Lilithmon's Epic Chapter 16
It has now been two days since Saias and Lector left, and it was easy to see that most of the other members of Lachesis were relieved that they were no longer in the same building as a knight, even after so much time had passed. Everyone was smiling and seemed more at ease; I even caught Irene smiling once or twice, if only for a brief moment each time.
“I sure am glad all of that crap is over with,” Statuedramon said. “I never want to see another knight again as long as I live!” The two of us were sitting at a table in the fort’s lounge, eating lunch. Luna, Chrysania, and SlashAngemon, who were sitting at the table with us, nodded their heads in agreement.
“I still can’t believe the three of you actually did that job,” Luna said.
“It’s what we do, is it not?” I asked. “Protect the innocent and all that?”
“It just seems rather…contradictory,” SlashAngemon said. “Our guild exists to correct the mistakes the knights have made, not to help them make a bigger one.”
“Who says they’re making a mess of things right now? What if they simply wish to protect this man?”
“Yeah? Well, what if he’s, like, a serial killer or something, and they’re helping him hide?” Statch asked. “If they are helping him hide, then we’d be helping them hide some anthrax-infested serial rapist from the future! Ever think of that?!”
“…From the future?” SlashAngemon stared at the Rookie Digimon.
“Quite an imagination you’ve got there, love,” Luna said. The young sorceress slowly moved her tongue across her red lips. “I like!”
“But it could happen!”
“Perhaps, but such reasoning is arbitrary; they had a job for us to do, so it was done. Nothing else matters,” I said.
“Look, Thomas, I understand what you’re saying; really, I do,” SlashAngemon said. “I just don’t think it was a good idea, helping them out. Do you realize the three of you could have potentially been killed that night?”
“Do you think it was an easy decision for me to help them out? Do you think it was easy for me to help the kind of people who hurt my mother?!”
“If the knights hurt someone important to you, why did you aid those two?” Luna asked.
“Because that is what makes us different from them! We help those in need, while the knights laugh in their faces, and condemn the victims of bandit raids for bringing such tragedies upon themselves when they had nothing to do with it! We prevent such tragedies from occurring in the first place. Those two that I helped…they weren’t like the other knights all of us have encountered at some point in our lives. They were honest, hardworking individuals who truly cared about protecting the innocent. Do you think Apollomon would have wanted any of us to help them if they really were like the other knights?!”
“Thomas is correct.” SlashAngemon looked over his shoulder and saw Pheragas towering over him. “Apollomon vould not ‘ave agreed to ‘elp dem had dey been like oder knights. Or ah you ‘aving doubts toward our leader?”
“Well…I suppose if you…put it that way…” SlashAngemon nervously looked away from the large man.
“Thomas, Apollomon vants to speak vith you and Statuedramon,” Pheragas said. “‘e’s in ‘is room.”
“Very well; thank you, Pheragas.” Statuedramon and I left the table and made our way to Apollomon’s room, where we found him and Zelda waiting patiently for us.
“I found another job for the three of you while I was in Yew yesterday,” Apollomon said. “It’s from someone who used to live in a small town known as Mandrake.” Apollomon was holding a map of Arcadia for us to look at. “It’s just south of Yew — not even a mile — so in order to get there as fast as possible, you will need to go through that city,” he said. “The Ambrosia River separates our fort from this town, but according to Irene and SlashAngemon, the bridge closest to us has been destroyed — presumably by bandits — leaving the quickest way to be through Yew, unfortunately. It’s somewhat of a trek, but you should all make it back here before sundown.”
“So, what’s going on there?” I asked.
“Everyone from the town has been evacuated to Yew on account of a single Human,” Apollomon said. “This man is the only one left in the town, and the people of Mandrake Town wish him gone so they can return to their homes. Now, I don’t know what this Human is capable of, but if he was able to force the entire population of a single town, including all of the Digimon, to leave, then he must be extremely dangerous, so the three of you best be careful, understood? Regardless, do what you must so that he is no longer in Mandrake.”
“Usual procedure, then?” Statuedramon asked. Apollomon nodded.
“What’s the usual procedure?” Zelda asked.
“If we are able to…we sneak up behind and kill him from behind. Just a typical assassination,” I replied.
Outskirts of Mandrake Town
Mandrake Town was an easy find after leaving Yew. As Apollomon said, it was less than a mile away, so it only took a few minutes for us to find it. It was a very small town; the entire settlement could be seen from the hill we stood atop, overlooking the town. The sun had fallen past its highest point in the sky, making several of the houses and buildings of Mandrake Town cast their shadows in our direction.
How fortunate we are, I thought. These shadows should make it somewhat easier to maneuver. Perhaps we ought to wait a little longer before we advance?
