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Thread: Digimon: Devil's Ascent (RPG Thread)

  1. #251
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    "I will not stand for this foolishness," Michael declared as he descended from the sky and stood between Bedivere and Caradoc. He was bloodied, his armor and clothes singed, and his left arm was in a makeshift sling, but he still managed to hold an air of power and authority. Even on the verge of exhaustion his voice rang out clear and powerful. "We don't have the time or luxury to afford your personal squabbles." He turned to Caradoc, Guinier, Azur, and Barachiel. "You four." His voice dripped with disappointment and exhausted anger. "You disobeyed direct orders from every source; from Bedivere, from the Council, and from me. And not only did you disobey these orders, but you went ahead and did the exact opposite!"

    Michael fumed silently; he was unused to such insubordination. The angels of heaven would never have disobeyed him so blatantly; not because of fear or possibility of punishment, but they would have simply never even considered such a disgraceful course of action. The mission was paramount to everything else, and these four had jeopardized everything.

    "I can barely stand the sight of you," Michael snapped. "Look around, hear their screams; this might have been prevented if you had done as you were told and stayed put." He stopped; realizing words could not express the magnitude of his frustration, not only at those four, but at himself and the others as well. They had also failed in their task of protecting the city and defeating Mephistopheles. The difference, however, was that they had given it everything they had; their failure was not from lack of trying.

    "If it were in my power I would have you court-marshaled and thrown in prison," Michael said, his voice even and unwavering. "But as it stands, that decision is not mine. You're dismissed. Permanently. I don't want to see any of you again until this is over."

    Michael spread his wings and took to the sky, no longer trusting himself to remain civil with the others.

    "You could always help us with the remodeling," Loki suggested to the four. He motioned to the devastation. "Or not. Perhaps there are other cities that need abandoning." He waved them off and walked away. "I won't always be around to clean up your mess."

    =====

    Ahura Mazda chose not to involve himself in the disputes between the Peacemakers. It was not his place to chastise them; or if it was, he had no stomach for it. Again he had witnessed the destruction of his city, the deaths of possibly hundreds of its citizens. He turned to his fellow Council members.

    "Yu Huang, Amaterasu," he spoke to the OwRyumon and Phoenixmon. "If you would join with me and lend me your power I might be able to reverse some of this damage." It was why he had called the two gods to join him on the Council in the first place. They were like-minded, strong of conviction, gods of creation and goodness.

    "Of course, Ahura Mazda," Amaterasu nodded. She and Yu Huang followed the Goldramon high into the sky. They circled the mighty dragon, lending him a constant supply of their power so that he might complete his task.

    "In my left hand is sealed destruction, and sealed is shall remain," Ahura Mazda spoke. He raised his right hand. "In my right hand is sealed creation; creation now cast, now unsealed, now Summoned!" From the blue vambrace leapt a jagged dragon-shaped bolt. The spirit of creation and regeneration, Umon of the Blue Thunder, howled forth. The spirit dragon circled the city, drawing with it all its power. It raced through the streets and into homes and buildings, spreading its power as it did, and slowly the city rebuilt, byte by byte, as Umon administered the power of creation.

    =====

    “We need to discuss your plan, sir Loki. It seems that Mephistopheles isn’t one to simply stand by as the Peacemakers wait for him to do his work they can fix it. While, with your help, we may have been able to drive him away, I highly doubt that he’s going to take this lightly. We need another plan of action.”
    "A new plan? Why? Was this not exactly the plan I described to you before?" Loki asked, the corners of his mouth upturned in the faintest hint of a smirk. "Did we not draw Mephistopheles out into the open, to fight on our terms? Did this not almost lead to his defeat? Do whatever seals that lie here remain unbroken?" Loki shook his head. "My plan nearly resulted in Mephistopheles's defeat and exorcism. My recommendation remains the same; recreate the seals and fix what he has broken. But by all means, let's talk about it some more; we couldn't possibly waste any more time."

    =====

    Samael strode over to the assembled Peacemakers. "Y'all look like sh*t," he said, though mostly to Khep, Pyra, and Lucia. "How 'bout I fight the Horsemen next time. You guys can deal with that creepy little wolf dude." He scratched the back of his head. "He tried to eat me. Do you know how awkward that is? Anyway, I'm pretty sure now that bullets are an appetite suppressant, 'cus after I filled him fulla' holes he stopped with the whole eating thing. I keep tellin' everybody. There ain't no point in tryin' to look more bad*ss than me. Because I'll kill you. And then you're gonna look pretty stupid."

    He read the guilty expressions and regret on the faces of Caradoc, Guinier, Azur, and Pyra, and he raised an eyebrow. He looked over to Bedivere and saw his fury, Michael's disappointment, and the awkwardness permeating the air between them.

    "What's goin' on?" he asked. "What the hell did I miss?"

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

  2. #252
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    Caradoc and Bedivere stood, glaring fire and wrath to one another as Barachiel and Azur held them back from fighting one another. Caradoc shook with rage at the Slayerdramon, at what Bedivere had dared to say.

    As Michael came into view, Bedivere banished his swords. "I'm disgusted with all four of you. We made the plan clear. You all agreed with it. Yet at the first chance, you raced off to try and be heroes."

    "I don't care what you think," Caradoc snapped back, shedding his evolved form in a flash of raging, twisting flames. "I know that when I decided to support Barachiel, I made the right choice."

    "Right? Right?" Bedivere replied, shaking his head. "There is no 'right', Caradoc. Not in this war. By doing the 'right' thing, you did exactly as Mephistopheles wanted you to do, you blind fool!" He turned away. "Be glad. All of this," he gestured across the devastation, "is, in part, on your hands."

    Caradoc had to bite back angry words as Michael spoke, knowing that rebellious speech would only make things worse. He had no true problem with Michael, but the words cut deeply. They reminded him of what his attempt to do the right thing had ended in.

    "But as it stands, that decision is not mine. You're dismissed. Permanently. I don't want to see any of you again until this is over."
    Caradoc wished then that Michael had lost his composure. Just one chance to take a swing at the angel's face would have been satisfying, and released some of the boiling concoction of emotions writhing its way through his stomach. But Michael departed, and Loki stepped in, speaking his usual snide remarks. The Valkyrimon didn't care. He had finally gone too far. Not only had he left, he had dragged others down with him. He should have insisted Guinier stay behind. He'd known they'd be scolded for disobeying orders, but he'd thought idealistically that the scolding would be lightened by the recovery of Hadrael. Things had gone horribly, horribly wrong.

    Guinier sank to her knees as Bedivere cast one last scathing glare across the group. "I agree with Michael. You've done too much already. Don't come back, any of you. This is what you earned the instant you thought foolhardy heroics were worth betraying direct orders."

    "Enough," Caradoc replied, but his voice was broken. He had done it. He had emulated his father, in his attempt to distance himself from what his father was, he had only ran right into its embrace. Already there were the stares, the disdain, the scorn, the hate. He loathed it and it made him writhe internally, wanting to scream out against it. But hysterics and anger would do nothing. He knew this too well already.

    Bedivere turned away. "Farewell, and good riddance." Guinier let out a half-strangled sob at this, but Bedivere was aloof, uncaring for his sister's suffering as he strode away, all the lord in the right, punishing disobedient subordinates.

    How had things gone so wrong? Caradoc turned, looking across his fellow exiles helplessly, Barachiel, the friend he had tried so desperately to help, Guinier, the lover he had damned through his desire to be a hero, and Azur, the one who had just tagged along for some reason, yet now suffered for it.

    "You're all fools." He knew who it was, and Vritra's stare bored holes into his back. "I hope you're all happy with your self-righteousness. But self-righteousness is no substitute for a warrior. You abandoned us, and this is just poetic justice. Now you'll abandon us for good."

    "ENOUGH!" Caradoc howled, turning and glaring at the goddess. "Enough scorn! Enough words! If you want to make me suffer more, hit me! Burn me! I DON'T CARE! You can't make me feel worse than I already do, Vritra!" Vritra shook her head scornfully.

    "You're not worth the effort of an attack," she snapped. "Go and enjoy your freedom." She exploded out her wings and took flight, heading for the sun. Caradoc fell to his knees, clenching his fists so tightly blood welled up from beneath his fingertips, where his nails tore into his palms. Guinier wept behind him, apathetic, eyes dull. It were as though a storm had covered the sun, all light was gone, all hope was dead. They had damned themselves. Even Galahad was strangely silent, but Caradoc could feel the knight's disappointment.

    The citizens all departed, whispering bitterly and scornfully. The dark Valkyrimon knew not what to do. Guinier wept, yet he could not find the strength to comfort her. They all were hopeless, yet he found no words to give them hope. They were shattered and he didn't know how he could fix them. There was nothing he could do. Nothing but kneeling there with dull, pained eyes, letting his misery, pain, sorrow, disappointment, self-hate and anger swirl in a maelstrom of burning emotion within his chest.

    Nothing.
    [CENTER]

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  3. #253
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    Michael's scolding ripped into Barachiel, tearing at him from the inside. He dared not try to make an excuse for himself. The TigerVespamon knew he was right. If he hadn't led the others away from the city, all this might have been avoided. Barachiel knew that the blood was on his hands.

    He couldn't bring himself to look at Michael or any of the others as he withstood tongue-lashings. His head remained bowed in shame and his eyes were fixated on the ground. Had he looked anywhere else, he would have seen the grim product of his disobedience.

    "Hadrael had always taught me to respect others' opinions, but I just tossed them aside because they inconvenienced me," he thought to himself. "And now look what happened. Look how much death and destruction took place because I wouldn't listen..."

    "If it were in my power I would have you court-marshaled and thrown in prison," Michael said, his voice even and unwavering. "But as it stands, that decision is not mine. You're dismissed. Permanently. I don't want to see any of you again until this is over."
    Barachiel's head shot up to face Michael, willing to endure his disappointed stare. "Dismissed?!" he asked, mortified. "No!" he spoke aloud, his fear and disbelief clear in his voice. "Please, Saint Michael; Hadrael's still out there!"

    It was clear that the angel was having none of it, seeing as he flapped his wings and flew off. Barachiel stepped forwards, but then stopped, his body drooping. His eyes rested on the towers of smoke billowing up from the leveled buildings. There were still wounded digimon being evacuated by members of the military and the nomads. Their cries and shouts resonated in Barachiel's ears.

    The TigerVespamon's heart pounded and the muscles in his legs trembled. Bedivere's words, loaded with disdain and malice did nothing to help him. As Bedivere said his peace and strode away, Barachiel turned towards the others who agreed to come with him. Guinier looked absolutely miserable, evident by her choking back tears. Azur seemed at a loss and appeared to be avoiding the gaze of somebody out of Barachiel's view. The insect's eyes then met with Caradoc's. Barachiel saw the pain, anger and guilt in his eyes. It was like looking into a mirror, as Barachiel felt those emotions raging inside of him too.

    Barachiel opened his mouth to try to speak, but only air came out. His mouth was dry and his throat was choked. Instead his eyes conveyed his words.

    "I'm so sorry..."

    -

    Pyra stood at the apex of a mound of rubble, staring at the four who returned. She witnessed the countless insults and derisive comments thrown at them. A part of her felt sorry for them, but at the same time, another part wondered what it was they were thinking when they decided to run off on a rescue mission with just four people.

    As the scenes unfolded, the entire time Pyra's red eyes rested on Azur. She knew he was reckless, but she didn't understand what he was doing with them. Why would be do something so impulsive and foolhardy to save an angel that he met just once? It wasn't like Caradoc, who was very close with Barachiel. To her memory, Azur had barely ever said more than a few words to any of those three. She also knew that he didn't have the same hero complex that Tiwaz, Tyr and Caradoc had. Pyra just couldn't wrap her head around it.

    And now they were permanently dismissed because of it.

    Once it seemed like everybody had their go at them, Pyra walked down and stopped in front of him. "Why did you go with them, Azur?" she asked. She didn't speak with anger, nor was it with disappointment. Pyra just asked in nothing other than confusion. "There's no way you could have thought that it was a good idea, so... why?"

    -

    Smoke continued to rise up from the scorched parts of Kheprius' carapace. He glared down at the four who abandoned Anatolia to go find Hadrael. His red eye practically sizzled with rage. At his side, he heard Samael's nonchalant pattern of walking grow louder.

    Normally, Khep would have had a snappy comeback to Samael, but right now he just wasn't in the mood. The longer he looked at Barachiel and the others, the more his anger grew. If War was still there, he would have surpassed the sun in terms of sheer heat energy.

    "What's goin' on?" he asked. "What the hell did I miss?"
    "Those four decided they were gonna be heroes and try to rescue the angel by themselves while we were here saving the city," the GrandisKuwagamon hissed. "Sam? Watch these for me." He took off his Gran Killer gauntlets and threw them to the ground at Samael's feet.

    It was then that Khep began stepping down a hill of stone and walking towards the group. It was slowly at first, but each step he took was further and quicker than the last. He moved faster and finally broke into an all-out sprint. With a roar, he lunged. Barachiel turned around just in time to see Kheprius flying through the air, but not quickly enough to avoid the impact.

    Khep slammed into Barachiel and sent him careening onto the ground. His back hit the concrete with a thud. Kheprius kneeled on the TigerVespamon's chest, pinning him to the ground.

    "You idiots!" he shouted, rearing his arm back until it shot forwards like an elastic. His black knuckles pounded into Barachiel's face and caused the back of his head to hit the ground. "What were you thinking?!"

    Barachiel winced and glared up at Kheprius, grabbing his neck tightly. "Let me up..." he spoke, his rage beginning to outweigh his guilt.

    Kheprius batted his arm aside and drilled his knuckles into his face again. "So you thought you could play the hero and rescue your guardian angel, could you?! You thought you and those three could take them on your own? I know you're religious, but I didn't think even you could be that stupid! Have you forgotten how badly we got our *sses kicked when we were all fighting together?! Did you honestly think you could rescue him on your own!?" he yelled, placing his knee and left hand on Barachiel's arms to keep him from fighting back.

    "I just wanted to save Hadrael!" Barachiel shot back heatedly, trying to push the physically stronger of the two of them off of him. "I didn't mean for this to happen..."

    "But it did," Khep scathed. "You went on your little heroic quest and you weren't here when we were attacked. If you guys were here, then maybe all these people wouldn't have died!"

    Barachiel grimaced, the feelings of guilt growing stronger than ever, but that didn't stop him from becoming enraged that Kherpius was talking down to him. "Since when do you care about people dying, brother?" he seethed. "You only care about yourself."

    Kheprius growled and grabbed Barachiel by his scarf, yanking him closer to his enraged face that had his Grandis Scissors flanking both sides of the TigerVespamon's head. "You don't know! You weren't here! You wouldn't dare say that if you had been here!" he snarled. "But you were too busy trying to ease your poor conscience over not being able to protect that angel and the rest of your buddies! Well guess what? You're not the only person who couldn't protect something!"

    With those words, Barachiel's face darkened and he tore his pinned arm out from under Khep's hand. He swung his arm and cuffed Khep in the jaw, sending the GrandisKuwagamon flying off of him. The two lunged at each other and locked hands, grappling with the other. "What do you know about wanting to protect?" Barachiel hissed, pushing forwards and trying to get into an advantageous stance.

    "More than you think! Remember our village? Or did you discard those memories along with those of Mom and Dad, too?" Khep shot back venomously. He began pushing back the TigerVespamon's fingers with his own. His anger from the whole ordeal with War was finally getting released in its entirety. He needed an outlet...

    "Never!" Barachiel retorted, his voice scathing. "It was you who forgot the virtues they taught us!"

    "Virtues? I nearly gave my life willingly to save these people, while you abandoned us and went to try to save the one person you cared about. Don't you think that these people have those they care about?! Before you try to be all smug and condescending, have a look at yourself first! Then maybe you can talk to be about virtues..."

    The two insects pushed away from each other and took a step back. Kheprius pointed away from Anatolia, his arm shaking as he directed towards the open landscape. "You heard Michael and Bedivere. Go!"

    Barachiel growled and took a step forwards. "Where am I supposed to go? My home's gone!"

    "Well maybe now you'll know how it felt..." Kheprius retorted, matching his step with one of his own.

    Barachiel glowered, their angry crimson eyes locking with each others. "You think just because I had Hadrael, I didn't feel the pain from the attack?! You're selfish enough to think that you're the only person who suffered?"

    "You had somebody who cared about you! You didn't do the things that I did! How could you ever know...?"

    The TigerVespamon stood inches away from Kheprius. "You're right. I can't... And I'm a better person for it."

    "A better person? Because you were raised by angels?" Kheprius asked mockingly. "Thanks to them, you're living a lie!"

    Barachiel grabbed Kheprius by the throat. "How dare you call my - Hadrael's - lifestyle a lie!"

    Kheprius punched Barachiel in the gut, forcing him to stagger backwards. "This was never supposed to be your life!"

    "You would know something about that, wouldn't you?! You think you were supposed to become an amoral mercenary?!" Barachiel snapped, grabbing Khep's arm and twisting it painfully. "But it still happened, didn't it?"

    "Damn hypocrite," Kheprius snarled though the excruciating pain. He swung his fist around and cuffed Barachiel in the side of his face.

    Barachiel let go of his arm and staggered back, wiping the blood from his mouth. He then looked up at Khep and gave him a condescending shake of his head. "So much bitterness..." he mused, looking at Khep with pity.

    This infuriated Kheprius, who ran forward and grabbed his brother by the neck and drove his fist into his face again. "Don't you pity me; you went through the exact same thing that I did!" he shouted.

    The TigerVespamon gave a blow to the nerves at Khep's elbow, forcing his arm to seize up and release him. Barachiel, however, didn't continue the fight. "No... I didn't."

    "Stop acting so frigging superior! They were your parents too, Terrak!" Khep said, not moving to attack him either.

    "We’re different. I found salvation; you found destruction and hatred," Barachiel responded calmly, fixing his red scarf and keeping up his glare on the GrandisKuwagamon.

    Khep bristeled. "You found a myth devised by some self-important angels who wanted self-glorifying worth and purpose by heading up a new ‘religion’ where they could be all-powerful over their blind followers under the pretence of serving for ‘God’! You’re one of those followers!"

    "If that's what you believe, I really do feel sorry for you," Barachiel spoke, walking over to Caradoc. As his adrenaline died down, his guilt returned.

    "You actually feel sorry for me?! You lost your damn guardian angel and your new home! I'm the one who should be feeling sorry for you!"

    Barachiel ignored him, leaving Kheprius fuming. The GrandisKuwagamon spat out some blood and stormed up to Samael to retrieve his Gran Killers. "Good riddance then."


