m on vacation!” Giselle said. “Anyway, I could help you pick out something for you to wear, if you’d like!”

“Would you really? I really appreciate that, Giselle,” I said. “Um…I hate to admit it, but I don’t really know anything about fashion or clothes or anything…”

“You don’t? But that’s such a pretty dress you’re wearing!” Giselle said. “Oh, but I guess it’s a little torn up in the back. Well, don’t you worry about a thing, Sapphira! Ol’ Giselle will help you pick out the cutest outfit you can imagine!”

“…Will you be okay on your own, Sapphira?” Kudamon asked. “I’ve got a few things I need to do while we’re here.”

“I…Yes, I’ll be okay,” I said, giving Giselle a smile.

“…Very well. I’ll meet up with you soon.” Kudamon slinked off of my shoulders, and left the boutique.

“Okay! Now, I think something blue might match your eyes, and…” For over an hour, I followed Giselle throughout the entire boutique. Over and over again, she’d march me over to the dressing room to try out countless combinations of clothes. “…Nah, that shirt doesn’t go with your eyes…No, this dress makes you look too fat…That skirt is too short…You’ll probably want a shirt that’ll show your belly if you want to get that chain…Well, that’s…no, it doesn’t match your shoes…How about these…?”

Man, oh man…I never knew shopping for clothes could be this exhausting! And a lot of these clothes are so…immodest…

“What do you think of this?” Giselle asked.

“…I can’t breathe,” I wheezed.

“Try sucking in your tummy!”

“I am…Too…tight…”

“Oh…oh, dear…Okay, okay…” With Giselle’s help, I was able to wiggle out of the skirt she had chosen, and gently rubbed the red marks it had left on my belly. “Okay…how about this…?” I sighed. Giselle was very friendly, so it was impossible to dislike her in any way. But I was so tired! “Whoa!”

“…What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Um…nothing…Just…doesn’t leave much to the imagination,” Giselle said. Without even bothering to look in the mirror, I went back to the dressing room and removed the apparently revealing clothes. Another hour passed until Giselle had found me the perfect disguise, though she simply thought it to be a cute outfit. A blue halter top, leaving my belly completely exposed, and a matching blue dress with a leg split. I tied the golden chain that I had grown so fond of around my waist, just above my navel. “Wow…Sapphira, you look so pretty!”

“T—Thank you, Giselle,” I said. Wow…I guess being shy is a little easier than I thought it would be!

“Oh, it was my pleasure, Sapphira! I’m glad I was able to help you!” Giselle said, smiling wide. “Is there anything else I can help you with? Oh, I guess you need to meet up with your Digimon, though…”

“Yes…It was nice meeting you, though, Giselle,” I said. “I hope we get to meet again.”

“Hey, me too! You’re, like, so much fun to shop with! And you’re, like, totally super nice and everything! See ya soon, k?” Giselle waved at me, and then happily walked out of the boutique. I sighed, and looked around. I couldn’t see Kudamon anywhere.

“…I guess I have some time to look around,” I said. Walking slowly on my tired feet, I walked around the mall until a different store caught my attention. “…This place…they sell…those?” After looking at a display window in awe, I entered the store, and bought the item.

“Ah, Sapphira; there you are,” Kudamon said. “I’m glad I found you. I just finished buying all of the necessary food and supplies for our journey. And I see you’ve found yourself a lovely disguise with help from that girl.”

“Yes; she was very sweet to help me like that,” I said. “…Kudamon…I, uh…also got a little something else with what was left of the money you gave me…just for the two of us…” I held out my hand, and showed the little Digimon what I had bought.

“…Sapphira…is that…”

“It’s a Digivice,” I said. “Kentaurosmon…Kudamon…you’ve always been my best friend. You were always there for me when I was sad, or lonely, or scared. And you’ve always protected me…”

“Sapphira…”

“Kudamon…will you please be my Digimon Partner?” I asked.
“…You don’t need to ask, my dear. I’d be honored…to be yours forever…”

[HR][/HR]
Giselle Devereaux

“Hi, everybody! I’m back!” I exclaimed, carrying large bags of supplies over to the large group.

“Jeez, took you long enough!” Isole snapped. “What the hell took so long?! You didn’t even have to get too many supplies!”

“Oh…well…I just…sort of…got caught up in a boutique helping another girl find something cute for her to wear,” I admitted. Isole rolled her eyes.

“…Well, whatever. Just so long as you didn’t say anything about why we’re here,” the tactician grumbled under her breath.

“Nope! I didn’t say anything like that! Just that I was from the west on a vacation!”

“You told her you were from the west?!”

“Peace, Isole. It does no harm for others to know where Giselle is from,” Lucia said. “Look at her; does she look the slightest bit suspicious or menacing?”

“Lucia is correct. But that’s beside the point,” Ulysses said. “With help from Isole and Bokomon, I was able to put the finishing touches on our plan of attack, and as soon as Lucia fully recovers, we can put the plan into action.”

“Basically, our large group will split up into five smaller ones,” Isole said. “Four of those groups will lay siege on fortresses surrounding Castle Cyllene from the north, south, east, and west, diverting the attention of most of their knights on the smaller groups. The fifth group is the main force, consisting of our strongest members; while the fortresses are under attack from the cardinal directions, the main force will move out. There’s not a doubt in my mind that the strongest knights — those Generals — will be waiting inside for all of us, but our main force should be able to easily handle them.”

“The main group will consist of Lucia, Mihiramon, Edmund, Talosmon, Ulysses, Flamedramon, and Leopardmon,” Bokomon continued. “The group attacking the northern area will consist of Alena, Charlotte, Siebold, Wikstrom, Pherania, Giselle, and AeroVeedramon.”

“Wait…I’m…part of a group?” I asked.

“Well, we couldn’t just leave you behind,” Zelda said.

“No matter how hard I tried,” Isole muttered.

“You’ve nothing to fear, Giselle; we shall all do our part to protect you,” Alena said, giving me a reassuring smile. “After all, is it not the duty of a knight to protect the defenseless?”

“…Thank you, Alena,” I said. Bokomon cleared his throat.

“Anyway…The southern group will consist of Sparrow, Hawkmon, Matthew, Coronamon, Katsumi, Tactimon, and Zelda,” the Rookie said impatiently. “The eastern group will consist of Eleanora, Lunamon, Isole, Elizabeth, Quetzalmon, and myself. The final group, the western group, will consist of Mia, Wayland, Sieglinde, Lupinemon, Abigail, and Andromon.”

“…Where is Wayland?” Lucia asked.

“I haven’t seen him all day,” Matthew said.

“Oh, uh…I just…sent him out on an errand,” Ulysses said nervously. “There’s no cause for alarm. I’ve instructed for him to join the western group once he finished his job.”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 66 - Burning Ambition

Eris

After Desmond had threatened me earlier in the day, I made sure to stay clear of him as much as I could. I wasn’t scared, of course; I simply didn’t want him to realize what I was planning. Being my older brother, he’s learned to be able to tell what I’m thinking by my facial expression. Furthermore, he was already suspicious of me, and I didn’t need anything or anyone else giving me away. Rather, I spent all day in bed, stuffing myself with every last morsel of food Noir brought me.

“How are you doing, my queen?” the man asked, walking into my room for the third time that hour; this time, however, he wasn’t carrying a tray loaded with food.

“…Already up to one-forty two,” I said, leaning back to show Noir the effect my hourly binge had on my distended belly.

“I see. That’s ten more since this morning,” Noir said.

“And twelve since yesterday morning,” I added with a smile. “I’m getting kinda full, though…”

“Well, this is good practice for you,” Noir replied. “UlforceVeedramon has returned from his job.”

“…He has?” Noir nodded. “…I see…”

“Remember, my queen; just as he does every night, Desmond will go off alone to his private chambers. Nobody will be watching,” Noir said. “My Digimon partner, EbiBurgermon, will distract any nearby guards so you can continue without fear.”

“Don’t worry. I’ve got the plan memorized,” I said. “I won’t leave a speck of evidence behind.”

“Shall we get going then, my queen?” I smiled at Noir, and with a little help from the robed man, I was able to climb out of bed, and follow him once more into the throne room.

“How was the mission, UlforceVeedramon?” Desmond asked. The Digimon, though kneeling before his majesty, was quite a bit taller.

“I have successfully scouted the extent of their power,” UlforceVeedramon said. “Though I was unsuccessful in eliminating any of them, I have discovered that the AeroVeedramon amongst them should be considered almost as dangerous to the kingdom as the Leopardmon.”

“…A Leopardmon, you say? This is most troubling,” Desmond grumbled.

“I was able to defeat him, but just barely, and he lives still,” UlforceVeedramon continued. “Also…among the westerners is what seemed to be a mage.”

“…Seemed to be? You are uncertain, Red General?”

“That Human…his very presence radiated a powerful magic aura, much more powerful than that of the Bio Hybrid or the Marked. It was overwhelming…and I believe he might be the strongest among all of our enemies. His name is Edmund Luxord.”

“I see. You did an excellent job, UlforceVeedramon,” Desmond said. “You are dismissed, Red General.”

“Sir.” The Mega Digimon spread his massive wings, and took flight out of the throne room.

“…Did you need something, Eris?” Desmond asked.

“No, brother; I just heard that UlforceVeedramon was back, and I simply assumed you wanted me to be here, like this morning,” I said.

“…Come with me.” My heart quickened. I turned to Noir, who nodded.

He wants me to come with him? Could the fool possibly make this any easier for me? “Yes, brother.” Quietly, I followed after my elder brother through a silent, empty hallway of the castle.

“…About what I said to you…earlier today,” Desmond began. “About you taking the throne by force, if you so desired…”

“Yes, brother…? What about it?”

“You and that man, Noir…I know you’ve been plotting my demise from the first moment I saw him with you.”

“…If that’s the case, then why do you want me following you?” I whispered. Desmond stopped. “…You aren’t planning on killing me, are you?” Desmond remained silent. “What do you want from me?” Desmond turned from me, and continued walking. We continued walking in silence until we reached his chambers. Just as Noir said…

“…Eris. How stupid do you think me to be?!” With the door shut tight behind us, Desmond grabbed me and shoved me against the wall of his room. “I’ve known you your entire life, Eris! Don’t think I don’t know of your plan to kill me tonight!”

“…I knew I couldn’t hide anything from you, brother,” I said. “You brought me with you so you could kill me before I you.” Desmond’s eyes flashed with rage, but instead of striking me, he remained still. “…Desmond. Did you know that Human flesh doesn’t taste like chicken like other people say?”

“What?!”

“It tastes more like pork…” I removed a knife I had hidden in my dress, and pressed it against my brother’s throat.

“Eris…”

“…Babies are a little different, though,” I said. “They taste a bit more like…fish, I would say.” All of the color drained from my brother’s face.

“Eris…you aren’t…” I smiled at my brother, and slowly patted my belly.
“That’s what it tastes like…cooked. Raw flesh…is simply delicious!” Unable to resist myself any longer, I thrusted the blade of my knife into Desmond’s neck. As he fell to the floor, dying quickly, I licked the blood from my knife before jamming it into the back of his head. Desmond died instantly, crumpled on the floor like a ragdoll. “Oh, how I have hungered for this moment…Dear older brother; I promise to savor the sweet taste of your flesh for as long as I can!”

[HR][/HR]
Sapphira (Tamiko)

Shadows danced on the edge of the horizon as the sun vanished to the other side of the world. Kudamon had started a lively campfire that radiated in a comforting, warm glow.

Let’s see…it was left, left, right…Or was it left, left—“…Ah!” For about the fifth time in a row, I lost my balance, and fell to the ground. “Ow…” I gently yet firmly gripped my ankle and rubbed it, hoping it wasn’t sprained.

“Tamiko, are you all right?” Kudamon asked. The Rookie had a concerned look on his face.

“Yeah…I’m fine…” Slowly and carefully, I stood back up, and glanced at the campfire.

“…What were you doing, Tamiko? Were you…dancing?”

“Yeah…I just have two left feet,” I said. “I was…trying to pick up where my mother left off. When that girl was helping pick out my disguise, she thought I was a dancer, so I just…kinda got to thinking about her…you know? But I’m just doing a terrible job…”

“Would you care for some assistance?”

“…You can dance, Kudamon?” I asked. “…I think I may have a few inches on you, though…”

“You needn’t worry, Tamiko. Just hold out your Digivice.” I did as I was told, and both the Digivice began to glow luminously. “Kudamon Warp Digivolve to, Kentaurosmon!”

“…Digivolution,” I whispered. “I’ve never seen it firsthand…”

“I may not be as graceful as your mother was, but I know my way around a ballroom floor, even though I literally have three left feet,” Kentaurosmon said.

“Oh…Thank you, Kentaurosmon,” I smiled. “…Um…I haven’t danced with another person yet…”

“Don’t fear; it really isn’t too different from dancing alone, in a way. Now, allow me to lead; just stand on my hooves,” Kentaurosmon said. “Now…my…my hand…goes…” The Digimon mumbled something under his breath.

“…What was that?” I asked. I had a feeling that I already knew what he said, though.

“My…ahem…My…hand…goes…” I smiled up at the taller Digimon. Taking his trembling hand in mine, I placed it at my waist. “…Yes…”

“It’s okay,” I whispered, keeping my hand on his. Slowly at first, Kentaurosmon began pacing back and forth. As this continued on, I gently leaned my head against his chest. “…Thank you for being here with me, Kentaurosmon…I’ve always felt so…safe…in your presence…And warm, and…happy…”

“…I too…am happy,” Kentaurosmon said. “…And I share…your feelings…”

“Kentaurosmon? Is there something wrong?” I asked.

“…Tamiko…I’ve been thinking…ever since we’ve left the castle…There may come a time when my strength alone will not be enough to protect you.”

“Kentaurosmon?”

“…Tamiko. I want to train you how to fight.”

“Fight…you mean…you want me to…learn how to hurt others?” I asked, pulling away from the Digimon’s embrace.

“Tamiko, I am asking you to learn how to protect yourself,” Kentaurosmon replied. “I care about you…so much that it scares me…It scares me to think of what might happen to you in my absence. Please…I know you don’t enjoy senseless bloodshed, so don’t learn how to fight for the sake of fighting. Learn how to fight for the sake of protecting yourself…and maybe others.” After a moment’s thought, I smiled at the Digimon.

“…Okay. I’ll do it.”

“Tamiko…”

“And Kentaurosmon…I care about you, too,” I said. “I’ll learn how to fight…and I’ll do anything I can to stop my father’s tyrannical conquest.”

“…Tamiko. Do you wish to join the westerners?” That question truly caught me off guard. “I know the real reason they’ve come here…They’re here to stop your father, not to take control of this land like your father said…on that day.”

“…Are you certain of this?” I asked. Kentaurosmon nodded. “…Okay. Let’s do it. Let’s join the westerners…and help them stop my father’s conquest!”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 67 - The Northern Keep

Noir

Desmond has been dead for a good number of days now. As she set out to do, Eris cannibalized and devoured the entire body of her older brother in as little as two days. She grew fatter and fatter with each passing hour she spent eating, and she didn’t stop until nothing remained of Desmond but his bones. And now that the deed had been accomplished, Eris had ascended to the throne of Cyllene, telling the soldiers that the king was murdered by the “western invaders.” All was going exactly as I planned it, as usual.

“Hello, Noir!” a tiny Digimon said. I bent down, and smiled at him.

“Good morning, EbiBurgermon,” I said. “How are you, my little friend?”

“I’m happy? You know why? Because your plan was a success!” EbiBurgermon squeaked.

“Well…not yet,” I said. “So far, it is, but the plan isn’t finished yet.”

“I know; but I’m happy because I know that it will be a success!”

“Thank you, EbiBurgermon. Tell me; have you seen Eris?”

“Yep; she’s at the throne, having her fifth breakfast! And it isn’t even noon, yet!”

“Thank you, my friend. Now…you know what needs to be done,” I said.

“Yep! I’ll begin right away!” EbiBurgermon waved at me, and ran off in the opposite direction of my destination. It didn’t take me too long to find the throne room.

“Hello, Noir,” the new queen said.

“Has Desmond been entirely…disposed of?” I asked. Eris smirked, and patted her fat belly.

“Eating him shot my weight up to one-eighty,” Eris said.

Yes…Keep up the good work, I thought. “Congratulations, my queen. Is there anything you would like for me to do for you now?”

“Yes, actually…I don’t really know much about war,” Eris said. “As you know, my small kingdom was near a ravaged wasteland, so none dared to come near. Do you think you could…?”

“Have no fear, my queen. I shall direct our troops,” I said.

“Thank you, Noir.”
“My pleasure…Queen Eris.”

[HR][/HR]
Giselle Devereaux

Lucia had recovered a good number of days ago. Since then, our large group split into the five smaller ones devised by Isole and Bokomon. Along with AeroVeedramon, I had been placed into the group with the Valencian Knights. Alena, I had actually known for a long time now; she was a dear friend who I had known since my childhood. I met her at school, where she defended another kid from a bully; she even ended up punching the bully in the nose! Of course, she was suspended for a few days, but I knew at that very instant that she was going to grow up to be a knight. I was a little bit afraid of her at first, but when she returned and I spoke to her for the first time, and I saw that she was the sweetest, friendliest person at that school, I felt like the luckiest person in the world when she said she wanted to be my friend. She was two years older than me, and was like the big sister I never had. She was always there for me, and when my mother died when I was seven, she had comforted me, and made me feel better, like I was no longer alone in the world. She held on to my tiny little hand all through the funeral, and held me tight when I cried.

“How have you been holding up, Giselle?” Alena asked. “I know you aren’t as used to all of this walking around like us knights, so we can stop to rest if you’d like.”

“No…I’m fine,” I said. “I don’t want to be more in the way than I already am…”

“Don’t you dare say anything about leaving you behind, Giselle!” Alena said firmly, ruffling my hair like she used to do in our youth.

“Nah, if we’d leave anyone behind, it’d be this fat-ass here,” Siebold said, jerking his thumb over at Charlotte.

“That was mean!” I gasped as Alena punched Siebold in the face.

“Oh, he says stuff like that all the time,” Charlotte said.

“Yeah, and Alena’s the one who gets insulted. Bloody hell, that hurt!”

“Then stop insulting my friend!”

“You would all do well to keep your voices down, lest the entire imperial army discover our location,” Wikstrom said.

“Or at least so I can finish my nap,” AeroVeedramon yawned.

“You vould zleep at a time like dis?” Pherania asked.

“He sleeps all the time,” I said.

“When people aren’t talking, I do.”

“Dat is not good; you should stay avake in case de enemy vinds us,” Pherania said.

“Meh. I’m fine…”

“Let him be, Pherania. We’ve arrived at our destination,” Wikstrom said. “If you wish to sleep, then go ahead and do so…after the job is complete.”

“Fine, fine…” I looked up at the fortress that stood before our group of seven. “So, all we need to do is kill all the soldiers here, and claim this fort as our own before laying siege to the castle…right?”

“Essentially, but it might not be as easy as it sounds,” Alena said.

“Of course it won’t…”

“Claiming this fort will not only cut down on a good number of the imperial army’s knights, but it should also prove to serve as an effective means of lowering the enemy’s morale,” Siebold said.

“Giselle, I want you to stay behind,” Alena said.

“What?! But…but I—”

“Giselle, you don’t even have a partner Digimon anymore,” AeroVeedramon said. “You haven’t been trained to fight like the others.” The front gate of the fortress slowly opened up, but I seemed to be the only one to notice.

“Please, Giselle…I don’t want to see you get hurt,” Alena said. A tall figure walked out from the fort, slowly and quietly.

“…Um…Guys?”

“We’re going now,” Wikstrom said. “Keep yourself hidden so you are not discovered.” The approaching figure, which I soon realized to be that of a Digimon, drew closer and closer to us.

“Guys, there’s a—”

“Stay safe,” Charlotte said, smiling kindly at me.

“Well, well…What do we have here?” the Digimon ask once it finally reached our group. AeroVeedramon and the Valencian Knights turned to face him, and all but the Dragon retained their calm but wary composition.

“You…I’ve heard of you,” AeroVeedramon said. “You’re called Barbamon, aren’t you?”

“Ah, so you’ve heard of me? Truly, I am flattered!” The tall Digimon, stroking his equally long beard, smiled down at us. “Well, allow me to properly introduce myself, then. I am Barbamon, subordinate of the Green General Agamemnon of the Cyllenian Imperial Army. As per the request of my general, I have stationed myself at this fortress north of the castle, and patiently awaited your arrival.”

“…You were expecting us?” Alena whispered.

“Indeed. At the castle resides a man of unparalleled genius, ingenuity, and tactical prowess,” Barbamon continued. “He knew at once that your big group would dissolve to smaller ones to capture the four keeps north, south, west, and east of the castle. Truly, a good plan; where it to go unnoticed by us, I can almost say that it would have succeeded…But, of course…Your luck has run out, running into me…” Barbamon swung his wand in the air, and at that instant, a large number of Cyllenian Knights had us all surrounded.

“…Stand back, all of you,” AeroVeedramon said, walking up to the tall Barbamon.

“You’re going to fight him alone?!” Siebold asked.

