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 cried on.

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 there."

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 you think?"

"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 to him!"

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 smoky tendrils.

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 dissolved.

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 infuriated her.

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. But why?

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.


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