A Little Princess Disclaimer: Okay, repeat after me: Digimon belongs to Saban and Toei. Good, good. If there are any characters you don't recognize, they were probably created by me or else you haven't seen too many episodes of Digimon. If that's the case, I fear that you shall be severely lost. Just don't blame me.
Obligatory Author's Notes:. As far as the timeline goes, the first part takes place about a thousand years before the Digidestined arrived in Digiworld, give or take a couple. I realize that technically Gennai isn't a digimon, but he is in this fic. That should amount to about twelve Earth years before "And So It Begins" by my reckoning. And even though the title has nothing to do with what happens in the first part of this story, be patient. You'll get it eventually.
A Little Princess
By: Lady Iapetus

In the beginning, all was darkness and space. For the real world, life started with a bang, or perhaps a spoken command. But for this world, life started with a single spark. Soon the spark multiplied into dozens, then hundreds, then thousands of sparks, until the number reached into infinity. Over time, the sparks or data, as they were referred to in the real world, learned how to configure themselves into different creatures. They became sentient, creating an awareness and sense of self for themselves. They began to live life, just as normal people would.

Of course, no world can exist without good or without evil. It is impossible; there must be a balance. And so it was for the Digiworld, the name of the world that these data creatures or Digimon, as they had now named themselves, lived in. The good Digimon were classified as Datas or Vaccines while the evil ones were Virii. While most Virii were ruthless, attacking without thought of the consequences, others were manipulating and conniving, harming innocent Digimon for their own personal gain.

It was for this reason that the Council of Light was created. The Council, comprised of Digimon leaders from different provinces of the Digiworld, monitored the activity of Virus digimon and, when necessary, acted on it. But just because they were noble Digimon doesn't mean that they always acted that way.

* * *

"As of late, all activity from Infinity Mountain has ceased entirely," Leomon reported. "However, we cannot be sure if-- Oh, for crying out loud! Would the two of you cut that out? We're trying to have a meeting here." Heads turned to the end of the council table where two young humanoid digimon could be observed kissing.

"Yes, please," echoed Piedmon, a Digimon lord from the Negamon province of Server. "It IS rather nauseating."

"Oh, be quiet," his brother Wizardmon admonished. "I think it's sweet." Although only a Champion in his own right Wizardmon wisely ruled Magica, another province of the Server continent. It was a well known fact among the members of the Council that Wizardmon and Piedmon did not get along well at all.

Meanwhile the two culprits had released themselves from their liplock, and were now blushing severely.

"We're terribly sorry, Leomon," apologized the male. He was tall, with long brown hair pulled back in a tail and clad in warrior's garb. A sheathed sword was always at his side. "I promise, it won't happen again."

Leomon smiled despite himself. "It's quite all right, Gennai," he told the young mon. The lion digimon, his mane growing lighter in color with age, could remember a time when he was in love with a beautiful digimon of the female persuasion. "Next time, make sure it waits until the two of you are alone, hmm?"

"We promise, Leomon," smiled the female, Athena. Her hair was light brown in color, and her eyes a sparkling, mischievous green. She was clad in a flowing white tunic, girded by a belt of many colors. Athena's beauty was oft compared to that of the Angewomon, and it was said that she'd caught the eye of every single male Digimon in the Digiworld. Gennai was quite a lucky mon to share her love.

"Thank you," Leomon said, winking at the couple. Piedmon rolled his eyes at this display.

"Can we PLEASE get back to more important matters?" he pleaded. "Before I die of boredom?"

Meramon, flame lord of Emberia on File Island and protector of the Yokomon village, smirked. "What's the matter Piedmon?" he snickered. "Is there someone you need to rush home to?" Piedmon only glared at the Emberia ruler. Wizardmon chortled, letting Meramon know that the barb was appreciated.

"You shut up," Piedmon hissed at his brother. The younger merely ignored Piedmon's remark and paid attention to Leomon's report. Piedmon also tried to concentrate on what Leomon was saying, but his mind kept going over the events of that morning, before he'd gone to the Council meeting. Harlemon, commander of Piedmon's armies and frequent lover, had been trying to tell him something. As always, he wasn't listening. Now that he thought about it, she seemed genuinely concerned…and afraid. I'll have to get home as soon as possible. Whatever she has to tell me may very well affect the fate of my kingdom.

"Piedmon? Hello, Piedmon!" The Negamon lord snapped out of his self-induced trance to find the other members of the Council staring at him now. It had been Andromon speaking to him. At his elbow he could hear Wizardmon snickering.

"Out to lunch, were we?" he asked. Although Piedmon couldn't see it, he knew that there was a smirk on his brother's face underneath that purple cowl of his. Without a second thought Piedmon grabbed the brim of Wizardmon's hat in both hands and shoved it farther down the wizard's head, covering his eyes and effectively blinding him. "Hey! Why'd you-- I can't see! For the love of Pete! This isn't funny, Piedmon!" Wizardmon finally yanked the hat off and replaced it carefully over his dirty blonde hair, his emerald green eyes glaring daggers at his older brother.

MagnaDramon snorted. "Oh, you two. You're about as juvenile as the baby Digimon in Elecmon's care. Why don't you grow up a little?"

"Me, juvenile?" Piedmon gasped. "My dear, you have offended me! I am a great thespian, not a juvenile sideshow entertainer." Wizardmon merely snorted in response to this. Leomon sighed, covering his eyes with one massive paw. It was quite obvious that this meeting had gone straight down the tubes.

"Well, I think this meeting's just about over," Serephimon said. Some of the digimon around him ducked as he stretched his white wings.

"Unfortunately, I have to agree," Leomon nodded. "Meeting adjourned." Piedmon immediately teleported himself out, seemingly in quite a hurry. The others went the conventional route of the door. The lion digimon found himself walking with Wizardmon, who was still slightly pissed at the hat incident. "Are you two ever going to stop bickering with each other?"

Wizardmon thought this through a moment. "Probably not," he replied. "Besides, the rest of you enjoy seeing me make a fool out of him, don't you?" The feline lord of Felina chuckled. He had to agree with the younger Council member on that.

"So there hasn't been ANY activity from Infinity Mountain at all?" asked MagnaDramon as the lady of the Server dragon province joined them.

