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View Full Version : (Digimon) Justified Lunacy


Fuyu
October 13th, 2010, 04:09 PM
Author's Note: Hiya, it's Fuyu, formerly known as winterfell. Legendarian Mistress and I have been working on this Digimon fic for a while. It takes the Alternate Universe point right after the Malomyotismon battle. We've got a fair bit started and we'll do our best to keep it going. Now then, let's get moving into Justified Lunacy.

Rating: M for violence, death, and swearing.

Disclaimer: Neither of us own Digimon and I don't intend to make a disclaimer after this. I don't think LM will either.

Constructive criticism will be appreciated and plot-related questions can be PMed. Enjoy.
***

Chapter 1: Glittering Destruction

A massive golden dragon circled the blackened space, its twelve crimson cores on its back. What it appeared to be surrounding could not be seen but for a faint outline. A white light flashed briefly and formed a young man. The man knelt, eyes to the nonexistent ground. For a moment there was silence. Then the digimon paused in its flight, looking all over the man with a vaguely worried stare. To his credit, the man did not move. Then the dragon resumed its flight.

“Rise, servant of the Digital World.” The dragon’s voice rang with power and a sad wisdom. He obeyed, removing the hood. “What brings you here Gennai?”

“I have been sent to activate the Digivices Fanglongmon. The Higher Beings have deemed it time. They are getting out of control and are spreading their influences.”

“So, those children will be called by our power.” A hopeful inflection entered the dragon’s rumbling tone. “The seal shall be broken then?”

“We can only hope,” replied Gennai quietly. Fanglongmon almost laughed.

“You can do more than hope Gennai. You have chosen before and will choose again. Each group has saved the Digital World. I believe you are quite certain of the outcome, even if no one else is.”

Gennai smiled, his blue eyes alight. “You’ve seen through me again.”

“You are easy to read, my friend. Now, shall we begin?”

“Yes sir.”
……………..

The sky is grey. Why is it grey? There were no storms today. Oh, it hurts. My soul aches, like someone is clenching it tightly, walking on my unmade grave. I look around and flinch at the dust in my eyes. There were once buildings here, but they have been knocked down until there were only bricks and ruins and ghosts left. It is worse than a ghost town, because I know life should be here. Instead it’s cold and there’s no blood or corpses or even signs if things ever growing. I want to scream, but that would take away the silence, the silence that protects me, at least for the moment.

I don’t want to die.

The thought chills me, turning my skin to gooseflesh and my blood to ice. Just as I think about the silence fading, it does. There is roaring, of beasts and dragons and all manners of creatures. Loud footsteps and great shadows hidden by fog are approaching me. And beneath all that noise, a quiet voice is whispering in my ears, calling for help.
…………………

Kiri bolted up in her bed, reflexively grabbing the wooden blade lying on the dresser. She gasped for breath, clutching her chest with her free hand. After a few moments she calmed, sweat glistening like teardrops on her face. The dark-haired girl glanced around in the dark. She sighed. I should go check on Luca. He's been sleeping pretty badly lately. So had she but the girl worried more for his health than hers. It was bad reflex by now. Slipping out of bed, she reluctantly returned the makeshift weapon to its place, feeling slightly naked without it, even with her nightgown. Tiptoeing across the hall so as not to wake her friend, who was staying for the night, she gently turned the knob on the smaller boy's bedroom door and opened it.

Immediately she could see him in the faint artificial light of his star nightlight. He was pale and trembling in his sleep, curled up in a ball. His face was screwed up in concentration and fear, locks of his blond hair sticking to his face. Kiri moved to sit behind his head. She knew she had to wait, no matter how much it hurt. Not long now.

She was right. A few seconds later his blue eyes opened and he shook, crying softly. Kiri waited a moment for him to pull himself from the dreams and stroked his hair warmly. "Really bad tonight?"

He shuddered. "They were all dead Kiri. All gone and they weren't supposed to be. Everything felt wrong. I- I could feel them, those bad things. They were coming. And… I heard him again." He reached for the hem of her sleeve and clutched it almost obsessively. Kiri simply nodded. She too had dreamed this, had just finished dreaming this. So many times the three of them had dreamed this now, as though they were on the same psychic radio frequency. But this sort of thing could affect nobody more than Luca. Sweeter than sugar and softer than gossamer described her little cousin well, while she was called nothing less than steel in human form. Kiri liked that description.

"Little guy have a nightmare?" a sleepy voice questioned from the doorway. Sean blinked drowsily at them all as he rubbed his green eyes, brown hair sticking up messily. If it were anyone else, even their own parents, Kiri would have told them to leave, that they couldn't do anything. But this was Sean, he couldn't be told to leave. So he joined her in her place, resting a hand on Luca's shoulder and his head on Kiri's arm. People sometimes wondered if they were actually a family instead. To them it might as well have been that way.

"So did you or you wouldn't be awake," the female pointed out. Sean chuckled lightly. She knew him well.

"Sorry." Luca's heartfelt apology was very soft. He had calmed down, at least a little. His bright eyes were glowing with guilt and Sean grinned again, like a clown’s mask.

"Don't be. We were already up. Besides nightmares are scary." He remembered his vividly and shivered a bit. Kiri agreed silently. This brought a little peace to his eyes.

"Want us to stay?" Luca nodded, embarrassed. "Alright then. We’ll be right back. Come on Sean." She stood up and left, Sean only steps behind her. He turned to her as she grabbed her pillow and blanket from her bed.

"Was it the same dream?" Sean crossed his arms, expression serious. The young woman nodded exhaustedly, rubbing at her slightly smudged grey eyes. He frowned. "Kiriko."

She had the decency to look ashamed. "Yeah I know. I've been trying." I can’t control those dreams.

Sean kept his accusatory glare. "You won't do Akira any good by exhausting yourself."

"Sean if you don't stop parroting the obvious I'm going to hit you." The boy rolled his eyes but shied away slightly. She did hit hard.

Kiri sighed and pinched her nose. "I heard Akira in my dreams. The Digital World, it wants something."

Sean gave a quiet nod. "Don't we all?”

Kiri smiled wanly. “Wisdom at midnight suits you. Now let’s not leave Luca be.”
……………

It was morning. A teen with dirty-blonde hair quietly shut the door behind him, trying not to disturb his father. Mother would wake him up when she got back. He was grateful he had chosen his sleeveless blue shirt with his light green pants. The forecast had gotten it wrong after all, judging by the heat. Once the entrance was locked behind him, the male ran off, heading down the pathway as quick as he could. He did not want to be late after all. His thoughts traveled toward his earlier dreams. It had been so dark and depressing, almost reminiscent of the apocalyptic world stories presented. That would have been the Digital World, if I recall. He remembered those two creatures clashing eight years ago in Highton View Terrace, not to mention the world appearing in the sky four years after that. However, there have been no sightings of those ruins anywhere. As he turned the corner, he accidently bumped into someone walking outside.

“Tch, are you always this much of a klutz Jonathan?” Stepping back he managed a smile to his neighbor. He had practically grown up beside her, watching the changes as a artist paints: detached yet close. Blair moved her black ponytail from behind her shoulder, cape billowing as she moved. The scar mostly hidden by the eye patch on her face never drew his eyes. He’d learned to get used to it.

“Good morning to you too Blair.” Blair rolled her eyes.

“Idiot. What are you in such a rush for?” The female fell into step beside him.

“My school midterm project is due soon and I’d like to turn mine in early.”

She scoffed. “Overachieve much?”

“I don’t comprehend the meaning of the word.”

Blair let out an unladylike snort. “That’s surprising, genius boy.” A smile played across his lips.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

This got her fuming. “You weren’t meant to dumbass!” He chuckled and turned a different direction.

“If I recall, your school is in the opposite direction of mine.”

She rolled her eyes again. “Recall? You should know. You went there.” He saw the exhaustion in her face and wondered. For a moment, he considered asking her about the dreams. But before he could, someone went speeding past her, nearly knocking her to the concrete. She turned and shouted. “Watch where you’re running you idiot!” The male grinned and called something inaudible. Both glanced in the direction he had come. Two others, one the same age as Blair and one younger, were walking up. The boy was smiling sheepishly while the girl shook her head and sighed.

“Sean needs a better clock,” she muttered. Glancing at the other two, she gave them a small bow of the head. “Sorry about him.” Without waiting for an answer, she gripped the younger boy’s wrist. “Come on. Let’s go see if he hit a pole.”

“Do you really think he hit a pole?” the boy asked as they jogged off. He sounded upset about the prospect. Jonathan blinked for a moment before glancing over at her.

“Care to tell me who they are Blair?”

Blair shrugged. “As if I know. The older two are in the class next door. Supposedly, the two who walked past are cousins.” I think they got in the news once… or maybe that wasn’t them."

“Ah. Until later then.” They parted, Jonathan back in his rush.

…………………

The shadows spun and licked like tongues of flame. He stared out into the Ocean from his place, watching its grey and black depths swirl and bubble. The demon wondered how long his imprisonment had been, how much longer it would be. Before he had been taken into this dark hell, his fellows had begun their plans. Thankfully, the Higher Beings had not sensed them, or they would have alerted the Harmonious Ones at once. Distractions, admittedly powerful ones, were quite welcome to stopping those Digidestined from seeing the true darkness.

We have our master to thank for that, he reflected. Suddenly, the sea began to part. A shadowy creature was rising from its depths, the darkness wrapping it in a veil. The digimon snorted. He knew who it was. Dragomon ruled by fear and yet once you met him, the mere ultimate wasn’t nearly so terrifying. If I killed him, I wonder how the Dark World would change. But how strange for him to be out, unless others were here. Suddenly, a sweetly seductive voice pierced his ears.

“Look at you Daemon! Left to rot in this beautiful place by children. My, how you’ve fallen!” A Digimon sauntered out of the trees, moving in a way that showed off every angle of her body easily. At first glance, she simply appeared to be a beautiful black-haired human with a purple and black kimono. But the two pairs of bat wings ruined the image, as did the demonic claw on her hand.

Beneath his hood, Daemon rolled his eyes. “Spare me your tirade Lilithmon. How are things proceeding?”

“Beautifully,” she purred. “That fool Gennai completely overlooked us, preferring to destroy MaloMyotismon. Not that I blame him, I would have destroyed the fool myself. He brought shame to the name “Demon Lord”. Also, that boy who sealed you here, Ichijouji, was it? The Spore has finally started to take hold. He’ll be useless soon.”

Daemon’s lips curled into a fanged smile. That was sweet vengeance, but it was a shame he would lose such a precious artifact. No matter, there was likely a way to retrieve it.
“Well then, my dear, shall we depart?” He offered a purple, clawed hand to the Demon of Lust, which she accepted. She waved a hand dismissively, opening a gate. The pair stepped forward out of this temporarily grounded world. Not into light, no, but into a much deeper darkness.

I warned the Digidestined I would be back. I meant it. Now then, their destruction will be the end of the Balance, a thing I will destroy myself.

………………

Time passed and school let out. The bell rang loudly in Sean’s class, causing him to start awake. Rubbing his eyes, he managed to stand and bow with the rest of the class. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Kiri grinning at him. He stuck his tongue out at her playfully when the teacher wasn’t looking. As the class filed out, he stayed behind a moment, making sure he hadn’t missed getting his work turned in before passing out. Kiri watched him from her seat, still grinning that mischievous smile that she sometimes wore.

“Someone was paying attention today,” she teased as they walked out of the room to their lockers. He pouted at her.

“It’s not my fault Mrs. Haniko’s so boring. How do you stay awake? Tape your eyelids up?”

The dark-haired girl rolled her eyes. “No you idiot. It’s called having a wider attention span than a gnat.”

“Why do I have to deal with your insults?” he whined as he came up to his locker. She passed him to head to hers, but as she passed Kiri replied,

“Because you’re the only one close enough to get them.” He smiled warmly to himself.

“Fair enough.” He quickly finished up at his locker and ran after her, bookbag slung lazily over one arm.

Luca was already at her locker, tossing a small hacky sack between his hands. He saw them and pocketed it, running to hug his cousin tightly. Kiri stopped and braced herself as he latched unashamedly onto her, grunting at his added weight. The passing girls cooed like always, making Sean wonder if they were part-bird. The concept was funny. Sean walked over and gently started to pry the younger boy off.

“Come on little guy, let your cousin move. You really don’t have to knock her over to say hi, do you?” Luca obeyed, looking embarrassed. Kiri flashed him a grateful smile and mussed the ten-year old’s hair, opening her locker with her other hand. Retrieving her bookbag and bokuto, she quickly slammed it shut. Sean gestured and the two marched after him.

An older boy catcalled, “Why are you dragging a little kid on your date?” Luca blinked at the older boy and lowered his eyes shyly, looking slightly upset. Kiri activated one of her fiercer death glares, which Sean couldn’t help but smirk at as he patted his buddy on the shoulder. As they switched shoes and walked outside, Sean glimpsed the grey-eyed girl’s grip on her wooden blade in its holder relax only slightly. Mother hen much, Kiriko?

“Anybody up to doing their homework in the park?” he asked nonchalantly, ignoring everybody else’s stares as they passed, heading toward their apartment complex. Immediately Luca’s eyes lit up and he nodded.

Kiri teased, “What, you actually have the homework?” Sean grinned.

“Of course! I’m not stupid you know?”

“So says the guy who hit a tree this morning,” a voice muttered derisively. Kiri glanced over, amusement flickering on her face. It was that girl from earlier. She looked vaguely familiar aside from that, but Kiri couldn’t place why. Glimpsing the gash mostly hidden by the eye patch, Kiri felt a vague twinge of curiosity, but nothing more. Luca looked a little frightened, to him the scar and her intimidating attitude must have been warning signs.

Sean’s grin widened. He ignored the disfigurement, but then again he didn’t really care much about that sort of thing. “Hey you’re that chick from this morning! Sorry about that, I was in a rush you know?” Her eyes flared but Sean just kept grinning like a madman.

Luca, noticing her staring at the other girl, leaned up and whispered. “Kiri, do you know her?” Kiri thought about it for another minute then nodded.

She spoke up. “You’re Blair Morgan, aren’t you? You’re in the class next to us right?”

Blair nodded warily. “Yeah what about it?” Kiri shrugged.

“I’m just surprised we’ve never talked. Our classes have had group activities together.”

Sean snorted. “Of course you two haven’t talked Kiri. You’re as social as a porcupine!” Luca giggled at the idea of his cousin being a porcupine while Kiri just shrugged it off. Sean suddenly looked thoughtful. “Then again, I haven’t noticed you either. That’s weird, considering I make an effort to at least know everyone by name.” Kiri glanced around, feeling vaguely unsettled. Where did everyone go?

Blair frowned. “I barely recognize you two, and you’d think I’d recall talking to someone as annoying as this guy.” Sean pouted at her. Unsurprisingly, it ticked her off more.

Jonathan was walking past, eager to get home before his mother woke up. As he strolled by, he saw the four of them. Strange, Blair isn’t exactly the social type. He went over, calling toward her. She turned and her scowl deepened slightly. He recognized them at once from this morning. The brown-haired male looked at him and smiled widely, reminding Jonathan of a jester.

“Hey I know you!” The younger said this with pure delight and satisfaction. “I’ve seen you at the library sometimes!”

The black-haired girl looked up at him before smirking lightly at her friend. “You actually go to the library of your own free will?”

He turned and pretended to look offended. “Hey, my sister’s a bookworm remember? Whenever I come home, she drags me there!” Jonathan paused for a moment. So he was the one playing those games on the computer….

“That’s right. If I recall, you tried breaking the parental controls on one of the computers.”
The dark-haired girl groaned at this, giving him a disapproving look while Blair snorted derisively. He was surprised she hadn’t left yet. The boy just gave him a mischievous smile.

“Yep that’s me! The name’s Sean Ladon and don’t you forget it!” Blair resisted the urge to hit the other male while Jonathan held back a smile. The kid certainly was eager. Sean pointed to his friends. “That’s Kiriko Ryutori. Just call her Kiri though. Most people who use her full name end up with bamboo up their butt. And the little guy’s her cousin Luca Hanima. He’s shy, so don’t expect much out of his mouth.”

“Pleased to meet you all,” he replied. “My name is Jonathan Lucas.”

Sean flashed him a thumbs up. “Cool. Hey Kiri-” He turned around to see Kiri crouched in front of the younger. Immediately, his cheer vanished, making Jonathan curious as he hurried over. Was he actually happy just now?

“What’s up Luca?” His voice was quieter, duller. Jonathan, sensing something was wrong, went to join them. Luca was staring blankly ahead, blue eyes unfocused.

“Something feel off?” The question from Kiri made Blair turn: now suspicious.

“What do you mean, off?” Kiri ignored her.

“We’re all here now,” Luca mumbled suddenly. His tone was vacant, more than his eyes.

“What do you mean, we?” Jonathan asked. Luca didn’t answer.

“We’re all here now. It can start.” He turned to look at Kiri. “We’re going. I can feel it.” Kiri’s eyes narrowed and her hand gripped her bokuto defensively.

Sean frowned and looked around, also catching the hidden meaning. He saw the other two looking confused, and immediately tugged on Kiri’s shirt. She glanced at him as he mouthed a question to her. Them too? She shrugged.

“What the hell is going on here?” snapped Blair, starved for answers.

Jonathan shivered. The weather report didn’t mention this cold front. He glanced up, expecting to see grey clouds. His eyes widened, as his vision caught green and red light. “Why are the aurorae here?”

Blair heard footsteps behind her and whirled around to glare. Then she visibly relaxed. “Wizardmon!” Jonathan winced as he turned to see, having cracked his neck. What stood there was a man in red and yellow torn clothes and his face hidden. He wore brown boots with crescent moons on them. The man wore a purple cape and hat with a skull over his straw-yellow hair. In one of his gloved hands was a staff with a broken sun.

“Blair, why do you have a digimon?” Jonathan asked, deep in thought. A digimon’s here, so this does have to do with the Digital World after all. Blair shrugged, observing impassively as he came to her side.

“He’s just here. He reconfigured after the fight with Myotismon four years ago. He said he was my partner and had to stay by my side.” Kiri was staring at her, eyes wide. She has a digimon so that means…

“Um guys, there are bright stars in the light!” Luca cried. He seemed to be back to normal and was pointing at the sky. They all looked up. Five twinkling white lights stood out among the mixture of red and green.

“Should we run?” Sean asked, a quavering tone in his voice. Jonathan secretly agreed.

“No point,” Kiri replied quietly. “They’re coming for us. There’s no way to avoid it.” She smirked faintly and muttered, almost to her self, “I was right. This was fate after all.” Blair’s earlier suspicion infected Jonathan now and he watched her. She knows an awful lot about this.

Abruptly, the aforementioned lights shot towards them, landing in each of their hands. As they touched, the world vanished into light. Using his other arm, Jonathan covered his eyes. The next thing he knew, he was plummeting downward, or at least what he thought was down. What in the world is happening? The blonde teen felt fear wash over him. I’m falling. I’m falling so quickly. Am I going to hit the ground and die?

No, a calm voice said in his head. You’re much too necessary to just end up a mess on the ground.

The voice sounded familiar. Who are you?

For a moment, he swore he felt a smile in the statement. A contradiction. Now go, finish what my friends and I could not. Lead your comrades to victory.

The whiteness faded and he could see green. Inhaling, he smelled grass. They were in a meadow. Jonathan rolled over, surprised to feel his left hand still clenched around something. Moving his head to see, he unclenched his fist. The light from before was still bright in his hand. I shouldn’t be able to hold this. The glow began to shift between his fingers, changing into a strange mechanical device. Sitting up, Jonathan turned it over in his hands. It looked like an advanced version of those digital pets you got at the store, black antenna sticking out at the top. Everything about it was white except for the grips, which in his case were black. On the side was a slit, about the size of where you would fit a camera memory card.

He looked around, seeing the other four collapsed as he had been. “Everybody okay?”
There were general groans of consensus. One after the other, they all sat up and looked at the device in their hands. That digimon’s not here, he noted.

“What are these, do you think?” Sean muttered, green eyes curious.

“Those are Digivices, specifically called D-Cores. You need them to travel in and out of the Digital World.” Blair turned toward the voice, recognizing Wizardmon as he strolled back over to her.

“Wizardmon, where’d you go?” She sounded angry, not worried. Wizardmon gave her an apologetic smile from behind his collar.

“I’m sorry Blair but I had to go find these four.” He gestured behind him. Four other digimon (for that was only what they could be) were following him. One, a purple dragon with a red interface on its forehead with white on its paws, tail tip, and belly launched itself onto Sean, grinning maniacally.

“I knew you’d come,” cheered the digimon. “I just knew you would make it here! My name is Dorumon, and I’m a Rookie Beast Digimon. I can beat anybody with my Dash Metal and Metal Cannon attacks. Glad to meet ya!”

For the first time since they had met him, Sean looked utterly speechless. “Uh, yeah, nice to meet you too. I’m Sean. How did you know I would make it here?”

“Cause of your Digivice!” Dorumon replied promptly. “Whoever’s got purple is my partner and that’s you Sean! We’re gonna be the best team in the world I’m sure!” Sean continued to stare before grinning and nodding.

“Hey kid, you okay?” This question was directed to Luca, who jumped and turned. Peering at him with blue eyes eerily similar to his was a muscular lion cub with a golden ring around its neck. Luca nodded shakily. It gave him a sniff and then sat on its haunches, fixing him with a fierce stare. “You carry the orange D-Core, so you’re my partner then. I’m Liollmon and I’m a Holy Beast Rookie Digimon. I’ll protect you with my Lio Claw and Critical Bite, which can take down a Champion if aimed right.”

The ten year old smiled. For some reason, hearing that made him happy. “I’m Luca! I’ll help you the best I can.”

Kiri was watching them both approvingly before turning to see the digimon at her side. It was a yellow fox that stood on its hind legs. Over its arms were purple gloves with the yin-yang symbol on its thighs. The stare that observed her was piercing blue but she could tell the digimon was not as fierce as she looked. “I’m Kiri,” she introduced. “Who are you?”

The fox bowed slightly. “I am Renamon, a Rookie Animal Digimon. I tear through my enemies with my Diamond Storm and Power Paw. I have been ordered to follow the one who carries the blue D-Core. Shall we fight together then?”

“I suppose so.”

Blair glanced at Wizardmon. “You too?” she asked quietly, different from usual.

Wizardmon nodded. “I am partnered to the one with the yellow D-Core. I am a Champion Level whose attacks are Magical Game and Electro Squall. So nothing changes.” Jonathan peered past him. He couldn’t find the last Digimon. He felt a tug at his pants leg and looked down to see a green worm with purple pods and “mouth”. On the last segment there was a bright blue ring.

“Um,” the larva began softly. “Is your Digivice black by any chance?”

Jonathan nodded. “It is. My name is Jonathan. You are…”

“Wormmon. I’m a Rookie level Insect Digimon,” it squeaked quickly. “My attacks are Silk Thread and Sticky Net. Nice to meet you.” Jonathan felt a smile touch his lips. Well he did love insects.

Their cheerful bonding time was cut short by a plantlike creature wearing a yellow and red kimono running into the clearing. It was a digimon with pink flowers for a head and hands. The face was a heavily made-up mask. It saw them and growled out, “Cherry Blossom Storm!” Razor sharp petals whirled toward them. Everyone rolled out of the way quickly.

“What the hell is that?” snapped Blair as she got to her feet, looking incensed.

“Kabukimon,” growled Liollmon, fangs bared. “A Champion Level. Mutant Digimon. Its attacks are Cherry Blossom Storm and Lion Dance.”

“This is strange though,” muttered Renamon. “Kabukimon are usually very kind. What could have riled up this one?”

“I’m not standing still enough to find out,” replied Kiri as she stood. She gripped her bokuto in both hands. “Sean, take care of Luca!”

“Are you really being reckless enough to fight that thing?” Sean groaned, reflexively dragging the youngest back.

“Not alone,” she replied confidently. “Ready Renamon?”

The fox nodded. I like her already. “Of course.” She leapt into action, paws blazing. “Power Paw!” She sliced down, striking with her claws on the opponent’s arm. Kabukimon gave an unelegant snort as she lashed out with the other, barely being blocked by Kiri. The girl grunted and forced it off, slamming her weapon over the Digimon’s head.

Jonathan couldn’t help but roll his eyes. Think I’ve just met the craziest girl on the planet. “Wormmon, could you…?”

The insect nodded, eyes gaining a determined stare. “Leave it to me!” He hopped over to Kabukimon. “Silk Thread!” The sharp silk stabbed through Kabukimon’s other hand.

“Cherry Blossom Storm!” The whole group was knocked back by the whirlwind, each sustaining numerous cuts. Kiri was bleeding from various scratches. This upset Luca, who proceeded to glare rather ferociously at the Champion digimon.

Dorumon took advantage of the moment. He charged with a wild shout, claws shining silver. He leapt. “Dino Metal!” The claws left three long gashes down his face.

Liollmon glanced between his new partner and his opponent. Then he looked over at the Champion on their side, the only other not to attack. “Hey, think if I left an opening you could take this guy out?” Wizardmon nodded. The lion cub smirked. “Well then, here we go!” He charged headlong into the fight. Kabukimon noticed and fired at him. He growled and defied it. Letting out a roar, he jumped toward her neck. “Critical Bite!” Sinking his jaws into the weak point, he growled through the plant. "Hurry it up stupid!"

Wizardmon raised his staff. The hole in the middle of the broken sun began to glow. Fire burned around the head. Pointing it toward the enemy, he cried, “Magical Game!” Liollmon jumped away at the last second, watching as Kabukimon screamed and died, turning into a mixture of ash and data. Jonathan winced but forced himself to keep watching. Blair looked forcibly impassive. Luca hid his face, trembling. Sean and Kiri glanced at each other and Kiri frowned quietly, nodding.

As the screams died away, Jonathan caught Luca’s whisper.

“This is just the beginning, isn’t it?”

Kiri replied cryptically. “Yeah Luca. It’s the beginning of our path to madness.”

Domin-8
October 19th, 2010, 12:10 PM
Love it! Great story thus far and easy to follow. I personally love Digimon and it is nice to see my personal favorite (Dorumon) in this. I can see great things coming from this.

Legendarian Mistress
October 25th, 2010, 03:40 PM
A/N: Thanks go to SS for providing a name for the D3 look-a-like.

Chapter 2: Worrying Friendships

“Blair, refrain from delaying, please. We have to head back. Luca, especially, has had a hard time today.” Jonathan was a master at leadership, yet Blair had never made things this difficult for him. He was also experienced at reading the deeper meaning of facial expressions and sensed there was something that Sean, Kiri and Luca were hiding from him. How can I be a proper leader if those three don’t trust me?

Blair turned on the older teen and snapped. “Don’t you tell me what to do, Jonathan!” She stomped away in anger, whilst her partner looked undecided from nearby.

Wizardmon saw where Jonathan was coming from, in that Sean, Kiri and Luca were exhausted. Even their partners were lying, or crouching in Renamon’s case, on the ground from tiredness. But as Blair’s partner, the elf-like Digimon was obligated to be with and protect her. He nodded briskly to Jonathan, indicating he respected his decision, before walking over to Blair’s side.

A winged sphinx with armour on the front of her body flew down from the sky. “You are the Digi-Destined. Do you want to go home? There's a DigiPort over there,” she motioned with a paw to a television that was a short distance away. “Just say DigiPort open and you'll return to the real world.”

Luca felt a bubble of hope burst into his chest. “Will that really take us back?”

The Digimon nodded gently, sensing the child's apprehension. “I'm quite certain.” After giving the new Digi-Destined guidance, the aerial feline took off.

“Blair, you are required to come with us, otherwise Bill will notice your absence and he’ll question me.” Jonathan paused, looking around him to see that Sean, Kiri and Luca had come to stand beside him with their Digimon. He looked behind them to see Wizardmon having a hushed conversation with Blair, before the troubled girl finally relented and the two of them joined the other four Digi-Destined. They walked over to the television. “DigiPort, open!” Jonathan exclaimed, pointing his Digivice at the television screen. Next to the gate on the screen, the indicator flashed green. Immediately the small screen burst into light, sucking Jonathan and the others through.

*****

Upon their return to Odaiba, Jonathan hardly glanced around him to realize it was getting late. If they didn’t hurry back to their homes, their families would become even more worried. He went over the plan once again in his head, before speaking up. “Okay, we’ll need to meet again tomorrow since it’s the weekend and my parents are shift workers. What time should we meet?”

There was a long silence. Sean, Kiri and Luca remained quiet. Eventually, Blair reacted, not being able to stand the hushed atmosphere anymore. “I’ll do it!” she snapped. “My house, nine AM!”

Jonathan waited for a response from the other three, but there was nothing. How long will it take for them to trust me? “Very well — Blair’s house at nine o’clock it is. We’ll go back to the Digital World and explore some more territory. Good bye for today, Sean. Come along, Blair.” Very reluctantly, Blair followed Jonathan, muttering darkly under her breath all the while. Wizardmon and Wormmon stepped into formation on either side of their Digi-Destined partners.

Looking back only once, Jonathan observed Sean and his companions pick up their Digimon — now at the In Training level — and walk in the opposite direction. Focusing his attention back on his path home, he wondered how he would explain Wormmon’s sudden appearance to his parents. The two teenagers stopped in front of Blair’s parents’ home, which was now owned by Blair’s cousin. It seemed Bill was out at the moment, since the lights were off.

“Be sure to take the necessary precautions in hiding Wizardmon,” Jonathan said quietly.

“How many times do I have to tell you not to tell me what to do?!” the girl snapped.

Jonathan gave his neighbour a look which expressed his disappointment. “I’m only trying to help you, Blair.”

“I don’t need help!”

“You need to start helping yourself. You’re pushing everyone away. Do you really want that?” Jonathan turned his back on Blair before she had a chance to answer; his dismissal of her, however, was out of concern for her wellbeing. He started walking further up the street to his house, where only his mother was present and currently preparing for her night shift work. From experience, he knew his father would arrive soon and eat before going to bed, as his job was a very strenuous day shift.

“Oh, hello dear,” Jonathan’s mother spoke to her son as he entered the house. “I’m about to head out to work, but I’ve prepared a meal for you. Shall I leave it in your room?”

“Hello, Mother. No, that’s fine, but thanks anyway. I can take it...” Jonathan stopped mid-sentence when he realized his mother was staring at Wormmon.

“Dear, what is that?”

“Oh, you know me, Mother. It’s just an insect I collected while I was out today.”

Jonathan’s mother stared at Wormmon for a couple of seconds longer, before shrugging dismissively. That sure is a big insect. I wonder where it really came from... oh well; I’ll ask him when I come back. “Have a good time tonight, dear. I have to go now.”

“Bye, Mother.” Jonathan patted his mother on the back as she exited the house, at the same time his father entered. His father was so exhausted he didn’t even bother to ask his son what the “insect” was, how he’d obtained it, where he’d been today, or how his grades were. He simply scoffed down a double cheeseburger and large fries that had been bought earlier and drifted into the master bedroom.

“Well, Wormmon... I guess this gives us some alone time. I need to learn more about the Digimon species anyway,” Jonathan addressed his partner as he headed to his own private room. After entering and shutting his door, Jonathan plopped down on his bed and placed Wormmon beside him. “You’re different from any other Digimon I’ve seen — that much I can tell straight away.”

“Thank you, Jonathan,” the Rookie level Digimon answered in a quivering tone.

“You’re different because your tail ring is blue. I noticed that earlier, but didn’t say anything because I didn’t know how well you’d deal with it. But let’s get down to business. My team aren’t the only Digi-Destined group in Odaiba, are we?”

“There are another two groups, although one member of the other group lives in a different district,” Wormmon replied, his voice still trembling. “Eight children are in the first group. Group two has six Digi-Destined, two of which were in the previous team.”

“Why were we dragged to the Digital World in the first place?” Jonathan asked.

“I can’t help you with that. I’m sorry, Jonathan. I don’t even know why I was called,” the insect Digimon responded.

Jonathan looked down, feeling slightly disappointed. “It’s okay, Wormmon. Let’s get some sleep.” The teen got changed, got into his bed and pulled the covers up. Wormmon wriggled up beside him.

*****

The next morning, Jonathan paced up and down outside Blair’s house. Where are Sean, Kiri and Luca? They’re supposed to be here by now... He anxiously looked at his digital watch, which showed the time as 9:05 AM. Jonathan heard Kiri’s laugh from inside the building and a look of surprise crossed his face, quickly followed by an annoyed expression. Why didn’t Blair have the decency to tell me they were here?

Jonathan swiftly pulled open the door and strode inside. Taking a deep breath to calm his rising annoyance with Blair, he addressed Sean and his friends. “What are we meant to be doing in the Digital World?”

“Jonathan has a point,” Blair answered in her usual abrupt tone. “What are the D-Cores?!”

The In Training Digimon didn’t answer, feeling the unease roll off their partners. Beside Jonathan, Wormmon began fretting. It was left up to Wizardmon to reply to the questions. “Through your emotions, the D-Cores help us Digivolve. As for what you’re doing in the Digital World, the five of you are our partners.”

Jonathan gave the Champion Digimon a strange look. “That doesn’t exactly help, Wizardmon. Do we know why Kabukimon attacked us?” His query was aimed at everyone.

Sean glanced at the other two. Luca was staring at Jonathan. He was wary of the other boy. Sean didn't blame him. This boy had just waltzed right in and taken the leader position without warning. He would take some getting used to. Kiri's expression was carefully blank. He wished he could do that right now. He gestured with a hand to her. She came forward, as casual as could be.

“What?” she hissed in his ear, not angrily.

“What am I supposed to tell him?”

“The obvious. We don't know.”

Sean frowned. “But we do. Are you saying not to trust this guy?”

“Exactly. For now. He's new, he's young. I don't know his true colours yet. Say it has something to do with instinct.” She stepped back.

Sean sighed at her and rolled his eyes. Turning back to Jonathan, he replied, “Probably because we're strangers in their world. Strange creatures that scream “Eat me!” at the top of their lungs. Instinct: New creatures = fresh meat.”

Wormmon spoke up for the first time since the night before. “Isn’t Kabukimon an Armour Digivolved Digimon?” His voice was shaky and, as soon as he finished his question, he began worrying again.

Renamon’s In Training form, Viximon, piped up. “Armour Digimon shouldn't be appearing without a Digi-Egg. This is worse than we thought.”

Jonathan was silent as he considered Kiri’s muffled conversation with Sean. I can see now that she doesn’t trust me. Perhaps if I risked my life for her...? “Indeed, what you say could very well be true, Sean. But we’ve wasted enough time here; we need to get to the Digital World. DigiPort, open!”

This time, they were accessing the DigiPort through Blair’s computer. As per their leaving the Digital World the first time, the small screen burst into light, pulling them through the gate.

*****

They’d arrived in the Digital World for the second time. Sean, Kiri and Luca’s Digimon were back to their Rookie forms. Wizardmon lingered briefly by Blair’s side before approaching Kiri. “Miss Kiriko, how are you today?” The Digimon initiated a conversation with the girl. While waiting for the teen to respond, he shared a glance with Renamon, Dorumon and Liollmon. Deep down, the Rookies sensed that he had been alive longer than they had and respected him as their elder.

Kiri winced at being called her full name, but smiled slightly. He was a respectful Digimon, so she didn't mind as much. “I'm fine, Wizardmon. Thank you for asking. How about you?”

“The weather is sunny and so far we’ve had no attacks from evil or angry Digimon. I am missing my old companion, though.” Wizardmon admitted.

Jonathan walked over to Blair. “How did it go with hiding Wizardmon from Bill?” he asked softly.

“It went fine! Not that it’s any of your business,” Blair snapped. “Wizardmon encouraged me to start opening my heart.” As Blair emphasized the word ‘encouraged’ and sneered at the same time, Jonathan realized it would take her a very long time to open up to anyone, let alone her partner Digimon. He looked at Wizardmon who was still standing calm, collected and slightly reflective as he continued his conversation with Kiri.

The peace was quickly shattered as thundering footsteps were heard to be rapidly approaching their location. A two-legged dragon plated in black metallic armour emerged from the forest behind them. One of his eyes was covered by a scope, with the other being a laser. Short spears jutted out from his back and he clutched a knife in one hand. A spike tipped in yellow was on the top of his armour. Wormmon moaned audibly and hugged Jonathan’s leg. “It’s Sealsdramon, a Champion Digimon!” he cried, panicking.

Hurriedly picking up Wormmon and backing away, Jonathan saw the Champion level creature gaze around at the gathered Digi-Destined. Sean, Blair and Luca had instantly moved backwards, with Luca trembling badly. Where’s Kiri? Jonathan wondered, before realizing she and Renamon alone were facing the evil Digimon. I wanted to save her, yes, but not like this! That Digimon’s got a knife, for crying out loud!

“Sealsdramon, you leave her alone!” Jonathan shouted.

A metallic-sounding laugh came from the Digimon. “You five are the new Digi-Destined? Absolutely pitiful, if you ask me.” The dragon-like Champion ignored further protests from Jonathan as he slowly stomped forward in Kiri’s direction.

“I said leave her alone! Are you deaf, Sealsdramon?” Jonathan knew his protests were simply wasting time, so he abandoned his yelling at the Digimon and raced forward to save Kiri. “Sorry about this, Kiri,” he apologized as he pushed Kiri aside.

Renamon stood off to one side, her gloved arms somewhat splayed. The fox’s eyes were narrowed. She was uncertain of whether to help her partner get back onto her feet, or berate Jonathan.

“What was that for?!” she yelled, from the ground. Sealsdramon plunged the knife down, in an altered version of his move Death Behind, just as Jonathan presented himself in Kiri’s place. As the weapon entered his shoulder, the only sound that came from Jonathan’s mouth was a pained grunt.

Jonathan’s selfless act of courage set off his black D-Core and triggered Wormmon’s Digivolution. A cocoon enveloped the Rookie. His data began shifting around and transforming inside of it, before the shell vanished. A green and black wasp-like Digimon with orange compound eyes stood in the Rookie’s place. There were spikes on the pads on his shoulders. On the top of his clawed hands were smaller spikes which would form his Spiking Strike attack.

“Why? Why... are we... being targeted?” Jonathan breathed sharply, his tone laboured from the pain.

“Wizardmon, Dorumon and Renamon — I could use a hand!” Stingmon called out to three of the four other Digimon.

“My pleasure, Stingmon,” the elf-like wizard answered. A flash of light emanated from Wizardmon’s gloved hand, blinding Sealsdramon, which let the Rookies set up their moves.

“Of course.” Renamon leapt into the air, paws held close to her chest. “Diamond Storm!” She released the flurry of gems, and landed on the ground behind Sealsdramon. The yellow fox quickly looked behind her to see that their opponent had staggered backwards slightly.

This isn’t working! Liollmon’s going to get annoyed at me for this, but I need the power of his Critical Bite technique, Stingmon thought. The insect Digimon watched in stunned shock as Sealsdramon downed Dorumon with one heavy thrust of his hand.

The Champion roared, after batting away Dorumon like he was a pesky fly. He had already used his cyborg eye to scan for vital parts and was moving in for the kill.

“Liollmon, I...” Stingmon began, but was cut short by the lion cub.

Liollmon growled, as if amused. “No need to ask, I saw it in your body movements. Critical Bite!” He charged at the dragon-like Digimon. Sealsdramon noticed and swiped at him with one hand. Dodging the slash, he kept going. Letting out a roar, he jumped toward his neck. Sinking his jaws into the weak point, he growled through the Champion’s flesh: “Now!”

“I’ll help as well!” Wizardmon called. He raised his staff. The hole in the middle of the broken sun began to glow. Fire burned around the head. Pointing it toward the enemy, he cried, “Magical Game!”

At the same time, Stingmon rose up into the air, as the pads on his shoulders lifted partially off his arms. He pulled his right arm and leg back, before his left arm released his signature technique. Stingmon flew down and struck Sealsdramon fully in the centre of his chest, just as Wizardmon’s Magical Game attack left burn marks on the opponent’s body. “Spiking Strike!”

As the air around the Digimon and Digi-Destined shimmered, Sealsdramon’s body vaporized into nothing and his data reformed into a Digi-Egg. Stingmon flew over to his partner’s side and a light surrounded him as he de-Digivolved. Jonathan struggled to sit up and went to pull the knife out of his shoulder, but Kiri was already with him.

“Are you insane? You can't block a knife!” she yelled.

“I... was doing it... to protect you,” he responded, breathing hard.

Sean, despite himself, laughed. “You are a mixture of brave, stupid, and crazy man: brave for jumping in like that, stupid for assuming you can block a knife, and crazy for actually trying to protect Kiri of all people. I like you!”

Kiri scowled. “What are you implying?”

Sean grinned. “Think about it, Kiri. You attacked a Bakemon with a stick of bamboo a few years back, nearly got killed and still managed to get that bastard to stay away. Even without knowing your rep, you've gotta give him credit for trying. Let's hope it was all worthwhile.”

“He's not gonna die, right?” Luca whimpered worriedly.

Kiri shook her head. “Leaders don't die easily. Like him. He's not dead either.”

“You can stop worrying about me, I'll be fine. More importantly, who brought us here? What are we meant to be doing in the Digital World?” Jonathan answered.

Fuyu
November 2nd, 2010, 08:50 AM
Thanks a lot Domin-8. Your review was really encouraging. I agree. Dorumon is amazing. Credit goes to Strikit for the description of Lynxmon.

EDIT: Added a crucial scene I can't believe I missed and changed Renamon's evolution.

Chapter 3: Not Dead Ghosts

Blair resisted the urge to smack him. It was difficult. “How about we go back, and, oh I dunno, get your shoulder checked!”

“I wish you would stop worrying Blair. I’m alright.” His tone, which had been level only seconds before, now held a hint of impatience.

“She should worry,” Liollmon snorted. He sat on his haunches, expression haughty and cold. “If that wound had been anywhere vital, you would have been worse than useless.”

“Yeah man,” Sean agreed, smirking. “A team needs a leader. And even the most reckless ones know when to back down. Besides…” He glanced at Kiri, who was spinning the blade between her fingers. “I have a feeling that the answers won’t be handed to us on a silver platter. It’s stupid but we have to muddle through this sort of thing on our own.” The group shared a moment of silence.

“So, are we going or not?” Blair asked impatiently. Jonathan sighed and nodded, starting to stand up again. Wormmon bounced to his side, firing a light silk to be wrapped around his limb. They began to trek back, quiet and contemplative.

Then Jonathan asked, “Sean what did you mean about muddling earlier?” It had sounded almost sage-like, unusual for a boy who was a cheerful moron.

For some reason Kiri snickered, sharing a smile with Renamon. “He just watches too much anime.”

Sean pouted at her. “So what? It’s educational television! You don’t get mad at Luca for watching it!”

“Yes,” she replied mildly. “But Luca manages to know when there is truth in it and not.”

He rolled his eyes. “Oh come on. You and I both know that this is turning out like some kid’s fantasy of being flung into another reality.”

“True,” she agreed. “But anime has a happy ending.” Sean sighed. He really couldn’t argue with that. Liollmon snorted derisively while Dorumon looked between them in innocent confusion.

By this point they had reached the Digiport. Reflexively, they let themselves be pulled through.

……

For a moment, the park was actually pretty peaceful. But of course, all good things came to an end. Worse, Kiri’s cell phone went off. Sean glanced up lazily, seeing his best friend glanced at the screen. He frowned as her eyes narrowed and she beckoned Luca over. Jonathan watched from a distance, Wormmon curled up gently in his lap. He rubbed his shoulder reflexively. It seemed passing through the Digital World back here had at least healed it a little. Good, his mother wouldn’t have a heart attack.

“Hello?” Her voice was very quiet and calm, forcefully so. Well of course they call, Sean thought darkly. Damn. “Hi Mom, Dad. Are you home? Yeah he’s here. Do you want to talk to him? Dad, don’t. I really don’t want to have this argument right now.” Sean rolled his eyes toward Luca, who looked visibly upset. He knows too. God, what great parenting skills they have. “I wish you would trust me a little more. That’s not what I mean. I’ve been doing this for years. I’m not one of your unreliable employees. You imply that every time we talk to each other.” He saw her clench a fist. “Look I’m gonna let Luca say hi okay? No, I’m not in the mood to argue about it. Bye Dad.” She lowered the phone and passed it to her cousin, who gave her a wary look. She nodded and turned away as he started cheerily chatting.

“Nice parents you have there,” Sean commented.

She shrugged. “They’re what I’ve got. Besides it’s mostly Dad.” She glanced at her watch and picked up her partner. “We should go. It’ll be dark soon.” Sean grinned, plopping Dorimon on his head.

Blair snorted. “Subtle.”

There was a laugh. “I’m already weird, so I might as well make use of it, ne Dorimon?” The little Digimon bounced eagerly. Luca closed the cell phone and handed it back to his cousin, his smile fading into anxiety. Sean immediately took the lead, bounding ahead with all the energy of a rubber ball. The pair trailed after him. For a moment, Kiri paused and turned to glance at Jonathan.

“Be gentle with your shoulder,” she ordered casually before leaving. Viximon waved her tail in farewell. Jonathan watched for a moment then gave a quiet smile.
………………

“Are you leaving for school Kiri?” Kiriko turned from where she was hefting her bokuto over her shoulders. Her mother was standing there, a black-haired woman with a permanently pale visage, legs weakly trembling. Her arm rested carefully on the kitchen counter. She was forty-three but Reiko Ryutori had always looked much older to her daughter’s eyes.

“Mom what are you doing?” she exclaimed, rushing to her side. She quickly moved to her side, leading her mother back to her chair. “You’re sick, you shouldn’t be up! You don’t…” You don’t have much time left. The words were in her throat but Kiri swallowed them. Her mother gave a wan smile, a stranger’s smile. My mother is a stranger. It was a disturbing thought.

“Yes I know what I am,” she assured her daughter. “Your brother was much the same over it, you know. Always worrying helplessly over my declining health. I’m not sure which one of you frets more.” Kiriko winced at the mention of her sibling.

“Dad doesn’t seem to,” she muttered slightly bitterly. Reiko smiled again.

“Why should he? You do it for him.” The teen flushed gently.

“Mom…” Her mother reached out and gave her a weak embrace. Kiri could almost feel her mother’s muscles wasting away. Less than two years, the doctors said. Dad works her like a slave, so I bet it’s less now. Mom… I don’t even know who you are… yet you’re going to leave me and take Dad with you. I wonder if that’s a good thing. Is it a good thing I’ll be alone?

“Off you go now. Take care of your cousin. We probably won’t be here when you get home.” As she said that, Luca came padding out of his room, hair fashionably messy and fully dressed.

“Right then.” Stepping away, Kiri ordered solemnly. “Please don’t forget your medicine Mom. I’ll see you guys when you come home.”

“Bye Auntie,” Luca said shyly.

“Don’t worry. Good luck you two. Take care.”

...

A brunette stood at the entrance to an apartment in Tamachii. Her rose quartz eyes were filled with anxiety and fear. I wish the others were here. Davis and Yolei could have cheered him up a lot better than I can. That wasn’t possible. Davis and TK were busy with sports, Yolei was working in her family’s store more than ever, and even Cody was busy taking care of his grandfather, whose age was starting to catch up with him.

The white feline in her arms, who had been staring at the door expectantly, asked. “Can we go in now Kari? Ken’s probably really worried about us.” The Child of Light sighed and nodded. Yet her legs remained locked in place. There’s so much darkness in this place, centering on Ken. I guess, even after returning to normal, the darkness still lingers.

Tentatively, she reached out to the door and knocked. It took a minute before Ken’s mother answered the door. Unlike the few times she had seen the woman, Mrs. Ichijouji looked as though the world had fallen back on her shoulders. Despite that, she managed her warm smile that immediately set the world at ease. Ken must have got it from her.

The woman clasped her hands together as she led her guest inside, saying, “Ken will be really pleased to see you I’m sure. Davis was just over yesterday.”

“How is he?” she asked warily, fearing the worst.

“He’s feeling better than yesterday, so that’s a good sign. People seem to be the best medicine right now.”

Ken wasn’t sick, per se, but he did have a fever and was incredibly exhausted, so most people considered him ill. Kari knew better. She could feel the evil struggling to claim him. Now that she was here, would it try to do the same to her?

As she mulled this over, Ken’s mother opened the door to her son’s room. Kari stepped warily through.

The room looked almost the exact same way as when she had last seen it, barring a few strewn things that obviously belonged to Davis. A part of her swelled with relief that the darkness had not seeped into the walls. She looked around, expecting a greeting. Then a quiet chuckle permeated her ears.

“Davis is really messy huh?” She smiled despite the dread coiling around in the pit of her stomach. His voice sounded so exhausted.

“Yeah, I bet you’re mom’s glad you’re not.”

Ken smiled again, still hidden in shadow by where he lay on his bed. “I bet she’s glad about many things.” A small green ball with a leaf on its head peeked out from under the covers. Its leaf was drooping and an almost nonexistent light was coming from its pacifier. He’s so sick Leafmon’s affected? Kari was filled with trepidation. To hide it, she made to shut the door. Ken shook his head, though she couldn’t see it.

“No, you can leave it open. It keeps the dark at bay a little.”

“So it is the Ocean that’s filling this place,” she surmised. Ken nodded, forcing himself to sit up and swing his legs over the mattress. “I wasn’t imagining things.”

“If not the Dark Ocean, then something with just as cruel of darkness is tainting this place. Because I’ve been there, because I’ve carried a piece of it, I can sense it.” He glanced at the black and grey Digivice sitting innocently on his computer table. Ken looked at her with frightening intensity. “And so can you.”

Kari released Gatomon, who crawled expertly up the bunk bed to sit next to Leafmon. As she sat, her eyes caught a flash of red against Ken’s neck. “Ken, your throat’s bleeding!” she exclaimed and panic immediately washed over her human partner.

But Ken did not panic, he seemed almost resigned. “I wish it was. It’s the Dark Spore, sapping my strength. It couldn’t turn me, so now it wants to kill me. Makes sense I suppose.”

“Is there any way we can help?” Kari asked

The Child of Kindness shook his head. “I don’t think so. We’d have to take it out, but who knows how we’d do that? No I think the best thing to do is talk to Tai and Davis and set up some patrols.”

Inexplicably, her shoulders sagged further, as though more invisible bricks were placed on her back “If only we could. The portal won’t open. Our partners are here but Agumon and the others are on the other side and we haven’t heard from them at all.”

Ken frowned pensively. “Davis didn’t mention that.”

“He was probably being considerate,” she supplied. Davis was rather dim, but he did understand people.

Ken was thoughtful for a moment more, then he said, “Well, we should at least pass this on so we can keep an eye on things.” He suddenly winced, placing a hand to his chest and Kari felt a brief surge of black, causing her to grab her head reflexively. Both breathed rapid gasps, feeling the choking hunger in their lungs. The taint was a greedy beast. After a few moments, it subsided. “Are you okay?” Ken asked. Leafmon was bouncing up and down agitatedly and Gatomon had climbed back down to her partner.

“I’m okay but I should be asking you that.” Kari straightened.

“You should go home,” Leafmon squeaked, the first thing he had said the entire time. “This is bad for you, worse than it is for Ken.”

Gatomon agreed, leaping to her arms. “He’s right, we should go.” Kari gave a reluctant, weak nod.

“See you soon?” Ken gave her a nod and wave as he rolled back into bed. His partner curled up at his side. Kari tiptoed out, leaving the door open just a crack. Waving goodbye, she reflected on how much less at ease she felt at now, but was still grateful that he was at least trying to stay healthy. She was jolted out of her reverie when Gatomon stiffened for an instant before leaping free of her and bolting ahead.

“Gatomon wait up!”
....

Wizardmon suppressed a sigh. Wandering through the streets of Tokyo was interesting enough, but he had been here before. Even when he was assisting Myotismon, he had still gotten a chance to see the sights. He almost wished he was a lower level so he could hide in the computer room like the others. But he supposed things would have to work out. He lounged under the tree, keeping as far away from electronics as possible. He didn’t want to disrupt any electricity, though that was hard in Japan. Suddenly, his nerves tingled. A digimon was here? An enemy? The confusion turned to delight and he whipped his head to look at her, that old friend, that irreplaceable ally. Gatomon!

Deep blue eyes pierced his, glowing with surprise and… happiness? It was quite possible. They were friends- no; we still are, he told himself- so it made sense, didn’t it? Gatomon was frozen there, like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Kari stopped, barely panting, to scoop her partner up into her arms. She almost dropped her, the digimon like stone. Looking up, she saw why.

Wizardmon watched her closely. He truly did not know what to say. Granted he had expected to see them again, but not out in the open like this. Kari had grown, he realized. This wasn’t the little girl full of light that he remembered. There was darkness in her now, stronger than there had first been. She had seen and been through quite a lot in the past four years, the Digimon Emperor being only one of the things they had to worry about. He had been reconfiguring for so long after delivering his message, he wasn’t sure what had happened to them. Maybe now’s a good time to know.

“Wizardmon!” He whipped around. Blair was staring at him anxiously, impatiently tapping her foot. She did not notice the other Digidestined, Kari being hidden by the tree. “Come on! We’re already late. Stupid Jonathan’s gonna bite my head off.” Underneath his collar, Wizardmon couldn’t help but smile. Inclining his head toward his friends, he went to rejoin his partner. Seeing him coming, she turned and hurried away, back to the others. As he ran, he swore he heard Kari chasing him. She shouldn’t chase the past.

Kari stopped just at the park’s edge, this time panting heavily. She glimpsed the five of them, children and Digimon. They seemed so close to their Digimon already yet to each other, there was a distinct separation. As the light grew brighter, the youngest looked back at her, a little puffball with a tail and frill under its neck under his arm. The boy seemed to smile, as if saying; there are more of you now. Take a bow. There was also something else in his stance, something cruel. What use were you anyway?

When the light was gone, Kari picked up her phone from her pocket and dialed her brother’s number. Tai was quick, immediately the ever-worrying, paranoid older brother. But she cut through his status check with a simple, “Wizardmon’s back.”



The portal’s light vanished as the Digidestined appeared in the familiar forest. Jonathan swept dust off his pants. The others were watching him, looking expectant. “Shall we go then?” he asked, pointing towards the direction they had walked yesterday.

“Wait,” blurted Sean, causing everyone to glance at him. “Why don’t we all split up?” Blair immediately shot down his idea.

“Are you out of your mind idiot?” she snapped. “We have trouble defeating one enemy as a group. We’ll all get killed if we do that!”

“Wait, wait, hear me out!” Sean pleaded, raising his hands in defense. “Look we’re all gonna be with our partners right? Not to mention we’ll be in shouting distance. Besides, we need to cover more ground anyway. It’ll be fine.” Blair scowled. He had a point. Sean grinned at Jonathan. “That alright with you Fearless Leader?” Jonathan held back a smile. Sean had been calling him that since yesterday.

“That sounds plausible. We’ll meet back here in two hours, at latest.” Sean whooped and took off.

“Sweet! Come on guys, we’re gonna party!” He bolted away, Dorumon bouncing at his heels.

Kiri grinned at her cousin. “That settles that, doesn’t it? Some things never change.” They hurried after him.

Jonathan watched them go before offering a hand politely to Blair. “Coming?” Blair shook her head, heading off in another direction. Jonathan sighed and picked up Wormmon, heading down the original path he had planned on. Unbeknownst to him, a shadow lurked in the trees.



Sean bounded around with a happy grin, fleeing as always. Kiri sighed. “So, any particular reason you dragged us away from the others, aside from the enemies all over the area?”

Luca frowned. “Sean thinks we’re being targeted.” The taller boy groaned. How did he know?

Kiri gave a dismissive shrug. “Digidestined are always targeted. You’re always targeted, Little Joker.”

Sean scowled. “Don’t call me that Kiriko. It’s not right.”

“Neither is running away.”

He let out a low growl. “Kiriko, drop it.”

“You’re the one who brought it up.”

Luca whimpered. Whenever the two argued, it was more like they intended to murder each other. “You two, stop it.”

Kiri gave him a warm look. “Don’t worry, we aren’t fighting yet.”

Liollmon growled, “No but we’re about to be.”

Before they knew what had happened a gravelly roar had permeated their surroundings. What followed was a nightmare. A large feline stalked into clear view, needle sharp teeth bared and a fiercely predatory stare affixed to them. Its scarlet body stood out against the horizon, even more so due to the flames that originated from its fur. They thickened around the neck like a mane, making it look even more like a killer cat. Black tipped ears flicked back and forth, obviously pinpointing them, while it flexed large claws. There was no doubt in its mind that it would tear them to shreds and enjoy them for dinner.

“That’s a Lynxmon,” analyzed Renamon, fur fluffed up and ice blue eyes glinting with hostility. “It’s a Champion with attacks Thermal Mane and Wild Nail Claws.

Sean couldn’t help it. He gave a maniacal laugh. “Is that all? I thought that we were going to face a challenge today!” The happy grin became sinister. “Enjoy your last fight ‘cause I certainly will enjoy watching you die!”

Kiri sighed. And so it starts. I wonder how long it takes before we all go crazy. She smiled lightly. Oh wait, it’s too late for us.

…………

“Izzy!” The slam of a fist on his front door caused the red-haired teen to jump and swivel around in his chair. He had been in the middle of doing his homework. Recognizing the voice of Tai Kamiya, he quickly minimized the screen and went to open the door. Mom would have had a fit if she were home.

“Tai, we’re great friends and all, but please, I must ask you to refrain from breaking my front door. Mom would strangle us all.” Tai gave a wide, sheepish grin. Behind him, Kari was shaking her head in a mixture of amusement and exasperation. Izzy hurriedly stepped aside for them to come in. They waited outside his room as he locked the door.

“So what was so important that you couldn’t have warned me before coming over?”

It was Kari who replied, “Wizardmon’s been reconfigured. He has a partner.”

Tai looked at her accusingly as Izzy nearly fell out of his computer chair in surprise. “You didn’t tell me he had a partner.” Kari had the courtesy to flush slightly.

“Sorry Tai,” she mumbled in embarrassment. “I kind of forgot. Him being alive was enough to mess with me.” Gatomon agreed.

“Wizardmon’s alive…” Izzy muttered thoughtfully. “That’s strange because it shouldn’t be possible.”

“Why not?” Tai inquired. He had a feeling this wasn’t simply a technology issue.

“It’s because he died in the human world,” Gatomon thought aloud. Izzy nodded.

“Exactly. Unfortunate news as it was, Gennai once said to me that Digimon that died in the human world could not come back. Their data was corrupted when it converted into an organic lifeform in this world. It couldn’t turn back into data. Like what happened to us when we went to the Digital World, when we converted to data. Gennai mentioned the possibility of us being able to regenerate as well.”

Tai huffed, crossing his arms. “That’d have been nice to know.”

“Evidently, there’s too low of a probability on it for us to place our faith in, otherwise he would have mentioned it before now. It’s likely with this knowledge; we would have gotten more reckless and made foolish decisions. Still, my question remains unanswered. Why, or how, did Wizardmon reconfigure?”

“He had a partner, which explains the why,” pondered Gatomon. “And where there’s one Digidestined…”

“There are others,” Kari finished. “I saw them using the Digiport on their computer. One of them looked at me.” She shuddered suddenly.

“Kari what is it?” Tai felt his overprotective instincts start to take over. She shook her head quietly, eyes dark.

“It was like, he knew who I was, he knew what I was, and that, for some reason, he absolutely hated me.”

“How old was he?”

“He was just a kid,” she exclaimed, tightening her grip on Gatomon, who winced. “It was just a kid… who’s fallen into the Dark Ocean.”

Tai whipped out his cell phone. “Get Ken on Skype and call the others,” he ordered Izzy. “They need to know.”



Dorumon roared, “Dash Metal!” He slashed into Lynxmon’s flank, causing it to ooze crimson mixed with flame. Lynxmon’s growl was muffled as it sank its teeth into Dorumon’s left leg. Sean snarled, rushing at him.

“Let go of my Digimon, you bastard!” he hollered. The feline obeyed, only to turn and attack.

“Thermal Mane!” The fire rushed towards him. Liollmon yanked the boy out of the way by the back of his shirt, causing his hair to be singed and a burn on Liollmon’s left side.

“Idiot!” the cub screamed at him through the fabric. “Don’t jump at a Digimon that’s on fire!”

“Less talking, more killing,” quipped Kiri, who had leapt back.

“Easier said than done,” muttered Sean.

Renamon launched a Diamond Storm, slicing more wounds. Unfortunately, the Digimon moved ever closer, as though the wounds didn’t exist. Suddenly all the fighters froze. Lynxmon let out a snarl of delight and for the first time, spoke.

“He comes. My leader will put an end to this game.”

Liollmon’s hackles rose even further, fur fluffing to twice its size as he ran to Luca’s side. The ten year old didn’t know why, but he felt terror, a deeper fear than the Lynxmon had caused. There was also a cruelty and a fury that didn’t belong to him, a ghost trying to steal his soul.

Out came a black bipedal dragon with four tattered crimson wings. He flexed his large claws and stared at the group through an eyeless visor. A small smirk rested on the dragon’s face. Lynxmon inclined his head politely. “Cyberdramon. He is an Ultimate level with the attacks Desolation Claw and Cyber Nail. If you couldn’t even beat me, what chance do you have against my leader?”

Sean ground his teeth. “Plenty,” he snapped, moving to help Dorumon. Lynxmon fired a Thermal Flame at his feet, knocking him over and burning his arm. Sean hissed in pain. Then he gave a raspy laugh. “Man, Sis was right. Fire hurts like hell.” Kiri stared for a second in horror, then felt fury, that familiar crimson veil covering her eyes. She gripped her bokuto tightly then stood, running at Cyberdramon of all opponents.

“Idiot!” Sean yelled. “Haven’t you learned not to rush at Ultimate levels?” Renamon hurried after her, slashing a Power Paw at his chest, opening a small but slightly deep wound. She was knocked away, but quick to bounce back.

Cyberdramon spoke, his voice incredibly calm for his species. “A child with spunk, how interesting.” Serenely, he yanked her into the air. “I suppose that will change once I smash your head in won’t it?” Kiri snarled, the hate still pounding adrenaline in her veins. She slashed downward, smashing the wooden blade into splinters over his head. He continued to stare up at her, evidently amused.

Realizing she was helpless now, she gave a wild laugh. “Go ahead and rip me in two if you dare! Choke me! Erase me! I won’t die! I’ll come back a monster, over and over. I’ll take on every last one of you bastards with me to hell! Just try and end my life!” Still Cyberdramon analyzed her, searching for a distinct something.

Sean looked around anxiously to glimpse Lynxmon standing there smugly. Bastard. He saw Liollmon prowling over, blue eyes fixed on his unsuspecting opponent. What is Luca making him do? The boy was staring at Lynxmon, just staring. Yet Sean, for the first time, could feel darkness emanating from the child. Wait, it wasn't the first time. When...? Wasn’t watching those two enough buddy? Didn’t those two dying bother you at all? No, it had, but this was different. Luca would not lose anyone else, even if his heart was destroyed at the cost.

Sean glanced at Dorumon and jerked his head slightly to the right, wincing as his burns tingled. Dorumon weakly lifted his head. “Metal Cannon!” It slammed into Cyberdramon’s vision, forcing him to drop Kiri, who coughed. Lynxmon roared and charged but not before Liollmon snarled.

“Critical Bite!” Liollmon tore through the feline’s neck and it dissolved into data, howling pitifully. Wiping the blood from his fangs with a paw, the cub smirked exhaustedly. “One down.” Luca flinched but steadied himself. It was going to happen more, he knew it. Eventually he would go numb. Eventually…

“And an Ultimate to go,” Renamon muttered.

Cyberdramon let out a quiet laugh. “You sound so unconfident Digidestined. True, Lynxmon was not anything to be proud of killing but you’d think after a victory you’d feel more… exhilarated, no?” Kiri had been stock-still. She started shaking. “No, you’re terrified aren’t you? Is being that close to death… horrifying?”

“Afraid?” She was still shaking, her eyes hidden. “No… you were right the first time. I’m so excited right now because…” She grinned widely, glowing D-Core clutched in her fingers. “I’ll see you dead. Digivolve Renamon!”

Renamon felt her body surge with energy as she was surrounded by data. “Understood. Renamon digivolve to…”



“What do you mean there could be a new Digimon Emperor?” spiky-haired Davis roared, surprisingly, at Kari. Kari winced at the noise and Gatomon’s ears were flat against her head in pain.

“Hey,” snapped Yolei, albeit a bit quieter for a change, hand twining one of her lavender strands. Poromon was in her lap, twitching “That is not what she said! Kari simply said the kid felt dark, not that he was building Dark Spires.” From the Skype connection, TK heard Ken cough, almost politely. They couldn’t see him very well because of the lack of light, but they could hear him. To the Child of Hope, it sounded like he was trying not to laugh or show some flash of remorse again.

“That doesn’t mean much,” retorted Davis. “No offense Kari. What if it was a Spore kid that got missed?”

“From what Oikawa said back then,” Cody piped up, hiding the flicker of sadness in his expression briefly as Upamon nuzzled his arm. “They would have grown into Dark Trees. They would be dead right now, or at the very least without a partner.”

“Whether they have a Dark Spore or not doesn’t mean they’re evil. Besides we can figure that out when we meet them,” Joe said mildly, adjusting his glasses as he continued to munch on a carrot stick from the bag he brought with. Mimi looked at them almost enviously, having missed lunch.

“I’m with Joe,” Matt added from where he was sitting on his guitar case, having rushed from practice to get there. “What’s more important is the fact that there are new Digidestined that we weren’t informed about, much less able to help them. Izzy, have you heard from Gennai at all?”

“No,” replied the computer genius, who was typing furiously on his laptop. “I’ve tried getting a hold of him but my message bounces back. Wherever he is, he sure doesn’t want contact.”

“Damn it!” Davis yelled. “What are we supposed to do? We can’t just sit here!” DemiVeemon agreed, bouncing up and down and punching the air eagerly.

“Unfortunately,” Ken suddenly began, shadowed expression wistful and afraid. “I think that’s all we’ll get to do.”



“Youkomon!” A violet nine-tailed fox burst from the cocoon, crimson flames on the tips of its tails and paws. Around its neck was a red and white bow with gold covering. Without waiting, it introduced itself, “I am Youkomon, a Champion level Bewitching Beast Digimon. My Jaenryu and Homuradame attacks will burn you to ashes.”

“Nice going!” gasped Sean. Luca darted to Kiri’s side, wide eyes on the kitsune.

“Cool,” he whispered. Kiri said nothing, merely nodded.

Taking that as a signal, the fox leapt, spinning. “Jaenryu!” Slamming into Cyberdramon, the dragon grunted.

“Interesting,” he muttered. “Desolation Claw!” He fired at her, two blasts tearing chunks from her data. Youkomon growled.

“Looks like we can’t beat him yet,” muttered Sean, glancing at the two Rookies. If Youkomon got taken down, they were doomed. “What are we going to do?”

“We’re gonna…” Kiri panted. “Leave him… a parting gift… Youkomon!”

“Homuradame!” The fireballs soared, slamming into Cyberdramon’s claws and halting his attack. Liollmon twitched from where he sat, ready to jump in front of Luca protectively. Then he calmed.

“The others are coming.” Hearing this, the Ultimate frowned.

“More pests? What a shame. It looks like we’ll have to continue this fight another time.” The enemy slashed a Cyber Nail at him, knocking Kyuubimon to the ground and forcing her to dedigivolve. He smirked. “I must say you humans are… interesting. Until next time.” He soared off. As Jonathan and Blair came into view, Kiri fell to her knees, completely drained.

“God damn,” Sean breathed. “We won the fight but lost the war. That isn’t how it works.”

***

Youkomon is, to put it simply, the virus version of Kyuubimon.

Legendarian Mistress
November 7th, 2010, 04:16 PM
Chapter 4: Needed Lessons

“I told you that you shouldn’t have left the group, didn’t I?” Blair almost shoved her face at Sean’s. “You’re lucky you reconfigured the Lynxmon’s data! Kiri’s lucky the Cyberdramon ran off!”

Jonathan spoke up. “Blair, that’s enough. Sean wasn’t to know the three of them were going to get ambushed by yet another Armour Digivolved Digimon. Kiri was lucky Renamon was able to Digivolve and, at the very least, weaken Cyberdramon. Give them a break, do you understand?”

Blair whirled on Jonathan. “You may be our leader, but you’ll never be my father. So don’t tell me what to do!”

“Blair, I...” Jonathan began, but was interrupted.

“My cousin’s the only person I have left who is close enough to be my father,” Blair almost growled. “It’s all Myotismon’s fault my parents are gone, and it’s his fault I have this!” She was bordering on fury as she madly pointed at the scar.

Jonathan tried again. “Blair, I know. But Kiri, Sean and Luca don’t. Please, give them a break. They’re not responsible for what Phantomon did.” He sighed. “At the very least, be kind to the three of them.”

Blair didn’t respond. Wizardmon looked into Jonathan’s eyes with admiration, he believed. The elf’s expression seemed to be saying “You revealed the past without letting on too much. Thank you.”

By this point in time, they had reached the DigiPort. Automatically, they let themselves be pulled through.

*****

Following their return from the Digital World after a stressful double ambush from a Lynxmon and a Cyberdramon, the park was actually quite peaceful. But of course, all good things must come to an end. Surprisingly, Jonathan’s mobile started ringing. Blair glanced up curiously, seeing her neighbour peer at the screen. She frowned as his eyes narrowed at the obviously unfamiliar number.

“Hello?” His voice was hard and suspicious.

I wonder who it is, Blair thought darkly.

“Mimi Tachikawa? You’re one of Tai Kamiya’s team? How did you get my number? You heard someone talking about me and decided to look up the phone book? Umm, I can’t. I really don’t have time for this right now.” Blair rolled her eyes towards Kiri, who looked visibly intrigued.

She’s curious, too. God, she’s nosy, Blair grumbled mentally.

“Mimi, I don’t even know you. That’s not what I mean. The five of us only became Digi-Destined very recently. I’m not fine. You seem to think I am. Good bye.” Blair heard Jonathan’s voice get a hint of impatience as he terminated the call.

“It seems you have a girlfriend,” Blair commented.

He shrugged. “I don’t know about that.” He glanced at his watch and picked up his partner.

“We should go. It’ll be dark soon.” Sean grinned, plopping Dorimon on his head.

Blair snorted. “Subtle.”

There was a laugh. “I’m already weird, so I might as well make use of it, ne Dorimon?” The little Digimon bounced eagerly. Jonathan closed his mobile and put it back in his pocket. Sean immediately took the lead, bounding ahead with all the energy of a rubber ball. Luca and Kiri trailed after him. For a moment, Kiri paused and turned to glance at Jonathan.

“If this Mimi girl likes you, go easy on her,” she ordered casually before leaving. Jonathan watched for a moment and then gave a quiet smile.

*****

Jonathan arrived back at his parents’ house to find a note taped to the front door. It read:

Dear Jonathan,

I fell sick earlier today and am unable to go to work tonight. Please come and see me as soon as you come home.

Love,

Mum

Oh no! This isn’t good, Jonathan thought, looking concerned. He ripped the note off the door, went inside quickly and headed straight for his mother’s room. “Mum? Mum, are you alright?” he called quietly.

“Jonathan, I caught a bout of influenza. Don’t come too close,” his mother whispered.

Jonathan clearly wanted to get closer to his mother, but had to heed his parent’s warning. “I hope you get better soon, Mum.”

“I’ll recover, don’t you worry. When I do, I’d like to talk to you about the insect you brought home a number of days ago.” Brianna responded.

Alarm bells rang in Jonathan’s mind, and he wisely stayed silent. I bet Mum wants to talk about how I obtained Wormmon. I’d also hazard a guess that she knows about the others’ Digimon partners as well. Maybe Bill did see Blair talking to Wizardmon, other than that I don’t know... What am I going to tell the others tomorrow? “Okay, I’m going to have some dinner now. Did you want me to bring something in to you?”

“No, it’s fine. Thanks anyway, dear,” Brianna answered.

*****

Wizardmon took some air within what appeared to be his clothed chest. It was morning now and he found himself observing the vaguely familiar shops of the area. Wandering through the streets of Odaiba was interesting enough, but he had been here before. Even when he was assisting Myotismon, he had still gotten a chance to see the sights. He knew his In Training and Rookie levels were Tanemon and Palmon; he just longed to be like the others in the fact that they could hide in the computer room. But he supposed things would work out eventually. His thoughts turned his chance encounter with Gatomon the previous day. The haunted look she’d had on her face when his ghost disappeared on the four year anniversary of the Digi-Destined’s win over Myotismon, the happiness and surprise in her eyes when they met for the first time since the anniversary.

Wizardmon suspected that Tai’s team would offer their services to Jonathan’s group, especially after Kari and Gatomon witnessed his presence. He was, however, very concerned about the darkness in the Child of Light. A feminine voice broke into his thoughts at that moment. “How are you, old friend?”

The elf started slightly. “Gatomon?”

“I’m here, Wizardmon. It’s been so long,” the feline answered.

His eyes filled with longing and anxiety. Where is Kari? Gatomon never leaves her partner’s side. It seemed as though things had changed. Wizardmon’s left gloved hand reached towards Gatomon, despite the fact it was trembling.

Not shaky at all, Gatomon bravely grasped her friend’s hand in her right paw. “I can’t believe your reconfiguration took so long. Neither Kari nor I realized you were partnered with a Digi-Destined. When did it happen?”

There’s so much I want to tell you, Gatomon, but I can’t. I can’t reveal anything just yet, Wizardmon felt torn as he thought this. “Where is Kari, Gatomon? Your tail ring is missing. How did that happen?”

The white cat gestured behind her, saying: “Still at her Highton View Terrace apartment. She was talking with Tai before I left. My tail ring’s been lost for a while.”

It sounds like Tai’s already getting things under way. I’ll inform Jonathan when I go back, the elf reflected. He was about to reply when Gatomon swiftly disappeared.

“Wizardmon, where did you run off to?!” It was Blair. Wizardmon turned around. “Come on, we’re late! Jonathan’s waiting for us.”

She hadn’t seen Gatomon, which Wizardmon was thankful for. Smiling behind his collar, the elf rejoined his partner. Confirming he was coming, Blair turned and hurried back to the others. As the light from the DigiPort grew brighter, he looked towards the direction Gatomon had fled in. His eyes seemed to sparkle, as if saying: “I’ll be back, Gatomon. When I return, it will be the right time to tell you about my past.”

When the light had vanished, Gatomon’s eyes blinked from the bush she’d hidden herself in. She emerged, padding forward slowly. Glancing briefly between the spot where she last saw Wizardmon and the Highton View Terrace complex, she muttered: “Please don’t get killed again, old friend.”

*****

The portal’s light vanished as the Digi-Destined appeared in the familiar area of File Island. Blair growled from the ground. “Get off me already, Jonathan!”

“Oh, calm down. You’re such a cynic,” Jonathan answered as he got off Blair.

“So, the Digi-Destined had the decency to show themselves to me?” An unfamiliar deep-sounding voice boomed.

At this, Kiri, Luca and Sean backed away from the speaker. The speaker was a very large black ox with red armour on his humanoid chest. He had a massive sword held by his left hand in a diagonal position over his chest.

“Mind telling us who you are?!” Blair snapped.

“I am Vajramon, one of the five uncorrupted Devas. There are twelve in all. I am also here to give you some well-needed lessons,” Vajramon replied.

“Wait, what? Devas? What the hell?!” Blair sounded angry and confused at the same time.

The ox laughed; it was a husky noise. “The Devas are celestial beings, based on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. We were created by Zhuqiaomon, who is one of the five Digimon Sovereigns. Now, let’s get started. You were summoned to the Digital World by Gennai. He is one of the Watchers of this world and will help this team come together with the other two groups. Your purpose is to save the Digital World.” He turned to the others in Jonathan’s team. “Mihiramon wanted me to alert you five to the fact that Ultimate and Mega Digivolution is possible. Each of you will get a Crest-like object, with the Sovereigns’ special element imprinted on it.”

“Ultimate and Mega Digivolution?” Jonathan asked, a stunned expression on his face.

“A Crest?” Luca looked hopeful.

Vajramon nodded. “That’s correct on both accounts. I waited too long for the five of you, so I must go. I’ll be seeing you all again later on. If you have any questions, I’ll answer them when I return. Good bye, Digi-Destined.”

“Bye, Vajramon!” They called out to the ox.

Just as the ox Deva trotted off, a new figure lurked in the trees behind them.

*****

Sean sprang around with a happy grin, after briefly separating from Jonathan and Blair. Kiri sighed. “So, any idea on what elements the Crest look-a-likes will have on them?”

Luca frowned. “I’m not sure. Why are we being targeted all the time, though?”

Kiri gave a dismissive shrug. “Digi-Destined are always targeted.”

Sean scowled. “It’s not right.”

“Are you still unsure of Jonathan?” Kiri questioned.

A low growl.

“Kiriko, drop it,” Sean responded.

“You’re the one who is worried,” Kiri replied.

Luca whimpered. “You two, stop it.”

Kiri gave him a warm look. “Don’t worry, we aren’t fighting yet.”

Liollmon growled, “No, but we’re about to be.”

Before they knew what had happened a low roar ripped through the air. What followed was a nightmare. A partial cyborg Digimon, also half reptile, appeared. His face was covered by a grey Digi-Chrome mask. The Digimon’s eyes were brown in colour. He had three horns, two on either side of his head and the third, a blade-like horn, at the bottom of the mask.

Jonathan and Blair heard the roar. They rushed over to the trio’s side. Blair looked between the new enemy and Sean. “Sean, what did I say?!” she yelled.

Jonathan immediately came to the defence of the younger teenager. “Don’t do this again, Blair.”

“You keep protecting them! Why?” she snapped.

“Because they don’t know as much as what we do,” Jonathan’s voice was level.

Fuyu
November 14th, 2010, 03:46 PM
Chapter 5: Unforgiving Blood

Kiri stared at Jonathan, full of a subtle anger that threatened to burst from her fingertips like fire. How dare he? How dare we assume we know nothing just because we ignored the giant ox? She gripped her hand around a nonexistent bokuto before remembering the bo was strapped to her back, bokuto broken. Hate, she thought dimly, the familiar anger rising vividly. She saw crimson tainting her vision, felt her arm moving behind her to reach out. She could move and just walk a few steps and bash his head in. Her arm was moving…

Sean grabbed her wrist gently. “Don’t,” he murmured. “It’s not worth it. Besides, they don’t need to know what we do.”

“It’d be worth it,” she snarled softly, full of that hostility that had fueled her against Cyberdramon. “It’d be worth it to tear them into shreds…” It'd be worth it to watch them cower.

“They’re human not them. Besides they’ve been through plenty too.” Save your energy for that stupid dragon.

“They still have no right,” she growled. Her whole body was twitchy, like a trigger-happy fool. Funny how true that is...

“No,” Luca said softly, coming up beside her. “It’s not. But, like you said Kiri, as long as we do this, who cares? We need to accept them considering us dumb. After all,” he gave that smile, that smile that reminded Kiri of how much his sweetness hid darkness. “It’s not like the Digital World matters to us right?” Sean could feel the apathy and anger mixing as it rolled off of him, apathy a sin that cursed the boy. It explained his sweetness, as it was too troublesome to be anything other than a kind coward.

That last bit Jonathan caught. “What do you mean it doesn’t matter?” he asked, outrage creeping into his voice. Blair looked over and glared, curious and impatient, eyes darting between them and the dragon in front of them. Why isn’t it attacking?

“Like I said,” Luca said shyly. “It doesn’t matter.” His blue eyes were shadowed by blond bangs, yet the frigidness that was usually so prominent in Kiri’s eyes alone spoke through.

“How can the Digital World not matter to you? This created your partners and it’s a part of protecting the balance of the worlds! How can it not matter?” This was the first time Jonathan had ever lost his temper. Luca, surprisingly, was unafraid.

“I won’t tell,” Luca answered simply and gently, ever so gently, pried Kiri’s hand away from her weapon. “I’m not telling because they’re secrets. If you tell, what are they? You keep secrets anyways. What makes you guys so special?”

"I have more experience than you, for starters, because I'm older!" Jonathan yelled. "I bet you didn't even see the Greymon/Parrotmon battle, did you?! Let alone see Myotismon nearly destroy Odaiba? Or even witness Phantomon scar Blair for life?! Huh? Did you? No, didn't think so!"

For some reason Sean laughed darkly and grinned his jester’s smile, eyes half-closed and scornful. “Experience? Let me tell you a little something about experience, you ****-faced little scut.” His voice had changed to something wild, dirty. At his side, Dorumon was hostile, snarling and looking ready to pounce. Wormmon was quiet in Jonathan’s arms. “Experience won’t mean **** to a bullet in the brain. You don’t even have it anyway. Ya think that just ‘cause scummer like you saw a fight you’ve got balls and power? Hah! I’m gonna puke, that’s so stupid.” You don't even know what you're doing. How can we expect to follow you?

Luca looked wilder than his digimon for a second, then the anger faded. Sean was mad enough for both of them. “Kiri almost died because of stupid Myotismon. Don’t you say we don’t know.”

“So you saw her get scarred? You saw people die?” Kiri clutched her bo between her fingers. “Oh my God, coupled by that and your couple years of age where you sat on your ass sniveling in the corner, we have to obey you and no one else?" She threw up her hands exasperatedly. "Perfect, just perfect! You want to save this world, but what do you know about fighting for your life? What do you know about being considered nothing? You lucky, blessed people, you weren’t left behind!” You've never drowned.

“We’ve seen as much as you have,” Luca whispered. He gave Jonathan the most defiant of stares. “We’ve lost everything. The only people who are left might as well not even be real. Just because we didn’t see two creatures fighting outside our house doesn’t mean we didn’t know. Just because we were not on the news doesn’t mean we weren’t captured by that digimon. We saw those fights in our hearts, we had to be all alone while the world went bad. You guys weren’t.”

Wizardmon pointed his staff at Sean and his friends and Wormmon automatically Digivolved. With the wasp's wings thrumming agitatedly and the elf holding his staff at Luca's face, an all out brawl between the team seemed likely.

"Stingmon, you know what to do if they so much as even budge an inch," Jonathan muttered.

"Same to you, Wizardmon!" Blair hissed.

Sean burst into helpless laughter, falling back and clutching his ribs. “Look Kiri I’m twitching, I’m twitching! Ahaha! Worthless, all worthless! Go ahead and kill me! Please, do try! I’m scared, absolutely shaking in fear!" He leered at the pair. "Can you do it? Can you kill me? Go ahead and do it! Please!” I'd like to see you naive little fools try!

Kiri looked straight at Jonathan, eyes blazing. “You and your damn maggot dare harm a hair on Luca’s head and I’ll twist yours right off.”

“She means it,” Sean gasped, still breathless. “You have no clue how much she means it. Ahah! Kiriko, look at us!" He gestured wildly around him. "You were right! You and Luca were right! We’re all falling apart, see? All of us! This world is mad, so mad!”

“Shut it Joker!”

“Why Kiriko?” he rasped, standing back up. “Why should we hide that? It’s no secret. These worlds warp you and destroy you! This is what happened to them remember? She told us! She felt it coming! You know what happens. And now, it’ll be us next! Ahaha! I want something to burn…”

“Don’t touch the lighter,” Luca whispered, looking away from the staff, suddenly afraid. He began to unconsciously shift back from the green-eyed male, face paling. “Don’t Sean please. You said you wouldn’t.”

“I lied. Just like he lied. I need something to burn. I need it so much.” His whole body was twitching insanely. Jonathan stepped forward warily. Sean’s hand moved, flicking out a lighter. “Don’t touch me,” he hissed, eyes full of that craze that Kiri knew well, a craze that she had felt for most of her life. It's what he trapped in.

“Do as he says,” Kiri said, abruptly fading into calm, at least outwardly. “Joker’s a pyro.” This got surprise.

"You're a pyromanic?" Blair hissed hesitantly. Sean smirked.

“Kiri said it, didn’t she? Don’t trust her words? She’s known me a hell of a lot longer than you.”

Jonathan inclined his head at his partner. "Hold firm, Stingmon. I want to see what his intentions are."

"A pyromanic never should have been allowed to join the ranks of the Digi-Destined, let alone be scanned at birth," Stingmon buzzed.

“Allowed?” This angered both teens but Kiri reined hers back. Sean’s eyes glinted cruelly as he shouted. “What’s this about allowing? I was picked because I was good for something! So what if I have to set fires every once and a while? You Digimon are allowed to murder in “self-defense” so what’s wrong with me?” Stupid worthless hypocrites! WHo are you calling unworthy?

“A lot of things Joker,” Kiri replied quietly. “It’s like your sis told ya: the world’s just unfair.”

“I’ll give you fair,” He gestured toward Dorumon, flicking the lighter on. “Take ‘em all out Dorumon.”

“You sure Sean?”

“Have I ever not been?” He locked eyes with Jonathan. “Try and survive me. If you can’t, then you and your stupid bug shouldn’t be allowed to be Digidestined. Fair?” Dorumon looked over at Stingmon’s tense form.

“Sorry buddy but I’ll obey Sean no matter what. Metal Cannon!” The silver blast fired toward the Digimon.

“Diamond Storm!” Dorumon screeched in pain as the blade-like lights sliced into him. He wheeled around to have Renamon slam into him. Sean whipped around to glare.

“Kiri what the hell do you think…?” he trailed off, stepping back. Kiri looked wild, cracked. Her expression was twisted into a sick grin, eyes wider than natural. Her staff was clutched between both hands in a move reminiscent of her bokuto.

“I told when I met you Sean…” she muttered, licking her lips. “Don’t touch my prey!” She moved and nailed him once, twice, three times in the stomach. He coughed, falling to his knees. Luca looked between them before turning to Jonathan.

“You said you were going to lead us!” he screamed, expression haunted. “Why aren’t you stopping them? You’re older and better you said! The bad stuff’s all over and you won’t fix it!” Jonathan shook his head. He didn't understand.

Suddenly, a noise was heard from behind them and RizeGreymon charged forward. In response, Wizardmon swiveled his staff from in front of Luca's face to the Digi-Chrome covered mask of the Ultimate level cyborg and blasted a Magical Game at him. It barely flinched, continuing to charge. Renamon turned without hesitation towards it. Kiri followed her example.

“What’s with all of these interferences?” she hissed. “Fine then, you want to die? I’ll be happy to assist!” The transformation was quick and silent, Youkomon charging with Jaenryu. Without assisting her partner, she turned and knocked herself into Jonathan.

“I’ll give you some experience kid.” She laughed wildly as she stood back up. “Say hi to the angels since I know I belong in hell!” The black-haired teen raised her staff just before Blair punched her in the face. Jonathan quickly got back up, moving back. Kiri made a swift motion with her staff, hitting Blair’s wrist. The move continued, hitting her straight in the chest.

Despite the fact that RizeGreymon had begun charging, Wizardmon and Stingmon were duty-bound to aid their partners. As the wasp began to spin furiously in the air, he arced upwards and then shot downwards towards Youkomon. “Spinning Spiking Attack!” he yelled.

The elf shot blast after blast of Magical Game at Dorumon, while Jonathan aimed a punch at Kiri. Blair faked takewondo moves and landed an uppercut on Sean. Moving in unison, both Jonathan and Blair's partners and the two neighbours scored direct hits on their opponents.

Sean suddenly moved and snapped, kneeing Blair in the stomach. “Dorumon forget it! Kill the damn dragon! Humans are easy to kill!”

“Right Sean!” He turned away from Wizardmon and charged toward RizeGreymon. "Metal Cannon!” Over and over he fired, avoiding Wizardmon’s attacks by a hair.

Glancing to the right after hitting Kiri in the face, Jonathan noticed that RizeGreymon was still advancing. “Blair!” he called out, nodding in the direction of the cyborg Digimon. She looked and nodded back.

