Chapter 18 - Gomon
Notes: Yay! More reviews for "Digital" than "Company", and in less chapters so far! Kya~! *glomps everyone* We'll see if this oh-so-wonderful trend continues when the third in the trilogy comes out, ne? ^.~
Notes (for Dameus): Well, there was a bit of the Dai/Juri pairing earlier, ne? All the pairings are listed, including the ones that are past and the ones that have yet to be evident. ^^
Notes (for DracoStarbo): Yosha! I'm back in my Digimon/LoTR groove. =^-^= Glad you're pleased. Oh, what's this? Name-calling? Well, nyah! *sticks tongue out* :p lol. Actually, I'm quite happy, thank you! ^-^;; Eep. *shies away from batting eyes* Um... I can't guarantee anything, but I'll try for four chapters in one week between now and the end of the trilogy. Records are fun to break! Tra la la...
Disclaimer: I don't own. The end. <- this is the shortest Fairy Tale ever written! Ehe. ^^
His side was no longer bleeding, for which he was grateful, as it made sneaking out in the middle of the night infinitely easier.
Takeru sent a silent thanks to Gennai, who had managed to come up with a program to "fix the errors in his data". That sentence might have seemed odd to everyone else, but he had understood almost immediately. Almost. At first, though, he'd stared blankly. Then he'd remembered that upon transporting to the Digital World, all of them had been converted into data.
Whatever. He didn't care about the reasons so much as the result.
<Which is a hell of a lot less pain, thank God.>
A lot less pain, but unfortunately he hadn't been reduced to none. While all the cuts and wounds where he had been stabbed and/or shot and/or slashed, as well as his ribs, had been healed, he still carried several large and nasty looking bruises, and his muscles continued to ache if he moved too quickly.
None of it was too debilitating, though, so he counted himself lucky.
He wondered for a second why Gennai hadn't used the same program on Ruki and Renamon. They had both come out of the stint as Tenshisilmon with injuries that were just as bad or worse than his... maybe it had something to do with them both having been unconscious when they arrived.
<It doesn't matter. In fact, it serves Ruki right for being so stupid and attacking the Balrog like that.>
He really didn't mean that.
Sighing, he slipped out from under the covers and headed for the door, with a quick glance around at everyone else – Gennai didn't have enough beds for everyone, so they were sprawled on the floor in various places around the living room. They didn't stir as he edged around them and toward the exit.
The only one who wasn't present was Ruki, who, as the only girl in their company, had been given Gennai's one and only official guest room. She and Renamon were asleep, he assumed.
Unless she'd had the same idea he did, in which case there was likely to be trouble.
At the exit, he paused long enough to pull his boots on (he had, as with the others, slept in his clothes). Then he strapped his bow to his back and his sword to his hip before opening the door and slipping outside with only a whisper of cloth to tell of his leaving.
<Why do I get the feeling this is going to be infinitely stupid?>
Probably, he mused, because it was. But, he was sure, there was no chance of getting in and rescuing Ken if all of them went together. Saruman would surely catch them. What was required was a single person to slip between the cracks in the Wizard's security.
Besides that, Takeru had been flatly forbidden to go into Isengard at all, damn Aragorn to hell. Even after his treatment with whatever-program-Gennai-had-produced-from-nowhere, the Ranger had been adamant. Probably because he knew Takeru's temper, and could already tell that he would do something idiotic once they were inside and faced with the man who had kidnapped the Child of Kindness...
Takeru had to give him that one, he really wasn't sure that he could keep himself calm under the circumstances. Not that it was going to stop him from going in anyway. Sometimes he was too stubborn for his own good, as Patamon had pointed out to him so many times in the past.
"Where do you think you're going?"
Jumping, the blonde stifled a yelp and whirled to face the speaker.
Patamon sighed, "Aragorn said not to go."
Takeru scowled. "You expect me to just sit around and twiddle my thumbs while Saruman does who-knows-what to Ken?"
The digimon somehow managed to give the impression of raising an eyebrow, despite his lack of them. "Just because he's your boyfriend doesn't mean you have to run off and fight Saruman yourself, you know."