Leomon rolled his eyes. "Oh, sure. NOW you want to talk about that sort of stuff!" he exclaimed, throwing his arms into the air. MagnaDramon only threw Leomon a sly grin. "As I was saying during the meeting, no. Things have been quiet for at least three weeks now."

"Maybe you ought to send a scout up to check," Wizardmon suggested. "At least you'd have more information for the meeting. A longer meeting, I might add?"

"And Eldermon wouldn't keep falling asleep!" Meramon called back. The other council members in earshot burst out laughing. It was a running gag amongst them that Eldermon, the eldest of the Digimon and head of the council, always fell asleep about five minutes into the meeting. There was serious talk of making the old mon resign and having someone younger take his place.

"I'll go, if it would please you Leomon," Gennai said. He and Athena had lingered behind, and therefore had heard every word of the conversation. Before Leomon could answer Athena turned to her lover in shock.

"Gennai, you can't be serious!" she exclaimed. "File Island is miles and miles away from Grecia. You can't leave me. I don't know what I'd do without you."

"Oh, I'm sure you'd find something to do," Wizardmon said off-handedly. He winced, catching an elbow in the side from Leomon.

Gennai took Athena's hands in his own, gazing into the eyes of the Grecian princess. "My love, we don't know what Devimon has planned. The Council needs someone to go and check up on him. I probably won't be gone for long."

"But," she protested "can't they send someone else? A Sparramon or a Chamelemon, perhaps? Those two digimon types always make the perfect spies."

Leomon interrupted. "True, but the Council needs someone that it can trust implicitly. Sparramon are much too flighty. Plus they would forget half of what they heard, and they're too easy to enspell. And Chamelemon are mercenaries. They'd change sides at the drop of a hat, depending on how much money they were offered. Gennai, I accept your offer." The young warrior bowed in respect, then continued walking with Athena down the corridor.

The other three watched them leave. "Are you sure it was wise to accept his offer so fast?" MagnaDramon questioned. "Shouldn't there have been a vote or something?"

"Why? We're not in a meeting anymore," Wizardmon replied. "Besides, if there's anything that those two need, it's some time apart. It would be good for them. Might shock most digimon, though, to find out that those two aren't joined at the hip."

Leomon laughed. "It sure seems that way, doesn't it? But Gennai is a warrior, and he is one digimon who would do anything to uphold his code of honor."

"Spying is honorable?" the pink Dramon asked dryly.

"If it's for the greater good, then yes," Leomon answered. "Now if you'll excuse me, I must get back to File Island before Ogremon decides to take advantage of my absence." With that he quickened his step, exiting through one of the doors in the corridor.

"I gotta fly too," MagnaDramon said as she and Wizardmon reached the outside. She spread her wings, preparing to take off. "See you later, Wiz! Drop by Dragoonia sometime, so we can talk!" she called as she took off. Wizardmon waved until she was nothing more than a speck in the sky. Then he teleported himself back to his home in Magica. He opened the door—and was doused by a rush of water.

Wizardmon jumped a foot as a bucket landed beside him. Growling, the wizard pulled off his hat and wrung it out. "I am going to get Piedmon for this, so help me!" he vowed.

* * *

Piedmon had teleported straight from the Council room to his castle in Negamon (with a short detour in Magica along the way). It was set at the top of a modest mountain, where he could survey his entire kingdom with ease. Unbeknownst to the Council, Piedmon was a Mega-level Virus, not a Data as he claimed to be. He had a tight leash on his kingdom and subjects. However Piedmon never terrorized his subjects, nor did they speak badly of him. They were too terrified to do so. Therefore he held the guise of a Data, and the Council believed him to be just as pacified and peaceful as the rest of them. Still, Piedmon was a Virus, and a Mega at that. And his blackened heart yearned for the day when he would overthrow the Council and become supreme ruler of the Digiworld.

Slowly, Piedmon began to realize that things seemed a little…off. The throne room was completely empty, which under any other circumstances would have been ignored. But he and Harlemon had a game they would play whenever Piedmon would come home from a Council meeting or some other trip. She would leave a trail of some sort, and he would follow it all around the castle until he ended up in his bedchambers. There they would engage in more…adult pursuits. Although the trail route changed the destination always remained the same.

However, now there was no visible trail. This worried Piedmon. Harlemon had tried to tell him something before he left for the meeting, that he knew. Could she have gotten angry with him for not listening, and left? Nonsense, he thought to himself. She'd never desert her command. If she did, she knows I'd kill her. She must still be here.

Piedmon carefully searched the entire palace for Harlemon. The sight he found in her own quarters shocked him. Her entire room had been ransacked. The bed was turned on its side, sheets and pillows askew. Her mirror, her pride and joy, the one possession that she truly had any affection for, was lying in a thousand shards on the floor. Piedmon felt his pulse quicken, and he stepped up his search efforts.

He finally found her, in the last place that he checked: his personal bedchambers. But instead of laying on his bed, gazing at her lord seductively, Harlemon was huddled in the corner. She was curled into a fetal position, arms wrapped around her legs, and her face was turned to the wall. Piedmon carefully approached her, careful not to startle her. Like he, Harlemon was also a Mega of the Virii strain. Piedmon knew that if she was startled she'd try to defend herself, and end up blasting him into next Tuesday.

"Harlemon?" he called as gently as he could, which wasn't easy for a Virus of his caliber. Piedmon reached out to take her hand, and she flinched. "Harlemon, what's wrong? Is this about what you were trying to tell me earlier?"

"Yes," Harlemon whispered, turning to look at Piedmon. There were tears running down her face. Her eyes were blue, signifying her sadness. "After our little game last week I've been feeling poorly. So I went to see the royal physician today; that's what I was trying to tell you. I felt you had the right to know if your head commander was ill."

"What did the doctor say?" Piedmon asked warily. It MUST have been bad news from the state of her bedchamber. Harlemon looked away from Piedmon in shame. He took her firmly by the shoulders. "Harlemon, please tell me. What did the royal physician have to tell you?"

Harlemon looked at her lord and master…and lover. "I-I'm…pregnant, Lord Piedmon. We're going to have a baby."

Piedmon stared at Harlemon for several minutes, numb with shock. Finally he reacted to the news in the way that most expectant fathers do: Piedmon fell to the floor in a dead faint.

* * *

Infinity Mountain was quite easily the largest structure, natural or mon-made, on File Island. From the top of it, you could see the whole of the island quite easily. This was what made it the perfect base for Devimon's operations and Devimon himself.

