Author's Note: My apologies to those of you who have been waiting for this chapter. I have been extremely busy in the past couple months, but I finally finished this chapter up. Although I will try to continue this fic, do not expect regular updates.

Digimon: Perspectives
Book One: Prologue

Chapter 6 — Hate

The oppressive wind and heat made the desert a very harsh environment. The almost incessant winds of the Digital wasteland constantly pelted everything with small grains of sand while the heat sapped any living creature's energy until it could not continue on. My companion, Centarumon, wiped the sweat from his brow as he trudged through the endless sands. Unlike me, a Picaromon, Centarumon were not native to the desert. The fatigue on his face seemed to say that no Digimon in his right mind would ever want to travel through here, much less live here.

Yet, this was my home.

After living in the human world for a while, I had mixed feelings about returning. The natural beauty of the human world attracted me much more than the dreary, barren wasteland of a desert. Of course, not all was perfect in the human world. The humans themselves were the problem. They enslaved us, manipulated us, beat us, and made us fight for nothing but their own sick pleasure. I was lucky enough to have escaped the tyranny of the humans, and I had Centarumon to thank for that.

Although it meant an escape from human oppression, returning to the Digital World meant abandoning all of the other tamed ones. In running away from the humans, I ran away from my people, condemning them to be crushed under human rule. The promise I made on the day of Sabermon's death still reverberated in my mind; I still felt the need to free all Digimon from the evils of humanity.

What was I doing here? Because Centarumon insisted we returned to the Digital World, I followed. I thought he could provide some solution to this great problem. But, Centarumon had a much different view on other tamed Digimon. He hated them as much as he hated the humans. He believed their allegiance to the humans made them just as responsible for humanity's crimes and condemned them as lost causes beyond redemption. What did he care what happened to the tamed ones?

All I knew was that I cared about them. I wanted to avenge the pointless death of Sabermon. I wanted to pull good Digimon like Scienmon away from the corrupting lies of their human dictators. Unlike Centarumon, I couldn't condemn them for being forced into serving these evil humans — for being their tools. If an assassin murders your friend, you blame the assassin, not his dagger.

Even though these humans tricked our people into believing them and willingly committing criminal acts against the race of Digimon, I couldn't believe that humans, no matter how deceitful they were and no matter how much they brainwashed their slaves, could ever extinguish the Digimons' essence, that which made them Digimon. No one, in my mind, was beyond redemption; once could always grab hold of some good in a Digimon.

Why then, was I trekking through this seemingly endless desert toward some unknown place? Presumably this place would be Centarumon's home. If his home were as oppressive as my own, this journey would be for naught. Cooperation would not flourish in an environment of conflict over resources for survival. Yet, the hope still remained in my mind that we journeyed to a place where we could initiate something to save our enslaved counterparts, a place where I could rally support for a liberation movement. Two . . . four . . . eight . . . sixteen: the number of supporters would grow exponentially among a population of Digimon. The idea would go from me to them, and together we would be united as us.

But, what and where exactly was this place? I had no idea why I followed the Centarumon, other than the fact I had nowhere else to go. For all I knew, he could be leading me to a militant group of Digimon intent on destroying all of my treasonous kin in the human world.

"Where are we going, exactly?" I asked.

"To Gaiamon's realm, of course," was Centarumon's curt response.

"Who is Gaiamon?"

"You mean you haven't heard of the great Sovereign?" asked Centarumon in disbelief.

"No, but I've been in the human world for a while," I replied.

"Gaiamon's deeds extend well back into the past," Centarumon replied. "You must've been living in this isolated desert not to have heard of the great Gaiamon."

"Actually, I did live in this desert all of my life until I was taken into the human world." News didn't travel very fast in the desert, mainly because news required conversation for propagation. The only communication that took place in the desert was the shouting of threats and curses during struggles for the land's scarce resources.

"Well, I guess I should give you a little history lesson about the other regions of the Digital World," said Centarumon. "In the days before Gaiamon's kingdom, the Sovereign layer was full of disunity and chaos."

I had heard once that the Digital World was composed of different layers, but I hadn't payed much attention to it. After all, when every day is a struggle to survive, one doesn't have the luxury to contemplate higher existances.

"Many small tribes fought against each other for control of lands and power; the world was in a constant state of war."

