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Dragon's Fire - The Myotismon Freak

Gray clouds rolled silently into the once blue skies over the Japanese city of Odaiba. They brooded angrily there for one hour, two hours, three before they tired of this child's play and burst open with a jagged bolt of lightning. Torrents of rain washed over earth and water, drenching anyone that dared to be outside in such weather. Watching from the comforting warmth-but undeniable confinement-of their homes, people sighed. Unbeknownst to them, one was to return to the real world, seven were to make an exciting revelation-while searching for a completely different reason, and one more was to find destiny. But one can find more than just a single thing.

Where was he? This place was completely unknown to him. This wasn't home. It was far from home. The brown-streaked eagle perched on his shoulder uttered a guttural question, mentioning at the end that he was starving. "I cannot help that, Eaglemon. We are one and the same in that emotion." The fifteen-year-old blond sat down, grimacing at the fact that he would be severely reprimanded if they found him like this. But the immaculate (well, almost immaculate) atmosphere that had surrounded him at home had suddenly given way when he had landed in the world of eccentrically colored flora, sometimes frightening fauna, and creatures big and small called "Digimon." Eaglemon hopped off the boy's shoulder and onto the ground, beginning to preen himself after doing so. After about five minutes of doing this, he looked up. "Well, sitting is not going to help you any, is it, Manfred? Emil would be ashamed if she saw you giving up. You know that she pushes for what she believes in, and-if you want to, as she puts it-she wants you to do the same." Anybody listening in wouldn't have understood a word the eagle Digimon said. First off, any normal person (who, of course, didn't know what a Digimon was) would've freaked out. Second off, the long stream of words was in another language . . . German. Manfred sighed. "I know, Eaglemon . . . It is just that everything is so strange to me. First, Emil disappeared. Then I, too, disappeared, and landed in . . . What did you call it?" "The Digital world, or Digiworld." "Danke." He looked out over Odaiba, silent once more. Maybe, he thought, the answer to this riddle is down there. With that thought, he stood up-Eaglemon once again on his shoulder-and walked towards the thriving town.

Not much of the unusual happened to Odaiba. Not to Taichi "Tai" Kamiya, at least. The big Digimon battles had become common for them. Why, not too long ago, they had finished off a squid-looking creature that went by the name of Gesomon. Ikkakumon had done that. The Digidestined sighed as he walked along. Searching for the eighth child was . . well . . . kind of boring. The battles weren't, though. It was just the actual searching that made him want to fall over from lack of action. Things would all change some time soon. Agumon looked up at his Digidestined partner, who had stopped abruptly. "What's going on, Tai?" "That," the brown-haired boy said, slowly pointing a finger. Walking towards them was a blond boy, somewhat tall, with serious blue eyes and a brown-streaked eagle perched on his shoulder. The most odd thing about him was the fact that he was dressed like a Prussian cadet. "Okay, and I used to thing some Digimon dressed weird," he said, too busy staring too give Agumon a "no offense" look. The orange dinosaur-looking creature dressed in a black hood and cape gave a bit of a "humph." The eagle said something to the boy, causing him to stop. He nodded, then walked over to Tai. "Guten Tag. Mein name ist Manfred." Okay, this just got weird, the brown-haired boy thought. "Uhh . . . I don't quite understand you," he managed to say. The other boy flashed a white smile and switched to a language that Tai understood, the brown-haired boy's own tongue. "Ah. I suppose taking languages helps, after all, doesn't it, Eaglemon?" He shot a playful look in the direction of the eagle. "Eaglemon" gave as much of a grin as he could. He turned back towards Tai. "As I said, my name is Manfred. What is yours?" Tai couldn't help but notice Manfred's accent. "Um . . . My name is Tai. This is Agumon." He gestured towards the orange Digimon, who waved. "Hi!" Manfred acknowledged this with a nod. "As you have most likely guessed, mein kamerad that is perched on my shoulder is Eaglemon," he said. "So, where you from?" Tai. "I was born and raised in Schweidnitz, Silesia, which is where I received my name." What? The single word in the form of a question flickered through Tai's mind for more than an instant. "Um, okay. I lived at Heighton View Terrace for most of my life. Then we moved here." "And where is here?" "Odaiba, Japan."

His sister had grown much, much quieter. What for? They were all happy to see her. Just going up in her black-and-white Albatros was dangerous enough, much less flying against the enemy, so they were always happy to see her and she was always happy to see them. But she seemed so silent now. Emil had not ever been the "quiet type," not really. They soon found out why. It was dinner. Emil, as usual, picked at her food ever so slightly. They all sat in silence. Nobody had told Manfred anything. He didn't know why his sister, "Der Drache von der Himmel," was so silent. His parents knew; his older brother, still at Jasta 9, knew. So why didn't he? After dinner was over, Emil went and sat, by herself, off in a corner, and began staring off into space. It was then that fifteen-year-old Manfred noticed the glaring white bandage wound around his sister's left wrist. "Emil! What happened?" he asked quietly, walking over. Emil looked up, facing him, and sighed. The Ace looked out the window, then at her bandaged left wrist, then at her youngest brother again. "I was shot through the wrist during a dogfight."

