The Thirteen Knights stood in silent sentinel evenly spaced on the outskirts of the ceremony. Five watched the crowd, three watched for an attack from behind, and five watched the sky. The assembled crowd had taken note of their somber demeanor, some had taken this as proof that Gallantmon and Ophanimon really did have an affair and this had affected the entire order. Most had reasoned that the Royal Knights were expecting heavy trouble and had themselves become tense. The feeling fled for the most part as the ceremony began.
As the ceremony reached its climax the knights, Sovereign, Groom, and Bride began to become more visibly tense, not enough that any civilian could see it but many of the more militaristic Digimon could spot it.
It was Examon, the resident sniper who saw them first. "Oh you've got to be kidding me," he muttered under his breath. Then he shouted, "Party crashers over the sea!"
Zhuqiaomon, hearing the warning dodged out of the way of a long range attack. Seraphimon and Ophanimon both also leapt clear of the blast. Tracing the attack, what they saw horrified them. An army of Dragon Kings most obviously made of the same oily substance that Sleipmon, Examon, and Duftmon had described. But some patches were the color and type they should have been. One had a patch of fur or scale, another had a fully developed horn, and a third had perfect claws and fangs.
But leading the way were Seven of the Dragon Kings far more developed than the others. One Azulongmon looked as he should always have, and there was an exact copy of Goldramon and Magnadramon each—three perfect replicas.
Then there were four that were nearly perfect each making the fake a mocking caricature of the real article. The Megidramon's left wing was made of tar, as was the Magnadramon's head, the Azulongmon's beard, and the Goldramon's right arm. From these the tar, where it was visible, dripped.
But even these terrible things could not hold the focus of the crowd for behind them all was Barbamon in all his rancid infamy. "I do believe I have an objection. The Digimon in question must be living and while currently they still are before the day is done they won't be!"
For a brief moment silence as the implication rang out. Then before panic could begin Alphamon calmly took charge. "I ask that everyone evacuate the immediate area in an orderly fashion."
The false dragons looked on in amusement as most of the Digimon began to file away in a terrified yet still somewhat organized manor. It was much too orderly and droll for their tastes. "We can't have that now can we?" the replica Magnadramon mused. So with a smirk that did not belong on a Data Attribute the False King rushed at the crowd spewing unholy flame the entire way. This course of action, however, was impeded by Omnimon who successfully staved off the attack on his shield. The two Mega stared at each other Omnimon brandishing his weapons proudly. "You dare?" the False One demanded. It then turned its attention away from its foe for a brief moment to beckon one of its subordinate tars.
The Tar Dragon rushed at its doom, quickly meeting it on Omnimon's blade. But its purpose had been served. For now the white knight was covered in the tar that was the false dragons' life blood. Below the guests had scattered, much less organized now that they thought themselves targets. And still behind the army, Barbamon began to chant. The False King smirked at its adversary. "You forget yourself, knight," spitting the last word out like a curse. "You interfere with one above your station." The chanting reached a crescendo. "So now, as punishment, you shall forget your history!"
It originally seemed as though nothing had happened with that declaration, Omnimon remembered his past perfectly. He remembered when Alphamon had sought him out with a crazy scheme; he remembered each and every campaign that the two had waged in the countryside gathering friends, allies, and comrades along the way. How they had finally been recognized by all Five Sovereign and their order granted access and a gift each from YgDrasil, the World Tree. This thing was obviously delusional. The knight tightened his grip on his weapons and stopped short. They seemed more fragile than they had been moments before, more frail and lacking… something. The knight could not remember what but he recalled quite clearly that there was something deficient about how they were now as opposed to how they once had been. "What did you do?" he whispered in horror.
"As I told you, you have now forgotten your history," the False King purred. "And with the loss of that history is the loss of any gifts that it gave to you, foolish knight." Eyes gleaming in delight, it continued, "Don't worry. The effect is permanent, though perhaps you will one day forget that you even lost something, hmm? Always something to set your hopes on."