"Wizardmon, Stingmon - change of plans! RizeGreymon is still coming, so go after him now!" she ordered. Both Digimon agreed. They alternated blasts of Magical Game and Spiking Strike, but none of their attacks had any effect.

“Youkomon on your right!”

“Jaenryu!” RizeGreymon roared in pain and cried.

“Rising Destroyer!” The blast knocked everyone off their feet. Kiri was the first up, kicking Jonathan in the stomach and following with an uppercut from her weapon. Jonathan coughed and groaned, blood and spit rising in his throat.

“Tired yet Fearless Leader?” Sean taunted, blocking Blair’s punches. “I may not have much stamina but Kiri’s got plenty. Stamina and hatred, and you’re interfering with me having my fun!” He pouted at Blair, making a slicing motion with his hand with his lit lighter. Her left arm began to burn, causing her scream with alarm and pain. Wizardmon immediately rushed to her side and glared at Sean with fury, turning his staff on him. Sean didn’t even twitch, entranced by the fire that was beginning to spread from his dropped lighter.

“Honestly how useless you are,” Kiri muttered, wincing as Jonathan knocked her to the grass. “You may not be useless but you certainly are…” She let out a feral snarl “A pain!” She bit at his arm, hard enough to bleed, and struck with a fist one last time in his stomach. Wiping the crimson from her lips, she turned to see RizeGreymon between the fights. Aiming his gun, the Ultimate fired.

“Trident Revolver!” The blasts missed, but the shockwaves sent Youkomon and Kiri both into trees. Youkomon devolved all the way to In-Training and Kiri hit the ground, both out cold with her own blood dripping from her mouth.

The thump of her body against the ground shook Luca from the stupor of battle. His eyes locked on his cousin and the pupils dilated with terror. Kiri…

Everyone’s going to die… I’m going to be alone…. The house is empty… Akira’s gone…Kiri just got… Sean’s all pained and Liollmon…

Liollmon….

Feral hatred mixed with cool understanding began to rise in his heart. Liollmon could stop it. He could kill the enemy and stop the others from fighting. His Rookie form could take out a Champion. What could his Champion form do?

As though he could read his mind, the Rookie turned to his human. “Human” didn’t seem to apply to him, eyes darker and wilder than anything. His stance was that of a crouched predator. For the first time, Liollmon felt his heart stop with fear. All of the enemies I ever fought, all those different digimon, none of them ever felt this dark. Luca, what are you going to do?

“Liollmon…”

“Yeah?”

The boy’s voice was deadly soft. “You’ll help me right? You won’t leave me right?”

“Of course I won't leave. I'm your partner. What do you need?” If the fear in him wasn’t so strong, he would have been offended.

“Okay I need you to do something.” His orange D-Core was shining but the light was grey and darkening by the minute. “Liollmon,” Luca ordered in a growl. “Evolve!”



As they ran to Highton View Terrace, Kari abruptly stopped, her eyes widening and a pounding chill resounded in her chest. What is this? It’s almost like… the very earth is tainted? Something’s affecting the Digital World? But what could be so evil that I can feel it from here?

“Kari?” Tai had turned back to her, brown eyes worried.

“We need to hurry Tai! I don’t think those kids are going to survive!” It might have been easier if she were right.



The evolution was twisted, vacant, nothing like the feeling of power rushing through your veins, of growing into something new and confident. This was evil yet it was not dark. Liollmon felt terror for the briefest instant, and then he felt anger: anger at himself, anger at these false allies, and anger at those who dared to hurt the people he cared for. They had to be punished. They had to die.

“Liamon!”

Out burst a muscular grown lion, its brown mane wild and shaggy and twin tails slicing with fury. On each of its ears were two silver Holy Rings that glinted in the blaze. The blue eyes that glared out were full of hate.

Jonathan tried to stand, shaking as he gaped at the lion. He couldn’t explain why but he felt cold. The new Champion felt unearthly, as though in some part of the data, something had been horribly corrupted. “What… what on earth is that?”

“Liamon, a Champion level Holy Beast Digimon. His special attacks are Critical Strike and Thunder of Kings.” Luca’s voice was creepily flat as he read the data his D-Core showed him. “First we’ll kill the dragon…” His blue eyes were chillingly indifferent as they locked on Blair before resting on their leader. “Then we’ll start with you.” He pocketed his D-Core. “Liamon.”

“Thunder of Kings!” The lion’s mane began to spark and glow before the electricity burst out, stabbing bolts into the dragon’s body. RizeGreymon, already injured by the earlier assault of three Champions, was terribly affected, roaring his pain out to the sky in a frenzy of malice. He retaliated.

“Solid Strike!” Liamon dodged hurriedly, continuing to release electricity. Seeing the light broke Sean from his trance as he looked all around him. Seeing Kiri out cold, he cursed. Damn it! Damn it all! Everything’s been shot all to hell! This is my fault! I couldn’t keep my promise! Where’s Luca? Where in God’s name is-? Oh no. He saw him, watching the battle dully, hands in his pockets, eyes full of a feral rage. The madness is centered on him. Where’s his partner? That lion? ****! Liamon kept attacking, getting closer to killing his enemy. And quietly, gradually Luca’s blank expression was turning into a heartless smile.

No! The thought kept echoing in his head and heart. No Luca, don’t you dare follow your cousins into this. It's too late for them. I swore on Kiri’s life that I’d keep you safe if she couldn’t, even if it’s from all that madness! “Dorumon!” The dragon turned, having been hopping around desperately to avoid the electricity. “We need to end this fight the only way we can! You have to digivolve!”

Dorumon looked at the fighting of his fellow Digimon before looking at the fragile creatures scattered across the clearing. Humans really need Digimon. “Okay Sean,” he agreed. “This needs to stop right now.” Sean held the glowing digivice in his pocket.

“Dorumon evolve! Dorugamon!”



A gale of laughter echoed through the palace. The bearded man roared with mirth, body shaking as he clutched his staff desperately. He chortled again, returning his demonic eyes to the sight before him.

“What ever could be so amusing Barbamon?” Lillithmon walked up to him, swaying her hips in the casual way that a human woman mocked a man. “You haven’t laughed like that in many years.”

“These humans are so incredibly amusing. A mere pawn of ours is turning them against each other.”

“Oh? Do tell.”

“Two have fallen to madness and a third is within an inch. Those others, it amazes me how it doesn’t affect them yet. But those three will change that I’m sure. Two of them belong to that brat’s family after all. They were born for the taint.

“It’ll spread even faster than expected.” Lillithmon’s sultry tone sounded pleased. “Plus all those who fell into the ocean, they won’t hurt it any. And that Spore is just waiting to be plucked off the tree like an apple.” She scowled almost unnoticeably.

“Our master has never failed us before on this. As if he would now. Just one world, just this one world, and everything will be according to how it must be.”



The purple dragon had grown and also had wings. Dorugamon looked between the fighters and quickly took off, soaring. “Cannonball!” The iron blasts hit in the same spot repeatedly, preventing Liamon’s strike to kill the Digimon, deleting it himself. At that moment, Sean grabbed the ten year old harshly and spun him around. Luca stared at him, eyes perfectly blank.

“Enough of this Luca. Save your strength for them. Liamon killed already, there’s no need to hurry.”

Luca glanced over at their other teammates. “I’m not finished yet. The enemies aren’t all gone.”

“Of course they’re not gone,” Sean said darkly, looking at his partner that was trying to calm down the lion. “They aren’t here but they’re watching. There’s no point in wasting energy on this.”

“They’re enemies,” insisted Luca, expression finally changing. “Akira told us to defeat every enemy and to stay together.”

Sean sighed. “Yeah I know what he said but stupidity doesn’t make them our enemy. Not now. Besides Kiri would never forgive you if you killed a human.” Now whether she did is another story. I really don't think she cares anymore.

“But…I…” It was fading. Sean could see it.

“No Luca. This is enough. There’s been enough today. Okay?”

“…Yeah.” Sean slumped. Then he looked around again and thought with a bitter anger.

Satisfied yet Gennai?

Legendarian Mistress
November 22nd, 2010, 06:56 PM
A/N: Credit goes to PlatinumDude for use of his International Digi-Destined character, Jack Reynolds. Jack will be in Jonathan’s team from now on, so get used to it, peeps.

Chapter 6: Words of Wisdom

Arriving back in Odaiba with the rest of his team, Jonathan was nonetheless shaken. He had narrowly escaped after Kiri tried to end his life. Glancing at his group, he saw that Kiri was still unconscious and Luca stood apart from Blair and himself. Staggering over to a tree, he weakly placed a hand on the bark. His heart was racing, and his head was pounding with the beginnings of a headache. Sweat was pouring off him and he was trembling slightly.

That ***** tried to kill me! His mind was reeling from its panic and couldn’t help but repeat this thought over and over.

Luca stood off to the side, face cloaked in shadow. Sean clutched Kiri on his back as he limped over. Dorimon trotted exhaustedly at his side, ruby eyes dull with sadness, a contrast to yesterday. “We screwed up, didn't we?” Sean asked, looking at the little exhausted puff on Luca's shoulder.

Luca shrugged, darkness still lingering in his aura as he glared in Jonathan's direction. “I won't forgive him... he hurt Kiri.” The beast quality in his words was painful. “He said he was a leader. He lied too.”

“So have we,” Sean pointed out.

“They wouldn't have believed you anyway,” Viximon had been trotting weakly at her partner's side, ears drooping. “Kiri said the nightmares weren't enough truth. They don't happen anymore. Besides, you said it too: you act dumb and reckless. Who would have believed the madness?”

“They were on the news. Why not?” Sean said.

“Bad stuff's easy to forget if it's not yours.” Luca suddenly walked over to Jonathan. “No one knows about crazy anyway.” Sean tensed, seeing Jonathan do the same. Luca stopped a foot away, locking eyes with the dazed leader.

“If you ever get Kiri killed,” the child whispered. “If you ever do something as bad as what you did again, I'll find a way to permanently delete Wormmon.”

Sean couldn’t help but gape. That was too far. “You wouldn’t dare.”

“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life.” Luca’s partner, Frimon, finished.

“I don’t want to but,” Luca turned away. “If you make me alone, I’ll make you alone.” He started to walk away, his soft nature torn away to reveal an animal.

Sean went to follow him, but paused for a moment, gazing at the horror-struck teens around him. “You guys are stupid,” he said. “You mean you know so much about the Digital World and you never felt the crazy before? You guys call it darkness. It’s not, it’s just the lunacy and all of us fell to it today. We could have warned you, but why bother? We’re just stupid, naive brats right?” He left slowly. “See ya, Fearless Leader. Great job.”

The teen vaguely registered that a group of people were hanging around. It wasn’t until a distantly familiar voice spoke up that he looked at them. At first all he saw were blurry outlines but, as his eyes focused, he saw the figure of a cerise-haired girl.

“Tai, it’s him!” the girl cried out ecstatically. The length of her hair was just past her shoulders. Her shirt was short, with blue on the top and red on the bottom.

Tai, the tall brown-haired boy, stepped forward. “Leave him alone, Mimi,” he chastised, amusement mixed with concern lacing his features. “It looks like they just got run through a cheese grater.” Tai looked like he had just come out of Odaiba’s High School. He gave a lopsided grin. “I’m Tai Kamiya, nice to meet ya. You’re… who, exactly?”

Jonathan indicated he needed a couple more minutes to recover before he would be able to speak properly. Tai nodded and waited patiently, all the while hearing the other teen’s ragged breathing. Finally, Jonathan spoke: “I’m Jonathan Lucas, and my neighbour over there is Blair Morgan. Blair, what are you doing? Get over here.”

“What now?” the girl complained, but still came over to Jonathan’s side. Tai winced almost imperceptibly at the injuries covering the pair. Who has time for a fistfight while your Digimon are protecting you? Oh wait a minute, I did that.

“I’m the leader of this team,” Tai explained, motioning to the seven other children who were gathered around him. “My sister Kari caught a glimpse of you guys the other day.” He glanced down the street at the distant figures of Sean and company. “It looks like you’ve been through more than just an argument.” Looks more like the three of them tried to kill you themselves and came close to doing it. Not to mention what that guy said. They definitely aren’t thinking straight.

Jonathan coughed pointedly. “Luca blames me for Kiri getting hurt. There wasn’t anything I could do to prevent it from happening.”

Tai had an understanding look on his face. “It looks like you’ve still got a ways to go. Learning to think ahead or on your feet are two things a leader needs to try,” he advised. “How long have you been Digi-Destined?”

Jonathan was about to reply, when Blair interrupted. “Roughly four days. Why? What’s it to you?”

A small smile crossed Tai’s face. “Well, you’ve got some time then. It took us forever to really get what we had to do there. Saving the world was low on our priority list. We made a lot of mistakes, but learning from them was actually a lot better than we thought.”

An expression of shock appeared on Jonathan’s face, before a shorter boy than Tai stepped forward. “I’m Izzy Izumi,” the boy introduced himself. “Now, if I may ask, could either of you tell me how Wizardmon was reconfigured. I was told-” Tai cut Izzy off.

“Izzy, relax a minute. I know you’re curious, but we’re in public. This is not something you just shout to the world.”

“Tai, this is critical information! It could open up a whole branch of possibilities! Besides, it’s not like you don’t want to know either.”

Tai gave a playful little scowl. It was true. “But everyone’s staring at us. Let’s go to the terrace courtyards where there’s less people.”

While Tai and Izzy were conversing, Jonathan had packed up his laptop and had it under one arm. As soon as Izzy had agreed to Tai’s request, the group left. Unbeknownst to Jonathan and Blair, three more children were following them.

*****

“How did this all start?” Kari asked quietly as the three groups sat on the seats that were littered about the courtyards.

Blair snorted impatiently. “You don’t remember a black-haired girl cowering next to you four years ago when Phantomon and the Bakemon were skulking around? That was me. The Bakemon scared you and Gatomon off and that was when Phantomon struck, giving me this for life.” She paused and partially removed the eye patch, which resulted in moans of pity.

“I was seven when Greymon fought off Parrotmon,” Jonathan supplied.

“Wait, wait!” Davis shouted. He had been one of the three children trailing Jonathan and Blair. “You and I were scanned at the same age!”

“That’s right, Davis. Just remember I’m four years older than you,” Jonathan said matter-of-factly.

Tai tilted his head out of curiosity. “You were around four years ago, too, Jonathan?”

Jonathan nodded. “I was. After Kari and Angewomon defeated Myotismon, I tried to get Blair to safety. But she kept crying Wizardmon’s name, repeating something about he would come back, that they were destined to be partners. I was only eleven at the time, so I thought it was just stuff she was making up.”

“She wasn’t, though, was she?” Izzy spoke slowly. When Jonathan shook his head, he continued. “I should have checked the grave.”

Blair stared at the computer genius with a raised eyebrow. A golden-blonde boy took up the explanation. “Matt Ishida, at your service. When we took down the Dark Masters, a lot of the friends we made in the Digital World were deleted. Wizardmon died in our world. In their honour, we dug a grave and placed his body inside.”

“I still don’t understand,” Izzy muttered, seemingly at a loss. “This goes against what Gennai told me.”

Yolei butted in. “I bet the Digital World just knew it was time for Wizardmon to come back.”

Joe looked at Poromon’s partner. “You’re probably right, Yolei. Izzy, any luck with Gennai yet?”

“Still nothing, Joe,” the computer expert answered.

While the other Digi-Destined were talking, Mimi’s flirtatious advances were increasingly embarrassing Jonathan. She was batting her eyelids at him, edging closer to him, stroking a hand down his face. Tai was watching what was happening and was amused by it, but did nothing to stop Mimi, even after Jonathan gave a strangled cry when the girl kissed him on the cheek.

“Tai! Why aren’t you doing anything?” Jonathan searched for his personal space.

The other boy laughed. “Nothing I can do Jonathan, sorry. Once they’ve found you, they’re not going to leave,” Tai responded, looking at his own girlfriend. Sora Takenouchi stared back at him, love clearly in both teens’ eyes as Tai gave Sora a hug and she returned the favour by kissing him.

Oh ****! Jonathan thought, on the verge of panicking. He wasn’t ready for a girlfriend yet; after all, the Digital World had to be saved.

“Tai!” Davis called out. “I think you’re forgetting something!”

Tai turned away reluctantly, but sighed as he gave himself a light facepalm. “Thanks for reminding me, Davis,” Tai replied. “I can’t believe I forgot. You guys should talk to your families about your partners. I don’t think you can keep making excuses when you take two days to get back.”

Blair nodded dismissively; she couldn’t wait to go home. Jonathan knew the importance of this issue, especially after his mother was set to talk to him about it when she recovered. He tried to keep his distance from Mimi, who was still lavishing him with attention, but it was to no avail. Eventually, Tai called to Mimi and told his team that it was getting late.

Oh phew, Jonathan breathed a sigh of relief.

“Don’t get too comfortable,” Tai said, with Sora by his side, as he walked past Jonathan. “I know for a fact Mimi’ll be after you again the next time we meet.”

Jonathan tensed as Mimi strolled by him and blew a kiss in his direction. When and if I decide to accept Mimi’s advances, I hope she isn’t too much of a handful.

*****

Later that night, Jonathan nodded and smiled at his mother who was still lying in her bed. “Alright. It's a long story, but I won’t leave anything out.”

“Sounds good to me,” Brianna replied.

Jonathan quickly told his mother about the nightmares and the Digivices they had received. He went on to explain how he, Sean, Kiri and Luca (with Blair already having hers) had gotten their Digimon partners. The teen gave quite a colourful account of their battles with Kabukimon and Cyberdramon and his henchmen. Jonathan did his best to explain that they would be able to achieve Ultimate and Mega Digivolution, and he finished off his story with the team going their own ways for a while.

“Hmm, sounds like quite the adventure you’ve had. No wonder you’ve always been cutting it fine coming home,” his mother laughed slightly.

“This is my partner. His name’s Wormmon,” the boy replied. Jonathan bent down, picked the Rookie off the floor and held him in his arms for his mother to see.

“Wormmon, did you say? He looks so cute,” Brianna cooed.

Immediately, both Jonathan and Wormmon’s faces reddened in embarrassment. “I have to go now, Mum. I need to eat dinner,” Jonathan said.

“Okay, dear.”

*****

Jonathan and Blair returned to the Digital World two days later. Without them realizing it, the DigiPort had sent them to a beach section of File Island this time. Before they had any time to gather their sense of direction, a large turtle with spikes on his shell and blades for front flippers surfaced from under the water. His beak was pink on top and there were green antennae sticking up from the back of his head.

“I’m Archelomon, an Armour Digimon,” the turtle introduced himself, his voice sounding reedy.

Both teens tensed, waiting for an attack that they hoped would never come. Archelomon made what looked to be a shrugging motion. “I’ve heard about your spate of luck recently. Don’t worry; I’m not going to attack you. Moreover, I’m here to get your help.”

“Our help? What do ya want OUR help for?” Blair’s voice rose.

The turtle turned to Blair. “The Digimon belonging to Tai’s team have come under attack just today by two rogue Harpymon. I suspect that they are minions of Cyberdramon, but I can’t be sure. I’d like you to help these Digimon fight off the Harpymon.”

“We’ll do it,” Jonathan got in first. “If we’re going to save the Digital World, we have to help its residents as well.”

“Huh? Jonathan? WHAT?!” Blair yelled.

“Blair, don’t worry about it,” Jonathan replied quickly. Addressing Archelomon, he said: “They’re Armour Digimon, too, right?” The turtle nodded. “Then they’re at the Champion level, just like Kabukimon, Sealsdramon and Lynxmon were. They’ll be no sweat.”

Archelomon inclined his head to the east. “They’re down that way.”

“Thanks for the directions, Archelomon!” Jonathan called back as he dragged Blair with him.

*****

“Get off me!” Blair almost screamed. She struggled to pry Jonathan’s hand off her arm, but failed miserably.

“Be quiet, will you? If it hasn’t already, your screaming will have alerted the Harpymon to our presence!” Jonathan hissed back. He peered up over the rock that separated them from the two opposing sides of Digimon. They had followed Archelomon’s directions and were on the furthest side of the beach, with rocks strewn everywhere. Those Harpymon aren’t aware of our presence yet, but... hang on, why is there only one of them? Jonathan carefully looked around the clearing in an attempt to find the second Harpymon. He was unsuccessful. “Come on, let’s go!”

The teen vaulted over the small boulder. He faced the remaining Harpymon who was antagonizing Agumon and the rest of his friends. “Agumon, we’re here to help you!” he called to the reptile-like Rookie.

Blair made a fuss over walking around the rock, but was ready with Wizardmon by her side when the Harpymon dived towards them. She was a big bird-like Digimon with massive talons and wings that could be devastating. Her chest and head was armoured, and on the head armour were two feathers.

Wormmon had already Digivolved and was waiting as back-up, in case Wizardmon needed help. While Blair and her partner were fighting the Champion level bird, Jonathan was questioning the Rookies. “What happened to the other Harpymon?”

“They were fighting with each other,” Agumon replied. “One too many Wind Seekers took its toll and the male Harpymon was deleted.”

Jonathan paused for a moment, and then his eyes widened in shock. ****! Wind Seeker is that powerful? I better warn Blair! “Blair, don’t let her hit you with too many Wind Seeker attacks. The other Harpymon was deleted because of their signature technique!”

“Got it!” she called back.

Deciding to up the ante in light of that information, Stingmon used his Spiking Strike move against the female Harpymon who had narrowly dodged an Electro Squall from Wizardmon. The bird Digimon screeched in pain and her data was vaporized as she reformed into a Digi-Egg.

Several minutes later, Blair was growing tired of having to put up with hearing the Rookies thank them continuously. “Alright, we get it! We saved you, you’re grateful! Can we go now, Jonathan?”

Jonathan smiled sheepishly at the Rookie Digimon. “Sorry, she’s always been like this. Yes, Blair, we can go. I’m coming, you know?”

*****

Back in the real world, Tai had approached Jonathan and Blair once more. He asked them to come over to the courtyards for a second time for a bit more of a talk. Jonathan agreed, being the generous type, and ignored Blair’s protests as they followed Tai to the Highton View Terrace complex again.

As they walked there, they were yet to realize that this meeting would bring with it a surprise they definitely were not expecting. Going through the entrance gates, everything seemed ordinary as expected of Highton View Terrace, but then a figure jumped down from one of the massive courtyard trees.

A tall teen straightened himself. He had brown hair, with white streaks in it. “The name’s Jack, Jack Reynolds. Pleased to meet you.” Jack wore a thin short-sleeved green shirt. His pants were blue shorts with multiple pockets and a red jacket went over his shirt. “Formerly a member of the International Digi-Destined, but I’ve come to join your team.”

Fuyu
November 28th, 2010, 04:53 PM
Chapter 7: Insane Truth

Blair scowled, snarling with irritation. "Another male?! What happened to equalizing the team?!" The Digital World has got to be sexist.

Jonathan gave a polite nod. "It's nice to see you, Jack. Your partner is where?" He glanced around, surprised to not see a Digimon at his side.

Wizardmon looked up at the tree and pointed with his weapon-free hand. “He’s still up there.” His voice was vaguely amused. “You have a Champion level Sorcerymon then. Your attacks are Crystal Cloud and Aquarius Fill.” He smiled. “It’s good to meet a fellow mage.” The digimon leapt to the ground. He shook Wizardmon’s hand before returning to Jack’s side.

“Well this is good news,” Tai observed proudly. “But it looks like everyone’s all worn out today. Why don’t we all meet up in a couple days, trade info, you know, the usual stuff?”

Jack gave a friendly nod. “Fine by me.” Jonathan agreed. Blair gave a sigh. Thank God. There was no way she could have stomached any more of this today.



The sixteen-year-old redhead girl strolled into the living room of their apartment. Why are the lights off? She wondered. Sean should be home, even if Mom and Dad aren’t. She looked around the room; finally seeing her little brother slumped on the sofa, his little "stuffed animal" at his feet. She knew the truth. His smile was nowhere to be found, emerald eyes distant. In his hand was the pocket lighter he carried around. He always told her it was just in case but she knew better. They were blood siblings, no matter the lack of resemblance. Sighing wearily, she flopped down beside him, schoolbag falling loudly to the floor.

“What’s messing with your head, little bro?” she asked casually, twirling her pink kitten keychain on her index finger.

He glanced over at her, looking almost bored. He didn’t even try to fake a grin. “Hiya Melissa. Break any boys’ hearts lately?”

She threw a pencil at him, the projectile hitting his forehead. “Don’t confuse me with Emma alright. Barely older than you and flirts like a practiced ***** at points.”

Oddly enough her brother snorted. “I hung out with *****s while you ran errands. She’s not nearly that bad.”

“That’s true. But seriously little bro,” she leaned over to look him over, hazel eyes holding a mixture of curiosity and worry. “Ya ain’t even attempting to smile, you’re not burning the napkins like ya usually do when yer upset, and you aren’t running with your friends. You’re just sitting here like a used-up candle. What’s goin’ on in that crazy head of yours?” She leaned back, glancing around in the paranoid way kids did when they didn’t want grown-ups to hear. “This got to do with the Digimon or summat?”

She knew about them, of course. Melissa had a habit of knowing a little about everything, even the secrets it wasn’t possible to know. It came from constantly eavesdropping on adults while on delivery. And even though she spoke casually, spoke like a boy if you wanted him to be honest, there was no doubt in Sean’s mind that if anyone could sock crazy in the face, it’d be her. She was one of the few people even Kiri paused for. Damn he wished she were one of them. Aside from Kiri, she would watch his back. And sock those morons a new one.

“Unfortunately it is. My crazy got the best of me finally. Well not like the damn world didn’t help but still…" He gave her a miserable look. "We screwed up sis. Honest to God, all three of us did.”

“Tell me about it.” And he did. He confessed every single cruel word and act they had done, every side of the battle, and how they nearly killed their own comrades. She listened quietly, her hands moving in that reflexive shifty gesture that showed her in deep thought.

A few minutes after he finished she spoke, “It seems to me everybody was at fault.”

He peered at her. “No lie?”

Melissa smirked. “No lie. You were under crazy, just like all those who get under crazy and don’t know what you’re doing. You should have known it, Mister Pyro. I understand the other two being unable, not you. The kid’s ten and always has been, in my opinion, easy to twist around your finger. And Kiri, well; let’s face it; it’s in her blood to be out of your mind, whacko, a card short of a full deck, whatever you call it. Look at Kiri's papa, killin' the wife slow, nearly beatin' the kid. Luca has no parents, s' far as we know. So we got abuse, neglect, orphans, parental substitutes bein' stolen away. Seems to me it's the perfect situation that would crack someone.” Sean rolled his eyes, used to his sibling’s playfully serious nature. He had learned his mostly from her. They are dead, Luca's just too young to actually need to look at the will. Not that he would care. He doesn't even know what they look like.

“What about the other two?”

She cocked her head. “Them? Oh, they were lyin’ little asses but did ya give anything to go by? You guys just kept your thoughts all in yer head and by their lonesome. They had no reason to get the crazy, ya know? That aside, they really should’ve tried to read between the large, blocky letters. You should’ve told ‘em. I believed you, why couldn’t they?” She read his darkening expression. “Go on little bro, let it out. I’ve gotta get used to raving, screaming people. Any job has those.”

Sean clenched his fists tight, trying to hold it back and gave up. He snarled low, green eyes flashing with his anger. Dorimon stirred, feeling anxious. He glared at the wall, resisting the urge to click the lighter. “It’s ‘cause you don’t think in black and white sis!” You ain't a freaking saint!

She frowned at him. “Explain that.” You are just trying to make me hurt you today huh Melissa?

He forced himself to lower his voice, but he was still shouting. “They gave me the dirtiest freaking looks on the planet ‘cause I was losing my head and wanted to click my lighter on a tree. Kiri and Luca got worried but I don’t blame them because I nearly got them by accident one day. Hell they just didn’t want me to get thrown in some hellhole asylum or somethin’ and forgave me for screwing up! They didn’t raise a freaking bird, but those two just acted like I was beneath them or some ****! Everything was okay until they knew that! What kind of friendship is that? They ain’t gonna believe me now! I’m an evil, disgusting wild kid who’s a firebug that shouldn’ta been pressed! Why the hell would they? Why would they believe any of us?”

As he tried to slow his ragged breathing, Melissa grinned. “Well, a weirdo like me did, right? Besides, you’re talking about the kids who saw all that stuff up in the sky. You know they’ll try.”

“Nah, they won’t,” Sean said darkly. “I saw them, those older kids. They didn’t even know, or know it right. How many bloody clues does it take? Until they do, I could be saying the damned New Testament and it’d be on deaf ears. And they don’t even know the full story. I can’t wait for their reactions to that.”

“Just don’t do a reenactment of it at school,” she warned. “Or I’ll dangle you out the window in the water again. I don't care how much they deserve it.” He winced at the thought. He couldn’t swim, even after all this time.

“Like I could, considering I avoid them all like the plague. Not like I wasn’t being glared at in the crowds but still.”

“Can’t hide from them forever.” He waved her off.

“Nah, they’ll catch me soon I know. Hmph, wish I could tell them everything, just so I could laugh at them.”

“You guys are all at fault.”

“Yeah, but he’s the leader. He’s the one we’re supposed to trust and rely on. And now we can’t even do that. This is a mess.” He's nothing like the others. He's definitely no Akira. It's sad that I don't even know Akira but I'd die for him in a hot second before our so-called Fearless Leader.

Thankfully, Melissa changed the topic, still about Digimon, but to something slightly safer, something he could talk about without screaming.



The next day Sean finally got his expectations fulfilled.

After school, Blair walked up and put her face right near Sean, who didn’t react, merely blinked slow, dead eyes at her. “You’re coming with us,” she ordered. Sean looked past her at Jonathan, who was glaring quietly at the ground. A smirk flickered at his lips.

“Alright,” he replied, agreeably enough. They’re going to spout their ideals at me or something. He allowed himself to be dragged to the Digiport, his digimon right by his side. Dorimon glanced anxiously at the expression on his partner’s face. He knew what Sean was thinking. He guessed what the others were thinking. They think black and white; Sean said he and the others think grey. Who’s right? The crazy’s wrong but are we right? Humans make everything so confusing.

It doesn’t really matter but if they hurt Sean I’ll definitely stop them. Just ‘cause they think he’s wrong doesn’t give them the right to hurt him. It makes them as wrong as he was the other day.



Wizardmon and Stingmon stood beside their partners as Jonathan and Blair confronted Sean. Blair gingerly rubbed her arm, which had been bandaged since her fight with Sean a few days ago. "Spit it out, Sean! Why were you even scanned? I'm quite sure the Digital World would've known about your tendencies," Jonathan growled, still bitter.

Sean looked up at them, gently stroking his partner’s fur. His eyes were not their vivid green but dull with a lack of emotion. However that eerie smile was on his face. “I dunno.” Do they really expect me to know the answer? What morons!

“Bull,” growled Blair, wincing at the pain in her arm.

“Do you know why you were scanned?” Sean retorted softly, looking back down. He was a shadow of himself. It made his endless grinning all the more terrifying. “I truly don’t know. I don’t care either. I’m just helping Kiri and Luca. They mean a lot to me.” More to me than the Digital World means to you. His senses twitched, he felt uneasy.

“Enough to kill us?” Jonathan snapped. Wizardmon said nothing, merely lowered his hat, refusing to look him in the eye. Stingmon was perfectly silent.

Sean shrugged. “If that’s what you think. I’m a bad person ‘cause I set stuff on fire remember? My opinion is worth dead dogshit. ” And people way back when, don’t forget that, you murderous little slime. Don't ever forget what a monster you are boy, because if you do, I'll be sure to remind you. “Why should you believe anything I say? Hmph, you normal people are all the same.” The smile didn’t die but his eyes glittered with a hateful envy. “You were just fine with me before you knew what I was. What’s funny is you don’t know a thing really, nothing about any of us. If you did, you would actually understand. You would get just why we don’t care, why we were trying to kill you, why we were chosen.”

“You said you didn’t know.” Sean shrugged.

“That’s the thing. I don’t know why I was chosen. I know why those two were and why you two were but me, who knows? But what I think is,” He stood up and walked toward the Digiport. “I think it’s because I’ve got a foot in both doors. I’m as cracked as my friends, but I’m as okay as you. Just like them, I know what I’m fighting. Just like you, I’m vulnerable.”

“You arrogant jerk," Blair spat.

The pyromaniac laughed hollowly. “Look in a mirror before you make accusations. At least we know we aren’t perfect. At least we don’t carry our scars like badges of honor.” He held out his D-Core. “If that’s all, I’m going to visit my friends. Of course,” he gave them a sly smile. “It’s not like I don’t mind talking to two prejudiced jerks right?”

“We’re not done yet,” Jonathan stated firmly, yanking rudely on his arm.

“That’s your opinion,” Sean replied cheerily, snatching it away. “I don’t have to tell you anything since you don’t believe me or the others. So go out and play hero. Pretend you’re perfect and saving the world. Perfection’s just a lie; saving the world is nothing noble.” He lowered his free hand to his side, pocketing it. “You kill an endless amount of creatures all for your so-called justice and love. Good or evil makes no difference; you’re just nothing but soldiers easily thrown away when it’s over. Once the crazy’s in you, I wonder how it will change you. I wonder if you’ll get just how stupidly naïve you sound.”

“You look forward to it?” Jonathan stepped away, repulsed. Sean rolled his eyes. He really does think in black and white. What an idiot.

“Nah, just seeing people get knocked off their high horse is always funny. Once you hit the gutter, it’s hard to get back out.” I’m still not out. Can’t you tell, genius? Behind them a creature lurked, revealing a Dinohyumon. It leapt to attack. Before Wizardmon and Stingmon could react, the Digimon dispersed into data, reforming into a DigiEgg. Dorugamon walked past them, returning to Sean’s side. The D-Core’s light vanished.

Jonathan forced himself to remain outwardly impassive but inwardly he was in shock. When did he…?

Sean grinned coolly. “Knew you didn’t sense it. You would’ve killed it without hesitation. Just like we tried to kill you. Just like the enemy Digimon you slaughter without any trouble. Or maybe it does trouble you. I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t bother me anymore. The enemy must be destroyed either way, right?” Personal feelings have to be shoved aside in a war.

Dorugamon looked between the two Digimon solemnly. “We aren’t the enemy, the crazy is. I saw it. It was all scary.” Wizardmon frowned imperceptibly. Sean’s partner was very childlike and couldn’t tell lies. So were they telling the truth? But if that’s what the darkness really is… then why are they so determined that it hurts us? What will they gain from it?

“Sean…” he began quietly. “What is it you three really want?”

Sean locked eyes with him, expression lonely. “We want people to understand. We want people to believe in us.” That was a bad lie Wizardmon. Sorry. What we really want can’t be put into words. He turned away again. “I’m leaving now; I have to know if Kiri’s awake. Maybe you should come with me.” He snickered inwardly. As if they’ll understand. Those who wear their pain on their sleeves never get it.

“Why the hell should we meet people who tried to kill us?” Blair snarled.

“Because, we’re a team, like it or not. Besides,” Sean closed his eyes as his violet D-Core shined again. “We know the truth.” He was gone.

The two looked at each other and Blair scowled. “I hate him.”



If Emma didn’t have his best interests at heart, Sean would have questioned why she had made their mom and dad get him a cell phone. It wasn’t like he texted anyway. Behind him he heard the other two exiting the portal. Hypocrites. His cell phone vibrated in his pocket. He flipped the old thing open, recognizing the number at once.

“Hey little buddy, what’s going on?” Luca was definitely using the home phone; he had no clue how to work his cousin’s cell. The ten year old didn’t answer. “Luca, what’s up?”

“Akira…” The teen frowned.

“Yeah? What about him?”

“… Here.” He heard how pain-filled yet manic the child’s voice sounded. “Akira’s… here. In his room.”

Sean stiffened. “That’s not possible buddy. You saw him go.”

“In his room,” the boy repeated stubbornly. “Kiri’s inside already. He’s calling me. I’m... gonna follow Kiri.”

“Wait Luca, let me go with you.”

“Nuh-uh,” came the childishly dark reply. “He won’t see you. G’bye Sean.” The phone clicked off. Sean paused for a moment before he cursed foully for a minute. Then he clicked it shut. He crouched, preparing to run. Glancing at the other two, he smirked. “Change of plans. You can still come but you’ll be worse than useless. Try and keep up if you want.” He tore off, incredibly fast for someone with average stamina. Despite themselves, the pair followed, not sure what they were doing.

Reaching the steps, he paused for an instant, jogging in pace, barely out of breath. He heard the other’s loud footsteps. That was your only warning you idiots. Damn humans and their pride. Oh well. He bolted up the steps, not waiting, not looking, and just hoping. He hated elevators, the cramped little death traps. He constantly imagined them burning… no damn it! Get a hold of yourself! That’s the wrong way to do it!

He reached the level and struggled with his key. Lucky for him, Dorimon had kept up, the little creature bouncing agitatedly. Pushing it open, he immediately felt the wave, invisible but thick, choking him. He fell to his knees, coughing, gasping for clean air. There’s no way… no way in hell I’ll get through this.

“Don’t give up Sean,” his partner begged, nuzzling his hand anxiously. “I’m right here. They need you. Don’t give up.”

“Hah… hah… yeah.” He forced himself to his feet. Glad I don’t live here. Visiting’s bad enough, but whenever that room opens it feels like hell. He wiped spit from his mouth and gingerly started walking. Sean flinched at a sudden sound. Friimon hopped out weakly, nearly unconscious.

“In… there,” he wheezed. “It’s all funny in there.” The In-Training passed out. Sean felt courage sear through the grey. He hurried to the back, moving toward that void. Behind this he could hear the other Digdestined’s loud footsteps, but they were distant, as though the sound were being sucked away as he fell further and further down. When he got to the room the door was only open a crack, as though someone had tried shutting it and given up. Or to mock me, that was definitely more likely. With a large effort, he yanked it open.

He shouted into the maw. “Luca, Kiri! Can you guys hear me?” His voice too was swallowed, echoing cruelly in the room and in his ears.

“The room isn’t that big, idiot. You don’t have to shout.” Blair gave him a hateful look as they walked up.

Sean produced the filthiest glare he could and sneered. “You guys are lucky you’re dumb.” Without waiting for a retort, he plunged in, vanishing into the black. Blair prepared to bolt after him, but Jonathan grabbed her healthy arm.

“Don’t,” he warned. “We don’t know what’s going on in there.”

“So what?”

“They’re probably just imagining it,” he said in as dismissive tone as he could. Yet in the pit of his stomach, he was a feeling a mix of fear and darkness that he could not name. So they waited.



She was running, running to beat the devil that only she had the power to beat. Her feet were sore from jumping out of the taxi while throwing a few bills on the seat. But it was worth it: she had to hurry. No one else, no one else is going to go there! She pushed her legs, pushed them for all they were worth. She could see the apartment complex and paused for a minute, panting. So strong, how have they survived for so long? She didn’t think about the answer, just kept bounding up the stairs. Her hands glowed feebly as she stored up energy. She was going to need a lot of it.

Beating the devil was more work than people knew. But was it worth it? Oh god she hoped so.

...

Then Sean came out, dragging the ten-year-old with him by his armpits. The boy’s eyes were half-lidded, head lolling on his neck. He looked as though his color had been drained out of him. What the hell caused this? Jonathan screamed in his head. He moved to help, taking the boy’s ankles.

Sean nodded weakly, gasping out, “Thanks.” The brown-haired boy looked ill, pale and clammy. Jonathan nodded, not sure what to say. They really have been warning us. It was just a room and he was only there for a few minutes, but there’s no doubting it. He looks like the walking dead.

The green-eyed boy plastered on his clown smile like a sticker, forcing himself backs up. He crouched again, preparing to run. Jonathan moved to his side. “I’m coming too.”

Sean shook his head. “No way Fearless Leader. This is my job. Stay out of it.” What could you do anyway? You’d be swallowed if you tried. He bolted before a reply could be made. Then Luca stirred, groaning in a deep manner that shouldn’t have come from his lips. The older Digidestined looked down at the pale boy, who opened his eyes to look at them all blindly.

“Too late,” he rasped, blue eyes full of despair and mania. “You guys are always too late. You can’t save anyone. And now everyone’s gone.”

“What do you mean?” Jonathan inwardly winced. Wrong choice of tone.

Luca only gave a pathetic laugh. “Everyone’s gone, all for the sake of being a hero. All for being like you. It’s because of people like you that they’re gone. The Digital World’s all messed up because of people like you!”

Behind them a figure stood in the front doorway. A blond fourteen-year-old female stood there, dressed in a comfortable blue shirt and jeans. Her white sneakers’ soles had almost fallen off. The girl panted heavily, burdened by exhaustion and lunacy. She stood firm, stepping forward through the hallway. Blair turned reflexively to shout or to get her out, but the girl ignored her. She knelt next to Luca, whose eyes rolled toward her blearily.

“You made it,” he whispered happily. “I knew you would come Relena.”

“Shh,” she mumbled, stroking his forehead, catching her breath fast. “Where’s your cousin?”

“In,” he mumbled, falling asleep slowly. “Help.”

“I’ll do my best,” she promised. Relena stood, turning toward the door. The stored energy thrummed in her hands as she walked forward.

Jonathan attempted to stop her. “You don’t know what’s going on in there!”

She turned and gave him a piercing look. “Why should I care about what’s happening in there? My precious people need me.” She walked inside. The pair could only watch in surprise.



Only when she was certain that the darkness engulfed her did Relena release the energy. It rose up in a golden light. She smiled. “Data Overwrite activate.” Around her hands formed large, shining rings of shifting binary. She could see just ahead of her and began walking forward tentatively. I never get tired of this power.

“Sean,” she asked softly. “Where are you?” No response came, the shadows seemed to hiss almost playfully. She called again.

This time a tired, fearful voice answered, “Relena? Where are you?”

“Follow the light.” A quiet snort echoed.

“I’m not gonna die am I?”

“No. Don’t you trust me?”

“Honestly? God yes.” He landed weakly in front of her, nearly face-planting to the floor. She caught him and rested a hand on his back.

“Repair.” Immediately his energy flowed anew, causing him to bounce up. He moaned, feeling electricity that recharged every orifice of his body.

“Hot ****,” he gasped, eyes watering. “I feel like that time I ran a mile in track in under a minute. Ah man!”

“Will you help me?” she pleaded.

Sean nodded, taking the lead. “They’re my friends. Of course I will.” Before they could move far, a cruel laugh echoed through the room.

“How naïve of you to think you can do anything at all.” The voice was coldly male, almost crooning at them. Relena recognized it at once and visibly shook.

“You,” she whispered, a mix of hate and terror in her words. “Lucemon…how did you get here?”

There stood a tall blond man with black and white wings. His blue eyes, one marred by a scar, glinted. “Hello there dear,” he purred. “It really has been a while. I thought you were swept up in it all.” She flinched, fists clenched tight. Sean looked between them, bewildered, until it all clicked into the place.

“You’re one of them,” he realized. “You’re our enemy. You’re a Demon Lord.”

The angel clapped. “Oh very good. You were taught well by that brat. Speaking of that brat, I think I have something… important of his.” Holding up one of his white gloved hands, he revealed a bloody and beaten Kiri and Viximon in one hand, semi-conscious. The center of her palm had something black shoved in it.

Rage boiled in Sean’s chest. “Put her down, you stinking ****-eater. Elsewise I’ll make you.”

The demon laughed. “Oh I will comply. Just let me… put her somewhere special.” And in the light from her weapon, Relena glimpsed the old computer, which suddenly whirred to life.

“No,” she whimpered. “No what are you doing? Don’t throw her in there!”

Lucemon scoffed. “Like I would shove her in a place where she would be happy. I have a better place.” The screen flickered black and grey and in her pocket, Kiri’s D-Coder started unwillingly shining.

Sean threw himself in the way but the Digivice had already activated fully, the light engulfing human and partner.

When the light faded, all three of them were gone.



The pair exited, faces pale, expressions full of despair. Luca, who had jerked awake, asked in fearful voice that meant he already knew somehow, “Where’s Kiri?”

Sean looked at him miserably. “The Ocean,” he croaked. “The enemy threw her into the Dark Ocean.” He didn’t say again. Luca could feel the word. He burst into tears.

Legendarian Mistress
December 2nd, 2010, 04:25 PM
A/N: I wrote this chapter based on the fake DNA Digivolved form of Wizardmon and Gatomon. “Together with Our Memories” proves that Wizardmon and Gatomon were meant to be together. There are also two romantic scenes in this chapter, so if anyone doesn’t like sappy love scenes, please leave now.

Oh, before I forget, credit goes to SS (that’s Sgt Shock, for anyone who doesn’t know) for thinking up the name FangHexmon, his appearance, his attacks and the chapter title.

This is mainly a WizGato chapter, so if you turn out to be a PataGato, VeeGato, or some other Gatomon shipper, you may want to avoid this.

I'm also updating today, because I won't be able to go online on Monday.

Chapter 8: Together with Our Memories

Night had fallen on Odaiba and with it came a moment of truth for Gatomon. She and Wizardmon were by themselves, after Wizardmon had received Blair’s permission to wander off with the feline. Sitting together in a tree, Gatomon pulled off her left clawed glove and presented her paw to her friend. “Oh Gatomon,” he whispered, pulling his ally close to him. “I’m so sorry for what Myotismon did to you.” Wizardmon held up Gatomon’s paw in what little moonlight was shining through the thick canopy of leaves and, for the first time, saw the scar that had forever ruined her white fur.

“It’s okay, old friend,” she answered quietly. “There was nothing you could have done. This happened before I met you.” There seemed to be unmistakable regret in her voice as she looked down at the crimson, crisscrossed wound. I never should have joined forces with Myotismon. All it did was bring me pain and suffering. I should be happy that Wizardmon has returned, so why do I still feel empty?

Wizardmon tilted his head. “You’re still suffering, Gatomon?”

Tears began forming in the feline’s eyes and she nodded quickly, before nestling her face into his chest. “I thought I had lost you forever, Wizardmon. I didn’t think you would be able to come back,” her voice was muffled.

Should I tell her what our fate really is, or should I let destiny walk its own path? Wizardmon wondered, remembering what he had been told before arriving in the real world. He struggled with this thought for a while, before deciding not to tell Gatomon. “I’m here, Gatomon. From now on, I always will be.”

“Thank you, Wizardmon. I really needed to hear that,” she looked up at him, sniffling. She put her clawed glove back on and wiped away the tears. “Promise me you won’t get killed again.”

Wizardmon smiled beneath his collar. This was the Gatomon he knew. “I won’t get deleted again, I promise.” Reassured by the guarantee, the now emotionally drained Champion curled up in Wizardmon’s lap.

“Wake me when it’s morning,” Gatomon mumbled. Her eyelids felt heavy and she was fighting a losing battle against sleep.

Wizardmon edged further up the tree to have the support of the trunk and lay back against it. “I will,” he answered, as he stared up at the leaf canopy.

*****

“Hey, I’ve got mail,” Kari said, pulling out her D-Terminal the next morning.

“What’s that thing?” Blair asked. Gatomon could understand that the teen didn’t know about D-Terminals. Blair’s D3 was modified, after all.

“It's kind of like a mini-computer that doubles as a phone,” T.K. said. “Kari gets emails all of the time.”

Kari’s expression changed quickly as she read the email. “What’s this?” she questioned, sounding confused.

“What's wrong, Kari?” Yolei asked.

Kari stared at the message for a few more moments, before glancing up at Yolei. “I received an anonymous message saying I have a new DNA partner. This can’t be right.”

“New DNA partner? I thought we were only allowed one,” T.K. said, looking puzzled.

“Well, then I'll see if I can find whoever it is,” Yolei replied. She left, with Davis, T.K. and Cody following suit.

Blair looked around, apparently rather bewildered. She approached Kari and Gatomon.

“What exactly just happened?” Blair asked.

“Apparently I have a new DNA partner. We’d always assumed we could only have one. Yolei, Davis, T.K. and Cody have gone to see if they can find who it is,” Kari replied, packing her D-Terminal away.

“Oh, I wonder who it could be.” Blair speculated. But there wasn't curiosity in her voice, instead there seemed to be comprehension.

“To be honest, I’m not sure. I've just got to keep up with the others right now,” Kari responded. “Sorry, but we'll have to get together another time.”

“Alright. See ya around,” Blair said, as she turned around.

“Bye!” Kari called after her quickly before breaking into a sprint toward home.

“Kari, what's going on?” Gatomon asked, as soon as they couldn't see Blair any more.

“She knows more than she’s letting on. But what is she hiding?” Kari wondered.

“I wouldn’t know. There was something about Wizardmon last night, too. I sensed he was holding back from telling me something,” Gatomon answered.

*****

A little later, Izzy was surfing the internet when a new window appeared on his screen. It said: Incoming message. A moment later, an image of Wizardmon filled the screen, and it was followed quickly by an e-mail from Gennai. He warily glanced over at Tai who was talking to Matt and the rest of his team. The computer expert began to type out a message on the computer which he promptly sent back to Gennai.

As soon as he turned around, a whoop of “Prodigious!” was heard. Tai and the others rushed over to Izzy’s side, where Gennai’s email was still open. Tai swiftly read it, smiled and turned to Yolei.

“Well done, Yolei. That was Gennai. He was contacting Izzy to confirm your statement about the Digital World reclaiming Wizardmon’s data. For a twelve-year-old, you sure are smart.”

“Thank you, Tai,” the girl answered.

“Has anyone seen Kari?” Tai asked.

“She received an anonymous email earlier,” Cody replied quietly. “It said she had a new DNA partner. I don’t know where she is now.”

“A what?!” Tai spluttered. “But... aren’t you only allowed one?”

“That’s what we thought,” T.K. responded. “But Kari’s been selected to have a second. It’s all very unusual.”

At that moment, Kari and Gatomon walked in. Everyone’s heads swivelled in Kari’s direction. Tai opened his mouth to say something, but Kari put up her hand for silence. She hesitated, not knowing how to start the discussion. “Blair is hiding something,” she began finally. “I suspect she knows who my new DNA partner is, but she’s not letting on.”

“Even Wizardmon was holding back last night,” Gatomon added.

Tai looked helplessly at the rest of his team, while Davis, Cody and Yolei stared at the ground. The two teams wondered what to do. Without warning, the phone rang. Tai rushed to answer it. “Hello, Kamiya residence, Tai speaking.”

It was Blair on the other end.

“You want to talk to Kari and me by ourselves? Can I ask what this is about?”

The girl said something inaudible to the rest of the Digi-Destined.

“Alright, Kari and I will be there in a few minutes,” Tai answered. Putting the receiver back on the hook, Tai turned to Kari. “That was Blair. She wants to talk to us.”

Kari glanced at her brother quizzically.

“She’ll tell us when we arrive,” he replied.

“Let’s go then,” Gatomon butted in.

*****

When the two Digi-Destined teams and Gatomon arrived at the courtyards, they were surprised to see Jonathan, Jack and their partners standing alongside Blair and Wizardmon. They looked expectantly at Blair who motioned for them to move away from Jonathan and Jack. Mystified, they did so. “Alright, Wizardmon. You go first,” Blair said.

“The Digital World reclaimed my data, that much you probably already know,” the elf began by way of explanation. He stared directly into Gatomon’s eyes. “But there were two reasons; equally important as each other, as to why I came back. The first was to fulfil my promise to Blair that I would be her partner. The second was that...” Wizardmon paused for a period of time at this statement. “I am your second DNA partner, Gatomon, and your soul mate.”

Kari and Gatomon’s eyes widened in shock, a movement so reminiscent of the time they’d cried when he had died, he almost turned away in shame. He felt ashamed he had known about being Gatomon’s second DNA partner since returning to the real world, but it was Azulongmon who had told him this, so it rightfully wasn’t his shame.

“Gatomon, I...” Wizardmon attempted to speak, but Gatomon shook her head fiercely. Before he knew what he was doing, Wizardmon had brought his hands up to Gatomon’s face and was tilting her chin towards him. His lips brushed over hers with a feather-like touch, but it was enough to make her shiver. She liked the way he held her; as if she were fragile and likely to break if he held too tight. He rested his forehead against hers as though they had all of the time in the world.

An overwhelming heat started to spread through Gatomon’s body and she strained towards Wizardmon, reaching for his lips again. She returned his kiss with passionate urgency and clung to him. Gatomon allowed herself to melt into his embrace and pressed their bodies together. His warmth was seeping through her white fur, and she could feel his heart beating fast.

“I… I don’t think I’ve wanted anything more…” Wizardmon breathed.

“There is no need for words,” Gatomon answered. She, too, was nervous. This was the first time she had truly bared her soul to anyone.

While Wizardmon was revealing a bit more of his past to Gatomon, Jonathan was hearing Jack’s story. Jack’s partner was standing nearby. He was a man in snow white torn clothes and his face hidden. He wore brown boots with buckles on them. The man wore a white cape and hat. In one of his gloved hands was a staff with a snowflake.

“I was born in America three years before Tai and was summoned to the Digital World when I was eleven. As a member of the International Digi-Destined, I have spent seven years of my life with Sorcerymon. It was roughly around the three day mark that I heard about your team. I caught the first plane to Odaiba. After sleeping off the jet-lag, I asked about you and was directed to the Highton View Terrace courtyards where a woman had last seen you,” Jack explained to Jonathan.

Keeping an eye on Blair from time to time, Jonathan nodded, indicating he was interested in Jack’s history. He wanted to make sure Blair and Wizardmon were doing okay. Double checking, he saw that Tai and Kari seemed taken aback at the moment.

Before he could wonder what had happened, people started screaming and running in every direction. A confident laugh was heard from on top of a nearby building. Moving faster than the eye could blink, a figure materialized on the ground. Oh ****! It’s Cyberdramon. What’s he doing here in our world?! Jonathan mentally yelled.

Like lightning, the Ultimate level cybernetic dragon placed one hand on Tai’s shoulder and the other around the boy’s neck. “I don’t want anyone moving,” he stated boldly. “Or the boy is dead.”

“Wizardmon’s right. There’s always been a way, and there’s got to be one now, too.” Kari answered.

“Kari! Stop acting like that, you’ve got to... what the?” Tai was stopped short by the glowing light that was spraying out of Kari's D3. Blair’s D-Core suddenly lit up with a brilliant light as well.

Wizardmon and Gatomon both seemed to explode with light. Twin data dispersed into the cocoon, moving and merging into a creature that exuded harmony of spirit. The two humans instantly felt a connection, deeper and stronger than ever before.

“Are they...?” Tai couldn’t finish the sentence.

“I’d say the answer’s yes,” Jack said.

“Gatomon, Wizardmon, DNA Digivolve to... FangHexmon!”

Gatomon hadn’t ever experienced anything as strange as this. What stood there was a figure cloaked entirely in black and yellow. Only his blue feline eyes and black tail were visible.

Sorcerymon explained what they had become. “FangHexmon is legendary among wizard and feline Digimon alike. His Curse of Broken Luck ability can stop any attack once with a sorcerer’s circle; his Curse of Reflection attack is where he can use either Magical Game or Lightning Paw; finally, his Curse of Demise is a trap-like move, where there are invisible sorcerer’s circles all around and if they trigger, the Digimon get attacked by fire, ice, or electricity."

Fuyu
December 6th, 2010, 05:12 PM
Chapter 9: Effort’s Loss

Interesting…Cyberdramon thought. They activated a DNA Digivolution. But really, do they assume that will be enough? He carefully released the Digidestined, who stared at him with a mixture of fear and confusion. A dead hostage was useless after all. Don't these children know anything? He took to the air and soared toward the new Digimon. “Cyber Nail!”

“Curse of Broken Luck!” The seal formed around the dragon’s claws, destroying the attack. FangHexmon followed up with a “Curse of Reflection!” The Magical Game burst into thunder, striking Cyberdramon’s wings. He hissed sharply before spiraling away higher into the air. His hands formed a silver orb.

“Desolation Claw!” The slashing air tore into the DNA Ultimate, knocking it back and bleeding.

“Curse of Reflection!” The physical attack tore through the dragon skin, making him bleed slightly on his chest.

“Awesome!” Davis exclaimed. “Look at him go!”

Yolei agreed with a grin. “Keep it up!”

However, TK was watching in silence. Something’s wrong, he thought darkly. Surely someone can see this. Why is no one here? And more importantly… why is Cyberdramon still smiling? FangHexmon turned in midair, surveying his opponent.

“Curse of Demise,” they hissed, making sure to keep out of earshot. Within seconds icy shards sprung up around his enemy.

“Desolation Claw!”

“Curse of Broken Luck!” Desolation Claw vanished as though it had never been and Curse of Demise struck lightning burns into Cyberdramon. Surprisingly, the Digimon only smirked icily.

“Got you.” He vanished, leaving FangHexmon to look around in wonder.

“How the hell did he just vanish like that?” Blair snapped at no one, full of anger.

Kari looked over and suddenly screamed. “FangHexmon, behind you!”

“Too late.” Cyberdramon flickered only inches away. “Desolation Claw!” Tens of hundreds of little blades tore into the DNA Digimon at close range. Kari and Blair both felt a terrible pain deep in their chest, and fell to their knees. But it was nothing compared to the pain their digimon suffered, tearing them both almost to total deletion. Lucky for them, they were fortunate enough to return to In-Training, thrown brutally to their partners’ sides.

Cyberdramon hovered in the air, ignoring the small little injuries that flanked him. Now that I look again, TK thought, tearing away from the horror that had just occurred. It’s like he didn’t even feel it! They were the same level! That Cyberdramon… what the hell happened to make him so powerful?

The Ultimate level spoke, voice icily cruel. “Weaklings, all of you. Why does our Master fear you? Even with a sudden digivolution, you couldn’t even bare your teeth against me at a quarter of my strength.” He raised a hand. “I should just kill you right now and spare Master the trouble.” He glanced past them all and paused. “But it seems there is someone here who could kill me if they wanted to. So I’m sorry to say you get to keep your lives a bit longer. Enjoy them while you can. It will make your death so much more meaningful.” He soared away, still smirking.



…They lost. They used a DNA Digivolution and they still lost.

Oh come on now, is it really that surprising? Their compatibility sucked ass. I don’t know why the hell Gennai assumed they could be partners simply because of the Digimon.

Must you always be so harsh?

I’m cruel and you’re kind. Remember how this works?

You aren’t cruel to everyone.

I’m gonna be cruel to them, that’s for damn sure. Those brats have been coddled since their first day. I’m gonna beat that out of all of them.

Are you sure this is the right method?

No. But who gives a ****? There has never been a “right” way to do things. Assuming that there is got the Sovereigns where they are: weak and useless.

…That’s true.

The fools won’t die, if that’s what you’re afraid of. I’m not gonna dunk them either. It’d be hilarious though.



I’m joking.

No you’re not. I know you too well. Sadly I agree with you. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that.

I highly doubt I’ll have to dunk them. The heroic types fall on their own.

I just wish they wouldn’t fall at all.

Okay, remember this, oh child with pure heart: you fell too. You can wish and dream all you want, but everybody loses at least once.

…I know.

Best to try and cushion them when they land then.



“I can’t believe it!”

“Chill out Davis. We know.” TK rolled his eyes at the currently scowling Digidestined splayed over his living room couch like he owned it. The other Digidestined were in various places in his living room. Blair and Kari were both on the floor bandaging their Digimon. He glanced worriedly at the crestfallen girl, feeling grateful that both of the Digimon were still alive, at the very least.

Usually, when we reach a new digivolution, the new stage is enough to even the playing field and score a win. But it didn’t even manage that. And the way he was talking, there’s no way it could have. Was the species that strong or is he just special? Either way, we’re just… we’re just too weak.

He didn’t say it. No one had to. They knew.

“So then,” Tai began, reclining back on the armrest. “What the hell was that all about?”

“Simple,” Matt replied, straightening from his place on a cushion. “There was a new power and it wasn't enough. The new generation was weak and has to get stronger.”

Blair snarled. “Don't call us weak you jack-ass! Just because we haven't been doing this as long as you-”

“Blair, back off,” Jonathan warned, trying to soothe his constantly anxious Digimon.

“Why?” Blair snapped. “He's underestimating us!”

You sound like Kiri, the leader wanted to snap but swallowed it hard. His chest burned at the thought of her, her last expression being one of pure bloodlust as she tried to murder him. “Don't you think he might have a point? All of us saw the new evolution and thought we could win. Part of our team was nearly murdered trying to stop him and we simply assumed having the same level meant we could do it.” He concluded bitterly. “I guess that didn't work.”

“I believe it was a one-time thing,” Izzy muttered from in the midst of calculations.

TK frowned. “What makes you say that?”

“For one the Digimon were the ones compatible, not the humans. That's not the same bond. Secondly, Kari already has a DNA partner. There's no real reason for her to need another one. Besides, Blair is currently incapable of bonding in the way required for a constant DNA Digivolution.”

“Meaning?”

“Meaning she's antisocial,” Davis muttered derisively, only to be whacked in the head by Yolei. Luckily Blair didn't catch that.

“Well that's quite a predicament,” Jonathan thought aloud. “How are we supposed to reach higher levels without any assistance? We don't exactly have... Crests...” An idea popped into his head. “That's it! Earlier we met a Digimon named Vajramon. He told us we're supposed to get some object similar to a Crest! We just have to find them!”

Izzy turned to beam at Jonathan. “Prodigious memory Jonathan! Now then, Gennai has no choice but to help us locate them. He must know where they are.”

“You really shouldn’t rely on Gennai for help,” a voice mused passively from the doorway.

...

The dragon crouched there, looking many sorts of humble. His visor-covered head was bowed almost religiously toward the cave’s center. Something shapeless lurked in its depths. He smiled quietly.

“I have returned Master.” A voice melded like sludge replied slowly.

“…And?”

Cyberdramon’s smile turned into a sneer. “Weak and worthless, just like you assumed, my lord. They fight like newborns; fodder ready for the slaughter.” All but the missing ones. They fought like us. It was beautifully dreadful. His head suddenly pulsed as his vision washed in and out. Why do they feel familiar?

“…Were they all there?”

“I’m afraid not. Three were still missing.” Those three again. The mass chuckled eerily.

“…Good. That’s good for now.” Cyberdramon paused, feeling confusion amidst pain.

“Master?” His lord ignored him.

“…Never mind now.... They are still alive I assume?”

“Of course.”

Cyberdramon swore he felt a smile. “…Good. …Now it… begins.” The darkness seemed to pulse. “...Go now and... never forget who you are.”

The dragon bowed. “Yes my lord.”

He soared slowly out of the cave, picking up speed in his low flight. Then, as his head continued to pound, his body gave out and he slammed into the sand, skidding into a heap. He glimpsed a face, a child's face, a hateful face...

“Hey are you okay?”

“You saved me.”

“I don't think I could do this alone. Will you help me?”

“All of us... it's not that we're strong. I think it's just that... we're together. I bet if we were alone like when we started, we had no chance.”

“Please you have to protect them. They're all alone out there. If I disappear, please watch over them.”

Lies, it was all lies!

“You don't exist!” he screamed to the sky, full of fury and pain along with something much deeper. That kind one is a lie, a lie! No one like that is real! “You are a lie, you are a monster! You were never kind! You massacred us all!”

“You're wrong. He didn't do that.” The dragon turned and growled. Those eyes...

“You...”

...

It was a hunt. They were set to find the unknown. It was unknown to fools, to naïve ones but to them it was imprinted in their heads. This is what they were for, what they had turned their backs on their comrades to find. They would protect this world. After all there was no way they could trust mere children.

A sudden reverberation in their head made them all still. One is missing. One is not here any longer. Where? Where could it have gone? Too late! We’re too late! They found one. But they can’t use it can they? They can? How? We must secure the others. Master will not forgive us otherwise.

...

Everyone turned to see a blond girl standing in the entrance. Behind her lurked Luca. The ten year old was looking at his shoes, not even glancing at the many Digidestined.

“Who are you? And how did you get in here?”

“You’re that girl…” Jonathan remembered her. She was an enigma who had kicked them brutally out of Kiriko’s home after she disappeared. He saw the boy, whose eyes flickered toward them before lowering again. Kari felt a shudder of recognition, of kinship. I've never seen her before in my life, yet it feels like I've known her forever. Looking at the boy, she felt that familiar revulsion. He was in the Ocean. Poor child.

The blond nodded. “That’s right. As for how we got in…”

“Your door was unlocked.” Sean waved mischievously from the other side. He saw the rest of his former group and shied back, looking uncomfortable. She turned to him.

“Don’t do that Sean,” she scolded. “You need energy right now. We’ve got training in a minute.”

“Says you,” he replied and grinned again at them all, looking at Blair and winking playfully. She blinked in confusion, unable to reply.

Tai took the initiative and asked. “What do you mean about Gennai?”

The blond shrugged. “Simple. Don’t completely rely on him. He’s not here for you, but for the Digital World.”

“Isn’t that our cause too?” Kari asked quietly.

“Your cause, in the end, is always your life. Don’t flatter yourself and say it’s anything else.” Luca’s voice was coldly quiet, looking more like his cousin than ever. Kari shivered. What did the Dark Ocean do to this child?

The blond nodded. “It’s only coincidental that the two problems are melded together. Save the world and save your life. It’s simple.” She turned away. “Just thought I’d warn you. G’bye.” She strolled away, the other two at her heels with their Digimon.

They all looked at each other. Before anyone could comment, Tanemon began to glow in Blair's arms. Blair moved her arms away to reveal the familiar form of a Palmon. Almost immediately as the light faded, there was a unified recoil. There were terrible torn stitch marks on the plant's mouth. The threads were clearly forcibly ripped apart.

“How in the world...?” Sora began, utterly dumbstruck.

“Who did this to you?” Kari whispered, overcome with terror and sympathy.

I can answer that if you'd like. Kari turned and felt a sense of familiarity wash over her.

“You are...”

Legendarian Mistress
December 13th, 2010, 03:19 PM
Chapter 10: Gathering the Digi-Destined

Kari smiled. “You seem nice…” Then, suddenly, she closed her eyes. She began to glow and her eyes remained shut. Slowly, she took off her Crestless tag and held it up to the ceiling. It began to glow brighter than it ever had before.

“KARI!” Palmon and Nyaromon yelled, rushing towards her.

Suddenly, light engulfed the entire area. It would completely blind the children from seeing anything but each other. The lounge room seemed to disappear, as did the rest of the house. Then they all just seemed to fade away, disappearing into the light, barring Tai’s team.

*****

They were in a very bright place. They could only see each other. Then again, there was probably nothing else to see.

“Where are we?” Jack asked, looking around.

“No idea…” Jonathan replied.

“In this world, there is a balance of light and dark,” Kari said. But her voice had changed. She sounded like a grown woman now instead of a teen. “The light represents all that’s good in the world, while the darkness represents all things evil. And when the darkness overpowers the light, it throws out the balance.”

Suddenly, darkness began to seep over them and engulfed the entire space until it was almost pitch-black.

“Who the hell turned off the lights?!” Blair yelled.

“Hey guys, look!” Yolei cried, pointing to something.

The image of a city faded into view. It looked like… Odaiba. Could it be possible? Were they actually home again? If they were, something strange was happening. Frozen in a huge spot-light and suspended in mid-air was Greymon and a Parrotmon.

“I’ve seen this before!” Jonathan exclaimed, pulling out his laptop. “That’s Parrotmon… he was the Digimon that most of us saw nine years ago.”

Kari walked up and stood beside Jonathan. “He passed through the dimensional divide. Years ago, a Digi Egg fell through a hole from our world to yours.”

Davis stared at her. “What the heck are you talking about, Kari?”

Nyaromon looked at him. “I think all your constant fighting drove her out of her mind.”

Palmon seemed to smile a bit at Nyaromon’s explanation. But he shook his head. “I think Kari is being used as a puppet. Someone is speaking through her.”

Jonathan nodded. “My thoughts exactly, Palmon.”

Kari nodded a bit. “My wish is for peace and light to reign over the worlds.”

Yolei stared at her curiously. “I’m confused. Are you like some… super-being or angel or something?”

Kari giggled. “No, no. Nothing like that. I’m similar to your Digimon friends. I’m made of data. But there’s a difference. We’re unable to take the form of a physical body. So, in order for me to speak to you I had to use Kari.”

“Why didn’t you use someone else?” Jonathan asked.

“I had to use Kari. I’m a being of Light, she had the Crest of Light,” Kari explained. “To be honest, I wanted to contact you when you first arrived. But I wasn’t allowed. Now, follow me.”

Suddenly they all rose into the air. Everyone but Palmon seemed a bit startled. They did as they instructed and followed her though the city. Giant spotlights shot down from the sky and focused on ten main points. They flew towards them.

Down on the ground in their pyjamas was Tai and Kari. The little Tai was hugging a very tiny Kari close. On the terraces of a building was little Joe, (who was on the phone) Mimi (who was wearing her little pink pyjamas), and Sora. In another building across the street was T.K. and Matt, who were smiling and apparently cheering. Little Izzy was staring up in awe, with Jonathan and Blair a few units away.

“That’s definitely us… but … what’s with the light?” Jonathan asked.

“It’s processing all of your information. Such as your blood type, your personality, things like that. But with your team, Jonathan, this had already happened when the five of you were born.” Kari explained.

“Why would it do that?” Blair snapped.

“Just follow me,” Kari said, flying up into the light.

*****

Suddenly they were in the Primary Village.

“What are we doing here?” Cody asked.

Kari stepped in front of them. “We’re many years into the past. We can not be seen, heard, or felt in any way, shape or form. Now, watch what happens to that Digi Egg.” She pointed towards a black Egg with silver rings.

Suddenly, a darker version of Patamon and a darker version of Agumon came creeping up with a sack.

Jonathan quickly looked up who they were. “That’s a Tsukaimon and BlackAgumon. They’re the opposites of Patamon and Agumon.”

Kari nodded. “Very good. Now watch.”

Carefully, the BlackAgumon lifted up the black Egg. “Hmm… this one will do.” He tossed it into the sack along with five others.

Tsukaimon smirked. “There’s no way that he can’t say they’re too incompetent now… especially when he’ll be the one to have to raise this batch. If they come out screwy, it’ll be his fault…”

“What’re they doing?” T.K. demanded.

Palmon sighed sadly. “They’re going to sell them to a slave master.”

“Do you know who that Egg was?” Kari asked, turning to Palmon.

Palmon nodded. “It was mine. But why show us this?”

“Your friends deserve to know what exactly happened to you. If you hadn’t met Gatomon, both our world and the human world would have been destroyed. Now, let’s fast forward a bit to your childhood…” Kari explained.

Suddenly, they were in a house. There were five Digimon, cleaning and scrubbing away. Meanwhile, a huge gorilla-looking Digimon (who Jonathan identified as the Champion level Gorillamon) was lounging on chair.

“PALMON!” he roared.

The Digimon who were cleaning grimaced and exchanged fearful looks.

A Palmon with emerald green eyes scurried in. “Yes, Master?”

Gorillamon sat up. “Remember a week ago when Floramon broke that vase?”

“Y-Yes sir…” the Palmon said, not meeting his eyes.

“I was told you had something to do with it,” Gorillamon responded, glaring at him.

Palmon’s eyes widened. “I remember this… this is when…”

“You know the punishment for lying to me…” Gorillamon continued. “Guilmon, bring me the needle and thread.”

A Guilmon, who had been sweeping, looked at him. “But Master, he’s just a-”

“NOW!”

Guilmon sighed sadly and left the room. He came back with a sewing needle and some thick, grey thread. He looked at the Palmon’s fearful eyes and exhaled again. “I'm so sorry…”

“We’ll have to close that little trap of yours so you don’t tell any more lies,” Gorillamon stated menacingly.

The scene faded and a new scene appeared before them. It was at night in a small room. Tattered old blankets were laid out on the floor as makeshift beds and a crate bore a single lit candle. The Guilmon was kneeling down on the floor beside the Palmon with a dagger. He slowly cut the thread and then moved back a bit.

A Floramon set a plate of bread and fruit down in front of him. “You poor, poor thing…”

Palmon stared at himself, who was now crying.

Yolei looked at Palmon sympathetically. “That’s you, isn’t it?”

Palmon nodded slowly.

“I’m leaving,” the Palmon gasped. “Tonight.”

Floramon knelt down beside him. "Palmon, it’s a big scary world out there. And-”

Palmon scowled. “I’m sick of it! The cooking, the cleaning, the getting yelled at, the beatings, everything! I’ve had it!”

The others stared at him sadly and left him alone to cry.

“So sad…” Kari sighed. “Let’s go back now…”

The scene faded and the sobs of the little Palmon faded with it.

*****

They seemed to be in a lab, now. And it was empty.

“Where are we now?” Yolei asked.

Suddenly, T.K. ran over to a glassed container. On the last of three shelves were a bunch of Digi Eggs, all lined up in a row. Each was attached to a Digivice.

“Okay, this is getting weird,” Jack said, crossing his arms.

“Oh, and floating through the sky and going back and forth in time is normal?” Blair asked sarcastically.

Suddenly, a group of people walked in and began working the machines. Jack let out a yell and backed up against the glassed in area.

“Relax,” Kari said. “They can’t hurt us. And they couldn’t, even if they tried.”

Suddenly, Jonathan gasped and ran up to something. It was the ‘lock’ on the gate from Myotismon’s castle. It was right there, cards and all. In front of it was the gate that he had used to get from the Digital World to the human world. Izzy had told him about this.

Nyaromon touched it. “This is it alright… but what’s it doing here?”

Jack turned to Kari. “So… what’re those people doing?”

“They’re monitoring the positive and negative forces to preserve harmony,” Kari explained. “And the information we took from you was gathered into data. Which we made into the Digivices and Crests of Tai’s team.”

“So… you’re the one that chose them?” Jonathan asked.

Kari nodded. “One of the ones, at least.”

“What made them so special?” Blair growled.

“Tai and Kari made it possible for that Greymon to grow and Digivolve. It wouldn’t have happened without help from him and Kari,” Kari explained.

Jonathan stared at her. “But… he Digivolved without Tai, didn’t he?”

Kari shook her head. “No, that wasn't possible. A Digimon can’t Digivolve without you. The very fact that Tai AND Kari were there made it possible for him to Digivolve in order to protect them.”

“But how? They were just little kids and they didn't have a Digivice,” Jonathan looked confused.

“A Digivice is just a tool that is used to help the Digimon Digivolve at a much faster rate. Without it, the Digimon has to build up their strength and endurance to Digivolve. Like Gatomon and Wizardmon,” Kari explained. “The real thing that made the Digimon Digivolve was the qualities they all possessed. That’s what their Crests were. What were they?”

“Tai’s was Courage,” Jonathan said.

“And Sora’s was Love,” Yolei responded, smiling.

“Sincerity was Mimi’s,” Blair answered.

“Izzy’s was Knowledge,” Cody said, smiling.

“Reliability was Joe’s,” Jack replied.

T.K. grinned. “Mine was Hope!”

Davis stared blankly in front of him, before answering. “Matt’s was…”

“Friendship,” Jack finished for him.

Davis nodded slowly, before sighing sadly.

Kari nodded. “All of that is true. But there’s more to it. Every one of them had their strengths and weaknesses. We took their strongest quality and made it into a physical thing: a Crest. And if that trait was lost their Digimon might have become corrupted.”

“That happened! When Tai told us of how he threw himself in front of Greymon’s enemy to try and get him to Digivolve…” Jonathan said. “Boy, was that stupid…”

“At least he learned from it,” Palmon pointed out.

Davis walked to the glassed-in area and frowned. The others gathered around it as well.

“Well, we know why you chose Tai and Kari. But what about the rest of them?” Jonathan asked.

“When we examined the data, we concluded that they had something in common with Tai and Kari. But we’re not quite sure what it means. All we know is that they all proved themselves to be true protectors of the Digital World,” Kari explained.

T.K. set one hand on the glass. “Who do these belong to?”

Kari smiled. “Isn’t it obvious? They were the Digimon belonging to Tai’s team.”

The Digimon rushed forward to get a look at their predecessors. They identified the Eggs by the Crests that were attached to the Egg.

“This was Biyomon!” Hawkmon exclaimed, pointing to an Egg with hearts on it.

“And that was Gomamon!” Armadillomon cried, pointing to one with blue spots.

Palmon smiled and walked to Nyaromon’s side. She was staring at a light pink Egg with dark pink rings. “And this is you.”

Nyaromon smiled and nodded.

Kari nodded. “But sadly, someone caught onto our plans.”

Suddenly, the doors opened and Digimon marched in. The children screamed and began to run. Kari, however, stayed put.

“Save your breath. They can’t hurt us,” Kari said.

The Digimon attacked the beings, who were quickly knocked out. They continued attacking and destroying the lab. Jonathan quickly identified them as Guardromon and Mekanorimon. Suddenly Piedmon walked in, smirking. He busted a hole in the glass and smiled. He pulled out the Crests. “Ah… here we are…”

“PUT THOSE CRESTS DOWN!”

Suddenly an orb of blue light shot at Piedmon, causing him to drop the Crests. Two of the hooded figures ran at Piedmon. One was holding a sword. Their hoods fell down, revealing a handsome young man with spiked brown hair and a dark-skinned woman with long-flowing black hair.

“Gennai,” Piedmon sneered. “And Candeena as well.”

“That’s what Gennai looked like before he became an old man, before becoming young again?” T.K. cried.

“Who is Candeena?” Yolei asked.

Kari pointed to the woman. “Her. She is actually special. She’s the result of someone like Gennai’s data crossing with a Wizardmon’s. The result is that she has the powers of a mage Digimon.”

Gennai tried to slash at Piedmon with the sword, but he flew out of the way and came up behind the young Watcher. He inserted a small black ball into him. Apparently it was painful because Gennai let out a yell.

“DAMN YOU, PIEDMON!” Candeena yelled, shooting a beam of blue light at him.

At that moment Gennai turned and tried to hit Piedmon again, but he flew out of the way of both attacks. A Mekanorimon tried to attack Gennai, but he jumped out of the way and it hit Candeena.

“CANDEENA!” he yelled.

“GO!” Candeena yelled, clutching her side. “I’ll hold them off. You take the Eggs to a safe place!”

Gennai nodded and jumped on top of the Mekanorimon. He pried the dome on the top of its head open with his sword and threw the Bakemon that was in it out. Gennai jumped in and had the Mekanorimon scoop up the eggs and the Digivices in its huge claws. He flew up and out of the lab.

“Don’t let Gennai out of your sight! I’ll deal with Candeena…” Piedmon said, turning towards the woman.

She’d crawled towards the Crests and was clutching them in her hands. She whispered something and they disappeared in a puff of purple smoke. She glared at him. “You’ll never find them now, Piedmon! Only their true owners will!”

Piedmon glared at her and prepared to attack…

Kari turned to them. “Let’s follow.” They flew up and out and saw that Gennai was being pursued by many Digimon. They all sent out attacks, many of which he avoided. But then one hit and, without noticing, Gennai dropped one of the Eggs and the Digivices.

“That’s my Digi Egg!” Nyaromon cried. It fell down towards the forest. Nyaromon sighed. “So that’s why… that’s why I grew up all alone…”

Palmon set a comforting hand on her head and she smiled.

The figures faded and they landed on File Island. “After Gennai rescued the Eggs and the Digivices, many years passed until one day…”

“Agumon and his friends were born!” Veemon cheered. “It seemed like they waited forever… and then… one day… out of the blue… Tai’s team arrived!”

Kari nodded. “Moving on now: the question is, what exactly are the Demon Lords planning? We are working day and night, trying to find out. For now, we can only guess and try to outwit them until something terrible happens.”

“So, what do we do now?” Jonathan asked.

“It’s hard to say… but I have faith in you and I believe you’ll find an answer on your own,” Kari said. “Now, it’s time for us to return.”

And the light engulfed them once more.

*****

They all found themselves exactly back in T.K.’s house. Kari was lying on the floor, apparently unconscious. Jonathan, Nyaromon, and Palmon rushed to her. The others gathered around. Within moments, she let out a small moan and opened her eyes a bit. After assessing where she was and who was around her, she sat up.

“Welcome back,” Hawkmon said kindly.

“What?” Kari asked, rubbing her head.

“Did it hurt?” T.K. questioned.

“Did what hurt?” Kari inquired.

Palmon stared at her. “Don’t you remember? Someone… or something… took over your body. She told us why you were chosen and about your Crests and Digivices.” He helped her stand up. “I guess we’ll have to fill you in later.”

A beeping noise came from Izzy’s computer, which had been abandoned when Izzy rushed to see if Kari was alright. Izzy raced back to it and on the screen was his partner, Tentomon. “Izzy, there’s an emergency.”

“What is it, Tentomon?”

Almost as soon as Izzy put forward his query, Davis, Yolei, Cody, T.K. and Kari’s D3’s began beeping; the modified D3’s belonging to Jonathan, Blair and Jack quickly followed the pattern. Sora glanced at Yolei’s D3 and spoke up. “It’s coming from the Yokomon Village, near Mount Mihirashi.”

“That’s not all,” a high-pitched voice piped up. It was Agumon. “It’s one of the Devas. We’ve identified him as Chatsuramon, the celestial dog.”

“What are we waiting for then?!” Blair snapped. “Let’s go!”

The three teams looked at each other and nodded unanimously; their goal now was to stop the Yokomon from being deleted. Jonathan straightened and held his D-Core at Izzy’s computer screen. An invisible signal was released from the modified D3 and it connected with the Digital Gate. “Sorry, Tentomon, but you’ll have to move aside. We’re coming and I personally don’t want you to get hurt,” he explained to the Rookie level insect. Tentomon nodded and moved to one side, telling Agumon to do the same.

The DigiPort’s light flashed green and Blair cut in with: “DigiPort open!”

Jonathan briefly glared in a sarcastic way at Blair, indicating his glare was out of amusement. “Normally, Blair, that’s my line.” But that was all he had time to say, as the large group of children were drawn into the Digital Gate.

*****

Gennai had materialized beside a massive Digi-Chrome covered serpent, formerly known as one of the Dark Masters. Since his reconfiguration, MetalSeadramon had become more laid-back. The Mega level Digimon focused his gaze on the Watcher. “My Divermon and I will do anything for you, Gennai. What is it that you ask of us?” he nonchalantly inquired.

Gennai held up a small rectangular object with the image of a storm cloud and lightning bolt. He proceeded to explain that this object was the device that would help Jonathan’s partner to reach the Ultimate and Mega levels. The Watcher added that he would like MetalSeadramon to guard the object and not let any enemies near it, nor get their paws on it.

MetalSeadramon agreed. He raised his voice at one of the Divermon, who immediately swam closer and accepted the object. “Yes, boss! Hey, just what is this?”

All that Gennai said was: “Don’t let it out of your sight. It can’t afford to be lost.”

The Divermon were still mystified about the object but said nothing more, as they had received a quelling stare from MetalSeadramon. “I’ll be going now, MetalSeadramon,” Gennai concluded. The huge serpent tore his eyes away from his servants and looked at the Watcher, nodding. Having said that, Gennai teleported elsewhere.

*****

Shortly after Gennai’s meeting with MetalSeadramon, back in the real world, three individual DigiPorts in Moscow, Paris and Colorado opened.

Ah, Mama’s gonna be mad I have to rush out again. I’ll have to make it up to her.

My Digivice hasn’t gone off in ages. This is so strange. Oh well, let’s begin the investigation!

I hope everyone’s okay. The Gate hasn’t been open in so long. I’ll have to be really careful.

*****

Chatsuramon continued attacking the Yokomon Village, even after Tai, Davis and Jonathan’s teams emerged from the DigiPort. He was light blue and purple in colour, and his face was like a mask with scarlet eyes glaring out at the intruders. Large lilac balls surrounded his neck with a lavender cape close behind it.

Gatomon and Wizardmon approached the celestial dog cautiously, with Sorcerymon as back up. “Chatsuramon, why are you doing this? Why are you causing all of this damage? The Yokomon didn’t do anything to you!” Gatomon exclaimed.

“I am searching for something,” the massive dog snarled.

“Something? What is this something?” Wizardmon asked.

“The key to surpassing evolution.”

The three Champions and the Rookies looked at each other in confusion, while Jonathan was having a conversation with the rest of the Digi-Destined. Mutterings of “I don’t know what he’s going on about,”, “we have to protect the Yokomon”, “when’s Gennai going to show up” and “how much longer is it going to be before we can reach the Ultimate level” were thrown around.

You are in the wrong location, Chatsuramon. Another is guarding it, a traitor to our cause. Do not fail again. I’m quite certain you know the punishment if you do. Chatsuramon had ceased moving when the telepathic message came to his mind and immediately bounded away as soon as it finished.

“Huh? Why the hell did he leave?!” Blair yelled.

A figure materialized behind the Digi-Destined. “He left because what he was looking for is somewhere else,” a masculine voice answered.

The group turned and saw Gennai. “What are you inferring?” Jack replied.

The Watcher slid back his hood and glanced at each of them in turn. “He was searching for the object that will help Jonathan’s partner reach the next level. But he wasn’t going to find it here, because it had already been put into safe-keeping with another of our allies. I’m sure you’ll be surprised when you find out who it is, Tai.”

Tai was about to ask what Gennai meant, when the DigiPort that was nearby flicked itself on and three Digi-Destined emerged.

Fuyu
December 20th, 2010, 06:14 PM
For the record I can't stand this chapter. It's short, bulky, and pure filler. Try and enjoy everyone.

Chapter 11: Bound in Chains

Who could be coming through the Digiport, Jonathan wondered as the light faded from the three of them, revealing a male and two females with blond hair. The male was taller than the rest, with blue eyes. He wore a red vest over a thin light-grey sweater, dark grey shorts, and red sneakers. Two creatures a mix of a dog and rabbit were behind his legs; one white and grey, the other brown and pink. The first female had hair roughly the same length as the male's and warm gray eyes. She wore a thick beige overcoat with grey wool around the hood over her dark orange miniskirt and grey leggings. Her tan boots were worn at the bottom. As she walked out, her hand stroked the helmeted head of a visored unicorn. The third seemed slightly younger than the rest, long hair held back by a black headband. She wore a simple long-sleeved red dress with a red cardigan. In her right hand, she clutched the vine of her partner, a flower-like digimon.

Tai beamed at the sight. This is good. Even though we don't know what we're looking for or what we're trying to defeat, the more allies we have the better. He was so excited he didn't see Gennai disappear.

“It's really good to see you guys again,” he called happily, waving them over. The blond male waved back. The other two mimicked him, hurrying toward the group. Jack smiled, seeing his friends from the International Digidestined. Both Willis and himself were penpals through email actually. That was the only way he would know the other two. Jonathan and Blair looked at each other, feeling a vague sense of exclusion. Jack gestured for them and Tai grinned.

“These guys,” he stated proudly. “are members of the International Digidestined. First up is Willis and his two partners; Terriermon and Lopmon. They're from America.” The boy waved and winked at Blair flirtatiously, who scowled. “Next is Anna and her Unimon, both from Russia.” The older blond gave a friendly smile. “Finally here's Catherine and her Floramon. They're from France.” The younger curtsied pleasantly.

“Nice to meet you, “ Jonathan greeted. “I'm Jonathan Lucas and this is Blair Morgan.”

“No offense but it seems you weren't really needed,” Matt said flatly. “The threat's gone.”

Izzy's computer beeped.



The data twists, spins, breaks, turning into code before anyone registers what's happening. Lockdown is initiated as a virus spreads through the servers. There is a distinct click, which echoes throughout.

In the remnants there is the distinct sound of chuckling in the background. “Now is the time!” the master roared, full of that familiar ecstasy that he yearned for. “Come now my servants, come and rise to war! Come as we wipe out this bright plain and begin anew in the darkness.”



“Now is the time!”

The command rang through the dark, causing many to look up in confusion. There is not a tainted soul who missed the command. From another world, two opponents glanced up from their argument. The dragon smirked.

“The gathering is complete now,” he rumbled, losing the pain that burned his chest. “Now, we slaughter.” He turned away from his opponent, who appeared to be dissolving into mist. “Goodbye. I hope to see you at the ball... with your blood and corpse spread across a battlefield.” He soared away, returning to what he believed was right.

