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Old October 23rd, 2012 (05:18 PM).
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Chapter 6: ...Yet So Far


The tip of the sun slowly emerged over the green horizon of the grassland and trees. The morning sky was painted with a warm pink and gold colour, providing a satisfying contrast to the still-dark landscape; it was a beautiful sight to behold.

Dukemon smiled slightly as the sun continued to come into view. It was beginning to force the prevailing darkness of the night to retreat in its wake. The rays of the bright star hit the knight’s golden-yellow eyes as he watched, looking over the parapet of one of the castle’s terraces.

Instead of his usual white armour and red cape, Dukemon was wearing black pants that were buckled by one of the red belts that he wore with his armour, as well as a white t-shirt that was tight and form-fitting enough to show the outlines of his chest and arm muscles. Emblazoned on the center of the shirt was a black, trefoil symbol of a triangle with three triangles branching off from the center one’s vertices. Around the center was a circle. It was the same shape as the ones on the center of his cuirass and on his knee guards. Dukemon knew this as the Digital Hazard symbol... However, three more triangles were added as well, surrounding each side of the center, upside down triangle, seeming to make a bigger one from the four. It was the same symbol as the one on his helmet and the center of his Aegis shield. It was known as the Zero Unit.

Dukemon, like many of the Royal Knights, wore casual clothes when they were off duty. While carrying around plate armour was good exercise, it wasted energy needlessly, and, especially on hot days, caused one to get pretty damn sweaty, which is why Dukemon and others preferred to wear light, casual clothes unless necessary to do otherwise. Plus, wearing clothes was more comfortable and less cumbersome, and Dukemon liked the way the wind felt against his scales. They typically received their clothes from the same digimons who mended their capes, tapestries, and other textile needs.

The breeze in question, still cool from the night, blew against Dukemon, flowing through his long, white hair and across his red scales. He leaned forward on one of the parapets as he looked from the tall terrace, overlooking the castle wall and much of the land past it. In the distance, he saw a familiar crimson shape flying towards him. A smile grew on his face.

A large, metal, bird-like dragon that was as tall as Dukemon flew over and landed on a nearby parapet with a ‘clang’. On his red body was gold lining, the same colour as his arms. He looked over at Dukemon with his blue eyes. “Hello, old friend,” he said calmly. “Watching the sunrise again?”

Dukemon grinned and turned around, folding his arms and leaning back against the stone behind him. “Hey, Grani,” he greeted, looking at the large dragon. “How did your patrol go?”

His official designation was Zero ARMS: Grani, but he was usually referred to as just “Grani”. Despite being sentient, Grani was not a digimon. Although not digimon, Zero ARMS were digital lifeforms who typically served other digimon. Dukemon and Grani shared a close bond with one another and Dukemon was the only digimon who Grani would permit to ride him. Apart from Dukemon and Grani, no digimon knew how the two met.

“Nothing of interest,” Grani replied with a sigh. The large dragon turned around and faced the same way Dukemon did, towards the emerging sun. “Though, at least the patrol wasn’t a complete waste; I got to see a nice sunrise...”

Dukemon grinned. “Yeah... My favourite part of the day. The light appearing and getting rid of the darkness of the night,” he mused.

Grani looked over at Dukemon and smiled. “I know...” After a few moments, the large Zero ARMS looked forwards again. “You seem to be close with Examon, I’ve noticed.”

“Yeah...” Dukemon replied, looking over. “...You’re not jealous, are you?” he teased.

Chuckling lightly, Grani shook his head. “I’m glad that you have another person who you trust,” he replied, and, after a second, adding, “...and who trusts you.”

“Well, I guess I kind of empathise with the guy.” The light grin disappeared from Dukemon’s face. “...I haven’t told him yet.”

Grani tilted his head curiously. “Oh?”

Dukemon shook his head and sighed. “For all I know, one of the others already said something to him and he’s just really good at hiding it,” he replied. “I was hoping to get him to trust me before confessing about it. That way, it might not be as big of an issue.”

“That’s true, but the longer you wait, the more the chances the other Knights have to talk...” Grani explained. The dragon moved closer to Dukemon and looked at him more closely. “However, if he’s truly your friend, then it shouldn’t be an issue at all.”

A frown formed on Dukemon’s face. “All of the Royal Knights are my friends, Grani - and, yes, I’m even counting Duftmon – it’s just that not all of them are understanding like you are.”

“You don’t know that. Just because Duftmon has no tact and no social skills, doesn’t mean they all feel the way he does,” Grani retorted.

“That’s easy to say...” the knight muttered. He then smiled lightly at Grani. “But I’m not going to let it affect me. I’ve got a job to do and that doesn’t include feeling sorry for myself.”

Grani smiled and nodded positively. “There’s the Dukemon I like to see,” he said. He blinked when a thought emerged. “Ah, that’s right. You’re in charge while Alphamon, Omegamon, and OuRyuumon are gone, aren’t you?”

Dukemon nodded and placed his hands on his hips, and he felt his fingers against the smooth leather of his red belt as they grazed it. “That’s right. They left last night under the cover of night.”

