A/N: I know what you're thinking, "Where can I get a pair of those nifty Digimon Emperor sunglasses?" just kidding. Actually, you're probably thinking "what took so long?". Honestly this chapter was just hard to write. There were a lot of things I had to consider, and it got kind of confusing keeping my facts straight. Anyway this chapter is longer, and hopefully worth the wait.

Curtis Zidane Ziraa: sorry I didn't mean to say I "want" to kill Matt. I meant to say I "won't" kill Matt. Blushes I need a spell checker that response to my thoughts instead of my fingers. Anyway sorry I didn't mean to cause confusion.

Gwydion and Shido: yeah I left Crusadermon as a female because I'm more familiar with that, and because (due to the lack of them) I like using female Digimon as often is possible.

Emerald Space2: um, this is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I actually do read the fic twice. I read each scene individually after I spell check it. And then I read the whole chapter after I'm done to make certain that everything flows together and that I didn't screw up on any details. It's hard for me to catch my mistakes because one, I'm not the brightest color in the marker box (can you believe that I couldn't even read until I was in third grade… seriously I'm not kidding) and two, when I read it I often see what I want to see rather than what's there. I do apologize for the flaws, and I promise I am trying to get better. Anyway I apologize to everyone for my grammar and spelling mistake, I know it's no fun to have to sit there and wonder what I meant to write.

But I like the fact that you guys are commenting on my flaws and strengths, please keep it up. It let's me know where to focus my attention on.

Disclaimer: why am I still doing these? I'm sure everbody knows by now that if I owned Digimon things would be very different. Oh yes, very different.


Darkness seemed to bleed through the sky, dripping its sardonic testimony upon the surface of the world. The air grew heavy, weighed down with utter despair, while the land dried up and split, suffocating in the crepuscular atmosphere. The plants curled up and decayed as they drank in the bitter black, and the waters became clouded with murky filth. The world was dying. Darkness stretched its impenetrable hand over the whole of the sky, locking its captive in a prison more secure than a stone and iron dungeon.

The world wept and struggled under its captor's merciless hold, but all attempts for escape were futile, and all those fit for rescuing it were lost within their own agendas. No one heard the world's pleas, nor understood the damage being done. A metamorphism had begun. All was changing into something twisted and opposite of what it once was. Even the inhabitants of the bleak world were changing. They were blinded by the shadows of their own doubt and fear, and these blinders confined their reason to the lowest corners of their minds. An archaic virus infected their thoughts, clawing its way into their souls.

All was perfectly placed, leaving the darkness to do as it will. And so the blackened clouds crashed, spilling more chaos into the poisoned world, taunting it for its inability to save itself. The darkness knew that its time had come; its victory was at hand. Those who clung idly to hope were soon to fall. What was set in motion eons ago was now coming to its end.

He squirmed in his seat before leaning his head back in defeat. There was no position that would make the dark blue chair more comfortable. The chair was cup shaped and made out of some sort of blue metal, which was cold and hard, causing his back to grow soar. After realizing that he was put in a loosing battle he decided to shift his attention from his seat to the large room around him.

His eyes slowly studied the room, and even in his dismayed state he was able to muster a small amount of appreciation for his unique surroundings. A floor of neatly laid bricks was beneath him. The bricks were of many shades of blue, ranging from sky blue to midnight blue. The walls were of some sort of marble, which was royal blue with black, sky blue, and white minerals in it. Placed in the center of all four walls were large plan silver doors with no door handles.

'A door for each region.' he concluded.

Suddenly light scattered his thoughts, and he closed his eyes in pain as a flash flooded his vision. Once the pain had past he lifted his head and looked up at the high ceiling. The ceiling was made completely out of glass and rose from the marble walls into a pyramid shape. The point reached high into the dark clouds, causing the storm, which was raging in the heavens, to remain constantly upon the visitors' minds.

Latched on to each of the glass pyramid walls were four silver chains. The chains hung low and connected to platforms. The platforms were huge and had seats that rose like bleachers. The first three roles of seats were cup shaped, like the one he sat in, while the rest were large benches. There were three staircases that broke the roles of seats and led up the bleachers. Four staircases led from the marble floor to the front and the back of the platforms, allowing visitors to easily reach their designated seats. The platforms were ten feet above the ground, affording everyone a good view of the floor.

The room was filled with diverse creatures. It seemed like every creature ever concocted from mythology and fiction was there. But even with these amazing sights around him the room still seemed empty, as one corner of the room remained bare.

Soon the waiting increased the tension and the creatures within the room grew restless. Urgent voices began muttering amongst themselves, and relatively quiet council began to buzz with concerns.

"Maybe he's changed his mind and he's not coming."

"This is ridiculous, how much longer do they expect us to wait!"

"What if they are planning some sort of treachery?"

The comets filled the room like vapor fills the air on a summer's day after the rain has fallen and the sun has returned.

He shifted once more in his seat as the many voices merged together, transforming into a loud ringing.

"Are you okay?" a soft voice cut through the clamor, sounding like a call from heaven, breaking through the madness of the world.

He turned his head slowly and met ruby eyes. "I've been better." he admitted honestly.

The one who spoke nodded in agreement. "Do you think it will be much longer?"

A waiver of pain ran through him, "I don't know, Kari," he sighed before returning his gaze to the floor ten feet beneath him. "Maybe he decided not to come."

"No, he'll be here, Tai." Kari argued kindly, "He's not a coward."

"I don't know what he is anymore." Tai explained without looking up. He told himself that he didn't want to see the hurt in his sister's eyes, but the truth was that he did not want her to see the hurt in his own.

'Have you lost yourself so completely that you don't even know who I am anymore?' his mind drifted to the balcony, where after several absent months he met his best friend once again. 'Even in my memory the sight of you is gruesome. Just what's happening to you?' he had never seen those crystal eyes look so lost. It seemed like something was changing him, causing him to be uncertain of everything, even his friendship with the other Digidestined. 'Do you think that this is enough for us to turn on you. To give up on you. I understand more than you may think. I know this isn't like before.'

It was now late in the evening and the sun was setting, though none could see it. With the light relinquishing its control the storm grew calmer. The lighting flashed less often, and the thunder was softer.

But thoughts of the storm quickly fled from his mind the moment the large silver doors of the south wall were pushed open.

Many colorful eyes turned their attention upon the doors as the Nightmare Soldiers entered the room.

Sorcermon entered the council room first with two Flawizardmon by his side. Behind him walked Candlemon and Tapirmon. They walked with dignity as they moved effortlessly into the room and up the stairs, which lead to the platform reserved for the South.

Thunder rumbled softly and blue lightning dashed over the black clouds. The room grew dark, as the clouds above descended even lower upon the glass tower, conflicting with the light within the room. As the shadows spread across the room three more figures past through the door. Their silhouettes were barely noticeable as they walked like phantoms through the darkness. Another flash of lighting illuminated the room, causing many of the creatures to fidget in their seats as the light afforded them a small glimpse of two Kuzuhamon and the Lord of the Nightmare soldiers.

He nearly wanted to wince as the lighting flashed, but he refused the impulse, choosing instead to remain strong. With poise he followed his two guards through the council room and to the stairs, which led them up the platform. His coat flowed behind him like black wings, as he slowly ascended the stairs.

He walked across the platform and headed to the center seat on the first role. The seat was the same cup shape as the rest, however instead of blue it was a red metal, which reflected the light, casting a hole of crimson around him.

Once he was seated the shadows seemed to lift and the brief moment of narcosis past. The creatures began to whisper to their neighbors about the possible consequences that could follow this council. The hushed voices reached his ears sounding like the buzzing of many insect wings, which sent a sharp pain through his head. He knew that if he wanted to he could tune in his senses and catch the quiet words being exchanged throughout the room, but he found no need for invading the creatures' privacy.

He felt the many eyes upon him; some burning into him with a fiery rage and others freezing him with apathetic glares. But he did not meet these eyes; instead his head remained lowered for fear that he would catch a glimpse of those he feared most to look upon.

"Welcome my distinguished council mon and honored guest."

A light whimsical voice brought all whispers to a halt and drew all eyes to the center of the floor.

"On behalf of the Holy Knights I would like to thank you all for attending this emergency council meeting. I would also like to remind you that while this may not be a conventional gathering, the general rules of the council still apply. Please be respectful of these rules."

The chancellor addressed the council, making certain to enforce the point of control. It was not unusual for these meetings to turn into heated arguments were all dignity is abandoned and the council mon think only of forcing their point upon the others.

"Don't worry, Matt. D'Archmon is a very respectful Digimon. She is far more capable than the last chancellor, and she will do what is in her power to maintain control of this meeting."

"Who's worried."

Yamato responded to the telepathic message without shifting his gaze to the one he was communicating with. The advantage of a telepathic conversation was discrepancy. Sorcermon would be able to offer advice without others knowing, and Yamato would be able to state his wishes without interference.

"Eighteen charges lie against the South."

The young Lord's attention returned to the chancellor as she continued to explain the charges against him and his people.

D'Archmon was the most unlikely chancellor the council had ever had. A champion angel Digimon, the first Digimon below a mega to ever become chancellor.

The Holy Knights of the East ran the council meetings, and while they were loyal to Azulongmon, they were certainly not his typical servants. They were willful and idealistic. Many of them were so willful that they refused servitude or chose to relinquish their status as Holy Knights of the East and seek refuge with Ophanimon upon the isle of Iris, where only their kind lived.

D'Archmon, though still a holy knight of the East, was anything but subservient. Her will and ideals were for the better of the whole digital world, not just one region.

"Azulongmon submits eleven charges of unprovoked attacks during peace time against the South. Baihumon submits four charges of unprovoked attacks during peacetime against the South. The council submits one charge of trade treaty violation, and one charge of failure to comply with council proceedings against Lord Yamato Ishida." the champion Digimon paused for a moment, allowing the guest to digest this information.

'Only eighteen charges? I am outraged. I thought it was at least twenty by now.' Yamato thought bitterly to himself, his dream of beating out his predecessor on most charges acquired against the council was now officially crushed. He didn't find his situation to be a joke, but he figured that since he was already there he might as well go out with a record. 'Maybe if I just order a random attack upon the council right now I could boost those charges up to twenty, that would push me past Piedmon.' he thought sarcastically to himself.

"I surrender the floor to council mon Volcanomon, who speaks for the West" D'Archmon announced before gracefully waving towards the western wall of the room, where the many machine, cyborg, and metal empire Digimon sat quietly.

D'Archmon silently walked off to the break between the North and the East bleachers then took her set between two Fuujinimon. After the angel Digimon was seated loud pounding steps rang through the otherwise silent council room, as Volcanomon's metal feet crashed down upon the metal steps leading from the West platform to the flour.