"Hi, Mom! I'm home!" He shut the door quietly behind him and walked towards his room, Manfred, Eaglemon, and Agumon trailing. His mom turned from where she was cooking and, seeing Manfred, inquired as to his identity and his being there. "Well, Mom," Tai said, his mind racing, "that's my friend, Manfred. His parents were off somewhere, and they asked me if he could stay with us for a while. I didn't want to turn them down, so I told them that he could stay with me." His mom nodded, and sighed, and turned back towards dinner. "That's fine, Tai, just please tell us next time, okay, honey?" "Yes, Mom." He continued walking towards his room.

The gray clouds rolled in challenging turmoil in the air, making Der Drache realize that they didn't have long before a storm arrived. But orders were orders; an Allied flight had been spotted in the vicinity. Three planes were scattered behind the lead black-and-white Albatros: one completely dark blue, one with the upper wing graced by a painting of a black-blue eagle, and one sporting shocks of black and gold. All bore fiery crimson dragons painted on either side of the fuselage.

It was Flight no. 3 of the now infamous "Drache Staffel," Jasta 9, led by Rittmeister Emil von Mackheimner. The order of the pilots was as follows: leading was Rittmeister Emil von Mackheimner; then Oberleutnant Michael von Mackheimner, the leader's brother; following him was "Adlerchen," Leutnant Adler von Kreischtoff; and bringing up the rear was Leutnant Hans Wulf. Black shapes appeared on the horizon, coming closer at a rapid pace. They came closer, and closer, in a tight V-wing formation, until all members of the kette-flight-could distinguish the cockades painted in seeming mockery on the wings and fuselages of the opposing flight. They came even closer, and Der Drache signaled the attack.

The dark Digimon stirred restlessly. Cursed sunlight, it prevented him from searching for the eighth child . . . He abruptly stopped his pacing in his subterranean lair. Memories caused restless souls to stop wandering, even if it were just for a moment. The boy. The human boy with the eagle. Who was he, and, for that matter, where was he? He was pleasant enough, becoming fiercely defensive if anyone said something about his family or friends that he didn't like; especially when people put down his sister. But that was understandable; the boy's sister-as he had been told by the Digidestined-was a respectable person, very courageous, and one who always persevered. She was only twenty-three; he had an old brother who was seven years older than the Digidestined boy, and a cousin in England who was three years younger than himself. The boy was straightforward. He had gotten directly to his point when they met in battle, and his Digimon had been wounded-take me, not him. At that point, his crest began to glow, illuminating a medal of some sort at his throat. And that cursed black-and-white eagle Digivolved and drove him off. The boy . . . He remembered seeing him somewhere, before that, but in a much more obscure fashion . . . It had been a carven image alongside a disquieting prophecy. Blue light Dark's fright Sincerity's night Sky's fight Black-and-white Eagles' plight It made no sense whatsoever . . . . . . To him, at least.

The opposing flights dove headlong at each other, four Albatroses versus five SPADs. The pilots in both flights could sense that this would get ugly . . . Der Drache was the first to bring one down. The Ace waited until the lead SPAD

in their gun sights . . . It fell swathed in intense flames. The main fray broke up into a series of individual duels; Michael von Mackheimner, the Staffelfuhrer's brother, twisted his plane like a hornet until he managed to bring down a "Frenchie." Adler found himself the target of a very plucky French pilot. Adlerchen threw his plane into an Immelmann turn and soon found himself situated in a position to bring down his enemy unnoticed-which is exactly what he did. Not the least, Hans Wulf shot down his opponent with almost no fight; almost. The French pilot was very resourceful, but, in the end, was no match for one of the "Drache Staffel" pilots. By now, the last SPAD of the group had found himself prey to the Staffelfuhrer of Jasta 9, Emil von Mackheimner. He twisted, and turned, and spun, and everything he could think of . . . And the Ace followed him through every maneuver. Until one point, after five fruitless minutes of this tenacious combat, when Emil's guard fell. The SPAD stole-as quietly as possible-behind the Prussian, pulling closer, closer.. When Der Drache had realized that a French pilot was on her tail, she tried to throw her plain into an Immelmann turn . . . But by that time the French pilot had begun firing. She had just begun to pull back on the joystick when, by some feat unknown to her, a bullet ripped through the whole of her Albatros. And Der Drache could sense nothing but intense pain as a bullet tore through her left wrist and another dug into her left thigh.

Blue light The boy looked down at his enamel-blue Crest, which he held in his palm, and then to the award hanging at his throat. It was a reminder of his sister . . . He sighed, looking up and putting his Crest around his neck again. He didn't notice it silently glow as it gently touched the award before falling into its original position. Eaglemon looked up from where he had been once again preening himself. "What is the matter, Manfred?" he asked. Manfred, too, looked up, this time from the floor, and said, "Nothing, Eaglemon. I was just . . . reminiscing." Suddenly, Tai walked in. "Time for dinner!" he told his guest, the orange midget dinosaur at his side nodding. Eaglemon nodded as well, beginning to speak to Agumon only after Tai and Manfred had left. After all, they didn't want to blow their cover to Tai's parents. Tai's table manners were, as usual, absolutely disgusting. Manfred seemed at first shocked by it; namely it was the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Kamiya put up with it. If he did that at home . . .

Tai didn't seem to notice it. When he was done eating, he just sat there, too full to move. After about five minutes of this, he and Manfred were excused, and went into Tai's room.

