Disclaimer: I do not own digimon or tai and Sora and the other characters. ok well at long last I finished this one. God.. I have no idea why it was taking so long.. Guess I just didn't have the free time... god where do we sign up to get a clone? Well thankfully I think I have introduced all the new information for this fic... now it is just primarily letting things carry on into the end. There are still a few chapters to go... but the end is in sight... the emperor's true motive is coming up.. And I think it is going to be fun... you have no idea how much fun it is making a character really evil... Ken is a good character for the fact that when he was the digimon emperor he had that whole flare for evil... but sadly it's hard to respect a nemesis who is sporting blue spandex... *rolls eyes*
hope you like it.... email@example.com
He was awake for a time before he willed his eyes to open. His mind was mearly preforming an evaluation of the extent of his injuries. There were considerable abrasions upon his shirtless skin, most likely from being dragged, then thrown into the cell he was surely now in. Yet the most obvious of all his wounds was the hole Sephiroth had left upon him. He could still feel the icy razor's touch as it plunged into his abdomen. It felt cold as it pierced him, yet now there was a burning heat upon his frame. He could feel cold sweat upon his back as he continued to lay there upon the concrete ground. He recognized it as the symptoms of infection. No doubt if he would cast a glance to his side he would find a purple-red wound which would snake outward with tributaries of read streaks, showing the infection's advancements. Had it not been for the genesis power he would be dead... even now he could feel the heightened immune system as it continued to push back against the red tide of death which was ill-equipped to take genesis. It still hurt though.
The pain was as a red poker as it is mercilessly thrust upon the skin with the rhythmic agony of a metronome. He was grateful to the pain in some respects, it occurred to him that as long as his side throbbed with fire he was alive. He mearly focused on the pain to ascertain exactly how hurt he was. It had missed vital organs, for if he had been struck in one of his fragile organs he would already be dead. It was strange.. He had never known Sephiroth to fail in a kill. But then again, he had never known himself to be so weak in battle. This was proven by the agony he now felt. His side ached, yet his heart was hurt more... he was a warrior, and for a warrior that defeat was pathetic. This promise was harder to keep then he had previously thought.
"So.. You're awake...." a shadowy voice snarled from across the void of blackness. Tai tried to open his eyes, yet as they opened he winced at the brightness. The room was not excessively bright, yet it hurt him... he rubbed his eyes slowly, careful to not agitate his throbbing side. He could distinguish the voice as that of a woman. Yet his blurred vision didn't give a clear image of her. it was difficult to speak due to his dry and swollen tongue, yet with some effort he was able to talk, despite the scratchy voice.
"Who are you..." he uttered through his raspy voice.
"My.. How quickly they forget..... don't tell me you forgot your betrothed..." lady kale smiled.
"You... do you have to start this now kale?" he grimaced as he rose to a sitting position.
"You can't keep fighting it genesis. We are destined for one another." she grinned as she drew nearer to where he lay.
"I don't love you... not as genesis or as tai..."
"Well regardless, you have no say in it... we are arranged for one another... also, if you are going to persist in this betrayal there will be no more genesis or Taichi."
"If that is what it takes to follow my true self..."
"It doesn't have to end like this genesis, your brother has shown you mercy.. He will spare you if you renounce the bitch and reclaim your place amongst us... it can be as it was again beloved.."
"No.. It can't."
"Why dammit!?!" she snarled.
"Because I am no longer who I was. I know who I am, what I am... and I also know that I love Sora... kale... I'm sorry but there is no chance between us. I love her." tai was able to rise to his feet with some effort. He was still wobbling, yet managed to stand by sheer will.
"Also, I have sworn that I shall never kill again.. I will give up genesis for Taichi. I will find peace, and transcend all this death around me. That kale, you could never do...." his gaze softened.
"Is Sora alright?"
"For the time being... the emperor feels she is too valuable as a hostage then to give Dayus as a toy. She is being held in the same complex as you... but since you are so steadfast about being a traitor to all we are... I'm afraid you will just have to stay here..." she snarled darkly as she made her way through the barred doorway. She smiled evilly to him as she pressed the console, sealing him in.
"I'm sorry beloved, but even you won't be able to save her." she growled hatefully.
"WHAT!?!" Taichi snarled as he leapt to the bars, only to find that they were made quite well to handle the genesis. The sudden movement aggravated his side, resulting in the bleeding to begin again.
"I would be careful, even the great genesis can bleed to death.
But I think you may have seen your bitch for the last time. She is after all the great lady Kamiya, leader of the burning dawn. She has been responsible for the deaths of many imperial soldiers... I would bet it is quite possible someone who had clearance to her cell could get to her... it would be a shame for the emperor to loose such a valuable hostage, but I think the empire will survive without the aid of having her at our control...." she smiled darkly.
"You are going to kill her?" he asked softly.
"Well beloved, I will eventually.... but in the meantime I think I will take some effort into making her last hours very painful. You say you love her, well... I shall win in the end... by her death."
"You will not hurt her kale...." he said gravely.
"Dear beloved, I already have been hurting her." she laughed darkly.
She glanced to him quizicly, yet within that instant doubled over in agony. Her hands were frantically gripping her throat as she squirmed against the unseen force which was crushing her throat. Her eyes were wide in terror as tai stared darkly to her. it was as though he actually had her neck within his grip, and was slowly crushing her life away.
"What of your promise? Are you so quick to break it?" she gagged out despite the pressure to her vocal chords.
"Without Sora, there is no tai... without tai, there is only genesis... and my dear lady kale.. Genesis is a killer... I shall not allow you to hurt her... To save Sora I would kill tai, and you..." he tightened his grip as his body began to radiate with the genesis power. Her eyes teared as she stared into the dark eyes of genesis..
He was on the verge of killing her... and yet she still loved him, more in fact. The qualities that had attracted her to him was his dark side. He was a figure of great strength and power, one capable of bringing forth death upon any he pleased... even as a young girl lady kale remembered her father... the look on his face as his thick hand crashed against her mothers cheek in a thunderous crack, like a bullwhip as it screams within the air. She had been afraid as she watched her fall to the ground in a great thud of flesh on floor. But the thought resounded through her child mind... her mother was too weak to stop her father.
The scars of the past are worn upon us a badges of accomplishment and of failure. Kale remembered the power her father had. Her father had more power then her mother when he beat her to death. And when he tried to beat kale, she had more power. She had known it was coming, and when her father's psychosis tried to claim her life as well, she had been ready. The child had looked into her father's eyes as they glossed over. She could recall the feel of his blood as it trickled from the knife which she had embedded in his chest. And as he died there, heart impaled by the blade his daughter held in her terrified hand, he had smiled down on her. in that moment she knew that in life there are the strong and the weak. The strong kill the weak, and thus for her to survive she must switch categories...
That is why she loved genesis.. He was strong and from his strength she would have strong children. She would evolve herself through him. She would have more power...
She smiled softly as she felt the grip block all breath from her lungs which now burned as her head grew light. She stared at his face with love for all the power he had... all the power he had over them all. The power lady Kamiya's love gave her over tai was impressive. But as she studied his features she saw both rage and sorrow. He would kill her, but he didn't want to kill her... his eyes had changed since before he met lady Kamiya.... before his eyes were a dull shadow, two blackened stones sitting atop the white sands of his eyes. But now they had changed. They were a soft brown, a brown that resembles milky chocolate ready or consumption. The image shocked her for a moment as she stared onward... he looked so different.
"Beloved! Use of the genesis power will leave you on the verge of death... do you think your body would be able to recover with that wound Sephiroth gave you?"
"Do you think that matters to me?"