His opponent shuddered painfully. “You're wrong,” they whispered to the air as they vanished.

Meanwhile, as the two digimon fought on, Luca glanced up at the sky, blue eyes blank. Sean twitched in a sudden pain. The blond girl shivered in cold and, like Sean, followed the ten-year old's gaze. The sky was unchanged, yet all three of them could feel the crazy seeping through.

“Now is the time,” Luca muttered. The world flickered grey in his vision before righting itself.

“Those Demon Lords, are they seriously going to try that?” Sean asked the air, looking away toward the ground.

The blond girl nodded, returning toward the battling digimon. “They want to repeat history. They want to repeat it and get back what they lost.”
“But that's stupid,” Sean exclaimed. He had said this before, he would continue to say it. “This won't get it back. There's no way it could!” Once things are taken away like that, they can't come back!

“They can't control their own crazy,” Luca informed him softly, shivering at the chill that ran down his spine. They can't control their own descent.

“No time to talk now,” the young woman chided, eyes closed. “We have little time left. The war approaches again.”

Sean snorted dully and raised his D-Core, which began to glow softly again. "Yeah and like always, we're nowhere near ready."



Kari let out a terrible wail, hands over her head. “The darkness... what's it doing? Someone is... someone is calling...” She slowly slumped, eyes beginning to glaze over.

“Kari, what's the matter with you?” Davis queried, hurrying to her side with TK right on his heels.

“Now,” she muttered. “Now. It's starting now.”

“What's starting?” Mimi exclaimed. Kari began to lower her hands, shaking her head no.
“I don't know,” she muttered miserably. “All I heard was someone say it was time for something. The voice, it was evil, pure, unchanging evil.”

Tai turned. “Hey Izzy do you have any clue what's she's talking about?” He paused.

“Izzy?” Izzy was frozen at his laptop screen, trembling. Jonathan and Tai went to his side. The other Digidestined watched; confused, wary, and somehow, incredibly tired.

“Izzy?” Jonathan repeated slowly, ready to shake him if necessary.

“The Digi-Ports...”

“What's wrong with them?” Tai asked, feeling a terrible sense of dread.

Izzy shook his head. “They're shut and locked. I keep trying to reopen them so we can go home, but they're just... not... responding...”

“Are you telling me...” Matt began slowly. “That we're stuck here all over again?” Miserably, Izzy nods. Blair cursed foully, nearly attacking the older redhead. Thankfully Jonathan stopped her.

“So... what now?” Cody asked the crowd from where he stood beside Armadillomon.

“We need to find shelter and food,” Tai ordered without thinking, remembering his own experiences. “Also, we should probably get firewood now before it gets too dark.”

Before anyone could reply, the coldest of laughter rang through the air. “You assume you'll live that long?” Everyone looked to the right in complete unison.

In the air hovered an adult fallen angel with blond hair. Just below him were seven creatures, a tall rabbit (Willis unconsciously flinched at the memory), a dog, a large boar, a twisted snake, a dragon with large arms, a small monkey, and a rat on spider legs.

“So I finally meet the rest of the Digidestined,” drawled the angel. “Aren't I lucky to find you on my first try?”

“Who the heck are you?” Blair snapped. The digimon chuckled.

“Temper, temper little miss. I am Lucemon, one of the Seven Demon Lords. As that boy so elegantly put it all that time ago, I am your enemy.” He smirked. “Nice to meet you.”

Legendarian Mistress
December 21st, 2010, 07:55 PM
Just below him were seven creatures, a tall rabbit (Willis unconsciously flinched at the memory), a dog, a large boar, an oversized rooster, a dragon with large arms, a small monkey, and a rat on spider legs.

Fuyu forgot to remove the twisted snake part and add in the above, which is highlighted. She also forgot to add in as an author's note that Chapter 11 is the beginning of the "trapped in the Digital World" saga, officially known as "A World We Walk".

Onto Chapter 12...

A/N: There is a couple of past references to IzzyxMimi (otherwise known as Koumi), but since Chapter 4 it has been more JonathanxMimi (which I will call Jonmi). There will also be Taiora (TaixSora) and Takari (T.K.xKari) hints dropped in this chapter. Like a few other authors, I must emphasize that there will not be any Sorato (SoraxMatt) hints; in my personal opinion, TaixSora is a much better relationship.

Okay, I’ve gone on long enough about the shippings I like. Onwards to Chapter 12...

Chapter 12: Emotional Odds and Ends

Izzy was almost statue-like as he stared at the fallen angel and the seven Ultimate level corrupted celestial Digimon, depicted in Chinese lore as animals of the Zodiac. Neither Izzy nor his friends had known the full extent of what they were up against until now. Seven Devas and Lucemon himself. This is but a portion of the Demon Lords’ army. Who knows what we’ll be up against next time? The red-haired computer expert caught himself after that thought and brought out his laptop. Typing in some information furiously, the usual trademark comment of “Prodigious!” was heard.

“Hey, gather round everyone!” Izzy called, waiting for the other Digi-Destined to try and get a peek at his computer screen.

“What is it this time, Izzy?” Tai asked.

“Based on the data I’ve created, it seems Majiramon is the leader of the corrupted Devas-”

“You’re forgetting Lucemon!” Blair snapped.

“Blair, I’m quite sure Izzy was getting to Lucemon. Even I can tell Lucemon is kind of like a general. Jeez,” Jonathan muttered.

The Devas were getting restless and Chatsuramon was slightly foaming at the mouth in anticipation of his orders from Lucemon. Izzy noticed this and hastily continued.

“Yes, as Jonathan was saying, Lucemon is a general. But Agumon and the rest of our Digimon are only at half strength; they can’t Digivolve to the Ultimate level.”

“Go, Chatsuramon!” Lucemon ordered.

“But ours can!” Davis declared. Yolei, Cody, T.K. and Kari followed his example as they, too, held out their D3’s. “I’ll explain later,” he added, seeing the stunned expressions on Tai and Izzy’s faces.

“Veemon Digivolve to... ExVeemon!”

“Hawkmon Digivolve to... Aquilamon!”

“Armadillomon Digivolve to... Ankylomon!”

“Patamon Digivolve to... Angemon!”

“Gatomon Digivolve to... Angewomon!”

“ExVeemon Digivolve to... Wingdramon!”

“Aquilamon Digivolve to... Garudamon!”

“Ankylomon Digivolve to... Anomalocarimon!”

“Angemon Digivolve to... MagnaAngemon!”

Andiramon was fleet of foot and had a faster reaction time than Chatsuramon. The rabbit Deva was like lightning as he appeared in front of them and deliberately selected Mimi from their midst.

“Andiramon, I did not order you to move! Regardless of that, a life will be forfeited. It’s that simple,” Lucemon said silkily. His eyes were full of laughter.

Tai, Jonathan and Izzy yelled at the same time: “Mimi, NO!”

Izzy’s mind refreshed a memory he thought he had long since buried. A night that just wouldn’t leave him alone. A night that seemed like it changed everything. He suddenly had a flashback to that night in the Digital World…

Izzy sighed and sat back. He was sitting with Tentomon in a different part of the woods than everyone else. He was thinking about something and Tentomon was a little worried. He hadn’t even taken out his computer that night yet.

“Izzy, are you okay? You seem distracted,” Tentomon asked worriedly.

Izzy looked over at his Digimon partner. “Well…” He paused, but then he thought about it and he knew he could tell Tentomon anything. “Do you remember when Devimon spilt up File Island and we found Mimi before anyone else?”

“Yes, I remember that. We were in those old ruins,” remembered Tentomon.

“Yes. That’s what I’m talking about. Do you remember how I made Mimi start crying?” He asked.

Tentomon nodded. “Because you were ignoring her, then she ran off and we got stuck in the maze. What about that day, Izzy?” He asked.

Izzy frowned. “Ever since that day, I’ve felt a bit strange.”

“Maybe you ate some bad mushrooms,” Tentomon suggested and Izzy laughed.

“That’s not what I meant. I meant that I feel strange… whenever I’m around Mimi,” he confessed. “I think I have a crush on her,” he told Tentomon.

Izzy stood up and looked at Tentomon who hadn’t said anything after his confession. “We should get back to the group. They might be eating soon and I’m starving,” he told Tentomon who nodded his head and smiled.

Izzy walked through the trees towards the others and he stepped on something. All of the sudden, Izzy heard a yelp. He froze. He knew whose voice that was. He knew how close it was. He turned around and saw that the bush was moving.

Then he saw Mimi stand up slowly and give him a nervous smile. She had heard everything. Or at least the end. That was all she needed to hear. He looked at her with wide eyes and his mouth hanging open. He didn’t say anything. He couldn’t. He was stuck standing there like an idiot.

Suddenly, Mimi started moving backwards. She pulled away, feeling panicky and ran back to the group, leaving him standing there all alone. Tentomon had a huge look of confusion on his face as Palmon ran after Mimi, with Mimi going to more than likely ask Sora for help while getting her own feelings off her chest that she didn’t understand either.

But that one night was never talked about again. Izzy’s crush on Mimi only strengthened and Mimi just avoided him. Never talking about it with anyone for all he knew. He hadn’t told anyone. He was dumbfounded, infatuated and he had no idea what he was doing…

The hurt Jonathan had felt at Lucemon’s words quickly changed to cold dread. “You can't,” he whispered and closed his eyes in horror as the Ultimate level Digimon tightened his grip on Mimi. In that moment, all of the faces of his friends and family flashed before his eyes. This wasn’t supposed to happen. How does someone go from having a normal day with their partner to fighting for their life? Why Mimi? Why were we sent here only to have Mimi end up dying? It’s just not fair...

He barely even noticed when several tears slid down his cheeks.

“Mimi!” Wormmon gasped, and she saw the small Rookie straightening his posture.

Andiramon saw it, too, and Mimi let out a gasp of pain as the Deva jerked her head up so that she was forced to stare directly into his cold red eyes. The grip of the Digimon’s paws constricted even more making her want to scream. She could not have escaped even if she had wanted to.

“Don’t worry. You won’t feel a thing!” Lucemon sneered. “I’m sure you’ll find death to be quite an adventure. See you on the other side! Andiramon, do-”

“No, don’t!” Mimi screamed in terror and realized that someone had echoed those exact same words.

She only had a split second to glimpse the look of utter fear in Jonathan’s eyes, something that he had never shown for her sake in the remarkably short time he had known her, before he disappeared in a blaze of greenish-black light. MetalSeadramon burst out of the ocean nearby, yelling: “River of Power!” A bluish-white energy beam, similar in strength to a raging river, was released from his Digi-Chrome coated snout. It was aimed at Andiramon.

“What’s he doing here?!” Tai yelled, pointing at MetalSeadramon.

In the chaos that followed, Andiramon’s grip on Mimi loosened and she fell to the ground with a slight gasp as she grazed her knee on a rock.

“Wormmon Digivolve to... Stingmon!”

“Don’t worry, Jonathan!” Stingmon shouted, his body also surrounded by a greenish-black light. “I’ll never let anyone hurt our friends!”

“Jonathan, here!” MetalSeadramon floated over to the boy and lowered his head. Opening his mouth, the words that followed sounded garbled slightly. Realizing this, Jonathan took the object off the Mega’s tongue and MetalSeadramon faced him directly. “Gennai entrusted me with this, it’s a device that will let your partner reach the next level. He said just to slip it into the empty space in your D-Core. And Tai Kamiya, I’m not the evil Digimon you knew from before. I’ve been reconfigured and am an ally of the Digi-Destined now.”

“Thanks, MetalSeadramon,” Jonathan said. And thank you, Gennai.

“Uh, I should believe you... why?” Tai asked.

“Gennai trusts me,” the Mega level Digimon answered.

Mimi’s life was still on the line and it had awakened his need to help her. Stingmon was powered by Jonathan’s emotions and had more power and speed; not equal to an Ultimate, but still of use.

With five Ultimates and a Mega, maybe they stood a chance against their seven opponents who were led by Lucemon. But they would never get the chance to find out; Lucemon ordered a retreat and the eight Digimon swiftly disappeared. Blair was furious that Jonathan had obtained his Crest-like object first. She ranted about wanting to find hers, and MetalSeadramon simply laughed. Then Blair swore at him, wanting to know what was so funny. He replied that he couldn’t help her find her device, as he didn’t know where it was. “What good are you?” she growled, muttering obscenities afterwards.

Tai, Jonathan and Izzy were still huddled around Mimi, who was now sitting on the ground, crying. While Jonathan was still wary of Mimi, he was doing the right thing in being gallant and being around in her time of stress. Tai and Izzy couldn’t get a word out of the cerise-haired girl, so they asked Jonathan to try. “Mimi? Mimi, are you okay?” he inquired.

“Andiramon targeted me! Why me?” she wailed, seemingly reverting to her spoilt persona of when she had first journeyed to the Digital World.

“I’m not sure,” Jonathan answered. “But it’s okay now, they’re gone.” However, Jonathan was more than sure they would be back with yet another new diabolical plan. Evil Digimon did always think like that, so in one way they were predictable.

Mimi suddenly jerked her face upwards, looking into Jonathan’s ice blue eyes. Tai looked at Izzy in alarm, with a she’s-gonna-do-it expression on his face. Izzy sighed and shrugged; an I-don’t-mind-she’d-have-to be over-me-now-anyway look of sadness crossing his features. Jonathan heard the sigh and was just in time to see Izzy’s defeated expression, before he was brought back to the present by Mimi kissing him again. This time, he tolerated it, but his mind was working over-time. Was there something between Izzy and Mimi at one point? Izzy obviously still cares for Mimi, that was proven from his expression, so why does Mimi prefer me over Izzy?

Sora called out to Tai and he raced over to her. He quickly learned that, during the confusion MetalSeadramon had unintentionally caused, Kari had fallen over a log in her haste to get away from Andiramon and the other Devas. The younger Kamiya sibling now lay on the ground in agony, with T.K. doing his best to soothe her cries. Tai grimaced when he saw the cause of his little sister’s pain — a pointed branch was embedded in her leg. Jonathan and Mimi walked over, with Izzy separating himself and hanging on the outskirts of the group.

Blair, Matt and Anna followed Jonathan’s lead, with Blair instantly swearing when she saw Kari. “****!” she cursed. “There’s no way for us to get Kari help, is there?”

“That’s right, Blair. All of the Digital Gates are shut, there’s no way we can get out of the Digital World,” Jonathan answered.

T.K. balled his fists and exhaled sharply. “Then I’ll take care of her.” Before Matt could protest, T.K. shifted his position slightly and picked Kari up, huffing a bit as he stood up. The older Ishida boy’s face showed concern for his younger brother; everyone else could read Matt’s expression and felt sorry not just for T.K., but Izzy as well. The other Digi-Destined were able to tell Mimi had seemingly knowingly caused a rift that would tear Izzy apart.

“Matt, it is alright. Your brother will be fine,” Anna spoke in her stilted Japanese as she stroked the side of the golden-blonde’s face.

Matt stiffened; at first, he wanted to move away from Anna’s soft hands, but then he stayed. “I’m going to learn Russian,” he whispered back to her.

Fuyu
December 27th, 2010, 04:20 PM
Muh I forget stuff. I've forgotten more stuff I'm sure. I'l probably make LM let me rewrite this fic when it's done, just so my pet peeves will leave me alone. Here's chapter 13. Don't think about it too much.

Chapter 13: Dark Ties

Night fell and the children huddled together around many small fires. All but Izzy, who was sitting paces away, Tentomon at his side in silence. Kari grit her teeth as Joe firmly yanked the branch from her leg. He quickly threw it into the fire, the better to hide the scent of blood. He reached into his bag and quickly wrapped bandages around the injury.

“This is all I can do,” he explained to an observing Tai, Davis, TK, and Jonathan. “Some of the plants in the Real World are not the same as the Digital World. Unless we had some of the herbs grown here, the injury could get infected.”

“So we just have to find some herbs that's all,” Davis cried in as much of an enthusiastic voice as he could muster.

“Yes but do we know what to look for?” Jonathan pointed out, wincing guiltily at the crestfallen look on Davis's face.

Joe turned to Izzy. He flinched subtly at the almost sullen look on the genius's face. “Hey Izzy does your computer have any data on the plants here?”

Izzy started and thought about it a moment. Then he shook his head. “I'm sorry Joe. I never considered the possibility. I'll have to start now then.” Mimi watched him from Sora's side, feeling a mixture of confusion and hurt. What's bothering him? Why is he avoiding me?

“Well,” TK began briskly. “I'll just have to go out and look.”

Matt stood up, immediately ready to shoot down the idea. “No way TK. It's night out and you know as well as I do that the Digimon are much more ferocious at night.”

TK shrugged, blue eyes cold. “I've got Patamon. I'll be fine.” Without waiting he strode away.

Willis looked at everyone. “I'll go after him.” He ran to catch up, Catherine at his heels.



“Sora?”

“Hm?” The red-haired teen turned from where she had been resting at the fire. Mimi gently sat next to her. She was clearly troubled, face drawn.

“What's wrong Mimi?” Sora asked, feeling more than a little concern for her best friend.
Mimi looked left to right anxiously. “It's...Izzy.” The Bearer of Love winced slightly. She had been hoping Mimi wouldn't ask her about this. “He's, he's avoiding me and I don't know why. What did I do?”

“Oh Mimi... did you really not notice?” Why did I just put my foot in my mouth like that?

“Notice what?”

“Remember what we talked about a while back,” Sora wheedled gently. “You said he had a crush on you.”

“Well...” It clicked. Her eyes widened and Mimi paled. “But-But that was just a crush! There's, there's no way he still-” The solemn look in Sora's eyes made her give. “But I-I don't-”

“I know,” Sora said gently. “And he's hurting because of it. He needs some time and space. Just let him be for a while.”

...

“Okay, explain something to me,” Tai began, as the others left. Davis looked over at him.

“What is it Tai?”

“You said you'd tell me how you managed to evolve your partners to the Ultimate level.”

Davis grinned sheepishly. “Oh, that. There really isn't much to say.”

“It was because of Azulongmon,” Yolei explained, coming over to sit down. She brushed her lavender hair from her eyes and glanced worriedly at the scowling Kari. She could tell her DNA partner was not enjoying being fussed over. “Remember when Gennai used one of Azulongmon's DigiCores on us last year?”

Tai nodded, slowly getting an idea of what she was getting at. “Yeah, and...”

“I took a look at our Digimon and it showed that the power was still inside our Digimon. We never used the power to digivolve to Ultimate because we had DNA Digivolving. So the power kind of... lingered.”

“And it hasn't worn off yet?” Tai inquired, unsure if he could believe this.

Davis puffed out his chest proudly, causing Yolei to hit him on the head. “We've been practicing. I don't think we need to worry anymore.” Tai grinned at his junior's confidence.

“Just don't get a big head,” he teased. Davis looked playfully offended.

“Me?” he asked incredulously. “Never! Where on earth would you get that idea?” The goggleheads laughed for a moment before a scream erupted.

“What the hell was that?” Tai questioned the air. He looked at his sister. “Kari, think you can walk with some support?” She nodded and weakly stood up, allowing her brother to lend her a hand. As quickly as possible, the four followed the scream. They glimpsed Willis struggling to pull up a nearly falling TK from a cliff edge. The hat-wearing blonde was clutching to something in his other fist. Immediately Davis rushed to help, and the pair succeeded in pulling him back up. For a moment the three males sat there, panting heavily. Then Davis clenched his fists furiously and turned to his teammate.

“What's the matter with you?” Davis roared at the blond, yanking him firmly back by his collar. “Do you want to die or something?”

“Let go of me!” TK whirled around and socked Davis in the face. Davis didn't fall back an inch, instead returning the blow with just as much force.

“You idiot! You call me reckless, but you just nearly ran off a cliff. How stupid are you?”

“I said I'd help her and that's what I intend to do!” TK shot back. Everyone looked between them. Was this just a fight that friends got into? Or was there more behind it?

“Some use you are dead!” Davis replied, punching again. “Anybody with a brain cell knows you have to be alive to protect somebody! Besides, last I checked, we all care about Kari! Don't act so goddamn high and mighty because you two are...” he grimaced. “close.”

“Just what are you implying?” TK growled, tackling him.

“Why don't you think about it for a second you bastard?”

“Come on now you two enough,” Sora tried to intervene but the pair ignored her, continuing to attack.

As the others watched helplessly, no one saw Izzy slip away in silence.

He was sitting there in the grey, knees drawn to his chest. It was cold but he didn't feel like moving. He didn't feel like doing much of anything. Someone was talking to him but it was really hard to hear. It was like he had earplugs in.

“Hey, there's someone here.” A voice was speaking to him. It was dim, as though muffled by fog. Yet he could hear the almost innocent interest inside of it. “That's strange; your kind usually don't show up here.”

“...Leave me alone.”

There was a giggle, softly malicious. “That's even weirder! I thought all of you stuck together like glue, like a family.” There was a derisive snort. “Whatever that means.”

“Shut up...” They were so annoying, why weren't they leaving him alone? A sick, grey feeling was beginning to choke him.

“Hm...” There was the vaguest wisps of a figure at the edge of his vision. He wanted them gone. Why the hell were they coming closer?

“Your heart's all weird. You want the dark in yet you won't let it come. Ha-hah, that's so odd.” Even in the fog, he could see a wide grin. “How do you even do that?”

“Are you crazy or something? You're not making any sense.” The voice laughed again.

“Of course I am. But, lucky for you, I'm crazy and useful. At least, that's what I've been told.” They knelt in front of him. Why couldn't he see them? “Your heart is full of pain, hate, envy, despair, anger, all of those emotions that drag people here are inside you.” The gentle worry sounded foreign to the voice. “I wonder what happened...”

He jerked away. “Are you insane or hard of hearing? I want to be left alone! It's none of your business!” Still the feeling dug itself in his chest. The person shook their head.

“You aren't meant to be here so that makes it mine.”

“Why won't you...”

“Go away? I'm bored, you're interesting, and I want to try something.” The grin was back for a second. “It's so cool.” They straightened. “Anyway... we need to get you back. You're on the edge of complete transfer.”

For some reason, he felt pure fear.“What... what is that?”

The person seemed to sigh. “For your kind it's the point of no return.” They grabbed his wrist roughly and smirked as he struggled to pull away. “Stop that you. I gotta concentrate. It's not like this is easy.”

“Let me go! I don't want to go back!”

The person glared, briefly visible eyes full of mockery. “Don't you know anything? It's never about what you want unless you make it that way.”

His body felt strange, as though it were fading. “What- what's happening?”

They were looking away from him, still shrouded in fog. “Do you know what the Digital World is made up of?”

“Data obviously.”

There was another smirk in the air. “Almost. It's the dreams of people, the power of believing in dreams. I believe it's also called miracles. The Digital World is full of human dreams.” They laughed.“Amusing right?”

“How is that funny?” he spat, feeling offended for reasons he didn't know. The grey feeling was beginning to pass yet intensify.

They sighed again, evidently put-out. “I guess to your kind it wouldn't be funny. You care about it so much. The irony is lost on you I suppose.”

“You keep saying your kind. You're human aren't you?”

“Honestly? These days I'm starting to wonder.” The person was suddenly engulfed in light, the shine engulfing his vision. “There we go. I guess being whatever I am has its advantages for you. This is great practice for me too. Everyone wins.”

For some reason, he felt very tired. The last thing he heard was, “Don't try to go there. You all would be swallowed. No matter how much it hurts you have to bear it if you want to accomplish something.”

His last thought was wondering why this person seemed almost bipolar.


“Where the heck is Izzy at?” Tai half-snapped to no one in particular. “His digivice signal's gone!” The team was falling apart at the seams and now one of their party was missing. What the hell were they going to do like this?

“Don't yell at us!” Blair replied with a glare. “It's not like we know.”

“Then help look instead of trying to burn trees with your eyes,” Davis muttered darkly, returning the cold look Blair sent him. She obeyed, despite the pure anger she felt.

Suddenly the signal reappeared and was heading towards them. Tai breathed a sigh of relief. “Phew. I guess he was just out of range.” He glanced at it again and frowned. It was moving way too quickly for Izzy's usual speed. “Get ready guys,” he warned. “I think Izzy ran into trouble. He's headed this way.” Everyone tensed, and looked in the direction Tai was facing. All Digimon were in battle position, ready to evolve whenever.

They could hear the distinct sound of footsteps and the grass rustled. Someone stepped out from the tree's shadows. They sighed, cracking their knuckles through the black fingerless gloves, staff held in the loop of their arm.

“Well, well, it looks like everyone's hostile today.” Kiriko Ryutori grinned a wild smile, similar to Sean's cold, dirty sneer. Her grey eyes flashed red. “And I'm not even in the mood to kill you today.” She glanced behind her as her familiar Renamon walked into view with Tentomon buzzing behind, Izzy unconscious on her back.

Kiri gestured. “This is yours right?”

Legendarian Mistress
January 3rd, 2011, 03:19 PM
A/N: Many thanks go to SS for allowing me to use elements of his SpiritRavemon description and his attacks. SpiritRavemon is, of course, the fake Warp DNA Digivolution of Agumon and Biyomon. Credit goes to SS for allowing me to use his fight scene between SpiritRavemon and Majiramon.

And just so people are aware of this issue, one of my friends believes that Omnimon is still a Mega level Digimon, but I do not agree. Why? Because I read somewhere on the internet that Master level Digimon exist; Omnimon and SpiritRavemon qualify for that level as far as I’m concerned.

Chapter 14: Heart’s Chessboard

Davis immediately glared at the black-haired girl. “What the hell did you do to him?” he demanded, looking furious, just as the others did. Without thinking, Wizardmon’s staff trained on the female. That grin was too much like Sean’s, too much like a murderous smile. Gatomon hissed and raised her claws threateningly. Kari was pale, feeling vaguely ill. What is it... there’s something completely wrong with her, like her soul’s gone.

Jonathan was quick to try and diffuse the situation. “Davis, wait a minute. Calm down.”

Kiri pointed and Renamon moved to place the Digi-Destined down on the earth. Then she looked right back, gaze directed towards Jonathan, who drew back. “Just like you to jump to my defence. Or maybe you want to kill me yourself?” She shook her head. “Nah, you’re too soft for that.”

“I happen to remember that I risked my life for you, you *****. So don’t be so hasty in calling me soft. And in that regard, neither you nor your friends thanked me for it. So who’s the cowardly one now?” Jonathan shot back.

Kiri laughed. “Nope, we didn’t. I’d say sorry, but really who asked you to be a stupid fool to assume risking your life means you’re important? You did that because you wanted me to trust you, to follow you to death. Why the hell would I do something as pathetic as that?” She laughed. “You don’t deserve anyone’s help. Besides, you have no right to call me coward. You keep denying the crazy, you’re scared of it. It’s why you’re weak.” She glanced at the unconscious computer genius and for a moment, pity flickered in her eyes. It faded abruptly. “Just like him. You can’t accept your imperfection.”

Kari was still shaking, despite T.K.’s soothing hand on her shoulder. “So why?”

Kiri turned to her, looking interested. “Why what?”

“Why did you save him then?”

Kiri's eyes gave her a look of cool calm. “Your kind aren’t supposed to be where I was. If I hadn’t seen him, he would be in the Dark Ocean by now.”

“Wait, what? Izzy was succumbing?” Jonathan almost demanded.

“Do you know what that means about him then? When I found him, he didn’t want to go back. When I found him, he wanted to be alone. It doesn’t seem like your “strong” ties of friendship are very good, are they? It seems like everyone wants to be alone, to suffer alone. I wonder why...”

“I’m afraid that’s none of your business,” Jonathan answered harshly.

Blair screamed blue murder and stomped right over to Kiri, slapping her on the face. She agreed with Jonathan. What business was it of hers? Jack twitched and made as if to go over and prevent any more violence, but Jonathan shook his head. Let her go, his expression said. She needs to vent.

“Just what are you going on about, Kiri?” Jack submitted to Jonathan's leadership and turned the focus back on Renamon’s partner. “You’re Digi-Destined, like us, so please do tell us what you’re raving about now?”

Kiri gave a strange, soft smile from the blow. “I guess I deserved that,” she admitted, causing Blair to draw back in alarm. “I probably pried too far. But I wouldn’t do it again. Next time I’ll break your hand.” She looked at Renamon, whose expression was stony, glaring at Blair with a familiar feral gleam. “Leave it Renamon,” she ordered quietly.

The Digimon attempted to protest. “But they’re just-” Another smile and this one caused Renamon to fall silent.

“I know. But there’s nothing we can do, is there? After all, I’m mad and raving, aren’t I? They say I’m a Digi-Destined, but they don’t mean it, do they?” She turned back to Jonathan. “You really don’t know. You really don’t know what happened to this world, to any worlds."

“Now what are you talking about?” he groaned, feeling pure exasperation.

“Be patient. I’m probably not supposed to say anything at all. He is quite determined to keep you in the dark.” Pain ripped through her arm and back and she grit her teeth. I know, I know. You don’t have to keep reminding me. “It doesn’t matter that I’m a Digi-Destined. I’m not one of you. That thing, that key thing that would bond us, would link us... it’s gone.” Her eyes widened, face paling. Mist flickered. “You all are still completely human!” I’m not like you morons. Can’t you see it yet? Can’t you see you’re still whole?

“No, Kiri,” Renamon begged. “No, don’t you...”

Kiri gave a tired, bleary grin at them all, grey gaze full of mockery and fury. “Be right back.” She took a step backward... and vanished.

Everyone was floored with surprise and disbelief. “What the hell just happened?” Blair snapped. Renamon simply watched the point, awaiting her return.

“This is impossible! The Gates are closed according to Izzy! Where did she go? She couldn’t have left the Digital World!” Yolei exclaimed.

Renamon replied: “Yes, she did. She defied it.”

Kiri reappeared again; face very strained, as though she had just run a great distance. She coughed and shook, her body still fuzzed at the edge.

“I told you not to,” Renamon scolded, hurrying to her side.

“I’m fine,” her human replied dully, grey eyes glazed and focused elsewhere.

“You’re not fine,” Renamon fretted, feeling that fading sensation that always made her stomach churn. “You’re losing it all over again. Why do you overwork yourself?”

Kiri said nothing, forcing herself to straighten. Turning to them, she whispered, “Do you understand yet?”

“Understand what?” Tai snapped, feeling an anger that he did not feel was his own. “What the hell are you trying to tell us? Spit it out already!”

Kiri shook her head, too tired to let the crazy flow. “I can’t,” she whispered. “He’s determined for us not to tell. That man, he won’t let us, even though you need to know, he won’t let us tell you anything.”

“Did you really come here just to talk in riddles?” Cody asked, feeling like the only calm one in this situation.

Kiri shook her head. “I just came to give him to you. I have no ulterior motive.”

“Then why haven’t you left?”

“Because your kind aren’t ready for what’s to come. You will be swallowed as you are, as peaceful and naive as you are.” She scoffed quietly. “What’s that like I wonder...?”

“We’ve fought and killed more than you I bet!” Davis snapped. “We’ve saved the world from all kinds of threats! You’re still alive because of us!” He wasn’t proud, but he felt disgusted that a girl close to his age was treating him like he was below her.

Kiri simply smiled. “Interesting,” she said darkly. “But have you witnessed a war, have you fought in it, have you nearly died?”

“We destroyed Apocalymon, MaloMyotismon, and Diaboromon twice over! Not to mention the Dark Masters! We’ve been in more wars than you can claim!” Matt raised his voice. “We risked our lives almost every day to defeat our enemies.”

Kiri scoffed. “Those aren’t wars: those are battles. Those aren’t pain. That’s just a taste.” She looked at Matt and a wild gleam flickered back into her dead eyes. “You were one of the ones who lost their way. It was painful, right? But were you ever dragged there?” Her tone became one of a mad fanatic. “Did you ever have to watch as the ones you loved were taken from you? Did you have to go into hiding just so an enemy wouldn’t slit your throat and carry your worthless carcass like a flag? Were you ever held ransom by a monster?”

She rolled up her left sleeve, revealing ugly slash marks across her arm. Everyone winced, even Blair, who felt a familiar pain against her eye. They looked like whip marks and terrible bites. “Disturbing, right? There’s worse on my back and chest. It’s what happens when you fight in a true war. It’s what happens when you become a “soldier” at seven.” She gave Kari an almost sympathetic look and mouthed a solemn sorry before continuing.

“Was a part of yourself ever ripped out of you during your fights? Have you felt that, Matt Ishida? Have you been left behind with no one to help you? Have you ever killed with your own hands to save your insignificant life?” She glared at them all. “You know nothing of your predecessors, nothing of the worlds. I fought Digimon before I knew what they were. My destiny was torn to pieces and rebuilt by that “guardian” of yours!”

Suddenly, she paused and laughed. “Oops, sorry Gennai, I think I said too much. You don’t want them to know, do you? You don’t want them to know how many lives you destroyed. Cowardly bastard. At least Baihumon admitted to screwing up.”

T.K. clenched a fist at her. “How dare you insult him like that? He practically gave you Renamon!”

Kiri gave a dismissive little shake of the head. “No, he nearly took away Renamon six years ago, when everything...” she trailed off. “I’ve already said too much for his liking. Ask Gennai, but he likely won’t tell you what you need to hear. He doesn’t treat the Digi-Destined very well.” She grimaced. “Not that he can treat you well anymore.”

Jonathan spoke up. “Like Jack said, you’re Digi-Destined. You can’t ignore your destiny, Kiri, no matter what you try to do.” He paused, noticing Izzy’s fingers beginning to twitch.

The female shook her head. “I guess,” she replied quietly. “You really do think in black and white. I can’t trust you, any of you. You’ll get him killed. You’ll get them killed.”

“Don’t think you’ll stay on the path of Darkness forever, Ryutori. The Digimon living in the Digital World do not want another Digimon Emperor. You’ve heard of that tale I take it, Renamon?” Jonathan asked of the fox. Jonathan and Blair believed Kiri was “falling” and they wanted to let Renamon know that, if she had known in the beginning that she was being partnered to a “possible” Emperor type human, she was to leave as soon as possible.

Having stomped back to Jonathan’s side, Blair whipped her head halfway to sideways look at Kiri and her fox-like partner. “She should have! Damn fox’s been alive for a while, so she would have heard of the Digimon Emperor’s malice! And if she hasn’t, then she’s obviously been living under a rock for the last the twelve months!” She burst into a sarcastic, mocking laugh which was aimed directly at Renamon’s sense of honour.

The yellow fox splayed her arms in a defensive anger, similar to what she had done when Jonathan pushed Kiri out of the way of Sealsdramon’s attack, and opened her mouth to speak.

But Jack got in first. “Kiri, I think you and your partner should leave now. You’ve done enough damage and, to be honest, I don’t think Jonathan will welcome you, Sean or Luca back into the fold. He might, I don’t know. Now, go.” The former American Digi-Destined pointed away from the group. Behind him, Jonathan, Blair, Tai and Matt had gathered around Izzy, who was still half out of it.

“Hey Izzy, you okay?” Tai asked gently, resisting the urge to shake him. That would probably make things worse. “Izzy?”

“Cold,” muttered the computer genius. “The edge was cold. Worse there. I’m lucky.”

“What’s he-” Blair started, but Jonathan interrupted her.

“No,” was all he said. Turning to Izzy, he added: “Are you talking about the Dark Ocean?”

Izzy didn’t seem to hear. “Why did she do it? I didn’t want... I don’t want... it was cold but the miracle, it was there. Our kind are in danger from that place.” He shuddered. “The edge, it was just the edge; there would have been no way out. So how am I free?”

Jonathan looked worriedly at Tai. Is he talking about Mimi AND Kiri? His expression asked.

Tai looked at him solemnly. “It’s a possibility. Izzy... he cared for Mimi very much. Whether it went anywhere or not, I can’t say. For the second one, I’m guessing he knows as much as we do. Which means, next to nothing.”

Blair turned and stared wide-eyed at Jack, who seemed totally carefree after his statement to Kiri. “Jack, what the hell are you doing? This isn’t the time for HANDSTANDS!”

“Come on, Jack, focus,” Sora scolded. “This is a serious situation we’re in right now.”

Performing a tricky manoeuvre, Jack righted himself and grinned sheepishly, before looking at the ground. “Uhh... sorry, Sora.”

“How dare you accuse her of that?” Renamon nearly roared, eyes full of pure hatred, unaffected by the American Digi-Destined’s indifferent demeanour. How dare they? How dare they insult her partner in such a manner? Her own honour be damned, they had no right whatsoever! She would tear them apart, even if she was outnumbered and tired! “I know my partner! I trust Kiriko! You are insulting Wormmon’s sacrifice! He stayed there because he believed in his partner and I will do the same. How dare you assume the darkness is always evil you-” Renamon’s fury was quelled by her partner, who sighed again.

Davis yelled: “Insulting Wormmon’s sacrifice?! Jonathan’s doing nothing of the sort! He’s merely warning Kiri-”

Yolei placed a hand on his shoulder and said: “Just leave it, they’re not listening.”

“You aren’t listening to me either, but that’s okay, I guess. I probably don’t deserve for you to hear me. But if I wanted to turn evil, I would have killed these two the day I met them and learned why they were scanned. Just because I’m not fighting for the same reasons you are doesn’t make me evil. I can’t help but feel sorry for you because of that thinking,” Kiri answered. “Painful,” she murmured. “Loneliness is painful. And doubt is painful too.”

Renamon turned to her partner. “Kiri, are you saying...?” Why are you giving up like this?

A dead nod. “Mm, I don’t care anymore. They’re too good for the likes of us. And for once, I was actually trying to help.” She turned away from them. “Hypocrites like you hurt the most.” She walked away without a fight. “I hope you never get any stronger. I hope you feel the helplessness I’ve felt. I hope you fall in the Dark Ocean and drown like I did. It’d be... really fitting for people like you. Because... everyone falls.” She vanished into the trees.

The kitsune hissed one last bit. “The Digimon Emperor was nothing, not compared to that disgusting man. If you knew a whit about who came before you, you would not dare insult my partner like that. He was a monster. And she fought him.” She spat on the ground. “You brats have had your hands held since day one. Aren’t you so blessed?” She raced away.

*****

The electronics company Mrs. Lucas worked at had given her a week away as her days off. Funnily enough, the warehouse Mr. Lucas was a staff member of had given him a week off, too. Both of Jonathan’s parents were currently home, having some time with each other and wondering where their son was. The phone rang and Mrs. Lucas rushed to answer it. “Lucas residence, Brianna speaking.” Since finding out her son was a Digi-Destined, Brianna had gone out of her way to become friends with the Kamiyas, Ishidas, Takaishis, Takenouchis, Izumis, Kidos, Tachikawas, Ichijoujis, Hidas, Inoues and Motomiyas.

It was Mrs. Kamiya on the other end.

“Yes, I’m concerned about my son, too.” Jonathan’s mother answered. She worriedly played with her fringe.

Yuuko said something else.

“That’s true, indeed. They do need more than just moral support,” Brianna replied.

Tai and Kari’s mother finished up her side of the conversation.

“Yes, I have to agree with you there, Yuuko. Mr. Ishida doesn’t seem to care at all,” Mrs. Lucas responded. “I must go now, but I’ll talk to you again soon. Goodbye, Yuuko.” Brianna waited for Mrs. Kamiya to say her farewell and then hung up.

*****

Thunder rumbled in the sky above the Digi-Destined. A blue semi-transparent dragon with a chain wrapped around his body flew through the air, with his storm clouds surrounding him. Jonathan and Blair looked up in awe of the Digimon, who they would later learn was one of the Sovereigns.

“For Palmon, Tentomon, Biyomon and Gomamon, I give the power to reach the Mega level!” Azulongmon’s voice boomed. He silently pulled one of his Digi-Cores off his body and released the power within. The light from the Digi-Core dispersed and struck the respective Digimon. “Gennai informed me that you were in need of some help. One overruling emotion is all it will take for a higher levelled Digivolution to occur. Remember that advice and use it wisely, my Digi-Destined friends.” Azulongmon nodded his head once as a goodbye and flew off again.

“Huh? Who-” Blair started, but Jonathan interrupted her.

“-was that?” He finished. Blair scowled at him, but Jonathan merely smiled.

“That was Azulongmon,” Jack answered. “One of the five Digimon Sovereigns who rule the Digital World.”

“How do-” Jonathan attempted, but was cut off.

“-I know so much?” Jack replied. “You’re forgetting I’ve been around three years longer than you. I learned a lot from Sorcerymon, and even more from the rest of the International Digi-Destined.” The near-adult laughed, before placing a hand on Jonathan’s shoulder. “Don’t sweat it, Jonathan, you’ll get there eventually.”

*****

Jonathan turned the memory chip over and over in his hands. He didn’t understand. Back then, he should have been able to awaken its power. And yet... nothing. Stingmon had gotten stronger sure, but it wouldn’t have been enough. He couldn’t even bring himself to try. It was like his fingers had frozen up. Why? Why can’t I, why can’t any of us get any stronger? It was like there was a block, a block over their minds and bodies. They were missing something, but what was that?

He shook his head. Everything’s so confusing right now. Mimi... and Lucemon, not to mention being trapped here, I just can’t sort it out. He sighed. I’m really lucky Davis and Tai are here. If it was everyone but them here, I’d be doomed. I have no clue what to do with this many people.

“Jonathan?” Wormmon crawled into his arms.

The teen smiled. “What is it, Wormmon?”

“You seem troubled. What’s the matter?”

“Oh, well... that’s the problem. I don’t know. Everything’s very odd right now and I just haven’t had time to process it. And to top it all off, I couldn’t get you to Digivolve, either. It was strange. I was about to try, but I just... I couldn’t. I’m not sure why.”

Wormmon thought for a moment. “Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe it’s because you’re so confused, you can’t control yourself and give the necessary energy for me to get stronger.”

“I guess that means I just need to think some more. Luckily that’s my specialty.” He stood up. “We should go check on the others.”

*****

The next day...

Lucemon had sent one of his servants to finish off the Digi-Destined. The green and yellowish dragon stood on top of the small cliff that overlooked the Digi-Destined camp. He roared once, alerting the children to his presence, not that he thought it mattered much. Unable to Digivolve to the Ultimate level, much less the Mega level, those kids were sitting ducks as far as Lucemon was concerned. Majiramon’s orders from Lucemon were to engage the Digimon of the Children of Courage and Love, to see how much of a fight they put up.

As he rushed down the cliff’s side, he saw that the Digi-Destined had heard his challenge and were already ready with their Digimon. He became miffed when he saw the Children of Courage and Love standing at the back of the group, with the girl protectively hugging the male, as if she were afraid of losing him. I was told they’d be at the FRONT! Damn you, Lucemon! Majiramon huffed angrily and flexed his overly large hands.

It was his turn to become surprised when their Champion level partners Digivolved. He had not been told of the sudden regaining of their powers and, again, Majiramon cursed Lucemon.

“Greymon Digivolve to... MetalGreymon!”

“Birdramon Digivolve to... Garudamon!”

*****

An orange-furred, purple-striped winged tiger turned to a hooded snake. “They’re in trouble, aren’t they?”

The white coloured snake, with the back of his hood being purple, replied: “They are indeed, Mihiramon. The Demon Lordsss have them exactly where they want them, which isss not good for usss.”

“Don’t just stand there then, Sandiramon, do something about it.” A huge horse with arms that emitted magnified sonic waves snorted. “And I thought the Tamers were useless...”

“What wasss that, Indramon?”

A huge sword came in between the riled up snake and arrogant horse Devas. “Now that’s enough, you two.” It was Vajramon, the ox Deva. The burly sheep Deva, Pajramon, stood beside him.

“He’s right. Infighting in our ranks has already cost us the loyalty of seven of our kind. I do hope you aren’t intending to betray us, Indramon...?” Pajramon questioned.

The horse Deva snorted again, holding out his arms in a submissive gesture. Betray the good of the pure Devas? His expression seemed to be saying. Now why would I do that?

*****

MetalGreymon and Garudamon were getting beaten so badly, that they didn’t know how much longer they could last at their current level. Sora clutched at Tai out of fear and gasped, as if in pain, every time Majiramon used his special attack. The corrupted dragon Deva yelled at them that “they were weak to side with humans in the first place” and “all traitorous Digimon should be punished”. MetalGreymon and Garudamon kept trying their hardest but, in the end, had to de-Digivolve back to the Rookie level.

Sora took advantage of the situation, despite her concern for Biyomon, and whole-heartedly kissed Tai. She remembered, from what Azulongmon told them the previous day, that it would only take one overruling emotion for a Warp DNA Digivolution to occur. Miss Takenouchi desperately hoped that her love for Tai would be that emotion. Almost immediately, Agumon and Biyomon rose to their feet.

“Agumon, Biyomon, Warp DNA Digivolve to... SpiritRavemon!”

Like he had done when explaining FangHexmon, Sorcerymon again took it upon himself to introduce SpiritRavemon. “From the heart of Courage and soul of Love comes Agumon and Biyomon’s Warp DNA Digivolved form, SpiritRavemon. His attacks are Courageous Crescent, which is like a sweeping sword motion of fire, and Love’s Lament is a flurry of red, pink, and orange slashes.”

Love and Courage; they knew each other’s existence, but never touched. Living in this parallel world where one’s courage was driven by love and, so far, love motivated courage. They lived in one being, but beat as two hearts until now.

He was the embodiment of these two emotions. SpiritRavemon had a cloak; the main difference was that SpiritRavemon’s was orange compared to Omnimon’s white one. The Master level Digimon’s feathers brushed against the ground once he landed. His feet were taloned, while his hazel eyes were almond-shaped like a hawk. A beautiful mixture of pinks and oranges like a sunset, his wings imposingly spread themselves as he gazed at Majiramon. Other than that, he was as humanoid as Omnimon was.

SpiritRavemon pulled back his cloak with his arms revealing two blades. “Be sure to let your master know that if he continues to push us, there will be more Warp DNA Digivolutions. And now, we fight.”

SpiritRavemon charged forward, whipping out Redemption – the name of his two weapons. “Courageous Crescent!” he yelled; wielding the first sword and driving it home towards Majiramon’s face, it blazed with fire.

Majiramon snorted. “You attack a dragon with fire?” He caught the blades in his claw. “Fire Breath!” He released a blaze from his maw, aiming it directly toward SpiritRavemon’s face.

“Love’s Lament,” SpiritRavemon cried out.

The blade glowed with this mysterious mixed aura. First red, then pink, and finally to a brilliant orange the blade shimmered. This display was followed by a series of slashes. Each of these sent their own individual wave of energy toward Majiramon. The elusive dragon tried to whip his body around these sharpened edges. It was to no avail.

One hit. It was the sharpest thing the Deva had ever felt. After that, it was like a flurry of razors running against his scales. One after another they struck him. Hundreds upon hundreds of stinging energies shot from those blades. Before Majiramon even knew what happened, blood poured from his side. Then it stopped. The damage was done... he was open.

Majiramon roared, now feeling excitement burn his heart. “Is that all? I was expecting worse than that!” He raised his head to the sky. “Flaming Arrowheads!” Lightning pierced the air, striking everywhere and anywhere, narrowly avoiding the nearby humans.

SpiritRavemon protected the Digi-Destined and then whirled around. “What did you expect? I am a peaceful Digimon!” He engaged the Dragon Deva in hand-to-hand combat now, hoping to prevent the corrupted beast from using his attacks anymore. After all, he didn’t want any stray fire blasts or lightning bolts striking the humans.

“I expected a fight,” growled the dragon, stabbing his nails straight into the enemy’s arm, making it bleed and burn in pain. “I expected a warrior, a seasoned opponent who could kill me where I stood. This peaceful nature will not last in a real war. You are hindered by children, your so-called saviours! Fire Breath!”

The stream of flames shot from the dragon’s mouth. SpiritRavemon’s eyes seemed to just lose that sense of aloofness in exchange for pity. With a simple flick of cloak, the flames deterred themselves from the DNA Digivolution. This left Majiramon in a daze. Nothing had ever happened like this before.

“You won’t yield…” SpiritRavemon said, almost in this weird parallel to himself and his opponent. “You won’t give yourself to the light. All the Devas seem to know is violence. I pity you. Think of this as my last act to bring you to justice. My apologies… there is… no other way.”

Majiramon couldn’t vividly explain the feeling that soaked the air. It was warmth wrapped in this veil of power. Was this fear that he felt? No. That wasn’t possible. It was just the unknown that bothered him. Yet… he couldn’t ignore this Digimon’s power. It rivalled his strength.

SpiritRavemon pressed the hilts of his swords together so the blades’ faces were touching. Flames circled around the two blades in spirals. Eerie sounds emitted from them like spirits singing a song. The flames end result was beyond even the fire from the dragon’s mouth. It whipped upward, yet was in control. It was destruction tamed.

Majiramon knew one thing. If that touched him… he wouldn’t have to worry about his future any more. He prepared himself for an attack. The gap between them was closed too quickly. There was no time to think of an attack plan.

The dragon couldn’t help but smile. “Pity... no, I pity you. You are weak, not simply because of your love of peace, but for your assumption that you are in the right. Flaming Arrowheads!” The lightning struck between them, blinding SpiritRavemon and preventing him from completing his attack. The electricity burned his hands, but SpiritRavemon kept firm on his blade, wincing in pain. When the lightning faded, the dragon had vanished.

Fuyu
January 9th, 2011, 02:29 PM
As of well, this chapter, you will likely start to see where this is going. It'll be difficult to see because I do subtle at points. There is also a lot of hints to the prequel in this and a giant showing in the next few chapters. There are also hints to other stories as well starting now. Look forward to it!

Chapter 15: Shadows of Evolution

It hurts. I can't cry out. I can't! If he hears me, if he hears my pain, it'll make him stronger, much stronger. If he hears, he'll kill me. Onii-chan...I'm scared.

That sound, what is it? Are people coming? Is that bad thing coming back? No, stay away. Please stay away! I don't... I don't want to die!

Oh... you're here. You... you found me! Why...why are you looking like that? Stop, that face, I don't like it. Don't look at him like that! Stop! Stop it!

Onii-chan!

Stop! Stop it! You're hurting him! Stop hurting Onii-chan! No!

You... you're going to kill me? You're going to... no! Stay away! Stay away! It hurts! Onii-chan... I'm scared! I don't... I don't... AHH!

She screamed but whether it was a little girl or young woman no one knew. All the person knew was the desperately broken screaming of a lost child.

She forgot it was her.

...

Willis sighed. The forest was much calmer than he had thought. Terriermon looked quizzically at him from his head. It was Lopmon's turn to be in Willis' arms and he was peacefully asleep. Catherine did the same as his partner digimon. The two were alone in the forest, having purposefully left the others for some quiet. It was so much easier to breathe now.

“Is something wrong?” Willis shrugged. In truth, out of all the International Digidestined, he and Catherine were likely the closest. He was taking French and her English, so they tutored each other through email.

“Yes and no.” He paused to collect his thoughts. “Right now, everything's peaceful and that's good. But I can't help but be worried...”

“Worried about what?”

“Remember what that girl said? We aren't ready, not for what's to come. What do you think she was talking about?”

Catherine sighed, gently gripping Floramon's vine. “I'm not sure what to believe. The others were so vehement on hating her and she didn't seem to care either way. But...”

“But what?”

“I want to talk to her.” Willis nodded.

“I was thinking the same thing.” Floramon looked between them.

“Are you guys sure about this? The others probably wouldn't like that. She did try to kill Jonathan and Blair.”

Willis shrugged. “She's got answers, something the others seem to forget. Besides,” he gave a sly little grin. “She was kinda cute.”

Catherine groaned softly and Terriermon sighed. Floramon looked perplexed. “Is that all you care about?”

“No, but it does factor in.” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a yellow blur. “Wait what was that?”



Renamon quickly hopped back toward the shaded tree. Kiri was thrashing wildly, face tense in the nightmare. Her cheeks were flushed with fever.

“Oh Kiri wake up please!” she whispered, gently replacing the wet cloth on her partner's forehead. It was the same nightmare; it had to be. She hadn't had her calling one in ages. This was one that would never leave her because it was hauntingly, vividly, and unalterably real. Renamon wished she could have been there, could have stopped it. She wished she could have killed him instead. But she hadn’t and now her human was suffering for it.

Kiri had told her she remembered nothing between her kidnapping and her fight almost two years later. Her brain did it seemed. Maybe he was here somehow, influencing her... no he couldn't be. He was dead and his daughter the bearer of his sins, a poor, manufactured child who knew too much about this world.

A child spattered in blood, stained knife held in her hands and a blank look in her grey eyes. She stabbed numbly into the slowly stilling body, expression full of craze and terror as the man bled all over the ground. His eyes were wide open, presumably with fear, but the rising teen knew that his last expression was nothing less than ecstasy. That was the kind of monster he was.

“That's enough,” the teen said softly. “He's dead. It's okay Kiri. It's over.” The girl didn't seem to hear, continuing to jab into his body with the dull desperation of an animal. The teen shook gently but hid it well, coming forward and removing the knife from her hands. The child looked at him blankly, craze dulling slowly into apathy. Wiping the knife hilt of fingerprints, he pulled the small child close to him.

“I'm sorry Kiri,” he whispered. “I'm so, so sorry.” There was no response, the little girl a limp, little doll in his arms.



“Are you sure we should be following a blur?” Terriermon asked. Willis nodded, nearly knocking him from his perch.

“I'm sure...” he panted, glancing back to check on Catherine, who was following steadily, not looking the slightest bit out of breath. Ah, how he envied her right now. There was the distinct sound of rustling bushes and Willis followed it, turning abruptly.

His hunch had been correct. That Renamon was crouched in the shade, her partner unconscious and struggling. The fox digimon's eyes were full of concern and fear as she strained to control her thrashing human. That girl is sick! He realized. Was it from the Digital World, or that weird magic trick she pulled? Regardless, they had to do something. He nodded at Catherine and stepped forward. At the sound, Renamon whipped around to glare at them, crouching defensively.

“What do you want?” It was a miracle she didn't attack them on sight.

Catherine raised her hands tentatively. “Please, we don't mean any harm. We just want to help.”

Renamon snorted warily. “What can you do to help? You drove us away. You'd be happy if Kiri died I'm sure!”

“That's not true at all,” Floramon protested. “We don't even know what's going on! Don't assume so quickly!”

“Eh, it's not like the others didn't do the same thing,” Terriermon said reasonably, flipping down to the ground towards Renamon. The kitsune tensed further before turning at the sound of her partner's anxious cries. She was thrashing again. Willis felt an unreasonable irritation burn his throat.

“Look we can stand here glaring at each other all day, or we can help!” he snapped, running past the fox and towards the unconscious girl. He knelt at her side, placing a hand over her forehead. He cursed quietly. “Damn, she's hot as hell. The cloth is already dry.” He tossed it toward Lopmon, who had woken up. “Lopmon; wet this again. Terriermon, go find some berries. Catherine, can you and Floramon keep watch?” Catherine nodded as his digimon darted off. He began murmuring softly in her ear, trying to calm the wild thrashing. Renamon remained tense a moment before relenting. There was only so much she could do on her own. The blond girl turned away toward the direction they had come.

This isn't going to end well. If the others find us with her, what will they do?



Andiramon knelt. His body trembled. Unlike the others, who had adjusted to the darkness of this place, it still set him on edge.

“My lord,” he began quietly, red eyes toward the floor.

His master didn't seem to react at once. Then, he spoke, “Ah... Andiramon... our little... failure...” The rabbit shivered, feeling the fear deeper than ever. “...Have you come to beg your forgiveness?”

“M'lord!” he exclaimed softly. “I can swear to you I will not fail again!”

Their master laughed. “...You can assure... prove it to me then.” The darkness engulfed the rabbit and Andiramon screamed.



“God, where are those two,” Blair grumbled at Jonathan’s side as they walked. He gave her a look mixing sympathy and exasperation. He too was wondering where those two had gone. The International Digidestined had just suddenly left, claiming a need to explore. They had ignored all three leaders’ orders and left, Willis looking vaguely bothered the whole way. Matt and Anna had gone off not long after. Tai had ordered them to leave them be, not wanting them all to fall into shambles more than they already had.

Yet after, only a few hours, he had sent them out anyway, feeling anxious. Jonathan felt his thoughts turn back to earlier, when he had spoken to Izzy. Izzy had confirmed his suspicions yet at the same time, had also made more and worried him.

“Izzy, I know this is personal, but I'm curious. Do you, perhaps, have any feelings for Mimi?”

“...Yeah I did. But nothing has come of them I'm sad to say.” He smiled bitterly. “Maybe I'm just not the right one.”

He snapped out of his thoughts. “I’m sure they’re alright Blair,” he reassured, smiling as Wormmon made his way to his other shoulder. Blair snorted.

“As if I’m worried about that,” she muttered derisively. She caught a glimpse of a brown and pink rabbit bouncing away with a cloth in its hands, hurrying another direction.

“That was Willis’ Lopmon,” Wizardmon identified from Blair’s right. Jonathan gestured to follow the rabbit and the four hurried deeper into the glade. The Digimon appeared to have noticed, for he darted in another direction. Within seconds Lopmon was at Terriermon’s side and the twin digimon were chattering anxiously.

“Why are you two away from your partner?” Jonathan asked.

“Because he told us to do something,” Lopmon shot back. “Is it really your business?”

“Cheeky aren’t you,” his twin muttered good-naturedly. Terriermon looked at the younger Digi-Destined. “Look, Willis needed us to go look for some stuff that’s all.”

“Are one of them injured?” Jonathan questioned pointedly. This was incredibly suspicious.

Lopmon sighed. “Wouldn’t we have coming looking for you if they were? Everything’s fine.”

“And we should believe you because…” Blair snapped, irritation rising.

“Because we know Willis and if he was in trouble we’d help him in anyway,” Terriermon replied as patiently as he could. Under his breath, he muttered, “Jeez, paranoid much? Take a chill pill everybody.” The two began to leap away. Jonathan made to follow.

“Blazing Ice!” Jonathan leaped away from the shards in alarm.

“What the hell’s wrong with you,” Blair shouted, Wizardmon ready to attack.

“Stop poking your noses in,” Lopmon snapped tersely. “We said everybody’s fine, so they’re fine. We’ll be back in a while, so just cool your heels and wait.”

Terriermon gave a sheepish grin. “Sorry, Lopmon’s a lot meaner than I am. It was the virus aftereffects. He will attack again. I’d listen to him. Later.” The two vanished, this time not returning.

Jonathan sighed. “We just seem to continue to be treated poorly.” Just then, Tai appeared. He looked frantic.

“Come on you two! Matt and Anna, they're in serious trouble!”



The two digimon landed at Willis' side and quickly handed him their parcels. Willis saw Lopmon's distress.

“What's the matter Lopmon?”

Terriermon replied for him, “We ran into Jonathan and Blair. They're probably following us.”

“They were nosy,” muttered the other rabbit agitatedly.

Willis sighed. “Of all of the people...” He looked back at Kiri, who had thankfully stopped thrashing. He prepared to stand up, but he couldn't move. Her hand was gripping his wrist loosely. Looking down, he saw her grey gaze sleepily fixed on him.

“Are you going to leave me behind?” she asked softly, childishly. “It hurts.”

“Willis... it hurts.”

“Don't worry Kokomon.” A thrill fluttered through his chest.

Willis knelt again. He felt a quiet smile tug at his lips. “Nah” he whispered. “What kind of knight leaves behind a princess?” Kiri blinked at him for a moment before laughing softly, weakly, and a tiny smile making its way to her face. The flush was slightly faded from her face. “That's cute,” he quipped. “Do it again.” She cracked up again, eyes closed from laughter. Renamon looked on from her place by the tree. She's okay, the Rookie reassured herself.

Catherine glanced back and relaxed slightly. Then she smiled. I can't believe someone actually is okay with him and his flirting. She had punched him when he tried. Kiri sat up slowly.

“Hey what are you doing? You're sick!” She tilted her head.

“I'm fine.” As if to prove it, she stood up easily.

Willis couldn't stop his jaw from dropping. “How? You just had a fever!”

Kiri shrugged. “I stabilized,” she replied mysteriously. “Now then, who are you? I saw you with the others.”

“I'm Catherine and this is Willis.” The blond came down from where she had been standing. “We're from the International Team so it's likely you don't know us.” Kiri nodded, expression quiet.

“You aren't...”

Catherine perked. “Aren't what?”

“Afraid.” She blinked.

“Why would we...oh.” Willis shrugged.

“Well you haven't done anything to us, so there's no issue. And the others are still alive so no big deal right?” Kiri shrugged.

“I suppose.” She stiffened and glanced around. Renamon went to her side at once.

“Evolve,” the young woman muttered. Youkomon was there in a flash. She looked at the two with her. “Listen, I need you to listen and listen fast before he comes.”

“Who?”

Her face turned guilty. “Cyberdramon.”



Matt wondered if separating from the others was a good idea after all. They were quite vulnerable. Anna was walking quietly at his side, her Unimon relaxing only feet away.

“The air is...” Anna began slowly. “Quite calm.”

He agreed. “Almost too much so. Maybe I'm just paranoid but...”

Anna shook her head. “Something is wrong. I can feel it. We all can. This feels like a trap.”

“Well it wasn't,” came a gravelly voice. “But we can make it so now.”A black-armored digimon with long appendages landed in front of them. Its emerald eyes glared ferociously, focused on Matt.

Ishida snarled. “You! Haven't we killed you enough times?” Diablomon frowned.

“You seem to be confusing me with another. I was Andiramon. However, unlike my seeming doppelganger, I will succeed. Catastrophe Cannon!”

They were knocked aside brutally and in the midst of the light Anna vanished from his arms. When it faded, Matt could see her Unimon dedigivolved and Gabumon on the other side, both semi-conscious. But Anna... Anna was in one of his claws, staring listlessly at the ground below.

“Anna!” Fury gripped him and he clenched his fists, prepared to charge.

“Quick Matt!” Gabumon was back up and running toward him. “Help me digivolve!”

“Right!” He lifted his digivice, which began to shine. However, something very different happened. Both rookie digimon began to glow.

“Gabumon Warp DNA Digivolve to...”

“Psychemon Warp DNA Digivolve to...”



The clearing was torn to shreds. Kiwimon had fallen first, her attacks and range limited. Gargomon and Wendigomon were holding him back but just barely. Youkomon leapt.

“Jaenryu!” The two Champions moved back from the onslaught to better protect their partners. Cyberdramon continued to howl, the sound a screech of a monster, typical of his kind. Willis clapped his hands over his ears and Catherine trembled. Kiri glared, inwardly cursing her helplessness.

I have to stop Cyberdramon, whatever it takes! The anguished roaring resounded again and Kiri felt the sadness strengthen. I'm so sorry. It hurts so much I know! I'll help you I promise! She took a deep breath, forcing herself to relax.

Stay firm little sister, she heard that familiar, gentle voice sing in her ears. Stay firm and don't lose a bit of territory, no matter how afraid you are. Stay firm and protect them all. This is something only you can do. Only you can surpass your own limits.

Only I can. She clenched her hand around the memory chip in her pocket, watching as Youkomon slashed and burned at the wild dragon. Drawing it out, she stared at it. Only I can fight for this cause, only I can move forward with my own two feet and awaken our power. My path into the darkness is my own. To save, to protect, to hold close, I follow it and know it all my days. The chip began to shine silver, speaking a song no one but her understood.

There's nothing to fear. I know my goal. I know my path. I will follow it. I will protect them. Kiri spoke in a new voice, one full of nothing. “I am Kiriko Ryutori, child of Baihumon's cage. Grant me power, Sovereign of the worlds.” She lifted the memory card device in two fingers and inserted it into her digivice. “Awaken, Steel Reaper.” Her D-Core began to glow and Kiri felt her staff shift and twist between her fingers. It took the form of a black katana in her free hand, the hilt adorn with red. She gazed at it in surprise for only a moment. Then she smiled and sank into a fighting position. This is heavier than I remember, she thought. Heh. That makes it all the more interesting.

The kitsune began to shine, leaping back from Cyberdramon into a cocoon of data.

“Youkomon Digivolve!”

This was an unbelievable feeling, as though she were power incarnate. Energy roared through her body and she shifted and morphed. Destroying the data sphere revealed a pale blue onmyouji fox clothed in black and white.

“Doumon!” The now bipedal fox fired crimson talismans toward the dragon, the parchment wrapping around the scales.

“Exorcism Scrolls!” They exploded, causing Cyberdramon to roar.

Willis gaped openly. “What the hell-”

“Doumon,” Kiri replied as she walked over to them. Kneeling to check on Terriermon, she added, “A Demon Man Digimon. An onmyouji specializing in assassination, her Exorcism Scrolls burn you alive and the Demonic Gates awaken an all-too-real hell of the mind.” She smiled quietly, standing back up and sinking into a fighting position, blade in both hands. “Suits me, doesn't she?”



“HolyFenrirmon!”

HolyFenrirmon was a giant, purely golden bipedal metal wolf with four ice blue feathered wings. The metal claws were replaced with talons and the tail blade was adorned with braided diamonds. Blue eyes glinted from behind a Chrome Digizoid visor.

“Wow,” Matt whispered. His- no, their- digimon nodded at him then charged forward.

“Fenrir's Holy Howl!” Ice burst from his mouth, slamming into Diaboromon's face. He released Anna, who was caught by the Mega. HolyFenrirmon swooped down to place her gently on the ground. Matt steadied her as the shock faded from her eyes.

“Is that...” she whispered, full of awe.

“Ours,” he confirmed, taking her to safety.

Turning back to the battle, HolyFenrirmon cried, “Fenrir's Holy Howl!”

Diaboromon was ready. “Tentacle Bug!” The arm slammed into his chest through the ice and the other Mega grit his teeth. They continued in circles until Diaboromon was backed into a corner.

“Catastrophe Cannon!” HolyFenrirmon went flying into a tree. Diaboromon used another Tentacle Bug, hitting him in the chest a second time.

“To end this then! Catastrophe Cannon!”

HolyFenrirmon burst into the air again, just as the others arrived. “Not a chance! Phoenix Strike!” He charged into the attack, dissipating the other and destroying him in one shot. Everyone burst into cheers, but...

“Next…”

“What?” They all looked around.

“The Child of Knowledge and India’s heir… are next.” The voice faded and they were left speechless with a mixture of excitement and fear.

An explosion resounded. “Huh? What was that?” They all looked up to see Cyberdramon flying nearby.

“That was where Terriermon and Lopmon were headed,” Jonathan realized. In silence they bolted back.



Kiri watched them battle from up in the sky. Doumon was somehow keeping pace. Why? Then again, Cyberdramon's attacks were very erratic, almost easy to avoid. Luckily the attacks weren't hitting them but...

Just to be safe. “Doumon, now!” As she shouted, Kiri ran toward the other two, katana tight in her fist. The twin digimon returned to Rookie.

“Demonic Gates!” A sphere formed around Cyberdramon, locking him inside.

“Come on,” the teen urged, glancing back anxiously. Willis shook his head.

“You can't beat him alone!” Kiri shook her head.

“I'm not trying to. Remember what I told you; I'm not trying to win. Winning would cost too much.” The black-haired teen gave Catherine a piercing look. “Hide!” Catherine understood and dragged her friend away. Kiri turned back. She gripped her blade in both hands.

“Alright now,” she muttered. “Let's try it.” Just then, Cyberdramon shattered the barrier. Ignoring the digimon, he charged at her. Kiri lifted the blade... and sliced down through his mask. It cracked. Cyberdramon roared in agony and released a wild burst of Desolation Claw. The blades burst everywhere. The other humans ducked down, hiding their digimon from the attacks that would have killed them for certain. Three blades sliced into Doumon, freezing her and leaving her open. More stabbed and she was reduced to In-Training in midair. The little fox dropped like a stone and bounced off the cliff, falling into the chasm.

Her human screamed, a feral, broken thing and ran, leaping after her. Willis, despite the barrage, managed to howl. “No Kiri stop! Don't!”

Cyberdramon froze at the sound of her name. The memories flashed.

“Please protect them.”

“How could he... She didn't do anything to deserve this... I'll kill him. I don't care what happens to my heart. I'll bash his head in myself.”

“It's gone. She won't smile at me ever again... will she?”

Innocent laughter sang through his ears. “You're so cool! I wish I had someone as strong as you.”

“We're friends right?”

The wildest snarl burst from his lip as he flew after her. “You will not die!” He screamed to the air. Willis felt a burst of fear.

“Make it... please make it!” Was she right? Dear God, is he really...

There was silence. Then the dragon soared back up. Kiri was perched on his shoulder and she waved at them both, Viximon in one arm. The happiest grin was on her face.

“Unbelievable...” Terriermon exclaimed.

“He saved her... he really did!” Cyberdramon landed away from them and placed her down gently. The other two ran to her side, still in awe.

“Why,” the dragon asked hoarsely. “Why did you do that?”

Kiri beamed at him. “I knew you'd get me,” she replied. “After all, we're friends right?” Cyberdramon jolted and shuddered.

“No, no that was a lie, that was...” Kiri reached out and placed a hand on his armored arm.

“Go,” she ordered softly. “Go or you will die.” Numbly, the dragon obeyed, a speck in moments. She looked over at the other two Digi-Destined. “You guys are okay right?”

Catherine nodded and Willis stated. “You do realize you're crazy don't you?” Kiri laughed merrily, walked over, and kissed him on the cheek. She drew back and both girls chuckled at the flush on his face.

“Of course. It's fun that way.” Kiri heard footsteps in the distance. She turned to Willis and Catherine and winked, putting a finger to her lips. “This'll be our little secret, kay?” Both nodded slowly. “Oh, Willis...” The grin held a flicker of mischief. “I'm no princess.” She smiled exhaustedly at them both and ran off into the trees, Viximon in one hand and her blade in the other.

As the others came forward, the pair managed to stand up again. “Are you alright?” Tai asked worriedly. “What happened?”

Willis stared at them for a moment before grinning. “I think... I'm falling in love with her.” The others gaped in confusion and Catherine giggled.

Legendarian Mistress
January 13th, 2011, 03:51 PM
Chapter 16: Past Invitation

Night had fallen over the Digital World; for the Digi-Destined, they hoped it was their last night. They all really wanted to go back to the real world and were sure their parents had put “missing” posters up by now. The Digi-Destined and their partners were sleeping soundly; all were fast asleep in fact, except for Wizardmon who stood with his back against a tree watching the stars in the sky and Gatomon, who was shifting restlessly in her unconscious state. As she had been for the past few nights, the feline seemed to have trouble getting a proper sleep. Wizardmon had, of course, noticed this but said nothing, thinking his ally would recover from whatever nightmares she was having.

Gatomon cried out and Wizardmon was at her side in an instant. “What is it?” he whispered. When he naturally received no response, he at first hesitated, but gently placed his hand on her forehead. Mentally, he frowned — Gatomon had told him off five years ago for reading her thoughts, would she be disappointed with him after this?


She was walking up many stairs as a Salamon; looking up, she saw a pair of wings. It was Myotismon’s cape. The Ultimate level Digimon frowned down at her. “If you look at me with those eyes, I’ll have to hurt you.” He had said and indeed kept his promise. The edges of his cape flew back, a red whip appeared in his hand and he yelled: “Crimson Lightning!”


Phantomon had been assigned to bring her from her room to witness the punishment of a Digimon who disobeyed Myotismon’s laws. Nothing about the incident seemed out of the ordinary, until she saw the Digimon, that is; it was the same Renamon who had raised her. “NO! Leave her alone! She didn’t do anything to you!” She screamed in fright. Phantomon glanced at Myotismon and nodded. His expression told Myotismon everything and Myotismon deleted Renamon with a rapid Crimson Lightning.


“I hate Myotismon for what he did to me,” Gatomon muttered darkly as she ran away from the castle with Wizardmon’s help. “And for what he did to Renamon.” Preoccupied with fleeing for her life, she still had time to briefly look down at her claw-like glove on her left paw; her eyes narrowed and it seemed easy to tell she was thinking about the scar on her limb.


Wizardmon took his hand off Gatomon’s forehead and narrowed his eyes in concern. The fact that she was thinking, no — having nightmares, about her past meant something was wrong. He vowed to talk to her privately about it tomorrow, for now he needed shut-eye of his own. Wizardmon walked back to Blair’s side and lay down.

*****

The next day, everyone woke up to a clear blue sky. Gatomon was preoccupied and Wizardmon tried to talk to her, but she seemed to be ignoring him, which wasn’t like her at all. Tai and the other Digi-Destined soon shifted the conversation to HolyFenrirmon’s battle against Andiramon’s Mega level, Diaboromon.

Tai was clearly fanatical about the Master level Digimon’s victory over Diaboromon. “That was awesome! Finally, we’re taking a step forward! Soon we’ll be able to beat all of them for sure!”

Jonathan analyzed Tai for a moment, before frowning slightly and crossing his arms. “Yeah, but you heard Diaboromon’s last words, didn’t you? “The Child of Knowledge and India’s heir will be next”. We all know that the Child of Knowledge is Izzy, but who is India’s heir?”

“Mina,” Jack answered. “Mina Asthana. Relax already; we should be celebrating our victory, not worrying about minor details like that.”

Jack quickly became rowdy as he participated in a heated, yet fun, conversation Tai and Matt were having. Mimi tried several times to apologize to Izzy, but the computer genius had zoned out; Mimi’s attempts fell on deaf ears. T.K. was still concerned about Kari, fretting on whether or not she was really alright. And finally, Tai broke away from his conversation with Matt and had some alone time with Sora.

Gennai materialized in front of the Digi-Destined, who were still in the midst of loud laughter and joy. “Everyone, it is time,” the Watcher said. This simple statement gained the attention of all of the children.

“Time for what?” Jonathan asked, his laughter fading as his eyes narrowed. He suspected he knew what this was about, but wanted to be sure.

“Time that you know the truth. Miss Ryutori revealed things she shouldn’t have, didn’t she?” Gennai answered. There was silence as they all nodded. “Then let’s begin. Before your team came to the Digital World, Tai, a group led by Akira came here.”

“Who the hell’s Akira?!” Blair snapped.

“He’s my brother,” Kiri’s voice was soft as it echoed through the clearing. She walked into plain sight, Viximon asleep in her arms. The sword hilt glinted on her back. Her eyes had black circles under them. “He led a group into the Digital World before Tai and after another group, an International one. They were the oldest to go through.”

The look that crossed everyone’s faces was that of stunned shock. They hadn’t realized that the International Digi-Destined they knew weren’t the original world wide team.

Gennai remained unperturbed. “You know an awful lot, don’t you?” he asked.

Kiri smiled sadly. “I know everything about the past, Gennai. Having the friends I have, not to mention the ability to defy the borders, it tells you a lot of things.”

“I see.” He paused. “It’s a good thing you and I made that vow then, wasn’t it?”

Again, that dead smile appeared. “I suppose it is for you. All those things that went wrong, you weren’t willing to take responsibility for them.”

“I was not-”

“I didn’t say you were.” Jonathan caught it, a glimpse of fury in Gennai’s eyes.

“Are you jealous of Sinead?”

She shook her head no. “I actually feel very glad for her. Everything worked out, despite the circumstances.”

“You treat her with more respect than your own team.” Watching them both, Kari felt a vague sensation of sadness. She didn’t know what it was or why and it tore her heart.

Kiri shrugged. “You’ve been holding their hands. The dangers they faced could have been much worse than they were.”

“We were not-”

The fourteen-year-old cut in. “It was not what you were after, no. Nor am I saying that they were not at risk. However, you cannot deny that you kept a very close eye on them after what happened with the previous group.”

“We didn’t expect there to be such difficulties.” She scowled lightly. Is that what they call all of those things? A difficulty?

“You didn’t expect the Digimon Emperor, either. At least, not who it was. Humanity throws a spin on things, doesn’t it?”

Gennai tried to reason: “They had been destroyed and wielded little power at the time. It was unexpected that they would be strong enough to actually rebel again.”

“They had rebelled before and miraculously survived the war they had wrought. I’m more bothered by the fact that you didn’t do anything to them for the past six years when you knew they were planning something.”

“Neither team was suited to combat them!”

The teen snorted. “We certainly aren’t. Quantity doesn’t mean anything when the worst you have to face is yourself! Crazy and corrupted darkness aside, the way that they see themselves as unable to be in the wrong and that light is always good is what will be preyed on! That noble straight path worked on MaloMyotismon, Apocalymon, Diaboromon, and all the others because that was something they understood little to nothing about! Our enemy understands that and lives off of those very emotions! We will, in essence, make it worse.”

“What in the world are you talking about?” Blair snapped, feeling completely out of the loop.

Kiri sighed and for a moment, her body blurred. “I suppose I can say it now, can’t I?”

He gave a reluctant nod. “Yes, you may.”

Kiriko nodded and looked up at the sky. “Six years ago, Akira-nii-chan was sealed away in the gaps between the worlds by the Demon Lords. Their leader resides in the Dark Ocean and is a creature which grows stronger with the very emotions we feel all the time.”

“And you know this for certain how?” Jonathan couldn’t help the scepticism.

“She fell into the Dark Ocean with her cousin and personally saw it,” Gennai supplied, a quiet misery in his voice. “Miss Ryutori is quite lucky she isn’t dead.”

Kiri laughed icily, the sound shrilly childish. “Dead? I’m lucky I’m still here right now! You would have killed me ages ago if I hadn’t kept my mouth shut!”

For the first time since he had appeared to them, Gennai actually looked unsettled. “That was not my intention!”

“It might as well have been,” she countered, her edges phasing again. “You threatened to replace the Catal Unit inside my unstable body even after seeing my data! That wouldn’t have just killed me, that would have been the end of the Digital World.”

Izzy, whose curiosity was overriding the sickening feeling that had been plaguing him, inquired. “What exactly is the Catal Unit and why would it destroy the worlds?”

Kiri replied vaguely: “It is the centre of everything. If someone loses their centre, they can no longer function and fall apart. So it is with the many worlds. If the Catal Unit is destroyed, the past will repeat itself.”

“Sinead, you and your team may come forward,” Gennai stated, interrupting before any further questions could be asked.

A red-haired woman stepped out of the shadows, followed by an older man, with two other figures — one male, the other female and both were younger than the first two. Their partners emerged alongside them; a black version of Gatomon stood beside the redhead, what looked like an enhanced Garurumon guarded the masked man; a Seadramon slithered up to the male who wore a baseball cap and a Lynxmon sat next to the dark-skinned female, before de-Digivolving back to his Rookie level, Gazimon. Seadramon and BlackGatomon followed suit.

“Sorry about that, Gennai,” the redhead began in a posh drawl. “We encountered some... ah, unruly Digimon, so we engaged them in a fight.”

“For ****’s sake, Sinead, are you gonna get to the point?!” the older male snapped.

“Now, Zarek, there are young children in your presence. But you do have a point. I’m Sinead O’Reilly, from Ireland. My companions are Polish-born Zarek Krol, Dylan Taylor from Australia and Bhadra Cherukuri, the first Indian Digi-Destined.”

As they were introduced, Zarek scowled heavily, Dylan tilted his black sunglasses down and Bhadra shyly waved her hand. Tai, Davis and Jonathan’s teams — not to mention the three International Digi-Destined — were a bit more composed now, but nonetheless still looked stunned. So why are they here? They would have had to have a reason for coming back after all this time... Jonathan pondered.

Sinead snorted in amusement, as if sensing Jonathan’s thoughts. When she caught his surprised expression, she answered: “Intuition, from a woman’s perspective. We came back to reminisce-”

“That’s not the true reason,” Bhadra spoke so softly, even Gatomon’s ears strained to hear what the twenty three-year-old said. “But it is part of it. We came back because we felt the Digital World was in trouble and-”

“-then we got trapped here, like you guys currently are, when the Digital Gates shut.” Dylan finished.

That explains it then, Jonathan concluded. They got stuck here the same time we did. But it still didn’t provide him with an answer as to why half of Zarek’s face was covered in a titanium mask.

Wizardmon was finally able to convince Gatomon to come away slightly from the group and begin to tell him what was wrong.

*****

But while the Digi-Destined and Digimon were talking to each other, somewhere else in the Digital World, the Devas’ boss was punishing the six remaining beasts. Having fled for his life after SpiritRavemon’s swords gouged into his scaly flesh, Majiramon had delivered the Digimon’s statement to his boss.

Chatsuramon scoffed. “You’re a fool if I ever saw one, Majiramon. Fleeing a battle you initiated is punishable by death; you know the boss’s laws!”

“SpiritRavemon was going to kill me!” the Dragon tried to defend himself. “I had-”

“Well, you’re as good as dead now!” Sinduramon crowed. The Rooster Deva eyed Majiramon nastily.

“And what of Andiramon?” Kumbhiramon, the Rat Deva, questioned. “I hear he’s dead now, defeated by HolyFenrirmon.”

The leader of the celestials spoke directly to Majiramon, ignoring the bickering of the other Devas. “... It seems,” the dark Digimon began slowly, a hush engulfing the squabbling. “... I have been too lenient on punishments, haven’t I, Majiramon? ... Failure to defeat an enemy brings much worse than death, does it not?”

“But boss-” Majiramon attempted to explain.

Their master ignored them, vacant light beginning to glow, engulfing Majiramon. When it faded, there was a vague aura of satisfaction radiating from their ruler. “... You are more useful as a spy. You know your enemy, don’t lose sight of them.” Without waiting, the cruel gaze shifted toward Sinduramon, who shook softly. “In a week’s time you will go to the human world. You will receive further orders then.”

*****

Ken was calm and quiet, despite all the panic that rose in him. “Everyone, please listen. This is important.”

“What is it, Ken?” Brianna, Jonathan’s mother, asked worriedly. Ewan, Jonathan’s father, stood silently beside his wife.

“Your children,” he began slowly, breaking off for a moment to cough lightly. “They, they are currently in the Digital World. Normally they would be back by now, but when I analyzed the Gates, I found they were forcibly locked.”

“Oh my!” Yuuko Kamiya cried out, putting her hands over her face. “How, what happened?”

“I’m not quite certain. However, I am working on the problem now. I’m certain that if I can at least get in contact with one of the others, we can fix the problem and everyone can come home safely.”

“Matt... and T.K. I hope they’re alright,” Mr. Ishida said quietly.

“Their Digimon are powerful,” Mrs. Takenouchi replied soothingly. “And so are the children. I’m sure they’re fine.”

Mr. Ishida wondered if Mrs. Takenouchi was only saying that because his oldest son used to like her daughter, but then shook off his doubt.

Fumiko Hida disapprovingly fixed the other parents with her gaze. “I still don’t know why Cody was chosen, but if it were up to me, he wouldn’t even be in this nonsense.”

Mrs. Takaishi sighed. “It’s never been up to us,” she stated flatly. “They were chosen for it by something else and all we can do is have faith in their return. We can’t stop them from fighting. Just as they can’t stop us from worrying.”

“Well spoken, Mrs. Takaishi,” a new voice spoke up from the entrance to Ken’s room. The figure walked inside. “I may not be the motherly or fatherly type, but I’m the closest thing Blair has to parents. My name is Bill Maleny,” the black-haired, pony-tailed twenty five-year-old introduced himself.

“Nice to meet you, sir,” Ken greeted politely. He prepared to continue, but a bout of coughing froze him. He doubled over, the red barcode burning his throat. The adults immediately moved to help, but Ken waved them off, shuddering as it passed. He breathed heavily. “I’m sorry about that. These symptoms have been plaguing me for quite a while. There’s nothing that can be done right now, I’m afraid."

“Maybe you should go and rest a little longer,” his mother began worriedly, trailing off as her son shook his head.

“No, it’s alright. I only have one more thing to say. For now, could everyone please return home? The others will be back soon, I’m quite sure.”

*****

“Gatomon, are you-” Wizardmon began, but interrupted himself when he saw a tear fall from the feline’s eye.

“What did I tell you five years ago?” she spat, between sobs.

So she was disappointed with him, but he knew there had to be something more. She wouldn’t be having these nightmares about her past without a valid reason. He shifted his weight slightly and leaned on his staff, wondering what the reason could possibly be. Myotismon and his Mega and Master level Digivolutions — VenomMyotismon and MaloMyotismon — had well and truly been deleted.

Wizardmon began thinking about the recent spate of Deva attacks and quickly came to one solid answer. His ally was feeling inadequate because she hadn’t yet reached the Master level! That had to be the reason... but then, how did that connect to her nightmares? Then he realized — Myotismon had always made Gatomon feel worthless, like she was a piece of dung someone had stepped in. The fact that she felt she was inadequate and worthless was the true reason she held back; she wanted to reach the Master level, but felt it wasn’t her right.

“I understand your pain, Gatomon,” the elf said softly, putting a gloved hand under her chin and raising it so that their eyes met.

“You’re just saying that,” she growled. However, she did not jerk her head away from his touch. Part of her knew he understood, but she wanted him to continue.

“No, I really do understand what it’s like to be filled with a longing to reach the next level. I’d never Digivolved to the Ultimate level before, even though it was only a one-time thing. Being FangHexmon was so different for me-”

“For me, too,” Gatomon whispered.

“You long to reach the Master level, yet you feel you’re unworthy of the right. Even five years on, Myotismon-” His emerald green eyes narrowed slightly when Gatomon shuddered at the mention of Myotismon’s name. “-still has you feeling inadequate. You’re your own Digimon, now, Gatomon. You need to destroy the evil memories that he’s left behind.”

Gatomon was about to reply, when her purple-tipped ears twitched and swivelled backwards. “What was that?” she half snapped, turning and looking behind her. Wizardmon peered around as well and was going to say something, before he saw something black in a gap of a shrub.

“Show yourself!” he demanded, pointing his staff at the bush. He also took a step to the side, to protect Gatomon. Only half complying with the order, half an Agumon’s snout poked itself out of the foliage; it wasn’t the normal orange colour, though. This Agumon was black. “Gatomon, warn the others! This BlackAgumon’s aura isn’t normal!”

Fuyu
January 18th, 2011, 10:03 AM
There are at least three references to various media in this chapter. Two are really obvious.

Chapter 17: The Unchosen One

Gatomon suddenly burst through the clearing. Her face was frantic. “Wizardmon and I saw something following us! We need to hurry and catch him.” Without hesitation, the other Digidestined bolted after the feline, who had already dashed away.

As the others vanished, Kiri glanced at Gennai and laughed. “Kind of makes you feel left out right?”

Gennai snorted. He found it ironic that Kiri, who had probably suffered some of the worst pain from this due to him, was the one to despise him the least. “You would know wouldn’t you, child of metal?”

The young woman shrugged, smiling softly as her partner awoke and moved to her head. “They’re children of summer, even those who have lost. And winter is coming.”

He arched an eyebrow. “You’ve read Martin?”

“All of us have. Relena showed it to us a while back. A Feast of Crows should be out soon, hopefully.” She sighed. “I wonder if we’ll live long enough to read it, in this adult game played by children.”

“Remember: the enemy’s gate is down,” Gennai quoted.

Kiriko laughed again. “Bean’s right. It is down. Just like the bottom of a cliff.”

“That’s where your brother got that philosophy of his, isn’t it?”

She nodded. “He told us and we believed it. Only…” She turned toward the nearby TV, which had begun to glow. “He didn’t tell us there was more than one way to destroy an enemy. There are worse yet better ways.” Kiri started walking toward the light.

“And what is the worst?”

She turned back from where she was walking. “To make them your comrade.” She joined her friends.

They had not changed, not completely. There was a power in them now, power that she had seen dormant in them once. A part of her heart was happy. They could truly protect one another like this. Luca’s eyes, once dark with Chaos and pain, had lightened, becoming flecked with grey. It had been a year since she had seen Relena. She was only a bit taller. Kiri knew she would be a petite thing, perfect for her. For a few minutes, the four stared at one another, not sure how to break this spiritual barrier. Kiri knew how she must look: tired, powerful, sad, and lonely. Like a leader overburdened.

