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Lilithmon's Epic Chapter 4
Point of View: Thomas Kasuto
6 Hours Elapsed
I awoke slowly, noticing I lay in a soft, comfortable bed, and almost fell back into unconsciousness. My head was sore and throbbing, and I could hear my blood pulsing loudly in my ears. My right arm felt slightly stiff, and there was a stinging, shooting pain in my back, far worse than the pain in my head. I attempted to open my eyes, but there was a dampened washcloth covering my face, preventing me from doing so. With my uninjured left arm, I reached up to remove it, which was when I felt a hand, soft and delicate, gently close around mine.
“Are you awake?” a small voice asked.
Not…Statuedramon…Who is…that? Too exhausted to speak, I said nothing. The washcloth was carefully lifted from my face, and in a moment, I could hear footsteps on a wood plank floor. Slowly, I opened my eyes, and saw a young woman, small and petite, wringing the water from the cloth into a metal pail. With an effort, I forced myself to sit up, and though my vision was still a bit hazy, I looked around the room. There wasn’t much room to see; to my left was a vacant wooden chair next to the bed, where I assumed the young woman had been sitting; the walls appeared to be made of stone or brick, and there was a small, square hole that served as a window to my right, and when I looked out, I could see that it had gotten quite late, with the sky being a deep shade of orange with a slight purple tinge to it, indicating the sun had nearly set; it was unbearably warm in the room in spite of the cool breeze that flowed from the window. Directly across from the bed I was in was a closed door. Lining the walls were a small number of bookcases with even fewer books. All of this I saw in the smallest fraction of a second. The bed creaked beneath me as I moved, catching the woman’s attention. She instantly ran back to me from the bookshelf and stood before, leaving the moist cloth and pail behind on an otherwise vacant shelf.
“Are you alright? You aren’t still hurt, are you?” she asked. Once more, I found myself unable to speak. Never in all my life had I seen a woman as beautiful as her; hair as golden as the sun falling to her slender waist, where a simple, undecorated satchel was fastened. One of her eyes was covered by a tuft of hair; the one that was visible was a deep ocean of purest sapphire. Her clothing was typical of Humans who live in the desert; light, and ever-so-slightly transparent. Her skirt was knee-length, and her shirt a blue crop top, loose-fitting, sleeveless, and flowy, that left her belly completely exposed. She was a small woman, slender but curvaceous, and well-endowed, and she looked abnormally skinny, almost as though she were malnourished and looking like the slightest breeze would’ve knocked her to the ground. Her beauty…it had an air of mysteriousness to it. It was otherworldly…almost not even Human. And her voice…it was small and gentle, and she spoke slowly with shyness. “Um…Thomas? Can you…hear me? You aren’t hurt, are you?” I blinked. I had been gazing breathlessly at her for nearly a minute. “…Sir Thomas?” That comment brought me out of my trance. I could feel my blood begin to boil, and in an attempt to control myself, I clenched my fist, ignoring the shooting pain that ran up my right arm.
“…I’m fine,” I said. “And you don’t need to ‘Sir’ me; I’m not a bloody knight.”
“Ah! I—I’m sorry! I didn’t mean…I—I just saw you had a sword, and I thought…I just thought…” She begun to slowly back away from me, and raised her arms to cover her face. “Please…please d—don’t…hurt me…”
“…Hurt you? Why the hell would I do that?” I asked. “You saved my life, so now, I owe it to you.” She lowered her arms slightly and cast me a mildly scared glance. Hmm…seems like she’s been through quite a lot in her life for her to react like that to what I said…
“I—I’m terribly sorry; I…I didn’t mean to imply…I…”
“I apologize for snapping at you like that; it was not my intention to frighten you, and I am not mad at you in any way,” I said calmly. “I just…do not like knights.” The woman had slowly inched her way back to the bedside. I smiled at her as she did, not wanting to scare her again. Something must’ve happened to her…What should I do? The Boss wouldn’t like it if I left someone all alone without helping them, but I have that job in Linnea…
“I’m sorry…usually, I don’t scare quite that easily…usually…Um…I’m…Zelda…”
“I’m Thomas; but, I guess you already knew that, huh?” Zelda nodded.
“Yes, Statuedramon told me a little bit about you; Thomas Kasuto, age nineteen, and a professional swordsman,” Zelda said. “Oh, and he told me that he never lost a fight against you, even though he was always holding back.”
“…He told you that? And...where…exactly…is he at this moment?”
“Was he…incorrect about what he told me?”
“It’s the other way around, Milady.” The door across from me opened without warning, and Statuedramon walked into the room, shoving the latter half of a sandwich into his big mouth.
“Hey, I’m back! How’s he—”
“Statuedramon, why did you tell this young lady I haven’t once defeated you?” I asked.
“…Aaaaand I’m gone again…”
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry…” He muttered something else under his breath, and while I missed most of it, I heard something that sounded like ‘cute girl.’
“Whatever. It doesn’t matter. Are you ready to go?”
“…So soon? You haven’t fully recovered,” Zelda said.
“We need to leave this village,” I said, looking directly into Statuedramon’s eyes. The Rookie Digimon sighed.
“Look…I know what you’re going to say, Thomas,” Statuedramon said. “You want to leave so you don’t put this young lady — not to mention the rest of the people living in this village — in danger because of the men following us and the men we’re going after. Sound about right?”
“Yeah, something like that,” I said. Subconsciously, I brought my hand to my right shoulder, which had been throbbing with pain. The pain in my head was agonizing, and I wanted nothing more than to lie back down; resisting temptation, I began to climb out of bed.
“Thomas. I understand; truly, I do.” Statuedramon placed a sharp-clawed hand over my chest, stopping me from leaving. “It’ll be okay; nothing bad is going to happen if we stay here for just a little while longer than we intended.”
