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A Dragon in Shining Armour [PG-15] (Digimon)

Discussion in 'Non-Pokémon Stories' started by Griff4815, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Griff4815

    Griff4815 No. 1 Grovyle Fan

    Author's Notes: Here's the second part of Chapter 29. Of course sppf is screwing with me again and telling me that this is still over the character limit, so I have to split it again. Les sigh.

    Chapter 29: The Light of Friendship (Part II)​


    Examon flew to the side as a mass of stone hurled towards him. The giant stone missed and hurled into a crowd of fighters. “Dorbickmon…” he spoke levelly. He leered across the fire-singed grass and unearthed mounds and craters of dirt.

    Dorbickmon glared at Examon and tore the Tyrant Collbrande from the ground, hoisting it into the air and swinging it out to the side. The dragon man started bolting across the ground towards Examon. “I’m taking you down, Examon!” he snarled.

    The corners of Examon’s mouth curved down and he flapped his wings, flying up and back through the air. He aimed his lance at the charging mercenary. “Dorbickmon, stop this,” he told him, doing his best to remain calm and level headed. “I don’t want to fight you.”

    “You don’t get to pick and choose!” Dorbickmon shouted, stabbing his blade into a nearby rock pillar as he ran.

    Tapping into the mass of dragon veins again, he summoned a huge rock from behind Examon that smashed through the Royal Knights’ ranks before plowing into Examon’s back.

    Examon managed to turn around halfway and use his left wing as a shield against the boulder, but the impact was powerful enough to still knock him down from his elevated position. Dorbickmon took this opportunity to lunge at Examon with his sword. He slashed the Tyrant Collbrande down and cut it across Examon’s wing and diagonally down his armoured chest.

    A strained snarl ejected from Examon’s throat as the armour ripped and superheated. The blade cut across his scales and he had to choke back the bile rising in his throat from the agony of the attack. Acting on instinct, Examon lashed out with his left arm, striking the side of his hand and claws across Dorbickmon’s face, forcing them away from each other. They both landed on the ground and stumbled back, but Examon soon followed up by whipping his long tail out. The tail wrapped around Dorbickmon’s arms a few times, squeezing him and holding him in place.

    Dorbickmon snarled out flames and resisted against Examon’s long appendage. “I’ll rip this tail apart, Examon!” he warned him.

    Examon ignored Dorbickmon’s threat and aimed the Ambrosius at him at close range. As soon as he pulled the trigger, he released his tail from around Dorbickmon’s body. The tail quickly uncoiled and a cylindrical shell launched from the lance and flew towards Dorbickmon.

    Expecting this, Dorbickmon released a Dragon Breath Tonic Fire attack that he had been forming in his mouth, forgoing calling the attack due to lack of time. The flames washed over the incoming shell and caused it to pop from the inside. When it exploded, the munition released several metal ball bearings. While not lethal against the heavily armoured Dorbickmon in this situation, they were able to pierce through the flames and slam into his chest armour, forming cracks all over it and weakening the metal severely.

    Dorbickmon sneered as some of the cracked metal cut against his scales and caused bruises to form. He ignored the relatively minor pain and began to ready his sword. “Tyrant Collbrande!”

    “Avalon’s Gate!” Examon countered, squeezing the trigger of his lance. Moving faster, a second shell burst from the Ambrosius and spiralled towards Dorbickmon.

    Dorbickmon swung his blade down, but this time he was too slow for the projectile. The shell slammed into his armour and burst open while he was in mid-swing. As the metal cracked open, data emerged from the shell and went into the cracks of Dorbickmon’s armour, getting through to his scales. His chest began to tingle and go numb, similar to the feeling of one’s limb falling asleep. The dragon man’s eyes widened with confusion and anger as the numb, paralyzing feeling began to go through his chest muscles and towards his limbs.

    “What the hell is this?!” Dorbickmon demanded, staggering towards Examon and trying to resist the lack of feeling in his muscles. He charged at Examon despite his increasingly sluggish movements. The closer he got to Examon, the more that he slowed, struggling to move his limbs. “Damn… you…!”

    “It’s a paralyzing virus,” Examon explained, lowering his weapon slightly and walking towards Dorbickmon. “It’s temporary.”

    Dorbickmon was forced to a stop and he planted his sword into the ground to keep himself standing. “Damn it… Versatile ammo, huh…?” he asked, glaring at Examon as sweat dripped down his face.

    “Now will you listen to me?” Examon questioned. He stopped in front of Dorbickmon and looked in his eyes calmly.

    “You fricking cold fish…” Dorbickmon heaved, gripping his blade tighter and trying to keep balanced on his obviously numb legs. “Like I have a choice…”

    “You do have a choice, Dorbickmon,” Examon informed him, stopping in front of the mercenary but still holding the lance in both of his claws.

    “And what choice is that?” he grunted, glaring up at him.

    “You can stop all of this,” the crimson Dragon Emperor said to him. “We can move past this.”

    “Who the hell do you think I am?” Dorbickmon growled. “We’re in the middle of a massive battle, you naïve idiot! Besides, you’re making it sound like I’m in the wrong!”

    Examon frowned. “You’re attacking the World Tree and many good Digimon just to get at me. But... I know that I’m in the wrong too.” He sighed and lowered the Ambrosius further. “I’m sorry, Dorbickmon… I’m so sorry that I hurt you… I was a coward. It was my gekerin; all Coredramons have one and you must have brushed it. It just… made me lose control. Like I said, when I regained my senses, I was so scared… so selfish,” he sincerely explained with a grimace on his face.

    Dorbickmon couldn’t help but be surprised by the amount of emotion in Examon’s usually stoic gaze. He eyed him with a raised brow and a weakening scowl.

    Examon gripped the handle and shaft of the Ambrosius tightly. “I betrayed your trust… and you were nearly reformatted because of me.” He looked down at Dorbickmon with a restrained but intense gaze. “If I could go back, I would stay with you…”

    Dorbickmon narrowed his eyes. However, his eyes soon closed and he began to bow his head. “Examon…” he said, his voice softer than usual. “I know…”

    With shock, Examon gazed at Dorbickmon. “You do…?” he asked him with both surprise and hope in his tone. “You believe me?”

    “Yeah…” Dorbickmon said with a small smile. He let his one of his hands slide off the Tyrant Collbrande, and he slowly lifted it up towards Examon amicably. “You’re a stubborn bastard. I’ll give you that.”

    Examon began to smile and he let go of the Ambrosius’ shaft to reach towards Dorbickmon’s hand to take it.

    Dorbickmon smiled darkly.

    “SUCKER!” he shouted, suddenly grabbing Examon by the wrist. Using the sword still stuck in the ground, he harnessed the power of the dragon’s veins and ripped a huge shard of rock from the ground behind the Royal Knight. The rock ripped from the depths of the earth and crashed into the back of Examon’s legs and tail, cutting against them and knocking him to his knees. Dorbickmon pulled the Tyrant Collbrande from the ground and slashed it towards Examon’s body.

    Examon – hurt and frustrated – moved his wing and used the Caledfwlch as a shield against the sword. The conflagrant blade impacted the chrome digizoid armour and rebounded off. He plunged the Ambrosius towards Dorbickmon’s shoulder, but the mercenary grabbed hold of the shaft and held it out to the side. “Dorbickmon…!”

    “Doesn’t feel great being attacked and betrayed while your guard is down, does it?!” Dorbickmon asked him with a wild grin. He swiped his sword outwards and expelled it in a flurry of flames. He then grabbed hold of Examon’s protective wing and pulled it outwards with superior strength, trying to get past the barrier to Examon.

    Examon grunted as Dorbickmon got past the wing and jumped to his feet, charging and bringing his fist towards Examon’s face. He caught Dorbickmon’s fist with his claws while the other hand dropped the Ambrosius to the ground. “Dorbickmon!” he shouted with an uncharacteristic passion in his words. “The only one you’re fooling is yourself!”

    “What?!” Dorbickmon yelled angrily. He lashed out with his other hand and drilled his jagged, metal gauntlet across Examon’s face.

    Examon winced and grabbed Dorbickmon’s arm after it connected with his face. Despite the pain in his face, he pulled against the arm and leered at Dorbickmon while slowly standing to his feet. “You aren’t attacking me with nearly as much intensity as you used to…” he told him as fresh blood trickled from his lip. “You’re holding back…”

    “Like hell I am!” Dorbickmon retorted, rushing forwards and headbutting Examon right in the snout.

    A flash of crimson and pain clouded Examon’s vision. However, he managed to hook Dorbickmon’s nose horn with his own and lock him in place. Dorbickmon swore and tried to pull away from Examon’s hold, finding it difficult with Examon’s horn and claws to contend with. However, he did so aggressively, causing Examon great pain as he struggled to grapple with the mercenary.

    “You… rgh… are!” Examon told him sharply, glaring into Dorbickmon’s yellow-violet eyes. “Just like the other day!”

    Dorbickmon snarled and wrenched his left arm away and drilled it into the mangled armour of Examon’s gut.

    Examon hunched over slightly but remained resistant in spite of the pain. He grabbed hold of Dorbickmon’s arm again, digging his claws into the dragon’s scales to hold him more aggressively.

    “That was… a mistake!” Dorbickmon protested savagely. “I should have run you through!”

    “But you didn’t!” Examon insisted passionately, pulling with his nose horn to make sure that Dorbickmon wasn’t able to tear away. “You chose not to!”

    “I knew you didn’t have the balls to go through with it!” Dorbickmon shouted intensely, droplets of his saliva sputtering onto Examon’s face with every word roared. “That’s why I stopped!”

    “You know that’s a lie!” Examon insisted, struggling to keep a hold on Dorbickmon’s other arm. He took hold of one of the spikes jutting out from the metal vambrace on his forearm.

    “I don’t know that!” Dorbickmon countered agitatedly. He began to build up fiery energy in the cannon ports of his breastplate. The cylinders began to glow a bright orange as they prepared to fire two blasts at Examon at point blank range. However, Dorbickmon cringed and the heat and power began to fade away. “I… don’t know!”

    “Yes, you do, Dorbickmon!” the crimson Royal Knight told him. “You just won’t let yourself admit it…!”

    “What. The hell. Do you. Know?!” Dorbickmon protested, using his strength to get the better of Examon and push him up against a half-destroyed stone pillar that he had created. He glared into Examon’s calm eyes; his own were filled with emotion and contrasting shades of anger.

    The tips of Examon’s horns scraped against the rock behind him. He raised a foot and pressed it against Dorbickmon’s stomach to keep him from getting too close. “I know that you still have a good heart.”

    “You don’t know anything about me! I’ve killed a lot of Digimon!” Dorbickmon shot back, a few embers flickering between his jagged teeth.

    “So have I…” Examon answered. “But that doesn’t mean it still isn’t true.”

    Dorbickmon winced and snarled. Examon could feel his struggling becoming weaker. “You expect me to listen to the idealistic crap a Royal Knight spits out?!” he asked, the passion in his voice more restrained now.

    “No… but I’d like you to listen to your old friend… One who wants to make amends for hurting his best friend so badly,” Examon said, looking into Dorbickmon sincerely.

    Dorbickmon’s eyes widened. He shut his eyes and unhooked his horn from Examon’s. After harshly pulling his arms away, Dorbickmon took a few steps back and grabbed his own face, swearing.

