Fuyu

I'm still a tamer. I have my pride!

Female
College
Seen 4 Days Ago
Posted November 24th, 2016
3,079 posts
10.5 Years
This chapter's split in two, so look for the next part sometime next week.


Chapter 19.1: Reality’s Pain

“Oh, well this is a pleasant surprise,” Kiri commented merrily at the sight of the other two. Luca bounced a soccer ball on his head, looking in deep concentration. Frimon was wrapped around Kiri’s neck while Viximon remained loyally in her partner’s arms. Suddenly, he caught it with his heel and kicked it upward, slamming it sideways into the nearby tree. He chased after it, continuing to aim for the middle of the tree trunk. The intensity of the ball hitting wood made the plant shudder.

“Ne Luca are you trying to make a hole in the tree?” his partner asked. Luca shook his head, kicking again, this time leaping to catch it as it bounced off, practicing juggling it with his feet.

“A tournament…” he panted. “-is coming up…. I don’t want to be the reason… we lose.”

“You’ll do fine,” his cousin assured before turning back to the other two Digidestined. “Now what brings you all by? Or is this just an accident?” She hummed softly. “I wonder, I wonder.”

“You shouldn't keep channeling Relena,” Viximon chided good-naturedly. “It’s impolite.”

“We have a habit of doing that to each other. It’s fun at times.” At others, like last night and this morning, not so much. My left hand still hurts.

Blair stared weirdly at Luca's behavior. "Practicing for a soccer game or something?"

"Blair," Jonathan began, looking firmly in his neighbor's direction.

"League game," the boy replied breathlessly, not even looking at the speaker. "I can't... let my friends down... We promised we'd make it... to the finals... It's gonna be fun... Haah!" He kicked it high, it headed straight toward Kiri, who caged it and kicked it back to her cousin.

"Next time, not toward my head," she called.

A young girl watched from the shadows. Her skin was tanned, but not to the point of the tan being a dark shade. She wore a crimson, short-sleeved shirt with yellow three-quarter pants. She wore tough boots colored brown with black soles, but they weren’t monstrously huge. Where's Mimi? the girl wondered, looking around, but failing to see the cerise-haired fifteen-year-old.

Kiri felt a shudder tingle up her spine. She sighed, ignoring it. You know, paranoia would be nice if it wasn't all the damn time. "Wonder what Sean's doing, making his clothes?" she muttered, snorting derisively.

"Oi, you act as though I can't!" The green-eyed boy leapt over the railing. "Sorry, Emma was getting chewed out."

Kiri snickered. "What for now? Flirting? Honestly, she's too shy to date."

"That's what Melissa said. I know we're in that budding stage of life but still..." He saw Jonathan and Blair. "Ah crap, well there went my cheerful visage." He sounded teasing but his eyes made you wonder. "Mornin'. I heard you met my sister. How'd that go for ya?" He gave Jonathan his clown's smile. It seemed more fake than usual.

"Why d'ya wanna know?" Blair snapped.

"It went fine, thanks for asking," Jonathan answered, giving Blair another quelling look.
Still in the shadows, the girl motioned for silence as her partner, a blue-furred bipedal dog appeared. After the dog scoped the group out, he was told by his partner to scout around Odaiba for Mimi.

Sean seemed not to be offended by her tone. "Eh-heh, I bet she freaked you out right? Melissa can do that. That or piss you off. It's where I learned my tricks of the trade." He laughed and turned to Luca. "Oi buddy come on! Masaki is probably waiting for ya! And we've already kept the princess back! Don't ya know it's rude to keep a lady waiting?" Luca stopped practicing, catching his soccer ball in both hands. He rushed to join them.

"Would you like to come along?" Kiri asked, almost politely.

Sean laughed. "She's actually bein' courteous fer once. What's wrong in your head?"

She rapped her knuckles on his forehead. "Whatever's wrong with yours dear brother."

"No, we-" Blair started, but Jonathan interrupted.

"Yeah, we will."

Now's our chance, Gaomon, the girl thought. Whispering ever so softly to her partner, she said: "We'll trail behind and look for Mimi."

Sean grinned. "Alright then! Race ya!" He prepared to take off, but Kiri yanked him back by his collar.

"Back, little track star. None of us need you showing off." He pouted and slowed to a walk. The others trailed after.

"Hey Jonathan," Luca began, surprising them all. "Do you remember my threat? I haven't forgotten." He gave a bright blue stare toward the older boy. "Do you know how I would keep it? You met the person who would help me keep it."

"That was then, and this is now," Jonathan replied evenly, hiding the concern he felt. He hadn't forgotten Luca's threat, either. But why would the eleven-year-old bring that back up now? And why him? He didn't have Wizardmon as a partner, he hadn't ordered the elf to point his staff at Luca that time, so why...?

Luca grinned. "The past makes the present and is a factor in the future. And a leader must make amends for a subordinate's mistakes right?" He laughed. "I said if you hurt Kiri again, you would pay with your partner's life. You saw what she can do right?"