At the base of the mountain, two Digimon gazed up. From their position on the ground they could barely make out the outline of Devimon's mansion. Gennai turned to Leomon, swallowing hard. "Tell me again why I'm doing this?" he asked of the Felinan lord.

Leomon smiled. "Because we trust you, my friend. And because you volunteered, remember?" Gennai nodded. Smiling broadly, Leomon clapped a large hand on Gennai's shoulder. "Don't worry. I have faith in you, as does the rest of the Council. Now you'd better hurry and get inside, before Devimon finds we're here and sends out a posse." Gennai nodded; he knew Leomon was right, of course.

With Leomon's help, Gennai was able to crawl into a ventilation opening in the side of the mountain. It was the most direct route into Devimon's mansion, and it was also the most undetectable and therefore unprotected entrance. He heard the grating close shut behind him, and began crawling slowly into the darkness.

This was one thing Gennai didn't want to admit to the Council, or even just to Athena. He was absolutely petrified of the darkness. As a child he was terrified of shadows, and insisted that some sort of light be kept on in his bedroom at night. Now an adult his fears had lessened, but there was still something about the dark that terrified him. It was as if he could feel the evil lurking about in the inky night. But he couldn't let that bother him now. So Gennai dropped into an old practice he used to get over his immediate fear: he thought of something else. Almost instantly his last conversation with Athena came to his mind...

~~"Gennai, are you absolutely certain that you want to do this?" Athena asked. "We all know what Devimon is capable of. What if- what if you don't come back?" Smiling, Gennai reached over and tenderly wiped away a tear that was sliding down her cheek. As the youngest son of the ruling family of Lapras, the province bordering Grecia, it was Gennai's duty to act as Princess Athena's bodyguard. Even after the deaths of his father, mother and older brother, making him lord of Lapras and a member of the Council, the young warrior preferred to stay in Grecia with his princess…his love.

"My dear, I'm doing this for you as well as for the Digiworld," he answered. "True, Devimon is powerful but so are Etemon and Myotismon. And we've faced the two of them before, and won."

"But," Athena protested "what if Devimon finds you?"

"Then I shall defend myself," Gennai declared. "Athena, I promise that no matter what happens I will always be with you. And I will always love you."

"And I you," the princess responded, smiling through her tears. She leaned over and kissed him on the forehead. "Go, Young Warrior Gennai. Go and make sure that there will be peace in the Digiworld for us all." ~~

Gennai paused, staring into the darkness before him. He clenched his fist tightly. "I promise, Athena," he murmured to himself. "I promise that I will come back to you." Then, taking a deep breath, he plunged into the blackness ahead and continued on his way.

* * *

The atmosphere around and in Piedmon's palace had changed drastically from the previous couple hours. Once Piedmon had come to his senses and was convinced that Harlemon's news was NOT a dream, he started spreading the news to whoever was in earshot at the time. He wanted the province- no, the Digiworld to know that he, Piedmon, was going to be a father.

Of course, the absolute first thing that Piedmon had to do was brag about it to his younger brother. He was already as merry as a schoolboy and the sight of Wizardmon, sans cape and hat and looking like a drowned rat was enough to send Piedmon into riotous laughter. Shaking his head (and flinging drops of water in all directions) and sighing, Wizardmon waited for his brother's laughter to die down. When Piedmon switched from chortling to snickering he asked, "Are we QUITE finished yet?"

Piedmon held up one finger. "Hold on; one more," he said, then burst into uncontrollable laughter again. Finally his giggles subsided, and he turned back to the vid-screen wiping tears from his eyes. "Now. I see you, uh, found my little surprise."

"Oh, I found it all right," Wizardmon said evenly. "And don't worry; I plan to repay you for it." Another giggle escaped Piedmon, and Wizardmon rolled his eyes. "Now, why did you call me? I assume it's for something other than laughing about your childish prank, although I wouldn't be surprised if that WAS the only reason you called."

"Actually, no," Piedmon answered. "You see, dear brother, I have the most wonderful news and I just HAD to share it with my favorite brother!"

Wizardmon narrowed his eyes. "Piedmon, I'm your ONLY brother, though there are times that I'm loath to admit it," he reminded him. "So what's this news? Did your latest Joke Shop kit arrive today or something, and you can't wait to try it out on me?"

"No, it's not that," Piedmon smirked. "I'm going to be a daddy!" Wizardmon's reaction to this bit of news was priceless. His jaw dropped and his eyes widened so much Piedmon thought that they'd pop right out of his head. "Well? Aren't you happy for me? Aren't you excited?"

Shocked is more like it, Wizardmon thought to himself. "But, how did--?"

"Honestly, Wizardmon," his brother said. "I thought you knew more about what the humans call 'the birds and the bees' than that!" Piedmon smirked as Wizardmon's cheeks flushed red. "Then again, maybe I was wrong…" he mused.

"You know what I mean, Piedmon!" snapped Wizardmon. "Most Digimon are hatched from eggs in Elecmon's Primary Village, with no knowledge of their parents or kin! There are very few Digimon born from other Digimon. You and I know that very well."

Piedmon smirked. "Well, now there's going to be one more that won't be hatched from an egg. My son."

"How can you be sure?" Wizardmon challenged.

"My powers are more sophisticated than yours. Of course Harlemon and I know already," Piedmon replied.

Now it was Wizardmon's turn to smirk. "Ah, your army commander is the mother of your child? This should be interesting. Wait until the Council hears about this, the illegitimate son of Piedmon!"

"You wouldn't dare!" Piedmon roared. "Harlemon and I have a very loving relationship."

Wizardmon snorted. "You aren't married!"

"A technicality, one that shall soon be amended," Piedmon said with a wave of his hand. A gleam appeared in his eye as he suddenly got a great idea. "In fact, I also called to invite you to the wedding. You WILL come, won't you Wizardmon? Brother?"

Wizardmon sighed. Piedmon had managed to back him into a corner. "All right," he said resignedly. "I'll come. Call me when you know the time and place." With that, Wizardmon cut off the communication.

Piedmon smiled to himself, certain that the day couldn't get any better. He was getting married, he was going to be a father, and best of all he had gotten Wizardmon again. "The wet look is really quite good for him," he said to himself. Then Piedmon started laughing again.

