: [Other Fanfic]
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June 18th, 2012 (2:13 PM). Edited June 20th, 2012 by icomeanon6.
It's "I Come Anon"
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Northern Virginia
[Wow, I finished a chapter when I said I would; that almost never happens! And if I follow through with this writing-blitz thing, you can expect chapter 4 before the month is out.
Anyway, enjoy, and as always please post any comments or criticisms.]
Chapter 3: A Long Walk, and Rumors of the Commander
The sun was still down, but there was light enough to see. Jacob, Ross, Joanie, and BlackAgumon were gathered near the western edge of the hill. The humans would have liked to have spent more time in the camp and out of danger, but as BlackAgumon reminded them as they packed, “Time’s of the essence.”
Ross rubbed his eyes. He had managed only five hours of sleep the night before, and now he had to walk back the way he had come. He looked at Jacob, who seemed wide awake and practically raring to go, and then at Joanie, who couldn’t have gotten much sleep either but still looked far more awake than he felt. She asked BlackAgumon, “Do you need a blanket? One of us can carry it for you.”
BlackAgumon shook his head. “Don’t bother. Just hurry up.”
Jacob, who was in the middle of tying a square knot, said, “No worries. We’ll be done in a second.”
BlackAgumon was perhaps as irritated with Jacob’s morning-chipper-ness as Ross was. He snorted and began to pace back and forth. Still, Jacob was right in that the humans had little to pack. Several loaves of bread, four skins of water, and three blankets constituted the inventory. The only reason things were taking longer than a minute was that Jacob had insisted they should tie the blankets with string after bundling the food in them. Once the bundles were tied and slung over the humans’ backs with cord, Jacob said to BlackAgumon, “All right then. Lead the way.”
Joanie looked back toward the tents and then tapped Jacob on the shoulder. “Hold on.”
Tatiana, Michael, and Garurumon were walking toward them. BlackAgumon looked to the cloudy sky and groaned. “You said your goodbyes last night. Let’s move.”
“One minute tops, promise,” said Jacob before he headed over to meet the three with Ross and Joanie following him. “We’ve got to go real soon, guys. Don’t worry; you’ll be fine without us. Just—”
Tatiana interrupted him. “What are you talking about? Of course we’ll be fine. We’re worried about
Ross, whose eyes were half closed, said, “She’s smart. Let’s switch her for Jacob.”
The other humans laughed, Garurumon chuckled, and BlackAgumon was stone-faced. Jacob, fully aware of BlackAgumon’s impatience, got the discussion back on track. “Just do what Angemon and Garurumon tell you to, and watch out for the younger ones.”
Joanie added, “And make sure none of you leave the camp. Got that?”
Michael nodded. “We got it. We’re going to be fine.”
Jacob nodded back. “We’ll be back in four days. See you soon.”
Jacob shook hands with Michael, and then with Tatiana. He then turned to Garurumon, who made a polite bow. “I patrol the hills twice a day, but whenever I’m around I’ll keep an eye on your friends, and Agumon will too. You have my word.”
The three teenagers bowed back. “Thanks, Garurumon,” said Ross. He then glanced over at BlackAgumon, who was fuming in a literal sense. “Guys, we really have to get going now.”
With that the talking ceased, save for a few understated goodbyes. The three teenagers left their two seconds in command with Garurumon, and followed BlackAgumon down the hill, past the barricade, and into the fog. Less than a minute later, Ross looked over his shoulder and could spot no sign of the camp.
They had been walking over the hills for about twenty minutes when Ross spotted to their right a crater similar to the ones he had seen the day before. It was approximately ten feet in diameter, and a few short blades of grass were coming up near its edge but the center was completely barren. Ross wondered by what means these craters were made when he saw that he was starting to lag behind. He then shifted the weight of his pack and picked up the pace.
As Ross caught up, Jacob tried to start some conversation with BlackAgumon, which Ross thought was an ill-considered but not unexpected venture. “Hey, BlackAgumon. How long do you think it is until sunrise?”
BlackAgumon, who was walking a good eight feet ahead of Jacob and Joanie, did not answer. Ross thought this was just as well, as BlackAgumon was their only lifeline in the wilderness, and he worried that a conversation that went in the wrong direction could jeopardize that. He couldn’t figure out Jacob’s apparent need to sacrifice the status quo for the sake of having something to talk about, and Jacob’s next statement did not put his mind at ease. “Not feeling very talkative, huh?”