"You were so wrapped up in being soulless, you wouldn't have known what was going on," Jonathan answered. His mind tensed warily. "And yes, I did see what Triesta can do."

"Who said anything about mine?" Luca chirped with an odd smile. "I've already paid for mine. I've paid for mine in blood." He rolled up his sleeve, where a large gash was scabbing over on his arm. "Blood for blood, an eye for an eye. I meant your own mistakes, but..."

"Since you don't know what they are, it can be kind of forgiven right?" Sean gave a smile as he bounced on the balls of his feet.

"Triesta's rather scary isn't she?" Kiri commented offhandedly. "We're lucky Relena's so nice. Otherwise, there would be nothing for you all to protect. She would have destroyed it all."

"We gonna go to this soccer game or not?" Blair grumbled.

"Blair, that's enough," Jonathan said. "They're being nice, so be nice in return."

Luca looked at them confusedly. "We're not going to a game today," he chirped. "
I've just got this with me for practice. We're gonna go visit Sanako, Relena, and all the others."

Sean grinned. "Basically, we're going to the Ferro household, which has more family than rabbits, if you catch my drift."

Kiri chortled. "Don't say that around Lady Ferro. She'll beat you half to death."

"She has no right to steal your job."

I thought they had other plans, Jonathan realized. "Oh well, if you three are going there, Blair and I will go find Jack." In the shadows, the girl's eyes widened. So they're not going to the soccer game? I'll just follow Jonathan and Blair then.

Sean shook his head. "You should come. You need to meet Tomoe-chan and her mother. It's really important you do that."

"We really need to find Jack," Blair whined.

"Alright, we'll see your friends," Jonathan interrupted.

Sean sighed. "Good choice. Tomoe-chan's a real important girl you know?"

"Why, may I ask?"

Sean glanced at Kiri, who unrolled her sleeves again to show the scars. "She is the daughter of a man named Tamaki Ryou, the one whose blood is on my hands and the one who gave me these. She is the daughter of the man who came before the Digimon Emperor." She sighed. "She is the daughter of the cruelest Digidestined who ever lived."



Somewhere else in Odaiba, Jack was sitting beside his partner. "You think you could do it again, buddy?"

"Of course, Jack," DemiVeemon replied. The little In Training Digimon had previously Digivolved to Shakkoumon to deal with a rogue Digimon who had appeared in the real world.

Jack looked out at the sky. "I'm surprised at how easily Chatsuramon lost. It was like it wasn't a fight at all."

"Maybe their leader doesn't need them anymore and is just throwing them away," DemiVeemon thought aloud.

Jack scowled. "If Lucemon is their leader, then that certainly sounds right."



"Hey lookie here," a male laughed. "The crazies are still alive!" His hair was short and black and he was dressed casually as he half-splayed himself in the walkway. Sean kicked him playfully in the arm.

"Yer drunk Riku!" he chirped, oblivious to the man's discomfort.

Riku rolled his eyes, knocking the track star back. "I ain't drunk, just tired. Wish I was drunk. I think those kids in university are permanently stoned to be graduating." He glimpsed Jonathan and Blair. "Who're the newbies? If you want 'em to train; yer out o' luck. Grandma wouldn't take 'em, no way. They ain't got the spark, even I can see that."

"I think it involves dedication Nii-chan," a familiar voice chirped. "And they could possibly have it." Sanako limped in, leaning on a wooden sword. "You could use some these days," she scolded, looking up. "Oh, hi Jonathan. Surprised to see you here."

Blair recoiled and fought to hold something down. She couldn't stand the smell of alcohol. Jonathan noticed and whispered in her ear to go stand by a window. He then cleared his throat and said hello to them.

Sanako noticed and brutally kicked her brother in the groin. Sean winced. "Honestly, do you want Mama and Grandmother to see you like this? You are the Child of Land. Kindly go stabilize yourself." He glared at her and left, muttering under his breath as he wobbled away.

"You're turning out more like Mother than ever... worse than Nee-chan I swear..."

"It's your own fault for being such a fool!" she hollered at him. "You craven whelp!"

"You're younger than him," Luca pointed out. Sanako held back a blush.

"He's an overgrown boy, always has been." She bowed respectfully to the newcomers. "I'm really sorry for him. He's such a black sheep. Mother should take a rawhide to him soon."

"The lady will," Sean muttered.

"Her father was a bit of a drinker," Jonathan whispered, looking carefully in Blair's direction to make sure she wasn't listening. "He reformed before he was killed, though..."

Sanako nodded and for some reason, glanced at the other three. Sean's expression flickered into sour rage for a moment. Luca glanced at Blair in confusion and up at Kiri, whispering something in his cousin's ear. Kiri shrugged. Desperate to hide the confusion and disturbing lack of sympathy from her friends, Sanako inquired hurriedly, "So why are you two visiting? I would think Triesta's fury and Relena's little display would have been cause for you to stay away."

"Sean invited us along. I wasn't too keen on it at first; I even said Blair and I had to find Jack, but Sean was persistent. I'm not entirely sure what he has to gain out of this," Jonathan shrugged in confusion at Sean's mad look.

