Really sorry for my humungous delay lately people, but honestly its been hell for writing recently. I've barely been able to get time to do any of it. It heightens my respect for comic and manga writers, I can tell you that, but then again that's their job to get one out every week. They have more time to do it than I do since I'm not getting paid for this. Wish I was – that would solve everything. But alas, I am not. Anyway, I have no idea when this bad spree is going to let up, but here's the next chapter of this story anyway.
To Be a King
Chapter 60:- The Not-Dragon
Two days of wondering through these forests without the faintest idea where he was going or where any of his comrades were. Greymon was getting more and more livid with each passing minute, searching up and down for a scent which he couldn't seem to find for very long in his search for Bastemon.
When he'd finally picked up the princess' scent yesterday he'd immediately turned to follow it, but it had been the faintest of traces and it was gone again within fifty yards of the place that he'd found it. Smell didn't last forever so that probably meant that Bastemon had been there a while ago, and there were other, stronger scents in the air that Greymon could not place which covered it up.
And something was definitely up. He'd found Bastemon's scent a couple of times, in seemingly random locations but each quite some distance away from the others, and then lost it again. This wasn't like Bastemon. She should have been curled up under a tree somewhere, fast asleep. The maximum she would normally be able to walk on her own in a day was probably a couple of miles, if that.
So what was going on?
And where the heck was Revolmon?
Damn it all! If it hadn't been for those humans, this wouldn't have happened in the first place!
Greymon could feel his ire rising with every step he took, the ground positively shaking underneath his massive weight. The smell of humans was still in his nostrils, making it even more difficult for him to calm down.
"It's their fault! It's their fault! It's their fault!" He could barely even focus on trying to look for Bastemon at the moment, his anger making it near impossible for him to think properly. Why could they just not have left them alone? What exactly had they done to provoke them into attacking?
Greymon did have a thought – just a fleeting thought mind you, in which he wondered why exactly he had decided to spare them.
Well...he did know. The others in Xros Heart would have never forgiven him if he'd decided to be the one to lash out, if he'd acted out in vengeance. It was one thing to destroy an enemy to stop them from hurting anyone else. It was another to take lives in an utterly pointless revenge. It wouldn't bring Bastemon back and honestly, she probably would be horrified by his actions as well.
He took a deep breath, forcing himself to slow down to a walk instead of his ferocious half charge, snapping a small, unfortunate tree in half with a swing of his tail. Yes, he'd done the right thing by letting the humans go. If they were not willing to be reasonable and be just, then he would.
A memory of something Kiriha had told him back before they had joined Xros Heart, back when they were still Blue Flare, came back to him.
It had been not long after they had run into Taiki and the others for the first time. Greymon had questioned why Kiriha was so obsessed with the idea of making the General of Xros Heart his subordinate.
Kiriha had first emphatically informed him that no, he was not obsessed (to which Greymon and MailBirdramon had eyed each other dubiously) and that his rationalization was simple.
He didn't like the idea of other humans running around, especially with an army of their own, challenging him for the Code Crowns. He considered Taiki a possible major threat to his own goals, especially since Xros Heart continued to become more and more successful.
Not only that… but Greymon remembered the look on Kiriha's face. He'd always known that Kiriha didn't like or trust anyone, a feeling that Greymon could definitely adhere to. Looking out for number one had after all, been the rule of the Zone where he'd come from.
But Kiriha had stated that humans were even more untrustworthy than other Digimon, bitterly mentioning how so many of them were weak and cowardly liars.
After Deckerdramon had revealed Kiriha's past and how his father's business partners had turned on Kiriha after his parent's had died, leaving him with absolutely nothing, Greymon could understand Kiriha's contempt.
However in time Kiriha had realized that he was wrong – at least, wrong about Taiki and Nene.
But now...Greymon couldn't help but wonder… Kiriha had claimed that adult humans were always the worst offenders.
Could Kiriha have been partially right, all this time?
The low growl seemed to echo throughout the forest, and it took Greymon by surprise for a minute before he realized he wasn't the one actually growling. Or at least, not from his mouth. It was coming from his stomach.
