Word Count: chapter: 4,613||story: 50,872
The word echoed in his mind repeatedly, but he didn't pay any
attention to it. As much as the voice felt like someone's that he
should know, he couldn't bring himself to really listen to it.
slithered into his mind, cool, calculated, and calm. “Come to me,
Daisuke. This is where you belong, where you've always belonged. You
know that more than anyone.”
that was true. He belonged with that speaker, with the Kaiser. Who
else knew him so well, inside and out? Who else called to his soul
the way he did? No one. No one at
all. Just the Kaiser, Ichijouji Ken.
His footsteps faltered a little, and he started to look behind him.
Ken knew him that well. Maybe even better, because of all the times
they'd shared over the years.
it was again, something that couldn't be tearing into his mind. He
pressed his hands to his temples, trying to make some sort of sense
of it all. He'd heard something that made sense once, and he had
to get that back. Warmth had been all around him, caring and
friendship, commitment and loyalty, that all had for everyone, and
that everyone had for everyone. The words didn't make sense to
anyone but him, he knew. That was what mattered, though. He was
confusing himself more than whatever was going on outside his head
was confusing him.
The Kaiser's voice came again, commanding him to hear and obey.
“Daisuke, I don't want to wait for you much longer. You will obey
started walking again, becoming more and more aware of the corridor
he was going down as he did. This was the Kaiser's fortress. No other
place looked remotely like it. He couldn't help but wonder why he was
expecting to see something different, though. One hand drifted up to
touch the collar around his throat, familiar and unfamiliar. He
hadn't had this days earlier, but like so much else, there was a
contradiction to it: he couldn't remember not
having it. His life had really begun to suck over the last few days.
corridor vanished from around him, replaced by a throne room. It was
different from the last few times he'd been here. Instead of a simple
chair with the screens everywhere, a much grander seat was placed
upon a pedestal, with five steps leading up to it. Each step had a
different design on it, and he stared at them, trying to figure them
out. Then he knew.
The first step
held the Crest of Hope carved into it, with the second having the
Crest of Light. Then on the third were the Crests of Faith and
Knowledge, and the fourth, the Crests of Love and Purity. The Crests
of all the other Chosen...except...
There was one
more step. He slowly lifted his eyes to it, catching a glimpse of the
Kaiser's cloak briefly. He was quite certain the throne had been
empty when he'd first seen it. Just another example of how his mind
wasn't something he could really count on right now.
There were the
final symbols: Courage and Friendship, carved right over where the
Kaiser's feet rested, as if he were standing firmly on them. Not to
let them support him, but showing his dominance over them, how he had
crushed them. Daisuke raised his head just enough to see the
confidant gleam of violet eyes behind those glasses, then he was
crumpled on his knees beside the throne.
“So glad for
you to have rejoined me, Daisuke. You were getting quite out of hand
out there. You might've upset my plans a little.” That hand was on
his head again, and what thoughts he'd managed to collect scattered
to the winds as the Kaiser's fingers caressed each individual strand
of his hair. “You wouldn't want to do that, would you?”
get his brain cells together enough to answer anything, but the
Kaiser didn't really appear to be waiting for one. He stared
downward, the cold silver of his collar still against his fingertips.
He hadn't even noticed that he was still touching it.
“Such a piece
of work.” The Kaiser's other hand tugged lightly at the collar. “Or
should that be two pieces of work?” he mused. “Your mind and this
haired boy took a long breath, forcing the words he wanted to ask out
of his mouth. “What...is that thing? The collar?”
you can still think.” There was a trace of displeasure in the tone,
and Daisuke could feel words of apology rising to his lips. The last
thing he wanted was the Kaiser angry with him. He was responsible for
everything in his life, and he had
to get on his good side. Did the Kaiser have a good side? “The
collar. A device of mine, I'm sure you realized that.”
to say he wasn't that stupid, but it was taking all he could do just
to focus on the fact the Kaiser was even saying something to him,
answering his questions. He listened intently, soaking up every scrap
of information he could. It would all be useful, to someone, if he
could just get it to them.
doesn't really control you, you know,” the Kaiser toyed with
Daisuke's hair again, but the words stood out as nothing else could
have in his distracted brain. “It has an effect on you, but that's
not it.” The Kaiser rather enjoyed boasting about himself and his
greatness. “As long as you wear this collar, and you will always
wear it, then your reality is mine
to sculpt in any way that I choose.”
explained quite a bit right there. So
that's why things just fade and change the way they do. That's what
he's been wanting to happen. Daisuke could feel his mind
stirring again, but he didn't move an inch away from the
doubt it will do much harm to tell you anything I choose now.”
