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The inside of the church was calm, tranquil, and cool. Outside, the screams of people filled the air. I sat alone in the church’s nave atop the altar as the front doors swung open. “Reportin’ in, sir,” a bandit walked up to me and saluted. “The third squad jus’ finished killin’ off everyone in dis miserable city.”
“Very good,” I said. “Nobody’s left alive, correct?”
“Well, a few small Digimon could have escaped without our notice, but we made sure to kill all da big ones, like ya said,” the bandit said.
“That shouldn’t be a problem,” I said. “The smaller ones generally don’t have enough of what I’m looking for. You did a good job.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Devimon…Abigail just had to go and murder you, didn’t she?! Well, no matter; there are other ways of acquiring what we all need.
“Oh, one other thing, sir,” the bandit said. “We found dis little girl hidin’ in a back room.” The bandit opened a door behind him, and in walked a small girl with blue hair.
“Mr. Sephyrus…I’m scared…” The child looked absolutely traumatized; her eyes were wide and her face was stained with tears.
“What should we do with her, sir?” the bandit asked.
“Do not kill this one!” I said quickly. “Just…toss her out into the desert. She’ll be a nice little snack for a SkullScorpiomon or something.”
“Will do, sir,” the bandit said, giving Larraine a revolting grin. “You sure are an okay guy for a priestly guy, you know dat? I wouldn’t mind bowin’ my head at your church!” I laughed.
“Feel free to worship me all you like,” I said. “Regardless, I will have to take my leave of this…disgusting town now. You and your group may do whatever you like with it.”
“Oh, man, this’ll be great! This is just what bandits like us need; an entire city for us to call our own!” I quietly left the room, ignoring Larraine’s cries of protest and the annoying begging for her life that escaped from her mouth as she was carried out of the room by the bandit.
“Damn it, where is SlashAngemon?!” Statuedramon griped. “Apollomon didn’t even tell us where he and Irene would be waiting for us!”
“Maybe we’re in the wrong part of the city? It’s quite large, after all,” Zelda suggested.
“Yeah, I know…I just want to get out of here as soon as possible!” I looked over at Ienzo; he looked quite nervous, and his face was all pale and sweaty.
“Nobody is going to discover your identity; I promise,” I said.
“…Yeah…” Ienzo looked around Valencia nervously, giving everyone, Human and Digimon, a suspicious look as they passed by.
“Damn it, where is Irene hiding?!” Statuedramon asked. “This damn city is too damn BIG! We may never find her! Apollomon should’ve told us where she is!”
“That shouldn’t be necessary,” I said. “Irene is our scout, after all; finding things is her specialty. Besides, she’s been here more than anyone else in Lachesis with SlashAngemon. She should be finding us right about—”
“Now,” Irene said from behind me. Statch yelled and jumped when she spoke.
“Your tracking skills are as good as ever, Irene,” I said, turning around. “Where’s SlashAngemon?”
“He’s…on his way back to the castle,” Irene said. “He saw you coming…and he decided to head back…”
“My God…!” Ienzo stared intently at Irene. “You! You…So…beautiful! Surely I’ve been graced with a vision of heaven itself!” Irene’s face turned a deep red as she stepped behind me and Zelda. “And not just one, but I’ve been blessed with the presence of two celestial — nay, divine beauties…Oh, has the loving and beautiful Goddess Arcadia forgiven me for my previously erroneous ways?” At this point, Irene had completely buried her face against my arm.
“Hey, they’re a little young for you, don’t you think, old man?!” Statuedramon asked.
“Hmm…yes, I suppose you are correct,” Ienzo said. “And I’ll thank you not to call me ‘old man,’ Statuedramon; I am only thirty years old! Why, I’m sure that you’re even older than everyone here put together!” Ienzo looked at both Zelda and Irene. “Well, whatever; I’m a patient man; I can wait a few years…”
“Thomas, remind me why we’re trying to save this guy’s life again?” Statch asked.
“We’re protecting him because that was the job we were given,” I said. “Irene, where is it we need to go?”