"Distinguished members of the council," the ultimate Digimon began, his lifeless voice booming through the room, "And honorable guest." at this Volcanomon gestured to the Digidestined who sat in center front roll of the Eastern bleachers.

Yamato glared at the machine Digimon for so blatantly reminding him of the council's broken promise to keep his friend out of these dangerous proceedings.

"Eight months ago reports of an attack upon the southern shore of the Western continent were delivered to Factory City." the giant mechanical Digimon began, with little emotion in his voice. "Less than two weeks later another attack was reported. This report came from a village forty miles north of the first attack. Investigations of these attacks proved to be futile. The harbor and the village were completely destroyed and every inhabit killed."

Venom was laced in Valcanomon's artificial voice as his yellow eyes strayed to the bleachers were the Nightmare Soldiers were seated.

Yamato met the machine Digimon's glare; his own eyes calm and collective, refusing to betray their owner's thoughts. The blonde could see the hate burning in the ultimate Digimon's dim eyes. It was a hate brought on by suffering. A hate far greater than blind rage.

Valcanomon returned his gaze to the rest of the room, as he was no longer able to look into the emotionless eyes of the Lord of the South. With renewed motivation he continued reciting the charges against the Nightmare Soldiers.

"The week following this attack was quiet for the West, however, scouts informed us that our innocent comrades in the East were falling victim to these vicious attacks as well,"

"Council mon, the Digimon of the East are capable enough to state their own charges, they do not need you to recite them."

Yamato looked at his Political advisor, who had quickly stood from his seat, interrupting Valcanomon and reprimanding him for his sly attempt to break council protocols.

"It is not your turn to speak conjuror!" a Shadramon from the North hissed as he jumped from his seat in the back of the bleachers, his red and yellow wings flapping threatening at the wizard Digimon.

"Nor is it yours!" Sorcermon called back with authority. "Is this council so bias that allies might openly disregard procedures, breaking the rules agreed upon by all four regions. Must we silently accept such unfairness?" Sorcermon waved his arm indicating towards his fellow Nightmare Soldiers for emphasis.

Yamato resisted the urge to smile at the champion Digimon's aggressive display. Only in court would such a passive aggressive Digimon show such willingness to embrace conflict. The sorcerer was truly in his element.

A rumble of many voices filled the room as Digimon from all four regions sprung from their seats and began senselessly shouting curses and accusations.

Shadows of the standing Nightmare Soldiers cloaked Yamato in a grayish umbra. The outburst was hardly shocking, he had honestly expected it to occur much sooner. The mingled voices all filled with rage pounded upon his head, and though he was not particularly pleased that his own people were participating in such an undignified display, he did not move to stop them. Instead he allowed their forms to tower over him and their shadows to clothe him, finding a sort of relief in this temporary moment of chaos.

Cries for justice rang through the council room causing him to shutter. The cries seemed more haunted than the screams of hell.

'This stopped being about justice a long time ago. What are we really fighting for?'

The question twisted in his mind quickly becoming knotted and tangle with the buzzing voices around him. It was a perpetual cycle. He wanted to scream aloud "what are we fighting for?" he wanted to plea for an ending, even if it had to be his ending. His thoughts built up threatening to spill from his mouth, but he gagged on the words, choking on their lost meaning, before forcing them down again. He knew that his voice, even in its most gentle of tones would only sound like a sinister mockery to those ready to condemn him.

You see they will never understand. The other regions have betrayed you. They show no concern for the very laws that they created. Why do you still play their rigged game?

Crystal eyes hidden by dancing shadows lowered until they met the floor.

'What else can I do? I don't want a war…' he argued weakly.

Look at them Yamato.

The voice ordered.

The blonde kept his eyes upon the floor, wary of the voice's request.

Look at them!

He flinched as the sound of his own angered voice hissed in his head.

Slowly he lifted his head and scanned the council room. He struggled to breath, feeling as though a weight had been placed upon his chest. The image of such noble Digimon with such greed and bloodlust in their eyes sent a jolt down his spine. The Digimon pointed and waved their arms about while their voices echoed like the pounding of war drums.

Why do you continue to cling to this false hope? They are divest of nobility. They know nothing now but their imprudent lust for vengeance. If it had been any other race of Digimon then understanding and forgiveness would have been easily offered, but they will not offer you such tokens. Look at how easily they ignored the attempt upon your life. Look at how easily they ignored your agreement to keep the Digidestined safe.

Yamato gritted his teeth as he felt a wave of frustration pulse through him. He could not deny the truth behind the voice's words. The South was always the target for some righteous crusade, and this troubled him deeply. But the other region's spiteful behavior towards the South was of little consequence when compared to their latest offense.

'Why did Azulongmon have to bring them into this? Is he so thirsty for my blood that he'd risk the others to get it?'

Subconsciously his eyes drifted to the Eastern bleachers, where his friends sat illuminated by the blue glow of the East. His mind went numb, his thoughts drift away from him. He simply cloud not think, it seemed as though something was stripping him of his own reason. It was not until dark brown eyes met his gaze that he realized that he was still staring longingly at the Eastern bleachers.

At first his defenses held, refusing to allow those dark orbs to penetrate his masked. But it was not long before he felt those eyes wearing him down. He tried to look away, to divert his gaze before he broke, but he could not. His neck froze, and his eyes would not shut, he was trapped, hypnotized by the spell of the leader of the Digidestined. And finally he gave in, his defenses slid to the floor, allowing his best friend to see how truly sorry he was.

'Matt, I wish there was something I could do…'

Startling blue pierced the shadows, like twinkling stars pierce the velvet night sky. The blue orbs sparkled with unshed tears, causing him to feel suddenly weak. He pitied those eyes, pitied them so deeply that he nearly wished that he could cry for them. That he could spill the tears that they refused to shed.

They stayed locked in each others' gaze until intense pounding echoed through the room, causing the crystal orbs to dash away.

"It looks like D'Archmon's had enough."

The sound of Gatomon's sly feline voice reached his ears, causing him to shift his gaze to the center of the council room floor.

The source of the pounding was soon revealed to be a stampede of Sagittarimon. The bull like Digimon flooded into the room, from the north door. Soon each platform was faced with six Sagittarimon, all of whom had drawn their bows and now had deadly sharp arrows pointed into the bleachers.

The crowd grew silent; the insolent curses died away, as each creature moved cautiously back to their respected seats.

"What's going on?"

Kari's trembling voice whispered.

"I think they're council guards." TK responded from Kari's other side as he studied the bull Digimon clad in red armor. "Tai, are you okay?"

He jumped in his seat before diverting his attention to the young blonde two seats over from him.

"Uh, yeah." he lied, trying to sound confident with his answer, "But they're making me uncomfortable." he explained as he shrugged a shoulder towards the bull Digimon.

Both Kari and TK nodded in agreement before a feminine voice drew their attention back to the floor.

"I hope now that you have gotten such juvenile behavior out of your systems, we might proceed." D'Archmon announced, her voice oddly clam.

The angel Digimon was now standing in the center of the council room with both green-armored Fuujinimon on either side of her.

"And council mon Volcanomon, please refrain from speaking of charges other than those you represent." she ordered earning her a nod from the large machine Digimon. "And council mon Sorcermon, please, no more outburst. I will deal with any failures to follow council protocols." she berated before bowing to the council and walking off the floor.

Once the chancellor was off of the floor the Sagittarimon lowered their bows then divided into groups of three before marching off to the side of each bleacher. Their large forms hid in the shadows, however, their silhouettes remained a constant reminder of what could happen should the council loose control again.

Volcanomon was silent for a moment as his computer like brain processed this new information while scanning its memory to see where he had left off. Once his memory was recovered he began with his charges, acting as though the outburst had never happened.

"Two weeks and three days later, another attack was made, this time on Gear Town, a settlement only thirty miles away from Factory City. Distress signals were sent from the town to Factory City, and a battalion was sent in response. The battalion was successful in driving the attackers away. After their mission to secure Gear Town was completed they returned to Factory City and informed our Lord Baihumon of the identity of the attackers. They were Nightmare Soldiers, all bearing the flag of the South. That very night another attack was made, this one upon Machine Island. It's obvious that the attackers were fleeing back to the South after their defeat at Gear Town."

Volcanomon paused, leaving all in an uncomfortable silence.

"Three thousand and sixty-two Digimon were killed as a result of these attacks. Lord Yamato claims that renegade Digimon made the attacks, but if that is the case then why didn't he order their destruction? It is insulting for soldiers to act outside of their commander's will, so why were these "rouges" allowed to live?"

At this whispers filled the room as Digimon began to discuss the West's charges with their neighbors.

"There are only two possibilities. One is that they were not rouges at all, but were trained soldiers acting under their Lords will, or two that Lord Yamato is careless and refuses to enforce discipline upon his people. He would sooner let the Nightmare Soldiers run around like spoiled children than punish them. Well the West will not allow these savage acts to go unpunished, we demand justice. We demand payment for these lives."

An uproar of applause and cheers of agreement filled the room as the West, East, and North bleachers came alive with excitement.

'They demand payment? What is that suppose to mean?'

Yamato gritted his teeth at the machine Digimon's triumphant delivery. The chance for peace was not yet out of his reach, but he wondered if he would be willing to pay the price for it.

"So what is it that the West wants?"

A dark voice cut through the cheering, silencing all as its soft tone unnaturally reached all ears.

Many heads snapped in the direction of the South bleachers as many eyes narrowed upon the one who spoke. The Sagittarimon gripped their bows, ready to dash out of the shadows in response to the breach in protocol, but D'Archmon raised a golden-gloved hand to stop them. The lady chancellor knew when to allow such things and when to stop them.

Volcanomon growled in frustration, finding the interruption of his moment of glory offending. "If the South truly wishes to maintain peace then it should give the West a peace offering, one fitting for the circumstances." Volcanomon explained, a sudden hint of mischief entering his otherwise monotone voice.

"And what sort of peace offering would be fitting?" Yamato responded from his seat, where he leaned back comfortably, trying to maintain a façade of confidence.

"Life." the one words seemed to flood the room, bouncing off the walls and echoing back twice as loud.

"What?" Yamato question.

"The West demands payment in life. The South has taken three thousands and sixty-two of our people. We demand that number in payment of the crimes done against us."

This time it was the South's bleacher that buzzed with voices as the Nightmare Soldier's whispered earnestly amongst one another. They knew their Lord's wish was to maintain peace, and with the youth's only weakness sitting with the enemy, the possibility that he would sell life to appease the West was great. The thought disturbed them greatly, and yet they knew within their hearts that if their beloved Lord asked it of them, they would march off in numbers to slaughterhouses of the West.

