From the bottom of my heart, I really must apologize to everyone for such a long wait. The last seven months have been filled with nothing but working, college, and writer's block. Of all the chapters I've done so far, this one had to be the most difficult to write. Not just for the complexity of meeting expectations, but also I wanted to try something different - actually making the focus character serious. With business like this, there's not much room for clowning around. I could use peoples' input on how I handled things this time around.
But enough about that. After a longer hiatus than last time, a new chapter has risen! Kudos to Cyrus Arcanum for helping me with this one!
Digimon: Frontier Legacy
Chapter XX: Choices of Soul! Corazomon's Resolve!
"Finally, I've made it back…"
A humanoid wood-type Digimon swung onto a strong branch of a tall tree. He overlooked the unusual area before him with a distant look in his bright yellow eyes.
When it was first built, this place was a vast city where thousands of Digimon thrived. It was a peaceful place to live, where such things as crime and despair were nonexistent. It seemed as if nothing could go wrong in a city like this.
Of course, assuming usually makes an ass out of 'u' and 'me.'
It was the time of the First Digital War, the first major conflict between Human and Beast-type Digimon. The battles had spread far and wide, and this beautiful city was caught in the middle of it. The Beast-types had taken over the area, but their 'enemies' fought back using chemical warfare. The Human-types won the battle, but the city had lost the war. Because of the various chemicals and poisons used during the battle, the entire area became inhospitable for any kind of life to exist. Those civilians that weren't killed by the battle or the chemical after-effects fled far away. In a matter of weeks, the once thriving city was deserted, destroyed, dead.
The war was soon over, and things were changing. Nature was running its course in the deserted area. The rains came and went, slowly but surely washing away the chemicals and poisons used. New plant life began to grow. The resulting trees and other vegetation were able to mingle with the buildings, or what was left of them. Various plant and animal-type Digimon eventually found this new territory, and were quick to claim it as their own. Within 100 years, a new city was born. But things never really went back to normal. It was still considered a hellhole, the plant life quickly dying after long-term exposure to any leftover chemicals or radioactive waste, the streets filled with violence. However its situation, this was the city where the Knight of Wood was born; where he lived; the place that he called…
It was dusk when Lenadoramon arrived in city limits. The streets he walked through were practically deserted; then again, with all of the chaos in recent years, who would be out at night? Stray pieces of garbage and plant life were picked up by a gust of wind, blown across the Knight of Wood's path. It was deathly silent without any outside activity, and it made him uneasy. He had spent a good part of his life here, and he knew that an atmosphere like this only meant trouble.
Then again, it seemed like things never went his way, not even when he was a young Digimon. There was very little he could remember after he was born. He never knew his family. At one of the worst times for the poverty-stricken city, there was little the inhabitants could do to support themselves, let alone their offspring. For this reason, perhaps, he was abandoned on the street and left to his fate. He remembered being alone, struggling just to stay alive for the longest time. And then he was brought in; brought into the ranks of one of the many street gangs of the city. It was this gang that would eventually change his life.
Lenadoramon was pulled out of his thoughts by the sound of the crashing of trash cans in the alley on his left. He put his guard up, knowing that he was in for a fight.
Oh how right he was…
"Who the heck are you?" Asked a voice from the shadows.
"You ain't from around here, are ya?" Asked another voice.
"Then you wouldn't know that this is our turf!" Said yet another.
Two things stuck in Lenadoramon's mind when he heard these voices. One, they all sounded similar, as if they were coming from the same kind of Digimon. And two, they sounded vaguely familiar. There was no time to think about it, as the three unknown assailants made themselves known, coming out from the alleys.
As the Knight of Wood suspected, they were all the same kind of Digimon. They appeared to be ape-like creatures with black and red fur, the skin on their hands and feet a deep red. Each stood about fifteen feet tall with muscular builds. They wore caps in the shape of skulls on their heads, with two flaps of green fur covering their ears. All of them had sick looks in their dull green eyes.
"And you guys are…" Lenadoramon said.
"Told ya he ain't from around here," one of the Digimon said. "We're the Endigomon brothers, the best fighters of the Omegas!"
The Omegas, the Knight of Wood thought. You've got to be kidding me…
"Obviously you have no idea where you are," the second Endigomon said. "Then you'd know any outsider who stumbles into our turf needs to pay the fee."
"You got a choice," the third added. "A thousand credits, or your life."
"You guys seriously think I'm afraid of you?" Lenadoramon asked. "I've got a better idea. How about you pay me a fee. Either get the hell out of my way, or I'll be taking your lives."
The Endigomon stared at him, then glanced to each other. Then they began laughing like crazy. "This guy's a real comedian!" The second said, laughing himself to tears.
The laughing soon ended. "But laughing hour is over," the first said in a deadly serious tone. "It's time you pay up, now!" Before anything else could be said, he found his neck bound in thorny vines. Lenadoramon gave a tug, and the Endigomon was dragged forward, hitting the ground face-first. The Knight of Wood retracted his vines and went into a fighting stance. The other Endigomon looked poised to strike as the first got back to his feet. "You son of a bitch!" He roared, blood coming out of his mouth and nose. "Get him!"
As the Endigomon charged, Lenadoramon opened his chest and fired a Solar Flare, sending the leader back and crashing into the building behind him. The other two swung their long and strong arms, but the Knight of Wood easily ducked under them. As they turned and swung again, Lenadoramon held his arms up and blocked the blows, the wood making up his body more than tough enough to withstand them. At the moment of impact, he retracted a pair of axes from within his arms and slashed downward. He chopped off the arms that had tried to break him. As one Endigomon doubled back in agony, the other continued its attack in an animalistic manner. Lenadoramon kneed him below the belt, and as he fell to his knees he delivered a savage kick, the force strong enough to take his head clean off his shoulders. The other Endigomon quickly recovered, giving off a ear-piercing screech. Lenadoramon leapt over the sound waves and threw his axes. They embedded themselves in the chest of the Endigomon, the Beast Man Digimon collapsing in a bloody heap.
As the Knight of Wood landed, he was hit in the back by a punch from the first Endigomon. Lenadoramon shot out a vine to a lamppost, using it to swing around and hit Endigomon in the head. Endigomon charged again, the Knight of Wood charging as well. For the next few seconds they pounded each other with thunderous blows, neither adversary submitting. Suddenly, Endigomon pulled out a blade and slashed at Lenadoramon, but he dodged to the side and tried to sweep his legs. The Beast Man Digimon jumped over the sweep and threw down an arm. Lenadoramon grabbed the arm and gave a twist, the limb giving off a sickening snap as it was dislocated. Endigomon roared out in malice as it swung with his other arm. With uncharacteristic speed, the Knight of Wood retracted another axe and sliced the arm off. The Beast Man Digimon screeched as he doubled over in pain. Lenadoramon dropped his axe and looked at his aggressor with an uncharacteristic look. He threw out his arms and fired a large amount of vines, wrapping Endigomon tightly before raising him into the air.
"Tell me," Lenadoramon said, "who is your gang fighting against?"
Endigomon spit up more blood as the vines tightened. "The Alphas!" He managed to say.
I should've known, the Knight of Wood thought. "If I let you go, will you leave me alone?" Endigomon gave out another feral roar as he tried to break free. "I'll take that as a no," Lenadoramon sighed. He gave a mental command to the vines, and they suddenly tightened all the way, slicing Endigomon multiple ways. As the bloody bits fell to the ground, they and the bodies of the other Endigomon dissolved into data, which Lenadoramon absorbed into his body. "I gave you guys a choice," he said. "You just had to choose to pay the hard way."
He sensed movement in the corner of his eye. He swiveled his head around and saw something, or someone, hide behind a pair of garbage cans. Whatever it was, it was pretty small. "Who's there?" He asked. "I know you're there. Come out so I can see ya!" The Digimon came out, a frightened look on its face. It was a pink mouse-like Digimon, a little less than a foot tall. It had black nails, a larger-than-normal black nose, and a long thin tail that was all curled up. What made this one unique from its species was several strange markings on its face. It was quivering in fear, its teeth shattering.
"A Chumon…wait…I know you…" Lenadoramon started to say. "Little Chu?"
"Eek!" The Chumon squeaked in fright at the sound of the name. "No! Ya got da wrong 'mon! I don't know anybody by da name of 'Little Chu,' honest!" He gave a big grin, but from the look in Lenadoramon's eyes the act wasn't going to work. "Eh…okay, okay, so I'm Little Chu. What about it?"
The Knight of Wood was about to reply, but fell silent. He knew this Chumon all too well, but this was a long time ago. No one from his past life would have recognized him, so of course the Chumon wouldn't, either. As he thought about this, he felt a pulse of familiar energy coming from Chumon. It wasn't the Chumon itself, but from something, or somewhere, he had been near before. He decided to change the subject right there. "What were you doing hiding back there, anyway? Spying on me?"
