Date Started: December 20, 2009
Date Finished: December 27, 2009
Summary: A short soul-seeking journey quickly turns into an encounter with an old foe.
Trials of the Warrior
Here is an account of the past wonderful years in the life of Kido Jyou: born in Nerima and raised in the Odaiba Wards of Tokyo, Japan, he lived with his caring parents and his two elder brothers. Slim and fragile, he survived a harsh childhood tainted with foreign worlds and ruthless conflicts. He stumbled into his teens and later his twenties, his life protected by the many private schools and overseas universities he attended.
He was all but finished his post-graduate studies in England. He lived there carefree with his digital partner. Their apartment contained little more than the bare essentials: a desk with a computer and printer, a shelf nearby that housed Jyou's many medicinal texts, and in the bedroom all that lay was a single lone futon. He was full of anticipation, brimming with excitement, and now…
"I'm having a midlife crisis," Jyou carelessly spoke into the phone. He spun around in his chair, letting out a short sigh. Gomamon came into his view during the spin; his ears pricked upwards to attention.
The voice on the other end giggled at the confession. "Jyou, you're only twenty-five."
"What does that have to do with anything, Mimi?"
His voice nearly croaked during his question. He hadn't entertained much company in recent weeks, and his throat was aching from the lack of use. As a result his words came out sputtered. He desperately wanted to speak with one of his fellow Chosen and was thankful that Mimi didn't seem to mind his unexpected call. Truth be told, he had wanted to contact some of the others still in Japan; Yamato would have probably been his first preference. However the difference in time zones meant had he done that he would have ended up waking them in the middle of the night. As a result he opted to phone Mimi instead.
"Well, you're not middle aged yet, right?" The light jovially tone of her voice told him that she was seeking confirmation to her question.
He spun around in his chair again before replying. It was a good thing his phone was cordless; he didn't want to be tangled up in the wiring. After a short breath, he explained his situation: after graduation his father was expecting him to return home to Japan. The Kido line had been doctors since the Edo period, and with both Shin and Shuu pursuing other interests the continuation of this line now fell in Jyou's hands.
Mimi had known all this already, and when she voiced her confusion Jyou revealed his troubles. "I've been working towards this since middle school." He explained. "After all this time, I've lost my passion."
Mimi didn't seem to think much of his confession. She raised a few key questions before offering her solution. The first of which came as follows: where had Jyou acquired this passion from in the first place? What had triggered this decision for him to follow in the footsteps of his forefathers?
The answers to both revolved around the Digital World. After having seen the decay and destruction that had gone on in that world, Jyou had resolved himself to a doctor's fate. He wanted to help and heal both the land and its people. And thus was Mimi's solution: a short trip to the Digital World to reinvigorate his passion and wellbeing.
After a lengthy farewell, Jyou found himself staring forwards where his partner lay. He mused in silence while his eyes traced over Gomamon's resting form. A short break from his studies would be most welcome, and Mimi's suggestion rang forth with much truth. The Digital World would be the best place to visit.
Now he had to find the answer to another query – just where in the Digital World would he go?
The answer came easier than Jyou would have expected. The very beginning of his lifelong experience occurred when he and six others awoke on File Island, and there was one place in particular on this island that held much meaning to both Jyou and Gomamon. Together, they began their long trek climbing towards the top of Infinity Mountain.
The mountain peak reached high above the clouds. The cliff walls were for the most part rugged and uneven. Only select portions of the mountainside were climbable without the proper equipment. The surrounding landside was filled with rivers, caves and canyons. Jyou was rather familiar with the surroundings, as he had trekked this path many a time before. He didn't take the rock climbing seriously, and the mountain itself had a convenient path that spiraled around it towards the top. The long path to the top was what remained sacred in Jyou's heart. It served as a reminder of his first heroic deed, and the beginning of the many more that followed.
"You know most people just go to the beach when taking a vacation," Gomamon said during their walk. "Or an onsen; I'd like to go to one of those."
An onsen; a natural hot spring in Japan, was a highly popular vacation spot, for both tourists and Japanese.
"Say what you want," Jyou told him, "But I know you enjoy being here, too."
Gomamon shrugged, "Well this is the place where I first evolved."
They paused at a fork in the rock formations. Jyou surveyed the body of the mountain in front of them. "This is where we saw the mountain split open, isn't it?"
"Uh-huh," Gomamon agreed. His face instantly lit up, "Oh! That reminds me. I remember there being a stream nearby, let's go have a drink. I'm thirsty!"
The digimon didn't even wait for his partner to respond as he sped off to the side as fast as his flippers could carry him. Jyou tried calling after him, his voice scolding and authoritative. When that failed he let out a sigh before moving onwards to rejoin his partner. He could easily imagine Gomamon already bent downwards and drinking from the nearby stream.
When Jyou finally reached his partner he lowered himself to Gomamon's level and extended his cupped palms towards the flowing mountain water. He hadn't realized how thirsty he was until after the water had already gone down his dry throat. He lowered his hands down for another take.