    -

    Gunnar stood over Ivy, Aeria and the unconscious Duo, folding his arms and inspecting the healing process. The ShineGreymon then heard Aeria suggest healing Ivy and he raised an eyebrow.

    "You know... I learned first aid in my training; I could help you girls out," he offered, grinning a little. "You both look sort of beaten up. I'd be happy to help heal you both. Ivy, you could keep working on Duo. Aeria, you could help Ivy. And then I can do you, Aeria..." A moment later, he cupped his hand to his mouth after realizing his poor choice of wording. "I, uh, mean, you know, heal your wounds... Heh." He ended with a nervous grin and a thumbs up.

    -

    “H-how c-c-can I p-p-prove him w-wrong i-if I can’t e-even do a-anything u-u-use-f-ful?”
    "Enough, Shoon!" a gruff voice shouted from above. "Shut up and stop crying! Heroes...fighters... don't cry."

    Tiwaz stood over Shoon, looking down at him. He sported his AncientGreymon form temporarily to help with the clean up, but it was clear he wasn't needed as Umon of Creation began to work its magic.

    The wyrm sat down on his stomach and lowered his head to the ground so that his eyes could become more-or-less level with Shoon. "That's exactly the reason why you're scared! It's because you believe you're useless. Yes, you may be small and I may be large. Sure, we may have different levels of power. But despite all that, you're not useless, Shoon."

    Tiwaz lifted his blue eyes from Shoon up towards the gray sky. "A long time ago, I had a friend with your problem... He thought he was useless because he was afraid and couldn't fight like the rest of us. He wasn't useless either Shoon. He could come up with some of the best strategies you would ever lay your eyes on, and he wasn't all that bad of a fighter either. He just needed to believe that he was." Tiwaz looked back down at Shoon, wondering if the Mamemon X was making the connection. "You can still be a hero even if you're afraid, Shoon, because courage isn't the absence of fear, it's acting in spite of fear. ...I would be lying if I said I didn't have at least some fear when I was flying towards the fight that ended my life."

    The dragon stared at Shoon with fervant azure eyes, telling him what he needed to do with just a stare. "So prove this person wrong. Prove yourself wrong! Understand me?!" he asked the young digimon. "...And stop crying, for Perun's sake; you're a Peacemaker now." A slight grin appeared at the corners of Tiwaz's mouth.
    Last edited by Griff4815; 19th February 2011 at 5:04 AM.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 21 is up.

  4. #254
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    "If it were in my power I would have you court-marshaled and thrown in prison," Michael said, his voice even and unwavering. "But as it stands, that decision is not mine. You're dismissed. Permanently. I don't want to see any of you again until this is over."
    At those words, emotions welled up within Azur. First was surprise and shock. What followed were anger and resentment, some aimed at Michael, an immature part of him thinking he was taking it too far, but the brunt of the emotions were aimed at himself. He cursed and damned himself many times in his mind, his guilt and shame growing with each word.

    Because unlike Barachiel, Caradoc and Guinier, his reason for running off was a selfish one.

    He didn’t move or look at Michael as the angel went off to do whatever he was going to do after deciding his judgment. All he did was clench his fists tight enough that his own claws were drawing blood from his palms, finding some a little bit of relief from the pain. He deserved whatever hurt he was getting because of his rash actions.

    He dared to look up to see how the other three had taken the information. They weren’t doing any better. Guinuir was on their knees and crying her eyes out. Barachiel and Caradoc were standing, but their dispositions showed emotions not unlike his own.

    "Why did you go with them, Azur?" she asked.
    Azur froze, instantly recognizing that voice, and it filled him with dread and pain. He couldn’t bring himself to say her name.

    She didn't speak with anger, nor was it with disappointment. Pyra just asked in nothing other than confusion. "There's no way you could have thought that it was a good idea, so... why?"
    What should he have said? What could he have said? Could he have lied and said that he wanted to help Hadrael? But that would have been too big of a lie, as well as an easily disproved one. He wasn’t one so righteous, and he had no ties to the angel. What was left was the truth, that he had let his emotions get the better of him. And he loathed to tell Pyra just how petty he had been. He couldn’t even bring himself to look at her.

    “Cause I’m an idiot,” he finally told her after a long moment of silence. He felt that true enough.

    He let out a strangled growl and knelt on one knee, and then he forcefully punched the ground, channeling all his anger into it. He winced when his knuckles met the ground, his claws digging more into his skin. He raised his fist and opened it, staring at the injuries he caused himself and watching as drops of blood started to collect on his palm. Azur grimaced.

    “Cause I disregarded months of Fenrir’s lessons and reverted back into the reckless b****** that got his own brother killed,” he said scornfully at himself.

    He could imagine her looking at him with her eyes full of disappointment that belied her tone of voice, just like how every other Anatolian was undoubtedly looking at him as well. He wouldn’t have blamed it on them…on her either. To say that he was disappointed in himself would have been a spectacular understatement.

    “I…let you down,” he whispered. “Galic…Dunkelheit…everyone…let them all down…”

    Azur grit his teeth.

    “Dammit!”

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Galic was almost stunned to silence. He realized that Loki was right. Everything he said was correct. And yet…

    The MachGaogamon had to look around. He watched as Ahura Mazda repaired the city from its broken state. He had restored the material homes of the Anatolians, bringing back up the tall buildings and devastated roads back as good as new. But he could not restore the families. He could not bring back the dead and lost loved ones.

    This was what Loki’s plan entailed. It was turning out likely that they could finally stop Mephistopheles by waiting, but he saw what it had cost. And the question was: How much more could they afford?

    “Very well, sir Loki. I stand down. It’s not my place to argue,” he told the god. He turned away from the Merukimon and started to walk down the street that was slowly being renewed.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Shoon looked up at the large dragon in front of him, furiously wiping at his teary eyes. He stared back up at Tiwaz, his eyes red and swollen. He stood back on his feet, his legs and arms shaking, but his disposition and expression were defiant.

    "So prove this person wrong. Prove yourself wrong! Understand me?!" he asked the young digimon. "...And stop crying, for Perun's sake; you're a Peacemaker now."
    “Y-you’re right!” he shouted, telling it to himself as well. “I-I’m a Peacemaker! I-I’m getting closer to being a hero! I can’t let this stop me!” he declared, trying to put as much emotion and strength behind his words as much as possible.

    “I…I’m getting there,” Shoon told himself. “But I can’t do it by sobbing in the middle of a street cuz I couldn’t do anything… I…I just need to get stronger.”

    Shoon sniveled and looked up at Tiwaz. “Th-thank you. I-I needed that,” he told the dragon and gave the AncientGreymon a thumbs up.
    There are stories made from the imagination. There are stories born from experience.
    There are stories told because of a need to be filled. There are stories that simply need to be told.
    This is one of them.


    “Maybe there really is a method to his madness…or maybe he’s just plain insane."
    Chapter 3: Act III is out and posted!


  5. #255
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    Kole let out a little groan of pain as he came to, back into his Piedmon form.

    "I have got to stop doing things like that," he muttered, looking at the large crater that his body had left. "Guessing by the lack of things blowing up, I am guessing that the battle is over. Should probably get back."

    He picked himself up, cracked his knuckles and disappeared. Reappearing, Kole saw that the city had been restored, as if the battle had never happened.

    "Kole!"

    The harlequin turned and saw Tia running towards him, the Bastemon relieved that she had found him. She leapt into his arms, wrapping her arms around his neck and squeezing.

    "What happened to you?" she asked, noticing the Piedmon wincing.

    "I was sort of attacked by War," he sheepishly said. "And knocked out, again."

    "Maybe you should stop going after the Horsemen," said Tia, "You really aren't very good at staying conscious around them."

    "So what happened here?" asked Kole, feeling some of the tension in the air.

    "Barachiel, Azur, Guinier and Caradoc went off on their own before Mephisto attacked, and Michael is royally pissed, so he dismissed them," answered Tia, "Though personally I think the dismissal was a little sudden and harsh."

    "True," said Kole, taking in what the Bastemon said. "Azur, Guinier and Caradoc were a great help when we fought the Royal Knights and Amatsu-Mikaboshi. Let's hope this doesn't effect us too badly in the long run."

    ---------

    While Kole and Tia were talking, Hira glared at the Piedmon. He didn't like Kole, and the most frustrating part was that he couldn't do anything about it. Even if they both weren't Peacemakers, Hira was fairly certain that he would not be able to defeat the Piedmon's Apocalymon form. No, that wasn't the most frustrating bit. The most frustrating bit was that Kole was able to talk to Tia with no problems, the moment Hira would turn up near her the Bastemon would suddenly turn all sarcastic and defensive.Though it was partially his fault, Hira still found it horribly frustrating, and once he found a way, the SaberLeomon was going to find a way to woo Tia. He had to.

  6. #256
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    Lucia sat as still as a statue as Ivy treated Duo's wounds. By all means, that should be her there helping him recover, but she just couldn't bring herself to move from that spot. She had failed. Even with all the power her Dianamon form had granted her, she still wasn't strong enough. She may have actually done it, but then Duo was snatched away and she had made a split second decision.

    Had it been the right one?

    If she would have stayed and focused on Conquest, would Loki have still been able to save Duo in time? Had her attack really made any difference or should she have just stuck to her target and not let that kingdom ending monster get away?

    She didn't know, there were too many unanswered questions and they were driving her crazy.

    She was back in her Minervamon form now, and feeling more tired than she had ever felt before. The first use of that power had left her drained, both mentally and physically, and she couldn't shake the nagging feeling that there was still something wrong with herself.

    She pushed those thoughts out of mind for the time being, right now what mattered was that Duo was going to be alright. She would figure out the rest later.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    Justin walked the streets of Anatolia, helping out whenever someone asked. It was nice that he was getting recognition as a Peacemaker now, but right now it was almost getting in the way. Duo had said something about trying to find a Taomon friend of his named Saria, and right now Justin wanted to make sure that this Saria had made it through the attack alright. He had to admit, a part of him was hoping he'd run into that cowardly arch-rival of his who had coped out in the middle of their battle, but priorities were priorities after all.

    So, of into the city he went. Of course his duty as a hero was to assist those who needed help along the way, so he was making slow progress. That was until he spotted a Taomon looking off in the direction of the Peacemakers.

    She caught sight of him at almost the same time he caught sight of her, and he could see the urge to flee on her face, even with that mask. She surprised him however by simply smoothing out a few wrinkles in her garb and waiting patiently for him to approach.

    "Justin, its been a long time." she said once he got near.

    "How do you know my name?" he asked.

    The Taomon just laughed. "Well, you are one of the famous Peacemakers now aren't you? But besides that, is that anyway to treat an old friend?"

    Old friend? Who was this chick? Justin had no idea. Unless...

    "Are you... Saria?" he asked.

    The Taomon nodded. "Yes, it looks like you do remember me after all."

    Justin still had no idea who she was, he only heard the name from Duo after all, but he nodded anyway. "Of course, it just took me a moment to gather my thoughts. A lot has happened lately you know."

    "Yes I know." Saria said. "But besides that, were you looking for me?"

    Justin nodded. "Of course, Duo said he wanted to ask you something, but with him out like a sack of bricks right now I figured I'd find you myself."

    A look of worry crossed her face, and for a moment Justin wondered if he should have been a bit more tactful.

    "I... I know he's down, a saw that whole scene in the skies. And I think I know what he wants to ask me as well. I probably deserve it you know. He doesn't like it when I keep secrets from him, but this time I'm afraid it was a necessity. If he knew the truth, there's no way I could stop him from running off."

    "And what truth is that?" Justin asked.

    "I'll have to tell him that when he wakes up I guess." she said, "But thank you for letting me know that he's alright." she gave a bow to the SuperStarmon. "When he wakes up, tell him I'll be waiting for him, right now though, I'm expecting a visitor. Farewell Justin." Saria gave a wave and disappeared around the corner.

    "Hey, wait up!" Justin ran after her, but as soon as he looked down the corner, she was no where to be seen.

    Justin crossed his arms and sighed. "I don't have time for all these crazy people..."

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Saria entered her shop to find the counter deserted, her Tapirmon shopkeep nowhere to be seen. "Fey? Where are you?"

    "In here Lady Saria. Your guest has finally arrived."

    Saria was a bit surprised, it seemed a bit early for him to be back already. Reguardless, she made her way into the next room, where her Tapirmon clerk Fey was preparing tea for her and her new guest.

    "It's been a while Saria." the TigerVespimon said.

    She smiled. "And you're still looking as good as ever Trowa."

    "Hey, enough with the teasing already. You tease me when I leave and now right when I get back its the first thing out of your mouth. I'm starting to see why you and Duo didn't get along." Trowa downed the glass of tea in a single sip, leaving Fey hurrying off to prepare him another glass.

    "Our relationship had nothing to do with that, things were just... complicated for a while." Saria took her seat and took a sip from her own tea glass, taking the time to drink it slowly. "You're back sooner than I expected though, I take it everything went well?"

    "Of course, I always deliver." Trowa said with a grin. "It looks like there's been some stuff going on on you guy's end as well though, whatever you're paying me for all this trouble it had better be worth me missing all the fun."

    Saria laughed. "You really don't change at all do you? Alright, I suppose you'd like your payment. But first things first, did you find her?"

    Trowa grinned. "Find her? She's sleeping in the next room if you wanna see for yourself."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Duo opened his eyes to find Ivy, Aeria, and Gunnar standing over him.

    He blinked for a moment before attempting to sit up. Though his back was still sore, he managed to force himself into a seating position.

    "Ah, I feel like I just got hit with my own Terra Destroyer." He said as he rubbed his forehead, trying to dull away the pain. "What did I miss? Did we win?"
    Last edited by TheSequelReturns; 19th February 2011 at 1:08 AM.
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  7. #257
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    "This. Is. Unacceptable!" Mephistopheles snarled, pacing back and forth across the cold stone. "How could one god, one measly trickster god, defeat all of us? Conquest, you have more power than any of us! How did he-"

    "He knew this form," Conquest answered simply, gazing down at his hands. "He knew exactly how to stop it, how to cripple it."

    Mephistopheles roared in anger and smashed his fist against the wall. "He stopped us all, stopped me from summoning Death, he nearly stopped everything by sending me back to the Inferno. How!?" The demon fumed. "How could I have misjudged the enemy so disastrously?"

    "Perhaps the gods were driven to act because of them," Dracula said, pointing to War and Conquest. "If the pantheons are anything, they are proud and take an insult to one as an insult to all. Perhaps your capture of these two gods spurned them to fight back."

    "I knew we would be forced to deal with them eventually," Mephistopheles mused. "But I thought we would have more time; I was counting on Lucifer walking free before we wiped them out." Mephistopheles's voice dripped with hatred. "Pagan gods, relics of an expired era. If they are going to be a problem, I must take drastic measures to put a stop to them beforehand."

    "What can you do?" Dracula asked.

    "There are powerful forces in this world, and even greater in places beyond," Mephistopheles said, more for himself than for anyone else. "Eldritch powers, arcane spirits...If I can harness the right ones, the gods will no longer be a problem." He stood suddenly and strode across the room. He ran a finger through the air, burning tear through the fabric of space. "I'll return when I'm finished."

    =====

    Michael watched as Caradoc, Guinier, Barachiel, and Azur stewed in their own self-loathing and disappointment. He drew no pleasure from their suffering, but nothing more could be done. They had disobeyed orders and suggestions, blatantly moving against the planned inaction when they were warned what the consequences of further indiscriminate heroism could be. And not only had they disobeyed; a fact that, while damaging, he could forgive...they had broken his trust in them. In a time when the ability to think clearly and see through trickery and deception was critical, they had proven themselves incapable of being trusted. And so Michael had no choice but to dismiss them; for warriors that were untrustworthy had no place by his side.

    Still, he knew what they would do next; they would wallow in their own, self-depreciating manner for a while, but then they would resume their search for Hadrael; he knew it. There was no stopping wide-eyed heroism, but if the past was any indication, they might end up doing more harm than good. He would need to keep an eye on them...somehow. Perhaps his brothers might watch over them; to keep them from causing more havoc.

    Michael surveyed the damaged city as Ahura Mazda's power rebuilt it. It was well and good to repair destroyed buildings, but the loss of life was well-beyond the god's ability to fix. Loki's plan had nearly succeeded in ridding them of Mephistopheles (though the circumstances that led to the demon's escape still concerned Michael), but victory had come at a terrible cost. Could they afford to pay the cost in blood again? Would Mephistopheles be thwarted the same way again?

    He needed to speak with the Council, with the Peacemakers; they needed to truly decide if this was the course of action they would pursue. He sighed; it could wait till later that night. Though only midmorning, they had endured a harsh dawn, and were well-deserving of some rest.

    =====

    Samael regarded the four before him, he watched Khep shake with fury. He saw the others look on with contempt. He knew what they had done, but for some reason he didn't care. He felt something well up within him, a shadow, and a fluttering of black wings. It didn't matter whether or not those four had ruined everything, somehow he knew; it wouldn't make a difference at all. They would fail no matter what. They would toil and tear and break their backs, but they would fail, and he would fail. And then the Demon Lords would rise again.

    "You four are idiots," he said, no malice or resentment, merely a statement of fact. "You can't do anything to stop what's coming. None of us can. It's fate."

    He turned and stalked away. Behind his eyes, the shadow fluttered its black wings in agitation. And the darkness welled up. And he realized, for the first time, that even if the Demon Lords rose, he didn't care. He was empty.

    =====

    Ahura Mazd, Yu Huang, and Amaterasu descended from the sky, exhausted with the effort required in reconstructing the city. They held themselves high as they returned to their chambers, not allowing the citizens of the city to see them weakened; it would do them no good. Artemis and Ijapa watched them with trepidation, and Loki watched with concern. But as the three sealed themselves in their private quarters, the three remaining council members returned to their duties.

    "There is much to do," Loki said as they stood alone in the Council hall. "Much to prepare for."

    "The mourning period will last for ten days, yes?" Ijapa asked. "During which time we might convene with the Host of Heaven and-"

    "Or we rally the gods," Loki said offhandedly. "Imagine Lucifer's surprise when he walks out of the Inferno and gazes upon the combined might of every pantheon."

    "You believe the Peacemakers will fail?" Artemis asked.

    "Of course they will," Loki said, rolling his eyes. "That's how these things work, don't you understand. The universe moves in cycles, acts of five: gathering, descent, defeat, rise, and victory. Don't you agree, Ijapa?"

    There was no reply.

    "Ijapa?" Artemis asked, looking around. The giant turtle-god was nowhere to be seen. "Where did he go?"