"Uh…ya got it all wrong bark-brain! I'm a scout, ya see, and every night I go out in soych of potential membahs for da boss's gang."
Little Chu squeaked out in surprise again. "How'dya know dat?"
"Heard about them down the grapevine, excuse the pun," Lenadoramon replied. "They're the strongest street gang in the city, if my sources are right. So, I take it I'm a prospect, now?"
"Dunno," Little Chu replied. "Dat depends. Whoever's being watched needs ta make da choice whether or not ta join da Alphas. And whether or not ya do become one is left ta da boss. But take it from me, your odds are gonna be sky-high. Come on, ya took down a trio of da Omega's strongest gang membahs single-handedly just a minute ago! No one has been able ta do dat!"
"I see…" Once again Lenadoramon began thinking to himself. That energy I feel from him…it's definitely my Dragon spirit…but it's not in his body…so where is it? It may be a painful trip down memory lane, but something tells me reuniting with the Alphas again will provide the answers I'm looking for…
"Hello, earth ta tree-on-legs…" Little Chu said, trying to break Lenadoramon from his apparent daze.
The Knight of Wood came to his senses as he made a tough decision. "Where can I meet your boss?"
"Ya mean ya want ta join us?"
Lenadoramon nodded slightly. "Yeah, it might prove to be a life-changing experience for all of us if I do."
Little Chu's cartoon-like features seemed to light up at these words. He squeaked in joy as he hopped onto Lenadoramon's shoulder. "Dat's awesome! Now, if ya don't mind, I'll be directing ya ta HQ."
The Knight of Wood sighed to himself, but didn't let the Chumon see it. "Lead the way," he finally said.
With Little Chu as a guide, Lenadoramon walked through the maze-like alleyways of the city. The further they went, the more desolate the area seemed to become. There was no light except for the moon's shining on the darkness of the graffiti-stained walls and broken windows. Lenadoramon would have sighed in disgust over what he was seeing, but he knew he had to try and keep in character.
At last, he was led to the end of a longer-than-usual alley, a steel door the only thing there. Little Chu leapt off of Lenadoramon's shoulder and landed in front of the door. He kicked it three times and waited. A few seconds later a small plate slid open near the top of the door, a deep red eye looking through it.
"Who's there?" The doorkeeper asked.
"Shove it down your windpipe," Little Chu replied, "it's me."
The eye looked down and saw the Chumon with his arms on his hips, then looked back up to Lenadoramon. "And who the hell is this chunk of oak?"
"A possible new membah," Little Chu answered. "Now ya gonna let us in or not?" The only reply was the door opening. "Well, whatcha waitin' for? Come on!" The Knight of Wood shrugged his shoulders and followed. He stepped into what seemed like an open bar, but it did not have the feel of fun at all. Instead, it felt like a place one would rather not be. The garbs the Digimon present wore were normal, but they all had one thing in common. Be it patches, tattoos, or plates on their clothing, they all had the same symbol - the Greek letter Alpha. As soon as the Knight of Wood stepped into the place, everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at him.
"Lil' Chu, this guy want to join or die?" An Orgemon asked, drawing his club
"Relax Shrekkie," Little Chu said. "Dis guy says he wants ta join."
"You can't be serious…" Replied the green Digimon as he downed the last of his mug's contents. "He looks like he just digivolved to Champion!"
"Hey, don' judge too quickly! I seen dis guy in action. He took out da Omega Endigos on his own just a while ago, ya should know."
"This guy?! No way! Me and them had a score tah settle!" His red eyes were now wide open and flaming.
"Sorry to spoil your little marital spat," Lenadoramon replied, "but they were the ones who attacked me. And I wasn't about to get killed by a bunch of lightweights, not here or now."
"Damn it all…I think I need another round." The Ogremon sulked back to his chair and raised his hand to call for another glass.
"So how exactly did ya do it?" A Minotauromon asked. "Those guys were the tankers of that group, y'know."
"Let's just say that they got in the way of what I'm here for," Lenadoramon responded. "They threatened to kill me, so I ended up killing them in defense."
"You seriously think the boss is gonna buy that crap?" 'Shrekkie' asked before downing his new shot.
"Yes, I do."
The Ogremon nearly choked on his alcohol at that voice, and all fell silent as a figure stepped in from the other side of the room. He was nine feet tall and had the look of a werewolf, with white and blue-striped fur and menacing teeth. He wore leather belts around his chest, and a pair of tattered jeans. His face and body had several scars from what seemed like many vicious battles in the past. Lenadoramon could feel a strong energy coming from him, but couldn't tell what it was exactly. Either he didn't recognize it, or its true power was being masked by something.
"Evenin' boss!" Little Chu said. "I'm sure you hoyd da news already."
"Shaddup, Chu," snapped the wolf Digimon as he circled the knight. "Interesting form you've got. You look strong, but looks mean nothing. So, you must think you're some kind of big shot just because you beat the Endigomon brothers."
"Actually," Lenadoramon replied, "I don't."
"Good," the Digimon said, "because I'm the top dog around these streets. In case you don't know who I am, I'm Were Garurumon, leader of the most dominant gang this city's ever seen. The Dark Force has no power here. You follow my rules to survive. Got it?"
"You'd kill me if I said no," Lenadoramon said. "I got it, you're the boss."
"Good," Were Garurumon said with a grin on his face. "State your name."
If they know who I really am just by my real name, Lenadoramon thought, I'm sunk. Remarkably, an idea quickly came to mind. "If you wanna know, my name is Bucheromon."
"Bucheromon? That's a stupid name!" Were Garurumon said, with an agreeing murmur in the crowd. "Doesn't matter. When you're in my gang, you have to earn your name." He thought for a second before nodding. "From now on, your name is 'Chip.' Got it?"
Oh gods... Lenadoramon felt a sudden air of deja vu…
The young Digimon followed a pair of rough-looking gang members down the alley until they came to a large open area, where other Digimon were either chilling out or honing their fighting skills. At the center of it all was a large wolf-like creature with blue and white fur. He looked up when it saw the stranger coming towards him.
"What's he doing here?" The Wolf Digimon asked in a growling tone.
"We found him on the street, Garurumon," one of the 'recruiters' said. "We roughed him up a bit, but he held up nicely. With a bit of experience he could be of use to us."
"We'll see," Garurumon said. "Hey kid, how about joining us Alphas? You could be part of something big if we win supremacy here, and if you live long enough."
"I don't know…" The young Digimon's replied.
"It's either that, or we kill you on the spot right now. There's no such thing as an easy life here. Survival of the fittest is law. You either fight, or you die, got it?"
After a moment, the Digimon sighed, "got it."
"What's your name, then?"
"I…I don't know…I was never given a name…"
"He don't look like any Digimon I've ever seen," a Goblimon whispered into Garurumon's ear. "A Genetic birth, y'think?"
"Maybe," the wolf Digimon whispered back. "Those kind of births aren't common. For all we know he could be a new species altogether." Speaking up he said "forget it. Your real name isn't important here. What is important is that you receive a new name from us." He thought for a moment, then got an idea. "From now on, you'll be known to us Alphas as 'Chip.' Sound good to you?"
The young Digimon gave a bit of a smile. Perhaps it was because he was finally given a name he could hold on to, or perhaps it was because it meant he'd be accepted by someone, anyone. "Yeah, that sounds good to me."
"Good," said Garurumon. "It'll take some getting used to, but you'll get a handle on our lifestyle soon enough. Welcome to the Alphas, Chip."
The Knight of Wood came back to his senses. "I'll go with that. Better than Woodchip, that's for sure." The rest of the gang got a laugh out of that.
"Torch, get him filled in on the spec." Were Garurumon walked into his quarters as Torch, a slender humanoid reptile Digimon wearing armor decorated with flame designs approached 'Chip.'
"The spec?" Lenadoramon asked.
"Our plan of action," the Flamedramon replied. "A little while outside of the city is an abandoned weapons factory. Below it is an underground network filled with radioactive waste left behind from the past Digital Wars. We plan to lead the Omegas there and finish them for good."
"I'm surprised you guys haven't ended this feud already." The Knight of Wood said, but not loud enough for Were Garurumon to hear. "So, what part am I going to be playing? You don't even know what I am capable of doing."
Torch smiled. "I don't need to...you and Shrekkie are going deep into Omega territory to shake the place up. Seeing as how you beat the Endigomon, this shouldn't be much of a problem."
"So we're the cannon fodder," Lenadoramon said. "How nice."
"Believe what you want," said Torch with a dead serious face, "but we're all tired of this feud. This has gone on long enough. We have bigger things to worry about right now."