“Dare is no vay for you to vin!” Pherania exclaimed.

“Perhaps not…with all of these enemy knights in my way. You five…make sure they don’t get in my way! Dragon Impulse!”

“Dark Inferno!” Barbamon was able to quickly counterattack and protect himself from the flames of the Dragon Impulse. The two roaring flames collided, and sparks flew out from the collision. Several of the Cyllenian Knights were caught up in the middle of the blast, and those that were died instantly. “I must admit, I am impressed! I have heard that you are the one who crossed swords with UlforceVeedramon and lived to tell of it!”

“…Not that it’s any of my business, or that I care, but do you realize you burned some of your own men to a crisp?” AeroVeedramon asked.

“So what? It was their own fault for getting in the way of our battle, Dragon!” Barbamon cackled. “Besides, all the knights you see before you are naught but mindless pawns in a battle of politics their puny minds could never fathom to comprehend!” At that, the “mindless pawns” advanced towards us; the Valencians formed a protective ring around me.

“…Giselle…when the opportunity arises, I want you to make a run for it,” Alena said.

“Vhy vait?” Pherania asked. In a single, fluid movement, the large woman grabbed me by the arm and hurled me into the far-up branches of a tree.

“Uh, Giselle? Are you okay?” Alena asked. I tried to open my mouth to speak, but found that I could not. All I could do was give my dear friend a thumbs-up.

“Twister Sabre!” AeroVeedramon began another assault on Barbamon, slashing at the Mega with the blades on his arms, but Barbamon was able to easily block each strike with his wand. Some of the knights had attempted to intervene with the Digimon’s attacks, but Alena, Wikstrom, and Pherania made quick work of them. Charlotte as well, in spite of appearances, defeated enemy after enemy with her lance, gracefully moving across the battlefield as she did. Siebold, being a mage, stayed further back and cast various offensive spells to defeat straggling Valencian who were attempting to escape. Soon, it was just Barbamon left; he and AeroVeedramon continued exchanging minor and indecisive blows without paying any mind to those nearby. “Magnum Crusher!”

“Pandæmonium Lost!” As soon as AeroVeedramon’s fist came into contact with Barbamon’s staff, the jewel at the top of the staff released a swirl of flames that enveloped the Dragon. AeroVeedramon fell to the ground, defeated. Barbamon grinned. “…Next?”

“Zekkoushou!” From my place in the tree, all I could see was a glimmering ball of light fly directly into Barbamon, causing the Mega Digimon to fall to the ground.

“Are all of you all right?” a woman’s voice asked.

Wait a minute…I know that voice!

“Sapphira, stay back!” another voice said. After a moment, I could see a tiny Digimon standing on top of Barbamon’s chest.

I knew it! Sapphira and Kudamon! My heart beat with excitement at seeing my new friends, but I remained quiet nonetheless.

“Get…off…of me!” Barbamon grunted, flicking the small Kudamon off of his chest.

“Sapphira, now!” Kudamon twisted himself around in the air and gracefully landed on his hind legs. Sapphira held out a Data Link Digivice, and placed her hand over its screen.

“D.N.A Charge!”

“Kudamon Digivolve to, Reppamon!”

“…Wait a minute…I know you,” Barbamon said. “You used to be—”

“Kurukuru Rekkūzan!” Reppamon dashed forwards, and jabbed his blade-like tail into Barbamon’s shoulder. “Jūga Rangeki!” With his tail secured into Barbamon’s shoulder, Reppamon began tearing the Mega’s face and chest with his sharp claws.

“Dark Inferno!” Barbamon readied an attack, but Reppamon pulled his tail from the Demon Lord’s shoulder and ran to safety before the attack could hurt him.
“Shinkū Kamaitachi!” Reppamon swung his tail, and Barbamon was knocked back by an unseen force.

“…You caught me off guard,” Barbamon said. “Really…I didn’t expect to see you fighting against us…” Using his staff as support, Barbamon stood back up, and turned away from the Champion. “…If our paths cross again, Beast…don’t expect my surprise to diminish my power as it did today.” Barbamon held his wand up to the sky, and vanished into the shadows.

“Hey! Sapphira!” I called down to the girl. Upon seeing me, she smiled.

“Giselle…I was hoping I would run into you again,” she said.

“Hold that thought! I…I don’t know how to get down from here…”

“Please, allow me,” Reppamon said. In a single bound, Reppamon reached the sturdy branch I was thrown to. I climbed onto the Digimon’s back, and was out of the tree in an instant.

“So, what are you doing here, Sapphira?” I asked.

“Your arrival was well timed; had you arrived any later, I am unsure if we would have survived,” Alena said.

“…It was my pleasure to be of some help to you,” Sapphira said. “…Tell me…are you all from the west?”

“Yep! All of us came from the west!” I said.

“Then…you must be here to put a stop to my f…to stop Desmond’s conquest.”

…She knows?

“…I hate to impose on you…but…would it be fine with you if I joined you?” Sapphira asked.

“I don’t see why not,” Alena said. “You and your Digimon partner saved us when we needed saving; we’d appreciate having the two of you around.”

“We’re going to need all the help we can get if we’re going to storm the castle soon,” Siebold added.
“Thank you…I promise to do whatever I can to assist you,” Sapphira said. “I wish only to put an end to this madness that Desmond started.”

[HR][/HR]
Ulysses Melchett

“When is Wayland coming back?” Lucia asked.

“Lucia. You keep asking me the same question, and I’ll keep giving you the same answer. Wayland will return when he has finished his job,” I said.

“But I’m worried about him. I haven’t seen him in days…”

“I’m worried about him too, Lucia. But he will return…I promise you.”

“But he isn’t a fighter,” Edmund said. “Where he to be surrounded by enemy troops, he could easily be captured.”

“I assure you; that is not going to happen.”

“Will you just tell us what you’re having him do so Lucia will shut up already?” Flamedramon asked.

“I can fill that one in.” My ancient heart nearly did a backflip at the sound of Wayland’s voice, and the sight of the gruff blacksmith approaching our group.

“Where the hell have you been?!” Lucia asked.

“Nothing too complicated. Just undercover business,” Wayland said. “…Boss had me go undercover and date one of the generals. Her name’s Eliza.”

“Oooh, is she cute?” Lucia asked.

“…Not bad looking. The gals at Lachesis are all prettier, though. Work aside, she’s kind of a sweet gal. But on the job…”

“A total bitch, right?” Mihiramon said. Wayland nodded.

“Did you get any good information on the enemy’s movement or strategy?” I asked.

“Fraid not. Eliza’s pretty tight-lipped about that sort of thing,” Wayland said. “…But she does brag about her accomplishments.”

“…What sort of accomplishments?” Flamedramon asked.

“As it turns out, Eliza was the one who murdered Alicia.” All eyes were on the blacksmith at this point.

“…I see,” I whispered.

“I’m afraid I didn’t find out really anything useful about strategies or nothing, but she did give me a little bit of…interesting information,” Wayland continued. “Apparently, the Princess of Cyllene, Tamiko, has ran off with a Digimon called Kentaurosmon.”

“Ran off? Why would she do something like that?” Edmund asked.

“Dunno. Lize thinks that she did it b’cause the princess didn’t want to have any part of whatever Desmond has in mind.”

“…Did you just call her ‘Lize?’” Lucia asked. Wayland’s face immediately reddened.

“Just a nickname that’s used undercover…on the job.”

“You like her, don’t you,” Mihiramon teased.

“Not really. Kind of a bitch. Cute, but still a bitch. Came pretty close to hammering her skull in when she told me she killed Alicia.”

“Why didn’t you?” Flamedramon asked.

“I thought I could still potentially get some more info from her. Plus, I hadn’t been ordered to.”

“Permission granted,” I said.

“I didn’t ask.”

“I know you wanted to,” I replied. “When you see her next…eliminate her.”

“Yes, sir.”

“…Wayland. This group is en route to the castle. I want you to head west, and find Mia and her group heading for a fortress. Do you think you can find your way?” I asked.

“Yes, sir. It won’t be a problem at all,” Wayland said.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 68 - Ruled by Madness

Mia Kiru

The west side of Castle Cyllene was covered in a dense forest, not unlike Lotisea Province. The trees weren’t as large or as close together, and as our group neared the western fort, we found a beautiful lake, and decided to take a small break before continuing on with our job to capture the fort. A gentle breeze strode across the surface of the lake every now and then, sending transfixing ripples dancing all the way to the other side of the shore. I sat on a log, and looked deep into the pure blue water.

It’s hard to believe anything on this continent could be so peaceful…so beautiful…Makes me wonder how such a land could produce a king as crazy and evil as that Desmond. My reflection in the clear blue lake stared back at me, blinking when I did and sighing when I did. From differing angles, my reflection looked more anxious than I did, and from other angles, it looked less.

“You okay, Mia?” Sieglinde asked, sitting down on the log next to me. “Are you just nervous like all the others?”

“Yeah…You know, Sieglinde, a lot of the others have said that nobody would get hurt…that we would all get back home…you know? But…Alicia…”

“Mia…” Sieglinde too looked into the lake, and into the reflection of my eyes. “Life and death are two very fickle things; not even someone like Wisemon can truly predict how it will all turn out. The only things we Humans and Digimon can do is ensure that those around us do not succumb to the cruel twists and turns of life. But even when we let our guard down, and destiny ensnares the life of a friend, we can’t allow ourselves to stop moving; to do so would be the ultimate dishonor to that friend. Mia…our friends always want us to be happy, no matter what. Stay happy, and keep moving forwards…that is what it means to truly be alive. We can’t let Alicia’s death keep us from doing our job; if we do, then the only thing that will happen is more and more death. More of our friends will die if we stop now, Mia, and I know that isn’t something that Alicia would want.”

“…I understand…Thank you, Sieglinde,” I said. “…You always know just what to say, you know that?”

“Well, I do kind of speak from experience on matters like this,” Sieglinde giggled. “Remember, I did technically die once before. I…I too am saddened by Alicia’s death. She may have seemed a bit…adulterous…at times. But she truly was good at heart; you saw how she looked after Lilliana on her first training mission, didn’t you? All of us loved her…and she will be missed. But life will continue going on; the world will continue to spin. And like it, we shall continue to go on.”

“…Yeah. Yeah!” I smiled at Sieglinde, and hugged the other blonde. “Thank you, Sieg!”

“There will be time for grieving later, anyway,” Abigail added. “Once we end this madness…we can grieve all we want for everyone that we’ve lost.”

“Right! Let’s go, everyone!” Sieglinde and I stood up, and looked towards the ancient structure. Lupinemon wrapped her tail around Sieglinde’s legs.

“Carefully, we shall act,” Andromon said.

“HALT!” A familiar voice roared and quaked the very sky. I looked up, and saw none other than UlforceVeedramon flying over our heads. “NONE SHALL PASS!”

“Ah, crap,” Abigail sighed. The immense Mega landed on the ground, and drew his sword.

“By the order of King Desmond, I sentence you to death!” UlforceVeedramon said. “Do not blame me for the way fate has decided to end your lives; it is your own doing!”

“…Sieglinde…stand back,” Lupinemon said. “Abigail and I will handle him. Andromon, you watch over Mia and Sieglinde.”

“Protect the lovely ladies, I shall,” Andromon said.

“Bio Hybrid DNA Charge! Bio Hybrid Digivolve to, BioLadyDevimon!”

“…So you all mean to stand against me, in spite of the overwhelming odds,” UlforceVeedramon said. “And how unlucky you all are…Neither AeroVeedramon nor Leopardmon seem to be with you. They were the only ones who stood a chance against me.”

“…Are you ready to rumble, Abigail?” Lupinemon asked.

“I was born ready!” the Bio Hybrid replied. “Darkness Wave!”

“Shining Force!” UlforceVeedramon alighted to the sky just moments before the two attacks could hit him.

“Ulforce Sabre!” The knight slammed the edge of his sword onto the ground. The ground split apart instantly; the beautiful water of the lake spilled into the crevasse. If Andromon hadn’t grabbed onto us, I’m sure Sieglinde and I would have fallen in as well.

“Nocturne of Wolf’s Howl!” Lupinemon charged into the Exalted Knight, clamping her jaws around the Digimon’s neck.

“Tensegrity Shield!” A brilliantly shining force field surrounded UlforceVeedramon, sending Lupinemon flying backwards and away from the Dragon. As the Exalted Beast fell to the ground, UlforceVeedramon rushed forwards, Ulforce Sabre extended.

“Black Wing!” UlforceVeedramon’s sword and BioLadyDevimon’s spear collided just seconds before the Dragon could hit Lupinemon.

“Shining Force!”

“Tensegrity Shield!” Once again, UlforceVeedramon erected a barrier that protected him from Lupinemon’s attack.

“Damn it…we need to find some way to get past that cheap-ass shield!” Lupinemon growled.

“…Honestly. Why are you even trying?” UlforceVeedramon asked. “It’s obvious you aren’t going to win. Your attacks can’t get past my shield, and you’re going to run out of energy sooner or later just by dodging my attacks.”

“So, you’re saying we should just sit by and let Desmond do what he wants?!” I asked.

“Well, why not? He’s working to unify the continent — no, the world — under his rule!” the Exalted Knight replied. “Once all is under his command, there will be no more need for senseless bloodshed! There will be no more wars!”

“How could you be so blind?!” I yelled back. “Desmond doesn’t want this so-called unification to create a peaceful nation! He wants to place everyone under his command so that everybody else will be too scared to stand up to his tyranny!”

“Mia’s right!” Sieglinde said. “Desmond is nothing but a coward who doesn’t dare step down from his throne into battle! His foolish game has killed thousands over the past fifteen years! He cares nothing for his people, or for knights like you!”

“…How dare you…How dare you speak such insolence towards his majesty?!” UlforceVeedramon screamed. “How can you say things like that when you’ve never even met him before?!”

“Need to meet him, we do not!” Andromon jumped in. “Complete and total madness, this war is!”

“He has no reason to go around conquering foreign lands that have nothing to do with him!” Abigail said.

“You say he’s trying to stop war? Then why is it that the only war going on is the one that he started?!” I asked.

“…SILENCE!” UlforceVeedramon flew up high into the sky. The V symbol on his chest began to glow. “The Ray of Victory!”

“Come forth, MegaKabuterimon!”

“Horn Buster!” The large Insect Digimon immediately followed after UlforceVeedramon as soon as he was Summoned, and fired an incredibly powerful blast of energy from his horn just as UlforceVeedramon fired his. However, the Exalted Knight was just barely too late. MegaKabuterimon’s attack hit him at point blank range, sending him plummeting to the ground while his Ray of Victory backfired on him, hitting UlforceVeedramon with the full force of the attack.

“…Un…believable,” UlforceVeedramon wheezed. “…I…I lost?”

“Now that we’ve knocked some sense into you, do you finally understand?” Sieglinde asked.

“…I…know what you are saying…to be true,” the Exalted Knight said. “…I knew it from the very day Desmond invaded Arcadia fifteen years ago. I just…did not want to admit the truth to myself…Being a knight…was all I had…I had no home…no family…I just couldn’t…allow myself to stray from the path Desmond set out for me, and as a result, I allowed his madness to corrupt me, and dictate my every move. Even though I was blind, I could see…And though I could see clearly what was going on, I did nothing. I…have nobody but myself to blame for this. I could have stopped him…but I chose not to. I felt…indebted to my king, in spite of his transgressions. I forced myself to believe the lies I told you because they were the only things keeping me going. My comrade, Augustus…he was far more powerful than I…on the inside. He murdered one of the General’s subordinates, and fled with a slave to grant her her freedom. All I could do…was allow myself to be ruled…by my king…my station.” A wordless silence fell, and I walked over to the Digimon.

“…UlforceVeedramon…It isn’t too late for you,” I said. “You’ve made a mistake…but you are still alive to correct it…or to atone for it. Join us…and help us bring peace to not only Cyllene, but to everyone alive.”

“…But what right would I have to do such a thing?” UlforceVeedramon asked. “I tried to kill all of you…and you would welcome me to your group?”

“Yes.”

“…Your name…is Mia?” the Exalted Knight sat up, and looked down at me. “Mia…you are far too…naïve…for your own good…Kindhearted…and gentle…I only pray that this will not lead to the demise of you or any of your friends.” UlforceVeedramon spread his wings, and once again, took to the skies.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“…I need some time…to be alone…and to think,” was all the Digimon said before he vanished from sight.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 69 - Fattened for Slaughter

Noir

Everything is happening faster than I expected it to, I thought. I wonder…will that be a boon or a hindrance to the way things will turn out to be…? I looked down off the balcony of the castle’s inner garden, and in my mind raced the thoughts of what was happening. The westerners were successfully capturing forts, and drawing ever closer to the castle. UlforceVeedramon had been defeated just under an hour ago, and had fled to parts unknown, leaving Cyllene with only two generals. With each fortress that fell to the westerners, Cyllene’s army lost that many more troops, not to mention morale. But did Queen Eris care? Nope. That, at least, was working in my favor. Now we just need her out of the way…and once the final domino falls, the plan will finally be complete. Once I hear EbiBurgermon give the okay—

“Hey, boss!” My thoughts were interrupted by the tiny squeak of EbiBurgermon’s voice.

“…My friend. Are your preparations complete?” I asked.

“Yup! Eris is in her room, and I’ve got all the food prepared!” EbiBurgermon said. “But…wouldn’t it just be easier to have just made one burger and poisoned—?”

“No. This needs to look like an accident,” I interrupted. “Just keep feeding her. Do not let her stop. Do not stop…until she bursts.”

“Okay…”

“…Is there a problem?” I asked.

“No, no…I was just wondering if people were going to be suspicious about all of these…tiny ‘accidents,’” EbiBurgermon said.

“I haven’t told anyone that Desmond was killed, and Eris has said nothing about consuming his flesh,” I replied. “I’ve simply told the three generals that the king has gone bedridden with some passing illness. They know nothing. However, if word gets out about the same time of the deaths of both Eris and Desmond, then people surely will be suspicious, and not even telling them that Desmond had an ‘illness’ would slake their doubts. That’s why Eris’s death must look like an accident of her own doing. That way, nobody will be able to connect them.”

“…Okay. I understand!” the tiny Rookie smiled. “Don’t you worry, Noir! You can count on me to do this!”
“I know I can count on you…because you are the only one I can count on,” I whispered to myself as the small Digimon happily walked off.

[HR][/HR]
EbiBurgermon

“Good morning, Queen Eris!” I exclaimed, happily letting myself into the queen’s chamber.

“EbiBurgermon…is it time for lunch already?” Eris asked.

Damn, she’s really let herself go! I kept myself from saying out loud…even though it was true. Especially since it was true. Although, it doesn’t seem like she cares very much…Eris sat atop Desmond’s throne. In just the short week or two since Eris came to Silverveil, she had put on well over eighty pounds, and it seemed that every last ounce of it went straight to her belly. Her clothes had been stretched to the max, and her shirt finally gave up covering her stomach altogether. Eating Desmond must’ve really helped with that…

“Well, EbiBurgermon?” Eris pressed.

“Oh, yes, my queen!” I squeaked. “To celebrate you taking the throne, I’ve prepared a special lunch for you!”

“Oh, really? Then I suppose that means more than one of your wonderful burgers?”

“Yup! In fact…I was awake for several days in a row to make you…over one-thousand burgers!” I snapped my fingers, and at once, the food that I had made materialized directly in front of the rotund queen.

“One…thousand?!” Eris exclaimed with a shocked expression on her face.

More than one thousand, my queen!” I replied. “Well…? Enjoy!”

“…I most certainly will! Many thanks, EbiBurgermon!” With great effort, Eris forced herself out of the throne and without even bothering to walk, she instead belly flopped into the pile of food I made and began eating ravenously.
Hmm…I wonder how many it will take for her to burst? It thought. I looked at the huge pile of food I made, and then over to the bloated queen. I think I should make more…

[HR][/HR]
Eleanora Kasuto

The eastern fortress was in clear sight. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only thing I could see. Standing right outside was a small platoon of Cyllenian Knights.

“…What should we do?” I whispered.

We?! You’re the fighter!” Isole shot back.

“You can’t expect me and Elizabeth to be able to fight forty well-trained knights all by ourselves!”

“Well, of course not! You’ll have Lunamon and Quetzalmon at your sides! Now, hop to it!” I glanced over at Elizabeth, who merely shrugged.

“…Fine, whatever…” With Elizabeth and Lunamon on either side, and with my sword securely grasped in my hands, I quietly left the thicket where Isole and Bokomon hid. The soldiers, however, did not notice our presence until Elizabeth hurled one of her knives into the forehead of a knight, instantly killing him. Immediately, the other knights surrounded us with weapons in hands. “Get ready, Lunamon!”

“Lunamon Digivolve to, Lekismon! Moon Night Kick!” An approaching knight was instantly knocked to the ground when Lekismon jabbed him in the groin with her foot.

“Freezing Wave!” A blast from Quetzalmon’s eyes knocked no more than ten knights into the air, where Lekismon was able to easily pick them off with her Tear Arrow attacks.

