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Valencia Territory, Celosia Province
Towards the End of the Following Day
It had been a long journey, one that had taken longer than anticipated, due to our delay in Cyclamen City and the large distance between that city and our destination, but we were finally almost home. Fortunately, the sun was still out, so finding our way to the base wouldn’t be too difficult.
“We’re almost there,” I said, looking over at Zelda. “Our base lies in a clearing in the middle of this forest.” She hadn’t said much since we left Cyprus Province, though now that we were getting closer and closer to our base, she looked very happy. She hadn’t been able to stop smiling all day…not that I was complaining; she had a very lovely smile.
“Are we there yet?” Statuedramon asked for about the fifth time that minute. I smiled.
“Yes, we’re here.” I said. The three of us found a large opening in the trees, through which we left the forest to find a rather old-looking brick fortress, three stories tall and covered in ivy and other kinds of plants that I did not know the name for. The fortress stood in the middle of a large clearing in the forest, completely devoid of trees, as I said. “This is it, Zelda; welcome to Lachesis. It’s not much to look at, but it is home to every one of us.”
“I think it looks wonderful,” Zelda said, gazing at the fortress with a smile on her face. “I can’t wait to meet everybody!”
“There are only twelve of us here now,” Statuedramon said. “Well, thirteen, if we include you, Zelda; seven humans and six Digimon.”
“…Unlucky thirteen,” Zelda said. She laughed quietly to herself, though for the first time today, she almost looked sad.
“You okay?” I asked.
“I’m fine…Just a little nervous about meeting the others, now that I’m actually here.”
“You’ll be fine; you’re with us!” Statch said.
“…Is this about what the Digimon in Linnea said to you?” I whispered.
“It’s nothing…I’m okay,” Zelda said quietly. “Let’s just go in and meet everyone, okay? I’m really excited!”
“Well, come on in, then! There’s nothing to be afraid of!” Statuedramon said, running into the old fort. Hesitantly, Zelda followed, and I went in last. It took us all only a few seconds to reach the large, central room of the fort. It was filled with tables, chairs, and couches, a few of which were occupied. The walls, like the fort’s exterior, were brick, but the floor was wood, as were the tables and chairs.
“This is Lachesis’s lounge room; this is where everyone eats and relaxes while they’re not on a mission,” I said.
“And that’s the kitchen, way in the back!” Statch exclaimed. “Our boss cooks some of the best food I’ve ever eaten! It’s even better than the stuff we had at Etemon’s castle!”
“So, you’ve both returned. Welcome back.” I looked to my left and saw a woman, elegant and incredibly beautiful, sitting at a table while gazing at us with eyes of shimmering gold. Her black robes, outlined in a deep violet that matched her hair, contrasted well with her pale and fair complexion, and though they were rather loose, they did well in showing her curvaceous and well-endowed figure. “You certainly took a lot longer to finish that job than even I thought you would.”
“We had to go all the way to the desert,” Statch said. “Those rumors we heard about our target being in Paeonia were false, but we were able to find him in Linnea Village. To save time, we had to cut through Cyclamen City so we wouldn’t have to go through Yew.”
“Then that’s twice the incentive to celebrate your return, having visited the so-called desert of death,” the woman said. “Oh, and what’s this? You’ve brought such a cute guest with you. What’s your name, dear?”
“Oh, I’m Zelda, ma’am.”
“Zelda, this is Bellaluna Rosalina,” I said. “She’s our, uh…potion brewer.”
“You can say it, Thomas. I’m the ‘Witch,’” Bellaluna whispered seductively. “I make potions; I cast spells…that sort of thing. Also, call me Luna. I insist.”
“Yeah, she insists,” Statuedramon said. “She turned me into a Numemon once for calling her by her full name.”
“Don’t frighten the poor girl, Statuedramon; I’m not a monster!” Luna said, turning to look at Zelda. “Goodness, dear! You look so…so skinny! Are you okay? You’re not sick, are you? Haven’t you been feeding her, Thomas?! She’s practically skin and bones!”