    Loki frowned, then he raised his hand and with a wave opened the massive doors that led to the chambers of the other Council members. They were empty. Ahura Mazda, Amaterasu, and Yu Huang, like Ijapa, had vanished.

    "Where did they go?" Artemis gasped.

    Loki raised his hand and summoned a sphere of glowing light; it was a globe, textured with earth and water, a living, breathing map of the Digital World. He inspected it closely, frowning as his eyes drew to several locations.

    "Hmm," he muttered. And he smirked. "Ingenious, cunning. A worldspell; brilliant and terrifying all the same."

    "What are you-?"

    "You see," Loki said, pointing to a point on the map. "This is where Asgard was, here was the realm of Muspelheim, and that was Olympus." He pointed to several other places.

    "Was?" Artemis asked, growing more fearful by the minute.

    "There no more," Loki mused. "Not destroyed, just...removed. But to where, I wonder." He turned to find his fellow god and Council member, but Artemis was gone. "Oh well. I suppose I'll find out soon enough." He moved across the room and took his seat. For a brief moment he relished the feeling of being the sole ruler of all the Council's domain. But then he felt himself shudder, and his body fade. "Well played, Mephistopheles." He used the demon's full name. "Well played."

    And then he was gone.

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

  8. #258
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    He stood there, just gazing out helplessly, steeped in despair and pain. He had tried to be a hero, but ultimately all he had done was made everything so much worse.

    Caradoc could only turn away, unable to face the enormity of his failure by gazing out over Anatolia. He and Guinier still stood with Barachiel and Azur, Caradoc too apathetic to act as Kheprius and Barachiel launched into a blistering salvo of verbal arguments, defying and attacking one another, Barachiel admittedly much less fierily.

    "You four are idiots," he said, no malice or resentment, merely a statement of fact. "You can't do anything to stop what's coming. None of us can. It's fate."
    "We can try," Guinier whispered. "We can fight back, keep fighting every step towards the end. That's what we have to do."

    "It's what we will do," Caradoc spoke, turning to face her. "They might not believe in us, but we don't need belief. We can prove ourselves. We can save Hadrael because we know that Mephistopheles isn't invincible, and he can be defeated. Loki just proved that." He looked across his three allies. "We don't need approval or their belief, we just need the knowledge that we're doing the right thing, and our own belief that we can succeed. I refuse to leave Hadrael there, suffering, just because Michael and Bedivere disapprove."

    "Even though trying to save him will probably just make things worse, again?" Guinier asked, standing and looking at him. "Even though last time resulted in this?" She gestued around at the city. "I want to save Hadrael too, Caradoc, but what if trying to save him only makes things even worse than they already are?"

    "How can things possibly get worse?" he replied...

    -

    "The Council are gone!" The cry resounded, a horrified, grim proclamation from a guard. "They've vanished!"

    "What?!" Bedivere exclaimed, descending to land beside the guard. "Vanished? Are you sure?"

    "I've checked everywhere, sir! No-one's seen them. They just went into their chambers and never left, and they're not in there now!"

    "Mephistopheles," Bedivere growled. "It must be... assemble the guards. Get them patrolling and ready in case Mephistopheles tries to attack again while the Council are absent. If you see anything out of the ordinary, sound an alarm and get me or Saint Michael there. Am I clear?"

    "Yes, sir!" the guard saluted, turning and sprinting away. "Men! On patrol, by order of Lord Bedivere! Watch for anything unusual and report anything you find to a Peacemaker!"

    Bedivere turned to regard the horizon. "You want to play unfairly? Fine. We'll play this our way, Mephistopheles. Treat this like a game all you like, we won't. We refuse to play..."

    -

    The four stood on the edge of Anatolia, at the edge between belonging and exiled, and they stepped across that edge.

    "We shouldn't do this," Guinier murmured. "With the Council gone... they need us, Caradoc."

    "They don't want our help. Why should we give it to those who don't want it?" Caradoc answered, drawing his sword as he stared out across the world ahead. "Let's save Hadrael!" With that, he took flight, Guinier reluctantly following with one glance back at Anatolia...
    [CENTER]

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  9. #259
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    "Ah, I feel like I just got hit with my own Terra Destroyer." He said as he rubbed his forehead, trying to dull away the pain. "What did I miss? Did we win?"
    "If you could call this winning..." Gunnar replied, folding his arms and frowning pensively. "We needed Loki's help to drive them all back but hey! At least we know those jerkbutts aren't invincible, right?"

    The ShineGreymon looked down at Duo. "Hey, what happened with you anyways? Dhaz told me he saw you and Metisfafflekeys facing off. He said that the demon scum started saying stuff to you. Apparently he was strangling you and started losing his marbles since he talked about seeing a 'pale horse'," Gunnar mused. "Weird, huh? Dhaz said he called it "Death"- wait a sec..."

    Gunnar's eyes widened as he realized the implications of the words. He turned towards Duo and pointed his index finger at him. "You're... Are you...? No way..."

    -

    Pyra looked at the dumbstruck Azur, waiting for his response. She couldn't help but notice that he refused to make eye contact with her. Finally he spoke.

    “Cause I’m an idiot,” he finally told her after a long moment of silence. He felt that true enough.

    "What...?" the Paildramon questioned, looking at him intently.

    He responded with a growl and dropped to a knee before drilling his fist into the ground. Pyra watched as he opened his palm up, her eyes widening slightly as a mass of blood inside Azur's hand became revealed.

    "Azur!" she spoke with concern, taking his hand in hers and inspecting the self-inflicted damage.

    “Cause I disregarded months of Fenrir’s lessons and reverted back into the reckless b*stard that got his own brother killed,” he said scornfully at himself.

    Pyra looked at him sadly, kneeling down in front of him and trying to look into his averted eyes. She could see the grief and regret clearly in his face. Azur continued to berate himself and express his guilt to her.

    "Azur..." she said softly. She wasn't sure what to say to him. She understood what he meant... he had gone with them to fight, like the time with Svarog... and in the battle that Pyra wished that she could forget.

    Pyra was no stranger to these feelings of guilt and that was what made it so much harder for her to find something to say to him. There were few things that she could say with honesty to try and make him feel batter. Instead Pyra placed her hands on his shoulders and pulled him close to her, wrapping him in a soft embrace.

    "It's my fault... I should have been honest with you earlier, but I... I couldn't," she told him regretfully. "...I'll talk to Michael, okay? I might be able to try and convince him to reconsider."

    She pulled away from him and looked at him. "For now, go stay with Galic. It may have been a mistake your parts, but it would be a greater mistake to abandon what qualities you four bring to us."

    Pyra stood up and turned, facing away from him as she began to fly away. "...I'd rather not fight without you either." She looked over her shoulder and smiled a little. "It would be weird not having somebody to watch over," she jested. "Bye for now, Azur..."

    And then she flapped her four wings and took off, looking for Michael and her other Peacemakers... unfortuantely just before Kheprius and Barachiel's fight broke out.

    -

    “Y-you’re right!” he shouted, telling it to himself as well. “I-I’m a Peacemaker! I-I’m getting closer to being a hero! I can’t let this stop me!” he declared, trying to put as much emotion and strength behind his words as much as possible.

    “I…I’m getting there,” Shoon told himself. “But I can’t do it by sobbing in the middle of a street cuz I couldn’t do anything… I…I just need to get stronger.”

    Shoon sniveled and looked up at Tiwaz. “Th-thank you. I-I needed that,” he told the dragon and gave the AncientGreymon a thumbs up.
    Tiwaz grinned, a hint of pride in his features as he watched Shoon seem to overcome his doubts. He raised the foot of his right foreleg and gently patted the top of Shoon's head, careful not to crush the Mamemon X. "Good. It was no problem, lad," he spoke, turning and walking away from him

    He looked over at Anatolia. Umon of Creation raced around the city, rebuilding the data that could be repaired. Unfortunately, lives were not among those. Tiwaz sighed through his nostrils, sending smoke out along with carbon dioxide.

    "So we waited and did nothing and it worked. Was it worth it? No... Hundreds are dead and we did no more than damage their morale. It was a pyrrhic victory and nothing more," Tiwaz brooded.

    Tyr grimaced as well. "At least it wasn't as bad as the Siege..."

    "That doesn't make it any better... Come on, Tyr. Let's swap forms now. It seems there's no more cleaning up for me to do," he spoke, his form shifting into the smaller VictoryGreymon form.

    Tyr, now in control, looked at his hands and gazed around the area, looking for other Peacemakers. "What should we do now?" he asked.

    "Reconvene with the others," Tiwaz said. "Let's see what their bright ideas ar- what in the blazes?!" he suddenly sputtered in shock.

    "Tiwaz?" Tyr asked. "What's wrong?!"

    "I... don't know. This strange, oppressive feeling just came over me..." he spoke, attempting to hide the discomfort in his voice.

    "What? You mean like what you felt with the Death-X thing?"

    "No... It was different... And it seems to be gone now," the AncientGreymon replied.

    "Weird..." Tyr said, still a bit concerned. "Tell me if you feel it again, okay?"

    "We'll see..." Tiwaz replied before taking to his own thoughts. "Just what was that?"

    -

    "It's what we will do," Caradoc spoke, turning to face her. "They might not believe in us, but we don't need belief. We can prove ourselves. We can save Hadrael because we know that Mephistopheles isn't invincible, and he can be defeated. Loki just proved that." He looked across his three allies. "We don't need approval or their belief, we just need the knowledge that we're doing the right thing, and our own belief that we can succeed. I refuse to leave Hadrael there, suffering, just because Michael and Bedivere disapprove."
    Barachiel nodded in agreement with Caradoc's words, though he was extremely reluctant in allowing them to join him. "I might have to agree with Guinier, Caradoc... I already got you three in trouble. It was because of me that you weren't here to protect Anatolia... It was because you wanted to help me as a friend. I don't want anybody else to suffer because of me..."

    He turned and looked at Caradoc, whose eyes, full of determination, met with his. Barachiel's face softened and he let out a submissive sigh. "But you're going to help me anyways..." he said. He managed the faintest of smiles. "Thank you again..."

    -

    Sometime later

    "They don't want our help. Why should we give it to those who don't want it?" Caradoc answered, drawing his sword as he stared out across the world ahead. "Let's save Hadrael!" With that, he took flight, Guinier reluctantly following with one glance back at Anatolia...

    Barachiel nodded and took off after him, drawing his two Royal Meisters. "Since we've been dismissed, we're outside the Peacemakers' jurisdiction as long as we don't interfere. So since they're busy trying to prevent seals from being broken, we can search for Hadrael. Besides, Mephistopheles won't be expecting two groups; he'll most likely focus all of his attention on the other group, and even if he does account for us, there will still be less pressure on Michael and the others," Barachiel reasoned.

    He looked over at Guinier reassuringly. "Don't worry. I'm sure the council members have people to lead the city in their stead. Also, with Loki gone, I don't expect the others to stay around Anatolia. With them gone, Mephistopheles won't have any reason to go back to Anatolia; if he was going to break a seal, he would have done so this morning," he explained grimly. "Mephistopheles is no more than a child who stomps around in an attempt to be recognized. Loki proved that this morning when Mephistopheles attacked Anatolia after we - err... they - ignored him."

    "But how are we going to find Hadrael?" Barachiel asked with worry obvious in his voice. "How will this be any different than yesterday? We couldn't find a trace of him..."

    "What do we do?" he asked himself. "With every minute that passes, Hadrael could be in more pain... He could be in more danger. We can't afford to waste time scouring every inch of land. We need a lead..."

    Barachiel's hands squeezed the swords' grips tightly. He was becoming desperate. He needed to save Hadrael and he didn't care what sort of trouble he got himself into in order to do it.

    "But what?" he asked. "What option do we have? How can we find an angel?" The TigerVespamon looked up, an enlightened expression on his face. "That's it..." he mused. "It's all we can do... Hadrael may not be able to call me for assistance, but that doesn't mean that I can't call somebody..."

    The celestial insectoid looked around at his comrades. "Please, stop for a minute," he said as he descended towards the ground. "I have an idea..."

    Barachiel landed on the ground next to a large boulder. He then dropped one of his swords and held the other in his hand very precisely. The humming beam cut into the stone and carved its way around the rock. The TigerVespamon handled the sword with the utmost precision, wielding the weapon as if it were a paintbrush.

    He took minutes carving the strange design, relying only on his memory and his skill with the blade. This was something he couldn't rush. Finally, Barachiel stepped away from the boulder and eyed his work carefully.

    "An Enochian sigil. I remember it from Hadrael's teachings," Barachiel explained to the others. "I'm using it to call somebody who might be able to help. I'm calling Malak al-Maut."

    The TigerVespamon looked over his shoulder. "Azrael," he clarified. "For who better to call than one of the greatest hunters there is?"

    "The Angel of Death..."
    Last edited by Griff4815; 20th February 2011 at 4:51 PM.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 21 is up.

  10. #260
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    Azur ignored his bleeding hand, allowing himself to look at Pyra as she left, her words echoing in his mind. It made him feel guilty, yet he couldn’t find it in himself to speak. To tell her that it wasn’t her fault. How could she have known that he would react that way? And it made him feel worse when she decided to talk to Michael for them. For him.

    "They don't want our help. Why should we give it to those who don't want it?" Caradoc answered, drawing his sword as he stared out across the world ahead. "Let's save Hadrael!" With that, he took flight, Guinier reluctantly following with one glance back at Anatolia...
    Azur’s ears twitched, and he quickly turned his head to Caradoc’s direction, watching in disbelief as the Valkyrimon flew off into the sky with so much resolution and determination. Guinier following him didn’t seem as confident, but the fact that she still went after him didn’t escape him.

    What are they doing!?’ he couldn’t help but wonder, growling. And then Barachiel took off with a swift beat of his wings, drawing Azur’s attention.

    “Dammit,” he cursed as he faced them, their figures becoming smaller. “Didn’t they learn from what happened!?”

    And then came the urge to follow them, though not for the same reason that made him want to go the first time. It was an instinct that belonged more to Fenrir than his own self. It was telling him to make sure they don’t get themselves into more trouble than they had already landed themselves in or, at the very least, give them help when they will surely need it. They weren’t held down by being part of the Peacemakers anymore, and that itself, that form of estranged freedom, was a danger. But wouldn’t following them for that reason have the same repercussions as any other? Not to mention Pyra’s telling him to stay with Galic…or out of trouble, in other words.

    He was conflicted.

    The WereGarurumon cursed once more. He cursed himself for having to let down Pyra again. But at the very least, he needed someone-

    “Hey, Azur!” Scar’s voice sounded, and Azur felt a mild feeling of relief. “Ya missed quite a party!” the ShadowWereGarurumon continued as he jogged towards his blue counterpart.

    “Scharlach,” Azur called as he ran towards his cousin.

    “Hey, no need to- ack! What’s your deal!?” Scar asked in shock as Azur grabbed him by the shoulders.

    “I’m going to follow Caradoc, Barachiel and Guinier. To watch them. Convince them, maybe, or help if I can’t,” Azur said in a rushed voice. He was going to lose them if he took too long. “Tell Galic. Or Pyra. Or Michael. Whoever! I can’t just sit here and do nothing!”

    “Wait, what? What’re ya-“

    “Just do it!” Azur ordered. And with that, he spun around, and then he staggered, his eyes widening as he gasped.

    “Woah, slow down tiger! You’re gonna get a conniption if ya-“ Scar started, taking a step forward and putting a paw on Azur’s shoulder.

    “It’s nothing,” Azur told him, shrugging off his cousin’s paw. Or he hoped it was. It wasn’t a very nice feeling, and it gave him ominous feelings. And it only made him worry about Caradoc and the rest more. “I have to get going!”

    He shook off the foreign feelings that momentarily overtook his body and took on the light of digivolution with a running start. He had already taken to the sky by the time the light melted off, his MagnaGarurumon form appearing.

    Scar scratched the back of his head in frustration.

    “Well, dangit,” Scar said to himself as he folded his arms. “Here I was, going to tell ya that I was goin’ home ‘cuz the Mephisto guy’s got me worried about the dojo, and you go off without telling me what went on that you have to split like your life was on the line.” He sighed in self resignation.

    “Guess I hafta stick ‘round for a while longer,” he told himself as he turned and started to look around. “And now I hafta find someone too. I think I spotted that Pyra gal head…that-a-way,” he told himself as he started jogging down a pathway.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Shoon couldn’t help but keep looking at Tiwaz as he turned his back to the Mamemon and start walking down the road. His eyes were wide with admiration and newfound respect that rivaled the one he had for Azur. So much that Shoon decided that…

    “I have another master now,” the Mamemon X whispered with eyes that held tears, stragglers from his crying. “I…I have to follow him!” he decided as he started to run after the AncientGreymon.

    After a while, Shoon sped up, seeing Tiwaz stop so that he could revert back into a VictoryGreymon.

    “Master Tiwaz! Master Tyr!” he called out, deciding that, since Tiwaz and Tyr shared the same body, they would both be his new mentors. “Wait for me!”

    -------------------------------------------------------

    The TigerVespamon looked over his shoulder. "Azrael," he clarified. "For who better to call than one of the greatest hunters there is?"

    "The Angel of Death..."
    “Stop!” Azur’s voice rang loudly from the sky. He looked like he had run a marathon. He had taken so much time that he had lost sight of them by the time he took off, and it took him a while to track them down only by scent.

    He descended to the ground with an audible thud, but his heated gaze was already sweeping across the scene, landing on each of the dismissed members of the Peacemakers for a fleeting moment, but then steadying on Barachiel.

    “What do you’re doing!?” he asked, although he technically knew. He had heard a little of what the TigerVespamon had said: just enough of the last part to know what he was planning. He turned to Caradoc and Guinier. “What do any of you think you’re doing!? Haven’t you learned from what we did!? Don’t any of you feel guilty!?” he asked, swinging his arm in frustration.

    “You’ve made yourselves willing targets! Sitting ducks! Taking every lead that might lead you to a trap!” he told them. “Do you think that Mephistopheles won’t take advantage of your situation!? That he won’t take advantage of you trying to save Hadrael!? He’ll know what you’re trying to do! And as sure as Odin, he’s going to use it, use him against you!” he said vehemently, turning to Barachiel. “Are you willing to risk your life- no, you are. I know you are. But Caradoc’s?”

    He then turned to Caradoc, glancing at the UlforceVeedramon beside him. “Guinier’s?”

    “For Odin’s sake, try to stop and think!” he told them. And then he realized that he was the wrong person to hear that from, considering his past actions that involved thinking, or the lack of it. He let out a grunt of irritation.