As he remembered it, the boy had been somewhat tall-about 5'5"-with striking blue eyes and blond hair. He also recalled the human making references to something-or someone-in another language. Dark's fright He wondered what that particular part of the prophecy meant, considering that the boy didn't at all strike him as frightening. Persistent, yes-but fearful? Light's night How could that be? He was supposed to be "Light's night," the one to crush the Light. How could another figure in prophecy take his supposed place? But that last part . . . It was the most confusing of all. Eagles' plight How could he be the eagles' plight? Eagles were creatures of inferior intelligence-so he thought with a bit of a "humph"-except for the Digimon that resembled one . . . Especially the six-winged, blazing crimson RoteAdlermon. Unbeknownst to him, it was . . . incredibly symbolic. The fall of eagles signified the rise of others; the sky's fight was what caused them to do so. Sincerity's night was in a period of deep doubt, and the Dark's fright lay in something completely other than scaring it. Blue light brought about Black-and-white; and pasts call out names . . .

It seemed incredibly awkward to the five-foot-nine, brown-eyed scout pilot to fall in love with your Staffelfuhrer, and a bit ironic. Who would've known that the one that led you was the one you wanted closest to your side . . . But it had apparently happened to him. Der Drache, as she was called, "charmed the fool" out of him. She was straightforward, persistent, courageous-and all that rolled into one person made him fall head over heels for her. And-something that made him flattered-she and her brother, Michael, had named their pet eagle, Jasta 9's unofficial mascot, after him. Adler von Kreischtoff sighed. He should've knocked off the French pilot that wounded his leader on their last flight . . . But the pilot escaped unscathed, returning to his squadron having shot down a one hundred kill ace. All of Jasta 9 was angered at the temporary loss of their leader, but he and Michael were even more so. As if in vengeance of the wounding of Emil, the squadron had sent down 15 enemy aircraft-in one day-down in flames. He looked out the window to where Michael was exercising Adler. He could sense that life would soon take a sudden and sharp turn . . .

It was dark. That was all he could tell: it was completely black. The brown-haired boy stepped cautiously along, completely alone, completely lost, disoriented, frightened . . . But there now arose a faint flicker of hope: there was a small enamel-blue light glowing, not too far ahead of him. He broke into a run, heedless of any dangers that might be awaiting on either side of the dark path; he had to reach the light. It called to him, drawing him, driving darkness away in its tight sphere of protection against the dark. Blue light He reached it . . . and saw a majestic being. Dark's fright A six-winged black-and-white dragon stood before him, it's pale wings opened to reveal black Latin crosses at the ends. Light's night There was a smaller being beside it . . . Sky's fight Who was every bit as majesty-filled as the Drache. Black-and-white They were tall, about six foot, with short-cropped blond hair and piercing green eyes that seemed to take in everything. Standing beside them was yet another . . . Eagles' plight And Tai recognized him to be . . . Manfred.

"Eaglemon Digivolved to . . . ADLERMON!" The black-and-white eagle flew high, in defiance of the smaller vampire Digimon. "Crimson Cross!" He spread his wings wide, letting the sky's power flow through his veins, before causing a cross of fire to spiral towards the opposing Digimon. "Nightmare Claw!" There was a flash, an explosion of dark and light energy, and all was still . . . Except for the warring creatures. "Crimson Lightning!" He wrapped a scarlet bolt of lightning around the eagle's midriff, then throwing him almost carelessly backwards through the air. The eagle turned an inadvertent barrel roll and landed with a heavy thud on the ground. "Adlermon!" The blond-haired boy couldn't stand to see his Digimon treated that way . . . "Nightmare . . ." "No!" He ran forward to the vampire Digimon, who now had a look of evil pleasure spread across his face. The Digimon lowered his arms. "No. Do not kill him; he was merely defending me. If you are looking for an enemy . . . Then here I am."

His Crest was silently glowing, fiercely warding off the darkness wrapping slowly around the boy . . . While the eagle watched on in vain. "No!" "Adlermon Digivolved to . . ." The eagle soared high, the sky turning to a dull red as a bright crimson glow surrounded him. It started at his head-thrown back in a battle cry-and slowly moved down, transforming the Adler, the eagle, giving him renewed strength filled with the power of the sky . . . "RoteAdlermon!" The six-winged, bright crimson eagle lowered his head, his brilliant blue eyes filled with determination and power . . . "Sky's Fire!" He threw back his head once more, wings thrown wide as well, as a blinding hail of fire fell upon his opponent, but never his Digidestined . . . His opponent threw out a hand to stop the onslaught cold, but it was an attempt made in vain. It was too late; the hail of flame had already caught him. One thought crossed his mind: So . . . fire challenges darkness, sky defies night . . . But when he opened his eyes from where he had been shielding them, the boy as gone, riding swiftly away on the back of the six-winged crimson eagle. The black Latin crosses on the tips of each wing shimmered softly with a last glimpse of fire, then fading back to their original, darker color. But it would not be the final encounter for them . . .

Koushirou "Izzy" Izumi was, as usual, completely engrossed in his computer. The small clicking sound produced as the boy typed stopped momentarily as he thought he heard a noise. There was total and complete silence; Tentomon, who was asleep, wasn't making a sound of any sort, save his quiet breathing. He shook his head and went back to typing. There it was again. Izzy looked up once more, scanning his room for anything that might be making a noise. Nothing. He stood up, and walked towards his window. The Digidestined slowly slid it open . . . To see the strangest thing outside.

Gatomon sighed. Lately, she had been feeling so many emotions, painful mixed emotions . . . Like when she was around Kari. The cat-like creature shook her head furiously. She was of evil, the child of good. Their paths were not to cross . . . Or so she thought.