BlackAgumon snorted. “Just wondering why the alleged race of Creators would send help to a bunch of scumbags like Angemon and his scumbag army.”
Ross nearly had a heart attack. He immediately decided that he wouldn’t let Jacob make the situation any more caustic, and whispered, “Don’t bother him. He’s not in the mood.”
Jacob whispered back, “No chance. We’ve got a long way to go with this guy. I want to make sure we’re all on good terms.”
Joanie joined in the whispering. “Guys, I think he might be able to hear you.”
Fortunately, she was only half right. “What are you whispering about back there? Don’t trust me now?”
Before Ross could say anything, Jacob answered BlackAgumon. “We’re not sure whether we trust you yet, or Angemon for that matter. We just got here, and we’re only doing this to keep our friends safe.”
‘The more we talk about motivation, the closer we get to losing our guide,’
thought Ross, who followed Jacob’s answer with an attempt to stop the conversation cold. “We don’t want to bother you. We can keep quiet if you want.”
BlackAgumon spat. “Pathetic.” All three humans grew anxious. “You think I’m a moron? I saw the way Angemon had you suckered in with his talk. You two snakes are just trying to keep me from ditching you in the woods, and you’re tripping over each other in the process.”
Ross and Jacob looked at each other, disappointed that they had both been found out so quickly. Fortunately, Joanie was ready to take over for them. “You got us. We’re sorry we doubted you, but…”
BlackAgumon’s tone was growing harsher. “But what?”
“…But we really trust Agumon, and it seems like you two have some issues to work out.”
BlackAgumon spat again, but this time instead of saliva there came a quick burst of flame that blackened the grass. At the sight of this the three humans stopped in their tracks, and Ross especially was worried that they had gone and done it. BlackAgumon then turned around and began to approach them, and as he spoke little tongues of fire could be seen at the corners of his mouth. “Don’t you
mention that orange slow-mute’s name to me again! I’ve had it up to here with your ignorant, two-faced prattle! You don’t know a damned thing about those Vaccine thugs, so don’t talk like they’re your best friends in front of me or I’ll roast your hides and cut them from your bodies! I shou—”
For a few moments toward the end of BlackAgumon’s tirade, it appeared that his green eyes were growing red around the edges. All of a sudden he choked on his words and his eyes grew wide. He was breathing heavily, but a few seconds later he was composed.
It had all happened so fast that it was just now sinking in to Ross how frightened he had been at the sight of BlackAgumon’s anger. He glanced over at Jacob and Joanie, and he saw that they too had been terrified. When BlackAgumon spoke again, the violence in his voice had been replaced by a palpable meekness. “Let’s keep moving. We’ve got a long way to go.”
BlackAgumon turned around started walking up a large hill. Somewhat reluctantly, Joanie began to follow, and she was soon followed by Jacob and Ross. There was silence for about a minute until BlackAgumon said, “I apologize. That was inexcusable of me.”
It appeared that only Joanie had the courage to reply. “It’s fine. Everyone loses their cool now and then.”
Her voice did not waver in the slightest, but Ross could see on her face that she was hardly at ease. He crossed his fingers that she would be able to dig them out of the hole that he and Jacob had dug. It seemed to be working, as BlackAgumon remained calm. “Maybe where you come from some rules apply to everyone, but that’s just not the case here.”
When they reached the top of the hill, BlackAgumon stopped again. He looked over his right shoulder, and his eyes grew narrow, but not exactly angry. Ross looked where BlackAgumon seemed to be looking, but there was nothing but a few hills and fog. BlackAgumon made a low growl in his throat and spoke again. “I ought to explain where I stand, just so we all know.”
BlackAgumon pointed off into the distance. “There. North-east. You can’t see it right now because of the fog, but in the middle of the mountain range some tens of miles off is the Forbidden City.”
Jacob looked intently into the fog, as if he expected to gaze upon the city itself. “We’ve never heard of it.”
“I’m not surprised Angemon wouldn’t tell you about it. The Vaccine also call it the ‘Holy City,’ which is an utter farce. It’s where their damned aristocrats have the greater part of the world’s wealth holed up, and no one can pass the mountains to enter it.”
Jacob stroked his chin. “What about Biyomon, the one who picked up Joanie and our friends at the cave? She can fly. Are the mountains too high or something?”
“No, they’re not
high, but they have something worse. An impenetrable force surrounds the City, like an eternal storm. No one alive today is evolved enough to stop it or break through it, Data, Virus, or Vaccine.”
