Myotismon idled on his throne, sipping from his goblet, savoring the taste of a victim, long-forgotten to him. He did not need it, and never would again. But the fleshy garnet-red fluid reminded him of what and who he was. The sky was fast fading, from jet to midnight blue. Soon the sun would rise, bathing the stark landscape in harsh light. Not that that mattered either.
"Myotismon. It has been a long time."
Myotismon pivoted abruptly at the sound of the voice he had never thought to hear again. He rose from his seat to stare at the short figure clad in a voluminous grey cloak, and wide brimmed witches' hat. "Wizardmon."
Wizardmon nodded and said nothing.
The two stood, as the stony silence lengthened, neither taking his eyes off the other. "I suppose you've come here to demand an apology," said Myotismon, a trace of a sneer threading through his words.
"No," said Wizardmon.
Myotismon frowned. "Then I suppose I should expect an apology from you."
Wizardmon smiled. "No."
"Then why did you come here, apart from revenge? It could not have been to reminisce over old times," asked Myotismon,
"Maybe I came to see you," answered Wizardmon simply. "I had heard that you were here."
"I see," said Myotismon, his impatience mounting.
"No, I don't think you do," said Wizardmon.
"And what makes you so sure you know anything about me anymore?" snapped Myotismon. "It's been a long time, and people do change."
"You don't trust me at all, do you?" asked Wizardmon.
"I have no reason to," replied Myotismon, his voice curt, his words terse and clipped. "You died because you betrayed me. Do I need to remind you of that?"
"I died to save another's life," said Wizardmon. "Something you could not begin to understand--the need to sacrifice one's self for something far greater and more important." He smiled, though his eyes were sad. "But you never regarded anything outside of yourself to be of any importance that did not get you what you wanted."
Myotismon said nothing.
"Was it worth it?," continued Wizardmon. "The suffering on so many people's part, the needless death and destruction?"
"I do not need to justify my actions to the likes of you," sneered Myotismon. "My destiny--"
"Ah, yes. You spoke those words before. Your 'destiny', to rule both the real and the digital world." "If not for the fact that it clearly was not your destiny, you might have succeeded, too. But what if you had?"
"What foolishness is this? 'What if I had?'", snarled Myotismon. "The answer is clear. I would now be ruler over both realms, with millions of slaves to do my bidding, not answering your idiotic questions." He took a step toward Wizardmon. "Is that all? You're beginning to bore me."
"Not a difficult thing to do, it seems," said Wizardmon, with a wicked chuckle. "But what then?"
Myotismon stared down at the slight figure, face hidden from view. Only bright grey-green eyes showed, staring back into his with an intensity he could not fathom.
"You mean plunging both worlds into eternal darkness is not enough for you?" asked Myotismon, venom dripping from every word.
"No," said Wizardmon. "What I mean is that it would not be enough for you. This scheme of world domination was never yours."
"And I suppose you're going to tell me that my entire existence was simply to serve the needs of another, greater evil?"
"I don't need to tell you anything you already know, do I?" answered Wizardmon. "Even VenomMyotismon's destructiveness was nothing compared to Apocalymon's. The Digidestined were extremely fortunate in destroying him as they did. What, if anything, do you know of him?"
"Does it matter? You'll only tell me anyway," said Myotismon. "So get on with it."
"The truth seems to be that Apocalymon created not only you, but Devimon, MetalSeadramon and Machinedramon. No accident that he possessed all of your powers, and some of his own."
"So why are you telling me this?" asked Myotismon, seething with impatience. "If there is a point, I fail to see it."
"Not surprising," answered Wizardmon. "It is easy not to see the things you don't agree with. What I have been trying to say, as has Gennai, is that it doesn't matter where you came from, but where you're going, that matters most. So what are you going to do next?"
Myotismon did not answer. He was not about to reveal anything to his former ally, now his sworn enemy.
"You cannot stay here forever, or remain as you are always," said Wizardmon. "It is true that you have a destiny to fulfill. But by no means is it the one you once imagined. You have more important things to do."
"Did you come here just to tell me that?" snapped Myotismon.
"I did not come here at all, Myotismon," said Wizardmon. "What you see of me is a small part of what I once was. I created this simulacrum to wait for you, upon the event of your death."
Myotismon was startled. "Why?"
Wizardmon was slow to respond. "I'm not sure why myself. Perhaps it is out of loyalty, which you were too quick to dismiss. Or perhaps it is that having found redemption, and the reward it brings, I would wish it for you, too. There is something to be said for caring and trust, neither of which you have ever experienced."
"Caring and trust?" spat Myotismon, each word a searing drop of acid intended to burn. "I am not human. What need would I have of such things?"