"What exactly do you expect to find here?" Gomamon asked, having apparently finished satisfying his own thirst.
"I'm not sure; a reason, a purpose maybe." Jyou rose to full height as he tried to answer. "Whatever it is, I just hope I find something."
Gomamon skipped over the stream, and turned around to look back at his partner, "Well come on then, lets get to the top. Your answers aren't going to find themselves."
Jyou didn't respond. Time had slowed down to a halt. His eyes widened as the mountain walls behind Gomamon slowly spread open. The ground rumbled as the rock itself spread apart. Both Chosen and Digimon found themselves unable to move; both desperately trying to hold their ground to avoid falling off the edge of their path. They hadn't gone very high up, but to fall off the steep cliff was still quite the distance.
Gomamon cautiously turned towards the opening. The mountain still shook. From within the darkness a claw emerged at him with rapid speed.
Jyou's eyes widened as the claw slammed into his partner and sent the digimon flying off the cliff. His digivice blared to life at his waist, releasing powerful lights that covered his entire surroundings, but Gomamon didn't evolve. His unconscious form continued spiraling down towards the ground.
Jyou called after his partner in panic. With little regard to his own well being, he leaped off the cliff with every intention of finding and treating Gomamon's prone form. But the claw appeared again, snatching the Chosen midair. Jyou only now realized how gigantic this grasp of darkness truly was. It held him by his entire waistline, and pulled him back into the mountain opening. He struggled, his arms grasping at the boney fingers that held him, trying to weaken the hold.
Within seconds the arm had pulled him inside the mountain, and the rock began closing up once again. As the formation closed, so did the only source of light fade as well, and Jyou found himself surrounded in darkness.
There were harsh whispers spreading. Tales of disappearances around Infinity Mountain; it was a cursed place, they said. Evil grew there once more, they spoke. The darkness was growing yet again, they shivered. The whispers spread from the Piyomon Village, to Factorial Town, to the Village of Beginnings, and even to the Temple of the Chosen. It was only a matter of time before they reached Ogremon as well.
File Island was his home. He had left it repeatedly many years ago, yet his travels had always brought him directly back to it in one way or another. It was not uncommon for him to trail near the Village of Beginnings, waiting patiently for his rival to be reborn. The tales of Leomon had spread far beyond this lone island. Many digimon knew of the strong and brave Leomon that had helped the Chosen Children vanquish the evil and restore peace to the Digital World; of the strong and brave Leomon that had sacrificed himself in order to save one of the Chosen.
After the original reformation of the Digital World, Ogremon had tried to leave behind his past life. He wasn't needed at the Village of Beginnings, nor was he needed anywhere else on File Island. Without a rival in Leomon, he had tried to find new meaning in life beyond the reaches of the island. Yet no matter where he trekked, no matter how far he traveled, the stories and songs of Leomon followed. Leomon was dead, yet his legacy of the sword lived on more so than Ogremon's ever could. To Ogremon, this legacy did little other than to remind him of his own failure. While Leomon had experienced an honorable death, Ogremon still lived in dishonor.
As such, he had found no purpose to his life. When word came of the Digimon Kaiser, Ogremon chose to ignore the threat and continued living out his worthless years in the forests of File Island. All the while he still waited for Leomon's rebirth. He wanted no part in the conflict of humans; what did it matter to him if one of the Chosen Children had gone rogue? He held a great certainty that it hadn't been one of his two Chosen, and that was all that mattered to him.
However, these whispers held certain significance to him. Infinity Mountain had been a barren, desolate part of the island ever since the Chosen had defeated Devimon. Ogremon suppressed a cringe during his musing; the mere thought of Devimon was as yet another reminder of his own failure. When others thought of Leomon, they thought of a hero; when they thought of Ogremon, they thought of Devimon's underling.
If evil and darkness was indeed growing within Infinity Mountain, it was without a doubt something left behind by Devimon. There were rumors that the Dark Messenger had nearly revived during the Kaiser's reign. Ogremon was not surprised. He should've known that mere death would not have been enough to hold one such as Devimon at bay.
If Devimon's power had indeed returned, then this time there would be no Leomon to keep it contained. As far as Ogremon was concerned, the other residents of the island were cowards and weaklings. Devimon's darkness was growing, and the only thing they did was speak of it amongst themselves in hushed whispers. If the black gears began infecting again, there would be no Leomon to stop them.
Ogremon paused just outside the forest clearing. He stared upwards towards the peak of the mountain. Because there was no Leomon this time around, and because he was certain the others would do nothing, Ogremon decided to investigate the rumors surrounding the mountain himself.
Even with the lack of combat he had experienced during this past decade, Ogremon was still a warrior at heart. His senses in regards to his surroundings were still tenfold when compared to those of a human or even other digimon. It was with his heightened hearing that he was able to make out the labored breathing of a nearby creature.
