Digimon: Silver Star Story
Episode Thirteen: Ghaleon
"That's it," Luna Two murmured, leading an elderly man out of the Trial area. "It's this way." She passed him to an awaiting cleric. "He needs food, water, and medical attention. He's been through a lot."
Another elderly man walked by, grinning widely. "Thanks for helping us out there, kids. I didn't think any of us would ever see sunlight again!"
Sora sighed. "For a while there, neither did we." She staggered. "I'm going to go find a place to sit down. Getting stabbed takes a lot out of you."
"Be our guest." Alex handed a teenager with a broken leg over to a cleric. "But first, you better go to Althena's Statue, and see if you can get rid of that scar."
"Good idea. Where is Althena's Statue, anyways?" she asked.
A cleric pointed in a certain direction. "It will be over there, in the park."
"Thank you." Sora began walking in that direction, Biyomon right behind her.
Lilika gave a small child a little pat on the head. "There you go," she said, finishing a bandage on her arm. "You're a very brave girl. I'm sure your parents are very proud of you."
The kid sniffled. "I don't have any parents," she said. "They both died a year ago."
Lilika hugged the child, wishing she hadn't said anything. It definitely explained why he was taking the test alone. The poor boy must have been living in an orphanage his whole life. "I know the feeling. I don't have any parents either…but you have to have faith, faith that the Goddess Althena will look over you, and give you guidance when you need it."
"Really. Now, go and get something to eat." Lilika laughed as the child ran out of the door.
Luna One walked up, her tail twitching. "What's so funny?" she asked.
"Children. They have such sudden mood swings, and a degree of innocence when dealing with the world around them. It reminds me of my childhood, before…" Lilika couldn't finish the sentence, as it brought back too many painful memories. So instead, she said, "I never met my real parents. I was adopted by a tailor when I was ten years of age. She tried to spend time with me, but her job made it almost impossible. So when I said that I expressed a desire to enter the Magic Guild, we both agreed that it would be for the best."
The feline nodded. "Some of my friends have the same problem. But they have each other, so they aren't alone in this world. And you're not alone, Lilika. Serena and the others would probably welcome you as a friend."
The girl felt a shiver of happiness go through her. "Thank you. I would be honored to be called your friend."
T.K. led the last one out. "That's the last of them," he said, wiping the sweat off his brow. "Now, how about we go and see the City of Vane?"
Heeding his suggestion, the collective group of Digi-Destined, Sailor Scouts, adventurers, felines, and the resident Seer all piled out of the small room, stepping out into the sun.
"Wow…" Nall seemed to develop a sudden speaking block.
Rini looked around. "This place is almost as beautiful as Crystal Tokyo," she said in amazement.
Nall recovered. "Here we are, Alex!" He landed on Alex's shoulder. "The Magic City of Vane!"
Luna Two stepped up. "It's beautiful, Alex," she whispered to him.
"I know." Alex looked around, taking in every sight he saw. "So, how does one find Nash?" he asked cheerfully.
"Well, Nash said we could find him at the Magic Guild," Greg supplied.
Nall nodded vigorously. "Now all we have to do is find it!" He took off. "So, let's go!"
"Yeah, let's!" Serena echoed, walking forward… and promptly collided with someone.
"Yeow!" The woman yelped. "Watch where you're going, you clumsy oaf!"
"Well, excuuuusssseee me, Pyro!" Serena retaliated automatically, not really knowing who it was. She hadn't gotten a good look at her.
Violet eyes blinked, as if she had heard something she hadn't expected. In sense, she hadn't. She looked up, staring at the Moon Princess. "Sorry, Serena. You still need to watch your step, though."
Serena's own eyes widened. "Rei… Rei!" Squealing, she wrapped her arms around Rei Hino, squeezing.
"Can't… breathe…" Rei managed to choke out.
"Oops. Sorry about that. I'm just so glad to see you. And look, I brought others! Including someone you know, apparently."
"Who?" Rei looked behind Serena. "Oh, hi, Mimi."
Mimi rolled her eyes. "'Oh, hi, Mimi,' she says, and without any real joy in her soul. And here I thought I knew you. Oh, by the way, congratulations on being Sailor Mars."
"Do you have to? Wait… how did you-?"
"I find," Greg interrupted, "that it is a good idea not to ask how she does that. Also, tiaras don't make great masks."
"And she's perceptive," Amy added. "I mean, she knew I was Sailor Mercury because of my computer, and Serena because of her hair style."
Serena laughed at the expression of Rei's face. "I wish I had a camera, so I could take a picture."
"I'll picture your ass to the nearest wall!" Rei roared.
Mimi blinked at the outburst. "Are they always like that?" she asked Amy.
Amy sighed. "Yes…"
Greg shook his head. "I think it's a miracle that they haven't killed each other yet."
"You got that right, Greg."
Izzy and Mimi's head snapped to the side. "D-Darien!" Mimi sputtered.
Darien stared at her for a second. "Mimi?" He began grinning. "Mimi, is that…you?" Mimi's vigorous nod answered that question. "Well… you're almost as beautiful as Serena."
Izzy sidled up to him. "Nice save, Endyimon-san."
"Hello, Izzy. You're looking fit."
"Thank you. But, may I ask how you came to be here?"
"Big bright flash of light, fall through a dimensional hallway of some kind, fell a good dozen feet. Sound about right?"
"Definitely. Oh, by the way, this is Tentomon."
"Hi," Tentomon said in greeting.
Introductions were made, much faster than they had done the last few times. Then Darien endured two Tsukino bear hugs from both his girlfriend and future daughter. It was one of those moments where he was willing to take it. He hadn't seen either for a long time.
"So, you've been here in Vane all of this time?" Patamon asked.
"Yep." Rei smiled. "We've learned how different Lunarian magic is from our own. We also learned how to cook."
"Or rather, they tried to," Darien interjected. "Mina still is unable to boil water."
"And Lita is a better cook than all of us put together." Serena's grin was almost Cheshire in its size.
Mimi nodded. "Bring her on. I can take her."
"And have," Matt stated. "You faced her at the clash of the junior high schools."
"She was the Juuban Junior High School cooking champion?!"
Serena stared. "You're the Nagano Junior High School's champion cook?!" she exclaimed, before shaking her head. "Oh, boy."
Rei shrugged. "Small world."
"She owes me a rematch!"
The conversation was halted when Luna Two held up her hand. "Excuse me, not wanting to change the subject and all, but what are you people talking about?"
"We'd like to know that as well," Gomamon added.
Serena sighed. "Long story. Where are Lita and Mina, anyway?"
"They're at the item shop, trying to get supplies." Darien turned back to the Trial exit. "How'd the Trial go?" he asked.
For a long time, no one spoke. "It was long," Rini finally stated. "How about you guys, Darien?"
"It was very bloody. Lita and Mina were particularly vicious in that regard. Quite frankly, I've never seen Lita, Mina, or Pluto use such vulgar words, and in such rapid succession."
Tai winced. "I'm going to take a lucky guess, and say that those two girls are Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus."
"Yeah, actually. How'd you know?"
"I didn't, but it's always the story."
Mimi giggled. "I knew."
"Don't ask," Greg said, at Darien's surprised glance. "She's as perceptive as hell. Now then, shall we split up, or shall we referee Meatball Head and Pyro?"
"Hey!"Twoindignant voices shouted at once. "We're not that bad!"
"We say you are! Now get outta my way!"
Matt and Greg moved immediately as Joe tore out of the little room. He was moving so fast, that they thought he had been shot out of a cannon.
"Geez, Joe. You don't have to sound like… Son of a bitch!" Matt shouted as a small army of kids came out of the place at high speed, all looking like they had just finished the Trial.
Agumon soon found himself flatter than a pancake. Gomamon's fin resembled a shape similar to that of a paddle. Palmon had found sanctuary in Rini's arms, having wrapped her vines behind the little girl's head.
"Children!" Luna One shouted. "Halt!"
Immediately realizing their faux pas, the children came to a halt, and turned around. "Sorry," they mumbled before heading for the public dining hall for a well deserved meal, heads down. None of them had a doubt though, that the minute they were out of hearing range, they would be tearing down the road at full warp.
Gomamon shook his flattened fin. "Ouch," was all he had to say.
Palmon jumped off of Rini and ran over to Agumon. "Agumon! Please, speak to me! Where does it hurt?!"
"Everywhere but my earlobes."
"You don't have any earlobes," Gabumon pointed out.
The orange lizard groaned. "Now you know why."
