I had been lying in my bed for the longest time, trying to get to sleep. The bedrooms of the villa were very similar to the hotel room I had taken Ienzo to. The bed was very soft and comfortable, and I didn’t even have to share my room with Statuedramon. I stared up at the ceiling. Moonlight shone in through the window, and I could clearly see everything in the room. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep, but it was no use; I just couldn’t get my mind off what Saias and Lector had told me about Ienzo. I can’t believe he’s dead…who could’ve done that? I kept thinking. Who killed Ienzo? Who— my thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a door opening. Is that the front door? I climbed out of my bed and quietly walked downstairs to the front door to see someone leaving the house. As I got closer, the person turned to face me.
“Is that you, Sir Thomas?” It was Saias.
“Yeah; where are you going?” I whispered back.
“There’s a small forest behind my villa.” Saias and I walked out the front doors of his house so we could speak louder. “I always walk around that forest whenever I have trouble sleeping.”
“It’s the middle of the night,” I said. Saias laughed.
“Yes, it is, but the moon’s light is quite intense tonight, so I shouldn’t have any problem seeing where I’m going,” Saias said. “Would you like to come with me?”
“Yeah; I haven’t been able to sleep either,” I replied. Saias led me behind his large villa and into the forest. We walked in silence for a few minutes at first.
“So, how do you like being a member of a mercenary guild?” Saias asked.
“It’s…I don’t know how to describe it,” I said. “It’s like…I finally have a family; I’m never alone, and I’m surrounded by all my friends on a daily basis. It’s true that I am required to kill Humans and Digimon, and I was a little shaken up by it at first, but after about five years or so of doing it, I’ve gotten used to it; the only ones Statch and I kill are bandits; cutthroats that take the belongings, and oftentimes the lives, of the innocent, so it’s not like we’re killing people who don’t deserve to die or anything.”
“I see,” Saias said. “I suppose that’s what it must be like to be a knight.” I looked over at him.
“Aren’t you a knight, though? You should know what it’s like to be one,” I said.
“I only wish things were that simple…” Saias sighed. “Though, I presume that’s what being a knight must be like through the eyes of a child aspiring to become one, but believe me, things are never that simple…”
“How come you and Lector don’t hate us?” I asked.
“Well, that’s quite an inane question; why do you and a small number of your guild not hate Lector and me?” Saias asked.
“Knights…they’ve always resented us…I understand why they do, even though all we’re doing is trying to right the wrongs they’ve caused, but…” I clenched my fists tightly. “The knights we’ve encountered before meeting you two…they were the most terrible people we’ve ever met; they dragged off the body of one of my allies one time; I only learned just recently that he was still alive; they nearly killed Pheragas one time, which is how he came to work for us at Lachesis; and I have no doubt about some of the things they’d do to Irene or Zelda if they ever got their hands on them…I can handle all the insults they throw at me, but when they insult or harm one of my friends, I just…see red.”
“As I said earlier, being a knight isn’t as simple as protecting everyone,” Saias said. “I joined the knights because I wanted to do just that. But sometimes, you need to selfishly protect yourself in order to achieve your goals.”
“So, why don’t you two hate us?” I asked. “People give you requests for you to do because nobody else will do them; requests to drive off bandits and the like.”
“A growing number of people across Arcadia are growing to detest us knights for the abysmal work we’ve done,” Saias said. “And not just in Valencia; this applies to knights in Valneva, Shendu, Elphierr, and Cherifia territories as well.”
“Which is why we formed our guild, Lachesis; we steal those requests from the knights before they have a chance to foul everything up, and take the reward away from them, so I can understand why they hate us, so why don’t you or Lector hate us?” I asked.
“Because I agree with what you’re all doing.” Saias looked up at the moon. “So many knights are only knights just so as to get the reward offered by the jobs given, caring little to none about the consequences of their actions, or the safety of the innocents involved. That’s another reason why I became a knight; so I could change the way they all think. If I can become Grand Master of the knights, then I would change the way we do things. I would turn our group into one like yours; one that cares more about the innocents than the reward. Of course, Lector feels the same way, and he joined for the same reasons as I.”
“A dream like that’s going to take a lot of work,” I said.
“Yes; it’ll be hard enough becoming a Grand Master. Being a Knight Commander, I am one step away from becoming Master, but…so are a few others…”
“…Now that I think about it…the people in the desert province don’t have a system like yours,” I said.
“Yes…I always used to think them lucky for that,” Saias sighed. We continued to walk for a few moments in silence, listening to the leaves crunch beneath our feet and the trickle of a nearby stream, when Saias suddenly stopped and drew his sword.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I heard something,” Saias said. “Something big.”
“It could’ve been a Digimon,” I suggested.
“This feeling…I’ve felt it before…haven’t I? No…it’s different…” The two of us stopped walking; I, too, heard the sound of something moving around the treetops. I could hear my heart racing quicker and quicker as the expression on Saias’s face grew more and more worried. “…Sir Thomas…go back to the villa. If I am not back by morning…tell Lector. Tell him to go back to Yew. Now, go!” Saias quickly walked away, holding his sword tightly as he looked around the forest nervously.
“Like hell I’m leaving him alone.” I whispered to myself as I ran after him. After running for a few minutes, I found Saias in a small clearing in the forest, swinging his sword at the shadows provided by the trees. “Saias!”
“Thomas! Stay back!” Saias shouted, madly swinging his blade at whatever was in the shadows.
“You know, you fight well…for a Human…” a voice from the shadows said.
“So, does that make you a Digimon?” Saias asked.
“I am neither, and yet I am both at the same time.”
No way…I’ve heard that voice before! But…whose voice was it?! C’mon, Thomas, think! I don’t remember it being quite this…intimidating…
“Yeah, like I’d really believe something as ridiculous as that!” Saias grunted. “Thomas, stay out of the shadows!”
“Relax; I’ve no intention of harming the boy; you are the only one who will come to harm…Commander Saias.”
“If you think that, then you are a fool!” Saias thrusted his sword into the shadows, and a loud, resonating sound echoed, as if something living had been hit, and the voice that had spoken earlier screeched in pain. “Come out of the shadows; I’d like to see the face of the one foolish enough to think he could best me in combat.”
“Why don’t you…come here to join me? The shadows are very inviting!” Saias swung his sword once more, and at once I heard him gasp in shock just as a shining, golden spike tore through his back, staining his shirt with blood.
“SAIAS!” I tried to run over to the knight, but someone grabbed my arm from behind. “Let go, damn it!” I looked over to see who had grabbed me and saw only a shadow wrapped around my arm. I looked over at Saias again just in time to see a pair of glowing yellow eyes in the darkness as whatever it was Saias had fought dragged him into the shadows.
“Thomas…” Saias coughed up a mouthful of blood. “Thomas, listen to me…tell the others…about this…in the morning…tell them to stay away from this forest…tell Lector to…return to the Valencian capital.” The knight once again coughed up blood. “I’m sorry…I wasn’t able to help you out more…and for…being unable to make my dream…a reality…” The last of Saias disappeared into the shadows. The shadows around my arm vanished, as did what appeared to be the shadows of the trees. I ran over to the spot Saias had been just moments ago; not even his blood remained where it had fallen on the previously shadowed grass. I fell to my knees.
Why? I looked up at the moon. Why do friends keep dying? And why isn’t there anything I can do about it?!