    “****! Damn it!” he shouted with frustration. “What the hell is wrong with you, you bastard!? Why won’t you leave me alone?! Why can’t I get you out of my damn head since fighting you at Wyrm’s Edge?!”

    Examon slackened and stepped away from the pillar behind him, panting with exhaustion. He kept his eyes on Dorbickmon.

    “Why aren’t I into this damn campaign anymore?!” Dorbickmon demanded, glaring at Examon. “I’m supposed to want to kill you! I wanted revenge! That’s the whole reason I started this thing!”

    “Maybe you want something more now…” Examon suggested, his gaze level with the mercenary. “Maybe you want to move on.”

    Dorbickmon grimaced and lowered his hand from his face, his eyes shimmering as they glared at his counterpart. “I was supposed to move on once I killed you…” he told him.

    “But you can’t do that, can you…?” Examon asked him calmly.

    After a few moments of Dorbickmon looking like he wanted to fire back, he found that he wasn’t able to. Instead, he looked away. “Tch…” he scoffed, his emotions fizzling out. “Stop talking like that. Don’t act like you know what’s going on in my head.”

    “But I’m not wrong,” the Royal Knight spoke. “Am I?”

    Dorbickmon merely lowered his gaze, continuing to glare into the battle that unfolded around them. Even as a beam whizzed by his head, he didn’t move or react.

    “…No…”

    Examon looked up at Dorbickmon’s reply. “So…” he said. “If you don’t want to take revenge on me…”

    “Then what’s the point of me fighting here?” Dorbickmon finished with a frustrated grimace.

    Examon nodded and walked towards Dorbickmon. “I really am sorry about everything, Dorbickmon…”

    Dorbickmon gritted his teeth and turned so that his back was to Examon. “…I know,” he answered.

    A small smile formed on Examon’s face.

    Dorbickmon scoffed and glanced over his shoulder. Suddenly, shock formed on his face. He swung around to face Examon, looking past him.

    Behind Examon was the charging, centaur-like form of a Zanbamon. He was from Kowloon Co., and he brandished a giant zanbato and a smaller katana. He intended on intervening in their fight and taking Examon down while his back was turned.

    With a growl, Dorbickmon rushed forwards. Examon stiffened and became guarded, wondering if Dorbickmon had tricked him again or was still intent on being defiant. However, the dragon mercenary merely pushed past Examon’s wing and summoned the Tyrant Collbrande in his hands in a giant flash of flames.

    Examon turned around, moving his wing, and saw the Zanbamon charging him. To his shock, Dorbickmon stepped out in front of him and began charging the demon Digimon.

    Dorbickmon scowled and dashed towards the Zanbamon, swinging the Tyrant Collbrande back behind him as he wound back for a strong swing.

    “What?!” the Zanbamon demanded, seeing that Dorbickmon was making ready to attack him. He began to swipe down with his smaller sword.

    Dorbickmon dodged the blade and countered swiftly. He swept the blazing broadsword clean through the Zanbamon’s body, instantly reducing the mercenary to data. As the particles of data parted beside him, Dorbickmon turned around, sword in hand, and faced Examon, his form accented by the embers that drifted off of his sword,

    “Dorbickmon…” Examon said with shock at his action, staring at Dorbickmon with wide, appreciative eyes.

    “…Don’t say anything,” Dorbickmon muttered, looking away with embarrassment. He began to sheepishly walk back to Examon. “And quit looking at me like that! …Oh, Yeah. And pick up your weapon so you can actually defend yourself while you’re at it. Cripes…”

    Examon managed a smile and walked over to pick up the Ambrosius lance. Despite the pain surging through his body, he bent down and lugged up the heavy lance, gripping it in his hands.

    Dorbickmon raised one of his bloodied arms and rubbed the back of his head uncertainly. “So… what the hell happens now?” he asked, glancing at Examon before looking around at the battle surrounding them.

    “You should get out of here,” Examon told him, gazing around at the battle as well, trying to find the other Royal Knights and get an idea of how the battle was going.

    “I don’t like to back down from a fight. I’ve got a reputation to think of,” Dorbickmon replied with a tiny grin.

    “So, what do you sugg--“

    Examon’s words were drowned out by a thunderous roar reverberating across the clearing. Both Examon and Dorbickmon turned and saw a giant circle form in the sky.

    “Digitalize of Soul!” Alphamon: Ouryuken called out, his black form hovering in the air, beneath the glowing, magical circle.

    From within the circle emerged a giant, glowing creature. It was draconic in nature and had a body of a shimmering, white aura, though it appeared to be solid in form. Its sheer size put even Wyvern and Hinukamui to shame. The monster roared as it swept out of the circle and descended towards DarkKnightmon on Alphamon’s request.

    “****. I’d hate to be DarkKnightmon right now,” Dorbickmon spoke.

    “Alphamon looks different… And his Digitalize of Soul attacks don’t usually look like that…” Examon mused, watching as the creature that Alphamon summoned crashed into DarkKnightmon violently, tearing away large chucks of his armour and flesh.

    DarkKnightmon tried resisting the indomitable attack but he eventually succumbed and was thrown to the ground viciously. The creature then turned its attention to several mercenaries who went to try and attack it. It swept its arm out and immediately atomized them in one broad stroke before disappearing. Alphamon slackened when the creature vanished; using Digitalize of Soul in that manner was incredibly tiring, especially if used for a prolonged amount of time.

    “DarkKnightmon’ll be feeling that later,” Dorbickmon pointed out, watching as DarkKnightmon tried to pull himself up and as Alphamon: Ouryuken flew down to meet him with his sword.

    Examon frowned and continued looking around. Magnamon, RhodoKnightmon, Craniamon, and Gankoomon were in the thick of the battle over to the east edge of the combat zone. Sleipmon still seemed to be over at the base of the World Tree, defending it and aiding where he could. He couldn’t see UlforceVeedramon or Dukemon anywhere, nor could he see Omegamon. He saw Duftmon fire a beam of shadows into Kowloon’s ranks when they attempted to regroup. He also saw Dynasmon in the thick of combat with MirageGaogamon not too far away.

    “Examon!” a voiced called out.

    Both Examon and Dorbickmon turned to see Dukemon and Grani hover down beside them. Dukemon’s Aegis shield was glowing and pointed at Dorbickmon, as if it was brimming with an attack. Only one of the triangles in the circle pattern on the face of the shield was unlit.

    “Is everything okay, Examon?” Dukemon asked, eyeing Dorbickmon suspiciously.

    Examon smiled at Dukemon. “Yes… Dorbickmon has changed his ways.”

    Dorbickmon looked at him with one eye and rubbed the back of his sore neck. “I wish you wouldn’t say it like that…”

    Dukemon frowned and jumped off of Grani’s back, landing in front of the mercenary. He stepped up to him and looked into his eyes with a mix of suspicion and warning. “Have you?”

    Dorbickmon turned to face Dukemon and puffed his chest out. “I’m not trying to kill Examon anymore and I haven’t attacked you on sight.” He raised his hand and tapped Dukemon’s visor with his claws. “Tin head.”

    “Smart idea,” Dukemon retorted. “So I can trust you alone with Examon?”

    “Yeah,” Dorbickmon responded toughly. “I’m done with DarkKnightmon.”

    Dukemon narrowed his gold eyes as he leered at him. “Good to hear it… We’ll be keeping an eye on you, just in case.”

    “I know. Just tell your hero friends not to attack me,” Dorbickmon responded.

    Dukemon turned and glanced at Examon. “You sure about him?”

    Examon looked at Dorbickmon thoughtfully. “Yes… This time, I’m sure.”

    The crimson knight nodded. “In that case, be careful, you two.”

    “You too, Dukemon, Grani,” Examon told them.

    Dukemon lunged onto Grani’s back. “We’ll be around if you need us!” he called to Examon. “Let’s go, Grani!”

    “Good luck,” Grani told them before flying off with Dukemon.

    Examon watched as the knight and his mount flew away, quickly rejoining the battle and taking on the aerial mercenaries. After a few moments Examon readied his lance.

    “You’re still planning to fight?” Examon asked, glancing over at Dorbickmon.

    Dorbickmon nodded over to the World Tree. “It’s not the sort of battle you can just walk away from,” he said in response.

    “You’re going to fight on whose side, exactly?” Examon followed up, eyeing Dorbickmon inquisitively.

    “…My own side,” Dorbickmon answered, turning and looking at Examon. When he saw by the look on Examon’s face that that wasn’t the answer that he was hoping to hear, Dorbickmon elaborated with an emphatic sigh. “Relax, I’m not going to beat up on the Royal Knights’ forces if they leave me alone. But I’m not stupid enough to pick a fight with Kowloon either.”

    “Then what’s left?” Examon asked him.

    Dorbickmon turned and nodded with his head into the distance. Examon pivoted to see what he was looking at, while still standing on guard to make sure that he wasn’t going to be attacked again.

    They watched as Alphamon and DarkKnightmon clashed on the ground. White and black power tore out from around them and all of the surrounding combatants made sure to give them a wide berth to avoid getting caught in their crossfire.

    Alphamon swept the Ouryuken down on DarkKnightmon, who deftly dodged it. When the Ouryuken lodged itself into the ground, a fissure of energy sliced through the earth, creating a cascade of sediment and a deep rut in the ground. DarkKnightmon responded by driving his shoulder blade into Alphamon’s armour and wing, shoving him back strongly. He then pushed him away and raised the Twin Spear to fire a beam of shadows at Alphamon’s body.

    The blast washed over Alphamon’s body, but he quickly tore the Ouryuken out of the ground and cut through the shadowy pillar, tearing the shadows away from his form. Alphamon then rushed forwards and cut the sword across DarkKnightmon’s battle-worn body, totally shattering the golden crest on his chest. As fragments of gold flew off DarkKnightmon’s armour, he plunged the Twin Spear into Alphamon’s side and fired. A destructive burst of shadows tore out and ripped through Alphamon’s armour, burning his hip and exposing it to the elements.

    Alphamon Ouryuken swung his poleaxe down and DarkKnightmon swept his lance outwards. The two weapons clashed and the strength of their collision sent a miniature shockwave out, just strong enough to blow their capes back. Despite the fact that each black knight had multiple wounds all over their bodies, they were still determined to fight on until their foe was defeated.

    Examon turned and looked at Dorbickmon, to see why he was looking over there.

    Dorbickmon’s yellow and purple eye turned and looked at Examon. He smirked darkly. “I know one way to end this battle…” he said with a toothy grin. “Kill the guy who’s going to pay everybody.”

    Examon frowned and looked over to the clashing knights. “…DarkKnightmon?” he asked him.

    Dorbickmon grinned and nodded, wheeling the Tyrant Collbrande around in his claws. “Just leave it to me, bucket head,” he told Examon.

    “Dorbickmon…” Examon replied uncertainly. “I don’t know about this…” Although he didn’t say anything, Examon was still a bit apprehensive about Dorbickmon’s loyalties, and worried that he might he considering attacking Alphamon instead. He really doubted it after everything that happened between, but Dorbickmon had fooled him before, so there were still a few traces of uncertainty.

    “Trust me,” Dorbickmon told him. “I’ve been handling myself fine long before you came around again.”

    Without giving Examon a chance to reply, Dorbickmon gripped the Tyrant Collbrande and began walking towards the clashing knights.