    He turned to Barachiel. “Have you ever even done this before? No- do you even know what you’re doing? How do you know that this will work? How do you know that you won’t be bringing Mephistopheles to you? Are you considering the things that could go wrong?”

    His red eyes swept at the three of them. “Do any of you know what the consequences are of acting independently from the others? Just because we’ve been dismissed does not mean we’re free to do whatever we want; it just means we have less people to watch out backs! You’re not only risking your lives, but theirs as well!”

    “Do you think that none of them, none of them at all, care about any of you? Of us? How would they act, how would they feel, if we’re the ones that got into trouble because of our own foolishness!?”

    He then looked at Caradoc. “As irrational he was being, Bedivere was right about one thing, Caradoc! We can’t afford to think so narrowly anymore!”

    Panting, Azur realized that that was the most he had said in one moment in time within the last six months.
    There are stories made from the imagination. There are stories born from experience.
    There are stories told because of a need to be filled. There are stories that simply need to be told.
    This is one of them.


    “Maybe there really is a method to his madness…or maybe he’s just plain insane."
    Chapter 3: Act III is out and posted!


  11. #261
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    Azur's protest fell on deaf ears, for Barachiel was already done. A fluttering of steel wings, blades clashing against one another, rang out through the air as Azrael descended. The magnificent GuardiAngemon descended from the fading glow of the setting sun. His armor burned in the orange glare, its color looking more akin to blood than black. His eyes could not be seen behind his helmet, but his frown made evident his displeasure at being summoned. He raised a hand and blew apart the Enochian sigil carved in the rock, as if to silence its calling.

    "What?" he asked, growled, snapped, said in all-around rudeness and impatience. "What could you possibly have to on your minds that warrant taking me from my duties?" He listened as Barachiel and Caradoc explained their situation.

    "Michael was far too kind to you," he said. "I would have executed you on the spot. But then again, I am God's divine punishment, so perhaps I'm biased." He stared at the four. "Your disobedience nearly cost the lives of thousands. What makes you think that I would aid you in further tomfoolery? I have pressing duties to attend to; the Host of Heaven is trying to locate the remaining seals so that they might guard them against Mephistopheles's intentions. Do you think the life of one angel, or ten angels, or one hundred angels, or one-hundred thousand angels, is more important than that?" He floated back up into the air.

    "But please!"

    "If I could find Mephistopheles, he would be dead by now," Azrael roared angrily, more frustrated with his own inability than the incessant nagging of these Peacemakers. "But he has done a remarkable job of hiding himself completely from the Holy Host. If I were you I would forget about your friend an focus instead on preparing for war."

    And then he was gone.

    =====

    The Council was gone. They hadn't died, or left...they were simply gone. Anatolia was in chaos, soldiers were searching frantically for the Council members, though anyone would be hard-pressed to hide Digimon of their size and presence. But Michael knew, it reeked of Mephistopheles's handiwork. Somehow he hand managed to dissipate the Council, to remove any trace of them from the world.

    "Assemble the Peacemakers here," he told the nearest guard, a young Flamedramon. "Tell them to report to me in the Council's chambers right away. And send word to your military commanders; they must keep panic from running amuck in the streets. Until we find out what has become of the Council, they must take charge."

    Michael stood silently as the Peacemakers were gathered to the hall. He prayed for the wisdom and strength to see the day through to the next; he prayed for strength just to remain standing. He was beginning to lose faith, not in God, but in himself. The Holy Host was gathering its angels to decipher the locations and intents of the remaining seals, he could not take them from their efforts; it fell to him and the Peacemakers to lead the world and save it.

    "Peacemakers," he acknowledged, noticing that the four he dismissed were not present. Lucia was also not among them, but Michael didn't wish to wait any longer; it was possible that she was simply too exhausted from the battle with Conquest and her new Digivolution. "I'm sure you've noticed, but the Council is no longer present. It appears they simply...vanished." He looked to gauge their reactions; disbelief and shock hardly sufficed to describe what flashed across their faces. "I have no doubt that Mephistopheles is behind this, but I don't know what he did."

    "Perhaps I can explain," a smug voice announced from behind the group. They spun around and came face-to-face with Loki. The god strode forward. "Don't get your hopes up. I'm not really Loki, just a little spell he cast before he and the rest of the gods were banished from this plane." He took a seat on Loki's throne and flickered, like an old television picture. "See? Anyway, he left me here to explain what's happened, so you're not completely in the dark."

    "So what happened?" Samael asked, just a little bit bored with the situation. Truth be told, he didn't really care one way or the other if Anatolia had a ruling council or not; it didn't affect him. They were useful, sure, but only ever so-often when they got off their butts and started helping out.

    "Put simply? A world-spell," fake-Loki answered.

    "Put it less simply," Michael said.

    "For those not acquainted with the use of magic, a world-spell is exactly what it sounds like: a spell that affects the entire world," Loki's construct explained. "In this case, Mephisto exiled all Digimon with a fully-actualized godly spark to another plane of existence. As far as I can tell, the godly kingdoms were also subject to the spell. They simply are no longer in this world."

    "So..." Samael began.

    "You're on your own," Loki said. "And my time is just about up. Good luck, Peacemakers. Don't ruin everything." And with that, Loki's depleted construct vanished into thin air, leaving the Peacemakers once again alone.

    "Well, this sucks," Samael muttered. "And I was just getting used to these Council guys being useful. So what do we do now, fearless leader?"

    "Without the Council's backing and support of the pantheons, we're considerably less capable of responding to large threats. We need to reestablish a rulership here in Anatolia as quickly as possible. Military and civilian, if at all possible, is ideal." He turned to Galic. "Would you, or perhaps someone among the Nomads, be willing to lead in the interim? And Gunnar, your Greymon Corps commander, where is he? We need those the people are familiar with and know they can trust."

    Michael mulled over his plans, trying to figure out the best way to prepare. " Nocchi, if you can, I need you to create an elaborate string-defense around the city, something that can give us advanced warning, like a spider's web. Take Shoon with you and see if you can connect the strings to explosives as well. Vritra and Tyr...or...Tiwaz...whoever you are at the moment. I need you two to remain on watch and send a warning the minute something seems wrong." He turned to Bedivere. "Bedivere, you know the military best; I need you to go keep them organized; maintain a Peacemaker presence there. Take whoever you need...except Samael and Duo. I need to speak with them. The rest of you." He glanced to the others. "Whoever has no assignment is to get some rest. Hopefully I'll have better news for you in the morning. I'm working on something."

    Michael dismissed the Peacemakers and found Samael. "Come with me," he said, leading Samael away. "Your third eye, how does it work?"

    "Pretty well," Samael answered.

    "That's not what I meant," Michael said with a roll of his eyes. "How does it work? Can you control what it sees? What are its limits?"

    "Damn, I dunno," Samael shrugged. "It just sorta does what it does and I don't try to mess with it."

    "I need you to," Michael said. "We have nothing else to go on. If your eye can pierce through whatever veil separates us from Mephistopheles, we might be able to see where he's heading, or even where he might be."

    "I dunno, Mikey," Samael said hesitantly. "I'd need a mondo sort of powerup or some kind of-"

    "Magic?" Michael asked. "Something to boost your abilities and protect you from strain."

    "You already thought this through, haven't you?" Samael accused. Michael nodded. "Well sh*t. Fine. But where are we gonna get magic like that without Loki--Oh come on. No. You ain't serious." Michael gave him a stern look. "You are. Well damn. Just remember what happened the last time I let demons sit in my head."

    "Cresil," Michael whispered to the shadows, slightly disturbed by how comfortable he was becoming with their routine. "I trust you've overheard. So you know what must be done. I'll leave it to you two, then."

    Samael watched as Michael made his way over to Duo, then he turned back to the cluster of darker-than-normal shadows (though someone without his level of intonation with the darkness wouldn't have noticed them as such), and frowned. He could almost see Cresil's dumb smirk, he could almost hear it.

    "Alright, let's do this," Samael muttered, plopping down cross-legged onto the stone floor. "Just don't go pokin' around in my head while you're at it. There's stuff buried there for a reason."

    Michael nodded to Duo. "How are you?" he asked, though the question carried more weight than a simple greeting. "You were nearly taken by the Horseman Death, all because of your connection to this reaper-entity. I need to know what you know; what is it, and what does it want?"

    =====

    Out in the streets of Anatolia, under the light of the rising full moon, a pair of pitch-black eyes watched the scared citizens of the city scamper about. The thing behind those eyes smirked, and laughed to itself. And it sang.

    "Let us dance with the Devil on a starless night, when the blood-moon in the sky is shining bright..."

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

  12. #262
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    "Damn angels," Caradoc muttered, before glancing to Barachiel. "No offense. But still... the Host can't help us." He then looked at Azur, recalling the wolf-man's arguments.

    "What good can we do back there?" Caradoc asked, taking on a cold tone. "They've made it clear we're not wanted. The best we can do is try to save Hadrael. It's the only option we have in order to keep fighting, and it's what I want to do. I'm not leaving him suffering, Azur. I won't allow it."

    "You're right... but at the same time, you're not right..." Guinier murmured, looking at him. "Azur's right... we're not free, Caradoc. We're alone. If we get into a fight we can't win, there's no rescue, no backup. We'll die and nothing will have changed. We can't just be reckless."

    "We have to save him, Guinier," he retorted. "Do you see Bedivere, in all his high-and-mighty glory, bothering to let anything distract him from killing Mephistopheles? Or Michael? We're the only chance Hadrael has, if we leave him at the mercy of the others and their goodwill, he'll be dead before anyone gets within a mile of him. So we have no choice, Azur. We're his only hope, and I swear, I won't let him suffer or die at Mephistopheles' hands just because we failed before. What are we supposed to do? Mope around in despair just because we lost? That would make things worse. We have to take that loss and then move upwards. It's the only way to fight and win this war. Because we are fighting a war, Azrael was right about that. So we'll fight this battle and we'll win."

    "Bedivere was right, and we will think differently," Guinier murmured. "Starting with this... we'll find different ways. Ways Mephistopheles won't expect. We'll find a way to Hadrael, somehow. Mephistopheles has things so well-written that we need to find the one thing he'd never think could turn on him and give him away."

    "That's the flaw... when you're fighting a trickster, who doesn't the trickster trick? Who does he trust? Does he trust anyone?" Caradoc murmured, tracing his fingers across the stone where the Enochian sigil had been. He half-imagined angelic chanting, the holy voices, and his hand pulled away. The voices resonated for an instant and were gone as he considered. "He trusts the Horsemen. He doesn't trust his other servants, they only serve from deals. We don't know how he acts with the Cambion, or what part they play. But those groups are all out of our reach and aren't viable anyway."

    "So who does he trust, but we can twist?"

    Caradoc froze, and his hand clenched. "The flaw... it's been staring us in the face the whole time." He looked back at them with suddenly dark eyes. "The tool. Mephistopheles used a tool to manipulate events in his favor. Oaths. Contracts. He made deals. Deals with a demon were what allowed him to manipulate everything to his own will and break the seals." He turned and regarded his allies in turn. "The key to finding Hadrael was there in front of us. It's outside the box and Mephistopheles would never expect us to resort to something so desperate. It's the flaw in his armor."

    "You can't suggest this... it's wrong, Caradoc," Galahad whispered from within. "Would you damn yourself so?"

    "To find Hadrael, we need to make a deal with a demon..." Guinier realized...

    -

    "I'm on it," Bedivere nodded to Michael. "Sha, Pyra, you're with me." He left the chamber, tooking the Paildramon and Shawjamon with him.

    Vritra was almost insulted, but decided for once that not arguing was best as she left. At least she was working alongside Tyr... or Tiwaz, whichever it was. And regardless, they could help her with what she wanted to do... unleash the power of her divine spark from within... unlock her full divine power. She turned to the VictoryGreymon.

    "Tyr," she assumed. "I have a request for Tiwaz..."

    -

    "Soldiers of Anatolia." Bedivere began speaking to them, regarding the soldiers. "The Council is missing. Mephistopheles has effectively declared war on this city. But this is not war as you or I would normally understand. The weapons of this war may not be swords or bullets. They may be lies, or fear. This war is fought in our minds as much as in this city."

    "Order must be kept. If we panic, Mephistopheles will capitalize. Do not worry about him, the Holy Host are scouring the world as we speak, determining his targets and working to contain the damage he can do to them. Our concern is this city. Keeping Anatolia defended and orderly is essential. Anything unusual which occurs within this walls could well be an attack of some variety, no matter how innocent it may seem. Anything unusual is to be reported to a Peacemaker, and any investigation into unusual incidents must have a Peacemaker at hand. To do otherwise will constitute breach of orders and will be dealt with appropriately. Watch, but do not intervene until a Peacemaker is there. Am I clear?"

    "Yes, sir!"

    "Dismissed," he replied. "Watch, be vigilant and be ready..."
    [CENTER]

    Credit for the banner goes to Kamotz

  13. #263
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    The rest of you." He glanced to the others. "Whoever has no assignment is to get some rest. Hopefully I'll have better news for you in the morning. I'm working on something."
    "I guess that means me." Justin said to no one in particular. "Finally, some down time. I could use a good rest after everything that's happened."

    However, the idea of just sleeping of this chance at downtime didn't really sit well with him.

    So, he turned to the others who were basically dismissed as he was. "I don't suppose anyone has any plans tonight? I can't be the only one who doesn't want to sleep this chance away."

    ----------------------------------------------------

    Michael nodded to Duo. "How are you?" he asked, though the question carried more weight than a simple greeting. "You were nearly taken by the Horseman Death, all because of your connection to this reaper-entity. I need to know what you know; what is it, and what does it want?"
    Duo was still a bit worried about Lucia, but she had told him that she was a bit tired earlier, so she was probably getting a well earned rest somewhere. He could fill her in on what she missed later, for now, he turned to Michael.

    "I've still got a bit of a hangover, or whatever you call it when magic's involved." Duo answered. "But I'll be alright."

    Duo's gaze turned a bit downward. "As for the Reaper... I'm not really sure myself. It's been dormant for quite some time, but... since I woke up earlier I can feel it again. Its like it felt Death's power or something. I can't say for sure what it wants, but I do know that it doesn't take too kindly to being stuck in my body. It wants out, and if Mephistopheles knows about it now, then I don't know how much longer I'll be able to control its power."

    Duo sighed. "All I know about it is that it was sealed in an artifact my father stole from a sacred site. I... I stole it from him when I left, I was hoping I could return it or even sell it, but my father tracked me down. In the battle, the relic was broken, and the Reaper possessed my body. When I awoke, my father's entire company lay dead at my feet."

    Duo's gaze suddenly became stern, and he looked at Michael with all seriousness. "I do know this much though, that thing is a monster. I've managed to hold it back for now, and honestly I've been relying on its power, but if there's any chance that that thing could get out... then I'd rather be done with it. I won't use its power any more if it means that thing will have a chance at freedom. There's enough monsters in the world already."

    ----------------------------------------------------

    Anatolia would weep once more.

    Dark eyes gazed out and over the digimon who cowered in the alleyway. The crescent blade in her hands dripped with blood, crimson tear drops that reflected the pale light of the full moon.

    "What do you want from us?" cried one of the Floramon.

    The terror simply stared back, black eyes showing nothing but the depth of their own darkness. "No one is free from sin." it finally said. "All must repent for their evil ways, and the only payment for such action, is blood."

    With a single swing, the terror separated the Floramon's head from its body, taking pleasure in the feel of the blade through the body of its victim. Blood was thrown in a clean arc across the nearby wall, and a new coat began to drip from the edges of its blade.

    The other digimon began to scream as the terror began to sing once more, ignoring their pleas for mercy.

    "Shall we dance? You and I?"

    Another victim fell to the swing of the blade.

    "Beneath this midnight sky, with the moon shining bright"

    Another life passed before the dark eyes.

    "Shall we dance together, you and I?"

    Another scream cut short, another blood stain spread across the wall.

    "And dance with the Devil on this blood-moon night..."

    The final innocent was struck down, and the killer turned, with no feeling for the lives it had taken so far that night. It had only one goal in mind, to take the lives of the sinners, and every mortal had sin...

    The Dianamon left the alley, flying low along the city streets, a trail of blood and death and sorrow in its wake.

    And somewhere deep inside, Lucia was crying out for forgiveness.
    ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
    Watch your step! Sig Under Construction!

  14. #264
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    “Master Tiwaz! Master Tyr!” he called out, deciding that, since Tiwaz and Tyr shared the same body, they would both be his new mentors. “Wait for me!”
    "M-Master?" Tyr swung around in response to his name and his shocking new title. He looked down and saw Shoon running up to him.

    "Master? Us? What's he going on about?" Tiwaz asked, rather confused.

    "I-I'm not a good master," Tyr insisted, stepping back and sheepishly raising his hands out in front of him. "Tiwaz is good at that sort of stuff. He's always giving me advice... and criticism."

    "Constructive criticism," Tiwaz corrected promptly. "And just what are you trying to rope me into, Tyr?!"

    "Come on, Tiwaz, he seems to like you," said Tyr. "Didn't you have a lot of fans back when you were in the Great Ten?"

    "Sure, but what's this 'master' business?" the AncientGreymon questioned. "Oh, nevermind. Let's just find the others and be on our way."

    -

    Barachiel scowled in frustration as Azrael brushed his plea aside and flew back to his duties. Hadrael was one of them, an angel like they were. And they were just going to abandon him?

    "But the Holy Host are always concerned with the Greater Good and only that, aren't they?" he told himself. His grip was tight enough around his Royal Meisters to threaten to crush them, it seemed.

    As Caradoc began replying to Azur, Barachiel willed himself to turn away from the sigil and look back at the group as well. He remembered Azur asking whether he would risk Caradoc and Guinier's lives. "I would rather you that none of you came with me," he admitted, grimly, "but it seems that I'm not the only stubborn person here."

    He looked at Azur with a hard, unreadable expression. "Of course I feel guilty... It was because of me that you three were not there to help defend Anatolia and that's something that I can never take back. That is why I ask that you three go back. I know what I'm doing is foolish, but..." He grimaced, turning his back to them and looking away. "My home is gone... and so is my family. Hadrael is... he's the only one that I have left."

    Barachiel turned around and stared at the MagnaGarurumon. "You have no idea what this feels like... to lose everything for a second time. I can't... I won't leave him. How can I sit back while he's going through who knows what?! If he died..." The TigerVespamon trailed off and shook his head, refusing to think of the mortifying scenario.

    With his mind made up, he took to his thoughts as the others began suggesting how to find Hadrael.