Boy…it’s a good thing all of these knights are Humans! I ducked and weaved my body out of the way of several lance thrusts of a particularly slow knight. Annoyed, the knight attempted to hasten his strikes just as I cut his throat with my sword. I glanced over at Elizabeth to make sure she was okay, just in time to see her strike down a knight with one of her kunai in a single, fluid movement. The elegant manner in which she moved was rivaled only by that of her own beauty, and she moved as if she had a body like Quetzalmon’s.

“Freezing Wave!” With one final attack from Quetzalmon, the platoon of knights was successfully defeated.

“…Was that it?” I asked.

“That appears to be every soldier, yes,” Elizabeth replied. “Is there a problem, Eleanora?”

“…I dunno. I just got a feeling in my gut that’s telling me this should have been…more difficult,” I said.

“If that’s the case…then your stomach is a helluva lot smarter than you, missy.” The large doors of the fortress opened up, and a lone man donned in black armor advanced towards us.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“The name’s Agamemnon Makovel; I’m the Green General of the Cyllene Imperial Army, thank you very much,” the man said.

“…A general?” Elizabeth asked. “But…”

“You’re only a Human!” Quetzalmon exclaimed. The general glanced up at the Mythical Animal, and swung his sword. In an instant, Quetzalmon fell to the ground.

N…No way! He didn’t even have to make contact with Quetzalmon…A magical sword! This is bad!

“Now, then…which of you purdy ladies wants to get cut up next?” Agamemnon asked.

“Moon Night Bomb!” Agamemnon held up his armored hand, and Lekismon’s attack dispersed upon hitting the knight’s gauntlet.

“You…are pathetic!” Agamemnon swung his sword in the air, and Lekismon was knocked off her feet. Turning back into Lunamon, my Digimon partner was out cold the moment she hit the ground. The older man looked back and forth between Elizabeth and me. “…You there. Sword girl. That thing, right there…” Agamemnon lifted his arm, and pointed at my belly. “…That the Mark?”

“…So what if it is?” I asked.

“Well, then, that just means I’ll have to crush you before your friend!” Before I could raise my sword, Agamemnon had me pinned. With his arms clasped firmly around my shoulders, the older general had rammed his fully-armored body into mine and shoved me into a tree.

“Ellie!” Elizabeth ran over to help me, but without even turning around, Agamemnon swung his free arm and struck Elizabeth in the stomach.

“No…Lizzy…” Agamemnon’s fingers tightened around my throat. From the ground, Elizabeth reached for a knife, but Agamemnon slammed his foot down onto her wrist. I tried to raise my blade, but the general grabbed my arm and twisted it around behind my back before turning my entire body so that my back was to him.

“…C’mon…lemme hear you scream,” the man whispered into my ear. “Go on, cunt; beg for mercy!”

“…My…friend—”

“Look, the only reason I ain’t rapin’ yer ass is that filthy Mark!” Agamemnon growled. “But if you beg…and make me believe you mean it…I might spare your friend from the pain…”

“Elea…nora…”

“Go on, then; beg fer mercy! Surrender your lives to me!” Agamemnon snarled.

“No…don’t do it,” Elizabeth said.

Quiet!” Agamemnon kicked the side of Elizabeth’s head. “Well, then?! Do it!!!” The sulfurous stench from the general’s cigarette and the look of rage on his face made my eyes water, and tears began to fall gently down my face.

“…Please…don’t…hurt…my…friends…” After a moment of silence, Agamemnon breathed a wisp of smoke into my face. He released me from his painful grip, and as soon as I was free, he struck me across the face. “…That all you got?”

“You dare taunt me?!”

“Well, I’m sure you must feel so strong, having beaten up two tiny little women,” I said sarcastically. “…Even though we can technically defend ourselves. But still!” Glaring at me, the general began to raise his sword once again, but suddenly, he stopped. Standing behind Agamemnon was Elizabeth; her hand was around his wrist. Her emerald hair was a haphazard mess covered in dirt, and it obscured most of her face; all that could be seen was her left eye, the violet one, glowing enigmatically between the strands of her hair.

“…The hell?! Get off a’ me, you—” Without a word, Elizabeth twisted the general’s arm behind his back and skewered him with his own sword. Apparently as surprised as I was by Elizabeth’s sudden display of strength, Agamemnon tried but was unable to break loose from the smaller girl’s grasp

“I’m not letting you go,” I heard Elizabeth say in a hoarse whisper. “Not until I see the last bit of your life drain from your eyes!”

“Elizabeth! Elizabeth, stop this!” I yelled.

“…What?”

“It’s over, Elizabeth! He’s dying! There’s no need to punish him any further! Just let him go…”

“But…Eleanora…he tried to kill you,” Elizabeth said.

“I know…but is that any different from anybody else that we fight?” Cautiously, I began to approach my friend. As I drew closer and closer, the look of rage made her seem almost…inhuman.

“…I don’t get it…Why you protectin’ me?” Agamemnon asked. I looked down at the old man.

“…I hate you. I hate people like you. I never want to see someone like you again for as long as I live,” I spat. “…But…Lizzy…you’ve already inflicted a mortal wound on him. He’s going to die soon…you don’t need to continue hurting him just because of who he is. Please…” I reached out and placed my hand over Elizabeth’s.

“Ellie…I’m sorry.” I could feel her grip on Agamemnon’s arm lessen, and soon, the general was able to squirm away. “…I…I don’t know what came over me,” she whispered. “I’ve never…done something like that before…”
“…Don’t worry about it, Lizzy,” I whispered. “The important thing is that you aren’t hurt…We’ve taken this fortress. Let’s go get Isole and Bokomon, okay?”

[HR][/HR]
EbiBurgermon

In just one, seemingly short hour, Eris had gorged herself on fifty burgers. She had slowed her eating pace considerably, but showed no signs of bursting yet.
Come on…come on! You’ve already had your starting weight in burgers, probably! Explode already! Noir wills it! Slowly, Eris lifted another burger to her chubby face, and began eating. With each burger she ate, her belly swelled up larger and rounder. Almost to sixty…just finish that one in your hand, and—

“…I don’t think I can eat anymore tonight, EbiBurgermon,” Eris sighed.

“…What?!”

“Seriously…I think I’m about to burst here…”

Then do it already!!! To my dismay, Eris placed her half-eaten burger down, and slowly rubbed her enormous belly.

“…C’mon, Eris! You can’t stop now!” I climbed up next to her, and grabbed the largest burger I could find. “You must live up to your ancestor’s expectations, Eris! Remember what you always say? Being fat means being wealthy!”

“I know, but I just can’t—”
“Sure you can! Look, I’ll help you!” I shoved the burger into her open mouth. And then another. And another. In no time at all, I had helped her eat twenty more, and with each time she swallowed, she grew fatter and fatter. I will feed you until you burst! Noir wills it! You must die, Eris! And it must look like an accident!

[HR][/HR]
Noir

It had been a little over an hour since I sent EbiBurgermon out to deal with Eris.

I wonder how it’s going? I kept thinking. Is she dead yet? No; EbiBurgermon would have told me by now if she was…Oh, well. There’s nothing to do but sit and wait…

“…Hey! You; your name is Noir…isn’t it?!” The voice startled me; I knew not who spoke, but the voice seemed familiar. As I looked around the room, a Digimon flew in from an open window.

“…Who might you be?” I asked.

“Hey! Get on your knees when you speak to the advisor of his royal highness, King Desmond!” the Digimon squawked. “My name is Eaglemon!”

“Eaglemon…didn’t you used to be Parrotmon?” I asked.

“Yes! When Tamiko tried to run away from the castle, I tried to get her back! But unfortunately, Kentaurosmon almost killed me!” Eaglemon said. “However, an old acquaintance of mine saved me from the brink of death and helped me to Digivolve into my Mega form!”

“Is that so…”

“Whaddya mean, is that so?! Direct me to his royal highness immediately!” Eaglemon screeched.

“I’m afraid that isn’t possible,” I said. “King Desmond has succumbed to illness not too long ago. Eris is now queen of Silverveil Kingdom, and therefore the entire continent of Cyllene. She has placed me, her royal advisor, in charge of all military operations.”

“…So…Desmond’s dead…huh…That’s too bad; rather liked the old sod,” Eaglemon said. “…Whatever. Just tell me what to do—” Eaglemon was interrupted by the sound of a loud explosion that shook the entire floor. “What the hell was that?!” I smiled.

“That was my mission. Getting accomplished,” I replied. “Now then, Eaglemon; head to the fortress south of the castle. A fraction of the enemy forces should be there by now.”
“Yes, sir!”

[HR][/HR]
Agamemnon Makovel

Eleanora and Elizabeth had left me just minutes ago. My fingers were clamped around the hilt of my sword.

Damn it…I can’t…die here…Not like this, I thought. Enduring the pain, I forced myself to stand up. Where I had been on the ground was a large puddle of blood. This sword…it had an enchantment placed on it by my subordinate, Barbamon…Maybe…if I go to him…he’ll be able to save me…I looked up at Silverveil castle. “Barbamon…you better not have been done in, you bastard…” With a hand on my side, I slowly limped my way to the castle.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 70 - Waves of Discord

Matthew Kasuto

The group I had been assigned to by Ulysses and Bokomon, consisting of Sparrow, Katsumi, Tactimon, and Zelda, had reached its destination, a fortress south of Castle Silverveil, in just a short amount of time. In an even shorter time, we had defeated the knights residing within it, and claimed the fort without a problem. And yet, that only seemed to augment my uncertainty. The battle had simply been too easy. There wasn’t a single general, or even a Digimon, for my group to fight. The enemy had only been a platoon of thirty or so Human knights. I could tell that, based on the way the acted, the others in my group felt the same as I, but the worry-free expressions on their faces seemed to belie their inner thoughts. Well, except for Katsumi. But then, she always looked worried and scared. Zelda, being the kind and gentle soul that she is, never strayed too far from her side, and though her golden eyes glistened with tears as they always did, I could tell that she appreciated Zelda’s company.

I certainly can’t blame her for that, I thought. There was just something about the mysterious blonde that seemed to put everyone’s mind at ease; her comforting presence and nurturing personality, mixed with the loving and calming gaze of her sapphire eyes, made me forget all about my worries of the Cyllenian Empire whenever I was near her. I doubt she’s forgotten, though. None of us can afford to let down our guard. We had left the empty fortress behind as soon as we cleared out all of the knights, and began our advance on Castle Silverveil. And that’s where those generals will be waiting…

“Everyone, stay alert,” Tactimon said. “It is very possible that we will have an encounter with the enemy before reaching the castle.”

“I don’t know about that,” I said. “That battle back there…it was way too easy, Tactimon. If they were going to attack us by now, they would have done so already. They’re probably waiting for us at the castle.”

“…Yes…that is another possibility,” the Digimon mused. “…If that’s the case…then we’re probably walking right into a trap.”

“Then should we really be going?” Sparrow asked.

“We’re going to have to fight them anyway,” I said. “As long as we know it’s a trap, then at the very least, we’ll probably be prepared for whatever is going to happen.” I glanced over my shoulder at Zelda and Katsumi. “…Katsumi…what do you think we should do?”

“…Me? You’re asking…me?” Katsumi asked timidly. “But…why…? My visions…they aren’t very strong…not like my father’s…”

“…I know that you aren’t able to clearly see the future like Wisemon can,” I said. “And I know that intentionally looking into the future only drains you of your energy…But I trust you, Katsumi. It’s because of your visions that we’ve gotten this far, you know? If you didn’t have that dream about the Goddess’ Rebuke, we wouldn’t have been able to stop them in time, and thousands of innocent lives would have ended. That’s why I’m asking you…Kitty.” The somber mage looked at me with a mixed look of shyness, embarrassment, and modesty. It was quite adorable, really. But then, she smiled. For the first time in many, many years, I finally got to see Katsumi’s beautiful smile; the one that made me fall in love with her all those years ago.

“…T—Thank you…Mattie,” Katsumi said with her face ablush. “…I’ll try my best…But…I don’t know if I’ll see anything useful. I’ll do my best not to let you down, though…”

“Don’t let that concern you. You could never disappoint me, Kitty.” Looking down and away from me in embarrassment, the beautiful sorceress closed her eyes. In a few moments, her brow furrowed and her legs began to tremble. Had Zelda not been standing next to her to catch her, Katsumi would have fallen to the ground.

“…I’m…sorry…I…I couldn’t see…anything,” Katsumi whispered. “I’m sorry…Matthew…”

“No…I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked you to do such a thing,” I replied. “You just take it easy for now, okay? Don’t push yourself too hard.”

“…Okay…”

“Well, that didn’t get us anywhere,” Sparrow said. “Hawkmon, what should we do? Should we keep going into an obvious trap, or should we—”

“We will obey our orders,” Tactimon interrupted. “Trap or no…we must do what Ulysses expects of us, if we are to win.” The Digimon turned to face us, and suddenly gasped. With his face to the sky, Tactimon held up his sheathed blade. A giant Digimon soared down from the sky, striking Tactimon’s sword with its talons. “Wild God’s Thrust!” Tactimon thrust the butt end of his sheath at the Digimon, who nimbly flew around it and raked his talons across Tactimon’s face.

“Hear me, vermin of the west! My name is Eaglemon!” the Digimon shrieked. “I am the advisor of the one and only King Desmond! As the king’s most trusted servant, I advise you all to leave before I run you all down!”

“Primary Tactic!”

“Mystic Break!” The attacks of Eaglemon and Tactimon collided in the air, creating an explosion that sent the two Digimon flying backwards. “Kaiser Phoenix!” Eaglemon rammed his body into Tactimon before he had a chance to raise his sword.

“Coronamon, let’s help him out!” I said, pulling out my Digivice.

“Coronamon Digivolve to, Firamon!”

“Digi Armor Energize!”

“Hawkmon Armor Digivolve to, Allomon, the Fangs of Courage!”

“Come forth, Okuwamon!” Zelda held a Talisman up above her head, and the form of the enormous Digimon instantly materialized before her.

“I…I can fight…too,” Katsumi said.

“Don’t, Katsumi! You need to rest!” Tactimon exclaimed.

“Please, dear; don’t overexert yourself,” Zelda said, holding onto the sorceress’s arm. “I couldn’t bear it if I let anything happen to you…”

“…Please, Katsumi,” I whispered.

“…Okay. I’m…sorry…”

“There isn’t any need for you to be sorry. Just stay safe,” I whispered. “Now, Firamon; attack!”

“Flame Dive!”

“Dino Burst!”

“Primary Tactic!”

“Double Scissor Claw!”

“Hah! You’re all too slow to be able to hit me!” Eaglemon cackled, skillfully maneuvering across the sky and around all of the Digimon’s attacks.

“Matthew; what should we do?” Firamon asked. I observed Eaglemon dart around in the air when an idea came to me.

“…We trap him, of course.” A cold shiver ran down my spine, but I ignored it, and readied an arrow in my bow. As soon as I fired it, the arrow became encased in ice. “…What?!”

“What the hell just happened?” Firamon asked. Another chill, this one much more noticeable and daunting, shot up and down my spine.

…What is this? This sensation…I’ve felt it before…haven’t I? Ignoring Eaglemon, my eyes darted around the landscape in search of another entity. “…Come on, Firamon! We’ve got to go!” I hopped onto the Champion’s back, and took to the sky immediately.

“Where the hell do you think you’re going?!” Eaglemon squawked. “That’s not even the direction the castle’s in, dumbass!”

“Matthew, where are you going?!” Tactimon asked.

“Wait here, everyone; I’ll go get him!” I heard Sparrow say.

“…Where are we going?” Firamon asked.

“Just keep going,” I whispered. “I think…he’s here…”

“Matthew, where are you going?!” Sparrow asked, following after me on Allomon’s back.

“…You felt it too, didn’t you?” I asked. “That same chill…the one we felt back then…”

“I did feel it; that’s why I want to know why you’re deliberately going to it!”

“…Because if he’s here, then he might be behind all of this.”

“How right you are.” The voice that chilled my very bones spoke up; as it did, I felt the temperature drop by at least twenty degrees. “I’ll be honest…I was not expecting you to come after me, like your friend said.”

“I knew it; I knew you were involved with the Cyllenian Empire!” I yelled. “Now, stop hiding like a coward and face us…IceDevimon!”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 71 - Creeping Shadow

Matthew Kasuto

“Stop hiding like a coward and face us, IceDevimon!” I yelled. The laugh of the bone-chilling voice seemed to emanate from every possible direction. Finally, the towering form of the Fallen Angel appeared before Sparrow and me.

“Is this better?” the Digimon asked.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Sparrow asked.

“Well, I’ll be honest with you…I had heard that a dear friend of mine was recently in a bit of a bind, so I decided to rush over and see if I could lend a claw,” IceDevimon said. “But what did I find when I arrived…? The guild whose very name I’ve cursed! And that woman you two were with…I was not expecting her to arrive on this continent, you see. My plans had already been ruined by the efforts of her and her friend long, long ago.”

“…Which one? We were traveling with two women,” Firamon said. IceDevimon glared down at the shorter Champion.

“…Yes. How could I have forgotten? How rude of me. The woman known as Zelda…It was her, and her Digimon Spirit Gallantmon, who had destroyed me five-hundred years ago,” IceDevimon said. “So, you see…what I’m trying to say is…that woman must be eliminated at once! I must have her destroyed! With the most dangerous one taken out, searching for the one I seek will be that much easier!”

“Who are you searching for?” I asked. “…If we help you find him or her…Could you maybe, like, not try to destroy Zelda, or something?”

“…Perhaps…But…there is no way you would be able to help me. There is no way you would want to help me. I am, you see, the villain of this comedy of errors; the — how do you say — primary antagonist?”

“Look, just tell us who you’re looking for already!” Sparrow said. “The sooner we help you, the sooner you’ll stop trying to hurt somebody we care about!”

“…Do you really want to know?” IceDevimon asked. “…Then I will tell you. I, IceDevimon, am searching for none other than…my other half.”

“Your…other half? What does that mean?” Allomon asked. IceDevimon grinned.

“My other half…is the part of me that was left behind when I was split apart,” IceDevimon said. “Once upon a time, I was considered what some might call a perfect being. Human and Digimon. Male and female. But, unfortunately, certain events led to me splitting into two separate beings; one male Digimon, and one female Human. It is the female Human that I seek…for once I find her…once we are finally made one again…my power shall reach its zenith.” IceDevimon smiled at us. “Well, then…since I’m the villain…I think you know what it means if I were to have my strength augmented. None would survive. None would dare stand against me. I would finally have achieved my greatest desire! Destruction! Solitude! Genocide! I seek to create a world that is covered in death and corpses! A world where none dare go against my wishes! A world where I, IceDevimon, can—”

“Dino Burst!”

“Fira Bomb!” The attacks of Allomon and Firamon struck IceDevimon in the center of his chest.
“…I’ve heard just about enough come out of your mouth,” I said. “So…allow us to shut it for you — permanently!”

[HR][/HR]
Zelda

Where did Matthew and Sparrow go? I hope they’re okay…

“HEY! Eyes on me, sweetheart!” Eaglemon shrieked. “I wanna see you cry your pretty eyes out when I tear that disgusting Mark right off of the back of your hand!”

“Double Scissor Claw!” As Eaglemon dove down at me from the sky, Okuwamon struck him aside. “Are you okay, Zelda?”

“Yes…I’m fine,” I said. “I’m just worried about Mattie and Sparrow…”

“They’ll be fine,” Tactimon said. “I don’t know what Matthew might have seen, but I trust in his judgment.”

“Kaiser Phoenix!” Eaglemon rammed into Tactimon’s back; the master swordsman went flying through the air and landed face down in the ground, unconscious. “Now, then…on to business!”

“Hey, you! You’d better stay away from the ladies!” Okuwamon spat.

“Out of my way; Mystic Break!” Eaglemon fired a white ray from his beak at Okuwamon, knocking the Ultimate away. Katsumi stepped behind me as Eaglemon landed on the ground and glared down at us. “…You two…seem rather familiar…”

“…I don’t think we’ve met,” I said.

“…Was it in a former life?” Eaglemon asked. “When I was healed by Murmuxmon, he returned my previous life’s memories…Yes, that’s it! I remember you, blondie!”

“…You do?”

“Yes! We didn’t actually meet, but in that life, I was a Parrotmon working for IceDevimon!” Eaglemon said.

“Ice…Devimon?”

“The one and only! IceDevimon told us to be on the lookout for you, back when ChaosGallantmon was still working with us! Since we didn’t meet face-to-face, I got to deal with…Luna.”

“Luna?” Katsumi asked.

“That’s right; Bellaluna Rosalina was her name!” Eaglemon squawked. “And looking at you reminds me of that traitorous bitch!”

“…Luna…is my…was my…mother,” Katsumi said.

“…Mother, eh? Yes…you do resemble her,” Eaglemon mused. “Asuramon and I caught her foster daughter, and tortured her for information. That was when Luna killed the two of us.”

“…I always knew she loved Chrysania more. Even though I was the one she gave birth to…”

“Kitty, don’t say that!” I exclaimed. “Your mother loved you! She loved you and Chrysania equally! Wisemon, too! Trust me; I was there! You just never got the chance to see how happy Luna looked while you were in her tummy…If you’d…seen her smiling…”

“Gawds, enough!” While we were distracted, Eaglemon reached out a talon and struck Katsumi in the hip.

