Knight of Swords
Chapter 4: The Sun
by Ajora Fravashi

*Disclaimer - I don't own Digimon. Toei does.


The formation he used for both parties was something he used since he was younger. The weakest digimon in each party had to be sent to the back, the strongest and the one with the best defenses in the front. It was quite simple, really, every RPG used that formation. But every now and then one of the digimon would forget their place in the formation and have to be reminded.

Ken brushed the stray hair from his eyes as he watched the two parties train against each other. It had been somewhat troublesome at first, for many digimon still remembered what he did as the Kaiser, but eventually he had won their trust. A tentative trust, perhaps, but at least it was something to start with. Another thing that nagged at the back of his mind was that they expected either that he would eventually turn against them again or that he should train them exactly as Ryo had done. He was not the Kaiser any longer, nor did he have Ryo's experience and likely could not live up to those particular expectations. It was distressing at times.

And then there were the assignments he was given by the Holy Beasts every now and then, which he assumed were Ryo's responsibilities before the exile. On the surface they just looked like little tasks anyone could do: check on the Holy Stones, make sure the protective spheres and firewalls were at full strength, analyze the reports from various digimon and filter anything of any importance to whichever Holy Beast decided to deal with him that week, and he was sure that there were even more tasks that they just hadn't bothered to notify him of for the time being. The job devoured more and more of his free time, something he was certain that Takeru was beginning to like less as time went on.

Takeru... He liked Takeru a lot, but he was hard pressed to find any time lately to be with him. The others didn't know of his job, which left Daisuke and Miyako asking questions that he really didn't want to answer, and that was assuming that he was free to do so. Sighing at that thought, Ken took a defense chip when it looked like the penmon was starting to take more than his fair share of hits and pressed it into a small slot in his digivice to increase the creature's defenses. The training could be one of the most boring parts of this job.

It was during a second round that another being wandered into the solitary training grounds. He didn't have to take his attention from the two parties, he knew who it was well enough. Only one other human knew where he did such things.

"Keeping them busy," Takeru asked from somewhere close behind him. Smiling, Ken turned to get a better look at his boyfriend. Takeru was dressed in his school uniform, he must have skipped his after school activities to watch.

"Not as busy as they've been keeping me," he stated dryly. Once Takeru took a seat next to him on a weather-worn boulder, he sighed and laid his head on Takeru's shoulder. "I wish I had more time to spend with you."

A soft smile crossed Takeru's face at that as he draped his arm around Ken's shoulders. Even a little time with Ken was worth it. He wanted more, though, so much more. But soon he would be able to have Ken constantly at his side. His operations had been miniscule to avoid worrying Ken, deals were made with powerful vaccines and noble datas during the times he was supposed to eat lunch in the real world. This had gone on for months, but soon summer break would come, and with it the completion of his dream. Then he would work to build a world that would be perfect for his Ken.

His Ken. No one else was worthy of Ken's attention. The smile on Takeru's face disappeared as his thoughts paused on the subject of Daisuke. Daisuke was being a complete pest of late, demanding to know where Ken always disappeared to now. He'd have to do something about Daisuke before the goggle boy decided to be more overt and take away his boyfriend. He had a plan, but it had to be timed precisely.

Ken pulled away once the second round of training was over and called for a ten minute break. The digimon dispersed in no time to raid the snacks that had been set aside. With that done, he glanced curiously back at Takeru who seemed to be lost in thought. "What are you thinking about?"

Quickly Takeru shoved those thoughts away to the back of his mind as he smiled up at his boyfriend. Another thought then wormed its way to the front of his mind as he watched gentle winds tug at Ken's hair. Ken was everything he ever wanted, ever needed from another being. He had long come to enjoy every moment he was with his boyfriend. Perhaps it was time now to put those feelings to words. "Not much. Did I ever mention that I love you?"

Time seemed to stop as Ken blinked in surprise at Takeru's words. Love? Him? But why, what triggered this? His mind pranced circles around those words. He liked Takeru a lot, really, but this was just so fast... What on earth could he possibly respond with? Was Takeru even expecting a response? "I... uhm..."

Takeru smiled gently at his boyfriend's stammering and touched a finger to Ken's lips. "It's a hard thing to admit, I know. Don't worry about needing to respond immediately."

Ken simply nodded as Takeru pulled the finger away. At least there was no pressure for the time being, but it was all so confusing right now that he really didn't know what to do or say. And yet... and yet it felt so nice knowing that someone he cared so much about loved him. Moments passed before either of them said anything, the silence only broken by the sound of the digimon in the background playing with each other or devouring food. Sighing as his emotions seemed intent on floating in a happy little haze, the Child of Kindness slipped back into his boyfriend's arms. That was unexpected, yes, but perhaps...

