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“It started when I was about five years old, while I was still living in Cyclamen City,” Thomas said. “It was…soon after my parents had both been killed by bandits that I was found by her…Victoria Kasuto. She was the woman who taught me how to use a sword. She was beautiful, elegant, and gentle…the complete opposite of my real mother. Victoria just happened to be in Cyclamen when she found me, standing in front of my parents’ graves, completely ignored by all the passersby of the city. Even at that young an age, I knew what death was, and I knew it had afflicted my mother and father, but it wasn’t until Victoria found me that I cried, not because of my parents dying, but because that was the first time I knew what it was like to have someone care about me.”
“Oh, you poor thing…” I whispered.
“How long were you with her when you first found me?” Statuedramon asked.
“…I’d been living with her for three years,” Thomas said. “You were collapsed and hungry, as usual.”
“I can’t imagine myself any other way,” Statuedramon said with a proud grin. “I remember her agreeing to teach you how to use a sword the day after you found me as if it were yesterday…”
“She said that part of the reason she took me in was because I reminded her of her son,” Thomas said. “She didn’t speak about it much, but she did tell me once that after her son was born, she was told the boy had a substantial amount of quintessence, and they took him away from her before she even got to hold him, and was later told he had died. Victoria is the closest person I have to a mother, and the first person who was ever kind to me, and each and every day, she cried about that one terrible happened to her. I just could never understand why this kind, beautiful woman was forced to endure so much pain, day after day, and even when it hurt her, she always smiled at me; all because her only child had been taken from her. She’s the reason why I joined Lachesis; I was hoping I’d find whoever took her child, and make them suffer for what they did to her. I just…wanted to do something to keep her from crying…so that she would always be smiling…”
“Thomas…you’re so sweet,” I said. Thomas blushed, absentmindedly pulled on his beard, and looked down at the ground. Aww, I’ve never seen him embarrassed before! How adorable!
“…She also told me…that the boy’s father…was a knight,” he continued.
“And that’s why you want to go to Braig’s lab?” Statch asked. “You think either Braig or Ienzo was involved in her child being taken from her?”
“She was told he had a substantial amount of quintessence; it wasn’t until after we took Ienzo to Paeonia that I remembered, and I started thinking about all of this,” Thomas said. “Who else would have done something so cruel? I’m going to find Braig, and I’ll make him tell me what I want to know. Also…” Thomas turned to look at Statuedramon and me. “I’m hoping to find out something about whatever it was that Saias fought last night. It’s my fault he died…if I had just been stronger, then maybe he wouldn’t have…”
“Thomas, nobody in Lachesis thinks what happened was your fault!” I walked over to Thomas. “I can understand wanting to find Braig to make Victoria happy, but Saias’s death was not your fault, so please…just don’t blame yourself for what happened to him, okay?” I reached over and gave his hand a small, comforting squeeze.
“She’s right; you can’t go blaming yourself each time a friend dies,” Statch said. “Even though Adrian isn’t actually dead, but…you know what I mean, right, buddy?”
“Yeah…I do,” I said. “Well, let’s get going, shall we?”
“It’s not as…big as I expected,” Statuedramon said. “Also, why aren’t there any, like, guards or anything?”
“That just makes things easier for me,” I said. “I’m going in alone.”
“Then why the hell are we here?” Statuedramon asked.
“If we could be of help to you, then you should let us help,” Zelda said. “You shouldn’t try to do everything by yourself.”
“This isn’t like when we fought Etemon, or even Devimon.” I looked through the front doors of the lab — there were no lights on, indicating that it was vacant. “I don’t know if I’ll find who I’m looking for in here, but if I do…I don’t want you to see what I would do.”
“There isn’t anything you could do in there that would disgust me or anything.”
“I know there isn’t, Statch,” I interrupted, looking at Zelda. “Can you just…wait for me out here and make sure nobody comes in?”
“Alright, fine,” Statch muttered.
“We won’t let you down,” Zelda smiled kindly at me.
“I know you won’t,” I smiled back, and then walked into the lab, feeling apprehensive, and yet alert and ready to kill.
Where are you, Braig?! I quietly opened the door of every room and looked in, but saw nobody. The entire building appeared to be deserted. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea. I would have come during the day, but if anybody noticed me walking around a place like this...that wouldn’t exactly be the best thing right now… I opened yet another door, and was shocked when I saw that the lights were on in this room. I looked in, hiding behind the door, but the room was completely empty. I walked in and instantly noticed a large book lying closed on top of a rather cluttered desk. It doesn’t have anything written on it…no title or anything, not even an author’s name… I opened the book, and there on the first page, were the words Quintessence: A Complete Guide on How to Extract It. “Well, now…looks like I’ve struck gold. If a book like this is right here in the open, then is Braig teaching others how to do this?” I began flipping through the pages of the book, briefly skimming through the words — not finding any information Ienzo hadn’t already told me — when the door behind me slammed shut. Surprised, I closed the book and turned around and saw a strange looking man standing behind me. “W—who are you? You look too big to be a Human…what are you? Are you a Digimon?”
