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Story Themes: "Ride" by The Vines

(-'010102000'-)

"His claim to his home is deep, but there are too many ghosts. He must absorb without being absorbed."

—Willie Morris

The Lighthouse

Saga I Session XXV

... The Ghost Gods Descend ...

Gennai bowed his head.

"You have done well these past eight years, Gennai, but your services will not be required much longer," said a strong, masculine voice. Green light flickered in front of Gennai's eyes, but still he did not dare raise his chin. Not even for a small glance.

He had learned better long ago, the kind of madness which looking into the eyes of the Council could produce.

"Why aren't you stopping the Endless Ones?" Gennai asked, restraining himself.

Silence answered him. Then another voice, male as well – accompanied by a fierce red light – replied, "Are you questioning us?"

"Ahhh..." came the third voice, also male, flashing gentle blue. "So the great ole grump has a little rebellion in him."

"Hah, I have not looked so old for years now." Gennai couldn't help but smile warmly. "Yes, I question you because I must. There's a reason I am the sole survivor of my race."

"Yes... your race..." said the fourth voice. This voice, that of a young woman's, had a silver light that wrinkled as she spoke. Her voice was the softest of the four so far, gentle, but also somehow powerful at the same time. Gennai wasn't sure how it was possible, but it gave him chills he had never quite had before. At least not since the age of the Angel Lords. Though he didn't dare look at the woman's face, he could hear her sweet, warm smile in her voice. "What were they called again? Why, it's been so long since I've thought about them... Those Homunculi and their Golems."

Gennai clenched his teeth together.

The final voice spoke. It, too, was female. But unlike the previous woman, this voice was blistering with power. It alone was enough to make his muscles hinge beneath his skin, his vessels swell as he tried to restrain his legs from bolting.

Golden light filtered his gaze. He could see a slithering tail bat the ground in front of him. To stop himself from gazing up, Gennai squeezed his eyes shut. What had remained of his smile faltered and fell.

"Do not fear, Gennai," the powerful voice said. The force of its words was crushing. Though he was already on his knees, the weight of it forced him to his hands as well. His forehead nearly smacked the ground.

The final voice gave a gentle laugh. "The Endless Ones pose no threat."

"But they're gathering the Demon Lords..."

"I know," the voice replied. "The Demon Lords posed a threat long ago. But things have changed since then. Immensely."

"Were you the ones who unlocked the Enigma Evolution?"

Gennai could not stop himself from asking.

It had been stirring in the depths of his mind. He already knew the answer, but he felt he could not rest until he knew for sure. Like Izzy and ClavisAngemon, he had an inquisitive mind that hungered for knowledge, any knowledge. It wouldn't make any sense for the Council to unlock that evolution, however. The Enigma Evolution had the power of twisting time, ignoring the rules of Chronomon and Clockmon and Millenniummon; it was the power to obliterate or create worlds and galaxies and universes with a swipe of the hand, to change reality, to defy destiny itself.

To give the Destined that kind of power...

The final voice, whose golden light stemmed from the center of the four other lights, hesitated. Then she answered him. "No." The word seemed to curl. "I never thought I would see the day I did not have enough power, but it's come. I do not know who unlocked the Enigma Evolution."

Wait.

Wait a moment.

Gennai thought it was the Council— he'd asked to confirm it, not to be denied. He didn't understand why they would, but it still stood to reason that they were one of the very few sources who knew how to unseal that great power. Who else could it be? Who else held the kind of power to unlock that evolution?

Well, there had been the Seven Great Angel Lords. But when their power fell, so had their secrets. The Council knew how they accessed such a power, but they never allowed anyone to touch it. It was far too powerful for just any human being or digital being.

Besides the First Destined, the Angel Lords had shared the secret of the Enigma Evolution with no one, no one at all. So who could have had the power to unlock it?

The question was driving Gennai insane. He avoided the Council's faces to evade such a fate, but his mind couldn't grasp what being could possibly hold such power.

Surely if the thought nearly drove Gennai to such madness, surely it had driven the Council even more mad. Of that Gennai could be sure.

"Leave," she continued, her voice lowering. She'd heard his thoughts, whispering to her. It crossed a line.

"But—"

SNAP

Half of Gennai's face was blown off his shoulders. He howled and grabbed his head, shuddering. As he pulled back his hands, he realized he was clean— there was no blood. Reaching up to grapple his head, he realized he'd imagined it. His head was perfectly fine.

It's the madness, he thought. They've begun to reach inside me. Make me see things.