Grani nodded. “So what’s your plan for the day? I mean... I’m assuming you have thought that far ahead, correct...?” he asked in a teasing tone.

Dukemon laughed. “Oh, you’re hilarious. Unless something comes up, it’s going to be hard training today. Oh, and I want your scouts to-”

“Are we interrupting?” a voice said from the door behind them that led into the castle from the balcony.

Dukemon and Grani both turned their heads and saw the pink and violet humanoid forms of RhodoKnightmon and Craniamon.

Dukemon folded his arms across his chest. “The fact that you cut me off mid-sentence should have been a clue, Rhodo,” he replied, smirking.

Grani observed the two Royal Knights carefully, noticing that, unlike Dukemon, they were wearing their armour at such an early hour. “You’re both armoured up already?”

Craniamon nodded. “There’s a new stance I’m trying to perfect,” he explained.

“’Perfect’ being the operative word with you...” Dukemon added in jest, looking at the purple knight.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” Craniamon responded, his voice sounding as composed as ever.

“It is when you have impossibly high standards,” Dukemon countered.

“Tch. Whatever, Dukemon,” he said, turning and looking at the crimson knight sideways. “Some of us like our spearsmanship to be more than just ‘decent’.”

Dukemon turned around fully to look at him. “Those sound like fighting words.”

Craniamon grinned and faced him as well, preparing to remove his gauntlet. “Then let’s make a morning of it.”

“You’re on.”

RhodoKnightmon stepped between the two and raised his hands. “Now, now. Put your belts back on, boys. That is, unless I should get a ruler out...”

“...That won’t be necessary, Rhodo,” Craniamon answered, shuddering at the thought of RhodoKnightmon being anywhere near him with a ruler.

“...Yeah,” Dukemon agreed, flushing when he realized he got carried away. “I guess I forgot I’m supposed to be in charge.”

“Mm,” RhodoKnightmon said, nodding and smiling. “So do you have something worked out for the day, Dukemon?” he asked curiously. He then clasped his hands together with excitement. “A beach day, perhaps?!”

Dukemon grinned. “Don’t get your hopes up.”

The pink knight’s body drooped melodramatically. “Aww... I thought you would be more lenient than Alphamon is...”

“Sorry. You can say goodbye to ‘relaxed Dukemon’ until they get back. It’s my job to be responsible,” Dukemon explained.

“Shouldn’t that always be your job?” Craniamon asked him, raising his eyebrow.

Dukemon folded his arms. “Well, yes. More responsible then,” he replied, ignoring the fact that Grani was rolling his eyes.

“So what does our esteemed leader have planned?” Craniamon inquired in a tongue-in-cheek way.

Dukemon opened his mouth and felt the words about to leave his lips, but a calling from the sky behind him diverted his attention.

“Grani, sir!” a voice shot through the air.

The four knights watched as a Pteramon, one of Grani’s subordinates, swooped down and hovered in front of them, taking a few moments to catch his breath. “What is it, Pteramon?” Grani asked him patiently.

“Grani, sir!” he panted, a bit frantic and looking as though he was struggling to suck in wind. “Big attack. Got spotted. Lots of Megas!”

Dukemon raised an eyebrow. “An attack?” he asked. He looked to Grani, who was in charge of the Royal Knights’ Reconnaissance Squadrons.

“Where?” Grani asked him with a faint sense of urgency in his typically calm voice.

The Pteramon scout shut his eyes in an attempt to recall. “Um... Mu... four, Tau seven. Yeah! The Mu-Tau sector. Coordinates: Mu four, Tau seven. I counted at least eight Megas and they were moving fast!“

“Mu-Tau...” Craniamon mused to himself. “That’s...”

Dukemon’s eyes widened slightly as he came to realize where that was. “The United Dramonic Coalition...”

-

“Will this take long?”

Duftmon stood beside Magnamon in the computer room. They were both watching as MetallifeKuwagamon typed away on the computer at an impressive speed.

“Don’t rush him, Duftmon,” Magnamon said, glancing over at him for a moment before looking back at the screen.

Duftmon gave an indignant ‘humph’ and, with a jerk of his head, flicked his hair quickly to the side when he didn’t like how it rested against his back. Once satisfied, he looked at the screen to see MetallifeKuwagamon going through a database of files.

“Hmm... Do you think this might be him, Magnamon?” MetallifeKuwagamon asked, pressing a few keys and opening a file of an Anubismon.

Duftmon started reading the digicode that was written in the file, as did Magnamon. “Could be. Examon might be able to recognize him,” Magnamon explained. “Maybe I should go get him.”

“No need,” Duftmon replied to the shorter knight. “It’s him.”

Magnamon looked at Duftmon. “You’re sure?”

Duftmon nodded, continuing to scan the page. “Brother: BlackMetalGarurumon. And their father was a MetalGarurumon X who was the mayor of Lupolford, one of the independent states in the Free Area. This Anubismon and BlackMetalGarurumon inherited their father’s position and wealth upon his death and now Anubismon is the acting mayor of that particular free state, with BlackMetalGarurumon serving as his bodyguard. There have been rumours that he has had dealings with mercenaries, but during our inspections we had found nothing out of the ordinary and deemed the rumours unsubstantiated.”

