“If she went this way, there’s only one way she could have gone,” Lector said. “At the end of this hallway is a door that leads to the outside and to a small forest behind the prison.”
“Why is there a forest behind the prison?” Statuedramon asked. “This is like, the stupidest place for a prison!”
“Well, it certainly wasn’t my idea,” Lector said defensively. “Well, anyway, if she’s going to be anywhere, that’s where she would be. It’s the perfect place to hide…Wow, this really is a stupid place for a prison…”
“Okay…maybe she isn’t here,” Lector said.
“We haven’t been searching for very long; she could still be here,” I said.
“Thomas, I think I see something up ahead,” Statuedramon said. He spoke with a serious tone of voice, as if troubled or anxious.
“Is something wrong?” I asked.
“Thomas…I smell blood.” Without warning, Statch took off, leaving the three of us behind.
“Statuedramon, wait up!” We began chasing after the Rookie Digimon, who we had nearly lost sight of until he came to a sudden halt. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“…Thomas…” Statuedramon slowly turned around to face us. His eyes were filled with tears; tears of true despair, which was an unusual sight for him. He lifted a trembling arm and pointed at a rather large tree. Lying down at the tree’s base was the unmoving body of Victoria, covered in stab wounds all up and down her stomach and chest.
“No…Victoria! VICTORIA!” I began running over to her when someone tightly gripped me arm.
“Thomas…you don’t need to see it up close,” Lector said.
“NO! LET ME GO! THAT’S MY MOTHER, DAMN IT!”
“Forget it, Thomas; this isn’t something you need to experience,” Lector said. “I will…give her a proper burial, Thomas.”
“Why you?! She’s my mother!!!”
“He’s right, Thomas,” Statuedramon said weakly. “She…needs to be buried before a scavenger gets to her…I don’t believe either of us has the strength or the willpower to do it as we are now…I doubt we ever will…”
“I promise I will not let anything happen to her,” Lector said. I couldn’t even look at him as he knelt down next to Victoria’s lifeless body and picked her up.
“Thomas…are you going to be okay?” Statuedramon asked. His words fell on deaf ears, though, and without any warning, I fell to the ground, unconscious, before Lector was out of sight.
I awoke with a start; the first thing I noticed was that my head was resting in Zelda’s lap. One of her hands was resting over my chest, and the other over my forehead. Everything else, however, was still a blur and difficult to make out.
“Statuedramon, he’s awake!” Looking straight up, I saw Zelda’s sapphire-blue eyes looking down at me, completely filled with worry and tearful sadness. In an instant, Statuedramon was by my side.
“Are you okay, buddy?” he asked.
“What happened…? Are we…still in the forest?”
“Yeah; you passed out from the shock of…of losing her before Lector even left. You’ve been out cold for about twenty minutes now,” Statuedramon said. The Rookie level Digimon sighed wearily. “Not that I blame you; I’m not feeling too good about it myself…Also, Lector hasn’t returned yet…”
“…What should we do?” I sat up and looked around the forest. It was the middle of the day, and yet I felt completely exhausted. With a sigh, I forced myself to stand up, with Zelda doing the same. “Should we…go back?”
“Thomas…I’m sorry…about what happened. She told me that she was going to look for Michalis…and I didn’t try to stop her…” Zelda said, and without warning, she immediately pulled me into a hug. It was surprising at first, but I soon hugged her back. It made me feel better, not only because of recent events, but…when it happened, I felt fulfilled, as if I had been waiting my entire life for this moment...for her embrace, for her warmth…“I, too, know the pain of losing one’s mother…and even though my mother was a cruel drunk, she was still my mother…” As enjoyable as her embrace was, I was caught completely off guard by it; she had always seemed too shy and meek to do anything of the sort before. She must have realized this, as she instantly pulled away from me, her face a brighter red than I had ever seen it. “You’re right, Thomas…we probably ought to head back; I’m sure Apollomon must be worried about us by now.”
“You’re taking off now? So, I guess it’s okay for us to show up now?” said a new voice.
“That voice…Magnus, is that you?!” Statch yelled.
“Yeah…look behind you.” The three of us turned around, seeing Magnus and Clive standing behind us. Magnus, however, looked somewhat forlorn compared to the overeager Clive. “I, uh…saw what happened to Victoria…”
“Was it you who killed her?!” I asked.
“No, it wasn’t us,” Clive said. “I’m a rapist, not a murderer, remember? And this guy uses an axe, not a knife! Jeez, pay attention!”
“Wait…you were here this whole time?! Why wait until now to show up?!” Statuedramon asked.