So what else is new? Even from living in this isolated, uncivilized desert layer of the Digital World, I knew that.

"Then came the virus. Unlike other viruses the humans plagued us with, this one was particularly powerful and deadly. The virus, it called itself Reaper, destroyed any tribe that attempted to oppose it. Even the most powerful tribes in the sovereign layer fell to Reaper's awesome power. Finally, Yggdramon, protector of the normally neutral forest realm proposed an alliance. Alone, no tribe could stand a chance against Reaper, and Yggdramon believed the only way to defeat it was to come together. Under Yggdramon's guidance, all Digimon from all tribes united to combat this deadly threat.

"After months of bloody struggle, her plan succeeded. After a long, hard-fought war, the Digimon, for the first time, had made a huge triumph against the evil humans. We had stood up to their monster and defeated it. Not only that, but the struggle made us stronger. From that war, five ultimate-level Digimon had progressed one level farther than any Digimon had ever gone before: They reached the mega level. Those five Digimon emerged as leaders of our people after the war: Ottomon of the desert realm; Stalinmon of the city realm; Napoleomon of the forest realm; Kriegmon of the mountain realm; and, of course, Gaiamon, the mega-form of Yggdramon."

"When did all of this happen?" I asked.

"About half a generation ago, a little before I was spawned," replied Centarumon. "After the war ended, Gaiamon proposed to keep the alliance of tribes together. She wanted to form a society for everyone's mutual protection. After all, the war had decimated everyone. Many of the strong protectors of each tribe had fallen. Many feared that some of the stronger tribes would take advantage of others' weaknesses and dominate. Thus, many instantly jumped onto Gaiamon's proposal. In such a time of uncertainty, everyone readily came together under the promise of safety. Out of the ashes of war grew an even stronger Digimon race, this time not weakened by internal struggle but strongly united as a kingdom. Of the five leaders, only Ottomon rejected the plan, leaving the desert uncivilized to this day.

"Why did he not want to join?" I asked.

"The bastard didn't believe it could work," replied Centarumon. "He didn't believe that Digimon could ever put aside their differences and work peacefully together. He thought, eventually, the Kingdom would split apart over some trivial issue and civil war would ensue. With a small number of Digimon controlling such a large tribe, he feared the leaders would wield too much power and become corrupt. Well, we proved him wrong.

"Today, many different races of Digimon live and work together in peace. Ironically, the war helped to bring us together. During the fight against Reaper, Digimon began to think of themselves not as separate tribes, but as one united army. They all put aside their differences and fought as one. Even the bitterest of enemies, like the Leomon and Ogremon, found themselves fighting side-by-side. Now, they still work side-by-side. Hundreds of Digimon united together for one cause: that is what Gaiamon stands for!"

That ideal appealed greatly to me. Digimon united, working together. In my time living in the desert realm, all I had seen of Digimon Nature was violence: nomadic tribes struggling fiercely over the scarce resources necessary for survival. Everyone lived under the mantra of destroy or be destroyed. That, sadly, was the only way to survive. The idea of forming a lawful society to escape such a chaotic environment amazed me.

"We're here," the Centarumon announced, stopping in the middle of the boundless desert.

"Where?" I asked. "There's nothing here but sand and rocks."

"Just wait and see."

I looked around, and what I spotted on the horizon filled me with fear.

"A data stream!" I shouted.

A pillar of crimson light burned across the desert floor, coming straight toward us. These data streams constantly scoured the land, tearing up any life that managed to establish itself in the arid ground. Any Digimon caught up in a data stream was never seen again.

"We've got to get out of here!" I shouted.

"Just wait," commanded Centarumon, grabbing hold of me. By now, it was too late to avoid the data stream anyway. I could only close my eyes and brace myself for the inevitable. The crimson light of the data stream encircled us and . . .

"Welcome to Gaiamon's kingdom," announced Centarumon.

"What?" I opened my eyes and was astounded by what I saw. We stood in the middle of a clearing, encircled of a large, dense forest. Off in the distance, a group of imposing mountains rose above the horizon. The cool forest mist chilled my fur, which was more acclimated to the hot, dry desert. Ahead of us, the trees became more complex. No, those weren't trees but . . . houses? At the ground level, many Digimon made their way around the bases of trees, against which some buildings, ranging from basic lean-tos to more elaborate wooden structures, stood. Up above, in the trees, walkways connected some of the tallest, widest trees in the forest. I saw Digimon of all kinds walking, even flying around in the treetops. Some even entered through doors in the widest of trees.