Gloved fingers caressed over and over, and Daisuke could feel his
brains aching to scatter all over again. “In the words of countless
failed villains, there truly isn't anything you
can do to stop me. And those who might have a chance...don't, because
I've already won.”
had no idea how many villains had said things like that, but he was
pretty sure if you counted all the anime, manga, television shows,
books, and such things in the world, the number was fairly
impressive. And as far as he knew,
they'd always failed. Which meant this guy was going to be doing the
same thing. All that he had to do was figure out just how
spectacularly he was going to help the pretend-Kaiser screw up.
“I can almost
imagine what you're thinking,” the Kaiser murmured, his hand
lifting from Daisuke's head to toy with a keyboard before him
suddenly. The room shifted around them both, becoming something a
little different. There was still a throne, and still a keyboard
there, but it wasn't quite like Ken's old base of operations, or what
he'd just seen. “You're wondering just what it is I'm planning.”
Actually, if the
truth had been known, Daisuke was wondering just what kind of
psychotic mind kept changing things all around himself like this, but
he wasn't all that particular about what the enemy wanted to babble
about. He just remained where he was, ears pricked up and listening
for all he was worth.
have many plans, Motomiya. Only an idiot has only one
thing on the fire.” Daisuke definitely didn't believe that.
One of the first things Ken had enjoyed about not being under the
Spore's control was the ability to single-task instead of
multitask. He'd really liked not having to worry about two dozen or
so things all at the same time. Daisuke remembered hearing him say
that more times than he could conveniently count.
froze ever so slightly, his mind forging a connection. I
remember talking to Ken after he's not the Kaiser. I remember being
his friend after that. Best friend. There was another
dimension to that, something more that he wasn't getting yet, but
he'd take things one step at a time. And if that meant catering to
this guy's ego, then he'd do it. He would've balked at this when he
was eleven, but he was quite certain of something else now: he wasn't
eleven any longer, no matter how many memories he might've lost. And
that was exactly what he wanted to find out.
you doing this?” There was no pretence in the pauses between words.
It ached to talk, and he had to
quite nearly drag each word out from his lips. “Why can't
Kaiser, which Daisuke decided he would call him until he could
remember some other name to call him by, laughed a little, one hand
being placed on Daisuke's back. “You've done it to yourself, in a
sense. I only offered. You were
the one who took the offers. Every time, I might add.”
his eyes, gathering his strength. There had to be a single word to
sum all of this up. He didn't know if he could really get himself
together enough to spin a sentence that was any longer. Wait, he knew
mushroom, Daisuke?” The Kaiser's voice caressed his name,
possessively and with a hint of pride. “Surely you remember.” A
cold, cruel laugh. “Of course you wouldn't. Because of what they
Koushirou had mentioned, hadn't it been? Or someone else? Taichi?
Takeru? He couldn't think of which it had been. Somewhere in the
center of his stomach, something was churning and squirming, as if a
knot of worms was in there and wanted out. He had to
remember...hadn't there been something in some of the visions about
mushrooms? Mushrooms of what...
and he could quite literally see the image of a bowl of mushrooms
floating in front of him. “See the Mushrooms of Forgetfulness,
Daisuke. They'll remove all your memories if you eat one. And you've
had quite a few since I brought you to me. In some form or another.”
The image vanished quickly, and Daisuke blinked. Unusual day, to say
the least. “If you really want to know, I'll need something from
blinked; how had he ever thought
this guy was anything like the real Ken. When Ken was in control,
he'd never had that half-sexy, half-insane edge to him. He'd just
been insane most of the time. Of course, looking back, he had to
admit the tight fitting digital spandex looked damned good on the
blue-haired overachiever, and he'd wondered time and time again how
to bring up the question of Ken trying that on again, or some
variation of it, anyway.
was just as well that he didn't bother asking just what it was this
new Kaiser wanted. Shaping the question would've been hard enough,
much less focusing enough on the answer and
thinking of just how to ask what the Kaiser wanted.
think I actually do something as silly as love
you, though.” The Kaiser half-hissed as he pulled Daisuke onto his
lap, twisting his head around to stare at him. “This is just a
means to an end, just like everything else.” Yeah, definite villain
material. He talked too much. “But I am going to have you. The math
is simplistic enough even for you to follow. When you are mine, then
you're not his. One of his greatest possessions will be taken from
him. I believe you can understand that, can you not?”