It was Sean, their fiercest one, who broke it. He ran to her side, green eyes alive with a relief and joy she knew from four years before. He wrapped his arms around her gently and shook all over her, reminding her of a leaf trapped to a tree branch.

“Do you think I’m a glass figure?” she quipped softly, reaching up to yank at a tangle in his hair.

“Sometimes,” he answered honestly. Kiri laughed.

“At least one of us worries. I missed you Joker.” He pulled away to look at her.

“Don’t you ever, ever freak me out like that again,” he ordered. “Or I swear I will hunt you down and burn you at the stake. You understand?”

“Of course, dear brother.”

The male grinned. “A promise made in blood then sweet sister?”

“Why yes.”

“Good enough.” Sean disentangled himself from his friend, only for Luca to tackle her, an old pastime. He chuckled. Kiri smiled gently, stroking the other boy’s messy blond hair. “Someone’s forgotten how to use a hairbrush,” she teased. Luca flushed shyly.

“But I like my bedhead,” he whined playfully.

“I like it too. It just looks funny.” Luca giggled helplessly. The blond girl went to her friend’s side. Kiri smiled at her teasingly. “Our Relena is as beautiful as always.”

The girl flushed and rolled her eyes. “Must you always say that?”

“If only to see you red as a cherry, yes.”

“…Witch.” You know how I feel.

“That’s the best compliment you’ve ever given me.” And you know how I am. The pair laughed and Relena reluctantly turned to Gennai.

She bowed her head in a gesture of politeness. “Hello Gennai.”

Gennai nodded stiffly. “It’s been a long time.”

Another voice came from the blond female’s lips, this snide and dark. “Spare the pleasantries. We both know you can’t stand either of us. Honestly the feeling’s mutual but I’m sure you know that.” She snickered. “Unless you’ve gone that senile.”

Gennai held back a growl. “Glad to see you too…Triesta.” He spat the name like a curse.

Triesta laughed, turning Relena’s blue eyes violet. “Ain’t this a chipper reunion? Four people whose lives you screwed up and a traitor make an awesome party right?” Sean snickered.

“Any particular reason you’ve come to the Digital World today?”

Triesta waved airily. “Aside from saving your worthless ass and seeing my good buddy with her new upgrade, not really.”

“That could have been repaired over time.”

“Time’s somethin’ we don’t have, imbecile.” She walked up to him and placed a hand over his chest. Triesta scowled. “Time’s somethin’ you shouldn’t have, you bastard.” A ring formed around her wrist. “Let’s fix that.” Her scowl twisted into a sinister smile. “Overwrite.”

Gennai felt his body beginning to fade. He was dying.



The Digi-Destined came back in dribs and drabs, but Tai immediately stopped them when he splayed his arms. "What the hell are you doing to Gennai?!" Blair yelled.

Triesta turned and a dark expression burned her features. “Well damn,” she sneered. “There are bugs still here? Don't interfere!” She raised a hand and closed it. A barrier formed, blocking them from continuing.

"You...!" Blair stopped herself.

"Let us out of here!" Jack declared.

"Why, so you can stop me?" she sneered. "Please. Do amuse me further."

Kiri sighed. "Triesta, sometimes you're worse than Sean."

"Only sometimes," chirped the pyro, who flicked his lighter.

"What did Gennai do you to anyway, Triesta?" Jonathan asked.



Blair moved backwards when she saw the lighter, and Wizardmon moved forward to stand in front of her. He would protect her at any cost, but hopefully what happened five years ago wouldn't happen again.

Gennai glared weakly at Triesta, who wasn't looking at him. "Don't you dare..." he hissed, both from pain and fury.

Triesta snorted at him. "As if I would tell them anything," she muttered out of the corner of her mouth. Raising her voice, she snapped, "It matters to you, brat?"

Kiri rolled her eyes. "Joker enough. I know you're anxious. Settle."

Sean glanced up and saw Blair's fear. He sighed and turned it off. "She just loves ruining my fun," he muttered, pouting.

"You're such a child."

"Yeah, so?"

"Nothing."

"You aren't the only Digi-Destined, you know!" Gatomon spat.

Wizardmon looked at her. How brave she is...

Triesta looked at her. She laughed and laughed and pulled her hand away from Gennai. "No **** kitty. I know! Oh, don't I know!" Her laughter sounded near sobs, maddened. "Have you met Siara yet? She's the same."

The name stirred within Kari. Siara? That voice from before?

"Triesta, you dare..." Gennai rasped. He had to force himself to recover. Gods it hurt.

"Don't you talk to me about daring traitor?" she snapped. "You have no goddamned right!"

"You aren't meant to speak of it!" he snapped at her.

"What's she not meant to speak of?" Wizardmon asked suspiciously. Gennai did not reply, looking furious.

“Shall I say it then?” Kiri asked softly, lowering Luca from her embrace. The boy peered out at them all, blue eyes burning. “Shall I speak the words you deny Gennai? Shall I speak of something none before us know? Shall I speak of the beginning, of fifty human years ago, when it all changed?”

Gennai scowled. “Are you willing to go back on your vow?”

Triesta glared cruelly. “You made a vow to a doll, guardian, not a girl or a sword, as what she is. No promise was made.” You’re one to talk about keeping vows.

“She does not even know of it.”

Luca snarled sharply, reminiscent of a young lion. “We know of it.” And Gennai looked at the little boy, whose glare seemed much less human than ever. Don't look at me with those eyes, accusing, hateful things they are. “We saw. All those years ago, we saw everything. You lied to them, you lied to each of the past groups. We know their names, and we know their power, and you denied them their right!”

Gennai held back fear. “I ought to have withheld it from you,” he said coldly. “You have become a beastling.”

Sean laughed coldly. “You finally got something right, you stinking old bastard! That's what he is, ain't it? That's what you turned him into right? What did you expect; partnering him with a wild Digimon like that? You made him just like him.” Gennai flinched almost unnoticeably.

The elder forced himself to not reply. “You couldn't possibly have seen it, not even with her,” he glowered at Triesta, who glared behind Relena's calm azure stare, it having faded from the cool violet. “guidance.”

Sean clapped his hands. “And again, you wow us all,” he quipped. “And yet,”

“You understand nothing,” Kiriko finished, placing her hands to her chest. Luca stepped back and silver light pulsed, ever so gently.

Gennai moved forward. “Don't you-!” Luca tackled him, knocking him away.

“Don't interfere!” the boy snapped, Liollmon ready to pounce.

“Yes, Yggdrasil knows you have done enough of that,” the pyromanic chirped, watching as the light grew. As he watched, Dorumon’s eyes widened in awe. He had never seen this before.

Kiri gasped softly, and the light flew away from her, coalescing into a black diamond hovering just above her hands.

“What is that?” Tai gasped, hands still resting on the invisible barrier. It felt so inviting, like he knew it and wanted to hold it himself.

Kiri smiled warmly. “It's the core of the Catal Unit. It is the core of the worlds itself.” She sighed gently and brought it closer to her chest again. “It's so warm,” she breathed, grey eyes alive with ecstasy. “So warm and close, it holds everything yet nothing at all.”

“Wait, you just said you didn't have it,” Matt twitched. This girl was truly pissing him off.

“She doesn't. Not fully.” Gennai forced the boy off and returned to his feet. “Why the Sovereign sealed such a precious thing into humans, I'll never know.”

“Well, the last keepers were Digimon,” an oddly cheerful voice said from the edge of the clearing. Jonathan turned. That voice...

A black-haired young male made his way into view. He was dressed like a college student and his face was lit up with a smile. His body shimmered lightly, engulfed in an aura of grey. The man laughed. “Considering what happened the first time, it's no surprise they tried something else.” He winked at Kiri. “Isn't that right little sister?”

The core sank back into her body quickly but Kiri didn't even notice. Her eyes filled with tears. “Nii-chan...?”

He spread his arms. “I missed you.”

“Akira-nii!” She tackled him, causing him to stumble back and laugh. He hugged her tight, still smiling. Luca went over and the man reached for him, ruffling his hair.
“Just like six years ago, sweet sister,” he said softly, stroking her hair. “Except you've grown up and you're speaking again. I missed that smile of yours.” Kiri said nothing, merely cried happily as she pulled away from him. He turned his grey gaze to Luca. “I knew you were actually a lion cub! The doctors messed up the birth records!” Luca gave a playful growl and Akira laughed. “More feral than a street cat,” he muttered, looking over at the others, who were still frozen with surprise. He grinned. “I say shock is an understatement, neh child Princess?” Relena flushed shyly, remembering the name. He walked away from his sister and poked her gently on the forehead. “You're missing your crown.”

“...I dropped it,” she mumbled, lowering her head. Triesta had drawn back completely, too happy for anything to be done. Akira gently cupped her chin in his face and lifted it.

“Stand up straight and proud for all to see,” he commanded. “You are a Princess, soon to be a Queen. Show what you are and don't hide from it. You are unchosen, but more fit to protect than any other.” She smiled bashfully at the praise and stood up straight.

What is he doing? Jonathan thought confusedly. He's just talking to them but they look so … happy.

Akira moved over to Sean and gave him a grin. “You're Sean aren't you?” He winked slyly and the boy felt a familiar chill in his heart.

Sean's face burned with surprise. “Y-You know me?”

Akira's smile widened warmly. “Of course! Kiri wrote to you a lot. I saw her letters. She cares for and respects you a lot.” The green-eyed boy turned utterly still. He shook slightly. He appeared to have been shocked into pure disbelief. Helpless, he turned to his best friend, who merely smiled tearfully and nodded. Sean jolted as Akira mussed his hair playfully. “Nice to finally meet you and welcome to the family! Glad to have you with us!”

A very different smile made its way to Sean's face, lighting him up completely. “Thank you.” The black-haired male nodded, reunion done, gaze turning cool as ice. He looked over at Gennai.

The guardian returned the stare, forcing indifference. “It seems you've discovered a new ability.”

Akira laughed calmly and shook his head no. “More like the gate is still in tatters and even a spirit can step through.” He sighed. “I don't have long though. My heart can only take so much.”

“So...” Gennai began slowly. “Why are you here then?”

Akira shrugged complacently. “Because everything's falling apart and it won't be hidden for much longer.” He glanced at Kari. “You can feel it right? Something's breaking in your heart right?” Kari froze. She wasn't quite sure how to respond. He seemed to take that as an answer though, shaking his head solemnly. “Thought so. It's painful, huh?” Slowly, Kari nodded, looking incredibly unsettled. Akira grinned. “Sorry, I have a bad habit of understanding people. Talia always tells me not to pry so much. I can't help it though.”

“Nii-chan's babbling,” Kiri muttered good-naturedly and her brother laughed.

“Good. The mood feels better that way.” He moved toward his sister and placed a hand on her chest. “Call it out again, sister.”

She blinked and nodded, placing her hands back over her chest. The diamond floated out again, spinning slowly. Akira examined it and nodded.

“It's bound to you alright. They will have to kill you to take it out and even then...” Kiri shuddered painfully and Akira patted her on the head. “Sorry. I know it hurts. Considering it's the only thing keeping you alive, it's only natural. Relax now.” It returned a second time and Kiri coughed. Akira looked back up at Gennai.

“Ya know,” he began conversationally. “This is the only thing I can't blame you for, except for not knowing. The Catal Unit being sealed in her was Fanglongmon's idea. Of course that going meant she would have been summoned eight years ago instead of six or now and been probably the youngest there.” Akira grinned. “I would have definitely hunted you down and ripped out your entrails if that happened.”

Gennai, despite the impossibility of the threat, couldn't help but pale. “You are a very protective boy.”

“You touch any of my precious people and I destroy you,” Akira replied with a calm shrug. “Or I let Triesta do it. It depends on what you did.”

“Don't tempt me,” Triesta muttered derisively. Sean cackled.

“Now now,” he cracked. “Cold-blooded murder is impolite to the peanut gallery.”

She snorted. “Like it's stopped you Joker.”

Sean laughed wilder. “True.” Did anything stop me back then?



The dragon’s roars tore the sky asunder and the ocean rippled wildly in reaction. His heart burned with pain, a spiritual agony. His enemy was there. The one who betrayed them all was nearby. He wanted to go to him, but his body burned. He ignored the burning. It wasn’t meant for dragons to feel. He lifted himself into the air and soared. The only thought that entered his mind was death, and causing as much as possible.



Cyberdramon’s roars made the air tremble. Luca clapped his hands to his ears. Liollmon snarled wildly.

“It's alright everyone,” Kiriko's voice was calm, soothing. “Watch now. Viximon.” The digimon leapt down and digivolved to Youkomon. Jonathan froze at the sight of the memory card in the teen's hand.

“How on Earth did you find that?” he asked, dumbstruck.

“It was in the Dark Ocean when I got there,” she replied cheerily. “It's called the Core Awakener. Simple name right? Now then,” She flipped it between her fingers. “You ready Youkomon?”

“Of course.”

“Wait! There's no way you can-” Sean cut him off.

“Just because your heart's uncertain doesn't mean hers is. Go for it Kiriko.” He grinned mischievously. “Show them the power of steel.”

“If you insist Joker. Awaken Steel Reaper.” She inserted it into the slot and Youkomon digivolved. Doumon leapt to the sky. “Doumon, drive him away!”

“You're not going to kill him?” Sean asked, testing her words.

“No,” she replied, closing her eyes. “That is likely impossible at this point.” And unnecessary. Akira smiled warmly. She knew. Sean raised an eyebrow, looked between human and digimon, and nodded. He figured it out.

“Damn it why aren't they doing anything?” Davis shouted.

“Hey drop this thing?” Matt yelled at Triesta. “That digimon's gonna die! We need to stop that thing!”

She glared at him. “Have ye so little faith boy? It will be fine.”

“I'm surprised you aren't going for the killing blow,” Gennai noted, speaking to Triesta in an undertone. “That was always your style.”

She snorted. “Yeah, now if only it had been your head back then. Would have saved us a lot of trouble.” Would have saved us all in truth. What’s another life?

“He would still be dead,” Triesta shivered.

“Yeah, we knew that. You didn't.” Gennai raised an eyebrow.

“I'm surprised you remember.”

Her eyes widened spitefully.“I'm surprised you actually are pretending to give a damn.” Gennai felt the beginnings of a headache. Why is she always like this?

Luca looked between them. “You guys are behaving,” he noted, smiling. “How long will this last?”

Triesta shrugged. “As long as it takes for this stupid virus to corrode,” she replied, glancing at the gate they had gone through.

“It isn't done?” The man inquired. That was something to be amused about.

Of course, Triesta was prickly. “Not unless you want the brats to get warped to another place ya idjit!” Gennai glanced at the other children on their side, who were watching in scary silence.

“How on earth did you bring them through?”

“I may be inside a human body but I still have my own powers and hers as well. It doesn't take that much effort for just us.”

“You don't belong in that body.” She laughed

“Oh I know. And doesn't it just piss you off every time you see me here?”

“She doesn't belong here at all. She is not a Digi-Destined.”

Triesta's eyes narrowed. “Would you like me to finish the job?” she hissed, the data ring forming around her hands. Once again, Gennai remembered just how much Triesta hated her choices being frowned upon. He couldn't really blame her, considering what had happened the last time they had been ignored. “Continue insulting her you worthless piece of trash. Just keep going.”

“You would kill me wouldn't you?” Do I need a medal to prove how obvious that was?

“You know me Gennai.” She spat his name. “There is very little I wouldn't do.” Not anymore, with her gone.

“Leave it Tri,” Akira ordered. “It's not worth the energy loss.” She obeyed, the ring dissipating. Gennai raised an eyebrow.

“You're actually defending me.”

The twenty year old shrugged and tuned to watch the battle. “I agree with Kiri. There's no need for this right now, when you're a valuable asset. Now later, when we're at least somewhat in the clear, meh, you're her chew toy.”

The man sighed. “So nice to know you care.”

Akira laughed. “You have to admit Ukko you do deserve this; at least a little.”

The guardian froze. “...You know about it?”

Akira raised an eyebrow. “Who do you think learned of it first?”

“How did you find out?”

He smirked. “I'm not going to tell you.”

“You do always keep secrets.” Gennai sighed. I'm so much better yes. “But you're right. I do probably deserve the treatment I'm getting.”

“The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one,” the spirit said cheerfully. Gennai couldn't hold back a laugh. He remembered why this boy had been the leader over the others now. If nothing else, he was always good at making things better.

Suddenly Viximon fell into her partner's arms as Cyberdramon vanished again. Kiri caught her carefully and smiled.

“Excellent work,” she murmured softly, but loud enough for another to catch. Davis glared.

“How the hell can you say that so easily?” he roared at her. Kiriko didn't glance over, focused on stroking her partner's fur. “That guy tried to kill Tai, Blair, and Kari, and threatened to kill us all! You were the closest to killing him and stopping him yet you didn't take it! Why?”

“Davis, back off,” Willis said quietly. “She knows what she's doing.”

“How would you know?” Jonathan asked suspiciously. “You've never spoken to Kiri.”

“And you know that how, you little stalker,” Lopmon muttered darkly. Willis sighed, unsure of how to answer.

“It's none of your business.” Catherine kept her tone cool and even, a miracle considering how much she trembled. “Just because you don't give people second chances doesn't mean we have to be so stiff.” After she said that, she covered her mouth, clearly not meaning to say that.

Terriermon whistled, impressed. “I knew we'd rub off on you.”

Outside, Sean whispered in Kiri's ear. “You know, and people say we're the ones with bad interpersonal skills. They're supposed to be allies.”

“Allies doesn't mean they get along. Besides you know we have a habit of breaking things.”

“Yes beyond repair at times. What even happened with those two? Obviously they know something.” She whispered in his ear and he grinned widely. “You converted them you little witch. I ought to burn you at the stake now.”

“We don't have any firewood.” Sean cackled madly.

“We have a bunch of trees. I'm sure at least one will make a good blaze.”

“We may not have to,” Luca chirped. “That one with the goggles looks like he's about to set the ground on fire.”

“Ooh, cool!”

Akira laughed. “How have you guys survived with each other?”

“With Lady Ferro whipping our backsides to behave.”

Akira laughed and shivered at the same time. “Oh isn't she good at that?”

“Eerily so.”

“So glad to know I'm not the only one scared shitless by her.”

“Anybody with sense is scared shitless by her,” Sean stated seriously. As one, all of the children outside of the barrier shuddered. Gennai raised an eyebrow and frowned.

“Their grandmother's that terrifying?”

Triesta gave him a look of amusement. “If something scares me, then yes.” Gennai thought about that and found himself suppressing a trickle of fear.

“Well I'm certain to hope to never meet her in a dark alley.”

“We train under her, so that idea's never gonna work,” Kiri remarked.

The guardian sighed. “That... explains a lot.”

“Funny how that works right?”

“I don't know what's stranger,” Luca chirped abruptly. “All of us aren't trying to kill you or that you actually agree with Triesta.”

Akira leaned down and whispered, “Best not to think too hard about it, kay buddy?”



His master had lied, hadn't he? He wasn't strong, he was no savior. The Digital World would fall apart no matter all of his efforts. He need power more of it. The darknee, he had to draw upon it. To save this world, he would do whatever it took.

The power sang through him, yet never had it felt more pained than now. What am I doing to myself? What is the truth anymore?



“Triesta,” Akira muttered after a moment, sounding tired. His hand was over his chest, and his expression was strained. “Release them. I think I'm almost out of time.” The invisible barrier vanished, Triesta looking disgruntled.

“I was enjoying their faces behind glass...looked like annoying bugs...”

Kiri snorted. “I thought the Dark Spore was supposed to give me the superiority complex...”

Sean groaned at that. “As if we weren't screwed up enough...”

Gennai pointedly ignored that. “You know Triesta thinks herself God.”

Triesta pouted.“I do not. We've met God remember? Remarkably nice kind of boy... girl... whatever you call Norn these days... you were the one messing with time anyhow.”

“...Can we just drop the subject?”

“You'll have to talk about it eventually.”

“Oh and you'll be unbiased.”

“Do you want Kiri to show them instead? The Catal Unit doesn't give a damn about sides you know?”

“Like they'd understand it.”

Sean shrugged. “They wouldn't. We could help.” Gennai snorted.

“By help, you mean what exactly?”

Luca laughed. “Take a guess.”

“You are the harshest Digidestined I've ever met.”

The eleven year old shrugged, violet light flickering around his hands. “Chaos and power aren't kind teachers.”

“I suppose they wouldn't be.”

As the others prepared to move toward them, Akira raised a hand. “No, remain over there if you would be so kind. A few of you look prepared to hurt my sister. And I...” He smiled maniacally. “Won't let anyone do that while I'm standing here. That goes for all of them. Even without a body, right now I bet I could do it.” He gestured toward the port. “The Gate is almost open. Soon you will be able to go home.”

“How the hell did you fix the Gate?” Tai asked, impressed despite the fear the threat had given him.

Akira shook his head.“Relena did, not me. I can't do stuff like that. I'm way too ordinary.”

Kiri giggled. “Ordinary? You?”

He looked sheepish. “Got me there. Anyway...” He glanced at Jonathan. “Do you recognize me? Or are you still caught in the bog?”

“You spoke to me back then... didn't you?” His answer was slow, almost uncertain.

The man grinned. “That's right. I told you to lead didn't I? Do you think you're doing your best? Do you think you can make everything all better? Tell me. I want your opinion, not what you think I want to hear.”

"You're Akira? Um, I'm probably not doing my best, but it's been hard given past circumstances. I know I can do better, so I hope to receive a second chance," Jonathan replied.

Akira frowned. "A second chance? Why? You haven't even lost your first yet!" Akira gave an encouraging grin. "Until you've done your best and lost, there's nothing to warrant needing one of those.”

Jonathan didn't know what to say; Akira Ryutori had encouraged him... he wasn't used to being encouraged by people who weren't family. He straightened his posture. "Thanks very much, Akira."

The grin widened. "No problem. It's what I do best you know?" He let out a sudden groan of pain. "Ah damn, should've thought it was too good to last. One last thing before I fly." His gaze hardened. "Be wary, Ogudomon is coming. And his target is all of you."

"Ogudomon?" Jack asked.

"Who the hell's that?" Blair snapped.

Akira paled and turned to glare at Gennai. "You seriously didn't tell them?"

Kiri sighed. "Nii-chan he doesn't talk about anything. That's why we've been having so much trouble."

Akira sighed. "You really do guard every damn secret huh?" Before Gennai could reply in kind he turned. "He's the master of Lucemon, the highest of the Demon Lords, the one you truly have to fight."

The Digi-Destined blanched and looked at each other, wondering what was going to happen to them. There go my holidays, Jonathan grumbled mentally.

Akira smirked. His form was fading by the edges, blurring them. "Ah don't look so scared," he exclaimed. "Well actually ya should, because you're walking into war. There's no changing that fact. But... a weak spirit will get you killed before you fight. So you focus and you fight, and you don't give in. Because if you lose, the world's doomed and you'll die." He laughed. "No pressure right?"

Blair laughed sarcastically.

Akira smirked. "Good luck then." He turned. "Kiriko! Relena!"

"Yep?"

He smirked. "Now."

Kiri held up her D-Core. "Digi-port open!" The gate shined.

Blair raised an eyebrow and almost instantly, all of the Digi-Destined lifted their Digivices. In no time at all, they left the Digital World.

Kiri and Relena remained. She turned from the light for a moment. "G'bye Nii-chan,” Kiri said softly. "I'll see you soon right?"

"Soon as you guys finish up yeah," her brother replied.

She smiled childishly. "I can't wait! See you later!" She took Relena's hand and disappeared. Akira laughed.

"Still got a bit of yourself left huh? Thank God. NEO scares the living crap out of me..."

Gennai glanced at him. “You're afraid of him? You fear the future?”

Akira rolled his eyes. “Wouldn't you be afraid of losing the only family you've got left?” He laughed bitterly. “No I guess you wouldn't, considering...” He vanished.

Gennai watched him fade away then sighed. “Why do they have to know so much? As if they didn't hate me enough for what I had to do to them.” He disappeared.

...

A young woman with black hair stood outside the Digiport. She stepped back at the sight of the light. When they all appeared, she clapped her hands lightly. "I'm glad you're all alright," she began before noticing Izzy. "Oh!" She hurried to his side. "Come with me now," she commanded gently, and led him away.

Watching them go, Sean grinned, "What a great welcome home." He waved at them, tearing away. "See ya'll later!" He ran off. Kiri sighed.

"He's gonna hit a tree again I'm sure. After the dumbass." Luca ran ahead, laughing gleefully and childishly. Kiri waved at the mass. "Bye." Taking Relena by the wrist, the girls vanished.

Legendarian Mistress
January 24th, 2011, 03:30 PM
A/N: 18-32 is the saga known as “Dimmed Glow”.

Chapter 18: Creeping Light

A tall Digimon — once an angel, now a devil — knelt in front of the dark Digimon. “What is it that you want, my lord?”

“... It is not what I want this time. It is what you want that interests me.”

“I want to strike fear into the heart of the Takaishi boy again,” the Digimon answered.

“... Is that all? A simple thing. ... Go then. You may do as you wish.”

The former angel turned to leave and reached the entrance way, before half facing his leader. “Sinduramon is waiting outside, sire. I’ll send him in?”

“... Yes, of course.”

*****

I’m glad to be back in school, Jonathan reflected warmly as he went to his seat in the middle row. Even if it interferes with saving the Digital World, it’s good to be back to a semi-normal routine again. His classmates piled inside. A few smiled at him and asked questions for a few minutes. They were mostly about where he was, so he easily deflected them. As the bell rang, he stood up with the others and bowed. Sitting back down, he hoped he could keep up, considering how much he missed. The teacher, strangely, did not start the lesson. Instead, he turned toward the open door and gestured inside. A new student this late in the semester?

He gaped at the student walking inside. It was Relena, wearing the girl’s uniform as though she had been all her life. Her blonde hair was tied up in a ponytail. She smiled shyly and looked at the floor. Why the hell is she in my class?

“This is Relena Solidad. She’s transferred here from America.”

She bowed low. “Um... it’s nice to meet everyone. I’m just going to be here for a little while, but- but I hope we can get along.”

“Nice to meet you,” the class chorused.

“Hey,” one of his classmates asked. He thought it was Tanaka. “Why’d you move here from America so late?”

Relena gave another soft smile. “Well, Ferro-san’s family and mine are good friends. But my family’s going through a fair bit of trouble, so they paid to send me here while everything recovers.” Jonathan looked up the rows to see that very girl, Sanako, smiling at the one up front. “I’m staying with them for a while.”

Jonathan narrowed his eyes as she sat in the row behind him. Just what is she after?

He found her during break sitting against a tree. She looked up from the manga she was reading and smiled. “Hello Jonathan,” she greeted politely.

“Spare me,” he snapped. He remembered all too well what she had done to Gennai and all of her weird statements didn’t help put her in his good books either. “What are you doing here?”

“The same as you,” she replied calmly, shutting the paperback. “I need an education too.”

“You seemed to much better off outside of school.”

“This is a lot more normal in appearance. Besides, I need something to keep me occupied during the day.”

“What are you after?”

She scowled slightly, looking put out. “Why do your kind always assume there’s an ulterior motive?”

“Because you are after something.”

“Not for everything. I’m here to make sure I continue my education and also this area is where almost all the necessary Digi-Destined are. The few that aren’t are easy to locate.”

“How on Earth are you in my class? Last I checked, you’re younger than I am.”

“I study quite hard for someone my age. Not to mention,” she gave a sad laugh. “Age isn’t everything.” She looked over and waved. “Ah, Sanako-chan!” Jonathan turned to see the brunette running over.

“Hi Relena-chan!” the girl called.

Jonathan turned back and hissed. “You staying with her could put her in danger, you know that? She doesn’t know anything about the Digital World.”

Sanako had managed to hear that last bit as she walked up. “Jonathan, you know about the Digital World?”

Jonathan stared openly. “Wait, you do?” Sanako had always been a bit of a ditz so he figured she really didn't pay attention too much.

She nodded. “Mm. My siblings disappeared six years back because of it. I helped them out. I didn’t help as much as Kiri-chan, but I helped.”

Relena shook her head. “Sanako-chan did just as much as the rest of us did.”

“So you guys...” Jonathan felt the words die in his throat. This was a lot to take in.

“Hey,” a random voice called. “Is there a party going on around here?” A redhead was strolling over. Her hazel eyes glinted cheerily. “Mind if I join?” she asked merrily as she stopped next to him.

“Hi Melissa!” Relena smiled happily and Sanako quickly bowed.

“Who are you?” Jonathan asked, accidentally sounding rude. Melissa turned and grinned. The look seemed familiar.

“Well, that’s just how you ask a question,” she snickered. She looked him up and down. “Wait, I recognize you now!” Melissa pointed at him almost dramatically. “You’re that pain in the ass my brother was talking about! I knew your behaviour sounded familiar!”

Jonathan fell over. Is that really how she knows who I am? Wait, brother...

Relena gave him an apologetic look. “Sorry, Melissa does that to everyone. She calls all people a pain in the ass, among other things. I think that one’s supposed to be complimentary.”

Melissa waved her off. “Yeah, yeah I’m a street brat with no manners I know. I’m Melissa.” She grinned wider; a clown’s smile and Jonathan froze. “I believe you know my little brother, Sean?”

Relena giggled. “I think you guys broke him.”

Jack and Sorcerymon were watching the incident unfold from their position on a tree branch. The nineteen-year-old and his partner nodded at each other, before jumping down. “I think you lot should back off and leave Jonathan alone,” the elder member of Jonathan’s team stated.

Melissa turned and grinned again. “We aren’t doing anything,” she drawled lazily. “This little **** started it with Relena, didn’t she? Sanako-chan here just came to talk to Relena. If you wanna tell someone to piss off, tell him.”

“Oh come on, Melissa,” Relena began nervously, switching languages. “Triesta did kind of go overboard the other day. It’s only natural he’d be suspicious.”

“Yeah, and your point?” Melissa asked coolly, following her lead. “Honestly Relena, I know you don’t like this sort of thing, but really? From the way Sean was talking, this is their normal behaviour; jumping down people’s throats and accusing them of murdering their mothers. I usually don’t believe it when Sean says crap like that. Now, I’mma thinkin’ he may’ve been onto summat.”

Jonathan turned to Jack. “How’s Izzy going with Mina?” he asked. After their return to the real world, Mina — the Indian-born Digi-Destined — had been waiting for them; but more specifically, Izzy. Upon the teams dispersing, Mina had walked off with Izzy, letting her companions know that Izzy needed rest.

Jack shrugged. “I don’t know,” he answered quietly. Lowering his voice to a mere whisper, he added: “Every time I try to see if he’s alright, Kabuterimon appears in a threatening way.”

Jonathan sighed. “We’ll have to give him more time, I guess. But they could be attacked any minute. How can we keep an eye on them if he doesn’t come back?”

Sanako looked between the two conversations and whined: “Why can’t you guys pretend to get along?”

Melissa sighed dramatically and returned to speaking Japanese. “It’s the cultural differences! Alas! I am a poor girl from the slums and they are rich and well-off men! I am nothing but dirt under their shoes!” Relena giggled again, this time a bit helplessly. She was flicked on the nose. “Don’t look so innocent, you rich little princess! You are higher than us all, a woman among *****s!” This got Sanako cracking up.

“That’s terrible, Melissa!” Relena mumbled, cheeks turning red.

Melissa tsked. “Ah, but it’s true. You could rule the world if you chose.” She smiled slyly and spoke the last part for both boys to hear. “The Digital World that is. If you wanted, you could destroy it and rewrite it at will. You could delete partners for good, recreate the past. All data is yours to play with, princess among rats.”

“Sure, like we’d do that!” Jack snapped. “That’s exactly what Ken threatened to do when he was still the Digimon Emperor!”

“We aren’t like that, so why would you even think we’d consider doing that?!” Jonathan also cracked. “In case you don’t remember, Ken reformed and even sealed Daemon in the Dark Ocean! I don’t see any of you being Digi-Destined in the near future, let alone being able to fight off a Mega level Digimon!”

Melissa cocked her head. “Who said anything about you, morons? I was talking about Relena. If she really wanted, she could turn your Digimon to code where they stood and prevent them from ever returning.”

Sanako gave them a sad smile. “Who wants to be a Digi-Destined? I could’ve died without being one. My Nii-chan and Nee-chan are gone because of that. And I got off lucky with that.”

Relena gave them a look of pure hate, twisting her face cruelly. Melissa noticed. “Whoa girl, ease up. They don’t get it. Triesta, you stay out of it.”

But neither side heard. “How dare you?” Triesta snarled. “How dare you insult the one I personally chose?” Relena's body began to shine lightly, data rings glowing around her fingertips. “Because the Sovereigns and Guardians chose you and gave you Digimon, you think yourself better? Have you beaten a Mega level yet, brats?” She snarled the word.

“Triesta, leave it!” Melissa said pleadingly, looking alarmed. “Come on now, they’re stupid kids who don’t know everything yet! Relena’s tired, you know! Don’t wear her out any further.”

Triesta ignored her and raised Relena’s left hand. The ring floated away, wrapping itself around Sorcerymon’s chest. “Overwrite!” The ring burst and Sorcerymon screamed, his data beginning to dissolve.

The pair gaped in pure horror, watching as the Digimon began to fade away. “What did you just do?” Jack roared, recovering first and launching himself at her. Melissa caught him firmly by the arm and held him there.

“You idiot, don’t make it worse,” she hissed. “Triesta’s pissed off enough!”

“So what?” he snapped. “She hurt Sorcerymon!”

“And it was your own fault.” Sanako was observing the partner falling apart with a disturbing serenity. “You insulted Relena. Triesta doesn’t like it when people insult her. She hates those who are with Gennai as it is. You brought it upon yourself.”

“Who the hell are you talking about? Who is Triesta?” Jonathan asked.

Melissa groaned. “You mean you don’t know? Triesta’s one of the Higher Beings who’s supposed to choose you little idiots!”

“You mean there’s more than just The Entity?” Jack stopped his charge, watching with great concern as his partner continued to be deleted.

It clicked in Jonathan's mind, however. “Alright, Triesta. We’re sorry.”

Triesta scowled visibly. Relena mentally pulled her away and the glow seemed to die. The blonde looked close to tears. “Repair,” she whispered and the other ring wrapped around Sorcerymon and his data quickly repaired itself. Jack went to his partner’s side, examining him.

Looking up, he observed: “It’s like nothing even happened.”

Relena nodded, looking away. “I’m sorry... Triesta, she’s always, always like that. She hates you, you know. Anybody that has Gennai watching over them, she automatically can’t stand. You saw how she was in the Digital World. If Akira-nii hadn’t stopped her back then, I’m sure she would have used my power to kill him.”

Jack locked eyes with Jonathan and nodded ever so slightly, before walking away with Sorcerymon. The girls watched him disappear, before focusing their stares on Jonathan. “He’s still upset,” the sixteen-year-old explained. “Sorcerymon’s been his partner since he was eleven.”

Relena looked almost bitter. “At least he’s allowed to have one.” She stood up abruptly. "Come on, Sanako-chan, we’ll be late. Bye Melissa.”

Melissa waved as they left before giving Jonathan a cocky smirk. “Jeez man, Sean wasn’t kidding. You guys don’t know what you’re doing at all. What are you fighting for anyway?” She left before he could reply.

*****

Mina’s Rookie level partner, Hawkmon, and Kabuterimon stood guard outside Mina’s family’s holiday home in Odaiba. Izzy had made it quite clear to his partner that he didn’t want anyone disturbing them. The Champion insectoid took the command to heart and patrolled relentlessly with Meramon’s lower form.

Tai was walking up to the door, Sora at his side. He frowned at the sight of a Hawkmon and Kabuterimon guarding it.

“Well, this is awkward. Wanna just barge in?” Tai asked.

“I have a feeling we won’t be able to do that,” she replied, walloping him over the head gently. “Why don’t we talk to the Digimon first?”

“Eh, couldn’t hurt.”

Tai was there because he had thought along the same lines as Jonathan; Izzy couldn’t be protected if he wasn’t part of the team. And Sora was there to support both Izzy and Mina.

“Izzy doesn’t want to be disturbed,” Kabuterimon rasped.

“We’re not here to disturb them, we came to support them.” Sora began, keeping her stance as submissive as she could.

The four-armed bug hesitated. He glanced at Tai, who was in the same position, before looking down at Hawkmon. “Should we?”

“Izzy and Mina said not to,” Hawkmon replied stubbornly. “If that’s what they want, then I’m doing just that.”

“B-But they could be attacked?” Tai sputtered.

Hawkmon wasn’t fazed. “Then we will protect them if they are. That’s all there is to it. Now get out of here.”

A dark-skinned head poked itself out of the window. “Hawkmon, wait,” the owner’s soft voice called. The bird Digimon turned to his partner. “They’ve said they’re here to support us, so you may let them in.”

The bird nodded and led them inside, Kabuterimon remaining firm outside. “Oh, Hawkmon?” Tai began.

“Yes?”

“Don’t Digivolve past Champion if you can help it. People will see, you know?”

Hawkmon rolled his eyes. “I’m quite certain if I wasn’t noticed by now, I will be safe. But thank you for the advice.”

“I’m aware this isn’t just a social visit,” Mina said quietly. She walked over to Izzy and sat beside him on the sofa. “Is trouble looming? Is that the real reason why you’re here?”

“Well,” Tai replied slowly. He looked between them. “The enemy told us as he died before we left the Digital World that you two would be hunted next. We’re sure you guys can handle yourselves, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, now more than ever.”

“You don’t have much time left, either,” Agumon’s high-pitched voice piped up. “I have a feeling the enemy will strike in the next couple of days.”

“... I see.” Izzy looked up at them. “Thanks for telling us, you guys. We’ll have to start planning a strategy. I don’t think we’ll be able to run away.”

Sora hid a small smile. She was glad to see Izzy starting to be his old self again.

With their mission partially completed, Tai and Sora left Mina’s holiday home, hearing Mina not-so-quietly whisper to Izzy: "Why don’t we try out Warp DNA Digivolving?”

*****

The chocolate brown-haired girl was giving Blair directions on how to get to Tamachii. Blair was going there in order to attempt to heal Ken from the control of the Dark Spore. “This bus crosses the river; Tamachii’s on the other side. It’s unit three hundred and three,” Kari explained.

“Thanks, Kari. When I return, Ken will be a part of the team again,” Blair answered.

“Good luck. Do your best.”

*****

Jonathan was walking home from High School, with Yolei and Cody. The ten and thirteen-year-olds hurried on, Cody saying something about kendo and Yolei was already fantasizing over Ken — even though he wasn’t back in the team yet. So, by himself, with only Wormmon as company Jonathan walked. He was not expecting to run into another figure.

Relena smiled slowly, blue eyes almost shining in the afternoon light. “Hello again, Jonathan,” she greeted softly, inclining her head towards him and the other two in turn. “We seem to keep meeting up, don’t we?”

“Relena? What is it this time?” he asked cautiously. Wormmon was prepared to Digivolve at a moment’s notice, but Jonathan put one hand out, silently telling him to stand down and wait for further instructions.

She smiled again, blinking slowly. “I should say that to you. You began our conversation the first time and it ended in disaster due to your quick presumption and arrogance. But Triesta did something wrong, so I figured I owed you something.”

“And what would that be?” Wormmon’s voice had a bitter tone to it, as if watching the near deletion of Sorcerymon had been his own demise.

She tilted her head. “Something my friends and I aren’t supposed to give you: information. The facts, cold and simple.”

The Rookie insect looked up at his partner at the same time Jonathan stared down at him. They then glanced at the girl. “We’re listening,” they said in unison.

“And I’m waiting,” she answered coolly. “What do you want to know? I could tell you why you can’t Digivolve any further and how to do it, who Akira travelled with, the true power of the Catal Unit and where it resides, just who you’re up against. I could even tell you who that man is; who you would have nearly had to fight if he hadn’t died.” Relena twirled almost childishly where she stood. “I could tell you about the ones who came before you and how everything known about the Digital World is nothing but lies.” Relena paused, turning her head back to him. “So what’s your first question?”

“Why don’t you tell us the whole story then?” Jonathan stated, before looking around and noticing some wooden seats. “And why don’t we go sit over there?” he added, motioning to them.

She followed him to the seats, still smiling. “If I told you everything, we’d be dead before the week was up. The enemy is not that patient. I think that what should concern you the most though,” she pointed at his heart, “is your lack of power. You are the ones who are told to save the Digital World, yet Kiri, who cares for it merely for her brother’s sake, wields a strength you do not. The leader should not be the strongest, or the weakest. You are lucky you are neither, but you are unlucky you can do nothing.”

“Alright, let’s start with the Digivolution problem,” Jonathan conceded.

Relena’s grin turned bland. “It’s your own fault. Your heart... is uneasy. It cannot make up its mind. Your world falls from underneath your feet and you haven’t found a way to pick up the pieces. Or perhaps, you never had the pieces to begin with.” She gave him a shy, yet piercing stare. “What are you fighting for Jonathan? Why are you still here, fighting for the Digital World? Is there something tying you here, something besides the Digimon? Or do you just want to be a hero?”

“For the first part, is that because I’m unsure of Mimi’s intentions? As for the second part, why would I not fight for the Digital World? It deserves to be saved. I even risked my life for Kiri; not that she or the others thanked me for it... and no, I wasn’t going to make her follow me to death.” He growled the last bit; sure that Kiri would have told Relena the opposite.

Relena, to his surprise, giggled. “You sound like a little kid. You don’t know what Mimi wants from you and that’s what’s troubling you? If that’s all, then it shouldn’t be a problem. And to protect it because it deserves to be saved makes no sense. There’s nothing tying you to it; it would recover, all the worlds would if you gave them time.” She looked up at the sky. “Kiri told me she and the others didn’t thank you. She didn’t think she had to. If you’re on the same team, saving one another is expected, right? Besides, she didn’t need your help to do that. She could’ve killed it herself. I think you did more harm than good, stamping on her pride like that. She seemed more upset about you not trusting her strength, even that early on, than anything else.”

“Oh, so this is just a matter of pride, is it?!” Jonathan snapped. “Sealsdramon could have killed her; sure, Renamon’s powerful... but really, against a knife-wielding mess like Sealsdramon, would she have really stood a chance?! He was targeting her deliberately for whatever inane reason was in his head! Did she tell you that?!”

Wormmon had heard something, even over his partner’s rant. He used his thread to vault up into a tree where, when he looked down and further behind the two humans, he noticed Jack. Worriedly, he jumped back down and tugged at Jonathan’s shirt.

Relena glanced in that direction and still her smile burned. “Yes, she did. She is not so foolish and childishly insolent as you to colour her stories until after the telling. You do not know a word you speak.” Something blazed in her eyes. “When your friend Blair was cowering behind your legs all those years before, she took on a Bakemon by herself and won, with only a wooden blade as her tool. In that emotionless, empty state her heart and mind were in, I was surprised she knew to lift it, let alone attack. With Renamon at her side, she could have killed that Digimon. She would have fought Sealsdramon until she was dead because protecting her comrades, including you, is something she considers worth dying for. Death is nothing to truly fear, not when it haunts your every breath as it does her. When you find that resolve, maybe you’ll understand. Maybe you will grow and evolve.”

“What is it, Worm-” Jonathan began, looking down at his partner when he felt the tug. The Rookie was about to reply, when Jack burst out of the bushes.

“A bird,” Relena sang sweetly. “A little bird has been waiting, ready to sing a song of cold tidings to you, young leader.”

“The hell?” Jonathan said, before having to contend with Jack.

“WHAT THE ****ING HELL ARE YOU DOING MINGLING WITH HER?!” he shouted. “SHE NEARLY DELETED SORCERYMON IN CASE YOU CAN’T REMEMBER!”

“That was Triesta, Jack. Triesta’s controlling-”

“DON’T INTERRUPT! IF I KNEW YOU WERE GONNA BE HANGING OUT WITH THE ENEMY, I’D...” Jack trailed off as he stormed off.

Relena sighed. “Somehow, I feel as though I have been complimented highly.”

Jonathan didn’t know what to make of Jack’s outburst, but turned to Relena and let out a snort of derision. “How do you see that? If it were me, I’d know I’d been insulted.”

Relena giggled. “Kiri, Sean, and I all agreed once that being called an enemy could be the least worst thing to say to somebody. Because enemies are your greatest teachers.”

Jonathan stared at Relena weirdly. This girl just makes no sense whatsoever. Not sure what to say, he simply picked up Wormmon, stood up and walked off towards his home.

Relena waved farewell, calling out: “Don’t forget what I said! If something is worth protecting, you gain strength from it!” She stood up and ran in the opposite direction. “Good luck, Jonathan! I think you’ll need it more than Blair!”

*****

The bus had arrived in Tamachii. Blair got off it and walked up to the complex that housed the Ichijouji apartment. She took the elevator up to level three, where the Ichijoujis lived, with Wizardmon beside her. Exiting the lift, it didn’t take long before she was standing in front of unit three hundred and three.

“You know what to do, don’t you, Wizardmon?” the fourteen-year-old asked. The Digimon nodded.

Blair knocked on the front door. Mrs. Ichijouji opened it. “You’re a friend of Ken’s, aren’t you?” Her voice was soft, welcoming. “It’s a good thing that people continue to visit, despite everything that’s been going on. Would you like to come in?”

“Yes, please, Mrs. Ichijouji.” Blair answered. She entered the apartment, looking around in awe.

The woman saw the wandering gaze and smiled modestly. “It is nothing special. Ken’s room is at the end of this hallway.” She pointed carefully. “Would you like some snacks?”

“Yes, thank you,” the girl replied. Glancing down the hallway, she motioned for her partner to follow. Knocking softly on the door, she waited for a reply.

“Who’s there?” Ken’s quiet, tired voice floated through the door.

Blair and Wizardmon came through, with the teen introducing herself as they did so. “Blair Morgan’s the name. Ken, I’m here to get you back with the team.” She nodded at the elf, who inclined his head in understanding. “This might hurt, but try not to make any noise.”

Ken looked down at her. “You’re a new one then,” he observed quietly. Leafmon uncurled slightly from his arms. He sighed weakly. “What do you intend to do?”

“Freeing you from the control of the Dark Spore is the aim of the game,” Wizardmon responded. His hands began moving in mysterious gestures, reminiscent of the way he had freed Lillymon from Myotismon’s Nightmare Claw.

Ken smiled sadly. “Good luck, then. It’s trying to kill me. I doubt it’ll fall dormant again without a fight.” He felt the pain again, spreading from his neck through his body, full of a cleansing sort of agony. The blackness that pulsed through his veins began to die, even as he gasped for air. Leafmon bounced anxiously; nuzzling his partner’s twitching hand. The little Digimon felt energy beginning to fill his body again. It was warm.

Wizardmon placed his gloved hands together, before spreading them downwards and out. “Leave this boy’s body and be gone for good,” the Champion muttered in an ancient Digital language. He then raised his staff and placed a tip on the back of Ken’s neck, where the Spore had originally been, and then moved it to his throat.

Ken gritted his teeth. “I wouldn’t try that,” he rasped. “It’s fused into my body. You could kill me if you remove it. Sealing it would be more than enough.” He convulsed, feeling the craze inside him rage as it never had. It did not wish to lose, it wanted him gone. Too bad.

“Who said I was removing it?” Wizardmon lightly laughed. “I’m negating it altogether.” He passed the staff over the whole of Ken’s body, and then put the staff back down beside him.

Ken convulsed once more before his eyes slipped shut. For the first time in weeks, the boy looked almost peaceful. Leafmon looked at them kindly. “Thank you,” he squeaked. “You’ve saved us. Now, please let Ken rest. He needs all the energy he can get.”

Blair smiled and Wizardmon raised his hat slightly. “The pleasure’s ours,” they said in unison. Walking out of Ken’s room, Blair made a not-so-subtle hint to Mrs. Ichijouji.

“Sorry to leave so soon, Mrs. Ichijouji, but you might wanna leave those snacks for Ken.” Exiting the apartment, the girl and her partner burst into laughter. “I can just imagine Yolei fawning over Ken,” Blair giggled.

*****

It had just become dusk, when Izzy and Mina exited the house and firmly nodded at their partners.

“Tentomon, Hawkmon, Warp DNA Digivolve to... Mirageburimon!”

The lights combined, and they exploded outward. When the bright flash faded, a new being was there, floating in the sky, giving off a heavenly aura that illuminated the whole street. The body was the size of a normal Mega, and it was easy to see that the new Digimon was a fusion of the Rookies’ Mega forms — HerculesKabuterimon and Magnadramon. The body was covered all over with gold-coloured fur, but it was more lithe and lean than the forms of the Ultimates.

A red bodysuit covered the body from the neck down to the waist, covering the being’s crotch. Pads of golden armour encircled the chest and hips, offering more protection to the body. Around the lean legs of the new Digimon were white holsters; in each holster was a dagger made of blazing gold. The lean, yet muscular arms of the being — which were not covered by the bodysuit, as it had no sleeves — were covered by golden gauntlets around the wrists; these gauntlets had a small slot to the front, obviously for some kind of attack.

Two pairs of wings extended from the back: the upper pair was large, feathery angel’s wings, ten-feet each in length. The lower pair was comprised small, five-feet wings, coated in a gold exoskeleton. The head of the new Digimon was covered by a silver helmet — with a cross-shaped visor — that prevented the entire face from being seen, save for pale blue eyes behind the visor. Two horns, very similar to Magnadramon’s, sprouted upwards from the head; the helmet, of course, had provided for this and there was space. Finally, the being spoke in a voice that sounded like Kabuterimon’s and Meramon’s mixed together.

“So... this is Warp DNA Digivolution?” Mina asked softly. “I’d heard it was possible, but I didn’t think our partners were ready for it. Apparently, I was wrong.”

“You bet you were wrong, Mina!” Mirageburimon crowed. “What a thrill!”

As the Master level Digimon de-Digivolved back to the Rookie level, Mina couldn’t help noticing Mr. Ishida standing in the shadows. I wonder what he’s doing there. She pondered, as she watched him walk away.

Hiroaki Ishida was mulling on his own thoughts as he walked off. Should we tell them Sinead’s team wasn’t the very first Digi-Destined group? Or I do wait and let them find out on their own? He groaned quietly when he realized he didn’t know what to do, in regards to telling the children the real truth.

*****

Davis sighed as DemiVeemon snored loudly further down his bed. Man, my partner sure makes a lot of noise.

Groaning, Davis turned around and closed his eyes tightly, trying to ignore DemiVeemon’s loud snoring. After a few minutes, he finally managed to fall to sleep.

A pair of blue eyes — accompanied by a giant red reptilian body — glared at the boy from within Davis’ mind. Sitting within his own mind was a holographic-like figure — shaped like Davis, no less — glaring at the blue eyes.

Leviamon’s voice emanated from the blue eyes. “So... you are Courage and Friendship’s successor; your heart protects and houses the soul.”

The holographic figure — partially identified as Davis’ soul — glared at Leviamon defiantly. “If you’re planning on corrupting me, you’re going to have a hard time.”

Leviamon chuckled. “I know... you’re undoubtedly more powerful than I thought... that’s why I must weaken you first.”

Images were immediately flashed into Davis’ mind by Leviamon... and thus, they were seen by the soul.

A young, brown-haired boy — no more than five years old — tried to find someone at the school playground to play with. No one would... and the boy walked away the nearby benches, dejected and morose.

“Poor little Davis... always alone as a little boy, never finding anyone to play with. Your life was miserable; your parents were never around to comfort you, and your sister always played with HER friends instead of helping you! You were alone... and you grew up alone...”

“Stop lying!” yelled the holographic figure. “So what if I had a stinky childhood? My life is great now, and I have great friends! How the heck are you getting these images?”

“When I try to corrupt someone’s soul, I have access to their memories... and it’s a helpful tool. And I’m not lying... just continue to watch.”

Now, Davis’ soul was seeing T.K. This was different for a reason... wait, he knew now; it was the time when T.K. had first intruded into his life.

“You were having a fine time until HE came along. He became a wedge between you and your ‘best friend’ ...and you haven’t really gotten over that, have you?”

“Shut up. T.K. was Kari’s old friend, and she just wanted to spend some time with him... that’s all! So stop trying to corrupt me!”

“I’m just saying the truth... after all; remember what happened after the incident of the Dark World a year ago, do you not?”

Davis’ soul grumbled as he remembered the hug Kari and T.K. had shared in the school computer lab over twelve months ago. “So? It was a friendly hug...” With an air of finality, Davis put up a strong mental wall, so he wouldn’t have to hear anymore of Leviamon’s lies.

Leviamon was put off for a second, but chuckled. He declared that he would return when Davis least expected it. With that, he disappeared.

Fuyu
January 28th, 2011, 02:23 PM
This chapter's split in two, so look for the next part sometime next week.


Chapter 19.1: Reality’s Pain

“Oh, well this is a pleasant surprise,” Kiri commented merrily at the sight of the other two. Luca bounced a soccer ball on his head, looking in deep concentration. Frimon was wrapped around Kiri’s neck while Viximon remained loyally in her partner’s arms. Suddenly, he caught it with his heel and kicked it upward, slamming it sideways into the nearby tree. He chased after it, continuing to aim for the middle of the tree trunk. The intensity of the ball hitting wood made the plant shudder.

“Ne Luca are you trying to make a hole in the tree?” his partner asked. Luca shook his head, kicking again, this time leaping to catch it as it bounced off, practicing juggling it with his feet.

“A tournament…” he panted. “-is coming up…. I don’t want to be the reason… we lose.”

“You’ll do fine,” his cousin assured before turning back to the other two Digidestined. “Now what brings you all by? Or is this just an accident?” She hummed softly. “I wonder, I wonder.”

“You shouldn't keep channeling Relena,” Viximon chided good-naturedly. “It’s impolite.”

“We have a habit of doing that to each other. It’s fun at times.” At others, like last night and this morning, not so much. My left hand still hurts.

Blair stared weirdly at Luca's behavior. "Practicing for a soccer game or something?"

"Blair," Jonathan began, looking firmly in his neighbor's direction.

"League game," the boy replied breathlessly, not even looking at the speaker. "I can't... let my friends down... We promised we'd make it... to the finals... It's gonna be fun... Haah!" He kicked it high, it headed straight toward Kiri, who caged it and kicked it back to her cousin.

"Next time, not toward my head," she called.

A young girl watched from the shadows. Her skin was tanned, but not to the point of the tan being a dark shade. She wore a crimson, short-sleeved shirt with yellow three-quarter pants. She wore tough boots colored brown with black soles, but they weren’t monstrously huge. Where's Mimi? the girl wondered, looking around, but failing to see the cerise-haired fifteen-year-old.

Kiri felt a shudder tingle up her spine. She sighed, ignoring it. You know, paranoia would be nice if it wasn't all the damn time. "Wonder what Sean's doing, making his clothes?" she muttered, snorting derisively.

"Oi, you act as though I can't!" The green-eyed boy leapt over the railing. "Sorry, Emma was getting chewed out."

Kiri snickered. "What for now? Flirting? Honestly, she's too shy to date."

"That's what Melissa said. I know we're in that budding stage of life but still..." He saw Jonathan and Blair. "Ah crap, well there went my cheerful visage." He sounded teasing but his eyes made you wonder. "Mornin'. I heard you met my sister. How'd that go for ya?" He gave Jonathan his clown's smile. It seemed more fake than usual.

"Why d'ya wanna know?" Blair snapped.

"It went fine, thanks for asking," Jonathan answered, giving Blair another quelling look.
Still in the shadows, the girl motioned for silence as her partner, a blue-furred bipedal dog appeared. After the dog scoped the group out, he was told by his partner to scout around Odaiba for Mimi.

Sean seemed not to be offended by her tone. "Eh-heh, I bet she freaked you out right? Melissa can do that. That or piss you off. It's where I learned my tricks of the trade." He laughed and turned to Luca. "Oi buddy come on! Masaki is probably waiting for ya! And we've already kept the princess back! Don't ya know it's rude to keep a lady waiting?" Luca stopped practicing, catching his soccer ball in both hands. He rushed to join them.

"Would you like to come along?" Kiri asked, almost politely.

Sean laughed. "She's actually bein' courteous fer once. What's wrong in your head?"

She rapped her knuckles on his forehead. "Whatever's wrong with yours dear brother."

"No, we-" Blair started, but Jonathan interrupted.

"Yeah, we will."

Now's our chance, Gaomon, the girl thought. Whispering ever so softly to her partner, she said: "We'll trail behind and look for Mimi."

Sean grinned. "Alright then! Race ya!" He prepared to take off, but Kiri yanked him back by his collar.

"Back, little track star. None of us need you showing off." He pouted and slowed to a walk. The others trailed after.

"Hey Jonathan," Luca began, surprising them all. "Do you remember my threat? I haven't forgotten." He gave a bright blue stare toward the older boy. "Do you know how I would keep it? You met the person who would help me keep it."

"That was then, and this is now," Jonathan replied evenly, hiding the concern he felt. He hadn't forgotten Luca's threat, either. But why would the eleven-year-old bring that back up now? And why him? He didn't have Wizardmon as a partner, he hadn't ordered the elf to point his staff at Luca that time, so why...?

Luca grinned. "The past makes the present and is a factor in the future. And a leader must make amends for a subordinate's mistakes right?" He laughed. "I said if you hurt Kiri again, you would pay with your partner's life. You saw what she can do right?"

"You were so wrapped up in being soulless, you wouldn't have known what was going on," Jonathan answered. His mind tensed warily. "And yes, I did see what Triesta can do."

"Who said anything about mine?" Luca chirped with an odd smile. "I've already paid for mine. I've paid for mine in blood." He rolled up his sleeve, where a large gash was scabbing over on his arm. "Blood for blood, an eye for an eye. I meant your own mistakes, but..."

"Since you don't know what they are, it can be kind of forgiven right?" Sean gave a smile as he bounced on the balls of his feet.

"Triesta's rather scary isn't she?" Kiri commented offhandedly. "We're lucky Relena's so nice. Otherwise, there would be nothing for you all to protect. She would have destroyed it all."

"We gonna go to this soccer game or not?" Blair grumbled.

"Blair, that's enough," Jonathan said. "They're being nice, so be nice in return."

Luca looked at them confusedly. "We're not going to a game today," he chirped. "
I've just got this with me for practice. We're gonna go visit Sanako, Relena, and all the others."

Sean grinned. "Basically, we're going to the Ferro household, which has more family than rabbits, if you catch my drift."

Kiri chortled. "Don't say that around Lady Ferro. She'll beat you half to death."

"She has no right to steal your job."

I thought they had other plans, Jonathan realized. "Oh well, if you three are going there, Blair and I will go find Jack." In the shadows, the girl's eyes widened. So they're not going to the soccer game? I'll just follow Jonathan and Blair then.

Sean shook his head. "You should come. You need to meet Tomoe-chan and her mother. It's really important you do that."

"We really need to find Jack," Blair whined.

"Alright, we'll see your friends," Jonathan interrupted.

Sean sighed. "Good choice. Tomoe-chan's a real important girl you know?"

"Why, may I ask?"

Sean glanced at Kiri, who unrolled her sleeves again to show the scars. "She is the daughter of a man named Tamaki Ryou, the one whose blood is on my hands and the one who gave me these. She is the daughter of the man who came before the Digimon Emperor." She sighed. "She is the daughter of the cruelest Digidestined who ever lived."



Somewhere else in Odaiba, Jack was sitting beside his partner. "You think you could do it again, buddy?"

"Of course, Jack," DemiVeemon replied. The little In Training Digimon had previously Digivolved to Shakkoumon to deal with a rogue Digimon who had appeared in the real world.

Jack looked out at the sky. "I'm surprised at how easily Chatsuramon lost. It was like it wasn't a fight at all."

"Maybe their leader doesn't need them anymore and is just throwing them away," DemiVeemon thought aloud.

Jack scowled. "If Lucemon is their leader, then that certainly sounds right."



"Hey lookie here," a male laughed. "The crazies are still alive!" His hair was short and black and he was dressed casually as he half-splayed himself in the walkway. Sean kicked him playfully in the arm.

"Yer drunk Riku!" he chirped, oblivious to the man's discomfort.

Riku rolled his eyes, knocking the track star back. "I ain't drunk, just tired. Wish I was drunk. I think those kids in university are permanently stoned to be graduating." He glimpsed Jonathan and Blair. "Who're the newbies? If you want 'em to train; yer out o' luck. Grandma wouldn't take 'em, no way. They ain't got the spark, even I can see that."

"I think it involves dedication Nii-chan," a familiar voice chirped. "And they could possibly have it." Sanako limped in, leaning on a wooden sword. "You could use some these days," she scolded, looking up. "Oh, hi Jonathan. Surprised to see you here."

Blair recoiled and fought to hold something down. She couldn't stand the smell of alcohol. Jonathan noticed and whispered in her ear to go stand by a window. He then cleared his throat and said hello to them.

Sanako noticed and brutally kicked her brother in the groin. Sean winced. "Honestly, do you want Mama and Grandmother to see you like this? You are the Child of Land. Kindly go stabilize yourself." He glared at her and left, muttering under his breath as he wobbled away.

"You're turning out more like Mother than ever... worse than Nee-chan I swear..."

"It's your own fault for being such a fool!" she hollered at him. "You craven whelp!"

"You're younger than him," Luca pointed out. Sanako held back a blush.

"He's an overgrown boy, always has been." She bowed respectfully to the newcomers. "I'm really sorry for him. He's such a black sheep. Mother should take a rawhide to him soon."

"The lady will," Sean muttered.

"Her father was a bit of a drinker," Jonathan whispered, looking carefully in Blair's direction to make sure she wasn't listening. "He reformed before he was killed, though..."

Sanako nodded and for some reason, glanced at the other three. Sean's expression flickered into sour rage for a moment. Luca glanced at Blair in confusion and up at Kiri, whispering something in his cousin's ear. Kiri shrugged. Desperate to hide the confusion and disturbing lack of sympathy from her friends, Sanako inquired hurriedly, "So why are you two visiting? I would think Triesta's fury and Relena's little display would have been cause for you to stay away."

"Sean invited us along. I wasn't too keen on it at first; I even said Blair and I had to find Jack, but Sean was persistent. I'm not entirely sure what he has to gain out of this," Jonathan shrugged in confusion at Sean's mad look.

Sean scowled and turned away, eyes burning. Kiri silently hugged him with one arm as she asked. "Is Tomoe-chan here?"

Sanako nodded. "She's with Relena. Relena's... she's not doing so well."

"So that's why our palms itched this morning," Kiri heard her friend mutter. "Our blood oath's makin' itself useful fer once."

Sanako glanced at the green-eyed boy again, who simply gave her a curt nod. Her eyes widened. "Oh. Okay. You two; come with me. You need to meet Grandmother." She gave Kiri a fixed stare." You three go keep your oath and bring those two in when she's herself again." Kiri nodded and slipped her hand in Sean's, dragging him away gently. Luca hurried after.

They heard Sean's soft growl of "What's the point of a blood oath if it don't do anythin'?" as he passed.

Sanako watched them go, shaking her head sadly. "Sometimes I wonder if they made the right decision back then." She looked at Jonathan. "Do you know what was befalling the city during the Malomyotismon battle?"

"I was told the whole world was shrouded in darkness," Jonathan answered.

Sanako nodded solemnly, looking not the typical ditz of class, but an exhausted old woman. "Yes, the world was shrouded in darkness. Do you know what the unknown does to people? It scares them and fear brings anger. And anger brings the cruelty of people to light, of humanity's darker nature."

Blair wandered back over, now that she felt better. "And Digimon acting under their leader's orders can disfigure people for life," she added, referring to her missing eye and scar in its place.

Sanako nodded again. "Yes I suppose you and the others would know." She hesitated, as if unwilling to speak about this. "During the Malomyotismon battle, the Digital Gates were very fragile. The humans, affected by negative emotions, were rioting in our city. We were there at the time, so I remember fighting them off." She sighed. "I'll admit it: I likely killed at least three humans. I don't regret it." She looked away from them now, lost in memory. "Kiri, Sean, and Luca; they were with us then and fighting. Sean lost his temper and attacked them with fire. And it spread." She shivered, remembering the blaze against her face. "After that... I don't know... they had just vanished."

"It was only later that I learned of just where they had gone. It was another Digital World: one locked in brutal civil war."

"A second Digital World?" Blair growled.

"Blair and I thought there was only one..." Jonathan muttered, equally surprised.

The woman shook her head now, still walking just ahead. "There are many Digital Worlds and many human ones. There were only a few before but with that..." she trailed off.

"That what?" Jonathan asked.

She shook her head again, looking thoroughly miserable. "The Schism, it was..." She visibly shook. "Please don't make me say more of it, none of us are supposed to even know of it. It was the gravest of errors, cruel and..." She trembled again.

"Is this what has Relena down?" Jonathan questioned. There was silence. Jonathan placed a hand on Sanako's shoulder. "It's okay, Sanako. Everything will be fine in the end."

She shook her head and moved away from him, visibly terrified. "No, no it won't be. Those people, those poor people. They died, they died for us, you understand? It won't be fine. There is no place for them to go you understand? The Schism was so long ago yet so late to truly reach us and you say it will be fine in the end when it could happen again? Where do you see that? All of those children died defending us! How will everything be alright?"

Sensing they weren't wanted anymore, Jonathan motioned to Blair and he said: "We'll be going now."

"No. Please stay." A male's voice came from a distant end of the hall. Out stepped a male with long brown hair. He looked to be an adult, judging by his business-like clothing. He smiled at them both. "My name is Tori Ferro. I'll take you to see Grandmother now." He glanced at his sister, who looked a mixture of terror and fury. "Calm yourself Sanako," he scolded. "You're scaring them."

"I should hope so," she whispered. "They need to know, now before it’s too late."

"And drive them away? No imouto-chan. Go calm your self now. Calm as still water." She nodded, giving them a curt look, and leaving.

He turned to them with a puzzled frown. "I apologize for their behavior. Riku's been under pressure. He's usually quite sober. And Sanako... Sanako doesn't enjoy the game we must play."

The sixteen and fourteen-year-olds turned at the sound of Tori's voice. Jonathan had a guarded expression on his face, while Blair narrowed her remaining eye. "I certainly hope not all Ferro family members are like this," Wizardmon grumbled.

"Wizardmon," Jonathan growled slightly. "Be careful what you say."

Tori heard and laughed merrily. "No. Sentri was but it took more than a hard time to get Rina ruffled. She saw Greymon and Parrotmon and wasn't even fazed. She kept Sentri calm too." He shook his head. "Probably still does, while inside Limbo. As for my other siblings: Masaki and Chihiro are too young to worry about, and Aria's a stone statue. Mother and Grandmother..." He laughed sheepishly. "I'd tread carefully."

"They should've treaded carefully to start with," a child's voice sang.

Tori glanced at him. "Were you kicked out Luca?"

The blond boy nodded, Frimon around his neck. "Relena's all messed up and it gives me a headache. Sean went to go get Tomoe-chan. He'll meet us with Lady Ferro soon."

"Mm." Tori didn't even seem to notice the eleven year old's rough manner. For once, Jonathan, Blair and their partners were silent, in the wake of Luca's threat. The two neighbors glanced at each and shrugged, wondering what to say and what to do.

Tori saw and grinned wider. "Relax. He won't do anything. He's just warning you to be more careful."

"Lady Ferro's got a wicked temper," Sean said as came up, gently clutching a young girl's hand. "We've all gotten a taste of it. Snapping at her might either be your last breath..."

"Or your smartest move," Luca finished, coming to greet the young girl, who was hiding behind Sean. "It's okay Tomoe. They won't do anything." The little girl peeked out and hid anxiously again.

"Lady Ferro?" Wormmon asked timidly of Tori. "Is that your mother?"

Tori barked out another laugh. "She would be if Grandmother was not so determined to live outside of the nursing home. Not that she needs one, she can kill all of us with her cane when she chooses." Wormmon and Wizardmon paled and the Rookie level insect backed away immediately.

"Someone call for the Master?" A voice declared cockily. Jonathan and Blair turned, surprised to hear Jack, and saw their fellow Destined standing at the doorway. "Don't make things so hard for me next time. My partner told me he sensed our names being spoken of. I thought you guys were in trouble." Sorcerymon, or rather Veemon, stood beside the nineteen-year-old.

Tori turned curiously. "Someone else? Interesting." Luca turned, rolled his eyes in disdain, and went back to gently coaxing Tomoe free. Sean glanced at him and away, looking toward the back.

Tori sighed. "If it bothers you so much; go back in there."

Sean shook his head. "Kiri said not to interfere so I won't."

Tori rolled his eyes now. "You two and your blood vow. One in all but one right?"

"Yeah. I'm not breaking my vow. I'm not like him."

...

A Digital Gate opened over Odaiba and a black Digimon appeared, flying through the Gate. T.K. Takaishi, the Digimon thought, you're next. But for now, he would hide.

...

Finally Tomoe came into full view, her long black hair falling into her face. She was dressed in a pale pink kimono; it tied with violet flowered obi. She looked down at her feet. "Um...n-nice to meet you."

"Hi Tomoe," Jonathan said gently. Both the Digimon replied with the same, but Blair was silent.

"H-Hi," she mumbled softly, peeking up at them for a moment. Then she flinched back down again. "I, I um... you're Di-Digi-Destined, r-right?"

"They are," Wormmon answered.

She nodded softly. "M-m. W-Were you around w-when..."

Sean stopped her with a hand on the shoulder. "No Tomoe-chan, they weren't. They never met him."

Her eyes widened softly behind her bangs. "O-Oh. T-Then c-can I?"

"Ask."

She turned back and tried to look them in the eye. "C-Can I see your Digivice?" Jonathan pulled out his black D-Core and Blair her yellow modified D3.

Tomoe shuffled over and took Jonathan's D-Core. She turned it over in her hands. "It feels... very mixed up in here." She reached out to tap Blair's Digivice. "Here too." She looked at them. "What's wrong?"

"Myotismon's lackey, Phantomon, scarred me for life. Not to mention that Myotismon himself killed my parents," Blair muttered, her face turned away.

"When we were trapped in the Digital World, Mimi basically tore the team apart. It's obvious Izzy still cares for her, but after she kissed me, I'm not sure how long it's gonna take for Izzy to feel better. I, for one, am not sure about the others... but I appreciate Digimon. It sickened me that we had to kill some back in the beginning. Kabukimon was just misguided, Sealsdramon was evil, Lynxmon was corrupted... Dinohyumon, Harpymon... too many lives lost and it's all because of the Demon Lords..."

Tomoe blinked softly. "Mm." Her eyes lowered. "Um, w-well...s-so wh-what?"

Jonathan saw through the girl's plan and was quite annoyed that they'd been used. However, he masked his irritation and crouched down to part Wormmon on the head. Blair simply said: "Yeah, you're just another of those who don't care about what we go through."

Tomoe blinked at her. "You sound like my daddy," she said quietly. "Does that mean you're going to destroy both worlds too? Does that mean you're going to beat up Kiri over and over like she's a pet? Does that mean you're going to make your digimon hurt me? Are you that bad miss? I fear for them. The poor Digimon who you're supposed to save; I fear for them."

"I didn't say anything about any of that, did I?" Blair grumbled.

Jonathan stood back up and Jack come over to be beside him. "We both saw through your ruse," Jack said, speaking for himself and Jonathan.

"Blair would never do anything like that. We're just fed up with being tested, whether it's by Digimon or humans," Jonathan replied.

Tomoe looked at them still. "I'm not lying," she said softly, her shy expression now blank. "Your heart, I can read it. Your heart says more than your mouth. And it hurts so much."

"Tomoe-chan, that is enough." This voice was that of an older woman. She came from the shadows, calm and regal, almost a queen. "You've done well. If they wish to be ignorant, let them be such." The little girl nodded and looked down again. The old woman turned to the three. "Leave Tomoe-chan be; all of you. She merely did as our lady bid. If you do not wish to be tested, then don't make it seem as if you are so weak you need to be judged!"

Tori tried to counter. "Mother they're just-"

"Weak." the woman finished quietly. "Weak yet full of potential. Tomoe-chan go tell Mother now."

The little girl bowed, glanced at them once more with tear-filled eyes. "I'm truly sorry," she whispered, and hurried away.

Jonathan and Blair mentally recoiled, while Jack muttered a soft "Sorry."

She did not seem appeased. "All bark and no bite and so much soft-heartedness. We'll have to change that for certain. Sean."

He stiffened and nodded. "Yes Lady Hanabi?"

"Go now and get your fellows. Take them to Mother's room. At once." Her voice never lifted higher than her calm speech.

"Yes ma'am!" He bolted down the hallway.

"Tori; go get your siblings. They have no time to wallow." The elder man nodded, surprisingly unafraid, and was gone. "Luca."

The eleven year old froze and straightened. "Yes Lady Hanabi?"

Her voice was much gentler than it had been. "When Kiriko is at Mother's room, tell her to spend some time with Tomoe. She will join us later." He bowed his head and left. Her gaze turned sharp again at the sight of them. "Now then you three: your names? Be quick about it. You fear me, yet Mother is worse than I. Speak up."

"Jonathan Lucas..."

"Blair Morgan..."

"And I'm Jack Reynolds, but my partner can Digivolve to Ultimate naturally, ma'am."

She snorted. "If that's all that's necessary for these fights, we'd have won already. No, you need your own strength as well. Isn't that right Kiriko?"

"Yes ma'am," she replied promptly as she approached. Tomoe was on her back, face buried in her neck. She walked past them. "Be gentle toward Relena milady," she murmured. "Triesta's nerves are very frayed."

"Are you attempting to tell me what to do girl?" Hanabi sounded amused.

"I'm attempting to keep you alive milady."

"You have an hour."

"Yes ma'am." She didn't even glance at them as she left.

Jonathan, Blair and Jack were thinking the same thing. Oh jeez...

Lady Hanabi turned sharply. "Stop gaping and come. We've waited long enough to meet you. Kindly do not obstruct us any further." The sneer imbedded in kindly was palpable. She strode ahead of them.

The three teenagers followed the older woman straight away. She snorted, but did not speak. How easily cowed. And they are going to be the ones to defeat Ogudomon? No wonder the children are worried.



They had already gathered when the group arrived. Relena was curled up in a corner, looking disheveled with her face hidden by her knees. She didn't react to them, or even glance up at their arrival. Sean sat next to her, listening to the words of someone in the center of the room. Luca was sitting next to two children, one of which looked incredibly bored, yawning openly. The other seemed irritated with her brother, rolling her eyes.

Riku and Sanako were back, both looking worse. It was clear Riku was sober, but there were new bruises and dirt on his changed clothing. Sanako twitched, looking almost pleased when she glanced at him despite the blood trickling down her arm. She gave them a cheery wave, looking as though she hadn't shouted at them earlier. Next to her, Tori was snickering silently at his younger brother. Beside him was a woman they didn't know, her black hair tied in a ponytail. She watched them file in, green eyes holding curiosity.

In the middle sat an old woman, dressed entirely in grey. She held a blade held in her left hand as you would a cigarette. She was tiny but it didn't show in the slightest, her aura that of someone much greater. She didn't even look up from her conversation with Sean.

“Your sister needs to come by more often. I don't like those too clever being let loose, especially the way she is. She can be any person she so chooses, the best kind of actor. Speaking of which, your mask is off. What do you think you're doing being truthful when we have the ignorant just outside our walls...”

Hanabi cleared her throat. “Mother, I have brought them as you wished.”

The old woman turned to them and snorted. “At last, we meet these... others.” She peered at them all, clearly searching for something. “Ah you were right beastling.” Luca glanced up and nodded once before lowering his gaze again. “Did our little seer see everything Tori?”

The eldest shook his head. “ I doubt it. She didn't open the interface.”

Lady Ferro waved it off dismissively. “Ah well, it makes no difference. Those like this wear their hearts on their sleeves. Admirable but dangerous. Isn't that so Aria?”

The unknown woman nodded, her gaze still watching them. Lady Ferro looked back at them. “A tedious process but I must ask you to repeat your names to me. And speak up. I am old, though few would admit it. And then one of you tell me: what do you think of us; we who train our offspring to fight and to murder?” She smiled toothlessly, blue eyes seeming to glow inside her hollow sockets. “We must seem the most terrible of human beings.”

"I'm Jonathan Lucas, this is Blair Morgan and that's Jack Reynolds," Jonathan reintroduced themselves.

"And as for what I think of this family," Jack began, "I'm not really sure. I'm guessing it's out of necessity."

The old woman laughed, clearly finding something grimly amusing in the prospect. “Necessary? What an interesting response! Does that mean you are thinking or you are just assuming that's what we wish to hear?”

“Grandmother, these children do not appreciate mind games.” Tori interrupted mildly. “Tomoe-chan irritated them quite a bit I saw.”

She laughed again. “They will get more than mind games when Kiriko returns I assure you. That girl owes us all some explanations, two of which I'm sure we won't like, will we Sean?”

The boy shivered. “No milady, I'm quite certain we won't.”

“Until then... Relena?” Relena peeked up, her eyes changing back and forth from blue to violet right before their eyes. She was sickly pale and her face was puffy, clearly from tears.

Jack scowled. Of course he recognized Relena, but forced himself to ignore her presence because of The Entity inside her who had nearly deleted his partner. He was also dismissing the fact that he had had to enter the Ferro household to find his teammates and thus see Relena again. Shakkoumon and he made the perfect team; in his mind, Sorcerymon didn't need to Digivolve to the Mega level.

“Yes milady?” she rasped, her voice her own but Triesta's edge bit into it lightly.

“These children only know the vague truth of who and what you are and what she is.” Her voice was soft but irritation was clearly dusting it. “There are things you have hidden from us as well. We would all like if you told us... what you could.”

Relena flinched a moment before nodding. She moved into the light slightly. Her eyes passed over them, quickly flitting from Jack as if guilty. “I... I am a vessel for a Higher Being known as Triesta. She and I, when we met, reached a partnership of sorts. I am not a Digi-Destined. I am a girl with the ability of data manipulation. So, if I had the power, and enough hatred, the entire Digital World could be rewritten at once.” She didn't give time for emotion but plowed on steadily. “I do not plan on it any time soon. Six years ago, when Akira-nii's team went to the Digital World, I was sent in secret to assist them alongside Triesta.” She gave a bitter smile. “The Powers Above did not like that I can assure you.”

“Why not?”

“An Entity is, in essence, a god. Prolonged exposure in a human body is what they would consider degrading.” She froze abruptly and shivered, eyes glazing over. Triesta, calm down.

Why? The fury was almost physical. These brats annoy me to no end for one, they serve Gennai and the damned Sovereign for another, and finally they don't deserve to know!

Deserving doesn't matter. They have to know. Five generations, at the least, were deprived of this knowledge. I don't want any more.

Don't talk about it Relena. If anybody speaks of the Schism, it's me.

You'll kill them Tri!

Who cares?

Tri!

I'm serious! What can they do? They trust him! They trust the man who... who did that to his own partner and contractor! And Faolan! How could he twist his sacrifice like that? How can they trust a man like that? How can they trust?

Because they don't know Tri. They don't know and it was long ago. He's trying to redeem himself; can't you give him a chance?

No! The fierce denial made Relena cry out in pain, clutching her head. Jonathan prepared to move but Sean beat him to it, placing a hand on Relena's shoulder.

“Triesta,” he said just loud enough for only Relena to hear, looking calmer than was healthy. “Tri, I know it hurts. Believe me, I know, but you can't run away any longer. And... We have to tell the truth eventually. He's... we can't forgive him for a lot of things but... you can't keep hating Gennai. Gennai, and I can't believe I of all people am saying this but; he is trying to do what's right now. Believe me he is. I understand you don't want them knowing. We won't right now. But once they're able to fight in the dark, you have no choice. They will be different when they come out, they will be able to see grey and that means they would get it.”

Relena was perfectly still and then she nodded. “She will,” she said quietly. “When they see grey, she will tell everything.”

Sean nodded. “Good.” He turned to them, gaze firmly set. “She won't say anything more.” Without waiting for a reply, he turned to Lady Ferro. “May I make a suggestion my lady?”

She seemed to smirk. “Do. I'm feeling amused.”

“We should douse them. And douse them now, while they are all together.”

Hanabi raised an eyebrow. “Douse them Sean? Are you quite certain? You've seen the effects of what that world can do to a person. They all know vaguely what it can do.”

He nodded. “I'm quite certain my lady. Luca?”

“Yep?”

“Do you think you could do it?”

The beast boy nodded. “Of course. I need to know though: who or what am I channelling?” Sean pointed at the three. Luca frowned for a moment; then he smirked. “I see. Okay Sean, I can definitely do it.”

Lady Ferro looked between them and smiled darkly. “I see what you two are planning. Very well. I approve. But first...” She looked directly at Jonathan. “Do you approve? What Luca will be performing for you will no doubt be very painful but will undoubtedly make you stronger, should you learn to pass it. If you can pass this initiation set for you, all three of you shall be approved of learning in this place the same skills I have taught all who consider themselves a member of this house. You won't have to stand by and watch as your Digimon fight. So, this offer of ours, what do you say?”

"I don't know. How can I be sure of my partner's safety?" Jonathan asked.

Sean said calmly. "We have done this before and I can personally say that your digimon remain unharmed." Now you on the other hand might not be so lucky.

Still, the sixteen-year-old leader hesitated. He quickly made his decision when Blair snorted loudly. "I'll do it," he muttered, not at all sure what he was getting himself into.

Sean clapped his hands cheerily. "Great choice buddy! Now whether you regret or not,"

His smile turned sly. "I can't say, right Luca?"

Luca simply stood up and turned away from them all. "Everyone else should leave right now," he declared. "That includes observers like you... Kudamon."

A white, pipe-foxlike creature came from the shadows. It smirked lightly. "Does nothing escape you boy?"

"Sadly, quite a few things will escape us," Sean said dryly. "Now everyone else get out. I don't think you want to be here for this." Relena quickly exited, followed by Sanako and Riku, and the rest of the family. When Sean, Kudamon, and the other Digidestined remained, Sean gestured to them. "Hurry up, this ain't a picnic." They followed.



Relena found herself wandering again. Her face was pale and she trembled from a pain she knew wasn’t hers. The air gently brushed her head and she shivered, remembering, remembering…

“Tri! Look at the birds! They’re all flying again! I’m glad I managed to fix that one’s wing!”

“Tri, you’re, you’re hurt really badly. Here, I can, I can fix it so, please, just don’t give up Tri, don’t die!”

“Why won’t they let me play with --? He looks like he’s lonely.”

“-- came to my room today Tri. She’s really shy but super nice. There was a boy with her. He didn’t say much. He looked really scary but she said he was nice. And he was. He played with Tana and she loved him. It was weird because Tana is never so affectionate with humans. I think she said his name was –“

She stumbled and fell against a tree, clutching her head as the memories passed between her and Triesta. The lives that had been were heavy and pounded down on her heart.

“Hey, look who it is. What are you sitting out here for Tri? You said you don’t brood.”

The feeling of a warm hand on her head, a kind male voice in her ears…

“Look I know he can be a bit of a jerk. I can say we’ve gotten into a few fights. But he means well. He’s just worried about you Tri; he’s just no good at saying it. At least you aren’t bound to him like --. That would really suck. You guys would get us killed.”

--…

“There is no Fate but death. All creatures live and die. Everything else from circumstance to age and time, are entirely up to us.”

--…

I’m forgetting you, everything about you…why did you die? Why did you all have to leave me behind here? I’m not that strong. I keep pretending but I’m not that strong! Please… help me…

Relena wake up!

She froze, awoken abruptly from the stream of time. Behind her eyes, she could see Triesta, the mess she was right now. Her brown hair was unkempt, her violet eyes dark. She was staring at her desperately.

Tri… I…

I’m sorry, the Entity whispered pathetically, looking like a shadow. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry Relena. I just, I keep hurting you with this. You shouldn’t have to see this; you shouldn’t have to suffer with me. I’m so sorry…

Tri, it’s all right.

You’re seeing the dead, how is that all right? Her friend shrieked. For Norn’s sake Relena, you are a protector of the worlds themselves, your lineage called Queen’s Reign! You are the security system of the balance! You have to clean up our own damn failures and you can’t even have a partner to make it hurt less! I’m making you see the last things I experienced because I’m too weak to fix it myself!

Triesta stop. Relena mentally shook her head. I chose this remember? I chose my path, just like the others. I don’t regret any of this. It’s going to be a painful road but I’ll deal with it. You’re my comrade, my friend. I can’t just leave you now because I’m suffering. That’s not right at all.

…Relena, in the end, these six years haven’t changed you much at all have they?

Should they?

Triesta laughed softly. No I suppose not. You were already accepting of everything and kooky. It makes sense you stay that way.

“Hey are you okay?” Relena peered out through slit eyes to see a brunette with rose quartz eyes. Kari, she thought immediately, and suddenly her eyes saw something else. It was the faintest of images, a girl with long white hair and a kind, bright smile.

Siara…

The word thudded in her brain and Relena tensed, raising her hands again. Triesta was screaming, crying, denying, trying to tell her it wasn't true, but nothing changed. Kari said something again and she couldn’t catch it and simply shook her head.

Kari recognized her now. It was that girl who had trapped them before, the one who felt familiar yet unknown. She did not look hostile now, but suffering and sad. A feeling of pain passed through her head and she wondered if she glimpsed someone else behind the other’s eyes.

“Come on, we need to get you some help. There’s probably someone nearby with some medicine.”

“N-No, don’t w-worry.” She was standing up shakily, her face pale. The girl kept looking down, away from her, as though scared. “I’ll be fine; I always will be. Don’t trouble yourself.”

“Trouble myself? You were collapsed when I found you. You obviously need a doctor.”

“No!” Relena pushed her away, looking terrified. “No, no, no doctors please!” It’ll be him, I’ll walk into the office and he’ll be standing there as though he never died only it’ll be my turn and I’m not nearly as strong as Kiri…

Kari raised an eyebrow. “Look I don’t like the doctor’s office either but he’ll help. I promise.” The other girl shook her head again, paling further.

“I said I’m fine Siara, don’t worry about it!” The shout came from her lips unbidden and Relena clapped her hands over her mouth.

Kari lost her concern, now feeling irritation. “My name is not Siara. I was just trying to help!”

She looked lost. “I…”

“What do you think you’re doing to Kari?” Jack had seen the last few minutes and was furious. “Think you’re going to kill someone else’s partner huh? Jeez, you just can’t get enough.”

She shied away from him. “I wasn’t… I wasn’t…”

Jack felt a flicker of satisfaction. He didn’t like it but it was there. “You’re scared of me. You weren’t so scared earlier. You were mocking me and you were trying to hurt Sorcerymon.” He kept walking towards her, oblivious to the person behind him. “Now the first one I can swallow, but the second offense… is something I won’t forgive!” He moved toward her but someone yanked him firmly away, knocking him to the concrete. Sean walked over to him. His green eyes were cold, void of any light, even fake.

“What do you think you’re doing, boy?” Even his voice was a shadow, not a flicker of emotion rested in it. His aura wasn’t that of a human’s. Jack scowled and didn’t reply. “I asked you a question. Answer it boy.”

“And I should because why?” Jack couldn’t help but sneer. The other kids that were on the team weren’t on his good side. All three didn’t seem to care for his age or experience, rather; they treated him as disdainfully as Jonathan and Blair, as though everything meant nothing.

“Because he wants to kill you.” The answer came from just a bit further back. That girl, Kiri, had spoken. The other one wasn’t there. Kiri looked down at him when she reached the pair. “You are attacking someone he considers important for no reason. It is very simple to understand his retaliation.”

“No reason?” Jack sputtered. “That girl nearly killed my Digimon! She was attacking Kari!”

“I wasn’t,” Relena mumbled softly.

“It was your fault for being stupid,” Sean stated matter-of-factly. “You assumed and you provoked. You should have been prepared for the consequences. You are quite lucky you got out as unscathed as you did. You should appreciate it and go no further. Otherwise …” he pulled a switchblade from his jean pocket. “This will be in your throat.”

