Miyako held her glasses to her face with one hand and did her best to knock tree branches out of her way with the other. She knew Hawkmon had to be around there somewhere, but she couldn’t see him, she couldn’t hear him, and she wasn’t even sure if he could help. But she wanted him there.
She’d only known him less than a month, but when it came to digging into the heart of the Digital World and finding ways to help it, she wanted her partner with her. That was what this was about, right? Freeing the Digital World from the evil Dark Masters, who somehow defeated the original Chosen?
It would help if I wasn’t being chased by a maniac!
A ripple of amused laughter echoed all around her and she stumbled to a halt for a handful of seconds before pitching forward again, hoping she’d picked a direction where she wouldn’t be followed.
“Run, run, little bird,” that hated voice floated, and Miyako couldn’t figure out where it came from. Up, down, all around, she couldn’t stop long enough to catch her breath and figure out where she was, and for all she knew, she was going in circles. “What makes you think you can get away from me?”
Miyako drew in a breath, wanting to shout back, before a sudden slap of reality cracked across her: she didn’t know if Kurai knew where she actually was! And if she didn’t…
If she doesn’t, then talking’s just going to show her where I am.
And if she did know, then… well, she wasn’t going to talk to the enemy anyway. Even though every instinct in her demanded that she do something that wasn’t just stand there.
She kept on going instead. She would run until she found the others or some kind of a safe haven. Everything they’d learned told her that there weren’t very many of those.
Did something move ahead of her? Human? Digimon? Kurai?
She didn’t know what Kurai and Akeru were. No one did. Daisuke called them both ‘big trouble’ and that was probably the best they were going to get. The twins looked like humans, at least in the sense of having one head, two arms and two legs attached to a torso, but other than that, no one could properly see their entire faces – they did have the standard sort of face with two eyes, two ears, a nose, and a mouth, but the specific details remained hidden behind their masks – but they moved too fast and in ways that defied what few laws of nature the Digital World had to just be human.
Miyako didn’t think she’d ever forget the first time she’d seen them.
She stayed behind Ken and Daisuke, next to Iori, doing her level best to take mental notes on everything that they saw. They’d need to know how to get back in here, and even more, how to get out of there, if it came down to it.
None of them wanted to take a chance on what could happen. This could either be the beginning of the end of the Dark Masters’ reign or the beginning of their imprisonment in the dungeons.
Gennai’s words rose back up in her mind.
No one has seen the Chosen Children except at a distance since their return to the Digital World. We’ve had reports that the Children of Faith and Knowledge are with MugenDramon. There are scattered sightings of some of the others, but nothing that we can confirm. And we’ve tried.
Find them if you can. Find out what Piemon did to them and if we can change it.
Miyako hadn’t ever met a Chosen Child. She didn’t think she’d know what one looked like if they were described to her, especially after ten years of suffering.
But she decided on a moment’s notice that the two people who sat at the table could not possibly have been Chosen Children at any point in their lives and anyone who counted on them to save the world would be in dire need of having their Mentor credit pulled.
It wasn’t what they did. It was what they didn’t do. They didn’t act like human beings at all. They sat side by side at Piemon’s right hand, Akeru closer, and they looked up at the new arrivals in perfect unison.
“This is my son, Akeru, and my daughter, Kurai,” Piemon introduced them, addressing his words to Ken. Ken nodded, as distant and remote as the stars, befitting the guise he was trying to pull off.
“This is my partner, Daisuke,” Ken said, waving one gloved hand toward the redhead. He didn’t bother to say anything about Miyako or Iori and the longer they stayed there, the more Miyako found herself thrilled by the anonymity.
Akeru and Kurai spoke in unison at all times, their movements equally matched. They reached for the same food, drank from their cups at the same time, and from beginning to end, they creeped her out.
It’s got to be a joke. Real people aren’t like that. Weren’t there Digimon who could change shape? Gennai had told them about some of the abilities that Digimon had, and she was almost sure that one of them could do that. Maybe more than one.
So these had to be Digimon in disguise and that just creeped her out even more.