    "The flaw... it's been staring us in the face the whole time." He looked back at them with suddenly dark eyes. "The tool. Mephistopheles used a tool to manipulate events in his favor. Oaths. Contracts. He made deals. Deals with a demon were what allowed him to manipulate everything to his own will and break the seals." He turned and regarded his allies in turn. "The key to finding Hadrael was there in front of us. It's outside the box and Mephistopheles would never expect us to resort to something so desperate. It's the flaw in his armor."
    Unable to believe what he was hearing, the revolted insect swung towards Caradoc and faced him. "That's insane, Caradoc!" he protested, still trying to comprehend the suggestion that came out of his mouth. "A deal with a demon?! That's completely ridiculous!"

    Barachiel wondered if it had really come to this. Were they so desperate that they would consider one of the ultimate damning evils? He wouldn't. He refused.

    "No," he declared sternly, his eyes remaining fixated on Caradoc. "I'm sorry but that's out of the question. I won't allow it. Ever. To do that would be... to give one of our souls to a demon..." Barachiel felt sick to even think about it.

    "If it meant me giving up my soul, I know Hadrael would rather die..." Barachiel said, his voice beginning to waver as he admitted it. He wanted Hadrael back, but he knew the grim reality of the situation. "If I did that... I don't know how I would ever be able to face him again. The disappointment he would feel. I would have failed him as an acolyte and a... a son."

    Ignoring the tightness in his chest, Barachiel spoke to his friend with as much determination as he could muster. "And I won't allow you to give your soul either. It was my failure... there's no way that I would let my only living friend do that for me. These are my sins to atone for, Caradoc. You have done more for me than I ever could have asked. This is simply out of the question... Just forget the idea completely and eternally. There has to be another way to find him."

    -

    "A world spell?" Tiwaz asked through Tyr. "So that's what I felt back then. Why am I still here though? Could it have been because Tyr was in control of his body at the time?"

    "Would you, or perhaps someone among the Nomads, be willing to lead in the interim? And Gunnar, your Greymon Corps commander, where is he? We need those the people are familiar with and know they can trust."
    Gunnar grinned and gave the angel a reassuring thumbs up, though he was sure Michael didn't appreciate his casualness. "I can find him for ya and give him the message, Mikeyo. Just leave it to me," he said, giving him a light-hearted, Greymon Corps salute.

    Tiwaz looked up at Michael as he addressed the VictoryGreymon, telling him to keep watch. "The gall!" Tiwaz protested. "I'm a leader. I can direct myself without your guidance, you--"

    "We'll do it," Tyr said with haste and great discomfort, overriding the wyrm's antagonism before things got out of hand.

    Michael dismissed them and the Peacemakers went their seperate ways. Gunnar left to find his ranking officer and Pyra went with Bedivere and Sha. Tyr began walking towards the exit as well, but turned as Vritra approached him.

    "Tyr," she assumed. "I have a request for Tiwaz..."

    "Uh, hey, Vritra," Tyr greeted with a slight smile. "For Tiwaz? What--"

    "What's this 'request' then?" Tiwaz asked, taking impromptu control of Tyr's body. He continued walking out of the council chambers, figuring they could talk and walk at the same time.

    Meanwhile, Kheprius stood still as many of the others left. He had been quiet since the beginning of the meeting. He looked as though he was in deep thought. It was Justin who snapped him out of his thoughts, seeming to be talking to himself and then to whoever was left.

    The GrandisKuwagamon looked over at him and shrugged. "I won't be doing much sleeping... and the only bar in the city is wrecked. Not much to do..." He looked over to the nearby HerculesKabuterimon. While he had vented on Barachiel, what the TigerVespamon said only served to make him angrier. He needed to get the weight that he felt off of his chest.

    He walked over to Gigas, hobbling slightly because of his wounds, and hailed him with a nod. "Hey, Gig, how do you feel about a sparring match? Call it a friendly rematch for that one time. That is, unless you're spending tonight with Ivy, if you know what I mean..."

    -

    Pyra walked alongside Sha as they followed Bedivere. She glanced at the Shawjamon curiously. It was rare that the two talked to each other, but she was curious about something.

    "Sha?" she asked, getting his attention. "Sorry if this seems rude, but I'm curious, is it hard for you at all? I mean, you have demonic form and an angelic form. I don't know about your past, but it must have been... something to allow you to have all these different forms. With these different evolutions, do you ever have trouble deciding where your allegiances lie? If you do, you certainly don't show it," she jested. "Before meeting you, I never would have imagined I'd see a Leviamon who's so... jolly."

    -

    Gunnar jogged through the streets, looking for his Commander. There were frightened citizens and hurried soldiers running and flying everywhere. Normally, this would have been frustrating for the ShineGreymon, but if his commanding officer was around, he would have been able to spot him from a ways away.

    He shifted his way through the masses, trying to move quickly against the horde. "Hey, watch it! Outta the way! Attractive Peacemaker coming through! Watch the tail, pal! Hey there, could I get your number?"

    "Screw this, I'm flying," he muttered to himself, getting annoyed from traversing through the sea of digimon.

    The ShineGreymon flew over their heads as soldiers below were organizing the civilians. He flew around a MetalGreymon who stood out against the crowd. Gunnar stopped in front of his face and gave his traditional salute. The MetalGreymon raised his organic hand and returned the gesture.

    "Yo, Sergeant," he greeted. "Where's Mars? Michael needs him to be a leader since the Council... you know, poofed and vanished. I have news, though: they're not dead, just... vanished."

    The MetalGreymon blinked. "Why? ...Oh, nevermind. He's in the barracks rallying the others."

    Gunnar nodded. "Awesome, thanks," he said before speeding towards the barracks.

    The ShineGreymon landed in front of the building and quickly swung the door open. He then froze in his place. Before him stood a hulk of an EmperorGreymon, looming over him with a glare.

    "...Captai-ack!" Gunnar sputtered as a large metallic arm swung out and grabbed him, slamming him into the wall of the barracks.

    He winced and looked down, seeing a Justimon's Accel Arm pinning him. It was attached to the titanous EmperorGreymon's left arm. After losing his arm fighting Ophion when the Chaos Lords devastated Avalon, he demanded to have this arm made for him so that he wouldn't be at a disadvantage during battle. He definately had the muscle mass to support the weighty arms, too.

    Gunnar grinned nervously. "S-Sorry. 'Commander Mars'," he corrected.

    "Cyndar..." Commander Mars growled. "Why haven't you found the demon yet?"

    "We're working on it..." Gunnar insisted, beginning to turn blue in the face. "That's why I'm here. Michael needs you."

    "Oh?" he asked, retracting his Accel Arm so Gunnar could speak. "How?"

    The ShineGreymon slackened and took in deep breaths now that he could stand freely. "He needs you to help lead the people of Anatolia in the Council's absence. He needs someone the people know and trust."

    "I see..." the EmperorGreymon said gruffly. "Very well."

    Gunnar quickly saluted and turned to leave, eager to get out of there as quickly as possible.

    "Corporal Cyndar!" Mars said sharply, halting the ShineGreymon in his tracks. "...I heard Koenig's back."

    Gunnar slowly turned, seeming rather nervous. "Uhh... yeah, he is."

    The Greymon Alliance commander's stare remained solid. "And I sent you to the Peacemakers as his replacement..."

    "Yes, sir..." Gunnar responded, knowing what he was getting at. He took a deep breath and faced the intimidating EmperorGreymon fully, summoning his courage. "But Commander... this is bigger than we expected. The Chess Kingdom is gone and look what happened here in Anatolia. This isn't just about who gets to represent the Greymon Alliance anymore like it was when we first started looking for the Royal Knights. The world is on the line and we Peacemakers might be the only ones who can stop it now. Would you risk letting the Demon Lods roam the digital world just because Tyr returned? I have Burst Mode, sir!"

    "Remember who you're talking to here!" Commander Mars growled. His facial features then softened slightly. "But I don't disagree with you. Very well. You can stay with the Peacemakers. Take that b*stard down for me."

    Gunnar grinned and saluted. "Thank you, sir. Will do, Commander!"

    -

    Pyra stood to Bedivere's left as he addressed the Anatolian soldiers. In the audience, she could see Dhazbog, Ulik and Sigurd standing at attention. She managed to notice Sigurd's rolling of his eyes in response to what Bedivere was saying. He was quickly elbowed by an irritated Dhaz.

    As Bedivere dismissed the soldiers, she turned to Bedivere. "What are we to do now? Organize patrols for each sector of the city? Or shall we just wait here, keep things in order and wait for updates?" she questioned.

    The Paildramon then remembered the thing that she didn't have time to talk to Michael about. "Bedivere, bias aside, do you really think that it was a good idea for Michael to dismiss Barachiel, Caradoc, Guinier and Azur? I agree that what they did was foolish and naive, but right now we don't have the luxury of pettiness. They should be punished, but now was not the time, disobediance or not. We're at a serious disadvantage against Mephistopheles as we are and those four are extremely valuable when it comes to defeating him. We can't afford to lose their power. Dynasmon X, Megidramon, Future Mode, AncientGarurumon... can we risk losing that over this?"
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 21 is up.

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    "We need to keep order, but at the same time we need to be able to cover the city," Bedivere decided. "The sight of soldiers patrolling the streets will keep the citizens reassured, and also allow us to have presence across the city in case anything does happen. Keeping order is the best way to handle Mephistopheles, if we make order and keep it, he'll find it much harder to affect us here." He paused as Pyra spoke again.

    The Paildramon then remembered the thing that she didn't have time to talk to Michael about. "Bedivere, bias aside, do you really think that it was a good idea for Michael to dismiss Barachiel, Caradoc, Guinier and Azur? I agree that what they did was foolish and naive, but right now we don't have the luxury of pettiness. They should be punished, but now was not the time, disobediance or not. We're at a serious disadvantage against Mephistopheles as we are and those four are extremely valuable when it comes to defeating him. We can't afford to lose their power. Dynasmon X, Megidramon, Future Mode, AncientGarurumon... can we risk losing that over this?"
    "When has power been of use in this fight, Pyra?" the Slayerdramon asked rhetorically. "When has the power of our bodies done a thing to prevent Mephistopheles achieving his aims? We achieved more by abstaining from using our power to intervene than we did from two days' worth of intervention. I agree, we need power when we face up to him and finish this, but until then the key element is knowing when to apply the power we possess. This is a fight of mind over matter. Barachiel, Caradoc, Guinier and Azur all proved they were too easily led into reckless intervention. They may hold powerful forms, but what use is that power when Mephistopheles can easily lead them to direct that power in the wrong way? They showed us how easily manipulated they were. They cannot be trusted to be reliable, to act when we need them to act. Until they prove trustworthy, keeping them around is asking for them to pull another stunt. For all we know, they might get something done by being loose cannons without compromising us in the process. If we can't rely on them, the better option is simply not to have to rely on them." He stopped again. "Without the Council here, we need reliability and order more than ever, and they proved that we cannot rely on them. An unskilled soldier is better than a skilled, but unreliable soldier, Pyra. I learned that from years of leading troops in battle..."

    -

    "What's this 'request' then?" Tiwaz asked, taking impromptu control of Tyr's body. He continued walking out of the council chambers, figuring they could talk and walk at the same time.
    "Conquest overpowered me," Vritra said bluntly, a harsh, cold statement, an admission. "He did so because I simply was not strong enough to match him. Because he was a god, while I may as well be mortal. I have a spark in me, Tiwaz, like you do. But that's all it is, a spark. A brief glimmer in the darkness which glows when I call, but nothing more. I need to learn how to make the spark brighter, to let it burn away the darkness." She continued walking a few more steps before continuing. "My request is this... I want you to teach me how to manifest my divine spark and become a true god, like you, like Thor, like the Council's members..."

    -

    "What other choice is there, Barachiel?" Caradoc said. "The Holy Host know nothing. The Council are gone. Each and every body of power which we might have consulted is gone. Except the demons."

    "Even so... would you really make a deal, Caradoc?" Guinier asked softly. "Would you really put a time on your life, just to find Hadrael?"

    "What alternative do I... we have?" the Valkyrimon replied. "We have no other leads, no other options. We're walking in the dark and making a deal is the only way to get hold of some kind of light. If it's the only way out, I'm willing to make that sacrifice... for Hadrael. For you, Barachiel. It's the right thing to do..." He laid a hand on the Enochian sigil again, then snatched it away even as the choir resounded again. "Abandoning Hadrael is not an option... Bedivere would do it... I won't. 'His might upholds the weak, his blade defends the helpless'... I'd sooner lay down my life than let the innocent suffer. Giving myself ten more years is the least I can do for Hadrael... I'd be proud to do so, Barachiel."

    "Just stop it!" He was suddenly grabbed and slammed down against the rock by Guinier, whose eyes were suddenly livid with rage and sadness. "Why are you trying to make yourself a martyr?! Why do you have to sacrifice yourself?! You have nothing to atone for! So why do you act like your life is worthless?! Think!" She breathed heavily, staring at him with love, sorrow and anger. "Please..."

    "Why...?" he whispered. "Why? Because we're the only ones who will, Guinier. Your brother turned his back on this. So I take up that mantle... because no-one else will. He's so preoccupied with defeating Mephistopheles, that his means of doing so have become... unforgiveable. Someone has to do the right thing... even if to him the right does not exist..."

    "You don't have to go so far..." she whispered. "He's abandoned me, Caradoc... don't you abandon me too... just because you want to be a hero doesn't mean you have to throw aside everyone who cares about by sacrificing yourself. Just think of everyone else... otherwise, you're just like the very thing you despise in Bedivere..."

    He froze, and stared, stunned...
    [CENTER]

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    Anatolia was lit by a full moon, so bright that even the stars themselves seemed to vanish. Into the night the soldiers and peace-keepers of the Anatolian military worked, patrolling along the outer walls and through moon-lit streets. The silence was deafening; most of the citizens were distraught from the day's events, others were huddled together in their homes, quaking in fear. To fill the silence, commanders called out their orders in booming voices, with their warriors answering in turn. Soldiers spoke prayers, but they were spoken to gods who could no longer hear or aid them, and a God who seemed strangely absent. Marching footsteps filled the night, echoing over the stone.

    But the new noise only served to mask the other sounds, the near-silence of perfect slaughter, of flashing blades and arrows, and screams cut off before they left the throats of the dying; gurgles and death rattles smothered by the heavy, dampening hush of moonlight.

    The moon in the streets was drenched in red, a crimson cascade of sanguine silence slipping beneath the shadow of intent. She illuminated the streets with a soft glow, made scarlet as it passed through the blood dripping from her armor. She strung an arrow and let it fly; her victim tried to scream, but found himself unable to. The moon stole his voice, and then its arrow of light ripped out his throat.

    "The full moon in the sky at zenith's height."

    She strung several more arrows and let them fly. Their silent flight ended in the hearts of any innocent Digimon unfortunate enough to cross her path.

    "Burning red up above on this starless night."

    Her scythe slashed through the silent screams of her victim, and she watched coldly as his body broke away.

    "And the wrath of this goddess will then ignite."

    She wrapped her fingers around the gasping throat of a Leomon, squeezing tight, and watching as the life slipped from his eyes.

    "When the crescent sisters unleash their blight."

    The moon lashed out, slashing her sharpened greaves through a pair of Monodramon. As they lay dying, she brought her foot down, driving the last bit of life from them.

    "Those below are ravaged by unearthly plight."

    An AeroVeedramon charged her with a silent roar, but she swung her weapon once and cut his juggular. He stumbled forward, grasping hopelessly at his throat. But he was already forgotten; the goddess turned and strung her bow.

    "As they're torn to pieces by lunar might."

    Arrows ripped through the air, piercing bodies, and eyes, and hearts; ripping life away with each flash of light.

    "So I ask you all, though consumed with fright."

    She stood over a huddling family, a lone AeroVeedramon held her Veemon children to her, hoping against all hope to protect them from this vengeful, monstrous goddess. It was for naught. The moon raised its scythe.

    "Shall we dance with the Devil in the blood-moon's light?"

    And though they screamed, there was no sound. The moon turned her all-black eyes away, and stepped silently from the scene. Nothing remained as the bodies drifted away, their data carried by lunar winds to the far corners of the earth. And the blood-stained moon continued on her path, striding silently across the stone.

    =====

    In the darkness, Mephistopheles smirked. He watched everything unfold, playing out exactly as his new plans dictated. Let it never be said that he could not improvise when the need arose. As he bound the pantheons in the Void two things had happened: he had removed several great obstacles, and a seal had broken. And now, with the eyes of the moon turned black and crying tears of murder, another seal broke.

    "It's time," he whispered. "Time to break a miracle."

    "You can call yourself whatever you want.
    Soldier. Leader. Patriot. Revolutionary. It doesn't matter.
    At our core we're all the same thing.
    Monsters."

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    "What alternative do I... we have?" the Valkyrimon replied. "We have no other leads, no other options. We're walking in the dark and making a deal is the only way to get hold of some kind of light. If it's the only way out, I'm willing to make that sacrifice... for Hadrael. For you, Barachiel. It's the right thing to do..."
    "'The right thing to do'?" Barachiel echoed in disbelief. "This is nowhere near the right thing to do! I don't want you to make that sacrifice for me, Caradoc! How would I be able to look at you knowing that it was our friendship and my failure to protect Hadrael that caused you to damn yourself? This isn't a romantic act of chivalry, Caradoc, this is making a pact with the very loathsome enemy that we're hunting."

    The TigerVespamon grimaced in frustration as Caradoc continued to make his case. "This isn't about Bedivere. And this isn't as clear cut as you make it seem. This isn't just laying down your life, it's... it's... madness! Hadrael wouldn't want this and neither do I. Please... for me, just forget the idea. As much as I appreciate the sentiment, this isn't something that I can allow you to do. I will never allow this."

    The bothered bug digimon watched as Guinier pinned Caradoc up against the nearby boulder. His first instinct was to act and try to pull her off of him, but he decided against it, hoping that she would talk him out of the idea for good.

    "She's right, Caradoc... Hadrael asked me something before he was... taken. He asked me whether it was one's actions or one's intent that made them righteous. Then he asked what was worse: somebody who did the right thing for the wrong reasons or somebody who did wrong thing for the right reasons? I still don't know the answer to that... but I do know that what you're suggesting isn't the right way. Please, listen to Guinier."

    Barachiel then dropped his Royal Meisters to the ground and sat down. "We should make camp for the night... Hopefully by morning we'll have thought of something else."

    The TigerVespamon glanced down at the pendant Hadrael gave him and clasped it tenderly. "I'll think of something, Hadrael. I promise..."
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 21 is up.

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    Guinier stepped aside, and Caradoc stood, thinking. "There's no other way..."

