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Old December 23rd, 2010, 06:17 PM
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Grovyle42(Griff8416)
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: The Great Green North
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Act II: The Surging Rain

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Erebus groaned and shifted as he came to. His blurred vision revealed to him that he was on his back in a small room. Morning light poured in through the window on the wall to his left, warming his body. The soft fabric of a bed lay under him; he could feel the mattress against his bare back.

The Cyberdramon groggily lifted his head and looked down. Erebus first noticed that his rubber chest armour had been removed and his toned, greyish chest was exposed. His left collar was wrapped in bandages and his left arm rested in a sling on his chest. The wound in his right side was also wrapped up. The dark colour of dried blood stained the bandaging, though the bleeding had stopped.

The door to the room was closed. From within the house, Erebus could hear the reverberating keys of a piano. He noted that whoever was playing was doing so expertly. The tune was grandiose and regal in style, yet very melancholic at the same time. It captivated him to the point that he almost didn’t notice when a familiar Avenger opened the door. Kairi walked in, holding a glass of water, and stopped upon noticing his movement.

“Erebus, you’re awake,” she said with relief.

“Kairi...” he greeted, nodding slightly. “Thank you.”

“I couldn’t just leave you bleeding there, could I?” Kairi responded with a small smirk. “I washed the blood out of your chest and arm armour. They’re drying outside right now.”

The Cyberdramon gave another quick nod, relaxed his head and allowed it to rest back on his pillow momentarily. “How have you been?” he asked.

The Sakuyamon placed the glass of water in his free hand and helped him sit up in order to drink from it. “Good,” she answered.

“The children?” he questioned after taking a drink from the glass.

“They’re good too. They’ve been getting along much better.”

Erebus nodded silently, weakly raising his arm to finish off the water. He placed the empty glass on the end table beside him and put pressure on his right elbow as he attempted to sit up on his own.

“Erebus!” Kairi protested. “You’ve lost too much blood; you need to rest!”

The Cyberdramon shook his head, repressing grunts of pain, and let his legs drape over the side of the bed as he prepared to stand.

“You were half-dead when you stumbled into my house!” Kairi persisted, standing in front of him. “You had deep stab and slash wounds! It took most of my healing power to stabilize them!”

“I’m fine,” the Dramon adamantly insisted, shakily standing to his feet.

“You’re not,” the Sakuyamon contested, standing between him and the door.

“I am. I must go... Please,” Erebus said, not so much asking for permission.

Kairi sighed in frustration. “You’re worse than Ajax! Fine, you can get up...” Erebus nodded in thanks and started to walk towards the door of the room. “...But if you’re well enough to walk, you’re well enough to join us for breakfast.”

The Cyberdramon froze in his steps, not liking the prospect one bit. He didn’t need to turn around to know that Kairi was grinning slyly. After a few moments, his stance relaxed with an air of defeat. “Great,” she said. “Let me help you to the table.”

“You don’t have to do that, Kairi,” Erebus said as she took his right arm.

“Yeah, yeah,” Kairi said with a roll of her eyes. “You’re a big mon with a big pride; you want to prove that you can take care of yourself. Karmas was the same way...” she said, her voice softening and trailing off on the last sentence.

Erebus sighed sympathetically. He knew that Kairi had already lost two digimon that she loved. He knew that while she tried to keep living her life, looking toward the future, those pains and those memories would never truly leave her. Kairi led him out into the wide, U-shaped living room that took up most of the first level. To their left were the stairs leading up to the second floor and on the other side of the stairs was a branch of the living room that led towards the kitchen. Diagonally across from them, to the left, was the front door that he had burst through. He noticed that his bloodstains had since been cleaned up from her hardwood floor. Erebus looked across from where they stood and saw a large table with twelve or so seats around it.

“...Who was that playing the piano?” Erebus asked as Kairi walked him out further, glancing at a familiar Monodramon as he did so.

The Sakuyamon stalled uncomfortably. “It was... err...”

The piano playing suddenly stopped and familiar, pretentious voice called out. “Erebus! Bitten off more than you can chew once again, I see?”

Erebus’ head swung towards the right branch of the living room, in the direction of the voice, and saw a blue-winged, humanoid dragon knight standing up from a small piano that sat against the wall and had several young rookie and in training digimon sitting around it, previously listening to the music. With a smirk, the UlforceVeedramon turned around and strode towards the two.

Erebus took his arm from around Kairi’s shoulder and used it to lean against the nearby wall as the Sakuyamon took a step away from him to turn and look at the approaching cobalt knight.

“Balion?” the stunned Cyberdramon asked, shocked upon seeing his old friend and comrade in Kairi’s home. “Why are you here?”

Balion responded with a smug smirk as he walked over to Kairi and gently wrapped his right arm around her waist and pulled her close to him.

“We’re...involved,” he responded in a sensual voice, bending down so that his cheek was incredibly close to brushing against hers.

Erebus stared in complete shock at the two, his head darting back and forth between the two. “You’re...” he began in disbelief.