"I see you've never traveled by data stream before," commented Centarumon. "Come, this way." He signaled me to follow as we made our way through the "streets" of the arboreal city.

As we walked, I looked around in awe of this great civilization. Tall trees towered up into the sky, their branches upraised like giant green and brown arms reaching up into azure plains above. All along the trunks and branches of the trees stood complex wooden structures. These structures were not constructed from wood but were actually part of the trees. Small tendrils growing out from the tree's main frame twisted and wove themselves together to form the buildings and walkway of the forest. The architecture gave a very organic, natural feeling.

Yet, the architecture of this great city didn't impress me the most; its people did. Unlike the sparsely populated desert, the city teemed with life. All throughout the city, crowds of Digimon bustled about through the narrow walkways between trees and up in the walkways. The ability of all these Digimon, representing almost every imaginable race, to join together amazed me. Desert Digimon walked next to Digimon from water realms. Virus-type Digimon walked down the streets conversing with Vaccines. I even saw a young couple, a Lilymon and a Woodmon kissing under a young sapling in this sylvan grove. If only all Digimon were as peaceful as these people . . .

"Come back here you damned thief!" roared a voice behind me. I turned to see a Gotsumon weaving through the trees carrying loaf of bread, presumably stolen from one of the street-front shops. Behind him stormed a uniformed Leomon, shouting expletives at the fleeing Gotsumon.

"Fist of the beast king!" roared the Leomon, swinging his fist forward. He launched a powerful blast of energy forward, which sent the Gotsumon sprawling onto the floor in the middle of the street. The bread slipped from his limp hand and slid forward. The Leomon strode forward and snatched the bread from off of the ground, and kicked the Gotsumon.

"Get a damn job, you dirty beggar." By now the traffic on the street had stopped as most of the Digimon stood watching the spectacle. The Leomon turned to the crowd. "Okay, okay, move along. Nothing to see here. Quit blocking traffic."

As if nothing had happened, everyone continued on their way, trudging through the streets. Of course, the Gotsumon still lay immobile in the middle of the street. Some walked around him, staring down at the thief with contempt, while others disregarded him and walked all over him. He continued being stepped on until someone had the decency to kick him over to the side of the street.

"Serves that crook right," commented Centarumon as we walked away.

As we continued on, the forest thinned and the streets grew wider. The mountains that bounded the forest began growing progressively larger with every step we took.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"I am going to the mountain region to report my findings from the human world to my superiors," Centarumon replied. "You are welcome to come. I'll introduce you and I'm sure we can find a place within our forces for one like you."

As I had nowhere else to go, I consented and followed Centarumon through the forest. I didn't particularly relish the thought of enlisting in the army, but perhaps meeting with Centarumon's superiors could give me some ideas as to how to liberate the Digimon enslaved by the humans.

A couple minutes passed when, suddenly, a strong voice rang out from the tree tops:

"Attention! Attention! General Kriegmon will be addressing the nation at the Memorial Auditorium in one hour! I repeat: General Kriegmon's speech, one hour at the Memorial Auditorium. The topic: the solution to the human problem."

"Come," said Centarumon, abruptly changing paths. Soon we joined the masses of Digimon pouring out into the streets who seemingly dropped whatever task they had at hand in order to travel to this speech.

"Who is Kriegmon?" I asked.

"Kriegmon," Centarumon began, "Is the leader of the Mountain realm and the strongest of the four Great Generals who led our people to victory over Reaper."

"I see," I replied. "What is this 'solution' that he'll talk about?"

"War," replied Centarumon succinctly. He smiled. "At least, I hope he's finally convinced the council to finally give these humans what they deserve."

At Centarumon's mention of the word, "war," I shuddered. Didn't I come here to escape the seemingly endless fights and struggles between the savages in the desert realm? War against the humans would inevitably mean killing many, if not all, of the tamed Digimon. In war, they would become the enemy, not an enslaved people to liberate. But, as I thought of alternatives, none came to my mind.