    "Maybe," he said, talking to Barachiel. "But I'd be the only one to suffer. It's not about chivalry, it's about decency. The longer we have to search, the longer Hadrael must suffer. Making a deal may be the only way to find where Mephistopheles is holding him captive."

    "As for the right reasons... who defines the right?" he asked. "I define the right as that which does not cause harm to the innocent. You define the right as that which does not involve consorting with demons. Who decides that, Barachiel? I'm not a part of the Holy Host. My view of what is right is different to theirs... to yours. This is the problem, the flaw in us, Barachiel. We all decide what is 'right' differently. There is no all-applying code for what is right and what is wrong. The right exists, but we all determine it differently. We draw out the lines of right and wrong for ourselves." He fell silent, staring sadly at his friend. "How do we get to choose? You say making any deal with a demon - that the very action - is wrong. I think that intent is what decides whether an action is right or wrong. Would you say the man who kills another to stop the rape of an innocent woman is wrong? Would you say that the one who gives supplies to a group of starving terrorists is right?" He paused again.

    "This is not a philosophical debate!" Guinier cried at him. "This is you deciding to sell your soul and everything you have! This is you turning your back on everyone who cares about you... turning your back on me!" He sighed and turned away.

    "What else can I do? Leave Hadrael to rot? Do you suggest I do that, Barachiel?" He remained silent for a short while. "But I agree. Making camp will give us time to clear our thoughts and think..."

    -

    The moon shone down, full yet grim. Darkness veiled the land, and the embers of a dying fire illuminated the small campsite. Azur, Barachiel and Guinier lay asleep, resting after a day of battle and fruitless search. But Caradoc rose.

    "I'm sorry," he whispered under his breath to them, particularly to Guinier. "But there is no other way to save him..." And with that, he took flight, a black spectre upon the midnight sky.

    "You can't do this, Caradoc!" Galahad spoke from within. "You can't sell your soul to a demon! There is another..."

    "You know as well as I do that by the time we find another way, Mephistopheles will probably have tortured Hadrael to insanity or death," Caradoc replied, cutting his spiritual advisor off. "This way, I minimize his suffering and only I have to suffer any loss."

    "You know that is not true. You're turning your back on those who care most about you... on Barachiel, and on Guinier, Caradoc! What's this worth to you? A stagnant, corrupted life of a few ungodly years left, counting down to the day your debt is collect? When by turning away from the demons, you could have a happier, longer life with those you care about... the knight's voice trailed off. "If you consider rescuing Hadrael by doing this to be a victory, you are sorely mistaken. This is a loss. A victory gained through dishonest means is worthless."

    "This is not dishonest... it's only so in your eyes because you hold the same views as Barachiel," Caradoc answered. "Darkness is not inherently evil, just as light is not inherently good. Why should holy and unholy be any different? Things are not compelled by their nature. If I do this with good intentions, am I really acting in the wrong?"

    "I have known of many men who started with that belief. They ended their lives at the hands of myself and my fellow knights," Galahad replied gravely. "There is a saying among the humans: the road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

    "Not for me," he replied. "I alone will walk that road. I won't become like those men. Now, please... help me. How do I do this, Galahad? How do I summon a demon?"

    "You cannot be implying that I know how to..."

    "You've read texts on demons and their weaknesses," Caradoc answered. "Yes, I do imply that you know how to summon them. Tell me, please. I have to do this."

    "There is no 'have to' about it. You 'want' to do this." If the knight were physical, he'd be shaking his head in defeat. "Very well. If you are determined, then I won't stop you. First, you must find a crossroads." Caradoc scanned the terrain below, descending and regarding it with hawk-like eyes, before spotting a crossroads and shooting down, landing upon the earth.

    "Now what?" he asked. "Do I shout and scream for a demon to appear?"

    "Make an offering... an offering of blood," Galahad murmured, obviously disgusted with the advice he was giving. "Cut your hand." Caradoc nodded slightly, drawing his sword. Slowly, he ran the blade across his palm, causing a line of red to well up across his flesh. Slowly, a droplet of crimson tears slipped from his hand and struck the earth even as the sword slid back into its sheath at his belt.

    A sudden laugh, and Caradoc whirled, seeing the demon. She bore the form of a fair Zephyrmon, but he was instantly aware of her nature by her fiery, blood-red eyes.

    "You clearly have no idea of how to do this properly... how typically stupid," she mocked, taking steps, graceful, careful, yet somehow wild and free. "But you've called me here, all alone in this crossroads. So you must want something from little ol' me."

    Caradoc stood firm, regarding the demon calmly, but with buried apprehension, before finally mustering the strength to speak. "I want to propose a deal. There is something that I want and that only a demon can provide for me." He fell silent, awaiting the demon's response.

    "Oh? A deal? I thought you called me to the crossroads for tea," she almost laughed. "Of course you're asking for a deal...Caradoc, was it? The question is, what do you want? And what can you offer me in return?"

    "How do you..." His voice trailed off, of course she knew his name. She was a demon. Underestimating her abilities was foolish to the extreme. He measured up his words carefully, before speaking again. "What I want is the location of the angel Hadrael. I want to know where Mephistopheles is holding him captive. In exchange, I offer you my soul." The words passed his lips almost too easily, to leave himself a limited period of time on this world... a prison sentence crafted by his own offering.

    "How sweet," the demon mused, running a finger across Caradoc's cheek and looking deeply into his eyes. "Your soul for poor Barachiel's father's location. Though I wonder what good that will do without the ability to reach him."

    Caradoc recoiled away, his eyes suddenly very cold. He reviled this creature, he hated it, and yet he forced himself to be as polite as he could. Having it refuse his deal would only condemn Hadrael. There was no other way. "What do you mean? The ability to reach him?" He stopped, then continued on a different topic. "And yes, my soul. It is all I truly have to give... and I am glad to be able to help Hadrael, somehow."

    "Do you really believe Mephistopheles would be so foolish as to hide where he could be reached by mortal means?" the demon asked, smiling coyly. She stepped back, her eyes never leaving his. "He has plans for Hadrael, you see. Great, big, plans. So I wonder, why would I betray Mephistopheles's location to you when your very mission is to kill him and stop what he has set in motion?"

    "I'm not interested in Mephistopheles," Caradoc retorted. "Not now. His time will come. But right now, all I'm concerned about is saving Hadrael. Once he's safe, I'll turn my attention to dealing with Mephistopheles." He stopped, regarding the demon warily. "Besides... you know I can't do that. He has the Cambion, and his soldiers. I'm just one, with three allies, against all that power." He stood for a moment, feeling the chill breeze on his skin as he just looked at the demon and considered. "With that in mind... do we have a deal?"

    "Lying is a sin, Caradoc," the demon smirked. "No deal. You want nothing more than to kill Mephistopheles. What good is one more soul to me, when soon the Inferno will flood this world and souls will be an outdated currency?"

    Caradoc froze. He stared at the demon in stunned silence. He hadn't realized this flaw, the consequential issue. He hadn't possibly thought that Mephistopheles would spread news of his plans... but that was stupid. Of course he would. Maybe he had forseen the desperation, the need, and anticipated that there were Peacemakers who would take such a course of action. By inticing his fellows with the promise of freedom, he had denied the Peacemakers their help. But still... no matter what, Caradoc had to try.

    "I want to save Hadrael just as much!" he snarled, clenching a fist, he was furious at himself and letting his anger show. "Sure, I want Mephistopheles dead, and my allies want that too. But I also know what's realistic. I don't expect to kill him, I just expect to rescue Hadrael, and I know our chances aren't high even if you give me his location. I know the chances we'll die are immense. But we have to try, and that's all... try to save Hadrael..." He paused.

    The demon laughed, full of arrogance and condescension. "Will you beg me? Will you drop to your knees and beg? From the bottom of your heart? Beg me to accept the deal? To take your soul?"

    He stood, and he considered. He let the options flash before him, eliminating each in turn. And he knew. He relented. He would not let his pride stand in the way of saving Hadrael. If begging was the only way... then it would be done.

    He fell to his knees, bowing his head. "Please..." he whispered, voice deathly. "Please... accept the deal... take my soul... just please give me Hadrael's location... it's all I want... to be able to save him... I beg of you... please..." He paused, looking up at the chill eyes of the demon, which gazed back with arrogance and enjoyment, but the knight did not let her obvious pleasure stop him. "Please..."

    The demon laughed, brushing her fingers over Caradoc's cheek once again. She stared into his desperate and begging eyes. She ran her tongue across her teeth. "I suppose that will do. But you could really learn to beg better."

    "I'm sure I can practice," the black-clad knight replied somewhat sarcastically as he stood with a grim look in his eyes.

    "Make up your mind," she scolded, tapping him lightly on the nose. He flinched slightly. "What do you want? His location? The ability to reach it? What do you want, Caradoc?"

    "If I can't reach Hadrael by mortal means, then I need the ability to reach it... but what's the use of having the ability to reach him without knowing where he is? And if I alone can use that ability, then I'd have to find and rescue Hadrael alone, without Guinier, Barachiel and Azur... this demon probably won't give up anything about it either... but if I had the ability to reach him, then I could just search with it until I found him... but that's too risky. I could run into one of Mephistopheles' soldiers first and warn him... but then again, the instant I make this deal, that demon'll probably be running to tell him what I've done..." He closed his eyes for an instant. "Damn it... the location, or the ability... which can I use more effectively... which would give me the better chance..." He opened his eyes again, looking at the demon. "Location... Ability... Location... Ability..."He thought about it, considering long and hard. He weighed over the options in his head, all the while the demon seemed bored with him. He stood, and he spoke, finally.

    "I want the ability to reach Hadrael's prison."

    "Oh, you're so dull," the demon groaned. "Boring boring Caradoc. Close-minded, too. Very well, very well."

    "I'm not here to amuse you," Caradoc replied. "I'm here to get the power to help my friend's mentor."

    "Oh but you are here to amuse me. That's all your kind is good for," she sighed and waved her hands through the air. "I will give you the ability, the sight to pierce between the veil that Mephistopheles made to separate his presence from this world. I will grant you the ability to go where angels dare not tread, into the belly of the beast. Does this suffice, Caradoc?"

    "Where angels dare not tread... figures. But at the same time... it's fitting. I'm no angel. After all that I've done... it's almost poetic..." He regarded the demon, weighing up her description. "Yes... this does suffice. I presume we have a deal, then?"

    The demon laughed. "Haha. A deal, you say? Not yet, Caradoc, not yet. We know what you get, but I have terms of my own."

    "What are your terms, then?" He had been prepared for this. But somehow, the fact this demon was setting her own terms worried him, and he had to struggle not to show it.

    "I could get in a lot of trouble doing all this for you. But I will grant you all that I promised," the demon began, stalking around Caradoc in a circle.

    "Then I'm more obliged to thank you," Caradoc replied, with a slight undertone of sarcasm. As she circled him, he kept one eye fixed on her until she stopped. She whispered seductively in his ear, enjoying the shiver of disgust that ran up his spine.

    "And I'll give you... one year."

    And then he froze.

    "One year...?!" He fell to his knees out of utter, horrific shock, even as his eyes widened. "One... year...?" He stared helplessly out across the crossroads, stunned by horror and shock. "No... Guinier... I thought..." His eyes closed and her face formed in his mind. "I can't... but I must... to save Hadrael... can I do this to her...?"

    He knelt there, consumed by the struggle between his determination to do the right thing and his love for Guinier, the two concerns waging howling war on each other in his head as the demon regarded him, awaiting his answer. "Twelve months... twelve short months... is Hadrael really... no! Of course he's worth it... I can't just abandon him..." He bowed his head, eyes still closed, Guinier's face still there, forcing him to tear through his whole self to try and justify something, accepting the deal or denying it... was it worth it? Truly? To sacrifice himself to twelve months of counting down the seconds until he was lost?

    "Guinier... Barachiel... how can I do this to them? But how can I just abandon our only chance of saving Hadrael... and she said... he was important... by saving him, we could set Mephistopheles back..." He looked back up, eyes slowly opening. "This is what... I decided. I can't just turn away from my own choice... I have to accept my own decision and stand by it... no matter what it might cost me..."

    He forced himself to his feet, forcing leaden muscles to move, and he regarded the demon with distant eyes, eyes ravaged by the thoughts tearing through his mind. And he spoke.

    "I accept your terms."

    "Of course you do," the demon smirked. "One more thing though, if you try to weasel your way out of this deal...I take everything. Your soul, your children, your lover...I get it all." She let the threat hang in the air, burning red-hot. "Now all that's left is to seal the deal."

    "Children..." There was a flicker of uncertainty, but then it was gone, crushed under his resolve. He had to do this. There was no other way... none existed. "Don't worry. I have every intention of standing by this deal." There was a bitterness in his tone, finally the lines came back to haunt him. He had sworn by the lines he would not cross, doing all he could to protect and defend the innocent, and now those very lines formed his cage, a cage holding him for one precious year before he was left adrift in a prison he would not escape... not as himself...

    He shook off the philosophy. Now was not the time. He could ponder his existence and what he would do with his year once Hadrael was safe. "Very well. How do we seal our deal?"

    The demon barely let the question slip past Caradoc's lips when she grabbed him and crushed her body against his. Her mouth devoured his, her breath forcing a passionate answer as their tongues danced and his arms wrapped around her.

    For perhaps the first time in the conversation, Caradoc was not rendered speechless by something the demon had said, but rather something she did when she kissed him. For an instant, he was frozen, unable to react as she stole a hungry kiss from his lips, holding him there for what seemed like an eternity... or maybe not. It was actually, to a very small and not-oft-heard piece of the knight's mind, a rather pleasurable experience. Then she drew away, her red eyes laughing silently. She ran her fingers over her lips and chuckled low.

    "That will do," she said huskily. "Goodbye, Caradoc. See you soon..." And then she was gone, vanished in the darkness of a blink. Caradoc gazed at where she had been in stunned silence for a few moments.

    "One year..." he murmured. "Until then..." His hand fell to his sword's hilt. "I will fight to stop your kind being freed..." And with that, he took flight, departing to return to his three allies with a head filled by turbulent thoughts...
    Last edited by storymasterb; 23rd February 2011 at 2:39 AM.
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  19. #269
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    "Nocchi, if you can, I need you to create an elaborate string-defense around the city, something that can give us advanced warning, like a spider's web. Take Shoon with you and see if you can connect the strings to explosives as well."
    "You got it, boss," Nocchi said, rolling his eyes and sarcastically saluting the archangel. Turning to Shoon, the Puppetmon motioned for the Mamemon X to follow him, muttering, "Come on, Pipsqueak. We've got a worldwide web to weave!"

    ==========

    Quote Originally Posted by Griff4815 View Post
    He walked over to Gigas, hobbling slightly because of his wounds, and hailed him with a nod. "Hey, Gig, how do you feel about a sparring match? Call it a friendly rematch for that one time. That is, unless you're spending tonight with Ivy, if you know what I mean..."
    Gigas, who was never very good at catching onto subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints, nodded his head. "Sure, Khep! I'd be glad to have a sparring match with you, buddy! Hohoho! Don't let me hurt you, though! Just call out and tell me to stop if I'm twisting anything the wrong way, okay?"

    ==========

    Sha, his lanky legs stretching into long, lumbering strides, followed Bedivere, swinging his arms at his sides and whistling a tune to the best of his ability. He was finding it tremendously difficult to whistle, however, for he had been cursed with a beak...and, as everyone knows, beaks make it incredibly hard to whistle successfully. Nonetheless, the Shawjamon persisted, and very nearly reached an almost-whistle-sound, when Pyra interrupted his slobbery attempts.

    "Sha?" she asked, getting his attention. "Sorry if this seems rude, but I'm curious, is it hard for you at all?"
    Sha looked in her direction blankly, mouth still pursed in whistle-formation. The question was random, to be sure, and he wasn't exactly sure how to answer it. "Uh...well, yeah," he began, scratching the back of his head. "Ya see, whistling, it takes practice...an' with this weird-beak-thing of mine, it's kinda hard to, ya know, whistle. But I'm gettin' there--"

    "I mean, you have demonic form and an angelic form. I don't know about your past, but it must have been... something to allow you to have all these different forms."
    A lightbulb turned on in the demon's head. "Ohhhh! An' here I was thinkin' you were talkin' about my whistling! Cha-haw!" The Shawjamon paused, allowing Pyra to continue.

    "With these different evolutions, do you ever have trouble deciding where your allegiances lie? If you do, you certainly don't show it," she jested. "Before meeting you, I never would have imagined I'd see a Leviamon who's so... jolly."
    Their walk continued in silence, with Sha conjuring up an answer of some sort. In truth, though, he was asking the same questions of himself, and he wasn't sure exactly how to answer them. Turning back to Pyra, he said, "Well...when I was young, everything went well for me. But then I screwed up, an' that's when I got turned into the big ol' alligator."

    He sighed, shrugging his shoulders. "That was when I was at my worst. Everyone I met was afraid of me, and any strong Digimon I met tried to kill me...because I was a monster. An' because of that, I became a demon, through an' through." Sha stopped here and chuckled grimly. "I played the role laid out for me, because I didn't think there was any other way. But ya see, there was another way...an' it took me a while to realize that. Ya know why?"

    The Shawjamon didn't give her time to reply. He simply continued, "I had to realize that the only way I was gonna get outta that mess was if I made myself a way out of it. So I did." He chuckled, lifting his Digi-Core necklace up slightly, drawing the Paildramon's attention to the jewelry around his neck. "I made this necklace out of the Digi-Cores of demons...I guess you could've called me a demon hunter, or somethin'. That's pretty much what I did...collectin' Digi-Cores. Finally, I'd gotten enough to forge this little seal here, an' it keeps me from going Leviamon all over the place."

    Sha shrugged. "As far as my other forms go...I guess those're just leftovers from my past. I mean, I was an angel and the son of a god...so, yeah. Guess that might kinda explain that. But...anyway, about your real question...I think I picked an allegiance with you guys because I was so fed up with bein' cursed...an' even though I know I can't do anything about it, I feel like it's what I was placed here for."

    The Shawjamon grinned. "I think I always knew that I had a bigger purpose, even as a Leviamon, so I just held onto what little hope I had...an' that hope just one day expanded a hundredfold."

    The frogman broke into a loud guffaw. "Cha-haw-haw-haw! I have no idea if I answered your question or not... Haw!"

    ==========

    "Nyahahahahahaha!" Nocchi cackled maniacally, spreading his strings every which direction. He was literally flinging them now, but not wildly. He placed each string with precision, and a clear plan and layout in mind. He knew what he was doing. Nocchi grinned. After all, he'd been playing with strings for years.