Letting her mind wander from the extreme boredom of guard duty, she found herself remembering all that had happened to her when she had worked for Myotismon. First off, there were the scars that reminded her of when she first met him . . . The Champion-form Digimon shuddered. She didn't want to remember that . . . She turned her large blue eyes to the night sky, taking in its dark beauty. She would have found it even more beautiful had Myotismon not been a Creature of the Night.. But he was. And she couldn't do anything about it. Gatomon suddenly tensed as she heard a sound. It was so quiet, it was almost unheard; but she had caught it. The cat-like Digimon scanned the surrounding area. There was nothing. She relaxed, thinking that her mind was playing a trick on her. Gatomon didn't stay that way for long. She suddenly started, and turned around, thinking she felt a hand on her shoulder. She was right about that much . . . But it wasn't who she thought it was.

Manfred sighed. Yes, Emil was much more silent now-she would begin staring off into space at any moment, probably thinking about the dogfight which had scarred her spirit. It was as though her own frail mortality was finally borne upon her-and she wouldn't forget it. She continued wearing the snow-white bandage around her left wrist and hand even after her wound had healed. But it was for a practical purpose; if she took it off, her hand would just hang limply from her arm. It was because the bullet that had done this to her had apparently hit a nerve or something in her left hand, causing "Der Drache von der Himmel" to lose all movement in it. And anybody looking could tell that she had a slight limp, even though she hated to admit it. The fifteen-year-old could see a longing for freedom in those green eyes of hers; those green eyes that seemed to take in everything. His six-foot-tall schweister-sister-wanted to be set free.

It was no more than a flickering image; like a hologram or something of the sort. But Izzy looked closer and could tell that nobody was playing a trick on him. A man, about five foot eleven, was exercising a large brown eagle with piercing golden eyes. The person, with middling blond hair, was dressed in a strange gray uniform; Izzy was later to look it up, and be even more shocked than he was now. For one last instant, the eagle rocketed into the sun with a lingering shriek; and both man and bird of prey were gone. Izzy shook his head. Had it happened at all? It seemed so real . . . He went and pulled out an encyclopedia, wishing to solve this memory before he had a chance to forget.

Hikari "Kari" Kamiya was silent as she stared out the window, at the glittering night sky. Somewhere out there, anywhere, destiny lay waiting to be discovered . . . She would've started searching for it, if she had been a disobedient child. Her parents didn't like her wandering off; and Tai had once told her, for his sake, not to go outside at night. She didn't know what was out there that would make Tai act like that; but she knew Tai was protective of her, and didn't want any harm to come to her, so whatever was out there had to be evil. But not all that is dark is evil . . . Kari turned away from the window, silently walking over to Tai. "Tai?" Her older brother turned around. "What, Kari?" "Why don't you want me going outside at night?" Tai sighed. "It's just . . . There's something evil out there, Kari, and I don't want it hurting you." "Oh." She went and sat by the window again, not taking notice as Manfred and Eaglemon stepped into the room. At her passing, a Digivice under her bed started to silently glow . . .

A human. It was a human. They were about six feet tall, with short cropped blond hair and an unruly cowlick that sometimes covered their right eye. Their green eyes seemed to take in everything; Gatomon knew she couldn't escape from them, even in this darkness. The cat-like Digimon stopped suddenly. There was a serious expression on the human's face, but she could tell that they were hiding the slightest bit of a grin. Staring upwards with her large blue eyes, the Digimon made a bold move. "Who.. are you?" The human said nothing, but raised their left hand in fare well; Gatomon noticed a snow white bandage wound tightly about that and their left wrist. And they disappeared, vanishing silently into the night. Gatomon shook her head harder than ever now. The human . . . were they even real, or was she hallucinating?

Izzy had, by now, resumed typing on his computer. He was still a bit shaken, though; he would never forget what had just happened to him. Suddenly, the image of Gennai walking across the screen started talking. "Izzy! You have mail!" it said, waving a letter in its hand. When he opened it, Izzy got another surprise.

"Myotismon is out and about! I know this happens every night, but I think that he has a plan tonight!" That was it. Two sentences that would change the Digidestined forever. Izzy read it, hurriedly shut off his computer, and woke up Tentomon. He decided to bring in some reinforcements; he woke up Tai, who said he would meet him at the park. And the Digidestined was out, climbing silently through his window trailing a bug-like Digimon into the darkness beyond.

October 2. His sister's birthday. And she was gone. That was two days ago. According to Hans Wulf, he had seen her 'plane dive headlong into a cloud formation, apparently out of control. Her black and white Fokker Triplane. Mein Schwarz und Weiss, she had called it; My Black and White. She told him that it had never failed her, that none of her black-and-white planes ever had; but even the conflicting colors of white wings and a black fuselage couldn't have helped her then. He sighed, fingering gently the award that now hung at his throat, the Orden Pour le Merite mit Eichenlaub. Adler von Kreischtoff had found it in his sister's quarters, holding down a note saying that Der Drache left it to him, her youngest brother. It was his only memento of, her except for a signed picture . . .