Instinctively, he took hold of his club from its resting place against the flat of his back, and heaved it outwards into a combat ready position. Slowly and silently he moved towards the source of the sound.
At the base of a tree he saw it. It was unmistakable as to what it was. He knew this creature. The injured digimon in front of him was partnered to one of his Chosen. Within seconds Ogremon had gauged his surroundings and after having identified no threat he opted to ignore all tactics of stealth as he made a sprint towards the fallen form.
He picked Gomamon up with one arm, and positioned him to rest against his massive forearm. His other hand held his club, which he used to try and nudge the other creature awake. "Wake up, kid."
Gomamon stirred in his arms. Ogremon observed the cuts and bruises on his little body. The smaller digimon at last spoke, his single word coming out in a dragged out moan.
Ogremon recognized the name. It was unmistakable that this digimon was partnered to one of his Chosen. His gaze shifted from the tree stump where Gomamon lay not a moment ago, and then turned upwards glaring up the length of Infinity Mountain. He recognized Gomamon's descent and tried to estimate from where he had roughly fallen.
There was indeed something up that mountain, and Ogremon had every intention of eliminating the disturbance. With an injured digimon in his hands, however, he needed to deal with that problem first. The Village of Beginnings was nearby, and with a silent nod Ogremon turned to pay a visit to Elecmon and leave Gomamon there in his care.
The darkness filled his vision from all sides. The grip from the claw held on tight and Jyou felt himself being pulled further inwards within the mountain. He finally came to a stop, albeit it was only a momentary rest before the claw began pulling him upwards this time around. The claw was unstable, shifting from left to right as it rose through the empty void inside the mountain rock. His upper body tossed and turned along with each shift as the speed of his ascent continued to rapidly increase.
After what seemed like an eternity to Jyou, the journey finally ended when he arrived at the mountain's peak. The sudden daylight blinded his visions from all sides, and he was forced to shut his eyes while waiting for them to adjust.
The claw held him in mid air, and he felt it lightly moving him sideways. Finally he opened his eyes just in time for the grip to vanish and he felt himself falling downwards. He landed in a makeshift prison. The bars were large rib bones that surrounded his position in a circle, leaving little room to even move around, let alone exit or climb over.
A raspy voice interrupted the investigation of his newfound prison. "So a Chosen arrives at last. How long I've been waiting for you."
The voice came from behind him. Jyou didn't dare to turn and look. As if replying to his defiance, the shadow from the host began spreading forth along the ground in front of him. Jyou nervously swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. The idea that whatever had captured him was standing directly behind him sent a shiver down his spine.
"Face me, Chosen," the voice spoke. "Face me and witness your captor."
Slowly, carefully, Jyou craned his neck around. At the sight of the digimon in front of him, he let out a gasp. "It can't be."
"Oh, but it is," the figure of Devimon smiled menacingly.
"I saw you die," Jyou barely breathed out. "The Digital World was reformed; you were supposed to stay dead!"
The eerie smile on Devimon's face remained, "You saw nothing. My goal was Angemon's death. In some ways, I suppose I accomplished that."
Jyou grimaced. He recalled Angemon sacrificing himself to destroy Devimon twelve years ago. It had taken some time until Patamon was able to regain the power necessary to evolve again. Without Takeru and Patamon to help, many battles had been hard fought and resulted in near defeats.
Yes, they were near defeats, Jyou mused. But with each battle they had become much stronger than they were during their first conflicts on File Island. The Chosen regained his bravado, "You should give up. The others will notice I'm missing. They will come for me, and you can't hope to defeat them. They're much more powerful than you remember."
"Your worry is unnecessary. By the time any of the other Chosen realize you're missing, it will by then already be too late." Devimon spoke no further words as he allowed laughter to escape his lips.
Jyou's brows shot upwards in surprise, and as the viral digimon descended over the bone prison, all color drained from Jyou's face. The Chosen's tone was meek and uncertain, "What is it you want from me? Do you intend to kill me?"
The dark claw extended from Devimon's forearm, and reached towards the Chosen. Jyou tensed at the sight of the deadly clutches drawing nearer. He froze, unable to move as Devimon's claws phased through the rib bones that served as prison bars and came to rest just hovering around Jyou's waist. With a snarl, Devimon grasped at the digivice at Jyou's waist and pulled his hand backwards. He displayed the device to the Chosen mockingly, "This little device holds magnificent power; don't you think so?"
Jyou attempted an equally merciless stare, "What will that accomplish? I'm already separated from Gomamon."
Again Devimon laughed. His howls pierced into Jyou's ears. "I'm certain you're aware of how this device functions?"
"No, I'm not." Jyou lied.
Devimon's laughter ceased. He stared at the Chosen, weighting the truth to the answer. The chilling silence was almost enough for Jyou to spill out everything he knew about the digivice. Finally Devimon released the digivice, and contrary to the laws of gravity it remained floating in midair. He motioned his claws in a circular motion, materializing black gears in the thin air. The gears continued floating in that same motion, circling Jyou's digivice.