“No, I’m fine,” Zelda whispered, blushing slightly. “I’m fine…really…”
“Well, if you say so, dear. What brings you here?”
“Um…Thomas and Statuedramon told me…” She looked down at the ground and mumbled a few words quietly.
“She wants to join us,” Statch said. The blush in Zelda’s face reddened.
“Oh, that’s wonderful!” Luna exclaimed. “We’re always happy to get new members, dear, so you don’t need to be so nervous!”
“Yes ma’am. I’ll…try,” Zelda said.
“So, why’d you decide to join us? Did Thomas knock you up or something?” Luna asked. “No, your belly isn’t round…Did he maybe—”
“Luna, please; I am not Garret,” I said before Luna could finish her sentence.
“Aw, I know you would never do anything so naughty, handsome,” Luna giggled. “Garret, maybe, but definitely not you.”
“And just what the hell ’s that supposed to mean, witch?!” a gruff, angry voice shouted from the lounge area of the room. A large man, blond and beady-eyed, got off a couch, followed by a Digimon, and walked over to Luna, giving her a spiteful glare. His large arms were crossed over his burly chest.
“Nothing much, really; it just means that Thomas is a perfect gentleman, while you, Garret, are a perfect example of someone nobody should ever idolize,” Luna said, laughing coyly.
“Meaning you’re a complete ass, Garret,” Statch added.
“Yeah, yeah, I gots it; I’s a total jackass; try tellin’ me something I don’t know,” Garret said.
“Oh, come now, everyone; there isn’t any need to be so hard on Master Garret,” a Digimon standing next to Garret said. The way he spoke made him sound almost like he was Garret’s butler.
“MetalEtemon, why do you kiss up to that ass?” Statuedramon asked. “You’re a nice guy; you should have a better ‘master’ than Garret!”
“I’ll say nothing on your choice of Human partners, and I’d like it if you’d say nothing on mine,” MetalEtemon said sternly.
“And just what the hell does that mean?!” Statuedramon yelled angrily. “I’ll have you know that Thomas is the best Human partner a Digimon could ask for, and is far superior to that pale bastard in every possible way!”
“Statuedramon!” Zelda exclaimed.
“No, dat’s me nickname,” Garret said, ignoring the fight between our Digimon. “‘That pale bastard’ is my nickname.”
“So, ‘re you a new recruit, Zelda?”
“Yes; it’s a pleasure to meet all of you,” Zelda said politely.
“Really? Wow…never heard that from a broad before,” Garret said. “So…anyway, I’m the ‘Pillager,’ and this is my partner, MetalEtemon, the ‘Butler.’”
“What do you two do?” Zelda asked. Garret grinned, and glanced behind at MetalEtemon.
“I looks like a bandit. I talks like a bandit. And I fights like one. But here’s the thing; I’m not a bandit,” Garret explained. “See, whenever our group goes and fights bandits, when we’s part of a big group, I go to the bandits, and they thinks I’m one of them. Then, when they ain’t lookin,’ I swipes whatever dey gots to swipe; weapons, treasure, bystanders, you name it. I pillage from pillagers. That’s my game. Clever, huh?”
“For you, yeah,” Statuedramon agreed. MetalEtemon clenched his fist, but Garret shook his head. Shaking his head, the Mega level Digimon walked away.
“Well, I gots to go; MetalEtemon and me’ve gots a job to do,” Garret said, beginning to walk away. “Have fun killin’ people. I always do.”
“You don’t have to worry about that,” Luna said as she noticed a worried look on Zelda’s face. “If killing isn’t what you want to do, then nobody here will force you to.” Zelda sighed with relief as Luna turned to look at me; more specifically, at my right arm, still covered in bandages from when Sealsdramon attacked me a few days ago. “So, what happened to you, handsome?”