Tai hurriedly pulled on his shoes as he sat by the door. Kari had woken up, and followed him; she couldn't get back to sleep. The Digidestined boy stood up, Agumon by his side, and quietly opened the door. "Where are you going, Tai?" He turned to face his younger sister. "Izzy needs my help." "Oh." He looked away now, out the door. "And Kari?" "Yes?" "Please . . . don't tell Mom and Dad. It would just make them worried." "Okay, Tai." Tai walked out the door, thinking he shut it all the way . . . But it didn't catch, and it remained open a crack. Kari looked at that crack, wondering if she should follow. She wasn't disobedient, but she wanted to see if she could help Tai . . . She put on her shoes and began to trail her brother.

He lay in silent wait, swathed by shadow, unseen by anyone. It was just as well; if the Digidestined found him, they would battle him, and he was weakened . . . She hardly made a sound as she walked along, towards home. This silence was brought on by the fact that, as a child, she had stalked people around the house, sometimes jumping out at them to see their reaction; she had learned to walk silently, and it had stuck. But she was surprised that she still did that. She was twenty-one now; she had a job, a roommate, a responsibility to get good grades . . . Suddenly, silently, someone stepped out of the shadows before her. They were tall, and slender, and pale, with piercing blue eyes hidden behind a red mask. Their dark purple lips contrasted sharply to their blond hair, three bangs of which shot out over their face. With every movement, she thought she saw the swirl of a cape. She stopped. The stranger came closer to her, a small smile-a grin-flickering across their pale face as they drew her into their arms. They came awfully close to her, she thought; right up against her. But she didn't seem to mind; that was the odd part of it all. She blinked once, twice, to see if it was a dream, but it wasn't. She, strangely enough, didn't try to fight them . . . And at the last moment, their lips parted, and her world blacked out with a glitter of fangs and a stinging pain in her neck. . . . The blond-haired boy with the eagle perched on his shoulder watched silently from across the street . . . Manfred walked silently along, Eaglemon perched on his shoulder. He was beginning to grow accustomed to this odd world that Eaglemon had called "Digiworld." Even though the eccentric flora and frightening fauna were very different than home, he was adapting to it all . . .

They camped out in the forest that night. Eaglemon perched on a low-to-the-ground tree branch, just beside Manfred. The Digidestined lay on the ground, his head on his hands. He began to nod off . . . Suddenly, there was a loud crashing sound, and a creature stomped into the clearing. Eaglemon's golden eyes suddenly shot open, and he flapped his wings to land beside Manfred. The boy half scooted, half ran backwards, away from the intruder. "What is that?!" he cried, stopping a good distance away from the attacker. "That," his Digimon informed him, "is Dracmon. He has a reputation for being a vicious fighter." Manfred thought it odd that his Digimon partner be so calm . . . "Eagle Wing!" The attack had virtually no effect on Dracmon. The eagle had a flash of insight, and flapped frantically to gain height. For an instant, he soared, reminding Manfred of his sister's pet eagle . . . But that instant didn't last long.

Eaglemon dive bombed the dark dragon, cutting a long line of gashes across its eyes with a shriek. "Dark Fire!" Eaglemon was down . . . "Eaglemon!" He was mad now . . . The blond-haired boy made a mad charge at Dracmon, who knocked him aside with a flick of his tail. "Eaglemon Digivolved to . . . ADLERMON!" "Crimson Cross!" Dracmon was knocked backwards by the force of the black-and-white eagle's attack. He roared, angrily spat a tongue of dark flame, and counterattacked. "Dark Fire!" The eagle wrapped his wings around his body, causing the black Latin crosses on the ends of his wings to glow a bit . . . "Crimson Cross!" Dark Fire exploded in a bright flash of crimson, and Dracmon was thrown back in defeat. He retreated silently . . . Adlermon de-Digivolved into Eaglemon and hopped over to Manfred. "Are you all right?" he asked, concerned. "Ja. I am fine," his Digidestined answered. They spoke no more, but later drifted silently off into sleep.

Myotismon let the human fall gently to the ground, two small puncture marks side by side on her neck. He knelt and, as if in payment for her blood, he imparted a lingering kiss on her cheek before getting up and leaving. He walked silently away, stopping soon after he began to give a backward glance as a pang of guilt hit him. It seemed wrong to leave anyone there, even if it was a mere human that had fallen prey to his need of blood . . . He would've turned back, would've taken her with him, if he hadn't seen another human running towards him . . . The Digidestined leader, Tai. He turned his back. "I have no wish to fight you, Digidestined. Leave me in peace." He began to walk away, back towards the human fallen prey to him. But the Digidestined was persistent. "I'm not going to let you get away, Myotismon." Myotismon stopped, turning once more. "I said leave me be, Digidestined. I pose no harm to you at this moment; that human, there"-he made a sweeping motion with his arm to his recent victim-"was the on who was harmed. And I feel remorse for that. Go." He left Tai behind, walking over to the other human and picking her up in his arms. The dark lord of Server began to walk away again . . . And Tai, seeing this, only stood in silence, unmoving at this sudden display of emotions.

She was lost, hopelessly lost. She didn't know at all where home was; she didn't even know where she was. She looked around, searching for any light in this darkness. Tai had once told her that the evil thing he wanted to protect her from lived in darkness . . . She was afraid. It wasn't clearly showed, but anybody looking could tell; and indeed, one was looking. His blood red eyes narrowed sharply as the girl neared a dim-lit street lamp. He watched her as she stood near it, not moving out of its circle of light, out of its protection against the Shadow . . . He momentarily turned away, taking notice of the eastern sky. It was still dark, but he knew it would lighten soon . . . So he had to hurry . . .

