Knight of Swords
Chapter 3: The Moon
by Ajora Fravashi
*Disclaimer - I don't own Digimon. Toei does.
The air was thick with anticipation and hot with the summer sun, and
all around were those who awaited the return of their hero. Ryo had
gone with V-mon to the mountain on which the enemy retreated, leaving
them behind to wait.
She sighed to herself as she argued once again with the Nanimon that
seemed to be milking her for all the money she had. If she wasn't so
certain that they would need the items, she would have simply left and
gone back to watch over Ken.
Ken... Gods, it had only been a few months since Osamu's death, and
they had all grieved. They shouldn't have been thrust into the Digital
World so soon, what with the despair that lingered over them. Ryo
tried to be supportive and brave, he really did, but he had been too
deeply affected and she ended up being the shoulder that both boys
Kageko had to be cheerful for them, had to pretend that everything
would be all right. But couldn't they see that she was grieving too?
Osamu had been a friend of sorts, and perhaps they would have been
closer had she not been aware that the genius boy was starting to want
more than just friendship from Ryo. It had started off small at first,
just little things she didn't even notice until she started looking
back to see where it all began. It had been eventual, something that
built up over time until the tension was so thick and prevalent that
it was a miracle that Ryo had never figured it out.
With a grimace she thrust that train of thought aside. There really
was no point focusing on those events, and it only ended up making her
bitter about everything. Not that she wasn't feeling bitter right now,
but she had other things to think about. Eventually she got herself a
respectable price for the small pile of speed and defense enhancement
chips. Not that Libra needed any enhancements, but Loki wasn't above
asking for assistance from his temporary Tamer and his brother would
only need the extra aid if he couldn't weasel his way around during a
battle in the first place.
A genuine smile crossed her lips then at the thought of her partner.
Oh, she was supposed to have been a genuine Tamer of the Gennai Order,
Ryo had been showing her the ropes for awhile now, but she liked the
bond she shared with Libra and it was deeper by far than the temporary
bonds she had with the other digimon she trained. Not that she didn't
like the brothers she picked up over time, but she was just much more
fond of Libra, and Libra understood her when the others didn't.
It was while she strode out of Nanimon's items shop that it began. It
was small at first, nothing more than a few gentle tremors in the
earth. Then the tremors increased, becoming worse as the seconds
passed and throwing anyone that was standing off balance. Kageko soon
found herself thrown onto the streets and did not look up until the
resounding boom of something very large exploding in the distance.
Very large, and-
Where there was once a mountain, there was nothing but rubble and a
huge cloud of dust that would soon descend like a blanket over the
town. Several digimon that were once around had now vanished during
the earthquake, and everywhere there was a sense of wrongness, of
something even more important being misplaced.
Curious and slightly dazed, Kageko rose once the tremors ceased and
began to wander towards Akira's house in hopes that Ken would be fine
and exactly where she had left him. That mountain that seemed to have
exploded for no logical reason she could fathom was the same one that
Ryo had been sent up to. She hoped and prayed that Ryo would be all
right. He had to be. Right...?
Akira's house, or Gennai's as it was known while Akira was still
walking around with his disguise, was unusually empty. Piccolomon was
nowhere to be seen, and neither was Ken. Ken, where did he go...
"Oh, there you are, Sakimoto," the disguised Tamer began as he stepped
up from behind a door leading to a personal library. "I was hoping you
were all right."
Kageko ignored the boy for the moment to peek into the library. Ken
wasn't there either, and worry began to settle heavily in her stomach.
Ryo was on a mountain that exploded and Ken wasn't around at all.
Digimon that were once trotting around town were missing too. What was
going on? "Akira, where's Ken?"
"Ken?" Akira looked honestly confused for all of a few seconds, the
effect no doubt caused by his disguise's interference with his thought
processes. "Oh, that other kid Akiyama's been training for the Order.
I've sent him out to meet with Wormmon. The boy needs to learn to
survive on his own-"
"What?! Akira, Ken's just a little boy," Kageko exclaimed, stunned
that anyone of the Gennai Order would send a little boy out in the
Digital World without protection. Oshiro would never have allowed
this! "Did you even send an escort with him just in case?"
"No, of course not. Wormmon is very loyal, you see. Ken will be just
fine. And then I'll have him go to that ziggurat in the ruins area to
dig up some artifacts for me. Digimentals, I think they are. My mind
is too cloudy in this form..."
She couldn't believe it. How could he think such a thing? Had the
shell program used as a disguise by the Gennai Order finally fried his
brain? This was ridiculous! "But a wormmon has so few defenses, and
they're useless in battle! Ken will be killed if he has to rely
exclusively on a wormmon!"