He was starving. The celebration feast that had taken part at the castle seemed to have been decades ago for how loud his stomach rumbled, though then again, his severe hunger might have been caused by how much energy he'd been using and all the stress he had been under. Like many reptiles, Greymon didn't need to eat all the time, but an average T-Rex in prehistoric times had to eat its own weight in meat every week. Greymon didn't quite need that, but he needed sustenance same as everyone.
Greymon lifted his head to the air and sniffed once more, feeling his mouth starting to salivate and his fangs seeming to shine in the shadows of the forest with the drool.
He could smell...food. Not like the food he was used to in the Digital World, a strange, warm musky smell.
Like most Digimon, Greymon could easily get by back in his world by eating things like DigiNoir and various other foods. But this was not his world, and none of that was available. His instincts were screaming at him right now to hunt, and he could feel his muscles shifting as he began to stalk as well as any creature his size could.
Digimon might have the same mental capacity and emotions as any humans, but there was a reason why the word monster was added to their name. There was always a part of them that could still be deeply wild.
And Greymon… Greymon was based on one of the most dangerous predators that had ever walked the human world.
There wasn't much prey to be found in these lands, but he had come across a small herd of deer in a grove in between the trees, grazing peacefully, completely unaware of any danger they might be in since the wind was blowing their scent towards Greymon. And besides, even if they could smell Greymon, would they have even recognized it as the scent of a predator? Deer are not the brightest animals at the best of times.
Greymon's nostrils flared as he focused on one of the deer at the edge of the herd, his hindquarters tensing, the other Digimon far at the back of his mind at the moment.
The herd suddenly seemed to sense that there was something watching them, because their actions turned more nervous, their ears twitching and a few of them bounded off into the deeper woods.
They made that move far too late, as with a roar, Greymon charged outwards, his tail lashing behind him like a whip and his teeth gnashing while his eyes burned with primal hunger.
The deer bounded off into the forest except for the one who had wandered too far away from the rest of the herd. Deer were fast, but Greymon was just as fast, and the unfortunate individual was seized from behind in Greymon's massive jaws and dragged into the air. One furious shake of his head and that was that. He dropped the carcass to the ground and let out a savage growl of triumph that was drowned out by the even louder growl from his stomach as he finally was able to actually satisfy himself for ages.
However, at the same time, Greymon was himself unaware that he too was being watched, and all around him, once again, a patrol of Rangers were gathering around the 'dragon' they had been warned about.
They'd been out hunting for game themselves to bring back to the others when they'd heard the roaring and growling, and decided to investigate. They hadn't liked what they'd found. Now they were surrounding the beast. Bows were tensed and arrows were pointed right at Greymon's head and neck. This time, they were determined to bring the beast down or die trying.
The longer the monster lived the more time it had to possibly get to an outpost or a city and wreak havoc there. The stories of what Smaug the Golden had done to the city of Dale had been heard all across Middle Earth.
It had taken that city sixty years to rebuild from the flames of one dragon. And while Gondor was undoubtedly a much more powerful territory than Dale had been and this creature was likely not nearly as powerful as Smaug… that was a risk to horrible to chance.
They crept closer through the undergrowth, undetected for the moment; these Rangers knew these lands better than perhaps anyone else could. However they were also smart enough to know that that wouldn't last for long.
After being attacked twice in such a short period, Greymon was already more wary and alert than he normally would have been. He was temporarily distracted from the frankly messy business of downing his meal, but when the shadows moved in the corner of his eye, he froze, listening.
His lip pulled backwards and a low snarl built up in the back of his throat as he felt his anger condensing into a familiar blazing heat. They were trying again! He had warned them yet they were trying their luck a third time!? Of course, he had no way of knowing that this was an entirely different patrol and had not been present for either of the other attempts on his life, but he wa past caring anyway. Throwing his head back he let out a vicious roar of "MEGA FLAME!"
The burst of hot purple fire exploded out of his jaws, streaking towards the edge of the forest where the Rangers had been hidden. Thankfully for them, they had been expecting something of this from the moment they'd encountered the dragon, and they managed to throw themselves out of the way just in time with yells of anger and fear as the fire set the trees alight.
Unfortunately for them, Greymon was now no longer just pissed – he was beyond enraged. With a roar that was practically mad with fury he charged, his head bent and his massive horns aimed right at the group of Men who were already on their feet and shooting arrow after arrow at him.
