Covered in Darkness
Chapter 12: Unveiling
by Quatre's Girl
::QG stands before her readers, head bowed in shame:: I've turned into the kind of writer I hate. I'm so sorry!!! Can you ever forgive me?
Anyway, I'm quite happy with this chapter. It's fuuuuun. ^^ Well, it was fun for me to write, anyway, even if it did take me...a couple months. ^^;;;;; I'm SORRY, okay?! Stuff has just been coming up left and right! But I didn't forget you guys! And I promise, only two more chapters!! ^^ Then you can be rid of me once and for all! If there are any of you left...^^;;;
To explain the song, "KnCdnYD" was something I was listening to when I just got inspired to write this chapter. ^^ So, this is the "theme song" if you will, for this chapter. I included some of the lyrics. I really recommend listening to the song while reading it (heh, if any of you have Malice Mizer songs, I'd love some suggestions, and we need to talk ^^). The song helps set the mood, I think. ^^ I bow before your writing abilities, Mana-hime!! Enjoy! (and if ya' wanna' review, it'll make my day. Lord knows, it's been kind of bad lately...)
"From yonder of darkness, the broken pieces of recollection, Reminiscence
Eternity of time is ticking away endlessly, Reminiscence
Light pierced awakened the past, Reminiscence
Slimy hole bind detain insane sensual
Surge vague twine assault mind
Crumbling forms are closing in towards me
I wish everything would collapse and scatter away
From yonder of darkness, pierced light, Reminiscence
-"Kyomu no Chuu de no Yuugi Dais", lyrics and music by Mana, Malice Mizer
This chapter is dedicated to Ann007 and her father.
Arkenimon and Mummymon barricaded the way down the hallway for the Chosen Children. Both changed immediately to their Digimon forms, their humanoid bodies twisting and mal-forming to create fearsome shapes, darkly colored, with razor-like fangs and weapons poised, ready to kill if the need arose. Mummymon's body was wrapped in soiled and torn bandages, a deep purple turban askew on his head and worn leather bullet holsters crossed on his chest. The only section of his body not covered in the bandages was a part of his face, gray and mummified, with one glowing yellow eye gazing piercingly at the children before him. His mouth was curved upwards in a malicious smile, his jagged teeth fully visible. His hands were clenched around his black machine gun, the dark metal weapon pointed at the Chosen's Digimon. Arkenimon body resembled a giant arachnid, with vibrant stripes of purple and red coloring her spherical abdomen. White crisscrossed her legs, her pale hands drawing to claws. The blood red gems on her hands gleamed in the dim light as she assumed a battle stance, claws held up by her face. Her face, it was pointed, with two red and gold horns protruding from the sides of her head. A wild mane of white-gray grew from her head, furthering her frightening appearance. Her eyes, small chips of ebony, were fixated upon the children confronting her. Her lips were curled back in a confident smirk, revealing pointed fangs, as she gazed down at the Chosen.
"So, you decided to come after all. I have to admit, I'm surprised you kept your faith in the little brat for this long. I underestimated the amount of stupidity humans can have when they are connected by the bonds of love and friendship," Arkenimon spat the words with disgust.
"Shut up!" Daisuke yelled, fiery anger burning in his eyes. He was about to order XV-mon to attack, when she held out a large clawed hand, silencing him.
"I wasn't finished yet, you obnoxious child. I've noticed how a lack of respect runs in your kind. I had to beat it out of Ken, and you'll get your turn once I strip you of your Digimon."
"What did you say?!" Wormmon shouted, fury in his voice as he fired an attack. The force of it, fueled by the sheer anger the small Digimon harbored towards the spider-woman, was enough to draw blood when it hit. Arkenimon wiped her mouth of blood before snarling, lashing out at the caterpillar with a bloodied leather whip, flinging him into the stone wall. He cried out as he hit, sliding to the ground limply. Hikari bent down quickly to help him, and Arkenimon began to laugh fiercely.
"It's ironic that both partners can be subdued with the same weapon." She traced her gaze along the red-stained whip for a moment before addressing the horrified Chosen Children. "You're too weak to ever defeat us. And even if you were to overpower Mummymon and myself, what makes you think you can beat the power that's taking over Ken? You're too weak to face either force keeping you from your friend. Your foolish little rescue attempt ends here," she spoke haughtily.
"Get out of our way." Daisuke lowered his voice, but the rage in it was unmasked, and made it quiver. Arkenimon gave a short bark of a laugh.