Sean scowled and turned away, eyes burning. Kiri silently hugged him with one arm as she asked. "Is Tomoe-chan here?"

Sanako nodded. "She's with Relena. Relena's... she's not doing so well."

"So that's why our palms itched this morning," Kiri heard her friend mutter. "Our blood oath's makin' itself useful fer once."

Sanako glanced at the green-eyed boy again, who simply gave her a curt nod. Her eyes widened. "Oh. Okay. You two; come with me. You need to meet Grandmother." She gave Kiri a fixed stare." You three go keep your oath and bring those two in when she's herself again." Kiri nodded and slipped her hand in Sean's, dragging him away gently. Luca hurried after.

They heard Sean's soft growl of "What's the point of a blood oath if it don't do anythin'?" as he passed.

Sanako watched them go, shaking her head sadly. "Sometimes I wonder if they made the right decision back then." She looked at Jonathan. "Do you know what was befalling the city during the Malomyotismon battle?"

"I was told the whole world was shrouded in darkness," Jonathan answered.

Sanako nodded solemnly, looking not the typical ditz of class, but an exhausted old woman. "Yes, the world was shrouded in darkness. Do you know what the unknown does to people? It scares them and fear brings anger. And anger brings the cruelty of people to light, of humanity's darker nature."

Blair wandered back over, now that she felt better. "And Digimon acting under their leader's orders can disfigure people for life," she added, referring to her missing eye and scar in its place.

Sanako nodded again. "Yes I suppose you and the others would know." She hesitated, as if unwilling to speak about this. "During the Malomyotismon battle, the Digital Gates were very fragile. The humans, affected by negative emotions, were rioting in our city. We were there at the time, so I remember fighting them off." She sighed. "I'll admit it: I likely killed at least three humans. I don't regret it." She looked away from them now, lost in memory. "Kiri, Sean, and Luca; they were with us then and fighting. Sean lost his temper and attacked them with fire. And it spread." She shivered, remembering the blaze against her face. "After that... I don't know... they had just vanished."

"It was only later that I learned of just where they had gone. It was another Digital World: one locked in brutal civil war."

"A second Digital World?" Blair growled.

"Blair and I thought there was only one..." Jonathan muttered, equally surprised.

The woman shook her head now, still walking just ahead. "There are many Digital Worlds and many human ones. There were only a few before but with that..." she trailed off.

"That what?" Jonathan asked.

She shook her head again, looking thoroughly miserable. "The Schism, it was..." She visibly shook. "Please don't make me say more of it, none of us are supposed to even know of it. It was the gravest of errors, cruel and..." She trembled again.

"Is this what has Relena down?" Jonathan questioned. There was silence. Jonathan placed a hand on Sanako's shoulder. "It's okay, Sanako. Everything will be fine in the end."

She shook her head and moved away from him, visibly terrified. "No, no it won't be. Those people, those poor people. They died, they died for us, you understand? It won't be fine. There is no place for them to go you understand? The Schism was so long ago yet so late to truly reach us and you say it will be fine in the end when it could happen again? Where do you see that? All of those children died defending us! How will everything be alright?"

Sensing they weren't wanted anymore, Jonathan motioned to Blair and he said: "We'll be going now."

"No. Please stay." A male's voice came from a distant end of the hall. Out stepped a male with long brown hair. He looked to be an adult, judging by his business-like clothing. He smiled at them both. "My name is Tori Ferro. I'll take you to see Grandmother now." He glanced at his sister, who looked a mixture of terror and fury. "Calm yourself Sanako," he scolded. "You're scaring them."

"I should hope so," she whispered. "They need to know, now before it’s too late."

"And drive them away? No imouto-chan. Go calm your self now. Calm as still water." She nodded, giving them a curt look, and leaving.

He turned to them with a puzzled frown. "I apologize for their behavior. Riku's been under pressure. He's usually quite sober. And Sanako... Sanako doesn't enjoy the game we must play."

The sixteen and fourteen-year-olds turned at the sound of Tori's voice. Jonathan had a guarded expression on his face, while Blair narrowed her remaining eye. "I certainly hope not all Ferro family members are like this," Wizardmon grumbled.

"Wizardmon," Jonathan growled slightly. "Be careful what you say."

Tori heard and laughed merrily. "No. Sentri was but it took more than a hard time to get Rina ruffled. She saw Greymon and Parrotmon and wasn't even fazed. She kept Sentri calm too." He shook his head. "Probably still does, while inside Limbo. As for my other siblings: Masaki and Chihiro are too young to worry about, and Aria's a stone statue. Mother and Grandmother..." He laughed sheepishly. "I'd tread carefully."

"They should've treaded carefully to start with," a child's voice sang.

Tori glanced at him. "Were you kicked out Luca?"

The blond boy nodded, Frimon around his neck. "Relena's all messed up and it gives me a headache. Sean went to go get Tomoe-chan. He'll meet us with Lady Ferro soon."