Gatomon winced. "Talk about being flattened by a litter of kids. Want me to find you an air pump?" she asked.
"If they make them. Either that, or move me… slowly… to Althena's Statue."
Deciding that the first option was probably not available, as they had yet to see bicycles anywhere, Palmon and Gatomon slowly picked up the orange lizard, set him on his feet, and helped him walk in the same direction as Sora.
Izzy shook his head. "Can I ever sympathize with him," he muttered quietly to Mimi, referring to the Goddess Festival. Mimi nodded, wincing.
Tai chuckled. "Boy, did Joe fly out of there, or what?"
"Joe didn't fly," Lilika said, confused.
Luna Two giggled. "They mean he moved so fast, it looked like he had taken off. Give it some time. You'll figure out how to understand what they're trying to say."
"Ah. So, shall we go exploring?"
"Yep. How about we split into several groups?" Nall suggested. He flew around in circles above Alex's head. "I'm with Alex and Luna!"
"Which one?" Artemis asked.
"Thanks for the clarification. Digimon, please follow me. I think I know where to find Lita."
"Good to know." Gabumon walked next to the white cat. "What about Venus?"
"Follow the trail of destruction."
Mimi sighed. "That bad?" she asked Rei.
"I swear she's as bad as Serena, if not worse."
Lying down on a bench, Sora closed her eyes, almost asleep.
She had changed out of her blood soaked blouse, and was now wearing a short sleeved shirt with swirls. She had made her way to Althena's Statue after that, feeling slightly better afterwards, though not as much as she would have wanted to feel. Now, she lay there, trying to be oblivious of the world around her.
As she dozed, she let her mind wander back into the past. Most notably, Tai. She didn't know what she was going to do. She, unlike Mimi, had become very good at hiding her emotions. She couldn't do it forever, though. 'How do you tell the boy you love that you love him?'
A small grunt of pain interrupted her musings. She sat up, blinking to clear her vision enough to actually see. When the world finally focused, she saw Gatomon and Palmon half supporting, half dragging Agumon in the direction of the Statue. "Good Lord, what happened to you?!" she asked in shock.
Agumon gave a small groan, then collapsed against the Statue. Gatomon answered for him. "He was run over by a bunch of kids. And it made us all aware as to how dangerous children can really be."
Agumon straightened up as she said this, stretching his arms. "So, did you get rid of that scar?" he asked.
Sora's hand immediately reached for her shirt, rubbing the small scar underneath it fretfully. "No, I didn't. The Statue can't seem to do anything if you have a scar of some kind." She sighed. "Looks like I'm going to keep it."
Don't worry about it. I have enough scars on my body to make a maze." Gatomon batted her eyes challengingly. "Dare ya to catch up."
"Maybe later. Right now, all I want to do is rest."
"Having a slow day?" Palmon asked.
"Yes." Sora closed her eyes. "I really want to go to sleep. But then, I'm no better than Tai or Matt."
"You haven't changed, Sora. Good to know some things never do."
Sora's eyes, which had already begun drooping to half mast, shot open again in surprise. She would recognize that voice anywhere. "Mina?!"
Mina Aino, who currently was upside down due to how Sora was laying down, smiled. "Hey there, girl. So, how have you been doing?" she asked cheerfully. "Besides enjoying the sun?"
Sora jumped up, barely avoiding hitting Mina's head with her own. She turned around, grasping her old friend in a bear hug. "It's great to see you! And I've been doing great! How ya doing, Sailor V?"
"Doing great. And I'm Sailor Venus, now."
The effect was instantaneous.
"You're Sailor Venus?" Agumon grinned. "So, you're with the one they call Meatball-Head."
"Sailor Moon? Yeah, actually. I'm Mina Aino. And you are…?"
"I'm Agumon. This is Palmon, and Gatomon."
"Hi. Did you know that Artemis talked?"
"Oh, yes. But hey, you know what they say. 'That which annoys you makes you stronger.'"
"That's, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'" Sora shook her head. "Honestly, you screw up every last quote out there on a daily basis."
Mina rolled her eyes. "Everybody's a critic."
"With you, that's not criticism. It's fact."
The whole lot of them enjoyed a good laugh at this. "So, you've been here with the rest of the group?" Agumon finally asked, after they had calmed down. "Well, now the Sailor Scouts are now five once more. We bring Serena, Amy, Greg, the two cats, and Rini."
Mina took off like a bat out of Hell, sprinting in the general direction of the main group, a huge smile on her face.
"Well," Agumon stated after a moment, as the dust began settling, "she's fast."
"She's also the stereotypical blond. Apparently, being Sailor Venus hasn't changed that."
Agumon nodded. "Well, we might as well head for the general direction of that building," he said, pointing at the largest building in the area. "I think that might be it."
T.K. and Patamon observed the newest situation with a wary gaze. "Do we dare interfere?" the flying Digimon asked.
"I don't think Althena could end this conflict," T.K. replied.
The conflict was simple. Mimi had finally met her nemesis. "You owe me a rematch," she growled.
Lita Kino grinned fiercely. "You'll get your rematch, as soon as I find a free kitchen stadium."
"Serena started giggling. "Well, it's confirmed. They're both my friends." She started laughing harder as both turned to glare at her.
"Now that that's settled…" Patamon stepped forward again, effectively placing herself between the two. "Now, if the two of you can shelve your competitive spirits for a moment, though the fact you have one is beyond me, Mimi, so we can introduce ourselves to each other."
"Oh, sorry. I'm Makato 'Lita' Kino, resident cook, fighter-"
"-And having the largest number of boyfriends in Juuban High history," Rei said humorously, "all who look like her first boyfriend." She returned Lita's glare. "Oh come on, you know it's true."
Lita began chuckling. "Good point. And what?" she asked Mimi irritably.
Mimi didn't back down from the tone. She had faced worse, after all. "If your enemies saw you now, they'd probably start laughing."
"What do you-?"
"Umm, Lita?" Serena said quietly. "She knows we're Sailor Scouts."
"Neither myself or Serena said anything," Amy said soothingly, futilely trying to quell the savage beast. "She figured it out all by herself."
"Well, if that's all." Lita didn't sound convinced. Of course, it took a lot to convince her that someone she didn't like was okay. "I'm sure that she'll make a good detective for the powers of darkness someday, if she isn't already."
"Hey, I'm not one of you fucking enemies, bitch!" Mimiroared. "I am a member of the Digi-Destined, not the Negamoon, not the Negaverse, and most certainly not a Sailor Scout!"
The glass shook. The town grew quiet for a good ten seconds. Tai backed up several feet.
Lita, on the other hand, didn't even blink an eye. It took a lot to faze her, and someone bellowing wasn't it. "How do you explain the fact that you know who we all are?! How do you explain that?!"
"How do you explain acting like a bitch to someone who you apparently don't like?" Mimi asked in a voice of iron, with no fear in her stance and fire in her eyes. She was apparently ready for a fight, which was also unusual for her. "How do you explain that?"
Lita took a step forward, what she was planning to do obvious.
Amy, T.K., Patamon and Greg immediately got in between the two soon to be combatants, becoming a wall. "Lita, Mimi is right!" Greg said desperately. "You go ballistic on someone who you think is an enemy. And Mimi figured it out all by herself. She saw Serena's broach, and Amy's computer!"
"That's not enough!"
"It is for her," Amy informed her quietly. "She knows me and Serena well enough to make the connection without any assistance. And she does know that there are five Scouts living in Tokyo."
"Are you always this paranoid?" Tai asked, entering the conversation, now that the threat of impending bloodshed diminished. "Because quite frankly, we get enough of it from Joe."
"Bring that up again, Tai, and the first person I hit will be you."
Patamon fluttered up to Lita's eyes. "Lita, Mimi hasn't given us any reason to suspect her of wrong doing. She's the Digi-Destined of Sincerity, for crying out loud. Izzy, please step away from her. I think she's going to be calm for now."
Lita turned to stare in Izzy's dark eyes. "What is your problem?" she asked.
Izzy stepped closer, bringing them nose to nose. "Allow me to make one thing perfectly clear," he hissed. "I don't care if you're Sailor Jupiter, because if you ever try to hurt Mimi for any reason, you will regret it."
"Are you threatening me?"
"No, I don't threaten. I promise. And I will back it up."
Lita turned her glare back to Mimi, obviously refraining from pushing the button. She really wanted to see if he could take her. "Fine, but don't think I'm turning my back on her for one second!" With that, she turned and stalked away, almost running over Mina in the process.