Omnimon glared at the pretend Magnadramon. He might not have understood what had happened, but he would not stand for it. They had taken some of his memory data, but they had not stolen his resolve. He still knew his weapons and how to use them. He would just have to be slightly more careful when bringing them to bear because they could not handle his full might.
One by one the Knights, the Sovereign, and Ophanimon and Seraphimon quarantined off sections of the army. This was not a battle they were best equipped for. The Tar Dragons held the same attribute as the one they were supposed to be mimicking, which make half of them Data Attribute. Within the forces of good assembled the number of Digimon with the superior Attribute to Data, Virus, numbered three: Crusadermon, Gallantmon, and Zhuqiaomon. The other Fourteen were a mix of Data and Vaccine.
Even as Omnimon moved in the defense of the scattering crowd, they had silently reached an optimal battle field. Omnimon and the three viruses would take on the strongest of the Data False Dragons, Zhuqiaomon and Crusadermon each taking a fake Azulongmon and Gallantmon taking the remaining Magnadramon, one that was obviously fake. A meager comfort, but the most they could do under the circumstances—the consequences of their ally losing it once again because of these nightmares too grave to not make every attempt to mitigate. But with the unknown of what exactly they had done to Omnimon, that plan might now be in shambles.
Seraphimon found himself fighting the caricature of Megidramon, its tar sinister wing and maniacal grin playing up every bad thing he'd ever heard about the Dragon. Ophanimon, the True Southern King, took up her shield against the replica of Goldramon, as she would know best to be wary of both Umon and Amon both. For while Amon was Lord of Destruction, Umon held dominion over Regeneration. She didn't know if these things could replicate those Digimon but if they could she was the best when it came to knowledge and Attribute to finish the fight before it could begin in earnest. Dynastmon stood before the other Golddramon, outside frigid as the ice walls of Sleipmon's home, but below that gnashing his teeth to remove the insult to his comrades' honor.
Examon was behind them all in his preferred position, support. As a younger mon he had preferred to be in the thick of things clashing his lance or sword against his opponent's weapon. But often when he had been a Wingdramon or a Slayerdramon he had to spend much of his time playing field medic after the fight was over, oftentimes to the surprise of his patents. And the more he tended to the wounds of other the more he considered it to be unacceptable that they were injured, causing him to drift during his battles in a foolish attempt to prevent every injury that he could. Upon his Jogress to Examon the Mega II found that his best range was well out of anyone else's. Not that he couldn't still charge in with the rest, but when he did he was far less effective. Dracoinan Slam required more speed than he could provide himself, thus it was necessary to achieve a height, or distance, that would provide it. And Pendragon's Glory tended to do… strange things if he fired it in a pressure greater than near nil. So he began to be cast in a support role; and more's the surprise he found that not only was he good at it, he was able to enjoy it. He gained just as much satisfaction out of preventing injuries due to ambush or from the Number's Game because he could see the battle as it developed and find the critical attacks to stop or the greatest developing threat.
But today Support didn't mean he lacked a specific target. Today his focus would be on the one opposite. The one who had destroyed the reputation of his teacher and had tried to kill two of his mentors already. Today, he would do his damnedest to kill a Demon Lord at fifteen miles. The most annoying thing about it was that he might try and lead the bastard too far.
There was a roar and then… chaos.
Sound had no meaning to those in combat as even the loudest of shouts when unheeded. Their focus belonged solely to their opponent. Knights slaughtered the lower copies in the hundreds but still more rained down. Examon threaded shells through impossible gaps in the fight keeping the Demon Lord of Greed's attention mostly on defense. Every "stray" shot would punch through a tar dragon that was about to exploit an opening in one of his comrades defenses. It was a testament to his skill as a sniper, but it could not last forever. He was running out of shells, soon he would have to move into close combat, he could only hope that the others would have enough of a safety net at that point that it wouldn't matter.
