Legacy of a Nazgul or Digimon ride to Minas Tirith. Chapter 21 – Home, sweet home.

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Finally, the last chapter =)

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… With a flashing light and earth shaking the group was tossed out of the portal, which promptly closed after that. The place they have landed in was dark, and rather dusty. There was absolutely no light, only blackness. The dust was making everyone sneeze and the air was rather dry as well.

"Jeez, from one worthless hole into another… Some one please turn on the lights!" Rika managed to say before sneezing again. It felt like they were in some sort of a basement.

"I can't see a thing!" Takato replied as he stumbled and tripped over some junk and fell, making a big racket, and raising another cloud of dust in the air.

A few moments later the light appeared. Renamon, being the only one who can see in dark, found a light switch. A sigh of relief was heard when the light appeared. Everyone was tired of the dark, they encountered it too often already. The place proved to be a basement indeed, a really large one, stuffed with rather strange junk. Statues, old paintings, armor suits, old weapons and such. Takato lied in a pile of rubble, which probably was a statue he knocked over in the dark.

"It seems we are back to the museum… That must be their storage room, where they keep all unused exhibits and stuff." Henry concluded.

"Now you're telling me…" Takato replied with a moan, rising from the floor and rubbing a large bruise on his leg.

Suddenly, they heard a sound of door opening. They managed to hide behind a rather large painting, and were wondering who was coming inside. The door opened, and they saw an old man with a lantern walking in. They recognized the man – it was the same guy who met them at the "great opening", and offered to give them a tour.

"Whoa?! Why is the light switched on? I thought I told everybody to switch the damn lights off when leaving the storage! Do they even know how much electricity costs these days? Brainless little…" the old man muttered and went to switch the light off.

"What the hell is he mumbling about?" Takato asked quietly, and made a step back, but accidentally bumped into something. He turned around to see what he hit, and the nest moment fell to the ground and crawled away from it in fear.

"What the matter with you Goggle… oh my… Damn." Rika managed to say, before she spotted what terrified Takato so much. In a few steps away from them there was that accursed table again, the one that sent them into the unknown void in the first place. Their gasps and movements, however, didn't go unnoticed to the old man.

"Bah! Who is here? Come out whoever you are!" he demanded and grabbed something heavy in his hands, to feel himself armed and secure. When this was heard, the children and their digimon finally showed themselves and left their hiding place. The old man blinked a couple of times, before recognizing them as well.

"You?! But you… But I thought…" he managed to mutter before Renamon darted to him, grabbed him by the throat and smacked him against the wall, she was careful enough, however, not to break any of the old man's bones while doing it.

"You have a lot to answer for, old kook."Rika said angrily, while approaching him.

"Calm down, Rika, maybe he doesn't know anything!" Henry tried to calm her down, but in vane.

"Yeah, right, like I would ever believe that. That piece of teleporting crap banishes someone to the middle of nowhere at least tow times and that guy doesn't know anything about it? How convenient." Rika replied angrily, while Renamon held the shivering owner of the museum in the air by the throat.

"Please, I didn't do anything, I swear! The guy that delivered this to me told that they tested it… that there would not be another incident… Please … you're … suffocating … me." The old man hissed and the grip on his neck was loosening a bit the next moment.

"ANOTHER INCIDENT?! YOU BASTARD!" Rika's anger went into rage as she delivered a blow with her fist in his stomach. Considering the fact that her physical strength increased during her stay in the strange world, the blow was quite powerful. It made the old man moan in pain. Rika was about to deliver more, caught in frenzy, but Takato grabbed her hands from behind and pulled her away.

"You better tell us everything you know…" Henry said a bit malevolently as he approached the poor museum owner.

"Or else." Renamon added with a very hostile glare, and tightened the grip on the throat. That was enough.

"Please… I'll tell you everything… Just don't hurt." The old man gave up. When he said that, Renamon released his neck, dropping him to the floor.

"Speak." Rika said coldly, after she regained some calmness, and Takato released her.

"I'll tell everything… I swear I didn't see it coming… The whole thing started about 12 years ago. By that time I was already a known person in some circles, mostly for my traveling and my archeological studies. Back then I still was healthy enough to go to various expeditions. I guess that my exploits attracted attention of someone from the government… You see, the special services of this country have formed a new branch to their department, which had something to do with studying some ancient artifacts, this thing was driving dangerously close to shamanism and mysticism. Back then, I didn't believe in all that, but the amount of money they offered me for leading this branch was quite hefty… He-he." The old man said, while breathing heavily. He still suffered from Renamon's grip and Rika's blow.