Katsumi!

“Hahaha! I’ve been waiting so long to do that to Luna; doing it to the daughter who resembles her feels just as good, though!”

“GET AWAY FROM HER!” A giant claw reached and grabbed Eaglemon, plucking him out of Katsumi’s stomach. “You will pay for hurting Zelda’s friend!” Okuwamon roared.

“Make me!” Eaglemon taunted, breaking free of the Spirit’s claw. He wasn’t fast enough, though; Okuwamon caught hold of his wing, and as Eaglemon was flying away, Okuwamon was able to tear his left wing completely off. Eaglemon shrieked in pain, and began spiraling down out of the sky, plummeting into the forest.

“Katsumi! Katsumi, are you okay?!” I screamed, holding onto the sorceress’s hand. I placed my hand on her belly where Eaglemon had struck, trying to find the wound.

“Don’t worry…I’m a…witch…remember?” Katsumi asked. “I’ve already…closed the wound. So I won’t die…just yet. I’m fine…really…”

“Kitty…”
“Zelda…I’m fine. But…could you help me…stand…? And walk? I’m…very tired…”

[HR][/HR]
Wayland

Patiently, I waited near the entrance of Castle Silverveil. I had, of course, been asked by Ulysses to find Mia and her group, but I had gotten lost. Unsure of where to go, I decided to wait just outside the castle until either Mia or someone else showed up.

Knew I should’ve brought a damn compass with me…

“Wayland?” I looked up, and saw none other than Eliza approaching me. “Wayland, what are you doing here?”

Oh, hell; this wasn’t part of the plan! “E-Eliza…I’m sorry, I just could wait to see you again,” I said nervously. “I wanted to find you in the castle, but I didn’t want to disturb you if you were busy…”

“Aw, you’re so sweet. But…I was sort of busy, though,” Eliza said. “Remember that group of westerners I told you about? The ones who are trying to overthrow King Desmond?”

That’s right; keep talking…

“The knights have all been struggling to deal with them, apparently,” Eliza continued. “They’ve managed to capture a few forts close to the castle, and routing all the knights they find within. I fear they might storm the castle before the day is over…”

“…What would happen then?” I couldn’t help myself from asking.

“I don’t know, dear…but I’ll do whatever I can to stop them. I’ll snipe every last one of them if I have to!” Eliza turned from me and looked up at the castle. “I won’t let any of those bastards take the castle…” With her back to me, I reached into my pocket, and slowly pulled out a knife. “Wayland…”

“Eliza.” The sniper turned once more to face me. As she did, I tore the blade of the knife across her throat. The look in her eyes was a mix of shock and anguish.

“W…W-Wayland…why?!”

“Eliza…I’m afraid I’m one of those western bastards,” I said. I wiped the sniper’s blood from my knife, and placed it back into my pocket. “Sorry. I was just with you to get information.” Leaving the dying sniper behind, I began to walk away.
“Wayland…you…bastard!” Without any warning, an arrow pierced through my leg. I turned my head just in time to see Eliza fire another arrow from her arrowgun at me, hitting me clear through my forehead.
[HR][/HR]Noir

“EbiBurgermon…has the deed been done?” I asked the small Digimon was he walked up to me. He was covered in blood, but none of it appeared to be his.
“Yep…Eris is dead,” EbiBurgermon said. “She stopped being hungry, so I had to use my magic to transfer the food inside of her. But man, was she huge before it happened! It took almost 200 burgers for her to pop!”

“And it looks like an accident?”

“Yep! She’s just lying in a pile of burgers, covered in blood and guts with a gaping hole where her tummy used to be!”

“You two did well.” A tall figure emerged from the shadows, wearing a grin on his face. “Desmond and Eris are both dead now…meaning I can finally take over!”

“We live to serve…Barbamon,” I said, kneeling before the Digimon.

“Nobody ever found out that you aren’t actually a knight?” EbiBurgermon asked.

“Correct. Only the two of you are aware of this!” Barbamon cackled. “Now…I can finally rule my own kingdom — and a large one at that! Those idiots Desmond and Eris had no idea the powers they were meddling with. Humans should not be in charge of an entire nation; only beings as powerful as Digimon can truly be called kings!”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 72 - Extreme Encounters

Ulysses Melchett

“…It is time for us to go,” I said. “We have given the four groups an ample amount of time to complete the missions given to them.”

“What if they aren’t finished yet?” Lucia asked.

“Their goal was to claim the four fortresses surrounding Silverveil Castle,” I said. “If they were unable to do so, then at the very least they will be able to stall fractions of the imperial army and drive them away from the castle. All we can do is pray that no more are killed as we march into the castle. We must bring this war to an end as soon as possible.” Lucia, Mihiramon, Edmund, Flamedramon, and Leopardmon all nodded in agreement.

“There’s no turning back for us now,” Mihiramon sighed. “Guess it’s do or die from here on…”

“Don’t say it like that,” Lucia said, patting the Digimon on the head. “This is the only chance we have to protect everyone we care about. If we don’t think you’ll get out of this alive…then we won’t.”

“Lucia is correct,” Edmund said. “We must have faith not only in our comrades, but in ourselves as individuals.”

“It’s like Alena always says; the side who has the greater conviction and trust in themselves and their allies will always come out the victor,” Leopardmon said.

“In that case, we can already call ourselves the winners,” Flamedramon said.

“My friends…are you already?” I asked. Everyone around me nodded. “Right. Then let’s do this. Let’s win this.” Looking straight up at the castle, the group I led began its advance. The castle’s outer gate was soon in sight, and to my surprise, no enemy troops were in sight. Just the castle. After crossing the gate, we had reached the courtyard. Still, there were no enemies in sight. Instead, I sighed with relief at the sight of one of the groups I had sent out.

“Hey, boss! Glad you could make it!” Mia exclaimed. My relief was short lived, though. As our two groups met up, I could see that Mia, Sieglinde, and Abigail were all covered in cuts and wounds. Lupinemon was limping, favoring one of her hind legs. Andromon, however, seemed to be fine, but upon closer inspection, I saw there were a few burns on his metal body.

“What happened to you guys?!” I asked. “You didn’t have any trouble taking the fort, did you?”

“No, we took it,” Sieglinde said. “We fought off one of the three generals, UlforceVeedramon, and routed the remaining soldiers from inside.”

“On our way here, we were ambushed,” Abigail said, holding out her arm to show a fresh cut along her forearm. Mia had a smaller one near her right shoulder, and her dress and cape were both torn here and there. Sieglinde had a large and thin scrape on her hip and one on her thigh, as I could see from her torn skirt.

“Abigail…are you okay?” Flamedramon asked.

“Aw, don’t worry about this little thing, honey! I barely even felt it!” Abigail exclaimed.

“We’re all fine; we were just surprised is all,” Mia said. As she spoke, she kept a hand over left shoulder, close to her neck. “We can all keep fighting—” As she spoke, I gently grabbed Mia’s wrist and moved her arm. What I saw nearly made my heart stop; a festering, red-violet wound on the corner of her neck and shoulder about half the size of the young woman’s hand.

“Mia…”

“I’m fine, Mr. Ulysses,” Mia smiled. “I’m a Summoner…so I won’t be doing any fighting by myself…”

“She was hit by a poison arrow,” Abigail said. “We were able to get it out in time before the poison spread to the rest of her body, but…”

“I’ll do what I can,” Edmund said, approaching the young Summoner.

“I’m fine…really,” Mia said. “You don’t have to do this for me…”

“Well, that’s too bad, because I’m going to.”

“…Lucia, show me the wound you received earlier,” I said, silently observing the young woman. Nodding, Lucia lifted her shirt; on her belly was a wound of similar size and color to the wound on Mia. “…You haven’t fully recovered, Lucia.”

“But…sir, I’m fine!” Lucia protested.

“HEY, BOSS!” a voice called out.

“Isole?” Lucia turned around and saw her daughter approaching the group with Bokomon at her side. Behind her was Elizabeth, helping Eleanora limp after the tactician.

“We’d better have Edmund take a look at these two; they were banged up pretty good by a general,” Isole said.

“…Their bones are broken,” the archsage said. “It’ll take a few days for them to mend, even if I were to do something. And Mia, there isn’t anything more I can do for you or Lucia; your life is not endangered from the poison as it has left your blood. However, it still exists in your flesh, and it might continue to eat away at your skin for a while.”

“Some fucking healer you are!” Isole spat.

“I’ve said before; healing is not my forte,” Edmund said calmly. “All of these injuries can be healed with the proper spells, but I am afraid they are not spells I am familiar with. Katsumi should be able to concoct a potion to dispel the poison from Mia’s neck and Lucia’s stomach, but I’m afraid there isn’t anything that I can do all by myself other than heal cuts or scrapes.”

“Well, isn’t that just convenient? I had heard that there was an archsage among you, but to know that he can only attack is quite a relief; there’s nothing more annoying than a multi-talented enemy, you know!”

“Who’s there?!” I growled.

“Look down!” Slowly, I lowered my head, and saw a small Digimon looking up at me. “Hello! I’m EbiBurgermon! Pleased to meet all of you!”

“…You…are with the Cyllenian Empire?” I asked.

“You bet! Now, it’s time for me to do my job, and defeat all of you!” EbiBurgermon squeaked.

“Hah! I’ve eaten bigger Digimon than you for breakfast!” Mihiramon said.

“I think we all have,” Abigail said.

“EbiBurgermon Digivolve to, Ebidramon!”

“Is that all you’ve got?!” Flamedramon asked.

“You haven’t seen anything yet; Twin Scissors!”

“Samurai Tiger Tail!” Mihiramon intercepted Ebidramon’s attack, and easily struck down the Champion Digimon. “Pathetic. And here, I thought we were going to have to work up a sweat fighting you.”
“You…haven’t won yet!” Ebidramon shouted, once more enveloping himself in the light of Digivolution. “Ebidramon Digivolve to, Orochimon!”

[HR][/HR]
Zelda

Katsumi lay unconscious on the ground with her head nestled in my lap. Her face had grown more pale than usual due to her loss of blood. She looked so much like her mother, but her personality was about as opposite as you can get; where Luna was bold and outgoing, Katsumi was shy and timid. And yet, despite the difference in personality, I knew for a fact that Luna loved her biological daughter with all her heart. Nobody really knows how Luna died, to be honest, though she could have lived a long life with her daughter and husband, due to receiving the Mark from Wisemon.

And it’s because Luna’s dead that Kitty thinks she loved Chrissy more, I thought. Chrysania, being Luna’s adopted daughter, did not receive the Mark. But…does Kitty really think Luna would have gone as far as to kill herself just to be with Chrysania in the afterlife? I brushed a strand of lavender hair away from Katsumi’s face, and gently brushed my fingertips across her cheek.

“How is she doing?” Tactimon asked.

“…I think she’ll be okay,” I said. “I’m a bit more worried about Matthew and—”

“There’s no need to be,” Tactimon interrupted. “Your descendent is strong, and his friend is loyal. Between those two and their Digimon, there isn’t any cause for concern.”

“I know…but…I’m still going to worry about him, okay? He’s practically my son, Tactimon.”

“…In over four hundred years, Zelda, you haven’t changed in the slightest,” Tactimon said. “Inside and out, you’re the exact same as you were when I was working for SkullCaliphmon.”

“…Thank you…” A few trees in the distance rustled, and from the surrounding forest, I saw the faces of my friends emerge.

“Hey! Zelda!” Giselle exclaimed happily. “Zelda! Tactimon! There you are!”

“Giselle; have you and your group accomplished your goal?” Tactimon asked.

“The northern fortress has been secured, Sir Tactimon,” Alena said. “We cleared the area of every knight we could find, rest assured. There should no doubt be less soldiers in the castle due to our interference.”

“Oh, hey; guess what? This girl here says she wants to join Lachesis!” Giselle said, pointing to a girl standing at her side. “Isn’t that awesome? Her name is Sapphira, and around her neck is her Digimon partner, Kudamon!”

“I, uh…I would enjoy being a part of the group working to stop Desmond’s tyranny,” Sapphira said nervously. “I wouldn’t wish to impose upon you, though…”
“You needn’t worry; we’d be more than happy to have you with us,” I smiled. Sapphira began to smile back, but it came out as a shocked frown when she noticed Katsumi.

“…Is she okay?” Sapphira asked.

“She’ll be fine; she just needs to rest,” Tactimon said. Sapphira’s eyes began to flood with tears, and the young woman turned her head to face the ground.

“…I…I’m sorry,” Sapphira sobbed. “I…I didn’t mean for…for any of this…to happen…”

“What are you talking about, dear? You…didn’t do anything wrong,” I said. I knew what I said was the truth. And yet, there was something about Sapphira; a regal air of sorts that made me think there was more to her than what met the eye.

“Please, Sapphy, don’t cry,” Giselle said, placing her hand on the other girl’s shoulder.

“I just…wanted…to stop my father!” Sapphira wailed. “I…I didn’t want anyone else to get hurt! But I didn’t know how else to…to stand up to him…”

Her…father? Does she mean—

“Sapphira, what are you saying?” Alena asked.

“…Why don’t you tell us who you are, my dear?” Tactimon asked in a gentle voice. “Nobody here is going to get mad at you.”

“…Are you certain of this?” Kudamon asked. “You may well change your mind when we tell you.”

“No! I could never get mad at Sapphy! She’s my friend!” Giselle exclaimed, throwing her arms around Sapphira.

“…I…My name…The way I look…All of it is a disguise…so that I could escape from my father. I am…Tamiko. I am the princess of Silverveil, and daughter of King Desmond.” Everybody stared wide-eyed at the small girl; everyone except for Alena and Tactimon. I, too, was surprised; I had a feeling that she was of noble lineage from the way she spoke and composed herself, but to think that she was the daughter of that madman? “I didn’t want anything to do with Desmond’s war…but I…I’m so scared of him. He…executed my brother, right in front of me. He’s a vicious and powerful, bloodthirsty man who would do anything to get what he wants. If he found out that I’d joined your guild…I don’t know what…he’d do to me…to you…”

“Well…now you know,” Kudamon said. “Princess Tamiko is Desmond’s daughter. What will you do with us?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I’m…the daughter of the king you are fighting against,” Tamiko said. “You should…all…hate me…”

“Why?” Giselle asked.

“B…Because…well…”

“You shouldn’t trust us,” Kudamon said. “The princess of the enemy kingdom? You don’t have any reason to believe anything she says.”

“Kudamon is correct…you should all…hate me…For who my father is…”

…This sounds…familiar, I thought. “…Tamiko. Whose blood you have in you doesn’t make you who you are as a person. Your father may have brought you into this world…but that doesn’t mean you’re automatically a terrible person, just because Desmond is. Tamiko…I can tell how much you despise your father for everything he’s done. Your eyes…your tears…Everything you’ve said is proof enough that you aren’t simply Desmond’s daughter. You are Tamiko. You are your own person. Don’t let your bloodline decide your fate before you have a chance to live your life the way you desire.”

“Tamiko…Zelda speaks earnestly, and from experience,” Tactimon said. “Nobody knows better than she about a life of misery due to bloodlines.” I nodded, and held up my right hand, slowly removing my glove to show Tamiko my Mark.

“…That? You…have one of those?” Tamiko gasped.

“One of the Marked,” Kudamon said.

“…I don’t normally show this to people I’ve just met,” I said. “When people find out what I am…they hate me. They attack me. But you, Tamiko…you showed the same fear I have upon others learning your secret, and you showed great courage in telling us willingly…So you deserved to know.”

“…Zelda…the Mark…do you…really have Digimon blood in you?” Tamiko asked. I nodded. “…My daddy always told me that people who carry that Mark were evil; an insult to the Goddess. But you’re not…you’re…so nice…”

“It was my husband who told me those words,” I said. “He was a normal Human, but he didn’t hate me when I told him what I am. He was the first to ever treat me with such kindness; how could I help but fall in love with him? So you see, Tamiko; whose blood you have doesn’t make you who you are.”

“…Zelda…I…I don’t know what to say,” Tamiko said. “I…I’m kind of…surprised…that none of you hate me; I wasn’t expecting…”

“Trust me; I’m the one who’s surprised,” I smiled. “Surprised that a man with a reputation as fearsome as Desmond could have a daughter as sweet and as adorable as you…”

“If you were so afraid that we’d hate you, then why did you tell us who you were?” Giselle asked.

“I…I don’t know…I just…I haven’t been able to think clearly, ever since Desmond killed my brother,” Tamiko whispered.

“And I ask that you all do your best to keep her from remembering such a traumatic event!” Kudamon huffed.

“Of course not,” I said.

“…Is it…really okay…that I go with you?” Tamiko asked.

“Oh, of course! Just don’t be surprised if I accidentally call you Sapphira!” Giselle giggled. Tamiko smiled, and wiped a stray tear from her cheek.

“…That was well said, Zelda,” Tactimon said quietly.

“…I guess so,” I replied. “I just wish I could take my own advice…”

“Shall we get going, then?” Alena asked. “Now that our two groups have finished our jobs and rejoined, we ought to help Ulysses and the others at the castle.”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 73 - When the Rush Comes

Matthew Kasuto

“Do you really think you will be capable of defeating me?” IceDevimon asked. “You remember what happened last time, don’t you? I was able to defeat your Digimon effortlessly. You two Humans are no better; what could you possibly do against a Digimon like me?”

“We’ve grown stronger since our last encounter,” Firamon said.

“And don’t underestimate the strength of these Humans!” Allomon added. “They’re both among Lachesis’s best fighters!”

“Please; an archer and an axeman? If their archsage or Summoner was with them, then I might actually be afraid!” IceDevimon spat. “But, the four of you?! Even all at once, you don’t stand a chance against me as I am now!”

“Flame Dive!”

“Tundra Freeze!” IceDevimon blinked, and in an instant, Firamon became encased in ice. “See what I mean? I’m not merely a Champion level Digimon; my power goes far beyond the Mega level. Only a Digimon with strength comparable to Gallantmon stands a chance. Armor and Champion levels could easily die from just being in my presence!”

“Dino Burst!” Allomon opened his massive jaws and showered IceDevimon with bright orange flames. Instead of attacking back, however, IceDevimon simply held up a hand; at once, Allomon’s flames gravitated to the center of IceDevimon’s palm, where the Fallen Angel fired it off back at Allomon.

“You just don’t get it, do you?!” IceDevimon smirked.

“Okay! You’re strong! You don’t need to keep reminding us every two seconds!” Sparrow snapped.

“It seems to me that I do.” With a flick of his wrist, IceDevimon buried Allomon under a barrage of icicles.

Allomon!

“Don’t, Sparrow!” I grabbed on to the arm of my friend to keep him from rushing to the side of his Digimon partner. “Stop it, Sparrow! IceDevimon will just attack you, too!”

“But…Allomon…”

…Firamon…Please…We need you! We need your help…I firmly gripped my Digivice, which suddenly emitted a bright orange light. The flames on Firamon’s body seemed to grow wilder, and the ice which trapped him melted and evaporated into a white steam. “Firamon!”

“Matthew…Your desire to protect your friends is giving me more power,” Firamon said.

“…That glow…this is unexpected,” IceDevimon said. “…I don’t want to have to deal with him. I shall have to take my leave of you for now.”

“What?! You can’t just leave in the middle of a fight!” Sparrow exclaimed.

“Just watch me!” IceDevimon spread his massive wings and took flight, vanishing into the distance in just a matter of seconds.

“Damn it; that bastard! C’mon, Mattie; we gotta go! We can’t let him get away!”

“Peace, Sparrow. He’s long gone by now,” Firamon said.

“Well, if we start moving, then maybe we can—”

“It won’t do any good. And even if we could find him…what then?”

“…What do you mean?” Sparrow asked.

“He’s already proven a sufficient amount of times that he truly is stronger than the four of us. If we chase after him…what would we do? Get our asses kicked again? I fail to see how that would help our cause. And besides, Sparrow…aren’t you forgetting somebody? Somebody very important to you?”

“Somebody…? Oh! Hawkmon!” Sparrow raced over to the pile of snow and ice that had buried his Digimon partner. “Hawkmon! Hawkmon!”

“Sparrow…I’m fine.” A feathered head emerged from the snow. “You needn’t worry about me…I’m your Digimon partner, after all.”

“Hawkmon…”

“But that’s beside the point. I agree with Firamon,” Hawkmon said. “We’d be doing our comrades a disservice if we were to get ourselves destroyed by IceDevimon when we’re here to help bring an end to Desmond’s tyranny.”

“Yeah…I know,” Sparrow said quietly. “But that IceDevimon…I just keep letting him get to me…you know?”

“I know what you mean,” I said. “Whenever he’s around, I can practically feel my blood freeze over.”
“No…not like that,” Sparrow said. “For me…that Digimon makes my blood boil like crazy.”

[HR][/HR]
Katsumi Rosalina

“Ebidramon Digivolve to, Orochimon!” The massive, eight-headed Digimon, larger even than Talosmon, slithered and wormed his way around the castle courtyard, making his eight heads comfortable. “Well, now…you see before you my most powerful form; Ultimate level Orochimon! Still feel like you can snag a victory from me, hmm?”