At the next council meeting, there were two noticeable absences: Gennai's and Piedmon's. In the case of the former, only four other Digimon knew where he had gone. Leomon had decided not to inform the rest of the Council about Gennai's mission until this meeting, and had sworn Athena, Wizardmon and MagnaDramon to secrecy.

But as for the latter, no one knew where Piedmon was. Wizardmon could hazard a guess, but he didn't want to be the one to burst his brother's balloon. Besides, he was beginning to suspect that his older brother wasn't quite who or what he claimed to be.

"How much longer are we gonna wait for the bums to show?" Meramon asked. Wizardmon chuckled a bit.

"I know for a fact that Gennai will not be here today. We'll discuss that later," Leomon said. "As for Piedmon, I suggest we wait five more minutes, then start without him."

"Why don't we skip waiting and start now?" Wizardmon asked innocently. The other council members shot the young wizard curious looks. Just then the door to the council chamber burst open, and Piedmon appeared.

"Hello there. Hello! Good to see you! Rosemon, you're looking well!" Many an eyebrow was raised at Piedmon's behavior as he walked around the table, greeting each council member personally. Even Eldermon showed some sign of life as Piedmon walked past him patting him on the back. Finally Piedmon reached his chair beside Wizardmon, extending his hand to his younger brother. "No hard feelings?" he asked.

"What in the name of the Seas is with him?" Plesiomon asked. Seraphimon shrugged.

Wizardmon glanced at Piedmon warily, then clasped his hand. Piedmon gritted his teeth as a shock of electricity ran through his hand. He jerked his hand away in pain. Grinning, Wizardmon held his hand palm-up, so that Piedmon could see the joy buzzer.

"Gotcha," Wizardmon smirked. Piedmon stared at his younger brother for a moment, then did the last thing anyone expected him to do: he started laughing. Wizardmon blinked in surprise; this certainly wasn't the reaction he had been going for!

"Glad that you could make it, Piedmon," Leomon said. "You certainly seem…cheerful…today."

"Is there anything you'd like to share with us?" Wizardmon asked. He said it in such a way that some of the council members began to suspect that Wizardmon knew quite well what was going on. Piedmon merely grinned at his brother and stood.

"Fellow Council members, I have an announcement to make," he said. "Two days from now, in the province of Negamon I will be marrying my fiancee and commander of my armies, Harlemon. And I want you all to be there." This announcement was met with cheering and congratulatory remarks from the other members of the council. Piedmon waited until they quieted down a bit and then added, "I am also going to be a father."

"Harlemon is pregnant?" Leomon asked incredulously. Piedmon nodded in affirmation.

"This is incredible," rumbled Eldermon. Heads turned, surprised that he had spoken. Eldermon was the oldest of them all, stooped over with age and disguising himself in a long hooded robe the color of sand. He hardly spoke at meetings, which was what started the rumor that he always fell asleep. No one knew the reason why Eldermon had chosen to hide his face from the Digiworld. They didn't even know what kind of digimon he was; he had been known as Eldermon for his entire tenure on the council. "There has not been a born Digimon for centuries."

"Not since Laurel and Hardy over here, anyway," MagnaDramon quipped. The others looked at her blankly. She rolled her eyes. "Forget it."

Leomon chuckled a little. "MagnaDramon, we commend your interest in the human society but…well… How can I put this?"

"Next time, could you use phrases that we understand?" Seraphimon requested, finishing Leomon's sentence. Leomon sighed. It looked as though this meeting was going in the same direction as the previous one had.

Rosemon, from the province of Floria, stood. At first glance she wasn't very pretty to look at, but those who got past her rough looking exterior found that it harbored a loving heart and a kind soul. "What I think MagnaDramon is trying to say is that Piedmon's son will be the first Digimon born from another digimon since Wizardmon," she clarified softly.

MagnaDramon nodded in Rosemon's direction. "What she said."

"Thank you for clearing that up, Rosemon," Leomon said with a nod in her direction. She blushed and sat back down, a trifle embarrassed about her decision to speak up.

"What about Devimon?" spoke up young Puppetmon. "Didn't he father a born child?"

"That's just a rumor," Leomon waved it off. "Now, onto other business. You may have noticed that Gennai isn't here today. That's because he is up on Infinity Mountain, acting as a spy against Devimon."

The Council erupted. While most of the council members were arguing over the decision to send a spy up to Infinity Mountain, others were debating Leomon's choice of Gennai as a spy. Only Wizardmon, Athena and MagnaDramon remained silent. Finally Leomon raised his hands for quiet, and the assembled digimon complied.

"Before you light into me more than you already have," he began "let me just say that Gennai volunteered for this job. I did not force him into it."

"Why wasn't this motion given to us to vote on?" asked Plesiomon.

Meramon shot the digimon ruler of Oceania a Look. "You saw what happened at the last meeting. Between the lovebirds, and Piedmon and Wizardmon going at it, Leomon couldn't get a word in edgewise, remember?" Piedmon merely shrugged off Meramon's comment while Wizardmon rolled his eyes and Athena blushed in embarrassment.

"And hopefully this meeting will turn out differently," Leomon broke in, taking back the thread of the conversation. "Also, Gennai came to me after the meeting was over. I took him to Infinity Mountain three weeks ago."

"He's been in Devimon's castle for three weeks," Piedmon echoed, musing the thought. He steepled his fingers in thought. Perhaps I ought to alert Devimon to the "pest" inside his walls. Of course, this could be an easy way to get rid of that weakling virus. "So, does our spy have anything to report?"

Leomon nodded, picking up a sheet of paper. It was Gennai's report, delivered to Leomon by a Mousemon courier some two days before the meeting. He cleared his throat and began to read:

"Fellow council members,

I am now into my third week of spying on Devimon's activities. So far no one has noticed me, save for one Mousemon whom I have employed as my courier when I can't deliver my report myself."

Piedmon snorted, interrupting. "How droll," he drawled. "Gennai has a new pet. If that fluff is all his report is going to consist of, I say we call it quits early. I have a wedding to prepare for, you know."

"Just hold your horses, Piedmon," MagnaDramon said. "Let the mon read. Go ahead, Leomon."

"Thank you," Leomon replied dryly, then returned to Gennai's report.