“Just friends,” Kairi quickly corrected in irritation. She slowly pushed her hand against Balion’s cheek, nearly taking his helmet off his horned head with the action, and peeled him off of her.

“We could be so much more, though,” Balion responded with a mischievous glint in his red eyes.

“I managed to get a hold of him after you passed out last night,” Kairi explained, ignoring the blue dragon knight. “I called him because you were in really bad shape... and I didn’t know if you had any family or...” She trailed off upon noticing Erebus’ slight discomfort.

It must have been bad for her to call Balion,” he noted. “Well... Thank you, Kairi.”

“You were both lucky I happened to be back from training in Witchenly for a few days,” Balion explained. “I’ve been trying to get a better hold of my Future Mode form after that embarrassing fight with Siegfried. I should have had that bast-“ He received a swift elbow from Kairi before he could finish the rest of his swear, gesturing to the various digimon kids playing nearby.

Balion shrugged and looked around curiously at the eleven children scattered about the living room, many of different species.

The Sakuyamon noticed his confusion. “I’m taking care of orphans who lost their parents during the Civil War and Samhain’s rule,” she explained. “So unless you want to win the father of the year award, I don’t think you and me will be going on many dates anytime soon,” she added playfully.

The UlforceVeedramon snapped his partially gloved fingers. “Nuts... What about the father of the day award? I could pull that off,” he suggested.

Kairi rolled her eyes. “Come on, everyone, it’s time for breakfast... and that includes you two,” she said, looking at Erebus and Balion.

“Err, me too?” the UlforceVeedramon questioned uncomfortably, eyeing the children flocking to the table.

“Sure, you’re a guest too, after all. I’ll have to bring in two chairs from the kitchen.”

“Need me to get them?” Balion offered.

“Thanks, but they’re chairs, not Armageddemon,” she replied, walking into the kitchen and bringing two chairs over to the large, rectangle table.

Erebus awkwardly took the chair and sat down across the table from Balion. He tensed up as the numerous rookie digimon flocked over and took their seats around the table. His UlforceVeedramon friend also shifted slightly in his seat, but retained his relaxed composure, leaning back and slinging his arm over his wing and the spine of the chair.

“Everybody, this is Erebus Artorius and Balion Flamdring: two of my friends, so please give them a warm welcome,” Kairi said. Various, high ‘Welcome’s and ‘Hello’s chorused from the pack of children. Balion have a slight, informal wave of his hand in response, while Erebus remained absolutely rigid in his place, resisting the overwhelming urge to get up and leave as soon as Kairi blinked.

“Are they Avengers too, Miss Kairi?” a Gabumon asked.

“Yep, so everyone be on their best behaviour for them while I go make breakfast,” she said, turning around and starting to walk towards the kitchen.

Despite his seemingly stoic disposition, Erebus’ fists clenched and molecules of sweat began to form underneath his helmet as Kairi began to leave him and Balion alone with the children. His gaze frantically followed her. “Don’t leave... Don’t leave... No... Don’t go--” She disappeared into the kitchen.

The beads of sweat seemed to multiply as the gazes of the kids were drawn to him and Balion. Erebus could feel his heartbeat increase and he desperately hoped that Balion would do something showy, drawing the attention away from him. The UlforceVeedramon, however, shifted in his chair once more and began to drum the fingers of his right hand on the back of his chair. He cleared his throat.

“So, Erebus... I bet you never thought of me as a piano player, huh?” the blue Royal Knight said, looking across the table at him.

Erebus willed himself to nod and respond as calmly as he could. “Err... Yes. You’re very talented, Balion... but the song you played was quite melancholy.”

“Was it?” Balion asked, perhaps playing dumb, perhaps sarcastic. “I didn’t know you registered feelings,” he joked.

“...Where did you learn to play like that?” he asked. While he was genuinely interested in Balion’s talent, the conversation was more to try and distract himself by the horde of children looking at them with curious, expectant eyes. Regular children would have been bad enough, but children orphaned by conflict made it all the more worse for him. He felt a certain tragic irony sitting there.

“My family were nobles... rich. My father enrolled me into a high class, private military academy within the Dramon Empire. Learning piano was supposed to help my dexterity and timing my movements with my thoughts. It was also supposed to teach me patience... something I apparently lacked, said my instructor,” he said with a shrug. “I guess it grew on me after countless hours.”

Erebus nodded, unsure what to say now. The discomfort was beginning to fast return to the two of them.

“Excuse me, Mister Erebus?” the young voice of a Monodramon said. Erebus froze and slowly turned his head in the direction of the voice. “Do you think I can grow up strong and help people like you?” he asked hopefully. The Cyberdramon stalled. “You’re an Avenger because you want to help people, right?”

Erebus grimaced. “I am... because I fight...” he answered darkly.

The Monodramon tilted his head and glanced at the other kids to see if they understood. “What do you mean?”