Seraphimon slipped away from a slash from his opponent, and scored a minor wound on the blade with his Excalibur. Quite honestly he was baffled, the thing in front of him was powerful and could regenerate but still he couldn't grasp how this thing had managed to almost kill a Sovereign. Megidramon was a Digimon built for melee combat and it wouldn't let him gain distance for his more powerful blows, but it was jerky, the strikes powerful but forced and unable to transition from one to another. Finally he had the moment to back up. Seraphimon readied his attack. The false Megidramon realized its plight and tried to close the gap and break his attack, but was not fast enough. "Strike of the Seventh Star." The seven holy orbs raced forward and collided square with the beast's chest. The outer armor shattered, but the orbs kept going. They pierced the false dragon's hide and the beast exploded into data and tar. Seraphimon watched for a moment to make sure that it would not reform before moving away to assist the others.
The back and forth of the battle was beginning to weigh heavily on Omnimon. Try as he might he just couldn't score a strong wound on the Data type, and any minor cut was healed before he could do anything with it. Meanwhile, the opposite seemed to be true for him. He was tiring, and both he and his adversary knew it. It was only a matter of time before he either couldn't keep up or he made a mental miscalculation and lost. The False Magnadramon observed with a knowing look, before turning its attention to the ground. It noticed something and lit up with a wicked smile. "And now the price of your arrogance, knight," it told him. "But don't worry you will not have to pay." And it sped past the knight toward the grounds where there were two Rookies. The how or why of their existence didn't matter; merely that it was his duty to protect them. Omnimon put all his remaining power into moving and in a flash was between himself and the Rookie Digimon. "Fire Tornado." The knight braced to shield the ones behind him from the impact and knew only black.
Was this oblivion? Merely an eternal black until reforming? Was this death? He felt tired, and he could feel the quickly cobbled stones thrown up by overzealous evacuees and even the sand beneath. He could hear his own breath, and feel his core rhythmically pulse… And the breathing of another? Someone else was with him? And then there was a scraping sound and light… so much light!
Omnimon blinked away the water in his eyes and saw that he was still in the middle of the battlefield, though how? Looking back he saw how, Megidramon—the true Northern Dragon King—had shielded him and the small ones. Omnimon knew this was his comrade; the dragon simply radiated the same calm regal air that many attributed to the Royal Knights, though he must be very weak at the moment for him to feel that comforting aura so easily. Or perhaps it was that his baring was so different than any of the other dragons on the battlefield that it stood out brightly?
The battlefield seemed to pause to take in this new development. Barbamon's forces in astonishment, wondering where the light's reinforcement had come from and if there were more on the way. The knights had mostly paused, remembering Gallantmon's earlier words. Why now? Zhuqaiomon however, had no such worry. The Southern Sovereign merely smirked, and said, "About time." Then he turned to the false Azulongmon and the regiment surrounding him and cried out, "Come and I will show you the power of a true Sovereign!" Then he pumped his wings once and all the world about him burned.
The False Magnadramon looked upon the scene in front of it with disgust. And then it smirked. "So what brings you here, brother?" it asked coyly. "And under such a strange banner too. Is it that you would raise your blades against your own family? And for what… to prove your… goodliness? To prove that you can play well with others? What a joke! They shall make you their pet and lock you away in the dungeons of their castle, and use your wrath as a threat to keep others in line! Though I admit, you would look good with a leash about your neck."
Megidramon began to pant, mouth pulling back into a snarl, and the False Magnadramon's eyes gleamed with delight. "Don't get mad at me for stating the facts, dear brother. Nor will I save you from your mistakes. Perhaps after a few decades after you begin wearing that metal collar I'll come and take you for my own. Just like you always wanted." There was a tremor in the Northern King's arm. And then his eyes widened.
Before him, between the evil doppelganger of his sister and himself stood UlForceVeedramon and Magnamon first, then in a moment joined by his siblings and comrades, his friends—his chosen family. "Megidramon has to prove to us nothing. You, heathen thing that holds nothing of your own, but must steal all from others, you have no right to speak to him. Drop that false face and be gone!"