"Unfortunately I have no major news to show for three weeks of spying," the report continued. "There have been Devimon's servants traipsing around the palace, and subjects going in and out, begging Devimon for mercy. Say it with me, "Nothing new there." However, Ogremon has begun to hang around Devimon's palace for some strange reason, and Devimon holds lengthy audiences with him. As of yet I have been unable to eavesdrop on one of their conversations, but I shall try and do so in the future.


"Well, it appears that young Gennai's covert endeavors are going rather well at the present," Eldermon said. "Leomon, I commend you on your decision."

Leomon bowed in Eldermon's direction. "Thank you, Eldermon."

"And," he added "you will keep a closer eye on Ogremon in the future?"

"Of course," Leomon smiled. "Well, if no one has any new business I declare this meeting adjourned. See you in two days," he added with a wink at Piedmon. The other nodded, and they all headed for home once more.

* * *

Piedmon looked in his mirror, nervously smoothing back the material he had the misfortune of calling "hair." So intent was he on his appearance that a voice behind him almost scared him out of his boots.

"Getting cold feet, are we?"

Piedmon whirled around to see Wizardmon behind him. His younger brother was hovering so that he was eye-level with his older sibling. "No!" the groom exclaimed. At the Look his younger brother and best mon shot him he admitted, "Well, yes. I've never realized before how much I cared about her. What if she doesn't feel the same way?"

"Would she be the mother of your son if she didn't?" Wizardmon challenged, cocking his head at Piedmon. "Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go join the bridal party." He rolled his eyes as he said this, seeing as LadyDevimon was Harlemon's maid of honor and her brother Devimon was one of the groomsmen, as was Myotismon of Vampira. It made the Council a bit leery that so many Virii were going to be at the wedding. But no one said anything so as not to be rude.

Piedmon soon joined his groomsmen at the altar, waiting for Harlemon to make her entrance. He didn't have long to wait. She walked down the aisle clad in a long black dress with an excessively long train. Two Sparramon holding the corners of the train in their beaks kept her from tripping on it. Harlemon joined her lord at the altar, turning to face him.

"Council members and honored guests," the minister, a Wisemon from the Grecia province, began "we are gathered here today to witness the union of these two Digimon in holy matrimony. If there is any among you who has just cause that these two should not be wed, speak now or forever hold your peace."

I have about seven just causes, but I don't think anyone'd believe me, Wizardmon thought. Besides, I could be wrong. They look so happy together.

Having received no answer from the guests, bridal party and bride and groom themselves, the Wisemon continued. "Do you Piedmon, Lord of Negamon, promise to take Harlemon to love and cherish, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health until deletion do you part?"

"I do," Piedmon replied, suddenly finding himself choked up. Me, crying? Impossible. Viruii never cry.

"And do you, Harlemon promise to take Lord Piedmon to love and cherish, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health until deletion do you part?" the minister asked.

"I do," Harlemon answered. Trails of moisture were already winding their way down her face as she looked into Piedmon's eyes. The minister then turned to the ring bearer, Devimon's nephew DemiDevimon, and asked for the rings. Grinning DemiDevimon extended one clawed foot on which two wedding bands glittered. Wisemon took them both and gave one to Piedmon, and one to Harlemon, which they placed on each other's fingers.

"I now pronounce you mon and wife," the Wisemon said. "You may kiss the bride." Piedmon was one step ahead of him, already kissing Harlemon soundly. "Ladies and gentlemon, may I present Lord Piedmon and Lady Harlemon!"

And so began the longest nine months of Piedmon's life. Almost immediately, he and Harlemon began preparing the castle for the coming of their new child. His wife's former bedchambers had been cleaned up after they had announced their engagement, and Harlemon had moved into Piedmon's bedchambers. Her old room was now the nursery.

The nursery was decorated with everything a baby Virus Mega might love: a chest full of toys, a closet full of clothes, and a little corner meant for...entertaining guests. At Piedmon's request the original door to the room had been walled up. He and Harlemon then combined their powers to create a new door opening directly from the nursery into the master bedroom that they alone could open.

"This way," Piedmon had explained "no one but you and I shall be able to enter his nursery, thus ensuring his safety." Even though Piedmon's status as a Mega Virus Digimon was unknown to a large majority of the Digiworld he was still currently a respected member of the Council of Light. Therefore Piedmon's son could be vulnerable to abduction. He and Harlemon were taking no chances.

The one thing that Piedmon actually found difficult was preparing for his role as a father to his son. Throughout his childhood he hadn't had very good role models. His father had been an Ultimate Virus digimon, the last ruler of Negamon whose name had been lost in the mists of obscurity. His mother, on the other hand, had been Sorceramon, a Vacinne Champion, Queen of Magica and the most powerful wizard of three provinces. Piedmon's father had rarely been around, insisting that his sons could take care of themselves without their mother to coddle them. When he was finally killed Piedmon had felt no remorse, and wasted no time in claiming the throne of Negamon.

So worried about it was he, that Piedmon sought out the advice of the one Digimon he knew had become a father before him: Devimon, lord of Infinity Mountain.

"You want to learn to be a father, eh?" Devimon asked. To Piedmon's complete surprise, the Champion threw his head back and laughed aloud. After about five minutes Devimon got his laughter under control. "I'm sorry about that," he apologized. "You see, I'm not really the Digimon you should be asking about this."

Piedmon eyed Devimon critically. "What are you talking about?" he asked. "You are the only other Digimon I know that has fathered a born child! Even your nephew DemiDevimon was hatched from an egg, although that took place in his mother's home instead of Elecmon's Village. Although I wouldn't be surprised if the egg was a trifle...cracked, shall we say?"

"True, true," Devimon relented. "However, my situation is...unique." The lord of Negamon arched an eyebrow at the other, silently asking him to go on. "Remember the time I went to Earth? Well, I may have been gone for quite a while..."

"A little over three hundred years, if I'm not mistaken," Piedmon drawled.

Devimon continued as if the interruption had never occured, "...but in Earth time that was only a little over nine months ago. I surmise that my child has already been born."

Piedmon almost did a spit-take. "What? You're the father of a half-Digimon breed?"

"I told you my situation was unique," Devimon smirked. Piedmon was, suffice it to say, floored. True, born Digimon were rare, and born Viruses were probably even rarer. But a half Digimon, half human was unheard of! It was practically an unwritten law in the Digiworld that you didn't mess with the real world. Observe it from afar, yes. Study its culture and history, yes. Interact with the humans, no. We Virii may be evil, but we're not stupid, Piedmon thought.

