Disclaimer: Digimon Tamers is the property of Toei Animation, Bandai, and Akiyoshi Hongo. Original characters are of my creation, and original concepts for Inner Demons were formulated loosely (VERY loosely) from Chiaki J. Konaka's production notes.
Notes: 'Gaiden' is a Japanese word used often for side-stories. This is a side-story of Inner Demons that takes place some time before the start of the main series.
Timeline: This story begins some considerable time before Inner Demons Realization 01 - "Tamer."
The rain fell, again. Somehow, it always seemed to signify the start of things for her... both the good and the bad. It was raining the night she first came to be what she was, and it was raining then when, for all she knew, it was over...
The redheaded teenager had no clue as to where she was. Aside from being in some forest at night with the precipitation beating down on her from above, she couldn't hope to figure out her location. All she knew is that she wasn't there any longer. She wasn't where she had been last in her memory... in that other world...
She stumbled and slipped as she tried walking, barely catching herself on a tree. Her vision was blurred, and her body, completely soaked through her clothes, shivered from the cold. Pain still flowed through every fiber of her, as well. She couldn't really hope to find her way anywhere... even if it had been broad daylight and sunny, she doubted her ability to see her way far enough to not fall on her face every five seconds.
She couldn't remember what last happened in that world... she knew that she had been fighting, and then...
Cursing, pounding a fist against the tree, she sunk to her knees. Realization struck her like a ton of bricks, and she lost any will to move further. Despite everything - every battle, every hardship - it became very apparent to her that she was alone.
Feeling as if a hole had been ripped within her very being, the girl didn't move. Without anyone else, there was no longer any point...
They laughed at him. Called him a fool. If they could have seen him at that moment, they would have just as well committed him to an asylum. However, Yamaki Mitsuo hadn't gotten as far as he had in network administrations for the Japanese government by playing it safe. Or sane, for that matter.
That no one believed him didn't bother him much. What did bother him was that the close-mindedness of his peers was doing little else but putting everything and everyone in danger.
When he had found this signal, entrenched within an odd, sudden weather pattern, in these familiar woods, he knew what had to be done. So, there he was, trekking through a dark, rain-drenched forest. Some of his peers had jokingly referred to him as 'Captain Ahab,' once. Well, if that was so, then he was damn sure he was right on top of his white whale.
Yamaki wore a poncho, but it did little to hold the torrent of water at bay. Just as well. He obviously couldn't haul his laptop out in this mess, so he just had to go in the general direction of where he knew the signal was and do a hell of a lot of guesswork. That was fine. It wasn't like it was hard - the closer he got to where he knew the signal had originated, the worse the weather got.
Moving was certainly a chore, of course. His flashlight's beam was obscured heavily by the rain, so he couldn't see far beyond that. He just had to make sure he didn't kill himself before he got there.
As he got nearer, though, what he found was not quite what he was expecting. Indeed, out of all his theories, out of everything he knew was true, he didn't expect to find a teenaged girl lying there on the forest floor.
Digimon Tamers: Inner Demons Gaiden
Fallen Legend: Part 01 - "Return"
By Infinity Blade
Makino Ruki awoke, sitting straight up and gasping for air. The girl grabbed her throat, realizing that the last thing she remembered was quite a bit of water. Thus, it seemed slightly odd to wake up feeling rather dry. For that matter, her throat was really dry. It occurred to here briefly that it had been a long time since she had eaten or really drank anything...
All too briefly, in fact, before she fully took in her situation. She was in a dark room, and she could still hear the sound of rain beating down outside. It was most definitely not her own bed that she lay in, nor was it her room. For that matter, she wasn't even in her own clothes. She instead had on a shirt and a pair of shorts that seemed a couple sizes too big, and thus fit pretty loosely.
Ruki finally just gave a groan of complete and utter frustration, holding her face in her hands. Where was she? What on either world had just happened? Her mind felt so frazzled. Every time she tried to recall the memory of those final battles, it only succeeded in bringing forth a throbbing pain in her head.
The last she remembered - fully - was fighting him, a fact which brought no feeling other than the most extreme anger possible. Yet, she couldn't find the strength to express it.
