A/N: Stop! Before you go any further, it is imperative that you read all of the preceding books in this series in order to know what's going on. For all those who are returning, hello again. I welcome you to the latest installment in the Tamer's Requiem series. As always. Read. Review. And most importantly, enjoy.

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.

Tamer's Requiem, Book Five: Return of Shadows

A Digimon Tamers story by: Crazyeight

Chapter: 1

Light shone down on the forest and the sound of birds chirping filled the air. High above in the sky, a blue sphere with antennae-like disks attached to its surface sent beams of pink energy sweeping across the landscape. Yet despite this oddity, there was no sense of urgency in the sounds of the birds, and in the forest below, not a single animal was left disturbed.

For the digital world, peace of any kind was a rarity. Of late, it had become an increasingly prized luxury that few could hope to afford.

Boring…

Nine golden tails whipped irritably through the air as the Kyubimon, sitting on a cliff overlooking the landscape, turned her head up towards the digital sun. She glared at it for a moment and turned her gaze away. Nothing but an endless stretch of trees barely hidden by a gray mist greeted her. The kitsune digimon closed her eyes and sighed heavily.

"So bored," she murmured under her breath. "Nothing but chores to do and gray mist to look at every day. Day in, day out. Same old routine."

A silver-furred face came to the vulpine's mind and the corners of her mouth dipped a little bit as a feeling of melancholy settled over her mind.

Things used to be so much more interesting when Urocyomon was here. Every day, watching him being made to clean the baths and teasing him about it… Kyubimon repressed a smile as she remembered the way the silver-furred fox would get upset. Soon enough however, her melancholy returned in full force. How long has it been now since he and Kuzuhamon left? Silver never bothered to order a search for either of them…

The Kyubimon's tails swished again in an agitated manner. She was not to question the decisions of the Seer Council, least of all Silver, the acting leader ever since their 'Mother' had been deleted in battle with the Royal Knights. To do so was…unseemly. They saw further and more than any of the lower-level digimon that were in training.

"I need to do something," she mused aloud, getting to her feet.

"In that case," chuckled a sinister, feminine voice in front of her, "you can take a problem off my hands."

Kyubimon's eyes flew open and instinctively the tips of her tails flared to life as she caught sight of the red-haired LadyDevimon standing before her. Smirking, the viral Ultimate merely extended one arm and trapped the kitsune's neck between her long, razor-sharp nails.

"Don't move," LadyDevimon smirked. "That is, unless you want to go around looking as though you had the worst case of mange ever. I could care less. In fact, I think I would enjoy seeing it from your kind."

Kyubimon narrowed her eyes and swallowed noticeably. She resisted the urge to look at the Ultimate's hair. It was an unnerving shade of red—quite the departure from the usual color that the LadyDevimon species had.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, steadying herself.

"Like I said. I have something that you can take off my hands."

Kyubimon furrowed her brow and glanced off to LadyDevimon's free arm. Only 'free' wasn't quite the right word for it. Tucked within its crook was a large orange-colored dinosaur with red training bracers while her claws held what was decidedly a human wearing a tattered, red jacket.

"I'm…afraid I don't understand," began Kyubimon, feeling somewhat confused.

"Don't worry," sneered LadyDevimon. "You don't have to know anything, mutt. Just take care of this human and…" LadyDevimon made a disgusted expression. "…heal them. That is all you need to do."

LadyDevimon opened her claws and parted her arm, unceremoniously dropping her two charges to the ground. Quickly retracting her claws, she turned around and leapt into the air, spreading her wings. Within seconds, she was far away, disappearing into the mists, leaving one extremely confused Kyubimon to gape at her retreating form.

"What…just happened?" asked Kyubimon, confused. Did that Virus just…spare me?

Something about that did not seem right, and yet here she was, alive and well.

She glanced down at the unconscious human and digimon. They both looked the worse for wear—almost as though they had been through a hellish experience if the soot covering their bodies was any indication.

Should I bring them back to the temple? she wondered, feeling a spark of fear go through her. After a moment of deliberation, she walked over to the human and lifted him up by the jacket with her jaws.

LadyDevimon glared at the horizon as it sped past her, disgust and loathing filling her black heart and lashing at her like a whip. She wanted to rage and destroy at the landscape around her, but she knew that she mustn't, as such activity would only draw the attention of the Seer Council, and she wanted to be as far away from her as quickly as possible so that she could rejoin Takato.

Takato…

The image of the brown-haired boy filled her mind, and she gritted her fangs together. The urge to destroy increased in intensity, and just as before she fiercely repressed it.

