Second Chances

Prologue

"I never expected it from you, you know," calmly announced the shadow as it stared right into the single ruby eye of its adversary. "Behold, the once free and mighty Parallelmon," mocked the shadow with a booming voice that got drowned by the swirling mass of darkness engulfing the duo "now nothing more but a pet for the Sovereigns yanking his leash."

The creature finished with a menacing hiss and flashed a lopsided sinister grin that remained unseen, obscured by the shadows, at the silent mechanical golem standing before it. Whether the venom dripping from its words had stung, Parallelmon showed not. Indifferent to such things as hurt feelings, if a machinery as cold as him even had any, the cyclopical golem calmly stated after a long pause:

"I sought out the Harmonious Ones myself. It is in my own interest to help them."

The darkness around them kept on shifting, persisting on taking a different from for a fraction of a second then switching to another. And as the abyss of nothingness continued the steps of its eternal dance and the fleeting trails of its movement formed pictures of a thousand people's dreams, the pair refused to cease their silent staring contest.

The shade's empty eye sockets bore deep into the blood-red whirlpool of its opponent's eye. But the golem did not falter and despite the faint hopes of the shadow, kept on gazing into the two doorways to the abyss composed of the shattered remnants of the shade's soul.

What kinds of twisted schemes and plans were being formed inside the mind of the dark creature, Parallelmon could only guess. It had squinted, if barely, that much was obvious by the slight change in form of the bottomless tunnels of darkness that served as its eyes. Alas, when the shade spoke, no guess could be made about the nature of its intentions. The voice remained as arrogant as ever.

"And why is that, my dear Parallelmon, if I may ask?"

The living machinery kept holding his ground in the duel of wills, but the first signs of irritation, and from them- weakness, were beginning to show.

"I live off of the energy of Digi-Destined, Tamers, whatever they call themselves. Children partnered with Digimon- that is my prey. Their life force makes me grow, keeps me alive. You know that," silence once again descended around them for a second before the golem spoke again "and yet you keep on asking such foolish questions despite all the intellectual capacity you boast to posses."

The shade remained as still as ever but the dance of the darkness around them picked up its pace for a second. Images of nightmares and fears buried deep inside the cold hearts of humanity bared their ugly fangs. And then, just as fast, melted away into nothingness. As the darkness returned to its seemingly erratic, harmless dance, Parallelmon could swear that he had seen the shade lick its lips before flashing its predatory grin.

"Oh, so am I to assume that you intend to have a feast after you pick up your… 'packages'? A snack along the way? And not asking me to join in?"

The steel golem kept on standing like a silent statue, his legs seemingly rooted to the unexistining floor. Parallelmon single perfectly circular eye shined in the darkness as a beacon. Indeed, the blood-red light stemming from the fiery orb and reflected off the steel body of the golem was the only source of light in the sea of darkness. But even its light failed to exist when it came in contact with the intangible ephemeral form of the shade. Seeing that the mechanical cyclops wasn't going to answer, it hissed.

"But that hurts me, my dear Parallelmon. Forgetting dear old me? That hurts me very, very much."

Again the illusion of a barbed tongue licking blue cold lips. The steel golem barely managed to resist shaking his head. Why was he seeing things that weren't there? The… the thing in front of him was nothing! A waste! Too insignificant to be called even a shadow of its former self. And yet his mind was playing tricks on him. Deeming prolonged stay too dangerous, Parallelmon declared:

"I will fulfill my promise to the Sovereigns. And I will complete the mission assigned to me. Now will you move aside or will you force me to deal with the inconvenience of stumbling upon you here?"

The mechanical Cyclops did not wait for an answer. The shade made no move to stop the unusual messenger but just as he was about to cross over, the arrogant voice hissed yet again.

"Why? You know how much I can give you if you help me. Hide behind illusions all you like, Parallelmon, but in the end you are just like me. A creature of the shadows preying upon the weak."

The vortex of blackness around them seemed to swirl faster, gather strength… grow angry. The steel golem just turned around to answer, not paying attention to the turbulent surroundings.

"A creature of the shadows? Indeed, that I am. A monster even, by the standards of my prey. But the blackest shadows stem from the brightest light," Parallelmon's voice abandoned his usual monotone. The dry, defiant chuckle stabbed like a dagger the shade's pride "but I see only darkness in your promises."

As the red-eyed cyclops crossed the dimensional wall for the umpteenth time in his lifetime, the shade's final promise, one full of rage and venom, was the last thing he heard.

"Run then! Turn your back on me and run! But tell the weaklings you serve now this: I will be back. I will find a way out yet again… I ALWAYS DO!"