It was a cool afternoon with the azure sky and fluffy clouds sweeping every now and then. There was a soft breeze that soothed his body from the constant traveling that he had been doing the past few days. As he leaned and laid his body against an ancient pine tree, he thought the meadow would have made a serene and beautiful painting. He almost thought he wouldn’t want to leave. The tall grassy floor was lush and filled with a rich myriad of colors from the variety of flowers littered all around and waving gracefully in the soft breeze. The majority were the overwhelming amount yellow daisies that shimmered like the yellow rays of sunlight. There were imposing thick trees that surrounded the meadow in a circular pattern as if they were the protectors of the hidden meadow. In the middle of the meadow was a tiny pond with small rocks surrounding it, almost as if it was artificially created by someone. It was his sweet escape from thoughts and memories he wanted to forget. They always seemed to surface every time he spotted other humans with their digimon partners. If only he was stronger, things could have turned out differently and his short-lived friendship with his partner would have continued onward. “I was looking all over for you, runt,” the gruff voice stated, coming out the darkness of the low-lighted forest. A figure came out bearing a large shaggy mane of gold with a broad, muscular body who looked very similar to the king of the savannah. The difference was that he walked upright on two paws, wearing clothing, and the swords hanging in its holster. “I know,” Darius replied, breathing out a sigh. He knew he should stop running from the training he agreed to undergo with the strong Leomon. Besides, that digimon rescued him in the Freezeland and escorting him to Primary Village in the hopes of finding his partner once again. Leomon really have to do all that for a mere human, but he decided to do it anyway. Darius knew he was twice lucky and also, the digimon said that he did it out of the kindness of his heart. It almost sounded sarcastic. As he observed the noble digimon saving young digimon from their troubles without asking for something in return overtime, he gradually began thinking otherwise. Darius was baffled and couldn’t believe if he didn’t see it in person. He knew many people he had met in the real world displaying kindness but most, they turned out to have hidden agendas and expected something in return. He actually was one of them and just maybe, this was karma biting back at him. “Why haven’t you come to me for training?” Leomon questioned him, narrowing his eyes slowly. “Uh, I don’t feel—” Darius hesitated, inwardly of the other’s impending reaction. “Don’t feel good? I call bullshit. I don’t buy that. That’s the same excuse you used last time. I thought you said you wanted to become stronger to protect others,” the digimon stated, his disappointment evident in his voice. “I thought wrong. You’re lazy and a coward,” he continued after a pause. “Then just leave me be then,” Darius grumbled, casting a dark look at the lion digimon. He was irritated that he insulted him but it was true. It’s been days and days since they settled in File City, but no utter luck finding his partner. He was gradually losing his motivation and rather just laze away. There was no point in getting strong if he didn’t have a purpose to do so. “I could but my conscious would bother me if I do that. Besides, you would be killed if left alone. You’ve been too reckless lately,” Leomon stated solemnly. “Maybe you could tell your conscious to shut up,” Darius joked, though nervousness seeped out a little. “I can use the digi-soul now. You saw what I did to those digimon, right? I can take care of myself,” he argued defiantly. “But you can’t control it,” he sighed and paused, “And that’s no good. It’ll strain your body. Remember that time you used it? You exhausted yourself and I had to carry your all the way back to the cottage.” “Well, you’re right about that, I guess,” Darius mumbled with his face looking downwards and kicking some small rocks. It was a day when they were camping out in the high mountainside and there happened to be feral like digimon that decided to raid their camp. He should have called for Leomon’s assistance, but he was too arrogant and thought he could take of it himself. In result, he overexerted himself and was scolded for that. He remembered he caught a high fever and was bedridden for a few days. It wasn’t any fun being sick at all. “How about this? If you defeat me in a spar, I’ll leave you like you wanted. If not, I’ll make damn sure you’ll not be a sorry shit of a human,” Leomon announced with a wide grin. Darius looked at