"Fool," Yamato hissed, silencing the whispers of the Nightmare Soldiers, "Life is not something you bargain and trade for."

"And since when did you become an expert on the value of life. Are you're soldiers not merely tools to advance your quest for power." Volcanomon barked back.

Yamato's hands tightened into fist as he resisted the urge to strike down the insolent council mon. "I would give my own life for peace if you would take it, but I will not condemn the innocent for the deeds of the wicked. I will not surrender my people to you."

Voices rose in a fury as Yamato's words burned into the Westerner's ears.

"Then there will be no peace between us. We will not rest until you have repaid your debt." Volcanomon announced, his voice laced with ice.

"Then what are the West's intentions?" D'Archmon questioned from her seat between her guards.

Volcanomon looked towards D'Archmon then spoke. "The West announces a formal declaration of war against the South."

The color drained from his face causing him to appear a sickly pale. His blood froze, while the air in his lung grew stale. What had been the desire of many was now a reality, a reality that tore apart the small strands of hope he had desperately clung to. His mind went numb; the simplest of thoughts seemed a burden to contemplate leaving only despair to circulate his reason.

'This was not suppose to happened… this is wrong…'

Senselessly he argued in his head that he had heard incorrectly and that peace still lived in the Digital World, but the knots in his stomach and the chill down his spine quickly defeated his delusions.

Once he had come to gripe with the reality he attempted to return his attention to those on the council room floor. D'Archmon had moved to the floor and was now addressing the entire council. He tried his best to listen but for some reason he was unable to make out any of the words being said. He saw the mouths of the Digimon on the floor move and he heard noise but the Digimon's voices were far too calm, too at ease for his troubled mind to understand the words they spoke. He had concluded that they were discussing the terms of the war, however all details beyond that meant nothing to him so he paid no attention.

A boom of thunder irrupted in his ears startling him so deeply that he was forced to shut his eyes in order to regain composure. The voices of the council mon continued to buzz in the back of his head but now the sound of their voices had lost all distinction, manipulating into pointless clamor.

Finally his eyes eased open, but the room seemed darker than his closed lids. Frantically his eyes scanned over the room, seeking some sort of illumination admits the darkness. Finally the baby-blue orbs were drawn to a dim crimson glow. The light cast a corona around a figure clad in black, it was eerie and perhaps as menacing as the darkness itself, but it was the only light there, so his eyes stayed fixed upon it.

He stared where the red halo met the darkness, and then followed the trail of light down to its source, a red chair that oddly reflected the light better than the blue one he sat in. Finally his eyes grew tired of the blood colored glow so he diverted his attention to the one who interrupted the light by sitting in the center of it.

His brother had always seemed cut off from the world and the inhabitants in it, but seeing him there, buried in the crevasse of his bleak situation made him feel as though he did not know the elder at all.

'Matt I want to be there with you. I hate being here with these creatures that hate you. How could they hate you when you've done nothing but sacrifice your own wishes for their well-being? How can they condemn you when you've done nothing wrong? I don't understand their anger, and I don't understand your pain. But I do understand your love. That's why I want to be with you now. That's why I'd rather live with you, hated and in exile, than with them. Matt please ask me to come with you. You know I will. Just ask, please.'

He begged though no one could hear him. He needed to know that his brother wanted him, but for the first time ever he found himself doubting his brother's want.

"The terms of the war between the West and the South have been decided, and will be reviewed by representatives of both regions at the end of these meetings."

The airy voice of D'Archmon cut through his thoughts and he reluctantly returned his gaze to the council room floor.

"We will break for a quick recess. All members of the council are to remain in their designated suits unless escorted by and Holy Knight."

With this announcement D'Archmon rose both of her armor clad arms and dismissed the shaken council.


Black and white and many shades of gray stretched over his vision blocking out the overwhelming sight of dancing colors. His eyes narrowed upon the thick dark lines and he followed their path, tracing the image over and over again. It was soothing in a way. The simple task of following the black lines which separated the sea of white from the shore of gray demanded all of his attention, forcing all other thoughts out of his reach.

The flickering prismatic lights faded into the darkness surrounding his line of sight, while the colorful walls melted away until all that remained was an empty void and the painting hovering before it. The painting was of a masked angel with six wings and a blood stained staff. Below the celestial being was a slain werewolf. The werewolf's body was broken and his blood splattered upon the rocky ground. The painting, though accurate, was a direct insult, a black and white window of offense. And he took the insult in silence, choosing instead to use the painting to distract himself from his real problems.

"After the council is over I will meet with representatives of the West and members of the Holy Knights. We will then discuss the terms of the war and decide if they are best for all parties and the other regions."

Suddenly waves of dense black came rushing towards him. It looked like the blackest of ink was spilling and rising up like waves of a disturbed ocean. The waves of black came rushing towards him but stopped when they met the painting. The black had formed a wall behind the painting and was now fading into various colors. He blinked then focused in on the wall, relief washed over him as he realized that it had all been an illusion. The wall of bright colors had always been there, weariness had simply led him to believe otherwise.

"Shouldn't Lord Yamato go with you to finalize the terms of the war?"

He was now fully alert; the brief daydream had past into memory and would no doubt fade from his thoughts completely.

"If only I could be there, but sadly it is forbidden."

He spoke softly, as he always did when there was no need to appear intimidating.

"Forbidden?" the Kuzuhamon who had asked the questioned replied in confusion.

"It is forbidden for any leader to attend such meetings." Sorcermon, who had addressed the group earlier, explained, "Even the digi-gods themselves are not permitted to attend."

"May I ask why?" the Kuzuhamon questioned further. She was a guard not a politician, and therefore had little understanding of council protocol.

He sunk deeper in his bright yellow chair, sighing in irritation as he was reminded of how much he hated the room he was in. His golden hair fell over his eyes concealing the fact that he was staring dazed like at the colorful floor.

Vaguely he could hear Sorcermon explaining that often leaders would take advantage of the council and devise terms for the war that would suit their own vendettas. Also leaders would often take words of another leader as personal, which would result in unnecessary arguments and prolonged wartime.

"It has proven far more efficient to leave Lords and ruler out of the council."

As Sorcermon spoke he found himself lost once again in an imaginary void, only this time no painting hover beyond the black, there was simply darkness.

The black slid slowly to the floor, spreading over it like spilt paint. Darkness had now consumed the whole of the room, leaving him alone in his yellow plastic chair. His dull blue eyes roamed over the shadows below him, until they had become fully acquainted with the tenebrous phantom.

Slowly the floor grew soft, as darkness has no density. Gravity began top draw him under, gripping the yellow chair by the legs and pulling it down. He was sinking into the blissful abyss and would soon join the chthonian of the underworld.

The air around him began to heat up; he was suffocating in the void of his own grieved thoughts. He had long since learned how to shut himself off from the world, preventing those around him from sensing his slow decent. The shadows called him to eternal black and none, not even those beside him saw him falling.

Are you giving up?

The questioned was low and soft, barely registering in his mind.

Are you giving up?

This time the question was louder, however the voice remained gentle and patient.

He would not like it if you gave up now.

The statement stirred some interest.

'Who?'

Can't you feel him approach?

He stirred and struggled, wishing to know who was coming, but the darkness fought him defiantly. Like the locus devours crops before they have fully grown so did the darkness consume each thought before he had time to act upon it. He was ready to give up; he could find no reason to keep fighting. All was already lost; surely those he loved could not forgive him for the carnage he would bring upon the world they so loved.

'I never thought it would come to something like this. After everything I've faced, after everything I've suffered … now it all seems so meaningless. Did they really expect me to just hand innocent lives over to them? How could they even ask such a thing? The others must be so disappointed in me… TK must be so disappointed.'

The thought of his brother spread though his afflicted, feeling like the soft, comforting touch of an angel's wings. A single passing thought of his beautiful brother and suddenly the darkness didn't seem so great. The shadows fell and trembled at the mercy of the hope his brother gave him.

The shadows within him were held at bay by his strength, his shield, his brother.

The cloud obscuring his vision cleared and soon the colorful room came into focus once more. The sound of Tapirmon and Apemon discussing the next council meeting's strategy reached his ears in full volume. He was back in the world of the living, no longer wandering like a phantom over the ruins of shattered hope. Hope was still whole and strong here admits his friends.

'Thank you TK, you will never know how greatly you have touched my life.'

With his mind cleared he was at last able to recall what the voice had said earlier. Someone was approaching. With a renewed sense of purpose the blonde focused his senses upon the hall beyond the prismatic walls. At last he felt them, beacons of the purest qualities mankind could possess standing admits the dark souls of bloodthirsty beast.

"TK!" he shouted, silencing the other occupants of the room.

Ignoring his subjects' baffled stares he jumped up, grateful to be out of the uncomfortable plastic chair, and dashed to the center door. Once at the door he stopped for a moment, wishing to regain his composer before facing his friends.

'What if they are angry with me? What if they're here to expel me fully from the ranks of the Digidestined?'

The thought sent a cold sting of doubt through his chest, making it difficult to breathe. A part of him feared to open the door, but another part of him long desperately to see he friends, to no longer be separated by status from them. In the end his desire to be with his comrades overpowered his doubt and he slowly raised an unsteady hand to the doorknob, ready to face whatever may come.

Sorcermon watched his Lord from his seat upon the dark blue plastic chair, which was placed across from the yellow one the blonde had been sitting in only moments ago. He had grown worried when he noticed the teen slip into an unresponsive state, but he chose not to comment on it for fear that it would alarm the other Nightmare Soldiers. He had gotten to know he liege very well over the years and had seen the teen slip into trances where he seemed to leave the conscious world completely, falling into a world plagued with nightmares.

It had never ceased to amaze the sorcerer at how quickly these trances come on and how suddenly they would end. He wished to learn more of them, but Yamato was very secretive when regarding such matter. No one, not even WereGarurumon knew the full extent of the struggle within the Lord's soul.

Watching him now it was it was easy to see that these reveries have more of an effect upon the blonde then he would lead you to believe. Sorcermon's star-like eyes narrowed upon Yamato's back. The teen was lost within a silent debate, one that was truly causing him distress. Finally he seemed to settle his argument and with a trembling hand he opened the door that separated him from his fellow Digidestined.

He slowly pulled the door open; the colorful light rayed past him and flooded the dim hall. The light illuminated the faces behind the door and suddenly all his earlier doubts melted away. Courage burned in their eyes and hope was within their sad smiles. Even now they still loved him, even after he was certain that he had lost their friendship forever.

"Matt,"

He saw his brother step out of the ranks of color and light and instantly he embraced him. The two brothers shared a quick hug before the urgency of their situation returned. They parted as both remember that their time was limited.

