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“These two have a job for us.” Apollomon’s words echoed softly through the large room and were followed by an unsettling silence. We sat on the couch, next to Apollomon, while the two knights sat across from us. For what felt like the longest time, nobody said anything, and during that time, Apollomon stared firmly at the three of us, though in a way that made it seem like he was staring only at me, as if waiting for me to snap, to say something wrong, or simply mess up in any way possible…which was, unfortunately, something I had a tendency to do. Meanwhile, the two knights, Saias and Lector, were sitting on the couch across from us, waiting patiently; they did not fidget, nor did they even glance up at us expectantly for our reply. “Is there a problem?” The question caught me by surprise and shattered the awkward silence of the room.
Great…just fucking great! I thought. Boss is probably going to force us to do this job…
“No, sir, there is no problem,” Thomas said. “It’s just…well, given the circumstances, I was caught off guard by their…sudden visit.”
“Yes, well, one thing has nothing to do with the other,” Apollomon said.
It has everything to do with it! I thought. It took nearly every ounce of self-control to keep myself from screaming the thought at Apollomon. He can’t honestly expect us to help a few knights out after everything they’ve done to us…does he? No…at the very least, there’s no way Thomas would even consider helping these people out…
“…They came here, fully armed, and covered head to toe in armor,” Thomas said. “I believe I at least have the right to question that much, Apollomon.”
“We are currently on duty, good sir,” Saias said calmly. “Our visit is not one that was an order to us, meaning we are not allowed to be here presently. If our commanding officers found out about this, we could very well be executed for treason.”
“Simply for disobeying orders?” Thomas asked. “That’s a little extreme, wouldn’t you say?”
“This coming from the ‘Assassin?’” Apollomon laughed.
“Sadly, yes…but, this is the way of the knight,” Saias smiled sadly.
“…So, what job do they have for us?” Thomas asked, looking directly at Apollomon.
“They want you to find someone for them,” Apollomon said. “Do you…wish to accept this job?” Thomas sat, staring at Apollomon, and then at the two knights.
He’s not going to…I mean, there’s no way that he’d actually want to help these people…right?
“We understand that you and everyone else here have had a troubling history with knights like us, and if you don’t feel comfortable taking a job request from us, we will not force you to,” Saias said calmly. “We can always go somewhere else if we are being an inconvenience—”
“No, that will not be necessary.” Apollomon turned to look at us, though it seemed he was staring most intently at me once more. “Thomas will do it…I chose him because I know he would not ever bias a client.” I looked up at Thomas, whose face was without any emotion, as was to be expected of him.
“If we are to do this job,” Thomas began, taking a deep breath. “I will need to know more about it.”
“Yes, of course, Sir,” Saias said. “We will tell you all we know about where we think—”
“Not that,” Thomas interrupted. “Why are we searching for this person? Why do you need him or her to be found?”
“Wait, you’re not actually going to do it, are you?!” I blurted out unintentionally. I jumped off the couch and looked Apollomon straight in the eyes. “What if this is some kind of a trap?! These two are knights, in case you’ve forgotten! There’s no way we can trust them!”
“You needn’t worry. They know what would happen to them if this was a trap,” Apollomon said, speaking calmly. “They know full well that if anything happens to the three of you on this job because of them, they would spend each day trembling in the shadow of our guild for the rest of their lives.” As Apollomon spoke, I looked at the expressions on the faces of the knights and saw not the smallest sign of fear, anger, or worry.
They don’t seem to be concerned. Either they are telling the truth and this really is a job for us, or they aren’t afraid of us…Arrogant bastards probably think they can take us all on with just the two of them. Well, I won’t let that—
“I apologize for the interruption. Now, what are you able to tell us about this person?” Apollomon asked.
“The person we need you to find is a man named Ienzo; he has short brown hair, he’s slightly shorter than me, and he’s a rather thin man, being a non-combatant,” Saias said. “He used to be a scientist working for the military, but he left about four years ago, without any warning; and now, one of our commanding officers wants him to be found.”
“We’d go ourselves, but the two of us specifically weren’t given any orders to find him,” Lector continued. “We don’t have any idea what he worked on before he left, but we can only assume that whatever it was caused him to leave. The higher ups all seem to be pretty angry that he left, so I can only imagine what the knights they’ve deployed to find him have been ordered to do to him once they’ve found him.”
“So, you need us to find him before the other knights do,” Thomas said.
“Correct; and, if possible, bring him back with you,” Saias said. “If he refuses to come back with you, do not force him to do so.”
“So, what do you think?” Apollomon asked. “You will do it…won’t you?”
“…I’ll do it,” Thomas said. He looked over his shoulder at Zelda and me. “What about you? Will you go with me?”
“Of course I’ll go with you,” Zelda smiled. The two turned to look at me expectantly.
Great; if I say no, I’ll look like an even bigger jackass than Garret… “I’ll…go with you,” I said reluctantly. “But only so I can bail you two out when you finally figure out it’s a trap! It’s not like I believe what these knights have to say or anything!”
“Well, whatever the reason, we appreciate your cooperation,” Saias said. “Now, we’ve heard a few rumors saying that Ienzo is living somewhere in Lotisea, presumably in an old or abandoned house; Ienzo wasn’t exactly the kind of person to enjoy the company of others, save for the most beautiful of women. In fact, for the first few months he was gone, there were rumors that he left us solely because there was nobody who fit his standards where he worked.”
“I’ve heard him ramble on and on for hours one time about this one girl he saw just passing by on his way to work,” Lector said.
“He’s been gone for four years, right?” Zelda asked.
“Well, give or take a few months, that’s about how long he’s been gone,” Lector said.