"Who says I'm going to fight Saruman?" This was said with what could almost pass as a grin, and Patamon rolled his eyes, fluttering over to perch on his head and looking down on him reproachfully. "I'm just going to sneak into Isengard, find where they've got Ken, break him out and come back here before the others wake up in the morning."
A blank stare.
"Oh, well," Patamon told him sarcastically, "I was just thinking that if that's all then I have no reason to be worried."
Takeru snorted, "come on, Patamon, you know we can't all go in."
There was a momentary lapse in the conversation, and then his partner heaved a suffering sigh, nodding reluctantly. "Yeah, but I don't want you to do it. Let Aragorn go! He was planning on doing it, anyway."
"Of course he was." Takeru smirked, "I just beat him to it."
"You are far too stubborn."
The blonde could only note that he had just been thinking about that, and he reached up and plucked Patamon from his hair. Holding the digimon out in front of him, he gave him a serious look. "I'll come back, and you know I will. Just wait here, and if I'm not back by morning you can rat me out to Aragorn, okay? But wait at least that long."
Patamon's wings fluttered nervously. "...fine."
Releasing him, Takeru turned his gaze toward the spike of white that was too close for Gennai's comfort. After Patamon's original report, saying that the Child of Hope had been surprised to find Gennai waiting for them upon exiting the caves was an understatement. What had been even more surprising was finding the Guardian's house in the middle of what appeared to be a dried up riverbed, and still standing only a short distance from the tower of Saruman.
"Good luck, I guess."
The blonde turned a grin toward his lifelong partner and friend. "It's no big deal, Patamon." He assured him, despite the fact that he knew he was only saying it to make the digimon feel better. "I'll be back in no time."
Sighing, he gave a short wave and shifted his sword on his hip, then started forward. He was just reaching the edge of the riverbed, and was about to disappear into the trees, when he heard Patamon's voice again and paused, glancing back.
"Ne, Takeru!" Patamon said brightly, forcing himself to sound optimistic. "Vanya sulie!"
"It's Elvish. It means "fair winds". A goodbye and good luck, I guess." Despite having forced the optimism into his voice, he sounded distinctly proud of his revelation and Takeru chuckled. "Gandalf taught it to me when we were in Middle Earth. It's all I know, though."
"Well," Takeru nodded, "it's two words more than I know, so don't knock it." Turning again, he stepped through the haze of the trees and Patamon vanished from his sight. "See you, Patamon."
Patamon's reply was muffled and vague and he sounded sad, making Takeru frown when guilt attempted to well up inside of him. He quelled it, ignoring the feeling. He would be fine, and so would Patamon. In fact, he would be back before anyone even knew he was gone.
<Well this was a good idea.>
Even given his experience in the Digital World, he had never attempted to traverse its forests alone during the night, and quickly thanked his lucky stars that he hadn't. The only reason he didn't get lost immediately was because the tower of Isengard rose far into the sky above the trees. Try as he might, with his destination that apparent he just couldn't lose his way.
<The only reason I'm not wandering lost is because of Isengard. How's that for irony?>
Snorting to himself, he winced when one of his bruises twinged and rubbed it absently. None of the injuries he was still carrying would hinder him in a fight, but they still bugged the hell out of him.
He never had liked being slowed down, and now was an especially bad time for it...
It took him less than a half hour to make the trek to where the forest broke to make way for bleached white stone, and when he reached that point he stopped again before leaving the cover of the trees.
His head tilted sharply upward and he groaned as his eyes sought the top spires of the tower. Turning his gaze down again, he searched the walls of the fortress for an opening, noting a small set of steps and a door, guarded by a handful of Orcs, that were almost hidden by shadows.
He didn't see getting past the Orcs being difficult, as there were only five.
The problem would be getting to it, as a crater that dove down into the earth too far for him to see it's end from where he was standing took up most of the area between himself and what he had to assume was the entrance to Isengard. From inside the huge crack in the ground he could smell fire and metal, and his ears were picking up clanging sounds that reminded him of a blacksmith's operation. A thin boardwalk of steps wound down from the edge, vanishing into its depths.