After a couple minutes of complete silence, Piedmon finally was able to speak. "One word, Devimon: How?"

"It was quite simple, really," Devimon boasted, reclining in his chair and folding his claws across his abdomen. "It seems that most humans are really quite gullible. I simply assumed the disguise of a human male, went into a bar and met a woman there."

"Met? As in, talked to? Associated with?" The lord of Negamon was flabbergasted, and it seemed that more shocks were coming by the minute. Grinning Devimon told how he had started flirting with the woman. She told him that she was on the verge of seperating from her husband, who was a workaholic.

"One thing led to another, and come morning the two of us were in the same hotel room, sleeping in the same bed," Devimon concluded, looking completely pleased with himself.

Piedmon eyed his friend critically. "What about her husband? What did he do once he found out that his wife had had a one-night stand with a total stranger and was now pregnant with that stranger's baby?"

"That's the beauty of it," Devimon said with a glint in his eye. "I was able to tell immediately that she was going to be pregnant with my child. Once I knew that, I simply wiped our encounter from her memory, and made her believe that the baby was her husband's. I even masked the hospital test results to cover up the baby's origins. After learning she was pregnant, the woman put all thoughts of divorce out of her mind. I've been keeping an eye on the little family for quite some time, and they're actually quite happy now."

"Well, aren't you the lucky Digimon?" Piedmon said sarcastically. He had to keep himself from grinning as a thought entered his mind. The Council would definately want to know about Devimon's half-human child. But then he might inadvertantly reveal his status as a Mega-level Virus, and the time wasn't right for him to do that yet. I suppose that fool Gennai would stumble upon this information sooner or later...probably later. Perhaps I could...help him...a little bit.

The Dark Noblemon stood up. "Well, I think I should be going. I don't want to leave Harlemon alone for too long, if you understand."

Devimon nodded. "Perfectly."

"Oh," Piedmon added "would you be so kind as to tell me where the 'little mon's room' is?" Devimon gave him directions, and Piedmon followed them. While the lord of Infinity Mountain wasn't looking, Piedmon turned around the wrong corner and headed down the corridor to Devimon's study. Once he found it Piedmon immediately began his search for what he needed. "Where is it, where is it?" he growled, rummaging through the papers on the desk and looking through drawers. "It's got to be here somewhere!"

Finally, Piedmon hit proverbial paydirt. "Ah-ha," he whispered, an evil glint in his eye. He now had his hands on a thick folder. In it were the names of Devimon's half-human whelp and the child's mother, as well as information about the two. What amused Piedmon was a piece of paper tucked inside the file. The heading on it read, "Baby's Firsts." At first Piedmon was tempted to just take the file and teleport back to his home, and use the information as blackmail material against Devimon. But that would have made the Champion Virus suspicious, one thing Piedmon didn't need at the moment.

"I'll just leave it somewhere where Gennai can find it," Piedmon said to himself, deliberately misplacing the file. No way he can miss it here, he thought. Then Piedmon quickly teleported to the bathroom and exited a few seconds later.

"Thank you for your hospitality, Devimon," Piedmon said. "Until next time." With that he teleported back home to Negamon.

* * *

This is getting extremely dull, Gennai thought, slumping against the wall of his new, albeit temporary, home. What in the Digiworld was I thinking when I signed on for this?

For the past few months or so, Gennai had been living in a small crawlspace that neither Devimon nor his servents had any idea about. It had several vents that served as openings, one of which led directly into Devimon's study. He had been spying on Infinity Mountain's master and sending monthly reports to the Council. Unfortunately either Ogremon or Devimon had terminated whatever partnership the two had had, for Leomon's foe had ceased to visit the castle a month earlier. And he could find no evidence that Devimon was planning anything. Gennai was just about ready to call it quits, go back to the Council and admit that Devimon was doing nothing suspicious.

Suddenly something caught his eye, and he moved closer to the vent to get a better look At first glance it appeared to be a file of some sorts. Checking that no one else was in the room, Gennai quickly darted out, grabbed the file from where it lay and hurried back to the vent. He flipped through the file, eyes growing wider as he digested the information inside.

"The Council has to know about this immediately," Gennai whispered to himself. He quickly pulled out a pen and a piece of paper, scribbling down notes. Satisfied that he had enough information to write a sufficient report, Gennai slipped down and placed the file on Devimon's desk. As he hurried back to his hiding place, Gennai had to wonder just how a file as important as that one had managed to find its way into the faceplate of a suit of armor.

* * *

"Well, you look happy," Harlemon commented as Piedmon entered their bedchambers, a wide grin on his face. "Play another prank on your brother?"

Her husband shook his head. "Better," he replied. "I've just emparted Devimon's biggest secret to the Council!" At her astonished expression, Piedmon explained about Devimon's half-human child and how he had planted the file where Gennai would be able to find it.

Harlemon grinned wickedly at her mate's sneakiness. "My dear, you are most evil."

"But of course," he replied, bending to kiss her.

The Dark Noblemon was nearly late to the next Council meeting, having attended one of Harlemon's appointments with the royal physician. He hurried in just as Leomon was about to start the meeting, apologizing breathlessly.

"So what does Gennai's latest report say, Leomon?" Eldermon asked once everyone had been accounted for. The Felinian lord picked up the report, giving it a nervous glance. The first time he'd read it, it had sent shivers down his spine. The very thought that something like this could happen was very unnerving.

"Fellow Council Members,

This month's report contains information that is most vital. It's not exactly a plan to conquer the Digiworld, but it IS important. I have discovered that the rumors that Devimon is the father of a born child are true. Furthermore, the child is half-human."

This produced gasps from the rest of the council, although Piedmon had to hold back a smirk. "A half-human child?" someone in the group gasped.

"And fathered by a Virus Digimon, no less," Seraphimon added seriously. "Who knows what something like this could turn into."

"Does Gennai's report say anything else, Leomon?" Eldermon asked. "If not, we'll discuss this matter further." Leomon scanned the report and shook his head. "All right. It looks as though we have a bit of a dilemma on our hands."

"I say we kill it," Puppetmon said immediately.

Rosemon looked at the young wood digimon. "But this is a living creature, Puppetmon. All creatures deserve the right to live, even Viruses."