"Not very social of you genesis..." a new voice split the silence like an icy blade.
The emperor appeared before them with the same dark smirk he had come to wear upon his shadowy features. He was of lean build, yet he radiated an aura of great power and superiority. His long black cape hung at his side in a traditional military styling. His attire was the same velvet black that he had come to wear constantly. It had gold trim which shimmered in the dim light. Yet the trim was not normal in its design. Instead it was grafted to the form of golden flames. Thus illustrating the balance between sheer ferocity and the regal stature which was so a part of the emperor. He chuckled to tai with the same knowing grin he had come to use quite often during times of tribulation. The smile was perhaps his most frightening feature.. It gave the illusion that he had predicted this to be.. As if all we do were a part of his grand scheme. A scheme that stretched beyond the empire and the world.. A plan of such grandeur that it made all others seem like pawns in some great cosmic game of chess... a fact that even tai was fearful of.. The idea that he had already seen this... and was pleased at the implications of the minor acts of the small mortals.
"Brother, I demand the immediate release of lady Kamiya .." tai spoke coldly as he glanced menacingly to him.
"Very good brother... even in defeat you can still strike outward, it is impressive.. This is much like one of our chess games.. You have my knight, a powerful piece who I do need... but, I have your queen.. One who I doubt you would be willing to trade for victory. That's how I know you aren't going to use that power of yours to kill me... if I die.. Who would stop Sephiroth or Dayus from having their way with her? She is worth far more to me then all the dark lords combined.... So go ahead.. Snap kale's neck. But know that I will pay the agony back on you once over.." ken spoke warmly, still brandishing his knowing smile as he glanced to his brother. Tai scowled darkly at the fact that ken was still ahead of him.
"Lady kale insinuated that she, or another, would kill Sora... if not for me, for the safety of your hostage."
"It's a lie!" she choked as his grip ended her protest.
"No.. I have no doubt that you would kill her... but the fact that you tell him that... you almost deserve to be crushed by him like this.... Not a bright move... the genesis is triggered by emotion. If you try to enrage him you risk triggering it." he grinned to kale who was scowling darkly from where she hung suspended.
"I cannot allow her to escape, nor can I simply lock her in a room... she is far too capable... but... how about I move her into your cell? I doubt any guard or lord would be brave enough to risk you.... would that be suitable brother?"
"For the time being. But understand that we will be walking out of here soon."
Ken summoned a guard who was ordered to collect lady Kamiya and bring her here. He was also instructed to not do this alone as lady Kamiya would be able to kill him before he could lift the muzzle of his gun. The young guard was nervous as he bowed and complied.
"No.. Not until Sora is with me" he growled softly. Ken was slightly taken back by the nature of genesis, he had never disobeyed before... it was troubling in some respects.
"I always knew you were more then mearly a shadow program left when the worlds merged... and I always knew that you would continue to grow and evolve. No more then three days ago you wouldn't have possessed the courage to order me around. It would seem you are on the road to reclaiming your humanity... brother."
"I was a normal human once... family, friends, Sora..." he sighed sadly as he turned away.
"You are my brother tai.... not by blood, but we are brothers..." ken spoke softly as he drew nearer to the cell. " I don't want to loose another brother.." the emperor was kind as he spoke.. It was a tone he had only used for his brother... a tone of warmth and love which seemed completely isolated in retrospect to the cruel lord of the empire.
"I know brother... but I can be genesis no longer...."
"But.. All you have to do is forget this girl and it can be again as it was meant to be... the twin sons of the empire ruling over all others...
Tell me you don't want that... that you don't feel the need to fight again... to kill again. Tell me that you do not long for life as it was..."
"For Sora... it's worth it... I made a promise to not indulge the mad lust for death which the genesis hungers for... I will never kill again.. Not for her, or for you...."
" you are a fool to think yourself capable of that... it is your destiny to fight... you were made as a warrior. Listen to your heart Taichi... you hear it calling to you.... you feel the lust for war... and no matter how hard you try, you cannot cast aside a part of yourself...
Who's the bigger fool, lady Kamiya for asking you to make that promise, or you for agreeing?" he smirked at Taichi's silence.
"I want her to be proud of me... I can't live with the idea that I am hurting her."
"A pity I could not know her under different circumstances.. She sounds like she is worthy of you."
"Then let her go..."
" tai.. I am bound to my path as you are to yours. I had hoped that the road was the same between us.. But now I see that it is not. I cannot release her because she is my enemy. But.. I will do what I can to assure she is safe.. For the time being..."
"She will kill you.. You should know that she will win in the end." he spoke with a silent indifference to the lives of them both. It was a statement not of malicious intent, but of factuality.
"Brother... you have no idea the full summit of my goals... neither of you do.... " he turned away as he made his exit leaving kale to hang there until the guards returned Sora...
"The actors are assembled, the stage is now set... it appears to be time for act two to begin..." he whispered slowly as he continued onward beyond the threshold of the stony dungeon.
Sora groaned in pain as she was lead to where the guards had informed her tai was waiting... this she doubted... it was her experience that you can rarely trust your captors. Especially when they dangle something you want to your lips. Odds are the water is tainted with rubbing alcohol. Sad facts, but true ones. Guards tend to be cruel to their prisoners.. It is their way of augmenting to the pain. So naturally when the young man had informed her that they would be escorting her to the genesis' cell she was skeptical. But ultimately it did her no good... she could handle four guards unarmed.. But seven armed guards would be more then she could deal with.. She sighed in defeat as she was lead onward at gunpoint.
The trek was a short one by comparison. But it seemed to take forever with the addition of her injuries. She was in agony from the thorough twice-over lady kale had given her with a whip. Sora almost wished it had been the heat rod... the searing heat closed the wounds as they were cleaved.. But the bullwhip's stinging kisses were still throbbing on her back. They cut into her soft skin in a way she had never known. She was surprised in some ways.. There was no interrogation.. Not even a single question asked about the burning dawn, just tai...
Also the woman who took the job, lady kale, had taken it a bit personally. She had derived a lot of pleasure in the act of beating Sora mercilessly. Yet as Sora refused to cry out she became further enraged. Sora's back was now scarred by the whips touch. She would bear the scars now.. That was no longer in question.. But a few scars were nothing.. She had others from countless battles. Some girls would be ashamed by a blemish to their complection, but Sora always saw the scars as a way to be closer to tai. Even before Datamon he bore an impressive array of light scars. Sora could recall his chest as a road map of injury. Each scar a different highway. Though she had less wounds then him, it was still another thing they had in common.
The air was damp against her skin as she kept pace with the guards. To her side she could see the jagged, and uncarved walls of the tunnel. She assumed she was below the palace. From what they knew of its architecture, there was a vast maze of catacombs underneath the city. It was here that ken kept his more prestigious prisoners. Ones who were too valuable then to give to Dayus. The ground was uneven at her feet. It was obvious that there was little time spent in the actual carving of these channels. It was most likely made by several Drimogamon who were put to the task of simply carving out a path. But the craftsmanship was considerably better in the cells.. They were of a dense stone, carved to offer no structural instabilities. The bars were made of a metal produced in the merging. It was an alloy made from digi-steel and titanium. They called it neo-titanium. It was quite effective as it was seemingly imperviable to brute strength. The cells were escape-proof. Especially since the maze was a combination of stone and various metals which were known to make tunneling difficult, and signal communication impossible.
"Are you alright?"
"What?" she was taken aback by the sudden question of the senior officer. He glanced to her questioningly as he studied her back with grim glances. It was obvious he didn't like seeing someone in pain.. She glanced up from the Stoney floor to his features.