“Maybe we were wrong,” Magnamon muttered to himself.

Duftmon scoffed, not dignifying Magnamon’s words with a response. “But why would they attack the UDC, and with just the two of them?”

“We can all go and ask them together,” a voice said from the door.

The three digimon turned towards the sound of the familiar tone. Indeed, Dukemon, who was wearing in his armour, stood in the doorway with a serious expression on his face. “Dukemon...” Duftmon said.

“What do you mean?” Magnamon asked.

“They and ten other Mega level digimon are on their way to the UDC’s capital. We have to stop them,” Dukemon explained, leaving no room for argument. “Duftmon, the scout will tell you what he saw and where. I need you to come up with a plan. ...You don’t have any objections, do you?” he asked, an almost accusing tone in his voice.

Duftmon looked at Dukemon curiously. “Twelve Mega levels are attacking the United Dramonic Coalition,” he stated matter-of-factly. “Why would I object to a counterattack?”

“Because Ex- nevermind. Good,” Dukemon replied, biting his tongue on whatever he was going to say.

“Twelve Megas, huh?” Magnamon asked. “It looks like we’re going to be outnumbered.”

Dukemon nodded, but didn’t seem concerned. “I’m bringing Grani along this time, Duftmon. We can’t waste any time; we’re heading to the war room now, so you can talk to the Pteramon who saw them on the way.”

“Numbers don’t decide the victor,” Duftmon told Magnamon, striding past him towards the exit.

Magnamon looked up at Dukemon. “Does Examon know yet?”

Dukemon shook his head and followed Duftmon. “Soon enough... I’m hoping he reacts better than he did last time.”

Magnamon nodded and walked alongside their temporary leader. “So do I.”

-

In the center of the war room, Dukemon stood next to Duftmon, staring down at the 3D map table in front of them. Examon stood patiently beside Magnamon, waiting as the other knights entered the war room as well. He assumed that this was another mission. It seemed to him that it was a big one, considering that all the Royal Knights were being gathered, save for Alphamon, Omegamon, and OuRyuumon. Those three were away doing something that Examon could only guess about.

His belief that the mission was a large one was enforced by the fact that Dukemon’s friend Grani was there too. He knew that Grani was in charge of scouting and patrols, but he didn’t know that he would go out on combat missions as well.

Examon looked around and saw RhodoKnightmon, Dynasmon, Craniamon, Sleipmon, and UlforceVeedramon all come in one after the other.

“What’s up, Dukemon?” Dynasmon asked. “By the looks of it, we’re not having a simple day of training anymore...”

“Sorry to disappoint you, Dynasmon,” Dukemon replied, “but we have a pressing mission that we need to debrief you all about.”

RhodoKnightmon sighed. “What a shame. I guess there really won’t be a beach day, then…” He placed his hands on his hips and looked at Dukemon and Duftmon. “What is the mission, then?”

Dukemon looked at all of the knights, scanning them, before his eyes finally rested on Examon. “The United Dramonic Coalition is under attack,” he explained, looking at Examon as if to inspect his reaction.

For the slightest moment, Examon felt his eyes widen with worry and surprise, but that was all. A second later his facial muscles relaxed and he looked as composed and calm as he usually did.

Magnamon and Sleipmon turned to look at Examon as well. Examon exhaled and spoke up. “…Is it the Anubismon and BlackMetalGarurumon again?” he asked, his voice steady.

“My scout reported that he did see an Anubismon and BlackMetalGarurumon among the group,” Grani answered.

Sleipmon frowned and folded his arms. “Group? How many are there?”

“Twelve Megas,” Duftmon spoke.

Craniamon nodded and clenched his fists. “Then there’s more than enough for all of us,” he spoke with what sounded like veiled excitement.

Examon looked at Dukemon and Duftmon. “But… are there any other missions of higher priority to consider?” he asked, surprising the knights.

Dukemon grinned proudly and turned to Duftmon, who blinked in surprise. Duftmon folded his arms and looked away. “…Well… no. An invasion of this size is of the utmost priority. That should be fairly obvious,” he replied, seeming unwilling to show even a little bit of his begrudging approval.

“So, aside from the two canines who gave Ex-sama trouble, what are the other ten we’re going up against? More puppies?” asked UlforceVeedramon with a playful smile.

Duftmon shook his head. “There’s no theme here. It’s a mixture of random digimon. Given that we now know who Anubismon and BlackMetalGarurumon are, we can assume that they’ve hired these ten mercenaries.”

Dukemon nodded in agreement. “Given how Examon pushed them back the last time they tried to attack, I think they either underestimated him or didn’t expect him to be there that first time. That’s why they’ve brought so much muscle this time around,” he explained.

Examon also nodded. “It’s also possible they thought we would figure out who they were after the failed attack and come to apprehend them, so this is their final gambit,” he suggested.