"Which would be…"
"The Dark Force," Torch replied bluntly. "Once we beat the Omegas, we're joining up with this gang in the southern seas to take him on. Were Garurumon will be leading the way."
Shoulda known he'd get too power-hungry, the Knight of Wood thought. So he's planning to overthrow the master, eh? Unfortunately for him he doesn't know who I really am. This is just perfect, now not only do I need to get my Dragon spirit, but I also need to stop a rebellion... "Sounds good," Lenadoramon said out loud. "With such powerful Digimon in this gang and the reinforcements from that other one, the Dark Force won't know what hit him."
"Exactly...however, without the boss's 'Ace in the hole,' we would never even think of doing this." Torch gave a nod to the new member and followed after his superior.
As the Flamedramon's last words were spoken, Lenadoramon felt a spike in power, but only for a moment. No doubt about it now, he thought. It's here, somewhere…
"Congrats, Chip!" Little Chu said. "What'd I tell ya? I knew ya'd be brought in no prob!"
"Thanks, I think," Lenadoramon replied. "So, when exactly is this little 'sting' going to happen?"
"Like it or not, tomorra," the Mouse Digimon replied. "So ya better rest up. It's gonna be hectic in da mornin."
Out of the corner of his eye, the Knight of Wood saw the Minotauromon preparing to leave the room through the entrance. "Off to do some scouting. I'll see the rest of ya in the morning."
As Minotauromon left, Chumon sighed. "Man, why does he always have ta take a walk every night? He should know it's dangerous out dere at night!" Everyone else in the room stared at him. "What?"
Sleep didn't come easy for Lenadoramon as he lay on the bunk prepared for him. The sheer essence of his spirit kept him awake for most of the night. Then again, it was more like the thought of what would happen to him if his secret was found out. He would have tried to search the hideout for his spirit, but he felt it would make him look suspicious. It seemed like he was in between a rock and a hard place.
Then, for what possibly could have been another miracle, the Knight of Wood had an inspiration. He remembered being told that the plan being carried out by the Alphas wouldn't have even come to pass if it weren't for Were Garurumon's 'Ace in the hole.' If that didn't ring a bell to anyone, they'd clearly be an idiot, Lenadoramon thought to himself. This 'Ace' has got to be my spirit.
It was no wonder he felt so much stronger than any other of his kind. This would make things even more complicated. The first problem would be getting the spirit away from his former leader. The second would be successfully making a getaway without having pursuers from both sides on his tail.
Well, he'd figure something out. He always did.
I'll worry about it in the morning, he thought, as he tried to get some sleep, if only a few hours worth…
In another part of the city, a large Digimon draped in a brown cloak entered yet another alleyway. When he got halfway through, he knocked on the wall a few times and said "the beginning of the end." Like magic, part of the wall opened like a door, and the Digimon walked inside.
The room was similar to the environment the Alphas called home, but there was a big difference to the Digimon present. They all wore symbols resembling the letter 'Omega.' They looked up from what they were doing to look at the apparent stranger.
"Where is he?" The figure asked. "I've got news."
"This better be some important news to wake me up playa gangsta," replied a large red frog-like Digimon.
"It could mean the end of this little spat between us and them," the cloaked figure replied.
"You must've gotten on that ooh wee Vermillion to think I'd believe stuff like that cause a Playa Gangsta!" The ShogunGekomon said.
"Let him talk, Frogger," a voice said. A new Digimon stepped out of the darkness. He was about seven feet tall and had the look of a humanoid dog. He wore silver armor on his arms and feet, and had what looked like a heavyweight championship belt draping from his left shoulder to his right side. He wore a dark pair of sunglasses over his eyes.
"MachGaogamon, you need to hear this."
"Just get on with it, Matador," MachGaogamon said. "I don't have all night."
"Right," the Digimon said, pulling the cloak off. He revealed himself to be the same Minotauromon present in the Alpha's headquarters. "The Alphas are planning a massive assault come tomorrow. If things go their way, the Omegas are finished."
"Hmm...Were Garurumon never was smart enough to know when to be happy with the bone he's eating." MachGaogamon looked at the rest of his gang and continued with his comment. "When they begin this plan, follow it like you don't know. I'll handle that mongrel myself…"
Minotauromon nodded and was about to leave, but then he thought of something. "Oh, there's something else you may want to know."
"Well...they've got a new member. He calls himself Bucheromon, but I know I've seen him before. I think he's one of the Dark Force's lackeys. I don't know why he's here, but with the his power on their side, things may not go as we hope they will."
"We'll just have to be careful, then," MachGaogamon said. "We can handle the Alphas, but I doubt even Alphamon could take on the Dark Force…" Looking over his gang, he noticed something…out of place. "Hey, where are the brothers? I thought they'd be back by now."
"They're…dead," Minotauromon replied. "That lackey I told you about killed them just a while ago."
MachGaogamon began to growl fiercely. Everyone in the room back off as energy seemed to flow out of the Digimon. "...When Were Garurumon falls," he finally said, "that bastard shall fall with him…"
Back then, even in the bleakest of times, there was still a glimmer of light and hope in the streets. In one of the more crowded areas of the city, child Digimon would play, and the adults would do their best to scratch out a living. This was Lenadoramon's favorite place to be during the day when he was a child, a place so full of life and potential. When he was alone, when no one from the gang was around, he'd spend hours here, helping the adults however possible or play with the other children.
Now, the area of town Lenadoramon loved the most was just like the rest of the city; nearly deserted, run-down, and without any hope at all. That's how he saw it as he and the Ogremon dubbed 'Shrekkie' walked down the street.
"How do I know I can trust you to do your job?" Shrekkie asked.
"I'd ask you the same thing," Lenadoramon replied. "For all you know, I could be a spy of the Omegas."
The Ogremon laughed. "Yeah, like that's possible! Y'know, you got the looks of having brains and stuffing of nothing but sawdust. How could someone with that little brain be a calculating spy?" It took a bit of effort for the Knight of Wood to resist not punching his lights out. "Anyway, you got nothing to worry about. If we all play our part in this plan, this little feud with the Omegas will be a thing of the past."
"We'll see…" Lenadoramon said to himself. He then noticed an elderly Digimon on the sidewalk. She was perhaps three feet tall, wearing a green cloak and brown pointy shoes. Her hair in front covered her eyes, while the rest was in a bun held in place by a giant pin. She had a withered broom by her side as she diligently waited for anyone to come by her little shop. The Knight of Wood recognized her almost immediately. "It couldn't be…"
"You say something?" Shrekkie asked.
"No…nothing. Hey, you go on ahead. I'll catch up with ya in a few minutes." The Ogremon shrugged as he took off. When he was gone, Lenadoramon walked up to the small display of trinkets.
"Would you like to buy something, laddie?" The old Digimon asked. She didn't look up, but knew that someone was in front of her.
"Huh? Who's there?" She lifted up the hair over her beady red eyes. "Forgive me, my eyesight isn't what it used to be. Who are you?"
"It's been a long time," Lenadoramon said. "You may remember my nickname. It's…Chip."
Babamon nearly jumped out of her cloak when she heard that name. "Good gods, is that really you Chip? It's been nearly fifteen years! I thought you died in that rumble all that time ago!"
The Knight of Wood sighed. "I probably should have died that night." He got hit in the head by Babamon's broom. "Ow! What was that for?"
"Don't you dare talk like that!" Babamon scolded. "Everyone with a good heart deserves to live their lives to the fullest! You of all Digimon should know that!"
"Then why am I still alive?" Lenadoramon asked. "I haven't exactly been an innocent soul all my life. You should know I've done plenty of horrible things between when I left and now. Why have the gods spared me all this time?"
"Shut up, shut up, shut up!" Babamon cried, hitting Lenadoramon over the head countless times. "You oughtta know by now that no soul is sinless! But redemption is on the horizon! Your soul will be judged for all your deeds, both good and bad! Remember that!"
Lenadoramon didn't say a word through the Ancient Digimon's rant or the beatings to the head. "Sorry," he finally said. He didn't want to say anything about what he was doing with his life right now, or Babamon would never stop. "I'll try my best to remember that. Gods, I remember back when I used to help you with your shop when the gang didn't need me around. You were one of the few people I knew I could trust, who I could go to if I had a problem."
"Yes, those were the good old days," the Ancient Digimon said. "This feels just like old times, wouldn't you say?"
"Yeah. So, how have you been keeping yourself over the years?"
"Oh, it's been dreadful," Babamon replied. "It seems like the violence and corruption in this city gets worse by the year. I'm surprised there are still good people. I've barely been able to make enough money as it is. If things don't turn around soon I may end up leaving."
"What if something changed your mind?" Lenadoramon asked.
"Like, what if peace and order was restored here? What if all of the chaos was brought to an end?"
