"There's been no sign of Magnamon?"
"Not since the fall of Yggdrasil."
"Do you think that he was unwilling to move on?"
"It's a possibility."
"… I see."
Two caped figures oversaw the Digital World— a fertile world, with little inhabitants. One a Virus Type, the other Vaccine, both Exalted Knight Digimon, and both sworn friends to each other.
"It seems like such a tragedy," Omegamon said. "That we once, proud Royal Knights have dwindled into two." Discounting Alphamon, in any case. He wasn't 'himself', at the moment.
"Of course, the same could be said of the entirety of this Digital World at this point in time," Dukemon replied, as he took the time to glance at his old friend. "With less than two percent of the Digital World's initial population coming out of this ordeal, I, Dukemon, dare say that this turn of events has been nothing short of a miracle."
"And do we dare call ourselves Royal Knights, considering that we have gone against our Lord?"
"… I suppose not," Omegamon mused thoughtfully. "To think, that we went against Yggdrasil— the overseer of the Digital World— and triumphed."
"Is it so hard to believe?"
"For me, I suppose." Omegamon shook his head with a admitting tone. "Would it be wrong for me to admit, that the previous events feel all too… surreal?"
"Peace tends to have such effects on beings such as ourselves, my dear friend," Dukemon stated plainly. "We are protectors."
The crimson knight cast his gaze towards the pair of Digimon— A Tokomon and Dorumon frolicking in the canyon below without a care in the world. "This is what we strive for. "
Placid days would pass without worry for the new world now. It would take a while for the Digimon to grow in numbers again, but they would survive. They would definitely survive.
"Dukemon," Omegamon called out to the Crimson Knight.
Without a word, he shifted his gaze towards his fellow Knight. Omegamon's gaze was oddly tentative.
"I wish to ask something of you; will you permit me this?"
"Omegamon, my dear friend, surely you must realize by now that there is no reason to request for my permission," The Crimson Knight admonished with a faintly amused tone. "We have known each other for such a long time now; we are friends. You need not ask."
"We are friends," Omegamon confirmed. Despite their equal status, Dukemon found that his dear friend could be fairly naïve at times. "Which is why I must know, what will you do now?"
The question settled itself into Dukemon's mind, and suddenly, the knight found himself silent. It was deceptively innocent.
Rather than answering, Dukemon asked his own.
"Is that all you wish to know?"
Certainly, there had to be something more.
"No," The Mega quickly rectified, thus confirming Dukemon's suspicions. "Knowing you, you…"
Dukemon waited patiently for him to go on.
"You are different." Omegamon stated. "I have known this since the moment we have met. In comparison to the other Royal Knights, you've always had such reputation for being… unlike us. Surely, you remember—"
"I know," Dukemon shrugged. "Yet, did this knowledge make me any less of a comrade to you? Or could you be referring to when our late comrades were against Yggdrasil's decision to allow someone like me—"
"That is not what I am referring to," Omegamon shook his head.
"Do go on."
"You held the reputation of being most… bizarre. Unorthodox. Emotional." The Vaccine elaborated. "This goes beyond your typing, Dukemon. Royal Knights swear absolute loyalty to Yggdrasil, yet, you chose your own feelings over such duties. I wish to know what you felt so strongly for, which ultimately caused you to betray him."
"You desire to know the truth, then." Dukemon stated, rather than questioned. It was just like him to do such.
"I do." Omegamon answered in a resolute tone. "While you attend to your duties as a Royal Knight, never have I once seen you without this… yearning. Even now, I see such emotion in your eyes."
Dukemon remained silent.
"Dukemon, my sworn friend, for what purpose did you agree to join the Royal Knights? Why has this emotion never diminished in your time serving Yggdrasil?"
Dukemon's eyes were cast off towards the distance; Omegamon still assumed that his friend would not be as callous to ignore his questions, and was listening.
So he pressed one last time.
"What is it that you are searching for," He began with a concerned tone. "that not even Yggdrasil could give to you?"
The Vaccine flinched at the sharpness of the other's tone. Nonetheless, Dukemon fluidly turned towards him, eyes uncharacteristically languid.
"Have you at any point in time questioned my existence?"
