Chapter 1: The Invitation

A light gust of wind swept across a wide, grassy field of the Digital World below. This world was filled with all sorts of different lands and terrains. There were thick forests, frigid tundra, arid deserts, and beautiful mountains. Only Digimon, creatures of all shapes and sizes, lived in this world. The species of Digimon varied widely, ranging from small fish to medium-sized mammals to large dragons. Some lived in societies while others roamed the land. Generally speaking, the world tended to be peaceful, as many digimon weren't out looking for a fight. However... some were.

A crimson, bipedal dragon hovered high above the clouds as he looked down at the Digital World. He used his broad, sentient Caledfwlch wings to keep him aloft. From his vantage point in the sky, he looked down the length of his Ambrosius lance and breathed calmly.

His name was Examon and he was the defender of the United Dramonic Coalition.

In that moment, Examon wasn't just admiring the view. There were five digimon in the process of invading the United Dramonic Coaltion's territory, and he had already determined that they weren't just there for a friendly visit. It wasn't the first time this place had been attacked by bandits or invaders...

The crimson dragon digimon watched a large, orange, dinosaur digimon known as MetalGreymon stomp across the plain of grass. The species of MetalGreymon were that of cyborg theropods, as evident by his large metal claw and the large missile port on his chest. He hulking dinosaur stomped forwards at a steady pace.

"Come on, guys!" the MetalGreymon shouted, looking over his metal shoulder, to the four digimon behind him. They were all cyberbiotic, like MetalGreymon was.

"On my way!" said an orange, serpent-like dragon known as a Megadramon.

Beside him was a grey, slightly more refined variation of Megadramon, Gigadramon. "Understood," Gigadramon replied, flying forwards.

Walking under the two dragons was another ferocious robotic dinosaur digimon known as MetalTyrannomon. He nodded and followed after MetalGreymon.

Lastly, there was a crimson dinosaur with white hair and blades on his arms: a WarGrowlmon. "Got it, Boss!" he said to MetalGreymon.

Ahead of them was a small village comprised of about thirty huts and houses varying between one and two stories. That was their destination.

"Let's take everything they got!" the MetalGreymon rumbled, grinning savagely. The metal cover concealing the missile ports on his chest suddenly swung open, revealing the cannon holes. "Giga Destroyer!"

Two black missiles with snarling mouths launched from MetalGreymon's breast and soared through the air with a high-pitched screaming sound. The local dragon digimon ('dramon', they are colloquially called) of the village saw these five bandits attacking and either began to flee for their lives or put themselves between the raiders and the village to defend it.

Screams and cries of the digimon sounded out as they saw both the missiles and the raiders charging towards their village. Many scrambled to get away as they couldn't hope to face up to five strong Ultimate levels. Others, however, determined to protect their village at all costs, ran out to defend.

"Not more raiders!" a Flamedramon villager shouted frantically, running out of his large hut to defend the town.

The green, draconic form of a Coredramon ran up beside him, with emerald flames coming from his mouth. "They're Ultimates this time! I sure hope that we can hold them off until- AH! Look!" he yelled, pointing with fear towards the two gigantic missiles headed their way.

As the two missiles closed in, whistling as they approached, the two digimon could only raise their arms over their faces to protect themselves from the explosions that were soon to come. Being mere Champion levels, they knew that they probably wouldn't survive the blasts.

"Pendragon's Glory!" a calm voice called out from the sky, echoing down to the ground.

Examon's two lasers plummeted down from the inside of a cloud and blasted clear through the two giant missiles. Flamedramon and Coredramon watched as the explosives detonated in mid air before they could get close to the village. The explosions blew them backwards and rattled a few of the village's structures, but they were all spared injury and damage.

MetalGreymon's eye twitched with disbelief at his unexpected misfortune. "What the heck?!" he demanded, looking upwards at the cloud.