Mina turned to watch her friends retreating backside. "Okay, what just happened?"
"Same as always." Greg sighed. "She is paranoid because someone figured out that you guys were Sailor Scouts, and that there was no telepathy involved."
"Lemme guess; Mimi Tachekawa."
"Amazing. You're not all ditz after all."
"Good to see you too, Artemis. Serena! Amy! Rini! Greg."
Greg face faulted. "They get the usual exuberant greeting, and all I get is a measly 'Greg!' I'm hurt!"
"That's just to remind you where you are in the grand scheme of things," T.K. stated, laughing.
"Thanks, midget. Nice to know where I stand."
"Yes it does," Rini added, giggling.
"Well," Kari stated, looking up in surprise, "that's a use I would have never suspected for magic."
"Shows you what you still need to know," Artemis replied, eyes fixed on it as well. "Then again, it shows me what I still need to know."
What they were witnessing was something that was so mundane, that children, or any other sentient creature, would not have stopped to look at it twice, had it not been for one minor detail. It was being done with magic. The mundane task was the repairs to a particularly large building. Heavy wooden beams were being lifted using levitation spells, massive nails and steel supports being to keep them together.
"I wonder what Mommy and Daddy would have thought of this place."
Gatomon grinned. "I'd say your Dad would wonder what they'd do without magic, and your mom would poison an ungodly number of people with her cooking. How did you and Tai survive all these years?"
"Tai learned to cook, and dad showed me what spices to use on her food."
"How did Agumon survive?" Gabumon asked, curious.
Kari giggled. "Tai swears Agumon's stomach is like a furnace."
"That sounds about right," Biyomon stated.
"Hey, watch out below!"
Kari and the Digimon looked up to see a giant two by four suddenly drop. With a yelp of fright, they tried to jump out of the way. Well, it was a partial success. Kari and Gatomon managed to do so. Agumon, despite being healed by Althena's statue, was not as fast.
In the instant that Kari and the others had moved, an enormous purple sphere struck the girder, turning it into so much fine debris. Nothing larger than a dust mote remained in its place. And a number of relieved sighs filled the air as the construction crew looked downward.
Kari's leap took her about a dozen feet before she landed. Not hearing the tell tale thud of a heavy object slamming into a cobbled street, she turned around. "Okay… where's the log?" she asked.
Artemis got back up on his four feet, and turned around as well. "So much sawdust, I'd say. Sailor Pluto, nice shot."
A powerful looking Sailor Soldier, one who Kari had never seen before, ran up to them. "Are all of you all right?" she asked.
Upon closer inspection, Kari noted that the Scout stood slightly taller than Jupiter, with green hair, and red eyes that seemed to look into a person's soul. Her hair, extremely long, almost reaching the ground even, was a deep forest green, styled into a bun. Her uniform was definitely familiar, a dark green skirt and bowtie as well, but with a few cosmetic changes. She was currently carrying a giant, key shaped staff in her hand.
Kari nodded. "We're all okay." She held out her hand. "Kari Kamiya."
Pluto smiled. "I am Sailor Pluto," she returned, shaking the young girl's hand. "It's certainly a pleasure to meet you, Miss Kamiya."
Kari laughed. "Nice to meet ya, Sailor Pluto. I didn't know there were more Sailor Scouts out there. Are you reincarnated like the others?"
Pluto shook her head. "No, I am not. As the Guardian of Time, I am in fact the last surviving member of the Silver Millennium." Her eyes crimped a little as she said this.
Kari read her expression correctly. "Sorry for being presa, presac-"
"Presumptuous," Pluto said for her gently. "And don't worry about it. I am not offended. It's just not something I speak about readily. A lot of unpleasant memories."
"So I gathered. Were you a princess too?"
"Yes, I was."
Pluto chuckled warmly at the offhand manner that she used. "Very astute." A thought occurred to her. "You know, I feel the same energy coming from you that I felt coming from Amy and Greg."
"And I have been having dreams, and flashbacks, of people and events that I've met before, but for some reason, should know," Kari continued, grasping onto the topic immediately. "How'd you guess?"
Pluto hesitated, before deciding that it wouldn't really hurt to tell this child. "I tried to trace the source of Greg's power," she explained. "I found in his subconscious mind, a powerful sphere of energy, emanating more power than the combined power of the Sailor Scouts. It's something I have never felt before in my entire life. And that life is considerable." She stopped or a moment to catch her breath for a moment before continuing. "After we arrived, the two of them began developing super-senshi strength, and access to abilities that they shouldn't have been able to use."
"Same thing for me, T.K., and our Digimon partners!" Kari gasped. "Now I know there's some connection between Lunar and our dreams!"
Pluto nodded. She had come to that same conclusion. "Well, maybe you can start looking for answers over there," she suggested, pointing to the largest building in Vane. "I find that there are those who know something about the history about this world. It might prove beneficial to you and the others. Come. I'll show you the way."
"Thank you." Kari's eyes showed a great deal of curiosity as she followed Pluto down the street.
The two Luna's walked down the main street of the city, taking in all of the sights as they did so. Already, they had found the library, and had browsed through the various sections, enduring the teasing of Nall and Alex as they did so.
As they looked around, Luna One said, "The city of Vane is aesthetically pleasing, and clean. And the fact that it has a veritable ecosystem here is nothing short of impressive. I wonder though, how did the Guardians of Althena raise this thing into the sky?"
Luna Two had been asking herself that same exact question for several hours now, and she had just come up with an answer. "I think they used a very powerful levitation spell. Then they put a power source of some kind into the interior of the rock face to help maintain it. They must have hollowed out the interior, and put all the rock over with the Goddess Tower."
Nall laughed. "Yeah. They're probably hiding some sort of super fortress underneath the mountain."
Luna Two laughed. "Yeah, that must be it," she said, outwardly showing no distress. Inside, though, she had the funny feeling that Nall wasn't that far off the bat.
Alex, who had been silent for that period of time, looked up from the silver map. "Well, do any of you have an idea where the Magic Guild is located?" he asked. "Because it isn't on this map."
Luna Two was about to answer negatively, but a young man around her age slammed into her. Stumbling, she managed to right herself relatively fast, then she turned around.
Unaware, the student picked up his books. "Move it! Get outta the way!" he stated unnecessarily. "I overslept again… and if I'm late to one more class, I'll be held back a year!" With that, picking up the last book as he did so, he took off like a long distance runner, heading in the direction of the largest building in all of Vane.
Nall and the others watched him go. "I think we've just found the Magic Guild," he pointed out lamely.
"So we have," Alex replied, just as lamely.
"So you have," a voice called out from behind them. They turned around to see a brunette Amazonian looking girl walk up to them. "And what a building it is."
"Hello, Lita. How are you?"
"I'm doing fine. Who're they?"
"I'm Alex." Alex shook Lita's hand. "This is Nall."
"And I'm also known as Luna." Luna Two walked up and shook Lita's hand.
"Want me to call you Luna Two?" Lita asked.
"We'd both appreciate it. I'm going to take a wild guess, but by any chance, are you Sailor Jupiter?"
Lita's smile, which had been present since she had met them, darkened almost immediately. "Did Mimi tell you?" she asked frigidly.
Luna Two's smile faltered at the look on Lita's face. For a second, she looked like she was going to attack them. "No, I took a wild guess. Tai actually had figured it out. Are we right?"
Luna One sighed. "I'm going to assume you really don't like her?" she asked knowingly.
"Damn straight. She could be an agent to some whacked out evil being!"
"Lita, this is the girl who matched you, ingredient for ingredient, at the local clash of the junior high chefs last year, from I've heard! And let's face it, your powers don't exactly hide your personalities. Yours, least of all."
"And besides," Nall said enthusiastically, "she's got a lot of magic in her as well, and she hasn't used it on any us! That's gotta count for something."
Alex looked at Lita. "Don't mind him, he's just enthusiastic about speaking. Especially when around cute girls."
"Actually, he's got a good point. I've never thought about it that way." Lita was looking thoughtful. "But I know that she's hiding something."
"And what do you base that assumption on?" Luna One asked.
Lita stared at her incredulously.
"Rather than explore that," the feline said hastily, "I think it would be best if we go get everyone else, and let them know that we've found the Magic Guild. Nall?"
The white fur ball saluted, then turned around, jetting in the direction that Artemis and the Digimon had taken.
Luna Two looked down at Luna One. "Why did you say that last part?" she asked.