"Mm." Tori didn't even seem to notice the eleven year old's rough manner. For once, Jonathan, Blair and their partners were silent, in the wake of Luca's threat. The two neighbors glanced at each and shrugged, wondering what to say and what to do.

Tori saw and grinned wider. "Relax. He won't do anything. He's just warning you to be more careful."

"Lady Ferro's got a wicked temper," Sean said as came up, gently clutching a young girl's hand. "We've all gotten a taste of it. Snapping at her might either be your last breath..."

"Or your smartest move," Luca finished, coming to greet the young girl, who was hiding behind Sean. "It's okay Tomoe. They won't do anything." The little girl peeked out and hid anxiously again.

"Lady Ferro?" Wormmon asked timidly of Tori. "Is that your mother?"

Tori barked out another laugh. "She would be if Grandmother was not so determined to live outside of the nursing home. Not that she needs one, she can kill all of us with her cane when she chooses." Wormmon and Wizardmon paled and the Rookie level insect backed away immediately.

"Someone call for the Master?" A voice declared cockily. Jonathan and Blair turned, surprised to hear Jack, and saw their fellow Destined standing at the doorway. "Don't make things so hard for me next time. My partner told me he sensed our names being spoken of. I thought you guys were in trouble." Sorcerymon, or rather Veemon, stood beside the nineteen-year-old.

Tori turned curiously. "Someone else? Interesting." Luca turned, rolled his eyes in disdain, and went back to gently coaxing Tomoe free. Sean glanced at him and away, looking toward the back.

Tori sighed. "If it bothers you so much; go back in there."

Sean shook his head. "Kiri said not to interfere so I won't."

Tori rolled his eyes now. "You two and your blood vow. One in all but one right?"

"Yeah. I'm not breaking my vow. I'm not like him."

...

A Digital Gate opened over Odaiba and a black Digimon appeared, flying through the Gate. T.K. Takaishi, the Digimon thought, you're next. But for now, he would hide.

...

Finally Tomoe came into full view, her long black hair falling into her face. She was dressed in a pale pink kimono; it tied with violet flowered obi. She looked down at her feet. "Um...n-nice to meet you."

"Hi Tomoe," Jonathan said gently. Both the Digimon replied with the same, but Blair was silent.

"H-Hi," she mumbled softly, peeking up at them for a moment. Then she flinched back down again. "I, I um... you're Di-Digi-Destined, r-right?"

"They are," Wormmon answered.

She nodded softly. "M-m. W-Were you around w-when..."

Sean stopped her with a hand on the shoulder. "No Tomoe-chan, they weren't. They never met him."

Her eyes widened softly behind her bangs. "O-Oh. T-Then c-can I?"

"Ask."

She turned back and tried to look them in the eye. "C-Can I see your Digivice?" Jonathan pulled out his black D-Core and Blair her yellow modified D3.

Tomoe shuffled over and took Jonathan's D-Core. She turned it over in her hands. "It feels... very mixed up in here." She reached out to tap Blair's Digivice. "Here too." She looked at them. "What's wrong?"

"Myotismon's lackey, Phantomon, scarred me for life. Not to mention that Myotismon himself killed my parents," Blair muttered, her face turned away.

"When we were trapped in the Digital World, Mimi basically tore the team apart. It's obvious Izzy still cares for her, but after she kissed me, I'm not sure how long it's gonna take for Izzy to feel better. I, for one, am not sure about the others... but I appreciate Digimon. It sickened me that we had to kill some back in the beginning. Kabukimon was just misguided, Sealsdramon was evil, Lynxmon was corrupted... Dinohyumon, Harpymon... too many lives lost and it's all because of the Demon Lords..."

Tomoe blinked softly. "Mm." Her eyes lowered. "Um, w-well...s-so wh-what?"

Jonathan saw through the girl's plan and was quite annoyed that they'd been used. However, he masked his irritation and crouched down to part Wormmon on the head. Blair simply said: "Yeah, you're just another of those who don't care about what we go through."

Tomoe blinked at her. "You sound like my daddy," she said quietly. "Does that mean you're going to destroy both worlds too? Does that mean you're going to beat up Kiri over and over like she's a pet? Does that mean you're going to make your digimon hurt me? Are you that bad miss? I fear for them. The poor Digimon who you're supposed to save; I fear for them."

"I didn't say anything about any of that, did I?" Blair grumbled.

Jonathan stood back up and Jack come over to be beside him. "We both saw through your ruse," Jack said, speaking for himself and Jonathan.

"Blair would never do anything like that. We're just fed up with being tested, whether it's by Digimon or humans," Jonathan replied.

Tomoe looked at them still. "I'm not lying," she said softly, her shy expression now blank. "Your heart, I can read it. Your heart says more than your mouth. And it hurts so much."

"Tomoe-chan, that is enough." This voice was that of an older woman. She came from the shadows, calm and regal, almost a queen. "You've done well. If they wish to be ignorant, let them be such." The little girl nodded and looked down again. The old woman turned to the three. "Leave Tomoe-chan be; all of you. She merely did as our lady bid. If you do not wish to be tested, then don't make it seem as if you are so weak you need to be judged!"