"Or what? You'll attack? Go ahead; it's too late anyway. The manifestation is taking place as we speak."
"What are you talking about?!" Takeru demanded, fear creeping into his voice. Arkenimon's smirk widened into a full toothy grin.
"The darkness. Did you honestly think Ken had banished it from inside of him? You were stupid to trust him so much. He had it locked away after his insect died. Of course, his emotionally wrecked self had taken over his body, but the darkness of the Kaiser still lurked inside of his heart. All we had to do was tap it. Beating his body to make him physically weak, lying to him to destroy his emotional and mental stability, all of it was to prepare him for this moment. He has nothing left for him to escape the pull of darkness. He's being consumed by it at this very moment, while you stand here, helpless to stop it. In another hour or so, we'll have our puppet back to aid us in our conquest of the Digital World. In another hour, the Ken you know will be dead."
The Chosen Children gasped in horrified shock.
"How could you?!" Hikari and Miyako screamed in unison. A brilliant pink flash of light came from each of the girls' D-3s, melding into Silphymon. Pink markings appeared on the Digimon's body as the energy glowed around it. The power came from the girls' tumultuous emotions, feeding an energy that was as of yet not seen in the Digital World into their Digimon. Silphymon rushed forward and began to grapple with Mummymon, locking fists that crackled with power as the two fought.
"A person's life is not something you play around with!" Takeru yelled, tears of grief and anger filling his eyes.
"You would destroy our friend for a goal this selfish?!" Iori cried. Both he and Takeru's yellow-green energy surrounding Shakkoumon, new symbols appearing on its stone body. It began to fire on Arkenimon, the attack shimmering with power.
"I won't let you get away with this!" Daisuke shouted, flames springing up around XV-mon's body. The fiery red markings remained on the Digimon's skin as he rushed forward to attack.
All three Digimon fired attacks simultaneously, the combined power from each with the emotions of their partners slamming into the two wicked Digimon, crushing them into the wall of the base, stone and loose wires raining down upon them. There were several bright flashes as the electricity from the wires coursed over their bodies. Arkenimon and Mummymon's pain-filled screams echoed throughout the base, the crumbling stone crashing down on them while electric shocks shot across their twisted forms.
Not even bothering to witness the fate of the two, the Chosen Children and Digimon ran on, desperate fear fueling them as they searched frantically for where Ken was being held. The horrors of Arkenimon's words still echoed in the minds of each of them, and they all prayed they could make it in time to save what they could of their friend.
Suddenly, Wormmon, who was being carried by Miyako, cried out.
"Ken-chan! I can feel it; he's in that cell!" The others halted immediately, looking to where the worm Digimon was pointing. It was a massive door made of some sort of dark wood. The color of the walls was a black deeper than pitch, and a cold shiver passed through the group. The moment it passed they stepped forward, their Digimon helping them to heave open the door, their imprisoned and tortured friend almost within reach.
Was I dead? No...not dead...but cold. It was bitterly cold. The first sensation I had was that of coldness. I could feel nothing else, knew only of the frigid numbness I was engulfed in. The iciness surrounding me pierced my skin and seeped into me until my flesh itself felt frozen. I felt as though I were encased in pure ice, doomed to be in a torpid state, held captive in a cold prison for all eternity.
My survival instincts seized control over my body. Though I was ready to accept defeat, I couldn't die, not after I had endured so much. To give up would be to sacrifice all that I had worked to become, to let go of everything I had learned simply because I was too weak to stay alive. I, my arms shaking heavily, pushed myself into a sitting position, trying to ignore the ferocious pain that coursed through my body. My eyes, hazy and glazed over, forced themselves open. The swirling mass of darkness that had filled my prison had taken me to a place I knew all too well. A place of complete blackness, one that had haunted my dreams and was the subject of my nightmares, was where I had been brought. It was a world composed of darkness as far as I could see, worse, far worse, than the Dark Ocean had been. This shadow world had no landmarks, no form of life in any part of the myriad of black forms that created it. A hushed stillness hung in the frozen air, as though beings of darkness hid around me, waiting for an opportune time to rip my body apart.
I shuddered violently. The only thing that inhabited the desolate hole of midnight was the prisoner, forever chained by coils of darkness until the will to resist was lost. Yes, I knew that place, knew it so well; I had been its captive once before. I could remember every moment I had spent trapped in the clutches of darkness while the Kaiser had control over my mind and body. All those years spent alone, frightened, lost, looking for some way to escape my own personnel Hell, while he caused pain and suffering in my name.
