Mandala Island. A large, heavily populated island nearly half the size of the Arcadia continent, directly to the east of the continent. Right now, though, it was not quite so heavily populated — I, Lilithmon, in fact, seemed to be the only one left alive. I breathed in and sighed, and choked on the soot-filled air. Nearly every white marble structure and building as far as the eye could see had been engulfed in flames. I, of course, did not even need to look up to see this; it was all clearly reflected in the steadily rising waters of the ocean, at this point up to my ankles.
“It seems that this island really will sink, after all,” I said, lamenting upon the sad state of this island. It really had been quite a beautiful city. Although, I thought, perhaps it will be even more beautiful on the ocean floor? To see the sun shining down through the ocean’s surface, bending and reflecting with the waves…The thought sent a chill down my spine, and filled my heart with an almost joyous melancholy.
The island’s plummet began during a climactic battle involving a dear friend of mine. I had not been there, so I did not yet know the details of the battle, but I was fairly sure that was the cause. A huge clash between two enormous Digimon who were bigger than most buildings? What else could cause an entire island to collapse and sink? Certainly no Human could pull that off! I looked around once more, and wiped the smoke-induced tears from my eyes. I wish I could find him; all of this fire is really pissing me off!
As if on cue, the ground began to tremble with the heavy footsteps of a large Digimon. Ripples danced madly across the surface of the water, now halfway between my feet and my knees. The Digimon now stood before me, his body ravaged and bleeding. Recognizing me at once, he smiled. His eyes narrowed, and he lowered himself to the ground. Though, it was more like he fell — he was practically unconscious, and close to death.
“…Belphemon…even you, of all Digimon, have been defeated by them,” I said. I walked up to the Demon Lord, and began caressing his snout.
“Belphemon…I’m sorry…I don’t have any more…” In my mind, I berated myself for not thinking clearly. Must be all the smoke in the air. If all I have to offer is the clothes off my back, then that’s what I must do! Without hesitation, I tore off a small shred of my shirt sleeve, on the right side, and held it up to Belphemon. “Do not fear, sweet Belphemon. Though your body may disappear, though your very life may perish, and though you may be sent to the Dark Area, a portion of your soul shall remain in this small piece of silk for all eternity…until I choose for it to exit.” A bright blue light emanated from both the silk and Belphemon, shrouding the entire area in light. With a final look at me, Belphemon closed his eyes, and when the light vanished, he was nowhere to be seen. “Fear not; the silk which keeps you partially bound to this world shall never be found by them. Should it ever be required of me, I will find your Horcrux, along with everyone else’s.” Without another word, I crouched down and placed the torn silk in a minuscule stream of water, watching it silently flow away in a current.
Another Digimon, covered in distinctive blue and silver armor, began to approach me, trudging through the water, which was knee-high for both of us. His presence, his very existence, irked me, and yet I smiled at him.
“LILITHMON!” his voice thundered throughout the entire city of Mandala, or what was left of it. “WHERE ARE THEY?!”
“Oh, Seraphimon, don’t be like that,” I said, my voice a mix of fake hurt and annoyance. “After all, it’s been a hundred years since we’ve last seen each other!” I tugged down slightly on the low neckline of my shirt. “Shouldn’t we make this reunion a bit more…special?” Seraphimon did not reply. His ten golden wings fluttered anxiously, a habit of his that he only did when severely agitated. “…I suppose we shouldn’t. It would be inappropriate of us to do so, given our circumstances. Well, whatever can I do for you, my old friend?”
“You know what I’m here for,” Seraphimon said. His voice was unusually stern, even for him. “Tell me where they are.”
“I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean,” I said, attempting an innocent expression while batting my eyes.
“Don’t play dumb, Lilithmon!” Seraphimon shouted angrily, catching me off guard. Not once have I heard him yell, least of all at me, even when we stopped being friends. “Tell me where you hid the Horcruxes!”
“Horcruxes? I’m afraid I don’t see anything like that around here,” I said, looking around. “Could you perhaps be a little more specific?”