Luna One sighed. "Because the Sailor Scouts hide their identities from the rest of the world. And add in the fact that Lita is fiercely protective of them, and you have a good understanding as to why she's like this."
The blue-haired woman nodded thoughtfully. It definitely made sense. "Yes, I think I do," she murmured.
"Hey, look who I found!" Nall's voice sounded off behind them. They all turned to see the rest of the coven standing their, looking at the Magic Guild in awe.
The first words out of Lilika's mouth were, "Well, it's certainly… bigger than I originally assumed."
Joe nodded. "Eight stories do make for a good sized building."
Alex grinned. "Let's go in," he suggested. "Nash should be inside, waiting for us."
"Oh, goody," Agumon grumbled. "Why is that not a comfort?"
Nash finished up his preliminary report, and handed it to the mage. "Here you go. A condensed version of everything I have seen, and everyone I have met. I hope it'll satisfy Lady Ausa until I file my primary report."
The mage previewed the document carefully. "This is satisfactory," she finally said. "Lady Ausa will be pleased to see this."
Nash bowed. "I aim to do my humble best. But now, I must check and see if my friends have made it."
As if to oblige him, the great doors of the Magic Guild opened, admitting a large number of kids and teenagers. The kids were all looking around the hallway in amazement.
The mage asked, "Friends of yours?"
"Yes." Nash stepped forward. "Hello everyone," he said, shaking Alex's hand. "I'm glad to see that all of you have made it…except for you," he added, looking at Agumon.
"Nice to see you're concerned for my well-fare. How's about I cut ya a new navel?"
"Perhaps when I tire of the one I've had since birth." Nash turned away from the orange lizard. "So, what do you think of Vane? Breathtaking, isn't it?"
Lilika nodded. "It's more magnificent than I had imagined it to be," she said. "Oh, my name is Lilika. I really look forward to learning here."
"My name's Nash. And I'm sure the Magic Guild will welcome you with open arms." He shook Lilika's hand, the turned to Alex. "Ghaleon is occupied at the moment, so he has asked me to escort you to the parlor."
Nall was hesitant. After what Nash had said in Meribia, he was a little reticent in speaking to him where magic was concerned. "Actually, we'd rather look around the Magic Guild…wouldn't we, Alex?" he asked timidly.
Alex chuckled. "Actually, yes. Do you have a problem with that, Nash? Because if you do, I think Nall will faint from sheer fright."
Nall shook his head. "I see no problem. Suit yourselves. Though be on your best behavior. Luna? Would you also care to wander the Guild?"
"Perhaps later," she replied, stretching her arms out, "but right now, sitting down and getting off of my feet sounds wonderful."
"Then I'll just have to give you a private tour of the Magic Guild some time, Luna. And no, Alex," he added, correctly reading the expression on Alex's face correctly, "I am not hitting on Luna. I'm more partial to raven-heads." He looked at the rest of them. "The rest of, I'll come look for you, or when you tire of looking around, come to the sixth floor whenever you're ready to meet with Ghaleon. And if you see any of my friends, don't barbeque them, lizard."
"Don't worry. My beef's with you."
"Of that, I have no doubt." The magician held his arm out gallantly. "Shall we, milady?" he asked Luna Two. The young woman giggled, and took the proffered arm. "Well, don't worry, Alex. I will be a perfect gentlemen, and not risk bodily harm from you." With that, he escorted Luna Two down the hallway.
Agumon shrugged. "At least he's got some chivalry," he said.
"No kidding! Not that I'm complaining." Nall took off. "This place is huge!" he exclaimed. "I hope we don't get lost!"
"That's our fondest hope too, Nall." Tentomon buzzed a bit until he was next to Izzy again. "So, Lilika, are you and Joe going to stay attached to the hip?"
"Why? Are we stuck?" Lilika asked confused. She looked at Joe. "Why are you blushing, Joe?"
"Um… you don't want to know."
Nash held the parlor door open for Luna, still being the gentlemen. "I'll come for you when Ghaleon is ready," he said. "If you need anything in the meantime, Luna, please let me know."
Luna nodded. "Thank you, Nash. I will." She waited until Nash had closed the door, the headed over to one of the couches, sitting down in it with a sigh of relief. 'Finally, peace and relaxation,' she thought. 'How Alex can stand being on the move all the time is beyond me.'
Alex… the very thought of him sent shivers down her spine. It seemed that every adventure brought them closer together, and had allowed her already substantial feelings for Alex to grow. She didn't know everything, and had, at the beginning of their adventure attempted to understand this feeling, and she had figured it out. It was frightening, but wanted as well.
As she pondered about her love, a soft sound approached her ears, breaking her trail of thought. She sat up in surprise, as she immediately recognized the sounds as music. "That song… it's… Alex?" she asked in confusion. There was no way she had been waiting that long.
Getting up, she headed over to an open window, and looked out. Looking back behind her, she climbed out that window.
She found herself in a small courtyard, one designed so as to give a person privacy from the rest of the world. A small pond was in the middle of it, rippling as little minnows swam in it. Trees of every kind and variety lined the outer rim of the area, with flowers surrounding each of them.
'It's an arboretum!' she realized. 'A place of natural beauty, and of order.' She even saw a redwood, which towered over the majority of the garden, planted near the edge. She forced herself back on track. 'Now, where is that song coming from?' Closing her eyes, Luna began to listen carefully.
When Luna and Alex were younger, they had played a game where either Alex would play his ocarina, or Luna would sing, and the other would try to find them by only using their ears. Their hearing had become so good, so precise, that they were able to pick up sounds from over a mile away, and that was without the wind blowing.
And after several moments of listening, Luna realized that the song was not even twenty feet away. And it wasn't being played by an ocarina. Looking to her left, she finally put an instrument to that sound. And a person was currently looking at her.
It was a male, around forty years of age. He was almost as white as a sheet, though not because of fright. His ears were pointed, showing that he was an elf. But the one thing that caught Luna's attention was his eyes. They were blood red. And they were currently staring at Luna with an expression of curiosity.
'He's a member of the Dawken Elf clan,' Luna thought, pleased that she remembered that there were four different species of elves out there, and each of them had differences that set them apart from the rest of them. The Dawken's were recognized by their red eyes, and pasty skin, as well as their immense magical power.
Currently, all she felt was an acute embarrassment for interrupting his music. "Oh, I'm so sorry I interrupted. You see, I heard the music, and… well… I thought it was Alex playing."
The man smiled softly. "It's… no bother," he said gently, his eyes roving over Luna for a second.
Luna felt her cheeks heat up at the scrutiny."Um, you play beautifully, sir," she said, in a desperate attempt to divert her attention back why she had come out here. "But, may I ask how you came to learn that melody?"
His smile faded slightly. "Dyne composed that melody when he was a boy…before he became the Dragonmaster." He sat back, his eyes becoming distant for a moment, before refocusing.
"Dragonmaster Dyne wrote that…?" Luna was speechless, before becoming incensed. "Alex never told me. Why am I always the last person to know these things?!"
"Now, now, I'm certain that this 'Alex' was just unaware of the piece. No need to become unnecessarily upset. It doesn't become you." He got up from his seat, looking her over again for a moment. "You must be a new student here at the Guild," he finally said. "And quite a fetching one at that…"
Luna was struck dumb for a second. "What? Oh no!" she exclaimed. "I don't have any magical abilities! I've traveled here with Alex. He's on a quest to become the Dragonmaster. We've already met Quark, the White Dragon, and we're here to learn the locations of the other three." She was babbling, and she knew it, but she was extremely nervous. For some strange reason, she felt like she had met this man before.
The man's smile returned. "And what about you?" he asked gently. "Perhaps you're on a quest of your own. You may not even realize what you're searching for…" at that, he paused for a second. "At least, not yet," he amended.
"Oh, no, I'm not…" She trailed off, as she remembered something important. Wait…The dream…"
"I keep having this dream, over and over again," Luna explained, feeling like she could trust this man, like he had a clue as to what she was going through. "Only, it doesn't feel like a dream. And it doesn't make any sense…"
Abruptly, she realized that she wasn't talking to Alex, and was in fact speaking to an absolute stranger. "Oh, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to ramble on to someone I've just met."
"The man chuckled. "Don't apologize. Everyone wants to understand themselves, and to know who they are…but not everyone is prepared for what they ultimately discover."
Luna was speechless as she stared at the man.
"Are you prepared for your journey of discovery?" With that last question, he picked up his instrument, and headed back inside, via a door located at the other side of the garden. He gave her one last glance before vanishing inside.