"Oh?" Barbamon asked coming forward with the rest of his forces. "Your conviction seems strong, but that's the problem with you do-gooders. You put all your faith in believing you've figured everything out and then it turns out that you're completely wrong!" As he said this Megidramon coughed, some of his data being expelled from his mouth. Then, a stream of tar fell from beneath his chest plate, reforming into the two Rookies that Omnimon had seen Magnadramon strike at.
"It's done, boss," the left one spoke.
"Yep, yep, he's dead!" the other giggled. "He just don't know it yet!"
'No,' Ophanimon thought. 'Not again. Not in front of my eyes! Please no!' Megidramon collapsed backward.
"Kill them all!" Barbamon ordered. A third of the false dragons leapt forward. There was a sudden backlash of power, as Magnamon became the center of a new sun screaming his own throat raw all the while. When he had no more air in his lungs the attack ended, all the dragons that had rushed at them were dead, not even two numbers to string together—but his allies were unharmed. Magnamon fell and had to be supported by UlForce. Barbamon snapped at the incomplete models, "I said kill them!" Then he turned to the False Magnadramon. "Come, one of our foes dead today and the data that we have gathered will have to suffice."
The thing nodded, turned to the Royal Knights, Zhuqiaomon, Shakamon, and the new couple and chimed, "Ta ta, but don't worry—we'll play again real soon." With that it turned to follow its master.
Megidramon thoughts raced as he grimaced in pain. Damn, the Knights would win the day and he could probably be saved, but he wouldn't be ready for this kind of battle for years afterward. And from the sound of it they wouldn't wait that long. Not only that but they had data both on him and his family and would use that to kill them. Next would either be Magnadramon or Golddramon and no one could replicate their healing powers, and then they would fall one by one. Not if he had anything to say about it. He forced himself to stand, drawing Barbamon's attention. He touched his palms and nails together and closed his eyes, meditating.
"Oh, praying in our final hour are we?" the demon taunted. Megidramon ignored him as his blades dispersed into data. His price for calling. Megidramon's eyes snapped open and his arms out wide. His wings dissipated. His price for summoning. In front of him was a lance seemingly made of white light that had lain upon fresh snow, he knew this weapon—his Gift from YgDrasil. When the Royal Knights had been allowed audience to YgDrasil and had pledged their loyalty to the preservation of the Digital World—some of them again—they had each been privately given a Gift from the World Tree. Gallantmon's had been a lance fashioned from the wood its own boughs, the Spear Gungnir. The only weapon in all the worlds which could channel his full might and strike discriminately, leaving his allies untouched.
Barbamon stared at the holy weapon in disbelief. It was impossible! Surely the fool would have tried to preserve his own life instead! And then he tried to flee.
Megidramon channeled the remnants of his data into the spear until it glowed a soft blood read, his price for using. The battle stopped as Megidramon grasped the weapon and twirled it experimentally, refamiliarizing himself with its balance. Then he chuckled seeing the fleeing demon. "It's pointless. This spear, this crimson light… It cannot miss. What I throw it at it shall pierce and what it pierces shall die. Quo Vadis?" he called after the demon, Gungnir trailing unerring.
Gungnir struck the demon in the black pit that would have been his heart, and the stored energy of Megidramon's data hushed out and claimed all his foes.
It was Seraphimon, watching the pillar of light that had remained for a moment, that answered Megidramon's question. "Nusquam."
Megidramon looked at the angel in slight surprise, but then smirked, one phrase on his lips as he fell back again. "Bene." The others rushed to his side, tears in their eyes as they tried to save him. Too late, his last act had guaranteed that if he would die. If he ever did reformat it would be in millennia at soonest. "No crying, no blame. No fault, just bad luck." Then he stopped and caught his breath for one more thing he had to tell them. "Don't ever let anyone cry alone again." With that his energy, his data could not remain anymore.
For every wedding, a funeral.