    Examon began to go after him, but a beam of energy pierced through the air in between Dorbickmon and Examon, stopping the dragon knight from following him. He turned and saw that the beam had come from MirageGaogamon, who continued to fight Dynasmon nearby. Examon frowned and flapped the Caledfwlch wings, flying upwards and watching Dynasmon fight with MirageGaogamon, as well as Dorbickmon.

    Dynasmon was covered with slash marks and his armour was cleaved in several places. MirageGaogamon was in a very similar state; his cape was in tatters and his armour looked like scrap metal. MirageGaogamon was faster, but Dynasmon was much stronger.

    As Examon kept an eye on the three of them, he went back to sniping the enemy mercenaries with lasers and shells.

    Meanwhile, Dorbickmon ran across the battlefield, knocking down whoever tried to get in his way. Despite this, he refrained from killing them, instead just using his incredible strength to shove them aside.

    He closed on the two, growing closer to the clearing in which they battled. Dorbickmon watched as the two swung their weapons again and clashed metal in an intense lock of metal and sparks. He gripped the blazing Tyrant Collbrande tightly in his right hand and began to stalk towards the two warriors.

    He had to be careful. Alphamon would immediately regard him as an enemy, and DarkKnightmon would have his guard up when he saw Dorbickmon’s weapon. As a result, Dorbickmon slowly approached from directly behind DarkKnightmon, who was obstructing Alphamon’s view.

    Dorbickmon shadowed DarkKnightmon, stealthily edging towards him with his flickering blade.

    “Even though you have OuRyuumon’s power, I’m still strong,” DarkKnightmon told Alphamon: Ouryuken, narrowing his cold eyes at his foe as each struggled for dominance by pushing against one another’s blade. “Doesn’t that show you how weak you both are?”

    “Together, he and I are stronger,” Alphamon countered, pushing harder against DarkKnightmon’s Twin Spear. “It’s the same with Omegamon and I… and all of the other Royal Knights as well!” He sneered and began to push the lance back, attempting to breach DarkKnightmon’s defence. “Isn’t it the same with you and DeadlyAxemon as well?!”

    “Yes, but we’re strong together because we are powerful!” DarkKnightmon said with a grunt, pushing hard against the Ouryuken and forcing him back just slightly. “We complement each other. You and OuRyuumon couldn’t be a worse partnership. Have you already forgotten his lies and lack of morals?!”

    “No,” Alphamon answered, glaring. “But he’s willing to change. And so am I. The ability to change and adapt is a great strength. However, you’re fixated solely on your changing the Digital World to the way that you want it. You’re not willing to bend or adapt at all, DarkKnightmon. Is that strength?”

    “Is giving up in the face of adversity strength?” DarkKnightmon countered with his own question. “I thought determination was supposed to be admirable.”

    “We both want the same thing, DarkKnightmon!” Alphamon shouted with frustration as sparks flew between them from their grinding weapons. “Why are we fighting at all?!”

    “Alright then! If that’s the case, tell your Royal Knights and soldiers to throw down their arms and kneel before me!” DarkKnightmon challenged.

    Alphamon grunted and narrowed his eyes, giving DarkKnightmon his answer.

    “You see? You won’t,” DarkKnightmon told him. “This isn’t all my fault. We both want the same thing, but you only want peace on your own terms. You want me to submit to you, but you have no intentions of submitting to me, even if it meant peace.”

    “How can I?” Alphamon protested. “Submitting to you would be the end of the Order. It would be the end of more than just that.”

    “Then you can see why I can’t submit to you,” DarkKnightmon responded. “I would be betraying the Digimon of this world.”

    “You’ve convinced yourself that the Order is an obstruction or an enemy! You’re ignoring all the good that we’re doing!”

    “It isn’t enough!”

    As they quarrelled, Dorbickmon slowly crept up on DarkKnightmon, closing in on him as his back was turned. The Tyrant Collbrande blazed in his claws as he stalked towards DarkKnightmon with fiery eyes. He stealthily raised his arms and poised the sword, aiming the tip at the center of DarkKnightmon’s back.

    DarkKnightmon continued struggling against Alphamon. He had been unaware of what was going on behind him, but he soon began to feel a nearby heat against his back. Wondering what it was, he angled the Twin Spear slightly and saw the shimmering of fire reflected in the metal. His face darkened.

    “…MirageGaogamon!” he suddenly shouted loudly. “Dragon Down!”

    “What?” Alphamon: Ouryuken questioned, frowning with confusion. He shifted his body slightly, expecting to be ambushed by MirageGaogamon. When he did so, he suddenly grew incredulous upon seeing Dorbickmon from over DarkKnightmon’s shoulder, preparing to stab him from behind.

    MirageGaogamon stopped mid-slash when the code words reached his sensitive ears. He turned his attention away from Dynasmon and turned around immediately, looking towards DarkKnightmon.

    That was when he saw Dorbickmon preparing to strike. His wide eyes soon narrowed with hate. Fury coursed through MirageGaogamon’s body at the sight of Dorbickmon betraying DarkKnightmon and getting ready to kill him. Completely ignoring Dynasmon, MirageGaogamon took off in a flash of blue, racing towards Dorbickmon and DarkKnightmon.

    “HEY!” Dynasmon shouted after him, but he was soon accosted by a nearby mercenary whom he blasted apart with his hand laser.

    Examon looked over upon hearing the words resound. His body stiffened when he saw Dorbickmon getting ready to attack DarkKnightmon. He immediately looked down to try to locate MirageGaogamon where he remembered seeing him fight Dynasmon. However, all he could see was a streak of azure heading towards Dorbickmon.

    “No!” Examon snarled, aiming his lance at the ultra fast Digimon. He fired a Pendragon’s Glory attack from the muzzle of the lance. The laser crashed down towards MirageGaogamon, but hit right behind him, unable to hit something of such speed at such short notice. An explosion blossomed up but MirageGaogamon was undeterred.

    Dorbickmon plunged the Tyrant Collbrande towards DarkKnightmon’s back. “DIE!” he shouted, shoving the massive blade forwards, burning through DarkKnightmon’s cape and into his armour.

    But Dorbickmon suddenly stopped.

    Dorbickmon felt a stabbing pain in his back and chest, causing him to halt in his tracks. He released a breathy grunt and felt the warmth of blood trickle down his chest from the white-hot sensations that he suddenly felt inside of him. Dorbickmon looked down and saw three long blades sticking out of his chest diagonally. The claws were coated with his blood, which proceeded to trickle down his back and chest scales.

    Dorbickmon’s eyes slowly widened with rage, pain, and disbelief as he realized what had happened. Through the indescribable agony, he managed to sense a presence behind him that he hadn’t been able to notice just seconds earlier.

    “I always knew you couldn’t be trusted,” a voice whispered in his ear, “mercenary scum…”

    MirageGaogamon stood behind him, one of his bladed gauntlets embedded in Dorbickmon’s back, running him clean through.

    Examon’s eyes widened with horror when he saw this.

    A low, incomprehensible, snarl of rage and agony escaped Dorbickmon’s throat and he looked forwards at DarkKnightmon as the Tyrant Collbrande began to vanish in a wisp of flames. “You… You… bast…tard…” he struggled to growl.

    “I always expected this to happen at some point, Dorbickmon,” DarkKnightmon calmly explained, too focused on Alphamon to bother looking over his shoulder at him. “It was just a matter of getting you before you got me…”

    Dorbickmon’s wild eyes burned with wrath. “…Fu-!? RRAAGH!” He was cut off by his own roar of utter pain when MirageGaogamon ripped the claw blades out of his back, sending more blood streaming out. Dorbickmon just stood still, breathing heavily, his form wracked with anguish. As his blood dropped to the grass, he stared at DarkKnightmon’s back blankly. His muscles went increasingly slack.

    “You received exactly what you were due,” MirageGaogamon told him. He raised his gauntlets up and crossed them in front of his chest, preparing to finish Dorbickmon off. “I’m glad that it was me who DarkKnightmon tasked with killing you, should the need arise.”

    Dorbickmon’s eyes narrowed and a pained hiss escaped his tightened mouth. He awaited the final strike.

    “Dorbickmon!” A voice shouted behind him. “Avalon’s Gate!”

    Examon flew through the air with a cold determination, speeding towards them. He aimed down the length of the Ambrosius as he soared. Next, he pulled the trigger.

    A round exploded from the end of the Ambrosius and plummeted down. The shell canister exploded on contact with MirageGaogamon’s back, unleashing a torrent of electricity. The current coursed through MirageGaogamon’s plate armour, electrocuting him.

    MirageGaogamon let out a howl as the electricity flooded through his body, causing his muscles to contract and spasm. He arched his back and uncrossed his arms with pain.

    Dorbickmon managed to turn his head and glance over his shoulder upon hearing Examon’s voice. He watched with shock as MirageGaogamon behind him was subjected to his attack.

    A sudden fire reignited within Dorbickmon’s badly wounded body. Seeing an opportunity, he unleashed an unearthly roar and summoned the Tyrant Collbrande in his hand in a huge inferno. With a sudden second wind, fueled solely by rage and adrenaline, Dorbickmon spun around and raised the Tyrant Collbrande high over his head. He swung the burning toward and brought it down on MirageGaogamon.

    The Tyrant Collbrande impacted MirageGaogamon’s shoulder with enough strength to knock him to his knees. The blade cleaved through his shoulder and tore down into his chest, stopping at the center of the wolf snout in the middle of his form.

    MirageGaogamon released an incredulous, agonized breath as he observed the blazing Tyrant Collbrande embedded in his body, the fiery edge right in his digicore.

    At this, DarkKnightmon looked over his shoulder and stopped.

    Dorbickmon grunted as the adrenaline began to wear off. The Tyrant Collbrande extinguished in both his hands and MirageGaogamon’s body. Weakness overtook him; his trembling legs gave out and he fell to his hands and knees, panting haggardly. Blood dripped from the holes in his body and saliva trickled from his tongue, but despite this, the dragon man looked up and glared at MirageGaogamon.

    Blood flowed out of MirageGaogamon’s gaping wound, matting his fur and armour. Unable to use his left arm any more, he raised his right one. He gazed at DarkKnightmon and extended his hand towards him weakly.

    “DarkKnightmon…” he breathed. He watched as his data began to fragment and float away from his extended arm. “I wished… that…”

    MirageGaogamon’s features dulled and his body slowly slackened. His clawed hand dropped limply to his side and he hunched forwards slightly. His body then fractured into a mass of data and floated away on the breeze.

    DarkKnightmon watched with an unreadable expression as MirageGaogamon died and his data dispersed. “…Mirage… Gaogamon…” he thought to himself.

    His gaze hardened and he released a furious shout. DarkKnightmon railed against Alphamon, slashing through his defences and throwing him back. “Twin Spear!” he shouted, unleashing a blast from his spear into Alphamon’s body.

    Meanwhile, Examon landed beside Dorbickmon, whose limbs trembled with pain.

    “Examon… Damn it…” Dorbickmon grunted, glancing over at him.

    “You… You need to lie down,” Examon told him, his usually steady voice trembling. He took hold of Dorbickmon’s arm and slowly laid him down on his side before flipping him onto his back.

    Dorbickmon released a sharp groan of pain as his back pressed against the ground. “Rrrgh! D-Damn… ****…” he breathed and swore, slowly reaching up and clutching the holes on his chest.