Balion inadvertently interrupted the conversation when he lightly elbowed the Gabumon beside him. “Hey, kid... Did you know that I am the fastest digimon alive?” The Gabumon slowly shook his head, looking at him with awe. “Yeah, I beat this Rapidmon in a race so badly that I passed him five times before he even made it to the finish line. Rai – that was his name – actually broke down crying afterwards, so I had to fly him home. True story, of course.”

“Wow...” the Gabumon said, starting at him with awe.

“Yeah, I know,” Balion replied. “I have always been fast though; it’s not the blue digizoid.”

The young digimon seemed not to have heard him as he stared above the UlforceVeedramon’s eyes. “Your horns are really big and cool...”

“...And then there’s that,” he said resignedly, slouching back further in his chair.

Kairi walked over from the kitchen, using her staff to telekinetically carry fourteen plates over to the table. Upon seeing the Sakuyamon, Erebus relaxed very slightly. On the plates, which gently floated down before each of the table’s occupants, were various sliced fruits, bread, and eggs.

Erebus nodded in thanks and started to dig into his food, frankly having been starving. Balion, however, ate much more slowly and tactfully. The Cyberdramon stopped mid-bite when he noticed some of the orphans were staring at him, amused at how quickly he ate. Balion chuckled as well. “For Yggdrasil’s sakes, Erebus, you’re eating like Strom! ...Actually, no, I take that back; if Strom was eating, I would have lost my appetite by now.”

The Cyberdramon sneered, fidgeted in his seat and started to eat more slowly. “When was the last time you ate, Erebus?” Kairi wondered.

“A few days...” he admitted. “I have been busy.”

“Which brings us to the Mammothmon in the room... What exactly were you doing that caused you to wind up half-dead in my living room?”

Erebus glanced over in the direction of the children before turning back to Kairi. “Maybe I should wait until after breakfast...”

The Sakuyamon nodded in understanding, beginning to start picking at her breakfast. As silence started to overtake the table once again, Erebus the awkward atmosphere return as well. It wasn’t that he didn’t like silence, it was that the less conversation he had with Balion and Kairi, the more likely it was that one of the orphans would start asking him things. Even with the conversation with his fellow Avengers, he still found the meal unbearable to sit through. The Cyberdramon was never good in social situations, and Kairi seemed to catch on to that. Balion wasn’t too thrilled about the situation either, for that matter, but he was decidedly more relaxed, at least in appearance, than Erebus was.

“Have either of you heard from any of the others?” Kairi asked them.

“...Err... Well, Ajax is in the governing body of the capital... and Caesar is training in seclusion on a mountain,” Erebus said hesitantly.

“You saw Caesar?” Balion asked in surprise. “I haven’t seen him since peacetime started. I started to think he tried to use Magna Explosion but flubbed it up and Magna imploded instead,” he said with a grin.

“How is he?” Kairi asked.

Erebus gave a dismissive shrug and swallowed the egg that was previously on his plate. “...It’s hard to tell with him,” he answered. Balion could have sword that he heard a low growl on the end of that response. “I also took a few trips to Rai’s village awhile ago. He and Karasu were well, and insisted I stay the week.”

“That silly wabbit ditched me on the day we were supposed to have our rematch!” Balion added in irritation.

“Excuse me?” Kairi questioned, casting the UlforceVeedramon a look of confusion.

“Oh, excuse me; I meant ‘rabbit’,” he corrected.

“I don’t suppose either of you heard from Osiris...?” Kairi asked with worry.

They both shook their heads. “I heard a few rumours here and there, about a BanchoLeomon wandering around mountain ranges, deserts, what have you... just fighting things. I wondered if that was him or not.”

“I hope not...” Kairi said sadly. “Just fighting... living to fight. That’s not much of a life, is it?” she mused.

Erebus grimaced and reflexively drove his fork back towards his plate too hard. The utensil pierced through the dish with such force that the plate split in two from the point of impact. The action brought silence around the table.

“...I’m sorry,” he said, feeling blood rush to his face. “I... don’t know my own strength sometimes,” he quickly explained. Kairi gave him a nod and a reassuring smile.

The cobalt knight across from him regarded him with a raised eyebrow. “He’s lying by omission...” Balion thought. “...You don’t talk about your past a lot, do you, Erebus?” he asked, hoping to invoke a response.

Erebus froze at the question and released a barely audible snarl. “...What about Hyperion?” he asked, hoping to change the subject away from him.

“I think he’s still looking for Yggdrasil,” Kairi replied.

“What’s left of her, anyways...” Balion added grimly. His trademark smug grin soon returned to his face however. “I sure hope he finds something though. She sure was hot.”

“I still can’t believe you hit on her,” Kairi sighed.

“In front of Hyperion too,” Erebus added.

“You’re very brave and very stupid, Balion,” the Sakuyamon said with a small grin.

“You are half right, sweetheart,” the Royal Knight said. “And I didn’t know they had a thing at the time, not that I particularly cared. And even if I did know, between us three, I don’t think there was much competition; I doubt Hyperion is able to navigate the bed sheets all that well, if you know what I mean,” he said, grinning.