“There are still more of us than you! Don’t think that you’ll be able to win easily, either!” Lucia said.

…Something doesn’t seem right, I thought. All but one of Orochimon’s heads are supposed to be a fake; the center, black head is the only real one…but I don’t see it anywhere!

“Everybody; prepare yourselves for battle!” Ulysses ordered. “Reload, Talosmon!”

“Come forth, Aquarimon!”

“Bio Hybrid DNA Charge! Bio Hybrid Digivolve to, BioLadyDevimon!”

“Lunamon Digivolve to, Lekismon!”

“No…something isn’t right!” I stammered. “Orochimon…”

“Samurai Tiger Tail!”

“Titan Inferno!”

“Fire Rocket!”

“Extinction Wave!”

“Goddess Bow!”

“Shining Force!”

“Gatling Attack!”

“Black Wing!”

“Moon Night Kick!”

“Freezing Wave!” In tandem with the Humans, the Digimon began their onslaught on Orochimon’s heads. However, the Demon Dragon merely snickered as each head was struck, knocked or sliced off. The laughter continued even after the eight heads were destroyed.

“…Something isn’t right,” I repeated. “Where was the center head…?”

“Very observant of you, my dear!” Orochimon’s laughter echoed, and before my very eyes, his heads began to grow back. For each one that had been struck down, two more popped up in its place. “I…have been granted abilities far beyond your comprehension. From the very beginning, I’ve had more heads than the usual eight of my species. My real head, as you might say…Do you really think that I would be so stupid as to reveal it right from the beginning?!”

“What is he saying?” Mihiramon asked.

“…The only way to destroy an Orochimon…is to destroy the center head,” I said quietly. “But…it isn’t here…”

“Correct! All of you together won’t be able to hurt me as I am now!” Orochimon said. “If you truly wish to defeat me…then find it! Search the castle grounds and find the center head! If you strike down the wrong one, then more heads will materialize in the defeated head’s place! It could be anywhere in the castle!”

“The entire castle?!” Lucia gasped.

“Damn it…I have a feeling this means we’ll all have to split up again,” Flamedramon sighed.

“Fine; everyone, go your own way for now!” Ulysses said. “Avoid killing one of the false heads; the real one is covered in pitch-black scales!” And so it began. Once more, our group divided itself up, with a person or two going down one of the many hallways of the castle. I, however, was left alone in the courtyard, standing face-to-face with Orochimon.

“…Well? Aren’t you going to go off with your little friends?” Orochimon hissed. “You seem to know quite a bit about me…They could certainly use your help.”

“…No. Nobody would want me around,” I whispered. “All I do is bring misery wherever I go…”

“Well, maybe if you tried smiling—”

“No. I am…a visionary,” I interrupted. Orochimon looked at me with surprise. “I saw a future…All around me had died…I do not know why…but…”

“You think that it was your fault, do you?” Orochimon asked. Slowly, I nodded. “…Well, whatever. This is none of my business. Run along now, little Marked. I do not wish to harm someone who carries the same fate as my master.”

“…Your…master?” I asked. One of Orochimon’s heads nodded.
“My master…he is of the same fate, the same blood as you are. He is a wonderful man who gave me life…His name is Noir.”

[HR][/HR]
Zelda Kasuto

Silverveil castle was now in full view. My heart was pounding as I apprehensively anticipated the upcoming events of the near future. The fact that Matthew and Sparrow were still missing didn’t help to ease my worries, but I had to keep reminding myself to not think too much of their disappearance. Tactimon was right, after all; they were both strong, and their Digimon partners were brave and loyal. I knew in my head that they would be safe, but still, my heart cringed with fear over their well-being.

…There’s nothing I can do about it now, I thought. I have to stay with the others; they might need help from my Digimon Spirits when the fighting begins.

“My lady; if you’d be so kind as to lead the way through the castle,” Alena said.

“Oh, uh, yes; I’d be happy to,” Tamiko said, clearly caught off guard my Alena’s formality. “You don’t need to refer to me be titles, Dame Alena; you may just call me Tamiko…”

“But…but that…that goes against everything I stand for as a knight!” Alena exclaimed. “You, my lady, are a princess; you are superior to us commoners! To refer to you so…so casually would be—”

“It would be just fine with me,” Tamiko interrupted.

“But…but…I…you…what?”

“Hmm, I think her brain just fried,” Siebold said.

“Oh, dear! Oh, I didn’t mean to hurt her! Is she going to be okay?!”

“…It’s a figure of speech, doll.”

“You don’t need to be that familiar!” Kudamon snapped.

“Kudamon, it’s okay,” Tamiko said, gently scratching the small Rookie behind the ears. Kudamon’s eyes suddenly widened, and his tiny head began hurriedly looking around the trees surrounding the castle. “What’s wrong, Kudamon?”

“…Something’s coming!”

“Kaiser Phoenix!” A flash of gold shot down out of the sky, striking the ground next to Tamiko. The Cyllenian Princess was blown off her feet, and Kudamon fell off her neck.

“Eaglemon?!” I gasped.

“That’s right…thought you saw the last of me, huh?!” The Giant Bird, though missing a wing, flew back into the sky with remarkable speed and dexterity. “Tamiko! You will pay for betraying your father!”

“…Who are you?” Tamiko asked.

“Something tells me this guy used to be Parrotmon,” Kudamon said.

“Glad to see you haven’t forgotten me, Kentaurosmon!” Eaglemon said. “Now, then; time to take care of unfinished business!” Eaglemon swooped down, and reached out a talon towards Tamiko.

“Tamiko, get down! Zekkoushou!” Kudamon jumped up, emitting a blinding light from his entire body, but Eaglemon swatted him away with his remaining wing. With the Rookie out of the way, Eaglemon wrapped his talons around Tamiko’s waist, and hoisted her into the air. “No…Tamiko!”

“Mystic Break!” Eaglemon fired a white ray from his mouth, striking the ground to stir up a huge cloud of dust from the resulting explosion. When the dust cleared, neither Tamiko nor Eaglemon were anywhere to be seen. Giselle, too, had vanished, but I could barely make her out on the edge of the horizon, giving chase after Eaglemon.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 74 - Rosalina's Shame

Katsumi Rosalina

Once more, I ran the events of one of my more recent dream visions through my head. The ruined fortress of Lachesis, engulfed in flames, was the most prominent feature of that memory. The bloodied and lifeless bodies of my friends, though a sight I had hoped never to see in real life, was one I had grown used to in my visions. I stood alone at the middle of it all, observing the destruction. I exited the fortress, and saw only more death. Trees were either burning or leafless and dead. The forest floor was covered in ash, and the sky was filled with soot. I looked down at my own hands, and saw blood. Was it my blood? Was it the blood of one of my dear friends? My visions of the future were never quite clear, to my dismay, so I feared I would never know the answer. And yet, the signs from that vision, and all similar visions, pointed to the fact that all of the death that surrounded me was my fault. My fault. My father says that it is not possible for that to be true; but is that not what a father is supposed to say to his daughter? He says that I’ve no evidence of the deaths of my friends in my visions being my fault, and how I wish it to be true.

“And that’s why you try to avoid having friends?” Abigail asked. She and I sat alone in the corner of a room in Silverveil castle, one that was thankfully empty of Orochimon heads. “Sweetie, why didn’t you tell anyone you were feeling this way before?”

“…I…I don’t know…I’m not even sure why I decided to tell anyone at all,” I said. “…I’m just so…tired of feeling this way…but I can’t stop these visions from coming, Abigail! And whenever I have them, I always feel—”

“Kitty. Listen to me,” Abigail said. “No matter what you see in your ‘visions’ of the future, you cannot allow them to overwhelm you. If they do, then they might end up happening. Don’t allow your fear to control you; use what you’ve seen to help change whatever future you might have seen, but above all else, do not, under any circumstance, allow your fears to keep you from having friends.”

“But…”

“Katsumi; I can feel it. Hell, I can practically hear it. Your loneliness is eating you up from the inside. From inside of your heart. You have to put an end to this…please; nobody wants to see anything bad happen to you, honey. Everybody at Lachesis loves you so much…”

“…Really?”

“Yes, really! How can you say something like that?!” Abigail had raised her voice, but she sounded more upset than angry. “Kitty, I’ve known you for a long time, ever since you were in Luna’s tummy…I was one of the first to feel you kick…inside of her…She named me your godmother, for fuck’s sake! I couldn’t disgrace Luna by letting something bad happen to you!”

“Abby…I…I didn’t mean…I just…can’t…bring myself to allow myself to have friends,” I said. “I don’t want any of those visions to become reality…so I…”

“That isn’t why you won’t let yourself have any friends, Katsumi.”

“…It isn’t?” Abigail shook her head.

“Katsumi…you’re afraid of being alone. That’s why you won’t let yourself have friends. You’re afraid of being abandoned by those you feel like you can come to trust.” Abigail’s words hit me like in the slap in the face. “You’re afraid of being left alone above all else, Kitty. I’m sure you also feel guilty about your visions like you said, dear, and I know you would never want to hurt anyone you care about, but your fear of being alone is the biggest reason why you won’t let yourself have friends. And not just because of those dreams. You carry the Mark, Katsumi. I understand the pain that comes with having it. But this is just not good for you, Kitty. You need to have friends. You need to be happy…No…you deserve to be happy…”

“Abigail…”

“Aw, ain’t this sweet? Two maidens with the curse console one another’s problems.” Abigail and I looked up; above us were three of Orochimon’s heads.

“Kitty, get down!” Abigail pushed me to the floor just as one of the heads exhaled a stream of flames from its mouth. “Bio Hybrid DNA Charge! Bio Hybrid Digivolve to, BioLadyDevimon!”

“Inferno Blast!”

“Darkness Wave!” The attacks of the two Digimon collided, enveloping each other in their strength before vanishing into thin air. “Katsumi, get out of here!”

“But, Abigail—”

“No buts! Just do it!” the Bio Hybrid turned away from me to face the Digimon.
“…Abigail…please…be careful…” It took every ounce of self-control to force myself to do as Abigail said, and leave her behind.

[HR][/HR]
Eleanora Kasuto

My walk through a hallway of Silverveil castle had been mostly silent, save for the sound of my own footsteps. Lunamon had remained quiet ever since our group split up, and Giselle had found me, apparently searching for a friend of hers.

Man…all of this silence is getting on my nerves! Well, at least Giselle’s feeling a little bit better now. Hmm…I’ll just think of something to ask her...hopefully without bringing her depression back. “…Uh…So, Giselle…Why did you decide to join Lachesis?” Instantly, Giselle’s smile faded.

“…I didn’t have anywhere else to go,” the young girl replied. The look in her eyes was empty and blank, as was the expression on her face. And yet, at the same time, she looked as though she were about to cry.

“Giselle…you’ve been so sad ever since Rosemon left; is there anything I can do for you?”

“No…its fine…I’m…okay,” Giselle said. “…My mother died long before I joined Lachesis. Growing up, Rosemon was like a sister to me, and she was all I had left at that point. I didn’t know what else to do…I’d heard of your mercenary guild, so I thought that with Rosemon, I’d be able to get a job…and stay with you…And that way, I wouldn’t have felt so alone, or useless. But that’s all I’ve been to you; useless…”

“Giselle, don’t say that! You are not useless! Despite what Isole might say,” I said. “Look…even without Rosemon, you aren’t useless. Don’t you know just how invigorating your smile is?”

“…I’m far from being the prettiest girl at Lachesis. Why would my smile be so special? Besides, Larraine smiles all the time; you don’t need me…”

“But…but we do need you!” I exclaimed. “Larraine…she’s kind of like…the guild’s mother, you know? Sure, she has a nice smile, but it’s more like this calm, motherly, gentle smile. Your smile is so…carefree! Innocent! You know?”

“…How is that different?” Giselle asked.

“…I don’t know. But I do know that nobody thinks you as being useless — just ignore Isole — and nobody wants you to leave — again, ignore Isole.”

“Is this true?”

“Oh, definitely!” Lunamon exclaimed. “So what if you aren’t able to fight? That doesn’t mean you’re useless to the guild! Just having someone sweet like you to talk to is really a big help to the group’s morale; Larraine certainly can’t speak with every last member of the guild individually, 24/7! Although I’m sure she’d try…”

“People like talking to you, Giselle. You’re a really good listener,” Lunamon continued. “And forget about Rosemon! She’s the one who made the mistake, walking out on you! If you’d like, we can find you an even better Digimon partner!”

“A…new Digimon…? I…guess so…Thanks, you two…”

“Hey, anytime! Gotta look after someone now that Matthew’s all grown up now!”

“Oh yeah…I forgot he stopped being so afraid of everything,” Giselle giggled. “Is he seriously not afraid of girls anymore?”

“Not even Lucia.”

“Wow…You know, he and Coronamon were the first two people of Lachesis that I had met. Matthew was so afraid of me; you’d think I was some Digimon trying to eat him or something!”

“Yeah…he never told me how his fear began, but I’m just glad it’s all gone now.”

“That’s not what you said yesterday!” Lunamon said teasingly.

“S—Shut up!” Lunamon and Giselle both laughed, and I turned my face away from the two. With my head turned, I noticed a swift movement from the corner of my eye. “…Uh…Lunamon?”

“Don’t move.” Lunamon held up her tiny arm; her large fuchsia eyes darted around the hallway. “…They’re here.”

“Inferno Blast!”

Get down!” With a force greater than what her small body would suggest, Lunamon leaped into the air and shoved both me and Giselle to the floor just as a stream of flames flew past us above. “Are you two okay?!”

“Not for long, they won’t be!” Three large heads burst up through the stone floor. “Which of you ladies should we roast first?” one of Orochimon’s heads asked.

“Eleanora. You keep Giselle safe,” Lunamon said, walking up to the three heads of the Digimon. “Lunamon Digivolve to, Lekismon!”

“Hah! Good luck defeating the three of us, Champion! Inferno Blast!”

“Moon Night Bomb!” Lekismon’s attack was completely swallowed up in Orochimon’s flames, doing nothing to slow the attack down before she herself was struck by it.

“Lekismon!”

“Ellie…I’m…fine!” Lekismon snapped, forcing herself to stand up in spite of the terrible burns she had just received. “Tear…Arrow!” Breathing heavily, Lekismon attacked once again, only to be once again consumed by Orochimon’s flames. “Moon Night—”

“Inferno Blast!”

“Lekismon, get down!” I screamed, but to no avail. Again and again and again, Lekismon was hit by Orochimon’s attacks. “Lekismon…please…”

“No. I can’t…I won’t let…Orochimon…hurt…either of you,” Lekismon said.

“How do you plan to do that if you die?” one of Orochimon’s heads hissed. “Inferno Blast!”

“LEKISMON!”

“…Eleanora…” I could barely here the Digimon’s voice as she was enveloped in the orange flames. “Eleanora…lend me…your strength…”

“What?”

“Give it to me…so that I may protect you!” A blinding light tore through and dispersed Orochimon’s flames; Lekismon stood at the center of the light, still standing. “Eleanora. Hold out your Digivice.”

“Lekismon…” I tried to protest, but no words escaped past my lips. Instead, I did as Lekismon said, and held out my Digivice.

“Thank you, Eleanora. I promise…I will always protect you. You, and…those you hold dear!” The light emitted from Lekismon grew brighter and brighter, and once more, I lost sight of my Digimon partner. “Lekismon Digivolve to, Crescemon!” Where Lekismon stood now was a taller Digimon, holding a weapon in each hand and no longer covered in burns.

“You…Digivolved,” I whispered. “The Ultimate level…”

“Yes. And now, I possess strength sufficient to keep the promise I made to you the day we first met,” Crescemon said. “The vow I made to keep you safe from all harm, no matter the cost to my own life.”

“Crescemon…”

“Now, enough of this mushy crap. Time to kick some ass!” Crescemon exclaimed. “Lunatic Dance!” Crescemon briefly vanished from sight, reappearing behind the three heads of Orochimon. Gracefully twirling her two weapons in between her slim fingers, she struck down each of the heads in but a single strike. The heads fell to the floor in a fit of rage and shock. Two of them vanished from sight instantly, but one remained behind, dying slowly.

“Heh…hahahahaha! Well done…westerners. But I’m afraid…the heads that you had so much trouble dealing with…were simply simulations. The real head is elsewhere…in the castle.”

“…I suspected as much,” Crescemon sighed. “…Eleanora. Giselle. Are you two unharmed?”

“Yes…I’m fine,” I replied.

“I’m okay too,” Giselle said.

“Good…”

What’s so bloody good about it?!” a familiar voice hissed. At that moment, six more heads of Orochimon burst into the room from the walls. “You have been warned…for every one false head that is slain…two more are brought into existence in its place!”

“It doesn’t matter how many of you there are; I’ll cut you all down!” Crescemon said.

“You think so? Inferno Blast!” The force of Orochimon’s attack knocked me off me feet.

“Ow…damn it!” Thick black smoke began to fill the air, making me dizzy as I tried to stand back up. “…Giselle? Giselle, where are you?!” Wild flames surrounded me, blocking nearly everything else from sight.

“Ellie!” Giselle’s voice rang out from behind the curtain of flames. “Ellie, are you okay?!”

“I’m fine,” I said, nearly choking on the smoke. “Crescemon…”

“She’s with me, Ellie!”

“Okay…get her out of here…Crescemon,” I said.

“Eleanora, I’m not leaving you behind! No Digimon would dare leave behind their partner!” the Ultimate retorted.
“Just do it! Keep Giselle safe! I can handle myself…” The world around me grew dim as the flames grew stronger and the smoke grew thicker. “Crescemon…” No reply came from beyond the inferno. “…I can handle myself…huh? That’s what I said…but it looks like I’m…finished here…Matthew…I…I’ll see you later…”

[HR][/HR]
Matthew Kasuto

“…Ah!”

“Hey, you okay, Matt?” Sparrow asked. The two of us stood before Silverveil castle. At our feet lay the dead, blood-soaked body of Wayland. “…Hard to believe he’s really gone…Never would’ve guessed he’d die on the front lines…you know?”

“No…not that,” I whispered.

“What’s wrong, Matthew?” Firamon asked.

“I just felt…this really sharp pain…in my heart,” I whispered, holding a hand to my chest. “I don’t know…I can’t…explain it…it just…happened…”

“It could just be shock over…you know…what happened to Wayland,” Sparrow suggested.

“…I don’t know…”

“Looks like he was killed the same was Alicia was,” Allomon mused. “By a sniper.”

“Well, that’s all the more reason to march on in and raise some hell! You with me, Matt?” Sparrow asked.

…Eleanora…

“Hey, Matthew!”

“Wha—?”

“Someone’s coming,” Firamon said, looking to the opened gates of the castle.

“Help! Please…help her!”

“Giselle,” I whispered.

“Who’s that with her?” Sparrow asked.

“Is that…Lunamon? Did she Digivolve again?” Allomon asked.

“Please; you have to help her!” Giselle exclaimed frantically, breathing heavily. “Please…Eleanora’s still in there!”

“Giselle, slow down!” Firamon said in a firm but gentle voice. “Now, what’s going on?”

“Ellie and I…we…we were attacked by Orochimon heads,” Giselle panted. “Lekismon Digivolved into Crescemon…but we were separated from Ellie…she’s still in there…with all of that fire…please…”

No! Eleanora…please be okay!

“All right, we’re going in!” Sparrow said. “C’mon, Matt!”

“Oh…right!”

“Crescemon, you wait outside with Giselle!” Allomon said.

“Very well, then,” Crescemon nodded. Sparrow and I, along with our Digimon, ran into the castle. The first thing we noticed upon entering the first room was flames. Bright orange flames, and a thick cloud of smoke.

“Okay…wait here, Matt; Allomon and I will go get her!” Sparrow leaped up onto his Digimon partner’s back, and I watched in silence as the two vanished into the flames.

“…Should we really wait here?” Firamon asked. “She’s your twin sister, Matthew; don’t you want to go and save her?”

“…I…I have a terrible feeling,” I said. “Something bad…has happened…or will happen…”

“Matthew!” Walking into the room, Katsumi slowly approached me and Firamon. “Matthew…”

“Katsumi, are you okay?” I asked. “…You’ve been crying again, haven’t you…”

“I…no, I’m…fine,” Katsumi said. “I realized…Abigail helped me to realize that…I’ve been subconsciously pushing all of you away…because of my visions…”

“Katsumi?”

“…I haven’t told anyone else this…but in those visions…I was surrounded by the corpses of my dear friends,” Katsumi said. “I…was the reason you had died.”

“That can’t be true!” Firamon exclaimed. “Kitty, you wouldn’t hurt a Flymon!”

“…Those kinds of visions would flood my mind whenever I closed my eyes…whenever I did anything, for that matter…”

“And that’s why you’re always crying…?” I whispered. Katsumi slowly nodded her head.