    “Don’t move, Dorbickmon,” Examon ordered, taking his wrist and forcing his arm back down. “You’re too hurt.”

    Dorbickmon exhaled and slowly shook his head. “I’m… finished…” he said aloud. He then managed a short chuckle that was cut short by a surge of pain shooting through his body. “Hah…! Just I was… turning over a new leaf too… Can you believe it?” Dorbickmon asked, looking up at Examon. “What… a ***** of a… situation… that I end up like this… with you…”

    Examon grimaced and pressed his hands down on the holes in Dorbickmon’s chest. “No… I won’t let you die!” he proclaimed.

    “What are you talking about…?” Dorbickmon asked him. “Get out of here. Leave me…”

    Examon’s eyes widened as a stray beam streamed towards them. It tore along the ground and closed in towards them. The Royal Knight extended his massive Caledfwlch wings and curled them around himself and Dorbickmon, cocooning them inside. The beam slammed into the armoured exterior of the wing and deflected off, spreading out into the nearby dirt.

    The Royal Knight winced at the attack, but kept his wings around himself and Dorbickmon even as the beam faded. He shielded them within the armoured dome.

    Dorbickmon looked up at Examon. “What are you doing…?” he asked weakly, still feeling his hands on the bloody, crimson scales of his chest.

    Examon gazed down into Dorbickmon’s eyes with a look of resolve. “I’m staying…” he answered. “This time… I’m not going to leave you.” He pressed down firmly on the wounds to staunch the bleeding and stared at Dorbickmon with a steadfast resolve in his emerald gaze. “I’m going to stay by your side, Dorbickmon…”

    Dorbickmon stared at Examon in wordless disbelief. He didn’t know what to say. He opened his mouth to speak but then closed it and turned his head weakly, looking away.

    “…****. You Royal Knights and your morals…” Dorbickmon said, staring away from Examon. If it weren’t so dark in the shield of wings, Examon may have been able to see the gracious, emotional smile on Dorbickmon’s face.

    The Royal Knight just had to make do with staying by Dorbickmon’s side and keeping him alive. Within the protective barrier of the Caledfwlch, Examon remained with him.

    This time, Examon would make sure that his friend was alright…

    -

    (Finished in the next post)
     
  2. Griff4815

    Griff4815 No. 1 Grovyle Fan

    (Continued from the previous post)

    -

    Alphamon fired a strong Digitalize of Soul beam at DarkKnightmon as the former Royal Knight charged him. DarkKnightmon dashed to the side, narrowly evading it as the stream of emerald energy passed beside him.

    DarkKnightmon kicked off the ground powerfully and lunged into the air. He raised the Twin Spear over his head and plunged the tip of the crimson lance down at Alphamon.

    Seeing DarkKnightmon descend on him, Alphamon brought the Ouryuken up and blocked the stab using the flat side of the axe. With a grunt of might, Alphamon pulled the Ouryuken outwards, throwing DarkKnightmon back. Despite being repulsed, DarkKnightmon aimed the Twin Spear and unleashed a surge of darkness. The beam of black and violet slammed into Alphamon explosively.

    However, Alphamon wasn’t easily deterred. After a few seconds, he burst through the shadows and spread his golden wings, flying towards DarkKnightmon. DarkKnightmon flipped back and landed on the ground, ready to meet the charge.

    The Ouryuken sung as it swept through the air and fell onto DarkKnightmon. The Twin Spear rose up at an angle and contended against the powerful holy sword, forcing the blade to slide against the thick, crimson metal of the lance.

    “You would have your own companion killed?” Alphamon asked him, glaring into DarkKnightmon’s eyes as they fought against the other’s defences.

    “He tried to betray me,” DarkKnightmon responded calmly, his eyes glowing red as they returned Alphamon’s stare. “It was either him or me.”

    “And what of MirageGaogamon?!” Alphamon demanded. “Is all of this worth it?!”

    DarkKnightmon sneered behind his helmet and broke through Alphamon’s swing. “MirageGaogamon was aware of the risks!” he told Alphamon.

    He rushed forwards and plunged the Twin Spear into Alphamon’s left wing, piercing through the golden feathers. Alphamon unleashed a sharp cry of pain but he swiftly placed his left hand on DarkKnightmon’s chest and fired a point blank Digitalize of Soul attack against him. DarkKnightmon was thrown back but stayed on his feet, skidding along the ground.

    DarkKnightmon leered coldly at his former friend as smoke rose up from his chest. “Don’t moralize at me, Alphamon. You can end this battle too, but you choose not to. Put your morals where your mouth is.”

    “If it were just me, then I would,” Alphamon replied, ignoring the droplets of blood trickling down his feathers. “But I have other Digimon to think of. I’m the leader of the Royal Knights.”

    “Not for much longer,” DarkKnightmon countered, sprinting across the ground towards Alphamon.

    Alphamon sneered and grabbed the Ouryuken with both hands, swinging the heavy weapon out horizontally as DarkKnightmon closed in. DarkKnightmon jumped up just in time, passing over the blade and the resulting blast of wind that swept across the battlefield. He swung his leg and drive his bladed foot into Alphamon’s masked face.

    Alphamon grunted and staggered back a couple steps, thrown off balance by the blow. He could see DarkKnightmon rush towards him and thrust the Twin Spear towards his chest. Acting quickly, he dug his boot into the earth and pushed forwards. He pivoted his body so that the Twin Spear brushed against the side of his fractured armour. He used a back swing and stabbed the jagged spear end of the Ouryuken into DarkKnightmon’s shoulder, tearing a cry of pain from the dissenting knight.

    “It’s over, DarkKnightmon!” Alphamon told him passionately. “Give in! Your forces are losing! MirageGaogamon’s dead! Dorbickmon isn’t with you anymore and Omegamon’s been saved!”

    “Wh-What?!” DarkKnightmon demanded through the searing pain coursing through his arm. His gaze went cold and dark at those last words. “How… How did you…?”

    “You can’t force somebody to do what you want them to do,” Alphamon told him. “It has to be their decision, DarkKnightmon. That’s why I can’t condone what you want to do.”

    DarkKnightmon growled and grabbed hold of the Ouryuken’s hilt with his free hand. “Omegamon’s… always been your lapdog. He’s stubborn, naïve, loyal… What is it about you, Alphamon? What makes them always side with you? Why are you the leader? What is so bloody special about you?”

    Before Alphamon could think of a reply, DarkKnightmon gripped the Ouryuken tighter and forcibly pulled it out of his shoulder in a burst of blood. Undeterred by the pain, he drove his bladed knee straight into Alphamon’s groin, forcing the Royal Knight to hunch over with agony. DarkKnightmon then drove his fist into Alphamon’s face.

    “This isn’t over until I say so.”

    Alphamon released a snarl as his face numbed and he stumbled back. Unable to effectively swing the Ouryuken at that close of a range and in that post-swing position, he instead raised his left hand, which radiated energy from his palm. “Digitalize of Soul!”

    DarkKnightmon dashed to the side as the beam ripped towards him. He plunged the Twin Spear into the part of Alphamon’s armour that had been blown away by previous attacks. The tip of the lance pierced Alphamon’s exposed side and exited his skin.

    Alphamon gave a deep snarl of pain and grabbed hold of the Twin Spear so that it wouldn’t go any deeper. He lowered his gaze and glared at DarkKnightmon.

    “You think that softness and kindness is all you need… Alphamon…” DarkKnightmon told him. He gripped the Twin Spear tightly and it began to crackle with dark power. “They may be able to get you many friends, but, in the end, they will walk all over you. The only thing that Digimon truly respect is firm, resolute power.”

    DarkKnightmon moved his face close to Alphamon’s, leering his glowing eyes into his. The Twin Spear began to course with darkness. “Prove to me that you’re strong, Alphamon.”

    Alphamon sneered with pain and effort. “DarkKnightmon…” He swung the Ouryuken over his head, arcing it around and bringing it down for a mighty blow.

    “Twin Spear!”

    “Kyukyoku Senjin Ouryuken!”

    A massive explosion of darkness, light, and wind exploded between them. The resulting shockwave blew them away from one another and sent dirt flying up all around the area.

    Alphamon: Ouryuken and DarkKnightmon both flew through the air and crashed to the ground violently, skidding along the grass and mud. When the smoke began to clear, Alphamon’s body became engulfed in light. Alphamon: Ouryuken separated into Alphamon and OuRyuumon; they were unable to provide the massive amount of energy required to sustain the ultra powerful form any longer, especially as their jogress was already shaky to begin with. Both Alphamon and OuRyuumon lay side by side, both very badly wounded.

    DarkKnightmon wasn’t in much better shape. He had wounds and bruises all over his body, and his armour was fractured. Despite this, DarkKnightmon forced himself to rise. As he stood, metal, blood, and earth fell from his body.

    Alphamon released a groan and opened his eyes slowly. He turned his head and looked to his side, where he saw OuRyuumon lying beside him. “OuRyuumon…” he spoke.

    OuRyuumon didn’t respond. He was unconscious.

    Alphamon slowly sat up in spite of the bloody wound in his side. The Royal Knight released a pained snarl of effort as he dragged himself to his feet. Upon standing up, he saw that DarkKnightmon was rising as well.

    DarkKnightmon propped himself up on the Twin Spear and stared across the smoking, battle-ravaged clearing at Alphamon.

    The Lord of the Empty Seat slowly raised his right hand and reached into a small, magical circle, pulling the Seiken Gradalpha out in a flash of light. DarkKnightmon stood up straight, proudly, and raised the Twin Spear into a battle stance. Each knight stared wordlessly into the other’s eyes.

    They both knew that this was it. They were both beaten down so much; they had been skilled in fighting long enough for them to realize that this final clash would likely be the decisive one.

    DarkKnightmon raised his boot, taking a step forwards.

    Alphamon did the same.

    The two, black knights began to walk towards one another. Then they started to pick up the pace into a jog. Soon, they were running at each other.

    DarkKnightmon held the Twin Spear at his side, gripping it loosely in his hand as he ran.

    Alphamon clutched the Seiken Gradalpha in both of his hands, holding it low and pointing it at DarkKnightmon as he charged towards him.

    They bolted across the clearing to meet each other. Alphamon poised his sword carefully as he ran, getting ready to aim his impending thrust. DarkKnightmon raised the Twin Spear slightly, his cold, glowing, yellow eyes glinted in the morning light, concealing his machinations. As they began to close the distance between each other, they were unobstructed by any of the other fighters. Except for one.

    DarkKnightmon’s eyes narrowed, fixated on Alphamon’s hands. He gripped the Twin Spear tightly and smirked cunningly behind his helmet. His form began to glow with the light of evolution. “Xros… Ope--“

    “Garuru Cannon,” a voice spoke from out to the side of them.

    Omegamon stood at the side of the clearing, hobbling with pain and weakness. In spite of this, he raised the Garuru Cannon and aimed it at DarkKnightmon from behind. The cannon pulsed with bright blue energy.

    As the orb of freezing power soared towards DarkKnightmon, Omegamon watched on sadly. “You’re wrong, DarkKnightmon…” he spoke wistfully. “There is strength in kindness…”

    The blast slammed into DarkKnightmon’s left arm and back, interrupting his shrewd Xros Open tactic that he employed to get the better of Alphamon’s charge. DarkKnightmon let out a shout of surprise and pain as the ice detonated against his back, throwing him off balance and causing him to stumble as he and Alphamon closed on each other.