But Greymon would not be swayed by mere pinpricks in his hide. He was going to treat these humans the exact same way he had treated mere goons of the Bagra Army. He'd warned them. He'd tried to play nice.
"If it's a fight you cowards want it's a fight you'll get!" He snarled, his tail whipping around once more and completely shattering a tree which had about four Rangers stood in its branches, splintering its powerful trunk in one swipe.
The attack sent the Rangers sprawling onto the ground, one of them running back for his companion and pulling him out of the way just as Greymon's massive foot came crashing down where he had been, his claws shining menacingly as they left deep grooves in the earth. The man gulped as he realized how close he'd come to being literally torn in half or squashed, or both.
Greymon's teeth literally snapped centimeters away from another Ranger, who looked right into those mad eyes and bloodstained face from his kill and fought the urge to wet himself, proud Man of Gondor or not.
Now the Rangers were certain that this had been a bad idea to try something with such a small group. They beat an immediate retreat, but Greymon pounded after them faster than they could run and swung his tail downwards, the vicious blade on the tip thudding into the ground inches from cleaving another in half. The rest quickly spread out, seeking to try their infamous hit and run techniques to try and keep Greymon off balance, but they all knew it wouldn't last long. One of the rangers grabbed the shoulder of the youngest member. "Go, quickly, and alert the others. Tell Captain Faramir we need reinforcements in order to slay this foul creation of Morgoth's."
The other Ranger couldn't have been much older than seventeen or so, and his knees were actually trembling a bit as Greymon's ferocious roar echoed and another blast of fire spread through the forest, but he still nodded quickly to his leader before bolting off, coughing as the smoke spread and filled his lungs.
He absolutely hated the idea of leaving his comrades behind to face that beast - but he also knew that if he didn't bring back reinforcements than they'd be doomed regardless of whether he stayed or went.
The bellow of the dragon behind him echoed with so much ferocity that it practically made his ears pop as he grimaced and quickened his pace, his legs burning and his chest heaving in and out.
He just hoped that he managed to make it back in time before his friends ended up like that young doe. But fortunately in the confusion, Greymon missed his escape. Unfortunately, this was because he was bearing down on the rest of them.
What the young Ranger didn't know but would have been very relieved to, was that Faramir and a larger group of Rangers were already making their way towards the battle site as fast as possible. The smoke rising up from the trees and the crackle of fire could be seen and heard even at a distance.
"You guys...realize...I'm not exactly built for this." Revolmon panted as he struggled to keep up with the rest of the Men. It was true. You didn't exactly have to do much running when you were a treasure hunter. You could go at your own pace, though granted, occasionally you had to run for your life when you got careless around certain booby traps.
Plus besides the lack of experience Revolmon had with moving fast, he also simply, as he had just said, wasn't designed for it. Having a giant gun on front of your chest might be great offensive wise, but it also made you much more unbalanced and awkward when you were trying to run.
Faramir grimaced with frustration as he forced himself to slow down slightly, worry for his men pounding in his heart. The guilt he felt was immense. If Revolmon's word could be trusted...and despite himself he felt more and more sure that it could, then this would be...his fault.
He'd been the one to order the attack on the dragon the first time around, and had probably caused the death of the young girl both of the...Digimon were in charge of protecting. And now it was obvious that his men were attacking the dragon once again.
If the creature was furious, he definitely didn't blame it. And if any of his men ended up getting killed…
Then it would be his fault for starting this miniature war between the Rangers and the Digimon in the first place.
He clenched his teeth as he called to the others up ahead, "You go on ahead! Protect our men, but do not kill the dragon. Fight to defend, not to attack. I do not want any more bloodshed than is necessary."
"Sir…" One of the men glanced back at Revolmon and muttered quietly, "What if the...creature really has been lying all this time? You know how the Dark Lord is capable of deceiving. Is it too impossible to believe that he might have passed that skill onto his creations?"
"If Revolmon is a spy than I will kill him myself, and then we will deal with the dragon." Faramir responded back in a low voice. "But if there is a slight chance we are wrong… then I have no desire to have innocent blood on my hands, and neither do you."
The man grimaced, probably thinking along the same lines as his captain was - they possibly had already cost one innocent their life because they had jumped to conclusions, however rational those conclusions might have been.