After walking for about half-an-hour, we arrived at the side of a tall, craggy mountain. The side of the mountain appeared to have a huge chunk ripped out of it. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the gash in the side of a mountain was a huge, bowl-shaped amphitheater carved straight out of the solid rock of the mountain side. The sheer size of the theater was amazing; it looked as if it could seat thousands of Digimon of all sizes. It must have taken many strong Digimon to rip through the mountain. The thought of all excruciating work needed to construct such a structure added to the impressiveness of the theater. Yet, unlike the architecture of the forest, the auditorium didn't seem at all natural; it stood out. The bowl itself looked like a huge, ugly wound in the side of the mountain.

The crowds filed into the large open-aired theater. The air buzzed with chatter in anticipation of Kriegmon's speech. Digimon gossiped and speculated about the implications of what would be said today.

"I heard the General will declare war on the humans today!"

"I doubt it. Napoleomon would never let Kriegmon make such a brash move."

"Yeah, well I heard Kriegmon has Gaiamon's support."

"If that's so then I'm moving to the desert. There's no way I'm going to die fighting against those humans."

"Well, I've 'eard dat da 'mans got another Reaper."

"Another Reaper! You can't be serious."

"If that's the case then we're all doomed."

"Don't think that way, we'll kill 'em all!"

"Yeah! Them humans are goin' down!"

A loud voice boomed throughout the theater: "All rise for the members of Gaiamon's Council: General Napoleomon of the Forrest Realm, General Stalinmon of the City Realm, and General Kriegmon of the Mountain Realm."

On stage, the Council members began to enter amid the applause of the thousands of spectators. The first was a dignified-looking Lion Digimon, who strode in with a rather regal attitude. The gold circlet on his head glinted in the bright stage lights and his long, flowing mane let off a dull tawny sheen. His navy blue uniform was decorated with various medals and a long flowing cape trailed behind him. At his side, hung a very fine looking short sword sheathed in an ornately decorated scabbard.

Behind him, an android Digimon marched in with mechanical precision and efficiency. Unlike the Digimon in front of him, this one's attire was much less embellished. Even his dull grey metallic skin was so prepared that the stage lights did not give it any luster. He wore a simple brown uniform and a black beret. Both Digimon took seats on either side of the podium at center stage.

As Napoleomon and Stalinmon took their seats, Kriegmon strode boldly onto the stage. I could instantly see why everyone was so eager to come to this speech; the fiery Digimon seemed to exude an aura of confidence around him that was just as visible as the orange glow radiating from his flames. He looked much more like a regular Digimon than his two counterparts. Unlike the ornately decorated Napoleomon and the austere military look of Stalinmon, Kriegmon's attire did not attempt to set him above the public. He took his place at the podium and signaled to the crowd to sit. Just standing there, without having even said a word, he looked like a champion of the people.

"My fellow citizens," Kriegmon began, "recent events have brought us to the final days of decision. For more than a decade, our great nation has thrived. Yet, with each new step we take, the human menace constantly looms in our minds, threatening to undo all the progress of our civilization. We all live daily with the fear that, in a swift instant of infinite terror, everything that we have worked so hard to build will be knocked back down to the ground. Yet, for ten long years, we have done nothing to ameliorate these fears.

"A decade ago we were nowhere near strong enough to oppose the humans. Over time, we have prospered; our nation has grown larger and stronger. Our once small community has digivolved into an almost worldwide nation standing for the peace and mutual defense of its people. But, the human threat has grown along side with us. We are no closer to solving this problem than we were ten years ago.

"Since the Reaper War, we've been subject to devastating attacks by the humans, each one more destructive and deadly than the last. First a deletion hits a small isolated desert community, murdering five unfortunate victims. Next, a more powerful deletion strikes an outlying suburb of the city, razing the buildings to the ground and killing a handful of innocent Digimon. Finally, the latest and most heinous deletion yet strikes the middle of an important mountain city, annihilating hundreds of innocent Digimon lives. We now stand in the Crater, all that is left of our once proud city. Many times over these humans have shown us the very worst of their terrible power. They senselessly reap death and destruction throughout the Digital World. It is clear: we are not dealing with a peaceful species.