“That’s why…I’ve pushed you and all the others away…so that maybe you wouldn’t die at my hands…That’s why I forced myself to not have any friends…”

“Katsumi…”

“Matthew…I…I don’t want to go on like this anymore!” Katsumi wailed. “I want to have friends! I don’t want to be alone anymore!” And that was the last thing she said before an arrow tore through her chest.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 75 - Beyond the End of Tomorrow

Matthew Kasuto

Before my very eyes, a very sharp arrow tore through Katsumi’s chest. Her blood practically burst out of the wound it made, and onto my face. The somber witch slowly fell to the ground; her eyes grew hazy and her face pale. She had hit the floor before I knew it, gasping for breath. Behind her stood a young blonde woman, holding an arrowgun similar to Alicia’s. With her hand to her neck, she began to walk up to me and Firamon.

“That’s…three down,” she said in a raspy voice. “First the sniper…then the blacksmith…and now the witch.”

“You…you were the one…” I tried to speak, but I found myself unable to. I was torn between rage at the enemy sniper, and grief over Katsumi dying. The woman I loved was dying, and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. “No…no!”

“Who the hell are you?!” Firamon roared.

“My name is…Eliza,” the woman said, removing her hand from her neck to reveal a fresh wound and a splotch of still-wet blood. “I am a general…in the Cyllenian Army. Death to all…who oppose us!”

“You…you bitch!” My fingers were wrapped tightly around my Digivice, which began to emit a warm, orange light. “Firamon! Make her hurt! Make her pay for what she did!”

“…Understood.” Firamon became enveloped in the light, and vanished from sight. “Firamon Digivolve to, Flaremon!”

“Matthew…don’t,” I heard Katsumi whisper, however faint it may have been. “I’m not…worth it…please…”

“FLAREMON! DO IT! NOW!!!”

“Crimson Beast-King Wave!” With his arms outstretched, Firamon unleashed a blast of fire from his hands in the shape of a Leomon’s head. Eliza was consumed by the flames at once, and lay dead on the floor in the blink of an eye.

“Katsumi!” I turned my attention back to the witch who, to my slight relief, was still breathing, although just barely. “Katsumi, no! Don’t die…you can’t die! Heal yourself…please!”

“Matthew…you know as well as I…that healing spells don’t work on the caster,” Katsumi smiled. “It’s…okay. I’m ready…I’ve been ready for this…for far too long…”

“Katsumi! You can’t die! I love you!” I screamed. “I love you, Katsumi! I…I…”

“Matthew…I’m sorry…I wish it didn’t have to be this way either…You could have picked someone so much prettier than me,” Katsumi whispered. Still smiling, she reached out and grabbed hold of my hand.

“That’s not what I meant, Katsumi!” I wailed. The witch slowly closed her golden eyes for the last time, and laughed quietly.

“I know, Matthew…And…I love you…too…But…be happy…I want you to…find someone to share your happiness with…your love…and live for tomorrow…Matthew…” Her grip on my hand lessened, and her hand fell to the floor, lifeless.

“…Kitty…” Before I allowed myself to become overcome with despair, I leaned down and kissed Katsumi on the lips. Forcing myself to stand back up, I looked back at the lifeless body of Eliza. “You…you did this to her. You took her away from me! You murdered her! You bitch! You worthless cunt!” My body began to move on its own. I yanked Eliza’s arrowgun from her hand, and began to stab her corpse with the pointed tip of the crossbow-like weapon. Over and over again, I stabbed her. Her blood flew everywhere — mostly onto me — and Eliza soon became an unrecognizable mess of blood. I raised the arrowgun high up above my head, prepared to stab her again, and a hand caught my arm.

“That’s enough, Matthew,” Flaremon said. With my arm caught and the remainder of my body motionless, I began to breathe heavily. “…Let’s go now.”

“…Katsumi…this woman…murdered her…” My voice nearly died in my throat.

“I know. She murdered Katsumi, and Wayland, and Alicia. But she won’t hurt any more of our friends now,” the Ultimate said. “Come on…let’s get going.”

“…No. I’m…not going,” I whispered. “I refuse to leave her side. You go on ahead without me, Flaremon…”
“…Are you certain of this?” I nodded my head slowly. “…Very well. When all is done…I will come back for you…and her. And I will…come back.”

[HR][/HR]
Sparrow Lea

“Damn it; not in this room either!” I said. “C’mon, Moosemon; let’s get going!”

“We’re almost there!” Giselle exclaimed.

“Quicken your pace, Moosemon; we haven’t a moment to lose!” I yelled to my Digimon partner.

“Better hang on tight; it’s going to be a bumpy ride!” Moosemon reared up, and charged as fast as he could through the large, singed hallway.

“Don’t worry; I know we’ll make it in time,” Lunamon said. “Eleanora and I share a close bond, not unlike the bond she has with Matthew. I can tell…she’s still okay.”

“Not if I don’t hurry up!” Moosemon said.

“Wait, there! I see it! I see flames!” Giselle screamed. Moosemon came to a screeching halt, nearly throwing the three of us off of his back.

“Eleanora!” Lunamon jumped out of Giselle’s arms, and ran into the room just ahead.

“Let’s go, Moosemon!” I said.

“Roger!” My Digimon partner galloped after the small Rookie, and almost instantly, we were greeted by the sulfurous stench of the black smoke and orange flames.

“Where is she?!” Giselle exclaimed.

“That’s a good question!” Six heads burst through the flames, each with its own disgusting smirk plastered on its face.

“What the hell are you?!” I asked.

“Orochimon!” Lunamon exclaimed.

“Oh, I see you’ve returned to the Rookie level, little Digimon!” Orochimon grinned. “Now, then…would you like to be burned alongside your Human partner or after?”

“Damn it! You…you let her go now!” Lunamon screamed in a voice louder than I thought she ever could. “Lunamon Warp Digivolve to, Crescemon! Ice Archery!” Crescemon swung her two weapons in the air and fired off numerous icicles at the flames, instantly freezing them all solid. “Now, Sparrow!” I jumped off Moosemon’s back, and swung my axe at one of Orochimon’s heads, decapitating it instantly.

“Horn Blade!” Moosemon charged past me, and sliced through two more of Orochimon’s heads.

“Lunatic Dance!” Still swinging her weapons around, Crescemon ran through the remaining heads of Orochimon, instantly killing each of them. With no more heads in sight, I began to frantically look around the room in search of Eleanora; it wasn’t long until I found her at the center of a ring of icicles made from Crescemon’s attack, lying unconscious on the floor.

“ELEANORA!” Dropping my axe to the floor, I ran over to her, brushing the ice away with my arm. “Eleanora! Eleanora, wake up! Speak to me!” Carefully, I placed my hands around her shoulders and lifted her upper body off the floor. “Ellie! C’mon…don’t die on us, El! Don’t die on Mattie!” Instantly, the raven-haired girl opened her eyes, and sat up.

“MATTHEW!” she exclaimed. “Matthew…where…what?”

“…You okay?” I asked.

“Oh…Sparrow…Are we still in the castle?” Eleanora asked. “Matthew…where’s Matthew?!”

“He’s…fine,” I said. “He’s at the entrance of the castle…”

“Oh…I see.” Eleanora stood up, and looked around the room. “…I guess you defeated Orochimon…”

“Are you okay, Eleanora?” Crescemon asked.

“…No. I just felt…this incredibly sharp pain in my chest,” the swordswoman said, placing a hand over her heart. “I felt…Matthew…he…he was filled with despair just moments ago. Despair, anguish, grief…”

“Yeah…Matt said he felt something like that before I came to find you,” I said. “…Listen. Alicia…she was killed by an enemy sniper, right?”

“…Yes…”

“…Turns out she wasn’t the only one. The sniper…she also got to Wayland.” Eleanora’s eyes widened.

“No…no, you can’t be serious!” she exclaimed.

“Is he really gone?” Giselle asked tearfully.

“Yeah…I’m afraid he is.”

“…This can’t be happening,” Eleanora whispered. “We were all…supposed to make it back home alive, Sparrow! How could they…how could they go and die, damn it?!” The older of the twins threw herself into my chest, sobbing into the front of my shirt. “Why…Sparrow…why?!”

“The woman behind those murders is no more.” I turned around, and saw a large, burly Digimon entering the room.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“I am Flaremon; Coronamon at the Ultimate level,” the Digimon responded. “The woman who killed those three…I killed her not long ago.”

“…Three?!” Eleanora exclaimed. “Wayland and Alicia…who was the third?!” With a look of surprise on his face, Flaremon tightly closed his mouth. “FLAREMON! TELL ME RIGHT NOW! WHICH OF OUR FRIENDS DIED?! WHO ELSE WAS KILLED?!”
“…I…regret to inform you that…the woman that Matthew loved…was killed,” Flaremon began slowly. “…Katsumi Rosalina is no longer with us.”

[HR][/HR]As I write down these final words for this chapter, my hand cannot keep from shaking. My beloved daughter, my sweet baby girl, was taken away from me. And worse yet, there was nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening. Where I to go with Cyllene with her, she would simply have died in another manner. One far more gruesome, and at the hands of Eeno, the rapist. The way she died, at the side of the man who loved her, the man she had loved, I felt to be a more comforting way for her to ease into the afterlife. Grief shall consume me for a good deal of time, no doubt, but I shall not let it rule my entire being. Loathe as I am to admit it, Katsumi wished for death. She wished to be at her mother’s side again. And so even though it pains me, I shall continue on with the job given to me by my goddess. By Arcadia. I shall continue to chronicle the events of history as they occur, and not for how I envision them. And when it is all over, I shall join my beloved daughters, and my cherished wife.

~Wisemon
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 76 - The Strength Within

Tamiko Silverveil

Eaglemon had, after several minutes of flying me through the castle, finally set me down, although this was mostly to rest his remaining wing. Many times, I attempted to wrench myself free from his talons, but I only ended up cutting myself on his sharp claws.

“…Where are you taking me, Eaglemon?” I was finally brave enough to ask.

“The Grande Hall,” the Digimon said between breaths.

“Why there?” I couldn’t help myself from asking. “The hall…it’s the biggest room in the entire castle, isn’t it? Why would—”

“Keep your trap shut, girl!” Eaglemon snapped. “…In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit low on wings. I need the extra space to fly around…but in an indoor area where I could easily keep you confined…as my hostage…”

“But…why me?” I asked meekly. “I…ran away from home; I am no longer a princess. Surely, father wouldn’t want—”

“Yer father’s dead, lass.” The news, though surprising, did not fill me with any grief whatsoever. Quite the opposite, actually; I felt relieved by his death, like a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders. He was, after all, the reason I ran away in the first place. And that lack of grief was what filled me with dread. “Apparently, it was an illness, or something. Either way, he’s gone — oh, him and Eris are both gone.”

“Eris, too?” Eaglemon shrugged.

“That’s all I know. So…rest easy; this kidnapping has nothing to do with yer father.”

“…Does it have anything to do with all of the snakes I saw in the castle?” I whispered.

“Snakes…? Oh, no; those were heads of Orochimon,” Eaglemon said. “You remember Noir, don’tcha?”

“…How could I ever forget him? He and his Digimon were both so nice to me, and my brother…Is he…”

“Yep. He’s the one behind all this. Him and EbiBurgermon.”

“W—What?! What do you mean? He’s the one behind the war?!”

“Something like that, yeah. That’s what he told me, at any rate. Anyway, Orochimon is the Ultimate form of EbiBurgermon; he was sent by Noir to keep all of those westerners busy while I bring you to him.”

“…What does he want with me?” I asked. “I thought I was only supposed to be a hostage for you, Eaglemon…”

“Beats me. Didn’t tell me. Got kind of a big beak, you know?” Eaglemon asked. “He just wanted me to take you to him—”

“Zekkoushou!” A blinding radiance lit up the room, bouncing off Eaglemon’s metal body. “Release her at once, Eaglemon!”

“Kudamon?” The light dissipated, and though it had blurred my vision, I was able to make out the small Rookie’s distinct body.

“Hah! Look at how pathetic you’ve grown, Kentaurosmon! You’ve turned back to Rookie just because I stole your beloved Tamiko! Partnerships make one miserably weak!” Eaglemon sneered.

“Kudamon Digivolve to, Reppamon! Shinkū Kamaitachi!” Dashing forwards, Reppamon jabbed his tail forward, and had Eaglemon not lifted me up off the ground and into the air, I too would’ve been hit. Eaglemon, however, was not so lucky, as Reppamon’s tail struck the side of his torso. “…You were saying, Eaglemon…?”

“Ha…I’d be careful if I were you, Kentaurosmon! You almost nicked your little girlfriend here!” Eaglemon said.

His…what?! His girlfriend?!

“Please; I would never be so foolish as to engage in friendly fire,” Reppamon said. “Reppamon Digivolve to, Chirinmon!” Upon Digivolving, Chirinmon, with his newly developed wings, charged into the air after Eaglemon. “Knowledge of Swift!” Instantly, Chirinmon vanished, and the next thing I knew, I was on the Digimon’s back.

“Wha—?! Hey; how’d you get her?!” Eaglemon squawked.

“Wind Cutter Sword!” The horn on Chirinmon’s head grew roughly to the same height as my body; the Holy Beast flicked his head, and cleaved his horn through Eaglemon’s body. Chirinmon gracefully and gently alighted to the floor the same moment Eaglemon’s vanishing body landed in a bloody heap not five feet away from us. “Tamiko…are you unharmed?”

“…I’m fine,” I whispered. “But…Noir…”

“What about him, my lady?”
“…Eaglemon said that Noir was behind everything that has happened with this kingdom; that he started this war…”

[HR][/HR]
Mia Kiru

“Inferno Blast!”

“Eek!” Elizabeth shoved me to the ground just as the flames of Orochimon shot overhead.

“You cannot escape us!” Orochimon hissed.

“Damn it; where’s Quetzalmon?!” I whispered.

“I think he went with Flamedramon,” Elizabeth answered. “It’s just the two of us…”

“If that is the case, then this will be easier than I thought!” Orochimon exclaimed.

“Oh, yeah?! Come forth, MegaKabuterimon!” the Insect Digimon appeared before us, already prepared to attack Orochimon.

“Horn Buster!”

“Inferno Blast!” Orochimon’s flames consumed MegaKabuterimon’s attack, enveloping it in its all-consuming rage before striking down the Digimon Spirit.

“Sorry…Mia,” MegaKabuterimon wheezed shortly before vanishing from sight.

“Mia…let me fight,” Elizabeth said.

“No way! You’re still all scratched up from fighting that general guy! Just stay behind me; I won’t let anything happen to you!” I smiled. “Come forth, Blastmon!”

“Final Subago̅n Punch!” Blastmon aimed his massive fist at one of the Orochimon heads, but before he could make contact, he suddenly stopped.

“Blastmon…what’s wrong?” I asked. “Are you okay…?”

“Mia.” Elizabeth pointed at Blastmon’s legs, where I could see the long necks — or possibly bodies — of two of the Orochimon’s binding the legs of the Digimon Spirit together. It was then that I noticed that Blastmon did, in fact, make contact, with Orochimon, having his one of the necks. However, Orochimon took the opportunity to bind the Spirit’s arms together, rendering Blastmon completely immobile.

“Inferno Blast!” A single, black-scaled head rose up from the ground and spit orange flames into Blastmon’s face, defeating him in a matter of seconds.

“No…Blastmon…” Orochimon’s laughter filled the room, loud enough to keep me from hearing my own thoughts.

“Mia!” Elizabeth tugged on my arm. “Mia, look!” Elizabeth pointed at the black-scaled head. “Remember what Katsumi told us?”

“The head with black scales…It’s is the only real one!” I gasped. “If we can defeat this one…” Elizabeth gripped one of her kunai. “No. I won’t let you fight! I won’t let you get hurt any more…”

“Mia…”

“Besides…I still haven’t shown Mr. Snake in the Grass my trump card! Er, Talisman! My trump Talisman. Yeah!” I reached into my purse, and pulled out my final Talisman. “Come forth, Aquarimon!”

“Mia…you know, if this doesn’t work…”

“Then we’ll just have to run like hell.”

“Do not fear; I shall not fail you, Mia,” Aquarimon said in her regular, gentle voice. “Goddess Urn!” A barrier of water burst up from the ground, surrounding me and Elizabeth completely. “But if I cannot win…then at least the monster will not be able to harm either of you.”

“Enough talk; let’s get this fight over with!” Orochimon hissed.

“Yes. Let’s! Goddess Bow!” Aquarimon fired a single arrow from her bow. The arrow lodged itself into Orochimon’s neck; blood came spurting out in mass quantities, covering the floor beneath in a small pool of crimson. All of the other heads of Orochimon in the room instantly vanished, while the one Aquarimon sniped became enveloped in the light of Digivolution, and began to shrink until it became a Digimon barely taller than my forearm. “…Hm. Didn’t think that would actually work.”

“What did it turn into?” I asked. The small Digimon, with some effort, stood up, and glared up at me.

“…I am EbiBurgermon. Faithful servant of Noir. And you…well…I wasn’t expecting…defeat…I must admit; I am rather impressed that a blonde bimbo like you would have an ability as rare as Digimon Summoning.”

“Bimbo?!”

“As much as I hate to admit it…I’m afraid I must concede,” EbiBurgermon continued. The tiny Digimon bowed, and as he did, a savory aroma wafted into my nose.

Mmm…that smells good! Like curry or something…kinda shrimpy, too…Whatever it is, it’s making my mouth water!

“And to you two, I bid adieu.” Without turning to look back at us, EbiBurgermon staggered very slowly out of the room.

“…Okay? I…guess I’ll be going back now,” Aquarimon said. “Call me if you need me, Mia…” Aquarimon became enveloped in light, and vanished from sight.

“…Shall we continue, Mia?” Elizabeth asked. “…Mia?”

“Lizzy…am I a bimbo?” I asked.

“What?! Of course you aren’t!” Elizabeth exclaimed. “By the dictionary, a bimbo is an attractive woman who lacks intelligence. You, Mia, are an attractive woman with intelligence.”

“Oh…I did not know that.”

“Well…j—just because you might not have known that doesn’t mean you are! Just because EbiBurgermon said so…”

“I mean, I know I’m not bad looking or anything; I just never really thought of myself as beautiful like how Zelda is, and for the smartness thing, I never even really thought about it before; I mean, I knew I wasn’t dumb like a Sukamon, but I—”

“Mia. It’s okay,” Elizabeth interrupted. “Don’t pay any attention to EbiBurgermon. You are a sweet, pretty, and talented woman. Let’s just continue…going…” Elizabeth suddenly collapsed to the ground, clutching her stomach.

“Lizzy, what’s wrong?!” I knelt down next to my friend, when I too fell to the floor with a horrible pain in my stomach, like I was being stabbed. “Lizzy…what…”

“EbiBurgermon,” Elizabeth gasped. “That scent…did you…notice it?” I carefully nodded my head, not wanting to accidentally move the rest of my body and worsen the pain in my belly. “He did this…to us…That scent he gave off…like a curse of some kind…”
“What should we do? It’s getting worse…” I didn’t even bother trying to fight back the tears beginning to well in my eyes; rather, I lay down on the floor next to Elizabeth, and remained still. Still as I possibly could, out of fear that any further movement would tear my belly apart.

[HR][/HR]
Noir

…All of the heads of Orochimon have vanished. Does that mean EbiBurgermon was defeated? Worse yet…is he…was he…

“Noir. The time has come,” Barbamon said. I looked up at the tall Digimon, sitting upon the king’s throne. “You’ve had your fun. Now…it is time for me to have mine.” Barbamon stood up and picked up the wand leaning against the golden throne that had belonged to King Desmond. As he was about to step down, a slowly lumbering figure entered the chamber. “…Agamemnon. How good to see you again.”

“Can it, Barbamon…” The general stepped out of the shadows, and I could see that he was covered in blood. In the middle of his stomach was a large wound. “Barbamon…you’re the one who put all that magic stuff into my blade, yeah?”

“What about it?” Barbamon asked.

“Look, I don’t wanna go too into it right now, but I was stabbed by my own sword by one of them insurgents from the west,” Agamemnon said. “Could ya…heal me? I can fight…some more…if you’ll heal me…”

“…Done in by your own weapon? How pathetic.” Agamemnon’s eyes widened at Barbamon’s comment.

“The hell? Do you know who yer talkin’ to?!” Agamemnon asked.

“I could ask the same of you.” Barbamon lifted his wand, and looked Agamemnon directly in the eye. “Pandæmonium Lost!” Agamemnon was instantly lit ablaze. His choked screams were the last things I heard from him before his charred body fell to the ground in a thick pile of ashes. “You were never worth following, Agamemnon. Not even if I really were your subordinate.”

“Sir…”

“Oh, don’t fear, Noir. This will never happen to you.” Barbamon chuckled. “After all…you’ve been nothing but loyal to me, not to mention helpful, useful, and thorough. I need someone like you at my side…Noir.”

“And me…”

“EbiBurgermon!” The tiny Digimon stumbled into the room, almost falling down had I not rushed over to catch him in time. “EbiBurgermon, are you unharmed?!”

“…I was defeated…Two girls did me in; a Summoner and…a fighter, I guess,” EbiBurgermon said. “I gave off my special scent, the one you modified, Noir; they won’t be causing us any more problems for a long time.”