“Oh, this? I was attacked from behind by a Sealsdramon,” I said. “He didn’t hit me very hard, but it’s still kind of hard for me to move my arm a lot,” I looked at my shoulder, at the blood-stained bandages wrapped around my arm. “I almost forgot I still had these bandages on.”
“Is that why you’ve been wielding your sword left-handed?” Statuedramon asked.
“Well, I’m left-handed anyway, but my right arm is stronger,” I said.
“Your blood…it is such a beautiful color…” Luna whispered seductively. To my surprise, she had managed to lift up my sleeve without my notice, and was staring intently at the bandages. She then reached over and grabbed my chin with her right hand, moving my head so that I was looking her right in the eyes. They were an eerie shade of gold, and yet they were extremely beautiful. “Your blood is precisely 1.5 shades lighter than average; a beautiful color,” Luna whispered, her tongue slowly moving across her cherry-red lips. “I'm looking forward to the next time I'm fortunate enough to see such an exquisite color again...” Without warning, Luna bent over and kissed me on the lips. In all honesty, it was a very pleasant experience, and it seemed to finish as soon as it began. “Do be a dear and show me soon. You wouldn't want to keep me waiting; you should know that I hate being...dissatisfied...” Luna finally let go of me before walking off. “I hate to leave, but I also have a job to get ready for…” I dared not look over at Statuedramon, as I knew I was blushing profusely, and I knew he would comment on it.
“I had…no idea it was possible to like blood that much,” Zelda said.
“It’s kind of a fetish,” Statuedramon said.
“Yeah, Luna’s kind of weird like that,” a small young girl standing beside me, donned in an overly large witch’s hat, suddenly chimed in.
“Oh, hello, Chrysania; how long have you been standing there?” I asked, looking down at the shorter girl.
“Not very long,” Chrysania said, smiling as wide as ever. “Are you the girl Chrissy heard everyone talking about? You’re joining Lachesis, aren’t you?”
“I certainly hope I’m allowed to; I don’t exactly have a home to return to,” Zelda said.
“Oh, wow, just like Chrissy!” Chrysania exclaimed. “It’ll be nice to have a girl close to Chrissy’s age for her to talk to; well, there’s also Irene, but she’s really shy, so she doesn’t talk to Chrissy or anyone else very much.” Zelda smiled as Chrysania spoke. “It’s been a long time since anyone’s joined Lachesis; who joined last?”
“That would have been Irene, a little over three years ago,” I said.
“So, what do you do?” Zelda asked.
“Oh, Chrissy is a witch, like Luna! Chrissy is the ‘Apprentice,’ and she’s also the youngest member of Lachesis!” Chrysania exclaimed. “Chrissy isn’t very good at being a witch yet, but Luna’s helping her get better so she can help out all her good friends at Lachesis more! Chrissy is always making mistakes and dropping things and falling over, but Luna never gets mad at her for it! She’s a great magic teacher, but she’s an even better mommy!”
“Luna’s your…mother?” Zelda asked. “She doesn’t look old enough to have a daughter your age…”
“Oh, Luna isn’t Chrissy’s REAL mommy, but Chrissy doesn’t have a real mommy, so Luna’s pretending to be Chrissy’s mommy instead!”
The expression on Zelda’s face grew somewhat sadder upon hearing Chrysania’s answer, but the small witch didn’t seem to notice as she looked up at her.
“I hope you join; this is a great place to be!” Chrysania smiled at Zelda one last time before merrily skipping off after Luna.
“You don’t need to be worried about whether the boss will accept you or not,” I said, walking up to Zelda. “It’s true, we don’t have very many members here, but that’s only because not many out there have heard of us, or are brave enough to do what we do. I’m sure you’ll be accepted.” As I spoke to her, a large, dark-skinned man walked up to us. He carried a huge axe single-handedly, and he was accompanied by a Digimon, like Garret. “Yes, dare is no need to be concerned,” the man said, speaking with a noticeably thick accent; however, in spite of this, he spoke clearly enough so we could all understand what he was saying. He held out a large hand, which Zelda shook as she introduced herself. “I am Pheragas Danved, de ‘Rook’; I hope you find your time ‘ere to be enjoyabull.”