The Megadramon raider looked up as well, his cannons raised. "I think i-!" His voice was cut off when a third emerald laser pierced through the top of his helmet, killing him instantly and causing him to burst into data.

"No!" the Gigadramon beside him shouted, horrified.

"Megadramon!" MetalGreymon yelled in fury.

"Pendragon's Glory!" the voice repeated.

Another high-powered laser blasted down and ripped through the Gigadramon's chest, annihilating his digicore. The Gigadramon slumped forwards in the air with a gasp. His arms and tail went slack and, from the cannons that made up his hands, two missiles fired aimlessly downwards.

The MetalGreymon leader gritted his teeth as the Gigadramon's deletion was accentuated by the two explosions in the grass below the data cloud. "Damn it!" he roared, drowning out the voice of their assailant as it spoke again. He looked to the remaining land-bound bandits, pointing his giant metal claw towards the cloud where the laser beams fired from. "MetalTyrannomon! WarGrowlmon! Fire at that cloud! Kill whoever's in it!"

"R-Right," the MetalTyrannomon agreed, though noticeably shaken at two of his comrades being taken down so easily. "Nuclear Laser!"

While preparing two more missiles to fire, MetalGreymon watched as MetalTyrannomon raised his left arm. MetalTyrannomon fired strong blasts of dark blue energy from the cannon in his palm into the thick of the cloud, despite not knowing who he was aiming at. However, MetalGreymon noticed that his other bandit, WarGrowlmon, wasn't attacking.

"WarGrowlmon! Is your hair in your ears again?! I said to fire!" MetalGreymon yelled, turning to him. He noticed that the WarGrowlmon was looking down at a sparking hole that was made in his upper body armour, just around the cannons.

"M-MetalGreymon," he said, looking down at the puncture with obvious worry. "Boss, there's something wrong. I got hit; this weird bullet or shell went into my armour and I can feel it doing som- AH!"

The virus-carrying shell that had pierced inside his machinery activated abruptly. WarGrowlmon let out a cry of pain as electricity suddenly surged through his body, his metal parts serving to conduct the shock further. He reared his head back with a roar before the electrocution became too much for his body. His muscles seized up and his legs buckled, the large dinosaur crashing down on his chest. He lay there unconscious, though his leg and tail still twitched.

MetalGreymon watched with disbelief as another raider was taken out no more than fifteen seconds after the last one. "That's it!" he roared, the ports on his chest smoking. "Blow him out of the sky, MetalTyrannomon! Giga Destroyer!"

"What does it look like I'm doing?!" MetalTyrannomon replied frantically. He shot his Nuclear Laser attack wildly at the cloud high above them. "How is it hitting us so accurately from so far away?!"

"Just keep suppressing and I'll blow him away!" MetalGreymon replied, watching as his two missiles flew from his chest at high speeds towards the single cloud over head.

Several seconds later, the low-hanging cloud exploded and the white mist was blown outwards in a fiery bloom.

"...Think you got him?" MetalTyrannomon asked, squinting his eyes. "Maybe there was more than one. I can't see..."

"Damn well better did," the dinosaur bandit spat.

The grey dinosaur, however, wasn't convinced. He kept watching the sky until his eyes finally widened. "I see something!" he shouted, raising his cannon-infused hands in the thing's direction.

MetalGreymon growled and looked up, his blue eyes scanning the sky. He saw it too. A dot falling away from the explosion like a comet. He grinned. "Hah! I told you I'd get him!"

MetalTyrannomon kept watching it as it came closer. "...It's falling this way! I-It's red! It's descending three times faster than either Megadramon or Gigadramon could!"

MetalGreymon's smirk disappeared and he started to back up with fear as Examon plummeted towards them, coming nearer and nearer. He could start to make out the creature's body. It was a crimson red dragon man. His massive wings were plated with glistening silver armour and his wingspan was cloaked around his body. While too far away for MetalGreymon to see properly, the red dragon digimon had several horns coming out of his head and his long, whip-like tail was shuddering in the wind behind him. With his wings tucked in, it was clear he was freefalling on purpose.