Completely ignoring the rise in her voice, Akira wandered over to a
globe of the Digital World and looked at it as if he had never seen it
before. "He'll be fine, there's nothing but baby digimon where he is.
For the most part anyway. I think. It's been a while since I've been
Kageko took in a deep breath in an attempt to still the anger that was
building up within her. It would not do to lose her temper right now,
when she knew nothing other than what Akira had already told her. "And
Ryo, do you think he's-"
"Don't know," the other Tamer shrugged. "With an explosion like that,
it's likely he's dead. If somehow he manages to survive, he'll still
be in a position where he can't help anyone."
"And why is that?"
The visage of Gennai cocked his head in thought. "Well, you see,
something very strange happened. Yoshinaka, Piccolomon, and several
other digimon seem to have disappeared completely. I'm not sure how,
but whatever was on that mountain seems to have split this world in
two. We're stuck on this world, Piccolomon and the others on the other
world. Whatever has done this has also hampered some digimons'
evolution processes, which is why I need Ichijouji to dig up all the
digimentals he can. Use an older method of evolution, as it were."
"And you're sending him with only a wormmon to protect him to a place
that likely hasn't been touched in ages," Kageko asked as the hint of
acid seeped into her voice. "Very smart of you, Akira."
"Oh yes, it is a clever plan isn't it," the Tamer smiled, once again
oblivious to the tension in her voice.
Blinking in disbelief, Kageko continued. "Do you even have any idea
what Ken might encounter in the ruins?"
"No, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. Wormmon will be able to
take care of him."
The anger began to rise again. Did Akira completely forget what a
wormmon wasn't capable of? How could he be so ignorant? "You're
sending him to a place that might have hostile monsters lurking in the
shadows, with a digimon that can't protect him. That is one of the
stupidest things I have ever heard come from your mouth!"
"He can't always have you and Akiyama watching over him," Akira stated
in a voice that dripped of cool condescension, making her bristle even
more. "This will be a good opportunity for him to prove himself. Don't
"If anything was known about the ruins and if they were safe, I would
agree. But-" At this Kageko reached forward to press a thumb against a
tiny pin on 'Gennai's' chest. With the switch thumbed off, the shell
program dissipated and left the much taller Tamer in its wake. This,
of course, left her with an easier target. Before the other Tamer knew
it, she had pulled back only to land a punch on his jaw that was heavy
enough to knock him off balance and on his rear. "Ken is just a boy!
If no one is going to watch him, he is going to get hurt! You are a
complete idiot if you think I'll just stand by and watch you do this
Groaning, Akira rubbed his jaw tenderly as he pulled himself off the
floor. "Alright, fine. Go after him if you want. I was going to
request that you investigate what's left of Millenniumon's mountain,
but since you seem so adamant about following the kid I might
as well ask the drimogemon next door."
With a grunt of disgust, Kageko turned on her heels to exit the house
and hunt down her three digimon. With Ryo gone and possibly dead, she
was the one who would have to keep a closer eye on Ken. Make sure
nothing ever went wrong.
Takeru woke up in cold sweat, with the feeling that something
important was missing. The dream he had was strange, to say the least.
He couldn't ever remember being in that place he saw in his dream, he
couldn't ever remember the names his dream-self dropped other than the
hints of a few here and there. But the memory of that dream was soon
dissipating despite any attempts he made to grasp at the diminishing
Yawning, Takeru pulled himself from the bed and went through the now
mechanical process of getting dressed and preparing for school.
Everything was so mundane and pointless now, nothing but Ken and
Patamon even mattered to him anymore. And he could do much better in
school, but he no longer cared. Where was it all going to get him
anyway? Chained down behind a desk and pushing papers for the rest of
his mundane life?
There was to be a test in his math class later that morning. He hadn't
studied for it, but the material was laughably easy. There was a time
once when it would have boggled him, but now he could do nothing but
sigh in boredom as he sped through formulas and algorithms in an
attempt to finish his school work as soon as possible so that he would
have time to focus on other matters.
Once, while doing research for a paper, he had stumbled upon images of
a castle called Neuschwanstein. The product of a mad Bavarian king
whose death remained a mystery to this day, the castle was still quite
breathtaking. Just like something out of a fairy tale. Perhaps it was
a silly dream, but he wanted a castle of his own some day. Something
he could share with Ken and basically live happily ever after.
This world was old and tired, the romanticism of Western
civilization's past aged into a bitter realism. This day and age, Big
Brother was not a sinister and controlling entity, but the internet
community at large. Vast pools of saved e-mails mutated into personal
surveillance mechanisms, the internet a decentralized record of
everyone's thoughts and feelings preserved on hard drives and server
backups that would never really be rid of the ghosts of deleted mail.