    When he had finished, he walked over to a place where Shoon was hanging by a thread (literally). The Mamemon X's toes had gotten snared in one of Nocchi's strings. The Puppetmon sighed and shook his head. "Nyehhh...works like a charm...but I was hoping none of our people would get caught in it."

    Nocchi released Shoon from the string, letting the little bean-monster fall to the ground. As Shoon rose, the Puppetmon placed his hands on his hips and exclaimed, "Like what ya see, Shoony? This is what I call a masterpiece! Nobody will make it into Anatolia now without me knowin' about it! Nyahahahahahaha!"

    (Credit for the banner image goes to All0412 from DeviantArt!)

    Chapter Three: The Seashore House
    "Do you guys have any milk?"
    "No, but we have soda pop."
    "How about some fresh water?"
    "Fresh out. Would you like a soda pop?"

  20. #270
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    "Would you, or perhaps someone among the Nomads, be willing to lead in the interim? And Gunnar, your Greymon Corps commander, where is he? We need those the people are familiar with and know they can trust."
    Galic gave a respectful nod, looking as oblivious as he always was when he was stretching his senses to their extremities. “I shall ask the High Council, and if they cannot spare anyone of desirable expertise, then I would be honored to do so,” he told the angel and started to take leave. He had much to think about. First and foremost, he had to find out the whereabouts of his oldest living apprentice and his companions.

    As he left, another canid Digimon began to approach Michael. Scar waited patiently for Michael and Duo to finish their conversation, arms folded and observing everyone else begin to leave.

    “Man, this thing is really messed up,” he muttered to himself as he overheard the pair’s conversation. “Reapers, gods, demons, ancient spirits in relatives’ bodies. It’s like I got sucked into some sort of book or game or something.”

    He let out a smile when the two finished talking. “So, guess you two are done? Cause I got some info for Mr.I’m-not-here-ta-make-ya-feel-better angel,” he said. “My cuz went off to go follow, uh, Cara, Guin, and Barky. Dunno what they were gonna do, but Zur wasn’t looking happy ‘bout it. Anyway, I told you what he asked me to tell ya, so, uh, I’m done.”

    The ShadowWereGarurumon then turned thoughtful, or as thought as he could look. “Well, maybe not. Since you guys seem to have lost a couple of hands, maybe I could fill in for one of ‘em spots? I was gonna leave for the dojo back home, but you guys need all the help you can get right now, yeah? I might not look much, but I ain’t the master swordsman back home for nothing.”

    He then turned to Duo. “And man, you got it tough, don’cha?” he said, although his smiling expression might have done little to convince the Gaiomon of his thoughts. “You’re possessed by some serial killer or something, and your girlfriend – that’s the Lucia girl, right? – is off somewhere doing god knows what.”

    “You know what ya need? A good, hard drink,” he said, landing an arm around Duo’s shoulders. “Or maybe a nice fight to get rid of your stress. It always worked on the rowdier bunch of students; might work for you!”

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Once again, Aeria found herself useless in the situation. Michael hadn’t even grouped her with the other two Greymon on lookout duty. She rubbed her arm and sighed, thinking of Michael’s suggestion for everyone that wasn’t called to get some rest. But at the moment, she didn’t really need the rest since she had taken to the palace right after the battle to get some.

    "I don't suppose anyone has any plans tonight? I can't be the only one who doesn't want to sleep this chance away."
    The WarGreymon raised her head, looking at the SuperStarmon that had called to the rest of them. She looked at everyone else. As cold as it sounded, she felt a tiny bit of relief that she wasn’t completely alone.

    It was then that she realized that there wasn’t really anyone in the group that she knew or at least talked to other than Ivy, and even then, those were short conversations out of need rather than of leisure. However…

    “Um, Ivy?” she called out. She bit her lip, wondering how she could even start a conversation. She decided on something simple. “I think I forgot to thank you. For the herbs, I mean. Back at the mission,” she started off, trying to keep herself from stuttering.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    "Alright, let's do this," Samael muttered, plopping down cross-legged onto the stone floor. "Just don't go pokin' around in my head while you're at it. There's stuff buried there for a reason.
    “Dear Cain,” Cresil’s voice echoed from behind the Beelzemon. Cresil walked through the shadow where he hid. His expression, however, wasn’t normal. His eyes were hard and cold, his lips tight and unsmiling. “You’d be surprised at the things I already know about you. But that has nothing to do with what I have to do right now,” he said bluntly.

    The Astamon started circling Samael, his eyes never looking at the demon. He raised his hand inside the circle he was beginning to make around Samael using his footseps and let it move in various shapes. As he did so, dark colored lights – bloody red, harsh violet, jungle green, deep and dark blue, and all other malicious-feeling shades – started to follow with his hands. They started to form runes and symbols, and soon, Samael was surrounded by them. “The goat has given me yet another source of magic, as loathe as I am to take it. A world spell, ingenious and effective as it is, leaves only so much excess magic to use, if only for a short while.”

    He then stopped for a few seconds. “For personal reasons, I’ll be taking a much more…active role from now on.”

    With Samael almost surrounded by a wall of darkened runes, Cresil turned to him, his eyes piercing and dark. “It is fortunate that you are no stranger to pain, Cain. The spells I’m going to use isn’t for the light hearted. Overkill, perhaps, but I haven’t been known for doing things half-heartedly,” he told the other demon as he formed the last symbol.

    He then swung his arm, and the runes started to swirl around Samael’s form like a typhoon of symbols. Instead of glowing, they looked like they were absorbing light, and they started to get closer to Samael. And then in a split second, they all rushed towards Samael’s head where his third eye was.

    “If you have a migraine, that means the spell worked. While your eye sight was already great, this might have augmented your eye sight a bit more. You get to see how uglier everyone is,” he said, his malevolent grin on his facial features.

    He then turned around. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other uses for this temporary source of magic,” he said as he started to walk back to the shadows.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Shoon fell down with the grace of a brick, complete with the sound of metal meeting ground. As he stood up, only a little worse for wear, he looked at the Puppetmon. "Like what ya see, Shoony? This is what I call a masterpiece! Nobody will make it into Anatolia now without me knowin' about it! Nyahahahahahaha!"

    "It's-it's-it's...unbelievable!" he answered honestly. "Galic told me a lot about your strings, but seeing them in action is absolutely amazing! What material is it made of? How durable is it? Is it elastic? Did it really cut that chaos guy like Galic told me it did?" he asked as he looked at one of the strings that fell in his hands for a few seconds before Nocchi pulled it back up.

    After getting a replu and a little while later, they continued on with their meandering. That meant that the young Mamemon X then found himself drawn back to the reason why he had been so distracted enough to have caught himself in one of Nocchi's traps in the first place. Or at least what had distracted him long enough.

    Shoon followed Nocchi gingerly, his eyes wide and eager. He was finally doing something useful! Now if only he could get his eyes off of Nocchi’s hammer.

    The Mamemon X’s fingers twitched. He wanted to touch the Puppetmon’s weapon, if only to find out how it worked. Of course, if he could take it without Pinocchio finding out, well, then it wouldn’t have been quite his fau-

    No! No!’ he thought to himself as he shook his head – which consisted of his whole body. ‘Heroes do not steal!’ And then he had to open his eyes and look at it again.

    “Ooooh,” he whispered to himself, still walking behind the wooden trickster. “The handle is surely made of metal and is most likely durable. It doesn’t even look slightly bent or dented. And head looks like a revolver piece of a gun…does it shoot bullets? Does it improve impact? Or is it only for design?” he asked himself in low tones so that Nocchi wouldn’t hear.

    He then stopped. “I just gotta know!” he shouted, waving his hands in the air. Undoubtedly, Nocchi must’ve heard him. He then blinked when Nocchi turned to him. “…I said nothing!” he declared, a finger in the air to make a point.

    “I wasn’t thinking of anything bad! I was thinking, that, uh, maybe we should, uh, make more of the traps! Yes, we should! Let’s go at the less defended areas of the city! Or maybe the more significant ones! Like the palace! But we just came from there, so maybe somewhere else like the gates! Yes!” he said as he dashed at him and started pushing him towards the direction of the city entrances. “That’s what I was thinking! Not about your hammer and how I want to dismantle it! Nope! Certainly not that!”


    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Azur opened one of his eyes when Caradoc left. Years of living with his brother – who had the tendency to sneak out as soon as he woke up – had already given him the unfortunate fate of sleeping lightly if he wasn’t quite so tired. He had heard the Valkyrimon’s words of apology and his excuse. The WereGarurumon considered it his excuse, at least. People were often drawn into saying such things because they want justification of what they’re doing…and it turned Azur sour.

    He pushed himself off of the ground to stare at the direction that Caradoc had flown off to. He was sorely tempted to follow the Valkyrimon, but he wasn’t quite so sure he could convince him to do anything. Not when Guinier and Barachiel couldn’t.

    The WereGarurumon looked at the two sleeping figures. Azur was close with neither of them, but he felt their need to keep Caradoc from making what he thought was the biggest mistake of his life. He sympathized most with Guinier.

    Caradoc was being insensitive to her. The people she saved condoned what she had done in the past and glared at what she had recently done. Her brother had forsaken her. And now he planned on bringing himself out of the picture, leaving her alone. Much more, she would lose someone she loved, and that was a pain that he didn’t wish for anyone to have to endure.

    Barachiel asked him if he knew how it felt to have everything ripped away from you. He did, if only for just a moment…that one moment when someone dear to him died.

    Dunkelheit.

    For a great majority of his life, the Cerberumon had been the center of his whole world. While Galic and, to a degree, Pyra had taken parts of it, Dunkelheit undoubtedly had been the one most important person in his world. He knew part of the Barachiel’s pain of having that focus torn apart, leaving behind a large hole in his world.

    And now Caradoc was planning on doing the same to Guinier, regardless of how she felt.

    He clenched his fist. Leaning against a nearby tree and folding his arms, he would wait for the Valkyrimon. And Caradoc would know that Azur knew that he had gone off that night. He would at least suspect that he had done that night.
    Last edited by Tundra_Wolfmane; 23rd February 2011 at 6:47 PM.
    There are stories made from the imagination. There are stories born from experience.
    There are stories told because of a need to be filled. There are stories that simply need to be told.
    This is one of them.


    “Maybe there really is a method to his madness…or maybe he’s just plain insane."
    Chapter 3: Act III is out and posted!


  21. #271
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    A lone Kokuwamon sat on a small wooden stool in a room. Bandages were tied across his metal chest and his eyes were moist with tears. If he had a nose, he might have noticed the scent of candles and fresh herbs inhabiting the room. Instead, he looked towards the door of the room impatiently.

    His head and hands sparked from pure terror, sorrow and worry. A tear fell down his face and dropped onto the stone floor. He quickly tried to wipe the trickle from his face using his arm.

    The Kokuwamon hopped off the stool and stood rigidly as he heard footsteps walking towards him from the other side of the door. As the door began to open with a creak, the young digimon looked forward with anticipation. In the doorway stood the silhouette of an single angel standing before him.

    "You shouldn't be up," the Angemon spoke gently, but with a tinge of sympathy hanging onto his tone. "Your wounds are still healing."

    "I-I'm fine," the Kokuwamon insisted hurriedly. "Did you see them? Where are they? Did you find them?" he asked fervantly.

    The celestial digimon looked down slightly. "...You should rest, Terrak."

    "Tell me!" the Kokuwamon said angrily, stepping forwards. "Please, Mister Hadrael!"

    The Angemon grimaced slightly. "...I am very sorry," he spoke bleakly, unsure how to tell the young digimon. "I looked everywhere throughout the ruins. I found nobody."

    "You have to look again! They're... they're out there! I know it!" Terrak pleaded as tears streamed down his face. "Mom and Dad are okay! So is Khep! I just know it! I... just..."

    After his voice choked up, Terrak shut his eyes tightly and fell to his knees. Hadrael looked at him with great sadness and pity. From the moment he found Terrak unconscious in the forest, lying near the ruins of the decimated village, he knew that he was the only one left alive. All that remained were levelled houses and incinerated trees. There were no other signs of life. Hadrael had come to the grim realization that Terrak was now completely alone in the world.

    The Angemon kneeled in front of him. "I'm so sorry... There's nobody left..." he spoke.

    The Kokuwamon grimaced and slowly shook his head. "...No," he replied, opening his eyes. "No!" he glared.

    Hadrael grimaced. "I'm sorr-"

    "No!" Terrak shouted angrily, glaring at him. "You're lying! They're still out there! You have to be wrong! They're not dead!" he yelled.

    Hadrael didn't respond. He merely looked at Terrak with sympathetic eyes.

    "They're not dead!" he shouted again, running at Hadrael. He swung his sparking metal claw forwards, trying his hardest to punch Hadrael.

    The Angemon raised his left hand effortlessly caught Terrak's hand with his own. He went on to raise his right hand and gently place it on the side of the Kokuwamon's face, wordlessly trying to reassure him.

    Terrak kept forcing his arm forwards with every inch of his might, but Hadrael's arm wouldn't budge. It was then when he felt the warmth of the Angemon's hand on his face, did he relent. His arm quivered as he slowly retracted it. Terrak slowly looked up at Hadrael, his wet eyes resting on the Angemon's face. He then burst into tears and wrapped his arms around Hadrael's waist, pressing his face into the angel's chest as he sobbed uncontrollably.

    Hadrael frowned and placed his right hand on the back of Terrak's head, patting it consolingly. With a gentle, heartfelt voice, he spoke.

    "It's going to be okay, Terrak..."

    -

    Barachiel woke up to find the stars flickering from above him. The next thing he noticed was that his eyes were wet and that he had been clutching the two pendants on his necklace tightly.

    "A dream..." he thought, loosening his grip. "Those words, Hadrael... when you said that to me as a Kokuwamon, deep down I knew that you were telling the truth. It was because of you that I had hope, even in the darkest of days. It's because of you that I'm the digimon I am today."

    He looked up at the twinkling stars. "But now... I'm finding it harder to remain hopeful. Mephistopheles is growing stronger and I don't know how to rescue you. I'm ashamed to say so, but what Caradoc suggested - the deal with a demon - almost seemed appealing to me for a second, if only so that I could find you. I couldn't do it though. I refused to give into the temptation. It would be a disgrace to everything you taught me- everything you did for me. Afterall, you saved me..."

    "But how do I save you?" Barachiel asked. "I don't know what to do..."

    Out of the corner of his eye, the TigerVespamon noticed a shadow lurking under a nearby tree. He almost reached for one of his swords, but he remained still upon noticing that it was Azur. He wondered why he wasn't asleep like the rest of them.

    Barachiel relaxed his body, shrugging it off. "I guess he must be standing watch, he figured. "He doesn't have... to do... that..." With that the exhausted insect knight drifted back into the realms of sleep.

    -

    Pyra listened carefully to Sha's words, taking in what he told her. She imagined that that must have been very hard for him, being forced to be a Leviamon all the time. It was miraculous to her that he managed to keep such a sunny disposition all the time.

    She grinned as he finished and began chaw-hawing. "Yes, you did answer it. Thank you, Sha," she told him. The Paildramon placed her hand on his shoulder. "And I think you do have a greater purpose. I mean, you're with us now, trying to stop the apocalypse, right?"

    -

    "Sure, Khep! I'd be glad to have a sparring match with you, buddy! Hohoho! Don't let me hurt you, though! Just call out and tell me to stop if I'm twisting anything the wrong way, okay?"
    "Yeah, likewise," Khep said, stifling a wince as he slid into his GranKuwagamon form. "I'll try not to beat ya senseless this time, if I can help it. And no 'ughays' this time, got it?"

    He led Gigas out into the front courtyard, which was wide and open enough to accommodate both of their large forms without risking doing damage to any buildings. As soon as Gigas got out into the courtyard, without warning, Khep raced towards him.

    He shoulder-checked the HerculesKabuterimon in the gut and grabbed hold of one of his four wrists. Khep then swung his pincers low and tried to take Gigas' left leg out from under him, hoping to cause him to fall. However, he under estimated Gigas's sheer weight and fortitude, seeing as Khep failed to budge him. He knew that he had to strike directly behind Gigas' kneecap as he tried to fell him.

    As Khep struggled, he spoke. "I still don't get you, Gig..." he said in a strained voice. "Ever since the Siege, this has been bugging me; no pun intended. Last time we fought, I surrendered but you wouldn't take me in because you said I was your friend. Prior to that, all I ever did was insult you, yet you still considered me a friend. Why?"

    He used his other arm to grapple with one of Gigas' oncoming claws. "I don't deny that right now, you're my only friend aside from Samael and possibly Trowa and Pyra, but I have to know: why?" he asked, forcing himself to push Gigas with all of his might. "Why didn't you see me as the selfish monster like everyone else rightfully did?"

    -

    "When has power been of use in this fight, Pyra?" the Slayerdramon asked rhetorically. "When has the power of our bodies done a thing to prevent Mephistopheles achieving his aims? We achieved more by abstaining from using our power to intervene than we did from two days' worth of intervention. I agree, we need power when we face up to him and finish this, but until then the key element is knowing when to apply the power we possess. This is a fight of mind over matter. Barachiel, Caradoc, Guinier and Azur all proved they were too easily led into reckless intervention. They may hold powerful forms, but what use is that power when Mephistopheles can easily lead them to direct that power in the wrong way? They showed us how easily manipulated they were. They cannot be trusted to be reliable, to act when we need them to act. Until they prove trustworthy, keeping them around is asking for them to pull another stunt. For all we know, they might get something done by being loose cannons without compromising us in the process. If we can't rely on them, the better option is simply not to have to rely on them." He stopped again. "Without the Council here, we need reliability and order more than ever, and they proved that we cannot rely on them. An unskilled soldier is better than a skilled, but unreliable soldier, Pyra. I learned that from years of leading troops in battle..."
    Pyra frowned at what Bedivere said. "That may be true... but that doesn't change the fact that we will need them eventually. With Loki gone, our tricks have become very limited. We can interrupt Mephistopheles' plans, but he still has power of his own. We will need power to overcome the Horsemen because without power, we can't protect anything..." she said firmly, unable to forget the weakness she felt after the Siege of Avalon and her subsequent abuse of the power that she gained.

    "We'll need them eventually, Bedivere. I just hope, for our sakes, that they're around when that time comes..." the Paildramon said. Pyra then her head towards the south end of the city. "...Come on. It won't do any good if we're all in one place. We should spread out and take different parts of the city. I'll take the south end. Bedivere, why don't you take the north? And Sha, that leaves you with the central market district. This way, there's a greater chance of us hearing something."

    With that, Pyra flew into the air and soared over the buildings towards the southern area of the city. She flew through the night sky, watching over the soldiers and civilians below.

