((^^ Thank you for all your hard work, and the good times.))
Kyra chewed her lip as the door to her room yawned wide. It gave a loud, ominous creak as it did so, and that did nothing for Kyra's unease. It wasn't the prospect of the room itself that unsettled her, as this whole mansion had quickly begun to feel like home. No, it was the one who typically shared this room with Kyra that lead to this feeling. Had she been thinking about it at the time, Kyra would've found it odd that she was almost as nervous about the prospect of talking to her first partner as she was going into true battle.
Vanguard, currently only Dokunemon thanks to the energy drain of her very first Ultimate evolution, slumbered on one of the pillows. “Vanguard?” Kyra said, slowly sitting on the edge of the bed. “C'mon, fuzzball,” she said, a little louder. “Wake up.”
Vanguard stirred, and Kyra assumed she opened her eyes – hard to tell on her current species – as she picked her head up. “Kyra? Is everything alright?”
Kyra opened her mouth to answer, but nothing came out. She shrugged and shook her head. “I don't know,” she said finally. “Hindsight's twenty-twenty, but I feel like if only I'd -”
“Kyra,” Vanguard cut across her gently. “I told you. Don't pin so much of it on yourself... we're all here to protect you. Or at least,” she shivered. “We're supposed to be.” There was definite bitterness in her voice. She scuttled over off the pillow, coming to rest near Kyra's leg. “Bishop and I were out of the way,” she said in an unconvincing attempt at a casual voice, one that was clearly about to break anyway. “All she needed was trick One...”
The Dokunemon shook her head, an odd gesture for a caterpillar. “I have my doubts about his loyalty to you, but that's for another time. Did you want to talk about something?” Again, Vanguard tried to sound casual, but Kyra saw through it. Nonetheless, she appreciated it, compared to trying to wrest the truth from her, as Kyra had thought she might.
The truth was, Kyra wanted the truth of it buried, dead, and forgotten. In any particular order, she wasn't picky. Yet Kyra felt like she owed Vanguard what happened. Kyoko had already confirmed it all to be true, so Kyra could set aside the thought that telling someone about it would make it seem more legitimate.
Taking a very deep breath, Kyra launched into the explanation. She started with the attack on the mansion, and told Vanguard as much as she could remember. There were still a few gaps here and there, but it wasn't enough to keep Kyra from having the whole picture now, or telling it to Vanguard. She'd trusted Kyoko during the staged attack on the mansion, and Kyoko had run with that trust to 'help' her.
The explanation of what Kyoko had done once her plan had come to fruition caused Vanguard to unleash a string of such coarse insults that Kyra could hardly believe the normally gentle Digimon would know them. As the astonishment passed, Kyra felt herself smile, and wanted to laugh.
Yet Vanguard was then somber, oddly silent, and rather still. She didn't have the heart to tell Kyra that she was afraid it had been even worse, not that what had happened was anything to brush off. “Damn her,” hissed Vanguard, and she found herself unsure whether she cursed the little bunny, or her dark overlord.
“I don't know,” said Kyra. “There's no denying she's messed up, thinking that would help me, but the way she talks. It's like she genuinely believes what she was doing was to help me.”
“Either she's that messed up,” said Vanguard crossly, and then she turned her head to look at Kyra. “Or she's just trying to give herself another shot at it.”
“No arguing with that,” Kyra said in response to the first bit. “But she's had so many chances, to keep going or try it again, if she was really in it for herself.”
“Don't put yourself in her shoes,” Vanguard said, rising up slightly and shaking her head. “Are those really anything more than excuses for her?” Vanguard opted not to point out how often she found herself making excuses for Kyra's behavior. “Do you feel helped, Kyra?” the Dokunemon asked rhetorically. “Don't feel obligated to accept her apology... if she's even bothered giving one. You don't owe her anything. Where is she?”
“Gone,” said Kyra, silent after that, for she was still mulling over Vanguard's words. It was true, Kyra didn't owe Kyoko anything, except perhaps a kick down the stairs. But Kyra hadn't been able to unleash the full, savage fury of her dark side upon Kyoko, even as the little bunny departed the mansion. Maybe she should have joined with Lady Devimon, but her heart just hadn't been in it. “She's promised I won't see her again unless I go looking for her.”
“Do you believe her?” Vanguard said, her voice flat before she lapsed into more muttered discontents. “Tenshi-san – inviting herself in – unforgivable,” were among the words Kyra overheard.
“She believes it,” Kyra said, shaking her head. She picked up the silvery instrument that Grace had given her and flicked it on. The device hummed to life, and she administered another treatment to her damaged vision. Fortunately, the damaged part of that was becoming less and less true by the hour. She still got occasional flickers, and sometimes saw things splashed with colors they plainly weren't – such as a red banana and Bishop seafoam green, but she was almost back to normal. She figured this treatment would be her last, though she'd keep the device handy.
“But,” Kyra said slowly, and she saw Vanguard shift slightly. “This is her last chance. One slip up, one step back... and you won't have to worry about her ever again.” Her hand shifted less than a millimeter toward her knife, she fixed the Dokunemon with an icy eye, and Vanguard nodded in apparent satisfaction.
For once, Vanguard though privately, she shared every one of Kyra's ill intents for Kyoko. She'd wanted to believe all this time that her bad gut feeling about Kyoko had been nothing but paranoia. Instead, she had been proven right in ways worse than she'd first imagined, though not as badly as she had initially feared upon Kyoko's return with Kyra. She fell silent, too much of her mind focused singly on not evolving on the spot and tearing after Kyoko. The conniving witch deserved far worse than to shuffle out, never to face her victim or justice for her crimes.
Vanguard vaguely heard Kyra declare her intent to shower, and the dark-haired girl stepped into the bathroom. The Dokunemon sat alone on the bed, increasingly lost in thought. Her animosity for Kyoko was a fire quickly building into an all-out inferno, pure disbelief that someone could act that way for some supposed benefit. Instead Kyra was hurt and confused now, even as her body was finishing its recovery.
But, Vanguard noted, Kyra had trusted her with the truth of what happened. The thought of Kyra trusting Vanguard with something that clearly unsettled her so did hearten the Dokunemon somewhat. She's still Kyra, Vanguard thought, shuffling down the side of the bed. The energy spent evolving had her stomach rumbling, and there was some dark chocolate cake in the kitchen with her name on it.
The hot water and roiling steam of the shower breathed new life into Kyra. The shower had been unnecessarily long, but the anomalies in Kyra's vision were almost entirely gone now. The few days' rest had felt like an eternity. For not being able to battle much, however, it had been a very interesting period. In some ways good, in others... not so much.
But now thought Kyra, as she toweled off, looking at her crystal-clear, haughty, determined, dangerous reflection in the mirror. It's time to get back out there. Where I belong, with my friends by my side.
She dressed, donning gunmetal gray pants, boots with frontal greaves, a belt set with two rows of holes, her favorite purple tank top, and then her favored over top, a leather vest with red trim and dark long sleeves.
Kyra tugged her gloves on, and attached her knife holster to the outside of her belt. Her eyes swept the length of the gleaming blade, inspecting its length with a practiced eye. Satisfied by what she saw, she stowed the implement. She tugged the straps on the greaves tight and then stood, her nerves energized, her body ready, her mind likewise.
Zachary Knight, Aura, Orion, and Glacier
Kyra Evans, Vanguard, Bishop, and One
Hikari Senka, Bow, the Frost Knight, and Rick
Yumi Kyoko and Bolter
Jeanette Roy, holder of the Stone Wall of Elysium
Signature by Otterly Lost