    Alphamon watched as the icy mist billowed out from the explosion behind DarkKnightmon. However, they were already closing in on DarkKnightmon. His combat instincts had already kicked in and he had to act.

    The two collided with each other. Alphamon released a shout and thrust his sword of light forwards.

    DarkKnightmon tried to right himself and plunge his lance into Alphamon.

    The Twin Spear shattered Alphamon’s shoulder armour, piercing through it and embedding itself deep into Alphamon’s shoulder.

    The Seiken Gradalpha stabbed into the center of DarkKnightmon’s chest. The long, white blade pierced through his body and emerged out of DarkKnightmon’s back, burning through his black cape.

    Alphamon and DarkKnightmon grew still.

    With wide, red eyes, Alphamon looked down at DarkKnightmon. He saw the Seiken Gradalpha impaling him.

    DarkKnightmon’s eyes were wide as well. He could feel the burning sensation of light throughout his chest as well as the agonizing pressure of the sword inside him. With a weak breath, he slowly pulled the Twin Spear from Alphamon’s shoulder and allowed it to drop to the ground. His glowing eyes dulled and he looked from Alphamon’s hand, which still clutched the sword, up to Alphamon’s distraught eyes.

    “You win again…” DarkKnightmon told him weakly.

    “DarkKnightmon!” Alphamon shouted with distress, letting the Seiken Gradalpha fade away and disappear from within DarkKnightmon’s chest.

    DarkKnightmon’s legs gave out and he began to fall. Alphamon dropped to his knees and caught DarkKnightmon in his arms, holding him tightly and staring at him with sorrow and guilt.

    “DarkKnightmon… I…” Alphamon whispered, clutching DarkKnightmon’s shoulders tightly. His regretful eyes bore into DarkKnightmon’s.

    A deep exhale escaped DarkKnightmon’s mouth and he slowly raised his head to meet Alphamon’s gaze. “You… went through with it, Alphamon…” he told him. There was a hint of pride in his voice. “You… are strong, after all…”

    Alphamon shut his eyes tightly and pulled DarkKnightmon into a firm hug. “I’m… sorry…” he told him as bits of DarkKnightmon’s data began to fly off of his form.

    DarkKnightmon slowly raised his hands and pressed them onto Alphamon’s hips. “Don’t be…” he whispered with a hoarse gentleness. “There… is hope… for the Digital World… after all…”

    Alphamon opened his eyes and stared into DarkKnightmon’s with shock and pain. His red eyes grew moist with tears. “I… never wanted this to happen…” he told him sorrowfully.

    “You can’t change that, Alphamon… Just move on from it…” DarkKnightmon explained, gazing up into Alphamon’s heartbroken face, watching as his own glowing data floated up past Alphamon’s body. “Move on… and promise me… that you will make this Digital World better… Make it a place of goodness… and light…” He weakly raised his hand up Alphamon’s body and placed it on Alphamon’s wounded shoulder, gripping it.

    “…I promise…” Alphamon answered. He stared at DarkKnightmon with a grief-stricken wince, fighting back the tears in his eyes.

    DarkKnightmon pulled his face towards Alphamon’s and whispered.

    “If anybody can do it…it’s you, old friend…”

    Alphamon pulled DarkKnightmon closer into the hug, but as he did, DarkKnightmon’s body burst into data. The Lord of the Empty Seat was left embracing nothing but air and data particles, which floated away from his grasp and into the air.

    He was still.

    After a few moments, he bent forwards and silently pulled his arms against his armoured chest as DarkKnightmon’s data faded away. A shaky breath escaped Alphamon’s mouth. His tears rolled down his face and fell to the ground.

    Omegamon walked over to him and stared at Alphamon. There were tears resting in the corners of his grimacing eyes as well.

    The white knight slowly kneeled down in front of Alphamon and pulled him close, rubbing Alphamon’s back as he quietly sobbed. Alphamon wrapped his arms around his friend tightly and squeezed his caped back. Omegamon closed his eyes, causing one of his tears to drop onto Alphamon’s tattered cape.

    “It’s over now…” Omegamon said softly.

    The two Royal Knights held each other and remained in the vestiges of DarkKnightmon’s data. Around them, the battle finally began to die down…
     
  3. Griff4815

    Griff4815 No. 1 Grovyle Fan

    Author's Notes: I'm posting Chapter 30 and the epilogue together since they're both kinda short.


    Chapter 30: After Action Report​


    An hour passed…

    The Battle of the World Tree was over.

    When DarkKnightmon had been killed, the battle had already been against the mercenaries thanks to the skills of the Royal Knights and their soldiers. However, it hadn’t been without a price.

    Many of the Order’s Digimon had been deleted during the battle, and not a single Digimon was without some sort of injury. However, the mercenaries’ losses had been much more severe.

    Most of the surviving mercenaries had been taken prisoner, although a handful had managed to flee. The prisoners were currently being rounded into manageable groups and were put under the watch of guards.

    Alphamon strode across the battlefield. Although the sadness, guilt, and regret of DarkKnightmon’s death didn’t leave him, he knew that he had to put that aside and step back into his role of leader.

    He looked around him. The clearing, once full of verdant grass and vibrant flowers, was now a mess of dirt, ash, stone, ruts, and craters. Even many of the trees around the edge of the clearing had been felled and even completely deleted.

    The World Tree itself was intact, but not without damage. The trunk had a multitude of burns and gashes along its exterior, and several branches had been torn down during the fighting. However, the massive, sky-reaching tree remained standing.

    The badly wounded were being taken to an impromptu field hospital over at the bottom of the World Tree. The combat medics of the Strike and Defence Forces – Digimon who had healing abilities – healed the Digimon to the best of their ability until Duskmon and his team of physicians could arrive. The severely wounded were being given first priority, while the walking wounded would have to wait their turn.

    Fortunately, the Warrior Ten, the Four Holy Beasts, and most of the Devas (except for Sinduramon, who was still trapped in a tavern basement) showed up not long after the battle ended, and they offered their assistance where they could.

    “Take those prisoners over there,” Alphamon ordered some of his soldiers. “And make sure that they’re disarmed.”

    When they complied, Alphamon began making his way over to where most of the Royal Knights were gathered. They were collected around the northern part of the base of the World Tree. Some of them were leaning against the trunk while others were lying down. All were there except for Omegamon. Each of them had dents or gashes in their armour, as well as cuts on various places on their bodies. Imperialdramon Paladin Mode was with them, sitting against the tree.

    “Hey, Alphamon…” UlforceVeedramon greeted, clutching the wound in his abdomen.

    MarineAngemon, AKA AncientMermaidmon of the Warrior Ten, turned around and looked Alphamon up down. “You look just as bad as the rest of these guys,” she observed with a half smile. “And I’m guessing you don’t want any healing either. I’m starting to get offended, y’know.”

    “Really, we’re fine,” Imperialdramon Paladin Mode insisted, albeit with a wince on his face. “Just focus on the badly wounded.”

    “He’s right,” Alphamon said to her. “Thank you all the same. I think we’ll all be fine for awhile longer.”

    “The Ulforce is taking care of me just fine,” UlforceVeedramon explained, referring to the overwrite sequence he possessed that heals his data rather expediently.

    MarineAngemon rolled her eyes. “Guys…” she muttered, shaking her head. “You’re all as bad as the ones in the Warrior Ten.” With that, the Warrior of Water floated over to the field hospital.

    “How are all of you?” Alphamon asked them, looking at each of them.

    “We’ll live,” Dukemon replied, clutching a gash along his bicep. The other Royal Knights nodded with agreement.

    “Where’s Omegamon?” Magnamon asked, sitting on the ground against Dynasmon, keeping pressure on a long cut in his stomach.

    “I’m not sure. He said he had to take care of something about thirty minutes ago,” Alphamon replied. He looked around at the Royal Knights. His eyes rested on Examon. “How is your friend, Examon?”

    “He’s undergoing a heavy healing treatment,” Examon explained, his calm voice betraying a hint of worry. “MirageGaogamon missed his heart and digicore, so they are optimistic.”

    “That lizard should be a prisoner of war,” Duftmon spoke up, frowning deeply. “He was happy to attack us at the start of the battle before the tides turned against him.”

    Examon glanced over at Duftmon. He couldn’t be too annoyed at him because he knew that he was right. It was only natural that they would be suspicious of him, but Examon was positive that Dorbickmon had changed for the better.

    “Hey, Examon did talk him around,” Sleipmon countered, looking over at Duftmon.

    “Dorbickmon attacked DarkKnightmon right in front of me,” Alphamon said with a frown. “He certainly seemed genuine.”

    “But can he be trusted?” RhodoKnightmon asked, clutching a wound on his side.

    “The enemy of my enemy does not necessarily make my friend,” Duftmon concurred.

    “But he is Examon’s friend,” Dukemon argued. “I saw them just talking for awhile during the battle. I believe that Examon got through to him.”

    Examon nodded. “I’m… certain that I did,” he responded. “Dorbickmon has changed.”

    “I hope you’re right,” Duftmon said sceptically.

    Craniamon shrugged dismissively. “How’s OuRyuumon?” he asked, looking over at Alphamon.

    “Stable… He’ll be okay,” Alphamon responded, relief gracing his words.

    “DarkKnightmon really took some chunks out of him, didn’t he?” Dukemon asked, folding his arms.

    Dynasmon frowned at the mention of DarkKnightmon’s name. He looked up at Alphamon with a heavy gaze. “…Did DarkKnightmon really…?”

    Alphamon grimaced and looked away, knowing what Dynasmon was asking him. He then nodded. “Yes…” he said remorsefully. “I…”

    Magnamon, Dukemon and Dynasmon all looked down with varying degrees of sadness and regret.

    Imperialdramon Paladin Mode eyed Alphamon quietly. He stood up and placed his hand on Alphamon’s wing. “There were only two ways it could have ended… Him or you…” he reassured him. “I know that you did all that you could.”

    “Even so…” Alphamon murmured. He closed his eyes and sighed, turning towards Imperialdramon Paladin Mode. “…You should not be standing.”

    “That’s the Alphamon calling the kettle black,” Imperialdramon replied with a small smile, gesturing to Alphamon’s wounded body.

    Alphamon managed a soft grin and made to sit down. However, the group turned when they noticed somebody striding towards them.

    Gankoomon marched through the smoke and made his way over to the World Tree. “Yo,” he greeted with a nonchalant wave. He had several cuts on his body as well.

    “Gankoomon…” Alphamon said, turning to face him fully. He stepped up to him and extended his hand. “I want to thank you. You didn’t have to aid us in this battle, but you really helped us out a lot.”

    Gankoomon looked at Alphamon with surprise. He glanced down at his extended hand and took it firmly, shaking it. Gankoomon smirked and rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, well… You guys really lived up to all the hype,” he admitted, glancing away somewhat. “I think I might have been wrong about you. This Order of yours was actually pretty impressive today.”

    “Were you impressed enough to consider joining us?” Alphamon asked him with a grin.

    Gankoomon chuckled. “Yeah, I--“ He stopped and blinked incredulously. “Huh?”

    “Wh-WHAT?!” Duftmon protested.