Tori tried to counter. "Mother they're just-"

"Weak." the woman finished quietly. "Weak yet full of potential. Tomoe-chan go tell Mother now."

The little girl bowed, glanced at them once more with tear-filled eyes. "I'm truly sorry," she whispered, and hurried away.

Jonathan and Blair mentally recoiled, while Jack muttered a soft "Sorry."

She did not seem appeased. "All bark and no bite and so much soft-heartedness. We'll have to change that for certain. Sean."

He stiffened and nodded. "Yes Lady Hanabi?"

"Go now and get your fellows. Take them to Mother's room. At once." Her voice never lifted higher than her calm speech.

"Yes ma'am!" He bolted down the hallway.

"Tori; go get your siblings. They have no time to wallow." The elder man nodded, surprisingly unafraid, and was gone. "Luca."

The eleven year old froze and straightened. "Yes Lady Hanabi?"

Her voice was much gentler than it had been. "When Kiriko is at Mother's room, tell her to spend some time with Tomoe. She will join us later." He bowed his head and left. Her gaze turned sharp again at the sight of them. "Now then you three: your names? Be quick about it. You fear me, yet Mother is worse than I. Speak up."

"Jonathan Lucas..."

"Blair Morgan..."

"And I'm Jack Reynolds, but my partner can Digivolve to Ultimate naturally, ma'am."

She snorted. "If that's all that's necessary for these fights, we'd have won already. No, you need your own strength as well. Isn't that right Kiriko?"

"Yes ma'am," she replied promptly as she approached. Tomoe was on her back, face buried in her neck. She walked past them. "Be gentle toward Relena milady," she murmured. "Triesta's nerves are very frayed."

"Are you attempting to tell me what to do girl?" Hanabi sounded amused.

"I'm attempting to keep you alive milady."

"You have an hour."

"Yes ma'am." She didn't even glance at them as she left.

Jonathan, Blair and Jack were thinking the same thing. Oh jeez...

Lady Hanabi turned sharply. "Stop gaping and come. We've waited long enough to meet you. Kindly do not obstruct us any further." The sneer imbedded in kindly was palpable. She strode ahead of them.

The three teenagers followed the older woman straight away. She snorted, but did not speak. How easily cowed. And they are going to be the ones to defeat Ogudomon? No wonder the children are worried.



They had already gathered when the group arrived. Relena was curled up in a corner, looking disheveled with her face hidden by her knees. She didn't react to them, or even glance up at their arrival. Sean sat next to her, listening to the words of someone in the center of the room. Luca was sitting next to two children, one of which looked incredibly bored, yawning openly. The other seemed irritated with her brother, rolling her eyes.

Riku and Sanako were back, both looking worse. It was clear Riku was sober, but there were new bruises and dirt on his changed clothing. Sanako twitched, looking almost pleased when she glanced at him despite the blood trickling down her arm. She gave them a cheery wave, looking as though she hadn't shouted at them earlier. Next to her, Tori was snickering silently at his younger brother. Beside him was a woman they didn't know, her black hair tied in a ponytail. She watched them file in, green eyes holding curiosity.

In the middle sat an old woman, dressed entirely in grey. She held a blade held in her left hand as you would a cigarette. She was tiny but it didn't show in the slightest, her aura that of someone much greater. She didn't even look up from her conversation with Sean.

“Your sister needs to come by more often. I don't like those too clever being let loose, especially the way she is. She can be any person she so chooses, the best kind of actor. Speaking of which, your mask is off. What do you think you're doing being truthful when we have the ignorant just outside our walls...”

Hanabi cleared her throat. “Mother, I have brought them as you wished.”

The old woman turned to them and snorted. “At last, we meet these... others.” She peered at them all, clearly searching for something. “Ah you were right beastling.” Luca glanced up and nodded once before lowering his gaze again. “Did our little seer see everything Tori?”

The eldest shook his head. “ I doubt it. She didn't open the interface.”

Lady Ferro waved it off dismissively. “Ah well, it makes no difference. Those like this wear their hearts on their sleeves. Admirable but dangerous. Isn't that so Aria?”

The unknown woman nodded, her gaze still watching them. Lady Ferro looked back at them. “A tedious process but I must ask you to repeat your names to me. And speak up. I am old, though few would admit it. And then one of you tell me: what do you think of us; we who train our offspring to fight and to murder?” She smiled toothlessly, blue eyes seeming to glow inside her hollow sockets. “We must seem the most terrible of human beings.”

"I'm Jonathan Lucas, this is Blair Morgan and that's Jack Reynolds," Jonathan reintroduced themselves.

"And as for what I think of this family," Jack began, "I'm not really sure. I'm guessing it's out of necessity."

The old woman laughed, clearly finding something grimly amusing in the prospect. “Necessary? What an interesting response! Does that mean you are thinking or you are just assuming that's what we wish to hear?”