Revolmon panted as he managed to catch back up to them, but his eyes were shining with a determination that Faramir had to admit he found impressive. For a creature whose face had nothing recognizable but his eyes, he could see so much emotion there.
"When we get there you guys need to stay back." Revolmon cautioned as the group broke out in a run once more, this time managing to force himself to almost match their pace. "You've got to let me try and talk to Greymon before anything else. He… uh… doesn't have much patience with those who attack him."
"Neither do we." The Ranger who had been talking to Faramir said dryly, vaunting himself over a group of boulders with the ease that came with living solely off the land for months. "If he attacks, they'll attack, and our men are not the type to give up a fight… "
"Neither is Greymon." Revolmon muttered darkly, wincing, praying as he ran alongside the Rangers. He'd seen how powerful and ferocious Greymon could be - there was a reason he and MailBirdramon had been the main DigiXros partner in Kiriha's army.
...But if Greymon killed the Rangers, even if they'd attacked him first… well… they really didn't need for this to get any more complicated.
The fire crackled through the forest with all the ferocity of the being who had set it ablaze in the first place, causing the sky to turn from a light blue to a dark smoky grey. Deer and rabbits bolted through the woods trying to outrun the flames while birds took to the air.
However the fire wasn't just carving a path of destruction through the woods. It was also cutting off the Rangers' chances of retreat.
And retreat was beginning to seem like more and more of a good idea at the time, because holding this monster back was quickly proving to be impossible. It seemed almost as if the rage the dragon felt was making it immune to their arrows, no matter how many of them were poured into him. He had probably at least a hundred or so stuck inside of his skin, and he even had a few of them poking out of the inside of his mouth.
But still they hadn't managed to hit anything vital. Half their arrows were burned to cinders before they even reached him. And the only reason all of them were still alive was thanks to their knowledge of how to blend in. Greymon kept losing sight of his target and was forced to pick a new one every few seconds or so.
The leader of the group clenched his teeth, before his eyes widened with fear as he saw a large tree roiling with flames come slamming down to the ground, ready to both crush and burn alive two of them men who were distracted aiming their arrows at Greymon's face.
Splinters and chunks of wood were sent flying as the tree slammed into the ground and practically exploded as the men barely managed to get out of the way in time. At least… they almost did. A scream of pain echoed from one of the Rangers as he lay prone on the ground, his face contorted into a mask of agony as a heavy branch lay across his leg and upper thigh, the fire latching onto him and clawing its way up his leg as if it were as hungry as the dragon itself.
Greymon's head swivelled round at the cry of pain, his pupils narrowing to down to slits and his lips curled back to show his fangs which seemed to reflect the fire's light. Normally Greymon would never think about attacking those who were helpless to fight back. But at this stage he was attacking practically anything that moved.
But even as he motored forwards for the kill, another arrow flew. But this time the arrow actually managed to find its mark. In his enraged state, Greymon had been less guarded against potential attacks. And he paid the price for that. Big time.
Greymon let out a howl that was more like an agonized scream of pain as the arrow sliced right across his eye. Thankfully it hadn't hit him straight on or it probably would have blinded him for good, but the it still cut a line right above his lower eyelid and buried itself in the skin behind it. He shook his head wildly trying to dislodge it, trying in vain to reach it with his tiny arms but to no avail.
Glancing upwards, the leader blinked when he spotted the younger Ranger he had sent away earlier for help standing there with a grim expression on his face, another arrow notched and ready to send flying at the dragon's face.
"I told you to get out of here!"
"There is no getting out of here." He responded through clenched teeth. "The fire has blocked off the way back to the base. And I wasn't going to leave the rest of you here to fight this... thing on your own."
Greymon's head shot around even though he couldn't properly see due to the injury in his eye, but he snarled viciously at the newcomer, the one who had actually managed to really damage him. He wasn't much older than the Generals had been. But right now Greymon could not care less.
"Want more you overgrown slimy salamander?" The archer breathed before ducking and rolling as Greymon's tail nearly speared right through his chest.
The leader took the opportunity to scramble forwards and push the branch off his Ranger with the help of the others, the heat from the flames searing at them as they hastily beat it back. He was breathing weakly and clearly not in the best of shape. But thankfully he had managed to escape without any vital injuries, and his spine had not been damaged as the leader had feared it had been.