She still felt so weak. Like she had stretched her body to its absolute limits, and it just didn't, for whatever reason, want to recover from that.
Ruki knew, however, that just sitting around wouldn't bring her answers. She had to find out where she was, and then get out of there as quickly as possible.
I have to find Renamon. That was her primary, most prominent thought. If Ruki still lived, she knew that her Partner Digimon did too. There was no question to that fact. The feeling of wanting to give up earlier was pushed right away with that one thought.
Carefully, quietly, Ruki removed herself from the bed, and instantly almost found herself falling back into it. As she stood on her own two feet again, she wobbled in her stance, barely being able to summon enough strength to not have her legs just collapse out from under her.
Slowly but surely, the girl's bare feet moved across the carpeted floor to the door, and as she cracked it open, she instantly heard voices. There were two of them, each one distinct and different: a man and a woman. She couldn't make out what either said, so she moved again, out into the shadowy hallway, and cautiously down it until she could finally make out what they were saying.
"-this isn't going to be what they're looking for," the woman said. "If this is the only kind of report we can come back with, it's not exactly going to help your case..."
"I realize that," the man said. Ruki could hear him pacing back and forth across a hardwood floor. "That doesn't mean we can't ask that girl just what she's doing up here when she wakes up."
"Mitsuo, we don't even know what has happened to this girl," the woman countered. "She could just be a runaway, or maybe someone took her against her will, left her for dead. We don't know what kind of trauma she might have experienced..."
"Regardless," the man continued as Ruki got closer to their voices, "this device she had on her is giving off the exact readings that we were tracking ourselves... There is something going on here."
Ruki froze as she finally saw the source of the voices. The woman had long, auburn hair, while the man was blond with blue eyes. They stood in the living quarters of this house, but seeing them wasn't what made the girl freeze up. It was what the man held; a silver and blue device. A D-Ark. Hers.
"Give that back," Ruki spoke sharply, surprising them with here presence, and herself with the sudden strength in her own voice. "NOW."
Before either could reply, or before she could realize just what she was doing herself, she dashed at them. She snatched the D-Ark from the man's hands, and spun around to face them as she reached the other end of the room, standing before the roaring fireplace.
"Who are you people?" Ruki snapped. "Where on Earth am I?"
The woman was in complete shock over Ruki's actions, while the man recomposed himself rather quick. "My name," he spoke calmly, "is Yamaki Mitsuo. This is my... assistant, Ootori Reika. This place is my family's cabin near Kyoto. So, then, young lady, my question is... Who are you and what are you doing here?"
Ruki tried to gulp, but her parched throat made that difficult. "My name's Makino Ruki... how did I..."
"I found you passed out in the forest around here," Yamaki said. "So I brought you back here... and in case you need to know, Reika's the one that got you into the dry clothes."
"We don't want to hurt you, Ruki-chan," Reika said, a note of caution in her voice. "We just... want to understand what all is going on here."
"I... see," Ruki murmured. The feeling of weakness was setting in again, and she sighed. She didn't even feel like snapping at the woman for calling her 'chan.' These people didn't seem like they were a threat. She had just been so used to dealing with nothing but that...
"Would you like something to eat?" the brunette woman asked, and then added, "I believe your clothes should be dry by now, too, if you want them."
Ruki's violet eyes shifted back and forth between the two adults before finally relenting with a silent nod. The next half hour or so, in fact, was altogether quiet, as she ate without speaking, and then went silently into the nearest bathroom to change back into her own clothes.
Removing the baggy shirt, she stopped short as she viewed herself in the mirror. On her back, going down from her left shoulder, was a scar. It looked like something that would be left by the claw of a beast of some type. Remembering just what caused it vividly, the girl grit her teeth before punching the nearest wall in anger.
Somewhere, deep in the recesses of her mind, she truly wished it was all just a dream. Or a nightmare, to be more exact. She wished that she had never been forced to go through everything she experienced. To not have needed to do everything she did. But it all happened. Even with her clouded memories, upon seeing that scar, that fact was as clear as day.