“Wait a minute stop-“ Kari tried. Kiri gave her a shake of the head.

“It’s all right,” she reassured. “The stupid ones always live.”

“Yeah, Kari,” Jack added arrogantly. “Like he would actually-“ The methodical stab just near his jugular cut him off.

“You seem to be under the assumption I won’t kill you.” Still Sean’s voice never left its monotone. “You may wish to reconsider that. I am standing over you with a knife and I am within an inch of cutting off your blood supply. The only reason you are not dead is because you have an option.”

Jack swallowed his fear and managed a snort. “Fine.” Sean stood away from him, closing and pocketing the weapon. Jack stood up and glared at the two. Sean observed him impassively as Kiri gently guided Relena to her side.

“You know you guys are monsters,” he declared, not arrogantly, but coldly. “You keep protecting her and she said she could destroy the whole Digital World if she wanted to. Someone like that shouldn’t be allowed there. And you shouldn’t be allowed either. Your parents must be awful; raising their kids to be a bunch of monsters like that.” Sean froze and began to tremble. His fists clenched tightly. Jack saw. “What? Going to deny it?”

“No,” he hissed and cold rage soared through him. “I’m not so cocky as to do that, but… your parents… must be real stupid…” He ran forward and socked Jack in the stomach and then uppercut his chin. “They must be real stupid or jerks to raise a ignorant, hateful bastard like you!” Before anything could be said or done, Sean turned and ran off, a blur in an instant. Dorimon clung to his head for dear life.

“Sean!” Kiri bolted after him, Viximon on her heels. Relena felt clarity for the first time in hours as she glanced at Kari. The brunette was watching in confusion and terror, unsure of what to do. Gatomon’s tail twitched in agitation.

“You really are a jerk,” she commented to Jack, who was getting back up. “At least I fixed my mistakes. For an older kid, all you seem to do is make more and hurt people. I’m not even chosen and I can do better. Some Destined.” She waved at Kari. “I’m really sorry for today. We’ll get a better start next time.” She walked away. Kari glanced at Jack, felt a flicker of revulsion, and hurried away.



The door shut behind them, leaving them in dim light. Luca was still turned away from him, staring blankly at the wall. Frimon however, was watching Jonathan. It was unnerving.

"Hey Jonathan," Luca asked softly, voice holding an inkling of darkness. "What do you know about the Dark Ocean?"

"I know Sora and Matt succumbed to the dark cave five years ago, as well as T.K. and Kari's unwanted trip to the Dark Ocean twelve months ago. Not to mention that it tainted Ken's D3 and Izzy was pulled in quite recently. Other than that, it's a place nobody should willingly go to," came the answer.

Luca smiled and the smile was wild and chaotic. "But, you accepted the initiation," he said quietly. "You made a choice that there's no turning back from. So..." He turned back and his eyes were pure black with violet pupils. "It's a bit late now!" The floor had turned to grey sand and surrounding them was the sound of the waves. "Welcome," Luca said with a bow. "to the World of Chaos, the Dark Ocean!" He spun away from him, smiling all the while. "Here you must face your own demons, in your head and outside of it. Let's see what you can do, Fearless Leader!"

Fuyu
February 3rd, 2011, 01:18 PM
Chapter 19.2: Living Shadows

Kiri had taken the slow route to give Sean some space. She could feel his pure misery and hate pulsing through her left palm. Her right itched but she knew that was from something else entirely. I’ve sworn way too many oaths. But to save and contain, as my existence was meant for, it must be necessary.

It became necessary, came a quiet feminine voice. Just as with the ones who fell, these circumstances became mecessary. You know that better than anyone.

Norn-chan, is it wrong that I hear your voice and Nii-chan’s voice in my head yet I feel no fear or worry of insanity?

It should be. But if it weren’t you, who else would it be?

I guess. I feel ill.

You’re tied to the balance. It’s falling and so are you.

Just like then… I’m never going to live it down am I?

Do you regret it?

No, I almost wish I did. But that would mean wallowing and I don’t have time for that.

You don’t have time for much Kiriko. The barriers are nothing but flimsy paper, with the Demon Lords corroding them. Your brother and his team are the only ones who can fix the worlds’ state now. And to do that, they need you.

…I know. And the others; will they…

Perhaps. Perhaps not. It doesn’t change what you have to do.

No, it doesn’t.

She had finally found him, sitting by a fire away from the ocean. The irony wasn't lost on her. Kiri wondered how long it had taken for him to stop running and simply sit. She assumed a while because he was covered in dirt.

“Do you feel better yet?”

Kiri sat down next to him as he stared into the flames. Sean shook his head. His fists were clenched tight. She could see it behind his hair. He was crying. Dorumon was nuzzled up against him, but he didn't seem to notice.

“I can't stand these people Kiri,” he whispered. “I can't. Stand them. We're dousing one of them, we showed them how they keep losing to their own crazy and their imbalance, yet all they do is just throw it back in our faces and say we haven't suffered at all, that we're evil, that we're nothing but monsters! How can these people still be alive?”

Kiri sighed sadly. “Joker...” They haven’t been Digi-Destined that long.

“I'm so jealous of them...” Sean muttered, bitterly poking a stick at the fire. “I mean; all of them got to have parents, real ones! I don't, I can't even talk to those two, and they're afraid of me, I know they are! And you guys, they don't even seem to see it. You and Luca never talk about parents, you never say you need to get home and see them, you're never worried about them, you never want to protect them.” Why should you? Why should you want to protect scum like that?

“Sean...”

“Kiri, your mom's probably dead!” he snapped. The idea did not fill her with dread, as it should have. “Your dad is just waiting for the papers to go through so he can kick you out like he's been threatening for six years! Easier than actually having to hit you right? God, Luca doesn't even know what a mother is! You heard what he said about Blair's dad! He has no idea about any of it.”

“Blair's parents are dead Joker.” You’re both so similar yet you feel no sympathy.

“She got to have them didn't she?” Sean was still in tears, furious and broken. Kiri realized that no one else could, or would, ever see him like this. He wouldn't let anyone else see him like this “She got, she got to know what it was like and she acts like such a whiny little ***** because they're gone. Yeah it sucks, but god can't she be happy her parents were actually alive long enough to love her?” Can’t she be happy she knows what that felt like?

Kiri closed her eyes and let his emotions pour out of him into her. Sean bottled up damn near everything about himself. He never spoke of his time as a foster child to anyone outside of the group. Not even the Ferros knew much about it. He looked nothing like either of his siblings, adoptive or blood-related and he hated it. At least, he didn't anymore. Things had changed so much in these past few years.

When she was sure he wouldn't interrupt, she began. “Sean our lives suck. There's no denying it. Everyone's lives suck in some way. But Sean, dear brother, little Joker, you've gotta hear me on this...” Her voice softened, almost sweetened. Norn flickered behind her eyes and Sean realized they were both watching him, not with pity but with knowing.

“Are you going to tell me I'm not alone?” If so, he would hate her because he already knew that and it wouldn’t change anything.

“No, I'm going to tell you that crying doesn't make a difference. Wallowing and hiding in the dark and being angry doesn't change a thing. You know that better than anyone. We can't just sit here and let our negative emotions rule us. We can't let regrets and guilt hold us anymore. We did that remember? Those two could have been killed. You and I know that if what I had in my hands was steel or if I had been conscious the whole time, they would have died. There's no two ways about it.”

She held out her left hand, which held a circular mark on the palm. “Sean, listen, you and I made that vow for times like this. If no one else hears you come find me. If no one else will hear me, I'll find you. And yeah, we're gonna be hit with more crap and yeah, those three are some of the most stiff, tactless children I know, but we're stuck with them and more importantly,” She clapped a hand to his shoulder. “Luca's going to break them in hard, you hear? We have a mission to complete. My brother and all the others, they're waiting for you, me, and Luca to come and save them.”

Sean sniffed. “Why the hell are those others even here?”

“The same reason we are: we will not let history repeat itself. It wouldn't survive.”

“We will not let that day come again,” Norn added through her mouth.

“...I, how am I supposed to-”

“Do what you do best Joker: act. And if that doesn't work, well... I suppose you have no choice do you?"

He shivered. "I don't wanna go back."

"I'm not sure you'll have a choice."She came forward and hugged him. “Joker, it'll get better. It will never be okay, but it'll get better. I can't promise you that because I don't know when it'll happen. But for now, all I can ask you to do is keep walking forward with me. Okay?” She stepped away and held out a hand to him. “Come on now, everyone's waiting.”

Sean felt deja vu at his fingertips. “Kiriko, Norn-chan... thank you.” He took her hand, wiping his face with his free arm. She wrinkled her nose.

“Gross.”

He gave a shaky laugh. “Well, everyone has vices right?” She laughed and Sean thought it sounded like church bells. They started walking, their partners not far away.

“You know Kiri...” He was blushing slightly.

“Hm?”

“Sometimes... I wish I could love you in that one way.”

“Yeah?” As always, he couldn't ruffle her outwardly, but she was waiting for him to continue.

“But... during times like now, I'm glad I don't. You are the best person to be at my side. To be one in all but one,” He looked up at the sky. “I'm glad we vowed that.”

Kiri wasn't looking at him so he couldn't see the faint dust of pink on her cheeks. “Yeah. I'm really glad too.”

“But,” he said sternly as they came upon the Gate. “Any guy or girl who wants you has to go through me, you understand?”

“Oh Joker that would leave no one left.”

“Exactly.” The pair of them glanced at each other and laughed. The gate opened and they vanished through.



"Wait, what? You... none of you told me I was gonna come here," Jonathan blurted out. He fell silent and steeled his resolve, looking around at the dark, colorless world.

Luca giggled softly. "We figured it was pretty obvious, you know? We've all been here. Besides this isn't it, not completely. The World of Darkness has lots of forms and the Ocean's just one. The Ocean's the crazy one." Luca smiled and flickered away, reappearing only feet away. "I control this world, thanks to the Catal Unit. It's real easy. Now then, how do you think you're going to be tested? Answer quick now, because within seconds, it is truly about to begin."

"How do you expect me to answer that when I don't know what's gonna come at me?" Jonathan growled.

"I told ya, I told ya!" Luca sang, twirling away. "You have to face your demons, your demons! The imbalance in your heart's really bright and strong you know? Your uncertainty's making it strong, so strong! You have to face it; you have to move past it! All of you do, otherwise you'll never get stronger! Your guilt, your mixups, they can't let you do anything!" He paused, still laughing. "So answer my question! You've only got a few seconds!"

"I already said I don't know! How many times do I have to repeat that to get it through your head?"

"Then you're stupid and angry and you're going to die here." Luca's smile and voice turned infinitely cold. "Now suffer for your sins." The air became heavy and pressure began to shove Jonathan downward to the ground. His ears were full of screams.

"Why can I hear screaming in my ears?" Jonathan questioned, struggling to move.

"It's the dead, the dead!" Luca laughed softly, bitterly now. "All those you killed, all those who died before. All of your emotions, all of those who are suffering because of you." He raised a hand. "Now it's your turn." Invisible needles appeared to stab repeatedly into his body. Luca came forward and kicked him, knocking him to the side. "Come on, get up!" Luca commanded dully, both hands in his pockets. His black eyes watched listlessly. "It hurts right? You're angry at me right? You want to hurt me right? Get up and make me stop!" He kicked again. "You look like a dog down there. Maybe that's where you belong, down with the rest of the maggots."

Jonathan was a calm ocean as he surged to his feet and lashed out at Luca's head. "No matter what you do, I will not succumb to anger.”

Luca dodged, giggling. "Stupid idea, you know. You have to actually, you know, hit?" The pressure increased and Luca moved away again. "You have to really hurt me, you have to want to mister! Otherwise you can't protect anything. Weakling!” He leaped forward and punched at his throat, continuing with two more to his stomach. "We're going to war you know! There's gonna be anger and hate, lots of it! No matter how calm you are, your emotions have to be fierce. You have to wake them up and defy fate! But you can't do that! You killed them with honor! There's no honor in this, you arrogant fool!" He tripped him and then jumped back. "Hurry up! Ogudomon can kill you with a claw you know!" He’ll twist your calm against you. His kind have that ability.

"Fine, we'll do it your way," came the response. Faking a right move, Jonathan came in from the left and swiftly grabbed Luca's arm. He twisted it enough that the eleven-year-old cried out in pain. He followed up with a uppercut to the chin, which floored the child, and he crashed to the ground.

For a moment Luca looked surprised. Then he laughed wildly. "That's it!" he hissed, looking pleased. He jumped back to his feet. "There it is, there! Come on! I'm your enemy! Learn from me and destroy me! That's what soldiers do!" he tackled him, knocking Jonathan to the ground and proceeding to punch wildly at his face. Jumping off, he balanced on the tips of his fingers to flip back, kicking with both feet to his ribs. "But I still don't get it! Why are you fighting? What do you want to do for the Digital World? Tell me, why should I trust you? Why are you our leader? Can you even answer that? If not," He walked away, and the darkness began to increase, the water growing louder and fiercer. The screams faded into unearthly moans. "Just let the underlings of the ocean take you. It's much less painful."

"I was made leader by Akira. You respect him, do you not? Then respect me." Jonathan lunged forward and punched Luca in the chest, before performing a chopping motion to the child's neck. The sixteen-year-old then brought down both his hands (cupped as fists) on Luca's head and, again, Luca fell to the ground.

"Oh that's a great reason," Luca laughed. He didn't notice the pain, didn't seem to care. "Akira chose you as leader yep but why are you fighting? You won't tell me. Does that mean you don't know? If that's so than you are worthless. And I can't respect you. You won't help us." He kicked Jonathan in the knees and uppercut him to the chin. "You won't... you won't listen to us. You won't trust us. And until you try, we will never..." He flipped back and twisted Jonathan's wrist, almost enough to break it. "Respect." He threw him over his shoulder, landing him flat on his back. "You."

"I'm fighting to protect the place where my friends, my comrades have grown, into a place I can call my own. The Digital World is like another home to me. And the Digimon are my friends."

Luca looked at him, black eyes cold. "So that's your answer." He sighed. "You, you will never understand. You will never understand what it means to protect your friends. I... I wish I could show you what you're missing, show you what you're lacking. But your unsteady heart, it is being swayed by such emotions like a crush, like guilt, and like honor. In a war to protect, honor is just the commander's way of throwing you aside. I know. I saw. I fought. And it hurt." Luca held back a fist. "And you don't know what that hurt is." He broke Jonathan's nose.



As the light disappeared, they arrived outside the room where Luca and Jonathan were.
“They're still going?” Sean asked, forcibly lightly. He still couldn’t be a clown. “Luca must be holding back then.”

“Of course he is.” Kiri pointed to the weapons lying on the floor. “He didn't ask for these I bet. He's not really initiating Jonathan you know.”

“Yeah, he wants answers. He wants some kind of stability in these worlds, since you kind of stole it.”

“Luca did inherit Akira-nii-chan's legacy after all. It's only natural.”

“But... Kiri...” Sean slumped against the wall, looking upset. “Do you think Jonathan will be able to face it? His own imbalance? He can't keep denying it. He can't keep being bound to it.”

“Honestly Joker, I don't think Luca will let him get that far today.”

“Today?” He saw Tomoe and gestured for the little girl. She went over to them, looking a mixture of relieved and puzzled.

“No, your darkness... it creeps remember? He won't know, he won't be able to truly tell, but it will come and it'll be in his deepest, darkest fears.”

“Mimi?”

Kiri nodded, taking her blade from her back. “It will take her and it will destroy her. At least, that's how it will appear. Your own shadow plays more games than we do.”

“And that's why we follow it right?”

“Yes. Because light is not always good and darkness is not always evil.”

“Because if those like the others, who are called full of honor, are in the light...” Sean began.

“We will be in the shadows,” Tomoe finished softly. “We will do things they will not do.” She clutched her Digivice, a startling black and red against her clothing. Around her neck was Kudamon, who looked almost too content. Kiri smiled sadly and mussed her hair.

“Unfortunately Tomoe-chan, that's exactly how it's going to work.” She looked at the room again. “Come on Tomoe-chan. Something’s going down in there. The Master of the Sea is moving. Sean?”

“No need to worry on that,” he replied firmly. “I won't allow any o' 'em to interfere.” Kudamon reluctantly left his partner's side, moving to rest next to Dorumon in Sean's lap.

She smiled sadly. “Thanks partner.” She stepped forward with Tomoe and disappeared.

Sean snickered. “I love how not flashy her power is.”



"That does it!" Jonathan ignored his screaming body, ignored the pain and actually broke the arm he had grabbed earlier, before following up with a quick multitude of punches to Luca's ribcage. He grinned slightly as he heard three successive cracks. Luca screamed.

Luca's screams turned to laughter. "You gave in," he whispered, sounding relieved. "Finally, you proved you're human." He laughed weakly. "About damn time but..." His canine lengthened and darkness began to pulse around him. "Too late, little human. Too late!" He let the darkness wrap around Jonathan. Luca spat onto the ground. "Hahah!" Blood dripped from his mouth and he smiled. "How does it feel?" he asked softly. "Does the darkness scare you? Are you going to try and kill me now?" The darkness began to howl, the air filling with the sensation of drowning.

Jonathan made a dismissive noise. "You're only a kid, why would I kill you? As you said all those days ago, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." You broke my nose and I went one step further. And as for the darkness, your answer's no."

Luca giggled madly. "You're still so weak you know that mister? You can't trust anyone can you? You're gonna be very lonely soon. And I'm not a kid." He held out two hands, which appeared to be claws. "I'm a soldier and I can and will die for the Digital World if that is how I am commanded. Can you? Can you be a true soldier who trusts his comrades, who can accept that they have something to contribute? Can ya?" He lifted his hand. "Tell me Jonathan Lucas! Tell me! Quick! They're coming you know?" Can you trust me?

Sensing the hidden question behind the hurried queries, Jonathan breathed deeply before exhaling quickly. "I know the real question you were asking, Luca. I trust you. In fact, all three of you can rejoin the team once we get out of here."

Luca sighed. "It took you long enough," the child whispered. "Now, get down!" He roared, a wild sound, and turned, slashing into a shadow, which had suddenly appeared. "Come and kill me you bastards!" he screamed in a chaotic, guttural voice. He leaped, snarling and striking as they came into view. "That human is not yours!" he roared. "That human will never be yours! Come closer and die!"

"Kari told me those were Dragomon's servants."

"They are!" Luca said happily, flipping up and booting one in the face. "They're so damn annoying! That's why I kill them!" He spun and sliced another open, not waiting for it to fall before killing another. "You stay where you are okay Jonathan? I won't let them get you, you understand?" Unfortunately for us, you're necessary.

"Okay."

“Look at you Luca. You're actually pretending to be human.” Kiri appeared out of nowhere, landing delicately to the ground. Tomoe clutched her hand loosely. Luca turned and bolted to her side.

“Kiri! You're so late! I should give you a punishment game!”

She chuckled. “Later little lion. We have two humans who need to leave this place right away.” He nodded merrily and took Tomoe by the hand. The girl flinched softly.

“Luca... you're hurt...” He waved it off.

“Not really. The Chaos’ll fix me right up. It always does.” He moved to grab Jonathan's wrist. “Kiri come on!” he called.

“I'll follow you. Go on ahead.”

He hesitated. “But...”

“Go on,” she reassured. “By blood and bond I will come back. Don't worry. And next time you do this... don't hold back again. Understood?”

He pouted. He had been caught. “I won't have to again. I have what I need.” With that, he let the power fade and they vanished. Kiri turned back, clutching her katana.

"Let's play."



"Let me guess, you're all testing me?" Jonathan asked, tensing his body despite the pain.

"It's too late for that," Sean's voice, creepily soft, came from the doorway. He smiled humorlessly at him. "Jonathan failed, didn't he Luca?"

Luca nodded guiltily. "He denied it before it could start."

Sean nodded sadly. "We thought that would happen. Kiri figured it wouldn't get that far."

"Wait, what? Failed what?" Jonathan half snapped.

"The darkness," Sean replied, still in that dull, sad voice. "You won't see the darkness. You won't listen to it. You won't accept it. Shadows aren't always evil. Light isn't always good."

"You keep running away from it," Luca added, looking guilty. "If I hadn't been so sentimental, you would have passed. Kiri was right. I shouldn't have held back."

"So... what? What do you want me to do?"

"It's not what they want," Kiri landed lightly on the floor. Her grey eyes were glazed over as they locked with Jonathan's. "It's never been about what they want."

Sean sighed. "Things must be terrible if you're coming out again Norn-chan."

"No worse than expected."

Sean nodded again. He looked lackluster, green eyes dim. He laughed bitterly. "I just can't bring myself to fake it," he muttered. Shaking his head, he looked back at the leader. "It's not what we want you to do. It's your darkness. You figure it out."

"Stop calling it darkness."

"Sorry Norn-chan. Force of habit. Anyway, they're your vices, your problems. We can't tell you how to solve them." He smiled now, the expression emptier than his eyes. "Your hands won't be held any longer. Everything... Everything is going to be truly real now."

"Okay, who's Norn? Someone kindly tell me what the hell is going on here?!" Jonathan's voice rose.

Kiri smiled sadly. It wasn't her smile but it adorned her face all the same. "Silly child. The answers are not going to be handed to you."

"Norn-chan's God," Sean added, a sad little flicker of sadness reaching his eyes. "Or she was God, before that happened."

"You say it like it's so mysterious."

"It hurt hearts and it was destruction."

"That is so."

"It's why you have to use Kiri," Luca piped up, looking troubled.

She sighed. "So it is, little lion. So it is."

Jonathan's eye twitched angrily. "Just what are you three talking about?"

"The Schism," Sean and Luca said together, both wincing. Norn shivered through Kiri. She heard the girl's soft whimper of fear and pain in her head. Tomoe looked away from them all, tense and scared.

"It was fifty years ago now..." Sean mumbled.

"Fifty here," the girl corrected. "That world was years ahead of this one."

"It doesn't matter," Luca stated quietly. "The world is dead, destroyed. And this one is next."

Jonathan stared. "You're kidding, right?"

"They aren't." Triesta's voice was not its usual hostile self, but dull, shattered. As she walked into the room, her violet eyes seemed to glow. She looked at Jonathan darkly for a moment. "Your friend Jack's a real jackass, you know that?" Sean winced, remembering the argument earlier. She turned to Tomoe. "Don't forget this." Kudamon leapt from the girl's shoulder into Tomoe's arms.

"Reckless," the little Rookie whispered to his partner. Tomoe flushed and hugged the spirit close. Her Digivice fell from her robe and clattered to the floor, the needles poking out.

"You're right, I know. Jack's reckless to the core. He is older and thinks he knows everything... even Blair and I are getting annoyed..."

"He had no right to say that to me. He doesn't know, not about..." Sean whispered. "If you're the leader then tell him to take it back. If he doesn't listen, then he's craven and disrespectful and should be sent home. He's only cannon fodder like that."

"I don't know what he said to you, Sean. But I will talk to him. Before I do, though, could you tell me what happened? So I'm aware of the circumstances..."

Sean trembled softly. The remark still hurt. Triesta began quietly. "Relena and I went for a walk after your test began and ran into Kari. She..." Triesta broke off, shivering slightly. She's dead, Siara's dead and it's my fault but they felt the same and it hurt... I don't want to think of... "We... started talking and Jack, he saw us and attacked us."

Sean continued, managing to bring himself together. "I saw them and retaliated. He was attacking Relena for something he started and it was annoying. I didn't want to do anything. He said to me that if I protected her, I was just a monster and my parents should have raised me better. I... He had no right. Just because he has real parents..." The last words were so quiet; it was a miracle Jonathan heard them at all.

"Right then," Jonathan's eyes narrowed as his expression hardened. "I won't allow this to continue. I have a feeling this will cause a fight, but so be it. If Jack thinks he can get away with talking to my teammates like this, he's so wrong. I'm sure Luca told you what I told him before, Sean?" The last part was spoken softly.

Sean nodded sadly. He then shook his head suddenly. "Don't worry about it. There can't be any more rifts right now. You need to know things and quickly. We can tell you a little bit about the Schism and just how it's going to come again if you'd like but..."

"You can't tell your friends." Tomoe's voice was light but sad. "They aren't grey yet. You're going to have to leave them away from it." She took her Digivice back and held it out to Jonathan. "Here, look at it. Be careful, it bites."

"Please do," Jonathan answered Sean. To Tomoe, he kindly declined, politely saying he didn't like bitey things.

Tomoe, surprisingly, didn't look ruffled. "It only bites me and that's for Kudamon. My blood gives him power." The Digimon curled up around her neck, looking content.

Kiri's gaze darkened visibly and Triesta looked purely furious. It was Luca, luckily, who began, "It was an awful day. Everything was broken. Back then, the many worlds, human and Digital, existed. Along with the places between, the dreamscape, and the World of Darkness, it made up the universe. One world moved quite a bit fast alongside its Digital counterpart. That was where it happened."

"There were Digi-Destined there and there was a treaty being sought between the worlds. Only... a lot of things went wrong." Kiri/Norn looked at Relena, looked past her to Triesta, whose long brown hair hid her eyes. "Triesta was one of those Digi-Destined."

"There was a traitor," Triesta muttered, clenching her fists. "He betrayed us to the Demon Lords, he turned on them, and destroyed our world, shattering it, and all of us in the process. He killed his contractor and called it revenge for another." Treista trembled. "He killed them. He killed her, Siara..." My contractor, my partner, the only person who refused to abandon me when the truth came out before we met the others... "I hate him, I hate him so much."

"Gennai, right?" Jonathan kept his voice quiet. Triesta nodded, her fists clenched and eyes hidden.

"Do you know of Mr. Ishida's team? Mina told us that after Mirageburimon returned to the Rookie level, she saw Matt's father hanging around and she wondered what was going on."

Sean and Luca glanced at each other and shook their heads. The girls nodded. "Is there something you wished to know about them?" Norn asked.

"I mainly want to know which Digimon they have as their partners," Jonathan stated.

Norn frowned softly. “I’m surprised they didn’t mention it themselves. Ishida-san had Gabumon, Kido-san had DemiDevimon, Yamaki-san had Gazimon, and Akiyama-san had a Hawkmon. Does that help in any way?”

"Yeah, I'm a little disappointed they didn't mention it, either." Jonathan muttered.

Norn smiled sadly again. "No one is meant to have all the answers," she stated with an unusual calm. "They would grow lax and everything would come to an end." Suddenly she paused. "You're right Kiriko. I forgot about that." She gave Jonathan a piercing stare. "There's one more thing we must tell you and then someone has a request for you. It's about a certain enemy of yours."

"Alright, I'm listening."

"You're referring to Cyberdramon aren't you?" Luca asked as he placed a hand on his ribs. He muttered something and his body began to glow. He moved it to his broken wrist and didn't wince as his body forced a recovery.

Sean nodded. "He's Akira's, isn't he?"

"Correct. Cyberdramon is the corrupted partner of Akira."

"I figured he had something to do with your family, Kiri. I just wasn't sure what. How did he end up like this?" Jonathan asked.

Norn stepped back and Kiri coughed weakly. She tried to speak, but convulsed. Relena, recognizing the problem, quickly placed her hand over her. "Stabilize," she murmured pleadingly. Kiri kept coughing; eyes squeezed shut in pain. Her body trembled and blurred.

Sean turned away, forcing himself to ignore it. "Cyberdramon was somehow separated from the others when the Demon Lords did what they did. We're guessing Ogudomon found him and corrupted him directly. That would explain why the spell is so strong."

Luca looked miserably at his cousin. "Why can't I do anything?" he mumbled, clenching his fists.

"Okay, so what's the request?"

Tomoe gave him a quiet, shy smile as she bowed low. "I want you to let me fight with you," she said softly. "Kudamon and I, we need to see this through to the end."

"You are aware my partner can't reach the Ultimate level, right?" Jonathan questioned. He looked down at Wormmon; his face said it all. Get ready.

Tomoe blinked confusedly. "What-What are you talking about?"

Kudamon sighed. "Idiot brat. She means we need to join your team."

"Oh," was all that Jonathan could say at first. He then regained his composure and nodded, saying: "Welcome to the team."

Tomoe smiled sadly. "We'll do our best then." As she spoke, Kiri abruptly vanished, Viximon left behind. Sean scowled, tightly clenching his fists. He shook, eyes shining darkly.

Relena glanced at Jonathan, Triesta having retreated to rest. "You should go," she said quietly. "Kiri will return soon and you're still injured. You escaped mostly okay but be careful."

Jonathan nodded his compliance and left the Ferro household, with Wormmon on his shoulder. Jack and Blair were waiting outside; their eyes widened and then quickly narrowed when they saw the state he was in. Jack muttered something about a hospital trip under his breath.

Sanako watched them go, Tomoe right behind her. "Tomoe-chan," she asked softly as they left. "Should I be worried?"

"Now yes," replied the little girl. "Later no. I will make sure it works out. For my father's sake, for his friends’ sake, I'll make it all right."



You’re lying!

Am I? The digimon chuckled cruelly. Leviamon spun himself around the boy. Davis closed his eyes, pointedly ignoring him. Then why do you deny it? If I lie why do I feel doubt in your heart?

I…

Poor Davis. You’ve been fighting all along in such a delusion. You are no hero, just a boy with a bit of luck. Your friends have been just humoring you.

You’re wrong…

You know I am not, poor boy.

I… I…

Come with me. We’ll take revenge on them. They treated you like nothing. You have the right to do the same.

No… I... I can’t. I…

Don’t you want to have power? Don’t you want to take what rightfully belongs to you? I can help you. You will get what you deserve. It is certain.

They… they lied to me. They don’t… need my help. They don’t need my power. And I don’t need theirs, do I? I am better than them. I can… destroy them, can’t I?

Exactly.

Legendarian Mistress
February 7th, 2011, 03:26 PM
Chapter 20: Choices and Decisions

Blair and Jack had taken Jonathan to the nearest hospital to get his broken nose looked at. The fourteen and nineteen-year-olds were told to wait in the waiting room, while Jonathan was taken to a theatre with a rhino surgeon.

“Now then, young man, can you tell me how your nose came to be broken?” The doctor asked, whilst preparing a thin band of plaster.

“I got into a fight,” Jonathan answered.

The surgeon rolled his eyes. Typical teenagers, always getting into fights... and over what? He placed the thin plaster band over Jonathan’s nose.

Jonathan muffled an “Ouch,” as the doctor did so and the doctor stared at him, before speaking.

“I’ll admit you’re the bravest child to have had their nose plastered up. Just try not to get into any more fights, alright?”

“Yes, sir,” the teen responded.

“Alright, you’re free to go. Oh, and it should take approximately six weeks to heal.”

“Thanks.”

As Jonathan left the rhino surgeon’s room and went to the waiting room, he caught the tail end of an apparently heated conversation between Blair and Jack.

“No, Jack, you listen to reason. I’ve known Jonathan longer than you, I should be second-in-command,” Blair growled.

Jack snorted dismissively. “I’m the oldest in this team; you wouldn’t understand what being second-in-command is all about.”

They’re arguing about being second-in-command? Jonathan sighed mentally. What was he going to do with them? At the moment, he had no idea. “Hey guys,” he called out. They immediately quietened and glanced at him quickly, before rushing over to him.

“Was it very painful?” Jack queried.

“Did he say how long it’s gonna take to heal?” That was Blair.

“It only hurt a little bit, and it’s going to take approximately six weeks,” Jonathan replied.

As they walked back to the street he and Blair lived in, Jack split away from them, saying he had to go back to the hotel he was staying at. He waved goodbye and yelled that he’d see them again later. They bid farewell to him and walked along in silence. Jonathan stole glances at Blair every now and then, wondering what her motivation for wanting to be second-in-command was. Finally, he asked her.

The black-haired teen stopped. “You... heard our heated conversation, then?” She questioned.

“I did, or the tail end of it, anyway.”

“Well, we’ve gone through our journey for this long... and I’m just worried that if you get knocked out, or something else bad happens, the team won’t have an acting leader.” Blair explained.

Jonathan blinked as he turned to face his neighbour. She wants to be second-in-command because she cares? Jeez, I didn’t think I ranked that highly in her life, but then again...

“You do, you know,” she answered simply, as if she could read his thoughts. “I care for and admire you very much, not just as a friend, but as a leader.”

Wait... oh, Wizardmon. I should’ve remembered. Gatomon told me he could read thoughts and project ideals into others’ minds, Jonathan mentally frowned.

Wormmon chose to speak up, albeit timidly. “I’ve heard Kiri mention several times why they were scanned. But why were you two scanned?”

I can answer that if you want me to.

T.K. and Kari appeared almost immediately after Siara, The Entity, spoke. It seemed as though Siara had drawn them here so that she could reveal why Jonathan and Blair had been chosen. “Okay, just don’t make her unconscious this time,” Jonathan fretted.

As you wish.

*****

Totally unbeknownst to the Digi-Destined, they had not been the only ones to come through the DigiPort. The BlackAgumon had managed to slip in, undetected by Akira’s fading spirit, and entered the real world.

Jack and Sorcerymon had been on their way to the hotel when the ice mage sensed an abnormality. “Jack, a rogue’s on the loose.”

“Where? What level?” The near-adult answered.

“Rookie, hmm... must’ve gotten de-Digivolved for some reason. Follow me,” the Champion ran off in one direction. As the pair ran towards BlackAgumon’s location, the overriding drive to eliminate the Digimon that was once Majiramon failed to alert Sorcerymon of another Deva’s presence: Sinduramon had just entered the real world and his targets were Izzy and Mina.

*****

In downtown Odaiba, rather close to where the Highton View Terrace apartment complex was, two more Digital Gates had opened and a fight had begun between an Ankylomon and a Greymon.

Hidden by darkening storm clouds, Azulongmon shook his head in both sadness and disappointment. The Digital World’s barriers are falling apart. More rogue Digimon like these two will appear and soon the Digi-Destined will be swamped with taking them out, rather than keeping their guard up and watching for real trouble like the Devas and Demon Lords. He was about to turn away when Sinead’s team turned up. Their Digimon partners were already at the Ultimate level, which was appropriate, considering Ankylomon and Greymon were quite tough as Champions.

It only took a few seconds for the two rogues to be deleted. Azulongmon made his exit, but heard Sinead’s words as he left the real world. “I think we’d better join forces with the other Digi-Destined.”

Wise words, Sinead, and a wise move indeed. The three Odaiba teams are definitely going to need your help.

*****

“Yep, he was definitely once a Deva,” Sorcerymon commented as he watched BlackAgumon’s data disperse.

“But how did he manage to enter the real world?” Jack looked puzzled.

“Might’ve slipped through the DigiPort when Akira wasn’t looking, perhaps?” His partner suggested.

“Maybe,” Jack responded.

“Wait...” Sorcerymon trailed off.

“What’s wrong?”

Oh ****! This was like a diversion! Sorcerymon realized and slammed his staff into the ground in anger. “BlackAgumon was a diversion. Another Deva entered the real world while we hunted this one down! Oh hell!” The Champion cursed.

Jack’s face showed alarm. “Which one?”

Sorcerymon closed his eyes, focusing on the location of the recently arrived Ultimate. “Not sure which one, but it’s heading... towards Mina’s holiday home! Let’s go!” Jack instantly grabbed onto his partner’s shoulder and the ice mage’s staff shone with a bright light as the teleportation kicked in. Seconds later, they were gone.

*****

Meanwhile, a giant red and white bird was fighting an Allomon, who was the third rogue to appear via a Digital Gate. He was a blue Allosaurus, with green eyes; red accents around his body and some Native American decorations on him. Allomon is a Data attributed Armour Champion Dinosaur. Armour Digivolving from a Hawkmon with the Digi Egg of Courage, he is from prehistoric times.

“You rogues don’t belong here in the real world!” The bird yelled.

“Tell someone who cares!” Allomon rumbled. He was currently trying to break free of the bird’s mighty talons, but was failing.

“I don’t intend to delete you!” The bird shouted. To his partner, he called out: “Open the DigiPort!”

The girl was already one step ahead of her partner and turned the computer in Allomon’s direction. Her partner let go of the Armour Champion and he fell, sucked in by the pull of the Digital Gate. The girl then closed the DigiPort and faced her partner. “It’s like the Digital World’s barriers are being torn to shreds, what with all of these rogues appearing, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” the bird said simply.

*****

Siara kept her promise and did not make Kari fall unconscious. “So... that’s why we were scanned?” Blair asked, amazed.

That’s correct. You were scanned because we determined Tai and Davis’ teams to be inadequate for this task. Only your team was strong enough, of heart, mind, body and soul. However, you would still need the support of Tai and Davis’ teams, of all the Digi-Destined, to be successful.

“Wow,” Jonathan said. Suddenly, his D-Core started beeping; Blair’s even did the same.

“Hmm,” Blair began sarcastically. “This either means we’re being called or there’s trouble.”

I would say the latter, to be honest, Siara answered. Courage and Friendship’s successor seems to have fallen.

T.K. and Kari looked at each other the same time Jonathan and Blair shared a glance. “Davis!” Jonathan and T.K. yelled.

“Come on, Blair, let’s go!” Jonathan insisted.

T.K. said nothing as he and Kari followed them. All four Digimon partners struggled to keep up.

*****

All of the Digi-Destined raced towards Mina’s holiday home to find Izzy and Mina sitting outside on the patio, enjoying some apple juice. There was only one problem, Davis was absent. Actually, the fact that Sinduramon was supposed to be here but wasn’t made Jack and Sorcerymon fairly suspicious; so technically, that was problem number two.

“Where’s Davis?” Yolei asked.

“Maybe he’s late,” answered a familiar voice. Yolei stiffened, she recognized that voice anywhere. Turning, she saw Ken and let out a fan-girl reaction.

“So Izzy, what happened to the Deva?” Jack queried.

“We took care of him,” Mina answered. “He was remarkably weak, for some reason.”

“Late? Davis would never be late,” a raspy, reptilian voice insisted. Having never heard this voice before, the Digi-Destined turned to see who it was.

Floating there in the air was a giant, red crocodile-like creature. Standing underneath him was Davis. But there was something off about the twelve-year-old. His eyes seemed blank, and Veemon was the same. Both of their expressions were empty, soulless shells.

Ken wasn’t impressed. “What did you do to them, Leviamon?”

The Demon Lord laughed. “So... the Child of Kindness knows who I am. Well done, boy genius. Yes, for those who don’t know me — I am Leviamon, one of the Demon Lords.” Motioning with his tail towards Davis, he continued: “This boy was so easy to crack; so easy, in fact, I almost didn’t have the heart to continue.”

It was at this point that the giant bird who had fought Allomon decided to show up. A blur leaped off his back and landed on the ground. Normally the Digivolved form of Hawkmon, this Aquilamon wanted to keep his Rookie level a secret for now. He was an imposing sight, yet he had an aura of power to him. His reddish-brown feathers were clean and vibrant, with the tops of his wings coloured pearly white. Several feathers tipped with yellow, however, protruded from his back. His gigantic feet had extremely sharp talons on them, each one as black as obsidian.

His tail feathers were large and rigid, and he had a mane of frazzled brown hair around his neck. His sleek, aerodynamic face was coloured brilliant white, and a red V-shaped mark sat between his piercing sky blue eyes and above his yellow beak. Finally, his sharp, black horns lent an aura of menace to them. Then, with a loud and proud voice, he stated: “I am Aquilamon! I am capable of travelling long distances! If you get in my way, my Blast Rings and Grand Horn attacks might just hurt you!”

The one on the left was the smaller one, and it was easy to see why: she was a human. Her skin was tanned, but not to the point of the tan being a dark shade. She wore a crimson, short-sleeved shirt with yellow three-quarter pants. She wore tough boots coloured brown with black soles, but they weren’t monstrously huge. She wore black fingerless gloves with white wristbands, and a red bandana was wrapped around her forehead. Her cerise hair stood up in spikes, but it wasn’t every-which-way like Tai’s, nor spherical like Davis’ — just straight up, with the spikes on the side drifting towards that general side. Her blue eyes stared at the Digi-Destined and their Digimon.

Finally, she smiled.

“Hello everyone. I suppose you want to know that my name is Rei... and I’m a Digi-Destined like you.”

Fuyu
February 12th, 2011, 04:00 PM
Chapter 21: Bitter Drink

"Somehow I'm not quite ready to believe you," Matt stated almost snidely. "Jonathan's team is the last, last we heard." Jonathan blinked at her. What's with her hair? He thought. It's pink.

"Can I de-Digivolve now?" Aquilamon asked his partner. She merely nodded. A glow encompassed the Digimon and he shrunk back to his Rookie level of Gaomon.

"So you were the ones I sensed," Kiri muttered, having landed carefully on a bench only a few moments before. "Awfully suspicious of you to follow us around like that."

I've been around for a while. Merely evaluating my comrades-in-arms," Rei answered.

"Comrades?" Kiri repeated before nodding to herself. "I see."

"Well, what else would you rather be called?" Gaomon growled. Rei laughed lightly at her partner's point of view.

She shrugged. "Enemy," she replied calmly. "You don't learn new things from fighting your comrades." With that, she turned away and waved farewell, heading up the path before any response could be heard.

"That little brat, I oughta..." Gaomon snarled.

"Now Gaomon," Rei lightly admonished. "The Kiri we knew wasn't like her at all..."

"You know her," Kari asked, feeling a sense of confusion and loss?

"Oh yes, but you'll learn everything all in good time," Rei stared evenly at all of the Chosen Children.

"Hm," Kari mumbled but remained quiet.

"What seems to be the matter, child of three?" Rei inquired.

She blinked and shook her head. "Nothing. It's fine."

Tai grinned. "Well, there just seem to be more and more of us," he analyzed cheerfully. "Glad to have you helping out!"

"Child of two... hmm, you look different," Rei studied Tai carefully. "I wonder if Taedra will carry the legacy..."

Tai blinked at her. "You say some weird stuff you know that?" He was still grinning.

"Trust the child of two to say something like that," Gaomon growled, but it was a light noise this time, as if he was amused.

"Hey I call it as I see it."

Gaomon looked at his partner with a questioning expression; Rei nodded.

"Then tell me what you're going to call your other child," the Rookie tested Tai.

He blinked at her. "Are you seriously asking me about that? I don't think either of us have considered kids yet." He glanced at Sora, who shook her head in agreement. "But if I had to think of something, it'd be something like Taret. All mystical and such."

Gaomon looked at Rei, who nodded again. 'They will learn the truth eventually,' Rei thought. She then stared at Tai. "I'm sorry, Gaomon tested you to prove your worth, to see if you were truly the one we knew..."

Tai shrugged. "Eh, all of us are a bit weird. I don't have a clue what you're talking about but it's fine."

In the light of this, Rei changed her mind. "Gaomon, I'm going to tell them, they deserve to know."

"Rei, no! You can't, it would-" Gaomon began, looking stressed.

"My partner and I... are from the future."

"..." Matt rolled his eyes. "That's believable," he remarked with a snort. "Try coming up with something a little more realistic would you?"

"She's serious," Gaomon snarled, coming to his partner's defence instantly, realizing Rei was right. "She's the firstborn of Jonathan and Mim."

Mimi paled from in the back. Are, are they serious? She asked herself. Tai groaned playfully. "Somehow I'm not surprised anymore," he remarked. "Do I want to ask how this worked out?"

"We came back not only to warn you of future enemies, but to provide more aid in the fight against the Demon Lords," Rei answered coolly.

"And it is foretold Rei won't make back alive," Gaomon added ominously.

"Should we call this recklessness or-” Matt was cut off by Sora, who gave the girl a quiet smile.

"We'll appreciate you help," she said softly. "While we can have it.”

"Then let's begin. Those of you who haven't yet reached the Master level will need to focus and reach that level before the real threat appears. With almost all of the Devas eliminated, the three toughest remain. The Rat, Pig and Monkey," Gaomon explained.

"We outnumber them," Cody thought aloud. "It will be difficult but not impossible."

"Plusss you've got usss on your ssside. Never forget your alliesss, Chosssen Children," a reptilian voice intoned. Sandiramon slithered towards them, with Mihiramon, Indramon, Vajramon and Pajramon following him.

"I don't think we would," TK remarked semi-cheerfully.

"So... these are the Tamers' predecessors?" The Horse Deva spoke to nobody in particular. He tilted his head to one side. "They've got more guts than the Tamers do, I'll admit that."

"Indramon, are you inferring the Tamers were weak?" Pajramon snorted through her nose.

"Not at all; more that they were weak at first and took forever to strengthen... whereas these Children were strong from day one."

"I don't know whether I should feel complimented or not," Kari mumbled to herself.

"Ah, the Child of Light," Vajramon said, walking up to her. "Indramon was complimenting you and your friends, of course; he just has a weird way of doing it. It's who he is."

"Yesss, and at other timesss, he can be rather annoying. Right, Indramon?" Sandiramon hissed.

"Um, well... thank you," she stammered out, looking surprised.

"We can't Digivolve past Ultimate, but we'll aid you in the fight against the Demon Lords the best we can," Pajramon replied.

Tai smiled. "Like I said, thanks a lot!"

While the pure Devas were talking to the Digi-Destined, Jonathan was having a hurried conversation with Mimi. "Rei's the firstborn?"

"I-I guess," she replied lamely. "I had no idea."

"It makes me wonder how she won't make it back to the future."

" I would guess that... she dies while she's here."

'That would be correct,' Siara answered. 'More than that, I can not say, sorry.'

"I...I see." Mimi remained troubled, looking down.

"I don't even make it back." Gaomon looked forlorn.

"I hate to point this out," Sean's voice carried from the edge of the area. He gave them a dull stare. "But that's because your human's dead. Without the human, there's no reason for the Digimon. They don't last."

"We know that, Sean. Thank you," Jonathan's voice was hard. He knew that there was no reason for the Digimon to continue living if their partner was dead, because Cody had informed him about it.

Sean just stared at him emotionlessly. "Whatever you say Fearless Leader." He licked his bleeding hand, unbothered by the constant pain. "Siara, I'm surprised at you," he remarked blankly. "You haven't checked on Tri recently."

'I was getting to that. Other topics just caught my interest,' Siara answered

Sean sighed, remaining as safely monotone as possible. "So your partner doesn't catch your interest?" He lowered his hand, wiping it on his pant leg. "Some friend. She's in so much pain for your sake. I'll bother you about it later." He sat down on the ground. "Your friend with the goggles, he's gotten swallowed by Envy. Smooth."

"I was quite curious as to how Davis let himself be corrupted," Ken pondered.

"Leviamon is Envy," Sean said coldly. "Take a damn guess. His life ain't perfect, you've all got something he probably wishes he did, and Leviamon exploited it. It’s not exactly too difficult to understand. Nobody's pure of heart. There's always some way to knock 'em in the gutter. Believe me," Sean glanced at Siara almost with respect. "I speak from experience." She stared at him for a moment then nodded. She understood.

Jonathan tried rallying Davis, trying to get him to "awaken", but it didn't work. The pre-teen stayed silent, as if he had been born mute.

Sean rolled his eyes dully. "He can't hear you and he don't want to." Tai went up to Davis.

"How..." he mumbled, purely surprised. He had always thought Davis the strongest of them. Jonathan gave up, not getting anywhere. He was annoyed that Davis would succumb so easily.

Sean shrugged, taking a guess at the leader’s emotions. "So he's selfish. Humans are. I'm not surprised he gave in. After all," he hissed harshly. "Everyone falls, especially the pure of heart. It's a necessity." He closed his eyes and thought. "I wonder if making him kill Veemon would do anything..."

"Don't do that!" Kari cried out. She would rather die than see Davis kill Veemon; not because she liked him, though. It was more that the taking of an innocent Digimon life was wrong when he was misguided.

Sean glanced at her coldly. "Who said I would right now?" he asked darkly, giving them the coolest of stares. "Don't you understand how much pain he's in right now? Can't you guess what he's thinking? You should be able to Child of Light.” The words were a sneer. “He hates you all. As far as he's concerned, you don't need him and have been playing him like a toy, and now he won't need you. To prove it, he's after your heads. Don't you guys get this?" The Digi-Destined couldn't help but feel a slight bit of fear at the boy's lack of emotion the entire time. It's like he's reading a newspaper, Kari thought.

Wizardmon gazed into the heart of Veemon's mind, only just able to see Veemon's spirit. He stifled a gasp of surprise when he saw that Veemon was in a cage, unable to free himself; it would continue to be like this until he reconfigured to the Digi Egg stage. The electricity-based mage shook his head sadly and turned to Blair, projecting the images into her head.

Sean sighed falsely and closed his eyes, feeling his right wrist itch in irritation. "Stupidity and sentimentality," he muttered. "These children are nothing but fools." Nothing but brats, in truth. Why do they get out unscathed?

"What would you know?" Blair growled. "You don't know what Wizardmon sent me."

Sean shrugged. "I can guess. You wear your hearts on your sleeves. And his eyes speak of pity." And your kind all think the same way.

"Of course they did!" Wizardmon answered. "Veemon is suffering because of his connection to Davis; why wouldn't my eyes be full of pity?!"

Sean tilted his head at him, looking vaguely interested. "You mean our connection to the Digimon is only good when one isn't suffering because of it? So it's evil and bad now and we shouldn't have Digimon partners? If so then end it. Kill one or the other because as long as you all ignore the boy's pain, the Digimon will never recover. As long as you fight the Digimon, the more the painful feelings grow inside the boy. Pity won’t help this.”

"He didn't mean it like that," Rei responded.

"You said it yourself, boy," Gaomon snapped. "If the human dies, then the Digimon follows. We can't afford to kill Davis, or Veemon, for that matter. Why? Because they're Digi-Destined, and we will find a way to free them."

"What you guys are planning is likely what got him into this mess in the first place. Why don't you try understanding someone instead of assuming everything they say or do is one way or the other?"

"Explain yourself boy," the dog-like Rookie snarled. The boy resisted the urge to kill the dog. His arrogant manner was disgusting and unwarranted.

Sean tilted his head, masking the vague frustration he felt toward them. "You dunno? Leviamon can't manipulate with nothing. He ain't that smart. There was already something there in that kid's heart for him to exploit, something you guys musta played some role in. So maybe you should try figurin' out what that is and not from your eyes but from his. You should see how yer own heart's gonna get twisted by things you see and then start actin'."

"He's got a point," Wormmon timidly said. Sean's to the point explanation hit a nerve with Kari. She remembered saying something to Davis once and now she felt bad.

Sean glanced at her. "Did ya figure somethin' out? It was probably more than one thing too. Usually is. Keep thinkin'. The more ya do, the easier it'll be to help him. You're not saving him; you're helping. Saving is rescue, helping is lendin a hand, what teamwork's about. And you guys are a team right?"

"I partially caused this," she muttered ever so softly.

Tai patted her shoulder. "We all seemed to have done something," he said quietly. "Don't beat yourself up. Beating ourselves up won't change that. What we need to do is find a way to fix it, to help."

"I hope you're right, Tai." Kari still looked guilty.

Sean groaned inaudibly. He is ya idjit. Jeez I thought teammates had faith in each other and themselves.

Luca glanced at him and guessed his thoughts. He mouthed, "Leave it". Sean shrugged.

"I heard that. You leave her alone," Wizardmon growled under his breath.

Luca wrinkled his nose. "Mind rape," the eleven year old muttered darkly.

Liollmon choked. "I've met a lot of mage Digimon in my fighting," he remarked with a snicker. "But I have never heard their power called that." He laughed darkly. "That just makes everything so much more disturbing."

Sean rolled his eyes. "With all due respect Wizardmon can I ask you to stay out of my head? I don't eavesdrop on you guys. Even I've got standards. And besides it's true. One little thing and you guys fall at the seams. It happened when you guys were in the Digital World earlier. It's ridiculous. Maybe we're wrong to respect you as enemies."

"Sean," Luca breathed sharply. "Don't."

"I'm not! Don't freak out."

"You haven't put any emotion in your voice for the past ten minutes or so," the boy mumbled. "I dunno what you'll do." You're losing control more and more Sean. You don't have much left

"I'll stay out of your head, providing you leave Kari alone."

Sean chuckled darkly. "Yeah no you won't. Besides I wasn't planning on hurting her. That's why I kept my thoughts to myself. You're the one who said something."

Luca growled at him. "Sean stop. I don't wanna deal with that again."

"Oh come on, they could take a joke."

"They shot at you," whined the boy.

"Yeah and they missed."

"You're impossible..."

"What are they on about, Wizardmon?" Blair asked. Her partner shrugged. He couldn't get a grasp on their thoughts right now. It was almost like... Wizardmon scowled. Those two were holding something back, something that the others needed to know. And the thoughts they were using now were blocking that truth from him

Luca gave them a miserable look. "Trust me, you don't want to know," he said irritably. "Kiri told me all about it. Sean's lucky she can make a dagger from a broom handle and a broken claw."

"Oh come on," Sean protested. "I wasn't that bad last year!"

"You told a Slayerdramon to piss off! You told the leader of that army he was a coward!"

"He was! He sent you out to try and kill me instead of actually doing something himself!"

"That doesn't mean you say that to him!”

Blair stared wide-eyed at her partner. He told a Slayerdramon to piss off! Oh my god!

Sean shrugged. "I was right. He sent out an army to kill a guy like me in that fight. Gotta admit, Kiri was pissed." He cackled. "Best fight I've ever seen. A bunch of Mega levels cowering in fear of a twelve year old with a piece of nearly broken bamboo... god that was simply beautiful." Sean was clutching his ribs with derisive laughter.

"A twelve year old with the power of God, no less," Luca muttered. "And then you were crazy enough to attack the Slayerdramon with the Dark Ocean's power."

Sean grinned savagely. "Yep and it worked!"

"Am I glad Kiri has you on a collar," Liollmon muttered derisively. "You would kill us all."

"No," replied the boy with a pout. "Only the cannon fodder. And that would be their own fault."

"Do you mind?" Jonathan replied snarkily. "Stop calling us cannon fodder!"

"Hey for once I wasn't talking about you," Sean protested.

Luca blinked. "Oh... you were talking about... you idiot!" he screamed, nailing him in the face. "That was uncalled for, even for that guy!"

"Oh come on," Sean muttered, wincing at the blow. "You know damn well Vikemon and his stupid thugs were worse than any human at this. Remember what he did in that siege?"

Luca scowled at him. "No, actually I don't. I don't remember any of that. I wasn't exactly aware if you recall."

Sean sighed. "That's good. It was a mess."

"You trying to control the Dark Ocean wasn’t exactly wise."

"Yeah but my mess actually did somethin'."

"Oh," Jonathan said sarcastically. "Well, if you weren't talking about us, whom were you referring to?"

"Vikemon," he replied with a snort. "More incompetent than any human being. Thought he could outwit Nightmare Soldiers. They gave him a battle song all right, one cursing his stupidity."

"Do tell how a Mega level Digimon could be incompetent?" Wizardmon asked.

"Power doesn't mean intelligence. Just look at Leviamon."

"I would watch your tongue if I were you boy."

"That's kind of hard. I don't have eyes in my mouth.”

"And I thought the dragon was defiant."

"He was. I'm just annoying." Hewas stronger than you and you know it. That's why you did what you did. Too bad you still ended up losing.

"If only you would succumb as well, you could help Davis so much."

Sean flipped him off. "Go suck on it stupid handbag. I have no master." As this person I don’t.

"Too bad. I was hoping... Ah well. We'll treat them again next time won't we Davis?" The dragon curled around the boy and his partner and the three vanished.



That night, Jonathan was dreaming. He had to be because he was back in the Dark Ocean. Wormmon was nowhere in sight. “How on Earth did I get here?” he muttered, sitting up in the sand. “More importantly, how do I get back?”

“Eh,” a voice drawled. “You made it through safely. That’s great. Luca said he wasn’t sure you would be alright with a partial transfer.” Kiri smiled at him and sat down. The faintest of light swirled around her transparent form. “I’m glad you made it through okay. This would have been really difficult if it hadn’t.”

“You guys, you sent me here again?” He forced himself to cam down. “Why?”

“Well, we didn’t really send you.” Kiri began drawing in the wet earth. “You were getting pulled through already. We just took advantage of it.”

“How? I don’t have any reason to want to be here.”

“Once you’ve been to the Ocean before, it starts calling you in a lot more. I’ve been here often for no reason but there’s likely something else with that. Plus there is something tying you here: it’s the mixups in your heart. We’ve all mentioned it, but do you get it? It’s not darkness; that’s Blair’s issue and that’s mostly because she’s afraid to keep walking. The darkness isn’t the problem here: it’s the crazy. The crazy is an extreme: too much or too little. That’s why it poses such a threat.” She moved her finger and plunged both hands into the wet sand.

“Basically, the real reason you can’t evolve Wormmon any further is because you’re unbalanced and have too much light. So really, you got the worst crazy out of all of us. I find that strange.”

“Doesn’t this place bother you at all?” he couldn’t help but ask. He was feeling rather sick. The screams from before and the pressure had returned only much stronger.

He got a shake of the head. “Not anymore. I’ve developed immunity like Luca from being here so much. By the way, Luca lied earlier: he can’t control this place: it’s not his element. He can influence it but he’s meant for something else.”

He peered at her. For some reason, even though he knew this place likely was not an issue for her, he noticed how ill she looked. She looked like she was waiting to pass out.

“Are you alright?”

She smiled sadly. ”No. But this was my choice and this is the only way now.”

“What do you mean?”

“I will die soon.”

“What?! Kiri... you’re only fourteen... How...? Why?” Jonathan panicked. He didn’t want to lose one of his teammates.

She gave a merry little laugh. "It figures you worry, since I'm not very scared." She stood and once again, the ocean was visible through her.

"How?" Jonathan persisted. "Is the Catal Unit malfunctioning?"

Kiri spun in a circle, shaking her head. "No, no, it's working perfectly. That's why I will die." She paused and looked at him with a tilted head. "I am tied to the worlds, Jonathan. The Catal Unit is the only thing keeping me alive anymore. If any of the older ones lost, I would have been dead a long time ago. But that isn't the problem. " She lifted her hand toward the grey sky. "The Catal Unit is necessary to perform the Schism once more and that is what Ogudomon is after. So he will remove it from me and that'll be it."

"Well, we won't let him!" He couldn't let this happen. If the team was incomplete, they would fall apart!

"We have no choice," she said softly. "I have to be there to save Akira-nii-chan. And it must be taken. It's the only way."

"You want to save your brother, I understand that. But think of all the people who will miss you..." Jonathan tried again.

The people who would miss me already know the truth and accepted it."I know," Kiri smiled again, the expression haunted. "People will, but there won't be many." She touched a bruise on her arm. Dad, I'm glad you won't return. Mom would hate you for this, if she were still alive. "The few that will, they are the ones that this will protect. I... It's the only way you'll beat them."

“The Demon Lords?"

"Yes." Her gaze dimmed and she thought back to the Schism, seeing it through the diamond's many faces. "They want it back, all that they lost. They think the Catal Unit can bring it back, just like before."

"But it can't, can it? What was lost won't be able to be retrieved, right?" Jonathan questioned.

She smiled. "Exactly."

"Why would they bother trying then?"

"If you lost everything and there was a glimmer of a possibility in getting it back, wouldn't you try?"

"True," Jonathan replied. "But even when they know they'll fail?"

"They don't know," she stated, bowing her head. "I feel sorry for them for that. They don't know but Ogudmon does. He doesn't care. He wants revenge." But even if they knew it wouldn't stop them.

"I'm sure he does," Jonathan stated. "But he's not gonna get it while we're around."

"He did though. Triesta and the others are dead. But it's not enough. It'll never be enough. The worlds have to disappear, have to experience the same pain he did." She sighed. "The crazy is so strong in him, it infected the others and made them fall. It's crazy, so much lunacy and so much pain. And Gennai fell to it. And Rion paid for it. So did Siara at one point. And Triesta blames herself for it everyday. Everyone and everything..."

Kiri raised her hands as the Catal Unit spun for a moment just above her hands. "It's all because of the Schism and it's all because of the lunacy. And it's up to you and the others to stop it. The cycle will not be able to continue once the Catal Unit shatters because the second it does, everything will fade to shards."

"Well then, how soon do I get a second chance to lose some of the "light"... as you put it?" Jonathan asked.

Kiri shrugged. “I dunno Jonathan. This is your test really. I’m just here to make sure the transfer goes okay. To lose your light would be to open yourself to the dark. How you do that I don't know. My heart was never closed to it. But my guess is that it would be something involving that girl, Mimi I think it was…”

“What? What does she have to with this?” he demanded, feeling fury surge. As if in response, the pressure and pain tripled.

“You’re not helping,” she chided. “You have feelings for her right?”

“I don’t know.” It pulsed.

Kiri sighed. “There’s your test: you don’t know. You need to settle your feelings fast or at least find a way to deal with them. Otherwise she’ll be in great danger and you’ll be the threat.”

"I know. I'll have a conversation with her later on," he responded strongly.

The fourteen year old smiled happily. "I'm glad," she began. "I'm glad you can do that. I'm glad you can love." The Catal Unit sank back and Kiri held out her hand. "I don't think I can teach you to accept the darkness," she said gently. "But I can show it to you and I can show you a bit of the past."

"Alright, let's do this."

Kiri closed her eyes and from her hand pulsed a shadowed orb. She smiled blissfully as it grew, engulfing them both. "Let go," she ordered quietly. "All of those human things that rest in your heart, you must let go of them and leave your heart empty as a blank slate, empty and ready to take a new path."

Jonathan closed his eyes and focused, breathing in deeply, before exhaling slowly.

"Listen," she sang out softly. "Can you hear him, the child engulfed in shadows? Can you hear the sacrifice's song? Can you hear him call for help? He needs to heal the child who protects him from the dark winds. Listen for him, the song of the darkling's pure one."

"I hear him," Jonathan said softly.

Kiri opened her eyes partially and took Jonathan's wrist. "This way now," she commanded. "Don't let your heart fall but don't let it leave this state. If you don't you will be lost here, in the sea of pain." As she walked, her body solidified. She paused and pointed. "There he is." A faint glow of grey sparkled in the distance. "Go ahead now, he mustn't see me."

Jonathan walked ahead, having opened his eyes.

A timid voice resounded from the grey. "Who-Who's there?" It was male and young, the skittish words of someone lost. "Are you good? Or are you bad?"

"I'm Jonathan Lucas. I'm a good guy, don't worry."

"Help... please. He's hurt. He protected me and he got hurt. Help him please. It's not his fault. They're the ones that caused it. Help him..."

Jonathan looked around until he saw two figures on the ground. He walked over to them, going slowly as to not alarm the child who had spoken.

The crouching child shook the one lying there gently. "Please Jay wake up," he pleaded. "You shouldn't, you can't leave." The white-haired child didn't stir, cold as the grave. "The others, they need you. You're the Heart. Please!" The boy was crying. "Please wake up! One of you has to wake up! Please!" He looked at Jonathan with begging eyes. "Help him..."

How should I help him? I haven't got a medicine bag..." Jonathan looked concerned. Whatever was ailing the unconscious Digi-Destined was bad news indeed.

"Take it away from him," the boy said softly. "Take away the darkness. It shouldn't be in him, he's got too much now. You've got to take it. I can't. I tried and tried. All it did was make it stronger." He sniffled softly. "Samael..." he whispered softly. "Where'd you go Samael? You promised you wouldn't leave me again."

Jonathan placed one hand on the boy's shoulders and left the other in the sand. Since he had too much light in him, he figured he'd do an act of kindness and withdraw the darkness from this kid.

"Think of the cold filling your body," the boy said softly, his voice strengthening, aging almost. "Think of the white being melded with black. Think of grey, think of the night giving you power, power the daylight does not have." His voice weakened again. "Don't take it all. Jay needs to balance."

Jonathan took the child's advice and only withdrew half of the darkness.

"Now accept it," It was a new voice. A girl with pale blond hair in a white, lacy dress landed on the ground. She clutched a staff that almost appeared like a straight vine barring the top, which was shaped like a strange diamond. "Allow the darkness to enter your thoughts, your heart. Let yourself darken, just a little."

The child turned. "Norn!" He tackled her, hugging her tight. Norn laughed softly. Jonathan examined her. She looks like an ordinary girl. But then you looked at her again and saw it, the power in her stance, the age in her eyes, the age that Kiri now held in her eyes.

"You look well Rion," she murmured as she glanced at the other boy. "But Jay..."

"They won," the boy said softly.

Norn nodded sadly. "I see."

Jonathan accepted the darkness he had withdrawn. It was colder than he expected yet somehow he felt slightly relieved… and sick again, the pressure from before unfading.

Norn nodded firmly at him and went to the still unconscious boy. "Jay. One of you in there: wake up. You don't belong here. You need to go. Your friends are waiting." The boy still wasn't moving. She knelt and saw something on his neck. "His barcode's bleeding," she mumbled. "Rion, what did they do?"

"They don't need him anymore," Rion said softly, wringing his hands together. "They threw him here after that thing got killed. They laughed and said it wasn't worth shooting him. They tried to take me. He wouldn't let them." Rion seemed to be crying again. "And now he won't wake up."

Why won't he wake up?" Jonathan asked. He felt weird.

"Because they hurt him, him and everyone else," Rion placed a hand in the boy's, shivering at the cold. "It hurt him worse because he's sensitive. Jay understands people completely, even stuff you don't want him to. They used that against him. They could cause..."

"Because he feels peoples' emotions?" Jonathan hazarded a guess.

Rion nodded. "Yes and cause..." He shuddered again.

"They created him," Norn finished quietly, gently wiping the still-oozing blood from his neck. "He's their artificial Chosen Child."

"Artificial Digi-Destined?" Jonathan looked shocked.

Rion nodded and turned sharply. The boy was groaning lightly. "Jay!" he chirped, bouncing. Jay groaned again, this sounding much deeper than the first.

"Yer so loud Rion," he grumbled. "Shaddup already." Rion blinked in surprise before understanding.

"You're the "other" one," he surmised.

Jay scowled as he sat up. "What, don't like me?" He sounded offended.

Rion pouted and exclaimed. "Jay is Jay, no matter which one is outside."

Jay shrugged neutrally. "Whatever. So annoying..." He glanced up at Jonathan. "Who the hell are you?" he asked rudely.

Jonathan raised an eyebrow at Rion, asking for an explanation.

"Jay's got two people in him. The one you're talking to was already there. He’s not very nice but he’s like Jay and really sensitive but the people who made Jay created the other one and put him in Jay's body. I don't quite get it, but they sealed me there between the two parts. It's weird."

The albino shrugged, turning cold blood red eyes on Jonathan. "We're both called Jay," he stated coolly. "I ain't worth a name. Thanks for helpin’ out I guess. Don't quite care so..."

"I helped because I was asked," Jonathan said, trying to remain cheerful, but well aware of his twitching eyebrow.

Jay snickered. "Yer about as subtle as a gunshot to the ear. I can tell yer pissed off. Just state it next time."

Rion looked at Jonathan suddenly with eyes too old. "You've been here too long," he remarked. "Go home."

"How would I...?"

Norn sighed and gently tugged his shoulder. Her staff was flickering. "I've got you." She glowed softly, allowing the light to begin to engulf him. "Be careful you two," she called." Jay waved her off and Rion nodded.

"Um Jonathan?" Rion began softly.

"What?"

"Will you tell Samael I'm okay and I'm not mad at him? Will you tell him I'll be there soon? Will you tell him I miss him?"

Before Jonathan could protest or be confused, Norn interrupted. "He will, don't worry." Rion nodded shyly and vanished. The last thing Jonathan heard before waking up was Norn's quiet words. "Kiri will explain. Good job."

"It's alright. I'd do anything for Digi-Destined, no matter how they came to be."

She laughed gently as he woke. "Do you think Gennai will want to speak to you now, even if you have a message from his precious little brother?" And the light was gone. It was morning again.

It's worth a try, he thought, looking around at his room. Wormmon was already awake, waiting for his partner, while the Rookie sat on the edge of the bed.

...

The afternoon brought the end of school and the Digi-Destined were gathered again. Kiri was, to his surprise, missing.

"I wonder where she is," Jonathan pondered out loud.

"Why wonder such things, child of three?" Rei asked.

"Anybody who cares would worry," Sean remarked coolly as he arrived, not even looking at her. "Or doesn't come from the future. But the future can change and it's easy to fear for other lives.” He tugged irritably at a tangle in his hair. "She can't come today. She's settling stuff with her..." he paused at the word, looking disgusted. "Father. Her mom died and the guy decided now was the time for the funeral and will reading." Luca was only feet away with Liollmon, clutching Tomoe's hand. "She’ll be back in maybe a couple days. Depends on how bad the guy beats her." The last part was spoken casually but his eyes were hard.

"I'm not saying I don't care about her," Rei replied. "I merely wondered why when she so openly called me an enemy, called them..." She paused and motioned at the other Digi-Destined. "... The enemy."

"Will she be alright?" Jonathan inquired, his voice slightly tense.

"Consider it a compliment," Relena called airily, looking much better than before. "It means she's willing to learn from you unlike us. She's learned all she can for now."

Sean shrugged. "Probably. If not I'll know." He licked his lips. "And the air will stink of burnt flesh, like back home. I haven't smelled that in a while."

"Huh?" Jonathan, Blair and their partners exclaimed in unison.

"I spent the first seven years in my life between the streets and an orphanage that smelled about as welcoming as dog piss. All sorts of **** happens in the gutter. Just ask Melissa. Could've left my screaming little body behind and said I was dying after the car crash. There was enough metal and fire around me to prove it. Thankfully, my sister got the heart out of the pair of us and took me with." He pulled out a silver lighter but did not flick it. "You learn real quick. Even if you've got a place with good, don't be acting proud even when you’re alone, ‘less you want a knife in your throat and to be drowned in the canal. Yer just another brat, not missed there." And I'll set him on fire, just like all the others, stinking little...

What was that for?" Jonathan questioned evenly. "We didn't do anything to warrant recieving that sort of language..." He looked confused.

“You asked," Sean said softly. "You asked and I told. I tell my truths in the ways they are, even if folk mislike the hearin'." He abruptly switched to English and muttered to himself. "I don't even wanna get on what I actually did. You don't like the way I talk, ya definitely won't like what I did."

"You don't even like what you did," Luca said quietly.

"I don't regret it. They were gonna-"

"Sean you're going to start swearing again," Relena chided. "Don't think about it."

He returned to Japanese. "Yes Princess." She sighed at him.

Jonathan stared at the ground, before T.K. shouted in surprise. A black shadow rose from the ground near them. T.K. clenched his fists tightly. "You," he hissed softly, "Angemon destroyed you."

"He did," agreed the digimon almost too calmly. "But it seems I have made a comeback haven't I?"

"Devimon," TK growled, trembling with the urge to leap.

"You obviously know this Digimon?" Blair and Wizardmon asked at the same time.

TK hid his eyes, glaring at him through blond bangs. "He... He killed Patamon." The boy's voice held an ancient anger and it was clear that TK would throttle the Digimon himself if he could.

But he was reconfigured..." Rei stated.

"That doesn't change the fact that he died and that Devimon caused it." TK's blue eyes lost their bright glint and he held up his Digivice.

"Patamon digivolve to... Angemon!"

What replaced the Rookie was an angel clothed in blue and white with six wings. In his hand was a staff. A black visor with a cross on it hid his eyes.

"I have a feeling I know where this is going," Cody mumbled, holding his D3 up.

"Armadillomon Digivolve to... Ankylomon!"

The two Digimon began to glow.

"Anklyomon DNA Digivolve to..."

"Angemon DNA Digivolve to..."

"Shakkoumon!"

"As if I’ll give you an advantage. Devimon Digivolve to... Kimeramon!" The chimera roared, visored heat rising toward the sky.

The Digidestined paled. "****," muttered Matt. "Not him again."

"You weren't there last time anyway," Cody stated. Kari began trembling badly.

"Don't worry," TK mumbled softly to her. "It'll be alright."

"Heat Viper!" Kimeramon shot a hot beam out of his mouth. Even if an opponent were to dodge this, the shockwaves of this attack would knock them to the side.

Shakkoumon opened the hole in its stomach and tried to absorb the attack. It worked but just barely.

"How does it feel to be badly wounded, floating teacup?" Kimeramon boasted. "Heat Viper!"

Shakkoumon absorbed it again. "Justice Beam!" The blast hit Kimeramon full in the face.

Kimeramon refused to lose, even though his current shape was starting to blur. He attacked once more with his arms, pushing with all his might down on Shakkoumon. Shakkoumon knocked him away with a metal hand, as easily as a fly. Kimeramon growled an unearthly sound, before the data vanished, leaving Devimon in his wake.

"Still not dead," TK muttered coldly.

"Oh, I'm far from done," Devimon turned his gaze to Blair. "I think it's time for a little walk down memory lane."

"Devimon digivolve to... Myotismon!" The blue-skinned vampire appeared, cloaked as always. A cruel chuckle burst from his lips. "Glad to see you again."

Blair faced the vampire, her features shown as a snarl. "You!"

"Pleased to see you remember me," he greeted mockingly. "It looks like I have another death to cause don't I? Or... should I call it... the same death?"

"Don't think you'll win that easily this time!" Wizardmon snapped. He knew one thing had changed about him since his reconfiguration and that was a small part of his personality. Everything else was the same; though he was a fraction more irritable and that was because he now had a partner to care for and protect.

Meanwhile Shakkoumon had abruptly devolved and the others had more problems on their hands, namely, more enemies. They turned to the battle, leaving Blair the only one watching Myotismon.

The vampire raised an eyebrow. "Oh really? Grisly Wing!"

"Magical Game!" Lightning burst from his staff, heading for Myotismon.

He deflected it easily, letting it disperse in the sky. "Is that all?" Wizardmon unleashed both his Thunder Ball (also known as Electro Squall) and Magical Game attacks, hoping to overwhelm his long-standing foe. Each was easily dispersed. Myotismon laughed. "Weak. Crimson Lightning!" The whip wrapped around Wizardmon's torso and sliced it bleeding.

"Wizardmon, NO!" Blair screamed. She rushed over to her fallen partner. His breathing was laboured and his lower chest area was bleeding badly. "No, it can't happen again, it won't..."

"You idiot: move!" Sean yanked her away as Dorugamon barely countered an attack from Myotismon. "You okay?" he asked his partner, who nodded. Sean turned to face her again. "Do you want to die?" He grabbed Wizardmon's body and gently moved it away. "You would have killed him either way sitting there like a freaking statue!"

"What the bloody hell would you know?!" Blair shouted. "Your partner's never been deleted before. And so what if Wizardmon wasn't my partner in the beginning; he is now... that's why I'm trying to protect him!"

Sean glowered. If only you knew. "You can't protect him, you weakling! Crying isn't protecting, that's what fighting is! And all you do is cry and run!"

"Which is what you did in the beginning, too, I'm sure." Blair remarked dryly, an obvious hint of icy hatred in it.

He snorted. "You wish."Cry? Run? I wish I was so lucky. The things I've done, it would make even your friend Myotismon look like a saint. Wizardmon caught these thoughts and again, felt that suspicion. Carefully he tried to pry... but he met a solid wall with a lock on it. He reached for it but his hand was shocked away.

Leave that alone, Sean's mental voice was perfectly blank. That will open when it's ready, so leave it. The Champion found himself yanked back to painful reality.

"Oh, you go on about stuff you only think you know. You don't know anything about Myotismon," the one-eyed girl growled.

"How do you know," Sean asked quietly. "How do you know I never fought him, never killed him, never lost my digimon, never lost comrades?"

"I know you never killed him, because that was left up to WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon."

Sean looked at her, really analyzed her. Then he laughed, he laughed loudly and coldly, the sound like knives to her heart. "God you are the stupidest wench. Here I thought there was a brain in that head instead of cotton. I've never fought your Myotismon. It doesn't mean I haven't fought one. I wish you could get your head out of your ass."

"I could say the same thing back to you. Why don't you get your heads out of the clouds?"

"I'm not the one who whines every day about how much her life sucks because she doesn't have a mommy's skirt to hide behind or a father to shoot all the men who dare try to hurt her. I'm not the sheltered little brat." As he spoke, his D-Core seemed to brighten. He glanced at Dorugamon, who was somehow holding his own.

"I never said any of those things. So I don't know where you obtained that information from," Blair snapped.

“Why do you assume people have to talk?" he sneered. "You mope about them like they were just gone yesterday. For the record, your friends aren't as broody and whiny as you. It's easy to piece stuff together if you have more than one brain cell."

"Take that back, you bastard," she growled loudly.

"Me? Take it back? As if." Sean turned away from her, eyes hidden by his bangs. “You know… you’re the kind of person I hate the most Blair. Your kind… Jack, you, even Jonathan, you’re all so damn selfish. You aren’t grateful for what you had and just wallow over the fact that it isn’t there anymore. Then you blow up at people who don’t care and say they’re the bad ones. Why should they care about your problems? You complain about them so much and you don’t try to do anything to make it better. Useless, whiny people like you are really unnecessary you know? It’s why I prefer Kiri. She doesn’t waste time on that sort of crap. She will save them, all of them if she can. She knows there are other people with problems. Do you? What are you going to do?”

"You're calling Jonathan selfish, even after he accepted you, Kiri and Luca back into the team?! How dare you?! I'll have you know it wasn't his decision to boot the three of you out in the first place... that was Jack's choice!"

Sean smiled cruelly. "All humans are selfish," he said loftily. "But he isn't what I worry about. He's not the one who's running away. You are. Coward."

"What the hell did you just call me?!" Blair hissed. Wizardmon angled his staff at the boy.

"Coward," he repeated, unafraid. "Go ahead Wizardmon, kill me. Do your worst." He laughed, but it wasn't crazed. It was emotionless, apathetic. Her reactions are so predictable. You’re nothing but flies. "Protect your partner, let her hide behind your legs. Let her remain a child forever. Watch her parents cry from their graves." The green eyes didn't flicker. "How worthless you are. You shouldn't be in this fight. You should just hide for real. It wouldn't change much for you.”

"I was reconfigured for a reason; it's beyond what you'll ever understand," the elf snapped. Blair was struggling to rein in her anger, but was failing miserably. In the end, she gave up and slapped Sean on the face.

He didn't react. "Oh you did? Was it to let her brood for the rest of her life? I don't wish to understand if that's so. You're nothing to be proud of then, letting someone run away from the future." Sean looked over. "Dorugamon." The digimon landed at his side. Sean closed his eyes. "Attack Myotismon once more. He's nothing but trash data. Just like when we fought him before. His existence is unnecessary." Dorugamon nodded and soared off. "Is he really that terrifying to you," he asked Blair sardonically, looking almost amused. There is so much worse than him out there. For starters, there's me.

"Myotismon was the one who killed Wizardmon in the first place. Your Digimon doesn't stand a chance, don't you get it?" Blair snapped like her partner had done.

"So what if Dorugamon doesn't stand a chance in your eyes?" Sean asked, his voice never leaving the soft monotone. "I believe in Dorugamon and all the others. Even if Jonathan is selfish, I believe in him. I can't believe in a coward like you. You hide in the past and assume you'll lose. Those like you are unnecessary as well." Sean glanced at his shining D-Core."Why should anyone believe in you? Myotismon scarred you and you let it define you. That wasn't why you were chosen was it? So what are you here for? Can you even fight at all?"

"I know why I was chosen," Blair answered. "But until you decide to trust me, I've no intention of revealing what Siara told Jonathan and I."

"Then stop running and fight. Coward." Sean's dead gaze turned away toward the fighting. "I don't care why they chose you. I already know. But why do you want to do this? Are you content just sitting and crying over what will never come back? Because that's all you do and it's really pathetic."

"I'm fighting to take revenge for the parents I lost to evil Digimon, for revenge on all the suffering I have gone through, to make myself stronger so nothing like that happens again." With her declaration ended, Blair aimed a punch at Sean. "I am facing my problems, not running from them."

Sean stepped back, catching her wrist in one hand. You are running away, you fool. You just don't know it. "I'm not the one you're fighting." He smiled sadly at her and let go. "Go prove me wrong. Hurry up. Everyone needs you now, now more than ever." Blair nodded and ran off in Myotismon's direction, Wizardmon following her. Sean watched her go. "That's the way," he muttered. "Fight. Don't do what Melissa did. Don't let yourself fall into the gutter."

Both Blair and Wizardmon were nervous that they had to face Wizardmon's past killer, but they quickly steeled their resolve. "You ready, Wizardmon?" The girl asked of her partner.

"I am," he responded.

Dorugamon saw them and flew back toward his partner. His ragged voice asked, "Can you do it?"

We can do it," Wizardmon replied.

"Get some rest, Dorumon. You look exhausted," Blair said softly to the Digimon who had de-Digivolved from his wounds.

Dorumon smiled sadly. "Sean is too and he's not resting. He's been tired forever." He turned away. "Thank you. He's not acting much anymore. Thank you for making that happen." He trotted away, returning to the boy's side. But... the Digimon thought. I'm not sure that's a good thing. If that wakes up, it's not gonna be good. And people will hurt him all over again.

Blair placed her fingers in a locked position and spread them outwards, cracking a few. "Right, let's do this."

"Magical Game!" Bluish-white lightning bolts left the head of Wizardmon's staff and headed in the Ultimate level vampire's direction.

Dorumon suddenly leapt to her side. He placed a familiar chip in her hand. "Sean said you forgot this," he chirped.

"Huh? Oh, thanks Dorumon." Her eyes widened. My Core Awakener… how did he…

Wizardmon dodged a Crimson Lightning attack, retaliating with an Electro Squall move.

"You know what to do, don't you?" Dorumon asked, pausing. "Sean told me to tell you: burn. You are fire, he says, the Phoenix's wings. You need to find your blaze."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Blair looked confused.

Wizardmon released another Magical Game, but it was becoming clear that Myotismon was merely ignoring the electrical blasts now as he strode towards the other Digimon.

"I've killed you once, I'll kill you again," he snapped. Blair turned sharply at this threat.

"Blaze," Dorumon repeated, ignoring the Ultimate. "Emotions, desires, and promises, they all have power. They can make things change. You need to blaze and make things change."

Blair's eye widened as she realized what Dorumon meant. Her desire to defeat this fanged scum, her promise to Sean, her concern for her partner... Everything changed at that point and a reddish haze surrounded her.

Sean smiled from the distance, the first genuine one he had ever shown the others. "Yes," he whispered. "Blaze, Phoenix Song. Burn them all to ashes."

"I am Blair Morgan, child of Zhuqiaomon's nest. Awaken, Spirit's Embers." She felt the chip between her fingers and inserted it into the slot.

A cocoon of data enveloped Wizardmon. His form changed inside it and then the cocoon burst, revealing a familiar Digimon - Silphymon.

Dorumon cheered and jumped up and down. "You did it!" squealed the creature. "We knew you could do it, we just knew it!" At first, it seemed like Silphymon ignored the Rookie as the Ultimate formed a Static Force in his hands. Before throwing it at Myotismon's face, however, he turned slightly and thanked Dorumon.

Dorumon smiled softly. "Protect," he whispered before joining his partner. Sean glanced up from where he was stroking Dorumon's head. "It's your show now," he mouthed. "Best make it a good one."

Throwing another Static Force at Myotismon, Silphymon then made an energy duplicate of himself - his Astral Laser technique.

Myotismon countered quickly. "Grisly Wing!"

Silphymon let the bats dissipate the copy before striking the vampire hard and fast with multiple Static Force attacks. Blair wanted this evil Digimon gone, so did he; he wasn't going to let his partner down any time soon.

"Is that all?" jeered the vampire, wrapping a Crimson Lightning around Silphymon's waist and yanking roughly. "I thought you were actually trying to kill me!"

"Trust me, you piece of fanged crap," Silphymon began. "I will kill you!" And with that, he placed his large, clawed hand on the evil Digimon's chest. One fully charged Static Force was sent in. Myotismon screamed, hatred and pain convulsing his body. He burst into data instantly, the Digital World finally reclaiming the last of his data.

"And don't come back!" Blair and Wizardmon yelled. Silphymon had de-Digivolved rather quickly, back to Champion, as opposed to In Training or Rookie... because he hadn't used much energy.

Sean watched her, a quiet smile tugging at his lips. "About damn time," he called lightly.

"What was that, you bastard?" she sarcastically called back, adding quietly: "When will it be your turn?"

Sean shrugged. "Whenever the time is right," he replied quietly. The last words were for Dorumon alone but Blair managed to hear them. "When I'm called to protect her."

"How... how about you come over to my place tonight? We can watch a movie together?" Blair hesitantly queried.

He glanced at her and the smile flickered to his face, if only for a moment. "Sure." His voice and eyes returned to their dull selves but there was a hint of mischief in his next sentence. "If you don't kill me before we get there, Miss Hot-Blooded."

"Now, why would I do that?" Blair asked, tilting her head to one side. Wizardmon was gaining a sense of respect for the boy and he actually walked up to him, offering his gloved hand.

Sean shrugged blankly. "Because you're you. And you're a short-tempered, impatient girl." He took Wizardmon's hand politely.

Blair made a dismissive noise. "You're not perfect, either, so you can't talk. Alright, everyone, let's go." She looked pointedly at Sean and his partner to make sure they got the point and then, with Wizardmon following, she started off towards home.

"Oh I know I'm not perfect," Sean mumbled, looking at the sky. "If I was, then Melissa would never have gone through what she had. And I wouldn't have..." The last was a whisper and Dorumon glanced at him.

"Sean?" Stop thinking about things that hurt.

He patted his partner on the head. “Don’t worry Dorumon. I’m won't think about it now. Come on.” He followed, still keeping that empty expression. He thought more, and remembered the past, something he was annoyed he was doing more and more lately. I know what I am, why do I keep reminding myself?

Blair's pace faltered as she considered something, before she hastily turned and kissed Sean. Wizardmon wasn't surprised; he'd suspected something like this would happen after she gathered the courage to ask him over to her house.

Dorumon, on the other hand, was quite taken aback. He jumped up and down, this time agitated. "What are you doing to him?" he whined. "Don't do that, it's gross, don't do that!"

Sean, to Blair's surprise, pulled back. He looked, for the first time, actually upset. He shook his head, expression finally changing to turmoil. "Not so fast," he whispered. "We've got time, okay? You won't, you won't leave any time. And I won't, not now, not for a long time." This is wrong, it’s not me she knows or cares for. She just thinks so. She’s wrong.

"Okay," she whispered, sensing confusion.

Sean stiffened as his cell phone vibrated in his pocket. He flipped it open quickly and turned away from her. "What are you doing," he hissed urgently. "If your dad catches you on the phone, he'll have a fit!" He paused, listening intently. "Oh so he gave you permission to actually exist huh? Bastard. I swear Kiri, you are not his-" He was cut off. Blair felt jealousy in her throat. He never worried about her the same way. What makes her so special? "Yeah, I-I know. Can't you sound upset at all Kiri? Your mother's funeral is tomorrow and you're getting kicked out of your own house the same day! Can't you at least-"

He listened again and smiled ruefully. "You selfless, understanding fool, how the hell did you know?" Sean let out a miserable laugh. "Kiriko, you know way too much. Yeah I'll-I'll be there. He's got a key if I'm late. Thanks for telling me." He closed his eyes and released a shuddering breath. "You were right again. I owe you." He chuckled dully. "I love you too sweet sister. Thanks for that." Blair felt ice in her heart so she almost missed the end. "Good-Good luck surviving tomorrow." He ended the call.

Blair had heard enough. With Wizardmon flying in the air beside her, she stormed off. Why did I think I even had a chance with him? He cares too much for Kiri... sweet sister, my arse.

"Running away again?" he said softly, face returning to its blank self as he returned to facing her. "You're jealous of Kiriko aren't you?" His voice held a dull lilt of curiosity. "Why?"

She skidded to a halt. "Because of her!" she snapped, only half turning. "I really thought I had a chance with you, but I guess I was wrong!"

Sean looked her over, eyes glittering with a quiet knowledge. "You think I'm in love with her," he summarized. "But why?"

"Sweet sister this, sweet sister that! If you want Kiri that badly, just tell me next time! Don't lead me down the garden path!" The hazel eye narrowed, quivering.