“Hallowed Ascension!” Seraphimon pointed upwards as a bolt of lightning came from the sky and struck an already-crumbled marble column I was standing near, completely incinerating it and turning it into little more than dust. I caught myself gazing at my reflection in his armor, which was as highly polished as ever; a scared woman, one whose beautiful face was covered with soot from the surrounding flames, up to her knees in seawater. “Tell me where you hid the Horcruxes; next time, I won’t miss.” Quickly, I composed myself. I closed my eyes and smiled.
“You will never find them.”
“Damn it, Lilithmon, if you don’t tell me where they are, I’ll—”
“I will not let you have the satisfaction of killing me.”
“What?! Lilithmon, don’t be stupid; I would never—!” Before he could finish his rambling, I raised my right hand and shoved the piercing claws of the Nazar Nail deep into my stomach. It was over in an instant, and yet it seemed to drag on for a lifetime. I fell backwards into the clear water, which soon became stained with my blood. The pain I felt as my claw tore through the soft flesh of my belly and deep into my core was unbearable, and yet I laughed. I laughed and laughed at Seraphimon’s reaction, at his worry and concern. By the Goddess, but I must’ve sounded like a madwoman, with my face contorted with pain and amusement.
“Lilithmon!” Seraphimon ran to my side as I fell, yelling my name repeatedly as he knelt down in the water beside me, gently placing his warm, comforting hands around my shoulders to raise me up. “I wasn’t going to kill you! I would never kill you! I could never even attack you! I…I was bluffing…earlier…” Seraphimon began sobbing, attempting and failing to remove my blood-soaked arm from inside my belly. The Angel Digimon pulled me into a hug and began sobbing even harder, harder than I had ever seen him cry before. “I just…I just want things to go back to the way they used to be, for the three of us!”
“You’re…one hundred years too late, Seraphimon. Literally.” As I reached up with my left to stroke Seraphimon’s helmeted face, my vision began to grow hazy, and as I spoke, blood welled from my mouth and ran down my chest in between my breasts. “Such a shame…isn’t it? I’m much too…beautiful…to die…”
“Lilithmon! Don’t…don’t go…Don’t leave me, damn it!”
“You’ll never…find the Horcruxes. Once you realize that, it will be…too late…we’ll all…be…free…” I closed my eyes one last time, and heard Seraphimon’s screaming of my name grow fainter and fainter until all went dark around me. My body turned to small fragments of data, as all Digimon do when they die, with death’s sweet embrace pulling me into the afterlife…
I awoke with a start, lying on my back in a puddle of my own cold sweat. Just the same, recurring dream about the past again, Lilithmon, the same one you’ve been having since the day you died. There’s nothing you can do about it; what’s done is done. There is no need to get worked up over the past, I told myself, wiping the sweat off my forehead with my left arm. Seriously, though, what the actual FUCK was I thinking back then, killing myself like that?! Sure, I made Horcruxes for all of them, but I didn’t have enough time to make one for myself! Damn it, if only Seraphimon hadn’t shown up just then, I could have made it! Now, how the hell am I going to get out of here and free everyone?!
I stood up, surveying the same, boring terrain of the Dark Area; the same bizarre orange background, matching a sunset in color. I thought briefly of the same small amount of gravity, curiously observing the numerous flat-surfaced rocks floating throughout the place, including the one I now stood on. The cold, dry air made my cold sweat unbearable, and I shivered as another rock passed by me, casting a slight breeze in my direction. I brought up my left hand subconsciously and gently brushed my fingers against my right arm, expecting to feel the sleeve of my shirt, but instead felt the soft skin of my arm. The sleeve had been torn, as I remembered, when I needed an item for my final Horcrux. That had been long ago, however, and I sighed at the memory of the distant past. My fingers trembled slightly with sadness as I continued to feel the soft, silky skin that had once been the desire of most men and the envy of most women. I fell backward, landing softly on the rock beneath my feet, looking up at what would have been the sky were I still alive.