If I had any fears left in my body that hadn't already come true, they were enough to fuel the terror that gripped me at my current situation. To be back in that place after so long, when I thought I had banished it from myself, back knowing what was to happen to me, that the Kaiser would take control.
A small chuckle caught my attention. The sound of it, though nothing more than a tiny noise, seemed to be amplified in the darkness, surrounding me and growing until it became a deafening laughter, filling the air. It was psychotic, full of a power-hungry and insane quality, like a madman about to reach his goals. I covered my ears to block out the frightening sound, but it penetrated through the gaps in my fingers, echoing around me.
The darkness before me began to swirl, the laughter seeming to come from the focal point of the churning. It turned, faster and faster, until the tendrils of darkness that made up the spiral started condensing, solidifying, taking form. Arms, legs, hands, feet, head, body, ears, mouth, eyes. All were created at such a rapid rate. Every body part joined another until the darkness had produced a humanoid life form. He stood there, a self-satisfied smirk upon his lips at my look of shock and horror. He was clothed in a deep blue and black outfit, his spiked hair a deep purple, almost black. His smirk broke into a grin as his eyes, my eyes, met with mine.
The Kaiser stood before me.
"Ken! Ken, speak to me, please!" Daisuke was gently shaking the frail boy who lay limp in his arms. Upon entering the prison-like room, they had discovered who they had been searching for those past few days. Ken was lying on the floor of the cell. They had all rushed to him, tentative joy ready to burst from each Chosen at the thought of reuniting with their friend. However, he had shown no signs that he was aware of their presence. His eyes, though open, were clouded over with a milky white and vacant, unseeing of anything around him. His body was limp, and his torn clothes hung loosely over bloody bandages wrapped around his gaunt, food-deprived body. For a frightening moment, they thought he was dead, and immediately checked his vitals. His pulse was faint and slow, but there, at least. His breathing was sluggish and strained. Other than the gradual movement of his chest, he was completely motionless.
The Chosen were trying whatever they could think of to wake the boy, to break him out of his lifeless state. Those who were not testing a possibility for getting Ken to stir were sitting on either side of him, sick with worry. Yes, they had found their friend, but what good would it do him if he remained in a death-like condition forever?
Wormmon touched a foreleg to Ken's cold hand, tears filling his eyes.
"Ken-chan, please wake up..." The small Digimon was beside himself. Feelings of blame, for none but himself, were beginning to overwhelm him. He was helpless as to what he could do for his partner during this crisis. Seeing Ken lying there as though he were already dead... "Ken-chan!" Wormmon began to cry, burying his face in Ken's side.
Miyako's eyes widened in alarm.
"Everyone, look at Ken's face!" she cried, pointing. They all followed her finger and stared at the boy's face. On his right cheek, a thin red line had appeared and traced across his skin. Blood began to trickle from the line- the cut -and down his face.
"What's going on?!" Iori wondered frantically. Takeru looked to his partner gravely.
"I don't know, but whatever it is, Ken needs us!"
"We have to figure out a way to help him!"
"Ken! Ken, I don't know if you can hear me, but we're coming to help you!"
I cried out as the knife sliced my cheek. I had no questions now about whether I was dead or not. The pain was real enough to assure me that I still lived. But- I turned to face the laughing, knife-wielding Kaiser -I didn't have much time left. Blood from my face dripped down and splashed onto the never-ending darkness, coloring it red. The Kaiser walked to me, gripping my chin in one black-gloved hand. His eyes, deep indigo orbs that matched mine, studied me, ferociously drinking in my appearance. They were pleased for the most part, in some sick way, but there was also a desperate edge to them, as though he needed something from me before he could take control of my body.
I had faced this Kaiser before in my life. The first time was after my brother's death, when I had first visited the Dark Ocean. That time was when I was weak, emotionally unstable. He had promised me protection, safety, but had instead imprisoned me in the dark void I was currently being held. I had seen, felt, everything he had done as the Kaiser. I shuddered, remembering all too well what it was like being the weak, submissive one, chained and imprisoned in the blackened cage of my heart. When Wormmon died, I seized control of my body again, having built up energy as he was weakened by moments of instability. My partner's death was the last thing that provided me with enough strength to break free. He had gone too far, and I was finally strong enough to beat him back. I thought I had banished him from me forever after that day. I thought I would never have to see that prison of darkness again.