“I don’t know what you mean,” said a distressed-looking Patamon. “What does he mean, Miss Kairi?”

The Sakuyamon in question shot a burning glare towards Balion. “...And this is where things get awkward again,” he muttered before downing a glass of water.

“What about Strom and Nova?” asked Erebus.

“Speaking of awkward!” chuckled Balion. “Yeah, Rai told me that Strom’s friend told him that Strom was too much of a coward to tell Nova how he feels about her. And this is despite the fact that Nova probably already knows he likes her. I mean, Storm practically drools all over the floor every time she walks in front of him... which is understandable since she is pretty hot, but you know what I mean.”

“It’s not easy confessing one’s feelings to the person they love when they’re not sure how they feel about them back, Balion,” Kairi defended.

I have never had that problem,” proudly stated Balion.

Kairi rolled her eyes. “That’s because the only feelings you get are--“ she promptly cut herself off upon remembering that the orphan digimon were present.

Balion grinned. “Right. So, I guess they are just close friends or something like that. If he doesn’t ask her out soon, I might just have to take his place,” he said with a sly grin. “Let’s see... Rai is probably off rechallenging Karasu to another race around the world. I would join them, but I don’t want to embarrass the poor bunny; Rai can be pretty fragile. Who else? Oh yes. I think Genesis has a phobia of metal ‘X’s now.”

“...Balion and I really are not all that close,” Erebus explained sheepishly upon seeing Kairi slowly turn her unamused gaze to him.

“Miss Kairi, we’re done eating now. Can we go play?” the young Agumon asked eagerly.

The Sakuyamon gave him a nod, signalling to the kids that they could leave the table. The digimon children took their plates and headed towards the kitchen. “I can’t wait to get wings like Mister Erebus!” said the Monodramon to his Agumon friend. Erebus felt his muscles relax as they left and he couldn’t help but smirk lightly at the rookie dragon’s words.

Kairi and Balion then turned to Erebus. “So, what happened, Erebus?” Kairi asked.

“...Someone has been murdering Dramon in the various cities of the world,” he said, wincing upon feeling shooting pain in his body.

“What?!” Balion said in outrage.

“That’s awful...” Kairi said sadly, agreeing with Balion’s sentiments.

Erebus nodded. “I have been trying to find the one responsible. Ajax gave me unofficial permission to investigate. Caesar told me to go to the city based where the Celestial Sphere“-- Erebus paused upon noticing Kairi grimace, being reminded of her past--“...fell. He killed a Flamedramon when he was with his Allomon friend. I was too late to prevent that, but I stopped him from killing a female Paildramon, but he got the better of me. He left me with these wounds before he was forced to flee. Then I made my way here,” he finished.

“Did you see what he looked like?” Balion asked.

Erebus shook his head. “It was dark. He seemed to be a part of the shadows... a tactic I’ve used before.”

“Well, lucky for you, I, Balion Flamdring, the Cobalt Hero of the Blackest Knight, will help you bring this villainous scum to justice!” the UlforceVeedramon proudly declared.

Erebus immediately grimaced and a chill crept down his back at the prospect of working with him.

“I would help...” Kairi begun apologetically, “but I have a duty to these orphans. I’m all they have,” she explained.

“I understand,” Erebus replied, reassuring that he knew the importance of what she had to do.

“So it looks like it’s just you and I, Cyberdramon,” Balion said playfully, popping the last piece of fruit on his plate into his mouth.

Erebus sighed. As much as he dreaded working with the Royal Knight, he knew Balion’s speed and power would be vital to him. “Fine...” he submitted, slowly standing to his feet. The Cyberdramon immediately swung around upon feeling two of the three holes in his shoulder reopen. He snarled internally. “Damn... If Kairi sees me bleeding again, she will try to keep me from going again.

“Thank you for your kindness, Kairi. Do you think you could get me my armour now? I need to go,” he said in a hurried voice. He raised his right arm and placed it on the bandages which grew crimson with his blood. He grimaced as he saw two large streams of blood flowing down his grey, muscular chest.

“Err... I don’t know, Erebus. Can’t you wait awhile longer so I can be sure your cuts won’t reopen again?” she asked.

A bit late for that...” he thought. “Please... I’ll be fine... I’ve been through worse things,” insisted the Cyberdramon.

Kairi sighed and complied. She stood up from the table and walked through the kitchen to the back. “Were you planning to tell her that your stitches broke and your wounds reopened?” Balion asked nonchalantly.

For a moment, Erebus was surprised. “...No,” he answered.

“I’ll cover for you, if I can, that is,” Balion said, standing up from his chair and walking over. “Just get behind my wing... without bleeding on me, if you would be so kind.”

Erebus agreed, doing so just as Kairi entered the room from the right branch of the living room. The Cyberdramon continued to bleed as Kairi walked towards them. Her form, along with the room, grew brighter as light-headedness struck him. He began to feel off-balance so he outstretched his tail to help his equilibrium.