Babamon laughed. "Like that's even possible. Who would be able to do such a thing? There is no such thing as true peace or order. It's just an illusion brought on by those seeking more power. And what is there to end all of the chaos and misery inflicted on this city?"
"If it were in my power," Lenadoramon replied, "I would find a way. A way of getting rid of the scum of this place I call home, a way that just may be possible if I can find what I am looking for."
"Is that why you came back?" Babamon asked. "I'm sure it wasn't just to come see little old me again."
The Knight of Wood sighed. "Of course I wanted to see you again. And don't worry, things may be bad now, but will get better. I swear it."
"How so? What can you possibly do?"
"I won't know until I try," Lenadoramon said. "Then again, with the run of bad luck I've been having, I don't even know if I can make a difference once I find my new power."
Babamon chuckled. "If that's all, then take this." Looking through her merchandise, she chose a dusty silver ring from the small table. "I've been keeping this old thing around hoping it would give me good luck, but apparently it doesn't like me all that much. I want you to have it. Think of it as a way to remember me by in case something happens. Maybe it'll like you better than I, and it'll give you all the luck you'll ever need."
Lenadoramon was touched, and he would have been smiling if he had a mouth. Instead, his eyes seemed to light up as he softly received the trinket. "Thank you," he said. "Sorry to leave in a rush, but I have to get going."
"What are you going to do?" Babamon asked.
"Tie up loose ends and end a feud that's gone out of control." The Knight of Wood was about to leave, but he stopped mid-step. "You know," he said, "I've never said it before, but you've been more like a mother to me than anything."
Babamon smiled. "And if you were my son, I couldn't ask any more from you," she replied. "Best of luck to you." Lenadoramon nodded, and he hurried off, hopefully to achieve what he deemed the impossible…
They knew it was coming.
The final confrontation was drawing near.
One way or another, this war of factions was going to end.
MachGaogamon oversaw the rest of his gang preparing themselves and their weapons. Some of the members were relatively new, while others had been with him from the beginning. No matter how long they've been a part of the Omegas, all of them had seen the violence, the bloodshed, the carnage. He couldn't say who would win, or who would survive this battle, but as he told them during initiation, 'if you're going to give those Alphas your life, give them hell before you do.' He knew damn well himself that if he was going to die, he would go out with a bang.
Strange how he thought of that…
The entrance to the Omega's headquarters was blown to pieces, rubble sent everywhere. Several of the gang members fought through the smoke and debris and into the alley, sending out their attacks. The strikes either hit nothing but air or caused more damage to the alleyway.
"Hold you fire, you idiots!" MachGaogamon ordered. "It's all a diversion! Wait until you know where they are, then attack! Pipismon, see if you can pinpoint their exact locations!"
A small bat-like Digimon flew out into the alley, but not enough so he'd be a target. He began sending out high-pitched screeches that went ricocheted off the walls in all directions. "There are several Alphas at the end of the alley, but they have yet to advance. Wait…two more…on the roof!" At these words, he was bound by vines and was pulled up into the air.
"Pipismon!" MachGaogamon cried. He and his leading subordinates watched as the Bat Digimon was pulled up to the top of the closest building.
"HELP!" Pipismon shrieked before his cries were cut short by a club shot to the head.
"Damn, that ugly baseball bat was startin' to make me deaf!" Shrekkie joked out loud as he absorbed the Pipismon's data.
"Bastards!" MachGaogamon growled, aiming one of his gauntlets and firing. The Ogremon dodged the energy blast just in time. "You'll pay for that!"
"I doubt that," Shrekkie said. "We got a message for you from Were Garurumon. We're ending this feud once and for all. We can settle this in one of two ways - either you and the rest of your gang meet us at the old factory ruins outside of town in one hour, or we can have our strike force wipe you out right now." He pointed down the alley to a large group of Alphas, ready to attack on command.
"What we gonna do?" ShogunGekomon asked. "I'm ready either way playa gangsta!"
MachGaogamon considered his options. Sure, they'd have home-field advantage if there was a fight now, but there was no telling how many reinforcements the Alphas had at the moment. If they fought on the Alphas' terms, they may be at a disadvantage, but if it was the trap he was told of, they'd be ready.
"Alright, we'll meet you at the ruins, but give Were Garurumon this message - he'll regret ever challenging us to a fight to the death." He got no verbal reply, as Lenadoramon and Shrekkie disappeared. A shrill whistle sent the rest of the Alphas away. "Boys, get ready for the fight of your lives," MachGaogamon announced. "Today, we put an end to this feud!" The Omegas roared out in response.
Long ago, during the Digital Wars, the Human-types used a factory outside the city to manufacture chemical weapons. It was weapons such as these that brought countless victories during the time the war took place here. Even after a hundred years, the ruins of the factory remained a reminder of the destruction and chaos the conflicts of the past caused. No one dared approach this sanctum, and not just because of the thought of desecrating seemingly sacred ground. Because the factory was abandoned during an enemy attack, there was no time to contain the various chemicals. As a result, they seeped through the damaged vats and into the ground and networks of tunnels underneath the plant. With all the volatile substances mixed together, it was like a deadly cocktail for anyone who dared search the tunnels or build anywhere near the factory. Warnings were posted everywhere to stay away, but the signs would be ignored today.
On opposite sides of what would become a battlefield, the Alphas and Omegas stood. Some were shouting battle cries and threateningly waving their weapons. Others were stone faced, clenching their weapons tightly with anticipation. On the Alpha side, Lenadoramon stood back, watching the scene unfold. He had once been with the Alphas, and he still felt strong feelings towards them. After all, they were one of the closest things he had to a family. But he knew that these feelings would go unanswered, even if he kept his true allegiance a secret. And even if the truth came out, he probably would have been treated the same way as he was back then, but to a greater extent.
That day was similar to this one. He could remember it clearly…
Yet another rumble.
That's what it seemed like to the young Digimon nicknamed Chip. Whenever there had been a dispute between the Alphas and Omegas, a fight to settle things happened. This time the fight was over a specific piece of territory covering the market district of the city. Both sides wanted it, but only one would claim it tonight. Sure, the losers of this fight could easily come back in the future and gain supremacy in the area, but that wouldn't be a possibility if their numbers were low.
Chip knew that this battle was important for his gang, but he just couldn't get himself involved in the actual fighting. Garurumon realized this shortly after the young Digimon became a member of his gang. He planned around this from the start, having him on guard duty during most of the rumbles. In other words, he was to make sure no retreating Omega got past him.
But for some reason, the young one was still letting the enemy slide past him. He would try his best and attempt to hold his own, but it the end it was never enough. Garurumon's philosophy was to not let any enemy leave the battlefield alive, and Chip's actions went completely against that. The Wolf Digimon was getting sick of the countless screw-ups, so this would be the young one's last chance. Either he did his job, or there'd be hell to pay.
As if Chip didn't have enough problems. While he was brought into the Alphas, he still didn't feel like a true member of it He was scared to death of fighting, and it showed every time he came into contact with an Omega, or any other rival gang member. But now his place in the Alphas, or perhaps even his own life, was at risk tonight. If he didn't to as he was told, there was no telling what would happen to him.
So he watched, and waited, hoping that all of the Omegas would be killed during the fight.
He saw many Digimon go down, the victors absorbing the fallen ones' data before returning to the fray. In the middle of it all, Garurumon was fighting another Digimon; Gaogamon, the leader of the Omegas. His form was like a Husky, with blue and white fur. He wore special red gloves on his front paws and bandages on his hind ones. A long red scarf was tied around his neck. As the overall fighting increased in intensity, the Alphas were gaining the upper hand. A Howling Blaster sent Gaogamon crashing into the side of a building. As he tried to return to his feet, he saw that the rest of the gang he had brought with him were either dead or retreating through the alleys.
"End of the line, mutt," Garurumon said, the other Alphas forming up beside him. "We've got you cornered. Give up now, and we'll make sure you death is a quick one."
Gaogamon searched around for a means of escape. With the circumstances as they were, there was only one possible place to run. "No thanks," he replied, aiming at the Alphas to his right and firing a Spiral Blow from his mouth. The Alpha Digimon were knocked down, and Gaogamon started to run…
Straight towards Chip.
"Chip, stop him!" Garurumon ordered. "Don't let him get away!"
Chip held out his staff, but he was still shaking. Gaogamon continued his advance, and the young Digimon cried out in fright. "Out of the way!" The Dog Digimon barked, slashing with his claws. The Dash Double Claw hit Chip, and he was blown away easily, hitting the pavement several feet away. Gaogamon sped past the fallen Digimon and continued through the alleyway he was just guarding.