The puppet snorted. "It's a Halfling, a half-Digimon! We've all seen what humans are capable of. In some instances, they can be as destructive and heartless as Virii, if not more so. Who knows what a human who is half Virus Digimon would be capable of?"

"And what would we gain by murdering an innocent child?" Wizardmon countered. "Not only would we destroy a loving family but we might also give Devimon just cause to attack us and start a war. Leomon, does Gennai's report say anything about the child knowing about his Digimon heritage?"

Leomon looked the report and attached notes again, and shook his head. "No. According to Gennai's notes the child is still just an infant. Furthermore, Devimon has erased his encounter with the boy's mother from her mind. His parents believe that the baby is by both of them, and that he is a full-blooded human."

"There," Wizardmon said triumphantly, folding his arms across his chest. "We have no reason to interfere. I say that we leave the child and his family alone."

"But what if the child were to come to the Digiworld?" Piedmon asked. "Devimon has obviously found a way to cross over from our world into theirs, and back again. Who or what's to say that in the future, this child couldn't do the same thing?"

"We'll have to do our best to make sure that doesn't happen," Leomon decided. "So, it has been moved that the Halfling child of Devimon should be left alone, and that no one in the Digiworld shall interfere with his life. Is there a second?"

"Second," Rosemon said.

Leomon nodded at her. "All in favor?"

"Aye!" called a large majority of the council members.

"All those opposed?"

"Nay!" Puppetmon said. But he was outvoted. The puppet digimon folded his arms across his chest and scowled at the other council members."You'll see. One day you'll be sorry for allowing that freak of nature to live. I just know it."

Piedmon merely grinned, reached over and gave Puppetmon a noogie. "Oh, lighten up you pile of splinters," he said. "Right now the child is an infant. We have nothing to worry about. Trust me."

* * *

"Damnit, where could he be?" Harlemon screeched, gripping her sheets so tight that she almost ripped holes in them. She barely heard the royal physician telling her to remain calm, instead concentrating on the different punishments she could inflict on her husband should he not appear in the next five minutes. Currently her favorite was the image of Piedmon going through the same torture that she was going through at the moment. She would have laughed if she wasn't in so much pain.

It was six months since the council meeting that decided the fate of Devimon's half-human child, and almost nine full months since Harlemon had imparted some very important news to her then-lover. The pregnancy had progressed normally and without complications, which was a relief for both of them. Piedmon wanted his son to be perfect, as did Harlemon. However, the expectant mother also feared what might happen to her and the child should something happen to make the father label him "not perfect."

"Aahhhhh!" she screamed as another contraction hit. As it subsided she caught sight of Piedmon rushing into the bedchamber, worry reflected in his eyes. "Where the hell have you been?" his lady wife growled as he hurried to her bedside.

"I'm terribly sorry, Dearest," Piedmon apologized. "We were in the middle of discussing Gennai's latest report when a courier came in and told me that you were in labor."

Harlemon turned to him, her eyes glowing magenta-red. "Next time, try to schedule your damn council meetings around these things!" she seethed. Piedmon backed away from the bed, actually fearful for his life. Harlemon snapped her fingers. "Get back here!" she ordered. He complied, then after a few moments tenatively took her hand.

After a few minutes of silence and another contraction, Harlemon looked up at her husband. "So, did Gennai have anything to report besides the antics of his pet Mousemon?" Piedmon chuckled, and began explaining the events of the council meeting that he had had to leave so quickly.

"For one thing, Ogremon has resumed his meetings with Devimon," Piedmon said. "This time it appears that the two of them are actually planning something. Gennai was able to eavesdrop on one of their meetings, and heard Devimon promise that he'd give Ogremon the whole of Leomon's realm to rule after the ruler of Felinia had been destroyed."

The lady of Negamon snorted, a noise which would have been unbecoming of other Digimon ladies. "Of course, Ogremon is too dumb to realize that Devimon will double-cross him the instant the first chance presents itself." Piedmon whole-heartedly agreed with her.

"All right, my lady!" the royal physician announced. "On the next contraction, I want you to push!" Harlemon nodded, complying with the doctor's orders as yet another contraction reared its ugly head. "All right, again!" Two more pushes, and the son of Piedmon and Harlemon was finally born. There was just one thing the matter.

The baby wasn't crying.

"What's wrong?" Harlemon asked fearfully. "Shouldn't he be crying? Why isn't he crying?" When the physician didn't answer, Piedmon fixed the digimon doctor with a steely glare.

"I believe that the lady asked you a question," he said. "Why isn't our son crying?"

"The umbilical cord...it's wrapped around the baby's neck," the physician replied. "I've almost got it off...there." He unwrapped the cord from around the young princeling's neck, then began massaging the newborn's chest. "C'mon, baby. Breathe!" A few seconds later he was rewarded by the sound of a baby boy wailing.

"Will you listen to that?" Harlemon whispered, her eyes filled with tears. "Isn't that the most beautiful sound in the world?"

Piedmon nodded. "Our son has a healthy pair of lungs, doesn't he?" He turned as the royal physician held out a pair of scissors to the Dark Noblemon.

"Would his lordship like the honor of cutting the umbilical cord?" he asked. Piedmon blinked at him for a moment. Then out of thin air he produced a gold-plated Trump Sword that he had created just for this occassion. With extreme care Piedmon cut the cord. His son was then cleaned and weighed, after which he was wrapped in a black silk blanket and handed to his mother.

"Isn't he beautiful?" Harlemon whispered, gazing down at her newborn child in complete adoration. The love she felt for this little one knew no boundaries. Never in her life had Harlemon thought that she could feel this way toward another living thing. But then, Harlemon had not been a mother before now.

Piedmon nodded in agreement. "He is," he said softly, also looking at his son proudly.

"What shall we call him?" his wife asked. "A Digimon of his caliber should have a name that will strike fear into the hearts of his enemies."

"True, and I have just the one," Piedmon said."Mathmon. Prince Mathmon."

"Mathmon," Harlemon tried the name out for herself. "I like it. It's perfect." She looked down at the baby sleeping peacefully in her arms. "Welcome to the world, Prince Mathmon."