However he clearly still had plenty of broken ribs and a broken leg, and moving him would be tricky.
That is if they actually had anywhere to run to. The dragon was distracted by the one Ranger, but how long would that last? And even if they managed to escape the beast's flames, they still had its fangs and powerful jaws to worry about.
And then, the unthinkable happened. The young recruit had bounded onto a boulder, daring Greymon to come and get him, and the heavy tail had swung in and pulverised the boulder, flinging the Ranger up into the air accompanied by an explosion of rock. And Greymon immediately whipped around and his teeth snapped closed on the airborne human.
Faramir let out a hiss of frustration through tightly clenched teeth as he skid to a halt, the fire licking at his skin and the heat seeping through his body.
The fire was near out of control at this point, and while the flames would probably burn out on their own eventually - losing the forest would be a huge loss. It would get rid of all the places the Rangers could hide.
Revolmon groaned beside of him, his small yellow eyes filled with worry as he took in the scene of devastation. "Greymon… what did you do?"
"Captain Faramir!" One of the other Rangers came running back up, his face a grimace. "The fire is spreading too quickly, there's no way we can get to the others. All of the forest is blocked off."
Faramir grimaced once more, but didn't say anything, his eyes focused on the blaze; a look of frustration and… something that looked like almost despair on his expression.
The Rangers absolutely could not take a blow like this. Not only because their numbers were not as strong thanks to the fact his father… sent them practically no support at all. But also because he could not allow it.
He could not allow himself to fail his men in this manner.
"You're not really going to leave them are you?" Revolmon questioned, glancing up at Faramir.
Faramir's eyes scanned the edge of the forest as he shook his head. "No." He said grimly, taking a deep breath as he spotted one area… one area that was not entirely gulfed in flames.
It was an insane plan that probably wouldn't work, but he had to at least try, didn't he?
The minute he took a step forwards Revolmon got in front of him however.
"Whoah, what do you think you're doing? Are you insane?"
"Do not get in my way." Faramir said, his voice steel with resolve. "I will do what I must to protect those who look to me."
"But you'll be killed!"
"Better to be killed than to not even try and protect them, when it is my fault that they are in this danger in the first place!"
"Look, if there's one thing you should have learned from all this, it's that you've got to listen to me!" Revolmon said frantically, refusing to get out of the determined Ranger leader's way. "If those flames don't kill you, Greymon probably will if he sees you first. Especially because he'll probably recognize your scent from the first time you attacked him!"
He could see the slight hesitation in Faramir's eyes, though it was not hesitation from fear. Faramir was more than willing to take the risk to protect his men.
"If you really have learned from your mistakes, than prove it." Revolmon pleaded. "And you can do that by trusting me, for the Code Crown's sake. I can fix this. I know I can."
Faramir hesitated still, but this time only for a moment longer. "...You believe you can get to your...Digimon friend...and convince him to stop the hostilities?"
"More than that." Revolmon said confidently, though admittedly with more confidence than he felt. "I might not be able to stop the fire but both Greymon and I will get your friends out of there. I promise."
"But you will be killed too." Another one of the Rangers protested as Revolmon took a step towards the flames.
Revolmon just grinned and winked at him. "Eh, don't worry about it. Digimon heal fast, some third degree burns isn't enough to keep us down. Besides, I'm a treasure hunter. Getting through ridiculously dangerous situations is what I do."
"All the same you won't do anyone any good if you get yourself burnt to ashes." Faramir said flatly before glancing over at him again. "...I don't like this...but...I shall trust your judgement. Be careful."
Revolmon grinned again, tipping his hat to Faramir. "Can do Captain!" before bolting off into the flames.
The young Ranger was literally watching his life flash before his eyes as the dragon's teeth surrounded him, not yet slicing through him but trapping him there like the bars of the most disturbing prison in the world.
Whenever he struggled to get free, by banging on the teeth Greymon would press down just a tiny bit harder, not hard enough to actually cause damage, but the feeling of foot long fangs pressing against your back is definitely not a pleasant one.
Greymon's eyes narrowed dangerously as the yells of rage from the other humans echoed, and about a dozen more arrows embedded in the even tougher than average scales of his neck.
His vision still blurred in the one eye that had been damaged, and he snarled, saliva dripping from his mouth and landing on the Ranger's cloak - more like practically drenching it.