"I asked if you were ok... it looks like someone did a number on your back." the boy repeated.
"I'll live.. That is until you people execute me..." she snapped
"Sorry..." he trailed off.
"So where am I really being taken? Somewhere that has more original ways to torture me I would imagine.. You wana tell me? Or is it a surprise?"
"I was ordered to bring you to genesis' cell." he replied with a look of question as to her bitter humor as to her situation.
"You wana give it a rest? I know I am not being taken to him... why would you be that nice?"
"Me personally because I don't think it's right hurting someone like this, even if they are enemies. But I got my orders because genesis is currently holding one of the lords hostage. That guy has a serious temper..." the young man smirked.
"Too bad he turned against the empire.. It's hard seeing him behind bars..."
Sora glanced at the boy with a newfound question as to him. He seemed to be genuine in his concern for her, but what intrigued her more is how he spoke of genesis. It was as though he knew him. Sora pressed no further as she continued onward quietly.
"How did it go?" Sephiroth asked as he joined ken down the trek from dungeon to palace. There was a sharp change in decorum as crude tunnel turned into sculpted passageway. Soon the ground was beginning to look like it was actually part of the picturesque empire and not some recess of the dank catacombs beneath. It smelled less of stale and long dead air, now it bore the light freshness of air beyond the crypt-like dungeons.
"All is as I had predicted..." he replied coldly
"And what did you predict?"
" it would seem that I will have a harder time then I expected regaining tai's loyalty to the empire.. He is committed to never killing again.. To keep his promise to her... this shall require some effort and planning on our part if we wish to return him to our side of the war." ken turned to Sephiroth, who was staring at him with a grave expression.
"Emperor, you just called him tai.. Listen to me, if you want to win this you can never make that mistake again. Your brother is genesis, not tai. Genesis can still be turned, but if he becomes Taichi he will side with Sora. Tai will never join the empire, he will fight it with all he is..." matt spoke darkly.
"You know Sephiroth.. I have never taken enough time to find out exactly what your story is.. You are one of the strongest digital humans I have ever known, quite uncommon seeing as how you just appeared from nowhere... and the fact that you know lady Kamiya by her true name, and genesis by his.... what is your connection to them Sephiroth? Or should I say, yamato?" matt glanced around nervously as ken turned his gaze to him.. His eyes were blue like matt's, yet his were slightly more menacing. They were darker and much more cold..
"We... knew eachother once... before the empire..."
"During the digital wars?"
"Yes... I was present during the first digital wars... along with Taichi.. Emperor, you must understand the danger he possesses. Tai was a great leader once, a powerful fighter. He must either be reverted back to genesis and have all that is Taichi destroyed, or we must kill him outright.. This is all or nothing, there is no in-between."
"You presume to order me? I who could kill you with a word? Sephiroth. I tolerate your secretive nature and your inability to act as a team member entirely on the basis that you are one of the best... you have an ego the size of the empire itself. And I can't help but wonder just how loyal you are to me and not to yourself.."
"If I am so untrustworthy, what are you going to do to me?"
Ken chuckled darkly "absolutely nothing... for a while I was debating if you would betray me.. But after seeing how lady Kamiya looked at you... I am your only friend Sephiroth, to betray me would be to slit your own throat."
Matt stopped walking as ken continued onward past the threshold of the dungeon and into the palace. He was right... it was a strange idea to matt that at the end he would be alone. Strange not in the ending, for he knew he would be alone from childhood. But it was still an alien concept to him that he had managed to isolate himself from the world. One half of it hated him while the other feared him. The emperor was right.. Alone he would be too weak to survive.. Either the empire or the burning dawn would eventually kill him... thus he was forced to serve the emperor... like so many others he was in too deep. Another life that ken controlled...
He glanced down to his arm. He drew away the cloak to look at his bare flesh.. The forearm was grafted with the cybernetic blade. He had attached the weapons himself.. He had chosen to be a weapon... though he was not a genetic weapon, his arms were now not human... the cybernetics were not like those of Dayus, matt still had two good arms. But the gauntlet of silvery steel plating was now attached over the flesh at various points. The circuitry shimmered lightly as he willed a blade forward. The neural implants worked like a charm as the blade shot forward from his wrist with a cool whoosh of hydraulics. He studied the weapon for a time.. It was made of the
neo-titanium, and thus the blade would never dull or warp.. It remained a part of him, a physical embodiment of all that was cruel about yamato.. He sighed softly as the blade shot back into place within his arm.
His blond hair spiked outward as he brushed a few arrant tendrils from his eyes. He was filled with a silent detachment to life as he drew the black hood back over his face. The cloak of Sephiroth obscures the face.. Ironically that is what he liked about it, the chance to distance himself from his humanity.. And distance himself from all that was matt... he had betrayed them all, and now he was alone in darkness. But even from his isolation he felt no sorrow for his situation.. He had always known that if any of them were going to survive the digital wars it would be him.. He would survive where Sora and tai would fail.. Simply because he was willing to do what it takes to survive. It is better to be at the devil's side then in his way.
He was Sephiroth now. He filed away his thoughts of what might have been in the deepest recess of his mind. He would do what his destiny willed him to do.. He would serve the empire, and advance within it. He would kill those he once called friend, and he would do so without the slightest pity. In fact he would enjoy making them pay for choosing Sora over him.
"As you wish emperor..." he muttered softly as he continued down the winding corridor.
Taichi stared outward from the bars. His side was on fire due to maintaining the genesis power. The wound was pulsing in agony as his teeth gritted in a low snarl. His lips were open as he drew in pained breath after pained breath. He was vaguely aware that the wound had stopped bleeding for a time, a rare sign of encouragement that he may live long enough to see Sora before the wound would take his life. His hair hung plastered to his face as he stared outward to lady kale who had grown silent. She stared at him with a look of complete bewilderment as to why he would give his life for this girl who he hadn't known for more then a week. He didn't look to her, mearly took in the cavern.
The geography of the cave was that of darkness and stone. The only light filtered downward from a single overhanging bulb. The orb of light cast a dim glow across the hollowed out jaws of the cell. It was tight, like a coffin of stone and steel. The effects of the cave would be strangling to many as the walls loomed upon them as Stoney sentinels ready to leap upon the fragile humans housed within. Tai was vaguely aware that the stone was smoothed by running water which now pooled at his feet.
"Tai!?" a feminine voice cut the silence.
"Sora!?!" his head shot upward to the opening
in a sudden moment the girl bolted from the doorway despite the guards and was to the cell. Tai dropped lady kale to the floor as his arms cleared the bars to embrace her. they kissed frantically as each muttered out their worries in a frantic jumbled manner. Tai was stroking her cheeks tenderly as she kissed his bottom lip lustfully. They were unaware of the guards expressions as the two lovers continued the act of affection to one another.
"Oh god Sora, I'm so sorry."
"Thank god you're alright.. They wouldn't tell me if you were ok. I was so afraid I had lost you again..." she cried against him softly as he stroked her silken hair.
"You'll never loose me Sora... I swear you won't" he kissed her again, this time more lovingly.
"Kamiya..." lady kale hissed as Sora turned to her hateful gaze. Sora stared at her with rage.. This woman had spent the better part of two hours beating her.. All the while telling how genesis was truly in love with her, and was only using Sora. Sora was not a vengeful person on many scales.. It took a lot to make her a mortal enemy... but lady kale's running commentary about how she has been sleeping with genesis for months....
"Tai... you aren't holding her anymore?"