“Lilithmon!” My heart skipped a beat. The sudden exclamation of my name woefully reminded me of the dream I just had. I sat straight up as another rock passed by next to me, and with it, a familiar Digimon. Perhaps the most beautiful I had ever seen…other than myself, of course. The Digimon, a golden, wolf-like Digimon known as Lupinemon, leapt up and landed next to me. “You okay, Lily? I could hear you crying out in your sleep about half a mile away. Did you have a bad dream or something?” I smiled at her and shook my head, laying back down.
“No…Nothing to be concerned about, Lupinemon,” I said as the Phantom Beast lay down next to me, gazing at me with concern and pity. I absentmindedly began scratching her behind the ears. Her large tail began to wag happily as I did. “It’s only the same, recurring dream I’ve been having for the last century or so…nothing to be concerned about…”
“A nightmare that recurs for a hundred years sounds like something I should be concerned about,” Lupinemon said.
“…I just don’t want to talk about it. I’m sorry…”
“…Lilithmon, you once told us that you stored a portion of each of our souls into something you called a Horcrux…”
“Yes?...What of it?”
“Lilithmon…is it true, then, that we may one day return to Arcadia? Could we ever truly leave the Dark Area, and live once more?”
“…That…once…was true,” I said. I spoke slowly, not wishing to accidentally reveal what truly happened on that day. “…I was hoping to use them to somehow free you and all of the others from the Dark Area, but…I was murdered by Seraphimon before I was able to make one for myself…And now, I am unable to return.”
“That bastard; thought of everything, didn’t he?!” Lupinemon growled viciously. I knew what I had told her was a lie; that Seraphimon had never killed me, and that he never had intended to, but if I had told Lupinemon and all my other friends the truth about my death, that I killed myself before I made a Horcrux for myself in an attempt to flee from Seraphimon, then I was certain they’d all try to murder me once again…Machinedramon in particular. “Damn it; how are we supposed to escape now?!” At this point, I ceased scratching my fellow Digimon behind the ears; Lupinemon was well known for her volatile temper, and I didn’t wish for her to bite my hand off.
“That’s where I come in, pretty ladies, soaring in to save the day,” a cloaked Digimon carrying a scythe cackled, hovering above Lupinemon’s lowered head. “Or rather, ruin it; verily am I a villain, after all! Nya ha ha!”
“What do you want, DeathPhantomon?!” Lupinemon growled.
“Tsk tsk…surely, thou art aware by now?” DeathPhantomon asked. “Verily is it my goal in life to help out all manner of beautiful woman…though, mostly I simply…help…myself…to…them…” I could hear DeathPhantomon’s breathing grow faster and heavier as his only visible, glowing red eye stared at my chest, rising and falling with each soft breath I took. “In particular…the well-endowed…curvaceous…ssssoft…and…voluptuously…plump…ones…”
“DeathPhantomon!” Lupinemon repeated, growling the horny Digimon’s name much louder. “What. Do. You. WANT?!”
“Oh, Lilithmon…thine breasts are as enticing as ever…” DeathPhantomon said, his single eye narrowing with delight.
“Huh? Oh, yes, yes, of course.” The floating Digimon raised the scythe in a clammy, blue grey-skinned arm. The scythe was roughly twice the length of DeathPhantomon’s five-foot body and was adorned with a skull at its top. The blade — while dangerously sharp and capable of drawing blood from the slightest touch — I was certain was used more for DeathPhantomon’s own pleasure than it was for battle. “Milady, it would do for you to rise to thine feet at this time.” I cast a nervous glance at Lupinemon, who made no movement. Sighing, I did as I was told. “Yes, rise…Bring thine cleavage closer to my face!”
“…Freaking pervert,” Lupinemon muttered. Rolling my eyes, I sat back down next to the Phantom Beast.
“No, no, don’t sit down! ’Twas only a jest, Milady! Thine breasts be not the only reasons you are required to stand! Verily, it maketh the process easier on the both of us.”
“The process? What process? What are you doing?!”
“As thou art aware, Milady, my attack turns whomever I desire into spirit form,” DeathPhantomon replied.
“A spirit…a being without physical form,” Lupinemon mused, a smile forming on her snout as it seemed she realized what DeathPhantomon was planning.