"Despite the horrible damage inflicted by each deletion, the damage nowhere compares to that done by the Reaper Virus. But, what if the humans could send a second Reaper?" At this suggestion, the crowd let out a collective gasp of horror. Kriegmon continued: "Intelligence gathered by us leaves no doubt that the humans posses some of the most lethal weapons ever devised, including a prototype for a second Reaper Virus. These people have already used these weapons of mass destruction against our people, and they have a history of a deep hatred of all Digimon.

"The danger is clear: using these weapons of mass destruction, these terrorists could kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent Digimon throughout the Digital World. With these destructive capabilities, the humans threaten the very survival of the Digital world.

"Our nation and the world did nothing to deserve or invite this threat, but we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward extinction, we will set a course toward digivolution. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.

"Our leadership has a duty and the authority to use force to protect our own security. As Commander-in Chief, I will do everything to protect our great nation from this threat. I hope all will join me in the defense of our nation and our people.

"When our troops set out to war, every measure will be taken to win it. We understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty, except the certainty of sacrifice.

"Yet, the only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so. Our forces are already preparing for battle and mobilizing to combat the human threat. In two days time, our liberation will begin. We shall no longer live enslaved by fear of a human attack.

"It is likely the humans will remain a deadly foe until the end, and in desperation, they may use their weapons against us. But, we cannot live forever under the threat of blackmail. We must strike now while Reaper II is only an imperfect prototype, before it becomes the ultimate killing machine.

"Should Reaper II be released, the humans would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. But, in this they will fail. No act of theirs can alter our course or shake the resolve of this nation. We have shown that we're not a fragile people, and we will not be intimidated by killers and thugs. Such acts will only strengthen our resolve to rid ourselves of that which threatens our very survival."

"Our nation has a duty to defend our world. We must unite against humanity in order to continue the growth of our civilization, the safety of our people, and the future of our species.

"Thank you, and may Gaiamon continue to watch over us."

As Kriegmon stepped down from the podium, the crowd rose applause thundered throughout the theater. The calm had ended and the storm had begun.

* ~ * ~ *

During the two days, the whole nation seemed to wait in anxiety. As I wandered through the streets of the forest city, every conversation I overheard dealt with the prospect of war. People talked of the prospects of defeating the humans, the promise of a better tomorrow, the great losses of life that would come as a price of victory. In the large underground theaters that used to foster the growth of the nation's cultural arts, debates raged between the Digital World's greatest minds over the decision to go to war. They covered every aspect from moral to economic, from idealism to pragmatism. Even after the speakers had finished, the debates continued between the Digimon as they walked the streets, as they sat down to eat, and everywhere else. Yet the greatest debate was in the hearts and minds of every single Digimon.

At the Forrest militia's headquarters, Digimon lined up to join the army, eager to help defend their great nation. Outside of town, the militias practiced combat drills, preparing to march to war and possible death.

All around, Digimon prepared for another human attack. Some chose to flee the city for less populated areas in the unsettled regions, figuring that the humans would be more likely to attack populated zones. Others stocked up on emergency supplies and bunkered down in their newly fortified homes. Others just mulled in worry, looking at the protective measures others had taken and wondering, are we all going to die? It was eerie walking through areas formerly inhabited by pacifistic tribes who collectively decided to flee. It was even more disturbing to walk through areas populated by more militant Digimon who were very vocal about their hate of the humans.

The threat of war had transformed the city. War dwelt on everyone's minds and it affected everything that everyone did. It evoked many different responses, from the patriotic to the rebellious, from the militaristic to the pacifistic.

* ~ * ~ *

"Who does that Napoleomon think he is?!" exclaimed Centarumon, taking a swig of ale. "How the hell do we not have the right — the duty — to attack the humans?"

I sat in a tavern with Centarumon and some of his companions from the military. The entire tavern buzzed with talk about Napoleomon. It seems that all were not united in support of the war. The forest realm, infamous for its pacifism, had convinced Napoleomon to oppose Kriegmon's invasion.

"Yeah, those humans deserve to be taught a lesson," added the Gargomon who sat next to me. "It's about time we started doin' da killin'."

"You can't be serious," said a Lilymon sitting at a nearby table. Centarumon and his friends apparently had drunken too much and were not conscious of how loud they were talking. The Lilymon turned to face the Gargomon. "You army men are all the same. Killing them isn't going to solve anything."