"Good...." Sora smiled sweetly as she turned to lady kale who was staring questioningly to her. then with a sudden burst of rage her fist collided with the stunned woman's nose sending her sprawling several feet backwards into the arms of one of the guards who was staring slack-jawed as lady Kamiya grinned to Taichi who's eyes were wide saucers.
"Listen to me bitch... if you torture me, fine... but the second you imply something about Taichi I will snap your jaw, you bleach blond psychopathic whore." she motioned to one of the guards for the door. He was hesitant, yet as she narrowed her crimson eyes to him, he quickly complied. It would seem the idea of having bars to separate them was not something he would object to.
Tai embraced her tightly, yet as he did she yelped out in pain. Tai leapt away in a uncoordinated series of steps. His eyes were wide with question as sore bore the pain with gritted teeth. She looked up to him with a soft and reassuring smile upon her pink lips and rose eyes. Taichi was still full of questions as his gaze fell to his hands, then widened in terror. His bare palms were soaked in red blood. He was stunned as he absentmindedly rolled it between his forefinger and thumb. The coppery color and thick texture was unmistakable...
"Tai, I'm ok.." she pleaded, yet her comment fell on deaf ears as he took her in his gentle, yet firm hands and turned her so he had access to her back. He was horrified as he stared at her. From the small of her back to the base of her shoulders she was painted in a light red hue. Her soft skin was torn in gashes clearly shown as the bitter kisses of a leather whip. His eyes shot with rage to where kale was, yet he was disheartened to see she had already vanished beyond the threshold.
She still wore the necklace, and same snowy dress from the night of the party, yet it was now shredded in the back. He gaped in horror at the imagery of her soft and feminine back adorned with a tattered dress which was caked with dry blood. The dress had seemed so vibrant last night... yet now it was ghastly and appalling as it clung to her like a blood-bathed sheet. The fabric was troubling to him, yet quickly disregarded as his eyes came into view of the wounds... they had bled clean.. And there was no trace of infection. Yet they pierced his heart as a lance. If it weren't for him she would have never suffered lady kale's sick sense of evil bliss.
He was broken from his thoughts as he felt her hands faintly examine his side.. He tried to stop her, yet she was far to stubborn and far to menacing when provoked.. He complied with her examination. She guided him to the thin and worn mattress which resided against the far wall. He acted as a child to her under the orders of her stern and motherly voice.
"If only we had some bandages.." Sora spoke softly as she patted his chest softly.
"Ask and you shall receive..." they glanced over only to find a first-aid kit tossed at their side.
The young man smiled brightly as he closed the cell door behind himself. He wore the attire of an empire guard, yet he bore the insignia of a captain in the imperial army. He was grinning broadly as he made his way to them.
"I heard mr. Personality had managed to get himself on the wrong end of a sword... and frankly after hearing that our little genesis had taken an interest in a young lady.. Well I simply had to see for myself." he cast a quick grin to Sora who was staring at him questioningly. The face and voice were that of the guard who had brought her here..
Tai's eyes lit up as he glanced to the young man who stopped before Sora. "And you must be lady Kamiya. I would kill you under normal circumstance... but since genesis is so taken with you I suppose I shall spare you the effort of having to kill me..." the comment was made half in jest, as Sora was reputed to be extremely dangerous, even for a lord...
"Glad you could make it... this is Sora Takenouchi... the woman I love...." tai beamed with pride.
He sobered lightly as he looked upon her reverently.
"You have a beautiful name miss... Sora...
I am Collin Yagami Loire...." he spoke politely as he gave a short bow to her.
"It's a pleasure..." she replied questioningly as he turned his attention to Taichi. The two were friends.. That was obvious as tai closed his hand over the young soldier's. The mood was light, yet soon darkened.
"Genesis... what have you done? You betray us?"
"I betrayed myself the moment I put on that mask... " tai replied in a silent tone.
"Collin... I remember now.." the man gaped at the comment.
"Genesis, you remember who you were?" he gasped.
"It's not genesis anymore... my name is Taichi Kamiya. I have a real name, a sister, friends, a life, a past, and I have found the girl I was in love with from that life. All I ever wanted..."
"So... you have a past... does this mean you are considering yourself human now?" he grinned as he gave himself time to digest the information.
"I wouldn't go that far...." Taichi quipped with a playful grin on his face.
Time passed between them as Taichi and Sora filled Collin in on all the details of his resurrected memory, his life from before.. And as they spoke Sora got a feeling of trust in this young man. He was a bit eccentric at times in his mannerisms... yet he was kind and polite. And seemed to be a true friend of Taichi, and now Sora also...
"That is so wild.. You of all people.. A digidestined.. God the emperor must be sweating bullets by now..." he laughed.
"Why is he so afraid of the digidestined?" Sora questioned as Collin leaned back against the grey stone wall which gaped above them.
"It's all from that psycho Dayus... he predicted that the empire would fall at the hands of the chosen children.. Or as you call it.. Digidestined... it was pretty vague.. But the emperor has made a lot of effort to eradicate all of them... from the looks of things he hasn't done a good job.. Twelve of them.. Two in his own castle... maybe you're the ones destined to topple the empire after all..."
Collin spoke whimsically as he addressed the idea. He had never been a lover of the empire, for how could he love something which had moorings based in stagnant pools of blackened innocent blood. He simply was indifferent to the situation, he followed the road set to his feet. Yet regardless of passion or none he was loyal to his side... but also loyal to his friend.
"A lot of roads are diverging here... the emperor's acting too hasty... it's as though he has something planned.. Something bigger then the efforts to stop the dawn..." Taichi replied somberly as he drank thirstily from a canteen of cool water. He gave an approving groan as he drew his lips away from the cup.
"What are you talking about tai?"
"Even I'm not too sure," he paused as he debated how to word the next few sentences. " brother has always been a planner. But something has been on his mind for a time now... something dark. I just got the feeling from him that there is something coming, something bigger then us all. It's like there is a storm coming, a storm only he knows about..." tai took another longing sip of his drink as he continued, less to them, and more directed to the darkness of the cell.
"You can see the clouds across the horizon, hear the cry of thunder in the sky. The storm is coming, and there is nothing strong enough to stand against it..." he was grim as he looked out over an imaginary hillside which proceeded a black ocean of thick blackened clouds.
"What do you know?" Collin asked softly, in a tone of no more substance then the shallow whisper of a frightened child.
"Just that it involves me...."
Grendle stared outward over his room. It was darkened to no more then a dim glimmer of candlelight. The man-dragon was sitting in a meditation position, yet the pose was slightly altered to accommodate some of his more unique features: the tale was now draped within his lap stilly. His gaping wings were curled around him as a robe of leathery flesh.. His eyes were still the same un-blinking polished amber, though they did not shine with spectacular menace, just a strange sadness. The eyes of the dragon glowed with a soft luminescence. The glow was present, yet not that of hateful burning coal... just a simple radiance.
The room was uncomparable to that of its occupant. The two seemed misplaced in comparison to one another. Grendle gave the impression of a cave-dwelling demon, who's only concept of design would be placing the bones of his dinner in some demonic positioning. This room however was tidy and quite comfy. It was of heavy Asian design, a tie to the dragon's roots of Japanese culture. The bed was constructed of Teflon fabric -as to not shred under the clawed touch of the dragon- which was neatly folded. The walls were filled with paintings of varied subject and style. Some of these paintings were of his own creation, while others were procured through shops and gifts from before he became the gargoyle.