"A blind man may scorn a rainbow, but until he has experienced it in all its marvel, his scorn is meaningless." Wizardmon gave Myotismon a long measured look. "Before long, the emptiness within you will devour you completely. You must fill that void before it erases you."
Myotismon's eyes narrowed. "What makes you think that I am in any peril?"
Wizardmon was not deceived. "Can you not feel it even now? The utter sense of nothingness growing within you?"
"How do you know this?" demanded Myotismon. "I spoke of this to no one."
"You forget. I am part of the system itself now. Everything about me, and you too, is nothing more than computer data."
"That is hardly new to me," said Myotismon, his temples pounding in a good simulation of a headache. "What is your point?"
"If you were an inactive file, nothing would happen to you. You would continue on for as long as your data existed unmolested. But you are an active file. What you were is passing away, without anything to take its place. The humans would call it data degradation." Wizardmon looked away, then back at Myotismon squarely. "I would call it a slow, certain complete death, one without hope of resurrection."
"I see," said Myotismon, voice dry and curt once more. "So it seems my condition is terminal."
"An interesting and apt way of putting it," said Wizardmon. "But yes."
Myotismon fell silent, his eyes intently focused inward. An unpleasant smile thinned his lips. "Why do you care?"
Wizardmon was plainly puzzled. "What do you mean?"
"I mean," said Myotismon, "that it would seem to be the answer to a number of problems if I simply ceased to be. My role is finished; I have no real purpose anymore. So why are you trying to reform me?"
Wizardmon, too, fell silent. "I could give you any number of answers, Myotismon," he said slowly, measuring each word carefully. "And all of them would be true to a degree. But the real reason is that I care about you, and see much more inside you than the monster you used to be."
"Can you really expect me to believe that?" scoffed Myotismon. Despite his habitual scorn, he found himself listening to Wizardmon more attentively.
"No," answered Wizardmon, with characteristic simplicity. "Why should I when I could not convince you of anything in the past?" A smile flitted across his face, tinged with irony. "Whether it was in your best interest to believe me or not."
"Spare me your sarcasm," snarled Myotismon.
"No, not sarcasm, Myotismon, my old companion. Merely the truth."
"Then what do you mean by that? Presuming you actually meant something by that," said Myotismon.
"The meaning is quite clear, if you must know," replied Wizardmon. "If there is anything in you worth redeeming, it must be you who finds it."
"And you persist in believing it exists, is that it?" Myotismon laughed, surly echoes skittering in all directions.
"No," said Wizardmon. "I know it exists. But I cannot make you see what is so painfully evident to me. Only do not dawdle. Your time is slipping away even as we speak."
"I see," said Myotismon.
"No, Myotismon, you do not see. That is the problem." said Wizardmon.
"Whatever you say," snapped Myotismon. The sky outside the window had paled to medium blue. "It is late. I think you can see yourself out."
"As you wish, Myotismon," said Wizardmon, with a slight bow of his head, and the ghost of a smile, more felt than seen. Myotismon gave him a long, hard look. Insolent fool, he thought, and turned away from the growing light.
Myotismon rose swiftly from his coffin, not wishing to dwell on his dreams. They were all there, waiting for him. His victims. Only now he was defenseless against them. Nowhere to run, no place to hide.
A dull rumble resonated through the castle; thunder in the distance.
As he passed through the Great Hall, a woman's voice called out to him. "Myotismon."
Myotismon turned to look. Lady Devimon stared out the window, arms straight and rigid by her side. Black tattered leather wings rustled, furling and unfurling, over and over. She pivoted to face him.
"I had hoped to see you," said Lady Devimon. Lightning from the window limned her face in brilliant relief, sculpted in stark black and white. "I had nothing better to do, you see."
"Why, thank you," said Myotismon. "I had no idea you found me so vastly entertaining,"
Lady Devimon did not react to his comment. Odd. Myotismon looked at her closely.
"It becomes harder every day. Trying to find something to pass the time." Lady Devimon spoke softly, as if to herself. "Not that it matters. Nothing lasts. Nothing here is real. Like building castles in the sand, only to have the tide sweep them away, leaving the sand empty and bare. Over and over again." She raised her hands, then let them drop. "An utter waste of time. But time is the only thing I have now."
A soft low-pitched moan filled the chamber, rose into a whistling shriek, as winds snaked through the empty corridors. Over the mountains, a storm front was approaching.
"So many days of doing nothing. The endless hours," said Lady Devimon, her voice now tight as a coiled spring. "The endless hours, with none but the dead to keep me company," Pale lips thinned, a strained and lifeless expression. A tiny split appeared. "Eternal nothingness! Myotismon, how can you stand it?" Her voice broke.