“And I’m Pheragas’s partner Digimon, BlackGaomon the ‘Fist!’” the small Digimon standing next to Pheragas said, also shaking Zelda’s hand. “The two of us fight bandits head on, like Garret and MetalEtemon.”
“Ve are too big to be sneaking around in dahkness like Thomas,” Pheragas said. “Dare vould be not much difficulty finding me trying to sneak around, no?”
“Not really, no,” Statuedramon laughed with the large man.
The three of us could probably fit in that giant’s hands…maybe just one…I thought as Pheragas walked off. “That man…he’s easily the strongest Human here,” I said.
“I’ve seen him uproot a tree and snap it in half before,” Statuedramon said. “With his bare hands; he didn’t use that gigantic axe of his or anything!”
“Okay, I seriously doubt that he’s ever done that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d be able to…” I turned my head, seeing two more members of Lachesis in a conversation on one of the couches. “Hey, SlashAngemon!” I called, and the two turned, smiling when they saw the three of us walk over to them.
“Welcome back, Thomas,” SlashAngemon said. He and the girl he sat with stood up. “I take it your mission was successful?”
“Yeah, we killed that Etemon bandit leader, no problem!” Statuedramon boasted.
“Who might this be?” SlashAngemon asked.
“My name is Zelda; if I’m lucky, I’ll be joining Lachesis…”
“I see; graciously do I welcome you here, Milady,” SlashAngemon bowed at the waist. “I am SlashAngemon the ‘Knight,’ and this young lady is…” SlashAngemon looked beside him to see that the girl he had been speaking to was no longer there. He then looked behind himself and said, “There isn’t any need to be shy, Irene; come greet our new friend.” A petite girl, barely shorter than Zelda, with long, ebony hair that reached the middle of her back, came out slowly from behind SlashAngemon. “This here is Irene the ‘Scout.’”
“…Nice to…meet you…” Irene said, speaking nervously and quietly. She was looking steadily down at the floor, and her hair obscured her face, though I was certain that she was blushing in embarrassment.
“Irene and I serve as scouts for Lachesis,” SlashAngemon went on to say. “She’s rather quick on her feet, and her natural quietness is quite helpful to the job. The two of us often go to the city of Yew, which is where we find job requests for all our members to do, in addition to food and groceries.” Irene blushed while trying to hide her face in her long hair. “So, have you spoken to the boss yet?”
“Yeah, we were just about to go there,” I said.
“Very well; I wish you luck,” SlashAngemon said cryptically as we walked off. We walked out of the lounge room past the kitchen and entered a hallway with a rather large door at the end of the hall. Next to the door were two sets of stairways that led to the upper levels of the fort.
“Beyond that big door up ahead is the room where our leader usually stays,” I said just as the door opened, and out walked a tall Digimon covered in white armor.
“Hello, Dianamon,” Statch said.
“Thomas, welcome back,” the tall Digimon said. “I’m happy to see you made it back in one piece.”
“Hey, what about me?!” Statch yelled.
“Yes, you too, Statuedramon,” Dianamon sighed, and then turned to Zelda. “And who might this young lady be?”
“Oh, this is Zelda,” I said. “We were about to speak with the boss about letting her join us.”
“Well, I hope all goes smoothly,” Dianamon said. “All should go well in there. If there’s anything you happen to need after being admitted, just come to me. I am Dianamon, the ‘Queen.’” Zelda thanked Dianamon as the Mega Digimon walked off.
“Well, are you ready to meet him?” I asked. Zelda nodded slowly as I opened the door to our boss’s room.