"Draconic Impact!" the dragon digimon shouted, plummeting towards them like a determined meteor.

MetalGreymon's eyes widened and he backed up further as the enemy approached at high velocity. "He's going to ram us! Shoot him!"

"Nuclear Laser!" MetalTyrannomon roared, wide-eyed as the digimon rapidly approached. The lasers hit the dragon's folded wings but they glanced off due to the digimon's speed. Upon seeing his attacks do nothing, MetalTyrannomon's fear took over and he turned around and tried to run away.

"Boss!" the dinosaur bandit yelled, futilely trying to run away from the plummeting dragon. The large dragon digimon slammed into him, crushing him into the ground with enough force to delete MetalTyrannomon and send out a powerful shockwave out from the point of impact. The blast caused dirt and grass to explode into the air and it knocked MetalGreymon onto his tail.

Wincing, the remaining dinosaur raider quickly got to his feet and saw before him a large cloud of dust coming from a crater.

"Wh...Who are you?!" MetalGreymon demanded.

The dragon digimon walked up and out of the crater, his broad wings outstretched and a long, black lance that doubled as a rifle in his right claws. He stared at the bandit with calm, green eyes. "My name is Examon. I'm the defender of this area," he explained in a cool growl, narrowing his eyes. "Leave now and you'll live..."

The dinosaur, however, refused to back down. He dug his feet in and glared. Examon returned it, not moving either. The two found themselves in a standoff.

"You're just a puny salamander!" MetalGreymon growled. "Not even you can withstand this! Giga Destroyer!"

Smoke exploded from the cannon ports and two gigantic missiles screeched as they flew through the air towards Examon. Examon gritted his jagged teeth as they approached. Before hitting him, he managed to quickly cloak the armoured wings called 'Caledfwlch' around him.

MetalGreymon watched as the two missiles exploded on contact; they detonated into a massive fireball which incinerated the surrounding grass. A small grin formed on his face as he was absolutely positive he hit his target.

"Did I kill him?" he asked gleefully while the heat and wind from the explosion blew his hair back.

The cyborg dinosaur looked into the black smoke and raging flames, looking for signs of life. When he didn't see anything in the miniature mushroom cloud, he sighed with relief. "Good... The flying newt's toast..."

He was about to turn around, but saw the sun reflect off of something within the thick haze of smoke. His eyes widened with fear and he looked towards the where the center of the explosion was. "No..." he gasped. The wind blew the smoke back, first, to reveal the tip of a metal lance pointed at him. He followed the lance leading back to inside its owner, hidden inside a protective tent created by his sentient, armoured wings.

Although Examon's wings smoked, they were plated with chrome digizoid, a highly durable metal. MetalGreymon watched as Examon slowly opened his wings, revealing himself to be completely unharmed.

"Not possible," MetalGreymon gasped, his eyes wide.

"You're outclassed," Examon spoke, narrowing his green eyes slightly while raising his Ambrosius lance a precise few degrees. "Avalon's Gate!"

A shell exploded from the muzzle of the Ambrosius and shot towards MetalGreymon. It detonated on contact with MetalGreymon's neck and the remaining shards dug into his orange scales. The raider winced slightly with pain and took a step back, but remained standing. Expecting to be killed, MetalGreymon was initially surprised, but it soon turned to joy. "Hah! You may have good range and defense, but your offense s-ugh!" The MetalGreymon's body suddenly tensed up, his muscles contracting tightly. "Wh... Wha's gu'in' on?!" he demanded, collapsing to his knees. His head, arms, and tail drooped and his tongue hung out of his mouth.

"That's special ammunition. That particular shell's shrapnel is infected with a virus meant to incapacitate you by affecting your muscles," Examon explained coolly. The crimson dragon man raised his lance and rested it on his spiked shoulder. "You will be unconscious in a few moments."