Kari was afraid. Tai wasn't here, Mom and Dad weren't here . . . She was all alone, all alone . . . Suddenly, someone stepped out of the shadows to one side. She couldn't tell who they were, or what they looked like; but she could sense a sinister aura around them. "Who . . . are you?" she managed to say, not showing the fear that she felt. The other being gave a glittering smile. She noticed that they never stepped into the pool of light . . . "I am here to help, child. I know your plight. If you wish . . . I shall take you home." Kari considered this offer. She didn't trust this person, but . . . "Okay." The other being began trotting somewhat swiftly, but not so fast that Kari couldn't keep up. The child of Light thought she caught a glimpse of a barbed tail swinging in front of her . . This went on for fifteen minutes, and Kari saw something that made her filled with joy and relief. "I'm home!" She turned to thank the stranger who had led her here, but . . . Kari caught a brief glimpse of a shadow sliding away . . . And no one was there. She shook her head, and continued walking home.

Kern ky Puhrt? Puhrt mruer tu Skraehaa shtaa ke Srriinsaek'um. Raes tus'nraern ky Puhrt? Her head hurt. So did her neck. She rolled over on one side, contemplating why she hadn't attacked. It would've been reasonable, had she done just that; she had been taught to fight if a stranger attacked her first. She groggily opened her eyes. She saw only total darkness. Pure, sweet Darkness . . . She stood up, wobbling, but managing to stay on her feet. She blinked once, twice; and her mind regained itself, and she could see through the darkness like humans through day. And she saw him. He was standing on the other side of the room; indeed, he was the one who had attacked her. She had never dreamed of a Child of the Shadow attacking another like them . . . She took a few deep breaths, calling on basic instinct, and threw her head back. She knew it was a full moon, but it wasn't like the one under which she had first called instinct . . . That one was blood red. Tus'nraern shtae Tyn?

The tall castle loomed against the horizon, its stone turrets defiantly scraping the sky. "I should think that this is where we need to be, Eaglemon," the boy said, staring upwards. The eagle perched on his shoulder nodded his head. The inside was a maze of stone passageways, locked rooms, and illusions-and, in this case, they perfectly served the purpose their master had built them for: to confuse. Manfred was lost. Totally and completely lost. But both his brother and his sister had taught him to remain calm when lost: think it through. Use your surroundings to help you. Learn from your mistakes. But that didn't seem at all possible here. It was completely unfamiliar-as a matter of fact, most of this "Digiworld" was unfamiliar to him. Therefore, how was he supposed to find his way? By roaming? He saw a tall shadow cast on the wall-one that seemed all too familiar . . . "Myotismon." It was moving. He followed it, silently, crouching low to the ground like a jungle cat stalking its prey . . . For he knew, if he was discovered, he would be the prey . . . The flickering apparition wrapped its slender and lithe tail around its legs, twitching the bladed end impatiently. Where was ShadowDracmon? The fool had roamed into the human world in search of the answer to a prophecy: Blue light Dark's fright Light's night Sky's fight Black-and-white Eagle's plight But ShadowDracmon had become lost, roaming in human form at night, ever searching. His blood red eyes narrowed once again as he remembered the lost human child he had led to their home. He had trailed them all along, trailed them and their brother; and it was a good thing he did, too, or else the innocent young girl would've fallen prey to Myotismon and his need of blood. But he had also watched as ShadowDracmon-in human form, of course-was attacked by Myotismon. The fool, she hadn't transformed; in dragon form, she was a formidable foe-also considering that mixed in her was the blood of the last dragon-vampire. He shuddered at the thought of the evil creatures. Luckily, though, they haunted another dimension; lucky for the poor souls on Earth, who would almost never figure out the source of all the deaths from loss of blood. He had come here following ShadowDracmon, making sure the female did not do anything stupid. She tended to do reckless things; but coming to the human world was the most of them by far.

Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder. Spinning around, he saw . . . Myotismon. Before he knew what was happening, he was held in place by shadows; Eaglemon, too, was in bonds, and couldn't move. Myotismon took silent steps towards him, stopping a few inches from the fifteen-year-old boy. A smile of evil pleasure flickered across his pale face, causing his previously hidden fangs to glitter icily. "So, Manfred. We meet again." His voice held a strange hint at things to come in it . . . The blond-haired boy struggled against his bonds. "What do you want, Myotismon?" he said flatly. Sie dumm schwein! he said silently. Why is it me you want? Myotismon's smile, for an instant, grew broader. It quickly returned to normal, however, as Myotismon spoke. "Why, Digidestined," he said. "I just wanted to see you again. After all, I am starving." Nein! Manfred silently shouted. No . . . go, foul creature . . . leave me be . . . As if sensing his thoughts, Myotismon coolly said, "Oh yes, Digidestined. It seems that your destiny . . . is about to fulfil itself." Destiny comes in many forms . . . but the prey of a vampire is not mine . . . Myotismon came even closer, stopping now two inches from the Digidestined. He knelt down, so that he was eye to eye with the Digidestined, and stared into the other's own dark blue eyes. Manfred turned away. Reaching out a gloved hand, Myotismon turned Manfred's face towards his own. Manfred refused to look the vampire Digimon directly in the eye. But in the end, Myotismon got his wish, and stared silently at the Digidestined. He let go his grip on Manfred, a small, evil fanged smile flickering across his face. "The Digidestined bearing the Crest of Defensiveness. What an interesting catch." He turned to Eaglemon. "And as for the Digimon . . ." Manfred could only watch in horror as the shadows tightened their grip on his eagle, cutting off the Digimon's breath, slowly squeezing the life out of him . . . And the Crest of Defensiveness began to glow.