Ruki hurriedly dressed herself after that, clipping the D-Ark to her belt when she was done. There was still something else that needed done. Someone else was still out there, somewhere...
Exiting the bathroom, she quickened her pace through the cabin. Feeling her own weakness or not, she wasn't going to be stopped. Though thankful to these people for assisting her, she wouldn't let them hold her back, now that she had a clear vision of her goal in her mind...
"I do hope you're not planning on going out in that," Yamaki spoke quickly as she started to pass the living room again. The girl stopped short, glancing over at him silently. "The storm's gotten even worse since I found you. Going out there would just put you in an even worse situation than before."
Ruki frowned, eyeing the door to outside just on the other side of the hall. "...I can manage."
Yamaki stared at her momentarily, and then sat down in the nearest chair to him. "Am I to assume you have any idea what is causing this storm, Ruki? Or are you just a careless little girl?"
Ruki sneered at the man. "Excuse me? Just who do you think you are?"
"I told you, my name is Yamaki Mitsuo," he said, "and I am also an agent for Japanese Network Defense Administrations."
"Hmph. Never heard of them."
"Therein lies the point," Yamaki said. He then paused, looking thoughtful for a moment. "Humans are so certain of their superiority, you know. That they are the greatest strength in the world... that there is nothing greater than their own power, that nothing can surpass their level of wisdom. And yet... I think we both know how untrue that really is."
"Just what are you getting at...?"
"You know just as well as I do, Ruki," he said, "that we're smack dab in the middle of a Digital Field. Somewhere out there is a Digimon."
This brought any retort she was going to give to a dead stop. How could he possibly know about that? Could things have gotten that bad in the Real World in the time she had been gone?
"Mitsuo!" Reika shouted across the cabin, running into the room from the kitchen, laptop in hand. "I just detected another surge in the signal!"
Sure enough, as those words left the woman's mouth, Ruki's D-Ark began to beep and the screen started glowing. Yamaki's reaction was surprisingly indifferent, while Reika looked at the girl in surprise. Ruki, on the other hand, paid the two adults little mind, bolting for the door.
Upon flinging it open, her newly dried clothes became instantaneously drenched in the torrential downpour of water. Ruki didn't care. Nothing, whether it was her own lack of strength or the force of nature itself, was going to stop her.
She ran. As hard and as fast as she could, she ran through the forest. For all intents and purposes, her vision was obscured by both water and darkness, but it somehow didn't matter. Slowly but surely, she could feel her personal strength returning. She could see without seeing. She could tell just where she was going. She knew exactly what it was she was coming up on.
She thought it was over. That it would end with that final battle. If she put everything into it, she thought she could come out on top, no matter what...
Unfortunately, she now realized that life wasn't that easy. Like it or not, it was impossible for something so big, so encompassing, to end in such a simple manner. There was no other choice but to face it...
Finally, she reached it. A funnel of thick fog reaching up through the treetops stood before her. It didn't move from where it was, but constantly spewed forth lightning and rain in all directions. It reached out and above them, and was obviously the cause of the storm.
This was a Digital Field, most definitely. Unlike any she had ever seen or heard of in the Human World. She could tell the funnel represented the center of the Field, but what was in it... she could feel it, see it...
There was another flash of lightning from the funnel, and two figures shot out form opposite ends of it. One was a yellow furred, humanoid fox. The other was some sort of bird Digimon, spewing electricity off from all areas of his body.
The fox landed on the ground, soft and slippery from the rain, and nearly lost her footing. She breathed heavily for a second before looking back at Ruki and smiling just slightly. "Ruki... thank goodness..."
Ruki ran to the Digimon's side, grabbing her and supporting her before she fell from exhaustion. "Renamon, what..."
"On our way back," Renamon said, "he attacked... I don't know why, but it separated us, and the result was a vortex I couldn't escape from... not until you were nearby."
Ruki looked ahead as the funnel began to dissipate. "Heh," she smirked. "He didn't hit you once, did he?"
Renamon smiled slightly again. "Not once."