“Why would anybody want to live in a place like this?!” Statuedramon whispered. “This place is a dump!”
“It’s pretty close to the Ambrosia River; plenty of fish and fresh water for him or her to live off of,” I said. “I guess whoever’s here just didn’t want to share it; in that regard, they could very well be a bandit.”
“But there’s only one of him; most bandits are part of a group, not independent,” Zelda said.
“Well, we’ll all find out when we kick that guy’s ass out of this town!” Statuedramon shouted rather loudly.
“Wait; we ought to wait just a little bit longer. In about thirty minutes, the shadows cast by these buildings will be large enough for us…to…” Statuedramon, of course, had ignored me, and began running out from the cover provided by the shadows. “He is going to get us killed one of these days, Zelda…”
Zelda laughed to herself as she and I began to run quietly after Statuedramon. Every now and then, I would see her looking off and away, and I knew that she was looking for her sister. We soon caught up to him, and I reached down and grabbed his arm, halting his run.
“What the hell did you do that for?!” Statuedramon yelped. “I thought we needed to get rid of this bastard as soon as possible!”
“Think about the situation, for a moment; we don’t know anything about our target, but it is logical to assume that if he was able to force out an entire town of Humans and Digimon, then he would be incredibly strong.” Statuedramon shut his mouth at this point.
“So…what do you suggest we do?” he asked.
“I’m not sure, but…we need to go about this as quietly as possible,” I said. “Since we don’t know how strong he is, we need to avoid separating.” I looked around the town for a moment, thinking. “In towns like these all across Arcadia, the focal point is usually in the center of the area, usually so as to be protected by the rest of the area, and such a focal point is usually where the town’s official or leader’s building can be found; that’s probably where we’ll find him.”
“Why would he be found there?” Statuedramon asked.
“Being in a place like a mayor’s office or something would give him a feeling of power, which is — psychologically speaking — what bandits thrive off of. That’s why they do what they do; so they can feel like they’re the ones in charge. It’s no different than being a schoolyard bully — other than the murdering, torching, and raping, of course.”
“Wow…Thomas, you’re so smart!” Zelda said, eyes shining brightly.
“Bandits are weird,” Statuedramon muttered as he and Zelda began following me once more, toward the center of Mandrake Town. “So, this guy was strong enough to scare even the Digimon of this town away?”
“Mandrake isn’t a very large town; I can’t imagine there being too many, if any at all, large, powerful Digimon; probably nothing past the Champion level,” Zelda said.
“Yeah, you’re probably right…” Statuedramon suddenly stopped walking to read a sign that bore the words “Mayor’s Office” in front of a rather large house. “Okay, I think this might be the Mayor’s Office, guys.”
“Be on your guard, everyone,” I said, reaching for the doorknob of the house’s front door just as it opened, and out walked a large man. Shirtless and heavily muscular, with spiked-up orange hair, he was quite a daunting sight to behold.
“…the hell’re you?” the man asked.
“Are you the one who forced out everyone in this town?!” Statuedramon asked.
“And what if I am?” the man asked, crossing his arms over his broad chest. “This is a damn good place to live; what the hell is so wrong with wanting it all for myself?! It’s not like I killed anybody to get what I wanted, right?”
“What a weird bandit,” Statuedramon whispered.
“…He’s been completely consumed by his own greed…” I said to myself.
“And just what the hell is so wrong with a lone bandit being so greedy?! I don’t like other people, so I took it upon myself to force everyone else out!”
“…I don’t suppose there’s any way we could convince you to leave Mandrake Town?” I asked.
“Oh, please, why the hell would I want to leave?!” the man asked. “Tell me why I should, you little shit!”
“Forget it; all you need to know is what my blade feels like inside your chest.” The man had begun to walk away, though he stopped as he heard the sound of my sword being removed from its scabbard as Statch removed his from his shield’s dimension.
“We were ordered to force you out of this town any way possible,” Statuedramon said. “We cannot and will not hesitate to kill you if you refuse to do so.”
“And how d’you plan on doin’ that, by talkin’ me to death?!”
“Zelda, you should find somewhere to hide,” I said.
“…Oh…Well…At least let me help you!” Zelda said timidly. “Come forth, Renamon!” Zelda held one of her talismans up to the sky as the form of Renamon appeared before her.
“Ooh, you’ve got a Summoner with you, do you? Well, I’ve got a surprise for you.” The man reached into the pockets of his black pants and pulled out what appeared to be a talisman. “Come forth, Vajramon!” The bandit held his talisman up to the sky just as Zelda did, and the form of the Ultimate level Digimon Vajramon appeared before him. “Do be so kind as to eliminate these pests.”