“I…used to be a Human, but now I live here as a Digimon…” the man spoke in a somber, monotone voice.
“I’ve never seen a Digimon like you before,” I said. “Who are you?!”
“That’s what I ought to be asking you,” the man said. “My name is Andromon…forcefully brought here against my will, and turned into a Digimon, I was…they now force me to guard this place, but it really is not so bad.”
“They force you? Who exactly is ‘they?’” I picked up the book I was reading and held it behind my back.
“You know…I never once bothered to ask who they are…” Andromon said.
He came in just before I could discover anything new about quintessence…I’ll have to make this quick!
“Even I know not the identities of my captors…of those who turned me from flesh to steel…” Andromon began walking over to me. “I have been given orders to eliminate all unwanted intruders…it is a sad life I lead, one I was forced into without consent…I must now do the bidding of those who control all that they desire…” Andromon’s right hand began spinning until it turned into a large spike. “My sincerest apologies to both you and those you call kin…but you must fall, right here and now…”
“Thomas sure has been gone a while,” Zelda said. “Are you sure we shouldn’t be in there with him?”
“Nah; Thomas will be fine on his own,” I said. “It’s more important that we keep others from going in while he’s in there — if we can.”
“Well now, here are a few faces I thought I’d never see again! One of them pretty, one of them not so pretty…” a voice from the shadows said.
“Who’s there?!” I yelled. “Show yourself!”
“As you wish…” it was a man’s voice that spoke, and as he walked out of the shadows, I began to regret my demands; the man was more than twice my height, heavily muscular, and carrying a large tomahawk. “The name’s Boltmon; have you missed me?” Boltmon gazed expectantly at us. “So…you’ve forgotten me? No surprise there; I guess I do look a lot different than I did before…” Boltmon stuck his tomahawk’s blade into the ground and cracked his knuckles. “I’m the man you rudely and cruelly forced out of my lovely Mandrake Town!”
“You?! You…I don’t know your name,” I said. “But…you were a Human, right?! How did you become a Digimon?!” What’s worse, I’ve never seen a Digimon like this before! He looks like he wants to fight, and we don’t know how strong he is!
“Are you a Bio Hybrid?” Zelda asked.
“Well, aren’t you a smart one, gorgeous? I wasn’t aware there was anyone outside this damn lab that knew what that word was, let alone knew we exist,” Boltmon said. “What I am is of no concern to you — those in charge of this place wouldn’t want a few rats sniffing around, so I’ve been hired to exterminate vermin like you! Prepare yourselves; I take my job very seriously!”
“Prepare for an untimely demise…Lightning Blade!” Andromon swung his arm through the air and fired a bolt of electricity at me. I immediately held up the book to protect myself, which instantly burst into flames and was immediately incinerated.
Great; now I’ll never know what’s in there! The book fell to the floor as a small pile of ash.
“That was but a small sample of what you will feel…while I tear your limbs off one by one,” Andromon said.
“I doubt whoever is bossing you around will be too pleased over the fact that you just destroyed their precious book.” I drew my sword from its scabbard, my hands firmly gripped around its hilt.
“I feel…no fear…” Andromon said. “I feel nothing…no happiness…no anger…no boredom…emotions have all but remained within me as I morphed into this grotesque form…”
I should be careful…I have no idea what a Digimon like this is capable of... “What kind of Digimon are you? I’ve never seen one like you before!”
“I’m not surprised…I was…recently created…no other Digimon are like me,” Andromon said. “Just like my friend…”
Andromon nodded. “He should be outside now…dealing with your friends, he is…no doubt, they have already perished…”
“You don’t know what my friends are capable of!” I ran up to Andromon and begun rapidly swinging my blade at the tall Digimon, who blocked each swing with the side of his metal arms.
“You waste your time, real Human…my body is composed entirely of steel…a sword shall not cut through my skin. Gatling Attack!” Andromon opened up his chest plate and fired two missiles at me, both of which missed me when I ducked out of the way, and they both crashed into a wall. “You have no hope…of attaining victory while your opponent is me…Gatling Attack!” Andromon launched another pair of missiles, and as they flew closer and closer to me, I leaped into the air and, after dropping my sword, grabbed them both and threw them back at Andromon, causing them to explode when they struck him. A small, blazing fire engulfed the Digimon as he was struck by his own attack.
“Battle Tomahawk!” Boltmon lifted up his enormous weapon and hurled it at us, though it was so high up in the air that it missed my head by about two feet. The tomahawk soon came flying back to Boltmon, who caught it without even looking. “Hmm…I guess I am a little too tall to be doing things that way…”
“Come forth, Vajramon!”