“But…you were still defeated,” Barbamon said. “…You are no longer of any use to me, EbiBurgermon.”

“No! No, he can still fight!” I exclaimed, clutching the Digimon securely against my chest. “Please…”

“Noir…I’m beat,” EbiBurgermon said.

“Then I will just have to kill you right here and now!” Barbamon exclaimed.

“No! He can…he can still fight…and win,” I said.

“Noir…it’s all good. I don’t have the strength to get past them,” the tiny Rookie whispered.

“…Then I’ll just have to give you the strength to win!” I gently placed EbiBurgermon down onto the floor, and held out my hands. At once, EbiBurgermon began to glow.

“EbiBurgermon Warp Digivolve to, Hydramon!”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 77 - United They Stand...

Zelda Kasuto

A gentle breeze swept across the lush greenery of Silverveil castle’s courtyard. And yet, this breeze did nothing to ease our woes; rather, it stoked the flames of our uncertainty and manifested the wildfire in our hearts that was known by many names; dread. Fear. Anxiety. Different words, but the same meaning, and the same feeling that wrapped its icy fingers around each of our hearts. And so as we ventured on past the front gates, ignoring whatever synonym of “dread” that we may have felt, we readied ourselves for battle as three large groups of Cyllenian knights approached us.

Thomas…please watch over us. Those were my final thoughts before it all began. Alena and Charlotte led a small faction away by themselves, and began furiously tearing away at the enemy knights before most of them could even raise their weapons. Siebold flung spell after spell into the fray, blasting the knights with bolts of electricity or burning them with flames. Pherania, Wikstrom, and AeroVeedramon began fighting off huge groups of knights all on their own. Tactimon remained at my side, swatting down any knight that dared approach, while my Digimon Spirit, Mercurymon, lurked nearby in the shadows, reflecting the attacks of any Digimon that headed my way. In the meantime, a sword flew out of a knight’s grip, landing on the ground next to my feet. And at that instant, I knew what I must do. Around me, my friends were fighting their hardest, while I simply stood and watched. Five-hundred years ago, I had sworn to never again touch a weapon, after fighting that nameless swordsman in Shendu territory; however, with all that was going on, I knew I could not simply give in to my weakness and pacifism. I had to fight to protect those who I loved. I picked up the sword and, as a Growlmon approached me from behind, I twirled around and shoved the blade deep into the Digimon’s stomach. As blood spilled to the ground and data flew off into the sky, I quickly pulled the sword out, not once regretting my action. I turned to my side, and hacked off another knight’s arm, followed by his head.

Thomas…am I…am I doing the right thing? I thought. No. I mustn’t let myself get distracted. I won’t just stand by and let my friends do all the work! Not this time! There’s too much at stake! As I removed my new sword from the chest of a knight who had nearly ambushed Alena, my attention was turned to a ShadowWereGarurumon rushing past Pherania, Wikstrom, and Siebold, cutting them with his sharp claws. Looking at Alena next, the Animal Digimon rushed past me at a blinding speed and aimed an attack at her, but Charlotte moved at a speed that always seemed to surprise me, and held up her shield just in time to protect Alena. Clearly surprised by the agile movements of the adorably pudgy young woman, the ShadowWereGarurumon simply stared as Charlotte swung her lance at his head. Had the Digimon not moved in time, his entire head would have been removed; Charlotte only succeeded in removing a few strands of fur, as well as a drop or two of blood.

“We have to hurry this up; Wikstrom and the others won’t last long!” Alena said through clenched teeth just after the ShadowWereGarurumon struck her belly with a well-aimed kick.

“Twister Sabre!” AeroVeedramon flew down at ShadowWereGarurumon, wildly swinging the blades on his arms as the opposing Ultimate slyly but gracefully ducked and weaved away from each strike. AeroVeedramon crossed his blades together, but ShadowWereGarurumon leaped into the air and struck him down with a Full Moon Kick. With his back turned, Tactimon began his assault on the Animal Digimon, and I did the same when his back was to me. Angered, the Digimon leaped into the air, and just as he was about to attack us both, a swarm of bats surrounded him, lifting him higher up into the air. Those Cyllenian knights that were still alive watched on in shock and confusion as another Digimon raced from the shadows and killed who seemed to be their leader by striking him in the chest with a spear. As bits and pieces of ShadowWereGarurumon drifted away on the wind, the remaining Cyllenians lay down their weapons, and fled the castle courtyard. Slowly and gently, BioLadyDevimon drifted down to the ground, pleased with herself for dispatching the Digimon. However, a quick look of pain flashed across her face, and she suddenly reverted back to her Human form, Abigail.

“No cause for alarm; I’m fine,” she said before I even had a chance to speak. “Just a little tired, that’s all…”

“Where are the others?” Tactimon asked.

“Oh, yeah; forgot you weren’t there when it happened,” Abigail said. “We had to fight a Digimon called Orochimon; its heads would grow back each time one was cut down, and it spread its entire body around the whole castle, so we split up to try and find the real head. I fought it by myself; part of it, anyway. It suddenly disappeared for no reason; I suspect someone must have killed the real head.”

“…Were Matthew and Sparrow there?” I whispered. “And Eleanora…? Is she okay?”

“Can’t speak for Matthew; he wasn’t there when Orochimon attacked. Eleanora was kinda banged up pretty bad from fighting a general, but she was okay to go off on her own the last time I saw her.”

“…I see…”

“…They’ll be okay, Zelda. They have his blood, after all,” Abigail said. “And yours. If that combination doesn’t amount to something…”

“Thank you, Abigail.”

“Now, onto the task at hand…It would probably be best if the lot of us went in and regrouped with the others,” Abigail continued.

“But…what about Wikstrom, Siebold, and Pherania?” I asked. Currently, Charlotte was at their side, and had stopped the bleeding from ShadowWereGarurumon’s attacks. The three knights, however, were unconscious.

“Don’t worry about them; I’ll stay here and watch over them,” Charlotte said. “You can go on ahead with the others, Alena.”

“Are you certain?” Alena asked. “I could help you with them…”

“Thank you, Alena; but I’ve already stopped the bleeding. All they need now is someone to watch over them while they rest. You’re stronger than me…so you should help the others with the fighting.”
“…All right. I’ll go. But I will come back,” Alena said. “We all will.”

[HR][/HR]
Sparrow Lea

“How are you holding up, Eleanora?” I asked. The swordswoman, cradling a sleeping Lunamon in her arms, stopped walking, and looked up at me.

“…I’m fine, Sparrow,” she said. “I’m fine…but…I don’t know if I can…I don’t know…”

“If we have to fight, I want you and Giselle to stand back, okay?”

“Sparrow…”

“I know I say this to all the girls back home, but I really like you, Eleanora. And I truly mean that. I don’t want to see you get any more hurt than you already are, okay? Flaremon, Moosemon and I can deal with anything that comes our way.”

“Yeah…you really do say that to all of the girls,” Eleanora giggled.

“Can you blame me? All of you are super hot, after all. I wouldn’t want anything tampering with your beauty,” I replied.

“Smooth. No wonder you’re still single,” Moosemon said.

“Ass.”

“Well…all of that aside…You especially should try to be careful,” Eleanora said. “With only Moosemon and Flaremon helping you fight, our little group here is shorthanded, and since you’re a Human, there’s no way you could compete with any Digimon we encounter.”

“I know I can’t, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to just let the Digimon do all the work!”

“Peace. There is no need to quarrel.” From the opposite end of the hallway, two figures approached us; one a Human girl, and the other a Digimon.

“Sapphira!” Giselle suddenly exclaimed, running up to the two. “No, wait…I mean, uh…Tamiko, right?”

“It is alright, Giselle; you may call me by whichever name you prefer,” the girl said, shortly before looking to me an Eleanora. “…Are you also…friends of Giselle?”

“Yep! They’re all members of Lachesis!” Giselle said. “Oh! Did Kudamon Digivolve again?”

“Correct; I am at the Ultimate level now; my name is Chirinmon,” the Digimon standing next to Tamiko bowed his head.

Ultimate?! No way…I’m only a Human, but I…I can feel some kind of immense power emanating from this guy! Just who is he?! Not an ordinary Digimon, that’s for sure…
“At any rate, Miss Giselle, you don’t have to worry about being outnumbered now that I’ve arrived. I promise to do everything I am able to in order to protect all of you,” Chirinmon said.

[HR][/HR]
Lucia Delbray

“Samurai Tiger Tail!” Mihiramon relentlessly and repeatedly struck the ground with his tail, sending Cyllenian knights flying into the air; I had to tightly grip his reins so I wouldn’t be tossed off, as Isole and Bokomon nearly were.

“Mihiramon, slow down, for fuck’s sake!” Isole snapped.

“Sorry, no can do; we don’t have a moment to waste!” the Digimon responded, tearing through the room as fast as he could.

“Mihiramon, what’s going on?!” I asked.

“…I can smell it. A powerful Digimon…it’s nearby! It must’ve just Digivolved; that’s why I didn’t sense anything earlier!”

“Mihiramon, please—”

“INCOMING!” Bokomon pointed up just as a Shurimon descended from the ceiling; just inches away from each of us, the Shurimon was knocked aside by another Digimon. “…Lupinemon?”

“Heh. Looks like I got here just in time,” the female Digimon smirked.

“Are any of you injured?” Sieglinde asked, approaching Mihiramon with Andromon at her side.

“No, you got here just in time,” Mihiramon smiled.

“We wouldn’t have been in a fix if you’d just slow your ass down!” Isole snapped.

“Hey, c’mon now; I told you I sensed the presence of a Digimon…”

“Cut him some slack,” Lupinemon chimed in. “That’s where Sieg and I were headed when we ran into you lot.”

“…You sensed it, too?” Mihiramon asked. The golden wolf nodded her head.
“…It’s a bit of a familiar presence to me…like I’ve met him before, or another Digimon of his species,” Lupinemon said. “Either way, we need to be careful.”

[HR][/HR]
Ulysses Melchett

“…We’re almost there,” Flamedramon said.

“Almost at the throne room?” I asked. “Yes, I can see—”

“No, not the throne room. This presence I sense…”

“It’s…unlike anything I’ve ever felt before,” Edmund said.

“You can feel it too, son?” Flamedramon asked.

“Remember, father, I am an archsage, after all.”

“Even so, for a Human to feel this presence; it is almost unheard of,” Leopardmon remarked.

“Well, I do carry the Mark; I’ve got Digimon blood coursing through my veins on top of my status as an archsage,” Edmund said. “But the presence I feel just up ahead…”

“It isn’t Human or Digimon,” Quetzalmon said. “And it doesn’t have the same sort of aura that the Marked do…”

“What is it?” I asked. “…Hello? Anybody? Just a regular Human here; can’t really tell what’s going on…”

“We’ll know soon enough,” Flamedramon said dryly. “And when we are made aware of what it is, we will inform you.”

“No! He can…he can still fight…and win!” an unfamiliar voice said desperately.

“Who was that?” I asked.

“No time; c’mon, old man!” Flamedramon grabbed my arm and pulled me along until we all finally reached the throne room at the end of the hallway.

“Noir…it’s all good. I don’t have the strength to get past them,” another voice, this one much higher pitched and sounding exhausted, spoke up in response to the previous voice.

“…Then I’ll just have to give you the strength to win!” A man, completely hidden from sight by a dark shroud, knelt down next to a small Digimon, and placed his hands on the Digimon’s head. Immediately, the Digimon began to glow with the light of Digivolution.

“EbiBurgermon Warp Digivolve to, Hydramon!”
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 78 - ...Divided They Fall

Flamedramon

“EbiBurgermon Warp Digivolve to, Hydramon!” The Digimon, once small and demure, became enveloped in a harsh light; multiple heads emerged from his slowly growing body, and lastly, a long tail in the shape of a curved sword. The light soon faded, and the newly Digivolved Hydramon reared his three heads, and shot out bright, orange-colored flames at us. I intercepted his flames with my own, and though I pushed back as hard as I could, Hydramon’s flames were on the verge of overpowering mine.

“Father!” Edmund exclaimed. “Don’t give in, father; I’m coming!”

“Edmund! Stay back!” I yelled. “Don’t come…any closer…you hear me?!”

“Sorry, didn’t catch that,” Edmund replied. With a rather smug grin on his face, my son held up his hand, and instantly, Hydramon’s flames were pushed back. “The roar of the flames was a bit too loud for me to make out what you were saying.” Hydramon’s Lernaean Inferno had now completely dissipated, and the colossal Digimon was consumed in the flames of my attack, as well as his own. The Human at his side looked on in horror as his Digimon roared and shrieked in pain, before finally collapsing to the ground, De-Digivolving back into EbiBurgermon.

“…Edmund…Don’t you dare ever disobey your father ever again, you hear me?!” I screamed. “Do you know how dangerous that could have been for you?! What if I had lost control before you had a chance to do anything, huh?!”

“Oh…father, I thought I told you; I wasn’t able to hear you—”

“I saw that fucking smile! You knew exactly what I was saying!” I spat.

“Well, of course I did! I just chose to ignore you,” Edmund replied, speaking calmly, though he seemed to be trying to keep himself from laughing.

“I am your father, Edmund! You will do as I say!” I roared.

“Yes, father.”

“Now, stay back!

“I am back. I stayed back this entire time,” Edmund said.

“That’s true, Flamedramon; he hasn’t moved an inch,” Ulysses said.

“But…he…”

“You never said I couldn’t help you, father.”

“…Damn it. I never should have let you become a mage! Too damn smart…”

“So that’s why he’s so popular with all the girls,” Quetzalmon said. “Hmm…Maybe I should become a mage, too…”

“…Is your group always so…carefree?” Leopardmon asked.

“More or less,” I sighed. “It’s a pain in the ass, I know…”

“…Are you all finished conversing amongst each other?” At the sound of the voice, a chill raced down my spine, a sensation that I very rarely felt. Kneeling beside EbiBurgermon was who I assumed was his Human partner. From him, I sensed only darkness. Human, Marked, he could have even been a Digimon for all I knew — such was the extent of the darkness surrounding his heart. “…My dear friend EbiBurgermon…You were beyond exhaustion, and yet I commanded you to fight. It was either that…or watch you die at the hands of Barbamon…”

“Barbamon?!” The name slipped out of my mouth before I could stop it. “You can’t mean…the same, legendary Digimon whose power was said to rival that of the entire Order of the Enchantress!”

“Indeed…the very one and the very same Barbamon is the one giving me orders,” the cloaked figure said. He slowly rose to his feet, and faced me and the others. “Flamedramon…I see…a dark cloud shrouding your past. It weighs heavily on your conscious.”

“Funny; I was thinking something similar about you,” I said. The pressure surrounding the man was suffocating; I slowly stepped back a few inches to distance myself from him.

“I can see…many things…the future ahead of you…it will be as dark as your past, but…there is a light. A small light piercing through the darkness of your future. A decision will be made that will greatly affect you. The only thing stopping you from allowing it to assist your friends and loved ones in their time of need…is you.”

“…The hell are you talking about?” I asked.

“My name is Noir. I am a bit of an oracle, I suppose you could say,” the man said. “Though my abilities are nowhere near as refined as Wisemon’s or his daughter’s, I am still able to see certain things here and there…”

“An oracle? Then…you’re a mage, right?” Ulysses asked. Noir turned his hooded head to look at Ulysses.

“A mage…yes…I am a mage,” Noir said slowly. “A mage…well…I find that term to be a bit misleading, to be honest. Really…what I am…is a dark mage.”

“A dark—” Before I could finish my sentence, I was surrounded by darkness; a deep, obsidian black that obscured everything from sight. I raised my claw to attack, but nothing. I could move, but that was it. No words escaped past my lips. No flames emerged from my claws. Or, maybe they did, and it was simply too dark to see them? No, I would have felt the warmth. As soon as I began thinking that I had died, Noir appeared before me, in plain sight. Again, I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out.

“This spell is a special one,” Noir said. “…It is more of a curse, really…Eternal darkness surrounds you. It always has, and it always will…”

“Is this some kind of metaphor?” I asked. Surprised, I glanced around the darkness; my mouth had not moved. It was as if the words, my thoughts, were being broadcasted for all to hear.

“In a sense… The curse…draws out what the target’s heart is steeped in. In your case…darkness. This curse is one I placed on you specifically, Flamedramon; as such, your friends are in a similar predicament.”

“…You…bastard!” I screamed. “HOW DARE YOU CURSE MY FRIENDS AND MY SON WITH THE DARKNESS THAT AFFLICTS ME?! That darkness…was meant for me, damn it! Don’t force it to harm my friends, you bastard!”

“Oh, I did not curse them with your darkness; you did that yourself,” Noir replied. “Simply having this darkness in your heart is a burden to your loved ones; a…curse, if you will.”

“…No! I won’t let that happen! The darkness in my heart is my own problem, not theirs!”

“And that’s exactly why you are doomed to curse your friends, Flamedramon,” Noir said. “If you would simply allow those around you to embrace your darkness…then it will be easier for you to cleanse. But, you choose to hide it…that is what hurts them, Flamedramon. That is why you hurt them.”
“Enough…ENOUGH OF THIS!” I raised my claw, poised to attack, but once again, nothing happened. No flames emerged. “Noir…what is the meaning of this?! Is this part of your curse, too?!”

“…I suppose…A big part of your darkness stems from guilt from your past. Your use of the flames of vengeance burned those who had done nothing to wrong you, Flamedramon. And so, as you grew increasingly aware of your sins, you began to form hatred for yourself, rather than for mankind, and for the Digimon. Perhaps you even…wished you never had your ability to produce flames?”

“…You couldn’t possibly know what it was like…”

“Oh, but I do. You see, I also carry the Mark.” Noir lowered his head, and I could finally see his face. Long dark hair, falling elegantly past his shoulders; shimmering blue eyes that seemed to peer into my soul. Noir further removed his cloak, revealing an impressively toned physic for one who dabbled in spellcasting, and turned to show his muscular back to me. Right in the center was the Mark. “…I do know what it is like, Flamedramon. But unlike you, I had someone early in my life who didn’t hate me, and instead loved me. EbiBurgermon…he was always there for me. Always my friend, no matter what. He looked past the Mark, and stayed with me through thick and thin.”

“…I have someone too…My wife…and my son…and all of Lachesis,” I said.

“Then, why do you strive to push them away? To keep them away from your darkness? You’re pathetic.” I glared at the man as he wrapped his cloak back around himself, and drew his hood over his face once more. “If you continue down this path of darkness, you will only end up further hurting your friends. Ah…I believe I can hear them screaming now?” I gasped. I could hear it faintly while I was talking with Noir, but now that we were silent, I could clearly hear; my friends wailing in despair, choking in agony. My son…his voice was above all the rest. “This is your own fault, Flamedramon! This curse of mine extracted the darkness from your heart in order to further rain down misery and agony upon your friends and family!”

“NO! No…please…stop this!” I raised my hands to cover my ears, but that only seemed to make the tortured cries of misery grow louder and clearer. “Please, stop…don’t…Don’t hurt them anymore; please, just hurt me instead!”

“Oh, but I am. Haven’t you noticed?” I again I stared, speechless, at the hooded man. “Through the physical pain I wreak onto your friends, I exact an equally painful toll on that of your mind.”

“YOU…BASTARD!”

“Really, now; none of this is my fault,” Noir shrugged. “Had you no darkness in your heart, your friends would not be suffering so. As I have stated…their pain…their misery…and their agony…all of it is your fault.”

“No…this…that can’t be…true…can it…?” I clenched my claws and fell to my knees. “No…Abigail…Edmund…have I been hurting you this whole time…?”

“Don’t believe a word he says, father.” A blinding light, purest ivory in color, broke through the darkness. Edmund walked out from the light and held his hand out to me. “Stand up, father. A hero doesn’t belong on his knees.”

“Edmund…”

“Father. You have darkness in your heart. That much is undeniable. But you cannot allow yourself to believe that it is harming either me or mother, because it is at that point that your darkness truly will begin to hurt us,” Edmund said. Slowly, tentatively, I reached out and took my son’s hand, and rose back up to face Noir. “Now then, father. Ulysses, Leopardmon, and Quetzalmon are still trapped by this curse. Let’s destroy this mage together so we can go home. I wouldn’t wish to worry mother or auntie Zelda.”

“…Yes. My son…we shall succeed!” Flames twisted around both of our arms shortly before we both struck Noir with them. That I was able to finally attack caught me by surprise, but soon that surprise was overtaken by a larger feeling of astonishment as the darkness around me and Edmund began to dissipate.

“Father…do you understand, now?” Edmund asked.

“…Understand what?” I asked.

“You were unable to attack when you were alone because you pushed me away. You felt like you could do everything by yourself. That was what led to you being unable to attack until I arrived; when you finally accepted the help everyone has been trying to give you for many decades.”

“You are…as intelligent as rumor tells,” Noir said, lying on the floor. Smoke rose up from his singed robe, but he himself did not appear to be burned. “I’d heard of your prowess as an archsage, Edmund Luxord…but it seems you are far more capable than even I thought you could ever have been.”

“Idle flattery shall get you nowhere,” Edmund said.