Something is wrong with me, she thought to herself. There was once a time where I would have simply slaughtered the digimon and taken the human as a pet for however long he amused me. Instead, I simply dumped them both at the doorstep of the Seer Council—the Seer Council of all places!

A memory of the boy's own crimson eyes—somehow fiercer than and more violent than her own—came to mind and she clenched her claws together tightly.

"You promised…" came the words from the boy. They set made digital blood boil.

That human…drives me insane sometimes. Narrowing her blood-red eyes, she urged more speed out of her wings. She had to leave this level of the digital world as soon as possible.

A cry was loosed from Gallantmon's lips as his burning form impacted with the ground with devestating force. In spite of the pain, the Royal Knight's mind remained firmly in control of his actions and wasting no time he rolled to the side, throwing off his cape as the fire of the dragon's Megiddo Flame consumed it utterly. Getting back to his feet, Gallantmon had barely enough time to register the dragon's charge before leaping backwards, narrowly avoiding getting crushed by the behemoth. The maneuver was not without its cost however. In spite of the Knight's speed, the dragon proved to be faster still, and with a quick twist of its body, the Megidramon tail portion swept outwards and crashed brutally into him, sending him rocketing away like a comet. This time there was no rolling with the blow when he crashed back to the earth. Pain exploded through every part of his body as armor was bent inwards, and Gallantmon felt something warm and wet burst forth from his mouth.

"Takato!" Guilmon exclaimed, feeling the pain in his partner's body.

"G-Guil—!"

A shadow fell over the battered knight, and a second later, all words and sight were cut off for the both of them.

Pain erupted in every fiber of their being as metal plates bent inwards and digital bones snapped and broke under the intense weight that bore down upon them. Gallantmon opened his mouth to scream, but no sound came out. No air was left to help him.

All at once, the light began to fade from his vision, and a strange, frightening feeling of weightlessness fell over him. Panicking, Takato tried to force himself to move, but his body refused to respond. Instead the feeling of weightlessness increased, and with it, the sense of pain that surged through his body began to disappear.

"No…" he found himself whispering, continuing to struggle. "I…can't…can't lose here. I've got to…get back…to… the…others…" Takato gritted his teeth together, making one final push against the darkness that continued to drown the light around him. It was, unfortunately useless. He could no longer feel the presence of his own partner. Were they separated? What happened? What was going on?

The questions went around and around, endlessly chasing themselves as he fought to get the light back.

"Guilmon… Rika…Henry… I can't…let…them dow…n…"

In the end, the shadows took hold of him, and all of his resistance faded with the last of the light.

"This is a unique case…"

The words only barely reached Takato's ears, and slowly, carefully he opened his eyes. A world of dark, swirling grays greeted him, and Takato resisted the urge to scratch his head in confusion. The scene before him was very different from where he had been just scant seconds ago.

"Where am I?" he asked aloud. For some reason though, the question didn't seem very important. He himself felt as though he were detached from his body. A sense of exhaustion pervaded every fiber of his being and, almost willingly, he basked in it. But only for a moment.

"Guilmon," he found his lips saying, and he craned his head around him, searching desperately for his crimson-scaled partner. No sign of him greeted his eyes, and Takato felt worry bubble up in his heart.

"Indeed, he is a unique case," spoke another voice from the darkness. "It is not every day that a human enters the shadow of digital death. First Kurata and now…this one."

"He is a destroyer in his own right too…"

"Who's there?" asked Takato, shifting in his place. He quickly found himself spinning slightly from the motion, causing him to realize that he had been floating in midair.

"Regardless of whether he has caused devastation or not, his heart is to be judged in accordance to the laws of this world. The scales will determine where he goes."

Air warped in front of Takato, and suddenly a being—a digimon—materialized before him. It had a dog-shaped head, long-necked with black fur. Golden wings flexed from his back, running the length of his long, thickly-shaped arms. The style of his dress made Takato think of ancient Egypt and instantly a memory came to mind.

I've seen him somewhere before… he mused, frowning slightly. On a card I think. Anubismon?

The digimon raised one hand, revealing a bronze item. It had a thin handle that rose out of the digimon's hand, and a beam sat just shy of its tip. Two bronze, dish-like items descended from the beam, attached by thin chains.

A scale? wondered Takato curiously. "Um…" Takato looked away from the object and up at the digimon. "Hey, can you help me? My friends are in trouble and I really have to help them."

The digimon raised its free hand. A bright, blue light briefly flared in its palm before dying down, revealing a feather. The digimon placed the feather on the scale and then turned its gaze up towards Takato expectantly. The boy furrowed his brow worriedly.