The dramon reached around Balion’s wing with his right arm and weakly took the rubber armour pieces from Kairi. He felt a hint of relief upon seeing the red bandana tied around his arm piece. Erebus stumbled forward slightly, his head accidentally resting on the UlforceVeedramon’s wing and shoulder for a moment before straightening himself back up. Kairi gave Erebus an odd look.

“Okay!” Balion said quickly, grabbing Erebus’ arm and pulling him while keeping himself between Erebus and Kairi. “We really should be going now. Thank you for everything Kairi and you still look stunning!”

Balion stepped behind Erebus as they approached the front door. The Cyberdramon pushed the door forward, took a step, and then came crashing down on the front deck outside.

“Erebus!” Kairi called out, shoving past Balion to the now-unconscious dragon.

“...I may have promised him that I wouldn't tell you about his wounds reopening,” Balion said sheepishly.

Kairi scowled. “He fainted; he lost way too much blood. Help me take him to his room, please,” she said. The UlforceVeedramon nodded before rolling Erebus onto his back and pulling him by the feet towards his room. “I don’t get it,” Kairi said. “He didn’t seem in pain at all.”

“Erebus is good at hiding things...” Balion answered. “He has a real hero of justice complex; once he hears about something he views as wrong or evil, there’s no stopping him.”

Once there, he and Kairi gently placed him on the bed. “You heal him here, Kairi. I’ll take up where he left off,” Balion said. The UlforceVeedramon reached into the pocket of Erebus’ armour and pulled out his badge and warrants.

“I guess I’ll be needing these too,” he muttered, walking towards the front door. “Take good care of him, Kairi,” he said, looking over his shoulder. With that, Balion disappeared from sight in a streak of azure.

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Balion raced through the streets of the city where Erebus last was. The city was nowhere near as big as the capital, but it seemed to be relatively more complete. The buildings he flew by seemed to have a golden, celestial hue to them and there seemed to be a large percentage of celestial digimon living here. The UlforceVeedramon wondered if that was because this was the place where the Celestial Sphere fell during Samhain’s take over, before being burned by Ajax. He glanced at the address scribbled down on a piece of paper that he was given by local authorities. The UlforceVeedramon’s red eyes glanced to the left and the right as he passed by houses large and small, looking for the house of the Allomon that was present last night when the Flamedramon was attacked.

After gawking at an Angewomon flying nearby, Balion came across a large house built for someone at least sixteen feet tall. “This must be the place,” he said, as he glanced at the address scratched on the exterior wall. He rapped his fingerless glove-donning knuckles against the great wooden door. Inside, he heard echoing stomps grow louder and louder as they drew near. “That’s right. I forgot how loud and obnoxious dinosaurs could be,” Balion thought to himself, remembering Strom.

The door swung open and revealed the large blue figure of a dinosaur who had large dark circles under his red, irritated eyes. “What do you want?” he asked in a distracted, monotonous voice. Balion could tell he was obviously distraught.

“I am Balion Flamdring. I’m here about last night,” he explained.

The Allomon simply looked down at him before turning around and walking inside, leaving the door open. “...Come in.”

Balion followed him in and stood while the dinosaur sat down on a large chair. “...So, what happened when your friend was attack--“

“Murdered...” the Allomon corrected with rage and sorrow in his voice.

“...You have my condolences,” Balion replied before allowing him to continue.

“I... I’m not sure. We were walking down the street and then suddenly something hit us into the alley. I tried to get up and then I heard my friend cry out. I turned to look and could only see movement in the shadows and then I saw my friend...” he said, trailing off.

“So, nothing you can tell me about the attacker?” Balion asked.

“...He did say one thing before I heard my friend’s cry... ‘For Oberon,’” said the Allomon. The dinosaur then glowered. “...Promise me, when you get this guy... you’ll kill him. He’s a cold-blooded murderer.”

Balion stared at him, both shocked and contemplating his plea. “Err... I appreciate your help,” he said with a nod, turning around and heading towards the front door.

The UlforceVeedramon closed the door behind him and took a few steps into the street. “Maybe I’ll have better luck with that Paildramo--

The building behind him exploded in an overwhelming burst of heat and dark energy. Balion was thrown across the street by the blast, slamming into the wall of a house as the Allomon’s house along with everything inside was decimated. The UlforceVeedramon snarled and looked across the street to see a burning crater, crackling with energy, in the place where the large structure once stood.

“Damn it!” Balion shouted, scrambling to his feet and launching himself into the air. He looked around, eyes darting between the air and the ground, spinning in every direction to try to see the culprit. “Damn it! Damn it! I cannot let him escape!” he swore.

Balion ripped through the air, looking around like a hawk. When he found no luck in the direction that he was going in, he darted to the side and circled around to look in a different area. Balion still found nothing, despite his unmatched speed. The cobalt blur continued flying back and forth over the sky of the city, which had become a light grey of thick, overcast clouds. However, no matter what direction or altitude he tried to fly in, he couldn’t find him.