Takeru's voice drew him from his haze, and it took him a moment for the words to register in his mind. "So, do you have any plans for summer break?"

"No, none yet," Ken admitted, though he knew that he would probably be spending it doing various tasks that his job as Ryo's successor demanded. "Why do you ask?"

With an uncharacteristically mysterious smile on Takeru's face, the Child of Hope responded: "Oh, I was thinking we could spend it alone, together. Perhaps in an out of the way place here in the Digital World. If you're up for it, of course."

Alone? Ken pondered that for the moment. Takeru had expressed interest in being more intimate than Ken was comfortable with due to some unpleasantness in his past, but so far didn't press on the matter. It was ridiculous for him to dwell on the past, but it was hard to get over the pain. It figured that he'd be an emotional masochist. With a wan smile, he simply nodded and called out for his trainees. He still had a few weeks, maybe he should take some time to figure himself out before then.


She kept herself within the shadows and well out of sight as she wandered the perimeter. The boy that felt like Kageko reborn was building something here. It stood out pale and orderly in sharp contrast against the craggy, haphazardly placed cliffs of the Segfault mountains. He had used force of personality along with promises, most of which she wasn't close enough to hear, to convince many digimon to aid in the building of this place. She hadn't caught the name of it, for it did not concern her. All she cared about was the insubstantial hint of her human bondmate in the boy.

The boy had a patamon as a partner, she had come to learn, though the patamon seemed quite clueless where his human's plans were concerned. The poor little thing was so innocent that he wasn't aware of the true purpose of this construct. But she was, she understood why the walls were so thick and why the openings of the outer walls were more like slits than actual windows. Castles were not built for romanticism, they were built in expectation of war. Defenses first and design second. Was the boy truly aware of what he was doing?

The boy, the boy. Her mind seemed insistent on revolving around him, around the hope that he carried Kageko's spirit and he would make her complete again. She wanted to approach him, but shadowy doubts made her tentative. Would he accept her or push her away? Did he really have Kageko's spirit or was she simply projecting her wishes onto him because of a few similarities he shared with her human?

With a sigh, the black tailmon crawled under the canvas that covered a wheelbarrow that was only half full of gravel and made herself as comfortable as possible for a short nap. The boy wasn't here and would not be back for a while. She would wait for his return before taking the first tentative steps towards confronting him.


Ken had asked her once why she was so pale and her hair so white. He had done so while she had her hands deep in the soils of the Digital World, she was doing an experiment on whether or not Earth vegetation could grow here. She did not look up from her seedlings as she answered that her appearance was the effect of albinism, she was simply so used to the questions from classmates that her reply was automatic. The second question he asked was just as expected. 'My eyes aren't red because I seem to have some sort of flaw in my genes,' she replied simply. Genetic flaw within a genetic flaw. She loved the irony. He fell silent then.

It was one of the few peaceful moments they had together. They were taking a brief reprieve for the moment and were waiting for Ryo to finish his part of the quest on the other side of the split Digital World before continuing. She hated being away from her boyfriend for so long, but Ken needed her for support.

But then that begged the question, was Ryo even really her boyfriend anymore? Had they ever really been that close to begin with? It was so frustrating at times to not know things for certain.

Kageko paused as a pale green-grey spider skittered over the roots of one of the plants she had brought from Earth. It had built a small web among the leaves and stems of the little mint plant, one that had been damaged when she reached out to place it in a freshly dug hole. She wondered if it knew where it was and that it would be eaten faster than it could find sustenance. Hardly likely. She felt almost sorry for it.

There was some scuffing as Ken knelt at her side and patted the soil soundly around one of the plants in an attempt to be helpful. He was such a nice little boy, he didn't deserve losing his brother like he did and having to deal with their quest soon after. He was far too young to have been thrust into this madness Millenniumon triggered, too young to have seen the death and destruction the evil god digimon wrought. Thankfully it wasn't as bad this time around as it had been when it was only Ryo and her against Millenniumon, but still...

"Oshiro's dead," Ken stated slowly, as if he couldn't quite grasp the reality of it. Surprised, she shifted her gaze from her plants to the little boy. Ken's face was devoid of emotion. "That's what Akira said when Ryo reported to the Reload Machine earlier."