Luna swayed, feeling light headed. The last few moments had definitely taken a lot out of her, and she hadn't even done anything. "I…I think I need to sit down," she murmured to herself. "I feel weak…" With that, she headed back to the parlor.
"Alright, guys! See ya later!" Nall called out aloud, waving one diminutive paw to add meaning to his farewell, before returning his attention to Alex. "Where should we go first, Alex?" he asked cheerfully.
Alex pondered the possibilities for a few seconds, while thinking that Nall never stayed down for very long. "How about we go right?" he finally replied.
Lilika smiled. "I like the idea." She began walking in that direction, Joe and Gomamon right behind her. Shrugging, Alex and Nall picked up the rear.
"Classroom, classroom…" Gomamon muttered. "Do they even know the meaning of a main office?"
Joe sighed. "They probably do. It's just not on this floor, though. I mean, this building has what, eight floors?"
"You're probably right. Just one question; What's a main office?"
Lilika giggled. Joe felt she had a nice giggle. "I'm going to take a guess, and say that it's the center of your guilds back home."
"For starters, we don't have Guilds. We have schools. Second, you are absolutely right."
Lilika smiled. "I'm glad that I understood something about your way of life."
"Yeah! Now you can begin understanding what they do on their spare time!" Nall added enthusiastically.
Joe once again blushed crimson. Alex also realized what Nall was talking about. "And what do you think Earth folk do on their spare time?" he asked sweetly. "I'm really sure they want to know."
Nall read the underlying threat, and shut up immediately. Gomamon, Alex noticed, just gave the two of them a very sly glance. He realized that the little creature was very interested in taking Sora's job.
Gomamon, unaware that he was being watched, or probably didn't care, looked around. "Oh, look!" he exclaimed, pointing. "Stairs!"
Joe groaned, this time in real despair. What did he do to deserve this? 'God, Althena, whichever of you is watching, and if you have the proverbial gun, just shoot me now.'
Tai and Sora entered a lone hallway on the third floor, having had explored the rest of the floor. Behind them, Agumon and Biyomon spoke in subdued tones about something or other. The two humans had told them, several times in fact, that they could go and be with their boyfriend or girlfriend, but the two Digimon had told them that they were supposed to protect them from any danger that may come their way.
Sora, after the tenth attempt, had simply sighed, and took Tai's hand in her own. "They're as stubborn as us," she murmured.
"Tell me about it."
After wandering for half an hour, which was seeing the different designs of classrooms, and small displays of magical prowess, they reached a hallway that seemed to be devoid of anything but windows, all overlooking a lush garden of bushes, trees, and flowers. Then they reached a stairwell.
"This looks like someone's living quarters," Biyomon noted, "or, at the very least, a stairwell to someone's living quarters. I wonder who they belong to."
Agumon walked forward. "Let's find out." He started down the stairs, with the rest of them behind him. When they reached the bottom, Agumon knocked on the door.
"Come in, children."
'Now why does that voice sound familiar?' Tai asked himself as they accepted the invitation.
Two seconds later, he found out why.
"We meet again, Courage and Love," Royce said in that throaty, seductive voice of hers.
Agumon scratched his head for a moment, looking at Royce. "You're that spooky chick we met on Black Rose Street, and who got punked out by Greg. What was your name again? Rice?"
"Royce, you disgusting creature! Royce!"
"Do I look like I care what your name is?!" Agumon roared. "And I am not an animal!"
"What are you doing in the Guild anyways?" Biyomon asked. "Don't they have an anti-skank policy?"
Sora found that extremely telling. Biyomon never said anything negative to anybody unless they had done something that was extremely wrong. 'I guess trying to scare Mimi qualifies.'
"Not that it's any of your business, but the Guild is my workplace and home!" Royce spat out, staring at the two Digimon with a look of extreme displeasure.
"You live here?!" Sora's voice held such disbelief, it would make a non-believer turn tail and run. She would've thought that the Guild would have a stricter criteria for faculty members.
Royce ignored her, instead reaching out with her hand towards Tai. "Give me your hand, Courage…" she said, her voice taking on a hypnotic quality, "don't be afraid of what the future may hold for you…or the one you love."
(I would advise against it,) the katana urged, sounding fearful. (If she truly is a Seer, she could learn of what you may become. If that happens, then all shall learn of it, and try to stop you.)
'Thanks for the reminder, but I already figured that one out for myself.' Tai steeled his resolve. "The only thing I'm afraid of is wasting my time on someone like you. I have better things to do with my time than worrying about the future."
Royce's eyes narrowed into slits. "You shouldn't be so narrow-minded, young man. Skepticism can be dangerous…even fatal."
Sora saw the look she had seen on Royce's face in Meribia come over her once more. 'There's more to her than meets the eye,' she realized. 'But what?'
Biyomon turned around, fluttering impatiently. "Come on, guys! Let's get out of here!"
Agumon nodded, his nostrils twitching. "I don't think I can breathe in here anymore." With that, he turned on his heel, and marched out of the room, Biyomon and Tai right behind him. Sora took one last look at Royce, before heading out as well.
Royce's grin faded, and she stared at their retreating backsides for a few more seconds with something akin to respect... and a hint of relief. "I must admit, I am impressed," she said. "He wields the Katana… and his will is strong."
Racc appeared, glaring at the door murderously. "I should have finished off that blasted boy when I had the chance," he growled. "That Katana should belong to us!"
Royce nodded. "Yes, you should have. However, judging from what your report stated, that young woman who interfered threw the whole equation out of proportion. And it is not important. What of Lady Tachekawa?"
Racc nodded. "Her power is growing, just as you have predicted," he reported. "She has already mastered fire and lightning magic. However, she is nowhere near strong enough to take one of us on, nor can she handle the power efficiently. But she has begun opening up to her friends again." His gaze became thoughtful. "If she tells them as to what she is…?"
"She won't. She doesn't even know what she is. All she can tell is whatever her mother told her… which I am certain was not much." Royce grinned for a moment, before frowning. "But they have been joined by another. This will complicate matters even more. I have seen the bond that will grow between her and Reliability."
"And Phacia didn't try hard enough to sway that blasted boy down another path," Racc snarled. It was no secret that he, indeed the entire Uruk-Hai ninja group, thought Phacia was too soft.
Royce shook her head. She was all too aware of the Uruk-Hai's opinions concerning Phacia, though she didn't share them. Phacia simply knew when to give up on a hopeless cause. "It wouldn't have mannered if she gave it her all. Alex's mind was made up many years ago. And that is considerable." She stared at the wall. "Then there is Greg Urawa," she murmured.
The ninja's golden eyes perked up. "What of that Guardian?" he asked.
"As a Seer, his mind is closed to me. He is the wild card of the future I have witnessed, and thus can change it." She stood up. "I must report to Lady Ausa. Continue your surveillance of them, especially Urawa. If I cannot see into his future, then I shall analyze his behavior, and find his weakness."
Racc bowed. "As you command." With that, he melted back into the shadows. Royce smoothed out her robes, then headed out the door, closing it behind her, and locking it.
After all, she had a great many secrets in there. Secrets she didn't want anyone else to know about.
T.K. held a door open for the other five people with him. "I think we've reached the top floor," he said. "Doesn't look like much."
Greg also looked around. "I think you're right. The only thing here is…a set of sliding doors." He glared at it. "What the hell is a set of automatic sliding doors doing in a Magic Guild?"
"Maybe Vane's got an elevator to the underground?" Mercury suggested.
Greg grinned. "Knowing you, you're probably right." He walked up to it. "Well, let's see what's behind them."
As if to encourage them into doing so, the second Greg's hand touched the wall next to the door, the door it self opened, giving them a glimpse of a large, circular room. Curious, the group stepped in.
What they entered made Gatomon gasp audibly. "Whoa, talk about Sci-Fi!"
What they six were watching was a bridge, utterly reminiscent of a cross between Star Trek and Star Trek: TNG. Consoles were lined up against the wall, the majority of them unmanned, though there was one that had someone working on it. Two more stations, mounted on support struts, were stationed at the front if the bridge, manned by two very serious looking mages, and a station was mounted on an archway of some kind, swooping around a central chair. That chair was occupied too, by a mage who was obviously in charge. Still, aside from the mages themselves, T.K. felt like they had taken a trip into the future. And the weird thing was, those mages knew what they were doing.
"It kind of reminds me of the bridge of the Enterprise from Star Trek," Amy whispered.
"The original, or the D?" Greg asked.
"…Both, now that I think about it."