Myotismon took her by the shoulders. "Lady Devimon! Control yourself!"
Lady Devimon stared up at him, red eyes blazing. Myotismon could feel her body tremble. She seemed both paler and smaller than he could recall. There was none of the cold hostility he had come to expect of her.
"Myotismon, what's happening to me? What's happening to us?"
"I don't know," said Myotismon, even as he remembered Wizardmon's warning, choosing to ignore it. He saw no reason to burden her needlessly with the truth.
Lightning flashed, and the chamber was filled with brilliant white light. A snap of thunder followed, crashing and careening down into sullen rumbles that faded into the distance.
"I can feel it--gnawing away at me. This growing sense of emptiness. Every day, there is less and less of me. And I can't stop it." A trickle of black ran unnoticed down Lady Devimon's chin from her lip. "Is it the same with you?"
Myotismon could feel his own void stir within him. Here was irony. He, a demon of immortal hunger, was being consumed. "Yes. I feel it, too."
Lady Devimon's head dropped. "I had hoped it was not so."
Myotismon was startled. Such selflessness seemed beyond both of them. "How thoughtful of you."
"Do not be so quick to hand me a halo," snapped Lady Devimon. She wiped the ichor from her face, staring down at the black fluid smeared across her fingers. A second later it was gone. "If I had to pick between the two of us to wish this condition on, I would not have chosen me. But since I am already afflicted, I see no reason to burden you with it, too."
Myotismon merely nodded. "Why, Lady Devimon. I had no idea you cared."
Lady Devimon's head snapped around. "Yes! You are the only thing real here. Despite yourself, you have been better to me than anyone else I have ever known. Why should I not care?" Her eyes flared brilliant crimson once more, her body rigid with sudden anger.
Raindrops pelted the windows heavily, as rain fell in great sheets of water.
"What! How can that be?" asked Myotismon. "I have done little but ignore you. When we talk, we do nothing but argue. You were Piedmon's most trusted lieutenant. Did you mean nothing to him?"
"Piedmon's most trusted tool, do you not mean?" Lady Devimon's lips curled in disdain. "Don't be a fool. I had value to him only as long as I obeyed his every whim, and fulfilled his desires. Was it not so with your own slaves?"
Myotismon looked away. "Yes." He remembered it well. Not the cruelty, but the utter disregard.
"Then you must know what I mean," pursued Lady Devimon. "As arrogant and callous as you have been to me until now, I have been more of a person to you than I ever was to him." Her voice traile off into uneasy silence. "Myotismon, what is a 'friend'?"
"I cannot say. The humans spoke often of them." Myotismon thought about it and shrugged. "Something to do with kindness and understanding."
"You understand me as no one else does. And in your way, you have been kind to me," Lady Devimon's voice lowered, each word barely stirring the air. "Are we--friends?"
"I don't know. I have neither had a friend, or have I ever been one."
Lady Devimon stood utterly still. Her eyes never left Myotismon's face, moving over every inch as if mentally sculpting it. Myotismon could feel her gaze. She turned and paced slowly away.
"Lady Devimon," said Myotismon. Lady Devimon turned to look.
"Do you want a friend?" asked Myotismon. Lady Devimon listened in silence. "Do you want me for a friend?"
"Yes," said Lady Devimon.
"Then we are," answered Myotismon.
Lady Devimon nodded. Without another word, she moved to the window, and opened it. Outside, the rain had slowed to a fine, even shower. She glanced back at Myotismon and hesitated. Her mouth opened, then closed without a sound. She seemed at a loss for words.
You're welcome," said Myotismon.
Lady Devimon smiled. She stepped up into the window, and unfurling her wings, flew off into the storm.
Myotismon stirred in his sleep. There was an insistent scratching, outside somewhere. A muffled voice spoke.
"Boss! Hey, boss! You gonna sleep all night?"
Myotismon's eyes opened. Demi Devimon?
"Hey, boss! You in there?"
Myotismon flung open the coffin lid. There was a loud yell, followed by a muffled thump.
"Stop whimpering," snapped Myotismon, rising from the coffin. "Where have you been?"
Demi Devimon fluttered up from the floor. "Boss! It's good to see you again!" He flew in dizzying circles around Myotismon's head.
Myotismon closed his eyes. "Demi Devimon."
"Please stop that."
Demi Devimon blinked in astonishment, and promptly flew into a wall. He picked himself up. "Boss! Are you feeling okay? Did you just say 'please' to me?"
