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rotting spoils

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All around him, the world ended. There was no resistance, all of them scattered across the wind. He was sure if he had reached out he could have grabbed them, made a human chain-

And done nothing with it, your partner is gone forever, you idiot.

He didn't cry this time, he shouldn't have cried the last time. Crying was for others, not for your own pain, not for the grief you felt. At least for him, that was true.

Besides, everyone was dead now or would be soon enough. There weren't nearly enough tears in his body to cover them all, to mourn properly.

How long have I been here?

The body survived four days without water, and considering he felt no solid ground, he could safely bet that he was nowhere near where water and food were available. But his mouth wasn't dry so it couldn't have been long. Hardly more than an hour or two.

It all felt like so much longer.

Taiki opened his eyes to a colorful void. His face was twisted from tracked tears, snot and a little bit of blood drying on his cheeks. The only sound was his own twisted, ragged breathing and the hiccups occasionally forced out of his mouth with a lack of anywhere else to go.

How pathetic.

It was his own voice, but also not his own voice. It had a harder edge than he tended to let it get, a stronger tint of dislike, opinionated, angry.

They put their hopes on you and it all fell apart. Gods know why.

The voice sounded almost sympathetic now.

"I'm one person," Taiki said to no one and his voice twisted in his own head, too whiny for himself. "I wasn't the one they relied on. It was Shoutmon. He depended on me and I-"

Failed him, yes. The mimicry sounded flat. Give yourself a little credit though, you managed to get all the way to the final boss of the game.

"It's not a game!"

Might as well be. Fiction is less interesting than reality. Fiction is scripted. This is real. So for all we know, it is. So for all we know, this is the end of disc one. There's always a sequel.

Taiki squeezed his eyes shut. "There's nothing I can do now."

Bold of you to assume there was anything you could do to start with. You did well though for a filler protagonist. I mean, you could keep fighting. But why? As a glorious martyr? Because it's right? Those are bold assumptions for a child. It's better for you to stop, let the fools take the glory and the honor and the sacrifice.

Did you even want to be there?

He… he really hadn't. He'd just wanted to help someone and he had succeeded in that and it all had just...well, he was just a kid, he hadn't meant for this to happen. But it had. And now what would happen?

And now what? Mocked his own voice. You don't have to know. You don't have to care. You can leave. For all you know, there is no way out. You could be stuck here for the rest of your short life.

Taiki swallowed, sniffled the snot away and wiped his face. He was sure without a doubt, that he didn't want that. For all he was willing to give up and throw away because he could and it was useful, he could not just make himself waste away and die. That wouldn't be what Shoutmon would want, what anyone would desire of him, and he did not want it. He knew how it felt, had studied and studied anything he could. He didn't want to experience that ever in his life.

Neither do I, whispered the other voice, and his own steel-grey eyes looked back at him, harder, unforgiving and turning the strangest shade of green.

Taiki's world flooded that green and he knew no more.

Sanzomon had always told him that the human world was a colorful, vibrant place. It was always busy, a bustling capital in many of the places she had been, in even the farthest and most barren of places, there was always something happening.

Therefore, knowing all of that, Gumdramon's first glimpse of the human world had left something to be desired, immensely.

He floated down on small, sinewy wings to the inky violet water. He didn't shudder as he stared down at it but he came close. Putrid, he heard his mentor say, none too gently. Too deep for you, little one. There are others ahead awaiting your blessing.

He gave the filthy water one last look, then flew onwards, Sanzomon had told him the ground was free of corruption, but he'd rather not chance it for as long as he could. The fallen angel had taken a power not meant for him to use and twisted it across a world that couldn't handle it. Anything could have happened.

Still, his mentor was under his will for the moment and therefore so was he. Well, much as the arrogant king thought. So here he was searching… searching for humans.

"They are the ones with the hope and the power. With a digimon, the will of the true king can be carried out."

Weird words, but Sanzomon had been certain of it. That the true king and grandmaster were sleeping and needed the hope of dreams to wake up. And from that, humans were needed.

He supposed that would be true, considering the only surviving rebellions at this point in time and the legends prior to had humans at the very least mentioned.

So he just had to find a human statue, hope they were still alive in there, and burn them out so they could declare war on their mighty ruler and give him the power to boot.

Seemed easy enough.

His paws gripped the red human device tighter in his paws.

"By Shakamon's sun," the dragon muttered to himself and started to fly.

Why was this his role?