Gracefully Yamato stepped aside and waved his arm, beckoning his silent friends in.

The Nightmare Soldiers stood in respect as the Digidestined and their Digimon partners filed into the room. Once they were inside Yamato shut the door then looked towards Sorcermon.

Sorcermon nodded in understanding before raising his hand, ordering the other Nightmare Soldiers to follow him. Without a word the Nightmare Soldiers went into the left side room, leaving the Lord alone with his beloved friends.


Glistening gold reflected the light raining down from the crystal chandelier above. The gold was in the shape of lavish furniture, which was placed neatly within the large room. Two golden couches along with two golden chairs boxed in a small piece of the room barely leaving enough space for the pink and white rug, which lie in the center of the box. To the right of the lounge furniture was an opal desk laced with gold, which set of the sides of the rectangular stone and ran down into four stylish golden legs. Upon the desk was a stack of scrolls, some blank and some written upon with gold ink, and a small pink crystal lamp with six pink prisms dangling from the rim of its shade. Normally, unless occupied, a golden chair with white fur upholstery would be neatly pushed up to the desk, but today the chair laid upon its side slammed against the white wall.

The one responsible for abusing the elegant golden chair now stood at the other side of the large room with her arms crossed in irritation over her chest. She was standing in the door way of her balcony, the two clear glass doors had been pulled fully open, no longer obstructing her path to the outside. The white marble floor beneath her sparkled in the chandelier's light while the balcony doors' thin white curtains fluttered around her.

A flash of lighting followed by rolling thunder caused her to growl in frustration before she dropped her arms and clenched her pink-gloved hands into fist.

She was not frightened of the storm, as so many others were. It had simply grown to be a nuisance. The loud claps of thunder had begun to upset her work, and now was most certainly not the time to make a mistake. She was planning the future of her world, a bright future, free of the poisonous past. And she knew that to err now would be folly.

'Soon the world shall be cleansed of wickedness. I will cast out the evils, which have plagued the good creatures of this land for so long. Blood is on the horizon.'

The sound of soft knocking diverted her attention from the Anathema before her to the large metal pink door behind her. She turned on her heal, leaving the source of her rage to rumble in the heavens, before walking leisurely to the couch in the center of the room.

Once in the center of the room she addressed the gentle knocking.

"Yes?" her deep but beautifully smooth voice rose above the elements, calling to the one beyond the door.

Slowly the large pink door was pushed open, reflecting a soft pink glow on to the furniture as it moved. Once the door was fully opened a small creature hopped in.

The creature resembled a rabbit with a violet body, mask and gloves, and lavender limbs, tail, and ears. A blue bandana was tied around the rabbit's neck and a small gray diamond shaped symbol was placed in the center of her head.

The rabbit stood on her hind legs and her bright green eyes sparkled as it offered her liege a graceful bow.

"Forgive me for disturbing you, Lady Crusadermon." the rabbit greeted respectfully.

"Really Rabbitmon, it is no disturbance." Crusadermon replied kindly, before waving her arm, silently commanding the champion Digimon to deliver her message.

"My Lady, Chancellor D'Archmon is waiting outside. She wishes to speak with you." Rabbitmon informed her Lady.

Crusadermon laughed happily before replying, "Send our Lady Chancellor in, of course." the mega Digimon replied as if this action should have been apparent to her underling without her ordering it.

Rabbitmon smiled and nodded before hopping out to suffer D'Archmon entrance.

Crusadermon waited patiently where she stood, her gaze fixed upon the room's entrance. Suddenly the door was darkened by the silhouette of a four-winged angel.

D'Archmon enter the room slowly, her golden staff was held in her left hand while her right remained free to grab one of the two swords held securely in their sheathes latched to her thick black belt. Her head was held high and her dark eyes peered through her golden mask, starring intensely at the Knight across from her.

Crusadermon waited, for the angel to address her, but when it became obvious that the champion would not begin she decided to be hospitable and welcome her guest.

"Chancellor D'Archmon," she greeted, her deep voice spellbinding, "Won't you please have a seat." the mega offered, waving her right hand at the lounge furniture.

D'Archmon slowly lowered her gaze to the extravagant furniture, studying the couches and chairs closely before shaking her head "no".

The angel's refusal of her offer was somewhat insulting, but Crusadermon chose to ignore it. "Then what may I do for you, Chancellor?" she questioned, whishing to show respect despite D'Archmon's cold response.

"There was an attack upon Lord Yamato Ishida and Council Mon Sorcermon today. It occurred some hours before the council began." D'Archmon informed the mega Digimon bluntly.

"I see," Crusadermon responded, suddenly understanding the meaning behind the Chancellor's visit. "And surely I must have ordered the attack, is that it?" she questioned confidently while walking to one of her pink and gold chairs.

D'Archmon watched showing no emotion as Crusadermon flopped upon the chair. It was true that Crusadermon was arguably the most powerful Holy Knight to ever serve the Council, but D'Archmon is now the Chancellor, and she was not intimidated by the mega's display.

"All political parties here for the council are under the Holy Knights' protection, even those opposing us. So I need to know, did you devise these attacks?" she questioned, her airy voice growing cold with authority.

Crusadermon leaned back in her seat comfortably before replying,

"No."

D'Archmon nodded accepting the answer for she could do nothing else. There was no evidence to against the famed Holy Knight. There wasn't even evidence that the attack took place at all, but this visit had not been about the attack. There was something far more important than the truth at stake and that was control. D'Archmon knew that Crusadermon would speak on behalf of the East, and her spiteful words could easily cause chaos within the next meeting. The chancellor would not allow this; she had to let the arrogant mega know who was in charge.

With nothing left to say D'Archmon turned, preparing to leave, but as she turned away Crusadermon spoke stopping her retreat.

"If I had devised the attacks then it would have seceded." the pink clad Digimon announced confidently.

"Those are bold words." D'Archmon replied as she tightened her grip upon her staff.

Crusadermon laughed in amusement before answering. "No you coming her was bold, tell me what did you hope to accomplish? Did you really think you could tame me?" at this she laughed even harder mocking the young chancellor, "Just remember D'Archmon, you might be the Chancellor, but I control the Council."

Suddenly a flash of silver sliced through the air as D'Archmon drew one of her swords and spun around leveling the blade to meet Crusadermon's neck.

Sparks flew and a clang echoed through the room as the silver blade met a golden shield. Crusadermon saw the attack coming and raised her shield effortlessly blocking the blade before it met her neck.

D'Archmon leaned in a bit her black eyes were glowing gold with rage as she glared at Crusadermon.

Crusadermon remained seated showing no signs of shock or fear. After a moment of silence she began to laugh. Her deep laughter caused D'Archmon to clench her teeth in frustration.

"Now that was bold little angel." the mega jeered happily. "I must admit I am impressed, you are certainly worthy of your title." she complemented before lowering her shield.

D'Archmon pulled back, but did not return her sword to its sheathe. "I'm warning you Crusadermon, don't push me!" D'Archmon threatened.

Crusadermon leaned back in her chair, fully at ease once more before replying, "One day you will thank me for what I am going to do." she stated before weaving her hand, dismissing the Chancellor.

D'Archmon returned her sword to its sheathe. "I doubt it." she replied coldly before turning away and walking out the large pink door.

Once the angel Digimon left the room Crusadermon giggled then exclaimed, "If you are around long enough to see it, that is."


The room was possessed by a phantom of taciturnity. Since they had entered the meeting room of the Nightmare Soldiers none of the Digidestined dared to speak. It seemed at times that one of the little rookie Digimon might risk a few words, but their voices shied away before the words ever past their lips. And so the unseen phantom continued to still away the ease that once rested between them, the Digidestined were divided.

He bit the side of his lip nervously as he studied the young men and women scattered within the room. They all stretched out upon the plastic furniture, trying to look comfortable, but he could sense tensions radiating from their every breath.

The longer he looked at them, the more he felt isolated from them. He was a stray, looking longingly at the world he left behind.

'I can stand before armies, kings, and even gods without fear, but I can't even look at my dearest friends without twitching. It's kind of pathetic. Why do I care so much about what they think? Why does the very thought of loosing them frighten me worse than the thoughts of this upcoming war?'

In truth the war had grown obsolete in his mind. He hadn't expected the finalization that the declaration offered to be so liberating. He felt as though the weight of the world had been eased off of his shoulders. He could not alter what was going to transpire, fate was temporarily removed from his hands, and this new freedom was more exhilarating than power itself.

"So what does this mean for us?"

Instantly he turned his attention to the one who spoke. 'Leave it to Tai to take the initiative.'

The others remained silent, as they exchanged long saddened looks with the person next to them.

He watched this action closely, his friend's frightened faces sending a pang of guilt through his heart. Slowly he moved from behind the couch where he had been silently observing his companions to the couch's side. Thoughtlessly he sat on the armrest of the couch waiting for more to be said. His brother TK sat beside him and it relaxed him some to realize that he brother showed no signs of discomfort from having him so close.

"Maybe Baihumon will change his mind." Yolie offered, but even she did not believe her own words.

Yamato sighed dejectedly, he hated seeing his friends in such melancholy states, but he knew that there was nothing he could do to ease their pain. "No, it is Baihumon's responsibility to avenge his people. The dead should be remembered and avenged it is their right, I would loose respect for the god of the West if he backed down now."

Shocked eye turned upon him, looking at him as though the words he spoke were blasphemy against reason itself.

"How could you say that dude?" Davis questioned in shock. He had great respect for he predecessor, but there were times when his understanding of him was limited.

"Matt you couldn't possibly mean that? Think of all the innocent Digimon that will suffer because of this war." Sora urged with as much force as she could muster. She wanted to be on her fellow Digidestined's side, but if that meant supporting a war then she would have no choice but to change her loyalties.

Tai listened as Davis and Sora objected to Yamato's words. Unbeknownst to everyone his attention had been fully upon his best friend ever since he had greeted them in the hall. He listened to the way the blonde breathed, studied his shadows as he moved, and stole quick glances at his pale face whenever his attention was else where.

This young man seemed so different from the one they had met upon the balcony. His face was less grim, his eyes more alive, and his voice no longer shook with uncertainty. Instinctively he looked up, wishing to study the blonde a little closer. 'This is our Matt, not the paranoid Lord who pulled away from me on the balcony. It's like one moment he's here and the next he's gone. Like a light that's flickering, trying to fight a burnout. What's happening to him?' the questions gnawed at his insides, but he knew that now was not the time to seek an answer, so he pushed his questions aside and returned his focus to his comrades.

"Matt's right."