Devimon spoke, "The device connects you to your partner. It allows you to evolve him through your own energy. I'm sure by now you've mastered how to release it by sheer will, but there's one other way this energy can be released as well."
Jyou remained silent. He knew what this method was: danger. If a Chosen felt threatened, they subconsciously released the energy required for the partner to evolve.
The black gears surrounding the digivice began to break off from their circular path and one by one began injecting themselves into Jyou's digivice. The viral digimon continued speaking as the process commenced, "By altering the data, I'm able to connect myself to your device."
The last black gear finally entered, and the digivice unceremoniously fell to the ground. Devimon turned towards Jyou, a grin plastering over his features. He lowered his abominable arms to his sides, allowing them to come to rest, and took slow casual steps towards his captive.
Jyou fell backwards, squirming and kicking at the bone ribs with his feet in desperation. He knew what was to come next: Devimon would try to create the danger necessary for Jyou's subconscious instincts to call for an evolution.
Only this time it wouldn't be Gomamon that would be evolving.
"Are you sure this is where Jyou and Gomamon would be coming?" Palmon asked.
"Of course," Mimi answered. "He'd definitely come to File Island, and there's only one place he'd go to here, too."
The pair had decided to surprise both Jyou and Gomamon in the Digital World. Mimi had known during their phone conversation that Jyou had been feeling rather depressed. While she was certain he would find the answers he was looking for alone, it didn't hurt to keep him some company during his soul searching journey.
"Maybe they had gone up North," Palmon suggested. "I know Gomamon traveled there after the Digital Gate closed the first time."
Mimi shook her head. She took out her digivice, and after a few more steps towards Infinity Mountain announced her triumph. She bent her knees to lower herself down to her partner's level and allowed Palmon to look over onto the digivice screen. She pointed, "See there's the blinking red light, it's sure to be Jyou. I'm sure none of the others would randomly decide to go climb Infinity Mountain in the middle of the night."
"Daisuke might," Palmon grinned.
Mimi rolled her eyes, "Well, then it's a good thing he doesn't know File Island very well, isn't it?" Before Palmon could reply, Mimi's attention immediately reverted to the blinking light. She hummed in thought, "Though I am rather curious, Jyou seems to have made it to the top much faster than I'd expected."
Palmon frowned, joining her partner in contemplation. "Gomamon can't exactly fly." She said. "Do you think it might be someone else?"
"No," Mimi said. "It's Jyou. I'm sure of it."
The pair continued towards the mountain, albeit at a slightly faster pace. The greenery soon gave away to dirt and rock as they exited the forests and entered the mountainous badlands. Throughout their entire walk Mimi wasn't able to shake away the uncomfortable feeling of danger awaiting them at the mountain. Once they had reached the base, the loud screams of torture and pain that echoed throughout the cliffs and canyons only served to unnerve her further.
Devimon's fury reigned all about him. The relentless claws ripped against him from all sides. The darkness tinged at him with raw, uncontrollable rage. Every noise heard thundered in his ears, any sight seen blinded his eyes. The strain in keeping his mind under control threatened to tear him apart, yet still he held. He could do little else.
His scream of agony reached out from within the bone prison, rapidly moving throughout Devimon's chamber atop the peak and then spread downwards alongside the mountain ridges.
"Persistent human," Devimon spat.
"I'll never help you evolve," Jyou managed to choke out.
The darkness lifted from him, and Devimon turned away. He stared into the empty air as if seeing something that Jyou couldn't. Whatever it was, Jyou gladly welcomed the distraction to the assault on his mind.
The devil's grin returned. "If you won't, perhaps the other Chosen that just arrived will."
Jyou paled at the words. How long had Devimon held him here? It couldn't have been very long. No more than half an hour. The whole of Japan was still darkened by nighttime. The only Chosen that would know Jyou was here would be…
"Don't you dare touch her!" Jyou rose to his feet in an attempt to match his bravado. He tried to keep his balance, but the pain spread over his limbs and he toppled back downwards.
The sinister grin on Devimon's face didn't fade as he began phasing into the rock floor and his body vanished deep within the mountain.
Jyou gripped at the bone bars in frustration. He tried and failed not for the first time in pulling them apart.
Ogremon had left behind the seal digimon with little more than a word. He had dropped him in front of Elecmon, and with a grunt turned away and with a speed faster than he thought himself capable of ran back towards Infinity Mountain. Even when reaching the base he didn't allow himself to slow down. He proceeded climbing upwards until he reached the path that circled the mountain walls.
He came to a pause only when he heard the sounds of footsteps rising up from a few levels below. On instinct he crouched towards the ground to avoid being seen. Slowly he edged towards the rock edge and peered downwards at the newcomers. His brows nit together at the sight; it was the other one of his Chosen. He should have figured if the male and his Gomamon were around, the female and her Palmon wouldn't have been too far away either.