“But what do they want with the UDC?” Dynasmon asked.

“That’s irrelevant,” Duftmon spoke impatiently. “All we need to focus on now is how to proceed. I have the tactics worked out.”

“So let’s hear it, Duftmon,” Dynasmon said.

Duftmon nodded and approached the map table. “We have to work quickly, as they’re already far into UCD territory. We need to intercept them with haste and power,” he explained. He looked at Examon. “Dragon, I want you to be with the advance team this time. You know the area and your flying speed is decent.”

UlforceVeedramon grinned. “’His flying speed is ‘decent’? That’s big compliment from Duftmon, considering what an uptight grouch he us,” he added with a laugh.

Duftmon glared at the blue knight and began to get flustered. “It is not! I was simply stating the purely objective facts,” he said, huffily folding his arms and glaring even harder at him.

Dynasmon smirked at the events. “Come on, Ulforce. You know that Duftmon would never be intentionally nice,” he chimed in.

UlforceVeedramon chuckled. “Silly me.”

“Okay, okay,” Dukemon said, hoping to reel them back in to the topic at hand. “Let’s get back to the tactics before you make Duftmon burst a vein.”

“Thank you,” Duftmon said, the irritation obvious in his voice. After a moment, he shook it off and became utterly focused on the tactics. “Let’s get this done quickly. I won’t be repeating myself.”

The Royal Knights nodded and gathered close around the table so they could all hear. With the band of hostile digimon on the move, they knew that that time wasn’t a luxury they had.

“We’ll begin with the first team…”

-

Anubismon flew over the fifth Dramon village that they subdued that day. He looked below him; there were wounded and beaten up Dramon digimon lying on the ground and streets. The stone and wood buildings had holes smashed in them and many doors were kicked down.

Anubismon, with his arms folded, drummed his fingers against his bicep impatiently, and he occasionally looked over his shoulders to scan the horizon. BlackMetalGarurumon hovered in the air beside him and looked at Anubismon, frowning. He looked down at the ground.

“Hey, guys! Get a move on!” BlackMetalGarurumon barked at the ten Mega level mercenaries that they had hired to help them with the UDC invasion. “You can get your loot at the capital once we take it!”

A black, humanoid dragon digimon with massive claws walked out of one of the houses and looked up at them. “Fine. There’s nothing worth taking anyways,” the BlackWarGreymon replied, taking flight again.

The other nine mercenaries who were scattered around the village began to head out as well, all in the same direction. In the far distance, the vast, stone city of the United Dramonic Coalition’s capital could be seen. Tall towers and countless buildings made for an enticing silhouette, standing before an even more enticing backdrop of a huge mountain range. They were giant, stone titans, green with grass and dirt at the base, and a few of them white with snow on the higher peaks. They were a beautiful sight... but what Anubismon cared about wasn’t the view, but the mines and gem deposits of the precious blue diamante and green malachite that lay in the mountains. This was what he wanted, and that capital city was his destination.

“I don’t think I like these mercenary guys,” BlackMetalGarurumon muttered to his brother. “They drove a hard bargain.”

“Because they know we’re desperate,” Anubismon replied, flying forwards. “If we fail here, we’re finished. However, at least they’re behaving and not killing any of the digimon we come across.”

There was a silent moment between them. Anubismon looked over at BlackMetalGarurumon, who flew beside him. “...I’m sorry that my insatiable ambitions dragged you into this, brother,” he spoke, a tinge of warmth in his normally calm voice.

For a moment, BlackMetalGarurumon blinked and looked at him with some surprise. It wasn’t long until a playful grin grew on his face. “Ahh, I don’t mind, bro,” he responded. “Just as long as I get to blow some stuff up. You know that I go stir-crazy in that castle of ours.”

Anubismon nodded. “...That said, I don’t intend for us to lose,” he said, glancing at his brother. “As long as we can get to the city before being spotted by the Royal Knight’s scouts, we’ll be fine. It won’t be hard to secure it; only the most foolish of the Dramon would dare stand against twelve Mega digimon, and I know that most Mega level Dramon leave and venture elsewhere in the world after digivolving.”

“Except Examon,” BlackMetalGarurumon added.

He narrowed his eyes at the name. Anubismon’s wing still wasn’t completely healed from that laser blast. “He is irritating... He may be a Mega II, but these mercenary digimon I’ve hired are skilled fighters too. He’s no more skilled than the other Royal Knights. You see, brother, once we take the city, we’ll have the advantage. We’ll be able to take up defensive positions and, with all of the civilians around, we’ll be able to attack them, but they’ll have trouble attacking us since they won’t want any of the Dramon in the city to be caught up in their attacks.”

“Gotcha...” BlackMetalGarurumon answered. “Well... as long as we’re getting our money’s worth from these losers.”

Anubismon rolled his eyes. “Try not to let them hear you calling them that...” he said.

He looked around at the ten mercenaries who were either flying or running in front of them. The team consisted of a BlackWarGreymon, a Boltmon, a Reapermon, a DinoRexmon, a Lykamon, a Regulumon, a Gryphomon, a Devitamamon, a ChaosPiedmon, and a ChaosWarGreymon. There weren’t as many mercenaries as he’d hoped for, but he thought it would be enough.