It was disturbing once he started thinking along those lines, for
anything said online could be recovered and used against oneself.
There was no place for privacy in this world anymore, no place for
chivalry or romanticism. Worse, this world was likely never to return
to simpler times and its people were unwilling to give up their
selfish ways for the good of others. This world was no longer for him.
He longed for a time and set of moral codes that he had only read
about, for a chance to rebuild a society in his image. For a chance to
give Ken a world where nothing would ever harm him. That world would
have to be malleable, would have to be some place he knew intimately.
Takeru cocked his head thoughtfully as he toyed with the nebulous
beginnings of an idea once again. Ken's methods had been wrong, but if
he did things differently, then...
Patamon's whine for breakfast derailed his thoughts. Smiling at the
simplicity of his digimon partner's life, Takeru picked up Patamon and
with that gesture tossed aside his previous thoughts. School may be
boring and far too easy for him now, but he'd have to go anyway. At
least there would be time later to visit with Ken.
Hikari was concerned. This wasn't necessarily normal for her, but when
her best friend disappeared for several weeks and came back with no
memory of what happened, that was cause enough for consternation.
Then, after he came back, he acted simply as if nothing happened. But
he had become quieter, less likely to talk to her. He was also rather
distracted now, but she simply attributed that to all the studying he
must have been doing. He did seem to be doing better than normal in
class, when he was paying attention.
She had always known that Takeru could be a daydreamer at times when
he was younger, but lately those daydreams seemed to occur with more
and more frequency. Once, when a teacher had asked if he was paying
attention, he automatically answered the questions as perfectly as if
his head hadn't been in the clouds, and somehow that worried her. But
then, he was probably just studying more. Right?
Sighing, the girl poked halfheartedly at the contents of her bento
box with a pair of worn bamboo chopsticks. Sticky white rice, shrimp
tempura, marinated cucumbers, a sweet bun. None of it looked the least
bit appetizing right now. However, simply poking at her food wasn't
alleviating her worries, nor did it somehow increase her currently
nonexistent appetite. Why was Takeru worrying her like this? He never
did so before. She hated confrontation so much, but something was
bugging her a lot and she couldn't quite figure out why. Resolving to
do something about it, Hikari pulled the lid back over her bento box
and wandered tentatively across the courtyard.
The object of her worries sat alone at the base of a tree, his bento
box long since empty. Sunlight filtered through leaves and danced like
fairies across his features, it was as if the sun itself would do his
bidding. Blinking at the oddness of that thought, Hikari simply sat
beside her childhood friend and waited for him to begin conversation.
"Hi, Hikari," Takeru grinned suddenly, looking as if he hadn't been
lost in thought only a few minutes earlier. "How was your lunch?"
Hikari gave a wan smile, it was just like him to pull something like
that. "I don't have much of an appetite today."
"Oh." That wasn't too unusual, Hikari never did eat much to begin
with. But it wasn't often that she would simply walk up to him in the
first place. "So, what's up?"
Hikari pulled her knees to her chest as she contemplated how best to
start her inquiries. She didn't want to inadvertently offend him, but
if something was happening she wanted to know about it. Finally, with
a great sigh that only barely hinted at her inner turmoil, she
proceeded. "Takeru, is everything all right? You know you can talk to
me about anything, right?"
Blinking in curiosity at the oddity of Hikari's question, Takeru took
a moment to gather his thoughts before responding. "Sure, everything's
fine. Why do you ask?"
"It's just, well, you're not focusing in class as much as you used to,
but your grades have gotten better. I'm just thinking that maybe you
might just be studying a lot more, but..." Hikari trailed off then,
unsure that she wanted to voice that other thought, that maybe... "Has
anything been going badly with you and Ken?"
Takeru was silent, his face unreadable for a moment. "No, what makes
you think that? Our relationship has been doing wonderfully."
Relaxing now that her doubts were for naught, Hikari gave a slight
smile. She really should have known better. "So it's just studying
then. Don't stress yourself too much over school."
"I'm fine," Takeru replied with a reassuring smile on his face. "Don't
worry, Hikari, everything's all right."
In the distance a bell chimed, ushering the students back to class.
Some of those that were scattered around the courtyard soon rose and
scampered off in fear of being late, others took their time. Takeru
pulled himself up with a fluidity that once wasn't normal for him and
offered her his hand. Smiling in amusement at his show of chivalry,
Hikaru placed her hand in his and allowed him to pull her to her feet.
This kind of thing had started off as a private joke between them when
they were younger, but it eventually tapered off until it became a
rarity. But, thanks to the gregarious nature of high school students,
it kept potential suitors off of both of them.