"Is that even relevant?" Patamon asked, a little louder than he intended. "It looks out of place in a Magic Guild."
"Yeah, well, remember what Nash said about there being technological defenses and weapons? I would say that this is the technological nerve center of Vane."
"Thank you, Amy," Kari gushed. "I didn't wanna explain that. I don't know that many big words."
Gatomon chuckled. "And those you do know, I forbid you to say."
The mage in the center chair stood, having heard their good natured banter. "Excuse me," he called out, getting their attention, "but this area is off limits to civilians and students. Now, how you got in is beyond me, because only the Guardians of Althena and qualified personnel can enter here, but I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
Greg held up his hand. "Sorry about that. We were exploring, and the door just opened for us, and-"
The mage wasn't listening, instead looking at the scepter that was currently sticking out of Kari's backpack. "No, I must apologize. I had no idea the Guardians were training replacements. Please, feel free to look around. And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask."
Gatomon smiled. "I've got one right now. Does that other door lead down below Vane?"
"Well, yes, actually. The subterranean levels not only holds the Trial area, but also a complex system of decks, which hold environmental, weapons, sickbay, and engineering, where the heart of Vane's mobility lies. We also have two cargo bays, and a torpedo room."
Mercury nodded. "Just as I suspected. Thank you for the information."
The mage nodded, before sitting back down, and picking up a piece of parchment.
"Well!" Gatomon rubbed her paws together. "Shall we go explore the lower levels?"
"You read my mind." Patamon flew over to what they now knew was a turbolift. "I really want to know what the subterranean levels look like."
They didn't even get a chance to find out.
"Hey, guys!" Nash shouted from the other side of the bridge. "I don't know how you got in, but I'm here to tell you that Ghaleon is ready to see you."
Gatomon groaned. "Talk about bad timing," she grumbled. "I really wanted to see the rest of this ship-like place."
T.K. looked around. "Well, maybe we'll have a visi-"
…Takeru crawled out from underneath the science console, wiping the sweat off his brow, then massaging one of his shoulders. "I don't care what everyone says," he grumbled, standing up. "Guardians are still capable of getting cramped muscles, and little electrical shocks!" He looked to the front of the bridge. "Hope to Knight. Ryo, have you finished loading all the programming for the Guidance System?"
"Just about." Ryo looked up from the Operation console. "A couple hundred years from now, we might be able to create a program that'll connect us directly to Zion, allowing for automatic updates."
"Do not remind me," Althena groaned in mock despair. She had tried to help, only to be told by Angelus to stop after she had accidentally set one of the consoles on fire. "I think the other Guardians would have a serious problem giving new information to 'mortals'."
Oh, that's just the newest group," Hikari grunted, her voice muffled because of the fact she was down the turbolift shaft, putting one of the emergency brakes onto the roof of the 'lift. "The First already said that it was a great idea."
"That's the First. She thinks everything is a great idea."
"And that particular Guardian is proven right in the end. Ami?"
Ami finished putting in the last of the commands, then sat back. "Bringing on main power…now."
Almost immediately, every console lit up, going into stand by mode. Angelica looked up, pumping her fist into the air. "Yes! We are the bomb!" she crowed.
Althena smiled, enjoying her friends enthusiasm, before asking, "How long will it take to get it into the air?"
Ami checked her mini computer. "Well, the six of us have to go outside, and cast the spell that will raise Vane into the sky. It shouldn't take any longer than two or three hours. Afterwards, the systems, as well as the energy core we installed in Main Engineering, will keep the levitation spell strong and constant."
"And afterwards," Ryo continued, "We train the mages how to operate and maintain the systems. We'll also have to-"
Althena held up a hand to stop the flow of information that she knew was coming. "You know technical babble gives me the proverbial headache."
Hikari laughed. "You're no fun."
The rest of them chuckled as they headed for the door…
T.K. blinked. "Did you all…just see that?" he asked hesitantly.
Greg looked down at him. "You were saying something about a vision?" he asked, smirking.
The little boy sighed. "Me and my big mouth," he muttered. With that, he led the way off the bridge.
Mimi stood in the back of one of the classrooms, listening to the teacher, jotting some notes down on a piece of parchment. As she wasn't planning on staying for a large amount of time, she decided that it would be prudent to take what little information she could get before leaving.
"…And hence, you now see how magic users are capable of using their powers to better effect through practice and learning. Now I want an essay on the magical properties of a particular charm of your choice, its uses in life, and how it works in conjunction with your magic spells. It will be due in one week, and it will account for half of your grade for this semester, and will have a purpose for later. That'll be all."
With that, the class got out of their seats, and headed for the door, chatting about everyday things, or what charm they would use for their report.
Mimi watched them go, a pang of wistfulness and envy going through her. 'They're so carefree, so completely ignorant of the world outside, that they have no idea what dangers there are out there. Just like I used to be.' Shrugging, she walked out of room. 'Oh well. I'm not going to be the one to burst their bubble.'
"So, learn anything useful in there?" Palmon asked, having stayed outside the classroom. She didn't think a monster would be welcome inside.
"Yeah." Mimi folded the piece of parchment, putting it into one of her skirt pockets. "I've learned how I'm able to use my magic, as well as a book that I'm going to purchase before I leave."
"Lemme guess; a magic book."
"You guessed it. I've already gotten the hang of two different elements of magic. Now I want to understand recovery magic, and how powerful it can be."
"Well rounded magic user?" Palmon queried.
Mimi nodded. "You better believe it," she asserted.
"But that's not all is it."
"No." Mimi took a deep breath. "I have so many questions that I want answered," she confessed reluctantly. "Lunar reminds me of the stories that my mom and dad used to tell me when I was younger. I want to know why that is."
Palmon nodded. She could understand that. "Well, while you're pondering the little facts of life, how about we go and wait with Luna?"
"Hey, Mimi!" The two turned their heads to see Serena standing there, catching her breath. Obviously, she had been running. "Ghaleon's ready to see us!"
"Thanks, Meatball Head!" Mimi turned to Palmon. "Guess not," she muttered, shaking her head.
Izzy walked into a large room at the end of a hallway on the fifth floor, looking at the murals in it in amazement. Tentomon, buzzing right behind him, was trying to show his support for Izzy's enthusiasm by keeping silent.
The murals in question seemed to capture a great battle in expressive detail. He saw armies clash over a vast plain of rock, fighting with weapons and magic, lightning bolts coming from the sky, fire and rocks erupting from the ground, and great winged warriors flying through the air.
"A bit over dramatizing, if you ask me," Tentomon mentioned. "Kind of like 'here ye be dragons.'"
"Um, Tentomon? Here, that is an actuality."
"Good point there, buddy."
The insect Digimon buzzed away to look around the room some more, letting Izzy have some time alone to observe the murals. He buzzed around, looking at the murals on the other side, trying to discern what they were showing. He turned around.
"What?" Izzy walked away from one particular picture, one depicting a man holding the remains of a sword.
Tentomon pointed with one claw at a monument of some kind. "What world in their right mind would keep a busted sword?" he asked.
Izzy looked at it more closely, blinking a little in confusion. "And keep it sharp," he stated. "It looks like they keep this in pristine order…well, as pristine as you can possibly keep a sword in this condition." He spotted something above it. "Hey, Tento, look at this."
Tentomon did so, looking surprised. "This sword is supposed to be a blade of royalty, something of great power." He looked at the hilt. "And it has the Crest of Knowledge on it," he added.
Izzy's eyes fixed on that as well, his eyes widening. "It must be a sacred weapon!" he exclaimed. "But why is it like this?!"
"Because it was stepped on by a very powerful witch," Sere stated. "And it was enshrined here in memory of Isildor, its last bearer."
Izzy jumped and turned around, all at once. "Geez, you almost gave me a heart attack!"
Sere smiled, holding up a hand. "Sorry, but the opportunity was just too good to pass up. You asked a question, though, and I answered it." Her smile grew. "Not what you were expecting to see. The weapon of Knowledge in pieces, I mean."
Izzy shook his head. "Isildor?" he asked. "Did Lord Of The Rings take a detour or something?"
"First off, I don't know the name of the book. And second, Isildor was not a knight. He was the ruler of the Kingdom of Kemeka."
"Oh. What's Kemeka?" Tentomon asked.
Sere's smile faded. "Kemeka is a kingdom at the far borders of Lunar. It's also one of the largest kingdoms on Lunar today. However, it's also the closest nation to the Frontier."
"And that's a bad thing?"