<Okay, so my options are going AROUND, or trying the pit and hoping there's an entrance in there.> He paused, stepping back into the trees far enough to feel safe again. <Now I get to ask myself... if I was a sadistic and evil Sorcerer bent on World Domination, would I keep my prisoners locked in my tower with me, or in the depths of the Earth for my henchmen to take care of?>
He mulled this over for a few moments, and eventually decided on going down. From what he had been told about Saruman, he wasn't the kind of person to get his own hands dirty, and chances were that he wouldn't want any prisoners to be kicking and screaming right next to his private chambers.
Squaring his shoulders, the Child of Hope sent a silent prayer upward before starting out of the foliage at a low crouch, his hand already on the hilt of his sword and his eyes (yes, he was glad for the Elven senses) trained on the few Orcs that he could already see.
"Oh, man... Hikari would kill me if she knew."
This was muttered under his breath so quietly that he himself could barely hear the words. Hikari, while still retaining her position as his best friend, was probably the only person he was really afraid of.
Normally, she was sweet, she was innocent and she was soft spoken.
The proverbial Girl Next Door.
<But HOLY HELL, if you piss her off...>
He had seen the angry flash in her eyes once or twice, and it had scared the hell out of him. Frail as she was, he got the feeling she would definitely kick his ass when she found out about this particular stunt.
<There's no reason she needs to know – oh!> A sudden change in the atmosphere and a scuffling sound from the Guard Orcs made him drop down, pressing himself into the dirt and gripping his sword tightly. His eyes strayed toward them and he watched tensely as two of them sniffed in his direction. <Beautiful. Don't catch my scent. Don't catch it. No. You find me. I'm nothing. No Elf here...>
Despite the seriousness of the situation, he had to consciously stop his mind from adding a silent 'tra la la' to the end of the train of thought he was currently attempting to project to the Orcs.
Damn, his mind was even more random than he'd realized.
<That comes from hanging out with Dai for so long...>
Finally, after what seemed like forever, they seemed to shrug and went back to their duties. Takeru allowed himself to breathe again and inched forward, not climbing to his feet again. Being only a short distance from the walkway that was his destination, he was too close to continue walking upright.
Which meant a face-full of dirt, but he was prepared to make that sacrifice in exchange for not being slaughtered. Which would suck. A lot.
<Here we go.>
With his eyes trained on the guards that were only a handful of yards away, he slipped silently over the lip of the pit, landing lightly on the boards below and then leaning over to look down.
Below him, forges burned and scores of Orcs worked semi-frantically to manufacture what looked like swords, shields, and helmets among other things. Shuffling back, he took a moment to collect his thoughts before starting down the spiraling walkway, hugging the wall the entire time.
The half-crouch that he was moving in was making the bruises across his sides and back ache, and though he was grateful to Gennai for fixing him up, he silently cursed the man for not being able to heal him completely. Like it was Gennai's fault that he was stupid enough to jump headfirst into every available fight. His lips quirked into a half-smile at that thought, before he again forced himself to concentrate on-
A hand came down on his shoulder.
Takeru froze, tensing, his heart in his throat. After what seemed like forever, but was surely only a handful of seconds at the most, he began to shift his arm, attempting to get his hand to his sword.
"Don't move." A gravelly voice snarled from behind him. Something sharp jabbed into his back and he stopped again, not wanting to be disemboweled. Another order quickly followed, this one not directed at him, "take his weapons."
<Shit, they TALK?>
Even as he thought that (rather incredulously, as for some reason the idea that Orcs could speak shocked him), the grip on his shoulder shifted and he was shoved against the wall, his face pressed into the rock and sand. Strangely, he thought of an American television show that Yamato watched regularly, "Cops". What the Orcs were currently doing was surprisingly similar to the arrests on the few episodes he had seen, with the exception that there was quite a bit less shouting and swearing. What he recognized as an off-balance giggle rose in his throat and he swallowed it quickly. The sword point (he assumed that's what it was) continued to press into his back painfully, and within seconds, surprisingly efficient hands had stripped his bow, quiver and sword from him. What they did with them, he didn't know. He got the feeling he should be more concerned with that they were going to do with him...
He was jerked away from the wall and shoved violently. He stumbled, fell on purpose, looked up for just a moment to get a bearing on where the Orcs were in comparison to him. One directly behind him, two just beyond it, and one to his right. And scores of them only yards below, in what was comparable to the fires of Hell. They appeared to be directing him back up the walkway.