"Naturally," Despite Omegamon's tone, he looked away briefly. "Your very existence is an anomaly; a dual source of the Digital Hazard, stabilized by the co-existence of the Zero Unit in your data. It is… delicate."
Terribly so. Digimon marked with the Hazard Symbol were dangerous for to Digital World. If the Digital Hazard were to ever go out of control, the balance of the Digital World could have easily been toppled, and consequently destroyed as a result— only a single occurrence of this had come to pass in the old world, and the event had been recorded. This was common knowledge to the Royal Knights, and the Crimson Knight in particular had been full of contradictions.
After all, he was a connection, perhaps the only connection, that could tap into the Hazard's power- it was his strength. It was something that not even Yggdrasil could tap into.
"Despite there being no flaws or ruptures in my data, still, I feel incomplete."
"Incomplete?" Omegamon repeated, confusion evident in his voice. "I don't understand."
"Logically, this would be incomprehensible nonsense," Dukemon continued. "But within my core, I feel that there's something missing."
Perhaps it would have been to Magnamon. It was only illogical to Omegamon, but by no means was it nonsense. To see Dukemon… act uncharacteristically proved so.
After all, everything that Dukemon did had a deeper meaning behind it.
"For what reason do you believe I feel this way, Omegamon?"
"… I do not know." Omegamon admitted helplessly.
It was then Dukemon averted his gaze back towards the horizon, as if looking at something that wasn't present in Omegamon's eyes.
"Long before I was recruited into the Royal Knights, there was another." Dukemon murmured suddenly.
This caught Omegamon off guard.
"Another Lord— A worthy partner whom I would dedicate my life, not for honor, but for him solely."
"What happened to this partner?"
"Fate would not allow us to stay together," The Crimson Knight responded with a tinge of emotion that the Vaccine could not identify. "Despite this, I wished to go against what fate had dealt me, my dear friend. Since the time of our separation so very long ago, I have wanted nothing more than to see him again."
"You feel that strongly for him?" Omegamon cocked his head slightly.
"Just what is this Lord of yours?"
What came next undoubtedly took Omegamon by surprise.
"A… Human?" Omegamon reiterated with struck realization. His sworn friend, partnered to a human? Suddenly, the Crimson Knight's idiosyncrasies made sense.
He was one of them.
"Am," The knight corrected, with a complete disregard for the Vaccine's alarm. "I am partnered to a human."
"Who could this human possibly be?"
"My Lord, friend, partner, creator…"
Dukemon only seemed endlessly amused by his indignation— he coughed. Or was that an attempt at stifling laughter? In any case, Omegamon could imagine the ghost of a smile hidden beneath the knight's faceplate.
"… How?" Omegamon asked coolly, in an attempt to regain his composure. "I already know of Digimon origins, but we have developed beyond their original design with the Network's growth. How…?"
"You dream, don't you, Omegamon?" The Crimson Knight asked abruptly.
Of course he did. Dukemon had asked him this on an occasion long ago.
The difference this time, is that the Knight did not wait for an answer. "If there is anything I have learned about humans, their capacity to imagine- to create- is unfathomable. Like we Digimon, just as they have the power to destroy, they bring things into creation."
"… By dreaming?"
"How else could I, Dukemon, be brought into existence? The same applies to all Digimon as well. The shapes we've come to take, the powers we have given… We are all born of the dreams of humans." He said sagely. "But of course, as you have said earlier, we have evolved past their original design. We are autonomous, and we too are capable of feeling emotions and pain as they do. My Lord was one of these people who acknowledged this."
Omegamon would have gaped if he could.
"That said, just as I was back then, he was only a mere child." Dukemon continued. "He had difficulty understanding the strength of bonds, and what it meant to fight for a greater purpose. Like we Digimon, I suppose you can say he 'evolved'." The Crimson Knight's voice held a strange affection. "He had mishaps and failures along this path, but he stayed true to his commitments, as foolish and unprepared as he was."
"Humans are foolish."
"Yes, they are," Dukemon agreed. "However, they can learn from their mistakes. I couldn't have possibly been more fortunate to have someone who accepted me for who I was." The Crimson Knight confessed. "It it my wish that I, Dukemon, may see him again to fulfill our last promise. It is my wish to feel… complete, once more."