"You feel the burn, don't you? Feel your nerves spill out of your brain like severed string? The way your skin boils then goes numb as the fire splits it?" said the blue-light male. He cackled. "Illusion, illusion, illusionnn!"

"You should know better, Mr. Gennai," said the sweet-voiced girl with the silver stars in her eyes. Though she was guarded by a metallic gray light, he could feel her reaching out for his mind. Sinking deep inside it. "We fear nothing."

"We are the gods that rule destiny," said the boy with red light. "Do not question our judgment. We have seen all and nothing, we have witnessed the beginning and the end, the creation and the destruction. We have weaved the future with our very own fingers.

"With everything we have been through, old coot, we would have thought you knew better by now."

"I told you, I don't even look old anymore!" Gennai groused.

The blue-light boy cackled again. "Old, old, olllllld man! Stinky, and forgetful!"

Gennai saw a flicker of green light. Then a shadow pressed against him, whispering to him in tongues he couldn't understand. He saw the silhouette of a hand reaching out for him, but whose? Green light... the guardian of the north, of knowledge and reliability?

Gennai felt fingers clutch his shoulder. They scalded him, but he refused to grimace.

"You should leave now," suggested the figure grabbing him. "Before they get angry."

How could he argue? They had seen the past, present, and future. The Council knew all things... except, perhaps, how the Enigma Evolution had been unlocked for the twelve Japanese Destined. But he was in no position to question them, to pose new ideas and structures. If the Council knew something, or felt threatened, Gennai was sure they would've already weaved a fate delivering them from the Endless Ones' evil.

He had come here looking for help, and was turned away empty-handed.

"We will do nothing," the boy with the green light confirmed. "We have seen all things, the Endless Ones will never reach our Zenith."

But there was a rumbling inside Gennai, something that did not feel right. Something he had not felt since the time of the First Destined, since the time of the Golden-Haired, Hawk-Eyed Girl and her powerful, world-destroying arms.

It was a storm raging inside him.

"Azulongmon will guide you back to the lower realm," the male continued, and though Gennai could not see him, he knew he'd gestured to the gentle blue light nearby. "Thank you for visiting us after all this time, but there is nothing we choose to do."

How could Gennai come all this way just to be denied? Kari was falling... she would not be able to contact the World of Light until it was far too late. And Gatomon— hadn't they realized yet what Gatomon became? Gennai had done everything in his power to avoid this. He tried so hard to give her a happy ending... to give all of them a happy ending, even those who did not deserve it.

"I can't return empty-handed." Gennai's voice broke.

"There is nothing you can do," the woman at the center said in a firm voice. Gold flashed again. "We tried to give you a happy ending, old friend. In your future we bestowed generations of digimon and human alliances... I see children of these twelve Destined. Eight boys, five girls— the fourth generation of Destined, and even though evils arise, they are happy. In your Destined, I find leaders who revolutionize Earth and the Digital World through their combined powers, I find an astronaut, a fashion designer, a television host. A digital doctor. I have written the futures of a writer, a teacher, even a silly little noodle-cook. There is a housewife, a detective, and an attorney. This was the happy future we gave you.

"But we never planned the Endless Ones. We never planned the Destined solving the Enigma. Right now, we destiny weavers have no place among their fates. They are writing their own futures. They have defied destiny, and all beings in this Zenith – even you, old Gennai – know the result.

"Both worlds, and everyone within them, will die."

(-'102010201'-)

"It's tiiiiiime~" said Mara as a dervish of red and purple electricity danced around her hands.

"Mara, please don't sing, your voice is shrill," said the third unknown voice. The young man attached to the voice adjusted the glasses dangling on the tip of his nose and peered up at the vortex in the sky.

Mara's bottom lip pouted at the boy. "You're no fun."

"Has he ever been fun?" Lucesco asked with a grin.

"No, unlike you two I know what I'm doing," the man replied with a grin just as devious as Lucesco's.

"What was that?" Lucesco snarled, his grin vanquished in a second.

Tsk, tsk. The second his pride was challenged, Lucesco always got in such a tizzy... Even Mara held back a giggle, and she typically took Lucesco's side in these arguments. The third voice was always so stuffy. But they fancied him nonetheless, he always took things into his own hands when Lucesco or Mara wavered.

That was the thing about Sam Ichijouji.

Even when he was alive, he always planned three steps ahead.

It was like playing chess.

"C'mon," the third voice – Sam – told the two others. "If we don't hurry, Bagramon will get upset."

"Like we care about Bagramon," Lucesco snorted.