* * *

Prince Mathmon was everything his parents had hoped he'd be. The infant was humanoid in appearance, with large, inquisitive blue eyes and an unruly thatch of sun-blonde hair. Normally hair of this color was found amongst the Angemon and Angewomon, but his parents attributed it to genetics. After all, Piedmon's mother had been a Sorceramon, and all Sorceramon had blonde hair.

Mathmon rarely cried, much to the relief of his parents. His waking moments were spent exploring as much of his new home and world as he possibly could. The more time he spent with his son, the more Piedmon found his fears of being a good father going out the window.

A week after his birth, Harlemon and Piedmon held a naming party for their son. The guest roster was the same as it was at the wedding, the guests including the Council, Devimon, his sister and her son and Myotismon. Even Gennai had managed to sneak out of Devimon's castle unnoticed to attend the party.

"I have to admit, he is a handsome baby Piedmon," Wizardmon said as he held his nephew. Currently the week-old infant was investigating his uncle's wardrobe, his little hand reaching out for the skull pin that clipped Wizardmon's cloak together.

"Isn't he, though?" Piedmon smiled, tickling Mathmon under his chin. Wizardmon tore himself away from the father-son bonding to survey the rest of the room. Standing over by Mathmon's crib and investigating the babe's toys was Puppetmon. He really wasn't surprised that Puppetmon was there; he was, after all, ruler of Woodlandz and therefore a council member. MachineDramon was talking with some other guests, while MetalSeadramon was actually swimming in the fountain.

THAT was what made Wizardmon the slightest bit nervous. MachineDramon and MetalSeadramon were Megas, the only Digimon who had reached that level aside from a few members of the Council, himself excluded. Those two never attend functions like these unless there's something in it for them, he thought. Now if he could only figure out just WHY they were at the party.

Just then a noise distracted Wizardmon from his thoughts. He looked down to see that his nephew playing with something on Wizardmon's sleeve. The ruler of Magica then realized that his nephew had discovered zippers.

Wizardmon was right, however; there was a reason that Piedmon had invited MetalSeadramon and MachineDramon to the party. While the guests watched as Harlemon opened the large stack of gifts that LadyDevimon and the other female Digimon had brought her, her husband quietly left the room with the other two Megas and Puppetmon in tow.

"Now, we can't be too long, or else we'll be missed," Piedmon said once they had reached his private observatory. "After all, it wouldn't do well for the mon of honor to skip out on his own party, would it?"

"I dunno," MetalSeadramon said, his accent making him sound a lot like the Earth actor Jack Nicholson. "Why don't you ask the kid that sometime?" Piedmon shot the armor-clad sea serpent an angry glare. "All right, all right. So what's the update?"

"It seems that a confrontation between Devimon and the council is nearing," Piedmon replied. "And that, my friends, is when we must strike."

"Why must we wait?" rumbled MachineDramon. "Why don't we strike now, when the council members are gathered in one place and their guard is down?"

"Because he doesn't wanna kill his wife or kid!" MetalSeadramon fired back, rolling his eyes. "Jeez. For a machine, you can act awfully dumb sometimes." MachineDramon glowered at the serpent digimon.

"Gentlemon, please!" Piedmon interrupted. "We're plotting to overthrow the council, not destroy each other! Now, MachineDramon, the reason that we're waiting is that after the battle with Devimon the council will be tired and weakened. That will be our opportunity to strike."

"Because they won't expect it, and they won't be able to fight back," MetalSeadramon smirked. "Brilliant, Piedmon. Absolutely brilliant. Count me in."

"Me as well," MachineDramon said.

But Puppetmon was a tad reluctant to join his fellow Megas in the plan. "I don't know," he said. "I mean, Devimon's just a champion, and a good majority of the council members are Megas. How can you be sure that Devimon would have the advantage?"

"He will," Piedmon assured him. "I'll make certain of it, but don't tell him that. Now, are you in or out?"

Puppetmon sighed, "I'm in, I guess."

"Good," Piedmon smiled. "Now, we had better get back before we're missed." With that the four Megas headed back to the party. Fortunately, very few digimon had noticed they were gone, and those that had didn't say anything.

The party continued on into the wee hours of the night. The only guest who left before it ended was Gennai, so that he could be sure he would make it back to File Island and Devimon's castle before Devimon himself. Again, Piedmon was tempted to tell Devimon about his little pest problem, but decided against it.

As it turned out, Piedmon and his cohorts didn't have long to wait for their chance. It happened on a clear day in the Digiworld, when Mathmon was barely a month old. Gennai was sitting in his hideaway in the walls of Devimon's castle, working on his latest report to send to the Council.

Outside Devimon was in his study, once more going through the file on his half-human son. So far none of the blanks on the "Baby's First" list had been filled in, but he knew he had to be patient. After all, his son wasn't that much older than Mathmon, in human years anyway. Surprisingly, Devimon found himself growing jealous at the relationship between Piedmon and his young son and wishing that his own son were around.

The Champion Virus was startled out of his thoughts by scuffling. He turned and noticed a Mousemon by his elbow. Quick as a wink, his hand darted out and caught the little creature by the tail. It wriggled and struggled fruitlessly as Devimon brought it level with his face. "Hello there," he said. "Do you think you can tell me what you were doing before I delete you?"

The Mousemon cringed. "I-I was on an errand from Gennai! He wanted me to get something from an important file for him!"

"Gennai, eh? One of Leomon's pathetic little council members," Devimon remarked. "And just where, praytell, is Gennai hiding himself?"

Of all the things that Gennai was expecting that day, Devimon's fist crashing through the wall beside him wasn't one of them. He jumped, startled. "What in blazes?" he gasped, moving away as the black hand grasped for him. "I have to get out of here!" With that, Gennai crawled into one of the vents and started crawling towards the exit.

Outside Devimon's castle, at the foot of Infinity Mountain, Leomon was waiting patiently for Gennai's courier to bring him the spy's latest report. Therefore he was surprised when Gennai himself clambered out of the secret opening in the side of the mountain, looking like he was running for his life.

"Gennai, what is it? What's happened?" Leomon asked. His younger friend couldn't answer. He was too busy trying to catch his breath. Before Gennai could explain anything, a loud shout came from Devimon's castle, echoing throughout the entire island.

"Rotten, no-good Vaccines!" Devimon growled. "You and the Council shall pay dearly for this intrusion, Gennai! This is war!"

Leomon and Gennai were silent for a moment. Then Gennai said, "I think we're in trouble."

To be continued...