“We’re taking him to…a town called Paeonia…east of here…near the Cyprus Desert…in Elphierr Territory…” Irene had taken her face away from my arm long enough to speak, though she did so quietly. “If we don’t want to cut through Yew…we’ll have to go through the Cyprus Desert…around the Adonis River…”
“I thought there was a bridge above the river near Mandrake Town,” Ienzo said.
“It’s been destroyed,” I said. “If you don’t want to be here any longer than you have to, then we have to go through the desert.”
“…I understand,” Ienzo said. “As long as we don’t have to be here any longer, I’m fine with it.”
“Haven’t been here in a while,” Statuedramon said.
“Yeah…the last time we were here was when we were leaving Cyclamen City…hopefully for the last time,” I said. Please, don’t make it necessary for me go back there again…
“And there it is, over there!” Statuedramon pointed at the dreaded city. I groaned. It was less than a mile away, and the outline of the buildings could easily be seen through the sand-filled wind.
“Thomas, there’s a Digimon approaching,” Irene said, looking over at Cyclamen as the form of a small Digimon got closer and closer. “Let’s see…it looks like a Poyomon…” The Digimon floated up to us, a frightened look on its face.
“How could you see it from that far away?” Ienzo asked.
“She’s our scout, remember? She’s got superb tracking skills, and she has the best eyesight of anyone around,” I said.
“What’s wrong?” Irene asked, holding out her small hands for the Poyomon to land in.
“Bandits…bandits came and they…they killed everyone!” Poyomon whimpered, and looked as though he was on the verge of tears. Hearing that that place was as rundown as Poyomon said it was filled me with an odd feeling of relief that I soon decided to ignore. “I think they’re from Thanatos…I only just managed to escape, but not before everyone else was…”
“There, there, little one; please don’t cry,” Irene whispered gently, placing her hand over the Poyomon’s head. “You’re safe with us, now.”
“Did he say Thanatos?” Ienzo asked. “As in…the strongest, most destructive group of bandits in all of Arcadia?! THAT Thanatos?!”
“How many other Thanatos do you know?!” Statuedramon asked. “…Thanatoses? ...Thanatie? Hmm….”
“We have to get out of here!” Ienzo said. “Before they notice us!”
“What should we do, Thomas?” Irene asked as the Poyomon flew out of her hands.
“Well, Statuedramon and I can go into the city and slit the throats of all those bandits if you and Ienzo are afraid of passing by Cyclamen unnoticed,” I said. “If we leave them be, it’s pretty likely that some of their own scouts would notice us passing by…and then come after us when we least expect them.”
“But if you went in, they’d notice you for sure!” Ienzo stated.
“It’s really not a big deal; Thomas and I have been fighting bandits like this for over five years,” Statuedramon said. “If you don’t feel safe walking past that city, we’ll make you feel safe.” I looked down at him as he spoke, and I smiled briefly. I knew he was smart and brave, but those traits were always overshadowed by his constant hunger and clumsiness.
Statuedramon…really is the best partner Digimon anyone could ever ask for.
“Holy shit…this place is really run down!” Statuedramon said as the two of us entered the outskirts of the city first, followed quickly by Ienzo, Zelda, and Irene. “Are you sure you want to come with me? I know how much you hate this place…”
“I’ll be fine,” Thomas said. “The reason I didn’t want to come here was because…well, you remember that man that spoke to us? Everyone here was exactly like him…including my parents…” Statch nodded. “Well, they aren’t here now,” I pointed out. “No people, no problem.”
“Ah, yes. Say no more,” Statch said. “Well, we’ve been here for like, five minutes; how come none of those bandits have spotted us?!”
“They might all be in the same place,” Thomas said. “Don’t worry, Ienzo; I’ll make sure you and everyone else here remains unharmed.”
