Digital Prey

A Digimon Tamers Fanfic

Chris Teet

12/14/2010

Ruki Makino sighed as she looked out the window of the train car, looking at the relatively unremarkable landscape passing by. She and her mother and grandmother had come to Hokkaidō to visit Ruki's aunt Haruna who lived in the town of Ikeda. They had left Kushiro airport and were taking the express train that connected the two towns. The only thing that made the otherwise boring trip tolerable was the music from her MP3 player filtering through the headphones she wore, as well as the bulge of the digivice clipped to her belt, the latter being most reassuring to her due to the being it connected her to.

Unbeknownst to anyone besides Ruki, there had been another member of the group making this trip; a lithe, amber-furred bipedal vulpine who presently was sitting atop of the train as it snaked its way through the countryside. Normally she would be invisible to avoid being spotted by other humans, but the cover of the encroaching dusk afforded her all the concealment she required. She went by the name Renamon and was the partner and ever-vigilant protector of Ruki, her tamer. Wherever Ruki went Renamon went, no exceptions. Renamon and Ruki had met several months prior after Ruki had won a Digimon card game championship, earning her the title of 'Digimon Queen'. That evening, she had received her digivice and was approached by a group of Digimon, all wanting her to be their tamer. Overwhelmed, Ruki shouted that she wanted only one strong Digimon, at which time the other Digimon disappeared and Renamon materialized before her. The two originally had a troubled relationship, but over time came to realize how vital the other was to fulfilling the needs of their partnership.

As these memories played through Renamon's mind, she glanced down at one of the two purple sleeves covering each of her arms; a Taoist Yin-Yang symbol emblazoned near the cuff. The vixen smirked slightly at the ironic analogy of that marking to the relationship she shared with her tamer. While Ruki had an often fiery temper and was often quick to anger, Renamon was often quite the opposite; exhibiting a sense of almost unflappable calm even in the heat of an intense battle, yet when the two worked in unison they formed a virtually invincible whole. Because of this, the two had become inseparable and even when Ruki couldn't see Renamon, she always knew that she would be there for her in an instant should Ruki need her.

Eventually the train reached the Ikeda station, Renamon dissapearing from sight as the lights of the station threatened to reveal her. Once the train came to a stop and the doors parted, Ruki made her way off of the train, followed by her mother Rumiko Makino and her maternal grandmother Seiko Hata. Of the three, Ruki traveled the lightest; carrying a backpack and a small suitcase. Seiko carried a purse and a medium-size suitcase, whereas Rumiko, who made her living as a popular international clothing model, had the most luggage of all; three massive suitcases each packed to the limit, which the conductor was presently straining to wrestle out of the train.

Ruki sighed at the spectacle as she looked to her mother with an exacerbated expression on her face, "Really mom, did you have to pack so much stuff? We're only going to be here a few days."

"Nonsense honey, it's essential to be prepared for any possible fashion situation," laughed Rumiko, oblivious to the plight of the conductor behind her who appeared to be on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion. When the trio exited the train station, they were greeted by a black-haired woman roughly the same age as Rumiko who was standing near a silver Isuzu Rodeo up until she spotted the group and came up to meet them.

"Rumiko-Chan, you made it!" the woman said as she excitedly hugged Rumiko.

Rumiko eagerly returned the embrace, just as happy to see the other woman as she spoke, "Of course Haruna, we wouldn't miss this for the world." The two then relinquished the hug and looked back to the other half of the group, Haruna's gaze coming to rest on the younger of the two.

"Oh, my goodness, is that Ruki? Last time I saw her she was just a baby!" exclaimed Haruna as she knelt in front of her ten year-old niece to bring herself to Ruki's eye level. "You look absolutely gorgeous; I can tell you've got your mother's looks."

Ruki blushed, unaccustomed to others complimenting her appearance, looking to the side as she gave a simple "Thanks" in reply.

Haruna then stood as she moved to greet the eldest member of the group, the two generations of Hata women sharing a warm embrace "It's so good to see you again, mother. I missed you so much!"

"I missed you too, sweetheart. Thank you so much for inviting us. It's nice to take a break from the city every now and then." Seiko responded before relinquishing the hug.