He thought to rise back up to his feet when a sudden pebble fell down past his shoulder and continued sailing downwards. With eyes wide, he flipped back to full height almost immediately and stared at what was overhead.
Ogremon's breath left him. Devimon stood atop a nearby boulder. The devil ignored him, his eyes trailing after the Chosen down below. Ogremon was certain the Chosen hadn't yet recognized the threat.
As if sensing the same thing, Devimon spread his wings and prepared to descend down below to feast on his prey. Ogremon regained his composure. He was determined not to let the Dark Messenger succeed. He rushed forward, swinging his club over his head in anticipation.
Once Devimon had descended far enough to be at even level with the path where Ogremon stood, the green warrior leapt into the air and collided into the soaring devil. Together the two digimon toppled downwards well past the Chosen and continued down even further until they crashed into the base of the mountain.
Ogremon rose first, having maneuvered Devimon into taking the harsher blow of the impact. Their collision with the ground floor threw both rock and dirt into the air. Ogremon crouched into a defensive position as he surveyed the dust clouds, waiting for his vision to clear.
"You wound me, Ogremon." Devimon's voice echoed through the debris. "It's unthinkable that a loyal servant such as you would dare turn on me."
The dust began to settle. Out of the thick brown clouds Devimon's figure finally emerged. Ogremon snarled and charged towards his now visible opponent.
Devimon's claw shot outwards towards him. With his club waving overhead, Ogremon matched its speed and just before their moment of impact leaped over the offending appendage and continued his jump towards Devimon. Ogremon's descent was quick - as he fell by Devimon's upper torso he swung his club arm, striking Devimon full force across the face.
The blow did little other than to force his head to turn slightly to one side. Devimon returned his gaze to Ogremon almost immediately, his scowl alone forcing the lesser warrior to take a necessary step backwards. With his free claw he struck at Ogremon against his chest, lifting the warrior off his feet with the direct impact. The claw soared further ahead, gripping tightly against Ogremon's core as it carried him in the air. At last it came to a stop against the mountain stone, Devimon's bony fingers digging into the rock to keep Ogremon immobile.
The Dark Messenger drew nearer, and Ogremon could do nothing but watch as the shadow descended over him. He stood in front of the fallen warrior, his silent cackle boasting the ease of his victory.
"Weak pathetic fool," Devimon sneered. "You should've remained my slave willingly."
"I am not your slave!" Ogremon roared. The grip against his club tightened. He willed every muscle of his to break free against his holdings and strike at his adversary.
"Perhaps not anymore," Devimon was nonchalant as he mercilessly tightened his hold. His other free claw had risen and hovered mockingly in front of Ogremon's face. "However, luckily for you obedience may still be forced."
The blast of energy slammed into Devimon's side. His eyes widened with shock and pain as the power of the attack threw him sideways and forced his hold to falter. He regained his bearings long enough to see Ogremon's limply body collapsed over the ground, with one of the Chosen bent down next to him. Near the pair was his attacker: an elegant rose colored fairy. With her small wings she descended to just in front of her partner and the fallen warrior, and brought her arms forward in preparation for another attack.
Devimon didn't give her the chance. He made due with his escape and phased down into the soil. He wasn't foolish enough to combat a digimon of higher evolution than he; at least not until he had acquired his own evolutionary line.
Mimi sighed as she looked over Ogremon's scrapes and bruises. On the outside he didn't appear to be overly injured, but she was no doctor. The bulk of his wounds might have been internal instead. She did what she could by helping him up into a sitting position, his back resting against the flat of the mountain. She didn't fully grasp what had happened, as Ogremon hadn't been in the best of conditions to fill her in. Still, it's not like it had been hard noticing the two falling digimon that had passed by the cliff edge where she and Palmon stood.
Upon immediate notice of the scuffle Mimi and Palmon had began descending back down the mountain. As it was now, Mimi remained with Ogremon tending to his cuts, as Lillymon watched over them protectively overhead while surveyed the nearby mountainous regions.
It didn't take long for Ogremon to regain his senses. He didn't mention either the fact that he'd found Gomamon, or the likelihood that the other Chosen was now in Devimon's possession. He simply stated that the Dark Messenger had been reborn.
Mimi waved off his statement and berated him immediately, "Just what do you think you were doing fighting him alone? What did you think you would accomplish?"
The concern in her eyes radiated over Ogremon's prone form. He found himself unable to remain silent. Still he looked away from her in shame as he spoke, "I seek my honor."
"Honor," Mimi repeated. She blinked her eyes, and then scowled, "By fighting Devimon? You can't hope to defeat him by yourself. Even after all these years I still remember how strong he was!"
Ogremon's gaze shifted once again, at last returning to the Chosen in front of him. His voice was gruff, irritable almost, "Honor in death; as good as any."