“Wait, hold on—”
“Spirit Influx!” The eyes on the skull of DeathPhantomon’s scythe beginning to glow a blinding, eerie shade of red, the same shade as his own eye. The light had me completely enveloped, but it disappeared as quickly as it appeared. I looked down at my body and saw that nothing had changed.
“…What happened? What did you do to me?” I asked.
“That attack changes whomever DeathPhantomon wants into a spirit, from what I remember,” Lupinemon explained. “A spirit can only be seen by those that have been long accustomed to darkness. That is, only the eleven of us, twelve if you include yourself, should be able to see you.”
“I’m a…spirit? You mean…I can leave the Dark Area?”
“Spirits are capable of crossing over to the other side; the side where Humans and Digimon live together,” DeathPhantomon said, breathing heavily as he began inching closer and closer to the top of the rock Lupinemon and I stood on.
“DeathPhantomon, are you ok?” I asked.
“I shall be fine upon the morrow,” DeathPhantomon said as he began hovering once more. “Well…more like a few hundred of them. So try not to get killed for a few hundred years; I’m not able to do this very often. Had I not prepared for this, verily would that have killed me, or whatever happens to those who die here…”
“Listen carefully, Lilithmon,” Lupinemon said. “The only way for you to regain a physical form is for you to take over the body of any Human or Digimon you wish — engorge yourself with their life force, and do not stop feasting until naught remains of their life. Being a spirit, such a task should be of no difficulty, but beware; this process will kill whomever it is that you choose.”
“To leave this miserable area…” DeathPhantomon said. “All one needs do is concentrate. Drown out all outside distractions…focus on where it is you wish to go, and go there thou shalt.”
“I understand. Thank you for all your help, DeathPhantomon,” I said, bowing slightly to the perverted phantom. “I promise; I will not let you or any of the others down.” My eyes closed, and I could feel my body lifting off the rock and into the air.
“Remember, Lilithmon; do not allow anything to distract you from your task,” Lupinemon said gravely.
“Oh, and do take good care of thy body, Lilithmon,” DeathPhantomon called after me. “I’d hate for anything to skewer those beautiful curves before I get my scythe into thee, if thou knows what I mean…Ah…all in the right places…”
“DeathPhantomon, will you shut up?!” Lupinemon growled.
When I opened my eyes, I was no longer in the Dark Area; I was in a vast, empty grassland. The wind was blowing, forcefully making every tall blade of grass sway. I took a deep breath and sighed, happy to be free of that bone-dry pit. I looked up at the clear blue sky and saw, for the first time in three hundred years, the sun. It felt…so warm…and the air was so clean, and so much cooler than the dry, stagnant air of the Dark Area.
So…this is what it means…to be alive… I looked around the grassland for a few more moments, and sighed. Ok…so, now that I’m here…What next? They made it sound like there would be plenty of people around whose souls I could steal, but I see no one… “Pardon me, Madame, but it seems as though you are lost.” Without my notice, a Human had managed to walk right up to me. His back was to the sun, to which my eyes were still unaccustomed, and I was unable to see the man’s face — or if he was even a man at all. His raven hair was long, falling long past his shoulders, and flew about in the gentle breeze like the grass at our feet.
“You…can see me?” I asked, and though I could not see this man’s face, I could see his head nod. “But…I’m only a spirit…”
“…You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you? Might there be anything I can do to assist you? I am a traveling acolyte seeking to aid those in need.”
“A holy man, huh? I guess that might explain why you can see me…”
“You are Lilithmon, aren’t you?” I stared blankly at his unseeable face. “Lilithmon, the so-called Goddess of Darkness who used to be a Celestial Digimon called Ophanimon, and was sent to the Dark Area two hundred years ago. Well? Am I not correct?”
“You…what’s your name?” The man remained silent. “You said you were an acolyte…so why are you talking to me? You should be trying to throw a pail of holy water at me, or…whatever it is you priests do…” I heard the man laugh quietly.
“…My fair lady…have you ever heard of…quintessence?”