Haruna then looked to the three as a whole before speaking again, "Well, let's get loaded up and get going. Good thing I've got a big enough vehicle to handle all this stuff!" she giggled, her last comment being directed at Rumiko's luggage.

Rumiko chuckled at the remark, sheepishly scratching the back of her head, "Well, you know me sis, I just adore my clothes." This elicited a round of laughter from all except Ruki, who merely sighed and shook her head.

The group finally reached Haruna's home, located on the northeast side of Ikeda. Upon arriving they were treated to dinner. During the meal, Rumiko and Seiko took the opportunity to catch up and reminisce with Haruna while Ruki mostly kept to herself. Since Haruna lived alone, accommodations weren't a problem as she had a couple of spare rooms handy. After dinner was over and everyone had retired to their beds, Ruki made her way into the back yard, leaning on the wall next to the door. Within moments, Renamon appeared sitting on the railing of the second-story balcony above her.

Renamon was the first to speak, "You seem troubled, is something wrong?"

"There's nothing to do here. I'm going to be bored out of my mind until we get back to Shinjuku." The young tamer grumbled.

Renamon listened silently to the girl's complaints, waiting until she finished before responding, "I find this place to be tranquil and serene; a refreshing change from the city on the mainland. I can see why your aunt enjoys it here. Give it a chance, Ruki. If nothing else, it will give us a chance to rest after all the battles we have fought recently."

The young tamer sighed, reluctantly knowing that her partner had a point; the two had been in numerous battles recently, including several against a particularly powerful group of Digimon calling themselves 'Devas'. Each one of them had been at perfect-level, the second-highest level of evolution a Digimon could achieve, and had proven to be fearsome opponents to defeat. Adding to this was the fact that there were supposedly twelve Devas but they had only battled five of them so far. "I guess you're right. Still gonna to be boring, though." With that, Ruki headed inside, closing the door behind her. After Ruki had gone to bed, Renamon decided to take advantage of the darkness to explore Ikeda and gain familiarity with the layout of the town surrounding Haruna's house. Back in Shinjuku, she would frequently roam the suburbs surrounding Ruki's home at night, both to ensure the area was secure and to become better acquainted with the area.

Meanwhile in the mountains northeast of Ikeda, a pale blue pillar of light shot up from the ground, a dense fog enveloping the surrounding area. When the fog dissipated, a tall, dark figure stood looking about at his surroundings. He then drew several small, flattened metal spheres from a pouch on his waist, tossing them into the sky as he spoke, "Searcher bots, recon mode, deploy." In response to the command, the spheres each sprouted twin sets of counter-rotating rotor blades that spun width-wise around the widest point. Each sphere then split off from the others and proceeded to systematically survey the surrounding area before returning to their owner, the rotor blades retracting back into each sphere before landing in his outstretched hand and being placed back in the pouch they had come from.

Once all the spheres had returned, their owner gave an approving nod to the information they had gleaned during their sweep. "This area will be sufficient for my purposes. All that is required now is the target."

The next day, Ruki had decided to go for a walk and see if there was anything of interest to alleviate the boredom she had lamented to Renamon about the night before. It was surprising how little vehicle and pedestrian traffic there was here compared to what she was used to back in Shinjuku where the sidewalks were choked with people during the day and the streets almost constantly packed with traffic seemingly at all hours. The relative lack of noise was in and of itself almost deafening in its own way.

As Ruki trudged down the almost-vacant street she knew she wasn't alone as Renamon followed her, leaping gracefully from one rooftop to the next, flashing in and out of view periodically as she did so. Renamon didn't expect there to be any trouble while they were here but she knew better than to let down her guard, a harsh lesson learned through bitter experience.

No sooner had Renamon thought this when a shimmering distortion appeared ahead of the human girl she had been following, her blue-irised black eyes going wide as she called out her tamer's name to warn her. Ruki heard her and looked up, startled by the sight and stopping short, a look of apprehension on her face as she took several steps back away from the anomaly. Renamon was sprinting hard to get to her tamer and protect her from any possible threat the disturbance might pose, but before she could reach her a net erupted out of the void, Ruki letting out a scream as it enfolded her and drew her into the distortion.