    “Shut it, Duftmon,” Dynasmon said, looking up at him with a grin. “He definitely has the skills.”

    “He’s okay,” Craniamon admitted, although he was secretly impressed as well.

    “He is not ‘okay’!” Duftmon protested. “Shouldn’t you consult us first, Alphamon?”

    “Knighting new Royal Knights is Alphamon’s prerogative,” Magnamon reminded him.

    Gankoomon ignored Duftmon’s protests and rubbed the back of his neck. “I… uh…” he stammered, visibly flummoxed. “You… really caught me off guard here… Can I… get back to you? There’re some things I need to consider first…”

    “Take as much time as you need,” Alphamon told him.

    “Gankoomon!” a voice called out from nearby. They turned and saw a youthful dragon Digimon dashing around some of the Strike Forces and running up to Gankoomon. “You’re covered with wounds!” he observed, looking up and down at Gankoomon.

    “Huckmon?” Gankoomon asked with an annoyed frown. “What the hell? I told you not to come here. It’s dangerous!”

    “I know, but--“ Huckmon immediately stopped when he recognized the Digimon surrounding Gankoomon. His eyes widened and blood surged into his cheeks. “The… The… The… The… R-Royal… Knights…” he said with full, awestruck eyes. “You’re… the Royal Knights…”

    Gankoomon raised an eyebrow. “Oh… Yeah. The kid’s a huge fan of you all,” he explained.

    “I-I’m not a kid!” Huckmon protested. Despite his blushing face, he craned his head up and puffed his chest out, wanting to make himself look impressive. “I can evolve to my BaoHuckmon form!”

    “Are you two related?” Dynasmon asked, although he noticed no similar characteristics between them.

    “No. He’s my squire, I guess,” Gankoomon explained. “He’s one of the things I need to consider. So are they.” He pointed over to the two Sistermons, who came running over after Huckmon.

    “There you are!” Sistermon Noir said, running over and picking up the still starry-eyed Huckmon. “I told you not to run off!”

    “N-No, you didn’t,” Sistermon Blanc protested, glancing at her dark-clothed counterpart. “You wanted an excuse to come here. S-Sorry about this, Gankoomon, sir.”

    “Big mouth,” Sistermon Noir muttered.

    “Anyways… Yeah,” Gankoomon said, scratching his cheek. “Us four would have to come as a package. I’m responsible for them, so if I was to join…”

    “…Join…?” Huckmon asked, his jaw dropping.

    “We have plenty of room at the castle,” Alphamon assured him.

    “Still, give me some time to think about it,” Gankoomon replied. He turned and began to walk away. “I’d better get these three out of here before they start causing trouble and hurting themselves. I’ll be in touch.”

    “Very well,” Alphamon said to him, watching as Gankoomon began heading away with the Sistermons and Huckmon in tow.

    “Wait! Gankoomon! Go back! You have to join! Do it! Doitdoitdoitdoitdoit! Please!” Huckmon pleaded, continuing to do so until his voice faded from the Royal Knights’ earshot.

    The Royal Knights turned away as Gankoomon disappeared within the crowd of Digimon. Duftmon looked over at Alphamon sceptically. “Really, Alphamon?” he asked. “Him?”

    “Don’t prejudge him, Duftmon,” Alphamon replied, turning and placing his winged back against the World Tree. He felt a sigh of relief as he was able to take some of the pressure off of his aching, stinging limbs and body. “Be… open-minded. Sleipmon and Examon turned out to be assets despite your initial misgivings.”

    Duftmon folded his arms and looked away. “That’s debateable.”

    “Gee, thanks,” Sleipmon mumbled.

    “He’s humanoid. What have you got to complain about?” Dukemon asked the tactician with a wry smile.

    “There is more to being a Royal Knight than just being humanoid!” Duftmon protested.

    At this, a stunned silence overtook the Royal Knights.

    “…Did anybody record that?!” UlforceVeedramon asked with an excited smile. “Is there a Monitamon around here?!”

    Sleipmon smiled and looked over at Examon. “Hey, it looks like we’ve been legitimized now, Examon.”

    Examon smirked. “Sure seems that way…”

    “What?” Duftmon asked, blinking. “I… I didn’t so much as… Ugh! Fools!”

    Alphamon smiled slightly. “Relax, Duftmon. I think Gankoomon will be an ass…” He paused when he noticed Omegamon walking towards them uncertainly. “…et to the team,” he finished.

    “Omegamon!” Magnamon exclaimed ecstatically, jumping to his feet as the white knight approached.

    “Hey, Omega,” Dynasmon greeted with a relieved smile.

    “How are you doing?” Dukemon asked him.

    “Feeling okay?” Sleipmon added.

    As he was bombarded by relief and concern, Omegamon blushed and looked down at the ground sheepishly. He didn’t feel worthy to receive their affection and kindness after everything that he had done as Omegamon Zwart. There was guilt and regret in his blue eyes.

    “I…” he began softly, but trailed off, unsure of what to say. He glanced over at Alphamon and Imperialdramon Paladin Mode, but grew embarrassed when he saw that they were both looking at him as well. He grimaced and glanced down at his feet.

    Alphamon frowned, recognizing Omegamon’s discomfort. “Give him a bit of space, guys…” he told the others.

    Omegamon grimaced and looked up at everyone. After a few moments of silence, Omegamon slowly got down on his knees and bent forwards so that his hands and forehead pressed against the ground in a pose of supplication. The Royal Knights looked on with surprise as he bowed before them so extremely.

    “I’m… so sorry,” Omegamon told them, shutting his eyes tightly as he put himself at their mercy, “for all the trouble that I’ve put you all through. I… hope that you’ll be able to forgive me… I…”

    Omegamon’s eyes opened when he felt a hand on each of his arms, lifting him up to a kneeling position. He looked up and saw Alphamon’s hand on his left arm and Imperialdramon Paladin Mode’s hand on his right arm. They smiled at him and gently lifted him to his feet.

    “There’s nothing to forgive, Omegamon,” Dukemon told him with a reassuring smile.

    “Hardly your fault. That Dark Area stuff’s to blame,” Craniamon agreed.

    “Indeed. You cannot be blamed for what happened while you were in that dark form. DarkKnightmon was the one that forced that transformation,” Duftmon pointed out.

    Omegamon looked down sadly. “You’re all too kind…” he spoke. He meekly glanced up at Alphamon and Imperialdramon Paladin Mode. “You both especially… I owe…”

    “You don’t owe us anything,” Imperialdramon explained, gripping Omegamon’s shoulder with one hand while gripping the World Tree to steady himself with the other. “We’re your friends.”

    “And I attacked you…” Omegamon responded, grimacing. “I left you at DarkKnightmon’s mercy…”

    “And I left you,” Imperialdramon said softly. He turned and looked at the others. “I’m sure all of you have been dying to know where I’ve been all this time.”

    “Actually, yeah. Come to mention it…” UlforceVeedramon mused. “The most we see of you is in that nice stained glass window in the council room,” he joked.

    “I’ve been doing plenty of things…” Imperialdramon Paladin Mode replied, weakly raising one of his arms to scratch his cheek.

    “Like what?” Dukemon questioned.

    “Like politicking on behalf of the Order. I go around the Digital World, maintaining relationships with powerful Digimon, like the Four Holy Beasts here, for example,” Imperialdramon Paladin Mode explained. “I know you guys do that too on a smaller scale, but, frankly, I’m more charming.” He smiled emphatically.

    “Debateable,” Dynasmon said, smirking.

    “Is that all?” Craniamon asked him.

    “No. I also do things like securing the Network, watching over important sites like the World Tree, and keeping the Dark Area in check, among several other things,” Imperialdramon clarified.

    “No offence, Imperialdramon, but I kind of wish you did a better job at the Dark Area part,” Dukemon said half-kiddingly.

    “I’d like to see you do better, Dukemon,” the white paladin countered with a semi-smile. He grew serious and turned and looked at Omegamon. “…Anyways. I’ve decided that I’m going to be more involved from now on. I guess I grew to like the role I made for myself too much. I became the secret champion of the Order, but I didn’t realize that you all still relied on me. I’ve neglected you all, but that’s going to change now.”

    “It is?” Alphamon asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “Yes…” Imperialdramon Paladin Mode answered. “While I’m not going to be joining the Order officially or anything, I’m going to make myself… more accessible.” He looked at Omegamon particularly. “I’ll be around more often.”

    Omegamon smiled slightly but looked away, still feeling a bit sheepish. “I’m glad to hear that…”

    “So am I,” Alphamon said. “I suppose I should thank you for all the help you might have given us.”

    “Let’s call it even after today, Alphamon,” Imperialdramon Paladin Mode responded.

    “Not to interrupt,” RhodoKnightmon spoke up. “But I believe that Duskmon and his team have arrived.” He extended his arm and pointed to the group of physicians walking across the clearing towards the mass of soldiers and prisoners.

    “I’ll lead them to the field hospital,” Examon proposed, stepping out in front. “I want to check on how Dorbickmon’s doing anyways.”

    Alphamon nodded. “Hopefully the physicians from nearby towns will be here soon as well. Then we’ll all be able to be healed.”

    “I’ll be back shortly,” Examon nodded, trudging along what was left of the grass. Once away from the group, he flapped his wings and gently glided across the clearing to meet the medical team. He hoped that they would ensure the safety of Dorbickmon and the members of the Order.

    -

    Examon stood outside of one of the large medical tents at the base of the World Tree. He gave the doctors a few minutes to go in and prepare before going in himself. He didn’t want to get in the way with his big wings.

    After it sounded like things had calmed down in there, Examon stepped inside the tent after pulling the entry flap aside. There were several Digimon lying on makeshift beds. They were even a few badly wounded mercenaries being treated.

    Examon looked around the tent, trying to spot Dorbickmon among the patients. Lying in a nearby bed of cloth was OuRyuumon. The gold dragon’s long body was wrapped with bandages and he was being tended to by a HolyAngemon.

    OuRyuumon spotted Examon and gave him a nod. Examon returned it. Despite their differences in the past, they both seemed relieved to see that the other was alright.

    “Grgh… Examon…?” a voice said from behind Examon.

    The draconic Royal Knight started to turn around in response to the voice. After carefully shifting his wing, Examon pivoted and saw Dorbickmon lying on one of the beds behind him. His chest was heavily bandaged. Standing over him was a TigerVespamon – a volunteer from a monastery who sent a few Digimon to offer their medical expertise to the wounded.

    Examon walked over to the bed. “Dorbickmon… How are you doing?”

    “Peachy,” Dorbickmon responded with a strained grunt.

    “Father Angemon has healed the worst of his wounds,” the TigerVespamon explained in a calm, ethereal voice. “I am just finishing up on him. He will recover fully in a few days.”

    “Thank you,” Examon told him.

    The TigerVespamon nodded and stepped away to tend to another patient and allow Examon to talk to Dorbickmon in private.

    Dorbickmon glanced up at Examon with a half-lidded eye, eyeing all the cuts and bruises that the Dragon Emperor had all over him. “You look worse than I do…” Dorbickmon stated. “…Partially my fault, I admit. We tore a few chunks off each other before I, well…” The mercenary looked away sheepishly while still trying to seem cool. “…saw things differently.”

    “Do I have a black eye?” Examon asked, reaching up and rubbing his snout.