<Or, I could NOT be a good little Elf...>
The Orc behind him growled, and the blonde allowed it to pull him to his feet. They should have suspected something, considering how compliant he had been thus far. Instead, they were caught completely off-guard when he abruptly swung around, slamming his elbow into the gut of the nearest of them.
It doubled over, grunting and dropping its sword, and he immediately dove for the weapon. His hands clasped the pommel just in time for him to whirl and bring the sword up to defend himself. Metal clashed against metal in a shower of sparks, and pain radiated through his arms, making him gasp.
The Orc in front of him snarled viciously and swung its sword again, bringing the blade down like a club. It connected with Takeru's weapon violently and the impact forced the sword down, twisting it in his grip and then forcing him to drop it, lest his fingers all be broken.
Swearing, he leapt to the side as another Orc blade soared at him and the sword dug into the walkway instead. Chunks of wood were torn out and flew in all directions as the Orc wrenched it free.
He was without a weapon, and beyond the three Orcs that were currently advancing on him, there were others approaching. They must have heard the ruckus and come to help their brethren. Takeru grit his teeth, his eyes darting from Orc to Orc as he attempted to formulate a plan.
Something heavy collided with his back, sending him sprawling forward. He hit the ground hard and stayed there, dazed. Turning his head, he stared dully for a moment, his mind working to recognize the slightly blurred images that his vision was giving him.
Finally, he came to a conclusion, the Orc he had attacked first had hit him. Stupidly, he hadn't finished it off – the other Orc had attacked, distracting him, and he had forgotten all about it.
Cursing himself mentally, he began to push himself to his feet once more.
"You're waking up, I see."
The voice was fuzzy and muffled, almost as if whoever was speaking was doing so through a blanket. The Child of Hope wondered vaguely why anyone would do that. Then he realized that it wasn't the speaker, it was him. Groaning, he shook his head lightly, trying to get his ears to work again.
Pain stabbed through his temples and he gasped.
"I would suggest remaining still."
He tried to speak, but his tongue felt thick and dry, and refused to cooperate.
"Yes, I am afraid mayhap they hit you harder than needed."
Lifting his head, Takeru attempted to open his eyes. They, at least, were working better than his mouth. They opened slowly, and he tried to focus. Everything was blurry and it felt as if he had half of the Arabian Desert under his eyelids.
He blinked a few times, and finally the white blurs that had been floating in front of him began to come into more definition.
When he tried to move his arms, which were curiously numb, he discovered that he couldn't.
<What the hell happened..?>
"As I said," the voice told him calmly, "they hit you harder than need be."
Though his sight was slowly returning to normal, everything was still slightly out of focus, not to mention grainy, and all he could make out was a tall figure standing in what he thought to be a doorway. He wasn't sure he wanted to know who it was. Somehow, he just knew that this was not a friend.
He worked his tongue, swallowing, and finally managed a few words, "who are you?"
What came from his throat was barely recognizable as a voice at all, never mind his voice. Across from him, the blur laughed, and Takeru got the feeling that his situation was extremely entertaining to him.
<Those Orcs grabbed me... and I fought... and they hit me. I must have passed out.> Judging by the throbbing pain in his head, that was exactly what had happened. <They probably hit me AFTER I was out, too... and took me... where? Whoever's talking, he doesn't sound like an Orc, so...> it had taken him this long to get his mind working properly again, but suddenly it hit him. <Saruman..!>
The Wizard chuckled again. "I must say, you are almost as interesting a plaything as your lovemate."
"Bastard." He croaked. "What did you do with Ken?"
Saruman tisked. "I warn you, I do not appreciate being insulted." A sigh, "and as for that stupid boy..."
"What did you do with him?"
"I gave him a choice, and he took the wrong path."
"There is something I want from him, and he would not give it to me willingly." Saruman clarified. "So, regretfully, I must take it forcefully, which will be a painful and lengthy process."
Takeru growled under his breath. His eyes were finally focusing again and he looked around, trying to get a bearing on where he was and – more importantly – what was nearby that could be used as a weapon. He planned to stab Saruman's white ass as soon as humanly possible.
"Needless to say," the Wizard told him dryly, "I have you securely bound, and all weapons or the like have been removed from the vicinity."