Sam grinned at the comment. "Yeah, but you're not the one who has to listen to his bitching."

"I think Daddy always has a very good reason to complain. After all," Mara added, "He just wants to impress his own Daddy..."

Lucesco snapped. "He's no one's daddy, Mara! You're the only one who sees him that way, and it's gross! Besides... once the Demon Lords are resurrected, I'll be the only daddy around here."

"Bagramon's like a second generation Great Demon Lord... so you'd be like... Bagramon's granddaddy! But you'd also be his son... wait. I'm confused, Lucesco!"

Lucesco threw his head back in a loud laugh that shook his entire being. He obviously enjoyed the thought of giving orders to Bagramon instead of taking them, but it made him quite sentimental. When he quieted, Mara gently clasped his hand in her own. Leaning forward to kiss his forehead, she used her free hand to caress his cheek. Lucesco felt his body grow hot. He peered at her from the corner of his eye.

She was giving him that grinning look.

"There's that Kari inside you," Lucesco said with a grin back.

Mara giggled. "Gi gi." Her tongue, slit down the middle to form a two-pronged fork, slithered across her lips. Her purple eyes flashed a garnet red. Multiple emblems resembling eyes bled through her skin before a new layer of flesh grew over them.

Lucesco snickered. "And there's the Other One..."

Then, still grinning, Mara used the hand she'd caressed his face with to grab hold of Sam's hand as well. Giving him a kiss on the cheek like Lucesco, Mara looked up at the sky.

Silence stirred within them.

This was it.

This was the moment things truly changed forever. Nothing could take back what they were about to do. Nothing could make up for the sin they were about to commit. They would never be able to redeem themselves for doing this, and they were not completely sure whether or not that was a good thing.

But that didn't matter, because the result would be the same.

They did not have much time left.

We are the hands of the Necronomicon, Lucesco thought. It is the Book of the Dead, the opener of rifts. It contains untold, unknown power.

Through us, the door of the realms will be opened... Bagramon's little lost souls, restless, forgotten... his experiments, his creations... built for a single purpose.

To evolve the DigPorts themselves.

To make the worlds bleed.

To shape destiny, to unseal the Wrathful Demon!

"We are the Keys," Lucesco roared. Energy roared with him, plowing through his skin and erupting like an inferno across his skin. It ruptured the ground he stood on and surged to the sky above.

The rift between the Digital World and Earth... There were many weak points where the barrier was softened. Kyoto had an awfully weak barrier, but in recent times it'd strengthened to the point of impenetrability. Odaiba was one of the first DigiPorts to be accessed in this world, and therefore it was the chosen area.

If this was where the barrier between Earth and the Digital World was weakest for the moment, then it would also be the area where the barrier between the Digital World and the Dark Ocean would be weakest as well.

The World of Darkness... how Lucesco wished he had witnessed the secret behind its creation. But that was something very few knew the origins of. Lucesco bit back a grin as he thought of one digimon who knew of its creation, the true vampire king and demon beast. How Lucesco wished that ass would hurry up and show his disgusting face. It'd been far too long since he'd had the opportunity to kick it in for what he did.

Lucesco wondered how that beast would have liked to see Virus Kari.

How much it would have intrigued him to see her in that state.

What memories would simmer in the back of his mind?

And Demon... Demon would enjoy Virus Kari so very, very much. And what of Dagomon's reaction?

Yes, Dagomon's reaction would have been sweetest of all. There was a warmth that radiated inside of that creature, something that began as love before it withered into lust, and now it sat inside him— obsession. And envy for the light he once had but could never reclaim. Kari, who was the very embodiment of the thing he wanted most.

"TIME TO OPEN THE DOORS." Mara released Lucesco and Sam's hands, then flipped forward. She skidded to a halt and twisted her fingers through the air. Within her hands sparked the orbs of a million lights that formed a massive golden bow made of sand; pulling back the string, she revealed a glass arrow that glinted in the dim gray light.

Sam and Lucesco jumped further away from each other, taking Mara's cue. She was right— it was the right time and the right place.

"NO MORE WAITING," Sam howled, a two-headed scythe manifesting within his own hands. He dragged it across the ground. The rupture upturned miles of earth.

Lucesco's grin widened. "THIS IS IT!"

Pointing toward the sky, a sword whirred within his grip as he swiped in the direction of the clouds. Forming a pyramid between them, the triad sent a burst of crackling, malignant energy into the portal that peeled back the clouds and bedim of descending digimon.

Within the crackling light formed four pairs of eyes.

"And now they fall like stars," Lucesco whispered.