Confusion had to
be this guy's middle name. In fact, it should probably be his only
“Of course. I
shouldn't expect that much of you. Pretty fire, that's all you are.”
A low, twisted laugh came out of him. “Tamed fire, of course. But
that's really all you are.” There was a quiet pause. “But I'll
tell you anyway.” More than a hint of smugness filled his tone, and
Daisuke ground his teeth lightly.
he's saying anything is because he can take away the memory with more
Mushrooms if he doesn't like how it comes out. It was just as
well that Ken had never tried those things on all of them. He
would've won in no time flat if he had. Maybe that was why this guy
had been on top of this situation for so long. If you couldn't
remember, you couldn't fight.
extracted the juice of the Mushrooms and combined them into different
levels of strength, and been able to refine them with repeated
applications. Thus, I've been modifying your memory over the last few
weeks.” The Kaiser drummed his fingers against the arm of the
throne. “It took a while to get everything sorted out, really. But
you're an excellent test subject, Daisuke. You react so
Huh? Oh, genius
talk for the way he himself didn't know from one second to another
what he was going to do. Good to know it had a name, other than
driving almost everyone around him crazy.
found a point in your life where you would believe the images I
wanted you to, and erased everything after that. I'm sure you've
noticed a few discrepancies in your memories, though.” The Kaiser's
fingers kept on drumming. “The process isn't perfect yet. I'll keep
on working with it, though. It shouldn't be too
much longer before I have your mind shaped just the way I want it.
Then he'll have lost you forever, and I'll be one step closer to the
victory I want.”
of victory?” That came easier than he'd thought it would. Maybe
whatever it was that was sapping his strength and active brain cells
was easing off? The Kaiser hadn't actually touched his head for a few
minutes, after all. That was a plus, it seemed. “Over who?”
dear, there's no reason to tell you everything,
even with a dose of the Mushroom Elixir to remove the information
afterwards. If you missed it, the formula isn't perfect yet. You'll
remember things I don't want you to, and I'm not yet ready for him to
even have a hint of the full extent of my scheme.” A sly
smirk lay underneath the words. “But if you can figure it out for
yourself, I might let you keep the knowledge. For a little while, at
Daisuke felt the
weight of cold eyes on the back of his head, clouding his mind. Who
could it be?
he'd had a hand to spare, instead of both of them keeping him
somewhat supported on the floor, he would've hit himself in the head.
Of course he knew who it was. He
didn't need all of his memories to figure that one out. “It's as
plain...as the glasses on your face, Kaiser. Or whoever you are.
You're trying to take what you can away from Ken.”
Did that mean in
the memories he couldn't remember, he was more to Ken than just a
best friend? After all, stealing a friend wasn't nearly as
devastating as stealing someone who was much more than that. His
fingers worked slowly across the marble floor beneath him as he
battered against the gray fog twirling its way across his mind. On
the other side of that were all the memories and all the life he
could have ever wanted, and then some. If only there were a way
done. You're not quite as stupid as I'd thought you were.” The
voice seemed to be changing a little, getting deeper, becoming more
of an adult's voice than a child's. “Then again, I'm not entirely
certain if that would be possible. Yes, Ichijouji is the one that I
want to crush so completely that even a memory of him won't exist in
this world or on Earth. He took something that I valued more than
anything in the world, and I won't
let him get away with that.”
Raw fury was
written into those words, and Daisuke winced, pulling away as he did.
