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"I've cleared all your schedule, you're free to go," was what Jill said that day. "We'll probably come the day after or so, but no promise. After all we can get busy... Well, in my case I guess I'll have to stay here until we get a really good substitute. Sadly, among our civil workers, none has any qualification to fill in my post when I left, so... well, I guess I'll have to wait."
That's all she said. Either way, this means finally, FINALLY, HIkaru can have his longtime dream of going to Blossom Isle with Owen. After tons of going from and to Ys and Rosewood both, finally they can go out somewhere they can enjoy more, as a tourist rather than with the baggage of their position weighting them down. Well, anyway, here he is For the sake of pretending that he's not who he is, he purchased a single use holosuit that masks his looks to those of a normal Dorumon. It's honestly working great. The king really just want some side of normalcy this time around...
"So how do you feel today, Babe?" Hikaru asked Owen. They're currently on an airship heading toward the Blossom Isles. Hikaru opted to not wear kilt in fear that he might tell people that it's him after all. So instead, he wears a scarf patterned after a kilt.
It had been such a good week for Owen the Gaomon. His latest Survival and Combat class in Rosewood had passed their final tests with flying colors. Some of them even evolved to Adult in the grueling efforts they made to prove themselves ready to face whatever trials were ahead in the digital world. The cherry on top was that his twin sons Matty and Jimmy also passed, but alas they were not among those to evolve to Adult. Still though, they proved themselves just as much as Bezil had when he graduated.
Owen was proud of all the plucky young digimon that he had come to know, and even felt a little sad that he'd be seeing less of them. But no matter, they were now the masters of their own destinies, and he was content that he had given them the tools to shape them.
And now the week would end on an island getaway in the Blossom Isles, alone with his beloved husband Hikaru the Dorumon. Owen took along only the bare minimum, after tasking Bezil to stay home in Ys and help out with things there. The fact his father Sten was there to help too was a bonus, the old WereGarurumon being an enthusiastic caring figure for his grandchildren.
As they arrived on the island, Owen breathed in awe at just how pretty it was. The blossom trees were ubiquitous, petals floating by with every gust of breeze. And upon their arrival, he was interested to see that its architecture, features and culture were something like that of this "Japan" nation that humans often told him about.
"It's incredible, darling..." Owen replied to Hikaru as they began to descend in for a landing. "I had no idea such a place existed in the digital world, but... there it is."
Owen's tail wagged a little. Like Hikaru, he had changed his guise somewhat too. Rather than the usual 7/71st officer's tunic he normally wore, instead he was just wearing a lavender button-up shirt, as well as his red bandana and boxing gloves. He intended to be incognito here too.
Eventually, the airship slowly descended until it touched down on a level field outside the main civilization of Sakura City. Owen had seen the wonderful gardens from above, he couldn't wait to see them at the ground level, and smell all the luxurious scents that they'd undoubtedly have to offer.
"So, honey, what's first on the itinerary?" Owen asked eagerly, raring to get this romantic getaway started.
"Places like these seem to just tucked in some corner of Digital World.. it makes me wonder if there are something that prevented them to be discovered the first time around," Hikaru commented. "But at the same time it's a bit scary to be suddenly isolated out of nowhere. I hope that Shining Sea won't return to not being accessible anymore...."
Eh well, enough of that. "But look at this, love. Sakuras are known as transient, but I wonder if in these case they're... eternal?" Hikaru sighed in amazement.
What's the first itinerary? "Well for one, we should go and put our briefcases down on the hotel first," Hikaru joked. He know that's not probably what his husband asked. "But after that we'll first get some breakfast. I'm starving... I'm sure you are too, right?"
And with that Hikaru pulled his briefcase, guiding Owen through the places. He was the one who carries the map after all. For once, he wanted to guide his husband, although after this they'll switch and he'll be the one who guide him of course! But for the meantime, he hope that Owen wouldn't mind. Hikaru took the most scenic path toward their hotel, which is a traditional Ryokan, complete with private onsen.
They were greeted by some Tailmon workers, who gladly lifted their belongings to their room, which apparently not fully Japanese-fied. The rooms shoji doors could be locked to prevent any thefts. Beside that, the room is basically a suite, tailored for beast Digimons such as themselves, complete with dining table and beds on separate room. There is also a private bathtub on the balcony of their bedroom. Their room was one which is facing lake and mountain far beyond.
"Let's take a bit break before we look for food, Owen~ Come here, sit with me," Hikaru patted the chairs on the balcony of the living room. "Let's enjoy a bit of the fresh air, of the pleasant smell of sakura... It's still early morning after all!"