Despite himself, Ross’s interest was now piqued. “Why would they make a city that they can’t enter or exit? Seems like they’d starve in the middle of the mountains.”
BlackAgumon growled again, but his tone made clear that he was not angry with the humans. “And that’s the crux of the matter. There are a scant few secret passages beneath the mountains that provide access to and from the City, and one of them has an entrance in this region. The Virus army knows the entrance is here, and if Angemon’s army can’t keep them out they will eventually find it and invade. And frankly, I wouldn’t mind if one day we did.”
Joanie looked at BlackAgumon intently. “But there’s something about the Virus army that you can’t tolerate; something bad enough that you’d rather they lose.”
BlackAgumon sighed, turned around, and began walking again. “That sums it up. And do
ask me what that something is. I’m not in the mood.”
The rest of the day was something of a blur in Ross’s mind. The fog rarely let up, and what they could see was all similar. Other than a brief stop mid-day for lunch, which consisted of half a loaf of bread each, there was nothing but walking until it began to get dark. It was at the crest of some hill when Ross noticed the edge of the forest in what little daylight remained. Apparently they had veered southwest. Just when he was about to ask whether this was by design, BlackAgumon uttered the first words following several hours of silence. “We’re going to rest for the night in the woods, where we’re less exposed. There’s a hidden cache of Vaccine supplies around here, and you’re going to help me find it.”
Jacob wiped some sweat from his brow and asked, “What’s it look like?”
“Can’t say for sure. It’ll probably be covered by boards and hidden with leaves.”
When they reached the woods, it was slow searching. It would have been difficult enough had the sun been out, but there was so little light that upon looking around his tenth tree Ross figured the effort was futile. On top of that, they had been walking all day and he was worn out. He finished kicking aside some leaves, which of course were covering roots rather than boards, and looked over his shoulder to see if BlackAgumon was nearby. As luck would have it, he caught BlackAgumon’s bright eyes between two trees. He called over to him. “Are you sure we need to find this thing tonight? I’m pretty sure we packed enough food.”
BlackAgumon opened his mouth, and acquired some extra light by breathing heavily. Finding nothing, he answered Ross. “I’d feel better if we found it tonight. There should be some weapons in it, and I don’t trust any of you to keep watch with nothing but your bare hands.”
Ross was about to mention the sheath knife that he kept with him when Jacob called over from somewhere out of sight. “Hey, there’s a river over here! I bet it’s close by!”
Ross heard BlackAgumon’s heavy footfalls moving in the direction of Jacob’s voice. “Good thinking. You two, get over here.”
Ross kept his eyes on the ground as he made his way to the river, and even then he nearly tripped over a few roots. He could hear the soft sound of the ‘river’—more of a creek, he guessed—before he could see it. Figuring they weren’t going to find the cache anyway, he decided to indulge himself and draw a handful of cold water before he resumed his search. He headed to the nearest tree and checked around its roots. Nothing.
Ross was thinking to himself that if the cache happened to be on the other side of the creek they might be out of luck when he heard a noise fairly close by. Something was rustling in the underbrush, and it wasn’t a person. Ross’s first thought was that it might be another one of the creatures he had to fend off on their first night in this place. He bit his lip and grabbed the hilt of his knife.
Just then, Joanie spoke loudly, and as she spoke Ross could hear the little thing scamper off deeper into the woods. “Hey! I think I found something!”
Ross sighed with relief, and made his way over to where the others had gathered around. As he reached them BlackAgumon was moving the last board aside, which would have made the contents of the hole in the ground completely visible had there been enough light to make it all out. Jacob moved his head in closer. “What’s down there?”
BlackAgumon groaned. “If you worthless humans can’t even see in the dark you should have said something earlier.” BlackAgumon then picked up a thick branch, set it alight, and handed it to Jacob. As BlackAgumon went looking for suitable branches for Joanie and Ross, the three humans inspected the cache. There were several baskets of grains, some hammers and nails, what looked like a saw, and a number of weapons. Jacob knelt down and grabbed a longsword which was housed in a dark red scabbard. He held his light close to it and stared intently at the inscriptions that ran up and down.
Ross wondered who the weapon was for. He couldn’t think of anyone they had met here so far who had the opposable thumbs to make good use of it. “Strange weapon for an army of talking wolves and small dinosaurs.”