A silent ripple in the flowing of air was the only thing that marked the dragon's movements. But the vampire Digimon could sense even that . . . He turned swiftly, silently, in time to catch a glimpse of a shadow darker than those surrounding it, of glowing crimson eyes that cast a fiery aura around the other being's slender head. His own dark blue eyes silently flared with shadow for a moment. The dragon circled round him, clutching at his shoulders with its bony fingers, then passing on and baring its own three-inch fangs, fangs used only for fighting. More shadow filled his eyes, and they began to glow darkly for just an instant. But it quickly passed; he wasn't about to kill his "house guest." And they weren't about to kill him. The dragon stood erect, fangs still shown against their green-black skin, and they spoke. "Who be you, vampire?" His reply was smooth, calm, but there was a trace of defiant evil held in its dark elegance. "I am Myotismon, dark vampire lord of the Digital world. And who might you be, creature?" "I am ShadowDracmon." ShadowDracmon, apparently sensing no hostility from Myotismon, hid her fangs once more and reverted to human form. "You . . ."

The Crest's blue aura grew, engulfing Manfred, driving the shadow away from him, freeing and renewing Eaglemon. There was now a serene look in his shocking blue eyes, a peace that surpassed anything Myotismon had ever dreamed of. Myotismon himself fell back, shielding his eyes from the light, wondering over and over how that could happen. Behind him, a ghostly black-and-white dragon threw back its head and spread its six white wings, each with a Latin cross on the end . . . "Myotismon." His voice was smooth, serene as sky, but also as powerful. "Myotismon. Go. Your evil has no place here." The vampire Digimon glared in reply. "Ritter von der Himmeln . . . Es ist spart . . ." "Sky's Majesty."

Those two whispered words brought great power . . . The once rippling blue aura dissipated, but the boy was visibly strengthened. And he began to glow, glow with the power of the sky's majesty . . . "Blue Fire!" A tongue of blue flame shot forth from the boy's outstretched hands, engulfing Myotismon, who held his own inside a shield of Darkness . . . And when the flame stopped, the Digimon opened his eyes, and the boy and the eagle were gone.

They hadn't caught Myotismon. He had given them the slip once more. Oh, well, Tai thought. There's always next time. He turned back in to the circle of Digidestined. "It seems that Manfred here seems to be subject to a prophecy," Izzy said, still typing away on his laptop as he addressed the group of seven Digidestined. It was only seven because they were meeting at Joe's house, and Manfred had stayed home to help watch Kari . . . But the original Digidestined didn't know the real reason, the reason beside that one. "It goes something like this: "Blue light Dark's fright Sincerity's night Sky's fight Black-and-white Eagles' plight. "As to what that all translates to, I have no idea." Matt-for once-nodded his head in agreement. "There's also one that mentions blue fire," the intellectual continued, "and it says something about a 'gift of Harmony.' That, too, poses as a puzzle, even though I have an idea as to what it might mean." "I think I might know what the first line of the first prophecy means," Tai cut in. "Manfred's been staying at my house. As a matter of fact, he gets the bed and I get the couch." "Well, tell us, Tai." "Have you ever noticed what color his Crest is? It's enamel blue, hence 'blue light.' But dark's fright? And what about the rest of it?" Izzy shook his head. "I don't know. But that's what I intend to find out."

He walked along, the only sounds being made by him the clicking of his black knee-high boots on the ground and his breathing. His dark blue eyes roved the space ahead of him, searching for anyone, anything . . . But most of all, for home. Home . . . He stopped, momentarily, seeing someone up ahead, and soon broke into a run. They were unmoving, standing silently, and he reached them in a matter of seconds. "Emil? . . ." It was his sister. A smile-the bright, peaceful smile all her own-flickered across her face, and she knelt down to see him better. "Manfred." He felt joy, joy for on of the first times since he had landed in the Digital world, then in Odaiba. He smiled in return, choking back tears of happiness that threatened to well up in his silent blue eyes. "Emil . . . when will I be coming home?" Emil stood back up again, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Soon, Manfred, soon." Suddenly, someone burst in on them. The Digidestined. And, trailing them, was the one they didn't fully trust, the one that was more than what he seemed . . . "We've come to finish it, Myotismon," they said. Myotismon only smiled-an evil fanged grin-and turned towards ShadowDracmon. "This may get . . . ugly," he said evilly. "You might wish to leave." ShadowDracmon nodded, but didn't say anything, and changed back to dragon form. "Agumon Digivolved to . . . GREYMON!" "Gaubumon Digivolved to . . . GARURUMON!" "Biyomon Digivolved to . . . BIRDRAMON!" "Tentomon Digivolved to . . . KABUTERRIMON!" "Palmon Digivolved to . . . TOGEMON!" "Gomamon Digivolved to . . . IKKAKUMON!" "Patamon Digivolved to . . . Angelmon!" "Eaglemon Digivolved to . . . ADLERMON!" "Shadow's Fury!" Surprisingly, it was ShadowDracmon that had attacked. The reply was by Adlermon, who was fiercely defensive of his Digidestined. "Crimson Cross!" But of course, ShadowDracmon was an Ultimate, and Ultimate-forms have advantages over Champion-forms . . . So Adlermon was down. "Nightmare Claw!" Myotismon made an attempt to finish off the black-and-white eagle . . . And Manfred jumped in the way, his Crest silently glowing. "Adlermon Digivolved to . . ." The black-and-white eagle soared high, the sky surrounding him turning to a dark, dull crimson as he threw back his head in a battle cry. A bright scarlet glow surrounded him, starting at his head, moving down . . . "RoteAdlermon!" RoteAdlermon spread his six cross-tipped wings wide, then wrapped them around his Digidestined in a show of defense. "Baptism of Fire!" A river of Fire surrounded Myotismon, who dissolved it without any apparent effort. "I tire of your pet tricks," he said, "and await the real battle. Crimson Lightning!" RoteAdlermon was picked up, and thrown against the far wall, where he fell limply to the floor . . . And the Crest of Defensiveness glowed once more.