"Ruki! No!" Renamon's blood ran cold as her tamer disappeared, the vixen landing where she had stood a mere second before. Acting on instinct and without the slightest hesitation, the amber Digimon leapt into the distortion after her, steeling herself to do whatever was required to secure Ruki's safety, at any cost. When she emerged from the distortion she was no longer in Ikeda, but in a mountainous, forested area several miles outside of town. Renamon didn't have time to take in the scenery as a masculine voice immediately refocused her attention.

"Good of you to make it. You are Renamon, correct?" Before Renamon stood an imposing figure; a humanoid Digimon standing roughly seven feet tall with a dark muscular body. He was dressed in what appeared to be a brown uniform with a thick belt around his waist holding several pouches, a crimson cape clasped around the collar and large black boots extending to his knees on his feet. On his head was perched a brown pith helmet reminiscent of that worn by big game hunters of the past. On his left hip hung a thick leather scabbard housing a large machete blade and on his back was slung a massive gun. What Renamon's attention was focused on however was the net he held in his left hand, a terrified Ruki imprisoned within.

"Release her now and you might get out of here alive." Renamon's words were spoken in a cold, dangerous tone that hinted at the underlying fury she harbored towards the one who had dared to abduct her partner.

The Digimon merely smirked at her words before replying, "I cannot do that. For you see, this human is my insurance that you will comply with what I want."

"And what would that be?" asked Renamon, already knowing she wasn't going to like where this was heading.

"I wish to hunt you."

Renamon gave a fierce scowl as the Digimon continued, "I have hunted Digimon of all kinds all over the digital world and have been thoroughly disappointed every time by the lack of challenge they presented me. Then I heard stories of a Digimon who had traveled to the real world and become the partner of the legendary Digimon Queen. I came here in the hopes that you would finally give me a challenge worthy of my skills."

Renamon could feel the fur on the back of her neck bristling as listened to his monologue. She then growled as she lunged at him to attack. Before she could strike him however, he had unsheathed his machete and driven the butt of the handle into her midsection, knocking the wind out of her and doubling her over. He then swung one of his booted feet up and caught her in the torso, sending her flying back several feet before she landed on her back on the ground.

"I strongly suggest you do not try that again. If you refuse to cooperate, this human's life is forfeit!" the Digimon said in a stern tone, giving the net imprisoning Ruki a brief shake to emphasize his threat.

Renamon got back to her feet, her fangs bared as she growled, "If you harm her, I will make you pay dearly!"

"Then you had best comply if you want her to make it out of this alive!" The Digimon then lowered his tone to a normal speaking voice before continuing, "I will give you a five-minute head start, after which I will come for you. The hunt ends when you make it back to the human town or I delete you and load your data. Once I am satisfied that the conditions of the hunt have been met, I will release the human as I will have no further use for her. However, if you try to rescue her yourself or seek assistance from anyone, I will kill the both of you immediately. Your time starts now; I suggest you make good use of it."

Renamon sneered viciously at the other Digimon. She knew what she had to do, but the mere thought of it was unbearable and almost incomprehensible to her. She then looked to her imprisoned tamer, her eyes locking with the young girl's violet gaze. "We will get through this alive, Ruki, I promise you." She then suddenly darted off, disappearing into the forest.

Once Renamon had left, the Digimon walked over to a nearby tree, using a rope attached to the net to hang it from the branch of a tree, leaving Ruki hanging at least ten feet off the ground. Once that was done, he unslung the massive gun from his back, pulling back a handle on the side and releasing it, producing a loud metallic clacking sound. He then turned and looked in the direction he had last seen Renamon heading as he spoke, "And so begins Stalkermon's hunt."

End Chapter 1

A/N: How was that to start things off? I got the idea for the plot for this story from the Richard Connell short story 'The Most Dangerous Game'. In the original story, a big-game hunter who has grown tired of hunting animals turns to hunting humans on his private island, including the protagonist. I decided it would be interesting to try an adaptation of this set in the world of the Digimon Tamers anime. Renamon seemed like the perfect choice for a protagonist because she's one of the strongest and most cunning of the original three partnered Digimon. I also decided to use the Japanese names for the characters, since the original Japanese version is, in my opinion, far superior to the English-dubbed version. Anyhow, I hope everyone enjoys reading this, please read & review and happy holidays!