"DAMN IT ALL!" Garurumon growled. "AFTER HIM!" The swifter members of the Alphas, dashing through the alley after Gaogamon, the others following behind. The Wolf Digimon stayed, focusing on Chip as he weakly got back to his feet. "Why didn't you stop him?" He asked angrily. "You could have blocked that attack no problem! Why didn't you?"
"I'm sorry," Chip replied, "I…I was…afraid…"
"Afraid? AFRAID? There's no such thing as fear in the Alphas! You don't become afraid, you make your enemy afraid! But no, every single time I give you a task, you mess up with flying colors, all because you're too afraid to do anything! You're PATHETIC! MEANINGLESS! You should never have been brought into this world!"
"No…" Chip started to say. "I…I've got to have a reason to be here…or why would I be alive…"
"THAT'S ENOUGH OUT OF YOU, YOU STUPID PIECE OF CRAP!" Garurumon roared. "I told you there'd be a price to pay for messing up tonight, and it's time to PAY UP!" He fired his Howling Blaster, hitting Chip and sending him crashing into the side of another building. Garurumon didn't stop there, as he continued to attack the young Digimon. By the time he stopped, Chip was lying motionless on the ground, smoke rising from his charred body. "You're out of the Alphas," the Wolf Digimon finally said. With that, he joined in the Gaogamon pursuit, leaving Chip to his fate.
The rain came right after. It quelled the smoke, but it did nothing to help. Chip gave out a slight whimper as he felt himself slip away. Everything he knew was slowly turning black. He knew he was going to die here.
He didn't notice trails of black vapor rushing into the open area from the alleyways. The trails merged into one and began to take shape. In the end, a tall figure dressed in black armor emerged, standing over the dying Digimon.
"Poor, unfortunate soul," the figure said. He pointed a finger and fired a black energy beam at the body.
Moments later, Chip found that he had strength again. It was a painful effort, but he was able to move himself until he was sitting. The moment he saw the figure in front of him, he backed away in fright until he hit the side of the building again. "Who…who are you?"
"I am the one who will bring a new order to this world. I am the one who will eradicate all who stand in my way, and give strength to all willing to stand with me."
"Oh gods…what do you want with me? I have nothing!"
"Of course you don't. You have nothing because everything has been taken away from you. You have no family, no friends, and no power. You are all alone in this world, with little hope for survival. But if you are willing and able, I can change all that."
"Join me. Join me in my campaign to make this world a better place. Serve me, and you will receive a power greater than anything you could possibly imagine. You will be able to live your life to the fullest, and get revenge over those who have left you for dead."
"Would…I really be able to do that?"
"That and so much more."
Chip thought for what seemed like a long time, then replied "I have nothing left to lose…please…grant me whatever power you are able to give me…"
"Will you swear your allegiance to me, and me alone?"
"Will you follow my every command without hesitation?"
"Will you destroy my enemies at my bidding?"
"And will you abandon your old life and start anew?"
"Then so be it…rise…"
The young Digimon stood, and the figure put a hand on his forehead. He felt a rush of power as energy poured into his body. He screamed out loud as it spread, filling him with the darkness. The kanji for 'wood' appeared on his forehead. As the figure withdrew his hand, Fractal Code surrounded the Digimon. When the Code was gone, a different, stronger Digimon stood in Chip's place. He looked himself over, knocking on the thick wood that made up his body. He still felt like a sapling, but knew that with his new form and powers, he would grow bigger and stronger than he could ever believe.
"You may have been called Chip in your previous life, but you shall now have a true name. You shall be known as Lenadoramon, my Knight of Wood."
"I understand. It's got a nice ring to it."
The figure chuckled. "That it does. Now, come, my Knight. There is much work to be done…"
Lenadoramon clenched his fists. Even the punishments from his master couldn't compare to the pain he felt that day. Not just the physical pain, but the pain of being abandoned, left alone to die. He could and would never forgive Were Garurumon for what he did. His only order was to reclaim his dragon spirit, but if the time and opportunity was given to him, he would exact vengeance on his former leader. But he knew that now wasn't the time to think of such things…
He was brought back to reality by the sounds of engines firing up. Were Garurumon was at the controls of a custom-built motorcycle, adorned with chrome and gold plating. It also had a menacing-looking skull before the headlight. He was revving it up loud enough for motivating his gang and to get the attention of the Omegas. On the opposite end of things, MachGaogamon was also on a motorbike, but this one was more suited to his tastes. It was a mixture of silver and blue armored plating, with razor-sharp silver wings in the back. He too was revving it up, preparing his gang for this ultimate fight to the finish.
"Alright you mangy mutt!" Were Garurumon shouted. "The time has come for us to put you down for good! You can't stop the beginning of my new era!"
"The only thing that's going to begin," Mach Gaogamon shouted in reply, "is the end of your miserable excuse for a life, and the start of a new beginning for this city, with us Omegas at the helm!"
Were Garurumon laughed. "You talk too much, you know that? Let's quit with the chatting and start with the slaughtering!"
"For once we agree!" MachGaogamon answered. "Only we'll be the ones doing the slaughtering!"
The Wolf Digimon popped several veins. "I'VE HAD ENOUGH! ALPHAS!"
Both leaders charged ahead on their motorbikes, while all the others rushed towards their enemy as fast as their legs and weapons would allow. The air was filled with the sounds of the bikes and of battle cries. Both Were Garurumon and MachGaogamon stretched out their free arms right as they were about to cross. They were both knocked off of the their mounts, but they landed on their feet and charged each other with cries of fury. Moments later, the sounds of the clashing of weapons and fists connecting with flesh were added as the rest of their respective gangs collided. The battle was on.
The next few minutes could have been considered nothing but absolute chaos. It seemed as if each gang member paired up with an enemy and began fighting with them. Blows were met with blows; cuts were met with cuts; bullet wounds were met with bullet wounds; death was met with death. With each passing minute, the body count rose higher. All participants were fighting with every ounce of their beings, and weren't letting anything get in the way of what they felt was right. Neither side was going to back down; they each would rather die than surrender to their enemy.
In one section of the battlefield, Shrekkie was having the time of his life. He was fighting a Fuugamon, a Digimon very similar to him, but only in shape. In looks and style, he felt he was the real winner. The two were dueling fiercely, locking their clubs together and getting jabs into the body of the other. Fuugamon jumped back for a moment, but the Ogremon knew what was going on. He ducked to avoid the swipe of an enemy Musyamon's sword, and retaliated by forcefully knocking the wind out of him with his club. As the warrior Digimon doubled over, Shrekkie smashed his skull to pieces with another swing. Without missing a beat, he blocked the Fuugamon's sneak attack and forced him away. As Shrekkie was about to charge again, a herd of Mammothmon, allied with the Alphas, charged in-between them. The gigantic Digimon trampled any Omega, or anyone for that matter, that was unfortunate enough to be in their path. Through all the confusion, Shrekkie seized the opportunity and leaped over the herd. Fuugamon was distracted by the charge just long enough to be caught off guard. Shrekkie bashed his head in, and he fell dead to the ground. He absorbed the data before tangling up with a Magnamon.
Of all the fights that were going on, the biggest had to be the one between the gang leaders. The blows being exchanged between them would have normally killed any other Digimon present during this battle, but neither seemed phased by them. In fact, they continued attacking each other with a greater ferocity than seen by anyone else before.
"Winning Knuckle!" Roared MachGaogamon as his fist tore through a solid stone wall to hit Were Garurumon.
Were Garurumon was quick to counter. "Wolf Claw!" He shouted, slashing with his claws, blood-red streaks of energy created. The slashes sliced through what was left of the wall as they hurtled towards their target. MachGaogamon avoided the majority of the attack, but it still left a few thin lines of blood on his face.
"Heh...how many years have we gone through this, Were Garurumon?" Laughed MachGaogamon. "How many times have we battled and were about to win when fate had other plans?"
"You mean like all the times you chickened out of our fights?" Were Garurumon said as the exchange of blows continued. "You always were the weaker between us. You know, I'm glad you decided to answer my ultimatum. There won't be any running this time. One way or another, this battle is going to end. But I intend on proving to you once and for all that the beginning will always triumph over the end!"
"It'll be your life that'll end today!" Replied the blue armored Wolf Digimon. "And as for your burial ground, I couldn't choose a better place myself." He punched the side of one of the factory buildings and forced it to fall upon his enemy.
Were Garurumon punched his way out of the wreckage and charged his opponent yet again. "I won't be pushed around by a weakling like you! Garuru Kick!" He gave a roundhouse kick that sent a wave of violet energy towards MachGaogamon.
"Gaoga Tornado!" Spinning in a circle, a protective shield of wind formed around MachGaogamon that spilt the energy in half. "Like my new move? Unlike you, I learn from previous encounters."