    Dorbickmon looked over again and grinned. “Yup,” he observed. “Looks good on you… Shows you’re not just sniping all the time and that you actually do some real fighting.”

    “…Real fighting?” Examon questioned with a bland expression.

    Dorbickmon laughed, but he was halted by a jolt of pain in his chest. “Damn… Can’t do that for awhile…”

    “Actually… I was wondering,” Examon spoke up, a bit uncertainly. “What do you plan to do now? With your life, I mean…”

    Dorbickmon closed his eyes and leaned back. “…What I always do,” he answered flatly. “That is, if your friends decide not to arrest me.”

    “…I see,” Examon said, with what sounded like disappointment in his voice.

    Dorbickmon opened one eye and looked over at Examon. “I’m a mercenary, Examon. It’s what I know. S’what I’ve been doing for years now…” he explained to him. “What were you expecting? For me to go and join the Order?”

    Examon rubbed the back of his neck with his hand. “Well…” he admitted.

    The dragon mercenary released a soft, restrained chuckle. “Yeah. Not going to happen,” he said in a voice that didn’t leave any room for argument. “White knights in shining armour, rigid rules and discipline, snobby, high class Digimon…? Not my scene at all.”

    “I am not snobby,” Examon countered, folding his winged arms.

    “I bet you hold your tea cup with your end claw up in the air,” Dorbickmon teased him. “Anyways… You don’t have to worry. Just because I’m a mercenary, that doesn’t mean that I won’t stay out of trouble; there’s plenty of mercs that stay on the right side of the law. Besides, I know that I did a lot of stupid stuff, so I have a lot of making up to do.”

    “By stupid, you mean like releasing DarkKnightmon from the Dark Area,” Examon pointed out.

    “Yeah. And I got three holes in my chest as thanks. No good deed goes unpunished, huh?” Dorbickmon muttered. He then frowned and glanced over at Examon. “Hey… I have a lot of street contacts, so… maybe I could keep you guys in the loop about things that I hear about. You know… rumours, info on criminals and dirtier mercs… I hear a lot of stuff like that in my line of work. If it keeps me out of Havelock Prison, I guess it’d be worth a few trips to your guys’ HQ to give you guys useful tips.”

    “I’ll speak to the others,” the crimson Royal Knight told him, moving one of his wings to allow a doctor to pass by him. “I think I can convince them to let you off with a harsh warning.”

    Dorbickmon nodded weakly. He turned his head and glanced away from Examon. “…Thanks. I know I don’t deserve it,” he said lowly.

    Examon winced and gazed down at the grass. “Well, what I did to you was pretty bad too…”

    Dorbickmon was silent.

    Examon glanced back up, looking at Dorbickmon with a hesitant gaze. “So… do you think that we can both move past all of that?”

    “Maybe…” Dorbickmon replied, moving his head towards the Royal Knight. “I can see how bad you felt about that now. I think we can… It might take a bit of time to break the ice, but… ****. I guess I’m softer than I thought I was…”

    A grateful smile formed on Examon’s face. “Thank you…” he said to him. “You should get some rest now.”

    Dorbickmon released a big, toothy yawn and rolled over onto his side so that his back faced Examon. “Yeah… I’m pretty beat… Lemme know how things work out with the tin ca - I mean - knights.”

    Examon nodded and turned around, quietly heading towards the exit of the medical tent. However, as soon as he drew near, Alphamon pushed the flap aside and walked inside.

    “Examon…” Alphamon greeted, looking at him.

    “Alphamon…” Examon spoke in response. “Were you looking for me?”

    Alphamon shook his head. “I came to visit OuRyuumon. Is he in this tent?” he asked. He followed Examon’s claws when he gestured over to the side of tent, where OuRyuumon lay on a makeshift bed while a HolyAngemon tended to him. “Thank you,” Alphamon replied. He looked back at Examon. “How is your friend?”

    “Recovering…” Examon answered, looking over his wing and shoulder to the currently sleeping Dorbickmon. “He’ll be okay. …I managed to get through to him. He’s changed.”

    Alphamon gave Examon a warm smile. “It’s rewarding feeling, isn’t it?” he asked him.

    Examon turned to Alphamon curiously. “Oh… That’s right. You saved Omegamon, didn’t you?”

    “I just helped him remember himself,” Alphamon replied humbly.

    Examon nodded. He looked down and stalled for a few moments before looking up at Alphamon. “Um, Alphamon… About Dorbickmon…” he put forwards sheepishly. “I feel uncomfortable asking, but…”

    “You don’t want Dorbickmon to face punishment for the things that he’s done…” Alphamon knowingly spoke.

    “I know it’s a lot to ask…” Examon responded, wincing a little.

    Alphamon sighed. “I need your honest, objective opinion, Examon… Has he changed?” he asked him, looking at Examon studiously.

    “Yes… I swear on my honour that he has,” Examon replied, this time with more confidence.

    “In that case… I’ll see what I can do,” Alphamon assured the knight. “I’ll need to talk to him later myself to be sure, but… I think I can persuade the others to agree to let him off.”

    Examon bowed his head gratefully. “Thank you…”

    Alphamon gave him a small, sad smile. “There’s already been too much heartache today,” he told him. “I don’t wish to cause anymore.”

    With those words, the leader of the Royal Knights gave Examon a nod and strode past him. As Examon exited the tent, Alphamon made his way over to the exhausted OuRyuumon. He approached the makeshift bed and stopped beside it, looking down at the Captain.

    “OuRyuumon…” he greeted.

    OuRyuumon looked over at Alphamon. He was heavily bruised and bandaged, but he looked as though he would recover. “Alphamon. Hey…” he greeted. He slowly eyed Alphamon up and down, noticing the countless fissures and fractures in his armour. The knight’s skin was exposed and crusted with black, dried blood in several places, whereas the larger wounds had sloppy, makeshift bandages on them until it was his turn to receive medical attention. “…You look like ****.”

    Alphamon smiled through his pain. “You don’t look great, yourself,” he pointed out.

    “Yeah, I don’t really feel great either,” OuRyuumon admitted. “I’ll be fine though. I’m tough.”

    “I know,” Alphamon said. He sat down on a rock next to the bed.

    When he did, a silence overtook them both. There was an atmosphere… things had happened during that battle that were sensitive topics, and neither knew if they should mention them.

    After a few moments of hesitation, OuRyuumon cringed and turned his head to look at the Royal Knight. “Alphamon, I…” He paused and turned his head up, looking at the roof of the tent. “I’m sorry… about DarkKnightmon.”

    A grimace formed in Alphamon’s eyes and he was prompted to stare down at his lap. “Are you?”

    “I know it’s a lot coming from the guy who tried to…” He sighed. “Coming from me... But I know he was your friend and how hard everything’s been for you. If you ever want to talk… or not talk… well… that’s what best friends are for, right?”

    “Thank you…” Alphamon said to him. He glanced over at OuRyuumon softly. “I would rather not talk about it now, if that’s okay with you.”

    “Yeah, sure…” OuRyuumon replied agreeably. “Uh… How’s Omegamon?”

    “Fine. Feeling guilty, I think,” Alphamon explained.

    OuRyuumon nodded weakly. “As long as he’s okay…”

    Alphamon stalled. There was something else that he felt he had to mention as well, but he wasn’t sure how OuRyuumon would take it…

    The longer he stayed quiet, the more suspicious and uncomfortable OuRyuumon got. “So…”

    “OuRyuumon…” Alphamon began, a serious frown on his face. “I’m considering making Gankoomon a Royal Knight…”

    OuRyuumon turned and looked at him with shock. After a few moments, the shock faded and the dragon grew quiet.

    Alphamon became uncomfortable by OuRyuumon’s lack of a response. He was worried OuRyuumon might react like this. He didn’t want to put another barrier between them right when they had been trying to put their issues behind them. “But… if you aren’t comfortable with tha—“

    “It’s fine,” OuRyuumon interrupted.

    Alphamon looked at him. It didn’t sound like he was sulking or being thorny. “It is?”

    After a few moments, OuRyuumon closed his eyes and nodded, sighing. “Yeah…”

    “I don’t want you saying that just for my benefit, OuRyuumon…” Alphamon responded with a frown.

    OuRyuumon looked the Lord of the Empty Seat in the eyes. “No. I mean it…” he reassured him. He then looked up at the tent ceiling. “I think it’s time for me to give up on that dream…”

    Alphamon felt a pang of guilt in his chest. “OuRyuumon…”

    “I admit, it hurt before… repeatedly being told that I wasn’t good enough to be a Royal Knight for one reason or another. I wanted to prove them wrong… But… that wasn’t the real reason why I wanted to be one,” OuRyuumon explained, gazing over at Alphamon. His cheeks became slightly red. “I… I wanted to be your equal. Instead of always holding you back, I wanted to prove that I could be as strong as you are. That I could be there for you. I dunno… I wanted to show that you could rely on me and that I was worthy to be your partner.”

    Alphamon looked down at his lap, his eyes tightening somewhat. Slowly, he extended his arm and placed his hand on top of OuRyuumon’s. “You are my equal… I’ve considered you my equal ever since we were kids…” he explained to him gently and sincerely. “I don’t need you to be a Royal Knight to know that you’ll always be there for me.”

    OuRyuumon smiled a bit. “I… I know that now,” he answered with an uncharacteristically soft voice. “That’s why I’m okay with it…” He flipped his claws over and lightly squeezed Alphamon’s hand before letting go. His violet eyes gazed into Alphamon’s. “I’m happy just as long as I’m a part of the Order and part of your life.”

    Alphamon smiled warmly at him. “…You always will be, OuRyuumon.”

    “Thanks…” He adjusted himself on the bed uncomfortably, fidgeting with the bandages on his chest. “Uh… Let’s change the subject. I hate sappy stuff.”

    “I should be getting back, actually,” Alphamon responded, standing up from the rock with a pained wince. “I need to get things organized. Things are still a bit of a mess out there.”

    “Rather you than me,” OuRyuumon told him with a toothy smirk. “Guess I’ll just lie here and try not to die from boredom, then.”

    Alphamon smiled and nodded. He gave OuRyuumon a nod and began to walk towards the exit.

    “Alphamon,” OuRyuumon spoke up.

    The Lord of the Empty Seat looked over his shoulder. OuRyuumon’s expression was serious.

    “What are our losses?” he asked him.

    Alphamon closed his eyes and turned forwards. “Enough…” he answered sombrely. “There hasn’t been any official count yet, but… I suspect that any rousing speech I might make will be cold comfort to some.”

    OuRyuumon hissed a bit. “…It’s not your fault.”

    Alphamon nodded softly but decided not to say anything else on the issue. “…Get well, OuRyuumon.”

    “You too…” OuRyuumon replied. “Don’t take too long to get those wounds seen to. Otherwise, I’ll get Duskmon after you; there’s no hiding from him.”

    “My superior sight isn’t to the detriment of my hearing, either,” Duskmon reminded OuRyuumon as he passed by, giving him a sideways glance with the eyes on his right shoulder and kneecap.

    Alphamon smiled a bit at OuRyuumon. “Very well… We’ll speak later.” He gave the Captain a short nod and turned forwards, walking out of the tent to attend to his responsibilities.
     
  4. Griff4815

    Griff4815 No. 1 Grovyle Fan

    Author's Notes: Here it is. The final part. I posted it with Chapter 30 since they're both short.