"I can't believe I'm hearing this," Mimi shook her head. "Why would you think that? Where's Jyou? He can take a better look at your wounds."
The reply she received was a mere shrug, but then the muscular figure pointing up towards the top of Infinity Mountain. She immediately looked to where he pointed. Ogremon achingly rose to his feet during this distraction. With a grunt he regained her attention. "Come, the battle with Devimon awaits us at the peak."
Mimi stared wide eyed at his determination. She knew better than to try and convince him to remain behind, and as it was they needed to rescue Jyou. Thankfully Lillymon was around, and Mimi was certain that her partner would be enough to handle any dire situation.
"You're injured," Jyou felt a swell of pride rise up in his chest at the observation. He cheered inwardly at the fact that Mimi and Palmon had been able to fight off the viral digimon.
Devimon urged his legs onwards; he slowly neared towards the bone prison. One clawed hand remained over the side of his lower abdomen where he had been hit. His expression made clear his fury as his gaze fell down to the captive Chosen. "A slightly greater resistance than I had anticipated."
There was a great folly behind those words, Jyou knew. It didn't take him long to realize that Palmon had evolved to perfect, and that Devimon had likely failed in surprising Mimi and her partner as he had managed to do with Jyou and Gomamon. The lone fact that now had Jyou worried was that Devimon had returned. He couldn't fathom why a perfect level like Lillymon was unable to land a finishing blow on the dark digimon.
One other concern now was how Devimon would respond to his suffered wounds. Jyou could feel that question being easily answered as his captor began descending upon his bone prison. Devimon was now desperate. Mimi was without a doubt on her way to the peak with a perfect level digimon – and Devimon knew that in order to survive he would need to evolve. And the only way to accomplish that was to resume his infliction of torture.
Jyou braced himself for the worst. He clenched his eyes shut and felt his body tense at the arriving darkness. It was then that, before any pain had been inflicted, that Mimi's soothing and familiar voice embraced his ears.
"Let him go, Devimon! It's over!"
Jyou opened his eyes to the welcomed sight. Mimi stood at the edge of the peak, and Lillymon came to a landing right beside her. The two Chosen locked eyes, and while Jyou could feel Mimi's gaze shifting elsewhere for brief moments it always fell back to him again. There was confusion in her eyes, and Jyou knew exactly what her expression was asking him: where was Gomamon? He bit his lip, unable to respond.
Devimon's brief pause had just as abruptly ended. He spoke with his back to the intrusion. "Over, you say?" He let out a coarse laugh, and with rapid haste turned around to face Mimi and Palmon. He drew both arms upwards above his head, his claws clanking together. "The growth of my powers has barely just begun!"
His arms spread apart, coming to rest at either of his sides. There was a shriek as he began his movements; the mountain itself began to rumble. The stone floor below Mimi's feet split apart and sucked the Chosen inside. Lillymon flew in after her partner and the mountain closed up after her once again.
Jyou screamed after them, unable to believe what he had just seen.
Devimon grunted, "That should keep them away for some time."
"Preying on the defenseless?" A new intrusion taunted as Devimon made a move towards Jyou's position. Ogremon's muscular arm rose from the edge of the clearing and dug into the ground for stability. His other arm followed right after, and he lifted himself off the cliff and onto the peak. He took hold of his club and pointed towards the dark digimon. "Your battle is with me, Devimon."
No further words were wasted as Devimon immediately let loose his claw towards Ogremon's direction. It soared rapidly through the mountain air. Ogremon's eyes widened; he leapt off to the side barely making time as Devimon's arm continued past him and flew off over the cliff edge. Ogremon received no breathing room as the second he landed Devimon continued with his offensive. As agile as Ogremon was, he couldn't hope to keep evading the attacks forever. While he could sense that Devimon was injured, Ogremon too was bathing in his own injuries from the previous battle.
An energy beam exploded from below creating a gaping hole in the mountain rock. The attack had come near where Devimon stood, but the blow was fierce enough to send even Ogremon flying backwards. He landed near Jyou's prison, and the Chosen instinctively reached out for the fallen warrior.
From the hole Lillymon ascended, Mimi in her arms. She helped her Chosen to ground level before flying off to where the blast had sent Devimon toppling to the ground. Mimi landed softly, and immediately ran towards Jyou and Ogremon. She came to a full stop in front of the bone cell. After realizing she wouldn't be able to free Jyou on her own she dropped down to help Ogremon up instead.
She nudged him, "Come on; get up. We have to free Jyou."
Ogremon mumbled as he heaved himself off the ground. "Why did you interfere? This is my battle."
"Forget the battle," Jyou urged him. "Lillymon can take care of him; we've got to get out of here."
The dust and debris that covered Ogremon fell down from his upper frame like grains of sand as he rose to his feet. He raised his club and with a tight fist brought it ceremoniously against his chest. "A warrior does not flee from his opponent."