“Grandmother, these children do not appreciate mind games.” Tori interrupted mildly. “Tomoe-chan irritated them quite a bit I saw.”

She laughed again. “They will get more than mind games when Kiriko returns I assure you. That girl owes us all some explanations, two of which I'm sure we won't like, will we Sean?”

The boy shivered. “No milady, I'm quite certain we won't.”

“Until then... Relena?” Relena peeked up, her eyes changing back and forth from blue to violet right before their eyes. She was sickly pale and her face was puffy, clearly from tears.

Jack scowled. Of course he recognized Relena, but forced himself to ignore her presence because of The Entity inside her who had nearly deleted his partner. He was also dismissing the fact that he had had to enter the Ferro household to find his teammates and thus see Relena again. Shakkoumon and he made the perfect team; in his mind, Sorcerymon didn't need to Digivolve to the Mega level.

“Yes milady?” she rasped, her voice her own but Triesta's edge bit into it lightly.

“These children only know the vague truth of who and what you are and what she is.” Her voice was soft but irritation was clearly dusting it. “There are things you have hidden from us as well. We would all like if you told us... what you could.”

Relena flinched a moment before nodding. She moved into the light slightly. Her eyes passed over them, quickly flitting from Jack as if guilty. “I... I am a vessel for a Higher Being known as Triesta. She and I, when we met, reached a partnership of sorts. I am not a Digi-Destined. I am a girl with the ability of data manipulation. So, if I had the power, and enough hatred, the entire Digital World could be rewritten at once.” She didn't give time for emotion but plowed on steadily. “I do not plan on it any time soon. Six years ago, when Akira-nii's team went to the Digital World, I was sent in secret to assist them alongside Triesta.” She gave a bitter smile. “The Powers Above did not like that I can assure you.”

“Why not?”

“An Entity is, in essence, a god. Prolonged exposure in a human body is what they would consider degrading.” She froze abruptly and shivered, eyes glazing over. Triesta, calm down.

Why? The fury was almost physical. These brats annoy me to no end for one, they serve Gennai and the damned Sovereign for another, and finally they don't deserve to know!

Deserving doesn't matter. They have to know. Five generations, at the least, were deprived of this knowledge. I don't want any more.

Don't talk about it Relena. If anybody speaks of the Schism, it's me.

You'll kill them Tri!

Who cares?

Tri!

I'm serious! What can they do? They trust him! They trust the man who... who did that to his own partner and contractor! And Faolan! How could he twist his sacrifice like that? How can they trust a man like that? How can they trust?

Because they don't know Tri. They don't know and it was long ago. He's trying to redeem himself; can't you give him a chance?

No!
The fierce denial made Relena cry out in pain, clutching her head. Jonathan prepared to move but Sean beat him to it, placing a hand on Relena's shoulder.

“Triesta,” he said just loud enough for only Relena to hear, looking calmer than was healthy. “Tri, I know it hurts. Believe me, I know, but you can't run away any longer. And... We have to tell the truth eventually. He's... we can't forgive him for a lot of things but... you can't keep hating Gennai. Gennai, and I can't believe I of all people am saying this but; he is trying to do what's right now. Believe me he is. I understand you don't want them knowing. We won't right now. But once they're able to fight in the dark, you have no choice. They will be different when they come out, they will be able to see grey and that means they would get it.”

Relena was perfectly still and then she nodded. “She will,” she said quietly. “When they see grey, she will tell everything.”

Sean nodded. “Good.” He turned to them, gaze firmly set. “She won't say anything more.” Without waiting for a reply, he turned to Lady Ferro. “May I make a suggestion my lady?”

She seemed to smirk. “Do. I'm feeling amused.”

“We should douse them. And douse them now, while they are all together.”

Hanabi raised an eyebrow. “Douse them Sean? Are you quite certain? You've seen the effects of what that world can do to a person. They all know vaguely what it can do.”

He nodded. “I'm quite certain my lady. Luca?”

“Yep?”

“Do you think you could do it?”

The beast boy nodded. “Of course. I need to know though: who or what am I channelling?” Sean pointed at the three. Luca frowned for a moment; then he smirked. “I see. Okay Sean, I can definitely do it.”

Lady Ferro looked between them and smiled darkly. “I see what you two are planning. Very well. I approve. But first...” She looked directly at Jonathan. “Do you approve? What Luca will be performing for you will no doubt be very painful but will undoubtedly make you stronger, should you learn to pass it. If you can pass this initiation set for you, all three of you shall be approved of learning in this place the same skills I have taught all who consider themselves a member of this house. You won't have to stand by and watch as your Digimon fight. So, this offer of ours, what do you say?”

"I don't know. How can I be sure of my partner's safety?" Jonathan asked.

Sean said calmly. "We have done this before and I can personally say that your digimon remain unharmed." Now you on the other hand might not be so lucky.

Still, the sixteen-year-old leader hesitated. He quickly made his decision when Blair snorted loudly. "I'll do it," he muttered, not at all sure what he was getting himself into.