The trowel she was using dropped as her grip on it loosened in shock. It was pretty much accepted that Oshiro would die eventually, for tales of his narrow escape from Piemon's raid on the main research center were still told to all who were interested. It was only a matter of time before the package Piemon planted into his back would kill him. But still, it was someone she had known for quite a while now. Oshiro was what Ryo would probably grow up to be in a few years: tall, handsome, affable and confident. She'd be an idiot if she denied liking him. It was too soon...

"Did Ryo say anything at the Reload Machine?"

Ken shook his head, face still blank. "He's taking some time to convert the codewalker before unlocking the machine city for us. Nothing other than that."

With a sigh that did nothing to convey her sense of loss, Kageko gathered up her gardening tools and set them back in their box before rising. There was no point in trying to progress any further for the moment. She suddenly felt as small and helpless as the little spider that was now trying to rebuilt its web. They all probably did, especially Ken.

The two would-be Tamers of the Gennai Order strode in silence towards their cottage. There had been a small party once the place was done. Akira, Oshiro, Youji, Kazuya, Marie, Ivan, Rieko, Sae, and Ikkei had all been in attendance. They were the full ranks of the Gennai Order, and now only Akira and Ryo were left since she and Ken only counted as Chosen Children. It was so hard to fathom.

From the shadows in the house came Libra and Wormmon, with the brothers following close behind. The two partnered digimon understood what their humans were going through and offered what support they could. In time even Ken's attempt at being strong crumbled and he too cried with his partner in his arms.


Takeru frowned at his complexion in the bathroom mirror. Something just seemed wrong about his appearance of late. Shouldn't he be paler? Maybe he had just been out in the sun too long. Everything was off and he couldn't quite figure out why. Grumbling at that, he stepped away and resumed normal morning duties.

Today was going to be important. He was sealing a deal with a particularly influential Unimon with a prejudice against viruses that mirrored his own. With the treaty sealed he could proceed with his plans and purge the Digital World of evil. And with that done he could finally have a place where Ken would never be hurt again. It was a nice dream, and so close to being realized now.

Patamon glanced up from a muffin as he entered the kitchen area, wide blue eyes full of innocent curiosity. "What are we gonna do today, Takeru?"

The Child of Hope grinned down at his partner as he picked up a muffin for himself from the plate that Patamon had been hogging. "What we've been doing for a while now, making the Digital World a better place." Patamon, pleased with the answer, resumed chowing down on his muffin and left Takeru with his thoughts.

A better world where only good reigned and evil was easily smote down. He did not want to rule this world, he didn't have the skill. But if he gave Ken a second chance he was certain that his beloved would do a better job. Ken no longer had the Dark Seed, after all, and was of sound mind and judgement now. For the most part. But he wouldn't put Ken on the throne yet, for his boyfriend would surely protest his methods. No, he would wait until after the Digital World was cleansed. Until then he would act as Regent.

Lord Regent Takeru. He liked the sound of that.

With cheer triggered by the eventual fruition of his plans, Takeru hummed to himself as he stuffed a few necessities in his backpack and wrote an anonymous e-mail to a certain someone he needed in a specific area should all go well with the Unimon. He'd send it later, once he was sure that everything would go as planned. Now that all the loose ends were tied up, Takeru called for Patamon before opening up a digital gate.


The sun shone bright yet pale on the village of Shichup. Had it not been for the Hokkaido Utari Association's attempt to revive old Ainu traditions, the village would have long been abandoned. Children now roamed in places where elders once believed would never be brightened by a child's presence again. The kotan, or village, was about as traditional as one could get these days. It was located near a river basin and its houses composed of the grasses and bark of trees that grew there. Past the cluster of family houses were outhouses and storage facilities, religious altars and meat-drying racks. Then there were the small, cultivated fields just beyond and the hunting grounds even further. It was quaint, if one was into that sort of thing.

Akira was far from pleased at being dragged to this backwater place in the middle of nowhere, but he had a job to do and the pay was better than he normally got working cameras in NHK's newsroom. An eccentric director wanted to do a documentary on the Ainu everyday life and offered him a handsome amount of money if he'd go along. Never one to turn such an opportunity down, he went along with two cameras, tapes, dolly, portable generator and a hell of a lot of cables in tow. Countryside just wasn't his element though, and it reminded him too much of that place. Really, he'd be much happier back in Tokyo.

He wandered the dirty paths of the village even now with video camera tucked under one arm and accessory bag slung over his shoulder. He had just recharged the battery, so it would be good for a few hours should the weird old man decide that he suddenly shoot a scene out of nowhere. Fortunately, Iwata was currently distracted with talking to the town's elders through a translator. Unfortunately, some little half-naked Ainu kid was following him.