“You shouldn't let revenge run your life,” he murmured quietly,
lifting his head to stare into eyes of richest brown. “It never
works out in the end.”
you'll find that you're quite wrong, and I am quite right this time,
Motomiya,” the Kaiser ran his fingers through Daisuke's hair quite
deliberately, watching intently to see what happened. “This is more
than just revenge, this is justice. You believe in justice, don't
you? In setting things right that were made wrong?”
his head slowly, pulling it away from the maddening touch. “I
believe in doing what's right, and hurting someone else isn't ever
“You may have
to rethink that. Or let me rethink it for you. I'm quite good at
thinking for others. I've been doing it for Kondo for years.” The
Kaiser pulled Daisuke's head back to him and began to play again.
“I'll have to think for you now. I have a feeling that repeated
applications of the Mushrooms could have a very bad side effect or
pulled his head back again, only to hear a clink of chains. A length
of steel had attached itself from the collar to the side of the
throne, and it stiffened almost as soon as he looked at it. He
wouldn't be moving again any time soon. “What kind of side
shrugged briefly. “Insanity. Total memory loss, leaving you as
nothing more than a blank slate for me to program in any way that I
choose. Perhaps even death, though I'd rather that didn't happen.”
the only one. Daisuke turned his head this way and that, but the
unmoving steel kept him right where the Kaiser wanted him. At least
he wasn't being petted now. That was something else he wanted to know
about. He didn't think it was natural for just someone's touch to do
that. Ken's never had.
it is, I'll be careful with you afterwards. You'll be one of my most
prized trophies.” His gloved hand rested against Daisuke's cheek,
and the captive tried to look at him, figuring out the differences
between the real thing and this half-baked copy.
Ken had been elegance, refinement, and the very definition of a
superiority complex, this person was restrained, but with madness
glowing in their eyes that put anything Ken had experienced in the
shade. Ken was like that because of
his human emotions. Just kinda twisted and screwed up. But this
guy... He didn't know how to describe it, other than the fact
something was twisted deep inside of him, something that went far
beyond the brotherly hero worship gone wrong that had been the keys
to Ken's soul.
physical differences too. Ken had been lean and whipcord thin, tall
for his age and with a near permanent sneer and intense, piercing
violet eyes. This one was tall enough, but broader in the chest and
shoulder, and with a more finished look, as he'd done more growing
than Ken had when he'd been the Kaiser. Instead of spiky blue hair,
there was neatly tamed brown hair. Daisuke definitely preferred the
name?” Daisuke murmured, starting to reach for the other. A warm
hand closed around his wrist, keeping him from getting too close.
“I could be
incredibly cliché and demand that you call me 'master', but I
see no need. My name is Mori. Mori Rokuro. Call me Mori.” There was
going to be no familiarity of the given name here, Daisuke could see.
That was fine by him. He didn't really want to be that familiar with
him anyway. “Now, there's something I need to know, Motomiya. You
were speaking with some of your former friends before I called you
back here. What did they tell you?”
a little, trying to figure out what he could get away with now that
Mori was acting more like himself instead of the very odd parody of
the Kaiser he'd been pretending to be. “A lot of things.” There
was no need to deny what he'd done, especially since he wasn't
entirely sure if he could even answer the question. He was aware of
the conversation, but all the details just kept escaping him. The
gray fog hadn't done anything but wait, hovering in the back of his
mind, keeping him away from what he needed more than anything: mental
clarity and answers to everything.
Mori's eyes bored into his, as intense as he remembered Ken's being.
“I'm quite sure indeed.”
back at him, fire stirring where the worms had been an unknown amount
of time ago, burning their fretting to ashes. “I suppose you're
going to tell me that everything they said is a lie and only you have
told me the truth?”
at all. I don't doubt they told you the truth.” A feral smirk
resulted in the baring of fine white teeth. Like so much else,
Daisuke would've preferred not seeing them right now. “They can
tell you anything that they like, and you can believe what you like.
Remember, your mind and your memories are my most favored playthings
at the moment. You'll remember what they said only as long as I'll
let you. Why should I worry about any
replies wanted to come boiling out of Daisuke's mouth, but only one
actually made it through. “Because you're the bad guy and the bad
guy never wins.”
just who told you that?” Mori sounded far more amused than he did
angry. Daisuke's instincts all stood in a line to scream that this
was a really incredibly bad thing.
“No one had to
tell me. It's just what is. No one we've fought who was really evil
has ever won. Heck, even the ones we fought who thought they were
evil and weren't didn't win. Ken didn't win. Vamdemon didn't win.