“Damn... How did he escape me?! I'm the fastest digimon around!” Balion snarled, looking bitterly down at the smouldering crater, which began to draw a worried crowd. “...He must have been making sure the Allomon wouldn’t talk. That was a Mega level attack if I’ve ever been blasted by one...” Balion figured. “And what he did to Erebus... this bastard is no joke... I need to get to the Paildramon before he does.”

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Balion strode down the hallway of a large building that was acting as a makeshift hospital until a true one was completed. Despite the fact that it wasn’t an official hospital it still smelled like one: sterile. He followed a Digmon who worked at the hospital, past a crowd of digimon coming and going. The UlforceVeedramon dodged a passing stretcher and followed the bug digimon down a hall. The Digmon stopped at the doorway and pointed into a medium sized room.

“She’s right in there, Officer,” he told him.

“Excellent. Also, tighten the security around her room, and I mean Mega level digimon,” he added in a low voice.

The Digmon nodded and Balion entered the room. He saw a female Paildramon around his age lying on a bed. Her arm was in a sling and her torso was dressed with bandages. “Wow, she is good looking...” he thought to himself, his gazing moving from her face and moving down her body.

“...Hello?” she asked weakly.

“Oh! That’s right. Do forgive me; my name is Balion Flamdring. I’m here to ask you about last night,” he explained, walking over and sitting down in a chair beside her bed... and positioning himself for an ideal view of her.

“I see...” she replied, grimacing as she thought about it.

“Could such a beautiful, young lady like yourself please tell me exactly took place last night?” he asked with a sly grin.

“I was walking along... I felt like I was being watched, almost... I heard a cry from a few blocks away so I turned around to see if anybody needed help,” she explained. Her free fist balled up while she continued to recollect. “...Then somebody grabbed me and pulled me into an alley. He started to beat me... I don’t think he wanted anything from me other than to kill me,” she said.

“You must have been very scared,” Balion said softly, moving much closer to her and taking her hand in his. “It is alright now though; I will take him down... But to do that, I need you to tell me whatever you can. Did you see what he looked like?”

The Paildramon shook her head regretfully. “No... It was dark and he was like a part of the shadows. I thought I was going to die... but then a digimon came and drove him off. He moved like a shadow as well...”

“I see... and did he say anything?” Balion asked, remembering what the Allomon said.

“Yes... I remembering him saying ‘For Oberon’,” she explained.

That name again... Just who is this Oberon?” the male dramon thought to himself.

“Oh, excuse me,” a female voice said from behind him, interrupting his thoughts.

Balion turned around and inadvertently widened his eyes upon seeing a rather well-endowed HiAndromon nurse standing the doorway. “Heellooooo, Nurse!” he said, his grin widening.

“I hope I’m not interrupting,” she said, walking in with some water for her Paildramon patient.

“Why, not at all!” Balion said, brushing his hand along the Paildramon’s hand as he stood to his feet. “I was just about to leave, actually.” He walked over to HiAndromon. “But please keep me posted if anything comes... up,” he said, grinning. He ripped off a piece of paper from one of the warrants he had and scribbled down his number before gently taking the nurse’s hand, putting his number in her palm, and slowly closing her fingers around it. “And you can call me for any reason.”

Balion then started to walk towards the door, but turned around upon reaching the doorway. He faced the Paildramon and calmly pointed his finger at her. “And you... You can call me anytime too,” he said slyly. He then winked with what the two females could have sworn was a high, audible ‘ding’ noise. Balion then strode into the hall, his smile disappearing. “I should find out who this Oberon is... Maybe the records the governing body holds has information on him. I should go to the capital and check,” he concluded. He exited the makeshift hospital and disappeared in a speedy, blue flash towards the capital city.

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No more than half an hour later, Balion flew over through the city skies of the capital. He easily spotted the large building, which was recognizable by the glass dome on the roof. The blue warrior swooped down towards the building and landed in front of the entrance. The two guards recognized him and allowed him in upon the flash of his badge. “Take me to your records,” he told the Gallantmon who had helped Erebus.

The guard nodded and began leading him down the long hallway, which really seemed more akin to a great hall due to its sheer size. Balion was reminded of the style many higher class buildings that were back in the Dramon Empire. Many Dramon were quite large and thus needed appropriate space to manoeuvre. The large, grey bricks making up the floor and wall were very medieval, the style that much of the Dramon Empire was built in. The only thing missing, he decided, was grand murals of warriors and figure heads (like himself, he also decided). He had to wonder if the architects were Dramon or if Dramon architecture merely influenced the style, especially since much of the Dramon Empire’s ruins were used to reconstruct the world.

They turned a corner and continued to walk through another large corridor. “I am so glad I am not part of this Governing Body. As much as they need a significant Dramon on the body, I’ve always hated politics and bureaucracy. Father never understood that...” he thought.

The Gallantmon led him to a large doorway at the end of the hall. “It’s just in here, Balion,” he said, parting the doors with a push. Balion walked in gigantic room and saw rows upon rows of twenty-foot (Spinomon sized) bookcases filled with old books, new books, and countless files.