"What are you, some kind of human-lover!?" shouted Centarumon.

"I'm a pacifist. I have a respect for life, unlike the rest of you fanatics. You got a problem with that?"

"Yeah, I've got a fucking problem with that!" shouted Centarumon, jumping out of his seat. At once the tavern silenced as everyone turned to look at the confrontation taking place.

The Weregarurumon next to him, restrained Centarumon. "Calm down, we don't want to make any trouble," he said softly.

"How can you claim to respect life, when all those humans do is destroy it!" shouted Centarumon, ignoring Weregarurumon's warning.

"How do you know killing them will save any lives?" retorted Lilymon. "Sure, everyone says that, but that's what they want you to think. It's just a bunch of propaganda, a load of shit. What they don't tell you are the casualties we'd face in the war."

"Facing that suffering now would be worth ridding ourselves of the constant fear of a human attack," replied Weregarurumon, in a calm, logical voice. Centarumon had calmed down a bit, so Weregarurumon sat back down.

"That's true," began a Leomon, who decided to join into the discussion, "but we cannot consider only our own suffering. The war would cost may lives on both sides."

"Damn you humanists!" interjected the Gargomon, slamming his glass against the table. "Why should we care about the humans anyway?"

"Invading the human world would kill many innocent human civilians," replied Leomon, "Surely all humans don't deserve to die. If any, we must only target those directly responsible for the attacks on our people. Horrible, unnecessary losses of life are never justifiable."

"So, you're telling me to have mercy on these humans," growled Centarumon angrily, "to have mercy on the same humans who released the Reaper virus which killed nearly half of the population of our entire world. We should avoid doing collateral damage to the same people who indiscriminately delete entire cities. You're telling me to spare the lives of those who murdered my tribe in cold blood! Ha! Well I say we show these criminals no mercy because they certainly don't care if their acts are justifiable."

"Here, here," applauded Weregarurumon, as many of the others murmured in assent.

"Sure," replied the Lilymon sarcastically, "kill their innocents and delete their cities just because they did it to us. We're no better than the humans if we have to stoop down to their level."

"Yes we are," replied Weregarurumon. "For, it is justice."

"Where does justice end and revenge begin?" asked Leomon. "If we attack them and show with the same malice and ruthlessness they showed us, are they not justified in striking back by your logic? Revenge creates only an endless cycle of violence. Instead of trying to top the humans' brutality, we should try to transcend it. Revenge is such a primal, animalistic concept. As fully sentient Digital beings, we should be able to transcend our violent natures."

"And how do we do that?" retorted Gargomon. "Do we allow the humans to keep bullying us?"

"We should take the civilized course of action and come to some diplomatic solution. I can't believe that all humans are as heatless and brutal as our leaders make them out to be. I'm certain we can come to some compromise and end the conflict without causing any more grief."

"Well, dammit, the humans are heartless, brutal monsters," responded Centarumon. "Isn't that right Picaromon?"

"Yes," I replied. Memories of Ryan, Sabermon's tamer, and Nekomon's tamer flashed through my mind. "Their cruelty knows no bound. All they care about are their own powermad desires. I doubt that they would listen to us. They don't care about our well being; they think we're just toys to be manipulated as they please."

"Just because you've been to the human world doesn't make you an expert," Lilymon replied. "There's no way you could have seen enough of humanity to judge them truly."

"I agree, there must be good humans just as there are good and evil Digimon," assented Leomon. "After all, they are our creators."

"Well, if they're supposed to be divine beings, they aren't doing a good job," replied Gargomon. "The ones that showed the kindness to create us are either dead or they don't care about us anymore."

"They didn't show any kindness in creating us," I said. "They showed malice. Do you realize that they created us not as a companion to them or as fully independent beings, but as a game — a simple form of entertainment? They take pleasure in watching us fight, suffer, and die. It's sickening. We're no more than a plaything to their capricious, violent whims."

"See! Doesn't that make you hate the humans even more?!" shouted Centarumon. "I'm sure everyone here in this tavern hates the humans." Scattered shouts of approval came from around the tavern. "If you don't hate the humans, then you're not really one of us. How can you watch these humans destroy our lands, terrorize our people, and slaughter our friends without being disgusted by the humans? If you don't believe they deserve to be punished, you're a fucking dumbass! They brought this upon themselves. They sealed their fate when they attacked us and failed to completely destroy us!