"You don't know me very well, do you? " Were Garurumon charged in, then leaped into the air. He performed a Wolf Claw with both arms, sending a group of the red energy in an 'x' pattern towards MachGaogamon. The Dog Digimon shot out his arms and fired his gauntlets, the shells meeting the Wolf Claw and straining against it. Were Garurumon descended, landing a Garuru Kick on his Wolf Claw, turning both moves into a combination attack. The increased strength and pressure vaporized the shells, forcing MachGaogamon to hold the attack back with his own hands. The ground beneath him buckled as he was pushed back more and more. Finally, he couldn't hold it back any further, jumping out of the way before he could be enveloped by the resulting explosion of power. Were Garurumon capitalized, jumping over the explosion and delivering a dropkick to MachGaogamon's head. There was little time to do anything else, as the Wolf Digimon jumped away to avoid a large orb of fire. A Greymon, part of the Omegas, had arrived to provide support for his leader. The Nova Blast set the area ablaze.
"Can't fight your own battles?" Were Garurumon asked, disposing of the Greymon with a Wolf Claw. "You're much more pathetic than I gave you credit for."
"We ride together, and die together!" Replied MachGaogamon. Suddenly, he rocketed through the flames with his arm out in a fist, the gauntlet roaring to life. "Winning Knuckle!" He caught Were Garurumon off guard with the diversion. The attack connected to the side of his head, and he was sent crashing through another wall. "Better give up while you still can," MachGaogamon said. "I know you too well. With all of your strength going into your attacks, you can't keep the pressure up forever. You're going to give out soon, while I'm just warming up."
Were Garurumon got to his feet, his face bleeding. He spit blood and one of his teeth on the ground, grinning all the while. "You're weak, you know that? Always have been, always will be."
"If I'm so weak, then how come you always fall for pocket sand?!" MachGaogamon tossed some sand into the Wolf Digimon's eyes.
"Not this time!" Were Garurumon roared as he slammed his foot into the ground. The ground around him and near MachGaoramon cracked as energy shot out like steam.
"Howling Cannon!" MachGaogamon fired the cannon on his arm, nullifying his rival's attack. When the energy vanished, Were Garurumon was charging in again. Depending on his speed, MachGaogamon tackled him to the ground and smashed his fist into his side, then pinned him to the ground.
"Now really," the Wolf Digimon said, spitting blood into MachGaogamon's face, "is that all you've got?"
Grabbing his head, MachGaogamon smashed his head into Were Garurumon's, causing both to reel back. "PATHETIC!" Were Garurumon roared out.
"Gaoga Tornado!" Turning into a blue whirlwind, MachGaogamon picked up his target and any other Digimon unfortunate enough to be in the way and smashed them all into the brick walls. He was sure that he had things wrapped up, as Were Garurumon wasn't getting up.
"That's enough," a voice said from above.
"What? Who said that?" MachGaogamon searched the areas above him, but found nothing.
"Me," the voice replied. Suddenly, Lenadoramon landed on the ground, perhaps thirty feet away from the Dog Digimon.
MachGaogamon stood up to the wooden Digimon and snorted in his face. "What side are you on?" He asked with a growl.
"I'm not after you," Lenadoramon said. "I'm after him." He pointed at Were Garurumon.
"You'll have to wait until one of us dies. Then someone will deal with you." MachGaogamon turned his back and filled his fist with golden energy. He suddenly found himself bound with vines. The focus on this new obstruction caused him to lose concentration in his attack.
"I can't let you do that," the Knight of Wood said. "He has something of mine, and I'm here to claim it."
"I said, wait your turn, boy," growled the wolf Digimon. "Don't throw your life away."
"Don't call me 'boy,' or anything else for that matter. I'm far stronger than you may even imagine. Let me take care of my business with him, and then he's yours for the taking."
"My last warning to you…cur." Lenadoramon suddenly increased the tightness of his vines.
"Meteor Wing!" A Birdamon screeched in the air as a flurry of fireballs rained down on the battlefield. The explosions forced the Knight to withdraw his vines to dodge the attack.
"Fine then, boy. I'll deal with you before I finish off Were Garurumon!" Said MachGaogamon as he focused his attention to the Knight of Wood. Lenadoramon responded, firing a Solar Flare. MachGaogamon avoided the attack easily, but not the second one that came immediately after. The Dog Digimon crashed into yet another wall hard.
"You're out of your league, cur. I'd suggest that you quit now while you're still ahead, or I'll take your head clean off." He proved his point by pulling out a pair of axes and throwing them. The axes stuck to the wall on either side of MachGaogamon's head.
"STAY OUT OF MY WAY!" The Dog Digimon roared as he used his Howling Cannons at full blast. Lenadoramon dodged the enemy fire, but it was merely a distraction. MachGaogamon had rushed in, preparing his gauntlets. Using his Winning Knuckle, he attacked with the speed and power of a boxer on steroids, pummeling the Knight of Wood with lefts and right hooks. Lenadoramon, finally having enough, grabbed a gauntlet and flipped his adversary over. MachGaogamon landed on his back, but rolled out of the way before the Knight tried crushing his chest. Staying on all fours, he scrambled towards Lendoramon with a one track mind on destroying him, not letting whatever battle in front of him get in the way of this one. Lenadoramon produced another pair of axes and threw them, following up with a barrage of his Solar Flares. Catching the blades of both axes with bare hands, MachGaogamon barely winced at the pain as he crossed the weapons and shielded himself from the powerful rays.
"What's it going to take to stop you?" The Knight of Wood asked almost rhetorically.
"Not even the wrath of the Royal Knights will stop my dreams of conquest." The Wolf Digimon snapped at the Knight.
"Do you honestly think that things will return to normal if you beat the Alphas?"
"No...everything will be better once the Alphas are out of the way." Replied the leader of the Omegas. "No other gang could rival our power and then we would spread all over the Digital World with our new world order."
Lenadoramon sighed. "While I'm neutral in this little spat, I can't let either of you win. Whoever does will then go against the Dark Force. While odds are you wouldn't last a minute against him, I simply cannot give you that chance."
MachGaogamon raised his eyes at the Digimon for mentioning someone as powerful as the Dark Force so informally when the gears in his head began to spin. "You…" He said with a finger pointed at Lenadoramon. "You're one of the Dark Force's Knights!"
"Took you long enough to figure that out. I am Lenadoramon, Knight of Wood and servant to the Dark Force. But you know me by another name, too. You remember, don't you? When you barreled past me during that territory dispute fifteen years ago? The pathetic little Digimon dubbed Chip?"
"You're pullin' my leg here." MachGaogamon said in shock. "What would he want with you?!"
"It's because of you that I am what I am today. Because of you, I was abandoned by the gang I felt was my only family. It was then that the Dark Force came to me looking for willing followers. I had nothing left, so there was nothing to lose. Because of you, and thanks to him, I was offered a power greater than you nor Were Garururmon could possibly understand or control."
"In all of the years you have known me, you know that you would have to search half the Digital world to find a Digimon with power comparable to mine!" With that said, the Wolf Digimon rotated in a circle and sent the created whirlwind towards Lenadoramon. With a wave of his hand, Lenadoramon conjured up a wall of vines that blocked the whirlwinds with ease. Taking his eyes off the environment, Lenadoramon was struck from behind by the spiked barb of a Stingmon. The Knight of Wood made quick work of the distraction, conjuring up a larger axe and slicing the Insect Digimon in half.
"Double Star!" Said a Shurimon as he revealed itself from behind a cloud of smoke to fire a pair of giant metal stars at the wooden knight. Lenadoramon blocked the stars with his axe, countering with his Vengeance Vines. The vines came out so quickly that the Shurimon was unable to escape them. The moment he was bound by them, Lenadoramon gave the mental signal for the vines to tighten to maximum. The imprisoned Digimon was sliced to bits by the strike.
"This is meaningless," Lenadoramon said. "You can't stop me, and neither can Were Garurumon."
"Is that so?" All eyes turned to the source of the voice. Were Garurumon, a bloody mess, was on his feet, a look both of fury and pride plastered on his face.
MachGaogamon snorted in the Digimon's direction. "Your ability to cheat death astounds even me, mutt." He said.
"I'll take care of you in a minute," Were Garurumon said, turning back to Lenadoramon. "I should've known it was you, Chip. I thought I had left you for dead that night, but I guess even Death itself sees you as pathetic. I have no idea what the Dark Force saw in you to make you a Knight. You have nothing of value, unless you count being cannon fodder."
"Shut up!" Lenadoramon shouted. "I'm not your whipping 'mon anymore! I no longer take orders from mongrels like you! I gave up my old life with a worthless pile of crap that is the Alphas because I thought I could do better than that. I believed I could start over, starting with leaving you behind! But I'm not whole, yet. Once I take care of you and this ridiculous excuse of a feud, maybe this city will become a better place!"
