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“What’s going on?!” I asked. “Why am I able to breathe underwater?”
“It would be no fun fighting an opponent with too many disadvantages,” BioAquarimon said. “My water is special; even non-aquatic Digimon and Humans are capable of breathing in it. You’ll still have difficulty moving around, though, if you aren’t used to it.”
Crap… The fins that had grown on the back of her arms grew into curved scimitars.
“Goddess Blades!” BioAquarimon lunged toward me and struck me across the chest with the blades on her arms. The pain was intense, but strangely enough, I didn’t bleed. I swung my sword at her, but she had already swum far out of my reach. At an incredible speed, she lunged toward me over and over, each time striking me with her blades.
“Water Nebula!” Though it looked as though nothing happened, I could feel a great deal of force striking me, seemingly all over.
“Irene…you used to be…so shy…gentle…delicate…What’s happened to you?” I asked.
“I only do what is necessary to find my mother!” BioAquarimon shouted.
“You’d…really betray all of your friends…and comrades like this?” I asked. “SlashAngemon…would be ashamed of you if he could see you now!”
“How DARE you say that?! Goddess Blades: Seven Slice Dance!” BioAquarimon’s swords grew longer, developing serrated edges as she lunged toward me and struck me over and over, seven times. My blood came spilling out, turning the water around me a deep crimson red, and I gradually sank down to the floor of the room, almost unconscious. I looked to my side, over at BioAquarimon’s urn. A small cluster of air bubbles rose from deep inside of it.
Wait…could it be?
“Don’t mock me, Irene; it’s quite unbecoming of you,” I rose to my feet as quickly as I could and slowly waded through the water over to her urn. I picked up my sword and brought the edge of its blade down, clear through the middle of the urn. Instantly, the urn shattered, and in a matter of seconds, the bloody water vanished back into what was left of the urn. Irene fell to the floor on her back, no longer in her Digimon form.
“…Thomas…what…did we…W—What happened?”
“Do you still feel like killing me?” I asked.
“No…why would I…feel that way?” Irene asked.
Hmm…it seems that her Digivolution gave birth to a completely different personality…but she doesn’t remember anything that just happened? Is that even possible?!
“What’s going on? Why am I so wet?” Irene sat up and weakly looked around the warehouse.
That’s strange…my clothes aren’t wet in the slightest, except from my own blood…Is it because I won?
“It’s so…cold…Tommy, where are we? What just happened?” Her voice was shaky and she was trembling. She looked absolutely terrified. “T—Tommy?”
“…You really don’t remember?” I asked. I took my coat off and placed it around Irene’s trembling shoulders. It was bloodied, but the coat itself was dark in color, so the blood was unnoticeable.
“…I remember…that Auntie Abigail brought you to see me…Michalis attacked her…I don’t remember anything after that…”
“…Don’t worry about it. It wasn’t your fault,” I said.
“Thomas, I…I killed SlashAngemon!” Irene sobbed quietly. “Everything is my fault! It’s always been that way, my entire life! That’s probably why don’t know where my mother is…I don’t deserve to have anything good happen to me! I want to apologize for everything I’ve done, but how can I do that when I don’t deserve forgiveness?!”
“Irene...if you want to apologize…then take me to your master. Take me to the one you called Lilithmon.”
“John…is it really you?” I asked.
“Yes…when I was a Human, that was my name,” Flamedramon said. “I…have forgotten what it’s like to be Human, but I know I was…your lover. Abigail…I’ve never been able to stop thinking about you. And now look at you; you’ve become even more beautiful than I could have ever imagined…”
“John…Flamedramon…I love you,” I said. My heart was thumping rapidly in my chest, but I resisted the urge to embrace Flamedramon. “…Unfortunately, now is not the time for this. My master…she must be stopped.”
“I understand,” Flamedramon said. “If we’re going to fight her, we should get those two from Lachesis to help us.”
“You mean Thomas and Zelda? Thomas is already on the bottom floor of the warehouse, talking to Irene.”
“So, we just need to go back to that knight’s villa to get Zelda?” Flamedramon asked.
“It probably wouldn’t hurt if we could get Statuedramon or Apollomon to come with us,” I said. “Wait a minute…where did Michalis go?!”
“My…master?” Irene asked. “Lilithmon…?”
“Yes…if you can lead me to whoever is in charge of the Bio Hybrids, then all will be forgiven,” I said. “I promise.”