The sound of Gatomon's sly voice drew all attention to the second couch where Kari sat between Sora and Izzy with the white feline Digimon in her lap.

"What?" Cody questioned in surprise. Unlike the others he saw no good here, only evil. To him this war was evil and all those participating in it subjects of evil.

"You guys can't understand because you are not subject to the Digital World's ways. The Digidestined and their chosen partners are outside of the natural order of the Digital World, above it even. But I have lived here as a normal Digimon and I know how the system works. Baihumon has every right to demand payment for his subject's lives, and Matt is right in respecting Baihumon for what he has to do. Matt and Baihumon are both noble leaders, the only true crime here is that Matt is not responsible for the attacks."

Silence returned to the room once Gatomon had shared her knowledge. It was true that the Digidestined did not fully understand the ways of the Digital World, but that did not impair them from understanding the difference between just and unjust.

"It's irrational to focus on a fact we can not alter." Izzy at last announced, not wishing to waste time and energy trying to solve a problem that already had its answer.

"You're right Izzy." Mimi agreed with a smile before adding, "What about the East, you still have a chance to prevent war with them."

Yamato looked at Mimi and smiled. The Child of Sincerity was ever optimistic, but he knew there was nothing to discuss. He had already made his decision regarding the East, now he was simply waiting for the council to resume so that he might announce it.

"Yeah Matt, there's a window of opportunity here." Joe stated hoping that his friend would seize the next opportunity for peace.

Matt leaned back a bit taking in his friends' words. He had not expected his fellow Digidestined to handle this dilemma so well. They all seemed calm and relatively secure in their hope, but he knew in many ways it was merely a façade. Deep down they were disappointed in him.

Taking a deep breath he rose from his seat on the couch's arm and paced back a bit. "Did you know that Sorcermon and I were attacked today?" he question reluctantly.

"What?" TK exclaimed in shock as he jumped to his feet, "Were you hurt? Who attacked you? Why didn't you tell us sooner? What"

TK's jumbled questions were cut off when Yamato placed a hand on his shoulder. "No I am not hurt and neither is Sorcermon." he explained not feeling the need to add that they had both been hurt during the attacks but had healed quickly.

"Who attacked you?" Tai questioned as he leaned forward in his seat, placing his elbows on his thighs for support.

Yamato turned his head slightly to look at Tai then answered. "It doesn't matter."

The answer seemed to frustrate the brunette but he choose to leave it alone, obviously this was not this point the blonde was trying to make.

"Each day another event leads us closer to our inevitable fates. What happens next has been eons in the making. But my fate doesn't have to be your fates." the young Lord explained his voice soft with uncertainty.

Tai sat up a bit as he processed his friends' words. What they implied to him was a request. "You want us to leave." he stated bluntly, pain hung heavy in his words.

TK stood up so that he could meet his brother's eyes. They were standing face to face, both grim with despair.

"Is that it? Do you really want us to leave?" he questioned almost unable to force the words past his lips.

Matt felt weak as his brother met his gaze. The hurt in the younger boy's eyes made him dizzy. "You were never supposed to be involved in this. I want to protect you." he explained desperately trying to get his brother to understand.

"I'm not leaving, Matt." TK replied, his voice trembling. "You said we all have an inevitable fate, well mine is to follow you. I'm not leaving the Digital World until this is over."

"TK"

Yamato tried to argue but was quickly cut off by his younger brother.

"No!" the younger boy shouted, "You said you want to protect us, well who's going to protect you?" he questioned strongly.

"That's not your responsibility." the older blonde explained slowly, "It never was."

This answer seemed to shock everyone in the room, but none was more surprised than TK. His shoulders trembled as tears sparkled in his sky blue eyes.

Yamato took a step back then lowered his head. 'If I can't convince you to stay away from the Digital World the least I can do is convince you to stay where it is safest, on the other side.'

Suddenly Yamato's head shot back up. His face was void of emotion as he replaced the mask he wore as Lord. "The other regions have pushed me to my limit. I am tired of my people have suffering because of the other regions hate. I am tried of holding my people back from their true selves. They are warriors. I am a warrior. The Nightmare Soldiers are going to go into this war with everything they've got. There won't be a happy ending."

Yamato's cold words startled the other occupants in the room.

"Matt?" Mimi gasped in shock.

"You should leave." the young Lord announced before walking past the far couch and into the free space.

"But," Joe tried to argue but was cut off by the aloof blonde.

"Just go!" the Digidestined of Friendship ordered icily.

Slowly the Digidestined and their partners rose to their feet. None of them knew what to say. Like zombies they filed out of the room, with Kari having to help the unsteady TK stay standing.

As the others left the room Tai lingered behind. His fiery eyes stared intensely at the blonde's back.

Yamato did not turn to face his best friend; instead he kept his eyes upon the far wall, not wanting the brunette to see the tears in his eyes.

When Tai realized that he could get no response from his friend he slowly turned away, preparing to follow the others into the hall, but as he turned Yamato called out to him.

"Take care of them, Tai."

The blonde pleaded his voice still stern but not nearly as cold as it had been moments ago.

Tai nodded, then softly replied. "All right."

Nothing more was said and so the leader of the Digidestined excited the room, leaving his best friend completely alone.


The rising of the sun once meant comfort and security for the Eastern Lands, but now it was a curse upon them. The storm had become a merciless fiend, which concealed all heavenly light except the tainted moon. Heaven had become a place of chaos. Now as the golden orb made its slow ascend behind the impenetrable curtain of black, the East was reminded in full of their cause. For the storm reacted to the light and as the sun rose the clouds sunk into the atmosphere, bringing the shadows that much closer to the land. Lightening streaked the sky in vibrant shades of blue, while claps of thunder rattled the buildings. The storm had never seemed so menacing as it did upon this day.

He walked slowly down the open hall, shuttering as the icy breeze sent a breath of death down his spin. The storm was a loathsome thing to one who so loved the light. It seemed to him an unforgivable crime to plague the purest of lands with such a monstrosity. But there was nothing he could do to alter what was, for it was not within his power to cast out the storm.

If the chaos above had not been troublesome enough, the lifelessness below would truly make up for it. The creatures around him moved as though their very souls had been stolen from them. He watched from beneath his cloak as they marched silently past him. The sudden booms of thunder did not startle them, nor did the howling wind shake them, they had slipped into a cadaverous manner.

Though he did not wish to admit it, he truly envied those around him for their ability to sink into such an unresponsive state. While they walked in trances, he walked in the wake of the world. His skin had grown pallid and his breathing raspy, for he could not deny the effects of the storm. And while those around him seemed to have grown accustom to the storm's presence, he was still unnerved by it.

He balled his hands into tight fist as the wind tugged at his white rob mockingly. He wanted to scream out curses at the storm for destroying the harmony of his world, but he held his tongue, knowing that an outburst would not change anything.

'Why Yamato? Why would you unleash such a plague upon the world?' he bit his lip and lowered his gaze as this question circled his mind. He hated even considering that one of his beloved Chosen would be responsible for such an evil, but Yamato Ishida was never like the others. He was a rebel, forever fighting fate.

'Perhaps the evidence is misleading. Perhaps you are innocent of the storm, but that does not remove the blood of the Easterners and the Westerners from your hands.'

A bitter debate was now raging. In one since Yamato Ishida was a Digidestined, a chosen guardian of both worlds, and in another since Yamato Ishida was the Lord of the Nightmare Soldiers, ruler over a race of bloodthirsty monsters.

'And what of this attack you claim Crusadermon was responsible for?'

It was this question that troubled him the most, for Crusadermon was a well-respected Holy Knight. During Piedmon's siege, Crusadermon long upheld the defenses of the East, and when at last they fell she rallied rebels against the Lord of the Nightmare Soldiers. Her courage saved many lives. The mere thought that she would now break the laws of the council and order such an attack seemed absurd.

'Lord Yamato did not say he knew for certain that it was Crusadermon. I do not believe that Crusadermon would be involved with such a conspiracy, but that does not mean that the attack did not take place. But if Crusadermon did not order the attack then who did?'

The question stung his core, demanding his attention, but his thoughts were quickly diverted as he realized that his walk had come to an end, and he was now standing before the Eastern entrance to the Council room.

Taking a deep breath he proceeded through the large open doors. As he entered the room his clear blue eyes scanned over the stadium like seating. Already the bleachers had begun to fill as those attending the council returned from recess.

To his astonishment Lord Yamato and the Nightmare Soldiers had already returned to their respected seats upon the Southern bleachers. Yamato was leaning to his right and was speaking with his Political Advisor Sorcermon, while the other Nightmare Soldiers either whispered or sat silently with eyes forward.

He shook his head clearing his thoughts then continued to his seat. As he walked up the bleacher's steps he noticed that the Digidestined had yet to return to their seats. Subconsciously he stole another look at the Digidestined of Friendship. The other Chosen had gone to see him during the recess. Though he had not spoken to the children yet he did see the Holy Knight who had escorted them. This Digimon knew nothing of the words exchanged between Yamato and the other Chosen, but he did know that the guardians left very upset.

'If there is one thing I could never doubt about you, it is your love for them. So what could you have possibly done to hurt them so badly?'

He knew that Yamato wanted the Digidestined safe and out of the entanglements of Digital World politics, but was the young Lord willing to risk loosing them to keep them safe? It seemed plausible, and he could only assume that that was the case.

Abandoning his thoughts of Yamato he looked to the side as the power of the Chosen Children drew his attention to the stairs. Tai led the way, and the Digidestined and their Digimon partners marched somberly to their cup shaped chairs and silently sat down.

From his own seat he noticed Yamato looking almost apologetically towards his fellow Chosen, and once again he felt the knot inside him twist as the pain of seeing the Digidestined divided fully set in.

"The Council will now commence."

He blinked then tore his gaze off of his fellow Digidestined. It was only when he turned his attention to D'Archmon that he realized he had been starring at all.

What happened only hours ago had been the hardest thing he had ever done. Even harder than pulling a deranged clown's blade from a demon's side. But now it was over. He had cut ties with his soul and now he was a hallow shell. He felt empty and naked, but he could not look back, nor could he undo what he did. All that was left to do was to go forward. With his friends safe under the protection of the East he could at last turn his focus to his people. He could at last be the Lord of the Nightmare Soldiers.

"The West has stated their charges and announced their terms." D'Archmon explained to the silent audience, wishing to remind them of what transpired before the recess. "Lord Yamato has denied these charges and refused these terms. In response the West has declared war upon the South. Terms of this war will be finalized after this council session is over."