Were Garurumon laughed. "You think you can single-handedly bring peace back to this hellhole just by killing us off? There's no such thing as peace here! Only tyranny, the Dark Force's tyranny! Hatred brings out more hatred, and that's just what happened here! With the ace up my sleeve, I will rise up and take the power that is rightfully mine!"
"And when I take the land back from Dark Force, only then will there be peace in the digital world" Said MachGaogamon, standing closer to Lenadoramon than Were Garurumon.
"Oh, you won't be doing anything. I plan on wiping everyone here out." It was at these words that Shrekkie arrived on the scene.
"Wipe everyone out?" The Ogremon asked. "But boss, what about the plan? Aren't we all gonna fight this revolution?"
"SCREW THE REVOLUTION!" Were Garurumon growled, firing a Wolf Claw at the Ogremon. Shrekkie had no time to react as the attack engulfed him, killing him almost instantly.
"Bastard…" Lenadoramon said. "Killing your own gang members? You've sunk lower than I ever thought you could!"
"I don't need a gang to do what I want," the Wolf Digimon replied. "With this power of mine, I can go it alone. A lone wolf, if you want to put it that way."
"Enough talk about this power of yours!" MachGaogamon cut in. "You haven't even said what this power is, if any at all!"
Were Garurumon chuckled. "Oh, it's real, alright." He clutched his chest as a brown light came out and into his fist. "This is all I need to finish the job."
Lenadoramon knew the energy immediately. "Hand it over!" He snapped. "That belongs to me, and I can't let anyone else use it for their own personal gains!"
"Oh, this is yours? Well then, thanks for letting me use what's going to kill you! With this, I can turn into my supreme form! But there's a small price to pay for using this power, but lucky for me I won't be doing the paying. It requires that I fuse my life force with that of another Ultimate-level Digimon." He looked towards MachGaogamon. "Thanks for volunteering."
"WHAT?!" Said MachGaogamon as he realized too late what was happening. The spirit fired out a beam of brown light that plunged into his chest. He cried out as his life force was being sucked dry. "WHAT'S…HAPPENING…TO ME…" The light pulled out of him as violently as it went in, joining with Were Garurumon again. MachGaogamon's lifeless body collapsed in a heap before dissolving into data.
"Yes! YES! I CAN FEEL THE POWER!" Were Garurumon laughed maniacally as Fractal Code surrounded him. When it vanished, the new being's strength was so great, everyone present on the battlefield could feel it. Were Garurumon's new form was fifteen feet tall. His neon-green body was muscle-bound, with various nuts and bolts coming out of the skin. He wore black cargo pants with leather belts and chains wrapped around. He wore a silver visor over his face. His red hair looked almost on fire, moving with the amount of energy coming out of him. A gigantic axe was strapped on his back.
"No…" Lenadoramon said, stepping back. "I don't believe it…he's harnessed the spirit's power…he's turned into a Boltmon… "
"At last...I have achieved...PERFECTION!" Roared the newly-evolved Boltmon, as his echoing cackle stopped all battle on the field.
"You maniac!" The Knight of Wood shouted. "You can't control that level of power for long!"
"Surely you must be joking...I have all of this power...and still I want more!" Cackling once more, he raised his hatchet high into the air and brought it down the with the force of a lightning bolt. All nearby Digimon, ally and enemy alike, were instantly vaporized, their remaining data absorbed into him. "The hunger...the power...so intoxicating…"
"STOP IT!" Lenadoramon cried, firing a Solar Flare at full blast. Smacking the attack aside, Boltmon walked towards the Knight of Wood with his hand out, ready to crush him between his fingers. "STAY AWAY FROM ME!" Lenadoramon threw the axe he had in his hand, then shot out a barrage of his vines.
"Tomahawk Steiner!" Growled the green Digimon as he threw his enormous axe at Lendoramon and a green flame came off it. The Solar Flares were negated, and the vines were torn to shreds. The Knight grabbed the axe in-between his hands before it could reach him, but he had no time for a breather as Boltmon came in with hard lefts and rights. Lenadoramon was pummeled like no tomorrow before a right hook sent him falling head-over-heels on an empty part of the battlefield. "Berzerker!" Said the machine Digimon as his fist began to spin faster and faster. Lenadoramon was barely able to block or outright dodge the attacks, and he knew that they were coming faster than before.
He's too strong...even for me, Lenadoramon thought to himself. I can't beat him the way he is. I gotta get my spirit out of him before things get even further out of hand...
From out of the corner of the mutant Digimon's eye came a flurry of blasts that sent Boltmon off balance.
"Where is WereGarurumon, and what is that thing doing there?!" Asked Flamedramon as he stood beside Lenadoramon.
"That thing is Were Garurumon," Lenadoramon replied. "That thing he's become is the 'ace' up his sleeve. He's announced his real intentions before you came. He's going it alone, and is planning on wiping out everyone here before he moves on."
Flamedramon was taken aback by this revelation. "but what about the Alphas?" He asked.
"Everyone is fair game, now," the Knight of Wood responded. "He killed Shrekkie earlier."
"This cannot be our leader…" said Flamedramon as he held his head. "It can't be...IT CANNOT BE!" Flying headfirst into battle, he released a massive wave of fire. "MATRIX BLAZE!"
"NO, YOU IDIOT! THAT'S SUICIDE!"
Boltmon chuckled as the flames harmlessly licked his body. "Torch, you puny flicker of fire...feed on the powers that will extinguish you!" He fired a bolt of electricity towards the Armor Digimon. Flamedramon was unable to get out of the way, but he didn't have to. A strong pair of vines grabbed him by the chest and pulled him back, out of harm's way.
"Let me go! I have to save our leader!" Torch yelled as he tried to wriggle his way out of the vines.
"He's long gone, Torch!" Lenadoramon replied. "He's been gone from the moment he tasted the power of the spirit he possesses! No amount of outside help will ever bring him back!" Even he, a Knight of the most powerful evil known to the Digital World, could not look at Flamedramon as he broke down, something resembling tears coming out of his eyes. While it was unusual for someone like the Knight to cry, he was still feeling attached to his old life. But he knew deep down that he had to let go sooner or later. "This feud between the Alphas and Omegas has got to end, or else this city will die from within. If we really want to put a stop to this, we must kill Were Garurumon. But I can't do it alone."
"You're right," said Flamedramon as he wiped his eyes. "This senseless war has taken too many lives...how can I help?"
"First thing we have to do is get that power source out of him," the Knight replied. The problem is, I'm not sure how to do that… all my attacks so far have had no effect."
"Yeah, that monster is so powerful…" The Armor Digimon agreed. "I don't think even he could cut himself…"
As the two Digimon dodged another Berserker from Boltmon, Lenadoramon was thinking as fast as he could to come up with a solution. Then, an idea came to mind.
"You know, with all that drinking you've been doing, it's funny that you can't suck the very souls out of Digimon…"
"What's it?" Asked Flamedramon as he tried another Fire Rocket with no effect.
"I need you to give me a distraction. If things go the way I hope, I'll be able to suck the spirit out of him with my vines!"
"Alright, let's do this! MATRIX BLAZE!" Roared Flamedramon as he put all of his strength into his attack and right into the eyes of the Mega Digimon.
"Hey Mutt! Stop fooling around and show me that power you've been bragging about!" Lenadoramon taunted. "Or, should I be calling you Bitch?" Though the flames covered all of Boltmon's face, he could still make out what the Knight of Wood said and a green stream of flame flew at Lenadoramon, overpowering Flamedramon's attack. He dodged the attack, but barely. "Is that all you got? If I had a nickel for every time you missed me, I'd be rich!"
Flamedramon poured on more power, and yet Boltmon resisted the flames and swung his axe at him. Lenadoramon shot out his vines, grabbing the axe and hurling it away. "There's only one lumberjack here, and that's me!"
"DIE, YOU SCUM!" Boltmon roared.
"Not today!" The Knight responded. "I still have a job to do!" He fired a single vine, aimed at Boltmon's chest, but it bounced off of him. "Ah crap…"
Boltmon reached an arm down and wrapped around Lenadoramon's leg, but he slipped it out thanks to a syrupy sweat on his leg. "I'm sure there's a joke in that, but I'm too busy to think one up." Commented Flamedramon.
"It's useless!" Boltmon said. "My body's too tough for any attack to get through! There's absolutely nothing you can do to stop me!"
"Damn it all…" Lenadoramon said, feeling his strength begin to give out. "Where's Lady Luck when you need her…" As he said this, another thought came to mind.
"I've been keeping this old thing around hoping it would give me good luck, but apparently it doesn't like me all that much. I want you to have it. Think of it as a way to remember me by in case something happens. Maybe it'll like you better than I, and it'll give you all the luck you'll ever need."