His amber eyes suddenly focused on the wall to his left. It was barren of all paintings and other such trappings of purely decorative nature. Two scrolls hung from the stuccoed surface of the wall. These scrolls bore the stylish ink-work of the Japanese symbols for honor, and a series of prayers which spoke of honoring thy family and thyself. From the wooden floor to waist height there stood a small table of blackened wood. It was crafted ornately of gold trim and of ivory trappings. It was his shrine... a place of his most treasured possessions:
Upon a shiny black stand the honor blade of his family stood proudly. It was long, even for a Katana. The scabbard was decorated with shimmering gold and crushed night black velvet. The blade lay in wait within the confides of the sheath, leaving only it's pommel to be displayed. The pommel was long, wrapped with black chord to maximize grip over the ancient relic. It's hand-guard was of two dragons which encircled the shaft. The dragons were five clawed, a sign of royalty.
This blade was beyond rare.. It had been handed down through the generations as the family's honor blade. Given to their ancestor by the emperor himself, some good four hundred years ago..
The legend was that a member of their family had defended the emperor during a rebellion amongst the royals. He had been a lone foot-soldier, separated from his commander and comrades. It had been sheer coincidence that he came to find the lord engaged in battle against four mounted samurai. He had rushed to the battle, and managed to claw victory from the throats of his foes.. The battle had been grueling, yet he had saved his lord... as reward for his honor he was granted an imperial sword.. One used by the emperor himself...
There was great honor in this blade; a treasure.
Yet more precious still was the object at its' side: a faded photograph of Cody as a child in his grandfather's arms. The young boy had a look of true wonder as he studied his grandfather's Kendo stick... The picture had been taken the day Cody had been accepted as his pupil.. It was a good day for them both. And as Grendle looked over the photo he cursed his body.. The mighty dragon had many abilities, yet the capacity to shed tears was beyond him...
"Sssshall I be the one to kill you grandsssson?" he rasped out
"Isssss thisssss the road of true honor, to follow my lord againsssst my blood.?" he rose up slowly and fingered the photo with his thick reptilian claws.
"A ssssamurai is ssssplintered once he hassss.... sssomething he lovesss more then hisss honor....
Doesss thisss mean I am defeated already? That I have lossst the battle before it isss begun?
Honor isss all I have left grandsssson, I prey that it is not put to the test againssssst you......" he hissed out in a voice almost human, yet sadly far from it.
Takeru sat silently as he studied the bar. He had heard of a fight here.. The burning dawn was not in the practice of dealing with bar-room brawls. Yet the reports of the battle were quite vivid, and even though an eye-witness tends to exaggerate an event... the account of this fight was hard to ignore.
He had come to rely upon his face as a more persuasive method of obtaining information, then the sword at his side. TK had always looked to be the typical cute boy image that caused girls to swoon in his direction -much to Kari's annoyance-. But the impression he gave was a impression of trust... and in a land of war, the ability to mislead your enemy is a limitlessly valuable skill.
TK had ordered a drink and sat at the bar. The room was almost empty now. It had a ambiance of stillness and fear in the air. No doubt from the occurrences a few days ago here. People tend to drink to avoid the war and the violence, but though liquor is quite a draw, even its' effects are temporarily numbed by the sight of a full grown clan with a crushed vertebra.
"Business been slow lately?" he commented from his place at the bar. He never raised his eyes from the amber colored brew which he was nursing slowly, he didn't need to. TK had observed the bearded bartender compulsively shining the already glossy bar with a rag. It was clear he was looking for distraction from the lack of patrons to the actually quite classy bar. All it would take from tk is a few words to get the whole story from this guy... just a word was enough to indicate to the man that this young traveler was not the kind to have a lengthy conversation with his drink in silent communion
"Yeah, but it'll pick up."
"You sound pretty confidant." tk replied as he glanced up from the drink to the expression of the man's elderly features.
"Well, as I see it the bartender is everyone's best friend at some point. You see people drink to forget the bad times, and they drink to celebrate the good. So by that logic people need me just like I need them... we've had good times and bad here.. The good times should come round again." he replied in a friendly voice as he topped of tk's drink. The young blond dusted the hair from his eyes as he grinned a thanks for the filler-up.
"Word is you guys had a little excitement around here the other day... something about a clan coming in here and getting killed." tk smirked to himself.. Time to shoot for the goal. He thought to himself.
"Yeah.. I hate those damned dog-men. No courtesy at all with em. Those two came in here last week and tried to make off with jenny here." he motioned to the young girl at the far end of the bar who was staring dreamily to TK. The blond boy blushed lightly as he cast a nervous grin to her before returning to the conversation.
"I never much cared for them either... don't suppose anyone will be missing two flee-bags like them huh?"
"Well I sure as hell wasn't shedding tears over them." he replied with a low growl as to the image of his daughter's near rapists..
"If you don't mind me asking.... who did the deed? I mean those clan tend to be a bit formidable, we had one near our place a couple months ago, the thing took a lot of ammo before we got em..." TK lied.
"Where did you say you were from?"
"Oh, me? Little farm on the outskirts of town.. I'm in town to pick up a new compressor for our plow.. That damn thing is a piece of shit, breaks down more then twice a week. I figured I'd swing by here and get myself a bit of a drink before I head over to buy one..." tk smirked at how good he was at this..
"I would imagine you would have clan problems.. That is a bit closer to their territory. Damn dogs.. Oh well... where were we?" he asked as he drew up the rag and began polishing again.
"You were telling me about who put old-yeller down." the man chuckled at the comment.
"Well there were two of em actually. One was a girl.. Damn she had some legs.... " he trailed off "but she shot the sword right out of the things claws, then tossed a pair of little throwing knives at one... never saw someone handle a clan like that, she dealt with him as if he were a puppy." he laughed grimly at the image, yet his smile faded as he thought to the other of the two...
"The other was a guy.. Had a really dark look to him... I have seen some serious shit since I opened here, I once had a betamon digivolve to a seadramon right there in the men's room. But I have never seen a guy like that... he crushed that clan with his bear hands... just snapped him like a branch...but the look was what really frightens me.... he had this expression.. It was like he were some kinda demon... Damn well could have been...." he was slightly more pale as he recalled Taichi. TK knew that genesis was able to do much more then that... but he played it dumb.
"Who do you think they were?"
"Well.. I would guess bounty hunters.... the girl had some serious hardware, and the guy looked pretty capable... why are you so interested son?"
"Well life on the farm tends to get a bit dull... I guess I was just curious about what it must be like living in the empire's capital.. Must be exciting."
"Truthfully boy? Be happy where you are... things may be a bit more exciting here, but some things are better not seen..."
"I know where your coming from pal." tk had been lying to the man for every statement except that one... the guy was right.. Tk shouldn't have seen his father strung up there... he shouldn't have seen young boys, younger then him ripped apart in horrible wars... but that was his life... no sense crying about it.
He returned to his drink for a time. The man didn't know Takeru, he didn't know how his father had looked-sunbaked and long dead- upon the stony wall where he had been crucified. This man was a kind one, yet he didn't know just how deeply this young 'farmer' was tied to the war, tied in both hatred and in love. The man sensed the conversation's close, and thus went to work re-polishing a portion of the bar compulsively. TK's trance with his drink was broken as he turned to find the door thrown open, and from its' threshold the figure stepped.
Clothed in the soft and flowing white cloak, she made her way to him. The eyes were different from as they had once been. They had once born a deep brown coloration, yet now they were a color of twilight. A soft bluish brown Her soft brown hair was freed from the confides of her hood as she pulled it aside. The chestnut tendrils fell to her shoulders in a graceful ark which seemed cushioned by air as they took position upon her. The front bangs were as white as snow, an effect which made her seem a world apart from all other girls. She was graceful as she moved, like a shrouding mist upon the earth she glided forward in smoky tendrils of no more depth then a shadow. That was the nature of the sorceress TK had long since observed. A mystery..