"They gave me a whole platoon of ex-special operatives, and I was sent on many expeditions to China, South America, and other places where anything of value could have been found. That squad they gave me proved quite useful – we often had encounters with various smugglers, soldiers, wild animals and such. I suppose our missions were illegal…" he said, but was rudely interrupted:

"I don't have to hear your life history, stupid! Just skip to something important." Rika said harshly. The old man sighed and continued:

"Our last mission was in an ancient Mayan temple. There we found something that looked important. The table, that made you disappear… It looked very old and matched the description perfectly. But we had no idea what it could do. I ordered my men to pick it up, and bring it to the boat we used to get to the place. But when two of my men picked it up and dragged it to the boat, suddenly, it began to glow. One of my men panicked when he saw this glow and beaming light, and ran away, but the other was not so quick on his two feet… When the flash went off … the soldier was gone… Only that … thing remained. In the end we brought it where we should have, but it was then when I decided to retire. I retired after the mission, and dedicated myself to writing memoirs. A couple of years ago a person I worked with came to me and proposed to open a museum. Many ancient relics that were considered by that department as "useless", were sent to me. That's how the table came to me again. I had my doubts about it, but the guy convinced me that they have studied every last centimeter of it, and that it is perfectly harmless… Guess he was wrong…" the old man ended his story.

"Hmm… it seems that you're not to blame for what happened to us…" Takato said thoughtfully, after hearing it all.

"Yes! So, you will let me go now?" the old man pleaded.

"Last question. What was you designation number?" Rika asked dimly. The old man spent a minute remembering it, but, at last, he replied:

"R6TH-0R, I think. How did you know I had one?" he asked with amazement.

"Never mind." Rika didn't answer this question.

"So, let's get out of here shall we?" Takato asked as he went to the door.

"We have one more thing left to do. Gargomon?" Henry addressed to his digimon and slashed the blue card. In a green light Terriermon evolved into Gargomon and stepped before his tamer.

"Yes, boss?" he inquired.

"Make sure that artifact will never ever send anyone anywhere." Henry ordered, and with a maniacal laugh, Gargomon aimed his barrel cannons at the table, and unleashed a fury of bullets at the target. In picoseconds the artifact was destroyed, leaving only a pile of rubble.

"There, now when that's doe maybe we can go home? We wasted enough time here already." Rika proposed. When she said that, both Henry's and Takato's faces became grey.

"OH NO, I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT THAT! My mom's sooooo gonna kill me!" Takato moaned.

"I'm going to be grounded for the rest of my life!" Henry supported.

"C'mon you people, whatever punishment will await us, it's still better than back there… Let's go." Rika replied as she opened the door and left the basement. Everyone went silently after her.

"Too bad we have to leave so soon… I was looking forward to busting some heads…" Renamon said viciously as she gave an unpleasant glare to the museum owner before closing the door. The old guy fainted…

… They weren't home for such a long time… When they disappeared without a trace, their parents moved on to drastic measures in an attempt of finding their children. The police was informed of the disappearance, they even beat up Yamaki, even though he had nothing to do with it. No one knew what to think, until, finally, their children came home.

Takato's mother was crying nonstop from seeing her child home again. His father was happy too, although with happiness came a strong desire to beat the crap out of his son for making him worry so much. That was what happened, actually, and Takato was not able to sit straight for quite some time.

Henry was in a similar situation when he arrived home. His mother and little sister were very happy to see him again, as for the father, he dragged Henry into the kitchen and they had a very long talk. Henry's father was not insensible. After hearing the whole story of what happened to them, he concluded that it was not Henry's fault, but an unusual set of circumstances. In the end, everything turned out alright…

… In Rika's house it was a bit different. Of course, everyone was very happy to see her alive, but Rumiko acted very strange. At first she wanted to tear Renamon apart, as she suspected that her daughter was dragged into the Digiworld. After her mother calmed down a bit, and Renamon was rubbing a big bruise under her eye, Rika told both her and her grandmother what happened. Rika intentionally didn't say what she discovered in that world, so that her mother would not get upset again. Rumiko, after hearing the story, wanted to burn down the entire museum, and her rage was so powerful that even her grandmother, Rika and Renamon together were barely enough to hold her. After she regained calmness again, Rumiko apologized to Renamon for the hostilities, and promised that she would never ever allow Rika to go in any place that has the chance of accidentally opening portals to who-knows where. Rika sighed when she heard that. She knew that was coming. That was even worse than getting grounded…

… Three month could last for so very long… Finally, after all they've been through, Rika was able to sleep safe, in her room, without the need of always staying alert, waiting for some creature to jump at her from the nearby bushes. This sure was better than sleeping on a horse-back, or in a cold tower, listening to the howling winds in the corridors or to dull repeating steps of a guard outside the door. Rika was happy to leave that place, at last. She has seen more than her share of bloodshed, and, finally, learned to appreciate all the peaceful moments of life.