The MetalGreymon gave an incoherent sentence of protest before his eyes slowly closed and he fell forwards. He hit the grassy plain with a crash and lay there, unmoving.

Cheers resounded into the air from the guards of the nearby village. Examon raised an eyebrow and turned, seeing various digimon run over to him.

"Examon!" Flamedramon shouted graciously, jogging up to him.

"You made it just in time!" Coredramon said, his beaming face mimicked by the several other dramon behind him. "Thanks a lot!"

Examon grunted and looked over to the WarGrowlmon and MetalGreymon. "I left two of them alive... I don't feel right about deleting them while they're unconscious."

"We could probably take them to the jail in the region's capital," Coredramon explained, looking at the dragon warrior with starry eyes. "You made it seem so easy."

"I guess they haven't seen an Examon before," Examon humbly replied in a calm voice. "They underestimated me because they didn't know I'm a Mega II level. If they had been five Mega levels, it wouldn't have been so easy."

Flamedramon smiled and nodded. "Still, you sure saved our-!" His eyes widened upon seeing something behind Examon. "B-Behind, you, Examon!"

Examon gritted his teeth and started to turn, his grip around the Ambrosius' trigger tightening. He was sure that the two raiders had been knocked out for a good hour. The dragon turned completely and aimed the lance on reflex upon seeing a figure walking across the grassland towards them.

At first glance, he noticed that the digimon was much shorter than the previous raiders; he looked around Examon's size if not shorter. He had a humanoid body and was clad in pristine, white plate armour. The armour had shimmering, crimson plates at the shoulders, elbows, and knees. The wind blew and caused the lengthy strands of white hair flowing out from the back of his knight-like helmet to bluster in the wind, in the same direction as his long, fluttering, red cape. He also had two red belts buckled around his torso.

However, the dragon digimon's eyes were drawn to the long, conical lance in the digimon's right hand and the large, dome-like shield in his left. Examon narrowed eyes and got into a defensive stance, his sentient wings fanning out to protect the dragon digimon behind him. He aimed the Ambrosius at the knight digimon.

Examon wasn't sure why, but something about him made him think this approaching digimon was draconic in nature. Maybe it was the red, metal, dragon ears that decorated his helmet. Even if he was a dragon digimon, Examon didn't want to take any chances, especially given how strong and confident the digimon looked.

To his surprise, after raising his lance, the digimon cast down his shield and stuck his own lance deep into the ground. Examon watched the knight raise his arms to signal that he was submitting and meant no ill-will. As the digimon continued to approach, leaving the range of his weapon and shield, Examon slowly lowered the Ambrosius and walked towards him to meet him.

"So..." the knight said in a slightly gruff but noble voice. He stopped a few meters away from Examon and looked at him with golden eyes. "Your name is Examon. The one they call 'the Dragon Emperor'."

"I am..." Examon replied sceptically, though his lance was lowered enough that the tip touched the ground. "Though it's really just something they like to call me around here. I'm not an emperor by any stretch... I just protect these lands from hostile and evil digimon. ...Who are you?"

"Dukemon. Dukemon of the Royal Knights," he explained with a polite smile, lowering his hands.

Examon's eyes widened slightly. "The... Royal Knights...?" he asked in disbelief. He had heard of the Royal Knights several times. They were an order of knightly digimon who worked together to keep order and peace within the Digital World, often battling strong and evil enemies. It wouldn't be a stretch to say they were famous.

"That's right," he replied. Dukemon turned and looked at the unconscious WarGrowlmon and MetalGreymon raiders. "You've been busy. Want me to take these two troublemakers off of your hands?"

"...You didn't come all the way here just for that," Examon replied.

"Okay, I'll get to the point," Dukemon said, grinning slightly. "I'm here under orders from Alphamon, the leader of the Royal Knights. He's summoning you to our headquarters."