Owen smiled at Hikaru, just pausing to appreciate the look of his face here. Every time he did so, he had realized that he had chosen right here in marriage. Seeing the Dorumon's adorable face before his... every time he did so, he felt a warmth deep inside his chest that yes, this was the digimon he wanted to be with for the rest of his life. Owen loved how cute and sweet his face was, he loved his scent, he loved his voice. Not to the point of obsession, but, still, he was a little dizzy to the fact that they were now married, and about to create so many wonderful memories together as a young couple - in a peaceful place in the relatively chaotic digital world.
Of course, he brought his mind back to sentience quickly afterward. "Ah, of course, gotta set up our home base before we're ready to adventure onward..." he found himself saying, then chuckled a little. "I find that a little funny saying that in this context, considering that's what we always did in the 7/71st Recon." he admitted. But he wouldn't say more than that. Owen had more negative memories than positive of being in the old 7/71st Recon battallion of the old DWR, and he was determined to never let any of his experiences interfere or hurt his relationship with his beloved husband.
Following that, Owen would defer to their hosts to lead them to their room. The Gaomon maintained a quiet and graceful discipline as he and his husband were led to their room. Owen thanked them politely, then once they bowed their farewells for the time being, Owen then quickly took up Hikaru's suggestion of snuggling on the balcony. The Gaomon sat next to the Dorumon, wrapping his paw around him, loving the feeling of his warmth in this setting of happiness and peace.
"Great idea, my darling." Owen responded to him, just appreciating being with his husband in such a peaceful setting. In that moment, he realized that in the time they were married, they hadn't had much times like this, where it was just the two of them appreciating each other's company. Well, now was the time to change that. Owen appreciated this moment very much, so much that at least 10 minutes passed when he just cuddled up to Hikaru, not wanting to hear anything that would spoil the moment. Thankfully none did.
Eventually, however, he felt the need to speak. "So, hey, Hikaru... now that we're married, what would you like us to do together?" Owen asked, in a quiet, gentle voice. He knew that his love for his Dorumon husband was unquestioned, but, he would really like to know a direction in which they could utilize their love for the betterment of the digital world. And, given what he knew of Hikaru so far, Owen thought he'd be pretty fine with whatever Hikaru had in mind. With the power of the both of them, and their family, he felt that they could make anything positive happen.
"Pffft, well, even an explorer must also set a home base!" Hikaru replied to Owen's melancholy. He licks his husband's cheek. "If you want to talk about your past, don't be afraid... no matter what, no matter how hard it is, always remember... Present me is the one who fell in love with you, and you love back. My oath is until both of our current iteration no longer in this world... alright?" Soft paw pads found its way to Owen's cheek, gently stroking the white and blue fur.
Nothing caused a disturbance indeed. Hikaru let Owen hugs him, cuddling together... he draped blanket around both of them. Chill of Ys definitely more than the chill of spring of this island, but even so, Hikaru found the warmth comforting. He leaned on Owen's shoulder while looking toward the scenery.
Owen's voice snaps him back to attention toward his husband. Hmn? That's... a vague question. "In what way do you mean?" Hikaru asked. "Like, where should we bring this love and date next? New kids?" he teased... the next part though came more solemnly "...or perhaps what's ahead, my ambition so to say?"
Hikaru leaned backward. "If I have to say, I don't have much ambition. I am so happy with how now I got so many kids, a loving husband, a father-in-law that I can ask wisdom from... If I have to say, you all make this small Dorumon complete. Although... if you ask what's ahead, then... I guess it'll be to rule Ys to a great kingdom. Perhaps wide enough and strong enough that we no longer needed barrier... probably until our names passed on for a long time in Digital World, as ones who create a peaceful kingdom, which works in meritocratic system, where levels does not immediately translate to wisdom one possesses.
Owen felt a tingling run through his body as Hikaru licked him, then warmth as he registered the affection, giving a smile as his blush was visible through his white fur. Reflexively, his tail wagged as he was made very happy by the gesture.
As Hikaru stroked his cheek and said that if he wanted to talk about his past, that he was always ready to listen. Owen shifted his gaze a little with guiltiness. Mainly at his own weakness for not sharing much about his life as Captain Jaelin of the 7/71st Recon Battalion of the DWR. It wasn't that he was scared that Hikaru would be repulsed by him, Owen had served honorably as a soldier. But... it was for another reason. And with Hikaru's outreach here, Owen felt the need to be honest.
"Thanks, my love. It's just... it's not that I don't want to tell you about it, it's just... these memories hurt. I've felt nothing but happiness around you since I've met you, and in a way... I don't want to spoil what we have by letting the past come into it..."
Owen couldn't really feel himself saying these words. It was though something outside of his control was making him say them. He gasped and closed his mouth in an attempt to take back control, but, it was too late. He had already said it to him. He looked into Hikaru's red eyes, then remembered the oath he made at their wedding. This was his husband. He would hide nothing from him.