Sean clapped his hands cheerily. "Great choice buddy! Now whether you regret or not,"

His smile turned sly. "I can't say, right Luca?"

Luca simply stood up and turned away from them all. "Everyone else should leave right now," he declared. "That includes observers like you... Kudamon."

A white, pipe-foxlike creature came from the shadows. It smirked lightly. "Does nothing escape you boy?"

"Sadly, quite a few things will escape us," Sean said dryly. "Now everyone else get out. I don't think you want to be here for this." Relena quickly exited, followed by Sanako and Riku, and the rest of the family. When Sean, Kudamon, and the other Digidestined remained, Sean gestured to them. "Hurry up, this ain't a picnic." They followed.



Relena found herself wandering again. Her face was pale and she trembled from a pain she knew wasn’t hers. The air gently brushed her head and she shivered, remembering, remembering…

“Tri! Look at the birds! They’re all flying again! I’m glad I managed to fix that one’s wing!”

“Tri, you’re, you’re hurt really badly. Here, I can, I can fix it so, please, just don’t give up Tri, don’t die!”

“Why won’t they let me play with --? He looks like he’s lonely.”

“-- came to my room today Tri. She’s really shy but super nice. There was a boy with her. He didn’t say much. He looked really scary but she said he was nice. And he was. He played with Tana and she loved him. It was weird because Tana is never so affectionate with humans. I think she said his name was –“


She stumbled and fell against a tree, clutching her head as the memories passed between her and Triesta. The lives that had been were heavy and pounded down on her heart.

“Hey, look who it is. What are you sitting out here for Tri? You said you don’t brood.”

The feeling of a warm hand on her head, a kind male voice in her ears…

“Look I know he can be a bit of a jerk. I can say we’ve gotten into a few fights. But he means well. He’s just worried about you Tri; he’s just no good at saying it. At least you aren’t bound to him like --. That would really suck. You guys would get us killed.”

--…

“There is no Fate but death. All creatures live and die. Everything else from circumstance to age and time, are entirely up to us.”

--…

I’m forgetting you, everything about you…why did you die? Why did you all have to leave me behind here? I’m not that strong. I keep pretending but I’m not that strong! Please… help me…

Relena wake up!


She froze, awoken abruptly from the stream of time. Behind her eyes, she could see Triesta, the mess she was right now. Her brown hair was unkempt, her violet eyes dark. She was staring at her desperately.

Tri… I…

I’m sorry,
the Entity whispered pathetically, looking like a shadow. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry Relena. I just, I keep hurting you with this. You shouldn’t have to see this; you shouldn’t have to suffer with me. I’m so sorry…

Tri, it’s all right.

You’re seeing the dead, how is that all right?
Her friend shrieked. For Norn’s sake Relena, you are a protector of the worlds themselves, your lineage called Queen’s Reign! You are the security system of the balance! You have to clean up our own damn failures and you can’t even have a partner to make it hurt less! I’m making you see the last things I experienced because I’m too weak to fix it myself!

Triesta stop.
Relena mentally shook her head. I chose this remember? I chose my path, just like the others. I don’t regret any of this. It’s going to be a painful road but I’ll deal with it. You’re my comrade, my friend. I can’t just leave you now because I’m suffering. That’s not right at all.

…Relena, in the end, these six years haven’t changed you much at all have they?

Should they?


Triesta laughed softly. No I suppose not. You were already accepting of everything and kooky. It makes sense you stay that way.

“Hey are you okay?” Relena peered out through slit eyes to see a brunette with rose quartz eyes. Kari, she thought immediately, and suddenly her eyes saw something else. It was the faintest of images, a girl with long white hair and a kind, bright smile.

Siara…

The word thudded in her brain and Relena tensed, raising her hands again. Triesta was screaming, crying, denying, trying to tell her it wasn't true, but nothing changed. Kari said something again and she couldn’t catch it and simply shook her head.

Kari recognized her now. It was that girl who had trapped them before, the one who felt familiar yet unknown. She did not look hostile now, but suffering and sad. A feeling of pain passed through her head and she wondered if she glimpsed someone else behind the other’s eyes.

“Come on, we need to get you some help. There’s probably someone nearby with some medicine.”

“N-No, don’t w-worry.” She was standing up shakily, her face pale. The girl kept looking down, away from her, as though scared. “I’ll be fine; I always will be. Don’t trouble yourself.”

“Trouble myself? You were collapsed when I found you. You obviously need a doctor.”

“No!” Relena pushed her away, looking terrified. “No, no, no doctors please!” It’ll be him, I’ll walk into the office and he’ll be standing there as though he never died only it’ll be my turn and I’m not nearly as strong as Kiri…

Kari raised an eyebrow. “Look I don’t like the doctor’s office either but he’ll help. I promise.” The other girl shook her head again, paling further.

“I said I’m fine Siara, don’t worry about it!” The shout came from her lips unbidden and Relena clapped her hands over her mouth.

Kari lost her concern, now feeling irritation. “My name is not Siara. I was just trying to help!”