He rolled his eyes in annoyance as the Digimon of the other three regions began to whisper excitedly. It was foolish to grow excited about bloodshed and destruction, obviously they envisioned the war as a Grande affair with waving banners, glistening armor and triumphant victories. If they believed the West had an easy victory ahead of them then they truly underestimated his strength. The war would be long and brutal, there would be nothing glamorous about it, this he knew for certain.

"I now surrender the floor to Crusadermon who will speak on behalf of the East."

Cheers erupted from the bleachers as the adored Holy Knight made her way from the shadows far in the back of the Eastern bleachers to the floor where D'Archmon bowed, somewhat mechanically, before returning to her own seat between her guards.

Crusadermon stood tall and dignified as her admirers continued their praise. Finally the powerful mega seemed to grow tired of the cheers and she raised her right hand, silencing the crowd.

"Good Digimon of the East, West, and North," she greeted then paused resulting in more cheers from the stands.

"Do not cheer for me. For I am like you, a humble servant of this world." she stopped once more, but this time no cheers rang out, instead the Digimon remained silent, respectfully waiting for their hero to continue. "And do not cheer for this day, for this is a day of grief. This is a day which history will despise, for this is the day when our beloved world falls fully to our barbaric ways."

Yamato watched calmly as Crusadermon made her address. The mega Digimon was well educated and extremely charismatic, the combination of these qualities made her delivery very entertaining.

The council no longer bothered him, there was nothing he could do to change their opinion of him, and this made everything seem like a joke.

'Is this how Piedmon saw the world? You can't change it so you might as well take it? I think I understand him now more than ever before.'

He hated how he felt, but he could not change it. Everything seemed so trivial now. The Digidestined were safe, he had the power to fight the war, what was left to worry about?

The other Digimon hung upon every word Crusadermon said, and now they waited patiently for her to continue.

"Yes this is a day when our barbaric ways trample our world. As I said I am like you, and like you I too desire retribution for the crimes done against the innocent victims of these recent attacks."

Yamato leaned to his right and whispered to Sorcermon. "Is this suppose to be a council address or a try out for a drama team?" he question sarcastically as he grew bored with the pink Digimon's flamboyant ways.

Sorcermon suppressed a snicker before answering, "Her words will trap us, but at least we will get some entertainment before they do."

Sorcermon had reached the same conclusion that Yamato had, that there was nothing they could do to appease the other regions, and so he too decided to give up on a victory within the council, and instead focused his attention on anything that could give him an edge when discussing the terms of the war to come.

"But at what cost would this retribution come? What price are we willing to pay for justice?" Crusadermon continued her address, earning her the attention of all within the room.

"A war is not a pleasant thing, believe me I have been in plenty. And one as large as you all suggest would be devastating upon our world and our future." she paused once more, allowing her warning to fully sink in.

"That is why I wish to plead peace with the South." with this she turned her attention to Yamato and took a few graceful steps towards the Southern bleachers. "I beg of you Lord Yamato Ishida, do not sentence this world to such turmoil. Grant the Council access to you inner affairs, as all the other regions do, and grant the West their just request. Please do not turn our world into a battlefield, for you see we do not have another world to go home to. Please, our fate is in your hands." with these words Crusadermon bowed then waited for the young Lord's response.

Yamato's face was emotionless and his eyes were like mirrors, reflecting only what was around him, not within him. Sorcermon's warning had come to pass; Crusadermon's words had truly trapped him. Her words made it seem as though she were and activist for peace, while he was nothing more than a cold dictator.

'If I refuse, it will seems like I want a war, but if I agree I not only have to hand over three thousand and sixty-two of my subjects, but I also have to allow the council into the South's internal affairs. The South respects the Council but has never been subjects of it. How could I surrender my people to them?'

But this is what you want isn't it? An easy out, and a way to secure peace forever. All you have to do is agree and then peace will remain and you can be with your friends and your brother. Isn't that what you want?

The struggle within him was greater than he ever thought possible. Crusadermon's enticing voice had made the offer more tempting than ever before. Now all he had to do was make a choice.

"I will not."

He found the words flowing from his mouth with such ease that it amazed him.

"I refuse your terms. I will not allow the Council into our internal affairs, nor will I offer a living sacrifice to the West."

Frantic voices began muttering words of fear as his response weighed heavy in the air.

Crusadermon did not seem impressed with the young Lord's bold response. "The only alternative is war." she reminded sternly.

Yamato's eyes narrowed upon the mega Digimon, "Then that is the fate I have chosen."

"So be it." the Holy Knight declared as she turned away from the Southern bleachers and returned to the center of the room. "The East places a formal declaration of war against the South. May the Digi-Core have mercy on us all." with these words Crusadermon returned to the Eastern bleachers leaving the council room in complete silence.

He had expected his thought to become jumbled and disorganized, but he was amazed to find that he was actually thinking quiet clearly. He understood everything that had just transpired and he felt the full weight of the choice for war pressing down upon him like a center block.

But he did not have to attend this council to know what was going to occur, he knew the moment his brother turned his back on him that there was no hope. He had heard the growls of beast, the hisses of demons, and the wails of the tormented, but these sounds seemed of little consequence when compared to the sound of his older brother ordering him to stay away.

He trembled as the memories came flooding back. He knew it was pointless now to focus on what had past, but he could not drive the thoughts from his head. It consumed him, taking the pieces of his already broken heart and ripping them apart like a wild beast tears apart its prey.

'Why did you ask us to leave you? I would have gone to hell and back with you, so why did you ask me to leave? How could you put me on the outside again?'

Tears surfaced in his eyes, but he forced them back, not wishing to cry with so many around. He knew that he could not escape unnoticed, but he was thankful to Patamon, who sat in his lap, and Kari, who sat beside him, for ignoring his mournful state.

Kari placed a sympathetic hand on his arm but said nothing, while Patamon snuggled closer to his chest. He knew they wanted to understand, but they could not. He was alone in his pain. They could never understand what it felt like to constantly chase after someone, but to never reach him.

That's how he had always felt, as if he was running and struggling to reach his brother, but never making it. Even as a child his brother seemed departed somehow. It was like he walked on one level of life while the rest of the human race walked upon another.

For a while TK had felt as though he had finally reaching his brother upon this level, but now he had been thrown back to the place where the rest of the human race wandered mindlessly.

'You keep me from you because you think you cause me pain, but the only thing that truly causes me pain is being away from. Why can't you understand that you're my brother, and that I need you?'

He felt lonely, even surrounded by so many. It was a loneliness that companionship, friendship, and even love could not cure. No one can understand this loneliness until they have felt it. Until they have felt the pain that comes when the one person you want doesn't want you. When the one person you need has left you behind. Whether it is a parent, a lover, or a friend, this pain is scarring and unbearable. You are forever incomplete. You forever wonder what you did wrong. Nothing can ease that loneliness except for that one person you lost.

He leaned back in his seat and placed his arms comfortably on the chair's armrest. His hands clenched into fist as his mind processed everything that had just occurred. He had expected Crusadermon to drag out her address, but the Holy Knight took a far more direct approach. She simply rambled off a poetic omen and then stating her wishes.

Now war stood between the East and the South, and the one who made this barrier had long since left the floor and returned to her seat. But this sadly was not the end. Before leaving for the East he made a promise, one he now had to keep.

D'Archmon had returned to the floor and was now giving the same speech she had recited after the West's declaration. While the angel Digimon stated the necessary conditions to make the declaration of war final he turned his attention to the one next to him.

"Looks like we're up next."

His thoughts spread from his mind to the telepath sitting beside him.

Sorcermon gave a small nod in response to the blonde's message before replying.

"Should I proceed with our original strategy, or has the words of the West and the East altered your intentions?"

"Nothing has changed."

The young Lord replied.

Before the Council began Sorcermon and Yamato went over the events, which transpired on the island of Iris. Both found it very unlikely that Xuanwumon would order such an attack. The North and South rarely had dealings with one another, and there was no history of animosity between them. To break this long standing peace now seemed impractical, but their own thoughts were irrelevant in this matter.

Yamato thought it a tragedy to declare war upon an untouched land such as the North, but what choice had he? There was no doubt that the attack upon Iris did take place, and there was no doubt that the attack was made by insect Digimon of the North. But just because the attackers were from the North did not mean that the Digi-god of the North was responsible or even aware of the attack.

It seemed hypocritical to charge the North as the East had charged the South, but he had to do it. The Three Islands were under his protection, and now their safety had been compromised.

"Ophanimon has been one of the South's strongest supporters. Now we must return the favor."

He reminded the wizard, who was now mentally preparing his address.

"A war between all four regions. Truly the Digi-Core must weep at the sight of his children now."

"Who's to say she's actually watching?"

Yamato questioned bitterly.

"Do you believe he has turned his back on you? You were ordained by him, why would he leave you now?"

"It's difficult to explain my feelings towards her." the blonde responded slowly, "but we have more important things to worry about now." he reminded the sorcerer.

Sorcermon nodded then returned his attention to the floor where D'Archmon was finishing her address.

"I now surrender the floor to Sorcermon who speaks on behalf of the South."

Sorcermon took a deep breath before rising from his seat. He had long anticipated his address to the council, but now that it had arrived he felt uneasy. Originally his only task was to address the issue of trade and the cause for prohibiting the council from entering the South, but now these two topics had become inconsequential. The East had already brought up the issue of the council's interference, and Yamato had closed the subject by refusing the East's request. Trade was also pointless to discuss since a war between all four regions would make trade impossible.

As he made his way to the floor the wizard felt a shadow of dread shrouding him his every step. He was a supporter of peace. All his life he had praised peace over conflicted, making him stand out among the war-hungry Digimon of the South. He had chosen to live in seclusion as a way of protesting against the ideals of battle, and he would probably still be there today if a demon and a wolf had not shown up on his doorstep carrying a bloody and battered teen with them.

When he had healed Yamato all those years ago he had felt something within the child that had given him hope for his race and for his world. Now the child had grown into a man before his eyes, and though the future he had envisioned had not yet come to pass, his hope had never faltered. He knew that his liege would save his world, and if it took a war to do it, then so be it.

The many eyes of the council locked onto him, but he bore the pressure well as he stood tall holding his head up with pride. He was once well respected in the council for his wisdom on strange affairs and his knowledge of alchemy. This respected had faded and was replaced with distaste, as misunderstandings slowly began to arise between the South and the other regions. But this distaste did not trouble him as he had never been one to seek popularity.

Clearing his throat he prepared to make his address while praying that this would not be the last time the four regions gathered.

"Digimon of the East, West, and North." he began mechanically, "I come before you as a representative of the South and Lord Yamato Ishida."

A storm of voices rumbled from the East, West, and North bleachers, as many of the Digimon chose to utter this dislike for the South and its Lord.