He looked to where Devimon and Lillymon continued their brawl. The perfect level digimon had the advantage without a doubt, as it was clear Devimon was tiring and would soon collapse from the strain. He phased through energy blasts, sent his claws flying at the faerie and tried many times to materialize behind her for a more devastating attack. However Lillymon proved much too fast for him in all aspects of their melee. Still, Ogremon mused, he had to wonder just how much energy the perfect was wasting on her energy attacks. He was eager to rejoin the frenzy, but no sooner had he taken a step forward did his leg collapse under him and he fell to his knee.
"You're hurt," Mimi said. "Stay behind here with us."
Ogremon snarled. In frustration, he aggressively shot his club arm in an arc off to his side. It smashed against the bone and cracked open Jyou's prison. Jyou stepped out, but before joining Mimi and Ogremon the first thing he did was run off to pick up his digivice at where Devimon had left it behind to rot. With it firmly tucked in his hands like a treasured item, he rejoined his fellow Chosen. He bent down to look over Ogremon's leg, and visibly paled at what he saw.
A deep gash stretched from the tip of his thigh all the way down to the calf of his leg. Like little lights, green particles steadily emerged from within the gash slowly making the wound bigger as Ogremon's data split off from its core and dissipated into the air. Jyou had no idea how to stop the rapid spread of deletion. This wasn't something found in his medical books. He advised as best he could, "Don't move. We'll get you out of here."
Ogremon shook his head. He raised his club and pointed towards the battle. Devimon's tactics were proving useful in depleting Lillymon's energy. "He's tired her out. It's only a matter of time before she devolves." He forced his limbs to carry him upwards, "The battle needs to be rejoined."
Mimi's eyes narrowed accusingly. As far as she was concerned Lillymon looked to be in perfect condition. It was Devimon that would soon collapse. She stared down at Ogremon, "You can't fight. What use is your honor if it means your death?"
"Like Leomon before me," Ogremon spoke, "I will give my life to protect yours."
She gasped aloud, "All this… is because of Leomon?"
"The tale of Leomon's sacrifice has spread far," Ogremon acknowledged. With a fierce shout he announced, "The tale of Ogremon's will spread farther!"
Again he stepped forward, and again he collapsed back down. Jyou rose up to full length, matching the green warrior in size. His eyes narrowed as he stood beside Ogremon, staring down at the crouched figure. "You came here looking for death, how is that honorable?"
"Human," Ogremon breathed out in pain. He was reluctant to admit it, but the Chosen was right. He sought death in the way Leomon had died. It would be a true hero's fate, the perfect end to the life of a great warrior. He cringed inwardly; it was Leomon that was the great warrior, but then what did that make Ogremon? Where was Leomon now? Ogremon wanted desperately to call out for him. At last, he replied. "You don't understand the way of the warrior."
"I understand perfectly well," Jyou maintained. His hands gripped tightly into fists at his sides, making comparisons he didn't want to acknowledge as he yelled at his savior. "You need to stop living in Leomon's shadow and form your own legacy. You can be so much more than a martyr; you can be a hero!"
It was during his speech that Jyou's digivice came to life. The light engulfed the peak and spread outwards into the surrounding skies. Devimon noticed it immediately. He grinned with satisfaction at the sight. "At last I have the power to evolve!"
Lillymon landed beside the Chosen defensively as Devimon cackled in front of them. Jyou nervously turned to stare at the dark digimon. He wordlessly berated himself for having allowed his emotions to run rampant. He knew that he should have done a better job of keeping them in check, at least until Koushiro was able to take a look at his infected digivice.
The white light receded. The grin on Devimon's face disappeared as he stared around clearly showing his confusion at having not yet evolved. Beside Jyou, Ogremon rose to his feet for a third time. The light had surrounded his club, and he raised it over his head in a battle ready position.
"The power is not yours to wield, Devimon." Ogremon called. He could feel Leomon's presence with him. With a warrior's cry, he charged forward, weapon ready. "It's time to end this!"
In a move mirroring their encounter at the base of the mountain, Devimon sent his claw forwards to meet Ogremon's advance head on. Ogremon waited until the last moment to leap over Devimon's claw. His powerful legs sent him flying towards Devimon's position. The Dark Messenger's prior injury forced his other arm to remain at his waist, and so he could do nothing as Ogremon landed before him and swung his weapon in mid air.
The light surrounding the club shone brightly, and right before the moment of impact the form changed into the familiar lion's sword Leomon had once wielded. Having had expected a mere hit from a blunt object, the look of Devimon's confident expression remained on his face as his head was decapitated from his body. It didn't even make it to the ground before it had completely dissipated into sparse data.
With the threat gone, Ogremon collapsed, and the severe wound on his leg reopened again.