"An' you know what? Why did we form this kingdom in the first place? To fight the humans! You cannot be a loyal citizen of this kingdom without hating the humans. To hate the humans is to love all that our nation stands for! You'd have to be some kind of heartless bastard not to direct all of your anger, all of your fury, all of your rage toward those criminals."

"Who are you callin' a heartless bastard?!" retorted the Lilymon.

"Shut up, wench!" roared Centarumon, smacking Lilymon across the face with his fist. Lilymon tumbled down onto the floor and Centarumon rose to stand over her. "I'm sick and tired of all of you people who say that the humans don't deserve to be punished. Well, dammit, you didn't see the deletion of the Mountain Commerce City. You didn't see the buildings and the people all disappear in one instant of pure senseless destruction. I swear to Gaiamon: I will kill every last human, and if anyone tries to stop me, I'll rip your fucking head off!"

"You cannot let your rage control your actions," said Leomon. "Your actions are . . . "

"You're either with us or with the humans!" interrupted Centarumon. "There is no middle ground."

"I cannot accept war as a solution."

Centarumon let out a ferocious roar, and he leapt at Leomon, tacking him on the floor and smashing a table and a couple of chairs on the way down. Lilymon picked herself off of the floor and joined the fray, smashing a bottle of ale across Centarumon's head. Gargomon proceeded to clobber her with his gun and back up his friend. The crowd, for the most part, cheered Centarumon and Gargomon on, and many joined in the brawl.

"Kill the human-lovers!"

"We don't want your kind around here!"

The scene was chaotic. The most brash and reckless were the first to join into the brawl and many pressured others to join in. Soon the attack on the two humanists became somewhat of a ritual.

The whole fight was madness. The Lilymon and the Leomon were merely unwarranted targets of everyone's rage against the humans. Witnessing these Digmons' brutality, it began to strike me that violence might not be the best course of action against the humans.

I looked down at the blood, beaten, defenseless bodies of Lilymon and Leomon. Even though I didn't share their merciful views of the humans, I couldn't help but feel some sympathy for them. They were defending what they believed in just as much as we were. We hated them merely over a difference in opinion. Its not as if they hurt or killed anyone thinking that war was wrong. Someone had to stop this.

"Stop!" I shouted. "We should be fighting the humans, not each other."

A nearby Digimon shoved me. "Are you tryin' to protect these human-lovers?"

"Hey, he's the one that's been in the human world."

"He must be one of them!"

Shit, I thought, backing away from them.

"Come here you little human-lover and we'll show you a thing or two."

"No!" I shouted. "I'm not against the war. I think the humans need to be stopped."

"Stopped? Is that all? What about killed, tortured, punished?" He spat on the ground. "Those humans don't deserve to live and neither do you if you disagree with me."

"But, I do agree," I replied, my voice trembling. As I said that, I remembered killing Scienmon's tamer. I remembered seeing his body crumpled down on the ground in a pool of blood. Despite all the hatred I felt for the humans and no matter how much they deserved it, killing that kid didn't seem right at all.

But, then I thought more about it. By killing him, how many lives did I save? If he did not die, how many more Digimon would he force Scienmon to kill? Despite all the unconscious protests from my mind, it was logically a good decision to kill him.

I forced back that part of me reluctant to kill. I silenced the voices of sympathy for the humans and their tamed Digimon. I buried all feelings of protest and it all became clear. They were right. Too many lives had been lost to the humans. Now was not the time to falter. The hatred, the slavery, and the destruction could no longer afford to continue. The humans must be destroyed at any cost.

They shoved me toward the chaotic mass of Digimon in the center of the tavern. The crowd swirled around two limp bodies like an angry hurricane. I stared coldly down at the mutilated bodies of the Leomon and Lilymon. Silencing the voices of protest screaming in my mind, I summoned an electric dagger. The electricity cracked and sparked, seeming to almost resist the slow raising of my hand. And, like a horrible bolt of divine retribution, the dagger came down, stabbing into the Lilymon's heart. Her body shook violently as the electricity surged through her body, then she lay deathly still.

For once, killing did not seem wrong. It felt strangely right to murder, once I had silenced that which had kept me from being a monster, a true Digital Monster.