"So, Ken, we meet again," his voice was my own, only colder, harsher, as he spoke the words with an immeasurable amount of loathing. I flinched as he spoke. Even in the weakened state he had been in, I was still terrified of him, of what he was capable of. And, at the moment, he was far from being weak. Even though his appearance seemed gaunt and thin, the darkness that had surrounded me for the past several days had given him strength, enough to bring me here again.
"Have you come to surrender, then?" he asked, releasing my chin and stepping a pace away, his eyes still locked on my every movement. I frowned darkly. He sneered.
"Then why did you come here?" he demanded. I started a bit. Why did _I_ come there? What was he talking about?
"What do you mean? I didn't _come_ here. I was brought here." He made a noise of disgust.
"You can't just be _brought_ here. You of all people should know that." His voice was cold and sharp. "Even if the darkness were to get so big that you couldn't feel yourself anymore, you can't be merely _brought_ here. You have to allow yourself to come here."
"But I didn't-"
"It doesn't matter, fool. Even if it's one tiny thought or wish, buried deep in your soul, it still counts." My head was swimming. I...I wanted this?
"Of course," the Kaiser continued, "there were many factors coming into play this time." He sighed. "How I wish you were still as young and naive as you were the first time I encountered you."
"Factors?" I asked warily.
"I thought those two Digimon worked quite nicely, actually. It saved me a lot of trouble. I did help them, naturally, but they did most of the work for me. Your physical weakness was important. What did they do? They beat you, of course." My back began stinging with the mention of it. The Kaiser chuckled a bit.
"I will be feeling that when I wake up after defeating you, that's for sure. Let's see, what else do I need to inform the little 'genius' of? Well, there is that stroke of brilliance I came up with..." I narrowed my eyes.
"What would this be?"
"You know that image of your friends as they all turned on you? I created that, of course. I was getting so edgy and bored waiting for you to surrender; I had to do _something_ to keep me entertained." I gasped in shock.
"That was you?!"
" 'Oh, Wormmon, don't leave me, please!' Yes, that was I. Terribly entertaining, if I do say so myself. You are so amusing to watch when you're suffering." The Kaiser laughed, and it was like acid pouring down on my ears. I bit back a wave of rage as I tried to get him back on track. I needed to buy some time, stall him, do anything to avoid what his final goal was for me; the bloody knife he held was enough to keep me focused.
"That can't have been all you did to me. It took a lot more than that to keep me down last time," I spoke, cutting through his malicious laughter. His mouth quirked upward in a smirk.
"No, I did a lot more to you this time. It's harder to wear you down than it is to keep you imprisoned. Do you remember that wonderful little nightmare you had? I'm stronger when you're unconscious, which explains the state your body is in right now." I tensed. I remembered that nightmare. Wait, that would mean...!
"That was you that spoke to me! The voices were..."
"That's right. Those that you first heard, the black tendrils, were my servants. I had sent them to lure you in with false promises. It worked well enough before. I thought I had gotten you at that moment, but then you chose that time to start resisting. So, in order to subjugate you, I needed to attend to the matter myself. Of course, I hadn't gained the amount of strength I have now, so I wasn't able to fully imprison you, just weaken you. Fortunately for me, that spider woman figured out the connection between you and your crest."
"What connection?" The Kaiser sighed, frustrated.
"Do I have to explain everything to you?! You received your crest only after you banished me to this...prison. It was a symbol of your kindness," he spat the word with disgust, "and being such, protected you from me. I loved feeling your reaction to that crest getting smashed." He flashed a toothy grin at me. I felt a fresh surge of hatred for the _thing_ standing before me. Biting my lip, I was able to suppress it. He had the advantage by far, and there was no way I would be able to defeat him in the state I was in. But...I was running out of distractions for him, and he was gripping the knife tighter, the hungry look flashing in his eyes...
"What did you mean," I asked hurriedly, "when you spoke in my nightmare, about killing the traces of what is and replacing them with what lurks?" He smiled broadly, looking extremely proud of himself.
"Ah, yes. The creative streak in me will not be kept down. I'm afraid I quite enjoy giving cryptic messages to my prey. You, Ken, have seen what happens when one of us is imprisoned in this realm." The Kaiser gestured around him at the everlasting darkness. "Eventually, enough happens to give the captive one the upper hand, and allow him the ability to take control again. I've decided to eliminate this cycle completely. And for this to happen..."
The Kaiser lunged forward, grabbing me by the neck and wrenching me off the ground, holding me up as he began strangling me.
"I'm going to kill you."