The Gaomon took some deep breaths to recompose himself, then spoke gently and honestly. "However... I agree, you're my husband. I love you so much... and I should tell you my memories, not hide them from you. So... if you're offering, sometime, yes, I will tell you about my past. I promise."
He then appreciated the hug, even chuckling as Hikaru added a blanket to the mix. He loved how his husband nearly always managed to find a way to pile affection over affection.
Following that, Hikaru asked what Owen meant by what they should do next. He chuckled as the Dorumon wondered if he was talking about their date or their family. But it was the latter option that was on Owen's mind.
"Yeah. You're the King of Ys now, and I have a feeling that there's a lot ahead of us." Owen explained. "If it was as simple as us living together in a palace and raising a family happily ever after, that'd be just dandy for me, but, the digital world's changing, and... while I know this is meant to be our honeymoon and our time to just relax together, I do want to get to know what the plan is for our future. Even if it's just a year from now."
Owen then listened as Hikaru said his plans for Ys. That he wanted to consolidate it as a new civilization. At once, Owen beamed. "Ahh, the Rosewood of the Shining Sea, eh?" he asked. "Well, that idea certainly has my stamp of approval. Ys is really a wonderful city. Oh! I could ask some of my contacts in Rosewood for help! I'm friends with a few on the council there, and they'd know, they built a city from nothing in just a few years!"
However, Ys and Rosewood were different. Rosewood was a project built from nothing but the forest around them, and the direction of digimon and humans. Ys, meanwhile, was an ancient city with many secrets, some that could unleash terrible things if discovered.
"But... of course we should go about it carefully. Ys existed before we got there, so I think we should learn as much about it as we can." Owen added, keeping his excitement in check.
The Gaomon then took a moment to take in the setting. This room and its surroundings was just gorgeous. There was even a table on a balcony outside their window, overlooking a beautiful traditional Japanese style garden.
"Heh. I was gonna suggest we hit the town for some dinner, but, with this view, how about we order some room service and have dinner here, eh, darling?" Owen asked, hoping his husband would like that idea.
"It doesn't have to be today or sometime close, silly," Hikaru gently bopped Owen's snout with his tail. "I know there's mood and time for this, but know it very well, love: I'm a king, and therefore I can't be black and white. There are times where I have to be flexible. Soldiers are protector of their nation, defender of the masses... but you can't deny that sometimes they're also hand of the executives. If you think what you have done is reproachful, I can't say much because that's your feeling... but... I'm also walking in path that might one day dye my paws in same color as yours back then.
What I mean to say is... your fear is justified, but remember, I'm not someone who would be easily repulsed by things you had to do for duty. But if you'd rather not tell me, I understand that too. Just know that if you're ready to tell me, I'll always there for you, alright?"
At any rate, the king wagged his tail slightly when he heard the answer.
"That's nice, but I feel that's not quite it. I sometimes wonder why on earth there's only Terminus that ended up as the central of the digital world and flourish? Why can't it be other city too? I'm thinking of forming Ys as a hub city, or a tutorial city sort. Granted, we're a bit too far from the others to be a good central civilization. Not to mention, Shining Sea is harsh when it's snowing.
So I guess my only option is to make Ys a grand central of information that everyone may access. That role, I think it'll be great. Or a city where one can keep learning about what they want or improve themselves. I think Terminus doesn't really offer much for being a hub on that part."
Hmmm, although his help is appreciated, Hikaru smiled and shook his head. "...There are things that we can share to people and there are thing that we can't, love. We can't ask outsider on how to build a city, especially after it's been going this far. It's true that the city protects everyone inside from harm, both mental and physical, but... For outsider to know how our city is run could be used as weapon."
Heh, so Owen want a balcony dinner?
"That sounds good. Let's see... Why don't we browse the menu then call the room service?"
Owen blinked reflexively as Hikaru booped his muzzle, but didn't react negatively to it. Instead he just listened to his husband's words. And they were very powerful words on him indeed. Yes, Hikaru was a King, and Owen was his Prince-Consort. His husband was a leader, and Owen was his loving support and companion.
When the facts were presented to him like that, it opened a new line of thinking in Owen's mind. In his old life, Owen had indeed been quite a soldier. The actions of war he had done, he had done them in support of the nation that had raised him and supported him in return. While he was not proud of all of them, he at least had the consolation that he had acted for the greater good in most of them.
And when Hikaru said that one day he might need his experiences to make the right decisions for Ys, that fixed the decision in the Gaomon's mind. "Alright, my love. One day, I promise to tell you everything." he said. "But... just at the right pace, okay? I want you to be a great King, and I know my knowledge can help you to achieve that. Just... I want to tell it to you in small doses, so that my emotions don't sully the words I say, if that makes sense?"