The sorceress was like a mist upon the earth. They were both ominous and beautiful. Some could glide across still waters with wispy transparent tendrils. They would dance upon the wind with the grace of a serpent as it glides through glassy pools. Some of the cast were molested by evil, and thus took the branding of darkness to new heights of horror as their gifts plagued life as though they were a cancer upon it. Those were as a fog so thick that it choked life. It gripped it tightly within it's dragon-like coils that the nature of good seemed to be swallowed up in a velvet sea of perfect evil. But in both of the two, the sorceress was above the shortsightedness of mankind. TK had been granted a glimpses into the world Hikari was a part. They were at one with nature and the forces that govern life. TK had always awed at how Kari could hear the music within the wind. It was a song of gentle melody.. A song of change, of death and of birth. A song which Takeru could never hear, but never doubted. He was able to hear the music only in Hikari, and the love they shared. Yet now as their eyes met he saw something he feared more then anything within her gentle eyes... great sorrow.
The cathedral of darkness, that is the name of the most horrific location on earth. Some would argue that Dayus' imitation hell was truly the most demonic place on the new earth. Yet most were thankfully unaware of the un-holy cathedral. It had once been a church, a place of hope, and of salvation... yet now the cathedral was a place of abandonment from all that was god. It was a place of evil beyond compare... it was where the emperor's darkest ambition was in the throws of creation. It was simply the cathedral of darkness. A name without the capacity to truly show the evil of what transpired beyond the Stoney walls and stained glass windows.
Ken walked silently down the winding, shadowy hallway. The darkened pathway was almost too much for him to travel. His eyes were mearly able to distinguish the pathway from the twisting mass of cable at its' sides. The chords hung the ground as motionless snakes, awaiting the onset of warmer month where they would be more capable of movement. The cathedral's dim
path-lights cast a slight illumination over the stone path which lead to the heart of the structure. He followed the passage with shallow breath and silent footfalls. His silence was not based in fear, or in a need for stealth. He simply was quiet in thought. He had hidden as much about the cathedral as he could. None were permitted access to this place. It was his secret.
He made his way to the final door, and as he came to it cast it open with no thought to trepidation. The room beyond was massive. It stretched high, and was expansive.. Once this room had hear the sermons of a thousand preachers, not it heard a new sound... the gentle wheezing breath of something more horrible then Satan himself. The thing was organic in nature.. It hung upon the far wall as a massive cancer of flesh and cable. The skin was a pale and drab greyish white. It possessed large lung-like structures which rose and fell in a rhythmic breath. It possessed long finger-like claws which clung to the stony wall as a spider might, yet it was tethered to the structure in such a way as to anchor it to the entire cathedral. It was a demon in appearance, yet as ken drew closer to it he was not afraid in the least. He smiled softly as he took in the image of the insectoid mass. The creature was named oracle.
"User identification required." it bellowed out in a chorus of voices. The words were uttered from every corner and every elevation in thousands of distinct voices all at once in a great symphony of discord. the words would have been maddening to anyone who would attempt to distinguish a distinct voice from the sea of verbalizations. Oracle was what ken had chosen to call his DNA computer. It was comprised of a thousand unlucky souls who were fed to this bio-organic creature. Their minds and bodies were assimilated into it.. All that was once them had suddenly became a part of it. Their thoughts, their dreams, their knowledge... all were dissolved into the creature.
"I am the emperor. Authorization code: omega."
"Accepted..." it chorused out darkly.
From the center of the demonic mass a slit gradually opened as a eye would open to the world beyond. Yet there was no retina to this eye... just a hollow and darkened cavity which suddenly sprang to life in low and slithering movements. From the vacant alcove the figure of a woman emerged. She emerged to the waist which was shapely in a occult and ghastly manner. She was nude for all basic impressions, yet her breasts and form were so notably far from human that the concept of nudity was impossible to make. She was human in basic form alone, yet far from it. Her skin was the same tone as the chrysalis from which she emerged. It was pasty, like plaster, yet of a more rubbery texture, like the flesh of a cephalopod. Her face was twisted in a dark expression of cold and malicious expression. Her lips were a tarish black the color of malignant blood. Her eyes, were golden amber, no pupils, not even white, just a shimmering golden pair of hateful orbs. This demon was not feminine in her expression, yet there were certain aspects of her that if examined on their own, apart from the whole, would be almost attractive. She had delicate hands with five perfect digits on each palm. The hands were the same pale coloration as the rest of her flesh.
"What do you wish emperor?" she asked in the same voice as had previously resounded through the cathedral.
"Have you been informed as to the recent occurrences with genesis?"
"Yes, I am aware of the recent occurrences with the one known as both genesis and Taichi."
"If he remains on this path of pacifism, what will happen? He questioned
"It is not within my capacity to predict the future. There is no formula for calculating the concept of free will, which is undeniably a consequential factor in predicting the future.." ken growled lightly at the ultimate computer. Oracle was beyond the finest of technological machinery, she was the equivalent of millions and millions of gigabytes, yet she was only as good as her programing. Her codes and data came from the souls she devoured, their knowledge was her knowledge, and from the combined intellect of thousands she was smart enough to make predictions based on the perportune and ratios of infinite data. Yet that was as she had previously mentioned unable to predict exactly what would be. Machines can do much, but they are illiterate to prediction of the human nature.
For a time he had debated feeding Dayus to the machine.. For as Dayus's gifts were assimilated into the creature, it would become capable of predicting the paths of the future. This ability in conjunction with the data from oracle would make the task much easier. But in the end Dayus was more useful as a lord. He was a respectable fighter, one who was more useful alive, then merged. But it was clear that when Dayus was no longer capable of his duties he would be assimilated.
"What is the probability in simple terms of our victory if genesis does not take part in the final battle?"
"Genesis is a primary component in the equation for your desired outcome. Without him, you will most likely fail." she echoed out in a silent tone.
ken stared blankly into the soulless eyes of his creation. His eyes were dark as he contemplated the prediction. He had almost hoped it wouldn't come to this, Taichi was his brother, yet he was also a tool. If it were possible to win without twisting the genesis to his will then he would have, but in the end it was necessary for him. He was going to for fill his destiny regardless of the price... even if the price was Taichi....
"Well then... in that case we will have to endeavor on how to turn Taichi back into genesis..." he replied with a darkened smirk upon his thin lips. The being stared at him with the same emotionless expression upon her lifeless face. She was alive, she possessed both a heart and a mind, yet despite her thousands of donor parts, she possessed no fragment of a soul.
They sat together at the far end of the tavern, away from the ears of all who would casually attempt to eavesdrop on them. yet they were for the moment silent. He wasn't sure exactly what to say to her. she had never been this quiet with him, almost afraid he remained in a awkward preparation for her words which were gathering together at her lips as a invading army would gather strength just before assault. He studied her slowly, almost delicately for fear that his gaze could force an eruption if it lingered on her eyes.
Her clothing was not armored at all, it possessed no hidden knives or miniature cannons as Sora's attire was bustling with. She wore a black undershirt which clung to her anatomy as a second skin. Beyond that was a light snowy dress which flowed on the currents of wind. She would appear delicate and fragile to the outward eye, like a frail white flower born to be hidden within a vase and utterly incapable of surviving outside in the harshness of nature. She was far from that of corse, but that is just the way Takeru saw her. it had proved to be a stumbling-block with them, as Kari shared her brother's sense of adventure and was not fond of being an 'indoor pet'.
Her white gloves caught his eye. They were adorned with a series of silver rings worn not only on each finger, but traveled up to her wrist and forearm. They were all very simple, yet with a slightly elegant, and arousing appeal, it made her look so mysterious and angelic.