Dukemon nodded. "That boy is just as much of a part of me, as I was to him."
"Then… You are the Crimson Knight that Azulongmon spoke so highly of." He alleged. "The one he spoke of that stood against Zhuqiaomon."
"Perhaps at one instance, but now no longer." The Knight said lightly, before stifling a chuckle. "That was a terribly long time ago."
"You faced the True Enemy!" He continued with his accusations, the dammed curiosity that he once kept at bay was spilling forth.
"I did, but not alone."
"Dukemon, in the old world, you were one of the ones that destroyed the firewall."
"To save the others."
"… Other partnered Digimon, I assume?"
"Yggdrasil wasn't kind enough to allow them on the Ark due to being 'touched', yet it was in his interest to recruit myself for the same reason." The Knight answered dismissively. "Thusly, they had two other options: die with the old world, or escape to the Real World. During that chaotic time, the barrier protecting the boundary was fragmented— unstable." Dukemon elaborated. "I merely showed them the pathway to escape."
"Then why did you not go with them when you had the chance?" Omegamon inquired. "Surely, you could have granted your dearest wish right then and there… yet you chose not to. Why?"
"Did you honestly believe that I would leave?" Dukemon asked with a mild tone. "Yes, I could have, but I did not. I could not simply abandon the duties I had, nor could I have left the Digital World in its cataclysmic state."
The crimson knight locked his golden eyes to Omegamon's azure.
"Most importantly, I could not leave what dear friends I have made in this Digital World knowing that they needed my help at such a dire time."
If anything, that could have silenced Omegamon. But he continued instead.
"… That, is why you betrayed Yggdrasil." He stated, realization all too present in his voice.
"It was the only way I could make you see," The crimson knight admitted.
"Was… was I truly that blind?"
"You knew it in your core that what you were doing was wrong. Yet, you could not suspend your unwavering faith in Yggdrasil long enough to acknowledge it." He paused for a moment, before adding, "I imagine that you were undoubtedly hurt by my actions. I apologize for acting brashly, Omegamon."
"I…" The Knight murmured, casting his glance away briefly before finishing. "I forgive you."
"Thank you, Omegamon."
"Dukemon…" He began slowly. "Will you go to this Lord of yours now?"
"To be honest, I am uncertain." The Crimson Knight murmured softly, eyes cast towards the horizon. This was the first time he had heard Dukemon admit hesitancy.
"It is my dearest wish to return, yet with all said and done…" Dukemon averted his gaze, and confessed.
"I am afraid, Omegamon."
Omegamon was taken aback. Dukemon, afraid?
"I know what you're thinking, but with this, I cannot help but have my doubts." The Crimson Knight chuckled dryly. "I have changed, just as you have, my dear friend. I am not the same as I was before, and I fear for the worst when I do return. It has been far too long."
"That's no reason to not go back." Omegamon said pointedly.
"I'm well aware."
"Then why not go to him?"
"Could I possibly leave now, with the Digital World still in this state?"
"Do you not trust me? I swore that I would stay true to my word. I will protect this peace, even if it comes to the cost of my life. It… is my pride as a Royal Knight." The Mega murmured resolutely. "Go to this Lord of yours, Dukemon."
"If ever the Digital World comes to a point where it is in peril, surely, you will return." Omegamon continued. "You will, won't you, my dear friend?"
"I, Dukemon, swear it." The Crimson Knight said resolutely. "This will not be goodbye between us, Omegamon."
Nodding, Omegamon turned towards the calm horizon of the Digital World. Likewise, Dukemon followed suit, and the two Royal Knights watched together in silence. It would not be the last time they would do this together… but it would be a very long time until they were to do it again.
"Although, this may sound strange, Dukemon… But I wish to meet this Lord of yours one day." The Vaccine admitted nonchalantly.
"Why would that be?"
"One you speak and hold so highly… I wonder what kind of human he is."
"Perhaps," Dukemon laughed, for the first time. "One day, you'll meet him."
"One day." Omegamon agreed, with a smile hiding behind his faceplat. "I can only imagine for now, but…"
"I wonder... What would be more of an honor, to meet the Tamer of the Hazard?"