“Nothing bad?! What if those men come back?!”
“It’ll be okay; nobody in this village is going to get hurt while I’m still around!” Statuedramon placed his hands around my arms and helped me lay down once more. “In any case, we’re not leaving until you’re better!”
“I feel fine!” I lied. In truth, I didn’t really feel quite so bad, but the pain was still noticeable.
“Oh, really? Glad to hear it!” Statch playfully clasped his hands around the top of my shoulders. I winced as the pain surged throughout my right arm. “…We’re staying,” he said after a moment. “At least until this,” the Rookie patted my shoulders once again, “doesn’t hurt anymore.”
“…Fine…” Somehow, unless it was over something frivolous, it was always impossible for me to win an argument with that Digimon.
“Um…Excuse me…” Zelda spoke up, her voice docile and small, and glanced nervously back and forth between the two of us. “Is it…alright… if I ask who’s following you?”
“Oh, they’re not a big deal; at least, not for me and Tom. Just a bunch of cutthroats—part of an organization called the Thanatos Bandits,” Statuedramon said.
“Thanatos…I’ve…heard of them…They’ve been…killing innocent Humans and Digimon all over Arcadia, destroying towns and cities…” Zelda said. “But…why would they be following you two?”
“We’ve been ordered to assassinate one of their leaders,” I said. “A few rumors brought us to the border town of Paeonia. We found one of their hideouts there and, thinking that their leader was among them, we forced our way in and attacked them. As it turns out, he wasn’t actually there, but we forced his location out of one of the cutthroat maggots there.”
“Needless to say, those bandits didn’t exactly take kindly to us barging into one of their hideouts and kicking their asses quite thoroughly, so after we left Paeonia, they began following us with the hopes of killing us,” Statuedramon said. “It wasn’t very polite of them, I must say…”
“That’s why the two of us need to leave as soon as possible,” I said. “If we stay too long, and those bandits keep coming and coming, more innocent people are going to get hurt.” I looked over at Zelda, who had been watching me intently as I spoke. “You know…you don’t have to keep us here if you don’t want to. Keeping us here will only put you in danger, and I wouldn’t want you to get—”
“No!” Zelda interrupted. It was the loudest I had heard her speak. “You don’t need to worry about that. I would never turn my back on someone who needed help…And I’m not going to kick you out of this house just because you being here might put me in danger.”
“I appreciate that, but…”
“There’s also the matter of us needing to leave to do our job,” Statuedramon continued.
“Yeah, remember what we said? Tom and I were given orders to eliminate a bandit leader. Our boss doesn’t like for any of us to take too long to complete a mission like this one.”
“Are all of your jobs this…dangerous?”
“All of them are, but this is our first time trying something like this,” I said. “We usually stick to fighting regular, nameless goons, but never before one of their leaders.”
“Where did they say their leader was?” Zelda asked.
“We were told the leader has taken refuge in the neighboring village of Linnea,” Statch said. “Though, to be fair, it was a bandit who gave us this information, so he could be anywhere in Arcadia.”
“He’s in Linnea,” I insisted. “I’ve been around long enough to know when someone’s lying.”
“Yeah, I guess we both have…Hey, Zelda, when do you think that stab wound of his will heal?” The shy young woman looked at me as I forced myself to sit up; my teeth were clenched tightly together to help me endure the pain.
“Does it…still hurt?”
“You lie!” Statuedramon exclaimed.
“And after we both just said we can tell when someone’s lying, too…”
“Sorry, I thought you’d fall for it! You usually do.”
“Hey!” As Statuedramon glared at me, I heard Zelda laugh a little, though she immediately tried to cover it up.
“…So you can smile,” I said. “Good. I was getting worried.”
Maybe I should ask; I know the Boss would want me to, and I do owe her a lot. “Zelda,” I began, trying to speak as gently and nonthreateningly as I knew how, “I’ve been meaning to ask—”
I was cut off by a rather mystical voice that spoke the words none of us wanted to hear: “They’re back.” The three of us turned our heads to the room’s only window, where a tall Digimon sat staring at us with icy blue eyes.
“Renamon…what do you mean? Who’s back?” Statch asked.
“The bandits. They’ve returned,” Renamon said.
I sighed, closing my eyes and shaking my head. I was honestly surprised it took them as long as it had to come back. If only they could have waited a bit longer…Or, at least until I can use my arm again! I began slowly inching my way out of bed, not wanting to worsen the pain or attract Statuedramon’s attention.
“Milady? What will you have me do?”
“What…are they doing? Are they just…waiting for Thomas and Statuedramon to show up…or are they—”
“No, they’re killing everyone in sight. Just the usual banditry,” Renamon said in a remarkably calm voice. “A few homes have been set ablaze, and many Humans and Digimon have been ruthlessly murdered in the streets. Also, the Minotarumon I knocked out has regained consciousness, and is also killing people. What will you have me do?”
“Damn it, we’ve got to stop them!” Statuedramon said.
“Renamon…we can’t allow any more innocent people to die,” Zelda said. “Please, wait for me outside; we’ll join you shortly.”
“As you wish.” Without another word, the foxlike Digimon leapt out through the window. Statch and Zelda hurried to the bedroom door to leave, and as I finally climbed out of bed, my Digimon turned to face me.
“Thomas, you wait here!” Statuedramon ordered.
“Forget it, Statuedramon,” I said. “I’m not the kind of guy who makes his Digimon fight without fighting alongside him.” Next to the bed, I found and picked up my sword. Statuedramon let out a weary and irritated sigh.
“All right, fine, you can come with me!” Statuedramon said. “Just stay close so I can keep an eye on you, understand?!”
“Yeah, I got it,” I replied. I followed Statch out the door and into the dark of night.