“Oh boy...” Balion murmured, suddenly finding this very daunting and not fun.

“It’s your first time in here?” the guard asked. “Don’t worry; you can ask one of the helpers to assist you,” he said, gesturing towards various digimon wandering through the record library.

As the Gallantmon walked back down the hallway, Balion looked around. Despite the fact that he saw many male helpers who seemed available first, his eyes rested on a female digimon. A Zephyrmon, a few years younger than him with a pretty form, caught his interest. She was scanning over a clipboard in her hands as Balion approached her.

“Excuse me, Miss,” he said, hailing the young woman upon stepping up to her side.

The Zephyrmon looked up from her clipboard and turned to Balion. “Oh... I recognize you,” she said blinking. “I saw you in the council room with Mister Ouranos awhile ago. Your name is Balion, one of the Avengers, right?”

The UlforceVeedramon was admittedly a little taken off guard by this. “Uhh, yes. Balion Flamdring’s my name. It is nice to meet you, err...?”

“I’m Sylpha. How can I help you, Balion?” the Zephyrmon asked.

“Well, Sylpha,” Balion began, pleased that they were on a first name basis already, “I need your help finding out something.”

“And that would be...?” asked the Zephyrmon.

“I need to find out about a digimon named ‘Oberon’,” he replied. “It might help me figure out a string of murders I’m investigating.”

“Okay, let’s go look then,” Sylpha proposed. Balion agreed and followed her, walking close behind the digimon. They walked down a corridor of bookcases. Balion was surprised so much had been salvaged from Samhain’s rule.

“Is this case you’re working on the murders of several Dramon?” she asked.

Balion looked at her in shock. “You know about that?”

“I heard two of the guards talking about it after a Cyberdramon came to meet with the governing body,” she explained. “Here we are... ‘Oa’ to ‘Op’,” she said, scanning the bookcase.

Sylpha then kneeled down to look through the books and files of the bottom shelf. Balion leaned forwards over her and looked down... though he was more looking down her front than he was helping her look. “I found something,” she said, grabbing a file and looking up at the UlforceVeedramon.

Balion changed his gaze to meet her eyes and then to dart to the file. She opened the file and allowed Balion to look over her shoulder at it. “Oberon... A BlackWarGreymon,” he said, reading the file.

“It says he was part of the Rebels of the Harmonious Republic. He was the second-in-command of a strike team sent to assassinate the Three Great Dramon,” Sylpha said.

“I remember hearing about that,” Balion said, recollecting the event. “They failed miserably.”

“Apparently... It says that Oberon was killed by a General Daehak that day,” the Zephyrmon explained.

“That must be it... His motive,” Balion said, bringing his fingers to his chin. “Whoever the murderer is must want revenge for Oberon’s death that day. And there’s not much more information I can work with here.”

“I wish I could help more,” said the Zephyrmon, regretfully. “I don’t want any more digimon to die because of some grudge. I don’t know how he can feel justified doing what he’s doing.”

The cobalt knight nodded and put his fingerless glove-donned hand on her shoulder. “I completely agree... You know... you could keep helping me if you like. I could use the company,” he said with a grin.

Sylpha smiled. “Thanks. I’m off duty in a about thirty minutes, if you don’t mind waiting.”

“Not at all,” Balion said reassuringly. “Hmm... I wonder what records they have on me in here.”

Thirty minutes passed and Balion walked down the large hall with his new lady-friend at his side. “I could have struck a better pose for that profile,” he thought to himself. “Hmm... It was weird though that there was absolutely no information on Erebus’ past. How does an Avenger get away with having no data on them prior to becoming a Corporal in the Dramon Aerial Forces? The rest of us pretty much have our whole life stories in here.”

“That is a bit weird,” Sylpha agreed. “Maybe he lived somewhere rural?”

“That doesn’t change the fact that pretty much all of us were interviewed for the record not long after the peace started. I think the only one that was exempt was Caesar by Ajax’s decree,” Balion said with a shrug.

The two of them opened the large front door to the council building and stepped outside. Balion squinted as the bright, orange sun shone in his face. The solar orb had half disappeared into the horizon and was close to completely setting. He glanced up and saw that thick, grey clouds seemed to be chasing it as it set.

“Damnit... I don’t have a place to sleep tonight. I don’t have any money for inns,” he explained.

“Umm...” Sylpha began hesitantly, pondering if this was a good idea. “...You could stay at my house, if you need to.”

To this Balion raised an eyebrow with sly intrigue. “I would be honoured to... Thank you.” He outstretched his arm, gesturing for her to go ahead of him. “Lead the way.”

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Sylpha opened the door to her medium sized house, allowing Balion to walk in before closing the door behind them. The UlforceVeedramon looked around the living room, taking in the new scenary. There was a small couch in the center of the room, near a dining table with one chair on each end. One particular piece of furniture caught the UlforceVeedramon’s interest: a piano sitting on the opposite side of the room.