Once Ruki got a good look at the attacker, however, she gave a small gasp. It was an armored rooster, now sitting on a tree branch staring down at them. "Shinduramon? Why would a Deva..."
"It was you," the bird Digimon screeched. "You humans! Because of your interference, and bringing that monstrosity upon our world! The chaos was brought to us by you! Zhuqiaomon-sama is dead because of you!"
There was no time for debate. Shinduramon fired off a bolt of electricity in their direction as he finished speaking. Renamon acted quickly, knocking Ruki away and then jumping to avoid the bolt herself. While in mid-air, Renamon crossed her arms and took aim at the Deva.
"FOX LEAF ARROWHEAD!"
Glowing leaves soared out from around the fox, cutting through the rain. They struck Shinduramon, and there was an explosion. Though the tree limb fell, slamming into the wet dirt below, the Deva was unharmed, floating in the air.
Another electric bolt lanced off from the higher-level Digimon's body, which Renamon avoided by phasing out of sight and reappearing next to Ruki. The girl was just getting back to her feet, and she sighed. "He's a Perfect-level Digimon, so that kind of attack isn't going to do any good..."
"I don't think our strength is what it was, somehow, either," Renamon noted.
Ruki shook her head. "No... no, it isn't. So we need to improvise..."
Renamon nodded, stepping forward as Shinduramon turned in the air to look down at them. "Indeed. Though, after fighting for so long, I believe neither of us have much power left..."
Ruki shook her head, holding out one hand as two cards of pure energy began to generate; one black, and one white. "No, we don't... but after this, that won't matter anymore... PSI CARD SLASH!"
Both Yamaki and Reika could feel the explosion of power that rippled throughout the forest. They had been trying helplessly to follow Ruki through the storm, but to no avail. As that shockwave went out in all directions, however, they quickly found the storm to vanish mere moments later.
So they searched, and searched, and continued to search throughout the night. By dawn, however, they had found nothing but a crater in the ground at the precise spot they had detected the Digital Field's center.
By dawn, there was no choice but to return to the cabin, knowing fully that any proof had just slipped right through their fingers... "She's still out there," Yamaki concluded as he sat in the cabin's living room, staring aimlessly at the ceiling, and fingering a silver lighter in his hand. "She's the one who ended that storm..."
"Unfortunately," Reika said, "we can't exactly go back to our superiors with that. We don't have anything right now."
"No," Yamaki muttered, closing his eyes. "Not right now, we don't. At this rate, though... it's only a matter of time."
The explosion of power had been immense. That much was quite evident.
Standing beside the crater in the soft ground, the last and only sign of Shinduramon's demise, was a small creature. He had brown fur with pink markings, with long floppy ears and three horns mounted upon his head. The Digimon known as Lopmon bowed his head solemnly.
"Your sacrifice will always be remembered, my brother," Lopmon murmured. "For allowing me passage into this world, for the sake of our world and our lost Zhuqiaomon-sama... it will always be remembered..."
-To Be Continued
NOTES: So, I know what some people may be saying. "Oh great, he's starting ANOTHER series." As this is a direct spin-off of Inner Demons, however, I look at it more like just putting out another chapter of the series. Just simply... set further back.
"Inner Demons Gaiden" was designed to allow me to tell side-stories that the main series just doesn't really allow without breaking up the narrative. It also allows me to go in-depth with such things than I would, otherwise. The first arc here, "Fallen Legend" will follow the story of Ruki's return from her first trip to the Digital World... and as you can already see, there are things revealed here that will eventually have great impact on the ID world in general.
"Gaiden" will pretty much serve as my catch-all series for and miscellaneous ID story I need to write. This will include back story arcs, the occasional one-shot, and maybe even some humor if the chance arises for it. Chapters may be shorter or longer than the usual ID installments, just depending on what's needed for each one.
So thanks to everyone for reading, and I hope you all will enjoy this section of the ID universe as well.
"She left them
behind for her own journey. Now, as she returns and tries to begin
unraveling her clouded memories, Ruki was discover even more that she
just can't leave that other world behind..."
Next: Fallen Legend: Part 02 - "Family"