"Well, the Frontier is where the Vile Tribe, a group of extremely powerful demons, has their home. They've been attacking the Kemeka borders on and off for the last decade or so, hoping to locate a weakness in their defense."
Izzy winced. "Bad luck," he said. "But it does bring up more questions than it answers."
Now the woman's brow arched up. "My, do you want to know more?" she asked.
"No." Izzy's own brow furrowed even more. "I want to know how in the name of hell my Dad knew about this place, and whether or not my biological father knew about Lunar. And for my continued sanity, I hope I find out soon."
Matt and the remaining Digi-Destined climbed back down to the first floor, all at ease with their surrounding environment. After all, what could possibly happen to them in the Magic Guild?
"And Seadramon has the audacity to call me fat!" Gabumon exclaimed, recounting an experience to the rest of them. "And one thing I'm not is fat! I almost digi-volved into Garurumon right there and then!"
Matt chuckled. "Well, it's not like you're like any of the Sailor Scouts. They are all perfect…well, in my eyes anyways."
"You reaaaaaalllllllyy show some real loyalty, Matt."
"But of course."
Rini sidled up next to Gabumon. "You really doesn't like being called fat, huh," she whispered.
"The last virus type rookie that did that, I almost almost decapitated him."
"There was a point to your story, wasn't there?" Luna Two asked, reluctantly not going after a mouse that had just crossed her path.
"Do we really have to ask?" Rei asked.
"In his case, yes," Darien replied.
Gabumon chuckled at this.
"Hey, guys!" Everybody turned to see the Six walk up. "Ghaleon is ready to see us now."
"Wow, that was fast," Artemis said. "Apparently, Ghaleon didn't have that much work to do after all."
"Oh well." Matt followed the six to the nearest stairwell. "Look like we can finish looking around later."
Alex's group walked up one particular stairwell, chatting amiably amongst themselves, trying to figure out what they would see at the end.
"I say that it's a three headed dog, guarding some kind of Sorcerer's Stone," Nall stated gleefully.
"Or maybe it's Royce kissing Kris Kringle under the mistletoe," Joe replied jokingly. "As sick as it is to even comprehend."
What they saw at the end of their journey threw all of their theories out of the window. "It looks like someone's personal sleeping chambers," Lilika said. "Probably Lady Ausa's."
"How can you tell?" Nall asked.
"Because I have the weird suspicion that the student's bedrooms wouldn't have a bodyguard in front of their door."
Nall looked, taking off from Alex's shoulder. "By jove, I think you're right!" he exclaimed. He flew forward. "Let's ask anyway!"
"Nall!" Alex hissed, knowing it was useless to try and stop the little creature. He took off running, cursing himself as he did so. 'You know, I wanted to get a collar and a leash, but nooooo…Mom said I shouldn't do that to such an innocent creature. It's unethical!'
Nall flew within a few feet of the guard, and promptly recoiled as the guards gaze snapped in his direction. "Whoa, I wasn't going to do anything! I was just going to ask whose quarters these are!" he said, fronts paws out in front of him.
The guard relaxed, though only fractionally. "These are Mia's personal quarters!" he snapped. "No visitors are permitted…at least, that's what Lemia ordered." His gaze roved over each and every one in turn, apparently making a decision about them. "But why don't you all go in and say hello?" he finally suggested decisively. "I think she could use some company right now."
Alex nodded, turning the door knob. "We'll do that. Thanks." He stared at the guard like he had grown a second head.
"Wow," Nall said, as the rest of them followed Alex in, "he might be a lousy guard, but he sure is nice."
"I'll go with that," Joe whispered.
Inside, the room was extremely well furbished, feeling of indescribable luxury to it. A vanity, situated near one side of the room, had little trinkets and photos situated on it in an orderly fashion. A plush sofa was put on the wall to its left, complete with an end table and a reading lamp. There was also a desk near another opening, running parallel with the vanity.
Gomamon realized what it was. "It's a combination of a study and living room," he realized.
"Yeah, but why the vanity?" Nall asked. "And where's the bed?"
Lilika sighed. "You must ask a question that's painfully obvious." She gestured. "Follow me."
Nall did so, wondering why she had said that. Then he saw why. "Oh."
The bed was located in a separate room, one that was occupied by only a bed and a dresser. No closet could be seen.
Alex and Joe followed showed up behind them. "Well, that answers your question, right?" Gomamon asked Nall.
Alex's eyebrow arched. "And it's occupied."
Mia Ausa had looked up, having been expecting someone from the Guild to come and inquire as to why she was not present in class. Hastily wiping a few stray tears from her face, she mentally composed herself, getting off her bed.
"I'm sorry," she said, "but I cannot go to the Magic Guild today. I'm…not feeling well…" Her gaze fell upon her visitors, and her eyes widened fractionally.
Alex observed the girl in front of her. She was a looker, no doubt about it. She was around the same age as Luna, as well as the same height. Her eyes were brownish, and her hair was the color of a raven. 'Raven hair,' Alex thought, remembering what Nash had told him. 'And she has a very noble demeanor.'
Mia snapped out of it, remembering her manners. It was impolite to stare, even when there were complete strangers standing in her bedroom. "Oh, I'm so sorry! I mistook you as a messenger of my mother's!"
Alex held up a hand. "That's quite all right," he said. "I'm guessing you don't get that many guests, though."
The girl nodded, smiling slightly. "My name is Mia, Mia Ausa." Her eyes observed them all with a curiosity that was almost genetic. "May I ask what your names are?" Her eyes widened again in fright. "Oh, I hope I haven't asked anything too personal of you. It's just that it's been a long time since I've met anyone who isn't part of the Magic Guild…so hopefully you'll forgive my curiosity."
Joe chuckled. "Don't worry about it. Curiosity…man, which I had some of that!"
"I'm Nall… this is Alex, Joe, Gomamon, and Lilika!" Nall said, pointing to each person in term. "Sorry about barging in. Your guard's nice, by the way."
"Just don't attempt to do anything inappropriate," Mia replied, giggling slightly. "His casual demeanor hides a very vicious warrior. So, how did you come to find this place?"
"Well, we came to see Ghaleon, who's going to tell us where to find the Dragons!" Nall flapped harder, something Nall did when he was getting excited. "He couldn't talk to us right away, so we decided to explore…and then we found you!"
"Sad, really," Joe whispered, looking at Alex. "Nall meets a pretty girl, and he proceeds to talk her ear off."
Mia gasped in delight. "You're searching for the Dragons! Oh, how exciting!"
Alex grinned. "Now that I think about it, it'd probably do her some good to have someone talk her ear off. Now, if I can only survive it…"
"It is!" Nall agreed. "But we only found the White Dragon so far." Suddenly, the proverbial light bulb turned on over his head. "Hey, why don't you go with us? I know you'd have a lot of fun!"
"Adventure? Me?" Mia's smile faded. "No…I…I'm sorry…it's not permitted, I'm afraid."
"You can't." The winged creature looked disappointed, but he shrugged. "Oh, well… I had to ask! I mean, what adventurers wouldn't want a beautiful woman by their side?"
Mia giggled, blushing bright red. "Thank you, Nall! I'm flattered!"
Nall's grin grew. "Wow! You're even cuter when you're smiling! Isn't she, Alex?"
Alex began chuckling. "No argument from me, my pint-sized little friend," he said.
Joe started chuckling as well. "Oh, yeah. I'd say she is as pretty as…well…Lilika here."
Lilika blushed as well, giggling a bit as well. "Oh, stop that!"
"Hey, hey, hey!"
Joe jumped up about several feet into the air, almost shrieking in surprise. He whirled around, now absolutely furious. "Are you trying to give me a heart attack, Nash?!" he shouted, his face now turning bright red as well.
Nash wasn't intimidated, as his own face was already purple. "How dare you enter Mia's room without permission!" he roared, not caring that Joe was now being restrained by Lilika and Gomamon. "Who do you think she is?"
"A lonely girl who's looking for someone to talk to," Nall replied.
"You're not allowed to speak to her, much less violate the sanctity of her bed chamber! Mia is the daughter of Lemia, and the future leader of the Magic Guild!"
"Nash!" Mia exclaimed. "These people aren't…"
Nash whirled to her, his gaze becoming beseeching. "I apologize for this! I should have never let these slovenly hicks to wander around the Guild unsupervised! I take full responsibility for this invasion of your privacy, and I beg for your forgiveness!"
"Nash! Will you please-?!"
"Ghaleon will see you now!" Nash said, his eyes blazing once more. "Come! Quickly!"