She looked lost. “I…”

“What do you think you’re doing to Kari?” Jack had seen the last few minutes and was furious. “Think you’re going to kill someone else’s partner huh? Jeez, you just can’t get enough.”

She shied away from him. “I wasn’t… I wasn’t…”

Jack felt a flicker of satisfaction. He didn’t like it but it was there. “You’re scared of me. You weren’t so scared earlier. You were mocking me and you were trying to hurt Sorcerymon.” He kept walking towards her, oblivious to the person behind him. “Now the first one I can swallow, but the second offense… is something I won’t forgive!” He moved toward her but someone yanked him firmly away, knocking him to the concrete. Sean walked over to him. His green eyes were cold, void of any light, even fake.

“What do you think you’re doing, boy?” Even his voice was a shadow, not a flicker of emotion rested in it. His aura wasn’t that of a human’s. Jack scowled and didn’t reply. “I asked you a question. Answer it boy.”

“And I should because why?” Jack couldn’t help but sneer. The other kids that were on the team weren’t on his good side. All three didn’t seem to care for his age or experience, rather; they treated him as disdainfully as Jonathan and Blair, as though everything meant nothing.

“Because he wants to kill you.” The answer came from just a bit further back. That girl, Kiri, had spoken. The other one wasn’t there. Kiri looked down at him when she reached the pair. “You are attacking someone he considers important for no reason. It is very simple to understand his retaliation.”

“No reason?” Jack sputtered. “That girl nearly killed my Digimon! She was attacking Kari!”

“I wasn’t,” Relena mumbled softly.

“It was your fault for being stupid,” Sean stated matter-of-factly. “You assumed and you provoked. You should have been prepared for the consequences. You are quite lucky you got out as unscathed as you did. You should appreciate it and go no further. Otherwise …” he pulled a switchblade from his jean pocket. “This will be in your throat.”

“Wait a minute stop-“ Kari tried. Kiri gave her a shake of the head.

“It’s all right,” she reassured. “The stupid ones always live.”

“Yeah, Kari,” Jack added arrogantly. “Like he would actually-“ The methodical stab just near his jugular cut him off.

“You seem to be under the assumption I won’t kill you.” Still Sean’s voice never left its monotone. “You may wish to reconsider that. I am standing over you with a knife and I am within an inch of cutting off your blood supply. The only reason you are not dead is because you have an option.”

Jack swallowed his fear and managed a snort. “Fine.” Sean stood away from him, closing and pocketing the weapon. Jack stood up and glared at the two. Sean observed him impassively as Kiri gently guided Relena to her side.

“You know you guys are monsters,” he declared, not arrogantly, but coldly. “You keep protecting her and she said she could destroy the whole Digital World if she wanted to. Someone like that shouldn’t be allowed there. And you shouldn’t be allowed either. Your parents must be awful; raising their kids to be a bunch of monsters like that.” Sean froze and began to tremble. His fists clenched tightly. Jack saw. “What? Going to deny it?”

“No,” he hissed and cold rage soared through him. “I’m not so cocky as to do that, but… your parents… must be real stupid…” He ran forward and socked Jack in the stomach and then uppercut his chin. “They must be real stupid or jerks to raise a ignorant, hateful bastard like you!” Before anything could be said or done, Sean turned and ran off, a blur in an instant. Dorimon clung to his head for dear life.

“Sean!” Kiri bolted after him, Viximon on her heels. Relena felt clarity for the first time in hours as she glanced at Kari. The brunette was watching in confusion and terror, unsure of what to do. Gatomon’s tail twitched in agitation.

“You really are a jerk,” she commented to Jack, who was getting back up. “At least I fixed my mistakes. For an older kid, all you seem to do is make more and hurt people. I’m not even chosen and I can do better. Some Destined.” She waved at Kari. “I’m really sorry for today. We’ll get a better start next time.” She walked away. Kari glanced at Jack, felt a flicker of revulsion, and hurried away.



The door shut behind them, leaving them in dim light. Luca was still turned away from him, staring blankly at the wall. Frimon however, was watching Jonathan. It was unnerving.

"Hey Jonathan," Luca asked softly, voice holding an inkling of darkness. "What do you know about the Dark Ocean?"

"I know Sora and Matt succumbed to the dark cave five years ago, as well as T.K. and Kari's unwanted trip to the Dark Ocean twelve months ago. Not to mention that it tainted Ken's D3 and Izzy was pulled in quite recently. Other than that, it's a place nobody should willingly go to," came the answer.

Luca smiled and the smile was wild and chaotic. "But, you accepted the initiation," he said quietly. "You made a choice that there's no turning back from. So..." He turned back and his eyes were pure black with violet pupils. "It's a bit late now!" The floor had turned to grey sand and surrounding them was the sound of the waves. "Welcome," Luca said with a bow. "to the World of Chaos, the Dark Ocean!" He spun away from him, smiling all the while. "Here you must face your own demons, in your head and outside of it. Let's see what you can do, Fearless Leader!"
"Perhaps I misjudged you after all."