Anubismon watched as the Boltmon led the charge towards the city. However, his brother’s voice distracted him.

“How’s your wing?” BlackMetalGarurumon asked him, looking over at the wound.

“I’ll be fine...” Anubismon replied, closing his eyes. It would take just a few more minutes until they would reach the city. Anubismon thought to himself calmly, listening to the sounds around him. He heard the soft wind, several heavy footsteps and his own wing beats.

But then his ear twitched, hearing an unknown sound.

“Hey, what is that?” the sound of one of the mercenaries’ voices – the Gryphomon, Anubismon thought – spoke.

Anubismon opened his eyes to see what the sound was and what the Gryphomon was talking about. He watched as the Boltmon at the front of the group came to a stop and turned his head to the left, also curious.

He heard the odd ‘whoosh’ing sound get louder, like it was closing in on them. All Anubismon saw was a streak of blue wash over the Boltmon and then the large, green mercenary was gone, sent flying through the air and crashing to the grass thirty meters away. It all happened in less than a second.

Anubismon’s eyes widened, jerking his head to the right to watch the Boltmon tumbling across the grass. He then turned to BlackMetalGarurumon.

“What the hell was that?!” he demanded.

“I-I don’t know!” BlackMetalGarurumon answered, dumbly blinking in disbelief. “It was too fast for me to get a reading on!”

“I didn’t see a thing! What happened to him?!” the Reapermon shouted out.

Again, Anubismon heard a whooshing sound drawing near, but it was deeper and heavier. “No... It can’t be...” he whispered, his expression becoming a grimace. “We’re under attack by...!”

Before he could finish, something caught Anubismon’s eyes in the sky above him. However, instead of a flash of blue like before, this time he saw a flicker of crimson coming down from the sky.

“GE--” before Anubismon could warn them, a red, glowing meteor came plummeting down, faster than the sound barrier. The falling crimson object hit the Gryphonmon in mid-air, swatting him out of the sky like a fly and crushing him into ground completely. When the draconic shape slammed into the ground on top of the helpless mercenary, the impact caused the ground to fissure and crater in, and a massive shockwave exploded around him, sending Anubismon, his brother, and the mercenaries flying off of their feet or tumbling in the air at the violent blast.

Anubismon grunted and flapped his wings strongly to catch himself. He looked back at where he last saw the Gryphonmon. All that remained was a large, fiery crater that rained down pieces of tossed up dirt. He saw no Gryphonmon. Instead, the familiar form of a crimson dragon man emerged from the crater, his armour red hot from the atmospheric friction.

Anubismon glared at the dragon digimon. He knew who it was immediately. “You...” he growled at Examon. All of the mercenaries besides the deleted Gryphonmon readied their weapons, preparing for battle.

Examon calmly stepped onto the grass and gripped the Ambrosius lance in his hands. “...Not just me...” he replied.

“The Ray of Victory!” a voice shouted from somewhere nearby.

Anubismon turned earnestly towards the voice and saw the unmistakable form of UlforceVeedramon hovering in the air, the golden ‘V’ on his chest armour glowing brightly. An intense beam in the shape of a V burst from his chest and slammed into the ChaosPiedmon, causing the mercenary to cry out in pain as he was sent flying.

As the bright, azure light subsided, UlforceVeedramon grinned and gave them the V-sign with his hand. “Were you expecting somebody else~?” he asked playfully as he activated the Ulforce Sabre on his V-Bracelet.

“The Royal Knights!” the BlackWarGreymon growled, running at UlforceVeedramon with his Dramon Killers at the ready. “DIIIIIIEEEE!”

“Final Elysian!” a third voice shouted from above.

Anubismon looked up to see Dukemon flying through the air as he stood on top of his large, red, dragon steed, Zero ARMS: Grani. Dukemon’s Aegis shield glowed brightly before releasing a pillar of holy light that came crashing down on the BlackWarGreymon before he could get anywhere near UlforceVeedramon.

“Did you think we’d let you get away with this in our own backyard?” Dukemon asked them as Grani circled around.

Anubismon snarled angrily at his luck and the entire situation. “Attack! Defeat them! Take these three down!”

“I think you’ll find there’s more than just three of us,” Dukemon explained with a grin.

“Bifröst!” a deep voice, accompanied by a rapid, horse-like gallop, bellowed from behind them. The ChaosWarGreymon spun around only to find a hail of arrows coming at him at lightning fast speeds. In that brief, vulnerable second, he expected to be pierced full of holes. However, each arrow grazed him, cutting across the scales at his elbows, knees and ankles.

The ChaosWarGreymon snarled, feeling a numb pain where he had been hit, but not much else. “What the hell kind of aim was tha-- Hey!” He looked down at his wounds and saw that ice was beginning to emerge from of them. A thick layer of ice froze the dripping blood and hardened around his ankles, knees, and elbows, freezing his joints in place. “D-Damn it. What is this?!” he demanded, unable to move his limbs.