The kid's attention was drawn away when the sound of an approaching motorcycle drifted on the winds. Curious and in hopes that the new arrival would relieve him of his immense boredom, Akira stepped forward to see who it was. When he got a good enough view, he paused in surprise.

It was almost as if he had seen a ghost, but the ghost in question had been converted to one of the protective spheres of that place long ago. There was one other option, but what the hell was Akiyama Ryo doing here?

Mindless of the kids that were now clustering around Ryo, Akira pushed past them until he got Ryo's attention. To some minute satisfaction he noticed that Ryo was as surprised to see him as he was to see the other.

"Irankarapte!" exclaimed the kid that had originally been stalking Akira. Ryo snapped out of his surprise and waved cheerfully at the child. Then, to Akira's surprise, the child pointed to him. "Toankur hunna an?"

Akira felt Ryo's hand clap soundly on his shoulder as he responded. "Toankur anakne Akira ne."

"Keraman wa." The child stared curiously at Akira for a few seconds before his eyes fell on the bag securely strapped to the back of the motorcycle's seat. Those muddy brown eyes then shone in delight and what was no doubt recognition. "Ryo! Topenpe ke yakka pirka ya? Enkore? Topenpe ke rusuy..."

The other children soon babbled in delight, echoing the words of the first one. With a sound that was more of amusement than anything else, Ryo unzipped the bag and drew out a handful of candybars. "Yakun pirka," he said, and the kids squealed in joy as he passed out candy. There were several rounds of "iyayiraykere!" and "hioy'oy!" before most of them ran off with their new prizes. Akira assumed those were supposed to be variations on "thanks".

The one child that remained, the one that had been following Akira earlier, gave a clumsy attempt at a Japanese-style bow. "Suy unukaran ro," the child murmured before straightening and running off to join his friends.

Well, it was nice to see some things never changed, like Ryo's habit of spoiling little kids. It was still somewhat disconcerting to see a self-styled computer nerd go tribal, though.

"Long time no see," Ryo started as he kicked the ancient motorcycle's stand into position after zipping his bag back up. "So what brings you all the way out to the middle of nowhere?"

Akira shrugged. "Eh, job. And what the hell are you doing in this world? I thought you were bound there for life."

"Would you believe the Holy Beasts exiled me?" Much to Akira's surprise, Ryo's voice held not the slightest trace of bitterness or sarcasm. "They have Ken taking my place though, so the Order still marches on."

Well, that was a surprise. Akira had had it beaten into his head that Chosen Children could not become members of the Gennai Order since the day he joined. Only Tamers could, that had always been The Way. He seemed to remember that there was a good reason for it and that Ryo had found a loophole in the system that at least allowed him to train Kageko and Ken as Tamers, but he didn't think that loophole extended far enough for Ken to pick up the robes and shell program. Very strange. And exile? What the hell happened?

Shaking his head, Akira simply accepted things as they were. Best to leave the subject of the Digital World alone, he didn't want to be dragged back into the politics anymore. "So what have you been up to?"

"Teaching mostly," replied Ryo, who gestured that they find somewhere else to talk. "Some of these kids have digimon partners of their own and don't always know how to handle them, so every now and then I help train their partners too. What about you?"

Akira muttered under his breath at that. The influx of digimon had been an unexpected side-effect of the BelialVandemon battle and quite unpleasant for someone who didn't want anything to do with the Digital World anymore, but he had come to live with it. "Camera job at NHK. Married to Kim of all people. It's not too bad a life."

The cameraman didn't notice the brief dismal look that passed over Ryo's face, for they were walking side by side to a fallen log near the fields. They talked for a bit of job-related things, careful not to dredge up memories better left untouched. But conversation tended to inevitably home in on the subject neither wanted to bring up.

"Does yours still work," Ryo asked as he fished out his digivice from a pocket under his jacket. It was lifeless, it had been since the exile. Yet sometimes he felt himself wanting to go back to the Digital World, and the knowledge that he couldn't ached considerably.

Frowning, Akira dragged his own out. It was one of the older models, pale blue and somewhat rectangle in shape with the points rounded off and inverted. "Yeah, occasionally. Haven't been back since I retired, so the thing hasn't really been able to recharge."

Ryo glanced over at Akira's digivice in sudden interest. He was pretty sure that the devices were the same save for the differences in chassis shape and that the D-3s had more programs, but all he'd really need to replace in his own digivice was a fried processor chip and circuitry. Nothing he couldn't do on his own given a few hours alone with electrician's tools. "You don't plan on ever using that again, do you?"