Why weren't these idiots getting the message yet? He'd beaten them and yet they were too dumb to see it.
He growled and the boy in his teeth felt his whole body tremble as he got a very good glimpse of Greymons' throat.
Greymon's entire expression changed from feral fury to total disbelief, because there in front of him was Revolmon, panting heavily, burns all over his body, some of them quite nasty looking, but still… he was here. Alive, and otherwise unharmed.
However the Rangers had a much less favourable reaction to the other Digimon. Some of them recognized him as the prisoner who Captain Faramir had captured and assumed that he had escaped and was now helping the dragon, but mere seconds before just as they drew back their arrows the creature's next words shocked them.
"Put him down right now." Revolmon said fiercely, his tiny yellow eyes looking up into Greymon's huge feral ones, without even the slightest hint of fear. "This is not how we do things. You know this is not how we do things."
Greymon growled, taking a step back with one foot, his tail lashing in agitation.
"What would King Shoutmon say if he could see you now? Well...actually never mind that. He would have just bashed you in the head to make you let go. And then he probably would have bashed you in the head again anyway for being so dumb."
Greymon snorted and there seemed to be a light of recognition in his eyes - the vicious predator T-Rex was disappearing as one of the leaders of Blue Flare returned.
"What would the Generals have said?" Revolmon pleaded. "Would you have done that to Taiki when he was still your enemy?"
That did it.
The young Ranger gasped as he felt himself being spat out of Greymon's mouth, covered in spit like he'd taken a shower in the stuff, but alive.
He glanced disbelievingly up at Greymon who just shot him a look of contempt. "Consider yourself lucky kid."
"...What… the… "
"We can have explanations later." Revolmon coughed as the smoke entered his unseen mouth. "Right now getting out of here sounds like a good idea."
"You're injured." Greymon said suddenly, bending down and sniffing at the much smaller Digimon's burns.
"Like I said, let's talk about this later."
Greymon growled once more, glancing over at the rest of the Rangers who had actually for once, started to lower their weapons. It looked like they weren't as stupid as he had believed, he thought sardonically, but then again… he had sort of proved their suspicions by attacking them.
Now that his rage had finally subsided he was kicking himself for being such an idiot. He'd been more than willing to kill the humans this time around, and on top of that, Revolmon had gotten hurt because of his flames.
So not only had he failed Bastemon, he'd failed Revolmon, and he'd failed to live up to the Xros Wars ideals.
Well. Wasn't this unexpected trip turning out to be just peachy?
Sighing heavily, he turned back around and lowered himself to the ground, eyeing the smoke-worn Rangers and the exhaustion on their faces. Jerking his head he growled, "Get on."
"...Did the beast say what I think it just said?" One of them whispered, before Greymon's undamaged eye fixated on him coldly.
"Call me beast once more and I might end up changing my mind. You can either get on now or I will take my friend and leave your fate in the hands of whatever god you like. Now would be preferable unless you like the idea of burning to a crisp."
Speaking of Bastemon you might be wondering how our favourite feline princess was doing. The answer to that is that she was literally going through the worst kind of hell known to cat kind.
The average house cat tends to sleep for at least twelve to sixteen hours per day.
Bastemon tended to sleep for at least twenty hours a day, and that was just through the week. On the weekend you were lucky to see her awake for more than one hour per day. Unfortunately Bastemon could not work up the energy to be disdainful, or haughty, or in general behave like a normal cat.
That was because all of her energy was currently being used in putting one foot in front of the other, struggling to keep her eyes open as the collar around her neck was yanked impatiently in an attempt to get her to hurry up.
She could hear the men muttering angrily behind as and she shivered, trying to walk faster before they got angry at her, but it was just too hard. It wasn't that she was being lazy, she wanted to cry out, as she could hear that word being tossed around by the grumbling Haradrim.
"Spoiled brat… "
I'm trying, she thought, her eyes pricking with tears and unable to say it aloud due to the pinecone lodged between her teeth, which was yet another torture because it was continuously pricking at the inside of her mouth. But the tears weren't only coming from fear, although she was terrified of what would happen to her if the Haradrim figured she was just a useless dead weight to be dragging around.
No, it was also because each one of their cruel and sarcastic comments felt like claws were being sunk into her chest, as that was basically what Greymon had roared at her… had it been a day? Two days? Three? A week ago? She was losing track of time.