He had first heard it from Michael, who had heard it from Adlerchen, who had been told it by Hans Wulf, who had witnessed the whole event happen. His sister had been shot down. They didn't even find the remains of her 'plane; that was what caused even more grief to the family. But it also left room for hope-it could mean that she was still alive, somewhere . . . Or perhaps some time. He took a step into Emil's now empty room with a sigh. It seemed so lifeless with her gone; even with all her trophies, all her pictures covering the walls, it was barren and desolate. He didn't take another step, but rather glanced at what could be called the "Granddaddy of all candid shots," a picture Hans Wulf had taken of Emil doing a handstand. His sister had told him that story; it had somehow gotten through the squadron that Emil had taken gymnastics when she was younger, and Adlerchen had dared her to do a handstand. Of course, no one knew at the beginning that ol' Hans had lugged a camera out to the action, until he took the picture and made Emil fall flat on her back. He recalled the tale with a hint of a smile; it reminded him of his sister's character, a bit carefree on the ground but as serious as could be in the air. As a matter of fact, he didn't recall anyone that had ever had his sister on their tale actually triumph over Emil; but of course, his sister had been shot down more than once before her actual disappearance. He reached a hand up to the medal that now hung at his throat with a sigh. Manfred von Mackheimner, to-be ninth Digidestined, didn't know what was to await him.

As a time long before, the Crest's blue aura grew until it surrounded Manfred, shielding him from the outside world; and anybody who bothered to look would think they saw RoteAdlermon glowing softly. The aura caused the boy's blue eyes to shimmer, as well as the medal that he wore at his throat.

Myotismon remembered what had happened before when this had happened . . . And ShadowDracmon, seeing the rippling blue glow, knew that this was the answer to the prophecy. Once more, a black-and-white dragon spread its pale, cross-tipped wings wide as it stood behind the Digidestined boy . . . The serene look had entered Manfred's shimmering blue eyes once more, and the dragon behind him began to glow with blue flame. "I will not accept this any longer, Myotismon," he said, calmly, his voice feathered like the sky. "Leave the human world. Return to what is yours, and shall remain yours, until your demise." Ritter von der Himmeln . . . Suddenly, a ghostly figure-seen only by the glowing Digidestined-walked over to him and placed a bandaged left hand on his shoulder. ~It is time to come home . . .~ And there was a surge of great power, and the figure was gone. Manfred, though, remained. "Dragon Cross!" The dragon-the symbolic Drache-standing behind him threw back its head in a reverberating roar, and the boy attacked, imitating the dragon with thrown-back head, and a cross emitted from Drache and human . . . There was a great flash of light . . . And when everybody opened their eyes, Manfred and RoteAdlermon were gone. Myotismon, who had once again hidden in his shield of Darkness, remained; but he was noticeably weakened, and soon melted into the shadow. And as for ShadowDracmon? A strange smile spread across her scaly lips, and she vanished to whence she came. And the Digidestined turned, and went home. Ritter von der Himmeln . . . Tai stared silently out the window, recalling the events of a year before, remembering the last battle between Manfred and Myotismon. Not long after that, they had discovered that Kari was the eighth child; and then, they defeated Myotismon, running him through with Celestial Arrow. Or so they thought . . . He also remembered what he had discovered as soon as he returned home: a note, written in spidery hand, containing a words in German on the back. He had read it to the other Digidestined at their next meeting, and it went something like this: Digidestined: I am sorry I had to leave on such short notice, but my sister needed me. If you ever can, please visit; Tai knows where I live. But there is something else I must add: I read somewhere that the date was in the 1990's, or 2000; I can't remember now. My home time is 1918. Sincerely, Manfred Josef Freiherr von Mackheimner, brother of "Der Drache" It was then that Tai had remembered why Manfred seemed so familiar; right after

Izzy had seen what he took to be a ghost, he had told Tai that he had found out the date the ghost was possibly from and who he was. It had been November, 1917, the intellectual said, and the ghost was that of Michael von Mackheimner, a 57-kill German ace whose sister, Emil, shot down 195 people in her career, and died at age twenty-three. Manfred somehow resembled that ghost, Izzy continued, and his suspicions grew even more as he identified the medal that Manfred never took off as the Pour le Merite mit Eichenlaub, which had belonged to Emil, but was left to her youngest brother. Manfred von Mackheimner. It made sense, now; the fact that he muttered things in German to himself or Eaglemon, or to people unseen. But, unbeknownst to Tai, the words on the back translated to something that had always stuck with Manfred: Knight of the Sky . . . It is time . . .