'He didn't even give her a chance to talk!' Alex thought, appalled at what had just transpired. His opinion of the young magician went down a notch.
"Bye, Mia!" Nall said for all of them, trying to keep his enthusiasm. "Take care!"
Nash turned around quickly. "Do I have to spell it out for you all? Quickly!" With that, he stormed out of the room, the rest of them following him out.
Alone once more, a tear slid down Mia's face. "Good bye," she whispered.
"You didn't even give her a chance to talk!" Joe yelled. "She was trying to tell you something, but you plowed right over her!"
"I know, I know, but you should have known better!" Nash retorted, as they entered a now deserted hallway. "But then again, I should have known better than to believe that a group of commoners would try to behave-"
His rant was cut off abruptly when Alex grabbed him by the lapels of his robes, and slammed him into the wall. "Insult me, and the rest of us like we are inferior, and I will not complain. Lord knows that your mindset is pretty much locked into position." His eyes blazed. "But don't you ever, ever, interrupt a woman when she is talking. Because Miss Ausa doesn't need you chauvinistic attitude. Got it?"
Nash squirmed, but he couldn't dislodge the young man's hold. "Got it," was all he said.
"Good." The green eyed man released his hold, then straightened his shirt. "You know, I'm starting to understand why Agumon doesn't like you at all."
With that, he walked on, the others behind him, leaving Nash to brace himself against the wall, looking at them.
Everyone congregated to the floor where Ghaleon's office was located, coming in groups of two, or more, all wondering what Ghaleon looked like, and a few of them anxious to meet such a legendary person. All except the Six, who had a fairly decent idea as to what he looked like.
"Hey, guys!" Nall said in greeting. "So, how long have you all been waiting?"
"Not too long. Alex, where did you go?" Luna Two asked. "Ghaleon's been waiting for several minutes."
"They wandered into places they should not have been, Luna!" Nash replied for him.
"Oh, can I add that unless the guy is mute, don't answer for him?!" Alex snapped irritably.
"But where did they go?" Agumon asked. "Your bedroom? Wait, do you even have a bedroom?"
The glare Nash threw at him was so vicious that, if looks could kill, Agumon would have been deleted many times over the course of a second.
"We made friends with a girl named Mia!" Nall explained cheerfully. "We'll introduce you to her if you like!"
"Well of course, Nall! You know I love meeting new people."
"Why don't you people focus on the business on hand!" Nash exclaimed in aggravation. "You've been granted audience with Ghaleon, the great sage of the Magic Guild! Why don't you meet him first?!" He opened the door, and gestured all of them to enter.
Patamon fluttered up to Lilika. "What's with him?" he whispered.
Lilika sighed softly. "I'll tell you later," she replied.
Patamon shrugged, intrigued, as everyone entered the room single file. He noted Joe and Alex glaring in Nash's direction, but decided not to comment on it, though it was extremely telling. 'Now I'm getting observant. Oh fun.'
Nash had them stand right in front of the desk, then turned around. "Master Ghaleon! These are the adventurers I told you about…"
For a moment, the man didn't move, as if he hadn't even heard him speak. The only sound and movement in the room was the grandfather clock that was ticking next to him. The room itself seemed to be blanketed by a mute spell of some kind. Then, slowly, oh so slowly, he turned to stare at them with eyes of red.
Luna Two gasped. "It's… you…" she whispered.
T.K. suddenly felt like he was staring into the eyes of a demon. The expression looked like it was carved in stone, the eyes as hard as diamond. Not one single muscle twitched underneath the pale white skin.
Ghaleon's gaze went over each and every last one of them, his gaze lingering on first Mimi, then Luna Two, and finally the weapon on Tai's waist, before settling on Alex's face. "Welcome to the Magic Guild of Vane, Alex of Burg," he said, in a monotone tone, which managed to convey a sense of power and authority. "I am Ghaleon, Premier of the Guild. My apprentice Nash speaks quite highly of you, boy. He says that you passed the Trial of the White Dragon." His eyes narrowed. "If…that's true, perhaps you can help me."
Alex was nearly bowled down by those words. Ghaleon wanted his help?
"Nash also says that you seek to become the next Dragonmaster," Ghaleon continued, giving the green eyed boy a look over. "Looking at your frail form, I frankly say that I cannot imagine it…"
Everyone who had only heard of Ghaleon through the local folklore bristled at this. Luna Two's eyes widened. Nall became incensed. Alex's own gaze became as hard as diamond.
"What do ya mean?!" Nall exclaimed. "Alex is more than strong enough!"
"And he's definitely more than capable," Tai added.
Ghaleon held up a hand to halt the flow of exclamations. "But," he continued, "I can feel the magical ability lurking inside yourself… and within Luna as well. Why don't you give up your misguided quest for the Dragons? You are far better suited to taking up the study of magic here at the Guild."
Alex almost groaned in frustration. 'What is it with everybody this week?!' he thought. 'Royce, Phacia, Ghaleon…it's getting really annoying!'
Apparently interpreting the expression on Alex's face correctly, Ghaleon allowed his expression to soften slightly. "It might not be as exciting as roaming the land, but you'll certainly live longer…"
Now Alex understood why Ghaleon was trying to change his mind. He read right between the lines; So you don't end up like Dyne…"That's a kind offer, sir," he said, struggling to maintain a respectable voice, "but I haven't spent my entire life dreaming about becoming a student. I've dreamed about becoming the next Dragonmaster…and now I can realize those dreams."
Nall's chest puffed out in pride. Luna Two's face lit up with a great deal of warmth. Greg chuckled inaudibly. Artemis looked around, and slapped Gomamon's fin in a high five motion.
Ghaleon's mouth twitched a bit. "You certainly seem to have made up your mind. I applaud your determination." He stepped forward a bit. "But I have heard rumors that a Dragonmaster has already been born in the town of Lann."
The Six's eyes widened at this little bit of information. Alex's narrowed. "How is that possible?" he asked. "The only way a Dragonmaster can be born is if they have gone to the Black Dragon's Cave in the Stadius Zone! And that's only if he or she could find it!"
"Precisely. Therefore, I would like you to investigate this Dragonmaster for me, and determine his legitimacy." He paused for a second. "Or lack thereof," he added as an afterthought.
Alex nodded. "A fraudulent Dragonmaster could poison the name for years to come."
"The Guild's top mages agree with you." Ghaleon sat down behind his desk. "My steward will give you all the pertinent information that you will need. Nash, you shall accompany Alex and his group. Assist them in any way you can."
Nash bowed. "Yes, Master Ghaleon."
Rini looked up. "We're going to need supplies," she said.
Serena nodded. "And lot's of food too. Because I get the feeling Rei and the other Sailor Scouts are going to want to come with us."
Tai finished speaking with the steward. "I'll brief you all after we join up with the girls and Darien," he said. "Better start making a list of what we need now."
Everybody turned to go…except for Luna Two, who asked, "When we met before…why didn't you tell me who you were?"
Surprisingly, Ghaleon smiled for the first time in front of them. "Because there was no need, Luna. Besides, it was a pleasure to speak with someone who had a real appreciation for my music." He bowed once. "For once, perhaps you will allow to listen to yours…"
Luna Two smiled as well. "Perhaps…"
"I think he really meant that," Alex mused as they walked down the halls towards the entrance, grinning slightly. "But what did you mean by meeting him before? You were down in the parlor when we were looking around.
Luna Two smiled slightly. "I heard a song in the wind, and went to investigate, thinking it was you. Instead, it was Ghaleon, playing a song Dyne composed before he became Dragonmaster." She stopped suddenly. "Alex," she began, "your song is actually Dyne's song. Did you know that?"
Alex's eyes widened in surprise. "Dyne…wrote that song! No, no I didn't know that."
"You didn't? Then how could you put it down on paper so quickly?"
"It…came to me in a dream when I was younger," Alex explained, "right after my eighth birthday. I didn't put it down until I was twelve, when we started performing at the Goddess Festival." His eyes focused on the ground for a moment, as he was lost in thought. "Could it be that Dyne didn't create the song either?"
Izzy, apparently listening in on their conversation, turned to them. "It would explain a great many things," he said. "I mean, two Dragonmasters being able to play the same song without any altercations, and playing them on an ocarina. Perhaps it's a song that those who are destined to become Althena's most powerful warrior know instinctively."
Nall smiled. "Now that sounds sensible! Whaddya think, rabbit?"
Rini glared at him. "I think Izzy's right. Oh, yeah, don't call me rabbit!"