“We aren’t heartless, you know — well, I don’t know about Clive — but I am definitely not heartless,” Magnus said, ignoring Clive’s protest. “Victoria…she was one of our more dangerous enemies, but I never had any intention of killing her, and I may be the most lecherous and greedy person on Arcadia, but I take good care of my possessions. As the future ruler of Arcadia, I need people to like me; if they don’t, then they wouldn’t be there doin’ what I ask ‘em to, and what’s worse for the greedy than having nothing?”
“So, you waited to ambush us because you felt sorry for us?” Statuedramon asked. “…You’re actually a nice guy, aren’t you…?”
“…Who killed her?” I asked.
“Hell, I’m not telling you,” Magnus said. “Just because I felt sorry for you and that woman doesn’t mean I’m going to rat out who did! But man, was I surprised by who it was, though…”
“Why are you here? Michalis isn’t here with us. Did you come to pay your respects or something?” Statch asked mockingly.
“No; actually, we came for her,” Magnus pointed at Zelda.
“What?! No! You aren’t taking our friend away!” Statch shouted. Magnus sighed.
“Do it, Clive.”
“Sword of Dragon’s Soul!” Clive held up his hand just as Statch unleashed his attack; the sword projection immediately froze and crashed to the forest floor, shattering into millions of pieces. “Damn it; Sword of—” Before Statch could finish, a sheet of ice encased sprouted from the ground at his feet and froze him over up to his shoulders.
“Statuedramon!” I began running over to my friend, but before I could make it over to him, Magnus swung his large poleax and struck me across the back of the head with its handle. I fell to the ground, barely conscious.
“No, please! Don’t hurt them anymore!” Zelda pleaded. “They’ve been through enough already!”
“If you come with us willingly, we won’t have to,” Magnus said.
“Zelda…don’t go…we’ll be…fine…”
“I don’t want to see you get hurt by these two anymore; you’ve been through enough for today,” Zelda looked down at me. “Magnus…I will go with you. Please…don’t hurt my friends anymore.”
“As you wish, Milady,” Magnus said. “Please, follow us.”
“Zelda…wait!” I tried to pick myself up off the ground, but Clive glared at me, trapping my arms and legs in ice. I was completely pinned to the ground. I tried to force myself free from the ice as Magnus and Clive walked away with Zelda, but my entire head was beginning to ache from when Magnus attacked me, and before I knew it, I had passed out again. Statuedramon yelling was the last thing I heard.
“You’ve been a very cooperative kidnap victim; nice and quiet the entire time you’ve been here,” Magnus said. “Is there anything you’d like for me to do for you? Something to drink, perhaps?”
“…Why did you bring me here?” I whispered.
“Right to the point, huh? I like that,” Magnus said. “Well, as you may have guessed, I have no intention of letting Clive…you know…”
“You’re a lousy boss, you know that?!” Clive asked.
“And you can be replaced, you know that?” Magnus retorted. “Whatever; try to ignore that pervert over there. I brought you here because…well, you know what I am, right?”
“You’re a Bio Hybrid, aren’t you?” I asked.
“Exactly; it goes without saying that we Bio Hybrids are built a little differently on the inside than other Humans and Digimon,” Magnus said.
Oh no…does he—
“Now, being half Digimon, I’m able to…sense things about Humans and Digimon. Instinctively, I guess you could say. And right now, my instinct is telling me…you’re one of us.”
“W—What do you mean by that?” I asked. No…no…please don’t say it…
“What else could I mean? You’re a Bio Hybrid, aren’t you?”
“Hey, Thomas, how’re you feeling?” Statuedramon asked.
“My head’s still a little sore…Other than that…I don’t know what to think…”
“…Damn it, where the hell is Lector?!” Statch exclaimed. “Do you think he forgot about us or something?”
“No, I haven’t. Sorry it took me so long to get back…Just what in the name of all that is coated in chocolate happened to the two of you?!” Lector asked.
“Oh, well, while you were gone, we were ambushed by Clive and Lector again, and Clive…well, you know how he does things,” Statuedramon said. Lector sighed.
“Hang on; let me get you out of there.” Lector raised his spear and slammed the butt end of it onto the ice encasing each of our limbs, shattering it instantly.
“Thanks for the help! Come on, Thomas; we’ve got to find them!”
“Wait, where are you going?” Lector asked. “And where’s Zelda?”
“Magnus and Clive took off with her,” I said. “We need to find them as soon as possible!”
“Do you even know where he is?!” Lector asked.
“…Do you?” Statch asked. Lector sighed.