Examon raised an eyebrow. "...Me? What could he want with me?"

"M-Mister Dukemon," Flamedramon spoke up nervously. "Examon's not in any trouble, is he?"

"The opposite," Dukemon explained, taking an envelope which was secured inside the two belts around his waist. He offered the piece of paper to Examon, who nodded and took it. On it was Digicode that translated to "To Examon". The dragon turned the envelope over and saw that it had been closed with Alphamon's personal seal.

He opened it and began reading.

"Alphamon heard of your skills in protecting this area. Between you and me, I think he wants to recruit you as one of the Royal Knights," the Royal Knight explained as Examon read.

"...What?" Examon asked, his eyes widening.

"Examon? A Royal Knight?" Coredramon asked, liking the idea.

"...So, will you join me?" Dukemon asked with a friendly smile. "By the look on your face, I can tell that I was right."

Examon looked down and frowned in thought. "I'm... honoured by the invitation, but..." he looked to the villagers. "I can't leave. I have a duty to protect the dragon digimon of this land."

"I admire your sense of duty, Examon, but think about it..." Dukemon said. "By joining the Royal Knights, you'll not only be able to protect this area, but you'll also be able to protect the entire world. I watched the fight just a few minutes ago and you have already proved your worth to me. And, of course, this territory, the United Dramonic Coalition, will continue to receive the full protection of the Royal Knights, but at a greater priority level with you around."

Examon studied him carefully before closing his eyes in thought. He knew Dukemon had a point and joining the Royal Knights felt like a good opportunity for him. A part of him felt a bit reluctant, as his sense of duty urged him to continue to protect this land specifically. However, as Dukemon said, he would still be able to do that as part of the Royal Knights.

He continued to ponder it. It wasn't as though he had any close friends or family within the United Dramonic Coalition, only acquaintances. Examon had always been a bit of a loner, even after assuming the unofficial role as region's protector. He always wanted to be a part of an elite team like the Royal Knights and he felt he would be able to get a lot done if he did.

"...Okay. I accept," he answered with a light grin.

Dukemon folded his arms and nodded approvingly, a small smile present behind his helmet. "I'm glad, Examon," he said. He then chuckled slightly. "OuRyuumon is going to [i]love[/i] this..."

The white and red knight outstretched a hand towards him amiably. Examon, slightly surprised, looked down at the hand for a moment. He then smiled and took it in his claws, shaking it firmly.

The dragon digimon turned towards the nearby guards and civilians. "Will you all be okay?"

Flamedramon nodded. "If anything, this'll be better for us. I'll be sure to tell the mayor at the capital."

Examon nodded quietly and looked back to Dukemon. "When do we leave?" he asked.

The Royal Knight shook his claws and then released them, taking his arm back. "Now. Unless you need more time..."

"Now's fine," Examon replied. He frowned and looked over at the two unconscious digimon. "Except..."

Turning towards them as well, Dukemon folded his arms. "Oh, right. Our esteemed friends here..." he mused. "...I'll take the WarGrowlmon and you take the MetalGreymon. There will be a cozy spot in our dungeon for them." He glanced at Examon with a smirk.

With a restrained smile, Examon walked over to the MetalGreymon, hoisted his tail over his shoulder and began the painstaking process of dragging him. Examon may have been a Mega level, but the MetalGreymon raider was still incredibly heavy.

He glanced over and saw Dukemon doing the same as him, dragging the WarGrowlmon by the tail after fastening the lance and shield he dropped to his back. Examon couldn't help but be impressed that the knight was actually overtaking him despite being slightly smaller and lower in level than him. "I guess that's why he's a Royal Knight," Examon said to himself, under his breath.

"Did you say something?" Dukemon asked, poking his head above the WarGrowlmon's tail to look over at him.

"Nothing," the dragon answered.

Examon looked at the letter in his hand and smiled to himself. "[i]So... I'm going to become a Royal Knight...[/i]"