“Quit spouting nonsense and take this torch.”
Then the obvious hit Ross: Angemon had thumbs, so it was reasonable to assume that plenty of other Vaccine did too. This mental blunder made him realize how tired he was from the hike. He yawned as BlackAgumon handed him the lit branch, and then he bent down and examined the remaining weapons: two spears and a bow and arrows. “What do you want, Joanie, spear or bow?”
Joanie was looking at her torch when Ross asked her this. Apparently something about the fire had her fascinated. “Is it a longbow or a recurve bow? I’m more used to recurve.”
Ross had no idea what a recurve bow was, and didn’t see how Joanie could expect him to. “Showoff.”
Joanie giggled. Ross thought it was way too late after way too long of a day to be joking, but he shrugged it off. He handed Joanie the bow—“Thanks. Ah, it is recurve; that’s good.”—and then its quiver. This left either of the spears for himself. He picked the one that looked slightly shorter, thinking that it would be more wieldy. It turned out to be just a bit longer than he was tall, which felt right to him.
Jacob was sitting with his back to a tree, and had unsheathed his sword to inspect the blade. “So what now?”
BlackAgumon sat down as well. “Now we eat half a loaf each, figure out the order for keeping watch, and then sleep until an hour before dawn.”
As she was unraveling her pack, Joanie asked a question with voice suddenly void of mirth. “You don’t suppose that we’ll have to use these weapons, do you?”
“I sure hope not. I don’t trust you weaklings to hold off any real threat. But, since you miraculously have good hands for tools, I’m hoping that the weapons scare off anyone who might want to attack us.”
Jacob re-sheathed his sword and turned his attention to the bread in his pack. He was about to take a bite when he stopped and said, “That reminds me. Hey Ross, why were you carrying that knife around the day we showed up here?”
“That’s none of your goddamn business.” There was acid in Ross’s voice, and he thought he had good reason for it. Jacob was not one to judge him for having a knife. Ross noticed how quickly Jacob went for that sword, and how he was the first to agree to Angemon’s plan to make spies out of them. The knife was none of his business. Not in the slightest.
For the rest of that night, no one asked Ross any more questions. He ate dinner in silence, nodded in agreement when BlackAgumon announced the order of the watch, and sat in stillness with the spear on his lap when the others lay down to sleep. There was light from the torch to keep him awake, but he wouldn’t need it to see what he was looking for. In the underbrush was sure to appear a pair of red eyes. Ross could see it before it happened: his iron pole and point against reckless madness and teeth. He tried not to blink as he watched for any glow and listened for any movement.
They never came. The next thing he knew the sun was almost up and he was walking up a hill with his companions again. Someone must have replaced him and he had gone to sleep, but he couldn’t remember it. He was still tired, but he was good enough for another hike.
As of that morning the four spies were closer to harm than to safety, and throughout the day the hills grew small and the grass grew brown and sparse.
The sun had disappeared beneath the horizon in front of them, and in the distance they could spot smoke from campfires. The absence of hills and fog put Ross somewhat ill at ease. If perchance they had to leave the Virus encampment in a hurry, they would be easy to spot on this brown plain. When BlackAgumon spoke to them for the first time since noon, Ross could hear his own worry in their guide’s voice.
“Listen closely. What we’re going to do is sit at one of the outer campfires, join in on some conversation, and listen carefully for any meaningful information about their plan of attack and numbers. You will let
do the talking. You will speak only when spoken to, and when you do speak you will be vague and noncommittal. Is that understood?”
“Yes,” said all three humans, and Jacob followed with a question. “What should we say if they ask our names? Name. Whichever.”
“Be honest. We want to keep this simple, and that means no pretending that you’re one of us. They’re going to know that you’re strange from the moment they set eyes on you without sensing an attribute, so our hands are tied in that regard. Our story is that I’m scouting the western half of the woods, and I found you in there two nights ago and recruited you in exchange for my help and protection.”
“One more thing. We want to leave tomorrow morning at least an hour before they wake up, so that means we leave in silence. Don’t unravel your packs when we get there. Use the bundle as a pillow so we can leave without packing. I trust you can sleep on the bare ground just fine?”
Ross rubbed his eyes. “Not sure the blankets would help much.”
BlackAgumon could tell what he was thinking. “That reminds me. Do
show fear. That would be a dead giveaway.”