Sean looked at her with a confused look. Then he smiled. "I do love her and she does me in return." He held up his right hand so she could see the now bleeding circle on his palm, his wristband hiding the bandages underneath. "We are one in all but one. It was our vow; to be each other’s always. But that one way we are not for each other is the way you are mine Blair." His green eyes glowed with an old, tired light. "There are many ways to love Blair. I love Kiri the same way I love Melissa, my flesh and blood. The way I could love you..." He turned away from her, preparing to leave. "Is your choice and yours alone."

"Huh, so now you're just gonna leave? Fine, suit yourself!" Blair and her partner walked off.

Sean smiled again as she left. "Love you too silly girl. Now if only you wouldn't be so easily ticked off." He laughed quietly. "But I suppose you wouldn't have caught my attention if you were."

Wizardmon had heard what Sean had said and projected those thoughts into his partner's mind. She was used to it now, but she wasn't expecting this. She blushed as she heard the thoughts and said mentally to herself: Same to you, Sean.

Sean hummed under his breath. "The world is strange," he reflected. "The Sun and Moon are in harmony always yet now it seems an eclipse is coming."

"Whatcha mean Sean?" Dorumon asked as they walked away.

"Symbolism," replied the human mysteriously. "Now let's go. Melissa's making dinner I think."

"Yay!"

Legendarian Mistress
February 20th, 2011, 03:19 PM
Chapter 22: Death’s Door

One day after Devimon was deleted again, the weather brought forth a dark grey cloud-filled sky; it actually looked like it was going to rain, possibly quite heavily. These conditions pleased Leviamon very much, for it would pave the way to his greatest plan yet. The Digi-Destined hung around in groups, with most holding umbrellas, as they stared across at the corrupted duo of Davis and Veemon.

The Demon Lord reacted first; he wanted to surprise the Digi-Destined into submission. “Davis, m’boy,” Leviamon began. “You know your orders.”

There was no response from the twelve-year-old at all as he held up his blue D3. But what concerned the other Destined was that, instead of giving off the normal light of Digivolution, this time the light was tainted grey. Gatomon narrowed her eyes; she knew this was a bad sign. She knew from a past experience that her Rookie stage could have Dark Digivolved to BlackGatomon, and it would have been her own doing — all because she had been angry at Myotismon for deleting the Digimon who had raised her.

“Veemon Dark Digivolve to...” The Digimon in his place was a huge, bipedal dinosaur with a fearsome face. With the exception of his white claws, chest and mane, he was mostly black with red markings. Black eyes glinted from under ridged eyebrows. “BlackGrowlmon!”

Oh ****, Jonathan thought. All of the Digi-Destined instinctively took a step backwards; the darkness emanating from BlackGrowlmon was so great, Gatomon froze in fear. The rest of the Digimon had stopped as well. BlackGrowlmon roared in anger and began lumbering over to Gatomon, intent on inflicting some pain.

It was his connection to his corrupted human that fed him the lie Leviamon spawned, the one in which the Demon Lord had said Kari couldn’t care less about him. The Virus-attributed Champion interpreted that as Gatomon didn’t care about him, either; so, in turn, he wanted revenge. Seeing that Gatomon was still frozen with fear, the rest of the Digimon Digivolved to help protect her against BlackGrowlmon.

New to the gang was Wizardmon’s Ultimate level Digivolution, Silphymon. Unlike the usual trend of a bigger increase in size between Digivolutions, Silphymon was an exception to that: he was only seven feet tall. However, he was lithe and agile; a grey belt with a red jewel embedded in the centre encircled his waist, separating the radically different halves of his body.

“Touch her and there’ll be trouble,” Silphymon warned in the standard half female, half male voice. The Digimon belonging to each Digi-Destined crowded around Silphymon, who was standing in front of Gatomon.

“Come any closer, BlackGrowlmon, and you’ll feel my Spiking Strike,” Ken’s Stingmon buzzed. I don’t want to have to hurt you, but I have no choice since you’ve allowed yourself to become corrupted.

*****

Mysteriously, while this was going on, Mr. Ishida’s team was watching from nearby. Hiroaki was wearing simple clothing: a wrinkled white shirt, khakis, and a green tie to finish it off. His brown hair was unkempt and messy, but he didn’t mind, his brown eyes were full of mirth; after all, he was contemplating the whole irony of the situation. “So Teela, is it time we revealed ourselves?”

Teela Yamaki was a raven-haired woman whose long, straight locks went down to her lower back. Her eyes were sky blue in colour, and her slightly tanned face was rough-hewn, yet gentle when she got emotional. Right now, she was wearing a dark blue dress. “If you want to, Hiroaki. You’re the leader, it’s your choice.”

Hailing from the Shinagawa district, a woman of forty — whose shapely image belied her age — stared out from the shadows and across at the battle; specifically, her eyes were on the corrupted Davis. Her long, shoulder-length hair was light brown in colour, and her skin was fairly tanned. Her green eyes were filled with hints of sadness; it fit the blue shirt and the dark blue trousers she wore. “…”

“Should we help?”

The woman turned around to see a small creature fly towards her. He was a bird with red and white feathers. The body, the tail feathers, and the wings were all coloured a dull red. The tips of the wings were coloured black. He was a biped, which meant he could walk on two legs, which were covered with tight, yellow skin. The talons on the feet were a dull grey colour. The feathers that made up the head were colored white, with red markings under his light blue eyes. He had a small yellow beak, which protruded outward for about five inches. The last feature was a black headband on his head, with a red feather tipped with yellow sticking out of the back of it. He was Hawkmon. “Well Miranda? I mean, they are Digi-Destined… they’ll need our help, don’t you think?”

Miranda Akiyama — one of the original Digi-Destined — shook her head before responding in a melancholy, yet silky voice. “No… this is in the hands of the current generation. Our ‘job’ as Digi-Destined ended when we sealed away Daemon the first time…”

Hiroaki looked around. “Hey, where’s Joshua?” A distance away, the three heard the screech of tires and Hiroaki shook his head. “That’d be him, always late...”

The man getting out of the grey Honda was a very impatient and strict man. His face was wrinkled... but not from age. It was a scowl. His dark eyes glared ahead at his team-mates, and his neatly combed hair was coloured bluish-grey. His moustache was of a slightly darker colour, but it was neatly trimmed. He wore small glasses with light, almost transparent frames. He wore a brown denim jacket over his white shirt, along with grey pants that were neatly ironed. On his feet were black shoes: not as classy as dress shoes, but nicer than sneakers.

Joshua spoke without turning his head as he strode forward and observed the battle. “You had to call me at the very last minute, didn’t you? Hiroaki, how many times have I told you I like to be informed ahead of time?”

A small figure panted heavily as he came to a stop near the gathering. “Man... I wish my partner would let me ride in the car...”

The figure was no bigger than Patamon; he was essentially a talking head with feet and wings. His light blue feet had three talons — two sticking forward and one sticking back — each of them coloured blood red. His head was covered in dark grey fur, with a large blue covering extending over his wings and forehead. His fangs were sharp, and his yellow eyes glinted mischievously. To round the image off was the image of a skull on the covering’s forehead.

It was none other than DemiDevimon, mischief-maker extraordinaire... and former toady of Myotismon. Of course, he had long since been reborn since the mighty VenomMyotismon had eaten him. In fact, since the original Digi-Destined had sealed Daemon away, DemiDevimon had been reconfigured a few times.

“And where are your partners, Hiroaki and Teela?” Joshua asked.

Two small figures emerged from behind a tree. The first was a Gabumon, Hiroaki’s partner. He was a yellow, bipedal wolf. Mr. Ishida’s Rookie had the blue and white striped fur of Garurumon covering his back and a horn on his head. The second was a purplish-grey rabbit with long ears; he stared at the younger Digi-Destined with curiosity and wary cynicism. However, Teela’s Gazimon had a long scar running down the left side of his face.

“We’ll do it,” Hiroaki said softly. “We’ll reveal ourselves, but not yet.”

*****

Jonathan had pulled Jack away from the battle, but Jack had vehemently stated that they remained nearby to monitor what was going on. The sixteen-year-old leader didn’t know to open the discussion with Jack and hesitated, while he mulled on the best strategy. Eventually, he thought of a good approach and cleared his throat. “I don’t appreciate you hurting Sean’s feelings like that.” When Jack’s eyes widened, he added: “Yes, don’t ever think your actions won’t reach my ears. Sean told me about how you verbally attacked him.”

“So what?” Jack jeered. “He’s just a kid.”

“I’m also aware you disbanded them from the team, while we were trapped in the Digital World. I allowed them to rejoin, because they are my team-mates. Triesta was right, so was Sean... you are reckless. I will not have you being unruly on my team,” Jonathan answered.

Sorcerymon had heard enough. “Crystal Barrage!” he yelled, as he raised his snowflake-tipped staff. Lethal snowflakes were headed in Stingmon’s direction, but the wasp dodged to one side easily.

“Spiking Strike!” Wormmon’s Champion level retaliated. The Champion Digimon alternated between their attacks as their partners got into a fight.

“You have no right to deny me a place on your team!” Jack yelled.

“Oh, but I do!” Jonathan responded. “And I choose Blair as second-in-command!”

That was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, for want of a phrase. Jack’s eyes narrowed to the point where his pupils were almost slits and he let out a war cry. Jonathan was prepared for his charge, however, and flipped him over onto his back. Moving swiftly, he turned and punched Jack several times in the chest. Jack tried to get back at his leader by kicking him in the face, but when he landed on his back, it had winded him without him realizing it at first.

Recovering a few seconds later, Jack slowly to got his feet and socked Jonathan in the face. Jonathan growled; that blow had been awfully close to where his nose had been broken. In kind, he landed an uppercut hit at the bottom of Jack’s chin and the nineteen-year-old staggered backwards, before staring at Jonathan with a dazed expression. The Digi-Destined leader followed up with a “fist-palm” move he’d seen karate experts surprise their opponents with to Jack’s lower chest.

All the while, Stingmon and Sorcerymon were continuing to duke it out as well. But Stingmon had one advantage; he was a young Digimon, and he sensed Sorcerymon was reaching his limit due to his age. Looking around quickly, the wasp saw a pointed branch on a native tree. He buzzed “Finish it, Jonathan!” before grabbing Sorcerymon under the arms and flying over to the tree.

Jonathan heard the order from his partner, and glanced over to see what Stingmon intended to do. He half smiled when he saw the tree branch. So that’s his plan... good one, Stingmon. “This is the end for you, Jack, I’m afraid.” He pinned Jack to the ground, and forced his head sideways to watch what Stingmon had in mind.

Jack’s eyes widened in horror when he saw the tree branch and he moaned. “No, please don’t. I’ve known Sorcerymon for eight years; don’t take him away from me like this. Please Jonathan...”

Ignoring the pleading, Jonathan answered: “Oh don’t worry, he’ll be reborn. But due to the severity of your actions and how you tried to destabilize my team, the Sovereigns will most likely delay his rebirth. Go back to America, Jack.”

Stingmon saw that as the tip-off and impaled Sorcerymon on the branch. The Champion uttered a scream of pain, before his data vaporized.

Jack’s mouth opened in a cry of “No!” before he hung his head and the tears streamed down his face. His voice sounded empty and broken.

Jonathan deliberately shoved his head towards the ground, before removing himself from Jack and walking back to the scene of where BlackGrowlmon was still battling the other Digi-Destined’s Digimon.

*****

Gatomon was blurring; her body was preparing for deletion, but Kari refused to let that happen. “No Gatomon, you can’t. Please stay.”

Yolei’s Aquilamon had been knocked back so many times it wasn’t funny. If I give what little strength I have left to Gatomon, maybe she’ll be able to hold on, Aquilamon thought as he de-Digivolved to Hawkmon. It’ll mean being reconfigured, but if that’s the price I have to pay to help Gatomon, then so be it.

At that moment, Hawkmon glowed with a bright light… and he burst into data.

“Hawkmon... he was brave and strong. I’m proud of his decision...” Yolei burst into tears at how much it hurt.

The data coalesced into a stream that flew over to Gatomon… and this data not only held the power of the Rookie… but also the power of his Digivolved forms.

Hawkmon: Halsemon, Shurimon, Aquilamon and Silphymon.

Hey! Need a hand?

Gatomon suddenly gasped as a digital stream merged with her body. She could sense the data of Hawkmon and his Digivolved forms immediately. No… Hawkmon… what are you doing?

All of the voices replied at once. Giving you a boost!

But if you do this, your body will be destroyed! It might take years for you to get reborn!

We don’t care! Just use our power to weaken BlackGrowlmon!

All right then… let’s do it!

“HEY! BLACKGROWLMON!” As the power of the Digimon fully melded with Gatomon, her body came back into focus and she suddenly Digivolved. “PAYBACK TIME!”

The beautiful female angel was back. A pink ribbon with runes inscribed on it twirled around her arms and ended at her feet with feathery-like extensions. White leather covered all of her body except her entire right leg, portions of her hips and belly, her right arm, and the area around her collarbone. Golden plates shaped like curved angel’s wings covered her breasts. Two pairs of greyish-purple leather bands wrapped around her lower ribs and right thigh. The leather on her left leg merged with a zip-up white boot with a grey sole and high heel, and a golden circlet wrapped around her shin.

Her right boot was different; it only went up to her ankle, and white feathers protruded from it. On her right arm was a glove that went up past her elbow and had miniature wings sticking out of it. Sticking out of her back were four pairs of white angel wings, and a steel helmet with a cross-shaped visor adorned her head. Her ears were feather-tipped cat ears, and flowing blonde hair rolled down her back. With a calm, smooth voice, she said: “I’m back... and the Darkness shall not prevail. You can claim all the power of darkness that you want, but all shadows are destroyed by the harsh light of day. It will prove to be your undoing!”

Angewomon held her arms straight up as a pink circle erupted from her wrists. “Heaven’s Charm!” The wings on her left glove turned into a bow of sorts. White lightning erupted from the pink halo, turning into the bow’s string and the arrow itself. “Celestial Arrow!” She drew the string taut as she took aim. “You need to be purged of the darkness. So it shall be!” Then she let it go.

“Purazuma Bureido!” BlackGrowlmon roared. Angewomon’s arrow had hit its mark, which had been his shoulder, but he completely ignored the pain. Purazuma Bureido was his Plasma Blade technique. He proceeded to heat the blades on his arms and slice at the foe by spinning in a circle at an extremely fast speed.

Angewomon only just barely dodged the attack.

The two were at a stalemate.

Their powers were equal… for the moment.

“Ekizōsuto Fureimu!” BlackGrowlmon tried again, breathing a stream of flame from his mouth. This was his Exhaust Flame attack. Angewomon was struck by the fire, unable to evade it in time and she flew backwards, looking worse for wear.

“Kari, I don’t think I’m going to last much longer. It’s like he’s an Ultimate in a Champion’s body,” Angewomon quickly, and quietly, said to her partner.

Leviamon laughed loudly. “Is that the best you Digi-Destined fools can do? If you think BlackGrowlmon’s powerful now, just wait until he Dark Digivolves to the Ultimate level. He’ll be unstoppable!”

*****

In the wake of Leviamon’s boasting, Hiroaki’s team decided that it was time to reveal themselves as the original Digi-Destined. They walked out into the tension-charged area with their partners, under the overcast sky, and Mr. Ishida cleared his throat. Matt recognized the noise and turned, seeing his father.

“Dad?” He asked, stunned.

Fuyu
February 26th, 2011, 05:06 PM
2 part chapter once again everybody. Enjoy.

Chapter 23.1: Vivid Recollection
 
Matt remained dumbstruck as he stared at his father. “D-Dad?” he asked hesitantly. TK saw and went to his brother’s side.

“Dad, what are you doing here… with…” the blond boy trailed off at the sight of the Digimon at his parent’s side.

"Matt, T.K," their father nodded politely at them and the rest of the Digi-Destined.

"Dad, why do you have Digimon?" Matt had recovered speech much faster than his brother. "You can't be a Digidestined too, can you?"

"I am. We are," Hiroaki answered, motioning to himself, Teela, Joshua and Miranda. "We came before even Sinead's group."

"Why... didn't you say anything?" TK looked torn between confusion and betrayal.

"I actually gave Matt a hint five years ago," Hiroaki replied cryptically. "Remember I told you to stay put with Gabumon when Myotismon took over the TV station?"

"A hint is not the same as the complete truth," Matt muttered coldly but at the same time he did understand.

"Stupid bozo," DemiDevimon snipped. He started to cackle, but Joshua glared at him.

Gabumon and Matt both bristled but TK gave him a warning look. Another Digi-Destined fight would not end well.
 
"I thought after all these years, you'd have learned to rein in that outrageous personality of yours," Joshua stared at DemiDevimon. "Did being deleted by VenomMyotismon do nothing to change that?"

"Nope not a bit," The Rookie cackled.
 
Gatomon spat at the ground; there was a bad aftertaste in her mouth for some reason. All that time she'd worked for Myotismon, she'd been with a Digi-Destined's Digimon and she didn't even know it. Stupid bat! She grumbled.
 
DemiDevimon took a guess at her thoughts and snickered. "Now you get it. Stupid furball. Should've figured it out earlier."
 
"Just try me," she growled, arching her claws. "Bowling ball with wings!"
 
"Okay okay!" Kari said hurriedly. "Don't fight now! We don't have time for this!"
 
Gatomon stood down instantly, but DemiDevimon was another story. The scarred Gazimon actually had to use his special attack, Electric Stun Blast, to knock the roguish Rookie unconscious.
 
"Um..." was all Kari could manage, looking a mixture of confused and vaguely irritated.
 
The Gazimon laughed, the sound a raspy noise. "Don't worry," he replied. "Little punk's used to it." She looked only slightly reassured.
 
"So why did you decide to reveal yourselves now?" Jonathan asked. It seemed awfully out of the blue.
 
"We believed it was the right time," was the quiet reply. "Even if our fight is done, it was best that you knew.” Matt looked away from his father, his stare icy. He couldn't believe his father hadn't told him the truth, wouldn't have told the truth if it hadn't of been for Leviamon. Mr. Ishida wore a guilty expression and didn't continue.
 
"Matt, you must understand," Hiroaki's Gabumon began in a husky tone. "It was very hard for your father to keep this hidden for so long. He was going to tell you after Myotismon was defeated, but he came back too quickly."
 
"You had three years!" he exclaimed. "Four now! That's no excuse!"
 
Five years, the Gazimon thought but did not add on.
 
"I'm sorry, Matt," his father attempted to apologize.
 
"You act like it's so easy to forgive," the teenager spat. He never took well to what he considered betrayal. From his father, of all people, it was much worse.
 
"Like the Child of Light has already said," Teela interrupted. "This isn't the time for fighting. Just agree to disagree for the time being and we'll go from here." Teela was the mediator of the original team and she hoped this would settle the two down. Matt huffed and turned away.
 
"Matt, come on, please...?" T.K. pleaded with his older brother.
 
"I'm not stopping anyone," Matt said quietly. "I just have nothing to say."
 
Blair stared at Hiroaki’s team. "You knew this would drive Matt away emotionally, didn't you?"
 
"Sometimes this sort of thing is necessary," the man replied solemnly. "I don't like it, but you needed to know." A few of the Digi-Destined glanced at Matt, who had turned his back towards his father.
 
"The truth hurts," Kari whispered softly. She knew that now, now more than ever, but she also knew how needed it was. Gatomon nodded, before quickly glancing at DemiDevimon, who was starting to come to.
 
"Ah man, what can I do to get to sleep the normal way?" complained the Rookie as woke.
 
"Can it, DemiDevimon," the Gazimon huffed slightly. "Or I'll do it again."
 
"You're so cruel Gazimon," he whined at Teela's partner.
 
"Have to be cruel to be kind," the purplish-grey rabbit snorted.
 
"Yeah that's your excuse."
 
"Ya wanna face off against me, then?" Gazimon challenged. "You know as well as I do, my Mega level will cream yours!"
 
"Oh not this again," TK groaned.
 
"I wouldn't worry about it," Hiroaki's Gabumon piped up. "They do this all of the time; DemiDevimon always backs down, though, so it'll be fine." True to word, the little Rookie subsided, grumbling all the while.
 
"You can all reach the Mega level?" Gatomon queried.
 
DemiDevimon smirked. "It's a staple of a fair few Digidestined," he said loftily. "Every team before you can."
 
"Except for Bhadra's partner. He can only reach the Ultimate level," Gazimon added.
 
TK whistled appreciatively. "Wow."
 
"Before your Imperialdramon existed, there was another. Sinead's partner was the first Imperialdramon," Miranda's Hawkmon stated.
 
"I feel like a Xerox," Tai couldn't help but comment.
 
"Hmm...? What's that?" Hawkmon questioned.
 
Tai shrugged. "Davis."
 
"What's a Xerox got to do with a Digi-Destined?" Gazimon looked quite befuddled.
 
Tai sighed. "Forget it. You wouldn't get the reference."
 
"I'm through talking anymore," Gatomon spat. Kari nodded. "Stingmon, can't you reach the Ultimate level naturally?" she added, staring at Ken's partner.
 
"If Ken activated his Crest yes," replied the insect.
 
"Get him to try. We're not doing that great, ya know!" she hissed.
 
"Jealousy will get you nowhere," Luca mumbled, his blue eyes watching the cat amusedly.
 
"Who said I was jealous?" Gatomon asked.
 
"Why do you people always think you say something? You were strong enough for your fight. The Crest will activate when it needs to."
 
Ken stiffened, praying that his friends would be all right, praying that they would be able to win despite the odds against them. His Crest started glowing, as did Stingmon.
 
Luca sighed. "Or you can force it to activate. Show off and piss your friend off more." He rolled his eyes. "Morons." I can feel it. The corruption is growing. Why are these people so dumb?
 
"Stingmon digivolve to... JewelBeemon!" It looked like Singmon with bright green and red armor, except more like a preying mantis. It held a spear tipped red.
 
"From the depths of Kindness I come. I am JewelBeemon, the Ultimate form of Stingmon!"
 
Leviamon couldn't help but smirk. "See Davis," he crooned. "They really don't think they need you at all. They can win without you. They lied. But they're wrong. You're stronger than they are. You can defeat them." BlackGrowlmon again attacked with his Exhaust Flame move, driving off more of the Digimon. JewelBeemon had a hard time getting anywhere near the corrupted dinosaur.
 
"Thunder of Kings!" Liamon's roar sent lightning pulsing through the air and sent shocks through the Champion.
 
"There, an opening," Luca commented. "Happy?"
 
"Spiking Strike!"
 
"Tail Hammer!"
 
"Hand of Fate!"
 
BlackGrowlmon roared and fell back. He got back up again incredibly quickly for someone hit as hard as he was. For the first time, Davis' expression flickered. It faded into dullness just as fast however and Leviamon smiled. "Excellent."
 
"Let's try again!" Stingmon rallied the other Digimon. "We almost had him."
 
"Tail Hammer!"
 
"Static Force!"
 
"Electro Shocker!"
 
"Nova Flame!"
 
"Enough," Davis uttered quietly and something stirred, the light from his Digivice turning pitch-black. BlackGrowlmon let out a final roar and swept his Plasma Blade into the attacks. They were negated easily and a shockwave ripped though, slashing into all of the Digimon at once. He looked at all of the fallen Digimon and almost seemed to smirk. "You lose."
 
The respective Digi-Destined - Cody, Blair, Izzy and Tai - rushed over to their partners who were now back at the In Training level. "What are we gonna do?" Blair moaned.
 
"Lose," the corrupted gogglehead repeated indifferently. "Die. Give up. Does it matter? You're useless."
 
"Oh shut up," Luca snarled, annoyed. "People like you are a pain. Liamon!"
 
"Critical Strike!" The claws slashed into BlackGrowmon's stomach and an agonized howl ripped through the air.
 
"Exhaust Flame!" The blaze struck the beast and he devolved, Luca catching his partner. He did not look dismayed. Rather he looked angry. A snarl began to rumble in his throat, finishing with a roar as he ran at Davis. He vanished for a moment before reappearing and slamming into the human's partner, knocking the large dragon over again.
 
"Come and fight me then!" The beastling child roared another feral cry. 
 
BlackGrowlmon snapped his teeth fiercely, picking up Luca with one oversized clawed hand. "You were saying...?" The corrupted dinosaur rumbled out a noise that sounded like mocking laughter.
 
The boy smiled cruelly. "I'm supposed to be scared? You don't know anything about power." Violet light covered the child. "But I do. It's mine. And you and your worthless human," The words were from the voice of an animal. "Can envy it until you die!" It pulsed, forcing BlackGrowlmon to let go. Luca leapt and slashed the creature's belly open. He laughed. "Come and fight me, little pet." He glanced at Davis. "Maybe it's your turn."
 
"He lets his partner do the fighting, kid," Leviamon spoke condescendingly to Luca.
 
Luca glanced at Leviamon and gave a derisive snort. "And I give a **** because...why? Why waste time with this game anyway? All of us know what you're really after." I know what you don’t.
 
"And what's that?" The Demon Lord asked, knowing full well what he had in mind, but was simply testing the waters.
 
Luca giggled. "If I say it you'll kill me. You need me to pull it off too. I do actually know the full extent of your goals." He took Frimon and placed him on his head. 
 
"Why would he want you?" Jonathan demanded. "You weren't corrupted like Davis was..."
 
"Yes he was," Kari said quietly. "I've felt it for ages. He fell into the Dark Ocean."
 
"Why didn't you tell us then?" Matt snapped.
 
Tai glared. "Back off Matt. Don't take your anger at your dad out on her."
 
Luca smirked. "I love how quickly you guys turn on each other." I love more how you assume that’s the only way I’m corrupted.
 
"You need to be quiet," Matt growled.
 
"Or what? It's a fact." Luca was still smiling as he turned back to the Demon Lord of Envy."That's not the reason either, is it Leviamon? I know, you can say it if you want."
 
"It is a mighty force to contend with," was all Leviamon said.
 
Luca laughed again. "To you I suppose it is." The violet light pulsed again.  "Get out of here," he commanded. "Before I use it on you and end your stupid game." BlackGrowlmon appeared menacingly behind Luca again. The energy stabbed into the Champion. "Don't even try it," Luca snarled darkly. "I'm not the one with any qualms about killing you. Or for that matter, your human." His aura moved to hover just by Davis. "Want to try?"
 
"Don't move," Leviamon ordered his victim.
 
"Go," the human said softly. "I'm tired of fighting you. It's uninteresting. Sean would be a better person to fight, since you might be able to try and control him."He allowed the aura to swirl into a vortex around him, looking utterly indifferent. Leviamon frowned to himself. This is odd. Belphemon should have taken this child over a long time ago. Even his power wouldn’t stop it, so why…? Is it because of that girl? I wonder… or is it perhaps…? “But I think you’re too weak for that. And he doesn’t let himself by ruled by anyone. Not anyone like you.”
 
"But I'm far from done!" Leviamon declared. Without anyone seeing, the Demon Lord spared a bit of energy and sent it towards BlackGrowlmon, making him increase in size.
 
Luca sighed. "You never learn. Relena could you…"
 
"Overwrite. Gate open." The light glowed and a gate tore open in the ground. "Whoops," muttered the blonde derisively, Triesta smirking. Half of the gathered Digi-Destined stared with their mouths partially open, while the other half brazenly swore at the sight. "Close your mouths. There are flies. Now then…” Relena couldn’t hold back a snicker. “See ya Leviamon."
 
Automatically, the Digi-Destined who had had their mouths open shut them. "Wait, where are you going?" Jonathan called out.
 
"Me? Nowhere. But these guys..." she smirked. "Are gone." The hole brightened and began to drag the demon lord and captive down. Luca leapt away just in time.
 
"Well, where are they going then?" Sora asked.
 
"Where they came from. You'll see them soon I bet." We wish you didn’t have to.
 
"Where did they come from?" Tai muttered.
 
"The remnants. You'll get it later." The Digi-Destined stared wide-eyed as Leviamon, Davis and BlackGrowlmon vanished into the hole.
 
“Bye" Luca chirped, allowing the light to fade.
 
"We'll find a way to free you, Davis," Kari murmured. Relena sighed tiredly and left. Triesta was annoyed. It always gave her a headache. Luca followed, not waving goodbye.
 
Cody looked over. “Our team is in danger without a leader,” he noted.
 
Kari nodded and looked at her childhood friend. “TK should take over.”
 
The blond flushed slightly. “Me? Are you sure?”
 
“Definitely,” she replied and Cody nodded. Yolei silently consented, lavender eyes still puffy from tears.
 

 
She watched the other, noticing her indistinct form. Triesta sighed, feeling that oh-so-familiar pain in her chest. She wasn’t sure if it was from memories, guilt, or simply the knowledge of what was.
 
“What’s the matter Triesta?” She flinched. Siara had never been so formal with her back then.
 
“Nothing,” she replied automatically. This one in front of her was not the little girl who had followed her with a smile. This was simply mist, a shadow of herself. She did not enjoy speaking with her like this, not at all.
 
“You’re lying. You’ve changed. Even though you always showed disrespect for Gennai and the Sovereign, you’ve never been so openly human before. What’s happened to you?” Siara’s monotone was making her ill.
 
Triesta sighed. “You’re wrong Si. I haven’t changed all that much. I’m still the Raven’s Shade.”
 
Siara seemed to look at her critically. “That name isn’t in the databanks.”
 
Triesta shrugged. “It wouldn’t be. It’s not the name they look for.”
 
“What do you mean?”
 
“If you were you, I wouldn’t have to tell you. You’d understand everything without a word, just like before.” Triesta looked at her hand, at the pulsing symbol on it. “But that’s not how it is now. So really, there’s no point to this conversation. Goodbye Siara.” She turned away, intent to return to Relena’s body.
 
“Sean said you were worried about me,” Siara stated suddenly. “Is that true? Why?”
 
Triesta paused. “The darkness naturally feels a kinship to the light. Besides,” she turned back and gave a bitter, broken smile. “It’s only natural I worry about you. After all, you’re my partner.” And my cousin.
 
She vanished and returned to Relena’s side. The girl glanced at her ghost-like form. Her room was dimly lit. She was on the phone while her free hand was scrawling in her workbook. As always, she smiled at the sight of her, warming her heart ever so slightly. Relena spoke.
 
“Yeah Cassie, she’s here now. I’ll tell her don’t worry. Ahaha… did Marc just break something again? Oh yeah you should probably go get that. I can’t wait to see your new baby. Ruthie right… yeah, I’m sure Terry’s really frustrated with you right now. He’s so…”

Triesta smiled softly. That’s right, you wouldn’t think because of how little she talks about it but her family is so nice. I have a feeling if they had the money, Kiri and the others would visit all the time.
 
Relena laughed. “Well, tell Puroromon to keep an eye on Elian for me. He can’t exactly cry out when he hits a wall. And make sure when your daughter’s Digimon hatches it remembers not to kill Marc.” She giggled helplessly. “I’m just making sure you remember with all your hormones everywhere.” A gentle smile passed her lips. “I’m sure it’ll be fine Cassie. I love you too. Say hi to Koemon for me. Bye.” She hung up and closed her cell phone.
 
“Things going well?”
 
“Yeah. They miss me, especially Elian.” She sighed. “He really needs to make more friends.”
 
“You practically raised him, considering your parents worked so hard to make sure he could stay alive. It makes sense he loves you so much.”
 
“I remember how touch and go it was back then. Even now I still get worried. But…” She leaned back in the revolving chair, gaze locked on her. “How’d it go?”
 
“As well as always. She’s not remembering much. I don’t like talking to her like this.”
 
Relena spun around in the chair. “Aren’t you happy? She has a second chance without nearly as many problems as before.”
 
“I am but… I wish she could remember, just once, what she did for me. I mean, she was the first person to accept me being a…”
 
“Lesbian?” Relena finished, causing the other to nod. “You said yourself you weren’t sure.”
 
“I can’t exactly confirm it now can I?”
 
“True. Anyway, I’m glad you’re saying this to me.”
 
“Saying what?”
 
“You don’t like to be alone.”  Triesta looked away from her, turning a deep red. Relena smiled and held out her hand. Still blushing, the Entity took it and vanished, returning to Relena’s heart. Relena sighed exhaustedly.
 
Something is coming. The past is catching up and is ready to pull the curtains back from the window.
 
Meanwhile, in a hotel room, Willis and the other two International Digi-Destined were in a hotel room. Catherine and Anna both laughed as Willis’ mother yelled at him over the phone.
 
On the other side of Odaiba, a lavender-haired girl slept alone. As she slept a Digi-Egg fell through her window to rest on her computer chair.
 
Perhaps there was kindness in them after all.


 
A day passed. The group was at the park. The five sat there in the grass. Tomoe was asleep, curled up with Kudamon next to Luca. Luca was twitchy, looking around occasionally. Sean and Relena were in deep conversation with the last person. Jonathan flinched. That was Kiri. There was a lot of gauze on her arms and legs. One of her eyes was yellow from bruising and a scratch bled on her cheek. She glanced up at them, causing the others to turn.
 
Her grin was weak. “It was worse yesterday. My chest still feels like I got hit by a semi-truck though.” Sean tensed at the sight of them. His expression flickered into hostility before settling.
 
"What happened, Kiri?" Jonathan asked, looking very concerned.
 
"Why does he think he has the right to do that to you?" Kari mumbled. All of the Digimon nodded in agreement and the other Destined were stunned into silence.
 
"Mr. Ryutori does what he wants. If he wishes to punish me then that's what he will do. Always."
 
"Always," Luca echoed darkly. The other two nodded.
 
"But... he's your father. Why?" Sora shook her head in sadness and disgust.
 
Kiri shrugged. "That's just how Mr.Ryutori is. It's likely how Mrs. Reiko died as well. He overworked her with no regard to her state of health. That's usually how it works."
 
"You're so emotionless Kiri," Sean commented. I’m one to talk though.
 
Luca sighed. "I don't get what's so surprising. Mr. Ryutori doesn't care about people. He's selfish. In his eyes Kiri and Akira get in his way. I saw him smile when he heard about Akira-nii being gone." He clenched a fist. "Now everyone's out of his way."
 
"Luca you've never met your parents," Sean pointed out. "You wouldn't get it."
 
"I'm a bit relieved," the boy admitted, looking down.
 
Sean sighed. “That wasn’t what we were here to talk about. Anyway Kiri, you were saying about the Core Awakeners? Something about a limiter?”
 
“What limiter?” Blair asked.
 
"Tomoe-chan discovered it," the other girl said proudly, gently stroking the child’s hair. Sean watched with a sad sort of pride. You’re practically her mother and it shows. Tomoe stirred, eyes opening slightly.
 
"What does this limiter do?" Jonathan wondered.
 
The older girl looked at the waking one. "Why don't you tell them?" Tomoe shook her head. "Why, modest?"
 
"No," Tomoe said faintly. "They won't understand. It's complicated. It's purpose is simple but how to break it is..."
 
"Yes?" Wormmon timidly queried.
 
Her eyes flickered toward him. "It is hampering the future evolution," she stated solemnly. Not for the first time, Jonathan and Blair noticed how little she sounded like a seven year old. "It will prevent any movement past the Ultimate level."
 
"You mean we won't be able to reach the Mega level?" That was Jonathan.
 
Tomoe lowered her eyes. "I don't know. The programs created by the Sovereign are hard to understand. Even with my powers, it's really, really hard. If I could decode more of Papa’s files…" She bowed her head. "I'm sorry."
 
"There's nothing to be sorry about, Tomoe," Jonathan convinced gently. "There'll be a way, there has to be."
 
“Yes there is," she mumbled to herself, but dropped it. Luca stiffened suddenly and turned to the right. The Digi-Destined wondered what was happening, before they too looked to the right.
 
Luca smiled. "Aria-san!" It was that woman from at the Ferros. She was standing there silently, observing them.
 
"Come over," Sean exclaimed, waving at her. She stepped down toward them, something clenched in her fingers.
 
"Does she know we're missing one?" Jonathan whispered to Blair, who shrugged.
 
Aria paused to watch him. She turned and held something up away from his vision. Relena gasped. "Oh wow Aria, that's great! I can't believe you found it." Aria nodded dully. Not a sound came from her. She was like a ghost.
 
Luca glanced at her. "Aria-san, did it call you?" Aria nodded again, tossing it lightly. Luca caught it easily and nodded. "I'm sorry," he apologized sadly. "I didn't mean to get you involved in this fight again." The woman shrugged, glanced at them all again, turned, and left. Jonathan and the other Destined glanced at each other, confused.
 
"Sorry about that," Relena explained. "Aria got attacked by a BlackGatomon six years back. It tore up her vocal cords." Luca held up a familiar chip for them to see.
 
"Ah," was all Jonathan could say. He felt pity for Aria. Everyone gathered around to see Luca's Core Awakener.
 
"Didn't change much," Luca said quietly. "She didn't like talking anyway. He clutched the golden chip close to his chest, smiling sadly. "I feel it Kiri," he mumbled. "The Earth's power. I can feel it." The warm feeling… it’s growing stronger. Where are you?
 
Kiri smiled. "I'm glad."
 
"Way to go, Luca." Jonathan and Blair congratulated him. All the boy did was nod.
 
The five stood up, Kiri wincing. Sean moved to help but she waved him off. “I’ll be fine. Come on we’ll be late.” Sean sighed and waved goodbye, running ahead.
 
“Wait,” Sora cautioned the girl, who was starting to follow. “You shouldn’t run around in that condition.”
 
Kiri gave her an understanding smile. “Yeah I shouldn’t but I will. Because I won’t lose, not even to myself.”

Jonathan sighed. I swear she hasn’t changed at all, defiant as always. He paused. She said she wasn’t scared to die. Why not? He put it out of his head. He had something important to do.
 

 
I don’t want Mimi to be in danger, I don’t want to be the threat, Jonathan thought. I know she likes me, but it’s more that I’m not sure how I feel about her. Regardless of his feelings, though, he had vowed to Kiri he would talk to Mimi to sort out his problem. He approached the Tachikawa residence and swallowed nervously, before pressing the bell. A brief pause and then a female called out to her parents that she’d answer it. The door opened and Mimi was standing in the entranceway. There was silence for at least three seconds, before the cerise-haired girl squealed in delight.

"Hi Jonathan," she greeted happily. "This is great! I didn't expect you to come all the way here! Come in!"

"... Mimi," Jonathan began. "We need to talk."

She tilted her head curiously, leaning against the doorframe. "About what? What's the matter? Can I help?"

Mimi moved to one side after that and Jonathan entered. "I was told I had to talk to you about your feelings for me. I was told if I didn't attempt to settle things down, you'd be in danger and I'd be the threat. Not that I want to be the threat..."

Mimi led him into the living room to sit down. "Your feelings for me? Does that mean you like me too?"

"I think I do, but I'm not sure."

She smiled warmly. "That's really great Jonathan if you think you do but..." The fifteen year old thought for a moment. "I get it. You're not sure..." Mimi paused again, evidently turning something over in her mind. "Why aren't you sure?"

Jonathan stared at the carpet for a few moments, hesitating. He then looked up at Mimi and said: "I've never had a girlfriend before, so I don't know what it's like. I'm sure the others find it easy, because they've been at it for a while. But when you started, it threw me off-guard quite a bit; I wasn't prepared for it."

Mimi's smile seemed to widen. "So you just... you want to take it slow right? That's perfectly fine."

"At any rate, Izzy seems to be recovering under Mina's guidance. Maybe you sure try apologizing again, I'm sure he'll forgive you this time. Thanks... for taking my unease into consideration, Mimi."

She nodded softly. "It's no problem. I'll talk to Izzy soon."

"Thanks again. Bye," he said, lingering at the door, before leaving.


Relena sighed and drummed her fingers against the keyboard. She was tired. The memories were receding but there were still a lot of nightmares. Not to mention daily life…
 
“Anxious?” Relena jumped and saw Kiri leaning on the doorframe.
 
“When’d you get here?”
 
“Just now.”
 
“Speak up next time.” Kiri laughed. Her long black hair was out of its ponytail and falling over her face, dripping wet. Clearly she had just come from the shower. She moved inside, shutting the door. Kiri perched on the edge of Relena’s unmade bed, looking amused. The bandages were gone, her having healed almost too quickly.
 
“Triesta’s really bothered by all this, isn’t she?”
 
Relena rolled her eyes playfully. “What gave it away; the hostility or the swearing?”
 
“Good point but I was referring to Gennai.”
 
Relena glanced at her. “Which one?”
 
“She forgave the first years ago. They all did. It’s Gennai who’s in hot water.”
 
“Some would say they’re one and the same.”
 
“Their crimes are, but they’re not.”
 
“Yeah…” The two sat in silence for a moment. “Kiri…”
 
“Sup?”
 
Relena gripped her chest, not sure how to say this. “Do you think that… we can trust them? The Digi-Destined I mean.”
 
Kiri sighed. “Relena, you know my answer: I don’t know. They… they’re scared.”
 
“So are we,” the blond said stubbornly. “We’re all scared, but we aren’t backing down.”
 
“We don’t have a choice.” Kiri glanced her over. “Why are you guys all asking that lately? Luca’s been in doubt this entire time, Sean’s wavering, and now you. Why does it really matter?”
 
“Because they keep hating us for no reason,” Relena exclaimed. “All they want is respect and obedience and light and all this other crap. They accuse of things that aren't even possible for our kind! They say we don’t care about them, but when we try to explain, they say we’re nothing! And because we have some natural paranoia and a dislike of authority, they hate us. We’re different and they make sure we know it! The Sovereign already have said it enough, I don’t need to hear it from a bunch of greenhorns!” The outburst of energy faded quickly and she looked miserably at the floor.
 
Kiri smiled sadly. “This has really been eating away at you.” The blond nodded. Kiri sighed, looking much too old. “You want my true feelings on this?” Another agreement. “We don't have to trust them but we have to work with them.”
 
“Why do you say that?” Sean had opened the door now. Luca was behind him, looking agitated next to Tomoe. Kiri took one glance at her cousin and recognized the symptoms. He was being called again.
 
Relena sighed. “What is this; a party? Come in.” They obeyed, this time locking the door. She turned back to her friend. “So what do you mean?”
 
Kiri groaned. “I mean we don’t have to trust them to get **** done. If we can eventually, then whoop-de-doo, we’ll be a bunch of happy-go-lucky idiots together. If we can’t then, oh freaking well. Just means we don’t belong. We all have known that since the start. We aren’t Chosen,” she spat the word “after all.” The whole group shuddered in unison. That word always made them feel like scum. Their status didn’t help much after all.
 
Luca paused. “But Jonathan’s evened out hasn’t he?”
 
“Yeah, and that complicates things a bit.”
 
Sean shrugged. He was falling more and more into emotionless patterns these days. “So Jonathan can see grey. Great, nothing’s changed. He still doesn’t know about NEO or Norn-chan’s truth.”
 
“You declared me God. Not much else you need to say.” The comment was met with amused grins.
 
“Oh there’s plenty more than that,” Relena commented. “But he’s only one person. The other ones who fell pushed back the dark and called it evil and all that nonsense.”
 
“Well, they’ve never faced “good” enemies before,” Tomoe suddenly pointed out, not shy at all around them. “Remember Hououmon? They’ve never faced an “evil” bright Digimon before.”
 
Sean shuddered. “I could’ve lived my entire damn life without hearing that stupid bird’s cries in my ears again. I can’t believe that thing was pure.”
 
Luca sighed, sitting on the floor. “Tomoe-chan brings up a good point; they assume the darkness is evil for one and that it’s only Digimon who screw up the balance for another. The Emperor was the creation of the Dark Spore but the feelings did have to be there to start with. Not to mention, that little incident after Tamaki…”
 
“You mean the Battle of Sacrifice?” Kiri asked. When the boy nodded she groaned. “Can’t believe I forgot that. Those were a bunch of little sociopaths right there. Ranks up there with Ogudomon on the level of *******s.”
 
“Anyway, we’re off topic,” Sean stated. And that was my fight. “Can we trust the Digi-Destined or should we just go and finish this fight now before there’s a long list for the coroner to gape at?”
 
“Let’s just work with them,” Kiri commanded. “Akira-nii had a reason to let them keep fighting. Let’s trust his instincts.”
 
Relena sighed. “We’re terrible aren’t we? We can’t even trust our friends.”
 
“Well,” Sean commented as he stood up again, opening the door. “They’re our enemies in truth. They must always be that way. It’s only natural we’re suspicious of them, considering our status. Though…” He took Kiri’s hand. “I don’t think I’m really considering them worthy opponents for the Demon Lords to actually worry about, not anymore. They’re just spoiled brats who cry when they don’t get what they want.”
 
“Shut up and go to bed hypocrite,” Relena commented. Kiri laughed and Sean rolled his eyes. The two walked back toward their rooms together, treading quietly.
 
“Kiri… I’m a bit worried.”

She sighed. “You’re always worried. But what is it this time?”
 
“I think… they’re going to find out. Wizardmon’s been poking around in my head again.” He shivered all over, mask dropping to a look of vulnerability. “I don’t want them to know. They’ll hate me Kiri; I know they will. I’m so sick of being hated.”
 
Kiri nodded, squeezing his hand. “They will hate you or at least, be afraid of you. But what do you expect? They pretty much do that for all of us right now. Not that we haven’t given them a good reason but…”
 
“But… I won’t be able to care anymore Kiri. And I worked so hard for this. I don’t want to go back to being… that. And I’m so close Kiri; I can feel myself going numb right now. I can hear him, so calm, so uncaring of almost everything, like ice. It…” He trailed off and shuddered.
 
“It hurts,” she finished for him. He nodded weakly, cursing his pathetic behavior. She gently patted him on the head, expression soft. “You’re trying hard,” she acknowledged. ”But if they learn the truth, they learn it. And I don’t think your hard work will have been for nothing.” The boy sighed. She was always so reassuring. She really was Akira’s sister.
 
“Neh, Kiri?”
 
“What?”
 
“Do you think you made the right decision? Six years before I mean.”
 
She smiled sadly. “Yeah I do.”
 
“But they’re…”
 
“They’re living Joker.” Her eyes seemed to glow in the dark. “And they deserve to have that life as long as they can. All of you do.” She went into her room. “G’night.”
 
Sean remained outside for a moment, whispering to himself. “But Kiri… you do too.” Ignoring the tears at the corners of his eyes, he went to bed.
 


Two days passed with little effort. Most of the Digidestined were together and headed to, of all places, the community center to meet up.

“Hey Jonathan?” Tai asked randomly as they walked.

“What is it?”

“That little girl Tomoe… who is she?”

Jonathan shrugged slightly. “I’m not completely sure to be honest with you. She’s a Digi-Destined like us but there’s something different with her.”

“She’s a DigiDestined?” Sora was surprised. “Not even T.K and Kari were that young.”
“I’ve heard that there are younger than that,” Jonathan commented.

“Why don’t we ask them when they get there?” Tai reasoned. Blair snorted.

“Good luck. They don’t explain ****.”

Matt growled. “I remember that much.” He was still touchy.

To Jonathan’s surprise, Luca, Relena, and Tomoe were already there, the younger girl playing with the digimon silently. The digimon glanced at them before returning to occupying the girl. Tomoe peeked up before hiding her eyes, looking her usual shy self. Luca and Relena both looked up from their conversation. Luca gave a stiff nod and that familiar eerie smile blossomed on the girl’s face, focused politely on Jonathan. Kari winced silently.

“They’ll be back in a second,” Relena answered the unspoken question. “Sean got a phone call and Kiri went to go change her bandages.”
 
"So how is everyone?" Jonathan asked.
 
Luca shrugged and Relena elbowed him playfully. He pouted at her and she laughed. Tomoe took up the liberty of answering for them. "U-Um, we-we're all okay, except Lady Ferro was really harsh last night."
 
Luca grumbled softly. "I think my leg's still bleeding. Tomoe-chan, you shouldn't be allowed with knives, because you aim too well."
 
Relena giggled again. "Would you rather they were axes?"
 
"Don't scare me like that. She could throw them twenty feet. I’ve seen her." Tomoe giggled shyly, flushing red.
 
“I’m sorry Luca,” she said softly. “I didn’t mean to hurt you so badly.” Luca patted her on the head, indicating he wasn’t all that bothered.
 
Jonathan's eyes widened. "Why was she so harsh?" More importantly, why did she give a seven year old knives, let alone an axe?
 
Relena shrugged. "That was a merciful training session because Riku got the highest exam scores in his grade. On the bad days, we shouldn't be breathing but we are due of the fact that we still are needed for something."
 
All Jonathan could really do was nod. He couldn’t understand why they worked so hard with such a violent family all the time. Asking for help was one thing, but that was too far.
 
Luca stiffened and Relena sighed. "What is that hothead mad about now?" she muttered tiredly. "We'll be back. Tomoe-chan, stay here with Kudamon." The little girl nodded, placing her partner on her head to look at the other Digi-Destined. The other two exited, Luca limping slightly. Tomoe was clutching her Digivice and turning it over in her fingers.
 
"What's happened?" Blair asked.
 
"Tomoe, do you know something?" Jonathan inquired.
 
Tomoe shrugged, her fingers brushing against the back of the plastic. "Sean's heart is troubled again. He worries and I think his fear has come true." Her eyes were focused somewhere else and her head was cocked slightly, as though listening.
 
Wizardmon spoke the question his partner wouldn't. "It wouldn't be to do with Davis, would it?"
 
Again Tomoe shrugged, grey eyes looking chillingly at Wizardmon. "If so that person will die. Sean does not forgive those crimes. He never has."
 
Wizardmon remained silent as the rest of the Digi-Destined, but eventually Cody decided to speak. "Davis is under Leviamon's control, it's not his fault," the boy argued defensively.
 
Kudamon scowled. "Your friend Ken could arguably have been under the control of the Dark Spore as the Digimon Emperor and you didn't forgive him so easily did you?" Matt glared. He already didn’t like that digimon, arrogant little…
 
"What does it really matter, guys? We shouldn't be arguing," Gatomon pleaded. "What we need to be doing is thinking of a plan to free Davis."
 
“Hmph. You assume he won’t have a knife in his throat before you can.” The remark came from Sean, whose voice came from the entryway. As they walked in, Blair glimpsed Kiri holding Sean’s hand casually. Again the jealousy burned and she swallowed it, noticing something incredibly different about the male. Sean’s gaze was nothing like before, as though he had moved past fury and into a darker emotion, the green orbs flat disks. His free hand was clenched around his D-Core tightly, etching itself into the skin.
 
"What happened, Sean?" Jonathan quietly asked.
 
Sean looked at him impassively and did not reply for a moment. Then he found his words, iciness in each syllable. "Let me put it this way: I'm going ahead to the Digital World and you might want to catch up fast. Because if I find a single bit of Melissa injured in any way, you won't have anybody to help." He smiled and this one was new, one that sent chills down spines. "Because I will have burned him to ashes." Because he is a traitor and my duty is to rip off their heads.
 
"Very well, we'll follow," Jonathan responded. He then looked at Blair, Tai, Matt and T.K. His expression said it all.
 
"No you won't," Sean countered smoothly, glancing at Kiri. Tomoe rose elegantly from the floor and took Kiri's hand. "Last time I said you weren't cannon fodder. I'm sorry to say you've been downgraded back to such."
 
"You will be too flashy," Kiri remarked. "Digital Gates opening are easily tracked. I am not."
 
"Just wait a minute!" Matt exclaimed.
 
"You don't even know where he's taken her..." Gabumon trailed off.
 
"We will," Sean chirped cruelly and pointed at Tomoe. “Go on now, you can use it.”

"Opening Data Interface," muttered the girl and a transparent screen appeared in front of her now blank eyes. A new voice came from her lips, the monotone voice of a computer. "Tracking Digivice signature. Target: Davis Motomiya." She didn't blink as more screens flickered around her. "Target signature located. Uploading to server." Kiri's Digivice beeped a second later. "Upload complete. Warning: Digital Signature heavily corrupted. Possible threat level: Mega. Power levels cannot be determined at this time. All Users proceed with caution."

"Mega?" Kari whispered hoarsely. "There's no way, no time... he couldn't reach Mega this quickly."

Tomoe gave her the cold stare of a machine. "Possibility of target reaching Mega from outside interference is 87%. Possibility of combination of outside forces and willpower is 97%. Users have forgotten the power of the Digital World, known as Miracles. It lends strength to all who wish for a future it is stated. The target has been given strength with this power multiple times." Kari couldn’t help but shudder. Children don't sound like this... do they? She knew that fact, had seen it herself.

"But it should've worn off... right?" Gatomon muttered.

"Incorrect." The flatness from the child was disturbing. "Just as the power of the Digi-Eggs lingers, so too does miracles. One of the sources of the Digital Worlds' power cannot fade away into nothing; otherwise the programming would have terminated itself fifty years prior to now. Miracles are fueled by hope and by extension light as well. The powers containing them have been returned to the Digital World. Miracles are one essence of the program."

"I see," was all Joe could say.

"New data received." She paused for a moment. "Target's digital signature has warped further. Corruption level is at 73%. Likelihood of returning to previous state of balance is 25% and rapidly decreasing."

Jonathan looked very alarmed. "That's not good," he muttered.

Kiri glanced at Tomoe and for a moment her voice sounded just like the girl's. "Deactivating Interface." The screen vanished and Tomoe shuddered back to herself. Kudamon wrapped around her neck now. The teen glanced at Sean. "Ready?" Sean nodded curtly and glanced at Luca and Relena from the other side of the doorway.

Relena simply smiled. "We'll take them there."

Blair stepped forward. "I'm coming whether you like it or not."

Sean turned his dark stare to her. "And make me take care of a useless burden?” He snorted at her. “I need someone who can make a difference, not someone who will chain me like I'm a dog. Kiri." The girl stepped back, causing the three to disappear.

"Hey!" Blair snapped, but it was too late. "When he gets back, he's gonna pay big time..." she added, growling.

"Don't be mad at him," Luca said quietly.

"Why not?" Blair said. He keeps treating me like ****. Why the hell not?

Relena shook her head. "If you went with, you would see who Sean really is. And he doesn't want any of you to see that. You're already afraid of him as it is."

"..." Blair couldn't say anything; Relena was correct.

Luca looked uncomfortable. "Sean... he's ...not like you. He could have been the Digimon Emperor's successor if he really tried, even with no Dark Spore. He still could." Especially if they told him to, but that wouldn’t exactly end well.

"Hmm..." Ken mumbled. He didn't like the sound of that, not one bit.

"Then again," Luca mumbled sadly. "Anybody could. But Sean won't." Now his past self would without any hesitation. Leith…Raphy… The Digi-Destined were silent, not knowing what to say. They also didn't see Jack slip away from their midst in the unbearable silence.

Luca felt irritation grow inside him. “Why don’t you say anything?” he asked, his voice rising a mere inch. “Why? Are you saying you can’t fall to evil and crazy too? Are you saying you’re perfect? Is it because you’re…” He trailed off and shivered. Relena caught his hidden words and sighed, remembering their discussion earlier. Liollmon did not growl, he just watched them with his blue stare, waiting for their reactions. He felt the pain in Luca’s heart. Even with how frayed and haphazard their bond was; he could feel it.

"We're not saying anything because we don't know what to say," Sora admitted.

Relena sighed. "Luca why would they know? They're just kids..." Just ordinary human children, they’re not…

Luca looked at her bitterly. "So were we. So were Sean and Melissa. What's the difference between us and them?" He glared at Sora. "Is it because you're in the light? I understand Apocalymon's pain then. You all laugh in the light and shun the dark. You could have done it you know. You could have ruled the Digital World like Ken once did."

Jonathan opened his mouth to say something, but shut it again, remembering he'd sworn not to tell the others. Unable to tell his friends about the darkness inside of him, he felt alone, he felt like he'd betrayed them. Wizardmon sensed something off about Jonathan and turned to look at him. But before he could use his mind-reading ability, which the teen still got the laughs from Luca's terminology of "mind rape", Jonathan shook his head. Wizardmon understood and turned back to Blair's side.

Relena glanced at him. "It's nothing to be ashamed of, the darkness." She was speaking to the room at large, yet he felt as though it was for him alone. "Evil and good are all based on opinion. Light and darkness are neutral entities, always have been. Siara and Triesta, they know that best of all. And Norn-chan would agree with that. The darkness is just the easiest to play with and strike fear with." Around her hands, power was playing. "But Sean, he used light. Just like... Melissa did."

Relena felt the power blossoming further against her fingers. She focused and let Luca continue. "Still nothing?" the boy asked quietly. "Still, you can't understand? But you're older than us. I was once told that you're better than us. If that's so, then why are you so ignorant?”

"Trust me, Luca," Jonathan began in a soft tone. "I'm not ignorant. I want to talk, but I feel like you lot have chained me to a wall because of my promise about 'it'."

Those who say they are not ignorant are bigger fools than the ones who know they are.Luca smiled brokenly. "We don't care if you tell about that. You just can't tell about the Betrayer. Not yet. He must tell himself. We told you because you asked so many times. We told you because you met her. And Kiri told me you met him as well."

Did she tell you she was dying?" So I can let them know about the darkness?" He mouthed.

He nodded. "Be proud of it."

"Alright," the sixteen-year-old answered. "I'll tell them, but not now."

"If not now when?" asked the eleven year old tiredly before turning to Relena. "How much more?"

"He's got time," replied the blonde, who had clasped her hands as if in prayer. "I only glanced at the coordinates. The Digi-Gates are hard to find close by that."

"I'd rather tell them in private, but if you would like, I'll tell them here..."

Luca shrugged sadly. "You might as well. I want to know if you met a certain someone."

"I had a dream in which I transitioned to the Dark Ocean," Jonathan began. "I ended up going to this other world..."

"It's called the Edge of Abyss," Luca supplied dully. "It is where the Dark Worlds all meet."

"I helped Rion by siphoning half of Jay's darkness into myself," he finished, feeling unsettled at the memory.

"What?" T.K exclaimed, surprise etched on to his face.

"How are you still okay?" Sora asked.

"What if he isn't?" Cody muttered with a flicker of suspicion. "Maybe he's just faking it."

Kari did not speak at first. Her heart stirred at the mention of Rion. "Who is Rion... and Jay... why do I feel pity for him?"

"I'm fine," the teen answered Sora and Cody's questions. "It just made me a little sick at the time. As for Rion and Jay, they are two members of an alternate original Digi-Destined."

The others gaped with wide eyes but Kari shook her head. "No, I feel like I know Rion and there's something about Jay's name, something that makes me feel like crying."

Luca nodded sadly. "It's only natural. Jay isn't like us." Not like many in truth. The stories we’ve heard…

Relena gave her a sympathetic look. "You'll understand soon," she said quietly.

 "If Siara ever comes back anyway," Triesta muttered under her breath miserably.

"Where did she go?" Blair asked.

Triesta scowled. "The Sovereigns are law to her. She went back to them.”

"She's their student, as such?" Biyomon looked confused.

Triesta growled hatefully, "Don't you dare insult her like that."

"She didn't mean it like that," Sora came to Biyomon's defense.

Triesta scowled deeply. "Oh yes you did. You actually think the Sovereign are something important, something good." She paused. "Gate coordinates set." She turned away. "Gennai isn't the only reason you people piss me off but that's not important now. You want your idiot alive? Then come on." The room computer shined and she vanished.

Luca sighed. "You know, maybe Gennai would actually tell you guys something if she wasn't so hostile." Or if he wasn’t such a coward. He held up his digivice and vanished.

The Digi-Destined shared one glance before holding up their Digivices, D3s and D-Cores. They, too, were sucked in.

Fuyu
March 3rd, 2011, 02:46 PM
Tomoe is singing Taishou. a from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai. Those do not belong to us, I just figured it was a song she would sing. Yes the Kai anime wasn't out for another three years. Don't bring time paradoxes into this, this story's confusing enough. For at least one scene and the ending, I warn you, it's isn't exactly safe. Major strong language and violence. So make sure no minors are reading. Enjoy.

Chapter 23.2: Shattered Blade

The waves roared in his ears. Around him he could hear the snarls of enemies, endless ones. But he could ignore them, all but one. One was familiar. It burned his heart, bringing up long-suppressed guilt.

Why did you make us do that? Guilmon, I’m sorry.

He walked along the shoreline. The past was whispering in his ears. It wasn’t persistent; he was not a persistent person back then. But he had been cold and ruthless and he had obeyed. And he heard the voice of the child lost in shadow, his own voice if he thought about it. He looked and saw himself in the grey. And he couldn’t hold back laughter.


They landed outside a castle with dead grass. It was creepily deserted. Luca sighed again. "Typical, go for the dungeon look. How many cliches will we catch?"

"Not sure, Luca. Who knows what we'll find," Jonathan replied.

"Nothing's here," Liollmon muttered. "I don't smell anything. No auras, nothing."

Luca growled softly. "This is wrong."

A horrid looking Digimon burst out of nowhere, with Davis on his back. It was a large black and crimson dragon with blades on its tips and four tails, one being a sword.

Luca snarled. "Looks like my hunch was right." He gestured toward the castle. "Go in there now! Get Melissa! Hurry up! Or do you want Sean to kill him first?" Liollmon snarled and evolved, the now Champion surrounded by lightning.

Without waiting for orders, the rest of the Digi-Destined's Digimon Digivolved as well and hurried after Liamon. "He's at the Ultimate level now..." Kari almost failed to breathe.

Liamon growled. "Go get Melissa or so help me I will rip your Digimon to shreds and let Sean kill this idiot!"

"Just go," Relena said quietly. "Something darker than this guy is coming and none of you know how to beat this guy anyway. We can hold him off at least."

Jonathan shrugged and nodded at the others. They went towards the castle, mostly in their Champion states, but a few like Gatomon and Angemon were at the Ultimate level.

Inside the candles flickered and there was a chipper, innocent singing from the air. "I pour dirt on your corpse...even if it is forbidden. In the happiness of that pure gaze there was an allure that couldn't be hidden." It was a girl's voice, just up ahead.

Recognizing Tomoe's voice, Jonathan and Blair called out to her, but she didn't answer. The rest of the Destined followed them, looking in each room for any sign of Melissa.
"Why is there sin?" the little girl sang, her footsteps coming closer. "Why is there punishment? The points of the bones are too white, they called me to the eternal darkness."

"Tomoe, snap out of this. What's the matter?" Wizardmon called out.

Kudamon walked into the light, the little rookie's eyes glittering. "Here they are," he said quietly. "They're slow."

Tomoe stood at the edge of the shadows, head tilted. "I can see it all clearly," she hummed. "But it soon fades away." She turned away and walked forward. Kudamon leapt after her. "Follow," muttered the child. The three groups followed in silence, not daring to say anything. "We didn't think you'd come," she mumbled. "Sean thought you would end up somewhere else and find your friend dead. And then you'd be sad, so sad. You'd cry and then you'd punish Sean. It's a cycle you know. A cycle of blood and pain."

A very loud, inhuman roar was heard from outside and Kari shuddered. "Luca said we had to find Melissa," Jonathan stated. "Do you know where Davis put her?"

Tomoe nodded dimly. "I'm taking you there. And you shouldn't be so afraid. Being afraid of your friend won't help him."

"Come on guys," Jonathan muttered to the others and they all followed Tomoe.

Kudamon leapt to his partner's head. "You have another job to do," he reminded the little girl, who nodded.

"Yes that's right," she said dreamily as she walked a few feet ahead. "I was supposed to ask you a question. It's a very curious question Sean told me to ask. If I suddenly stopped here and started to bury you alive, how would you stop me?"

"Say what?" Blair hissed, shocked that Tomoe would even consider doing such a thing.

"How would you stop her," Kudamon repeated. "If Sean had given her the order to bury you all alive here and now, how would you stop her?"

"We'd fight our way out," Jonathan said simply.

"You can beat a Mega?" Kudamon sounded amused. "On your own? And that would be your first option? Who would you fight? Me? Or her?"

"Kudamon," muttered the human. "Didn't we get our answer?"

"No," replied the Rookie evenly. "I'm unsatisfied."

"You never are happy."

"Now hang on," Joe stammered. "You only said what would we do if we were buried here..."

"Jonathan gave you the only answer he could," Sora added.

"No," Tomoe corrected kindly. "I asked how you would stop me from burying you here."

"She doesn't need to care about how you get out," Her partner said boredly.

"We'd try and reason with her, find out why she had been told to do this," Kari supplied quietly.

Kudamon groaned. "I give up. These kids are hopeless."

Tomoe sighed. "Kudamon... Just leave them alone."

"Why? They can't catch a thing I'm trying to-"

"Kudamon who cares?" the seven year old uttered tiredly. "If they're fine with continuing the cycle then let them.”

"Tch..."

"We don't intend to continue any cycle," Sora declared firmly. "All we have ever wanted is peace, but we're unable to get it because evil Digimon keep messing things up."

"You're wrong," Tomoe said sadly. You don’t even know what I’m talking about."It's because of humans too. Humans created the Digital World... and humans influenced it as well. It's made of human emotions and data. It's not just about good or evil. It never has been. It's just..."

Kudamon growled. "Tomoe stop." His partner glanced at him. "Tomoe, just don't bother," He sighed. "It's not worth it."

Tomoe nodded sadly. "I know.”

"They'll never get it, even when it's right in front of them. Humans who have never seen the Schism or fought during the Battle of Crossroads wouldn't understand."

Tomoe gave her partner a sad sort of a smile. "I guess." She didn't believe him completely. Jonathan and the other Digi-Destined weren't sure what was going on between the two.

Kudamon laughed. "Okay, we've insulted you guys enough." Tomoe smiled again as she walked, this one more indulgent. The Destined followed her, still wary of any falling building.

"Did Sean tell you," she asked suddenly as she turned down the stairs. "Melissa was supposed to be a Digi-Destined? She was given a partner."

"Which Digimon is her partner?" Blair asked.

Tomoe shivered. "Biyomon... was."

"Male or female Biyomon?" TK asked

"Female," the girl chanted listlessly. "She was to be the Child of Faith, one who never lost belief. Her partner was to soar over us all."

"What happened?" Jonathan's partner questioned. Stingmon had since de-Digivolved to the Rookie level.

"Melissa killed her," Kiri commented from the bottom of the stairs. "Just like Sean killed his first partner, a Guilmon."

"Why would they do that?" Kari cried out.

Kiri shrugged. "Ask the Sovereign. They told them to."

"The Sovereigns told them to kill their partners?" Wizardmon was stunned beyond belief.
Tomoe glanced at them. "Why are you so surprised? The Sovereigns have ordered many such things before, like my father's continued status as a Digi-Destined, despite what he did during his time. He is still considered one now. There is also the battle they caused in the first place, the Battle of Crossroads when the first risk they took after the Schism occurred."

"But he's dead, right?" Wormmon inquired.

"Why would they still allow a body to be labelled Digi-Destined?" Gabumon wondered.
Tomoe shrugged. "I dunno. Unless…” She looked around suddenly before sighing.

"Jack's gone, Jonathan," Tai said, as if noticing for the first time.

Kiri sighed. "Perfect timing for this. Come on. You want the truth right? Melissa's waiting." She vanished from sight into the corridor. The rest of the Destined followed her into the corridor. She glanced back at Jonathan. "So what do you think of all this?"

"I'm not sure what to think. I wasn't expecting it, if it's the truth you want," he answered.

"Mm. Do you want to know more?" Jonathan merely nodded.

She sighed. "I'm afraid to let you ask Melissa but with Gennai being tight-lipped she's all we got for now."

"Alright," the teen responded.

"Just be kind to her. The Sovereign never treated the testers well. Gennai will admit that."

"Don't worry, we will be." He glanced firmly in Blair's direction, making sure she understood the veiled warning.

Kiri smiled sadly. He saw the way her eyes seemed slightly sunken in. She coughed quietly. "Up ahead."

"Thanks, Kiri." They went inside. A weak nod and Tomoe bounded ahead. They filed out in a circle and waited for Melissa to open her eyes properly. The redhead weakly glanced at them through slit eyes.

"Melissa, are you okay? What did Davis do to you?" Jonathan asked politely.

"Are you hurt anywhere else?" That was Kari.

Her eyes flickered between them. "Lookit here," she rasped, suddenly all too aware. "You guys are here... Great... Ahah, ahah!" Melissa's right leg oozed blood and her arm was bent awkwardly. She shivered. "Ssah, stop," she whispered weakly. "Stop, don't want to... don't want to do this... I can't hurt... aah..."

"It looks like her arm's broken," Kari said softly.

"What did he do to her?" That question was passed between Tai and Sora.

"She remembers," Kiri whispered tiredly as she walked over, Tomoe helping her. "He made her remember."

"Made her remember that she killed Biyomon?" Anna questioned.

"Or made her remember something else?" Matt added, his expression softened by the wounds on Melissa's body.

"Probably both. The test was long and left a few scars." Kiri knelt gently at her friend's side, carefully stroking the hair of the terrified girl. "They tested the whole orphanage. I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did, with everything that happened before that test, and what happened after."

Jonathan and Blair both shook their heads in disgust at Davis' atrocity, at his crime against Sean's sister. "Would Siara be able to heal her, at least partially of the physical wounds?" Jonathan inquired quietly.

Kiri nodded softly. She moved her hand toward the young woman's cheek and stroked it. "Melissa," she began gently. "These people need to know what happened six years ago with..." Melissa flinched subtly and Kiri did not react with anything but a kind smile. "I know it hurts but if you don't say it, you won't get to heal." She glanced at the others. "Will you listen to her?" All of the Digi-Destined nodded in unison.



He held out a hand toward his reflection, toward his true reflection and felt freezing water pound against his fingers. It felt familiar. Suddenly a pain and an anger rushed through his soul and… it was gone, like it never was. He saw someone, the figure of a large dragon, of two of his allies down on the ground and his gaze turned crimson. He ran to fight and found himself not alone. But it didn’t matter. The enemy was here. The enemy was here to die.



Melissa looked away from them and thought back, back in time. "It was... way back when, when we still lived in America. Our family was on its way back home and the car in front of us suddenly swerved and we got into an accident. I remember it, Mom’s terrible screaming as she burned up and Dad, he was dead at the wheel.” The girl shivered all over, the screaming suddenly revitalized in her heart. “Sean was asleep until after the impact. He wasn’t hurt and my arm was bleeding. I remember thinking as he cried… that I should run away and leave him here. I knew what this meant for me and where we would go. Sean would be a burden on me. Despite knowing that, and fearing that, I still took him with me.” Melissa coughed, as though her body was remembering the fire.

“Maybe some part of him remembered that because he would always watch out for me at the orphanage. But it wasn’t just him. We all looked out for each other, somehow. I ran errands a lot of the time and would sometimes come back and hear he set someone on fire. Scolding him never worked. But one day, they came. They were good to us, nice. Even Sean's fires, they weren't angry at all. It was... so amazing, almost a dream." She sighed sadly. "But dreams don't happen there. We were adopted not long after and were told we’d leave at the end of the week. But during that time, the orphanage was set on fire. They blamed my brother, like they always did." Her fists clenched weakly. "I hated them for it."
"It wasn't Sean, though, was it? Catherine queried.

Melissa shook her head, her voice darkening. "It was some rich brat who didn't know **** about pain. Sean dragged him back, made him confess, and...." A quiet flicker of satisfaction entered her and she smiled bitterly. "We treated him to our favorite game. The adults didn’t stop it. He lived but it would take more than his papa's stinkin' money to fix that pretty face." Her voice faded down to a whisper. "Things were okay, even though our adoption got delayed while the papers went through again. But then he came. Gennai."

"What happened then?" Kari whispered.

"Gennai came... he said he would help us. He said that if we helped him, he would make it so we were never lonely again." She whimpered brokenly. "He lied. Gennai lied to us."

"Is this roughly around the time 'that' happened?" Jonathan still spoke softly.

"What Jonathan refers to was much earlier than our time," Kiri stated sadly.

"What is he referring to anyway?" Sora wondered.

Kiri shook her head. "It doesn't matter now." It will matter soon.

Matt's attitude changed again. "You know a lot more than the rest of us. Why have you been keeping us in the dark?!" He snapped.

Kiri looked at him with a bitter light. "What am I supposed to do?" she asked sadly. "It's not my story. I just happen to be the person who knows it. And you wouldn't believe us even if we told you every detail. You wouldn't. Your kind never has."

"You've been separating us from you since you brought back Izzy that time," Tai began. "How are you so different from us? You've got partners, therefore you're Digi-Destined, too."

Kiri trembled and shook her head. "You're wrong. It's not about that, it never has been. You wouldn't get it. You're all still free and-" She shook her head again. "You still have a choice. You can stay in the light but we... we're stuck in the shadows, just like Apocalymon. We, we were never given that freedom. We aren't the same, those of us in the dark." You aren’t chained like we are; you always had choices. I gave mine up.

Tai raised his eyebrow and said "Huh?" at the same time.

"I siphoned Jay's darkness for a reason. That reason was that I was unable to Digivolve Wormmon to the Ultimate level. According to Kiri, I am now balanced... right Kiri?" Jonathan explained, half tilting his head between the two.

Kiri nodded sadly. "You walk between," she stated, gaze hidden. But it’s not the same. Tai sighed, not knowing what to say or how to react in light of this information.

Kiri suddenly gasped in pain and collapsed, falling unconscious. Tomoe hurried to her side. "Oh no, we're really in trouble," she whispered.

"Has Luca failed?" Jonathan hurriedly asked

Tomoe shook her head miserably and turned the girl over. Renamon appeared from the shadows and moved over to her side. The older female's face was flushed as she shuddred. "The balance is going away," Tomoe mumbled despairingly. Suddenly her sadness turned to fury and she turned to glare at Matt.

"You want answers?" she asked coldly. "Here's your answers. Your precious guardian ripped his world to pieces, brutally murdered his friends in cold blood, and let the Demon Lords take his partner and use it for power. Those Sovereigns you trust forced at least three hundred children in a tournament to fight to the death of their Digimon and made the final pair kill their partners in order to prove which one was better. Your Entities are the spirits of the dead who are unable to let go of their forgotten past."

Her eyes blazed. "Kiri is feeling the worlds fall apart every time you and your emotions cause a complication in existence and there's a group of enemies to fight. The Demon Lords are misguided fools and my father was a Digi-Destined leader who let his friends die out of fear and ran. There, you have your answers. Proud of yourself?"

"I'm not impressed with what my father did, either, so don't you talk condescendingly to me." Matt said, his tone clearly indicating he wanted to snap.

"Yeah and now you're whining because he doesn't tell you everything about his life. At least he did something worthwhile," Kudamon snarled. "Stupid brat. And you're thinking of the wrong guardian insipid twit. How about Gennai, the one who's been "helping" you these past few years?"

Tai realized that if Matt wasn't calmed down immediately, Kiri’s life would be in more danger. But before anything could be done, the air seemed to turn black and cold. “What the hell?”

Kiri awoke abruptly. Her eyes were eerily blank as she struggled to her feet. "No Kiri don't," Tomoe pleaded.

Kiri gave a numb shake of the head. "Sean... he's calling... the Ocean. His power, he's using his power..."

"He's what?" Jonathan gasped, surprised. "Is he doing badly against Davis and that thing, too?"

"No," Her voice came out dreamily. "He's winning." She swayed. "I have... to help him..." Steadying, she vanished.

Melissa let out a weak groan. "Sean... don't do it..."

"What don't you want him to do?" Kari asked quietly.

"Don't kill him..." she whispered, trying to move. "Don't kill Guilmon... not for me... please..."

“You mean Veemon,” TK corrected kindly.

Tomoe shook her head. "It's Guilmon to her," she corrected gently. "She doesn't know Veemon, she doesn't care about him. She doesn't want Sean's expression to ever be how it was before, for him to ruthlessly murder his partner, to kill anyone so coldly. For her, the two might as well be one and the same: he's killing for her sake." The girl pulled her Digivice from her sleeve along with a knife. “But it’s too late for us. We are stained.”

Jonathan understood and raced back outside, with Blair following him closely. Exiting the castle, they both yelled out to Sean to cease his attack and that if he killed Death-X-DORUguremon Davis would be without a partner and might have to start from scratch.
Sean didn't even glance over. Around him whipped grey water. His gaze wasn't even on the two fighting Digimon. It was on something in his hand. Kiri was only feet away, standing as though in a trance as she watched. Jonathan saw a black substance surrounding her hand. Dorugamon fell to the ground. Weakly he flew back up again, eyes still determined to fight.

"Cannonball!"

"Sean!" Blair yelled again, but Jonathan stayed her from calling anymore.

"It looks like he's found his Core Awakener," he muttered. There’s nothing we can do now.

"Sean..." Renamon was carrying Melissa out of the castle. The girl moaned at the light in her eyes.
 
Sean continued to stare at the device for a moment. Then he gave a cruel, quiet smirk and looked up at Davis, green eyes glittering heartlessly. The grey water seemed to thicken, pooling around everyone's feet along with sand. The sky began to turn grey.

"Kiri," Relena muttered weakly from where she was slumped nearby. Luca was collapsed in her arms, strange burns on his limbs. "Why are you helping him when he's like this? You and Norn, you're both stronger than him, aren't you?"

"What's he doing?" Blair wanted to know.

"Why is she helping him?" Wizardmon asked.

Relena groaned. "The Dark Ocean, he's calling it to him, using its power. We're almost in the World of Darkness again. He's done it before but he usually avoids doing it. Usually an opponent never gets him this angry." She turned her head, analyzing the girl. "I don't think Kiri can help herself. She's strong but, when it comes to that blood vow, I guess it overrides her willpower." She groaned again, this time in pain. "Who are you really fighting Sean? Davis? Or the Sovereign?" Or is it yourself, the person who’s been overlapping with the you of now?

Jonathan and the other Digi-Destined waited for Sean to answer.

Sean still didn't speak a word. His expression told it all to Relena however. "I guess to you it's all the same thing."

"..."

She glanced at his partner. "Why don't you hurry up and help him? I think you two would win, if you really tried. After all..." A sad smile flitted across her lips. "It's been a while since you've had any fun." Sean paused and glanced at her, looking at the monochrome beach. Kiri seemed to wake for a second.

"What do you want to do?" she asked quietly as she slipped back into a place unreachable.

Finally, he spoke, "Want?" He laughed darkly. " I want to kill." He took the Awakener between his fingers. "I am Sean Ladon, child of Ebonwumon's oasis. Grant me power, Sovereign of the worlds." Darkness radiated from his being, melding with the waves. "Awaken, Twisted Waves."

Relena sighed. "Oh the irony." And this isn’t you. That’s just your new name.

"Oh ****..." was what Blair said as she saw the Digimon that emerged from the cocoon.

"Dorugamon digivolve to... DoruGreymon!" It was a lighter version of Davis’ partner, red and white with black markings. Its silver wings were steel like his horn and there was only one tail with a golden point.

“How,” Tai stammered. “That evolution was pure, how did it happen like that? His heart is dark.” Relena glanced at him and didn’t reply. There’s no one or the other boy, he’s even, more than any of you will be. Not even Jonathan can say that.

"Time to kill DoruGreymon," the male sang out with an almost innocent air. "Just like back then right? We're gonna beat them all and win for sure! All it'll take..." He moved, the water pushing him forward toward the observing Davis. "Is a little bit of bloodshed!" DoruGreymon didn't speak, simply charged at his opposite. At the same time, Sean punched Davis in the stomach. "Time to play!" His words were a sadistic chirp. The gogglehead retaliated, kicking and struggling.

"Davis!" Kari screamed. "Please, please come back to the Light." He’s going to kill you; I know it!

"That'll never work," Tomoe commented dully as she walked up the steps. "Fear is making it worse in this place." She watched the two dragons fighting, and glanced at the now scuffling humans. "This is sad," she stated softly. "You watch and we tell and you still don't get it. I won't watch anymore." In her hand, her black and red Digivice began to hum. On the back where a steel triangle was, three small circles began to whirr away and three large, thick needles took their place. "I'll fight instead."

Relena blinked wearily. "You're not holding back?"

"Why," Kudamon asked coldly. "Someone has to stop these morons. But the Digimon are the ones who will kill each other quickest."

Jonathan and the others watched as the needles continued to spin. They stabbed into her hand violently, absorbing her blood. Tomoe remained silent. As the Digivice took her blood, they quickly became horrified and disgusted at the procedure. She removed it from her hand and then stabbed it through, the tips poking out slightly on the other side of her hand, causing disgusted cries to come from the others. She sighed, almost in ecstasy. "Kudamon."

"My pleasure... blood-keeper." Kudamon leapt into the air, surrounded by a crimson cocoon of data. "Kudamon warp-digivolve to... Spinomon!" The bladed Mega seemed to laugh, staring up at the soaring opponents.

"This is my power," the little girl said softly. "I made this Digivice myself." She licked at her palm, not noticing the small holes in her hands.

"How can you do this to yourself?" Sora exclaimed. What kind of child are you?

Tomoe looked down. "I want to protect everyone. So I made this. Because power is born from suffering for someone else's sake. I'll protect everyone with this. I promised that." They shuddered as one at the sight of the blood, before staring at the Mega that was Spinomon. It was a large brown dragon with many blades poking from its body, the most from its back. “Go Spinomon," she ordered quietly. "Knock them down. I shed blood for victory; thus they shed blood for loss. This is the only fair thing in existence."

"Except death," Relena commented weakly.

The girl bowed her head. "Yes. That's right."

"Sonic Slash Rain!" The blades on his back burst into the air above the fighters, large and small raining down and slicing into enemy and ally. Davis winced at the large gashes on his body, as did his corrupted partner, but they said nothing. They preferred to maintain a silent perspective.

Sean smiled. "Don't forget about me mister rich boy!" His voice was garbled, a mixture of child and teenager. "I won't let you get away unscathed." In his hand was a lighter, one that reminded people of a gun. He lit it up and slashed at Davis's chest, causing the boy to roar in agony, shirt beginning to burn. "You tried to kill them! You tried to kill a lot of people! It didn't work, did it?" The last statement was older, darker. "You gave up on your friends. Weak coward. You don't deserve a partner."

Tomoe looked around, sensing the Ocean growing in intensity. "Oh no. Spinomon quick, distract them!"

"Blue Prominence!" The blaze engulfed both dragons as more blades rained down from the sky, most tearing off chunks of Death-X-DORUGreymon. Tomoe crouched, trying to help Relena to her feet.

"Come on, we need Triesta's power. She can fix this."

Relena struggled to remain standing. "But she hasn't used the "Memory" in years. The Darkness won't respond will it?" She paused for a moment. "I suppose we have nothing to lose." She stood perfectly still. Black smoke came from her hands, swirling rapidly into a human form. It was a girl with long auburn hair, barely older than Jonathan. Her eyes opened to reveal the deep violet orbs as she stepped onto the sand.

"Haah," she began amusedly. "I almost forgot what I looked like." She glanced at the Digidestined. "Sup brats? Having fun?"

"That's Triesta?" Blair was amazed at how beautiful she looked.

"The one and only," she replied with a smirk. "Glad to see you speechless. You're much better that way."

Relena gave a weak giggle. "Oh yeah that's her."

"Wow," was all Blair could say.

Triesta glanced around her. "This is really a pain," she grumbled. "You brats just keep using what doesn't belong to you. That's it, gonna kick some ass." She looked at Kari. "You. Get your ass over here. You actually are gonna be useful for a change." Kari meekly walked over to Triesta's side. "Relax girly, I ain't gonna kill ya. That ain't my job. Worse than Relena was at the beginning I swear..." Triesta pinched her nose and sighed. Her voice softened. "Oi, Siara, you back yet? You okay?"

I was waiting to heal the girl of her physical injuries, Siara answered.

"Hard to do that in this place," she commented tiredly, wearily. Why can't you remember? "Come on now just like old times. Place your hands in the sand." Siara seamlessly entered Kari's body and placed the girl's hands in the sand.

Triesta placed hers over Kari's. Siara couldn't help but shiver. The other hands were starkly cold despite the fact that they couldn't truly touch. Siara felt something stir in her heart. Triesta smiled sadly at her. "It's alright," she said quietly. "Just let me lead you Si. Just like back then. Let go of your very being. You are the Dove, remember, the Dove's Sheen. You are the "Holy" memory, of light. Remember." I don't want you to but there's no choice anymore. The blackness began to snake around her as white mist seemed to poke at Siara, questioning. Kari breathed deeply, before exhaling slowly, allowing a little bit of Siara to come through.
 
"You have to let go," Relena stated softly. "I know it's strange but you need to forget about yourself for a time. Siara has to live again. You have to deny the fact that this is your body. You have light that's true, but it's not right. Let go." Tai frowned. Live again?
 
"She's having so much trouble," Triesta muttered. "At this rate, she could be in some serious danger. How come you didn't have this much trouble?"
 
"I was younger." And I was born for this.
 
Kari felt herself being guided back. For a moment, she saw someone, a girl with white hair, stepping in front of her. Then the image was gone and she was floating.
 
"Here Siara," Triesta sang out distantly. "Follow me Dove. Follow me to the sky. The white light intensified around Kari's body, mixing with the black around Triesta. Suddenly one of the DoruGreymon's attacks shattered in their direction. Kiri slashed it apart, suddenly awake.
 
Relena let out a relieved sigh. "Thank God..."
 
Kiri rolled her eyes, her body surrounded by silver light. "Don't count me out because Joker's a selfish idiot." She sliced the air, blocking another shockwave.
 
Relena glanced at the two warring Digimon. "This has gone on long enough. Tomoe-chan, open fire." The girl nodded and smiled quietly, letting knives slip from her sleeves between her fingers.
 
Kiri grinned. "Rip them to shreds." Spinomon flicked his tail and tossed his human lightly into the air. Tomoe threw the knives expertly, each halting movement. Two buried themselves in Davis' arms and one in Sean's shoulder.
 
"Target hit," the seven-year-old commented as she fell, Kiri managing to catch her.
 
"Nice shot." Tomoe nodded dazedly, eyes semi-focused.
 
"Hey, that was awfully close! Don't you get Kari hurt!" Tai shouted.
 
Relena gave him a calm look. "People need to get hurt in fights. It makes them stronger. Relax for once. Kiri hurry up and use the Catal Unit's power." Kiri nodded, eyes slipping partially closed as the silver light intensified. "And you," the blond glanced at Blair. "Get ready."
 
"For what?" Blair asked, nevertheless preparing herself.
 
Relena smiled sadly and pointed at Sean, who had begun a brutal beating on Davis. Above them, DoruGreymon had managed to badly injure his opposite. "To help him. When the Ocean fades, that's your only chance. Wake him up before he gets stuck in the past. Or do you want him to kill his partner again, along with that boy you all care for so deeply?"
 
"Okay, I'll do that."
 
Relena sighed. "Can you overcome your fear though..." She stiffened and glanced at the two still on the ground and back at her friend. Kiri was staring off in a daze, at least that was how it seemed.
 
A new voice came into the air. Jonathan recognized Norn. "The Balance is lost here," she murmured, moving through the beach. "Recede," she commanded softly, watching the tides. Siara and Triesta suddenly gasped in pain, the Dark World abruptly receding in their direction.
 
"What's happening?" That was Blair.
 
Relena sighed. "The Balance must be kept. Always, it must be kept. They know this. This is why they were Chosen. They are the Embodiments of Light and Darkness themselves. It is difficult for them to truly merge, especially at this unbalanced state." She looked at the sky, which was slowly turning blue again. "That is why Norn-chan and Kiri are here. The Catal Unit keeps the balance the best it can. And that means... they will be in a lot of pain until it balances.” She looked at Jonathan. "You know don't you? You know what will happen to her soon?"
 
Jonathan merely nodded.
 
Tomoe began to sing again, her soft voice lilting as she spun with her arms outstretched. "Kami-sama, Kami-sama, grant us a miracle! Grant us strength and grant us hope. Kami-sama..." Spinomon glanced down at the girl and devolved back to Rookie, landing on her arm and resting himself on her neck.
 
"What the hell?" Matt looked confused.
 
Tomoe kept singing and her body began to glow brightly. The light flowed away from her toward Norn, who was in deep concentration.
 