The Knight pulled out the silver ring Babamon had given to him, and an idea struck him. Retracting his thickest vine, he slipped the ring on its end, then pulled the vine back, creating tension.
"Prepare to meet your maker, Chip!" Boltmon roared, firing off another Berserker.
"Here...goes...EVERYTHING!" Lenadoramon shot out the vine as hard and fast as he could. The vine broke through the electric attack, and by some miracle is pierced Boltmon's chest, right where his heart would be.
"WHAT?! NO! HOW COULD YOU BREAK THROUGH ME?!" Boltmon cried out as the vine began to absorb his energy.
"Even though you're a Boltmon on the outside," Lenadoramon replied, "you're still a Were Garurumon on the inside. Think of this attack as a silver bullet!" It took longer than expected, but finally the task was done. The vine was pulled out of Boltmon, the spirit glowing on its end.
Without the strength of the spirit backing his power, Boltmon reverted back to Were Garurumon. The Wolf Digimon fell to one knee, clutching the place where the vine had struck him. "I've...pissed on...stronger trees than you." He said as he got back to his feet, blood pouring out of his wound.
"Were Garurumon! You will pay for your crimes!" With his fist cocked back, Flamedramon rampaged towards the Were Garurumon only to be knocked back by a Garuru Kick.
"You're 100 years too early of beating me that way," scoffed the Wolf Digimon.
"Torch, thanks for the help," Lenadoramon said, absorbing the spirit into his body. "I'll take it from here." He began to glow a light brown as he felt the spirit's energy coursing through him. "Were Garurumon, it's about time I paid you back for what you did to me all those years ago."
"You idiot...you think I would not have one last trick?" Laughed Were Garurumon. "Thanks to finally defeating MachGaogamon, I have the power to break my limit!"
Lenadoramon's eyes started glowing a bright yellow. "That won't be enough to stop me, now. Time to show you how this power is meant to be used!" He cried out in as Fractal Code surrounded him.
"EXECUTE! SLIDE EVOLUTION! CORAZOMON!"
As the Fractal Code faded, the area around it was filled with kicked up dirt and debris, blocking all vision.
Finally the dust began to settle, and a new creature emerged. As its Knight counterpart, the dragon was made completely out of wood. Vines with brightly-colored leaves wrapped all around his body. His front legs were long and strong, with razor-thin claws on their ends. His eyes glowed a deep red as he roared out his battle cry. The Dragon of Wood truly would have looked to be a powerful threat…
If he weren't less than four feet tall…
"...AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Were Garurumon was rolling in the dirt, laughing up a storm until he held his sides in pain. "You gotta be kidding me! That is your new form? You look more pathetic than you ever have!"
Corazomon's eyes turned a blood red, and he gave a devilish grin.
"LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING…NATURE'S CHOICE…"
Were Garurumon had stopped laughing, and had begun to step back after the look he was given. The vines around the dragon's body came to life, stretching as far away from their host as they could. At the speed of sound, they all fired, embedding themselves in Were Garurumon's body. He screamed as he was impaled.
"THE TIME HAS COME FOR YOUR JUDGMENT…MY VINES SEEK OUT THE SOULS OF DIGIMON…THE PURE ONES ARE LEFT ALONE…BUT THE FILTHY ONES ARE ABSORBED…TELL ME, WHAT KIND OF SOUL DO YOU HAVE?"
"What do you think?" Snapped Were Garurumon with a sadistic smile on his face. "Not even the chains of Digimon Limbo can hold me down! I will not die here!"
"THAT IS NOT YOUR CHOICE TO MAKE," Corazomon replied. "THE VERDICT HAS ARRIVED!" Were Garurumon cried out as an orb of black energy, representing his soul, was pulled out of him. It was quickly absorbed into Corazomon's body, where it was consumed immediately. "DISGUSTING…FAUNUS EXTERMINATOR!" White energy poured out of Corazomon's mouth before he fired it. The attack overwhelmed the prone body of Were Garurumon, vaporizing it instantly.
The Dragon of Wood roared out in victory before surrounding itself with Fractal Code. When it disappeared, Lenadoramon was in the dragon's place, looking a little dizzy. In spite of that, he was laughing a little. "I did it…I controlled it…"
"It's finally over...it's all over." Flamedramon said with exhaustion, falling on his back with his eyes staring up to the heavens. It was at this time that all remaining Alphas and Omegas were gathering on their respective sides. They all felt the deaths of their leaders, but never expected things to turn out the way they did. All had questioning looks in their eyes, as if asking what would happen now.
Minotauromon was the first to speak. "Now what? Do we have to keep fighting each other?"
ShogunGekomon groaned. "Aw digi-sludge man, I don't have time to decide who to beat up and someone better think up an answer before I nut up in dis mess cause a playa gangsta!"
Minotauromon sighed. "Translation, please? I'm not in the mood to try and figure out what you said…"
"We need a leader if the Alphas and Omegas are to stay together," an Apemon explained.
"Do we really need to go through all of this again?" One of the Mammothmon asked. "I'm getting sick of all this."
"SHUT UP Betamon!"
"Gods," an Alpha's Knightmon said, "we've been following Were Garurumon for so long, we've never really been able to speak our minds like this."
"But now that he's gone, what are we to do?" Flamedramon asked. "Do we continue this war, or is there a better way to settle things?"
"I dunno...you got any ideas Flamedramon?" Asked Little Chu to the Armor Digimon.
"I'm not sure. Dividing territory between us isn't going to help matters. It'll only make things worse."
"Let me ask you this," Lenadoramon said, who had finally recovered from the attacks he had used. "Why were you fighting in the first place? It can't be something as simple as territory."
"Well...long ago back when Lucemon was attacking the Digital World, the Legendary warriors saved the world and left the Spirit of Wood in this land," stated Flamedramon. "Since then, people have searched all over the land to find it, and rival gangs just seemed to appear, each gunning for the spirit's power." Lenadoramon looked surprised by this answer, a few beads of sweat appearing on his brow. "What?"
"Oh, it's nothing!" Lenadoramon replied. "It's just that I find it hard to believe that the weakest elemental spirits would be so sought after."
"Weakest?!" They all said with flames in their eyes.
"Uh...wait, did I say the weakest? That's not what I meant at all, really!" The Knight began to laugh nervously as the eyes stayed on him. "So...that's what this was all about? What if the spirit wasn't here, anymore? Would you still fight each other?"
Everyone looked at each other with confusion filling the crowds. Finally after a group of a Digimon huddled together, Flamedramon answered. "I guess then we wouldn't fight anymore."
Lenadoramon now faced a tough choice. Confess to everyone that the Spirit of Wood was his, or keep it a secret. If he kept it a secret, then the fighting might still go on. But if he told them the truth, chances were they'd try to kill him to get it. Then, yet another brilliant idea came to mind. "I, uh…have a confession to make to you all," he said. "The Spirit of Wood is no longer here."
"It's the truth. The Dark Force found it years ago, and has given it to another Digimon he felt would be able to control its power."
"Who?!" They all asked with pitchforks and torches waving in the air.
"They…" Oh dear… "call him Lenadoramon."
"Aw snap what the hell?!" Cursed ShogunGekomon. "I gonna find this guy and beat the brick of that guy cause a playa gangsta!" Everyone else was in agreement.
The Knight was nervously laughing to himself, but not loud or obvious enough for everyone else to notice. "So, what will you guys do now? Without the spirit, there really isn't anything for you guys to fight each other over, right?"
"I guess we'll find a way ta work together...it's what our leaders would want," Said Little Chu.
"No it isn't!"
"SHUT UP, BETAMON!"
Lenadoramon sighed. "That's good to hear. It'll be nice if you can all make this city a better place to live. Maybe with this feud resolved, things will be more peaceful from now on. I wish you guys the best of luck."
"Thank you my friend," replied Flamedramon as he held his hand out to Lenadoramon. "Feel free to come back anytime."
The Knight of Wood took the hand and shook it. "We'll see," he said. So long as no one figures out who I really am, he thought to himself. "Now if you'll excuse me, I've got things to do, places to go."
Everyone present gave their sound-offs as Lenadoramon fired his vines at the nearest building, then swung off into the distance. For him, it was mission accomplished. Not only did he successfully retrieve his Dragon spirit, but he was also able to resolve a conflict he had been a part of all those years ago. It was now up to the remaining participants of the conflict to make amends and start anew. But if anything, at least one thing was true out of all this.
Things were going to get better.
To be continued…
Empressmon returns to her birthplace in the southern seas in search of her Dragon spirit. The power leads her stumbling into a plot against the Dark Force bigger than even she could imagine. Will the Knight of Water be able to complete her mission, foil this scheme, and keep her identity a secret at the same time?
Next time: A Reunion of Blood! Charydbimon's Sea Dyed Red!