It only took a few seconds for gravity to weigh him down and force the mercenary to fall on his back. Soon, the crossbow-wielding Sleipmon galloped over and appeared in his vision. The last thing the ChaosWarGreymon saw before the darkness of unconsciousness was a hoof flying towards his face.

Anubismon looked around himself in troubled disbelief. There were four Royal Knights here before he could even react. In the distance, he could see the silhouettes of Dynasmon, RhodoKnightmon, Craniamon, Duftmon, and Magnamon all quickly approaching in a tactical formation. He knew it wouldn’t be long until they descended on the flustered group as well. “No...” he whispered.

“Pendragon’s Glory!” Examon’s voice called out from in front of him, snapping Anubismon out of his trance. Anubismon looked towards the dragon Royal Knight and saw the Ambrosius aimed straight at him. He saw the lance’s muzzle flash with energy and all he could do was inhale sharply as the laser burst from the Ambrosius and shot towards him.

“BRO!” BlackMetalGarurumon shouted, lunging through the air and tackling Anubismon out of the way. The laser grazed BlackMetalGarurumon, searing into the armour at the back of his neck, but the cyborg wolf managed to spare Anubismon from getting shot in the head. The black digimon winced in pain and landed on the ground on top of Anubismon, standing over him protectively.

BlackMetalGarurumon turned towards Examon with a snarl, his red eyes glowing with anger. “Nobody does that to my brother!” he barked, hopping off Anubismon and walking towards Examon. “I’m going to freeze your wings and then blow them to bits for that! Metal Howling!”

The missile ports on MetalGarurumon’s front legs opened up and sent a storm of missiles flying towards Examon at an incredibly short range for a missile attack.

Examon backed up and aimed his lance at them, preparing to shoot the explosive shells down as his wing moved to create a shield in front of him.

“Final Elysian!” Dukemon’s voice shouted as he circled around on top of Grani. A think blast of light surged from his shield and swallowed the missiles before they could touch Examon, making them explode in a detonation of ice. Examon looked up at Dukemon in surprise. Dukemon grinned and nodded at him. Examon returned the nod.

BlackMetalGarurumon growled deeply and glared at Dukemon. “Damn interfering hero-wannabe!” he snapped, launching the six missiles from his shoulders up at Dukemon and Grani after they passed by.

“Hang on tight, Dukemon,” Grani calmly said to his passenger, who nodded. Grani turned to the left sharply, angling his body so that the missiles missed them and flew harmlessly into the air. He then started to dive back towards BlackMetalGarurumon, allowing Dukemon to attack him again.

“Lightning Joust!” Dukemon shouted, sending streams of electricity towards the wolf digimon.

BlackMetalGarurumon merely ignored him, jumping out of the way of the attack and sprinting in Examon’s direction.

Examon grunted and started to fly upwards, knowing that he wasn’t suited for close quarters combat against high speed digimon.

“I don’t think so!” the black wolf cyborg shouted. He lunged into the air and chomped down hard, digging his teeth into Examon’s ankle. BlackMetalGarurumon didn’t use his wings to support himself, allowing gravity to set in so that his weight would drag Examon down and also increase the pain.

Examon tried his best to suppress a garbled shout from the pain of the teeth digging into his scales and drawing blood. While rapidly flapping the Caledfwlch wings, Examon raised his other foot and began kicking his toe claws into BlackMetalGarurumon’s face to try and shake him off. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t effective against a metal digimon. Instead, he aimed the Ambrosius and stabbed the lance into BlackMetalGarurumon’s hind leg, past the metal layer. “Avalon’s Gate!” Examon shouted, sending a shell into the leg he had stabbed. The shell exploded in a fiery blaze and forced BlackMetalGarurumon to let go of the leg and fall towards the ground.

“D-Damn...! Garuru Tomahawk!” he shouted, firing a giant missile from his chest as he fell.

Examon quickly tried to brace himself and the missile exploded against him, sending ice all over his giant wing and blasting him to the ground.

As the two fought, Anubismon slowly got to his feet. Still in a bit of a daze, he looked around himself, taking everything in. Nine Royal Knights were now fighting his team of mercenaries. And they seemed to be winning. He watched as RhodoKnightmon slashed the Boltmon down with his blade-like ribbons. Dynasmon threw the Reapermon over his head, and Craniamon had his spear locked in a duel against the BlackWarGreymon.

Anubismon slowly began to frown. “This... wasn’t supposed to happen...” he mumbled. “We were supposed to win...”

“No...” He clenched his fists and glared up at Dukemon, flapping his wings furiously as he rose to meet him and Grani. “I am going to win!” Anubismon shouted. “Amemit!”

Dukemon tensed slightly when Anubismon appeared right in front of their path, not expecting his sudden burst of vigor and determination. Anubismon released a shadowy creature from his bracelets which was sent slamming into Dukemon’s chest, throwing him off of Grani.

Grani swooped down to let Dukemon land on him. Dukemon landed upright and quickly aimed his lance at Anubismon. “Lightning Joust!”