Renamon was silently sleeping in the corner of the room. She was through a lot also, staying guard during the nights along with other troops when they were on their journey to Minas Morgul, always on the edge. Even strength of such a power and determined digimon such as herself was not infinite. From time to time she needed to rest for a while and she did now.

Rika closed her eyes and tried to sleep. She was also very tired from the journey, so she fell into slumber as soon as her head touched the pillow. She didn't have dreams, and slept peacefully – something that was not available to her during her stay in Minas Tirith. Finally, no more nightmares, no more orcs, no more Nazgul, no more Sauron, or anything else, just her room, her family, and peace.

But her sleep went undisturbed only for so long. It was very early in the morning when she was awaken by the cold morning air that entered the room through the opened door. It made Rika shiver a bit, as she got up in order to close it.

"How the hell did that thing open?" she yawned and asked herself as she closed it and went back to bed. When she was about to lie down, she suddenly felt someone's presence behind her. She froze in her tracks, Renamon was still sleeping in the corner, so it couldn't have been her. Slowly Rika turned her head to see who, or what is behind her. To her amazement, she saw some foggy substance, shapeless and floating.

"What… what is that?" Rika asked herself again as she slowly crawled away from it.

"Do not fear me, you are safe. Nobody is going to harm you." The foggy substance said with a familiar voice. This phrase didn't assure Rika of peaceful intentions of that being.

"Who… who are you?" she asked, still a bit frightened, but she stopped crawling away.

"Oh, I suppose you do not recognize me…" the strange familiar voice replied, and the foggy substance started to change its form. It stretched, and slowly gained a shape of a human body. As the vision of it became cleared, Rika slowly started to recognize. Tall figure, solid armor, big shield with a symbol of white tree on it, winged helmet, and the scarred face, which she would recognize anywhere now.

"Dad? Is that … is that really you?" she whispered as she made a step closer.

"Yes, child. It is me…" the ghost replied with a bit of sadness in his voice and hid his eyes from a direct contact.

"But … I thought you died…" she said as she made one more step forward.

"You thought right. I died. Yet I am here. You have some questions for me, I can feel it. I am willing to indulge any of your questions." The ghost replied.

"Dad, I do have to ask you something… It's important. You knew who I was when we met in Minas Tirith?" she asked dimly.

"Yes, Rika, I did." The ghost sighed.

"Then … why? Why didn't you tell me it was you? Why?" Rika whispered as she felt her eyes watering again, yet now she succeeded in holding it. The ghost sighed again.

"There were some reasons… I was not home for quite a long while. From how my disappearance looked like from your part, it looked like I abandoned you, and your mother. I assumed you would hate me for that, and thought that it would be for the best for you to be spared from such a reunion…" the ghost replied sadly. This time Rika was not able to hold her tears again.

"But that is not true! I never hated you, and always hoped that you would return some day! And mother never spoke ill of you either!" she exclaimed, as tears poured from her eyes again.

"I wish I knew that earlier… I was so very afraid that you would reject me… Hnh, look at me, not afraid of facing anyone in combat, but afraid of such a thing. I am pathetic. But, there was another reason…" the ghost of Ristor continued.

"What … was it?" Rika sobbed after wiping away her tears.

"It was when we first met. Back then I didn't know it was you, I swear! I was the one who was responsible for imprisonment of you and your friends at Minas Tirith. I was the one who was with the blade at your throat… I found out who you were when I was talking to your friend Henry at the hospital. When I found out, I was horrified, yet I didn't show it to him. I put the blade to the throat of my own daughter… Please, if you can, forgive me for that." The ghost apologized. Men don't cry, especially soldiers, but from the intonation it was obvious that he deeply regretted what he has done.

"I remember that my friends screamed my name once or twice during that fight…" Rika replied. That memory was very unpleasant, that fear she felt when the cold steel was only a millimeter away from her neck is something she was not able to forget easily.

"After I was bashed in the face by Renamon, I was hardly able to hear anything, or think properly for that matter. But I understand. Such memories cannot be undone so easily. That is why I am here…" the ghost replied. What he said surprised Rika quite a bit.

"What do you mean?" she asked in amazement. The ghost sighed again.

"When you said all the things you said when you were at my grave… I heard them. I heard every last one of them. And you were right about many things. I served many masters, and was always a man of duty, but it was the duty for my family I never took in consideration… I tried to live my life doing what I thought was right. And I did many mistakes. Then, I started to think before doing something, and did even more mistakes… When you were born, several years our family lived practically on your mother's salary. She is a model, and I was out-of work soldier. From time to time I worked as a guard in a club or a pub, but the salary was meager, compared to what Rumiko earned. That was … very demeaning. I felt useless. But instead of leaving my ego and my foolish pride behind and dedicating myself to the family, I kept looking, until I signed up for a government contract. Biggest mistake ever. But the payment was very good. The work was dangerous, I almost got myself killed more than a dozen of times, either eaten by a crocodile, or shot by a smuggler. I didn't realize back then that I would make more of a difference back at home, than earning money we didn't have an extreme necessity in by running through the wastes for some artifact." He said.