But just as she quickened her pace to try and keep up with Saleme, who was shooting her some seriously nasty looks herself, a loud explosive sound echoed above them.
Bastemon screamed and practically jumped about twenty feet into the air, falling backwards and falling into the other Haradrim soldiers behind her, tripping them up as she mindlessly panicked, their furious yells meaning absolutely nothing to her, and the collar around her neck cutting off her air as she was yanked back again.
She could hear Saleme cursing in a language she didn't understand, but she sure as heck didn't think it sounded very happy.
"It's thunder Princess." Saleme said darkly as the Haradrim finally managed to untangle themselves and glower down at Bastemon, who lay on the ground curled up in as tight a ball as possible, shivering like mad. "You've never heard of thunder where you come from?" she asked, ripping the cloth around Bastemon's face away and allowing her to spit the pinecone out to answer.
"N-No." Bastemon managed to whimper out before another boom echoed, which was absolute torture to her sensitive ears, as well as a blinding flash of light. "Make it stop!"
Saleme rolled her eyes. "Make it stop… how pathetic can you get…?"
Bastemon's ears twitched as she felt flecks of what felt like water falling down on them, slowly lifting her eyes to stare in disbelief at the sky.
"Please tell me you do not also need rain explained to you princess."
"I… " Bastemon glanced down at her claws, lowering her head submissively. "My world...my home is different. I...I'm sorry I'm not used to this I'm not trying to cause trouble I promise."
"It doesn't matter what you're trying to do kitty cat." One of the Haradrim soldiers snarled; a much bigger and brawnier one with a long scar across the side of his face. "You are still holding us up. And that is something that is to not be tolerated."
He sneered down at Bastemon as she cringed when he took a step towards her. "Perhaps a good lash of the whip will get you moving, am I right?"
Salame's jaw tightened as the man laughed before aiming a powerful kick right at Bastemon's ribs, causing her to literally scream in pain, a heartrending yowl. Salame might be ruthless, but she was also not sadistic. There is a large difference between the two words.
Which is why she stepped forwards when the man cackled and brought his foot back again while Bastemon writhed in pain on the ground, clutching at her chest.
"Don't tell me you feel sorry for her…"
"You are a true idiot." Saleme said coldly, folding her arms across her chest. "You complain about the girl slowing us up, and then you waste time lashing out at her? How is she supposed to go faster if you lame her?"
The man scowled once more but there were reluctant grumbles of assent from within the rest of the group.
Bastemon let out weak gasps as Saleme jerked her head for the men to move on ahead of her, leaving her alone with the Digimon.
When she crouched next to Bastemon, the cat woman creature's eyes flickered with fear as she glanced at the knife strapped to Saleme's belt.
Saleme smirked – at least the girl knew her place. That was more than could be said for many prisoners of the Haradrim. "You know they're right. I've never seen anyone look so constantly on the verge of dropping off into sleep." She ran a finger over her lower jaw as if in thought. "And we can't allow you to slow us down. Honestly at the moment you're beginning to seem like more trouble than you're worth."
Saleme smirked once more and Bastemon flinched as the woman reached out her hands towards her, but then blinked in disbelief as Saleme hoisted the cat Digimon up as easily as though she were hoisting a small bag of potatoes.
"...Why are you?"
Saleme scoffed. "I'm certainly not doing this to be nice to you, little one. It's as I said. We have better things to do than try to drag you around and make you keep up. And if you view this as an invitation for you to go to sleep on me you are sadly mistaken. Understood?" She added a hint of threat into her voice.
"U-understood." Bastemon squeaked out, glancing away quickly from Saleme's fierce glower before looking back at her, cat slit pupils meeting human eyes. "But um...still...thank you."
Snorting, Saleme quickened her pace to keep up with the rest of her kinsmen. "Oh trust me princess. Don't thank me just yet."
Faramir could feel the rain pelting down against his skin, blurring his vision as the smoke let out one last defiant breath while the fire was being put out.
He sent out a silent prayer of relief that at the very least, their home had not been destroyed. Much. But for his men and Revolmon… he still didn't know what had happened to them.
Suddenly he could feel something bounce against his boot, and he glanced down to see the very ground itself shaking, pebbles being propelled upwards.