"You can read my thoughts."
"Fucking great." He snorted, testing his arms again. When they not only wouldn't budge, but proved to be as numb as when he had first awoken, he fixed a glare on the magician. "What the hell did you do to my arms?"
"The same thing that I did to your legs, actually."
"Your sense of humor leaves something to be desired."
Saruman raised an eyebrow. "Sarcasm. The last defense of an idiot, and proof that the blue-haired whelp was infinitely smarter than you. At least he was appropriately respectful." A pause, then, "which I must admit surprised me, after the trip I took through the darker parts of his mind."
Confusion flashed through the blonde, and he tried to figure out just what Saruman could mean. What it all boiled down to was... was what? That Saruman had gone into Ken's mind? Had pawed through his thoughts? Had possibly brought up memories that the bluenette had buried long ago?
"All that and more."
Of course. The mind reading thing.
Takeru scowled, despite the flaring of pain in his head that the motion produced. "You son of a bitch, what did you do-?!"
A vague hand wave, as if the question was unimportant. "I must say, the Digimon Kaiser identity of his is intriguing." He seemed to consider, going over in his mind whatever he had done to the Child of Kindness. Takeru's mind, meanwhile, was going over every possibly scenario he could think of in which Saruman died. Violently. The Wizard picked up on those thoughts, too, and smiled vaguely. "A role playing game." He said, the statement seeming to come from nowhere. "I learned of the concept from... as you put it, pawing through the thoughts of Ken Ichijouji."
Anger and confusion warred in Takeru. What was Saruman talking about?
"What I did, aside from learn everything about him, you, and the other Chosen Children, was, in a way, similar to one of your role playing games. That is the closest I can come to explaining it." Saruman sighed. "I very much enjoyed playing the role of the Kaiser. The turmoil it invoked in your friend was more than worth the lives of the handful of Orcs that I killed while inhabiting his body."
"You took over his body?"
"Though he does not realize it was me, as I did so in the guise of the Kaiser."
"I was curious about both he and you."
"Why the Kaiser?"
"As I said, I find that personality intriguing."
Takeru glared silently, then, "I'll kill you."
"Hm. You may try, but I very much doubt you will succeed. In any case," another hand gesture, and the doors opened to admit a handful of Orcs. "You wished to be with your friend, and with him you shall be." To the Orcs, "take him to the other Elf. Do whatever you wish to him, as with the other." And at the eager look on the Orcs, he added, "this life is of no concern to me. You may kill him, if you like. Though," he turned his attention back to Takeru, "I feel they will not allow you to die for some time."
The Child of Hope snarled incoherently as the Orcs hauled him up from the chair he had been seated in. His arms and legs began to burn with the pins and needles feeling of numbness fading away, though he was sure it was magic and not numbness that had kept him still this long. It was wearing off because Saruman wanted him to feel everything that was about to happen to him.
<I will kill you.> He thought viciously at the White Wizard, <I swear I will.>
Saruman simply regarded him without concern, and as the doors closed behind them and he vanished from sight, Takeru fought against the impending feeling of defeat and instead concentrated on his surroundings. When he escaped, he would need to know how to navigate the tower of Isengard.
And until then, he didn't intend to give them any amount of pleasure from his pain. He remained silent as they dragged him down steps and along corridors before reaching a set of doors, beyond which the blonde could sense pain and anguish. He didn't say anything, even when the doors were shoved open and his eyes caught sight of Ken, slumped in a corner of the small brick room. He kept his lips tightly sealed when they shackled his hands, chaining him to a wall with his face to the brick.
And Takeru gritted his teeth, refusing to scream, even when the first lash of the whip struck.
Me: ^^;; Um...
Takeru: I hate you.
Me: Ehe. ^.^;;
Patamon: I knew he shouldn't have gone!
Aragorn: Why didn't I wake up when he (stupidly) left the house?
Me: Uh... I don't know?
Aragorn: -_-;; ...
Me: Okie, um, I know Saruman probably isn't supposed to be able to read minds, but he can in this, so nyah! :p lol. Also, I apologize. I'm being even meaner to Takeru & co. than usual lately. ^-^;; I had Gennai heal him just so that the Orcs could beat him up again.
Hikari: Oi, oi...