Sorcermon waited patiently until these voices faded then continued. "Since the rise of Piedmon the Nightmare Soldiers have been looked upon as a lowly race of savages." murmurs filled the room but once again he chose to ignore them.

"Surely our dealings with you over the past three years have proven otherwise. But whether you see us a lowly or not means little to us. We have never sought to befriend you, nor have we desired your respect, all we have ever asked for is your trust."

He paused for a moment allowing the insults to fly and then die away again.

"It is obvious we can not earn your trust, and all desire to do so has left us completely. Declare your wars against us; we will fight them if we must. We hold no obligation to your or to this council. Our only obligation is to the Digi-Core and to ourselves."

Cries of outrage filled the room and many Digimon rose from their seats, shaking their fist and stomping their feet in anger.

Sorcermon watched the fury ready to be unleashed upon him with cold steady eyes. He was no coward, and their threats could not move him.

When it became obvious to the angered Digimon that they could not frighten the council mon they grew even more frustrated. Some of the flying Digimon floated into the air, pointing and shouting, while many of the standing Digimon acted as though they were about to rush down the bleachers so that they could meet the wizard on the floor.

All the while Sorcermon remained calm, patiently waiting for his audience to regain their composure.

As Sorcermon waited he heard the thunder of many feet pounding the floor around him.

Yamato straightened in his seat as he observed D'Archmon waving the council guards out. The Sagittarimon flooded into the council room and took their stance before the bleachers. Bows were drawn and arrows were strung as the bull Digimon silently warned the out of control Digimon back.

At first the blonde was concerned for his political advisor's safety, but when it became obvious that the guards were there to control the council he relaxed a bit.

Despite their intentions, the presence of the council guards only served to further agitate the rowdy council. Many of the Sagittarimon grew frustrated with the disobedient Digimon and began shouting and waving for them to return to their seats.

Yamato continued to watch the other regions' display in both disgust and amusement. This time his Nightmare Soldiers had chosen not to participate in the outburst. They all sat quietly in their chairs, watching with steady eyes, as the rest of the world grew mad with anger. Because of their behavior the Sagittarimon at the base of their bleachers grew even more anxious. They strung their bows silently while fidgeting under the emotionless stares of the of the Digimon of the South.

A smirk spread across Yamato's lips as he watched the comical display before him. It was amusing to watch these Digimon barking like dogs at Sorcermon, who stood unmoved, looking at them all with disinterest. It was not until he felt eyes upon him that he tore his attention away from the chaos in the council room and sought out the source of his unsettlement.

To his surprise he found D'Archmon looking at him questionably. He met the young angel's gaze with emotionless eyes. He read the question in her stare then smirked. Denying his desire to laugh he innocently shrugged his shoulders as if to say "how was I supposed to know they'd acted like this."

D'Archmon did not seem amused by Yamato's gesture and it seemed as though she wanted to approach him, but these intentions were forgotten when a startling screamed pierced the air.

Yamato winced as a high-pitched scream followed by many confused cries rang in his ears. Reluctantly he turned his attention to the source of the scream. His smirk vanished as he stared at the Northern bleachers.

After a while it became obvious that the council was not going to recognize the Sagittarimon's authority. The guards' very presence seemed to fuel the chaos. Admits the confusion one Aurumon lost control and decided to attempt a dive at the official of the South.

A Sagittarimon guarding the North bleachers saw this attempt and released his arrow, which pierced the owl Digimon's heart.

The Saggitarimon who had released the attack only now lowered his bow, as his four broad legs trembled beneath him. He had done his duty, which was to enforce the rules of the council, but he had never imagined his duty requiring him to take the life of a Digimon of the North.

Yamato watched curiously as many Digimon fell back into their seats horror stricken by what had just occurred. But out of everyone there none was more surprised than the young Lord. He had never expected the council to defend one of his people, especially now that he had openly denied them.

'Maybe D'Archmon is different. Maybe there is hope, of course that hope will not be recognized today.'

He stole another look at the North bleachers. Several Digimon were fleeing from the stands in panic while trails of crimson fell behind them. Aurumon's carcass had fallen lifelessly to the center of the bleachers, and it now rested upon a cleared out area of the metal seats. Blood was splattered upon the bleachers and the Digimon now rushing out of the room. Dark brown feathers turned back as the red fluid covered them.

The Digimon standing around Aurumon's body all seemed terrified and were panting with raspy, uneven breaths. It was taking the owl Digimon's body an unnatural amount of time to reconfigure, and the presences of the corpse was very unsettling.

When at last the body began to break apart it was the arrow that vanished first, allowing those standing around the fallen Digimon a good look at the wound which ran strait to the bird's heart.

The Digimon upon the Northern bleachers would have remained as they were, staring trance-like at the place where Aurumon fell if D'Archmon had not moved to the center of the floor.

The angel Digimon clapped her hands twice, earning her the attention of all before, she spoke.

"If you will all please return to your seats, we will continue." she ordered, her voice a little more sympathetic than it had been earlier. She did not disagree with her guard's action, however, she understood how traumatizing it could be to see a friend killed so needlessly, she had, after all, been forced to witness this many times in her life.

The Digimon of the North moved slowly back to their seats, all of them choosing to avoid the spot where their comrade had fallen. The body and the blood had long since turned to ribbons of data and had flown away, but the memory of Aurumon's crimson splattered fall was still fresh in their minds.

"Council mon, please continue."

D'Archmon ordered before returning to her seat.

This time the Sagittarimon were not removed from the floor. They remained lined up in front of each bleacher with their eyes alert and their bows ready.

Sorcermon cleared his throat and prepared to continue his address, knowing that there would be no further interruptions.

"As I said, we hold no obligation to you. Our only obligation is to the Digi-Core and to ourselves." he paused, mentally preparing himself for his next venture. "This obligation to ourselves extends beyond the Nightmare Soldiers. It extends to the very borders of the Southern territory, and to all within these borders. Which is why I stand before you now, to address an attack which occurred behind our borders."

Though no cries irrupted, a few confused whispers did echo faintly through the council room. None were aware of the attack upon Iris, very few even knew that Iris existed, but such facts were irrelevant. Iris does exist and there was an attack upon it, these were the only facts that mattered now.

"Behind the South's border lie three islands: Yermar, the land of golden sand; Inquiet Sepulcral, the island of tombs; and Iris the refuge of ancient light. These three islands are ruled by archaic, mega Digimon of the old era. They survived the many changes in the world and sought refuge on these three islands, but now their solitude and their safety have been compromised. On the eve before last this storm, which you claim is of our making, appeared upon the South's borders. Traveling with this storm was a swarm of insect Digimon, bearing marks of the North. This swarm attacked the island of Iris, slaughtering many of its inhabitants."

Sorcermon paused for a moment allowing D'Archmon an opportunity to speak.

"Our records show no evidence of these three islands. Could you give us the names of these archaic Digimon?" the champion questioned, wishing to obtain the information required for terms of war.

"I cannot." Sorcermon answer frankly.

"Then how will we know if what you say is true?" the angel responded somewhat surprised by the wizard's bluntness.

"It does not matter what information I provide you with, it will not alter my intentions, and so I will keep our oath with the three islands, and their rulers will remain nameless." Sorcermon replied coldly.

D'Archmon tightened her fist in agitation. "And what are your intentions?"

"It should be obvious."

Attention shifted from the floor to the Southern bleachers as Yamato spoke. He had finally grown tired with the dance of the council.

"I am afraid it is not, Lord Yamato Ishida." D'Archmon's voice was cold but she managed to remain composed as the young Lord smirked arrogantly.

Sorcermon smiled from behind his cape as he watched Yamato agitated the Chancellor. The other regions had accused the young Lord as being arrogant and ruthless, so why not give them what they wanted to see?

"All right," Yamato responded before folding his hands in his lap. "Try this, the South makes a formal declaration of war against the North."

The silence that had followed Aurumon's death was now shattered by gasped of shocks and cries of fear. The North spoke the loudest during the council, but they were the least inclined to go to war. The North had no armies, and they were certainly not equipped for a war against an army such as the Nightmare Soldiers.

"But the North ordered no such attack!" one Vegiemon shouted in dismay.

"Perhaps not, but the attack was made by Digimon of the North." Sorcermon responded coldly. In his mind they had an obligation to fulfill to the Three Islands, and it would be dishonorable not to do it.

"Do not punish the North for your hatred towards us!" a Moosemon shouted from the Eastern bleachers.

"We don't' punish, we rectify." Yamato responded coldly.

This harsh response seemed to push the Digimon of the East and West to their limits and without warning machine and holy Digimon sprung from their seats and forced their way to the floor.

The Sagittarimon began to unleash their arrows, however, the small defense was not enough. Digimon from all four regions poured onto the floor, and the first of many battles began.

Tai slid off his seat and kneeled as low as possible upon the floor of the bleachers. He could hear the air splitting above him as the Digimon of the East leaped over his blue cup shaped chair. Panicked screams and battle cries rang in his ears flooding his mind with the clamor in the room. The battle had broken out quickly, leaving him no time to prepare.

"Kari!"

He shouted above the noise as he moved closer to his younger sister, who was also crouching defensively on the floor.

Kari trembled in shock but managed to lift her head at the sound of her brother's voice.

"We have to get out of here!" he explained desperately.

"How?" the Child of Light responded as she sat up a bit, wishing to scan the area for possible escape routes.

Tai bit the side of his lip in thought as his full attention was placed on his sworn duty to protect his fellow Digidestined.

The Digimon of the West were the first to jump from their seats and race to the floor, and so they were the first to meet the Sagittarimon in combat.

A Bigmamemon rose above the first wave of Digimon as his beady eyes locked onto the Sagittarimon on the far left. The round Digimon chuckled idiotically before tossing his Big Smiley Bomb at the bull Digimon.

The Sagittarimon seemed to ignore the approaching attack as he focused his attention upon a Metalmamemon, who had pushed ahead of the other android Digimon and was now attacking the guard with his Metal Claw attack.

The Sagittarimon raised his left arm preventing the Metal Claw from coming down upon his chest; however, this did not stop the three hooks from cracking the thick armor on his lower arm.

Once the bull stopped the attack, he raised his bow and knocked the android Digimon on the side of the head. The blow was so hard that it sent Metalmamemon flying.

Once Metalmamemon was out of the way the council guard turned his attention to the large nuisance in the air. With great speed he dashed to the side, avoiding the Big Smiley Bomb, which crashed into the ground causing a small smoldering crater to interrupt the tile floor, then strung his bow and unleashed his Judgment Arrow.