“Vajramon, you say?” Boltmon grinned as the form of Vajramon appeared before me. “How about that; it’s been a while, Vajramon! How’ve you been, buddy? Wait…did that little girl scavenge your talisman after the big guy dragged me away?! That thievin’ little bitch!”
“I’ll only ask you once not to speak ill of the lady.” Vajramon, towering over Boltmon, drew both his swords and pointed them threateningly at Boltmon’s chest. “All those who threaten or insult my fair lady shall not live to do so again!”
“Vajramon, would you really turn your sword against your old master?” Boltmon asked.
“Deva Blade!” Vajramon swung his blades and fired an x-shaped energy beam from them that struck Boltmon in the face; the Digimon, however, yawned as the attack hit him.
“Come on; after the shit I’ve been through becoming a Digimon, there isn’t an attack strong enough to hurt me anymore; Battle Tomahawk!” Boltmon leapt up and struck Vajramon across the face with his axe; the Digimon Spirit instantly vanished as Boltmon landed on the ground. “Who’s next? Come on; I’m a Mega level Digimon, here; I need a challenge!” Statuedramon stepped forward, though I placed my hand over his shoulder to stop him. He looked up and gave me a confused look as I pulled out another Digimon Talisman.
“Come forth, Gallantmon!” The Spirit of the Exalted Knight Digimon instantly materialized in front of me, glaring down at Boltmon.
“…the fuck are you?!” Gallantmon sneered.
“My name is Boltmon!” Boltmon stared, undaunted, up at Gallantmon, despite the Exalted Knight being even taller than Vajramon. “Currently, a Mega Level Digimon; at one point in time, a Human!”
“I don’t care; Royal Saber!”
“What the hell?!” Boltmon ducked out of the way of the blast of lightning Gallantmon fired from his lance. “You can’t just say you don’t freaking care! I used to be a fucking Human, here! Does that not surprise you in the slightest?! I completely changed my freaking species when the big guy dragged me over here!”
“Adrian brought you here?!” Statch asked.
“Final Elysion!” Boltmon narrowly ducked out of the way of Gallantmon’s attack. “I don’t need to know about the personal lives of my enemies; that information does not help me destroy them! Royal Saber!”
“Battle Tomahawk!” Boltmon tossed his axe into Gallantmon’s attack, which created an explosion when the two attacks collided. Boltmon’s axe fell to the ground in a charred heap, much to its owner’s dismay.
“Pathetic; you claim to be at the same level as me, and yet this is all you’re capable of?!” Gallantmon asked.
“I don’t understand; the people who made me said I was stronger than any Digimon!” Boltmon whined.
“You said you were originally a Human, correct? There’s your answer; nothing as weak as a Human, even if they’ve turned into a Digimon, could dare to have any hope of defeating someone like me,” Gallantmon said. “I don’t feel like wasting any more of my time on weaklings like you, so I’ll take my leave of you.”
“Wait a minute, where the hell are you going?! You can’t just leave us—” Statuedramon asked.
“Where I go is my own damn business!” Gallantmon then faded away and vanished.
“Damn it! What are we going to do now?!” Statch asked. Boltmon walked over to his charred axe and tried to pick it up, but it fell apart into dust as soon as he touched it.
“Shame; I rather liked that axe,” Boltmon said. “No matter; I can deal with the two of you on my own! I’ll crush your skulls with my bare hands!” As Boltmon began running over to us, a stream of flames burst through his chest; screaming in pain, Boltmon fell to the ground, gasping for air. Standing behind him was a Digimon I’d hoped to never see again.
“The Human girl and the midget Digimon who escaped during our previous encounter; why would you two be in a place like this?” Flamedramon asked.
Andromon walked through the flames caused by the explosion like they were nothing; however, his armor was severely singed, and he was walking more unsteadily.
“I can keep this up as long as I need to,” I said. “You, on the other hand, look like you’re beginning to tire out.”
“I do not understand why…” Andromon said. His breathing sounded more labored. “Somehow…a Human was able to defeat me…”
“…I haven’t defeated you yet,” I reminded him. “You’re still standing, after all.”
“I’ve no more energy left in my body to fight…” Andromon said. “I barely have enough to stand…”
“Well, if that’s the case, I’ll just be on my way, then.”
“Halt!” Andromon shouted. “…You’ve never been here before…get lost without someone to guide you, you will…”
“Are you volunteering?” I asked. Andromon said nothing, staring blankly at me. “I’ll take that as a yes…but why are you helping me? I thought the omniscient they were forcing you to protect this place, not lead an intruder deeper in.”
“Very simple, it all is,” Andromon said. “They force me to keep intruders out…disobeying them and allowing one in means they will bring an end to my life.”