“I wasn’t trying to…I was speaking the truth.” Noir, with a hand draped over his chest, forced himself to sit up. The front of his once dark violet robes were now singed black. “And you, Flamedramon…the time will come for you to make an important decision; one where you hold the lives of your friends in one hand, and the lives of every living being in existence in the other. All I ask is that you choose wise—”

“Yeah, I’m picking my friends,” I interrupted. “I’ve got a reputation for being a giant prick anyway. Fuck everyone else.”

“…Is that so…As I have said, my ability to see the future is not as clear as Wisemon’s or Katsumi’s…so I do not know if this will prove to be calamitous…or miraculous.”

“…Father. I know that whatever you decide to do, if he is telling the truth, that it will be the right decision,” Edmund whispered. “But, Noir…why are you concerned about the future? You of all people ought to know the atrocities of this empire. And yet, you are still a part of it.”

“You…are correct. I am fully aware of what Cyllene has done over the course of its history,” Noir said. “And that is why…I desire to take a stand against it.”
“That’s quite enough, Noir.” A chill raced down my spine once again. A towering figure entered the room, holding a large scepter.

It’s him…By Goddess Arcadia herself, its Barbamon! He really is here!
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 79 - Gathered in Darkness

Flamedramon

It’s him…By Goddess Arcadia herself, its Barbamon! He really is here! The enormous, bearded Digimon, as if sensing my angst and fear, looked in my direction and smiled.

“Father…who is that?” Edmund asked. “You look as though you know him…”

“…I know of him, son. His name is Barbamon,” I replied in a quiet voice. “He is…his power far exceeds that of any of Lilithmon’s allies, even combined…”

“Well, then; it seems like we just came in at a bad time.” I turned around, only to see Sparrow standing behind me, having just entered the throne room. Allomon, Flaremon, Eleanora, Lunamon, and Giselle were with him, as were two others who I did not know. One of them, I recognized to be the Digimon Kentaurosmon. “Jeez; talk about shitty timing…”

“Sparrow, don’t be rude; there’s a lady present!” Giselle snapped, eyeing the girl standing near Kentaurosmon.

“Oh, right; sorry about that, Miss Tamiko,” Sparrow said. “Man, it’s gonna take some time for me to get used to having a princess in our group…”

“No, it is quite fine; I do not disagree with you,” the girl said, looking up nervously at Barbamon. “I don’t exactly have the fondest words to say about the gentleman, I assure you.”

“Oh, my sweet, pretty, princess Tamiko; I almost did not recognize you in your newest outfit! Though, I must say, this amount of skin showing is rather unseemly for a princess, wouldn’t you say?” Barbamon asked. Blushing, Tamiko lowered an arm to cover her stomach.

“Watch your tongue, Barbamon!” Kentaurosmon threatened.

“How good of you to return home where you belong!” Barbamon said, ignoring the other Mega. “Your father and aunt were very worried about you, young lady. Why don’t you go back to your room and wait for me to find them for you?”

“No…I am not here to stay, Sir Barbamon,” Tamiko replied.

“…Well, it’s just as well. Eris and Desmond are both dead, anyway. Eris murdered him, then ate herself into an early grave.” Tamiko’s face changed from a look of mild annoyance to pure, genuine shock.

“W…What? Eris…ATE my father?” she asked in a trembling voice.

“Hahaha! Now that’s a good look for you, princess!” Barbamon sneered. “Would you care to know how bloody their deaths were?!”

“Shut your mouth, Barbamon!” Kentaurosmon yelled, aiming a crossbow at the taller Digimon.

“Well, you see, Desmond was eaten by his little sister,” Barbamon began. “Only she wasn’t so little, you know? ‘specially after EbiBurgermon was done with her; kept on feeding her till her belly popped like a big fat balloon! Blood all over the place, I’ll bet!” Tamiko’s face became as white as snow. “Anyway, as I said, Eris ate yer father; seems she’d gotten a real taste for Human flesh, you know? Plus, since you had left, Desmond was the only one standing in her way of the throne. That’s why they orchestrated the execution of your so-called innocent brother!”

“Inferno Frost!” Kentaurosmon raised his arm and fired countless arrows from his crossbow at Barbamon, who in turn twirled his scepter around and blocked the attack. I looked back over at Tamiko, who had since sunk to her knees, with tears gently falling down the sides of her flushed cheeks.

“Oh, Kentaurosmon; so, even you have chosen to betray me?” Barbamon cackled. “I’d heard you left, but I merely assumed you were hunting down the princess to bring her back to the castle!”

“Never. I could never force my Human partner to do something against her will!” Kentaurosmon yelled.

“…Human…partner? Well…no wonder you’ve grown so much weaker since your departure! Humans do nothing but hold us Digimon back! Everyone except Noir!” Barbamon sneered. “At least…that was what I thought…until I learned of his true intentions.”

“Yes…Noir, Eaglemon said you sent him to retrieve Tamiko!” Kentaurosmon said, catching the attention of the cloaked man. “He said you wished to speak with her; was this true?”

“Oh, it’s true all right!” Barbamon shouted. “It seems the bastard has been against me ever since I began!”

“…What…do you mean?” Tamiko asked in a quavering voice.

“Well, you see, my dear; it all began fifteen years ago, when your father first called for the invasion of Arcadia,” the evil Digimon began. “Desmond has always been a bit of a warmonger, but it wasn’t until he was given very interesting information about a resistance group on the other side of the ocean…a group who planned to overthrow him and take the throne themselves. Utter bullshit, of course; but Desmond believed the information…and he sent many of his troops across the pond to ransack the continent; to level it to a field of dust.”

“…But you were the one who gave him that information,” I said.

“Bingo! Yes, it was me who gave him that absurd intel. I simply wanted Arcadia and Cyllene both to be brought to ruins, so I figured that the easiest way to do so was to manipulate the foolish king Desmond. Of course, that plan was brought to a halt when the Cyllenians were fought by several Valencian and Shendian knights; they retreated, and called off the attack.”

“But…why? Why would you make daddy do something so…so horrid?” Tamiko asked.

“…A very excellent question, my dear,” Barbamon said quietly. “Well, you see…people recovering from the terrors of a full-scale war are far easier to control than people who are able to fight back. What I sought…was control. Domination. Perhaps it is a bit trite, but that is my fondest desire. And so, during these past fifteen years, I learned of your mercenary group, Lachesis. The very group I knew would answer our call to war…and our only obstacle. I simply had to get your attention in order to get you to come here to Cyllene…where you would be severely disadvantaged. You don’t know the land or your surroundings, and you are horribly outnumbered. I figured that once you were all dealt with, a full invasion of Arcadia would be all the easier.”

“…And what does this have to do with Noir?” Kentaurosmon asked.

“Ah, yes…my partner in crime…the one Human who I assumed to be superior to all of the others,” Barbamon sighed. “In the end…he was merely trying to stop me. I never even suspected it until very recently.” Slowly, Barbamon walked up to Noir. “You…are a disappointment.”

“You…are a monster,” Noir retorted. “You had no need to execute Kelik; he wasn’t the king’s biological son.”

“And that’s why you tried to stop the execution, correct?” Barbamon asked.

“…I tried…to reverse UlforceVeedramon’s Tensegrity Shield…but…it was beyond my ability,” Noir admitted. “…Tamiko…I have failed you…I wasn’t strong enough…to help you…”

“Noir…don’t…You…you tried…that is enough,” Tamiko said, forcing herself to smile at the robed sorcerer. “You tried your hardest to save him…For that, you have my thanks…Noir.”

“You really are pathetic, Noir.” Barbamon leaned down and picked up EbiBurgermon’s unconscious, tiny body.

“No…don’t! Give him back…give him back to me!” Noir wailed.

“This EbiBurgermon…was your only friend, wasn’t he?” Barbamon asked. “You were ridiculed by the other children your own age for your Mark. But the only one in your life who didn’t berate you…rather…the only one who couldn’t…was EbiBurgermon. Your most cherished, childhood toy.” A wave of darkness appeared around Barbamon’s hand, and instantly, EbiBurgermon turned into a stuffed toy of himself.

What?! Unbelievable…that man had magic that strong at such a young age?!

“Give…him…back,” Noir said.

“…You used your magic to turn this toy into a real, live Digimon at a young age. From that point on, EbiBurgermon was always your friend…your confident. Your family.” Barbamon smiled down at Noir, and pinched the EbiBurgermon toy in between his sharp claws. At that instant, the toy was enveloped in flames, and burned away into a pile of ash that landed at Noir’s feet. “Well, that’s one more obstacle out of my way…on top of how many? Let me think…your blacksmith has perished, as has your witch, and your sniper. Any others?”

…Wayland? And Katsumi? They’re…they were both killed? No…

“…You’re kidding, right?” I turned around, and saw another group enter the throne room, led by my lovely wife, Abigail. Standing next to her were Zelda, AeroVeedramon, Tactimon, and Alena. “…Katsumi is…dead?” Abigail asked.

“And Wayland?” Tactimon said in a silent, breathless voice.

“All right; move, people! Time to take this bastard down!” Sparrow exclaimed.

“No!” Kentaurosmon suddenly yelled. “I shall take care of Barbamon…all by myself!”

“What?! Don’t be an idiot; even Flamedramon looks like he’s about to shit himself!” Sparrow retorted.

“Don’t argue with me! Just keep the princess safe!” Kentaurosmon snapped. “Odin’s Breath!” The area around Barbamon suddenly became ravaged by a howling blizzard, but this did not seem to surprise the Demon Lord. Rather, the jewel on his staff lit up, and instantly, the blizzard dissipated.

“Is that the best you’ve got, Kentaurosmon?” Barbamon asked. “Although I don’t particularly mind picking all of you off one at a time, I would heed the words of your friends if I were you; you cannot defeat me alone, Kentaurosmon!”

“Can’t believe I’m about to say this, but listen to the bad guy, Kentaurosmon!” Sparrow said.

“Hold on a minute, Sparrow!” I said. “Eleanora, you and Lunamon need to stay back. Help Giselle make sure Ulysses, Leopardmon, and Quetzalmon don’t end up in the line of fire!”

“You, too, Eddie!” Abigail, said, walking up to our son. “Stay back; mommy doesn’t want you getting hurt, okay?”

“Mother, I’m a grown man!” Edmund whined. “I’m over four-hundred—”

“Shush; mommy’s not letting her baby get hurt,” Abigail said gently, placing a finger over Edmund’s lips, and a hand to his cheek. “You just do what mommy tells you, okay, angel baby?”

“Yes, mother…”

“Now, Zelda; I want you to stay back as well, okay?” Abigail asked. “AeroVeedramon and Tactimon, you cover Alena and Sparrow when they go in.”

Heh; she’s as tough as ever. No wonder I married her…

“Now, Johnny…shall we go at him together?” Abigail asked, turning into BioLadyDevimon.

“…Yes. And we shall succeed!” I snapped my claws as Abigail prepared her Black Wing attack, and a swirl of flames twisted around it. She then flew at the Demon Lord, and jabbed him with the flaming lance directly in the chest.

“Good heavens; did you and mother practice that attack while you were gone?” Edmund asked.

“Before you were born, son,” I responded.

“Tee hee! Long before you were in my tummy, sweetheart!” Abigail giggled. “But it really kicks ass, wouldn’t you say?”

“I’d have to say…NOT!” Barbamon struck Abigail with his scepter, sending her plummeting to the ground. As she hit the ground, she turned back into her Human form.

“ABBY!” I ran immediately to my wife’s side; to my relief, she was still breathing, but she was barely conscious. “Abigail! ABIGAIL!”

“This bastard is going down!” Edmund shouted. I had never seen him upset like this before, not even as an infant. He had always been remarkably calm and collected. But at the moment Abigail hit the floor, a spark ignited in his eyes, as did a flame at the palms of his hands.

Things have changed a lot since Lilithmon’s death, huh…Never thought I’d be out here fighting some evil douchebag in order to protect my loved ones again.
 

IamTheSovereign

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Chapter 80 - Masterless and Free

Eleanora Kasuto

“This bastard is going down!” Edmund shouted. I was caught off guard by how fierce his voice sounded, where usually it was filled with nothing but wisdom and gentleness.

Because his mother was hurt, I thought. I…never really had a mother before…I wonder how I would…No, that isn’t true…If Zelda were hurt, I know I would react the same way as Edmund…I looked on with a gentle smile on my face as Zelda conjured Mercurymon from a Digimon Talisman. Instinctively, I placed my hand over Lunamon’s forehead; still sleeping, my Digimon partner did not stir in my arms, and instead snuggled closer to me.

“Pandæmonium Lost!” A spiral of flames erupted from the ground around all of us, but at once, the attack was absorbed into Mercurymon’s shields, and reflected back at Barbamon.

“Everyone; attack now!” the Digimon Spirit called.

“Dino Burst!”

“Crimson Beast-King Wave!”

“Flame Fist!”

“Inferno Frost!”

“Dragon Impulse!”

“Primary Tactic!” Barbamon was enveloped in the chaotic blast of all of the attacks, but still, he managed to raise up his wand up above his head.

“Death Lure!” Though I could barely make out what he said, the flames of the combined attacks vanished, leaving Barbamon standing alone in a smoldering crater. “Pandæmonium—”

“Odin’s Breath!” Kentaurosmon raised his shield, and instantly, the red crystal on Barbamon’s scepter became frozen in a block of ice. “Inferno Frost!”

“Dark Inferno!” Barbamon held up his free hand, surrounding it with a pitch-black flame that blocked Kentaurosmon’s attack. He then placed his flaming hand over his wand, melting the ice that encased it. “Fools…ALL OF YOU ARE FOOLS! YOU REALLY MEAN TO STOP ME?! HOW PATHETIC! I SHALL DESTROY EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU IN A SINGLE ATTACK!” Barbamon raised his wand, and at that moment, two Digimon leaped out from the shadows, striking both of Barbamon’s shoulders and forcing the Demon Lord to the ground.

“Mihiramon and…Lupinemon?” I asked.

“Glad we got here just in time,” Lucia said from behind me. I gasped when I turned around to face her, noticing that she was covered in blood, and helping Isole to stand.

“Don’t worry about us,” Isole breathed. “Just focus…on the fight, Ellie…” Sieglinde and Andromon stood behind her, looking on at Barbamon as he struggled underneath Mihiramon and Lupinemon. Bokomon, too, stood with them, but he had a more worried expression on his face.

“Not everybody seems to be here,” the small Digimon said in a lamentful voice.

“…There are a few things keeping them occupied at the moment,” I said. I didn’t want to yet reveal to them that Wayland and Katsumi had also been killed, if they didn’t know, as I had a feeling it would distract them from the fight against Barbamon. “…Matthew is…helping Katsumi with a small injury she received earlier. He said he wanted to stay at her side.”

“…By her side?” Lucia asked in a quavering voice. “And not…mine?”

“Oh, for the love of Arcadia, Lucia; focus!” I snapped. “Jeez, what happened to the days where you had to tell me to focus on the battle instead of my brother?!”
“There’s something you aren’t telling us,” Sieglinde said, leaning in close. “Something…important, maybe?”

“Look, we can talk after the battle, okay?! Now, let’s go!” I practically screamed.

“Not…you,” Isole said between breaths. “You’re still hurt from fighting that general…”

“I know, Isole; I’ve already been ordered to stay back,” I replied.

“Then join the battle, the rest of us shall!” Andromon exclaimed, walking towards Barbamon with Sieglinde.

…And that’s all of us…right? No, where are Mia and Elizabeth?! I see Alena here, I’m pretty sure I saw Charlotte outside with the other knights, so that just leaves those two…I gripped the hilt of my sword, and looked down. If…if they died, too…No. Can’t let myself get distracted. Even though I’m not fighting…I can’t let my fears take my mind off of Barbamon!

“FOOLS! ALL OF YOU, FOOLS!” the Demon Lord screamed, trying to free himself from Mihiramon and Lupinemon.

“Nope; sorry, but you’re staying down!” Mihiramon yelled back. “Tiger Wing Blade!”

“Shining Force!” The two Digimon attacked, but this only served to make Barbamon even angrier.

“I…HAVE HAD ENOUGH! PANDAEMONIUM LOST!” Mihiramon and Lupinemon were thrown off the Demon’s chest by a surge of flames. Barbamon’s attack continued to spiral around the room, but it was stopped in its place by Kentaurosmon’s Odin’s Breath attack shortly before Tamiko was hit by them. Kentaurosmon gasped as his partner hit the floor, still breathing but just barely.

“…You’ve gone too far, Barbamon,” Kentaurosmon said. “Fighting against us Digimon who can fight back is one thing…but aiming your attack at one who cannot? At Tamiko? My Human partner?”

“And just what are you going to do about it, Kentaurosmon?!” Barbamon asked.

“I will destroy you! Odin’s Breath!” Once more, Barbamon’s flames began to stir, but this time, they flew in Barbamon’s direction, burning the Demon Lord and making him screech in pain. Parts of his skin were seared completely off, and his robes began to burn to threads. Completely immobilized, Barbamon was unable to do anything as Kentaurosmon showered him in Inferno Frost arrows that pierced clear through his body, as well as shattering the crystal orb on his staff. Bits and pieces of Barbamon’s data began to fade away as the huge Digimon collapsed to the ground, his staff dissolving away the very instant it fell from its owner’s hand and hit the floor.

“…Ah…damn it…I hate to say it…but it looks like you all win,” Barbamon said. To my surprise, his voice was remarkably calm, and he almost appeared to be smiling.

“What’s going on? Why are you smiling?” Kentaurosmon asked. Barbamon uttered a quiet laugh.

“You have defeated me, Kentaurosmon…I am dying…but…This is far from over,” Barbamon said. “You fools…haven’t won anything by granting me an early death. By killing me, you have only brought yourselves one step closer to the brink of annihilation!”

“What are you talking about?!” Flamedramon asked. Barbamon opened his mouth to speak, but only a spurt of blood came out as the Digimon began coughing uncontrollably. Finally, Barbamon closed his eyes, and was dead. There was nothing but silence now, though I’m sure everyone’s minds were buzzing with questions. I looked around the throne room, and sighed, but then gasped when I remembered that Noir hadn’t moved an inch since EbiBurgermon was burned. I started to walk over to him, but stopped when I saw that Giselle was already knelt down on the floor next to him.

“…I…know what it’s like to lose a Digimon partner,” she said quietly.

“Giselle, I’m not sure if what Noir had technically qualifies as a partnership,” Kentaurosmon said.

“It hurts…it’s…just as painful as losing a family member, which I know is also painful,” Giselle continued, ignoring Kentaurosmon.

“…Was your partner…also killed?” Noir asked.

“No. My partner…abandoned me,” Giselle said, choking back a sob. “But I…I was the one who truly abandoned her…I betrayed Rosemon…I blamed her for something I did, because I was scared…so she left me…because I’m a coward…I’m a horrible person…” I glanced over at Ulysses, who was sitting upright on the floor. To my relief, there wasn’t a speck of anger in his eyes as he eyed the younger girl calmly and attentively. “I’ve never been able to forgive myself for what I did to Rosemon, and I doubt I ever will…An awful feeling at the pit of my stomach, and a fierce, stinging pain in my heart; they are both better than what I deserve…”

“…EbiBurgermon…truly was my only friend,” Noir said. “I just wanted to have someone I could talk to…so I used my magic to make him come to life…I used my magic to help him Digivolve…I…I was the one who got him killed…”

“No…he was happy to have been with you,” Giselle whispered. “He loved you, Noir…and he was proud to have been chosen to be your partner…And I’m certain he had no regrets when he was…”

“…Thank you…Giselle…”

“…Noir. Please…rise,” Tamiko said, approaching the cloaked man. Kentaurosmon was helping her stand, and she walked unsteadily. Noir did as he was told instantly.

“…My lady…now that your father is dead…will you be accepting the throne?” Noir asked.

“…No. I will not.” Kentaurosmon gasped.

“But — Milady! You must! You are the princess of this country; it is only right that you succeed the throne!” the Digimon said.

“I will not be succeeding anything,” Tamiko said calmly. “Why would I want to sit on the throne of that madman? Why would I want to rule a country that applauded the execution of a little boy?”

“Tamiko…”

“…Noir. I owe you a debt beyond words for trying to keep my brother from being…from being killed,” Tamiko said. “And so, it pains me to ask this of you…”

“I’ll do it,” Noir said.

“…You are one of the wisest men I know, Noir,” Tamiko continued. “I know…you will make a fine king for Silverveil. All I ask…is that you do everything you can to put an end to this madness…because if anyone can, it is you.”

“Tamiko…is this a good idea?” Kentaurosmon asked.

“Why wouldn’t it be? I know when someone is lying, Kentaurosmon. Noir truly did everything in his power to save Kelik,” Tamiko said. “…But I’m afraid I cannot order you to do anything, Noir. Eris was your master, and she now lies dead…you are free, Noir. Will you still accept the throne…in my stead?”

“…You are correct, Tamiko; I haven’t any masters,” Noir said, rising to face the princess. “Which is why nobody can order me to not do this. I will make you proud, my dear. I will do everything in my power to reform this entire nation into one of peace…as I know you would have done.”
 
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