“A few eyewitness reports claim a pair of men matching the descriptions of Clive and Magnus have been going in and out an abandoned warehouse a few blocks away from the prison behind us,” Lector said.
“Cool, thanks, buddy! C’mon, Thomas, let’s—”
“Wait just a minute! You’re just going to barge into his hideout? Just the two of you?” Lector asked.
“Are you coming with us?” Statch asked.
“I…I just don’t think it’s a good idea to go in general,” Lector said. “What if it’s a trap?! What if that isn’t really the location of his hideout?!”
“Even if it isn’t his hideout, we still have to try! I am not going to just leave Zelda there with those two!” I said. Especially not Clive! Just the thought of what that man did made me feel enraged. I pulled myself together quickly, and reminded myself that Zelda would undoubtedly have it worse than I.
“Are you coming with us?” Statch asked once more. After a short silence, Lector sighed.
“You two…go on ahead. There’s something I need to take care of,” Lector said.
“All right; we’ll see you there,” I said.
“You are a Bio Hybrid, aren’t you?” Magnus asked.
“…Huh?” Really?! A…Bio Hybrid?! I almost laughed at the absurdity of his question.
“Please tell me you are!” Magnus said. Towering over me, he gave the impression that he could easily snap me in half with his bare hands; his large physique made me feel so tiny, and even smaller and helpless than I probably already was.
“…I…wish I could tell you I was,” I said. At least then, I would have a good excuse…
“Are you sure you aren’t?” Without warning, Magnus leaned down and sniffed me.
“Magnus, what the hell are you doing?!” Clive asked.
“…She’s right. She’s definitely not a Bio Hybrid,” Magnus said. “But she is…something…I just have no idea what that something might be…”
“Clive…I sense something coming…”
“Magnus, my shadow says he senses something coming,” Clive said.
“For the last time, I am NOT—”
“I can hear your shadow perfectly fine from over here, Clive,” Magnus said.
“I am NOT his fucking shadow! I just live in his shadow until I’m strong enough to leave! Why does nobody freaking understand that?!”
“Damn it, it’s probably Thomas and Statuedramon,” Magnus said. “I knew I should’ve incapacitated them myself!”
“Hey, I didn’t think they would get out of the ice I trapped them in! It’s not supposed to melt on its own!”
“The ice you trapped them in? That’s my ice you’re using!” Clive and Magnus continued arguing with Clive’s shadow, and they didn’t even notice when the only doors to the room we were in opened. Thomas and Statuedramon snuck past the two men and quietly made their way over to me. Unfortunately, before they got to me, they were noticed by Magnus.
“See what you did, Clive?! This wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t frozen them, you idiot! I freaking told you ice melts!” Magnus yelled.
“I said I was sorry!”
“Well, you two have fun arguing with each other; we’re just going to take our friend back with us,” Statuedramon said.
“I’m afraid that ain’t going to happen,” Magnus brandished his large poleaxe, firmly gripping its handle. “Clive…get her out of here.”
“Where should I take her?”
“…Take her…to Cyclamen City. I’ve heard that place has been abandoned ever since the bandits that overran it were all killed,” Magnus said. “The less people around to see an escaped convict like you, the better.”
“Oh, and Clive…don’t you even think of doing to her what you did to Victoria,” Magnus said. “If you do — and I will know if you do — I personally will tear your head off with my bare hands. Have I made myself understood?”
“Y—Yes sir!” Clive said nervously.
“You aren’t going anywhere with her!” I dashed toward Clive, but Magnus swung his poleaxe and struck me across the back, making me fall down to the floor. Clive forcefully grabbed Zelda’s arm and pulled her out of the room, but before he left, he snapped his fingers. My legs became trapped in ice, and when I tried to squirm my way out of it, Magnus laughed. Clive slammed the only doors of the room shut, and they, too, became covered in ice.
“If you want to get out of that ice…you’ll have to try a lot harder…like this!” Magnus swung his arm and struck the ice covering my legs with the blade of his axe. The ice immediately shattered; Statuedramon and I made a run for the doors, but Magnus leapt over us, landing himself between us and the doors. “If you want to get through these doors…if you want to find your friend…you’ll have to work your way past me! I’ve been itchin’ ta’ fight the both of you for a while now, ever since I heard you killed an Ultimate Digimon like Etemon!” Magnus reached into his pocket and pulled out a Digivice, sky blue in color. “Bio Hybrid DNA Charge!” Magnus became in a blindingly gleaming light that shined across the entire room. “Bio Hybrid Digivolve to, BioBlastmon!”