“…Thank you, Thomas,” Ienzo said. We continued to walk through Cyclamen, past the destroyed houses and building, past all the mutilated corpses, many of them missing their limbs of their heads, several of them jumbled together in a pile and the rest scattered here and there, rendered bloodied and unrecognizable by the various cuts and slashes from the bandits weapons, until we finally came to the large clearing at the center of town, which was filled with bandits, both Human and Digimon.
“Shall we?” Statch whispered. Thomas nodded. The two of them readied their swords and ran quietly toward the town’s center. They were instantly noticed, and two of the brigands, both Humans, ran at them, though all it accomplished was getting swords lodged deep into their stomachs. They screamed in pain as Thomas and Statuedramon hastily removed their weapons from inside their bodies, alerting the other Thanatos Bandits to our presence. More and more bandits rushed them, though they all suffered the same fate as the first two.
“All of you, ignore dem two!” one of the bandit Humans, who was most likely the leader of this relatively small group, said. “Go fer’ dem purdy ladies over dare!” The man pointed at Zelda and me.
“Damn you, if you so much as touch them, you’re dead!” Thomas yelled. The bandits, however, ignored him, and a small group of them ran in our direction.
“I sure hope this works,” Zelda said, pulling a talisman out of her satchel. “Come forth, Vajramon!” To my surprise, the talisman lit up as the luminous form of Vajramon appeared in front of Zelda, facing her.
“You require assistance, Milady?” Vajramon asked.
“Out of the way, cow! We don’t want your beef! We want that girl that called you up!” The same bandit that had spoken earlier pulled out a knife. “Each one of us here’s gonna enjoy her sweet, pleasurable company before we watch the blood come pouring from her neck!” At the words of their leader, most of the bandits began laughing, though some of them looked away in disgust. Vajramon’s ears twitched as their leader spoke, and, even from a slight distance, I could see his fists clench. The Ultimate Digimon then removed his two swords from their scabbards.
“Nobody...threatens...the lady!” Vajramon roared. He turned around quickly while swinging his two blades and fired a large energy beam that completely enveloped all the bandits in its light. When the attack faded, all the bandits lay on the ground, completely motionless. The Digimon had vanished from sight, and the Humans fell to the ground as charred corpses. Even though they had tried to harm me, seeing them all dead sent a chill down my spine. The smell of their burned flesh made my stomach churn violently, and I felt a nauseatingly sharp pain directly behind my navel that I had never felt before. Vajramon turned back around to face Zelda. “My dear lady, I do hope you remain unharmed. Those vile individuals have done nothing to harm you, have they?”
“No, we’re all okay,” Zelda smiled. “Thank you for coming, Vajramon.” The Ultimate Digimon smiled back at her.
“After that speech you gave me when I belonged to my previous Summoner, how could I refuse anything for you?” Vajramon asked. “If that is all, I will be taking my leave for now. Do not hesitate to contact me if there is anything else you need.” Vajramon became enveloped in light and disappeared.
“Zelda, that was incredible!” I said. My amazement at what Zelda was able to do had made all of my pain vanish in an instant. “I’ve never actually seen anyone do that before; I’m glad I had a chance to!”
“Thank you, Irene,” Zelda smiled at me as she returned Vajramon’s talisman to her satchel. “I’m glad I was able to help you.”
“This is the loudest I’ve ever heard you talk, Irene,” Statuedramon said. My face became red and flushed, and I looked down at the ground immediately.
“I….I’m sorry….” This embarrassment, on the other hand, was something that I was very much used to feeling.
“I think that was all of them,” Thomas said. “We were pretty loud, and no one else has shown up.”
“It’s getting late; we should continue onwards for now,” Statch said. He and Thomas took off, followed by Ienzo and Zelda. I, however, remained behind.
“…Thomas…Statuedramon…the two of you have gotten so powerful since I met you all those years ago,” I whispered sadly. Beside me, one of the bandits stirred, and suddenly jumped up. As soon as he noticed me, he ran toward me, brandishing a knife. The area instantly became illuminated by a bright light. When it vanished, the bandit lay still on his back with an arrow protruding from his chest. “However…I fear your journey has only just begun.” After a small sigh, I ran after my friends.