“…Okay. There’s just one problem, though,” Irene said. “My master isn’t anywhere on Arcadia.”
“Have you ever heard of the legend of Mandala City?”
“I think so…that’s the ancient city that sank to the bottom of the ocean, isn’t it?”
“That is where my master lives. The entire city is surrounded by a magical barrier that keeps the water from flooding in, and it allows everyone in the city to breathe normally, without fear of drowning.”
“Will it be possible for you to take me there, Irene? Without me drowning, that is?”
“Yes, of course. When would you like me to take you? Do you want to go back…home and get Statuedramon?” After a moment’s thought, I shook my head.
“No…I don’t want to put my friends in danger like that,” I said.
“If that is what you wish; let us go to Mandala.”
“So, that’s what you plan on doing,” a voice from behind us said.
“Michalis!” Irene quickly ran behind me.
“Don’t worry; I won’t let him hurt you,” I whispered.
“Killing the two of you…will be so much fun!”
“Stand back, Irene!” I drew my sword as Michalis pulled out his Digivice.
“Bio Hybrid DNA Charge! Bio Hybrid Digivolve to, BioReapmon! Your end has come!”
“ENOUGH!” another voice yelled.
“You…Clive? You’re alive?! Didn’t I kill you?” BioReapmon asked.
“When you stab a man…you’d better make sure he’s dead,” Clive replied. “Otherwise…he might just come back to stab you back.”
“Come on, let’s get out of here while they’re arguing,” I whispered. The two of us snuck out of the warehouse when neither of the men were looking.
“So, what do you want, old man?” I asked.
“Come, now, is that any way to address your father?” Clive asked.
“What do you want?!”
“I’ve…come to stop you, son. Ever since I found out I was your father…it really made me think back to everything I’ve done, and I—”
“I don’t CARE!” I thrust my dagger into Clive’s neck. His blood immediately spurted out on me, onto the floor. Gasping for air, Clive slipped on his blood and fell down.
“Michalis…you…you’d kill your own father…?”
“Why not? I killed my mother, after all.” Clive stared at me, surprised, right before I slammed my foot in his face. Clive eventually stopped moving, and after a while, I heard him take his last, shaky breath.. “And now, to kill…Damn it, they’re gone! See what you’ve done, old man?! I’ve lost them, and…and you can’t hear me…” I looked around the empty warehouse. “Fuck, Lilithmon sure is going to give me an earful for this…”
Outside Saias’s Villa
“What should we say?” I asked. I looked uncertainly at the door of the villa, expecting Apollomon to burst through and attack us.
“What do you mean?” Abigail asked.
“Well, I’m a serial killer, and you’re a Bio Hybrid…It’s going to be pretty awkward if we just knock on the door and say, ‘Hello, person we tried once tried to murder! May we see Zelda and Statuedramon for a moment? We promise not to murder them!’”
“Well, let’s just knock and see what happens.” Abigail reached over and knocked on the door, and after a few moments, it opened.
“…Flamedramon. What is it you want?” Apollomon asked testily.
“We need to speak with Zelda and Statuedramon,” I said. Apollomon didn’t move. “Uh…” let’s see, what was that word called… “Please?”
“Zelda might trust you, but just know that I will never trust someone like you,” Apollomon said.
“I understand. Now, can we please speak with Zelda and Statuedramon?”
“…Wait here.” Apollomon slammed the door, and I could vaguely hear him walk away. A few moments later, I heard his footsteps once again. The door opened; Zelda and Statuedramon walked out onto the front porch to join us, and they were followed by Apollomon. “So, what was it you wanted to say?”
“Thomas left a while ago to speak with Irene,” Abigail said. “We couldn’t find them, so I can only assume that he’s left to fight the leader of the Bio Hybrids.
“What makes you say that?” Apollomon asked.
Abigail shrugged. “I knew him pretty well when we were both growing up in Cyclamen. That’s pretty much the only thing I can imagine him doing right now.” Statch looked completely taken aback.
“What?! Why the hell would he do something like that without asking for my help?!” Statuedramon asked.
“Who knows? He probably just wanted to get it over with so his friends wouldn’t get hurt,” I said.
“Unfortunately, our leader is too powerful for just him on his own,” Abigail said. “If he’s to have any chance of getting out of that fight alive, he’ll need your help.”
“Where is he going?” Zelda asked with a worried expression on her face.
“Have any of you heard of Mandala City?”