the lion digimon quizzically. He wasn’t sure he could win against the Leomon, but if it were just one hit, he might find a way depending if he was allowed to use any powers or not. He was getting tired of Leomon pestering at him like he was his father and it baffled him that he was so willing to help him. They hardly knew each other. Besides, he disliked that smug look the Leomon had plastered on him and seemed too sure he was going to be the victor. “I’m in,” Darius grinned. He adjusted his body into a steady position and cracked his knuckles. His hands twisted into tightened fists, brought them in front of his face, and lunged at his opponent. The Leomon instead, left himself wide open for an attack. Noticing this, Darius gritted his teeth in frustration since it seemed like the digimon was mocking him. He slammed his fist at the digimon’s stomach, but was met with a stinging pain in his fists. The outer skin was too thick and rough. It caused him to flinch for a moment and it was too late. The Leomon’s fist pummeled into his stomach and sent him stumbling onto the ground. He was winded and could feel the aftereffects of the punch. It felt like a blazing hot pain, stinging his insides. There was definitely going to be a large bruise after this fight. “Damnit,” He cursed as he shifted in his position and caught his breath. “You done?” the digimon asked. “Nah,” Darius retorted. He focused his mind and charged at the lion humanoid digimon. A shimmering azure light surrounded his fists increasing his physical prowess. The Leomon in turn, charged as well and swiftly swung his large fists at him. Darius quickly brought his arm up and blocked it from hitting him again. At the point of impact, Darius could feel the gravity push him backwards and his feet dug into the ground. It did not deter him, though. He twisted his body and struck his elbow at the Leomon’s side. He heard a cracking noise and noticed Leomon winced from the impact. “What a dirty move,” the digimon growled. “It’s not. It’s just another move to use to win,” Darius smirked. He had learned some other martial arts moves from his friends and it wouldn’t hurt to use them. It appeared that statement angered the Leomon. Perhaps it didn’t think his move was noble and right in his mind. They both dove back with fists slamming towards each other. Darius dodged his fist and swung back a punch in return. The Leomon lunged too close and pounded his fist towards his face. Darius managed to dodge the punch but the punch impacted his shoulder instead of the intended target causing him to wince. He began gathering Digi-soul energy to make a come back, but his eyes went wide when he realized that the energy wouldn’t cooperate with him. What was going on? He bit his lip in frustration. The Leomon took the momentary pause and slammed his fist into his face. Darius gasped out and his vision became blurred. Blood began flowing down his nostrils and he struggled to maintain a steady position. He knew that he mostly had a black-eye right now. Still, he didn’t want to give up the fight. He lunged at the Leomon and pressed on but now, with ravaging kicks and punches in retaliation. The problem now, was that his vision was not at its best and he was steadily becoming tired as the fight progressed. He had used too much energy in the beginning when he should have conserved it instead. At least some of the punches landed and the digimon seemed to be slowing down as well, so it wasn’t just a one-sided match. Darius managed a sloppy kick toward the Leomon but the imposing digimon grabbed his leg and swooped it onto the floor with a loud thud. Darius heard a snapping sound and knew he shouldn’t and couldn’t continue the fight any longer. “No more,” he said in a hoarse voice. As he moved his leg, he could feel that his right kneecap was dislocated. “Is it dislocated?” the digimon inquired, walking closer to Darius to inspect the injury. “Ah I’m sorry runt. I did not expect this outcome to occur,” the digimon continued, shaking his head in sympathy. “I will set it back in it’s place for you young one,” he offered kindly. “Oh no you don’t,” Darius groaned. He shivered remembering Leomon set a digimon’s knee in place. It looked like it hurt like a bitch and sounded like the digimon screeched out like it were dying. “I shall do it anyway. I’m responsible for you like it or not,” the digimon explained plainly. “Fine,” Darius pouted. He really didn’t want him to do it but there wasn’t a doctor nearby. He had to make do with a lion doctor instead. “And it’s my win,” Leomon boasted out loud and continued, “I’ll make a man out of you,” with a hearty laugh. “Great,” he grumbled and Darius cackled out a laugh until tears came out.