    Epilogue: One in a Quintillion​


    A few weeks had passed…

    The Battle of the World Tree – as it became known by the Royal Knights’ chroniclers – still resonated across the continent. The holy site had been damaged and desecrated during the two attacks, and Digimon wanted to know why and what had happened. The fact that it attracted the Four Holy Beast to the World Tree caused the event to gain even more attention.

    This required the Royal Knights to come clean about DarkKnightmon’s Coups – again, so-named by the Royal Knights’ chroniclers and historians in light of the battle’s aftermath. While they had been able to sweep the first coup under the rug in the past, the Royal Knights had no wish to (or the ability to, after the sheer scale of the battle) do so again. They offered complete transparency about what had happened with DarkKnightmon.

    Fortunately for the Royal Knights, they had been generally spared public backlash to this secret. Their prestige hadn’t been irreparably damaged like DarkKnightmon had always intended. This was because, in spite of DarkKnightmon’s connection with them and the impressive opposition that he challenged them with, the Royal Knights and their forces had valiantly protected the World Tree. It was at no small price either. On the Royal Knights’ side, there had been fifty one deleted and hundreds wounded. As a mark of respect, the Royal Knights held a service and lowered the flag bearing the castle’s coat of arms for fifty one days.

    However, life went on. Everybody had to try their best to move on from the tribulations that they had been faced with for the past few months.

    Dorbickmon had eventually been left off the hook, after having promised sincerely that he had reformed, and that he would help out the Royal Knights in the future. Despite this, he received a severe tongue-lashing from many of the Royal Knights and he still wasn’t entirely trusted. Things probably would have gone differently if Examon, Dukemon, Alphamon, and Omegamon (who retained his memories from when he was Omegamon Zwart) hadn’t spoken on his behalf. Dorbickmon went back to his freelance mercenary job and, while now picking his commissions very carefully, maintained his contact network so that he could absorb information.

    The Order also went back to work, as did the Royal Knights. They trained and intervened as they always did. However, they were even more involved in continental affairs than they were before. Using Imperialdramon’s knowledge as well as their own, they took a more hands-on approach, although not nearly to the degree that DarkKnightmon wouldn’t have wanted. They still believed in the basic tenants on which their Order was founded upon.

    Alphamon, Omegamon, Dukemon, Magnamon, Dynasmon, RhodoKnightmon, UlforceVeedramon, Craniamon, Duftmon, Sleipmon, and Examon… all eleven Royal Knights worked together to make the Order, and the Digital World, the best that they could be. It wasn’t easy, but that wouldn’t stop them on their righteous mission.

    And they soon found that there would be a twelfth Royal Knight among their ranks…

    -

    Alphamon sat behind his desk in his office. The finely crafted, wooden desk had on it papers stacked in an orderly, systematic way. To the right of his hand were charcoal pencils, a quill, a fountain pen, and a seal for officially marking envelopes and scrolls. To his left was a small ball of pure light that hovered above his desk, providing a light source for the room. Alphamon held a pen between his fingers and he looked down at an official document in front of him, which he was in the process of filling out. Behind his formal clothing were bandages which still sealed the recovering wounds of his chest, shoulders, and arms, but they were healed enough for him to move around.

    “Name: Gankoomon…” Alphamon said aloud. He looked up.

    Across from him, on the other side of the desk, sat Gankoomon. His arms were folded and he was shaking his leg agitatedly. “Come on, Alphamon,” he said, looking across at Alphamon with an impatient, annoyed expression. “Is this really necessary? You already guaranteed me the position.”

    “If we’re going to do this, it has to be official,” Alphamon responded methodically. “So, Gankoomon, continuing with our interview… Why do you want you join the Royal Knights?”

    “Because you asked me,” Gankoomon sarcastically answered. He ceased shaking his leg and brought it onto the knee of his other leg. “You already know why you want me to become a Royal Knight, so can’t we just skip this? It’s a pain in the ***.”

    “I hope you don’t curse on a regular basis, Gankoomon,” Alphamon told him. He seemed to be taking some secret pleasure in doing this. “…And, as I said, you’re going to become the twelfth Royal Knight, so I need to make sure you’re thoroughly checked over.”

    “Just as long as it’s not by that weird pink guy,” Gankoomon muttered, sneering a bit and leaning back in the chair. “I want to be a Royal Knight because…” He paused and thought about what he wanted to say. “I think you guys need someone like me to keep you in check. I bring a new perspective and a lot of talent to the table.”

    “I asked why you want to join us, not why we want you to join us,” Alphamon noted, scribbling something down on the paper that Gankoomon was unable to see.

    This agitated Gankoomon even more. “Rgh… I think you’re all damn impressive fighters.” He frowned and looked to the side. “And you all have good hearts and intentions. I want to work with Digimon like that. I think we can do a lot of good…”

    “Okay, good…” Alphamon replied. He wrote something else down. “Now, your companions… The Sistermons and Huckmon. They’ll be joining with you?”

    “Yeah. I’m not expecting you to give them big positions in the Order or anything. Just lodgings and something small and out of the way so they can focus on Huckmon’s training. I’ll make sure they stay out of trouble,” the white-coated warrior assured him.

    “Very well. That shouldn’t be a problem,” Alphamon assured him. He looked like he was about to stand up, making Gankoomon hopeful that the interview was over. Instead, Alphamon merely readjusted his sitting position. “Next question.”

    Gankoomon’s eye twitched.

    “How would you describe yourself?”

    “Getting pissed off,” Gankoomon deadpanned, really becoming annoyed by all of these formalities.

    “Possessing something of a temper,” Alphamon murmured, writing another thing down in the document. “Impatient, dismissive of regulations…”

    Gankoomon was on the verge of gnashing his teeth together.

    “Moving on…” Alphamon spoke up, a faint smile on his face. “Describe to me some of your abilities and assets…”

    At this, the expression of anger disappeared from Gankoomon’s face. It was replaced by a glint in his visor…

    Gankoomon uncrossed his leg and slowly stood to his feet. With a passionate smirk, he leaned forwards and grabbed the edge of Alphamon’s desk. “Chabudai…”

    Alphamon blinked.

    “…GAESHI!”

    Alphamon watched haplessly as his interviewee suddenly gripped the desk hard and pulled up. Gankoomon lifted the desk high into the air, causing all of the papers, utensils and items to spill off the desk and fall to the floor. Then, with a mighty heave, Gankoomon flipped the table over in a display of passion and strength. The desk crashed to the floor noisily, flipping a few times before slowly toppling over, over to the side of the two Digimon.

    They took this to mean that the interview was over.

    When the noise faded into an awkward, lingering silence, Alphamon slowly looked up at Gankoomon with a flat, dry expression.

    “…We’ll get back to you.”

    -

    That night…

    The cool, relaxing evening breeze blew through the air. Soft wisps of clouds passed by overhead, hovering above the Royal Knights’ headquarters. When they passed, two moons could be seen in the night sky, reflecting a dim light down to the ground and over the buildings. The moons were aligned in such a way that the edge of one was partially hidden by the other. They rested in orbit against the dark, starry sky.

    Standing on the ramparts of the refurbished wall was Alphamon. He leaned forwards, resting his arms on the parapets, and stared out across the shadowy field surrounding the front of the castle. The Royal Knight closed his eyes and quietly listened to the sounds of nature around him, trying to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the night.

    He heard what sounded like metallic footsteps grow near.

    “Alphamon…?” a soft voice asked.

    Alphamon opened his eyes and looked over his shoulder. Emerging from the darkness was the white-armoured body of Omegamon. Omegamon approached him uncertainly and stood next to him. He looked over at Alphamon hesitantly.

    “Omegamon… Hello,” Alphamon greeted with a small smile.

    “I thought you might be out here…” Omegamon said to him.

    “Am I that predictable?” Alphamon asked him.

    Omegamon smiled faintly and looked forwards, staring out into the distance. His blue eyes quietly scanned the shadows of the night in the distance. “…You’re thinking about DarkKnightmon, aren’t you?”

    Alphamon winced imperceptibly. “…I’m thinking about a lot of things.”

    “I…” Omegamon begun, but soon stopped. He frowned gently and looked down at his hands, which rested on the top of the stone parapet. “Would you like to talk to me about it? I mean, if…” He trailed off, embarrassed.

    Alphamon was quiet. He glanced over at Omegamon, gazing at him carefully. “…No…” he responded, looking forwards again.

    Omegamon closed his eyes. He nodded gently, understandingly. While it hurt, he realized that things would be different after he became Omegamon Zwart. He allowed his hands to slide off of the stone brick and he made to turn around to walk away.

    However, he was stopped by a black hand on his shoulder, gripping him gently. He glanced over his shoulder to see Alphamon’s red eyes gazing into him.

    “Just having you by my side is enough, Omegamon…” he assured him.

    Omegamon looked forwards as his face grew red, but he raised his hand and placed it on top of Alphamon’s. He then turned around and stood next to him again. He glanced at him and looked down. “Alphamon, I… I want to say…”

    “If it’s about what happened with DarkKnightmon, you don’t have to say anything…” Alphamon explained. “If anything, I should apologize for the way I acted.”

    “You already did,” Omegamon responded reassuringly. “You don’t need to again…”

    “Good… because I’m hoping that we can move forwards,” Alphamon said, turning and looking at his friend.

    “…Of course, Alphamon,” Omegamon answered, returning the look.

    “You aren’t just saying that, are you?” the black knight asked the white one.

    Omegamon smiled a bit. “No… I want us to move forwards. Together.”

    “Good…” Alphamon responded.

    He returned to gazing back out into the night sky. A comfortable silence overtook the pair. For awhile, they just stood together, at ease, like they used to.

    “…So. Gankoomon,” Omegamon spoke, breaking the silence and looking over at Alphamon. “That was sudden. Are you sure?”

    “I think it makes sense…” Alphamon replied. “After this DarkKnightmon business, it will look better for us, adding another Royal Knight to our ranks. Besides, Gankoomon prides himself as being a Digimon of the people. I suppose we could stand to be more in touch with regular Digimon. And there is more to him than just a hot temper.”

    Omegamon nodded. “I trust your judgment. I’m sure he will be a great addition to the team.”

    Alphamon smiled a bit and stared up at the night sky, the large, white moons reflecting in the moat, as well as in his red eyes. “Are you?” he asked rhetorically. “Duftmon has made his opinion clear, and there are bound to be personality conflicts with Gankoomon.”

    “They will adapt,” Omegamon said confidently. “They’ll grow and accept. They always do…”

    “I suppose…” Alphamon replied.

    Omegamon smiled and stared up at the stars and moons as well. “If you don’t believe me, just look at how the last addition to the Royal Knights turned out…”

    “Yes… I suppose he turned out fine…” Alphamon answered, a grin growing on his face.

    As the two Royal Knights gazed up at the serene night sky, they watched as Examon’s silhouette soared through the air and passed in front of the lustrous moons.

    Examon looked down at them and nodded with a calm smile. Without a word, he glided on the breeze before pulling up, ascending, and disappearing into the stars…

    -

    Author's Notes: That's the end. Thanks to anybody who took the time to read all this. I'm currently writing a sequel called "Holy War", which I'll be posting. Thanks.
     
  5. Griff4815

    Griff4815 No. 1 Grovyle Fan

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