"Um… Wha…what do you want?" The question slipped out of his mouth and he immediately wanted to slap himself for a dope. How could he know that the digimon wanted anything from him? For all he knew it probably wanted to look at him or something.

Not that I'm really much to look at, Takato thought. Well, except maybe to laugh at… What am I talking about? I've got to get out of here and help the others! They need m—!

Takato doubled over suddenly as pain racked his body. His form blurred, causing the digimon to tilt his head to one side out of curiosity. After several seconds, Takato's body stabilized, leaving him breathing heavily.

Wha…what was that? he wondered, trying to catch his breath.

"Fascinating," spoke a new voice, female this time. "An incomplete record?"

"Resurrection," pronounced the digimon before Takato. "But the scales must still be balanced."

Raising his free hand, the digimon reached out and touched Takato's chest. At once, a ball of light materialized in his palm. The voice from the shadow giggled.

"So small. Perhaps it will weigh less than the feather this time around, Anubismon."

Anubismon did not say anything, instead bringing the small sphere of light to the scale sitting across from the feather. Takato watched it, clutching at his chest. He felt so…tired. He could no longer say anything—nor do anything save for watching the act and see how it played out.

The ball of blue light settled on the scale, and it tipped ever so slightly, swinging up and then down, the feather on its opposite mate doing likewise. The ball flashed white several times before releasing a fragmented stream of light into the scale. The dish tipped below the feather and then stayed there.

"It has been decided," pronounced Anubismon, and he stepped back. "You may have him, Ammimon."

"Yesss…"

A dark, massive, animal-like figure suddenly loomed from out of the darkness, and Takato jerked backwards, the instinct to flee tearing through his mind, overriding the exhaustion that he had felt earlier. It did not matter in the end, for the beast's cavernous jaws quickly overtook him and slammed shut, leaving Takato once again alone in the darkness. Gravity soon took hold of him, and he found himself plummeting downwards.

"What's going on?" he shouted, but his words were lost to the searing cold winds that whipped at his body. A new light began to emerge, revealing a world of gray beneath him—and extremely far away from him.

Worse yet, that very same far-away ground was rapidly surging towards him.

Takato had only a few, brief seconds to think of his friends before he struck the ground with a bone-sickening crunch, and then, once more, darkness overwhelmed his senses.

"Guh!"

Takato was jolted roughly awake as he was jerked around. He didn't have time to take a look around him, as within short order the golden, desert ground that he dangled above quickly rushed away, causing Takato's heart to nearly leap out of his chest.

There followed a low, guttural chortle from above him, and Takato suddenly became aware that he was being carried by something. He shifted his head and looked up at a face that he thought he would never see again, and his eyes widened in complete and utter shock.

A golden mane flowed out from a solid, bronze-furred face, and crystal-clear blue eyes stared out at him with what looked to be amusement. Great muscular arms shifted against a powerfully built chest and a smile drew across the Champion level digimon's face.

"What's the matter, kid?" asked the Leomon. "You look like you've seen a ghost."

Takato moved his mouth to speak, only for his words to get lost as they came to a hard landing. Gasping, Takato looked around him, finding more and more of the lion digimon coming to a landing around them.

And chief among them, the powerful, kingly form of the bestial, gold and red-furred SaberLeomon, as he too landed. In his jaws hung the limp form of Akihiro Kurata, helpless.

"Wha…what's going on?" asked Takato, suddenly finding it hard to think.

The Leomon that held Takato tightened his grip around him.

"Your judgment," he replied.

...

A/N: It took me a while to get back to this. Life decided to throw a number of curveballs my way. Some involving school, and some involving life of a personal nature. Also, I had to go back and reread various bits and pieces of the fic to remember all the major important plot points (and some of the non-major ones as well). This fic will work to look at Marcus and the 'Other/Dead/Not Takato's' (to borrow some of his present identities via readers) perspectives while continuing to develop the plot from Revival. This chapter especially looked at what happened to Takato following his 'death' in 'Less than Human' and how he got to be where we found him in 'Revival'. We'll be looking into what he's been doing in the Dark Ocean since then as well.

Concerning Anubismon and Ammimon, I based what happened off of what I read concerning what happened to a person after dying. According to Egyptian mythology, a dead person's soul would be weighed against a feather, and if it was found to be heavier, than he/she would be eaten by a monster, Ammit, and become a 'restless spirit forever'.

For the time being, sadly, chapters will be relatively short compared to my previous work in the Tamer's Requiem series, and updates will be slow, due to final exams and projects for school. Nevertheless, I will try to update when I can and as soon as I can.

Until next chapter. :P

-Crazyeight



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