Ross could see that Joanie was holding her bow very tight. “No promises there, but we’ll do our best.” Joanie then looked over her shoulder, back to the east. Ross supposed she was thinking about Michael, Tatiana, and the other kids. Was she just scared that the three of them wouldn’t be there for the young ones anymore? Ross couldn’t understand how that could be her top priority, yet that’s what it felt like. For his part, all he could worry about was the prospect of the Virus soldiers finding them out and tearing them apart or setting them on fire.
He shivered and tried to drive the thought from his mind. As they drew closer and closer to the smoke in the distance, he attempted to distract himself with thoughts of rest and sleep. When the furthest fire from the main camp finally came into view, however, he turned his concentration to following BlackAgumon’s instructions to the letter.
The sky was almost black when they felt the warmth of the campfire, and saw the three Virus soldiers sitting on the opposite side of it. They were gray, mammalian, four-legged things whose main features seemed to be a cross between those of a rabbit and a cat. They were roughly the same size as BlackAgumon, and like BlackAgumon they sported long, sharp claws on all four legs. One of them, who had a claw with a missing tip, grinned when he saw them come and spoke first.
“Lookie here, it’s a BlackAgumon. Don’t see too many of you around anymore.”
BlackAgumon replied in stoic fashion before sitting down. “Evening, Gazimon.”
The other two Gazimon grinned along with the first. “Evening, BlackAgumon.”
The three humans sat together near BlackAgumon, and tried not to stare at their hosts. They were somewhat surprised when they were asked by Missing Tip, “What about you? What’s your names?”
His grammar was unimpressive, but his word choice was revealing. Unlike Agumon and Garurumon, Missing Tip didn’t get the impression that they all had the same name. As Ross wondered about the significance behind this, his companions started answering.
Their voices were neutral. Ross figured they were doing an okay job so far. “Ross.”
The Gazimon to Missing Tip’s right snickered at the unusual names, and Missing Tip snarled at him in return. The one to the right snarled right back, but they were interrupted by a noise that none of the humans had expected to hear again. It was a low and droning, yet powerful and angry roar that shook the very ground they sat on. Ross swallowed and resisted the urge to wipe the sweat from his forehead. He glanced over at Jacob and Joanie and saw that they too were fighting back the instinct to squirm. This was the same noise that had made the young ones scatter on their first night in the woods.
The Gazimon to Missing Tip’s left spat. “I can’t believe we got to bring them slow-mutes with us. They’re so damn annoying.”
In the distance, Ross could vaguely see a dark, towering form that was nearly invisible against the sky. Missing Tip pointed one of his good claws at the complainer and said, “Watch it. They’re the only Adult levels we have. How’d you like me to go and tell our friends the DarkTyrannomon what you have to say about them?”
The left Gazimon cringed, but the right one was not intimidated. “Go ahead. I bet they don’t get no language, the no-words-ers.”
“That ain’t a smart bet. If you’re wrong you get squashed flat.”
“He too slow! I scurry up his back and claw his eyes out first!”
The right and left Gazimon broke into fits of laughter, and this seemed to give BlackAgumon the opening he was looking for. He asked Missing Tip, “I take it these two haven’t been Child level for very long?”
This stopped the laughter cold, and Missing Tip grinned. “You got that right. Not me, though. I’ve been around long enough to cut down more than my fair share of scumbag vacc’s.”
Missing Tip showed off his missing tip, and BlackAgumon nodded in approval. “You rookies itching for your first kill?”
The one on the left was indignant, but the one on the right was positively enthusiastic. “Heh heh, yeah. Just two more weeks, and I gonna kill my way to that Garurumon and claw his eyes out!”
Missing Tip rolled his eyes. “Switch up your language, you dolt.”
“Don’t see why we got to wait two whole weeks,” said the Gazimon to the left. “We ought to move out now and kill them quick.”
Missing Tip grinned again. Ross was beginning to dislike that grin. “Relax. There’s no rush, and besides—” Missing Tip paused, and looked right at the humans, especially at Ross. “—If your friend says we wait two weeks, we wait two weeks.”
It took a mighty effort for Ross to keep his confusion from taking over his expression. As his brain stumbled over possible ways to respond to this, the right Gazimon bought him some time. “I dunno. These ones don’t seem much like the Commander to me.”
“You ain’t ever even seen him before, rookie.”
“Maybe I ain’t, but they say he real strong, and I bet when we see him in two weeks he gonna look real strong. These ones don’t look real strong to me.”