The red arrow went hissing through the air before it hit its mark directly between the Bigmamemon's dazed eyes. The arrow split the ultimate Digimon's metal skull and instantly gray blood began to seep out of the wound. The gray fluid slid down the round Digimon's body, dripping upon the battling creatures. Then an explosion rang out as Bigmamemon's body self destructed in mid air.

Metalmamemon groggily sat up. He was still disoriented from the blow to his head and his painful crash; however, he was alert enough to see Bigmamemon take his final breaths. With extreme effort the android Digimon raised his large lazar, which was attached to his body and served as his left arm, and aimed it at the council guard then fired his Energetic Bomb attack.

Metalmamemon's attack succeeded in knocking the distracted Sagittarimon to the ground, but before he could revel in his victory a large, armor clad foot came crashing down upon his mechanical arm. The little Digimon screamed in agony as his lazar like arm was crushed by a passing Knightmon. Whimpering in pain the ultimate Digimon used his right arm to cradle his injured gun. The android was so distracted with self-pity that he did not notice the second Knightmon, who was following the first. The little Digimon had no time to scream before the Knightmon's metal foot stomped on his head.

Metalmamemon was crushed like a can. His metal masked cracked and collapsed, digging into the skin beneath it. His left red eye was forced out of its socket by the pressure and it dangled beside his blood filled mouth. His bright red blood created a puddle around his fragmented body before the wreckage slowly faded away.

Out of the four regions the North was the last to join the battle. Their reluctance was understandable as they were counted among the weakest in terms of physical strength. However, after the East and the West had weakened the council guards, many of the Northern Digimon dared to enter the fight.

One of the Sagittarimon posted by the North bleachers had rushed to assist those fighting against the West; this resulted in a weakness in the guards' defenses, making it easy for the North Digimon to slip past the bulls and onto the floor.

One of the Sagittarimon released his arrow killing a Butterflymon, but the gold, insect Digimon's death was not in vain, as a Frogmon used the distraction to his advantage.

As the bull's attention was upon the flying Digimon, Frogmon hopped onto the rim of one of the cup shaped chairs in the front role of the Northern bleachers. Once the guard had finished his attack and lowered his arms the mutant Digimon flew head first, ramming his neon green mask into the bull Digimon's chest.

The guard was forced backwards and tumbled to the ground with a grunt. Once the Sagittarimon was down a Mothmon floated above him then fired his machine gun at the defenseless guard.

Speeding rounds pierced the bull Digimon's flesh. Some of the bullets were embedded within his body, while other shot completely through, breaking his skin twice. Trails of crimson soaked his dark brown fur, and he lied upon the tile floor twitching and moaning in pain.

The Sagittarimon's blood had splattered everywhere, drawing the attention of a near by Tekkamon from the West. The purple machine Digimon's painted on grin gave him the appearance of a smiling spook. His glowing eyes seemed to dim at the sight of the suffering bull Digimon, and without reason he floated over to him. His artificial voice produced a mocking laughter as he raised his pirate style sword into the air. Then with an even harsher laugh, he brought the sword down unto the guard's neck. The sharp blade cut through flesh, muscle and bone with ease as it decapitated the bull.

Tekkamon almost playfully pushed the Sagittarimon's head with his sword, causing the bloody limb to roll like a ball. The head stopped and rolled over until the guard's glazed eyes stared pleadingly at the Eastern bleachers.

TK winced as he felt warm liquid running down the side of his face. Slowly he raised his shaky hand to his check and touched the fluid. His figure tips became sticky due to the fluid and he nearly vomited when he saw the red now painting his fingers.

Blood was raining from the sky as flying Digimon were ripped apart in mid air. He knew the color had probably drained from his face, and he was certain that his body was shaking, but this was not because of fear. He did not fear the madness around him. He had seen battles with far more carnage and death than this brawl. No, he was not afraid, he was disgusted. The very sight of such needless fighting was repulsive to one so pure.

"Let's get in there!"

The blonde looked up at the sound of Agumon's voice, wishing to see how his comrades were planning to handle their situation.

"And what side do you plan on helping?" Tai asked his partner.

Agumon looked at partner closely then nodded his head, showing that he understood the brunette's words.

"Tai's right," Izzy shouted so that all the Digidestined and their partners could hear. "We can't fight when we don't know who our opponent is. We need to get out of here!"

Gennai had rushed to the floor when the first wave of Digimon began springing from their seats. He was now on the floor by the Eastern bleachers with his sword drawn. He had not moved to the floor to join the battle, but had drawn his weapon so that he would be prepared to defend the Digidestined, should any foolish Digimon dare to approach them.

With the threat of attack minimized the Digidestined were able to focus their attention on their next move. They wanted to rush to the floor and help in the battle, but none of them knew which side they belonged to. Were they with the council, the East, or the South? The truth was that they were on their own side, and this left them with only one option, and that was to leave.

Of course the last thing TK wanted to do was to leave, but he knew that the safety of the others was at stake.

"Gennai's cleared a path for us!" he cried, "We can get out through the door by D'Archmon's desk!"

The others nodded at the Child of Hope, and then followed his lead. Quickly they raced down the isle while their eyes darted around the room, watching for any possible attack.

No one took notice of the Chosen, and they managed to reach the bleacher steps without interference. They rushed down the steps, ignoring the sounds of war behind them, then darted to the door.

Once down the stairs TK had moved to the side and waited, wanting to make certain that his friends got down safely. Once they were all on the floor, TK watched as his fellow Digidestined and their partners ran to the door and exited the room.

"TK we have to go!" Patamon cried in dismay as he noticed his partner's reluctance.

He ignored Patamon's cries and somberly turned around. The blonde had every intention of following his friends, but not yet. Slowly he walked to the side of the bleachers and stood on the border of chaos. His baby blue eyes roamed over the battleground, taking in the sight of death and destruction. Finally he grew tired of the blood and broken bodies and so he shifted his gaze to the Southern bleachers, where his brother still sat in his red cup shaped chair.

Yamato had remained in his seat as the battle filled the room. The Nightmare Soldiers had pushed past the Sagittarimon with ease, however, they did not destroy them. Instead they forced the guards into the center of the room where their chances of survival were greater.

Sorcermon was now sitting next to Yamato quietly. The moment a threat arose the Nightmare Soldiers went to their General's aid, allowing the wizard to walk leisurely back to his seat. Now he and Yamato watched the battle closely.

"You certainly have a knack for making history. Even Piedmon never managed to create a battle in the middle of a council meeting."

Sorcermon commented as he watched a Devimon use his sharp claws to rip through a Gargomon's chest. The rabbit like Digimon's white fur was stained red as the demon's claws sunk deep into him, piercing his lungs.

"This wasn't my intention." Yamato replied calmly.

Sorcermon nodded in agreement. "I know."

Though on the outside Yamato appeared calm and almost uninterested with the battle, within his was screaming and weeping all at once. When the uproar first began he was concerned for Sorcermon, but his soldiers moved efficiently, protecting his Political Advisor, and affording him a safe path to the bleachers.

Once Sorcermon was safe he looked towards the Eastern bleachers to make certain that the Digidestined were protected. He knew the Nightmare Soldiers would not dare to attack them, but accidents do happen, and he was worried that a stray attack might find its way to the stands.

Once he saw Gennai move to the floor protectively and his friends dash to the bleacher stairs, his concern for them was eased and he was able to turn his focus fully to the battle.

"Call them back." Yamato ordered as he rose from his seat. "We're leaving."

Sorcermon followed his liege's action and also stood from his seat. Using his telepathic abilities he sent out a mental order to the soldiers on the floor.

"Nightmare Soldiers fall back. It is time to go."

Once the order was given Yamato, Sorcermon, and the two Kuzuhamon headed to the stairs, ready to leave the council room behind.

As Yamato walked down the stairs, a stream of power caught his attention and he turned his gaze to the Eastern bleachers. His keen sense of sight narrowed upon the source of this power, and tears welled up in his eyes as he looked upon his brother.

TK met his brother's gaze; his own eyes sparkling with unshed tears. The distance between them was so small and yet he felt as though they were worlds apart. He wanted to rush through the hell within the room and embrace his brother with all the love and hope he had, but he feared rejection. As he struggled with his desire a hand was placed gently on his shoulder, causing him to turn away.

Yamato looked into his brother's eyes and saw the damage that he had caused. There were no words that could explain the love he had for this boy, for this angel who had so dramatically touched his life. And there were no words that could describe the pain he now felt at the thought of never being near him again. He wanted to stand there for as long as possible and take in the mere image of his brave brother, but the moment was short lived as the Child of Hope's attention was pulled to another.

TK could not hide the shock in his face as he looked at the one who so kindly touched his shoulder.

D'Archmon was standing in front of him; her dark eyes seemed to radiate grace as she looked respectfully at the young Chosen.

"You should go."

The angel advised, her voice gentle but absent of pity. In her eyes the Digidestined were warriors, not children to be cuddled, and she greatly respected them for their strength and virtue.

TK clenched his fist as he considered the Chancellor's advice. He wanted to stay. He wanted to stay close to his brother as long as possible, but the sight of someone standing behind the angel made him reconsider.

Tai was standing in the door patiently waiting for the younger boy. The elder had noticed the blonde fall away from the others and turn back, and so once the other Digidestined were safe within the hall, he turned back and waited for the one who fell behind.

When TK saw Tai silently standing with the same hurt within his eyes, he realized that to bear this burden of pain alone was unnecessary. He and his brother's best friend could be each other's strength for as long as it took to get Yamato back.

Before TK departed he stole one last look to the Southern bleachers. His brother was gone and the Nightmare Soldiers were slowly clearing out of the room. With nothing left but to go forward TK marched towards the leader of the Digidestined while silently vowing revenge against who ever was responsible for taking his brother away.

D'Archmon watched the last two Digidestined exit the room then turned her attention to the battle.

Blood painted the tranquil blues and whites violent red. Limbs littered the ground like debris litters a field after a storm. The stench of smoldering flesh filled the room, and the sounds of last breathes echoed continuously off the walls.

Mournfully the angel looked upon the wreckage of her world and whispered ominously to herself.

"This is but a small image of the things to come."


Hmm… I hope this wasn't confusing. If you're confused I apologize but don't worry, things will clear up as we go. So yeah, what did y'all think? I know you probably hate me for separating the Digidestined, nothing last forever. Oh and Crusadermon is not the same Crusadermon from Frontier. She is a completely different character (as you will find out later), and her voice is more like Galadriel's (did I spell that right?) from Lord of the Rings. Okay tell me what you think. Oh, and if it takes me a long time to post another chapter and you don't feel like waiting let me know and when I get about half way through the next chapter I'll e-mail it to you, so it don't have to wait as long. Okay I'm off to work hurray! (that was sarcasm)