"I do not blame you. You did what you did for my own good, didn't you?" Rika said with a kind and understanding intonation.

"That's … not entirely true. Before my last mission my superior approached me and said that I have done well, serving my country, and that if I want, I could go in retirement, and receive a considerable pension for the rest of my life. But I was a glory-hunter. I knew that I would be promoted very soon to a rank of captain, and I decided to stay. The rest…" the ghost sighed sadly again.

"I know…" Rika wanted to put her hand on his shoulder, but ghosts are not material, so her hand went right through it.

"But I have returned for a reason. I have a debt I must repay, to you, and to Rumiko…" the ghost said, with determination in his voice, Rika looked at him in amazement again.

"But … how did you enter this world anyway?" she asked.

"When I died, I was very unsure what to do. I felt very guilty, and very helpless, and the worst of all was that I didn't know how to make things right. Then, I met an old man. I never saw him, but he seemed familiar, somehow. By his look, he was a warrior too. He asked what troubles me, and, after I told him, taught me how I could return to this world. He told me that it is only possible if a soul has a body of some sort, an object it is tied to." The ghost replied with sly smile, but before Rika managed to say anything, the mist started to disappear.

"Hey! Come back! Don't go!" Rika shouted as she tried to hold the mist back, only to see it slip through her fingers and disappear. Suddenly, she saw something glowing on her table. She moved closer to see, what it is, and to her amazement, it was a ring.

She recognized it. It was that ring the little girl gave her at her father's grave, but Rika thought she lost that one. She picked up the ring and looked at it for a minute.

"Is that the object you tied your soul to, father?" she thought as she looked at the ring with curiosity and suspicion.

"Yes, Rika, it is. Whenever you will need help, physical or otherwise, do not hesitate in asking me about it. Just keep the ring close to you, and I will always be there, to protect you to the best of my ability." She heard a kind voice in her head, but it was not disturbing.

"How would I ask you for help if I will need it?" Rika asked mentally again.

"Just think what you want to ask me about, and I will hear you. Always. I shall not abandon the family I am pledged to protect ever again." Her father replied.

"So… You're a soul, tied to the ring… Does this mean that you're a … a Nazgul?" Rika inquired a bit frightened.

"Technically. But I differ from them in a fundamental way. They became what they were because they were forced to do it, I became such because it was my decision. But if you put the ring on a finger of a suit of armor, I suppose I could move It around." The ghost joked a bit, and made Rika laugh.

"We will try that on Halloween." She replied and yawned. She was still a bit sleepy.

"It is still early, Rika. You should go back to bed. I will leave you at peace." The voice finally silenced, and Rika listened to her father's advice. But before going to sleep, she put the ring on her finger. It fitted her perfectly, and she felt friendly warmth going through her body.

"At last, we're a family again…" she said and fell asleep. She never had nightmares ever since…

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Epilogue…

The disappearance of 6 heroes of the war on their mission in Minas Morgul wrought havoc in Minas Tirith. Commander Morn was in rage, he ordered Minas Morgul to be taken apart stone by stone, if that would bring people he cared much about back. He felt that it was his failure somehow, and blamed himself a thousand times for not sending a battalion of tower guards with them as an escort.

But, in time, everything calmed down, the events were slowly fading into history. All six were praised as heroes, and even a big statue was built in their memory right in the center of Minas Tirith. Many stories and legends were told about them throughout Middle-Earth, some were true, some not, but it didn't matter to the listeners anyway…

But, there also were strange legends told in taverns of many cities of Middle-earth. They say that far to the north, where news don't travel too far or too often, and where the events of war that happened were not so well-known, they say that there is a strange creature. Many call it the dark wanderer, for it travels across that frozen and barren landscape on its black steed, from one scattered village to another, and when it comes, always something good happens. Many people were saved from terrible plagues that ravaged there by strange wizardry of the one who hid its face under a hood, and many bandits felt the sting of its ice-cold blade.

At first, people were cautious towards the stranger, but in time, they even began to invite the wanderer to their houses in gratitude, but it never stayed, and never spoke to anyone. When everything was done, the stranger just disappeared into the night without a trace. But these are just silly stories told in taverns to keep the people happy. They can't be true, can they?

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THE END!!!!

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Finally, it is finished. I am REALLY HOPING to receive some reviews now that the story is done =)

P.S: I can also do requests. If someone has any bright ideas – I would welcome any, and will try to comply, to the best of my ability. If you're interested, of course. Otherwise you'll just have to wait until I come up with something on my own =)

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR READING THIS STORY!!!!

Good bye for now ;)