"You're hiding something from me." she stated flatly without looking up at him.
"Kari..." he was silenced as she continued to speak with the same sad expression.
"TK, I have been strait with you for as long as I have known you... I showed you things that I haven't shown anyone.. I can feel that you're trying to keep something from me..." she drew in a pained breath.
"Is it a girlfriend? Because if you are cheating on me then I want you to have the guts to tell me." she spoke in a tone that was both a horribly doleful pitch, and a feral growl at the image of TK in the arms of a mistress. TK was slightly taken aback by her accusation, he had feared Kari would be able to sense a secret in him. But he had never expected her to think that.. They had been in love since childhood, lovers for years.
"I don't have a girlfriend, and I would never cheat on you kar.. I love you.." he spoke earnestly.
"I never thought you would hide something from me TK... the link we share makes me just as open to you as you are to me... we each know when something is hurting the other... or if one of us is trying to keep something hidden. I know that's hard... Having no real privacy from me... but.. When we got together... you said you were willing to make this bond...
To commit yourself to me in not just body, but in soul also...." TK loved Kari, and as he spoke to her he focused on that... hopefully she would sense it in him, if she was still willing to look.
"I do have a secret, but it is in your best interest that you don't know.. It would be painful for you Kari..." he trailed off fully aware that she would never let him off with that. Kari was truly hurt because the bond they shared linked them in a way few normal humans can achieve. It is a state that exists only for a handful of humans who find their true soulmate. To feel someone that deeply inside your heart would be agony if they betrayed you....
"Takeru... there are three people in this world I really love with all my heart.
One is dead, gone for ever....
The second is missing... she is in the middle of a place where people want to hurt her, rape her, and kill her. she hasn't checked in, meaning she has been captured, or is dead...
And the last person who I love more than life is siting right in front of me.. And I am scarred to death thinking that he is hiding something from me..
No one knows just how deep we go TK... I need to trust you... I'm afraid of my life TK... I was a normal girl once, then I am sucked into this world of monsters and battles and death, then my brother dies, then I become this sorceress, then we are at war, then I find that the one person I could rely on to give me strength is hiding things from me.... I need you Takeru... I need to trust you." small tears were leaking from her twilight eyes then traveling the slope of her cheeks where they fell into the groove of her mouth.
TK slowly put his hand to her silky hair in a loving gesture. She didn't fight the touch, In fact she drew nearer to it. He leaned forward and kissed the tears from her eyes, then kissed them away from the path they had traveled to her lips.
"Kari... what I am going to tell you won't be easy..."
"It can't be worse then not knowing." she replied hastily.
"I wouldn't count on it... but ok." he drew in a slow breath as he began.
"The first person you love... the one who's gone... Taichi." he paused as he debated how to word this revelation. It was no easy task to say the least. He decided that bad news was like a band-aid, best if delivered quickly as apposed to a slow lingering action.
"He's alive Kari!" he blurted out in a quick breath. She studied him for a moment as she digested the information.
"If you're joking, your cruel...."
"There's more.... he isn't the same Taichi we knew... he was remade by the empire. They made him into something Kari... something..." he struggled with the word. "Something dark."
Her eyes closed softly as she accepted what he was saying. She had almost wished it was a girlfriend, because even then she would know what to do: show the little slut exactly why you should not piss-off the sorceress... but this was harder...
"He's genesis isn't he?" she commented blankly.
"Sora, she's with him?"
"Yeah... she is. From what izzy told us about his genetic make-up, he is both genesis and tai... it's like two beings in one. Sora has managed to restore most of his memory... but he was unwilling to abandon the emperor." TK replied in a factual voice, the same tone he had employed when giving technical descriptions of battle to izzy. The tone frightened him... for it was a tone he could use so effortlessly when giving the details about thousands of soldiers being killed... now he was using it for tai...
"He... didn't want to see me?" she whimpered.
"He thought it would hurt you too much now.... so they swore me and izzy to secrecy...."
"They thought it would hurt me too much? Why does everyone think I am still a child!?" she began to radiate with white power as the anger pulsated through her. TK glanced nervously to the bartender and patrons who were white with terror as they stared at Kari in her rage. She was normally very good at keeping the power in check... but she was angry... and anger tends to bring out things in us all....
"I am no porcelain doll.. I am the sorceress! I could kill thousands with a word... I could destroy nations with a gesture.... and you all are treating me like a baby!! I am sick of it! I am a part of the burning dawn... I am tired of being protected from life..." TK rose with her as she stood.. Her body was radiating with a glowing white flame which danced around only her in a menacing manor. TK was sure she was kidding about the whole killing thousands part... check that, he hoped she was kidding about the whole killing thousands part. Kari was sorceress, and if the history of the digital world had taught them anything it was that people were able to do more then anyone could predict... Kari was still young to the power.. It was like most things in life that it grows with you, evolves with you...
"Kari calm down please...."
"Where are they?" she replied in the same tone.
"Intelligence shows that Sora was taken prisoner along with genesis.. The reports are sketchy, but genesis was reported to be wounded badly... we think they are in the imperial dungeons." he replied grimly.
"When are we rescuing them?"
"We aren't.... Sora would never condone a rescue mission...." he replied with a hint of sadness.
"TK... you are in command... you are leader of the burning dawn when Sora is unreachable... you can rescue her if you want..." she softened.
"I am nothing like Sora! She is able to put the team above herself. The reason she will not condone a rescue is because it is like throwing away lives for a suicide mission... she is a great leader... I am not... and I trust Sora enough to do what I think she would do in this situation..." he growled.
"You're right... Sora wouldn't be willing to make a rescue attempt.... but Taichi would...." she replied simply. TK bowed his head at the idea.. Tai had always been willing to take up losing battles for his sense of right and wrong. He had a rigid sense of justice.... and that sense would never condone letting one of them down....
"We... need to get back to base..."
Kari looked down sadly....
"we have a lot of planning to do...."
Taichi and Sora huddled in eachother's arms. It was a sad excuse for romance but the contact was comforting. Their arms hung around eachother tightly in a caressing manner. It wasn't cold in the cell, far from it actually. But their strokes to the other's exposed skin seemed to make things feel better. Tai was lavishing attention upon her soft hair as she came as close to purring as a human were capable of doing. They put some effort into forgetting the fact that they were imprisoned. The wounds were treated now, and the burning pain had lessened considerably in both of the two.
"Sora, for what it's worth... I'm sorry." he spoke in a hushed tone... it was clear he had been contemplating the recent events, and that if he had not involved her, Sora would not be here facing torture and death. He continued stroking her face lovingly.
"It's alright tai... I'm not sad."
"But Sora... they're going to kill you..." he whispered out sorrowfully.
"I never told you what it was like when you died did I?" she paused.
"It hurt so badly that I was alone... that I had managed to find the one boy who I would love my whole life, then watch him die..."
"Why didn't you find someone else after I died?" he asked in a soft manner.
"Because I died with you that day.... at least my heart died with you... but it looks like it was reborn with you as well...." she smiled softly as she leaned forward and kissed his lips chastely.
"What about you, if you could do it over... would you?" he looked at her with a soft grin.
"Would I be re-born as genesis again, or would I choose you over the emperor again?"
"Either of the two..." she smiled as she brushed the hair from his eyes.
"The answer is 'yes' to both. I got a chance to cheat death, and see you again.. That would be worth any price for me..."