Missing Tip then addressed the humans directly. “I’m right, ain’t I? You’re all humans from the Creators, just like the Commander!”
Jacob’s voice was mostly calm, but wavered just enough to put Ross on edge. “That’s right.”
The left Gazimon asked them, “You all as strong as the Commander? You got his powers?”
For once, Ross felt that his curt dismissiveness was a welcome asset to Jacob and Joanie. “Can’t say. We haven’t met.”
BlackAgumon then took over. “I’m afraid not all humans are quite as powerful as the Commander. Nevertheless, none of them are without use. These three make for fine scouts, and they’re good with tools and weapons as well. The humans may be the greatest gift the Creators have ever bestowed on the Virus.”
Once again, Missing Tip showed off his grin, and Ross swore that grin looked more sinister every time he saw it. “All sounds good to me. And from what I hear about the Commander, we’re only going to need one of him anyway!”
The three Gazimon howled with laughter, and the three humans put on the best smiles they could muster. It was going to be a long night.
Ross didn’t know how it happened, but he had at least eight hours of sleep behind him when BlackAgumon prodded him in the ribs. It was completely dark, except for a few stray embers in the campfire. Missing Tip and the two rookies were snoring, and Joanie and Jacob were sitting up. In a matter of seconds they had their packs on their backs, weapons in hand, and were walking across the plain to the east.
It was another hour until the sun started to creep up, and there was still no fog. For a while Ross wished that the weather would change before it got much brighter, but then he realized that by now they were far enough from the camp to be reasonably safe. Still, the Gazimon’s talk of this ‘Commander’ had him worried. That another human was present in this world was a surprise, but that the other human was some sort of powerful figure who was leading the enemy of their hosts was too disturbing. For once, he found that he couldn’t keep his mouth closed while they were walking.
“BlackAgumon. Did you know anything about this ‘Commander’ they went on about?”
“No. I had never even heard of humans before you all showed up.”
Jacob joined in. “I wonder if he’s some kind of military genius, or maybe a super soldier. Hell, the way they talked about him he might have been some giant or wizard.”
“You’re not helping,” said Ross and BlackAgumon together.
Joanie spoke next. “Whoever he is, I just hope he stays far away. I don’t like the sound of him at all.”
BlackAgumon said, “You can forget about him staying far away, that’s for certain. The Gazimon said they would see him in two weeks, which means he’s playing no small part in their campaign to invade the City. You can bet that we’ll all be well too familiar with him before long.”
In his head, Ross remarked that perhaps they should abandon the Vaccine camp before they had the chance to learn anything else about the Commander.
“At any rate, I should say that I’m pleasantly surprised with how you three handled yourselves back there. Not only are we safely on our way, but this news concerning the time of their attack and of their human leader will be invaluable to Angemon. There were plenty of opportunities for you to land us in hot water, but you avoided them all. I’m content.”
Even as he said all this praise and good news, Ross found him somber. He supposed that it must still pain BlackAgumon to aid his former enemies. This made him wonder what prompted the betrayal in the first place. If Joanie and Jacob were also thinking of this, they gave no sign of it.
“Thanks, BlackAgumon,” said Joanie. “If you hadn’t led us on this trip, we’d have been in a real spot.”
“She’s right; we owe you one,” said Jacob.
BlackAgumon simply sighed. And so they walked on in silence, until a few hours later the plains gradually turned into hills, and they could see fog not too far off. It was around here that Ross noticed that BlackAgumon was acting strange. His ears kept twitching in a way he hadn’t noticed before, and he would frequently squint.
They were walking down a slope when BlackAgumon spoke again in a heated whisper. “Listen. No talking. Keep walking.”
The humans, confused as they were, did as he said. “Pay close attention. The Gazimon from last night are fifty yards behind us.” Ross’s blood froze. They
done something wrong. “They must have seen through us somehow. If I know Gazimon, and they’re not hard to figure out, they’re going to call out to us and pretend they just want to talk. Then, when they come into view and we’re expecting friends, they jump us. We’re going to play along, and you three are going to have your weapons ready. Is that clear?”
All three humans whispered “Yes,” and they followed BlackAgumon’s lead. After a minute that felt like an hour they were moving along the bottom of an unusually steep hill that was lined with boulders. It was there that they finally heard the Gazimon call at them from behind.
“BlackAgumon! Is that you over there?”
BlackAgumon stopped in his tracks and made a quick gesture across his neck; he would handle the talking. “Yes it is! What’s the matter?”