Anubismon swiftly dove down and narrowly avoided the bolts of electricity that came from the lance. He flapped his wings and watched as Dukemon and Grani circled around, charging straight for him. “Fools,” he muttered. “Amemit!”

Once again, he unleashed the savage shadow creature from his body straight towards Dukemon and Grani.

“Dukemon,” Grani said, watching as the black spectre swiftly closed in on them.

“Two seconds,” Dukemon replied, knowing what Grani was thinking just by the way he spoke.

After two seconds Dukemon lunged off of Grani while Grani dipped down, Dukemon jumping over the Amemit and Grani diving under it. Three seconds later Dukemon landed back on Grani and the two of them charged Anubismon aggressively. Anubismon’s shock and worry was written all over his face as the two closed in.

Dukemon swung his arm out and slammed his giant shield into Anubismon’s face while Grani rammed into him, sending him flying.

While Anubismon was stunned by the powerful blows he managed to catch himself before he fell to the ground. “D-Damn...” he snarled. After a few seconds to allow himself to recover, Anubismon flew up in front of their path, his body cloaked with the darkness of his Amemit attack. “Take this! Amemit!”

A particularly large version of the shadow creature burst from his body and slammed into Dukemon, knocking him off Grani.

“Dukemon!” Grani shouted, suddenly diving down to catch him, but Anubismon had other plans.

“Pyramid Power!” he snarled, diving down as well while drawing a triangle with his claws. Around Grani appeared a barrier in the shape of a pyramid which the dragon crashed into, preventing him from going after Dukemon.

“Grani!” Dukemon called to him.

“I’ll deal with him later,” Anubismon told him, flying down towards Dukemon swiftly. “Amemit!”

The creature once against slammed into Dukemon, sending him flying faster towards the ground. Dukemon growled and righted himself, landing on his feet and skidding backwards across the grass, but still remaining in a battle stance. “Don’t bother, Anubismon,” Dukemon told him, raising his Gram lance and Aegis shield. “You have to know you can’t win. It’ll be easier for everybody if you just surrendered.”

“No... Not after all this!” Anubismon replied. “Amemit!”

“Final Elysian!” Dukemon retaliated, sending his beam crashing into Anubismon’s attack.

-

Examon growled internally at the coldness around his right wing. The armoured outside was completely coated with ice from BlackMetalGarurumon’s attack. He tried to shake it off but couldn’t, which rendered him confined to the ground until he could.

He knew that this wasn’t a good position for him to be in, especially with BlackMetalGarurumon stalking him. All it would take is one well aimed ice attack from the digimon and Examon knew he could be in deep trouble.

“What’s wrooonnng?” BlackMetalGarurumon asked, taunting his foe. “Oh yeah! You lizards aren’t very good with the cold, are you? Now you know you picked the wrong guys to mess with!”

Examon narrowed his eyes, keeping Ambrosius at the ready. He knew that it was only a matter of time before the other mercenaries were defeated. Then it would be all nine of the Royal Knights against him. Examon wasn’t looking for any glory in fighting him. He just wanted to make sure that the capital was safe, and the best bet was by stalling until BlackMetalGarurumon was outnumbered.

However, that plan was put into jeopardy when BlackMetalGarurumon went on the offensive again. “This is it, dragon breath! Metal Howling!”

The cyberbiotic wolf charged at Examon and all of the missile ports on his body opened. Countless amounts of missiles screeched as they launched from BlackMetalGarurumon, sending smoke flying every which way.

Examon grunted with annoyance when the smoke blocked him from seeing all of the approaching missiles. “Grrgh. Avalon’s Gate!”

Examon loaded the ammunition, raised his lance and fired repeatedly into the air at any missile that he saw. The shells that he launched from the Ambrosius were special shells that he prepared and loaded precisely because he knew he would be fighting against BlackMetalGarurumon again. They were anti-air shells.

The shells exploded prematurely, scattering countless ball bearings and pieces of shrapnel into the descending missiles, allowing him to take out three or four at once. He watched as the ball bearings pierced through several shells, making them explode in bursts of liquid nitrogen and ice, but he wasn’t able to hit all of them.

Several missiles descended and exploded around him sending ice biting at his scales. He hissed quietly in pain as the final missile hit in front of him, sending ice flying up, but he was able to block it with his wing.

Then there was silence... He looked around cautiously. Smoke exhaust from the missiles floated in front of him. Examon couldn’t see BlackMetalGarurumon anywhere... he was blocked by the smokescreen.

Where is he...?” Examon thought. The dragon knight frowned. “That’s it.” With a large heave, Examon swung his left wing, fanning the air in front of him strongly. The smoke started to be blown back, revealing what was behind him.

Suddenly, BlackMetalGarurumon pounced out of the receding smoke, dashing at Examon with savage anger in his face. He lunged, just as Anubismon turned around to look at him after suddenly being knocked back by Dukemon.

Examon’s eyes widened, seeing BlackMetalGarurumon’s teeth aimed for his neck. He took a step backwards and raised the Ambrosius, the sharp tip poised. He then stabbed the lance forwards.