“Make yourself at home,” the Zephyrmon said to him with a smile. Balion smiled and nodded in response. “You’re probably pretty hungry... Is there anything in particular you’d like for supper?”

“The choice is entirely up to you,” Balion responded, starting to walk towards the piano.

Sylpha nodded and walked straight ahead, to Balion’s right, through a doorway and into the kitchen. “Is fish alright?” she asked from the kitchen.

The UlforceVeedramon sat down on the bench of the relatively humble piano and ran the tips of his bluish white fingers along the tops of the keys. “Fish would be incredible,” he said with a smirk, despite the fact that he had no strong feelings for or against fish.

As Sylpha started heating the fish, she stopped in surprise upon hearing a jumpy, grandiose song coming from the piano. She let the fish heat and walked out of the kitchen, into the living room and turned to her right to see Balion tickling the ivories. “...That sounds amazing, Balion,” she said, evidentally impressed by her guest’s piano skills.

Balion smiled, cloaked his wings around his shoulders and continued playing. “I’ve been told. Thank you though; I’ve been playing since I was young.”

“I’d love to be able to play like that,” Sylpha said, watching how quickly and surgically his fingers moved over the keys.

“Maybe I can show you sometime,” the UlforceVeedramon offered. “Just so long as the world doesn’t need saving.”

The Zephyrmon grinned and walked into the kitchen to check on the fish. “You learned in the Dramon Empire then?” she asked as she flipped the sea creature over.

“I did indeed,” Balion said, not taking his red eyes off of the piano. “...It’s rather weird isn’t it?”

“What is? The song?” Sylpha asked. “It’s a bit pompous, I guess, but I still like it a lot.”

“No, no...” Balion said annoyedly with a less-than-pleased expression on his face. “I mean the world... A little over two years ago most digimon species lived autonomously from each other. Now all the species live more or less together in a united world.”

“And it only took a world conquest and two world shattering events to do it,” the Zephyrmon responded, smirking.

Balion chuckled. “Indeed... Imagine what a third could accomplish!” he suggested good-naturedly, prompting a laugh from Sylpha.

Several moments later, she called from the kitchen. “It’s done!” She emerged with a plate and two bowls in her arms. On the plate sat a well-seared fish and in the bowls, potatoes and salad respectively.

Balion ended his piece and stood up, walking over to the table in the center of the room. He sat down in a seat and urged Sylpha to take her share before him. “The seasonings smell delicious,” he complimented, grinning at her.

She blushed slightly. “Thanks... I wasn’t expecting that; I usually only cook for myself.”

“A pretty digimon like you? I find that hard to believe,” he said, cutting into his fish.

“You know, people don’t often expect Dramon to have such good manners. I guess you prove that stereotype wrong, huh?” Sylpha pointed out.

Balion smirked. “Social tact and first impressions may not always be my strong suit, but manners are second-nature from where I grew up,” he explained.

“And where was that?” she asked curiously while cutting off a portion of fish.

“I come from a rich, noble family in the Dramon Empire... relatives of Bahamut in one way or another. I was made to join a private military academy at an early age; that was where I learned how to play the piano. My father, Klain Flamdring, had high expectations for me to rise through the ranks of the Dramon’s army like he did. I didn’t want to be a high-ranking officer, though; being a general or a tactician would be so boring and so political... I wanted to fight on the frontlines where the excitement was. Eventually I became an officer’s apprentice and learned a lot that way. Then Samhain took over and I’m sure you know the rest,” Balion said before eating a piece of potato. “What about you?”

“I grew up in the Celestial Sphere,” she explained. “I lived there until Imego and his forces attacked. My father and brother were killed in the initial assault... Me and my mother fled as refugees and eventually were picked up by the Rebels.”

“Oh... I’m sorry,” Balion said, looking down slightly. “I wasn’t part of that battalion.”

“It’s okay... It wouldn’t matter even if you were. It wasn’t your fault,” she said, smiling and shaking her head dismissively.

“You probably don’t like Dramon very much, though...” Balion said, looking up at her.

“I’m not going to persecute a whole race based on the actions of a few individuals,” Sylpha explained. “Nobody will ever know peace if we can’t learn to forgive and accept each other. There’s just no point in holding grudges.”

The UlforceVeedramon stared across the table at her for a few moments. “That’s admirable... If only our murderer thought the same way you did,” he said, finishing the last of his food and proceeding to wipe his mouth with a napkin.

Sylpha smiled and took her plate to the kitchen while Balion opted to take his. As the sun disappeared over the horizon, the Zephyrmon started to light various candles around the house for light. She turned to face the cobalt Avenger. “Where did you feel like sleeping tonight?” she wondered.

Balion took a step towards her. “I’ve got an idea for that...”
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[B]Claimed: Treecko, Grovyle, Charmeleon.
Co-Owner of Treecko/Grovyle/Sceptile Club.
Paired withAnastasia R.
PC Family so far: Cousin - ScytheMaster, Awesomest Sister - Diamondpearl876, Brother - Rebellious Treecko (PM one of us if you want to join it)

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