“If he’s been gone for that long, then why have you all been ordered to look for him all of a sudden?” Zelda asked.
“It has recently come to light that he made off with some…rather important information,” Saias said. “Whether it was something he simply knows or something that was written down on paper has still not been made clear to us. The only order that was given was for the deployed knights to find him as soon as possible. I’ve tried asking my superiors more about the situation, but they refuse to speak on the matter.”
“Where’s he supposedly hiding?” Thomas asked. “Surely, they’ve given a more specific area to search than just the entire province of Lotisea.”
“Lector, hand me the map, please,” Saias said. The older knight obeyed, reaching into a small bag at his side and pulling out a small map, which he handed to his superior.
“Let’s see…this fortress is about right here,” Saias gently lay the old map onto the floor, and placed his finger on the point on the map where Lachesis stood. “The rumors we heard said he lives slightly to the east of here, but past the border of Lotisea, and near Ambrosia River.”
“Looks like he’s about an hour away,” Apollomon said.
“Good; this shouldn’t take too long, then,” Thomas said as he and Zelda stood up, and I, reluctantly, began following them toward the fort’s entrance.
“Wait, you’re leaving already?” Saias asked.
“The sooner we get this over with, the sooner we can place that man into your protective custody,” Thomas said. “Was there…anything else you needed to tell us?”
“Well…in a manner of speaking,” Saias said nervously. “In addition to the rumors we heard about Ienzo, we also heard a few other unsettling rumors of an incredibly powerful and vicious Digimon nearby.”
“A powerful Digimon? How strong is it?” Thomas smirked.
…I know that look in his eyes. I’ve seen Thomas come out on top in fights with some really strong Digimon before, other than Apollomon and Dianamon. He wants to find that Digimon…
“Like Saias said, this is all rumors, so there’s no way of telling for sure if he’s real or not. All the same, he’s a Digimon you want to be on the lookout for,” Lector said.
“We have no name for him, nor do we even know what he looks like,” Saias said. “All we know is that he uses fire attacks far too powerful for his level, and he’s capable of killing Mega Digimon in only a few attacks at most. This Digimon…he is an enemy to Humans and Digimon alike.”
“Well…Just another reason we need to finish this job as soon as possible,” Thomas said. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”
I hope I don’t regret this… I sighed wearily as I followed Thomas and Zelda out of the fort. Both those knights, and a deadly, killer Digimon on the loose…how could life get any worse than this?!
“Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do for you two?” I asked. The entire thirty minutes Thomas, Zelda, and Statuedramon had been gone, the two knights and I hadn’t done so much as speak; rather, we sat facing each other, doing little more than breathe.
“You have been most generous by allowing us to remain here while those three search for Ienzo; it would be remiss of us to impose further upon you,” Saias said. I sighed and looked over my shoulder to my left. The other members of Lachesis were standing as far away as possible from us, though each and every one of them was glaring at the two knights.
“You don’t need to stand so far away,” I said. “They aren’t going to hurt you. Come on; join us!” My comrades gave each other nervous glances, but finally, they relented. Dianamon, Pheragas and BlackGaomon were the first to approach us, though they stopped and sat down at a table about ten feet away from us.
“If our presence is troubling to you, you needn’t come closer if you do not wish to do so,” Saias said. Pheragas didn’t answer him and continued carefully observing the two knights with BlackGaomon. Gradually, with my encouragement, the other members inched their way closer and closer to us when the sound of a person falling and landing on the stone floor caught their attention.
“Did you fall again, Chrysania?” I asked.
“No! I mean, yes! I mean...” Chrysania picked herself up off the ground, brushing the dust off her clothes as she did so.
“Are you okay, sweetie?” Luna asked.
“Chrissy’s okay…she falls all the time, so she’s used to it…” Chrysania tightly grabbed on to Luna’s hand, placing her foster mother between her and the two knights.
“Don’t worry, Chrissy,” Luna said in a barely audible whisper. She pulled Chrysania into a tight hug and began gently stroking the back of the young girl’s hair. “Mommy’s not going to let those two come anywhere near mommy’s little angel.” After a few moments, I glanced back at everyone, seeing that, while they had gotten closer, they all crowded behind Pheragas and Dianamon, both of whom still sat at the table. In fact, the only two who didn’t come any closer were Garret and MetalEtemon. I sighed and looked over at the two knights.
“Please, excuse me for a moment.” I stood up and walked over to Garret. “Is there a problem?”
“Yeah, actually, there is a problem,” Garret said. “I don’t like knights.”
“Yes, I know, nobody here likes Valencian Knights. Everyone here has a reason to hate them,” I sighed. “These two are different, though; can’t you tell?”
“I’m sorry, sir, but I cannot agree with you,” Garret said. “In my book, all knights are the same!”
“I’m surprised you can read that book.”
“…In all honesty, I believe you’ve made a terrible decision, letting those kids go alone to do that so-called ‘job’ of theirs.”
“I know, Garret, but I—”
“You weren’t there!” Garret yelled. “You weren’t there when Adrian was taken away! You didn’t see those knights drag his body away! I was the only one who was there! Not you, not even MetalEtemon! I’m the only one who has to live with the guilt of not having been able to do anything to save him, so don’t tell me how I ought to feel about those two! Come on, MetalEtemon; let’s go!” Garret stormed out of the room in a huff, walking towards the fort’s entrance.
“Apologies, Sir Apollomon,” MetalEtemon said before following after his Human partner.
The Valencian Knights…I know our actions towards them is unjust, but their retribution is worse still. And our group would not even need to do what it does if they would all simply do their job right! I walked back to the lounge, rejoining Saias and Lector. And these two…why are they so different from the other knights we’ve seen? They’re so earnest and intelligent, and they don’t reek of alcohol…