Shaking his head, Akira dropped his digivice into Ryo's open hand. "If you want it, it's yours. I can't see why you want it, though."

"You don't feel the compulsion to protect the Digital World anymore, you gave that up when you retired. It's different for me because I didn't leave by choice," Ryo murmured as he turned the old digivice over in his hands. Grafting the parts from it to his own D-3 wouldn't be hard, but the tricky part would be in getting the Digital World's protective spheres to accept him. His digivice's ident was still keyed into that world's system, after all. But maybe...

Maybe he could recode the digivice's identity markers. Coding had never been his strong point, but this was the only way he could get back in. Perhaps he should get back in touch with a few old friends beforehand. Reactivate the Furekim. He certainly had the means to do so, for he didn't think all the back doors to Gennai's computer were completely sealed off. Just had to find the right one.


"Then the treaty is sealed. Thank you very much for your time, Unimon." Takeru gave a bow as he said this, giving the illusion that the unimon wasn't actually eating right out of his hand. "I look forward to working with you in the future."

The unimon dipped his head in acknowledgement. "It will be the beginning of a brave new world. But did you not want something done before we meet again?"

A smile graced Takeru's lips at the thought. "Oh yes, I had almost forgotten. There is a boy who will stand in my way when the cleansing begins, I'm sure I told you about him. Incapacitate him but don't kill him, I don't want a codewalker on my hands."

"You are certain he will interfere with our plans," queried the Unimon, a glimmer of doubt crossing his face.

"He will fight us every step of the way," the Lord Regent stated simply with a confidence that was not to be questioned. "He would not understand what we're trying to do. It's better in the long run to get him out of the way before we proceed."

Another low dip of the head as the unimon gave his consent. "Very well then. Have him drawn to the designated area and I shall have him taken care of. Farewell, Lord Regent."

Takeru waved pleasantly as the unimon spread his wings and flew away. As much as Takeru liked his partner, Patamon wouldn't understand either, and it was for the best that he had the creature occupied with food and toys while he was hammering out the details of his plans with the unimon. Smiling, he opened up the D-terminal and pressed the send button on the anonymous e-mail.

With all his important tasks done for the day, Takeru strode across the courtyard of his castle. It was still a work in progress and not yet ready for his occupation, but he did like coming out here to watch as the teams of digimon cheerfully worked away. He had told them honestly that the castle was to protect them should some great evil like Devimon attack again, and they were more than willing to offer their aid.

He was happy. Everything was falling into place without a hitch. The vaccines and datas that worked for him trusted him beyond a shadow of a doubt. In an hour or so he'd rid of the pest that might try to stand between him and his beloved. The sun was shining brightly and there was not a cloud in the sky. It was truly a marvelous day.

The glint of gold eyes hidden in shadows drew his attention then. They gleamed from under the canvas that covered a wheelbarrow, but soon disappeared when he turned to face it. Curious, he stepped up to pull away the heavy cloth.

A black tailmon squatted there, half-curled on top of a pile of gravel. Her ears were partially flattened back in wariness as he leaned over her. She was a virus, and as far as he was concerned all viruses were evil, but somehow he could not bring himself to hate her. No, something about her appealed to something deep within him. She was familiar somehow.

The black cat hissed softly then. Her voice thin and fragile, as if she hadn't used it in years. "Kageko..."

Takeru blinked in surprise. Wasn't the Kageko girl dead? "I'm sorry, my name is Takeru. You're Libra, aren't you?"

There was a moment's hesitation before Libra gave the smallest of nods. She was still uncertain about him, but at least her ears weren't as flat anymore. Takeru reached out to touch the cat, but she cringed the moment he moved to do so. Mentally shrugging at that, he pulled his hand away. "So, what brings you here?"

Libra uncurled from her position and hopped from the wheelbarrow to the dirty courtyard grounds. "I... don't know. You feel like Kageko. L- let me join you."

Join him? Takeru turned that thought over in him mind. Libra could be useful and part of him wanted to accept her, but there was the unimon to contend with. He would keep her in the shadows then, for the time being. It was silly to deny her, after all.

With an easy smile that was more genuine than he could imagine, the Lord Regent gave a simple nod. "Of course. Welcome aboard, Libra."


Ajora: Just a few notes here. The Reload Machine in Tag Tamers allowed Ryo and Ken to communicate with each other while still apart. 'Shichup' means 'high sun' in Ainu, everything else should be understandable from the actions described.


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