Yes!" Myotismon stared at the little bat-shaped digimon. "Now answer my question!"
"I've been looking for you, boss," said Demi Devimon.
"Demi Devimon." Myotismon fixed Demi Devimon with an icy stare.
"Yes, boss?" said Demi Devimon.
"Why did it take so long?"
Demi Devimon peered up at his former master, fidgeting. "Well, ummm...I ran into some people, ummm..."
Myotismon raised an eyebrow.
"Pumpkinmon and Gotsumon," explained Demi Devimon. "You know those guys."
"I do indeed," answered Myotismon, voice droll. "They used to work for me."
"Yeah! We were hangin' out, and kinda remembering old times...you know. Before you, ummm..."
"Killed them," said Myotismon, his voice matter-of-fact.
Demi Devimon nodded. "Yeah, that's right. Anyhow, they said to say they're not sore at you or anything, and why don't they ever see you?"
Myotismon closed his eyes. It was just like the three of them to make death as banal as a strip mall. "I've been busy with other things, Demi Devimon."
"Yeah, that's what I told them," said Demi Devimon. "You're a busy guy, eh, boss?" He winked.
"Demi Devimon." Myotismon felt weary, even though he was not.
"Have you always been this annoying?"
Demi Devimon thought about it. "That's what you said."
"I can see that I wasn't wrong about everything, then," said Myotismon. "Well, out with it, then. How are those two?"
"I dunno, boss, " admitted Demi Devimon. "A coupla days ago, they both just disappeared. I think they were reborn, or something."
"A feat which has, until now, eluded me," observed Myotismon. "I wonder why that hasn't happened to you."
Demi Devimon looked baffled, his normal expression. "I dunno, boss. Maybe I'm not done here yet."
Myotismon was surprised. Such insight seemed beyond the little digimon's conniving mind.
"You know, I missed you, boss," said Demi Devimon.
"Why would that be?" asked Myotismon.
"I dunno," admitted the digimon. "Maybe I missed the way you used to yell at me, or do mean things to me after I screwed up. You're not mad at me, are you?"
"No," said Myotismon. "I'm not mad at you." He never really uderstood the way his underlings thought.
Demi Devimon flitted around. "Maybe things will go back to the way they were. You know, before you changed, and got really big, and ummm..."
"Ate you," finished Myotismon.
"Yeah," said Demi Devimon. He looked away, his face forlorn.
Myotismon was mystified. Despite everything he had done to Demi Devimon, Demi Devimon could not be anything but doggedly loyal to him. Even though he had done nothing to deserve it.
Demi Devimon's face brightened again. "But everything's okay now, right? Things'll be the way they used to?"
Myotismon nodded slowly. Nothing would ever be the same. And there was nothing to go back to. But there was no reason to tell Demi Devimon that. He seemed happy.
What? Myotismon was astonished. When had he concerned himself with the feelings of his lackeys? Derision burned in one corner of his mind, harsh words mocking him for his weakness. He ignored it.
"Boss, you okay? You got real quiet." Demi Devimon looked at him.
"I'm fine, Demi Devimon," said Myotismon. He felt immeasurably old, a relic from times now unknown.
Demi Devimon beamed at him, a smile so wide, Myotismon thought the little bat might fall apart in two hemispherical halves. "Oh, boss!" He launched himself at Myotismon.
Myotismon took a step backwards, as Demi Devimon flew into him. wrapping wings around his chest. He heard an odd sound, muffled by the fabric of his tunic.
"I love you, boss," blubbered Demi Devimon, tears streaming from his eyes down his tiny round face.
Myotismon stared down at the digimon now clinging to his chest. One hand rose to Demi Devimon. Not long ago, he would have torn Demi Devimon from his tunic, to fling him off, careless of how it might hurt.
Myotismon couldn't do that. He watched as his hand, seemingly of its own accord, patted Demi Devimon's back, the gesture stiff and clumsy.
A nimbus of rainbow light surrounded Demi Devimon, glistening with tiny spangles of brilliant color. He squeaked in surprise. "Boss, boss! I think it's happening!"
Myotismon could only watch, as Demi Devimon rose, his body glowing and starting to fade.
"G'bye, boss," said Demi Devimon. "I'll be waiting for you." The light grew brighter until Demi Devimon could not be seen. Suddenly it vanished, and Demi Devimon was gone. Myotismon did not move, gazing at the spot where Demi Devimon was, torn between indifference and sorrow. He turned away, refusing to feel anything. Emotions such as grief and loneliness served no purpose. But the sense of loss remained.
"Goodbye, Demi Devimon," said Myotismon, and felt another piece of his soul slip away into the void.