"Good thinking Tomoe-chan," Relena congratulated. She looked at the others. "Tomoe-chan is a guardian for the Catal Unit, just as I am. She's helping Norn-chan by giving her power." Relena groaned in pain, clutching her chest. "I wish I could do something but I don’t think my body could handle it right now..."
 
The Ocean continued to recede rapidly, the two in the center still tense from pain. The Digi-Destined continued to watch as the Dark Ocean disappeared.
 
All that remained was a circle surrounding the pair. "Now," Relena ordered. "Before Sean wakes it up again."
 
Blair hurried forward. "You idiot, you can stop!" She yelled at him. She tugged at his arm."It’s alright. I’m afraid but I think that… I think I understand you a little more. And you’ve already won. You can stop.”
 
Sean snorted. "You? Understand? What?" He turned on her and the lighter flickered. She flinched. He laughed, having forgotten Davis now. Despite his will to continue, Davis devolved his partner and disappeared. "Well you understand you should be afraid of me. That's the best thing you ever learned." He clicked it and let the flame linger. "You should be afraid, you should keep away from me." Because I’m not the person you see. I don’t think I’ve ever been. He was so cold. Is it strange when your soul feels numb?
 
Blair mentally cringed at the sight of the flame, but decided enough was enough. “Sean, don’t do this. Do you have to hurt your soul to be happy in life? Do you have to be in “damage mode” every single day? You don’t, you know? Melissa will be fine; even now, Siara’s healing her of her physical wounds.” Blair paused, looking at the spirit in Kari’s body moving her hands over Melissa’s injuries. She knew Siara wouldn’t have a problem with the broken arm, and glanced back at Sean, her face having an encouraging expression.
 
“The physical wounds will be healed,” Wizardmon began quietly, staring at Sean. “But your sister will need you more than ever to be free of the emotional scars Davis reawakened within her mind. Stay this anger at Blair; she doesn’t need it, neither do you. You’ve won against Davis for now, so you can calm the fiery demon. Just remember: You’ll always be a piece of this team’s heart. No matter where you are or what you’ve become... you’ll always be needed as one of Jonathan’s advisors.”
 
Doruguremon de-Digivolved back to the In Training level, and glanced up at his partner who had bent down to pick him up. “They’re right, you know, Sean? Everything will be fine...” The little Digimon wearily made his way to the top of Sean’s head and was fast asleep from his exhaustion.
 
Advisors? **** you Wizardmon. I can’t believe I ever considered you someone worthy of attention. Dangle that ******** in my face again, you worthless S.O.B. I’ll rip you to pieces. He made sure the Champion could hear that ugly thought. Wizardmon recoiled, looking clearly offended. Sean gave the girl a strong glare, causing her to recoil. "You're wrong," he said quietly. "You're wrong. There will never be an alright. Never. Not in this world or any of them. Never."
 
"Joker's right," Kiri had limped forward to them, still faintly shining. "The worlds will never be "fine". It's much too late for that. But..." she came forward and wrapped her arms around him. "This too shall pass. It gets better but nothing is perfect. And I think that's... okay..."
 
Sean paled. "Kiri stop. Don't you..."
 
She whispered something in his ear, causing him to freeze and the silver light trickled into his body. She slumped against him. He shivered, allowing the Dark Ocean to fade.
 
"Why'd you do that?" he asked the unconscious girl. "Why'd you just waste your power on someone like me?"
 
"What did she do?" Jonathan inquired. No one noticed Tomoe fall to the ground.
 
Relena smiled. "She gave it back to him; the weapon of the tempest." Sean clenched his fists. "Not going to use it?" she asked. "It's your right after all."
 
"No it's not. It's Melissa's," he said stubbornly, eyes half-shut. "It's not my right. You heard them: Gennai and the Sovereign. I'm not a Digi-Destined."
 
The Digi-Destined stared at each other with confused looks on their faces. "You have a partner, don't you?" Kari put forward.
 
"Dorumon was never meant to be his partner," came a quiet tone. Gennai stepped out. Sean glanced at him and scowled. "And a partner is not the only requirement to be a Digidestined. He knows that best."
 
Relena nodded. "None of us are Digidestined like you are. We were just dragged into the fight."
 
"You had no potential for it," Gennai said coldly, glancing at the semi-conscious Triesta at her side. "Don't lie to them."
 
"Eat **** you jackass," Triesta snapped. "Like you haven't."
 
Not this again," T.K. said.
 
"Shut the hell up!" Triesta snapped. "You don't know, you don't know what this bastard did to us..."
 
"You don't know how lucky you are," Sean hissed. "I know you let the Abyss Project go through," he accused Gennai, who remained silent. It was true and he regretted it each day.
 
"Oh, it's so easy for you lot to turn on us, isn't it?" Matt snapped. "So what if we don't know what Gennai did to you? You obviously don't care for us veterans, we who have more experience!"
 
Sean laughed darkly. "We've been fighting for eight years you selfish little brat. You haven't even been fighting for five. Don't talk about experience." Please don't, it brings back memories I have trouble with.
 
“Enough, Leith,” Gennai stated suddenly. Sean flinched and froze. “Keep your anger away from them. They don’t need it.” They won’t even understand it.
 
Sean trembled. “Don’t you call me that,” he whispered, clutching tight to Kiri’s unconscious form. “Don’t you use that name again.” I don’t want to go back. Don’t use that name again or I will. He was already stepping back, falling into black just a bit more.

Melissa glanced up weakly from the ground. Seeing Gennai, she began to tremble in fear.
 
"Gennai, are you saying Sean is not who he appears to be?" Tai questioned, looking confused.
 
Gennai sighed. "You didn't tell them who you were Leith? Hypocrite boy.” He turned to them. “This boy’s name is not truly Sean Ladon. It was changed before he moved to Japan from America. He is Leith Harper, one of the few to complete the Storien Project. His sister Melissa also completed it as well.”
 
Sean continued to tremble, and small ripples of blue water began to form at his feet. "Be quiet..."
 
"In all honesty, I didn't recognize you until recently. You have contacts in and you darkened your hair and changed your behavior.” Gennai glanced back at him. “If it wasn't for your sister, Leith, I would have never figured it out. Those records haven’t been updated in a long time I see."
 
Sean's body began to glow bright blue. "I said,” he hissed, gently placing Kiri on the ground. "For you to be silent." He vanished and reappeared behind Gennai, clutching the knife that had previously been in his shoulder. Gennai managed to catch the blade, just barely. The boy's stare was blank as he continued to strike, knocking the guardian back. Everyone felt some surprise. They had never seen this side of the boy before.
 
"Fast," Gennai commented, knocking him back slightly. "As expected of the Sovereign's discarded weapon. You really are Leith Harper, also known as the Demon of Icefire."
 
"WHAT?" A majority of the male Digi-Destined shouted in shock.
 
"You've got to be kidding..." Catherine breathed, trailing off. Sean said nothing, merely sliced through to Gennai's wrist, making him bleed. He spun, kicking rapidly at the man’s chest. Gennai fell to the ground and Sean was hovering next to him, knife poised to strike.
 
"He's not," Relena commented.
 
Triesta sighed. "Oi, Leith, let him go. We aren't allowed to kill him." Sean paused mid-step and disappeared, returning to Kiri's side. The emotionless stare glanced over them all for a moment.
 
“Is this true Sean?” Jonathan asked. Sean nodded quietly, placing his fingers toward his eyes.
 
Gennai sighed again, looking over at Melissa as he managed to stand back up, who was still trembling. "You didn't finish telling them Melissa?" Melissa flinched visibly and bit her lip. She looked down and away, obviously near-tears.
 
"I wouldn't speak to her Gennai," Sean said softly, indifferently. He had stepped back. His voice had changed in pitch and he lowered his fingers from his eyes, contacts stuck to his fingertips, revealing now cold blue irises. "Because she's scared of you. If you scare her too badly, I'll have to rip you apart again." He blinked at Gennai. “You remember that right? Your data was scattered everywhere. It’s a miracle you came back at all.”
 
None of them could hold back a shudder of fear. Piedmon was one of the few Digimon who could hurt Gennai, Izzy thought. He managed to go even further?
 
Blair found herself shivering. He’s cold, she thought randomly. Sean was at least wild and acted like a person, but from him, there’s nothing, It’s like he’s dead.
 
"Then you finish the story," Matt challenged.
 
"Yeah," Tai added. "We want to know the rest of it."
 
Sean, now Leith, looked at them. "I wonder why you're so curious. It's such a gruesome tale. Children will not handle it well."
 
Fury rose like a maddened serpent in Matt's soul, but Tai answered for both of them. "So what? We're not kids anymore, we're maturing teenagers. And we want the rest of the tale."
 
Leith tilted his head at them before turning to Gennai. "So childish of words. Why doesn't Gennai tell? He oversaw it."
 
Gennai nodded quietly. "If you insist. Back then; there was a worry about your chosen team Tai. The Sovereigns were uncertain you could manage to kill all of your enemies, including Apocalymon."
 
"Why would they be uncertain?" That was Sora. She, and the rest of Tai and Davis' teams, had always thought the Sovereigns believed in them. Why now would the theory that they didn't believe surface?
 
Triesta sighed. "Siara and myself were the ones who chose you. The Sovereign had nothing to do with it. They were weakened by the corruption of the worlds and with the rising Dark Masters and certain... other enemies, so there was little energy for belief." She clenched her fists. "I had little to do with it after your scanning however." She spat on the ground.
 
"So I was sent to various places to test children," Gennai continued. "They were either to be like yourselves or end up like Leith, weapons of destruction. Or if they were lucky, nothing at all."
 
"Weapons of destruction?" Anna looked shocked.
 
"Yes," Gennai confirmed guiltily. "The tournament lasted in stages. The children were all given Digimon and dropped in the Digital World to find the gate home. When their Digimon died or they were near death, the children were taken from their position into stasis. Those who passed that stage were sent to the dueling round, where they had to face each other until the Digimon died or human was unable to fight. The final round was the true test to see if they were strong enough to cast off their own humanity for the good of some other goal. In their case, it…”
 
"... was Sean versus Melissa," Kari answered.
 
"No," Gennai corrected. "It was Leith and Melissa facing their Digimon. And most of the time, participants didn’t make it that far." And the few that did didn’t make the choice.
 
Kari shook her head in apology. "Sorry, Gennai," she whispered. "It's just that we've known him longer as Sean and we'll have a hard time getting used to the fact that he's not Sean now."
 
"You misunderstand," Leith said quietly, dully formal. "He means that we fought our Digimon to the death by ourselves, not each other."
 
"I know very well what he meant," Kari replied, her voice icy with distrust as her expression hardened.
 
"Don't be so hostile to him," Gennai said quietly. "He hasn't changed at all. He is still Sean." He doesn’t care anyway. To Leith and all others of his kind, you are merely arrogant fools and selfish as well. To them, you are just proving their point.
 
Leith seemed to sigh. "Gennai has forgotten some things, haven't you?"
 
"I haven't," he replied. "I just wanted to ask: what was it the Sovereign commanded you to do before it began?"
 
Leith gazed at him. "They told me to never show anything on my face, especially affection. They told me never to feel during the game."
 
Gennai sighed. "I thought so. You... you were the oddest of them. You showed nothing, betrayed nothing. For a five-year-old it was frightening. You would point things out to us, things that shouldn't have been leaked. I remember how much the others would talk, smile, and joke with you, while you remained completely distant to them. Yet their trust never wavered. Why?"
 
Leith shrugged. "I do not know."
 
"We knew he would win." Melissa's voice was weak.
 
"Why should my sister not be hostile?" Tai asked evenly. "We've been lied to, simple as that."
 
"Yeah," Matt responded. "Sean can't be Sean if he's Leith."
 
Melissa tried to speak and then coughed. Leith looked down at Kiri and almost smiled. "You were right again Kiriko. You knew."
 
"Sean and Leith are the same person, just with a different name and personality," Gennai said quietly, following the boy’s eyes. That girl’s been watching since the beginning hasn’t she? What are they planning? "Besides, it is our fault he changed his name in the first place."
 
"Gennai you don't have to defend me," Leith scolded solemnly. "I don't care what they think of me. None of us will any longer. There is no point. We have all lied to them at one point or another or hidden information from them. None of us will deny it."
 
"Them not trusting us is understandable," Relena added, clasping Triesta's hand. "We've never trusted them. You do not trust the enemy, you learn from it. And then, in whatever way you must, you destroy it."
 
Zhuquiaomon appeared in a blaze of fire. "That's enough, vessel of Triesta!" He screeched. "Stand down immediately! You will not harm the others!"
 
Relena was unafraid. "Destroying an enemy does not always mean bringing them to harm. You would know that best." The Sovereign glared at her furiously, but did not reply.
 
Melissa saw Zhuquiaomon and paled. "You," she hissed. "You told us you would bring them back! You told Raphael he could see them again!"
 
Leith glanced at his sister. "That's what they said to you? You didn't mention that to me at all," he added to the phoenix. "You just told me to kill them all. You didn't lie and say you would bring our parents back."
 
"Who's Raphael?" A hushed murmur spread like the wind throughout the rest of the Digi-Destined.
 
"Raphael was one of the testers," Gennai said quietly, watching Leith's lack of reaction. "He had a strange talent, similar to Akira and Kiri, who can vaguely sense the states of people's hearts. He could tell someone's true character in a glance. Other than Leith, he was the only one to know the true nature of our testing, but he figured it out himself. Raphael was four years old wasn't he?" When the siblings nodded, he frowned. "Just as I thought, he was the one who saw his parents get killed by robbers wasn't he?"
 
Again Leith nodded. "He is a Digidestined actually, the only one of us who managed to become one. But he isn't able to fight. His legs were permanently disfigured during the tournament."
 
Melissa shivered. "He never stopped smiling at us, even when his Digimon was killed. I remember that." Tears fell from her eyes. "He pretended to believe the lies even though his heart said they were wrong. He just... he wanted his mother back. Why did you tell him you could when it was a bunch of lies?" Mixed expressions crossed the Destined's faces.
 
"The information was given to see how far the participants would go to complete their goals," Gennai commented. "It was clear only you two had the potential for that. And that your brother was the only one who could do it without regret in your section. That is why he was the only one to retain the memories of that event, at least until recently. I expect the other participants will eventually reawaken." He looked at Leith again, who remained stoic.
 
"Stop it!" The cry from Dorimon, who was awake and clearly upset. "Stop hurting Leith! I won't forgive anyone who does it! Never ever! You're wrong about him! It did hurt! I remember! The whole time he was fighting me, he wasn't trying to win at all! He wanted me to win! He didn't want to do any of this but you said you'd kill Melissa if he didn't! I heard you Zhuquiaomon! You told him to become your tool and then you just decided not to use him anymore! You're the monsters! Not Leith!"

TK looked at the little Digimon. Was he Guilmon? How?
 
"Humph!" The Sovereign snorted in disgust. "And how far do you think you'll go?"
 
Dorimon bared his teeth but Leith gently took him from his head. "Enough."
 
"But Leith..."
 
"It's okay," he said quietly. "It doesn't matter. None of it matters except the vow. These children, the Sovereign, all of it can burn to ashes for all we care. They just mustn't interfere with the vow we all made to each other."
 
Leith sighed. "You know, we expected this. We expected the day where your trust was shattered would eventually come. And that's why I'm not angry with you anymore. Anger is unnecessary for the water right now. An ocean doesn't need fury to create a storm." The bright blue aura, which had been muted, began to rise.
 
Zhuquiaomon couldn't hold back a wince. "Ebonwumon's power... you're able to control it so easily. How...?"
 
Leith, for the first time since his true name was spoken, smiled. "Blame Kiriko. And blame yourselves for giving it to me." And the power burst, soaring waves slamming into the digimon's wings. To the Destineds’ surprise, the Sovereign screeched in agony. The wings began to freeze, feather by feather falling apart and shattering as they fell.
 
Jonathan couldn’t hide the terror that had filled his chest. He… he could have just killed Zhuqiaomon. What is he?
 
Azulongmon parted the skies and flew down quickly. "Come now, look what you've made him do. All because you riled his partner. Tsk... I thought you were better than that Zhuquiaomon. You know as well as the rest of us what he’s capable of.” And that wasn’t even full power.
 
Leith twitched at the sight of him, the freezing stopping. Suddenly a pained cry erupted from next to him. He looked down. "Kiriko..."
 
Kiri screamed again, eyes wide and face pale. "He's coming," she whispered, trembling all over. "He's back, he's back, he's right here." She curled up into a ball, not feeling the blood that was oozing from her reopened wounds. "No, no please, I'll be good I promise please..."
 
Jonathan paused, losing the shock. She's afraid. For the first time, she actually seems scared.
 
Blair narrowed her remaining eye. Is she talking about Tamaki?
 
Relena stilled. "Kiri, remember? You killed Tamaki. You saw his corpse. Akira-nii saw his corpse."
 
"It's even in our records," Gennai added, looking unsettled. Kiri just shook her head and trembled more, still terrified.
 
"Oh?" The voice that came from behind them was high, cold, amused. "My little pet missed me. I feel loved." Tomoe stood there, a sick grin playing across her features. In her hands were two knives. "It's been a while... hasn't it little Kiriko?" She licked the first blade. "This time, I wonder how much you and I will play together."
 
"Wait a minute," Wormmon began, but was cut off by Greymon who had Digivolved on his partner's command.
 
"He's possessed her! Get ready everyone!"
 
Tamaki laughed lightly. "You children are sharp, aren't you?" He examined the body, twirling around. "My, Kiriko, look at my sweet daughter! She looks so much like you! It's a beautiful thing. So how will it feel I wonder," He was in front of her in mere seconds, blade nestled on her ribs. "To be torn apart by yourself?"
 
Kiri's reflexes kicked in and she kicked the girl's body off, sending it flying. Tamaki caught himself and his grin twisted further.
 
"My, my, we have such a defiant little ***** here don't we? I'll have to teach you all over again! But first..." He leapt and tossed a set of knives into the air. Flipping, he kicked the blades and scattered them, each stabbing into a vital point on the Digimon's body. "You've really trained her well. Such good aim, even with my poor skills."
 
All that the Digi-Destined did was nod as one and their partners Digivolved in order to try and help Kiri, barring the ones who could reach the Master level. Greymon staggered back, with the knives stuck in his body. He pulled them out, grunting in pain as he did so. What a kid, to be able to damage a Digimon like that. Not as good as Leith but, damn, she’s certainly up there. Can all of them do this? Memories pulsed in his head and he forced them away, not thinking about it. He de-Digivolved after that and his data merged with Biyomon’s to form SpiritRavemon. HolyFenrirmon and Mirageburimon also came into view to help even up the odds. Everyone else had Digivolved to the highest level they could at this point in time.
 
Counting the three Master level Digimon, there was Zudomon, Lillymon, MagnaAngemon, Angewomon, Anomalocarimon, Silphymon, JewelBeemon, Stingmon, Parrotmon, Rapidmon and Andiramon. The three Master Digimon, ten Ultimates and one Champion believed they were more than a match for Tamaki.
 
Tamaki laughed. "So hostile, so hostile," he crooned, once grey eyes now turning emerald green. "I didn't know I was such a threat.” He backflipped, landing at the edge of the forest. "I'm not willing to be taken out today. I just came for this,” he gestured toward his daughter’s body. “And to do you little children a favor. You know what I'm talking about don't you pet?"
 
Kiri bristled, fear slowly turning into wild hate. He smiled. "You really are your brother's successor. Such insane eyes. It's why I picked you."
 
"What's he talking about, Kiri?" Silphymon's male-female voice questioned.
 
"It's about your precious little Crests," he replied for her. Kiri's whole body shuddered again and her bandages were turning deeper crimson. She coughed and clutched her ribs. "You shouldn't overdo it. After all you're close to death as it is."
 
"They don't have Crests," Parrotmon squawked, talking about Jonathan's team. "They're called Core Awakeners. Get it right."
 
"He's not talking about them," Kiri gasped, still trying to move. "He's talking about Tai and the others."
 
"What about their Crests then?" That was Mirageburimon's raspy, hoarse voice.
 
"You were not the first bearers," Tamaki sang out. "Right Sovereign? I know why you didn't believe in these children when they came."
 
Azulongmon glared silently. "Go on then."
 
"It's because the first bearers were my team right? And they all died correct? Not to mention the first Keeper of Courage..." He smiled at Tai. "Was me. And it worked perfectly, even when I let my "friends" be killed. Also, it should be important to you that... your Agumon was once my Agumon. Funny how that worked out."
 
"He what?!" Tai yelled, out of shock and surprise.
 
"It's true," the man replied. "Right Azulongmon?" The dragon reluctantly nodded. He laughed again. "Your partner ripped that little girl's body to shreds, didn't he Kiriko?" Kiri didn't answer, having slumped over again. Tamaki pointed at Tai. "You were my successor boy. He doesn't remember but it's true. And now... I think I'm through here. See you later!" He ran off, clutching Kudamon.
 
"Hey, get back here!" Blair shouted. Her answer was a knife soaring toward her head. Leith jumped, catching it between his fingers and landing cat-like in front of her.
 
"... Thanks..." She shuddered at the thought of how close that had been to her head.
 
His blue stare bored into her hazel one. He turned away from her. "Relena was right... wasn't she? You all... you are afraid." He spoke it indifferently. She could tell; he honestly did not care.
 
"She thanked you, be grateful," Matt responded.
 
Leith simply looked at him. "Gratitude for doing what is expected of a weapon? There is no need for it." He turned to look at the Sovereign. "It seems that... you have need of me once again. I may be discarded but I am still useful. Do you wish for me to return to being your blade? If so... I will need Kiriko's permission, because she is my wielder now."
 
Kiri growled softly. "Granted," she replied, finally passing out again.
 
Gennai sighed. "You have returned to being Leith now I see. Sean was only leader to hide who you were. Leith was never a leader." The boy nodded and watched the Sovereign. Jonathan and the rest of the Digi-Destined were growing tired of not being treated right. Some of them began to turn around, planning on heading home.
 
Triesta snorted lightly. "Brats."
 
Relena sighed. "Triesta don't. I'm tired of this. I really am."
 
"You're fine with these brats treating you like ****?"
 
"It's fair."
 
"The world isn't," she replied, walking up to Kari. "It never will be." She slammed a glowing hand into the brunette's forehead. Kari fell to the ground, instantly out cold. "And now she'll know it for certain."
 
Relena sighed. "I'm really sorry."
 
Tai whirled sharply. "What the hell did you do to Kari?" he yelled.
 
Triesta sighed. "It's not what I did to her but what I did to Siara. She'll get the backlash I'm afraid. Now you'll understand why Relena's so despised. It's a crime to be different." She walked back over to Relena. "Just so you know, we do respect you, at least a bit. Don't forget, I did choose your team Tai, not Tamaki's. Just because we don't show it and because we worry..." She took Relena's hand. "Doesn't mean we all don't have at least a bit of faith in you. You just need to read between the lines a little more, stupid brats. And you need to learn to give before you receive." She vanished into black smoke, disappearing into Relena's body.
 
Leith picked up Kiri and glanced at Azulongmon. Reluctantly, the dragon nodded to him. Leith bowed his head. "As you wish." He maneuvered the girl over and gestured. Relena helped Luca and Renamon was still carrying Melissa. "Coming?" he asked softly as the group walked away.
 
"..." Tai was speechless. He looked pleadingly at Jonathan, Blair, T.K and Matt. T.K and Matt shrugged, not knowing how to respond, while Jonathan and Blair started walking after Leith. Accepting their lead, Tai went after them and the others quickly followed.
 

 
Meanwhile, Yolei had remained behind, having chosen to rest at home while the egg sat on her bed. It began to glow and crack as Yolei walked into her bedroom.
 

Legendarian Mistress
March 8th, 2011, 05:33 PM
A/N: Credit goes to EJ for providing a description of Dinobeemon, which I’ll only be using half of.

Chapter 24: Two Coin Sides

They were gathered together, all chatting about yesterday’s events. A child walked up to them, looking bored. Jonathan recognized him from the Ferro house. The boy sighed. “Why do I gotta talk to you morons,” he muttered derisively. “You’re all such pains in the neck. Grandma’s gotta be goin' senile.”

“It’s not like we wanted to come back,” Wizardmon answered equally as derisive. With all of the turmoil that had happened yesterday, Kiri and company had neglected to keep up their mental walls and the elf had easily read their thoughts on what they thought of the rest of the Digi-Destined.

The boy rolled his eyes. “Man, you people are such pests. Thinkin' you’re useful just cuz Grandma has a-” He was cut off by a girl kicking him brutally to the ground.

The girl rolled her eyes at him. “Masaki, you’re such a disgrace. Lady Ferro accepts these people and you just shove them down. Mother should have whipped you this morning instead of Riku.” She turned to them and bowed. “I’m deeply sorry. My brother has no clue what manners are. Next time, I’ll castrate him for you if you’d like.”

That’d be an improvement, Wizardmon thought.

The girl bowed again. “Lady Ferro requests your presence in our home now. She has important information for you that we are certain will improve your chances at victory.”

Jonathan glanced over at Wizardmon. There’s something he’s not letting on, the teen thought. I’ll ask him about it later.

“We’ll go,” Sora said. “We support Jonathan and Blair.”

The girl simply bowed again. “If you so desire. You are allowed to relax your suspicions, but it is your choice and yours alone. Follow me, please.” She walked away, dragging her brother by his foot.

The Digi-Destined wordlessly followed the girl, who hadn’t bothered to tell them her name.

“Oh,” she said suddenly, stopping. “Good morning, mother. Are we out of rice?”

Lady Hanabi nodded quietly. “So there you are, Chihiro. Mother was wondering if you were attacked.”

“It would not surprise me,” the girl replied neutrally. “Shall I go ahead?”

“Yes. Do be careful. Luca’s been very agitated these past few days.”

“I will, Mother.”

The two passed and Hanabi gave them a nod. “You children are so whiny. Would you really have trusted or believed them if they told you the truth when you met? I think not.” She left before they could reply.

“Huh,” Matt grumbled. “They tell us to come, and then they leave before we can even reply.”

“That’s my mother. Grandmother is the one who called you here,” the girl answered calmly. “This way.” She entered the house, which was surprisingly lit considering the last time they had been there. She pointed to a doorway. “In there, please. Grandmother seems impatient.”

Jonathan and the rest of the Digi-Destined entered through the doorway.

The old woman peered at them. Just like before a blade rested between her fingers, only this time, they could see blood on the steel. “It’s been a while, children,” she greeted raspily. “Have you gotten any stronger?”

“Blair has reached the Ultimate level now, ma’m and I’m next,” Jonathan answered respectfully, nodding his head slightly.

She nodded firmly. “And I can see in your eyes, you have come to learn things you didn’t expect. Your vision... it grows greyer.”

“That’s true, ma’m.”

She looked them over. “Are you... angry? Are you hurt?”

Blair failed to repress a shudder as she remembered what Tamaki had done. Her eye clouded as she remembered Leith saving her.

Jonathan’s face showed concern as he answered. “I’m anxious about Kiri’s condition.”

The woman snorted. “Don’t be. She’s up and about just fine, thanks to the Catal Unit. She’s outside right now with Sanako, likely trying to wear herself to near-death again.”

But she said she’s gonna die, he thought.

The woman sighed. “Don’t worry, boy. She knows what she’s doing. She has always known. It’s likely why the Goddess gave her the Core. Besides she is not the one who cannot fight right now. You... who stand behind your partners and watch, we can’t allow that anymore.”

“So what are you intending to have us do?” T.K. asked.

“You will know when ‘he’ gets here,” she replied. “First, I should tell you all... we have located the base of the Demon Lords.”

“He?” Catherine inquired.

Lady Ferro answered. “Raphael.”

“Which Digimon was his partner?” Anna questioned.

Finally, the woman smiled. “Patamon is his partner. The child was chosen.”

“I thought his partner was killed...” Mina said softly.

“He was killed,” a cheerful voice chirped from the doorway. “But that was then and this is now.” A black-haired male wheeled himself into the room, a bright smile on his face. On his lap was a Tokomon. “And he came back to me. Mama gave him back to me.”

“Can we just get to the point of how we’re able to reach the Mega level?” Wizardmon growled.

“Can you learn to be respectful, insolent whelp?” Lady Ferro asked, almost too calmly, killing intent flowing from her body. “Impatience will get you killed faster than anything else.”

“He will do as he’s told,” Blair answered in Wizardmon’s stead.

Raphael smiled again; it was tinged with a hint of hurt. “Well, I expected a kinder greeting than that. But everyone must be under a lot of pressure and really upset, right? It’s natural.”

“I’m sorry; he’s not normally like this. Something’s made him unusually peeved and I’m going to find out what it is and why he’s taking it out on you,” Jonathan responded.

Raphael smiled again. “It’s okay, I’m fine with it.” He sighed. “Now where is she?” A dull voice came from outside the door. “Melissa’s at the end of the hall.” Raphael wheeled himself over. “Leith!” Weakly, he tried to move out of the chair. The Tokomon awoke and scrambled down, allowing the boy to get up and move past the entryway. There was a thud, Raphael having collapsed.

Jonathan moved to help him. “Are you okay?”

Raphael giggled. “Yeah, I’m fine. I was just being dumb.” He weakly managed to stand up and move back to his chair.

Jonathan stood close, in case the boy fell again.

He wheeled forward and Jonathan glimpsed Leith standing nearby. The other moved quietly to Raphael’s side. “You haven’t changed,” Leith commented.

Raphael giggled. “Neither have you. I missed you.” He raised his arms and Leith carefully lifted him up, allowing the boy to hug him close.

“I remember you tackling me to the floor once.”

Raphael smiled. “I remember you saving my life.” He was placed back down in the chair.

“Melissa’s waiting for you at the end of the hall.” The boy nodded and hurried away, his Tokomon back on his lap. Leith gestured back toward the room. “Shall we?”

The Digi-Destined followed Leith inside.

Lady Ferro nodded, observing his now red hair. “There you are, Leith. Back as yourself, I see. Are you ready?”

He bowed his head in agreement. “I hear and obey.”

“Huh?” That was Blair. She wondered why Leith would obey Lady Ferro.

“Lady Ferro is a powerful woman and Kiriko pledged herself to her cause. The weapon obeys the wielder.”

Blair nodded her head, understanding.

“Now then, the Demon Lords...” Lady Ferro sighed. “They rest on a plane farther than the Dark Ocean that is near impossible to reach.”

“What plane is that, ma’m?” Jonathan asked.

“Crossroads,” came a raspy tone. The voice came from Aria who was in the corner.

There was a collective ripple of gasps from the Destined; after all, they’d been told Aria couldn’t talk.

Lady Ferro smiled sadly. “It’s painful for her to speak and a miracle she can at all. This is very important, otherwise she wouldn’t be talking.”

There was a sea of nods, before Tai spoke up. “So, are we supposed to wait until they emerge in the real world in order to fight them?”

“No,” she replied. “You can go after them.”

“How?” Catherine asked. “I mean, if they’re in a different plane...?”

“The Crests, Eggs, and Awakeners must be used as one. But the D-Cores are not strong enough.”

“Why are they not strong enough?” That was Jonathan’s Wormmon.

“Your Digimon cannot reach the Mega level yet,” Leith stated vacantly.

“We’re in the same team, so yours wouldn’t be able to yet, either.” Blair countered.

“That is true. But I can.”

Blair snorted with disbelief. “How?”

“I have Ebonwumon’s power already.”

“Wait, what? We need the Sovereigns’ power to unlock the Mega level?”

“Yes,” he replied. “Tomoe said there was a limiter created by the Sovereigns.”

“So that’s what she was talking about? How do we obtain the Sovereigns’ power?” Jonathan queried.

Leith’s gaze travelled over them. “You must fight the Sovereign whose power you request. And you must win.”

“Are you crazy?” Blair snorted. “They’re at the Mega level; we can only reach Ultimate.”

A quiet shrug. “You must take the power of one of their cores. That means a fight.” He pulled out his Awakener, which began to glow. “Whether it is logical or not does not matter. That is your task. Only then can you fight.”

“Alright,” Jonathan stated. “We’ll do it.”

Leith simply nodded and inserted the Awakener into the Digivice. It changed, turning pale blue and violet. “Then I will teach you as commanded. Whenever you wish to be taught, please inform me.”

Sora looked at her watch and gasped. “I’m so sorry; Tai has a lunch-time soccer game to go to. We have to go, come on, Tai.” As Sora and Tai left, the others soon followed.

Jonathan lingered in a spot that was away from the rest of the Digi-Destined. He motioned for Blair and Wizardmon to separate themselves from the group. “Wizardmon, there’s something you’re not telling me, not telling us.” He gestured at himself and Blair. “I’d like to know what it is.”

The Champion sighed and glanced around uneasily. He didn’t appreciate being put under pressure, but understood and respected Jonathan’s wishes. “They’re debating whether or not to split from the team,” he began.

“What, Kiri and company?” Jonathan asked, surprised.

Wizardmon nodded. “During the Tamaki incident yesterday, I was able to read their minds as far back to the point after you visited Mimi. They continue to doubt the Digi-Destined’s abilities and even called you greenhorns.” He paused, glancing sorrowfully at his partner. His voice was thick with controlled emotion. “Sean said that he doesn’t consider you worthy opponents and that you are spoiled brats who cry when they don’t get what they want.”

Blair’s right eye narrowed dangerously. “How dare he?” She growled angrily. “Two can play at this game...”

“No, Blair. Don’t lower yourself to Leith’s level. He’s dange-” Jonathan was cut off when Wizardmon began coughing as he gripped his staff tighter.

“Wizardmon?” Blair asked worriedly. Her eye returned to its original state, before she had hurried over to his side. The cough was deep, but it didn’t sound like whatever illness the elf had had reached his chest yet. “Are you alright?”

A small fit of coughing set in, before Wizardmon recovered enough to talk, albeit breathlessly. “I’m... fine... Had... symptoms... for... while...”

“How many days?” Jonathan questioned, concerned for his neighbour.

“... Three...” Wizardmon managed to cough out as a reply before he passed out.

Jonathan turned to Blair. “Whatever virus has attacked Wizardmon, nothing else is more important for him now than rest. Here, I’ll help you support him.” With Blair supporting her partner on the right side and Jonathan on the left, the two teens took roughly half an hour to walk back to their street. As Blair opened the door to her cousin’s house and eased Wizardmon inside, Jonathan lingered at the steps. “I’ll see you tomorrow. I hope Wizardmon’s condition improves. Hope you have a good time tonight, royal heir.” He whispered his pet name for her as he left.

“You too, tiger warrior,” she returned softly as she shut the door.

*****

He was a monstrous beast who had atrocious claws on his massive blue arms, which were nothing but muscle. His forearms were bigger than his biceps and shoulders, which truly reflected just how beastly he was. The Ultimate’s legs were multi-coloured, with the thighs being black with two orange lines circling them and the calves were a greenish-hue with two sharp claws for toes.

The corrupted Dinobeemon stood before the dark Digimon, who was now known as Ogudomon. “Both Devimon and Sinduramon have fallen victim to the Digi-Destined, my lord,” the Stingmon-esque Digimon reported. “Not that an Ultimate stood any chance against the Master level Mirageburimon,” he added, scoffing at Sinduramon’s fatal mistake.

“Hmm... Unsurprising. Can you do better?”

“If you so want it, my lord, I will survive the upcoming war.”

“... So be it. Go.”

*****

He was a dragon on two legs. His armour was completely black and grey. His talons and claws were golden and there were large red wings on his back. The eyes were black, but not cold. “You’re wasting your time, Callismon.” The Digimon’s voice was firm, yet held a hint of gentleness in it at the same time which was masked. It was obvious from the unknown Digimon’s exhale afterwards that the two had been arguing for a while.

Callismon was a large black grizzly bear with a vulcan-like device for a left arm and an oversized right claw. He has brown furs draped over his shoulders. “How am I wasting my time?” the bear rumbled. His wolfish face was foaming at the mouth as he asked this. “Wait, I know what this is about — this is because you want to be one of Beelzebumon’s generals, isn’t it? Eh, BlackImperialdramon; I’m right, aren’t I?”

The Mega level Digimon sighed. “Your overconfidence floors me,” he stated simply. He then aimed a punch at Callismon’s chest, throwing all of his power into it. The force behind the move was enough to delete Callismon with one strike. He ignored the data, before making a declaration. “Mark my words, Ogudomon; I am no ally of yours. Here, as the sun rises, this day marks my departure from your services.”

As he flew away, an unknown Digimon — loyal to Beelzebumon — left quietly. He headed towards Ogudomon’s lair to ask the King of all of the Demon Lords for a request.

*****

Four days had passed since Fanglongmon had returned Hawkmon to Yolei in his Digi Egg form. He had since hatched and was ready to rejoin the battle against the Demon Lords. All of the other Digi-Destined had gathered around Yolei and Kari; they wanted to see if their partners were able to Warp DNA Digivolve to the Master level.

Tai suggested to Kari that Salamon go first. Kari agreed and held out her D3. “I hope you can do this, Salamon,” she whispered. Yolei’s determination and Kari’s wish that light would prevail over darkness triggered the event.

“Salamon, Hawkmon, Warp DNA Digivolve to... Shining Valkyrimon!”

Shining Valkyrimon was a tall, mostly white angelic-like warrior with four red-tipped pink feathered wings. A long sword was sheathed in a hilt on the left side of his belt, with a bag full of arrows resting on his right side. A crossbow was slung over his left shoulder. His head was protected by a winged helmet that had a visor which covered his eyes.

Since Jack had left the group, Wizardmon took it upon himself to do what was once Sorcerymon’s job. He explained that from Love, Sincerity and Light came Shining Valkyrimon — the angelic warrior that would purge the world of darkness. The fire and electricity-based mage went on to detail that Shining Valkyrimon’s attacks were Shining Star (he attacked using his crossbow which blazed with angelic light) and Heaven’s Judgement (his sword channelled the Sovereigns’ decisions through it and decided whether an enemy lived or died).

It was at that moment that a Mega level Digimon appeared out of nowhere, hovering in the air over the Digi-Destined. He was a black and grey insect with four wings and large pincer scissors. The arms and legs were stunted but had large claws to make up for it. “I’m Gran Kuwagamon, and this day is your demise!”

Gran Kuwagamon’s voice was grating, like fingernails down a chalkboard. “Dimension Scissor!” His pincers completely tore through his surrounding space.

Relena glanced at Kari. “You guys are in the best condition. This should be an interesting fight.” She paused. “Or it could be boring. Let’s see.”

In one fluid movement, Shining Valkyrimon retrieved his crossbow and took aim at the Mega level. A few arrows shot towards Gran Kuwagamon, blazing with angelic light.

The insect soared away, avoiding all but the last arrow, which blazed through one of his wings. He hissed sharply and dove down again. “Dimension Scissor!”

“Valkyri Mirage!” The Master level Digimon initiated his third attack that Wizardmon had known about but said nothing, because it was meant as a surprise. Many copies of Shining Valkyrimon suddenly appeared, aiming to confuse and distract Gran Kuwagamon.

Gran Kuwagamon looked around in irritation, preparing to snap but a new idea came into his head. “Catastrophe!” A buzzing came from the insect’s wings, creating painful sound waves to slice the air.

The Digi-Destined groaned and covered their ears, but Shining Valkyrimon was the first to recover. “Shining Star!” Again, a flurry of arrows launched themselves in the big bug’s direction. Shining Valkyrimon was determined not to use his other attack, unless he absolutely had to.

“Dimension Scissor!” He soared into the attacks and let them hit, cutting into Shining Valkyrimon’s body as a counter.

Shining Valkyrimon knew now he had no choice. A little bit of energy loss was not going to stop him from defeating this evil Digimon. “Heaven’s Judgement!” He reluctantly pulled out his sword and angled it towards the giant bug, as it started glowing.

Gran Kuwagamon saw and attacked. “Catastrophe!”

“I don’t intend to kill you outright, but I will weaken you. The blow from this attack will only be minor,” Shining Valkyrimon stated.

“Bold words,” the Mega snarled. “Back them up. Dimension Scissor!” He sliced again.

“I shall,” the Master level answered evenly. Swinging the sword in an arcing motion, he declared: “Let’s have the Sovereigns strip you of this data and reveal who you really are. Heaven’s Judgement!”

Gran Kuwagamon howled in pain as the light stabbed into him repeatedly.

The light stripped the Mega level’s data away to reveal a Dinobeemon. But this Dinobeemon was far from sane, having a feral madness in his expression.

“Heh, you act... surprised?” He buzzed. “As a servant of Ogudomon, I won’t lose to human tricks.”

“But you already have. By staying in one place long enough for the light to strip you of your Mega level data, you’re no match for me now. I could delete you in an instant,” Shining Valkyrimon left the threat hanging, waiting for Dinobeemon’s response.

Dinobeemon laughed raspily. “Well then, don’t make a threat,” he hissed. “Kill me. Or are you nothing but words?”

“I don’t intend to delete you, like I said before. I’m letting you go, so you have the chance to take this message back to your master. The Demon Lords will not win this war, we will. Now get out of here, before I change my mind.”

Dinobeemon laughed again. “Follow your delusions if you wish,” he mocked. “You know nothing of our master’s power.” He soared away, still cackling above them.

Shining Valkyrimon de-Digivolved, reverting to the In Training levels of Nyaromon and Poromon, due to the damage they had sustained. “Are you okay?” Kari and Yolei asked their partners at the same time.

Both Digimon nodded and went to their partner’s arms, looking tired.

“Well, you two have fought your first Mega. You should be proud of yourselves,” Tai congratulated.

They smiled, feeling just a bit of pride.

*****

Jack was still at the hotel, lamenting over his loss, when he heard cracking noises in the Digi Egg. The egg shattered and revealed a little red blob sitting in the egg shell. “Who’re you?” Jack grumbled. “You’re not Chibomon.”

The Digimon blinked at him. “I’m Jyarimon, Jack. I’m your partner, remember?”

“My partner was Chibomon,” Jack insisted.

Jyarimon blinked again. “I was Chibomon. Now I’m Jyarimon. Come on Jack, my highest level was Shakkoumon, an Ultimate level, but I usually stayed as Sorcerymon.”

The silence from Jack’s surprise was evident as it emanated off him. “You’re... you were Sorcerymon? Why didn’t you reconfigure as Chibomon again?”

Jyarimon bounced sadly. “I dunno. Maybe it’s because of you. The way you’re feeling right now.”

“The feelings of revenge and sadness I have, you mean?” Jack questioned his partner.

Jyarimon bounced in agreement.

“Yeah well, Stingmon deleted you. I have every right to feel like this.”

“I know. I... I’m angry too. I want them... I want them to suffer. More than anything, I want them to pay.”

“All of them or just Jonathan and Relena?” Jack stared at the Baby level Digimon.

The baby smiled. “Whatever you want.”

“Only those two…”

“Like I said Jack, I’ll help you with whatever you want. Taking revenge on them... I can’t wait.” The Digimon smiled again, but this one was fanged.

As the two discussed their plans, Jack’s heart started its descent towards him becoming a Shadow Digi-Destined.

*****

A day later, Jonathan was hanging around with the other Digi-Destined after school had finished. Poromon and Nyaromon had returned to their normal stages of Hawkmon and Gatomon. In fact, what they were currently talking about was their small, yet still to be proud of victories they were gaining.

Tai asked Matt how well his Russian classes were going, which caused the golden-blonde to become red and mutter something in Russian. The brown-haired leader burst out laughing, saying afterwards: “What was that?”

“None of your business,” replied the teen, still red.

“Matt, they’re your friends. Shouldn’t you tell them? I will, if you won’t.” Anna chirped cheekily.

Matt’s flush deepened and he didn’t speak. So Anna revealed what Matt had said… it had been a swearword, which caused Tai to laugh even harder.

That’s when the trouble began. A Digital Gate had opened nearby without their knowledge and now a WarGrowlmon was advancing towards them, looking very pissed off.

Gaomon tensed, wanting to fight, wanting to prove himself to those who still doubted him and his partner. Rei shook her head, saying: “Stand down, Gaomon, this is his fight. It’s his time to shine.” The Rookie growled refusal and ran off, heading north.

I’m sick of being doubted, sick of Rei ordering me around even though I know it’s for the best, the blue Digimon mentally grumbled as he ran away from the group. He wasn’t running away in cowardice, but running to prove himself to more than just the doubters. What the other Digi-Destined didn’t know about him was that he could naturally Warp Digivolve to the Mega level, without the help of a Digivice. He was a rare type, but there were other individuals who could do the same.

Gaomon, I hope you know what you’re doing, Rei looked worried as she stared after her partner. Don’t do anything dangerous. She chided herself; of course Gaomon knew what he was doing... it was just his way of doing things that sometimes concerned her.

At the current battleground, the darkness emanating from the WarGrowlmon was so extreme, so full-on, that practically all of the Digi-Destined’s Digimon had de-Digivolved to the In Training level because they couldn’t handle it. All of them, that is, except for Jonathan’s Stingmon. His partner was hovering in the air, wings thrumming agitatedly, as he stared down his higher levelled opponent.

“You’re obviously a slave to one of the Demon Lords,” the wasp buzzed angrily. “We’ve had enough of your kind today, so be gone.”

Jonathan knew he was balanced, knew he was in between, and wanted to protect the rest of the Digi-Destined at any cost. I have to get stronger; I have to protect them, only I can awaken our power. It was my choice to receive the siphoned darkness. To save, to protect, to hold close; I follow it and accept it all of my days. His Core Awakener began to shine brown, singing a song no one but he understood.

There’s nothing to fear. I know my goals. I know my choices. I will follow them. I will protect them. That same greenish-black glow from before enveloped him again, doing the same to Stingmon. Jonathan spoke in a new voice, one full of determination. “I am Jonathan Lucas, child of Azulongmon’s skies. Bestow upon me your power, Sovereign of the East.”

A cocoon of data enveloped Stingmon. His form changed inside it and then the cocoon burst, revealing an all too familiar Digimon — Dinobeemon. But this Dinobeemon was different to the one they had faced earlier; his face was that of a warrior’s, but the expression on it was tamer... this Dinobeemon was a Digimon that they could trust.

WarGrowlmon gave his opponent an appraising look. “Interesting,” he drawled. “Shall we fight then?”

“Hell Masquerade!” Dinobeemon buzzed. He slashed at his foe with his spikes, moving so fast he left afterimages.

WarGrowlmon fell back slightly. Getting back up, he growled. “How impolite of you. Atomic Blaster!”

Dinobeemon dodged to one side effortlessly, and began a wrestling match with the half cybernetic dinosaur.

“Double Edge!” He slashed with the blades on his arms, breaking the match and following up with another Atomic Blaster.

“Irritant Buzz!” A very high-pitched buzzing noise came from Dinobeemon’s wings at that point.

WarGrowlmon groaned. “My, how annoying. Hammer Edge!” The shockwave burst, knocking Dinobeemon out of the air.

What were once Stingmon’s arms swung forward and released the wasp’s familiar Spiking Strike technique.

“Double Edge!” He charged again, unafraid.

Dinobeemon suddenly had an idea. He grabbed WarGrowlmon, flew up into the air and threw the other Ultimate above him. He then performed a combination attack of Spiking Strike and Hell Masquerade. If that didn’t get him the results he wanted, he would do only one more thing... and that was grip the dinosaur in a deathly “bear hug” and delete him that way.

WarGrowlmon allowed the attacks to hit and watched his enemy close in. He grinned behind his mask. “Mega Spark!” The electric bullets hit and slowed him, followed by another Atomic Blaster at close range.

Ignoring the pain from the electric bullets, Dinobeemon chose to end the battle. He grabbed the dinosaur in the deathly “bear hug” and squeezed with all of the power that was in his arms. His multifaceted eyes seemed to glow with delight when WarGrowlmon’s body started blurring at the edges, indicating the Ultimate was about to vaporize into data.

WarGrowlmon could feel his death. Yet... he had no choice. “Atomic Blaster!” As he vaporized, the lasers tore through Dinobeemon.

As the dark Ultimate’s data reconfigured to a Digi Egg, Dinobeemon glowed, before shrinking to the In Training level of Minomon.

Relena smiled quietly and whispered in Kiri’s ear. The girl nodded. “Soon,” she murmured, glancing at her cousin. “Right?” The boy nodded, staring off into space.

“Huh?” Jonathan looked over at them curiously, as he gently hugged his partner.

“The direwolf,” Luca sang out softly. “Soon he will howl. And then the worlds will change.” Kiri nodded. “Soon the secrets won’t be able to be kept any longer.”

The rest of the Digi-Destined gathered around when they heard this and were also confused.

The relatives smiled in unison. “You’ll get it soon,” Luca chirped.

“We’re not trying to be rude,” Kiri added.

“This is just to make it a surprise.” Sean nodded.

“Those two haven’t even told us.” Relena grinned and twirled. “Must be interesting, interesting.”

Seeing that her father had successfully defeated WarGrowlmon, Rei left to find her own partner. It didn’t take her long to find him; he was currently battling another Mega level.

It was a woman clothed in golden armour like a fox, face half-hidden by her visor. Her hands and feet were clothed in violet and four pipes rested around her waist. In her hands was a golden staff.

On the other side was a human-like Digimon with ten golden wings and completely covered in blue and gold armour, face included. Down his front was a scroll with red writing reaching his feet. Below his torso, the gold turned to silver.

“Strike of the Seven Stars!” Seraphimon shouted. He fired seven great orbs of holy energy in an attempt to destroy all evil.

“As if a holy attack will hurt me! Crystal Sphere!” The shield formed, negating the holy attack.

“Hallowed Ascension!” He called down powerful bolts of lightning. He had already been engaged in battle with Beelzebumon’s pet for fifteen minutes now and knew it wouldn’t be much longer before this traitorous scum was deleted.

“Amethyst Mandala!” The golden ring formed around his torso and began to shrink, breaking through his armour.

“This is the end! Excalibur!” Seraphimon terminated the battle by driving his sword through Sakuyamon’s chest. This move deleted the Digimon, but she never had the chance to reform as a Digi Egg because Seraphimon absorbed her data. He then de-Digivolved to Gaomon and returned to Rei’s side.

They started walking back to the others and were just in time to see Mimi approach Jonathan.

“You were really cool, Jonathan,” she commented. “I was watching the whole time. It was awesome.”

“I’m getting to know you,” Jonathan replied. “You want something, don’t you?”

“Well, um...” She blushed lightly and paused, thinking for a moment. “Would you go on a date with me? Not right now,” she blabbed hurriedly. “Next week, I mean!”

Fuyu
March 16th, 2011, 01:50 PM
Chapter 25: Wild Cries
 
Jonathan thought about it for a moment them smiled and sighed at the same time. “I’ll consider it Mimi.” The cerise-haried girl grinned. That was good enough for now.
 

 
“Can you hear me?”
 
Luca tossed and turned anxiously, shifting around uncomfortably. Kiri was walking past his door when she heard them: desperately muffled animal cries.
 
Tonight, she thought vividly, and went inside. The boy was still asleep but it would not be for long. Frimon was already awake and was worriedly watching the human.
 
“Kiri…” the In-Training whispered. “Is this gonna be okay? Is Luca gonna be able to answer?”
 
Kiri sighed. She knew this was a leader’s duty; to make a ragtag into a cohesive unit and sometimes that meant being strong when you had no power left. But sometimes, she did wish she were stronger. Sometimes she wished it wasn’t her. “He’s your partner. Believe in him.”
 
Friimon shook his head. “You know he’s not Kiri. You just pretended that was how it was for the sake of those others. I’m… I’m not a true Digimon partner. I’m just…”
 
“A random Digimon,” Kiri finished quietly. “So what?”
 
The In-Training looked at her. “Huh?”
 
“You’ve stayed with him, even though you’re not technically his natural Digimon. I think that makes you partners right?” Frimon blinked. “So just have faith and follow him, like you always have.” She turned to sit next to her thrashing cousin. “Sometimes believing is all you can do.”
 
“Kiri,” Viximon piped up from the floor.
 
“Yeah?”
 
“With Relena the other day, did you mean what you said?”
 
“…No. And all of them knew it.”
 
“So why’d you say it? Do you think Wizardmon saw the conversation?”
 
“He probably did.”
 
“He should stop that,” Frimon grumbled. “It’s not like we go in his human’s head.”
 
Kiri drew her knees to her head. “Mm.”
 
“What is it?”
 
“The thing is… the others don’t have to trust us. I don’t… I don’t want them to. I don’t want them to trust me. Because in the end… it won’t change what we have to do, while they will always have that choice.”
 
“Kiri that isn’t fair.” Luca sat up, rubbing his eyes blearily. “It’s not right for that to be the only reason.” He looked at his worn cousin. “I… I want to be friends with them. A part of me really does but… they won’t ever like us I think, not the way they do each other. We… we push them away, yeah, and they don’t like that but… I don’t… I dunno; it’s hard to explain.” Kiri sighed and moved to rub his head affectionately.
 
“It really is.”
 
“Kiri… does any of this have to do with Tamaki?”

She shifted. “A bit.”
 
“Is it Agumon?”
 
“No.” Luca thought for a moment then understood.
 
“That’s right. He was a doctor. Our doctor. He… he was like they were. He was so kind…” Luca growled softly. “Just like them. And now…”
 
“He wants to use me again. He wants to use my power. I’m tired of this, everyone after something I happen to have.”
 
Norn’s voice was soft. “You’re the only one who can carry the Catal Unit in this state. That’s how it had to be.”
 
“I understand that. I just…”
 
“I don’t think they can use you Kiri,” Luca commented solemnly. “I don’t think you will let yourself be used again. You’re not like Leith; he didn’t really mind because he had to help Melissa. But you have him now and he’s a lot better I think. I don’t think you could be a weapon. But I do see why you’re so paranoid. Humans… like being put at an advantage. So for all we know, they could plan on using us.”
 
“But Kiri,” he began suddenly. “Out of all of us, you’re the only one who actually has to trust them.”
 
She sighed. “Leadership is hard. So… you?”
 
He nodded, rolling out of bed. Frimon bounced to his shoulder as the boy picked up his Digivice. “He howls so loudly Kiri. Do you think he’s hurt?”
 
Kiri laughed. “I think we should fear more for his opponent.” Luca giggled and nodded.  Kiri went over to the boy’s computer, which was actually Tori’s. She turned it on and fiddled for a few moments. Soon the Digital Gate was on screen.
 
“I’m off,” the boy said softly. Kiri simply smiled.
 
“Be careful and pleasant time.” The room lit up and the pair was gone. Kiri sighed. “Well that’s that now.”
 

 
 The next day, Tai found himself walking to his house. To his surprise, Kiri was standing just outside his front yard. She looked over at him, grey eyes cool and patient. "Mind if we talk?"
 
"Alright," Tai answered in a guarded fashion. The girl sighed, energy draining out of her.
 
"Relax. I just want to help."
 
"Go on, then. I'm listening." Bull, Kiri thought, biting her tongue and stifling the words.
 
"It's about your sister. She could lose Gatomon."
 
"What do you mean?!" Tai exclaimed. "How?"
 
"The same reason the Sovereign took Relena's partner," Kiri sighed. "Kari has disgraced herself in their eyes."
 
"Is this because Siara keeps possessing Kari?" Tai was stunned beyond belief.
 
"Yes and now Kari will learn of the past, something they would rather forget."
 
"You only said Gatomon could be taken away; that doesn't mean they really will, right?" Tai started worrying now. He didn't want his sister to lose Gatomon. The girl nodded.
 
"They will unless we stop them. Which we can."
 
"How?"
 
She smiled. "We're going to revive the dead."
 
"How are we gonna do that?" Tai inquired.
 
"We've already started," she said warmly. "It will work I'm sure.”
 
"Okay..." The leader trailed off, unsure of what to say next."
 
Kiri hesitated. "Can I tell you something?"
 
"What is it, Kiri?" Tai questioned.
 
"Your Agumon... He was Tamaki's that's true and you had his Crest. You were nearly not sent, any of you." She paused, searching for words. "And I'm glad you were sent. You protected Akira-nii though you didn't know it. So...thank you." She smiled very sadly at him. "And please... Don't give up even in despair."
 
"We won't," Tai answered firmly.
 
Her smile dimmed. "You say that now," Kiri murmured. "You may not later."
 
"You can doubt me and the others as much as you want," Tai responded. "But if I won't give up, they won't either."
 
KIri shook her head. "It's not doubt; it's just human nature. And what you're showing is not courage, but recklessness. Courage is facing fear and uncertainty. You're so certain but there are many options in this world. And your heart alone is not enough but I wish... I wish it could be.” Leith suddenly arrived a few feet away, his head tilted toward them. Tai swore he glimpsed a smoldering light in the blue gaze. Kiri turned to him and started to walk away.
 
"Tai; don't ever forget this." Kiri was not speaking now, Tai was certain. "Whatever happens, it's not your fault. Tell them, all of the ones who have fallen, who teeter, who walk between, and the children who walk beside you so hopefully. And your sister, when she learns of these truths, we all have a message for her," She looked back at him. "Do not blame him."
 
She bowed. "Goodbye." She hurried to Leith's side and passed him, the boy following instantly.
 
“I wonder what she was talking about,” Tai thought aloud as they left.
 

 
Leith watched her, his master. Kiriko slumped against the nearby wall, panting. She was about to fall apart. It radiated through him, just as Sean’s emotions used to. She was very close to the end. “Kiriko…”
 
“What is it Leith?” Her voice was the soft, almost shy thing it had been when she had first spoken to him.
 
“The Digi-Destined, have you put your faith in them?”
 
“I have.” She shivered as her body pulsed over and over, racked with sudden vertigo and nausea. The memories were flowing again.
 
“Do you think you can last much longer?”
 
“I know I will. Tomoe-chan… and Akira-nii-chan and the others… I have to help them. I have to be there to save them.” I have to say goodbye. Please, weak human body, don't deny me that!
 
Leith felt Sean prying through as he moved forward and hugged her. “We don’t want you to go,” he whispered and the truth of it sent emotional pain through him, something he could only vaguely recognize. “You’re like our mother Kiriko. We don’t want you to go.”
 
“All children must be let go of sometime,” she whispered and turned to him. “And I’m not your mother. Because a mother wouldn’t do this.” She turned and kissed him very gently on the lips. “A mother wouldn’t love you like that.”
 
Leith stared blankly at her. “Kiriko…”
 
She chuckled softly. “Just like a boy. To me: it doesn’t matter if you call yourself Sean or you call yourself Leith. You’ll always be that person who never let go of my hand. You’ll always be my blade. You will always be that person who followed me into hell and dragged me back.”
 
Leith felt that old smile upon his lips. “And you’ll always be that light in the dark. You’ll always be the person who stood in front of me when I couldn’t fight any longer. And you’ll always be my wielder. You’ll always be the person who never ran from the truth.”
 
They started walking again, hands still clasped. Kiri’s voice was soft. “Blair… Sean liked her, didn’t he?”
 
“…Yes.”
 
“Did my kiss… bother him?”
 
“No. He doesn’t know what to do with her but you two know each other so well. She… she is scared of him. And of me now.”
 
Kiri sighed. “Yes… fear. It fills her.”
 
“She is of the Phoenix Blaze. Why is she afraid?”
 
“Because she suffered and she doesn’t wish to any longer,” replied the girl, wincing at a particularly painful stab in her heart. Or what was her heart.
 
“You know her well,” he observed. She shook her head.
 
“I’ve guessed. She’s like me a bit.”
 
“You will not get it back.”
 
“Well I never had it to begin with,” she quipped, a dry smile on her lips.
 
“Kiriko… have you ever worn a purely happy smile?”
 
Kiri thought about it. “Not many.”
 
“Why?”
 
“Because there is always suffering somewhere.” Her free hand slipped itself into her pocket, clutching her D-Core. “So I smile but it will never be completely happy. So I remember to be cheerful yet I don’t forget there are others who are crying and I remember… that there are those I can not save.”
 
“That’s a depressing way of thinking.”
 
“How would you know?” The question was teasing and Leith felt that smile again. Kiri changed the subject. “So you will be training them?”
 
“Yes, those two severely need it.”
 
“Oh stamp on their pride,” she chided.
 
“They are relatively normal humans. Unless we awaken their element, they will die before they even make it to the enemy.” Kiri pulled out her D-Core, which had changed colors like Leith’s, now blue and silver. “You already won?”
 
“No, Baihumon and I reached an agreement. When the others are learning the truth Luca and I shall fight.”
 
“If Luca lives.”
 
“He will. Now then we’ll deal with that later. Right now, we have another task to complete.”
 
“Cyberdramon?” Dorumon and Renamon appeared, hurrying to their partners.
 
“Exactly. Let’s go.” The four disappeared, leaving the street empty.
 

 
He felt the earth howling in his ears, singing at his lips. As Luca hurried through the forests of Server, he couldn’t help but wonder what he would find. At his side, Liollmon kept a steady pace, blue eyes focused on the undergrowth ahead. Luca threw back his head and roared, a lion’s roar. A howl came into his ears, spinning through his body, and the child felt his body tremble.
 
“What’s wrong?” asked his partner, glancing away from the trees.
 
“His voice,” Luca whispered, shivering all over. “His voice is so strong and proud. It calls to the pack so strongly. I feel… weak.” He spat the word, hating the taste.
 
“Luca? He is no Alpha.”
 
“By choice,” he reminded the Rookie, continuing to run. “He chooses to follow and yet I’ve never heard anyone or anything sound so strong, so much like a leader.”
 
“But you’ve never heard the dragon’s roar,” Liollmon pointed out, suddenly leaping over a tree root. His partner followed his lead, instinctively flipping over various plants.
 
“No,” agreed the boy, feeling his heart twitch at the thought. “I’ve never heard it. I… I’m afraid of it, to be honest.  I’m afraid I will succumb to it and I will lose who I am.”
 
“Tamer… it is not the Chaos,” Liollmon’s voice was very soft. Their leader had been right. He must not doubt. “Tamer, it is the dragon, the true, good dragon. He is the one who surpassed, who protected and nurtured, who lived. The dragon is good and he will not take you. I don’t know how I know, why I know, or why this is but it will be true. They would not choose for me… such a weak Tamer. You have not succumb before. The Chaos is the worlds themselves in half. The dragon is merely of one. You wil surpass, my Tamer.”
 
Luca glanced at him through the foliage. “Why did you call me that?”
 
“Tamer?”
 
“Yes. That alien word. It is strange in my mouth.”
 
“It is what you are, my Tamer. You’re not a Digi-Destined. You can take command of any Digimon, even those that belong to someone else and evolve them. You can engulf your soul in another's, in order to never truly be alone. ”
 
For some reason the beastling shuddered. “I don’t like that; taking someone’s partner from them. It seems… violating.”
 
Liollmon blinked then laughed. “Why do you always think of the weird possibilities?”
 
“I… actually don’t know. My mind is kind of warped. “ The pair looked at each other and laughed. The howling pierced them again and both looked at the sky. “Come on,” Luca muttered, expression turning to stone. “We need to hurry. Who cares if I’m afraid? You have faith in me. The others have faith in me. That will be enough. It has to be.”
 
The forest swallowed them.
 

 
“Relena?” Jonathan was surprised to see her alone in the community center. The girl turned, looking surprised. Clearly, she had been lost in thought. She smiled faintly.
 
“Hi Jonathan,” she greeted. “You’re early.”
 
“Um… yeah.” He was, having come straight here after not seeing the others. “Where is Kiri and everyone else?”
 
She shrugged. “In the Digital World I expect. Kiri and Leith went after Cyberdramon.”
 
“Ah… but what about Luca? Is he sick?”
 
Relena smiled again, this one almost sinister. “No, he’s in the Digital World too. Alone.”
 
Jonathan paled. “What? Why isn’t anyone with him? Liollmon can’t evolve to Ultimate, he could be in serious danger.”
 
Relena tilted her head at him. “He had to go alone. Only he can hear the howling, the howling of the direwolf.”
 
“Why won’t you explain that to me?” he asked, feeling a flicker of coldness in his words. He couldn’t help his frustration. Considering Wizardmon’s information and the coy way she seemed to waltz around the truth, it galled his nerves. The girl’s smile changed and the air thickened, almost forcing him to the ground. The pressure burnt his throat and he found himself paralyzed, struggling to breathe. In his arms, Wormmon trembled. She walked over to him, blue eyes still too calm, too relaxed.
 
“You know,” she began conversationally. “If it wasn’t for Kiri and the little part of me that’s trying earnestly to like you, I would very cheerfully slit your throat right now. It’s just something about you and Blair, something about your existence that just makes me sick. I know it’s not Gennai; I’m not Triesta. I wonder…” She clapped her hands suddenly. “Oh I remember now: this is all happening because of you.” The pressure faded and she walked away from him toward the one activated computer with the Digital Gate onscreen. 
 
“Jonathan, I admit it: we aren’t the fairest of people to you all. But really, have you ever considered stepping in someone else’s shoes for a change? I’ve had six years at least to be the one that gets kicked around because I made a choice to help someone when they asked. And I avoided complaining about it as much as I could for Tri’s sake. But you guys never stop. You want answers; we give them and you whine at us. You want respect; we give it and it’s not enough. You want our trust right? Give us a good reason for once.” She glanced back at him with a dull glare. “You people are so cruel to us and all we’re doing is trying to live while we’ve still got time. So we don’t treat you right. You don’t deserve it. All you Digi-Destined are taking our light away from us. I hate to take a page from Luca’s book but I’m tired of giving you chances and defending you from Triesta. She might be right about you. And everything we’re doing might be worthless then. So you better hope she’s wrong.”
 
She raised a hand to the Gate and disappeared. Jonathan stared at the place where she had gone. Beneath his curiosity and indignation, there was hurt in his heart. And for the first time, he wondered if they had misunderstood them after all.
 

 
“Hi Catherine!”
 
The blond girl turned in surprise and waved. Kiri was standing with Sean. Leith, she corrected herself mildly. The two walked over; their Digimon only feet away.
 
“Hi you two!” Somehow, she felt relaxed around these two. Despite the truth about Leith, he didn’t seem particularly dangerous right now. “What are you guys doing here?”
 
“Cyberdramon,” replied the black-haired girl succinctly. “What about you?”
 
“I just wanted to walk where there weren’t any buildings,” she admitted. Kiri grinned.
 
“Well at least you’re truthful. Oh.” She glanced upward. “He’s here.”
 
“Already?” Catherine yelped, backpedaling. Her partner looked just as stricken as she. Kiri gestured to Leith. He nodded and gently swept Catherine off her feet and ran to place her at the edge of the battlefield. She muffled a scream. “What are you doing?”
 
Leith’s calm answer sent shivers down her spine. “Kiriko doesn’t wish you harmed.”
 
“I can walk.”
 
“That is unlikely. You are trembling.” That was true. “Kiriko is about to attempt something risky with Cyberdramon. It is best you do not get caught up in it.” As he spoke, the large dragon appeared in the sky, hovering there. Her eyes widened as she took in the cracks in his mask. Still there? Why didn’t it heal?
 
“Cyberdramon,” Kiri said quietly. “This is our last fight. I hope you understand,” She took her hands from her pockets. “I don’t intend to lose.” The Ultimate level simply stared at her. She sighed and placed a hand on her sheathed blade. “Well if you won’t fight, I will.” She was gone and then behind him, slashing his back open. He turned and slashed straight into her stomach, only to find the attack blocked by a firm black katana.
 
Kiri smirked icily. “I said it: I won’t lose.”

 
Luca shivered abruptly, pulling up his black jacket hood. He’s here. A vague hazy wave of memory pulsed through him. But unlike the howling, this one was evil and would not be bound. He recognized it after a moment, from stories, from thoughts that weren’t his and he stopped. Luca began to snarl softly, growling low and full of anger. Liollmon glanced at his human, having also felt a presence, but couldn’t recognize it.
 
“What is it?”
 
Luca bristled more, blue eyes bright with rage. “An enemy. It feels familiar.”
 
Liollmon growled. “Shit.” He braced himself. “Are we going to fight?”
 
The boy paused and shook his head. “We must find the direwolf.” He tore off again. “If he’s there when we get there, he won’t be for long.” Liollmon agreed. Luca reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out two metal objects. His partner recognized the brass knuckles.
 
“How have you not dropped those at all these past few days?” his Digimon asked incredulously.
 
Luca shrugged, putting them on. “There’s a reason I wore this jacket, aside from the obvious.” His arms and legs were burning, not with exhaustion, but an old, familiar pain. He began to run, roaring with every bit of energy in his body. As he felt the tugging twist him, he knew how close the two were.
 
Bursting into the clearing, he glimpsed the direwolf unconscious in the grass under a tree. The boy was thinner than Luca thought but he could feel power radiating from his body. His gaze darted around, still sensing the prescence nearby.
 
“Well, you’re pretty far from your territory,” the boy began. “What are you doing so far from the permafrost…Vikemon?”
 
Out came something similar to a yeti but wilder, with pure white fur. The beastman was clothed in furs and wore armor on its shoulders. On its back were two morningstars. It grunted. “Well, well, I sensed an enemy… and look who I find. You, the beast-child who killed my comrades, what are you doing in this place?”
 
Luca paused. “Comrades? I don’t remember that. Unless…” He smirked coldly. “Was that the puny army who ran right into that ambush? They were so…” He looked at the sky, as if finding it more interesting. “Pathetic.”
 
Vikemon growled. “Brat! How dare you insult the dead?”
 
“I’m not insulting them,” Luca corrected mildly, giving Liollmon a pointed look. The Digimon quietly slipped to pick up the direwolf child onto his back and disappeared briefly into the trees. “I’m insulting you. They died well, at the orders of their foolish leader, who I see is still alive. Why didn’t you die with your comrades, an honorable Digimon like you?”
 
“The commander told us to retreat!” Even in his own ears, the Mega felt his words were foolish. The boy smirked again and a strange laugh came from his lips.
 
“Well a warrior deserves to die in combat… and I’m right here. How about I try to grant you that?”
 
The beast snorted. “I look forward to killing you brat! Arctic Blizzard!” The air turned to absolute zero and Luca was instantly frozen. Vikemon slammed his morning star down onto the block of ice.
 

 
“Aren’t you worried?”
 
“What?” Leith glanced down at the younger girl from where they were watching. Catherine wore a very agitated look as she watched the fight, looking more and more unsettled as the fighting went on.
 
Catherine shivered, now feeling the intimidation she hadn’t earlier. Regardless, she plowed on. “Aren’t you worried for her? She is your… master.”
 
Leith looked back up at the battle, looking as uninterested as always. “It bothers you… our relationship.” Before she could react he continued. “Kiriko is my master because of times like this. She refuses to leave a comrade behind. And as you know, Cyberdramon is our comrade.”
 
“But she could die Leith!”
 
The water-user shook his head. “Not yet. But soon she will die. And not for the reason it seems.”
 
“What do you mean?” Leith watched his master’s battle for a moment longer and turned to face Catherine.
 
“Are you sure you want to know?” he asked quietly. “As I said to those other Digi-Destined, these sort of topics are not meant for children and no matter what you or they say, you all are still children.”
 
“Well what are you and the others then?” The French girl was offended by the improper treatment.
 
“Us?” For a moment, the boy gave her a grim smile and she swore she glimpsed a hint of bitterness in his ice-blue eyes. “We’re remnants, what should be children but aren’t. Our souls are too old to be those of children.”
 
“How are you like that and we, who have fought a lot, not as much as you, but just as painful of battles, still children?”
 
Leith’s grim smile turned sympathetic and he shook his head. “Because a child is a whole, complete soul, and remnants are just a fragment or the fragments of that soul. It’s not growing up for this to happen, it’s called breaking. And each remnant has been broken.” He let the smile fade and sat down. “None of you have been truly broken.”
 
“How do you know that? How do you know none of us have suffered? How do you know none of us are hurting?”
 
Leith gestured towards Dorumon, who went over and nuzzled his fingers. “For three reasons: the first is there is a mark on you, in your heart and your body.” He showed her his right wrist, where it looked as though he was a piece of cracked porcelain. On it were two strange markings. One was almost like a burn. It was a circle with a six-pointed snowflake. It was bleeding terribly as it glowed blue. The other was a crimson infinity symbol with what looked like thorns on its edges. “The second is that you would not talk about your pain so freely. To be broken is nothing to be proud of, nothing to share. We wear our pain inside because in the end the world will turn without us.” He placed a hand on Dorumon’s interface. “The third is that… we have no choices anymore and it is clear to all of us that you do.” He stood up. The last is that the other worlds are crying and complete souls are deaf to it. He would not say that. “That is what separates us. Nothing more, nothing less.”
 
Catherine sat there for a moment, deep in thought. “I…I think you’re right.” Leith waited for her to continue. “But… even if I am a child… I think… I should still know. This… I can’t accept not knowing the truth about this sort of thing anymore. Tell me.”
 
Leith bowed his head. “If that is what you would like.” He bent down and whispered in her ear. Her eyes widened and she paled.
 
“No… No way she would do that…”
 

 
Kiri leapt back, dodging another wild attack. He’s fighting smart, not letting me anywhere near his face. Heh! She grinned and moved forward. Doumon had already attached her scrolls to his body and was waiting for the command.
 
“Desolation Claw!” Kiri winced and kept charging. Cyberdramon slashed down at her face and ripped her shirt. The girl stepped back, noticing the blood dripping down her torso.
 
“Ah, jeez,” she complained, ignoring the gash marks. “I know most stuff in those clearance bins are cheap but it usually lasts better than this. Sick of going to the thrift store… or to the chain ones.” She moved, slashing rapidly to give great gash marks on the wounds, which Doumon quickly covered with crimson parchment.
 
“Why do you keep fighting?” growled the enemy, slicing again. She blocked, strugging to hold up the heavy dragon’s hand. “Whether I am his partner or not… whether we were friends or not… I am not the same! Give…” He stabbed, almost where the Catal Unit lay. “Up!”
 
Kiri shook her head as she scrambled back. “I can’t.”
 
“Why not?” He roared, picking her up and slamming her to the ground. Kiri coughed and spat blood. “Why don’t you abandon me like all the humans have done? Why can’t you just accept this fact? You humans are the bane of us all, the traitors! Not the Master, not anyone else!”
 
Kiri shook her head weakly and forced herself back up. “You’re wrong.”
 
He paused in his next attack. “What?”
 
“You’re wrong,” she repeated, standing back up. “Humans… they’re really, really strange. To a program, they must seem faulty. They make so many mistakes, and can be really crazy and cruel, but… they… they still… they still want to live and they still care about each other. All these mistakes, killing, hurting one another, destroying the world, humans make those, but Digimon… don’t they do the same thing?”
 
“That’s because humans infected the networks!” retorted the Ultimate, moving again. Kiri carefully sidestepped and watched him.
 
“Humans created the network,” she countered. “Are you saying you’ll destroy your creators?”
 
“We don’t need them anymore.” Kiri sighed.
 
“That’s not true. You need us and we need you, now more than ever. I’ll prove it. Doumon.”
 
“Exorcism Scrolls!”  The paper exploded and Cyberdramon roared as his vision was blurred and his body bled. When the smoke cleared, Kiri was in the air, black katana in both hands over her head.
 
“Here it is Cyberdramon,” she declared sadly. “This is our power: mine, Doumon’s, and Akira-nii-chan’s. And Akira-nii-chan never betrayed you.” The teen sliced through his mask. As it broke, he was flooded with memories, the memories of the past he had lived and the partner who was grateful for his existence.
 

 
Leith straightened, brushing dirt from his beige pants. “It’s done. She has won.” Catherine glanced up from next to him, tightly clutching Floramon’s vine.
 
“How are you so sure,” she asked warily, her eyes dimmed with a hint of despair and fear?
 
“I feel none of Cyberdramon’s killing intent,” he reported coolly. “Come along now.” She couldn’t help but scowl. Did he not know the meaning of tact?
 
As the smoke and data cleared, Renamon stood next to her kneeling partner, who was gathering something in her arms. Kiri glanced up at them, still bleeding, and gave a weak smile.
 
“Nice goin’,” commented a voice from nearby. Out stepped Relena, looking pleased as she held out a hand for the other girl to take. Kiri stood up and gave her friend a playful scowl.
 
“Where the hell were you?” she asked. Relena shrugged.
 
“Venting. Jonathan pissed me off.”
 
“Is there anything left?” Kiri asked teasingly as she started poking her friend at random. Relena turned red.
 
“Stop that fly,” she quipped, smacking her hand away. “And yes there is. Now give the little guy here.” Kiri complied and Relena took the small Digimon in her arms. “Finally,” she breathed to herself. Looking up again, she smiled at Leith and Catherine and looked at Kiri. She gave an irritated groan. “I swear Kiri; you are a masochist aren’t you?”
 
Kiri grinned savagely and licked blood off her arm. “Just a bit.” Catherine paled slightly. She was waved off. “Relax, gimme a sec.” Relena sighed and wrapped a data ring around her friend’s body, healing her instantly.
 
Catherine shivered and Relena caught it. “What’s the matter?”
 
The younger shook her head, looking vaguely upset. “Is it true?” The older females looked at each other in confusion.  The French girl plowed on. “Is it true? What Leith told me?” Kiri glanced at her weapon, which simply twitched a hand. She sighed. “I’m pretty sure I know what you’re talking about, so yeah.”
 
The girl stared at her, bothered by her indifference. “But why? How could you make such a choice?”
 
The teen sighed, sheathing her black blade. “Look it’s a long story and we’ve got stuff to do. I’ll give you the short version while we walk. You want the little details, you gotta come yourself.” Kiri gave the other blond a thumbs up. “Okay, we good? Let’s go, got a cousin to yank.” She held out a hand and the others took it. They vanished.
 

 
Vikemon laughed wildly as the ice shattered. “So weak! What an easy defeat!” The laughter halted abruptly. “A weakling like you killed my comrades? It must have been with trickery!”
 
“No it was your own fault. You raised them to be fools.” The voice came from above and Vikemon looked to see the boy balancing on his morningstar. The boy moved, rapidly punching the Mega in the face and returning to his position.
 
“How…” Luca smirked and held up his digivice and Awakener, both of which were shining golden.
 
“I’m not as incompetent as you. This is nothing compared to the Demon of Icefire’s power. Liamon.”
 
“Critical Strike!” Vikemon roared as the large lion sank his fangs into his neck.
 
“And now that you’re in close range…” The boy leapt down, landing neatly on the ground.
 
“Thunder of Kings!”
 
Vikemon roared again and suddenly turned. Luca glanced in that direction and paled slightly. The others had arrived there, but they weren’t alone. That girl, Catherine, he vaguely remembered, was also there. The others were fine, but she was in serious danger. Vikemon slammed a Morningstar down near them. The other three dodged but she remained frozen with terror. Luca moved and the earth formed a wall, he standing just behind it. Liamon was only feet away, bristling coldly.
 
“You okay?” he asked softly. Catherine managed a nod and Luca turned with satisfaction, and glared at Vikemon. “And you call me coward,” he hissed, blue eyes darkening. “You attack someone who had nothing to do with this, who was unarmed, no less, and call yourself a warrior! You scut!” Liamon was glowing bright.
 
Kiri sighed. “The past just won’t leave us alone. Kill him Luca.”
 
He sneered. “My pleasure. I am Luca Hanima, child of Fanglongmon’s scales. Grant me power, core overseer.” He took the shining chip and slipped it in. He roared, “Awaken, Lion’s Pride.”
 
“Liamon digivolve to… LoaderLiomon!” The brass knuckles on the boy’s fingers shifted to clawed gloves. The data shattering revealed a golden mechanical lion with an iron sphere on his tail. Its mane was bladed and there was an emerald jewel on its forehead.
 
“Boring Storm!”  The Ultimate charged, headbutting the opponent with its spinning mane. Vikemon roared and stepped back, but the sphere slammed into his face.
 
“Loader Morning Star!” It was almost like a whip, not letting up until the last second, when Luca appeared over his head, claws shining.
 
“About time to die!” sang the child and he tore through the Mega’s data, watching it disperse with satisfaction. He abruptly fell to his knees, hit with a backlash of energy. “So tired now.” Catherine found herself giggling and Luca smiled with weak relief. His partner devolved and went to his head. Kiri moved and picked him up gently.
 
“Nice work. Leith, go get that.” Leith moved to pick up the other boy, who hadn’t stirred in the slightest. Relena caught a glimpse and her eyes widened. She smiled softly, feeling Triesta’s pure joy in her heart.
 
“Who is he?” Catherine asked.
 
Kiri gave her an indulgent smile. “The direwolf. The one who will begin the healing of this world and of all the others”
 

 
All the Digidestined that could make it were gathered for an impromptu meeting in the playground. People were just here to vent; anyone could feel it. They were attempting to prove otherwise but the frustration was palpable. The air suddenly rippled around them. Kiri and the others appeared, Kiri and Leith both carrying a child on their back. Catherine was bringing up the rear, chatting with Relena. Something was in one of the girl’s arms.
 
“Catherine,” Anna questioned. “What are you doing with them?” Catherine smiled quietly and shook her head. She glanced at Luca, who gave a tired smirk, and smiled again. Kiri nodded respectfully at them.

“We’ve done it Tai.”
 
He looked at her. “This is…” he trailed off. He looked at her and she nodded. “Well I don’t know what I was expecting but… I’m rather surprised.”
 
Kiri sighed. “The truth will be revealed soon. I must apologize for everything now because soon things will not be as they are. The Sovereigns must allow what will happen next because they won’t be able to interfere soon.”
 
“How would they interfere?” Kari asked, feeling the beginnings of a headache coming on. She had been having them more lately.
 
“They are not allowed to directly interfere with the coming events.”
 
"But the Sovereigns only number five; isn't there seven Demon Lords?" Matt asked.
 
Kiriko sighed. "You misunderstand. They aren't allowed to fight. Even if the opponents weren't five to eight, they still could not interfere."
 
"Because why...?" Anna inquired.
 
Relena sighed. "What would be the point of Digi-Destined if the Gods could step in and interfere?" She glanced at Kiri, who was pointedly looking away. "Among other reasons, that is the most likely one."
 
"That's true," Jonathan answered, shifting uncomfortably at the sight of her. "What do you want us to do then?"
 
"What do you expect?" Kiri said dully. "Grow stronger. Become people worthy of owning those Digivices. And better yet..." She started walking away, the others following with Catherine taking Willis' arm. "All of you get ready. The truth... you're going to know everything now." She smirked ever so slightly. "Just remember what the Goddess and I told you Tai. Otherwise all the strength in the world won't make a difference." She waved. "Bye."
 
Jonathan and several of the other Digi-Destined gave Catherine and Willis weird looks as they left with Kiri and the others, but the two International Destined paid no heed to the stares they were receiving.
 
“God forbid we listen to anyone else,” they heard Lopmon mutter irritably. Terriermon playfully hit his twin. Ken's Wormmon rolled his eyes before engaging in a mock fight with Jonathan's partner.
 
Catherine glanced back and sighed. "Why did she bother...?" she muttered to herself, hurrying after the others.
 
"Bother about what, Catherine?" Floramon's questioning voice was ever so soft.
 
"Why did she bother with this..." Kiri put a finger to her lips and smiled, cutting off the blond girl. Catherine frowned and followed her. She really couldn't understand Kiri at all. Floramon shrugged; she wished she didn't have to keep this silence that Kiri had forced upon them. "Trust me," her partner whispered. "This is something the others shouldn't know yet. I'm barely sure of what's going on either."
 
"Okay," the flower Digimon replied.
 
"All I know is that everything will work out, even if we don't like the results. Now let's get some answers Floramon." She ran ahead, leaving her partner to follow. The Rookie hurried to catch up.

Legendarian Mistress
March 20th, 2011, 03:54 PM
Chapter 26: Bright and Dark

Life as a Teenage Wolves band member wasn’t easy for Matt. Neither was living with his dad, now that he knew the truth. It was the middle of the night and Gabumon had been woken by his partner’s fretful tossing. A past memory was haunting Matt, that much the Rookie knew, but he wasn’t expecting what would happen next. The room seemed to disappear as everything became grey; Gabumon even heard the sound of lapping waves. Oh dear, he thought worriedly. It’s that memory. Gabumon was referring to a memory of Matt’s that had happened twelve months ago, one that still haunted the golden-blonde to this very day.


In the street that Jonathan and Blair lived in, Nishijuku, Blair was having a partially similar problem. The virus had come back for round two and Wizardmon’s unconscious form kept phasing in and out; each time it happened, he transitioned more and more towards the Dark Ocean. The fourteen-year-old was becoming increasingly worried and, when her wardrobe could be seen through her partner’s phasing body, she quickly grabbed onto him as she didn’t want to be left behind. In doing so, she, too, transitioned to the Dark Ocean.

*****

It was a beautiful morning; the sun was shining, there were no clouds in the sky and the breeze was moderate. Kari approached her older brother. “Tai, can T.K. and I go out today? T.K. suggested we could go to the movies?”

Tai thought about it, considering leaving his sister alone. He nodded after a moment. “Okay, but if he tries anything funny...” He playfully mimed wringing a neck.

T.K. smiled and lightly punched Tai on the arm. “Relax, Tai. We’ll be fine.” He understood Tai’s worry for Kari; it was only natural for siblings to worry about each other. However, he was completely clueless as to where his own older sibling was at the moment; if he knew, he most definitely would have politely refrained from taking Kari out.

Tai grinned. “Oh sure, I trust you. It’s everyone else I worry about. But I’m sure you’ll keep an eye on her. Enjoy yourselves now.”

As the two thirteen-year-olds left the Kamiya residence, Kari laughed at something T.K. said and called back to her brother, saying: “We’re going to see Tron: Legacy.”

“Yeah,” T.K. added. “I heard it’s gotten rave reviews.”

Tai grinned. “Enjoy it for me then,” he said merrily, going back inside.


Meanwhile, Mimi needed some help and Jonathan, in her opinion, was just the person to ask. “Jonathan, could you give me a hand with something?”

Remind me again why I fell for the charm, Jonathan grumbled mentally. “What is it, Mimi?” He asked, putting as much enthusiasm in his voice as he could.

She gave him a sweet grin. “I just need help with picking a dress, that’s all. Not a big deal.”

He sighed and stood up from the comfortable chair he’d been sitting in. “Which colour do you want?”

“Light pink,” she replied happily; glad he had been willing to help out.

He turned towards the dresses and let his eyes roam over them. No, not that one either… hmm, maybe that one. He reached in and fished the dress out.

She almost squealed in delight, her joy was so strong. “It’s perfect, Jonathan! Thank you!”

He nodded, the smile only reaching his mouth. “It’s alright, Mimi. It’s a pleasure helping you…” Jonathan trailed off, something felt wrong. His eyes narrowed; his normal connection to Blair was empty. Where is she?

*****

Tai waved goodbye to Matt’s father as he ran out the apartment door. He hurried to the community centre, cursing under his breath. “Great,” he grumbled. “Not even Matt’s dad knows where he is and Gabumon’s not around, either. Where the hell are you, idiot? This is the worst time you could have picked to disappear.”

The rest of Tai’s team, T.K.’s team, Jonathan, Rei and the three International Digi-Destined were already at the community centre, waiting for Tai. “Blair’s gone as well,” Jonathan stated, almost emotionlessly. “I promised Bill I’d look after her. Damn!”

“Don’t worry about it,” Sora tried to soothe. “They’re plenty capable. I’m sure they’re fine.”

“What if they transitioned, like I did?”

“They could be being tested,” Willis suddenly reasoned, glancing at Catherine for a moment. “There’s probably no way for us to get through if they did transition, either way.”

Jonathan noticed Willis’ glance at Catherine. He became suspicious. “What do you know?”

Catherine shrugged softly. “Kiri told me some things about the Dark Ocean. She said that lives who were “wavering” were much more likely to slip into other worlds and that the Ocean was a magnet for those kind of existences.” She sighed. “I didn’t quite understand it.”

Tai pressed on. “Matt’s had this memory he’s been quite secretive about; maybe that’s why he transitioned.”