    The Paildramon moved to dive down to the streets, but a noise caught her attention before she could. Screams.

    Pyra's eyes widened and she jerked her head in the direction of the cries. She dove diagonally towards the streets, hoping to make it in time. The Paildramon's stomach churned upon seeing particles of data dispersing into the air above the dark street.

    As she neared, she saw a wounded Digmon crawling away from a white armoured figure. Though it was dark, the form felt very familiar to Pyra, as if she had seen it recently. It was when the digimon raised her scythe-like weapon did Pyra realize the horrifying realization. It was a Dianamon, like she saw when she fought Conquest earlier.

    Beholding who the person was caused her heart to freeze to its very core. "L-Lucia?!" she shouted. "Cable Catcher!"

    Pyra acted quickly before the Dianamon could make the killing blow. Cords shot out from her right hand and wrapped around Lucia's bloodied arm, holding it back from striking. The Dianamon turned her head to face her coldly.

    "Lucia!" Pyra shouted in horror. "What do you think you're doing?!"

    Lucia replied with a powerful swing of her arm, yanking Pyra through the air towards her with incredible strength. She pulled her arm forwards, preparing to swing the weapon back to strike Pyra. As the Paildramon was drawn closer, she looked into her eyes, seeing only enlarged, desolate, black pupils.

    Pyra began retracting her claws and Lucia swung swung her blade. The spike on Pyra's wrist shot out and she crossed it in front of her before swinging it out. By doing this, she bashed Lucia's weapon to the side before the blade could connect and also propelled herself away from the Dianamon. "Lucia, what's the matter with you?!" Pyra demanded. "You're killing innocent civilians?!"

    As it looked like Lucia was about to draw an arrow to shoot at Pyra, the Paildramon sneered and placed her hands on her hip-mounted cannons.

    "Desperado Blaster!"

    -

    "Conquest overpowered me," Vritra said bluntly, a harsh, cold statement, an admission. "He did so because I simply was not strong enough to match him. Because he was a god, while I may as well be mortal. I have a spark in me, Tiwaz, like you do. But that's all it is, a spark. A brief glimmer in the darkness which glows when I call, but nothing more. I need to learn how to make the spark brighter, to let it burn away the darkness." She continued walking a few more steps before continuing. "My request is this... I want you to teach me how to manifest my divine spark and become a true god, like you, like Thor, like the Council's members..."
    Tiwaz arched his eyebrow and turned to face Vritra as they took flight towards the city wall's ramparts. Given the animosity she showed him when they first met, this was the last thing he expected out of her. He frowned pensively as he gave it some thought.

    "I will," he finally said. "...Under the condition that you agree to actually take my advice. I'm not going to waste my time with you if you ignore me because you don't hear what you want to hear. I'm also warning you now; I'm not going to go easy on you. It's a difficult process and you may very well have to alter your entire way of thinking. I've been known to be a bit of a mean drill instructor when it comes to this sort of thing."

    "'Taskmaster' also fits," Tyr innocently added.

    Tiwaz struggled not to growl. "...That said, I measured your godly spark when we first met and, while immature, it definately has potential."

    The VictoryGreymon landed on the parapet. "I will take you up on your request. Now I suggest you stand back," he told her. Tiwaz took a step back and placed his hands on the stone. With an orange glow, his form grew, expanding into that on AncientGreymon. Like a phoenix reborn, Tiwaz outstretched his fiery wings and subconsciously posed on top of the parapet.

    "Yeah, right then," he spoke curtly, turning towards Vritra. "The first and foremost lesson is your attitude. I don't mean your personality, though that could use some work too, but I'm talking about your view on what the nature of fire is," Tiwaz explained. "You view it on such simple terms. You think it's just a wild element that can only spread and destroy. Such close-minded thinking will only hurt you, understood?"

    The wyrm of flame sat down on the rampart and observed Vritra. "Fire is so much more than just that. It's--" Tiwaz cut himself short as a sound entered his ears.

    Tiwaz immediately stood to his feet and wrenched his head towards the city of Anatolia. "Shh," he ordered, listening very carefully. "...Do you hear that?"

    In the distance, he heard several dim popping sounds repeating one after another. "...It's weapon fire!" he realized, scrambling off the wall and flying into the air without a second thought. He looked over his plated shoulder at Vritra while arching his wings so that he dove. "Move it!" he demanded. "They might be back!"

    Tiwaz flew as fast as he could towards where the gunfire was coming from. He heard it get progressively louder as he hurried, telling him that he was heading in the right direction. The AncientGreymon flew over a row of homes and saw the adjacent street flickering from from the rapid muzzle flashes.

    The goggle-wearing dragon looked down and saw Pyra facing off with an unknown digimon. Tiwaz growled. "Pyra! Get back!" he shouted.

    Pyra looked up and saw the fiery digimon approaching. "Tiwaz, wait!" she yelled, trying to talk over her attack.

    "Omega Corona!" he shouted. Tiwaz unleashed three streams of fire, one from his mouth and two from his dorsal cannons. The flame coalesced into one massive ball that Tiwaz released.

    "No," Pyra thought, forced to jump back to avoid the attack.

    Lucia turned gracefully and swung her scythe down as the fireball engulfed her. While the attack consumed her, she released a blade of energy from her own weapon. It cut through the fire and collided with Tiwaz's breastplate, pounding against his armour and knocking him back.

    The night sky was lit up by the explosion of his attack and many screams sounded out in the distance. The portion of the street was scorched black but the Dianamon remained unfazed.

    "Tiwaz! Vritra!" Pyra shouted. "That's Lucia! I don't know what happened! She started going on a killing spree!"

    "Whaaaat?!" the fire god demanded in shock and fury.
    Last edited by Griff4815; 24th February 2011 at 6:16 PM.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 21 is up.

  22. #272
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    "What have I done?"

    The four words echoed in Caradoc's mind as he hovered there against the night, unseen against the black clouds roiling over the stars. He gazed down, regarding the camp below as he thought.

    "I sold my soul... I have one year... but I did it for a good cause," he reasoned. "Surely I've done the right thing... it's to save Hadrael! He clenched a fist tightly. "A victory gained through dishonest means is worthless, he said... but is this truly dishonest? I've been true to myself. I will fulfill my terms and then allow her to fulfill hers in a year's time." He turned his gaze upwards at the stubborn clouds, hanging over him like veils of sin. "I can't start to regret what I've done, or I'll be crippled... I made the deal, and now I live with it." He turned his eyes downwards once more and began to descend, but as he did so, he couldn't help but wonder if he had really done the right thing.

    He touched down silently, and was immediately confronted with something. He scanned the ground, seeing Barachiel and Guinier lying asleep... but where was Azur? The dark knight turned on his heel, hand on sword's hilt, but then he spotted the wolf-man. Azur's eyes glared at him angrily, and Caradoc stared right back, relaxing slightly. But he was struck by the rage he saw in his fellow exile's eyes.

    "Is there something you want to say?" he challenged...

    -

    Bedivere shook his head slightly. "I'd like to hope too, Pyra, but when we must fight with order... chaotic elements like them just can't be trusted to act according to plan. But then... I guess chaos is everywhere. You say something like 'all present objectives have been cleared', and then a white knight comes charging from nowhere to ruin everything... that's chaos." He paused as she suggested a formation of watch. "Good luck. I'll see you once this is over." With that, the Slayerdramon swooped away, heading for the northern sector. His eyes regarded the streets below as he drew his swords from the air.

    "Caradoc... you're such a fool," he pondered. "If you'd just remain in line and act according to plan, you'd be fine. Why do you persist in making trouble? What is it that makes you so determined to tear up our strategies and go off on your own tangent?" He turned his gaze across the sky to the horizon. "And you drag others down with you, suggesting some foolhardy cause... freedom of an oppressed man... justice for something or other... and then they rally in with you like your knights, all bearing your flag! Just because you're so determined to play the white knight..." He laughed slightly. "Reckless heroism will only end up dragging you back into the sin you tried so hard to escape before... it's tragic. And if those fools want to be dragged in with you... so be it. I won't stop them..."

    -

    "Fine," Vritra said. "As long as I can defeat Conquest... I'll do what it takes." She touched down beside Tiwaz, stepping away into the air with wings outstretched as she watched him take AncientGreymon form. He began to speak, and she was readying and answer when the sound of gunfire met her ears. Both Greymon snapped their heads towards the sound, and then trailing flames they burst towards it.

    Seeing the Dianamon, flashes of light gleaming from the goddess's scythe, Vritra gave a snarl and flames burst from her pores. "X-Evolution! WarGreymon X!" She erupted from the flames, coated in armor, drawing her Dramon Destroyers with flashes of silver moonlight bouncing off the blades.

    "Dragon Crusher!" She plowed into the Dianamon, who swung her scythe and met the claws Vritra sent towards her heart, before launching backwards in a flip kick which ripped the edge of her greaves across Vritra's bare arm just above her gauntlet, drawing blood. Landing nimbly, the Dianamon neatly evaded more slashes and bolts of flame, gleams of light bouncing from her armor, somehow darkened and diminished as they reflected.

    "That's Lucia! I don't know what happened! She started going on a killing spree!"
    Vritra glared back at Pyra. "What?" Sparks flew suddenly as she was forced to block a vicious swing of Lucia's scythe with her gauntlet. The goddess rushed, swinging into a kick which would stab her bladed greave into Vritra's gut, but the flame goddess called fire to her hand. "Terra Force!" Flame howled from her grip and clutched at Lucia, hurling her backwards. The WarGreymon X stared down the Dianamon as her two allies moved up behind her.

    "No matter who you are..." Vritra hissed, flames starting to burn around her. "If you oppose me... then you'll burn!" She exploded forwards, vernier boosters howling, and Lucia met her in a flash of liquid moonlight from her scythe, arrows of silver tearing through the air. They riccocheted from Vritra's armor, stuck into flesh or else missed and struck for Tiwaz and Pyra, but Vritra was uncaring as she met the Dianamon, burning claws meeting quicksilver moonlight scythe in a dazzling array of golden flame and silver light...
    [CENTER]

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  23. #273
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    Tiwaz watched angrily as Vritra and Lucia swapped blows with one another. There was no way that he could intervene without risking hitting Vritra too. He beckoned over to Pyra while trying to stay focused on Lucia.

    "Pyra! What do you mean she started a killing spree?!" he demanded.

    Pyra shook her head. "I don't know. I heard screams and I found her covered in blood and ready to kill a Digmon. That's when I intervened."

    "But why?!" he asked. "Is it a dark evolution?"

    "She seemed fine in that form earlier," Pyra responded, her spikes still at the ready.

    "Is she one of the Horsemen?" Tiwaz pressed.

    "I don't know. It seems improbable, but..." Pyra grimaced. "She's been under a lot of strain with her losing her kingdom and with Duo almost being turned into a Horseman. Do you think she...?"

    "No. She wouldn't do this," Tiwaz reassured. "...Damn it. I need to get the others!"

    Tiwaz reared his head back and sent three large fireballs high into the sky.

    -

    Barachiel opened his eyes, waking up after a calmer sleep. He turned his head and looked across the landscape to find the tip of the sun sticking out over the horizon, casting a warm glow in the fading night. He sat up and stretched his arms and wings, which were stiff from sleeping on the ground.

    He brushed some dirt off of his scarf before looking around. Barachiel noticed that Guinier was still asleep but Caradoc was not in his usual spot next to her. He turned and saw Caradoc not far off.

    "Caradoc?" he asked, trying to sound as ungroggy as possible. "Did you sleep at all? You look exhausted... If you were up standing guard, I would have been happy to take your place," the TigerVespamon told him.

    "I don't want to wake Guinier up yet, but we need to discuss how we're going to find Hadrael today. I had an idea during the night. I thought maybe if we travelled to Babylon, maybe somebody there would give us some information. That place is full of morally questionable people who would give up information for the right price. What do you think?" he asked the Valkyrimon.
    Last edited by Griff4815; 25th February 2011 at 4:18 AM.
    Claimed: Grovyle - November 10th, 2013
    Chapter 21 is up.

  24. #274
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    "Great Tornado!" Vritra whirled in a maelstrom of fire and claws, shooting towards Lucia, who leapt away and allowed the fiery goddess to plow right into a building, her claws catching into the material and stopping her. The Dianamon leapt in for the kill, drawing back her scythe, but Vritra ripped her claws free and pulled away, the scythe missing her throat by an inch.

    "Dragon Crusher!" Vritra's vernier boosters howled for an instant, propelling the WarGreymon around as she slashed at her Dianamon opponent, only to have Lucia evade with stunning grace. As the moon Digimon pulled away, her scythe shone with light and swung, unleashing a volley of moonlight arrows towards the fire goddess, who brought around the Brave Shield, causing the attack to bounce away. Vritra split the shield back into wings and erupted forwards towards the Dianamon...

    Only to miss with a vicious slash as Lucia twisted aside, swinging her scythe towards Vritra's neck...

    A pair of flame-wreathed swords met the scythe and forced it to a halt as Bedivere crashed down from the heavens, cape whipping behind him. The Slayerdramon snarled and power flashed through the blades, slamming the Dianamon away in a salvo of emerald.

    "Who the hell is she?" he said, touching down with swords ready as Vritra brought herself to a stop, rising and glaring at Lucia.

    "It's Lucia," she replied. "And she's killed civilians, if Pyra is right..."

    -

    "It's fine," Caradoc replied, feeling a pang of guilt at lying to his friend. "You looked like you needed the rest. I can get some sleep tonight." He stopped, listening to Barachiel's proposal.

    "That sounds like a good idea... except that could easily backfire. If Mephistopheles has contacts there, he could find out we're searching for Hadrael and move him, or strengthen whatever guard he might have placed in case we attempted a rescue," he pointed out, quashing his guilt. "If we go, we'll need to be discreet. And we'd need some way of paying those we question, I don't have any money with me."

    "Nor my soul... not really..." he added in thought...
    [CENTER]

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  25. #275
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    "Is there something you want to say?" he challenged...
    Where he should start, Azur wondered. What he should say, he wasn’t quite sure. He simply stayed glaring at the Valkyrimon, trying to identify the odor that was intricately laced with dark energies that Azur didn’t even know he could detect. To make matters worse, the Valkyrimon was practically covered in the smell. It wasn’t simply a pass; he had made contact with something. Someone.

    When the WereGarurumon finally decided to open his mouth, Barachiel had already intervened, and Azur closed his mouth, choosing to see what Caradoc would first say to the TigerVespamon. He looked from the acolyte to the knight, scrutinizing.

    " "That sounds like a good idea... except that could easily backfire. If Mephistopheles has contacts there, he could find out we're searching for Hadrael and move him, or strengthen whatever guard he might have placed in case we attempted a rescue," he pointed out, quashing his guilt. If we go, we'll need to be discreet. And we'd need some way of paying those we question, I don't have any money with me."
    Nothing. Nothing to have said that he was not there at all. Azur was up all night, and the Valkyrimon had certainly not stood guard. He had gone somewhere, and he come into contact with something that had such an…ungodly scent that made Azur’s fur bristle the more he took it in. And it was something that he decided to keep from Barachiel, and most probably, Guinier as well.

    The WereGarurumon walked and then stood right between Barachiel and Caradoc, but he paid no attention to the former and instead just stared right into the Valkyrimon’s eyes. His eyes were hard and accusing.

    So close to Caradoc, Azur could no longer deny the similarities of the scent that shrouded him like a thick veil with two others. Mephistopheles left a small patch back where Nekron was resurrected, and Cresil didn’t bother hiding his whenever he showed himself. Azur had identified enough to come to the deduction that Caradoc had indeed interacted with a demon.

    If Caradoc had done anything irreversible, then neither he nor Barachiel could do anything about it anymore. Guinier couldn’t do anything about it anymore. No amount of punching Caradoc’s face, insulting and critizing him, would do anything for any of them. Even if he sorely wanted to do it.

    “I hope you’re happy,” Azur said harshly. “Hypocrite.”

    The WereGarurumon moved back to lean against the tree had been standing under before, folding his arms and looking very much like the surly Digimon that he was. He didn’t envy Guinier, who would experience the heart-wrenching pain of losing the focus of her world, or Barachiel, who would certainly be plagued by guilt as soon as he found out what Caradoc had done.

    And Caradoc would have to tell them the news himself. He would have to see the effects of his actions on the two people that he considered close himself. He would have to break their hearts himself.

    If he even respects them enough to do that,’ Azur thought to himself.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Shoon had just finished placing one of the last bombs when three blazing balls of fire suddenly lit up the whole sky. He looked up in awe.

    “Oooh,” he said in wonder. “I didn’t know they were gonna put on fireworks tonight! These people must be really-“

    He then stopped, his eyes scrunching up when things begun to not make sense in his head. The fireballs soon disappeared, and the land below it begun to light up with yellow and red. Followed by tiny green lights that exploded onto some figure.

    And then Shoon screamed, ran towards Nocchi, and then shook his shoulders wildly and rather strongly for someone so small. “We’re under attack! We’re under attack! Someone got through the traps! We’re under attack!” he exclaimed. “But it’s too soon! What-do-we-do-what-do-we-do-what-do-we-! Right, go and help! Right! We’re Peacemakers!”

    Shoon then let go of Nocchi and then started running towards the direction that he saw the lights from, his voice loud with a war cry to get himself psyched up (and to help him gather courage in case he saw Mephistopheles again).

    “Chaaa-uwaah!”

    And promptly got his leg tangled in one of Nocchi’s strings, once again getting himself pulled up into the air where he hung from.

    “Hey, hey, hey! I don’t have time for this! Let me down, Nocchi!”

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Scar’s eyes started to stray when he saw lights start to come from one of the windows. “Hey, cool, a lightshow,” he started as he walked over it to lean over and look outside. He then turned to everyone else in the room. “Come on guys, look! This is one heckuva- woah!”

    He had to shield his eyes when what followed was an explosion caused from green lights colliding with something. “Uh, that wasn’t a good sign, was it?” he started although a small grin was on his face.

    The ShadowWereGarurumon turned to Duo. “Remember what I said about a fight? I think we just got one!” he told the Gaiomon as he drew his sword quickly,

    With that, he turned back to the window, hopped onto the ledge, and with a long and loud whoop, jumped off it to somersault onto one of the roofs. He then proceeded to leap from one building top to another.
    There are stories made from the imagination. There are stories born from experience.
    There are stories told because of a need to be filled. There are stories that simply need to be told.
    This is one of them.


    “Maybe there really is a method to his madness…or maybe he’s just plain insane."
    Chapter 3: Act III is out and posted!


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