Ogremon's eyes gradually opened. He realized that he was indoors, lying on a flat bed of hay. It was a small wooden building, a shelter he knew he should have been able to recognize but couldn't quite yet place. He shifted his body, trying to rise up into a sitting position. The noise of his rustling must have alerted those outside to his awakening, as the leather curtains that covered the doorway spread open and he noticed the male Chosen entering the hut.
His voice was hoarse as he spoke. It made him wonder just how long he had been out. "Should have known you'd be the first one I'd see."
"The deletion hasn't stopped," Jyou told him. "It has slowed, but I'm not sure if that is enough."
Ogremon nodded. That at least explained the weakness he was feeling. "Where am I?"
"We brought you to the Village of Beginnings," Jyou said. He pointed off to the side where a familiar sword now rested. "There's something else here with you, too."
"I can hardly believe it," Ogremon stared in disbelief. "It truly is Leomon's blade."
"It's yours now."
Ogremon grunted, feeling unease at the compliment. He asked several more questions; about whether Devimon still lived, if his partner Gomamon had recovered, and the most recent about where the female Chosen had gone. In response Jyou answered his queries; Devimon had died by his blade, Gomamon was in good health playing with the children of the village.
"And Mimi's asleep," Jyou said. "She was with you the better part of the day. I'll wake her up soon to let her know you've recovered."
Ogremon nodded. He looked down over at his wound. He had inspected it whilst the Chosen spoke. He'd never suffered an injury as intense as this before. He knew that it would not heal, yet did not feel contempt with dying. He gave off a coarse laugh and stretched his arms and fell back against the make shift bed. "Leomon's strength is with me, but even that isn't enough to prevent my coming fate."
Jyou knelt down beside him. He stared hard into the warrior's eyes, "I'll make sure you recover."
"Your strength is with me as well," Ogremon acknowledged the digivice that clung to Jyou's belt. He shook his head then, his voice grew weaker, but he continued to speak, "But I don't think it will be enough. Leomon has not been reborn, and I doubt he ever will be. For warriors like us, there is no coming back. My legacy ends here, and will only live on in the stories that follow."
"That won't happen," Jyou said, remaining firm in his resolve. "I won't let it happen. Get some rest for now, recover your strength."
Ogremon tried to hide the weakness in his voice as he nodded. He called to Jyou as the Chosen made his way back out. "I thank you, warrior."
Mimi smiled sadly, "The child digimon here already tell tales and sing of the brave warrior Ogremon, he who inherited Leomon's blade and put an end to the evils of File Island."
Jyou stood beside her, staring off towards Ogremon's shack. He recounted Ogremon's condition. "I won't leave him," he maintained. "I'll stay with him until his wound heals."
Mimi shook her head, "He's a digimon, Jyou. You can't force his data to come back."
But Jyou wouldn't back down. "I'll speak with Koushiro, with Gennai, even. There will be something I can do, I'm sure of it."
She closed the distance between them, taking a step closer and placing her hand on his shoulder. She maneuvered him to face her. "Don't force yourself; you have a life back home. You're just about finished your studies, and you can then return to Japan."
"No," Jyou shook his head. "On the peak I told Ogremon that he should stop trying to live Leomon's life, and I think I'm going to follow up on that advice myself."
She took another step forward, "What do you mean?"
"It's time I stopped living in my father's shadow," Jyou explained. He felt her hand reaching up to cup his cheek. He continued, "The real world already has many doctors, while here there are none." After a brief pause he declared, "I'm going to be the first."
Mimi smiled. Her arms curled around Jyou's neck and she pulled him down towards her. She left a light kiss on his cheek before coming to a rest on his shoulder. He could feel her damp face as she gently whispered into his ear, "I knew you'd make the right decision."
He returned her hug, holding her in his arms. The two stood together in the Village of Beginnings, sharing their newfound affection in mutual silence. It was only when their partners arrived did they break their embrace.
Jyou felt a great deal of satisfaction with his decision. He hadn't been sure if there had been anything for him to find on Infinity Mountain, but now he was certain. He had at last found his ambition.
I hope that everyone has enjoyed this piece. I wrote this as part of the Digimon Friendship Challenge hosted by The Analyzer. It's sadly a bit late, and if there's one thing I've learned through my participation in his challenges it's that I'm no good at making deadlines. If anyone is interested in taking a look at the challenge fics that have been written, the website where it is hosted is located in my author profile here at FFnet.
The challenge itself was a friendship story revolving around Ogremon and Jyou. I had already written an Ogremon-centric piece way back titled "Lament of the Warrior," and I had originally wanted to do a companion piece to it. That's where the current title came from. As I jotted down ideas and plotted down the events, the story began expanding far beyond the length I had originally written Lament with. Still, I am satisfied with the outcome and am glad to have been able to provide another story to the ever-declining character-driven adventure genre of the Digimon section.
It should be worth noting that the very beginning of this piece is based on Annie Proulx's description of Quoyle in her novel The Shipping News. Any other references or similarities to non-Digimon franchise works are purely coincidental.
Thank you for reading.