They embraced once more, this time in silence. There was nothing to say that wasn't already common knowledge between the two. They were adrift in a sea of evil and hatred that was mear moments from crashing over them. they held to one another in the silent acceptance of fate. It was a strange relationship they now shared... living each moment knowing that it may be your last... they had both been so happy just to be reunited with one another. But it was now that the true dangers became more clear to the two. They were vulnerable due to the other. the old adage was a clear one "if you have something you love, you have something to loose." It had been easier with Collin here... he provided a distraction from the fear that had been stalking them, and now that he was gone, it was here... they would try to fight when the guards would inevitably come for one of them.. But even Sora and genesis were hindered within the cage.
They would die here.... it was a idea that became steadily more clear with each silent minute.. Sora was as good as dead.. She was lady Kamiya after all...
And tai was a traitor.. His power made him too dangerous to risk. They would either kill him, or find a way to turn him evil again...
but they were forgetting one thing... if they killed one.. The other would end their own life. The emperor would not be able to separate them again.. Death itself had only been able to keep them apart for a time.. What hope did ken have to do what the grim reaper could not?
The silence was broken by the slow 'thud thud thus' of boots against the stony ground. Sora stiffened in his arms as they cast a uneasy glance to the darkened passageway. As if on cue the hallway gave way to the image of ken. The man had a grim smile upon his lips as he drew forward.
"I trust the accommodations are to your liking?"
"Well honestly I am a bit disappointed.. There wasn't even a mint on our pillow." Sora quipped.
"Oh my... I will severely reprimand housekeeping for that... And to make it up to you, I'll have room-service bring you a complementary bottle of champaign." he smirked
" you two want to give it a rest... you're abusing sarcasm...." Taichi growled.
"Brother.. You have no sense of humor...." ken chirped as he drew closer. Then with a sudden fury his grin turned hateful as he withdrew a gun from the confides of his cape. He pointed it to Sora who had no room to avoid within the tight cell. Taichi acted on impulse as his hand flew forward, summoning the genesis, yet to his horror he found nothing happened.... it was as though the genesis wasn't a part of him, for as he called for the power he found it missing.
"Bang..." ken smiled darkly as he playfully spun the weapon on his finger before returning it to its' hiding place on his side -unfired-. Taichi stared blankly at his hands in disbelief. He hadn't been able to save her.. Granted ken hadn't fired.. But... it was as though the genesis power wasn't there.. Like it had been pulled from him...
"It would appear the disable mechanism is working.... after you're little scene with lady kale I decided I would need a device capable of neutralizing the genesis strain... congratulations tai... as long as this is within four hundred feet of this.. You're human..." tai stared at the device. It was a sphere the size of a softball. It radiated with a ruby glow which pulsed in the emperor's hand. The core was surrounded by silvery tendrils which caged the burning orb.
"You mean... I'm not genesis anymore?" he asked in awe
"Taichi... you are always genesis. The only difference is that you don't have all the annoying power to put my lords at risk.... and to make it a fair fight..." he lingered on the last part as tai's eyes narrowed to his.
"A fair fight?" Sora whispered.
"I have decided I will give you a choice... you will be entering the arena as a combatant... there your life is your own...
you may either kill to survive...
Should you loose, or refuse to kill. I will have both you... and lady Kamiya put to death." he grinned darkly as tai paled at the implications of his words. Ken began to chuckle darkly as he stared at tai. The laughter rose upward through the hollows of the catacombs in a demonic chord. It reverberated through the stone until it was nearly deafening. He had won again... he was proud of his victories over the power, for in the end like it or hate it.. You were his... without further deliberation he lay the orb at the opposite end of the tunnel then began to slowly walk off.
"You might want to spend the night thinking it over... your soul.. Or your lover.. I'll see you tomorrow brother." he smirked as he vanished
they stared at eachother for a time in complete silence. Sora looked to tai with a thousand questions only to find he was unwilling to utter a single answer. His handsome face was darkened as he cast a wayward glance to her gentle expression. It seemed like hours until he spoke. He drew in a breath, yet held it for a unnaturally long time... Sora's eyes slid shut as he began to speak...
"I'm sorry Sora...." she was motionless as she continued to listen to his pained words.
"I wanted you to be proud of me... I made the promise so you would be... What I am about to do is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.... as Taichi I could never do what it will take to keep you alive... Sora I am breaking my promise now... I was made to kill and ken was right.. I will kill again... but he is a fool to think a toy could stop me... every day I am closer to understanding the true nature of this power. And what I know about genesis is that it is not just the power.. Whatever it is comes from me... and if he thinks I am going to let you die because of me... he's in for a rude awakening... I'm sorry if you don't want a life with a killer.... but... that is my place here... not as a pacifist, but as a warrior..."
Tai's hair hung against his back limply, yet it shimmered like the razor's edge of a sword. His eyes were narrowed in a expression of silent hatred for the emperor. And from the windows of his eyes there was born a darkness that was both alluring and menacing. It was like staring into the aspect of a hurricane which reaches up from hell into the heart of heaven in a great twisting pillar of swirling wind. It's so beautiful and powerful that you are drawn to it despite the fear for your mortal life. This effect raged within the radiant sienna pools of his eyes. It was then that Sora truly saw him. He was not the child she had tried to make him into.. He was now a man, a man of darkness, but a man. The lighting of the room cast a malevolent shadow over his features giving him a more rigid exterior. He looked as though he were actually a bronze statue carved by some medieval cult bent on demon worship. It was the eyes which gave him the impression of demonic rage as he contemplated the position he had been thrust into. The eyes were the window to the soul, yet his offered a viewpoint into a struggle as old as man can recall: good and evil, love and hate, peace and war, light and dark.
Sora found herself drawn to those eyes, the eyes she had admired forever, yet never truly studied enough to divine the nature of the boy beyond. He was genesis and Taichi.... a man walking the razor's edge of good and evil... as she remain fixated on him she recalled him.. He had these eyes from every memory she could draw back. The same feral glow that mirrored the eyes of a wolf.. Wild. You cannot change the ones you love... but you can change yourself. She wanted him more then ever in her entire life, not just his body or his words, or even his mind.. She wanted to be a part of this storm of emotion and power. Wanted to open her arms to truly love this boy who was so a part of her heart. She had never allowed herself to see this in him.. Never allowed herself to love the whole Taichi., yet here she was... standing before the boy who she had become so infatuated with that just loving a part of him was equal to a life of pure joy... she could mearly imagine the depths of passion she could sink to if allowed to love him in his entirety.
"It doesn't matter anymore..." he turned to face her with a look of question upon his radiant eyes.
"It doesn't matter if you are Taichi or genesis... I have fallen in love with both of them. I have waited too long for you... I am not about to run and hide. I love you as Taichi or as genesis.."
He smiled softly as he took her into his arms. She had grown up so much... but they were done acting like kids now... for better or worse they had grown up. They had grown up amidst the cries of death, passion, and hatred, and from the fires of war they were forged into adulthood. it was time to show the empire exactly what they were dealing with....
Within our hearts a war is waged
amidst the song of both hatred and love we are born
light battles darkness
but as evil claws and slashes in a blood-lusting pace where does good stand?
Would the angels of heaven battle with the same lust as the minions of hell,
or would they manage to battle with a dignity about them as they cut down devils like grain at harvest?
Is it possible to wage a war of dignity despite the antics of evil?
And in the end should good triumph...
Would they have the slightest air of angelicness as they stood atop the hoards of demonic dead?
or would war turn even the most righteous wicked?
This is the way of man, but is it the way of angels and devils alike?
A lot of questions without easy answers...
And much to the uneasiness of man this war is waged within his own heart.
The riddle is:
when the war is finished, who will be victorious in your heart
and will good still be distinguishable over evil?
Not The End....