“The city on the bottom of the ocean…where a friend of mine was witness to his close friend’s death,” Apollomon said. “Abigail…who is the leader of the Bio Hybrids? You never did give a name.”
“Our leader…is none other than Lilithmon.”
“……Well…I can’t honestly say I was expecting to ever hear that name ever again. I’ll go with you.”
“No, I don’t think that’s a very good idea, big guy,” I said. “We found some of these laying around all over Yew on our way over.” I handed Apollomon some paper.
“…What?! What the hell is this?!” Apollomon looked up at me. “Is this some kind of sick joke, Flamedramon?!”
“They are exactly what they say. The Valencian Knights have put a warrant out for your arrest, as well as for everyone else in your group. It’s best that you stay here for now, out of sight.”
“…Damn it. You two…just make sure you come back with Thomas.”
“Don’t worry, sir,” Zelda said.
“We’ll be careful,” Statuedramon saluted.
“We’ll make sure they are,” I said. The four of us left, en route to Yew, without taking a look back at the villa.
“Hold on…I just thought of something,” Statuedramon said. “If Mandala is at the bottom of the ocean, how are we all going to get there?”
“You don’t need to worry; our group has several…special areas known as Warp Tiles hidden throughout various buildings on the continent,” Abigail said. “Mandala is on the other side of the continent, near Shendu and Cherifia Territories. However, once we find one of these Warp Tiles, we’ll be in the city in a matter of seconds.”
“And what’s to keep us from drowning once we do get to the city?” Statuedramon asked.
“A magic barrier surrounds the city,” Abigail replied. “It keeps the ocean’s water from leaking through and drowning everyone in the city.”
I leaned my head back on the couch I sat on. “Lilithmon…so, you really were pulling the strings all this time,” I sighed. “Only this time, there’s nothing I can do about it…not without risking the lives of all my comrades…”
“What should we do, Apollomon?” Dianamon asked. She was the only one who sat with me in the living room.
“Right now…something needs to be done about those arrest warrants,” I said. “There’s nothing that can be done about the Lilithmon issue…so right now, I need to make sure my family isn’t locked away…or killed.”
“What in the world can you possibly do about that?” I sighed once more, and looked at the papers handed to me by Flamedramon. The one I held had a picture of me, and a reward listed on the bottom.
“Hold on…it says these were issued by…Knight Commander Saias!”
“Saias?! Why would he do a thing like that?! And how?! Wasn’t he supposed to be dead?!” Dianamon asked.
“…I don’t know. I have no idea what’s going on…but clearly, something needs to be done about this! I don’t have any choice…I’m going to have to find him and speak with him face-to-face.” I gave Dianamon a determined look. “I’m going. Don’t try and stop me.”
“Abigail…where are you?! You were supposed to be back an hour ago!” I griped. Sighing wearily, I viewed my surroundings…Mandala truly was a beautiful city, and the fact that it had been submerged in the ocean only intensified this. The sun shined above us, and the ocean refracted it, making its light shine and sparkle all around us.
“Calm yourself, Adrian,” Sephyrus said. “The Lady is due back any minute now; you wouldn’t wish to displease her, would you?”
“Then see that you keep your mouth shut; your constant griping is getting on my nerves!” Michalis said.
“Right…I’ll try…” I need to keep Lady Lilithmon on my good side…I need those Ancient Spirits!
“Silence, you fools! Our lady approaches!” Sephyrus said, quickly bending down to one knee. Michalis and I did the same.
“My dear, dear Bio Hybrids…it has been far too long since I’ve seen you…” Lilithmon stepped out of the shadows and walked up to the three of us. “Do tell me; how have you been, hmm?”
“We have been most excellent, Milady,” Sephyrus said.
“Can’t complain,” Michalis said. “How are you this fine day…Mother?” Lilithmon smiled at Michalis.
“All is well, my wonderful son,” Lilithmon said.
“Abigail has been missing for over an hour, and I don’t know where she is!” I blurted out.
“Do not worry, dear Adrian; I am certain she will turn up eventually,” Lilithmon said. “So, how has the search for quintessence been going? How much more have you gotten?”
“Well…with Braig’s lab permanently encased in ice, and with both Braig and Ienzo dead, our collection process has slowed down considerably,” Michalis said.
“Rest assured, Milady, we still gather quintessence for you yet, and though it has slowed down, we will not give up until you have all that you desire,” Sephyrus said.
“Good…see that you don’t,” Lilithmon said. “Our immortality awaits!”