Anubismon’s mouth slowly gaped open as he watched Examon’s lance pierce into BlackMetalGarurumon’s underbelly and emerge out his back. BlackMetalGarurumon suddenly weakened in mid-air and ceased his attack. He fell on top of Examon, his weight forcing the Royal Knight to fall on his back.

Examon panted and looked at BlackMetalGarurumon, seeing that the Ambrosius was running him through, and his blood was dripping down the lance’s metal shaft. He expected to see anger in BlackMetalGarurumon’s face, but instead he saw what looked like sadness.

Anubismon watched, horrified. He let out a shaky breath, turning around completely from his fight with Dukemon. He took a few steps towards his wounded brother. “Black...MetalGarurumon...” he spoke with uncharacteristic emotion and sadness in his voice.

BlackMetalGarurumon slumped forwards on the lance and slowly looked over his shoulder to his distraught brother.

“Anubis...mon...”

He gave Anubismon a sad smile before bursting into data.

Anubismon let out a pained breath and stared, watching BlackMetalGarurumon’s data disperse into the air. He just kept gazing at the spot where he was with sadness, pain, and disbelief.

Dukemon watched Anubismon with a grimace. He had plenty of opportunities to attack him during those painful moments, but that was something that Dukemon would never allow himself to do. It went against his morals, and he could see the Anubismon’s pain.

After a few moments, Sleipmon walked over and helped Examon up. The rest of the Royal Knights began to gather, having apprehended or deleted the rest of the mercenaries. Anubismon was the only one left standing.

“...Surrender,” Dukemon said to him in a sympathetic tone. “Let’s end this...”

Anubismon kept his back to Dukemon. “...’Surrender’...?” he asked, his voice flat and defeated. Anubismon slowly turned around and glared at Dukemon, showing him the rage and hatred in his tear-stained eyes. “I won’t surrender. But I WILL END THIS! AMEMIT!” he shouted, sending shadow after shadow at Dukemon in a mad frenzy.

Dukemon cursed and raised the Aegis, blocking each attack with the mighty shield. “Cut it out! You’ve lost!” he shouted as the black shadows of the Amemit tried to get past his shield.

“Stop this! Enough digimon have died today!” Sleipmon shouted to Anubismon, hoping to get him to surrender.

“You mean like my brother!” Anubismon snapped, glaring balefully at Dukemon. He continued to approach Dukemon, each attack that he threw getting more and more powerful, feeding off of his rage.

“Do you think he’d want you dying too?!” Dukemon retorted, backing up. It was clear by the way that he held the Aegis that even he was having trouble blocking each blow as the power increased.

“SHUT YOUR MOUTH!” Anubismon snapped, finally dashing forward and bashing the Aegis aside. Before Dukemon could stab with his lance, Anubismon shoved the Gram aside and aimed his hands at Dukemon’s face. “Amemit!”

But before Anubismon could fire his attack at point blank range into Dukemon, Dukemon drove his foot into Anubismon’s chest and sent him staggering backwards.

It was in that brief moment of calm that Dukemon noticed something.

“You’re bleeding...” he said to Anubismon.

Despite his fury and sorrow, Anubismon allowed himself to look down. He didn’t remember getting hit. To his surprise, there were four small holes in his fur. They looked like they had been there for several minutes, considering that there were already small streams of blood trickling down his fur to his white robes.

“But...” he murmured with stunned confusion.

“I didn’t do that...” Dukemon said to himself, confused and disheartened.

Examon’s stared at the two. “...They’re from the ball bearings in my ammunition. He must have been hit when I was firing into the smoke...” he explained.

Anubismon suddenly felt the pain begin to appear now that his adrenaline was disappearing. He had wondered why his attacks just then weren’t as strong as they should have been. He gave a weak frown of anger.

“Amemit...” he said weakly, firing another blast towards Dukemon, who easily blocked the much weaker blast and sighed.

After a few seconds, Anubismon fell to his knees and leaned forwards onto his hands. “Why...?” he murmured, feeling data particles slowly leave his body. Dukemon looked down and gave another sigh at the situation. Sleipmon grimaced and looked away, his eyes lingering on Examon for a moment. However, Examon looked as calm and stoic as Duftmon did.

Anubismon slowly looked up, ahead of him. Tears were running down his face to his chin, but he had a weak smile on his face, even as his data began to leave him. It was a sad grin.

“Do you know what I should have done, BlackMetalGarurumon...?” he whispered. “I should have sent the mercenaries... to attack somewhere else, while...” He trailed off.

As Anubismon’s data left him in greater amounts, he spoke once more. “Br...Brother... Why did I want more...?” With those last words, the rest of his body turned into data and scattered into the air.

The Royal Knights took a moment and were silent, if not out of respect for Anubismon himself, than out of respect for the situation or just not knowing what to say.

After several seconds, Dukemon spoke up. “...Okay, Knights,” he announced, with some weight and gravitas in his voice. “Let’s clean up and head back. Mission accomplished...”
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