Iori would be paying attention to the actual conversation; he was naturally silent anyway, and would be able to figure out the holes and the weak points that would naturally come up like that. Miyako checked out the other people themselves. It was her job to figure out the defenses Piemon wielded and how to work through them, if at all possible.
Aside from Akeru and Kurai, there was one other person there, whose name hadn’t been given. He stood behind Piemon, tall and still as a statue, face as masked as his master’s. If she hadn’t caught him breathing once or twice, she might’ve thought that he really was a statue. Dark armor wrapped around him and at least one sword hung on his back, with two daggers at his belt. Miyako had a pretty strong feeling that he had a lot more that she couldn’t see.
They’d been told they would meet the other Dark Masters later. Except for Pinnochimon, they weren’t properly capable of dining the way Piemon and his children were, so they would be introduced in a different setting. Pinnochimon sat at the far end of the table, tossing the occasional bit of food around, and clearly not happy at all about anything.
No one paid that much attention to him, though. Miyako noted his presence and that was it. No matter how funny or upset the puppet looked, she wasn’t going to forget he was one of those keeping this world underneath Piemon’s heel.
The longer the meal carried on, the more Miyako’s attention pulled itself back to the twins. Piemon said little about them, only that they were his pride and joy. Most of the conversation was of the general ‘getting to know you’ type, and Miyako didn’t envy Ken one little bit. He had to keep up the pretense of being a warlord of sufficient power and intensity for Piemon to at least be wary of confronting him, without wanting to get rid of him right away. All she had to do was keep her eyes and ears open.
Her heart nearly stopped when she saw Kurai’s eyes turned toward her. Almost none of her face could be seen behind her mask – only Piemon’s saying so indicated she was female at all, really, her clothes kept the shape of her body well hidden – but there was a quirk to her lips and a brightness in her eyes that sent chills all through Miyako.
I wish I could have Hawkmon with me. But it was too dangerous to let their Digimon appear with them right now. Evolution was still a tricky and untried thing where she and Iori and their partners were concerned. Ken and Daisuke had a better grip on it, but that was because they’d been at this longer.
Even so, having Hawkmon there would’ve provided her with a measure of comfort against those gleaming, far too appreciative eyes.
That had only been their first encounter, without words exchanged, with Miyako too nervous about what they were doing to really be aware of how different the twins really were.
The first time they’d talked hadn’t been much better and even thinking about it now sent chills all through Miyako.
She stumbled over something in her path, not sure if it were a rock or just a bump in the ground, or what. But she pitched face forward, twisting just enough by habit so she didn’t break her glasses, and lay there for a few moments, trying to catch her breath.
She had no more time than that, because in those few moments, a soft silver web of netting fell down on her and pulled tight. She squawked and struggled against it, but every move she made only tightened the grip on her.
A slender figure dropped down next to her and Kurai laughed her cold laugh, her fingers tangling in Miyako’s hair even through the net.
“I told you that you couldn’t get away from me. Silly, silly girl. Father wants to talk to you, but he’ll give you back to me when he’s done.” Kurai’s fingers kept on carding through Miyako’s hair, and Miyako kept on struggling, not caring about anything but trying to get away. “You’ll be much more co operative with me after Father’s done with you. He knows how to persuade people.”
That didn’t make Miyako’s day sound any better. She banged her feet on the ground and squirmed and bucked, but nothing she did accomplished anything beside wearing her out. Kurai just sat there and waited for her to finally exhaust herself.
“You people are so silly to think that you can get away with lying to Father. No one can lie to him,” she said, her tone a little softer. “He’s going to make you all regret what you’ve done. No one tries to take away what belongs to him.”
“This world doesn’t belong to him!” Miyako shouted, finding her breath and her voice at last. Kurai’s grip tightened at once.
“Of course it does. Everything that he wants is his.” She wriggled her arms underneath Miyako and hefted her up over her shoulders. For someone who didn’t look to be much older than Miyako, she held an impressive amount of strength. “It’s time to go home now. If you’re very good and tell him what he wants to know, he might give you to me a lot sooner. I want you to be very good.”
In a choice between Piemon and his unnamed terrors and Kurai and whatever was going on behind her mad eyes, Miyako had no idea of which would be more horrifying.