Something… huge… was moving through the burned trees towards them, but Faramir shook his head as the others prepared to send arrows flying.
"Steady boys, hold it… "
And approximately half a second later Faramir was glad he'd given that order, as a triumphant and familiar shout echoed, "What'd I tell you?!"
The dragon… no, not a dragon, Faramir remembered… pushed through the last stretch of trees and stood before them, glowering, but clinging to his tail was Revolmon – and Faramir was pretty sure that if he had a visible mouth, it would be in a ridiculous grin.
"So you… did." Faramir managed to say, still feeling more than a little dazed, because after all, there was no Man in Middle Earth who could ever picture a Dragon letting them ride him.
If there was any lingering doubts in Faramir's mind, this managed to squash it completely.
"…You… " Faramir stared at Greymon as his men slid off of the great Digimon's back. "...You saved them?"
Greymon glowered at him. "Still not sure you all deserved to be saved after the harm you caused…" He said coldly. "Are you and your men going to try and kill me once more? Perhaps try to blind me again?"
The youngest Ranger ducked his head nervously, just as Faramir stepped forwards.
"Listen… master...Greymon wasn't it?" He said uncertainly, glancing over at Revolmon who nodded encouragingly.
"...I...I believe we owe you an… apology."
"Too darn right you do." Greymon growled darkly, but Faramir didn't back down, staring determinedly back at him.
"Thrice now my men have tried to kill you. You would have had every right to kill them, or at least leave them to burn. Yet you showed them mercy? Why?"
Greymon curled his upper lip. "Is it not obvious human? I am not like you. I do not take pleasure in killing. I only lash out when you leave me no other options, as your soldiers did."
"We never take pleasure in killing." Faramir said firmly. "We did not attack you simply because we could, that much I promise you. Not only would that be disgusting, I would not risk my men's lives on such an endeavour."
"I did not lash out at you." Greymon growled, his eyes flashing. "I did nothing to you, and now because of you, Bastemon is…"
"Greymon, go easy on them." Revolmon pleaded. "Look, from what I've heard, dragons in this world go around eating people and burning cities down to the ground. You know...like Dorbickmon? What would you have done if he showed his face again?"
Greymon's snarl deepened, and Faramir got the very strong impression that whoever this Dorbickmon was, Greymon hated him a lot more than he hated Faramir. "Are you comparing me to…?"
"No, of course not. I'm just saying to these people, that's what you looked like. You remember back when you guys were all being hunted by Dorbickmon's men? You had to lash out at anything and everything that could be a possible threat, even if by chance they didn't mean you any harm. Because you couldn't risk them running back to their master and telling him about where Blue Flare was. You had to do whatever it took to protect your General and your comrades."
Greymon still growled, but Revolmon's words were getting to him. It was true. Back then he'd lashed out at any Dragon Digimon he saw, no matter how powerful or weak they had looked. He'd had to. His team and his General's safety meant more to him than anything else.
Letting out a huff of frustration he turned around to look at Faramir again. "...I...can understand." He managed to grit out. "But that still doesn't make what happened to Bastemon right. I might have looked like a threat but she didn't."
"We didn't mean to put her in danger." Faramir replied, flinching. "And...I promise. If she's anywhere to be found on this land, we'll find her."
"That is if the Haradrim haven't gotten her." One of the rangers muttered under his breath, too low for Greymon to hear, but Revolmon heard and a worried look appeared in his eyes.
Greymon blinked. "...You would… do that?"
"You have my word." Faramir nodded.
Greymon twisted his head to one side, watching Faramir through slanted eyes. "...Than I shall hold you to it." His tail lashed suddenly. "But know this human. Just because we might be temporary allies," He emphasized the word temporary, "does not mean I will listen to you or obey you. The only human who has my complete obedience is Kiriha. And you are far from being my General." He snarled.
Faramir arched an eyebrow. "...Fair enough. I would not presume to command you in any case, Digimon."
"Well…" Revolmon sighed. "It could have gone worse."
Well, thanks for your patience and I hope you enjoyed that chapter. Some things might have been resolved but others are far from being over, that is for certain, and I think you know what I am talking about when I say that. Anyway, I'll see you when I see you.
Coming up:- Chapter 61 : A Matter of Size