As the two old friends wandered towards their classroom, Hikari
ruminated over that thought once again. She didn't mind the rumors
that she and Takeru were involved with each other, for it kept others
from inquiring too deeply about Takeru's relationship with Ken. Oh,
she knew that such a relationship was not scorned upon nearly as much
as it would have been were they in the Americas, but it was still
different and anything different was a source of bullying in any
school in the world. This also had the additional bonus of keeping
other boys from trying to ask her out. The attention could be
frightening at times and she really didn't think she was ready to be
involved with anyone romantically. Daisuke's fervor when they first
met honestly scared her, but she never said anything, never wanted to
confront him about it. At least he seemed to have found someone else
to moon over now and the tension between them had eventually
The two settled into their desks, ignoring the whispers that started
up during their entrance and later tapered off once the teacher walked
in and began class. At one point during class, Takeru passed her a
note. It was a simple thing written in scrawling hiragana on the back
of a napkin and only took her a second to read. Before the teacher
turned his attention to her, she slipped it under her notebook.
It was a fairly inconspicuous note, really. All Takeru said was that
he needed to do some things after class by himself, and she would have
to walk home alone or with Miyako. No problem there. Once the teacher
returned to the blackboard, Hikari pulled the note back out and wrote
a simple "OK" under the words before handing it back to Takeru. What
was she to worry about anyway? Takeru could take care of himself, and
he did say everything was fine. She really shouldn't be having these
misgivings that kept nagging at the back of her mind.
In the Digital World, the resident monsters were often rendered with
few purposes. Those that were created to bond with a Chosen Child were
programmed with extra code that bonded them to their human. Never
before in the history of the Digital World had a Chosen Child died,
until Sakimoto Kageko was killed on Earth and left her Black Tailmon
alone. Thus, the dead code labelled as 'orphaned' by the Gennai of
that time festered. Libra's mind snapped when Kageko died and she
disappeared into the wilderness, rarely to be seen again. With Libra's
departure, 'Gennai' ended up having to add another word to the Tamers'
Lexicon for what she went through. 'De-rezz' was a kinder word than
'mental and/or moral deterioration', and had already been used long
before by hackers and computer programmers on Earth.
So word was that the Black Tailmon's mind had de-rezzed, and that she
should not be approached if at all possible. Libra wasn't a big enough
threat to gain the attention of the Holy Beasts, but her disregard for
life and living things kept her as far away from civilization as was
possible. Those that dared cross her met with a quick end. She shunned
living things and was shunned in turn.
Libra simply wandered aimlessly. She had lost so much: the brothers,
her human partner. Oh, she had seen the death of one of the brothers,
remembered crying out in horror and agony as Millenniumon's attack
ripped through the devidramon. Then the center of her universe died in
the other world and she had felt it as if her own soul had been ripped
in two. The other brother was still alive and had joined the one who
was supposed to protect Kageko. She hated him for it. Hated them both.
Neither of them should be alive, not when they didn't do anything to
save her human.
And him, the human that was supposed to have protected Kageko.
Libra snarled at the thought of him and lashed out to shred an
unsuspecting bush. She hadn't minded him at first, he was a nice guy
after all, and meant well. But then the little things began popping up
once Ken joined the party during their third quest, when the
population started calling them the Tag Tamers. He started
being more reclusive and made Kageko sick with worry, but Kageko
simply held in all her doubts and worries until they festered. Libra
could remember clearly when her human had pulled her away from the
brothers for the moment, needing some time to think. What she heard
He did not deserve her human, not after what he did. When
he tried to calm her when Kageko died, she raked claws down
anything she could come in contact with and ran as far away from him
as she could. Now she wandered, the seed of hope lingering in her mind
suggesting that perhaps she could find Kageko again. She had pushed it
away so often, for hope was meaningless. There was no hope for her.
The surroundings were familiar, but she didn't care enough to recall
where she was. She hadn't cared in a very long time. She wandered in
silence for a while, until she heard it. It was a boy's voice, firm
and kind, yet it carried an oddly familiar inflection. Only the Tamers
of the Gennai Order ever used that inflection...
Curious, Libra crept along the underbrush to watch. She didn't know
why, but something within her longed for the boy's presense. There was
something familiar about him, something that reminded her of Kageko.
The boy stood tall and proud as he spoke to a small group of vaccines.
What it was about, she didn't care. His hair was too golden, his eyes
too blue, his skin too dark, but something in his stance and his voice
reminded her of Kageko. He simply felt like Kageko. He was intriguing
and bore watching.
Ajora: Yes yes, I know this was a bit delayed. Sorry, I hope to have
the next chapter out sooner. De-rezz is a term that originated from
the movie Tron as a sort of slang refering to someone who has
'fuzzed out' mentally rather than physically. Ironically, it has
occassionally been adopted by hackers years after the fact.