“You missed some orders from the top this morning! Could you hold up for a minute?”
“Of course! We were just about to stop for a meal anyway!”
BlackAgumon motioned to the humans, and they all dropped their packs. They then crept until they were only ten yards away from the bend around which the Gazimon were to come. Joanie pulled an arrow from her quiver and put it in place. Jacob removed his sword from its scabbard with care and in silence. Ross held his iron spear in both hands and pointed it forward. BlackAgumon took a firm stance and raised his head as smoke wafted from his nostrils. They all heard slow footsteps approaching the bend.
It happened in mere moments. The footsteps sped up and the Gazimon ran into view with a cry for blood. They were met with a burst of white-hot flame that hit one of them square in the chest. He writhed on the ground, but the other two didn’t stop. One of them ran at BlackAgumon and dove claws first, but BlackAgumon’s claws were quicker, and they punctured the Gazimon’s throat before pinning his body to the ground.
The other one charged the humans. Ross stood with his spear, but he couldn’t get his limbs to move. Just when it appeared that the last Gazimon was going to jump for him, an arrow whistled past Ross and struck the ground in front of their foe. The Gazimon stumbled, and Ross felt some courage welling up within him as he ran to one side, hoping to have the enemy trapped.
Jacob took a few steps closer with sword leading. “Don’t move!”
BlackAgumon was now finished with his own business, and as he stepped over his mouth seethed from his last shot. “Against the rocks. Now.”
It was then that Ross noticed that one of this Gazimon’s claws was missing a tip. That nasty grin was far away now, and in its place was a look halfway between fear for life and horrible rage. Missing Tip slowly backed up to the face of the boulder and glared at BlackAgumon.
“You followed us. Why? What gave us away? Speak!”
Missing Tip snarled, spat, and stamped the ground with his hind foot. “Don’t insult me. You think I’m so dumb I can’t smell fear?”
“No lies, rat! If you smelled fear you would have raised the alarm right then and there, or killed us in our sleep!”
“It’s human fear. Smells different. Didn’t recognize it at first, thought it might be something else. Humans supposed to be from the Creators, didn’t know they had fear at all. Figured it out when you were gone at sunrise. Should have gotten it sooner, should have torn your throats out, should have drained your—”
Missing Tip hissed and frothed at the mouth. The very sight of it made Ross a little sick. “Enough with you, you miserable traitor! When the Commander breaks Angemon’s neck and we have won, we’re going to find bottom-feeders like you and slit your wrists and leave you at the bottom of a pit!”
Missing Tip said nothing, though his whole body was twitching.
“You have two options, rat: you may die here with your comrades, or you may come with us to Angemon’s camp with hands tied. Angemon is soft on the likes of you; if you tell him everything you know, he may let you leave with the rest of your claws clipped and nothing more!”
Missing Tip howled at the prospect, and clawed at his own face. And then something happened that sent a shock through Ross’s entire body. Missing Tip’s eyes shifted to a bright, solid red. He leapt straight for BlackAgumon, but he was stopped in midair by a spear point that pierced his left side and a sword point that pierced his right. Joanie screamed, and Missing Tip was thrust against the boulder.
“Look away,” said BlackAgumon to the humans in a fit of kindness right before he torched Missing Tip’s face. As Jacob and Ross let him down and pulled the tips of their weapons from him, they saw that his eyes were now empty and charred black.
“Grab your packs. We’re moving on.”
As Ross slung his bundle over his shoulder, he looked over at Joanie. She looked as if she were going to throw up, but she never did. Jacob didn’t look sick, merely grave. Ross imagined that he himself appeared something between the two extremes. They walked away from that place as quickly as they could. Ross only looked back once, and saw that the three bodies were faint in the fog. It looked to him as if they were fading into nothingness, but surely that was his imagination.
My chapter fics:
Kanto: The Disputed Frontier
- 14 chapters, indefinite hiatus.
Gary Stu's Unpredictable Adventure
- 8 chapters, completed.
- 7 chapters, ongoing
There's Always Tomorrow
A Matter of Stubbornness
Left by the Roadside
(SWC 2011 1st place),
Giovanni Destroys the World and Everything in It
By What Right?
(SWC 2013 1st place),
Back in the Day
(SWC 2014 1st place)
Family (kind of?):
Strange person who calls me strange names
If the pen is mightier than the sword, the keyboard is mightier than the ICBM.
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