Demon didn't win. Oikawa didn't. I could really go on and on.”
There hadn't been all that many after they'd beaten BelialVamdemon,
but the flickers of memory now surging and moving behind the fog,
taking the occasional chance to flicker into his mind as a spark of
knowledge, told him what he needed to know. Or at least random things
that were fun to think about.
hand closed quite firmly around Daisuke's chin. “What makes you
think I'm evil, Motomiya? Just
because I'm wiping your memories and taking you from your boyfriend?
Really, is that your idea of evil?”
you're trying to be.” It wasn't that easy to speak with his chin
being held, but he managed. “What did Ken ever do to you, anyway?”
“I told you
all I want to for now.” Mori released Daisuke's chin and leaned
back in his throne. “Kondo, get over here. It's time for the next
phase of my project.”
had time enough only to wonder if he'd actually be able to see or
hear Kondo before a third figure joined them on the dais. Out of the
corner of one eye, he caught a glimpse of two others waiting in a
doorway. He couldn't quite get a good look at them, but one seemed to
be a kind of angel Digimon. Since the only ones he knew he'd seen
right offhand were Angemon and Angewomon, he figured this wasn't a
rescue, what with them just kind of standing there. The Digimon did
look a little familiar, but it was hard to recall much with the
essence of Mushrooms of Forgetfulness running around in his veins
still. The other one was easier to identify, being a Unimon. This one
tossed its head lightly, visored gazed all on Mori. If Daisuke hadn't
known better, he would've compared the attention to what Wormmon had
given Ken back during the Kaiser days. Then
again, maybe he is. If Mori's a Chosen, then his partner's got to be
hurting as much as Wormmon is.
“What is it
you need?” Kondo didn't appear to pay any attention to Daisuke
whatsoever. He knew he wasn't the best judge of who was doing what
right now, though, so he didn't let it bother him. Something about
her, like so much else, was tugging around at the back of his mind.
He'd figure it out later, once he had a later to figure it out in.
partner. I've got a new idea, and I'll need the little squirt to make
it work properly.” Mori turned slightly to the doorway. “Pidmon,
I want you and Unimon to take Motomiya back to the lab. That's where
Kondo's going to be taking V-mon once he gets here.”
The two Digimon
stepped a little closer, and Daisuke saw that the angel-like one was
indeed a Pidmon. He wondered why they looked so much like Angemon,
except for some different coloring here and there. Maybe he'd get the
chance to ask someday. Unimon trotted closer, nuzzling briefly
against Mori's arm.
time for our ride, Mori,” the deep voiced Digimon reminded him.
“You're not going to bail out on me again, are you?”
erstwhile Kaiser ran a comforting hand across his partner's neck and
withers. “No, I won't. Once they're locked up, we can take the
ride, and it'll be a doubly long one, to make up for missing the last
time.” Daisuke wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't heard it.
He'd heard it, and he still didn't
believe it. Mori actually sounded as if he cared about his
partner. That went against everything he'd heard or seen about
someone like him. Shouldn't he have been acting kind of like Ken,
ignoring and being rude to his companion?
how the heck had Mori even gotten
one? Only the Chosen were supposed to have Digimon partners. Maybe it
was just a friend he'd made? But what kind of a Unimon, a Vaccine
Digimon, would be working with someone who was doing what he
was doing? It didn't make sense. Not that anything else had for who
knew how long, but it had to start somewhere, didn't it? He just
wished it would get around to starting.
You never learned anything if you didn't ask. The worst that could
happen was that he wouldn't know, and since he already didn't know,
it wouldn't be that much of a difference. “You've got a partner?”
and I both do. Pidmon is hers.” Mori seemed a little too caught up
in petting Unimon to bother keeping secrets, if he did think this one
was. “I don't see why you're so surprised. It's not as if its
uncommon.” He laughed suddenly. “Not that you
remember that anymore, of course. But we both had ours long before it
became as common as the possession of a cell phone or clothing or
something of that sort. Almost like you.” He turned to look at
Daisuke, smirking a twisted sort of smirk before reaching into a
pocket to pull out something that should not have been even remotely
possible, as far as Daisuke could recall. It made him want to get
those memories back as fast as he could, just to understand why
Mori was holding what he was.
Where in the
world had he gotten a D-3?
To Be Continued