Owen then put an arm around Hikaru. "As well as your Prince-Consort, I'm your Knight too." he said. "Anything I can do to help you rule and protect your kingdom, I'll do so. I might be a dork that can't drive anything to save his life, but, I remember enough to be something of use to young digimon from the Village of Beginnings, and with my own dad back with us, we can use our knowledge as soldiers to protect what we've built together."
He then listened to Hikaru's plans. He had the ambition to make Ys not a rival of Rosewood, but of Terminus itself. The Gaomon couldn't help but grin with pride. Ah, his husband was so ambitious!
"So, your plan is to make Ys a city of academia?" he asked, his tail wagging a little from the excitement he was feeling. Yes, they could do that, but his excitement faltered upon hearing Hikaru's valid hesitations about it, that learning too many secrets about it could result in ruin. "Hmm... I see, darling, that is a conundrum we may have to find a balance in."
Instantly he had an idea to rectify that though. "Hey, why don't we ask some knowledgeable humans about how they handled things like this in the past?" he queried. "They have thousands of years of history, surely they might know of a way we can both educate at Ys and protect its secrets?"
Once they were on the balcony, Owen inspected the menu. So many delicious morsels were on there. Ah, how he wanted to savour them all, but knowing he could only pick one, he settled on the Wagyu beef rib-eye steak, cooked medium. Once Hikaru made his selection, they'd call room service and it'd be on its way.
"I understand. Trauma of the battlefield isn't something I'm alien with... but living a life of a soldier... that, is another level altogether. That's why, it's alright. You can take your time as much as you like. Just remember that I fell in love with you exactly because you're you, alright?" Hikaru told him.
Hikaru nuzzled Owen's cheek lovingly. "Phahaha, well you're a bad driver indeed, but I can't say I'm a driver either. Yuuki commented that I'm "absurdly careful, and in a way it makes me as bad driver as a reckless driver. That 'going on my pace' is dangerous". So I decided to just get a driver and let them drive me. Yuuki meanwhile is a speed demon though."
Come to think of it... Sten huh... Sten also used to have a husband, but looks like their relationship soured. How will that end he wonder... Will they ever gonna reconcile? Will somehow one of their kids find him just like how Haku found Sten?
"Yes, Ys, the Academia City, the place where self improvement is prioritized as the most important. To grow together, to educate the mass, and to create a healthy society, that is our plan. So that Digital World will not be easily swayed by false information. Our enemy isn't the other states, but false information, fear, provocateurs and everything which tries to sway the mass by deliberately feeds them only what they wanted to hear.
Of course this sort of battle is probably impossible to win, but... as long as the mass have resistance toward enemy's attempt to play with their feeling, then I think at that time, my job is quite accomplished."
...Asking humans, it is?
"Probably better. Probably best to ask professors of their respective studies."
Still, Owen is eating light? "You don't want any banquet?" Hikaru asked. "I mean banquet for two."
Owen felt glad and reassured at Hikaru's words, that he was ready to hear his story patiently, and only when Owen felt comfortable in sharing it. "Thanks, Hikaru, that means a lot to me." he said. There were some things he wanted to tell others about, but didn't feel comfortable doing so. At least, with this arrangement with Hikaru, he'd be able to discreetly share his deepest secrets, and have loving support while doing so.
Owen then chuckled about the comments about driving. "It's just... I can't really describe, just, if I gain control of something other than my own body, something in my data just goes haywire... I don't know why that is, but, it's that reason that I don't operate machinery." The most likely reason was that it was something due to past trauma. Yeah, it was kinda funny at first glance, but, the deeper Owen thought about it, the more disturbed he was about it. He hoped that one day he would find the cause.
The Gaomon loved Hikaru's plan to turn Ys into a city of academia so much that his tail continued to wag. "Hee, that's wonderful! There's so much ways we can improve the world that way, teaching other digimon how to do the same..." another thought occurred to him. "Ooh, we could help educate humans as well! Most that come to this world are pretty young and still in school or university. Plus time flows faster in this world, they could use so much more time to learn things."
Even though he had no partner of his own, Owen had met and befriended enough humans to know that they were good people as a whole.
Hikaru said that it would be better to ask human professors about it. "Ah, true. Best to ask humans with specialties in this sort of thing." Owen agreed.
Then when it came time to order room service, Hikaru asked if Owen didn't want a banquet. The Gaomon blinked for a moment, then understood, chuckling. "Hehe, I guess this is part of my old soldier habits - don't order more than I can handle, since wasting food is very frowned upon. But... if I'm still hungry after this, I think I'll just order another dish!" he concluded, cheerfully. "But you can feel free to order whatever you want, my love. And if it's more than you can handle, I'm happy to share the rest."