T.K. frowned. “That could be it, but... what about Blair?”

“Wizardmon was sick the day after the Tamaki incident,” Jonathan answered.

Willis thought about it. “I guess that could be it.”

Catherine sighed. “It’s likely there’s nothing we can do about it, unless they’re gone for more than a day. Then we’ll have to ask Kiri about it.”

Tai started edging away from the group; this behaviour caught Kari’s attention and she called out to her brother, but it appeared as though he ignored it. Tai motioned for Jonathan and the azure-eyed male came over to the other teenager. “What’s wrong, Tai?” Jonathan asked.

“I think...” he began hesitantly. “I think this may have something to do with Sora.”

“What do you mean?”

“He... Before I started dating her, they were together. When they broke up, it was... pretty nasty to say the least. Matt and I were kinda distant for a while there.”

“I see. You think that could be the memory that caused Matt to transition?” Jonathan questioned.

“It’s possible,” Tai admitted, looking uncomfortable.

“Hmm. Is there something else you want to tell me? Something about Kari?”

Tai sighed. He really didn’t want to think of it, those strange things Kiri had said. But... “Kiri, she mentioned Kari was going to know things and suffer because of Siara. She said not to blame “him” and that something isn’t our fault. Do you have any clue what’s going to happen to Kari?”

“I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen, but I’m gonna talk to Azulongmon. He seems to be more the reasonable type, when it comes to the Sovereigns.”

“I suppose. Thanks.”

*****

The Digital World was begun by two computers: ABC and ENIAC. Even after these shut down with new communication networks, the worlds continued to grow. Wisemon had observed this evolution since its creation.

Wisemon, an Ultimate level Virus attribute, scrutinized the girl huddled over the elf. He knew of this Digimon and had once sensed that he would carry on the Wisemon Digivolutionary line. Fate had twisted Wizardmon’s path to something different and now, once Wisemon reconfigured, there would be no heir for any of the ancient ten. Wisemon frowned; he wasn’t happy that fate had done this, but nevertheless had to accept it.

The robed Digimon strolled over to Blair, who was still huddled over the unconscious form of her partner. He crouched down and spoke to her. “Many thousands of years have passed since the coming of humans to our world.” His voice was huskily sage-like. “You are not the first female Digi-Destined whose partner has succumbed to a virus, and you will not be the last. Blair Morgan, you and your partner transitioned here to learn of the ancient Digital World and the Wisemon line.”

“I just want to help Wizardmon!” Blair snapped.

“His condition can be cured; the virus’ origin is emotion-based. Have you been feeling any strong emotions in the last several days?” Wisemon asked, tilting his head knowingly.

“No... Yes,” Blair admitted. “But what’s that gotta do with it?”

Wisemon’s black eyes seemed to smile. “The stronger your emotions are, the more harm the virus does.”

The scarred teen blinked a few times. She hadn’t been expecting that answer. Blair glanced down at Wizardmon, whose breathing just evened out, as if he sensed the calmness starting to emanate from her.

“Daemon must have done this,” he murmured, watching the breathing ease. “It looks like he is craftier than the others.”

“What’d Daemon do to my partner?!”

“Calm down child, you’ll make it worse,” stated the Ultimate. “Daemon likely infected your Digimon with an emotional virus. Daemon can affect emotions by manipulating the arrangement of zeroes and ones.”

“How would he have done that when he’s sealed away? I mean, this started happening in the real world,” Blair answered.

“Don’t you know, child?” Wisemon sighed. “Daemon broke free of the Ocean weeks ago. He’s been lurking all about. And he could have timed the virus, so for all you know it could have been obtained in the Digital World.”

There was a short silence. “Alright,” she sighed. “We transitioned here so I could learn about the ancient Digital World and of your Digivolutionary line, so let’s hear it, I suppose.”

“The original computers made by humans were what created this world. It developed more as communication networks continued to be made. As more data was left in electronics, the more the Digital World was manipulated. It is very hard to explain. My role and my Digivolution’s role is to watch over the worlds and record them. It would have been your partner’s role as well if he chose, but it seems that is not to be.”

“What’s the name of your Mega level?”

“My Mega level is one of the ancient ten, known as AncientWisemon. A Digimon who claimed to know everything of the past, and can see glimpses of the future.”

“Who were the other nine?”

“They were AncientGreymon, AncientGarurumon, AncientBeetlemon, AncientIrismon, AncientSphinxmon, AncientMegatheirumon, AncientTrojamon, AncientMermaimon, and AncientVolcamon.”

“The ancient ten must have been quite powerful,” Blair stated.

“They were,” he agreed, watching the fallen Digimon heal. “They were some of the strongest. However, they had to give their lives so the corrupted Lucemon would be sealed away, they being not strong enough to defeat him.”

A dark grey mist started hovering around Blair for a few seconds, before pushing its way into her body. She failed to muffle a cry of pain, but Wisemon put one hand on her shoulder. “This will ease the pain,” he responded and a light blue aura shone from the limb. “It seems you were fated to transition here for not only the lesson about the ancient Digital World... It looks like this place is testing you as well. I can see why. You are too bright. You must accept it, the darkness, let yourself balance and calm. To do that, you need to sort out your extreme emotions. That should cure Wizardmon as well. I should tell you... when you balance, do not forget the nature of fire. Do not ever forget it, because that is your ally.”


Somewhere else in the Dark Ocean, Matt was struggling with his inner self and Gabumon was having a hard time reaching the Mega level. The golden-blonde refused to acknowledge that he had to apologize to Sora.

“Come on Matt, get it together,” his partner pleaded. “I can’t Digivolve without you.”

Darkness had already started channelling itself into Gabumon’s body, which was the second half of why he couldn’t Digivolve. But the darkness entering the Rookie’s body was reaching critical levels and was threatening to drive him insane.

“Please Matt!” Gabumon begged. “Accept the darkness. Apologize to Sora. Do something other than mope! What kind of friend are you to do this to me?”


She finally accepted the darkness, her body sweating intensely as she did so. For a few moments, there was nothing but ragged breathing. “Huh,” she managed to huff out. “I don’t wanna go through that again.” A gloved hand touched her left shoulder and she jumped slightly, only to quickly recover her composure. It was Wizardmon. While Blair’s body had been deciding whether to accept the darkness or not, Wisemon had gone a step further and helped out Wizardmon. The teen smiled and lightly hugged her partner. “I’m glad to see you’re okay. Thanks for the advice, Wisemon.” She nodded at the Virus attributed Ultimate, before shielding her face. A portal had opened.

Wisemon smiled behind his hood as she vanished. “Good luck.” I will come soon, Bill. Sooner than you think.

Upon arriving back in Odaiba, Wizardmon spoke quickly to his partner, seeing Tai and the others running up to them. “Kiri is dying.”

“Where’s Matt?” Tai called out. The only answer he got was a shrug of the girl’s shoulders.

“Not good,” the teen muttered, cursing. “It looks like whatever test he’s taking, he’s failing badly.” Tai couldn’t hold back a snicker. “I thought that was my job.”

*****

The group in front of them looked the most relaxed they had ever seen. Perhaps it had to do with Raphael, who was playing a game with Relena that they didn’t recognize. Leith was resting on Kiri’s shoulder, while Luca and another child were curled up nearby. Melissa was sitting next to a teenager, looking much better than when they last saw her. Aria and Tori were next to each other on the other side.

It was relaxing... but Tomoe’s absence was stark to the Digi-Destined.

Tori glanced up at them and waved. Melissa glanced up and seemed to shy away for a moment. Then she relaxed and called. “We thought you guys got killed or something! What, you forgot where we were meeting?” It was mocking, but lacked a fire behind it.

The girl next to them grinned. “Big sis is always so impatient,” she chirped.

“Ah shut up, Emma,” retorted her adoptive sibling, walloping the brunette over the head playfully. Emma pouted at her and laughed again.

Leith sat up and watched them, eyes locked on Jonathan. “Is today the day you wish to be taught?”

Wormmon Digivolved to Stingmon, then again to Dinobeemon and Jonathan nodded. “We’re ready.”

Raphael giggled. “That’s not how he’s gonna train you.” Before anyone could ask, a knife went whizzing through the air, landing at Jonathan’s feet.

“Attack me with that,” commanded the icy boy. His aura deepened and Jonathan felt his body freeze up. “If you can move, that is.” He vanished, reappearing just behind him. “If you can’t, I’ll kill you. That is certain. You will die, I will not get hit. That is the truth of it.” He disappeared again, appearing in front of the leader with his own blade a millimetre from the other’s throat. “Or is it?” Leith jumped back, cat-like, and landed a few feet away.

Jonathan forced himself to calm down and moved, running to stab the boy. Leith smoothly sidestepped him and tripped him, knocking him to the floor. He stepped on Jonathan and very calmly, waited for Dinobeemon. “I’ve hurt your partner,” he stated dully. “Don’t you want to stop me?” He disappeared again, not reappearing. “You keep hesitating, you know? Don’t forget, Sean lied to you. He doubted you. He very cheerfully would have killed you. But the question is... am I Sean? Or am I Leith?”

Dinobeemon buzzed angrily, moving to be by his partner's side. “I can play this sorta game too, ya know, Leith? That is who you really are, as far as we’re concerned.” Jonathan responded, before looking at his partner. Locate, he thought and Dinobeemon's multifaceted eyes began searching.

“But who is that?” Leith didn’t react. “You keep relying on your Digimon. This is why the other doubted you, it is assumed. Because you can’t fight on your own. You are using it as a crutch. I shall assist you, if I must.” He stopped, standing just at the edge of the clearing. “Come and break this tool.”

Kiri simply sighed. “You are useless if you are broken.”

“I am well aware, Kiriko. This weapon will not break.”

“Then you shall be broken, since that is what you want.” Jonathan rushed at Leith, startling him and snapping his arm, which he had grabbed in a split-second.

Raphael frowned suddenly. “That was a dumb move,” he remarked, looking rather unimpressed. “You really aren’t that good to fall for a trick like that.”

As if to prove him right, his opponent didn’t look the slightest unsettled. Leith glanced at the fallen appendage and suddenly... he melted, turning into water droplets. “Almost an improvement,” the child remarked. He appeared behind Jonathan and struck the back of his neck and slammed into his ribs three times, each one cracking a rib. He leapt back, still emotionlessly observing. “But not much of one.”

Kiri lifted up her hand. “Leith...” The boy paused and he stilled suddenly at the sight of her bleeding palm. “End it. I command it, Demon of Icefire.”

“Yes... Master.” The temperature dropped and his aura turned pale blue. Dinobeemon suddenly screamed. Icicles had stabbed all through his body. The ice suddenly melted and the Digimon screamed again. He de-Digivolved all the way back to Baby, breathing ragged and slightly frozen. Before Jonathan could react, Leith had disappeared and the air had thickened again.

“I think I overestimated you,” Kiri pondered. “I thought you would get Leith to do more than this. He isn’t even hurt. Even for a first try, this isn’t very good.”

“I didn’t know what to expect; how was I to know I’d be tested like this?” Jonathan growled.

Tori sighed from the ground. “Guys, stop messing with him. It’s amusing, but this is a normal kid. He doesn’t know how to fight for his life. You can’t expect him to understand.”

“I thought they wanted us to treat them right,” Luca mumbled sleepily as he sat up. “Well, here we are, treating them like equals and now they’re yelling at us. Kiri had enough respect for you to let Leith actually fight you a bit and now you’re whining. Hypocrites...”

Leith allowed his power to fade. “The leader’s best trait is to learn to think on their feet,” he chanted coolly. “Haven’t you been with us enough to expect us to want to fight you?”

“Oh ********,” Emma drawled in amusement. “Even I can tell Leith ain’t fighting with even half of his power. This is crap.”

Kiri raised her hand calmly and gave Jonathan a bored look. “You need to have physical and mental strength to handle the core of the Sovereign. Not saying you’re stupid, but the fact is you have neither. At this state, you or any of the Digi-Destined stupid enough to attempt this would kill themselves. You don’t even understand your Sovereign’s power. Do you know Azulongmon’s element?”

“He’s the Sovereign of lightning,” Jonathan responded.

Luca slapped his forehead. “You imbecile.”

“It’s wood.” A soft voice came from behind the tree. Out hopped a little purple Digimon, who looked very shyly away from the group. “Talia was Azulongmon’s first one, so I remember that. Azulongmon uses lightning, but it’s not. His true nature is wood.”

“Oh.”

The Digimon shivered. “Um... I’m Hopmon, Akira’s partner. I... I attacked you guys a while back. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, it wasn’t your fault,” Jonathan spoke softly.

The Digimon sighed. “Why are you so quick to forgive me, but not them? I don’t understand.”

“Humans are strange,” commented the other boy who had been curled up a second before. “The older they get, the less I understand them.”

“I probably shouldn’t translate that,” Kiri thought aloud, laughing.

“They’ll get forgiven; they just won’t be expecting it,” Jonathan answered.

Hopmon sighed. “You’re a real rookie, no offence. They don’t care. You’re the ones who committed the crime and they’re the ones who have to take the punishment.”

“Wait, what crime?”

“Hopmon,” Kiri called softly. “Leave it alone. It shouldn’t matter to them.”

Hopmon turned to her, bouncing miserably. “But...”

“What shouldn’t matter to us?” Jonathan seemed curious.

Kiri looked uncomfortable. She honestly didn’t want to talk about it.

Jonathan waited patiently; he was determined to know what they were hiding from him.

Kiri shifted again and sighed. “Six years ago, Akira-nii-chan was searching through File Island. He... he found a prophecy. And it was about your team.”

“What did it say?”

Kiri shivered. “It said Ogudomon would kill you and it was forbidden to stop it.”

“It?”

“Your death. No one, not even the Sovereign could interfere because the chosen ones break the Rule of Equality.”

“They can’t interfere?”

“Yes,” Kiri agreed. “But in truth, there’s a reason why you’re granted this chance.”

“And that is what?”

Kiri smiled bitterly. “In truth, whether you survived the power or not wouldn’t have mattered. Ogudomon would have been allowed to kill you both and there would be nothing anyone could say against it. But...” She placed a hand on the Catal Unit. “Six years ago, I made a deal with the Sovereigns.”

“And that deal said evil Digimon could kill us, right?” Jonathan asked sarcastically.

“No, you jackass.” Luca’s snarl was full of hatred. “It said that you and Blair keep your ****ing lives and Kiri lets Ogudomon kill her and take the Catal Unit when the confrontation comes.”

Jonathan was surprised and his face showed it. “What good was that deal,” he began slowly, “when you didn’t even know us back then?”

Kiri smiled softly. “It didn’t matter who it was,” she admitted, looking embarrassed. “I just remember thinking back then that these people, whoever they were, deserved to live as much as anyone else. So if I could somehow help them, then it would be something worth dying for. It was a childish thought but...” Her cheeks turned pink and she looked away. “I just wanted to protect someone.”

“I’m sorry,” Jonathan hung his head, feeling ashamed he’d just been sarcastic.

Kiri smiled exhaustedly. “It’s fine. You didn’t know.”

“Thanks. What’s the Rule of Equality, by the way?”

“Gods do not interfere with a mortals’ battle,” Luca chanted. “So using the Sovereign’s power in a “human” battle is considered unfair advantage and the users can be wiped out on sight. That is why the deal was made.”

“Thanks for explaining that to me.” Jonathan sighed; he didn’t know what to make of this. He fell silent; he felt bad for constantly underestimating Kiri and her friends. He wanted to get something off his chest. “Wizardmon told me what you guys thought of us a few days ago, even when he was sick. I’ll understand if you want to leave and form your own team, I’ll also understand if you want to stay but be by yourselves within the team. I’ll leave it up to the three of you to decide...” He turned to leave, hoping that if they called him back, it’d be good news.

Liollmon growled. “Can’t that guy stay out of our heads? Seriously... we even asked him to.”

Kiri looked at Leith, who nodded. She sighed. “Jonathan... we figured you would learn about that conversation. Honestly...”

“It was just my venting,” Relena admitted, looking guilty.

“We weren’t planning on leaving the team... we were just worried... about whether we could trust you with this information. And we wanted to see...” She trailed off.

“We wanted to see your reaction,” Luca finished, rolling his eyes. “We can’t leave the team: you need us to win.”

Kiri laughed softly. “Is that what it’s called?”

“Something like that.”

Leith gently ran a glowing hand over Leafmon’s battered body, which began to heal. “The five D-Cores are needed to reach where Akira is,” he stated. “He will help us to reach the rest of the way.”

Kiri smiled again, watching Jonathan’s turned back. “Now that you know this, things have changed a bit more. But there’s still the Schism, which is what must be prevented again. The fact that I will die doesn’t change that fact. So despite everything you must get stronger. Don’t waste this. And don’t blame yourselves either. Just like Norn told Tai, it’s not your fault.” She stood up and went to go help Raphael. “The prophecy said you would lose your fight. Let’s defy that Fate, defy it and win.”

“How do I control Azulongmon’s power?” The teen asked, turning back to face them and bending down to pick up Leafmon.

Kiri simply stroked Renamon’s fur. “Well Leith, how does he do it? You taught me.”

Leith gazed at him. “Knowing what Wood and Thunder are: the frame of the house and the Storm that breaks the Sky, would be first. How that would be him would be another part. He also needs to physically improve as well. You fell to killing intent. You mustn’t be able to do that again. Your will surpasses the others, that is the key. But...” He frowned slightly. “That may not be possible right now.”

“Why wouldn’t it be possible?” Jonathan inquired.

“We may not have enough time to train you. Your body and heart are also... not unsteady exactly,” Kiri paused. “More... unaccustomed to the sort of thing we’ve been through. It will take a lot from you.”

“If that’s what it takes to reach the Mega level, then I’ll do it. I hope you three see me in a different way now...”

Luca snorted. “You’re you, idiot. How are we supposed to see you as anything else?” Kiri laughed very sadly and Leith simply shook his head. Relena remained silent, gazing at the grass. Kiri gently patted her shoulder and the blonde nodded numbly.

“That’s nice to know,” he answered.

Luca shook his head in playful disdain. “Our leader’s a moron,” he commented lightly.

Kiri rolled her eyes and poked Relena playfully. Relena didn’t reply, clearly deep in thought. Kiri sighed and abruptly hugged her. The girl yelped and turned red, scrambling back. “Kiri, don’t do that!” Kiri laughed.

*****

Mentally, Matt let go and felt his body accepting the darkness. The stabbing pain he’d felt at his heart eased completely and he sensed something inside him shift. Like Blair, when he regained his composure, he was sweating badly. “You’re right, Gabumon. I have to apologize to Sora.”

A portal opened, revealing a path to the real world. The light became brighter as the golden-blonde and his partner vanished.

*****

The spike-tipped, flame winged dragon spoke in a sharp voice that had a hint of roughness about it. “It’s time to lay waste to this world... starting with those lousy bastards, the Chosen Children. Get up, lazy ****er.” He paused and slapped a human across the face. A disgruntled snort was heard. It was Jack, but he had changed so much since the beginning of his descent.

His normally brown hair, with white streaks in it was now purely black; same with his clothes. The teal-silver eyes were now red, due to contact lenses and his neck was bandaged to cover a deep wound left by the Digimon’s tail from when he went out of control. “Yes, Master.” He rose to his feet.

“Let’s begin with the Deleter, shall we?”

A meek, mindless nod was what the Digimon received in response.

The Digimon snorted through his nose; it became a rumbling laugh through his sharp-fanged mouth. His crimson eyes narrowed, before refocusing. “Good, because the Overwriter is next. Those two will get what they deserve.” His laugh erupted again, at the same time thunder rumbled in the now dark grey, overcast sky.

*****

Matt and Gabumon were back in Odaiba; it was now dusk. The golden-blonde had changed dramatically after his transition to the Dark Ocean. He sensed he was now in between, like Jonathan was. The Digi-Destined teen glanced down at his partner. Gabumon’s attribute had changed to reflect his new colouring; he was now a grey version of his former self — the reptile with a wolf pelt on his back was monochrome himself. He was darker of body, yet not completely of heart.

As he walked off, he viewed Tai come running up, yelling: “Matt, you’re back!”

“Yeah, hey Tai!” The other boy responded, high-fiving his friend and leader.

“Gabumon, what happened?!” Sora cried out.

“Long story,” the Rookie muttered, not meeting Sora’s eyes.


As the Digi-Destined wandered back to Highton View Terrace, two more figures showed up. It was Davis and his corrupted partner, who was now at the Mega level. He was a dragon samurai with oriental armour, with two large blades in his hands, as well as blades in his hair. They were watching the destruction being wreaked upon the city by the other Mega level.

Fuyu
March 23rd, 2011, 01:52 PM
Chapter 27: Cycle of Suffering
 
The sky was bright as they walked down the path. To her surprise, it was still standing. Then again, no one knew where he had been but still, she thought this would be a health hazard. The familiar warehouse looked unchanged to her and for a moment she had a hazy memory of being carried inside, screaming and biting like a wild animal until the familiar cold laughter registered in her ears…
 
Kiri sighed and pushed open the door, pushing her memories away. She shivered at the familiar creak of the metal hinges. Disappearing inside, she let the door swing behind her. From outside, Relena watched and shuddered. There really is no other way? Taking a deep breath, she sat down and waited.
 
The past… Relena thought brokenly. We have to go back to the past. Viximon watched from next to her. The girl was trembling, face pale and blue eyes almost vacant.
 
“Relena…” Viximon had been around Relena a long time now. Anything other than her cuckoo, calmly cheerful behavior meant something was wrong.
 
“I’m sorry Viximon, just… back then… it was so close, she was almost dead, well, as much as she could die back then.”
 
“But she can’t die until she loses the Catal Unit!” The Digimon countered, before pausing. “Wait, then Tomoe was…” Relena nodded miserably. Viximon began to shiver in rage. “That bastard! How could he… how could he think of copying the very core of the worlds?”
 
“He wanted to recreate the universe.” Relena drew her knees to her chest.
 
“But… why?”
 
“This universe, in his eyes, was not worth anything anymore because the Sovereign wanted to destroy the Demon Lords at any cost. And it was any cost.”
 
“You’re not telling me…” Relena bowed her head. Viximon growled. “Everything and everyone has suffered, truly. Tell me, do the others know?”
 
“I haven’t told Jonathan and his friends yet. We aren’t going to.”
 
“Why?”
 
“The Sovereign must admit their sins. What’s one more?”
 
“You guys…you really hate them.”
 
“I wish I could hate them. But I can’t. All I can do is clean up their mess.” The pair looked up and saw a familiar face walking toward the warehouse. Kudamon was unconscious around Tomoe’s neck. Tamaki’s smile was there, cold and sadistic. Yet there was a lost feeling to it and Viximon felt a terrible pity.
 
This wasn’t fair. Why couldn't things just be simple?
 

 
Kiri was curled in an all-too-familiar corner. She stirred softly at the sound of footsteps. “Ryou-san?” she whispered, feeling that former part of her flicker alive. There was a quiet snicker.
 
“I haven’t heard you call me that in years pet.” Tamaki stepped from the shadows of the hallway, eyes glowing from Tomoe’s sockets. “I have to say I missed it.”
 
“Ryou-san… he hasn’t given up, has he?”
 
“No…” the man agreed, spinning a knife between his fingers. “I can never give up, not while there is still a chance. Even if they are dead, even if I am dead, I will continue walking forward.”
 
“Ryou-san is a very determined person… like his successor. And like…”
 
“Like your precious brother pet?” He walked forward and cupped the girl’s chin in his daughter’s hand. Kiri held back a flinch. “You know, all three of us understand, your brother and I are very similar, aren’t we? We both will go…” He placed the blade against her arm and sliced it at the vein in an X mark. Kiri didn’t flinch. “To extreme lengths for our goals. Our tempers…” He began to methodically stab into her stomach and Kiri bit her lip tight. “Are very easy to flare at times. And whatever we care about we hold so close to ourselves. You can’t deny it. All leaders share those traits. It’s why we are the ones with power over the others. You know it because you’ve experienced it.” You know it because you are.
 
“You’re right…” Tamaki paused as if admiring his handiwork. Kiri continued. “Ryou-san’s right… it’s how leaders are. That’s a good thing.” All Tamaki did was smile.
 
“I’m glad Kiriko, you do see things my way. Now then, this is rude but I’m afraid I have no choice.” His fingers moved under her shirt. She shivered at the touch and completely froze when the small hand rested just above a familiar scar. He smiled softly. “By your leave, Goddess-heir.” The pair of them began to glow a hollow green as the light pulsed from Kiri into Tamaki. The girl bit her lip again but after a moment, she began to scream, the sound hollow and desperate.
 

 
The broken cry echoed through all of their hearts. Luca shivered all over, glancing toward the warehouse. From his living room window, Leith looked in that direction and frowned, instinctively laying his head on Melissa's shoulder, who was clutching something in her arms. She gave a wispy smile. Jonathan found himself awake and looking toward the wall. What is happening? Blair stirred, feeling unsettled. Meanwhile Kari started, feeling Siara’s anxious shifting in her heart. The other Digidestined, even corrupted, knew something was gravely wrong.
 
None of them noticed was the way their Digivices were shining and vibrating.
 
Relena stood up, agitated. “Time to go.” She walked forward.
 

 
Kiri’s screaming slowly faded and she trembled everywhere. The glow had gotten stronger, clearly visible through the windows.
 
Tamaki sighed. “You know this almost isn’t fair to you. Your family’s gone, you are tied to the choices of children, you have to give up your life for a couple of no-good brats, and for what? The future? It doesn’t seem worth it if you ask me. But don’t worry.” The pulsing abruptly intensified and Kiri squeezed her eyes shut as the download continued. “When I rebuild the worlds, I’ll make sure someone like you never happens again. You have my word, little Kiriko, for being such a good pet.”
 
There was silence. Then a weak voice issued from her lips. “Your word? Interesting. But... ya see…” Two hands grasped the Tamaki’s shoulders and began to push him off. “I can’t say I’ll take your word for it…Tamaki.” He was thrown off and slammed violently into the wall.
 
Reeling for a moment, Tamaki quickly recovered and glared. “You… I recognize that voice…what do you think you’re doing Akira? Possessing your sister like that? How hypocritical.”
 
Akira coughed and spat blood, grinning softly with cold grey eyes. “Call it a deal you son of a *****. I don’t give a damn about your reasoning. You hurt my family. And like you said we’re alike in that respect. Anythin’ of mine you hurt…” He forced his sister’s body up and tackled the younger child’s, pinning it there by the arms. “I’ll make ya repay the debt. And don’t forget, there’s one difference between you and me.” He spat on the ground. “I ain’t dead yet.”
 
“So you’ll hurt my sweet, innocent daughter?”
 
Akira snorted. “None of our kind is innocent Tamaki. You and I know that. But I’m not hurting her; I’m expelling you. Just watch.” He smiled lightly. “Can you hear me Tomoe-chan? I’m Akira. We met when you were a baby. I’m speaking to you and you alone right now.”
 
From the void, Tomoe stirred awake. Akira-nii-san?
 
He continued. “Your papa… he’s using your body right now. Now, he hasn’t done anything yet but… do you want him to get the chance?”
 
…Daddy’s here? The girl began to struggle. No… No this is wrong. No Daddy, don’t do this. You hurt her again; I can feel it.
 
“Relax Tomoe-chan,” the male soothed gently. For a moment, the girl felt a familiar calm seep through her veins. “You want him gone. I understand. So… don’t struggle that way, just take my hand okay? I’m reaching for you. Take my hand and don’t let go.”
 
She saw it, a thin, older thing reaching out to her. She clasped it, feeling the warmth radiating from the skin. Akira smiled softly and tugged.
 
From the outside Tamaki howled, feeling the pain of being forcibly ejected from his control. He shuddered all over, the tugging stronger and stronger. “Very good, leader. Excellent plan. But this isn’t the end you know!”
 
“Not now it isn’t. But it’s about to be. Anything you have to say, do so now.”
 
“Ha!” The man coughed. “You and I really are alike! It really is a shame Akira, that even after all this… it won’t change a thing.”
 
“Don’t tell me what I already know.” Akira glared. Don't mock me for the choices I made.
 
“I wouldn’t dream of it. But I will say this: the future you seek… I look forward to it. And Tomoe… I am very proud of her and… I am very sorry.”
 
“We’re all sorry Tamaki. Now die.” The man’s data dispersed in the air, hovering. “Relena.”
 
“Overwriting Data.” The ring spun around the invisible code. After a few moments, it burst.
 
Akira smiled grimly. “Nice work.” Then Kiri fell to the floor, exhausted, Tomoe falling into her lap. Relena moved to their side.
 
“We did it.” Kiri moved her head weakly and kissed her friend on the cheek.
 
“Yeah.”
 

 
The next morning, Blair heard a knock at her door. Okay, who would come bother me this early? Even Jonathan doesn't do this. She grumbled to herself as she opened it before freezing, whether in surprise, anger, or confusion she wasn't quite sure. Perhaps all three.
 
Kiri was on her doorstep. But she looked... very different. Her hair was down and she wore a white dress. Her blade was nowhere in sight. She looked much younger all of a sudden. But Blair saw a new set of bandages on her arm and how gingerly she was standing there. What the hell did she do?

The other girl let out a cry of exhaustion. "Ah thank God," she murmured, looking all manners of relieved. "This was your house. I really didn't want to bother Jonathan when he's likely still sore and all, especially looking like this. Ahh..." Kiri turned a pale pink and shook her head. "I really wanna kill Cassie for this," she whined to herself. Blinking at Blair, she managed a weak grin. "Sorry about waking you up. I offered to come get you instead of letting Leith break your door down." Realizing the girl was still staring at her, Kiri sighed. "It's a long story."
 
"What's this about?"
 
Kiri sighed. "I said it, didn't I? I came to get you so Leith could train you. From the look of things, we need to start early right..." She grinned softly. "Wizardmon?" Blair turned, surprised. She sensed him from the back room?
 
How did Kiri sense my partner from the backroom like that? Blair was very surprised. How did she do that?
 
Kiri smiled tiredly. "Just like Leith I had to be trained. It was not for an assassination squad but for my own protection. With that you learn to sense others, so you won't get hurt as badly, so you can kill quicker. From this close, he's easy to sense. I know others... who are able to sense me from the outskirts of the city." She sighed and fingered the fabric of her skirt. "We can talk on the way. You have a lot to do."
 
"Alright," Blair nodded. She began following Kiri.
 
As they walked, Kiri seemed to be thinking. Then she figured out her words. "Ne Blair, do you have feelings for Sean?"
 
There was a long silence. "Yes," she finally admitted.
 
Kiri laughed softly. "I thought so. So you must hold some... sort of feelings over recent events. I'd rather like to hear them from you, rather than take a guess like I had to do about your family." Not that it wasn’t an easy guess.
 
She hesitated. "I think I rushed him a bit too fast when I... uh, kissed him. Dorumon didn't like it and Sean, I think, was a bit put off..."
 
Again, Kiri was giggling. "No he just has no clue who the hell you are Blair. That's well known. Sean is... well..." The girl seemed to skip ahead, looking amused. "He can sense fear. And of all the things he's learned about you, the fact that you're afraid of him is one of the strongest messages. And that naturally makes him nervous you know? You're especially afraid of him now because you don't know who he is. So the pair of you are even."
  
"I started becoming bitter after losing Shiro. At the time he died, I was only six and he was eleven. I didn't know what it was like back then to lose a family member... I guess it was only natural for the bitterness to control my heart."
 
"Is that why you let fear control it as well?" Seeing Blair's shocked expression, the girl sighed. "Blair, I can read your heart. We're wondering if the ability's genetic. You are bitter yes and it really hurts. I wish I could understand it a little bit better. But honestly I don't know my parents and Leith never met his. So... try and think about that when you talk to Leith or Sean again. None of us can understand the pain. And try to remember: he is a weapon Blair, at least that's how he sees himself. So that's something... to just wonder about. If you can't understand him, your feelings won't be able to be heard. And if he doesn't understand you... he won't know what to feel."
 
"Well, actually... I was going to ask him for some defense lessons..." Blair trailed off.
 
Kiri grinned. "That's why I came to get you. I'm just telling you these things... so you know when the time comes. I won't be able... to help him for much longer. I'm sure... Wizardmon told you what he knows."
 
"He has. Why do you ask?"
 
I’m wondering if I can trust you with the future. Kiri laughed darkly. "Eh-heh, well I'm wondering if he'll tell you about this." And she opened her mind. Wizardmon found himself engulfed in images and voices and gripped his head. Normally he could only catch glimpses and if he was lucky a whole conversation. This was almost too much.
 
The girl was speaking, promising. Why? She didn't know back then, did she? The Gods of his world, the rulers, were speaking to her, calmly but forcefully. Still she defied. She looked back toward him and waved innocently and he found himself gone.
 
He found himself in a hallway, soft footsteps pattering on tiled floor. He could sense the hatred around him and it was a familiar hate. Then he heard screaming, a child's voice screaming. Then it cut off and he wondered who that was before he saw the young girl lying on the floor. He knew her and felt a surge of fury at the sight of the glassy eyes staring at him in helpless fear. The man, whose face he didn't know yet somehow though he had, had his hand reaching through the child's body and he could see data around his hands moving towards something he couldn't see. Someone else was on the floor, unconscious. And the child was not crying, just dulling, fading. That was when she moved, stabbing into the man over and over. He thought it would be okay but then he felt a pain. Looking down, he glimpsed blood.
 
What?
 
Nothing. There was nothing and then the fog cleared. A young woman was staring at him. Just like the girl she waved but the world shattered as she did, making him realize he wasn't supposed to be there at all.
 
How dare you test my loyalty to Blair? He growled mentally, directing the thought back at Kiri's head. You want me to see her weaken, don't you?
 
Do you want to hurt her more? she asked. The elf shook his head. Then help her grow.
 
If I show her what you forced upon me, she'd be driven mad, the Champion answered.
 
I can help her recover. Leith will be much harsher than that.
 
Wizardmon sighed in defeat. All right, he replied. But if she starts screaming, you're the one I'll blame. He turned towards Blair and projected the images into her head.
 
Kiri smiled bitterly. At least she will heal. Most are not so lucky. Blair stiffened as the images entered her mind and her mouth opened. There was silence at first, then the screaming began. The Champion pointedly stared at Kiri.
 
"Relax," she whispered and soft light began to thrum. She smiled. "Hush child it isn't you. That child is dead now, is dying. It hurts but it will be all right. Remember." A song rippled sweetly, sending calm waves. After a few moments, the screaming stopped, but Blair was on edge. Her breathing was ragged, and the white of her eye could be seen. "Shh," Kiri sang. "It's all right. He won't jump out."
 
That was almost as traumatic as accepting the darkness, Blair thought to Wizardmon. I don't wanna see those images again... Wizardmon snorted a laugh.
 
Try being the one who actually experienced it, he thought to himself. How has Kiri not killed herself yet?
 
Kiri smiled sadly. "Better now?"
 
Blair snorted, before sighing. "What was that for?"
 
Kiri shrugged. "I figured that you should be a bit more aware of what could happen to you. When you take on this fight, a Core can drive you to madness or to victory. It depends on your will and on your heart."
 
"I see. Thanks for the advance warning."
 
"Thank me after you dodge the knives flying toward your head." As she spoke, she twirled away and Renamon vanished. Blair snorted again. Sure enough the song of metal whistling through the air was quick. Kiri moved, easily yanking them all from the air and throwing them back. "Do better than that," she called almost innocently. 
 
"I wasn't ready," Blair called back. Nonetheless, she prepared herself for the next round.
 
"You think the enemy is always stupid enough to use the same trick?" Leith was there from nowhere, knocking Blair to the ground from the right side. He didn't wait, freezing her to the concrete and kicking Wizardmon into a fence.
 
I certainly wasn't expecting this, the girl thought, as the ice starting numbing her skin. Wizardmon clearly wanted to help, but Blair sent him a thought. Don't interfere, I'll be fine. The elf disobeyed the command and used Electro Squall to melt the ice. Blair stood up, a slight frown on her face. What did I just say? Not giving him a chance to reply, she tensed herself, ready to dodge at any second. She heard Leith jumping down from a tree behind her and whirled around to face him.
 
For a moment he watched her. "I don't see it," he mumbled blankly. His hands twitched and wires wrapped themselves around her arms, slicing into skin. "Where is it? There's nothing there. Tell me where it is."
 
"Then you obviously don't know what happened to me," Blair sounded smug. Remembering Wisemon's words of advice, she nodded decisively, before the reddish haze reappeared and Wizardmon instantly Digivolved to Silphymon. "Of course you wouldn't know. You were too busy frolicking with your friends."
 
Leith kept staring at her. "It's still not there," he announced, not reacting. "Not strong enough, not strong at all. This is not a fire, not even an ember. Just ashes." And he vanished. "And ashes are dust in the end, dispersed through the sky." Before either could react, there was the sound of a crack. And Silphymon felt a terrible agony, yet there was no wound. Leith was simply watching. Around his hand was an ice-blue fog.
 
Silphymon fell to one knee, and Blair became concerned. "What the hell did you just do?!" She shouted, before rushing in to attack. She was quickly stopped, when Silphymon struggled to his feet, with one clawed hand aimed at her.

“Blair Rana Morgan, you will stop this... or I will attack.”
 
"That Core is cracked now," Leith declared matter-of-factly. "You are more useless than ever now. Your Digimon is going to die again if this continues." He grabbed her fist and twisted it, breaking it. Smoothly, he flipped her over his shoulder and smacked her into the concrete. The temperature dropped but there was no ice, only freezing water running over her limbs.
 
The teen got back to her feet slowly, shaking herself much like a dog. "You call this a test? This is more like a..." She deliberately trailed off, wanting to see if the boy caught the hidden meaning behind her words.
 
Blair charged again at Leith with her unbroken hand, wanting to punch his head; she succeeded in catching the male off-guard and watched, almost sadistically, as he fell to the ground. “Static Force! I’m sorry, Blair, but you wouldn’t listen.” Silphymon charged his standard attack and sent it hurtling towards his partner.
 
"Hey, what was that for? Kiri, call this off already!" Blair called out to the other girl, after she’d gotten back to her feet from crash-landing on the ground via her partner’s attack.
 
Kiri shrugged coolly, looking slightly amused. "Why?" she asked sardonically. "Leith, aren't you enjoying yourself?"
 
"No." The boy's voice came from at his master's side. Once again the one on the ground melted. "That trick shouldn't have worked. And neither should this one." Blair turned and saw Silphymon stabbed through with blades of ice. Water suddenly bound and froze her almost to her neck. Leith sighed. "How pathetic of you. I'm barely even trying to kill you.  Why have you concerned yourselves with them Kiriko?"
 
"I refuse to explain myself again. Sean knows, let him tell you."
 
"He won't tell either."
 
"Then figure it out, you're a smart boy." Sometimes.
 
"Let Sean come to the surface, god damn it!" Blair growled, shivering at the same time.
 
“Enough, I said!” Silphymon scolded the girl. “When will you learn to shut up?”
 
"Why so you can shun him again?" Leith inquired softly, not accusingly. "So he can see your fear in person? It would be a waste, he already knows."
 
"I take back what I said to Kiri about letting you give me defense lessons," the girl growled. Leith dropped the water in a very mild surprise. "Just tell me one thing and I won't be a bother anymore."
 
“NO, BLAIR!” Silphymon’s patience had snapped. He hurried forward and jammed one hand over Blair’s mouth. To prevent her from running off at the mouth any further, he shoved a couple of Static Forces down her throat; this, of course, left her choking and coughing badly.
 
"What would you like to know?"
 
Kiri sighed. She said she had feelings for him. I guess she really doesn't understand him at all. What a fool. This is really just a crush huh? I thought I could trust her. I guess I was wrong.
 
“How does it feel to reach the Mega level?” she asked coldly through her partner’s hand after recovering.
 
Leith blinked slowly at her as if analyzing the question. “It is a separate plane of existence, higher than those normal creatures but lower, buried beneath the power of the Gods.” He pulled his D-Core and showed her the violet-blue casing. “To a human, it is like becoming the part of the world itself.”
 
“How would I do that?”
 
To everyone's surprise Dorumon snapped, eyes brimming with tears. "Use your stupid fire! If you can! Monster! You're bad! You hurt Sean again! I hate you! Why do you always hurt him?" Kiri placed her hand in Leith's, sensing Sean's distress through him. Dorumon is Sean's partner, she thought sadly to herself. Not Leith's. So he feels Sean's heart right now. I think it just broke. 
 
She raised her free hand and let the silver light wrap around Silphymon. The ice stabbing through him melted and he turned back into Wizardmon, looking recovered. The girl sighed and let the power dissipate. She thought at Wizardmon. I thought I could trust her with him. I thought she would pass. Let her know this. Unless she fixes this rift, I will give Zhuqiaomon the order to choose a new keeper for his power and D-Core. You will not be able to fight at the end, like you assume.
 
She wouldn't have known how to pass, anyway, Wizardmon thought back. But I understand your concern. I will speak with her; I'll ensure she fixes the rift. "Blair, you must apologize. If you don't, something bad will happen."
 
"It is quite alright." Sean's voice, low and formal, issued from Leith's lips. "Ms. Morgan is simply doing as she is bid. There is nothing to lose your temper from that." The boy's tone was perfunctory: Kiri could feel his body trembling. "She is following the way she believes is right and is very much full of hatred for this person. Acceptable. So... I can say this very firmly. I'm afraid we cannot be tied any longer. So with all due respect Miss Morgan," He turned and bowed low. "Please leave me alone now." He turned away from Blair now and very deliberately closed his eyes to her. "Your heart's intentions... I believe they are quite clear. Please live your life well.” He began to walk away, letting Leith slip in.
 
Wizardmon sighed. Now look what you've done, he thought at his partner. Aiming his thoughts at Kiri, he continued: I'm going to fix this no matter how long it takes. I'm going to talk to Jonathan, Bill and her siblings in order to fix the rift. Don't try and stop me.
 
I wasn't planning on it, Kiri replied softly in Wizardmon's head. She turned away from them. "Goodbye Miss Morgan. As Sean said, please live your life well." She gave a faint bow and turned to take the lead, unconsciously grabbing the boy's hand as she walked. Dorumon threw them a dirty, miserable look as he passed.
 
It wasn't my fault, Dorumon, the elf answered the look he had received. Blair was the one who went off at the mouth. I'm going out of my way to fix this, so I don't need dirty looks because I'm trying to help.
 
Kiri caught the words and groaned to herself. Out of your way? To fix something that shouldn’t even have broken in the first place? Jackass. It’ll be your power loss. God your kind make me ill.
 
You hurt Sean too. You're her partner. The Digimon's stubborn, childish thoughts replied.  You've done nothing but agree with her ever since we met you. You think what she does. You just don't say it. All of you think he's a monster, that he's dangerous and someone to fear. So what if he is? He... he doesn't deserve this anymore. You people are wrong.
 
You want my true feelings, don’t you? Wizardmon responded. Since you’ve asked, you will receive. I actually didn’t have any opinion on Sean until he burned Blair’s arm. After that, I was wary, because I didn’t know what he would do next. I kept my opinions and beliefs to myself until I could discern the path he was heading down.
 
When he verbally abused Blair during the Devimon incident, I started thinking he was targeting her deliberately; but I realized I was wrong when the goading really helped Blair obtain her fire. And then today occurred, where you still think I think what Blair does. I’m a Champion, so it’s hard for me to make this how you’d understand it, Dorumon; but just know, I have never thought along the same lines as my partner.
 
You. Were. Afraid. The Digimon's mental voice held nothing but hurt and sadness. It was the same, it is the same. With your kind it always is.
 
You don’t know the difference in the meanings of the two, Wizardmon replied. Wary means cautious and afraid means terrified. If you don’t believe me, ask one of them; they’ll tell you I’m saying the truth.
 
Dorumon sighed. It is the same. You turned away. He seemed to close off as he glanced at him. Stop trying to justify yourself. Go fix your partner. Your kind cares little about anything else. 
 
Wizardmon was silent as he and Blair left; the girl was already beginning to sulk. Kiri turned back for a moment, a pale smile on her face.
 
“You should go get her wrist treated,” she recommended quietly. Wizardmon nodded, but at the same time thought, why is she smiling?
 

 
“Hiroaki, we’ve called you before us today, because we have reached a decision.” This was Zhuquiaomon, who wings were starting to regenerate. He was still displeased with Leith revealing he could use Ebonwumon’s power so easily and even more annoyed at Kiri for threatening Wizardmon that she would find a new Keeper for his power. The phoenix knew Blair would be able to sort things out, even if it took the rest of her journey as a Digi-Destined.
 
“Zhuquiaomon is right,” Baihumon agreed. “Your status as a Digi-Destined is hereby stripped from you.”
 
“I’m sorry it had to happen like this, but your job was done years ago,” Ebonwumon rumbled mildly.
 
“Wait... But I still get to keep Gabumon, don’t I?” Hiroaki panicked slightly.
 
Baihumon let out a growling sort of laugh; Ebonwumon echoed it with a sound that was reminiscent of foaming waves. “Of course you do,” Azulongmon answered. “You’re a partner; the task ahead of you now is to help the Digi-Destined. You’ll need one of these.” Azulongmon used one of the Digi Cores on his body to bathe Gabumon in a very bright white light. “Gabumon can still Digivolve to the form of MetalGarurumon, but he won’t need that form anymore for a while. His new Mega level is a secret you’ll have to uncover for yourself.”
 
“Goodbye Hiroaki, and good luck,” Fanglongmon responded as a Digital Gate opened beside him and he stepped through it. Excess energy from the Core streaked through in front of him and was absorbed by three Rookie Digimon in Odaiba.

Meanwhile, Gennai was slumped in the hallway, clutching his head. The land of Ancients was a large one. It was a miracle he hadn’t gotten lost yet. He tried to breathe deeply, feeling a stabbing pain throughout his body. Rion…
 
Somehow he knew, Rion was in terrible danger and pain. And he was forbidden to help. Then again… would Rion want his help anymore? He doubted it; it was likely the boy hated him now. He clenched his free hand into a fist, still trembling all over.
 
“What the hell are ya doin’ lookin’ like that ya moron?” Triesta barked out. Peering through slit blue eyes, he saw her, arms crossed and violet eyes amused.
 
“Enjoying yourself?” he bit out drily, surprised to see her away from Relena.
 
Triesta walked over and knelt beside him. Gently she took a hand and removed his from his face. When she finished, she moved to wrap her arms around him. He froze in pure surprise. She hadn’t done this in years.
 
“It’s all right Samael,” she breathed softly. “He’s all right. He’s with the Heart. And that person won’t let anything happen to him.” Gennai shuddered. He knew that. He knew, but…
 
“I will never be forgiven will I?” Triesta moved back to look at him.
 
“There wasn’t anything to forgive,” she replied simply, glancing behind her. “See?” Faolan stepped from the shadows behind her. Gennai stared openly.
 
“Faolan…” The child peered at him, watching almost with curiosity.
 
“Samael,” he murmured, bowing his head slightly. “It’s been a while.”
 
“How…”
 
“A miracle happened,” Triesta answered gently, standing back up and helping him to his feet. “Somehow, he reformed as data. He’s just made it to the age of ten, the age when…”
 
“I died,” finished the boy almost coldly. “It’s nothing to fear saying.”
 
“Faolan…” Gennai groaned lightly, almost playfully. “You really are a strange one.”
 
“We all are.”

“Very true.” Gennai looked at the boy before him again. “This was their plan wasn’t it? No, it was hers alone. Ryutori… those siblings are a handful.”

“She’s doing your work for you,” Triesta commented, leaning against the wall.

“Do you know what else they’re planning?”

“It involves the bloodline.” Gennai paused.

“How can it involve that if she’s dying?”

“Norn will handle it on her own.”

The man sighed. “I see, but… are you so certain Relena has it?”

Triesta bowed her head. “Completely. It’s in her, the Queen’s Reign. Akira saw it as well.”

The guardian couldn’t help the shiver that ran down his spine. “So that means…”

“Everything will work out,” Faolan finished softly. “Yes and yet… it will cost a great dead. But that was the promise that was made and it must be fulfilled.” He closed his eyes and opened them again. “The remnants are brave souls.”

“That is because they truly know the stakes of victory,” Gennai agreed. “But yes they are brave… and they are very sorrowful as well.” For a while, the three friends stood together in the hallway, thinking over the future and the way it was going.


 
Later that day, Kiri appeared with Tomoe and Luca. She walked up to them and gave Tomoe a light smile. “You’re going to be with them for a little bit Tomoe-chan, while I go get Cassie with Relena.”
 
“Why aren’t you leaving her with the Ferros?” Jonathan asked curiously.
 
She sighed. “Ceremonies today. Non-blood related aren’t allowed in.” She mussed the girl’s hair. “Be good okay?” Tomoe nodded, Kudamon agreeing. Kiri gave Jonathan a piercing stare. “Be careful today.” She left and Luca scowled lightly, turning away.
 
Jonathan paused. “What’s wrong Luca?”
 
The boy shrugged. “’S not important to you.”
 
“Should it be?”
 
“Look just quit butting your nose in all right? We’ll tell when we’re good and ready so stop prying. Geez, you’d think we’d told your kind enough.” Jonathan backed off. Luca was really irritated today. He turned to Tomoe.
 
“I’m glad to see you’re all right.” Tomoe nodded absently, looking elsewhere.
 
“Something is coming,” the girl declared solemnly.
 
Luca growled softly. “You sensed it too? Damn, corruption annoys my nose, especially that kind.”
 
“Jack?” Tai asked worriedly.
 
“No,” Tomoe replied softly, lifting her Digivice to her hand. “It feels like Leviamon.”
 
“Davis,” Kari realized and she turned as a grey portal opened. Davis and Veemon exited and turned toward them.
 
“It looks like you aren’t doing too well,” the boy mused and lifted his Digivice to the sky. Veemon’s Warp Evolution was nearly cut short by a Sonic Slash Rain. Spinomon crouched in front of the other Chosen. Gaioumon quickly slashed at the other dragon, which caught the blade in his claw. A knife went soaring through the air, stabbing into Davis’s legs. The boy grunted, yanking it out and returning fire. Tomoe dodged swiftly, easily avoiding the weak attack.
 
Jonathan moved to help but Luca stopped him. “No,” Luca countered quietly. “This must be. You are not to interfere.”
 
“What are you talking about?” he demanded, losing his patience. “You’re letting a seven year old fight like this by herself! Why would-“ He found himself speechless at the sight of the familiar black, violet-pupiled eyes.
 
“This must be,” repeated the boy, and Jonathan somehow knew this was not Luca speaking and if it was, this was not the one they knew.
 
Meanwhile Tomoe watched dully as a Blue Prominence tore at Gaioumon’s armor. She leapt to avoid another attack. Davis smirked slightly. “Are you trying to hurt me? You just keep dodging.”
 
The girl flipped away from the strike and carefully landed on one hand as she hit his knee with a blade hilt. “You are necessary for the completion,” she replied distantly.
 
“Necessary?” He laughed coldly. “That’s the first time someone’s told me that.” Kari flinched slightly.
 
“I do not see a need to end your life nor do I see a want for you to end mine.” Spinomon’s blades tore into the armor and he stepped back slightly as a Rinkanzan went through his scales.
 
“Heh, you’re such a brat.” And he grabbed her roughly by the throat. Tomoe let a knife slip down to her hand but before she could attack, she felt her airways begin to close. Spinomon turned but a Rinkageki went through to his core. He fell, as his Digi-Core began to crack loudly in his human’s ears. Tomoe froze, forgetting she was being choked. Her eyes widened and she bit on Davis’ hand. Breaking free, she hurried to her partner’s side. Still not a sound came from her lips. Her face was very pale as she knelt by the dragon’s side.
 
He rasped, “Well, that shouldn’t have killed me.”
 
“Spinomon… don’t leave me.” Tomoe felt the tears falling now.
 
“Don’t cry Tomoe, that’s… that’s not how I want to go. I want you to smile now for me, one last time. Try it.” Tomoe sniffled and sobbed but managed the faintest of smiles. He smiled weakly. “That’s it, stand strong and firm. You’re my partner after all, even if…” Without warning he burst into… nothing. There was nothing there. Tomoe remained stockstill.
 
“What a pathetic ending,” Davis commented. Tomoe twitched. Jonathan glanced at Luca again, who was watching Tomoe. He followed the other’s gaze to the girl’s hand, where her Digivice remained imbedded. The screen was bright.
 
“It wasn’t even a fight,” agreed Gaioumon. Tomoe twitched again. She suddenly giggled, a haunting, cold sound. Luca shuddered all over.
 
“It comes,” the boy whispered.
 
Tomoe was giggling again, the noise mad. “You’re wrong,” she whispered in a brokenly gleeful tone. Agumon stirred from Tai’s side, feeling a vague call. He began walking forward, unable to hear Tai. Soon he was standing in front of Gaioumon. For a moment he remembered his past, his feelings and he felt an old will stir alive inside of him.
 
“What was that?” the Mega level repeated, feeling amused.
 
“You’re wrong,” she repeated, standing up. “We were holding back because you’re important. But now…I don’t think it matters.” She looked at him with an insane grin. “Do you?” She held out her Digivice. “You’re worse than Daddy. I… I can make you pay for this. I will. Even if my heart breaks, I’ll make you pay. So…” Her Digivice shined.
 
“Agumon Warp Digivolve to… VictoryGreymon!”
 
“Just die, both of you,” Tomoe finished and giggled again.
 

 
As they walked toward the airport, both girls froze and shuddered. They heard the sound of a piercing crack and instantly knew.
 
“It looks like we were right,” Relena commented softly, eyes full of pain. “And here I thought they could prevent it.”
 
“It had to be,” Kiri stated dully. Her hands clenched into fists. “I’ll go back then.”
 
“Why didn’t you stay to start with?” It was not an accusatory question. Kiri walked forward and quickly hugged the girl before stepping away. Relena knew those kinds of reactions: it wasn’t simply affection, it was a way to tell an answer.
 
“I wanted to believe in them, just once. I guess… that was wrong.” She turned and vanished. Relena groaned. Please make it in time.
 
She pulled out her phone.
 

 
The red-foiled dirty-blonde noticed a woman even older than herself trying to calm a baby down. Tsunomon wriggled in her bag and her hand instantly went to the bag's side, where she felt the side of Tsunomon's face from within. "Shh," she whispered.
 
The blonde smiled grimly. "It's just the time change," she said softly, lifting the girl gently up and down.
 
"Hi, I'm Yutaka," the nineteen-year-old introduced herself quietly.
 
"Cassie," she replied. "Take a seat."
 
The older Lucas sibling sat on a comfortable looking red chair. "I'm heading back to Japan after a month in America with Tsunomon," she explained as the little horned In Training level Digimon poked his head out of the bag.
 
Cassie smiled softly, bouncing the baby on her knee. "I'm just visiting my little sister, who's apparently too busy saving the world to come home, ne Demi-Veemon?" The In-Training laughed.
 
"My younger brother's destiny is looming upon the horizon," Yutaka answered softly, patting Tsunomon's face.
 
Cassie smiled wearily. "It sounds like a great destiny. Then again, that sort of thing is, isn't it?" Her voice held a mysterious note to it and she smiled again as her partner went into her arms next to the baby, who cooed.
 
"My partner can Warp Digivolve to one of the Ancient Ten." To Cassie, it almost sounded like the girl was bragging.
 
"It can turn into a legend?" The woman's tone was politely surprised with an undercurrent of amusement. "Interesting. It's amazing what the Digimon are capable of, especially with a human's power." Cassie pulled a bottle from a bag and let the baby drink. "I think that's more fascinating than anything else." Tsunomon bounced up and down, looking at his partner worriedly. Cassie glanced at the Digimon, feeling her partner's mellow warmth against her stomach. "Is something the matter?"
 
"He's just getting anxious to go back and see Jonathan."
 
"Understandable," replied the woman, noticing the other passengers beginning to get up. Her partner crawled back into a bag and she looped it around one arm, her daughter in her arms. "I suppose we should board?"
 
"We should." Tsunomon jumped back into Yutaka's bag and the girl closed it to the three-quarter mark, so the little Digimon could still breathe.
 
Cassie sighed. "Well this should be interesting. I haven't met very many others with Digimon around these parts."
 
"Our neighbour should have her partner by now, as well."
 
"That's good," Cassie commented, giving her boarding pass to the employee and strolling ahead. "I'm sure my sister's friends have theirs by now. We've been expecting this. Unfortunately," she glanced at a paper in her bag. "We weren't expecting a certain development."
 
Yutaka gave her pass to the guy as well and hurried to catch up. "What certain development?" She asked.
 
Cassie frowned now, eyes cold. "Our little brother," she replied agitatedly. "The Sovereign took our little brother." She sighed. "Relena's going to murder them."
 
"I'm sorry to hear that," the near-adult responded in a quieter tone than before. "Blair's cousin has a secret of his own, doesn't he, Tsunomon?" She whispered to her partner.
 
Cassie sighed distantly. "It happens." Everyone has secrets child and I know children with more than necessary.
 
DemiVeemon groaned. "You need to stop hanging out with your brother," he muttered. 
 
"Better than Terry in one of his moods." The two boarded the plane and took their seats; which, surprisingly, were near each other. "Coincidence is a funny thing," Cassie hummed to herself, gently rocking back and forth with the child in her arms. For a moment, she paused as a group came aboard. Then she sighed and whispered in her partner’s ear. The Digimon glanced at them and nodded. Cassie looked over at Yutaka, who thankfully hadn’t caught it. Why are they here now? Clean-up? The others would need to be informed. After waiting roughly ten minutes, the plane took off, heading towards Japan.
 

 
VictoryGreymon was a Digimon with similarities to WarGreymon, only it clutched a blade and had four wing-like metal pieces on its back instead of the shield with Courage as its emblem. VictoryGreymon immediately moved, engaging Gaioumon in combat.
 
“How…” Tai gasped.
 
“How did Agumon evolve without Tai’s power?” Jonathan finished, looking awestruck.
 
Luca explained, “That Digimon belongs to Tamaki first. Tomoe is of the same blood, in a way. It’s only natural she can do this.”
 
“What do you mean, in a way?” Matt asked suspiciously, glancing at the younger blonde.
 
The boy shrugged. “None of us said Tomoe was human. We just said she was his daughter.” He looked at the girl, who had tackled Davis in a wild fury, stabbing and punching with all the might she could muster. “She is at least partially human,” he mused. “Only humans have the power of a heart.” Jonathan prepared to move again but again he was stopped. “You would die child of wood. Do not interfere.”
 
“Trident Gaia!” The blast roared, making three holes in one of Gaioumon’s blades.
 
“Rinkazan!”  The swordstrike was repelled, fallen back by a Victory Charge shield. As he fought, VictoryGreymon felt an ancient protectiveness rising in him. Tomoe’s aura was similar, so similar… to her.
 
She will not die again, Tamaki. I promise you that. We worked so hard for her to come back. Even with you gone, we will not lose her.
 
He had no memory of Tai, only fighting, only beating this enemy and protecting… protecting…
 
Kikyo…
 
Agu-nii!
 
“Dramon Breaker!”
 
“Rinkazan!” The rage filled the fighters once more. She did not deserve to die! VictoryGreymon’s attacks grew wilder and stronger. Gaioumon fell back, overwhelmed by the sudden assault from the dragon. Below him, Tomoe had knocked Davis into a tree, nearly giving the boy a concussion. He was pinned there by blades.
 
She twirled a knife in her hands. “Die!” She threw it… and the world exploded crimson.
 
“No!”
 

 
The plane landed and Cassie waved farewell to the younger female with a sad sort of smile. She hurried off the plane and toward the baggage claim. A taxi was waiting for her not long after. She clutched Ruthie close to her chest, the baby deep asleep in her arms.
 
Her phone suddenly buzzed and she flipped it open. “Hello sister. I’m in Japan now.”
 
“You are?” Relena sounded relieved. “Well that’s one good thing about today.”
 
“Oh?” She frowned. “I’m not bringing good news though. What’s happened?”
 
“Tomoe,” her sister replied softly. “Tomoe broke. Kiri and I just felt it happen. She went after her.”
 
Cassie could feel the phone gouging into her hand, it clenched so tightly. “I see. So Kudamon is…”
 
“Dead.”
 
“Who did it?”
 
“A fallen chosen, named Davis Motomiya.”
 
The woman scoffed. “I knew those pure ones were no good. They’re so easy to knock over.” I made the right decision after all.
 
“…Yeah. Cassie…”
 
“Yep?”
 
“Why… why did you come to Japan? It wasn’t just to force Kiri in a dress.”
 
“It’s…it’s about Elian.”
 
Cassie felt her sister stiffen. “What have they done to him?” The cold rage in her sister’s voice was palpable.
 
“You guessed so fast,” she praised gently. “I don’t know. I can’t read the Code, except I know the seal. The Sovereigns are moving.”
 
“You’re quite sure it’s them?”
 
“Yes. The Storien are here in Japan.”
 
“All of them?” Relena groaned. “They must have sensed Leith using his power. They’re all going to be reinstated now. This isn’t good. They can’t meet the Chosen.”
 
“I don’t think we have a choice. Besides…” a light smirk flickered onto her face. “Don’t you want to see the Holy Beasts squirm?”
 
Relena laughed, a cold hollow sound. “Sure. I might as well. It’s not like it matters now. I won’t forgive them, not anymore.”
 
“I’m sure Ebonwumon will say they do not deserve forgiveness.”
 
“It’s likely he’s right.”
 

 
“Tomoe-chan…” Kiri collapsed, blade in her rib to the hilt. Tomoe screamed again, voice shattering. VictoryGreymon froze, staring at the bloodstained teenager. He had been broken from the past. Davis was still standing there, dumbstruck. How did she get there?
 
“Mama!” She ran to the older girl’s side, crying all over again as she pulled her knife out. She shook her. “No Mama, don’t die! Please don’t die yet!”
 
The dragon abruptly devolved. That child has lost her mind.
 
The other Digi-Destined were as equally shocked. Sora clutched at Tai, with a bemused expression on her face. "She's not..." Your mother, she finished mentally.
 
"Kiri, no. This can't be how it ends..." Jonathan breathed.
 
From nearby, Luca suddenly screamed in pain, clutching at the place where Kiri had been stabbed. He swore foully and ran to her side, now bleeding from his own rib. Tomoe was still sobbing brokenly as green light pulsed from her frame. Luca knelt at her side, ripping his cousin's shirt to see the pulsing diamond on her chest, which was cracked. The girl thrashed wildly, semi-conscious. Far away, Relena fell, clutching her torso. Cassie was at her side, as the girl thrashed in pain.
 
Norn!
 
All at once their Digivices began to screech in alarm.
 
“What’s happening?” Yolei asked.
 
Luca growled. “Not again!” he hissed irritably. “The Unit’s cracked! Tomoe-chan, get your knife and then grab tight! I’m not sure this’ll work again!” Tomoe obeyed, yanking the silver from her body and wrapping her arms around him. Luca mumbled to himself as violet light wrapped around his hands.
 
“What the hell is he trying to do?” Matt couldn’t help but snap.
 
“Goddess of Order and Chaos, hear me,” the child commanded, and Jonathan could see violet runes appearing all over the boy. “Hear my wish as the worlds begin to fall to ruin. This must not be, it is not so. Defy this fate that has been set before us. Defy the malignant foe in front of us. Give your protector life anew.” The violet light ran like water down his hands and as the others hurried over, they could see the jagged crack slowly recovering.
 
“Chaos and Order meet, harmonize, and surpass. Meet with Miracle’s shine and survive.”
 
The glow burned and Kiri gasped awake. Her eyes remained wide open in agony as the crack faded. Tomoe smiled with weak relief. Kiri groaned weakly, slowly sitting up. Luca tried and failed to push her back down. “Is…is everyone all right?”
 
Luca froze for a grand total of three seconds then he let out a cry of pure exasperation. “What the hell’s wrong with you Nee-san?” The others, though in agreement, shied back from the child’s furious face. The runes faded and most of his energy followed suit. “You’ve nearly died again! Can’t you worry about yourself for once?”
 
She gave a shaky laugh and shook her head no. “You know I can’t do that Luca. It’s not possible.” Kiri looked at Tomoe, who was trembling behind Luca. She gave an encouraging smile. “It’s all right, Tomoe-chan. Come here now.” Tomoe moved forward slowly before running into her arms.
 
“Mama,” the girl whispered brokenly. “Why did you do that? He should have died. Not you again. It hurt Mama. He made it all wrong.”
 
“Tomoe-chan shouldn’t waste her power on someone like him.” Kiri rested her chin on the girl’s head. “It won’t bring Kudamon back.”
 
“He killed him… my Kudamon… I’m alone.”
 
“What do you mean?” Sora murmured gently. “I know you’re suffering but Kudamon will come back if you wait a little longer.”
 
Tomoe turned to glare at her with a tear-stained face. “You’re wrong!” she screamed, vocal chords practically swollen. “You don’t know anything! Kudamon wasn’t a Digimon! He wasn’t real! Once things die, they stay dead! Kudamon can’t come back!” And she started to sob again, the sound raw and soft. Kiri gently pulled her close and stroked her hair.
 
“Hush child,” she murmured. “I’m sorry Tomoe-chan, I’m truly, truly sorry.” Luca turned away toward Davis, who was still watching numbly.
 
“Go,” he hissed coldly, the light having faded to his hands. “Go and give a message to your master Leviamon. Tell him he’d better hope that he doesn’t face me in the end because…” The air was suddenly choking, gripped with grey. “I’ll flay him. I swear by the Chaos blood that he will beg for hell before I am halfway done. Now…” Davis suddenly fell back, bleeding from disgusting burns all over as the violet aura seemed to eat away. “Leave before I make you an example, human.” Davis, surprisingly, obeyed the younger boy, leaving with Gaioumon.
 
Tai looked at the younger boy and managed to find his voice as Agumon returned to his side, looking upset. “You don’t mean that.”
 
Somehow Jonathan managed a snort. “Unfortunately Tai, he does.”
 
Luca smiled coldly. “It took you this long to figure that out?” He turned back to Tomoe. “Come on now Tomoe-chan let your Mama get up okay?” Tomoe obeyed silently and Jonathan saw the light had faded from her eyes.
 
“She’s not her mother,” Sora cried. “There’s no way she could be.”
 
Luca answered for them, seeing Kiri standing up. “She might as well be our mother. Unlike the rest of you, we haven’t had anyone else.” He turned and left, the other two following him out. Kiri turned back briefly and waved sadly, that smile still there.
 
All Jonathan could think was, when? It looked like she was stuck at death’s door again.
 

 
With Cassie having gone ahead to see her younger sister, Yutaka, Hiroaki and Bill waited in the park for the others to arrive. They walked in as a group. All of them were talking amongst themselves. Tai was walking alongside Agumon, looking clearly frazzled. He kept glancing at his partner and looking away, uncomfortable. Agumon looked slightly guilty. Sora tried to reassure Tai that everything would be all right, but Biyomon didn't know what to do.
 
"I'm fine," he said, forcing a smile. "That was just really strange. Agumon, promise you won't do that again."
 
"I don't think I'll do it again," replied his Digimon, looking sad. "I don't think she really meant to do that Tai. She was scared and her heart did that on accident. I feel bad for her." She was... she was meant to be… why Tamaki? Why did you try and bring her back? That wasn’t what she wanted!
 
"...Yeah." Jonathan stepped up to be beside Yutaka.
 
"Uh Jonathan, not to be rude, but who is she?" Tai asked, turning away from the conversation. Tsunomon popped out of Yutaka's bag, answering Tai's question and Digivolved to Elecmon.
 
"She's a Digi-Destined?"
 
"Me? A Chosen Child?" Yutaka whispered. "Hardly.”
 
"She's my sister," Jonathan answered.

Legendarian Mistress
March 30th, 2011, 03:50 PM
A/N: Credit goes to Sgt Shock and Otherworld9) for their parts in the last scene.

Chapter 28: Heirs of the Ancient Ten

Tai looked shocked. He was stunned that Jonathan hadn’t told them he had a sister, let alone that she was a Digi-Destined.

“She’s not a Digi-Destined; she’s a partner. Her status was revoked almost straight away,” Jonathan clarified, having guessed Tai’s thoughts. “And now for the formal crap... Everyone, I’d like you all to meet my sister. Yutaka, these are the Digi-Destined.”

The Digi-Destined nodded and said hello to Yutaka; she responded likewise. It was at that point in time that Hiroaki stepped forward; he was by himself, as what remained of his team had chosen to do other things. Mr. Ishida ran a hand through his hair and wondered how Matt and T.K. would take what he was about to say. Finally, he decided to get it over and done with. “I have an announcement to make,” he began.

Jonathan, Tai and T.K.’s teams, as well as Rei, the three International Digi-Destined and Yutaka glanced at him curiously. “I was called before the Sovereigns because my job had been done long ago, in their eyes. Teela, Joshua and Miranda will probably get the same decision handed down to them; but as of the other day, I am now a partner as well.”

“Are you serious, Dad?!” T.K. exclaimed. “They stripped you of your Digi-Destined status just like that?”

Hiroaki nodded wearily. Personally, he was fine with the decision, but Matt still hadn’t said anything. That was worrying him.

“I’m sorry to hear that, Dad. Is Gabumon still able to Digivolve to MetalGarurumon?” The golden-blonde responded evenly and calmly in a way that concerned his father even more. Matt glanced down at his own partner, BlackGabumon, and wondered what his Digivolutions would look like.

Something’s happened to you, Matt. You never used to be this calm when speaking to me in the past. What happened to you when you disappeared that day? Hiroaki was very concerned. He wasn’t sure if he should answer his son’s question, but Gabumon stared at him, indicating he should. Mr. Ishida sighed, before pressing on. “Yes, he can still Digivolve to MetalGarurumon, but...”

“But what?” Anna asked.

“He won’t be Digivolving to that form anymore. My partner has an alternate Mega form now. Yutaka — why don’t you show them?”

Bill joined the others. Tall for a twenty five-year-old, he has long, black pony-tailed hair; much like Blair. The two are alike in a couple of ways; they both have the same hair colour and same coloured eyes. He normally dresses in a pale blue work shirt and black trousers.

Wisemon emerged from the shadows and Blair gasped. Is Wisemon my cousin’s partner? She thought, looking shocked.

“Can you start please, Yutaka?” Hiroaki inquired.

Yutaka complied. “Elecmon Warp Digivolve to... AncientGreymon!” He was a large crimson dragon on four legs coated in red armour with orange bird-like wings. On his head was a white, horned helmet and there were holes in his armour to release fire.

“This is AncientGreymon,” Yutaka answered softly. She stared knowingly in Blair’s direction. “He is one of the Ancient Ten. The Sovereigns have decided it is time for them to return to their rightful place amongst their fellow Digimon.”

“The Ancient Ten?” Izzy mumbled, confused. “That’s not in any of my data.”

“Hello, Child of Knowledge. They wouldn’t be; they sacrificed themselves eons ago. In fact, your partner can Digivolve into AncientBeetlemon,” the nineteen-year-old glanced at Tentomon.

Izzy looked down at his partner and smiled. “Is that right?” He patted the Rookie’s head. “What a prodigious idea.”

“The same applies to Sora and Joe.”

“How was America, Yutaka?” Jonathan asked.

Izzy nodded thoughtfully, considering the idea.

Yutaka sighed, rolling her eyes. She went on to detail that it was the same as she had heard about on television; busy and crowded.

Tai checked his watch. “I’ve got to get home, you guys. Got to check on Kari. See you later, and nice to meet you, Yutaka.” He waved farewell, before hurrying off.

*****

A couple of hours later, Jonathan’s plan to talk to Azulongmon had been ruined when Mimi reminded him about their date. He mentally groaned, but followed Mimi regardless of how he felt and hoped that everything would turn out okay. As they walked back to the Tachikawa residence, because of Mimi’s insistence that she needed to change, Jonathan wondered whether this was the right thing to do or not... considering the war seemed to be bringing itself to the real world. The teen happened to glance at the sky and something flew past swiftly; a red something with wings and a hazard symbol on its chest.

Oh ****, this can’t be good! He thought worriedly, looking around in a panic. Mimi had told him to wait outside, which he did almost obediently. But with this thing flying around, who knew what could happen to any of the other Digi-Destined? Come on, come on, come on... Jonathan mentally tried to hurry Mimi and he got lucky. At that precise moment, she strutted out with her light pink dress on and fluttered her eyes at him. The teenager smiled automatically, but was frowning mentally. Why can’t she like some other colour? What the hell was that thing?


As the fifteen and sixteen-year-olds left Mimi’s parents’ home, something abnormal was happening at the Kamiyas’ unit. Tai was mysteriously absent and the only beings in the unit were Meeko, the Kamiyas’ pet cat, and Gatomon. Kari was in bed, apparently sick, with a bad headache and was witnessing scenes from Siara’s past.

“Tri, stop it, I can walk!” The cry was almost pitiful. The brunette grinned and flipped her over, causing the child to yelp.

“Nuh-uh, don’t even try it.” Triesta laughed, placing the white-haired girl on her back. “We’re gonna be late if we wait all day for me to fix the dumb crutches. Now let’s see how fast I can run! Here we go!” The girl took off, door sliding shut behind them. Siara yelped again.

“Stop it, Tri! We’re gonna crash!”

“Yeah, right!” The brunette laughed and laughed, spinning through the halls as she breezed into another door. Stopping, she panted for breath, still dizzy with excitement.

“You’re such a pest, Triesta.” Triesta looked up and scowled.

“Shut up, Samael.”

Before Kari could wonder why this was happening to her, another scene flashed into her mind.

“That was so cool, Mica!” The other girl blushed, lowering the gun.

“It-It wasn’t much,” she muttered shyly. Siara shook her head.

“No, that was great! You broke the target!”

“Mica could probably blow up dynamite from three hundred yards if she tried.”

Mica turned and bowed hurriedly. “Lady Arlen!” Siara waved.

The older girl sighed. “Honestly Mica, you don’t have to be so formal.” Siara laughed as her friend blushed.

Not being able to cope anymore, the thirteen-year-old wailed in distress and covered her head.


At the same time images from Siara’s past were flashing through Kari’s mind, Wizardmon was actively talking to Bill and Blair’s siblings — sixteen-year-old twins Mitsa and Ai and seventeen-year-old Tagashi. Where the Digi-Destined goes, their partner normally follows; but sadly, this was not the case with Blair today. She was still sulking in her room after coming home from her failed attempt in defence lessons with Leith several days ago. Bill habitually and kindly brought food to her room and left it on her study desk, but the non-stop brooding was getting to everyone... Wizardmon included.

The Champion shuddered as he remembered Dorumon’s scathing comments that were directed to his mind. Enough is enough, he thought. “Will you guys help me, please?” He asked, grasping theoretically at thin air. He was hoping Blair’s siblings and Bill (not to mention Jonathan, but the elf would ask him later) would be able to help him attempt to sort the problem out.

“Of course we will,” Bill answered immediately. “Anything for my little cousin and any time, Darnassian brother.” The last two words were spoken in Darnassian, the language of all elven and mage Digimon.

You know Darnassian? Wizardmon sent out, very surprised by Bill’s use of the ancient Digital language.

The twenty five-year-old’s laugh was his initial response. “I have secrets, too, you know?” He responded in Darnassian.

Bill tilted his head and winked at the Champion, who got the hint straight away. Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.

Mitsa and Ai were in the middle of a giggling fit on the floor. Tagashi scolded them mildly. “Get up, you two, you’re in Digital company.” When his younger sisters failed to heed his mild warning, he raised his voice a bit more. “There is a Digimon in the house and your younger sister needs our help. Get up!”

The giggling ceased instantly and the twins brushed themselves off, blushing in embarrassment. Mitsa said randomly, before falling into the giggles again: “Rana’s got boy trouble.” This caused Ai to succumb and Tagashi exhaled deeply in frustration.

“Twins,” he directed his comment at Bill and Wizardmon. “They make a joke outta anything. How did Shiro put up with it, I wonder?”

*****

Davis and Gaioumon stood across from Megidramon; the two dragons’ rage at each other was growing. “You’re in way over your head, Megidramon,” Gaioumon’s voice was thick with barely contained anger. “I existed first in this city. You’re nothing but a flea.”

The fourth of the Four Great Dragons mocked his opponent by flipping him off. Megidramon scorned Gaioumon by detailing that he was a Great Dragon and that the Great Dragons had existed since the Digital World was created, always reconfiguring into new Digimon whenever they became too old.

Gaioumon argued that Megidramon, a so called Great Dragon, was originally a weak and pathetic Baby level known as Chibomon. Megidramon lost his temper and rushed in at Gaioumon, engaging the other Mega in a fist fight.


A meek, mindless Jack had been given his orders earlier in the day. He was to destabilize the Digi-Destined. The now red-eyed, black-haired male walked around hunched, as if partially stoned, while he searched for his victims.

Since being told of Jack’s departure from the team, Rei and her partner had been on constant alert, scouring Odaiba like a hawk. The Digi-Destined from the future was, of course, sitting on Seraphimon’s shoulder while they were looking for the Shadow Child. “Down there!” The Holy Angel’s spoke sharply, seeing the radically changed near-adult.

“That’s him alright,” Rei answered, her tone full of disappointment. “Give him a Hallowed Ascension, but make it the weakest you can.”

Lightning bolts poured down from the sky, as Seraphimon descended, striking Jack and leaving him in a curled heap on the ground. He was moaning desperately; the word sounded like “purge”. Rei and her partner weren’t sure what to make of that, but the cerise-haired twelve-year-old locked the word away in her mind and vowed to tell Jonathan about it later.


Having gotten back from his date with Mimi, Jonathan visited the Morgan residence and opened the door to get a face full of Bill and Wizardmon talking fluent Darnassian, though he didn’t know that at the time; Mitsa and Ai were back on the floor in another of their giggling fits and Tagashi was nowhere to be seen. Hopefully, he was trying to coax Blair out of her mood.

Jonathan dodged the twins’ rolling bodies and approached Bill and Wizardmon. The two finished their conversation for the time being and nodded at him. “What was that you were-” He attempted to ask, but was cut off by Wizardmon’s gloved hand being raised.

“That, my good friend,” Bill added, “is something that’ll be revealed later. Trust me.”

The dirty-blonde dropped his head at the same time he sighed. “Okay, okay. Is Tagashi having any luck?”

Bill shook his head. “Unfortunately, no.”

Wizardmon spoke up afterwards. “There’s something I have to discuss with you, Jonathan.” He motioned for the teen to sit down, but the offer was refused.

“I just watched a three hour movie with Mimi,” he said as way of an explanation. “So I’ll just stand up. Thanks anyway.”

Wizardmon gave details on the problem and Jonathan nodded, thinking at the same time. “At the current moment, the relationship is back to square one. I promised Kiri and Dorumon that’d I help them.”

Jonathan agreed, saying it was up to them to help Blair with the problem. He promised to have had a word with her before the day ended.


Megidramon, by this stage, had learned of his puppet’s failure. He bent over the lightly scorched body of Jack, inhaling deeply. A thunderous roar was unleashed mere seconds later. “SMELLS OF SERAPHIMON! DAMN ANGEL!” He ripped off the bandage on the male’s neck and started jabbing violently with his tail, inflicting more wounds than before. Finishing there, he vented his fury at the chest area next, stabbing viciously and randomly with his spiked tail. But quite quickly, he stopped, sensing Jack’s life force flicker. Stupid human connection, he growled angrily in his mind, before leaving.

*****

An hour later, with Blair still not partaking in team fights and Jonathan having to go somewhere in a veil of mystery, Tai gave Kiri a choice: Join his or T.K.’s teams or swiftly choose a temporary leader while Jonathan was away.

Kiri shrugged. “I can probably handle it for now,” she said calmly.

“Wouldn’t change much,” commented Relena.

“Alright, let’s do this!” Tai yelled, encouraging his and T.K.’s teams. Everyone was present, barring Kari and, of course, Davis. The Digimon Digivolved to their highest levels.

Kiri shivered. “Something’s coming.”

Something was indeed coming; the spike-tipped, flame winged dragon appeared. He roared at the Digi-Destined as he descended. Tai immediately thought: How the hell are we gonna fight off one of the Four Great Dragons? His face showed a light sheen of sweat.

Kiri groaned lightly and took Relena’s hand. “Let’s go.” Her Digimon Digivolved and Kiri let the light shine.

As Renamon went all the way to the Ultimate level, Liollmon and Dorumon followed suit. With some of the teams’ Digimon partners at the Ultimate level, Tai assumed that they would be able to weaken their opponent.

Kiri grinned and vanished, stabbing the hazard symbol.

“Foolish, pathetic human! Don’t you know if the hazard symbol is unleashed, everything will be destroyed!” Releasing a powerful shock wave from howling, Megidramon roared: “Dragon Howling!”

“Moron,” Kiri uttered coldly. The Catal Unit pulsed, countering the howl. “The Hazard is nothing but Chaos, right Luca?” The boy smiled.

“WELL, TAKE THIS!” The Mega roared, with every fibre of his being going into Megid Flame. He breathed flame that he was sure would burn his foes to ashes.

Leith released a torrent of water, sending the waves rushing into the dragon. “Don’t touch my master,” he uttered coldly.


Jonathan had entered the park roughly fifteen minutes ago and there was still no sign of the Sovereign. He glanced at his watch and was about to go back to the battleground where the Digi-Destined were fighting against Megidramon, when Azulongmon appeared. “You wanted to ask me some things?” The Sovereign questioned.

“Yes,” Jonathan’s answer was short and to the point. “It’s about Kari.”

“I’m listening,” Azulongmon responded.

Jonathan shuddered momentarily, before exhaling through his nose. “Why, and how, has she disgraced herself in the Sovereigns’ eyes?”

“A risen human or the remnant of a world has no place with a whole inhabitant or an existing one.”

“It wasn’t Kari’s choice; you know that, don’t you? It’s not like she asked Siara to keep possessing her.”

“She accepted the responsibility for Siara’s soul. Choice makes little difference.”

Jonathan realized he wasn’t going to get anywhere if he tried to protect Kari and his expression showed distress. Azulongmon knew there was something more than his wish to help Kari, so the Sovereign made a deal with him. “In return, you mustn’t breathe a word of this to Blair.”

“Until the day I die, Azulongmon, I won’t say anything to her.”

“Then here you go.” The Sovereign silently pulled a Digi Core off his body and it slowly merged with Jonathan’s.


Kari had since recovered from her earlier apparent illness and was out wandering the area around Highton View Terrace. She found Jack lying on the ground, still curled up, with electrical burns and stab wounds from something. She let go of her mind and Siara came to the forefront. The white-haired girl’s spirit passed Kari’s hands over the wounds, one lot at a time, healing him slowly.

Many people walked past the two, not stopping to take any notice, but one random stranger ceased walking and studied Kari’s actions. “Here, let me help you lift him up,” they said, coming forward. Siara retreated immediately and Kari recoiled. She backed away and took off, before the person could do anything more. The complete stranger then called the ambulance, which arrived relatively quickly and carted Jack off to hospital.

*****

Having retreated after nearly getting scorched alive by Megidramon’s Megid Flame move, the Digi-Destined thanked Leith and made to go their own way, though Tai warned everyone Megidramon would most likely attack again. But Tai had spoken too soon; Megidramon appeared in their vicinity in a flash, almost as if he hadn’t taken the brunt of Leith’s ability.

“You didn’t use enough power,” Luca commented. Leith sighed.

“Blame me for that,” Kiri said with a grin. “A fight is boring if Leith kills him too fast. How much was that again?”

“Twenty-five percent,” the weapon replied, looking almost interested. “I haven’t even awoken the tempest yet.”

“Then you’re up, Luca.” Luca smiled quietly and charged, slicing violet waves into Megidramon’s eyes.

The flame-based dragon roared in agony and swiped blindly with one huge hand, almost reaching Kiri.

Kiri didn’t flinch, stepping back and jumping up. “You want to kill me now?” She asked sardonically. “I thought you had better prey, neh Relena?”

“Overwrite.” The ring soared, beginning to delete the offending arm. Relena’s blue eyes were icy. “We keep telling you not to hurt her. You’re just too stupid.” The air around her was cold and pressured, indicating Relena was near to losing her temper.

“You referring to that pitifully dumb arsed nineteen-year-old who thought he could control me?” The dragon rumbled. “Humans are weak.”

Leith twitched, sensing Sean’s urge to comment and pushing him back. Kiri understood it and laughed loudly. “Humans are weak, huh?” She snickered. “You’re such a worthless scut.” Luca was running again, reaching forward and slamming his hand onto the Hazard symbol. Red light began to flow from the glowing symbol into the boy’s body.

The boy suddenly cracked. “This could destroy everything? Hah, it’s pathetic!” LoaderLiomon slammed his whirling mane into Megidramon’s body, just above where Luca was.


As the Digi Core began melding with Jonathan’s body, sweat poured off him like you wouldn’t believe. His vision wavered in and out, and he felt very light-headed. The teen’s heart pounded erratically but, after what seemed like forever, it returned to its normal pulse. Jonathan’s vision stabilized and the light-headed feeling dissipated, with the sweat easing as well.

I did it, he thought happily at the same time Azulongmon spoke.

“The Digi Core has merged with your body. Remember your promise, Child of Wood.” The Sovereign flew off after that.


“That’s enough.” A low, flat voice said. The Destined turned to see Davis and Gaioumon standing there, a few metres away. “Let me at him.”

Luca tilted his head. “Okay, Mister. You want to fight, you can fight.” He jumped back and called back his partner, tugging Relena back.

Izzy’s AncientBeetlemon, Yutaka’s AncientGreymon, Hiroaki’s AncientGarurumon, Joe’s AncientMegatheirumon and Sora’s AncientIrismon stood alongside Tai’s WarGreymon, Matt’s Dino Tigemon and Mimi’s Rosemon. T.K.’s Seraphimon, Yolei’s Garudamon, Ken’s JewelBeemon and Cody’s Anomalocarimon waited near Doumon, LoaderLiomon and Doruguremon. Even Gaomon, Floramon, Terriermon, Lopmon and Unimon were at the Mega level; the latter four consisted of Kentaurosmon, MegaGargomon, the Vaccine-attributed Cherubimon and Hououmon. Gaomon, however, had to take on the alternate form of Shine Greymon, so he wasn’t confused with T.K.’s partner.

“You misunderstand,” Davis’ flat voice continued on, as if Luca hadn’t let him through. “When I said “let me at him”, I expected all of you to help as well.”

“So then, what are you waiting for?” Gaioumon questioned in a gravelly voice that seemed to be edged with razor-sharp knives. “LET’S GO!” Without waiting to see if the others followed him, Gaioumon charged in at the now one-armed Megidramon. Davis, these children really are fools, thinking we’re here to help them.

Luca glanced at Kiri, who shook her head. Luca smiled cruelly. “Too bad,” he said softly. “You’re so eager to fight, all of you go ahead.” Kiri grinned quietly and released her hold over the power. Gesturing with her hand, she turned away.

Matt snorted; it was a half disgusted, half amused sound. “What’s the matter; Gaioumon got your courage?”

Luca rolled his eyes. “What’s the matter, actually mentally six-years-old?” He snapped back.

Kiri sighed. “We don’t have to fight. I think someone else wants to... neh, Faolan?”

Megidramon suddenly roared and fell for a moment. A shadow fell to the ground on all fours. It howled coldly, sending chills down spines. For a moment, they all saw it: a giant translucent wolf snarling insanely at its prey, crimson dripping from its muzzle. Luca grinned.

“That’s it,” he hissed. “There he is: the Bloody Direwolf!” The shadow moved, slamming claws into the armoured Digimon’s face.

“Faolan’s an animal?” Sora exclaimed, looking very confused.

Luca snorted. “That’s a Shadow, idiot. He’s human, at least physically.” He paused. “Then again...”

Triesta smiled through Relena, violet eyes bright. “He’s always been a bit wild. Though that was what made him so strong.”

“Don’t call my girlfriend an idiot,” Tai muttered under his breath.

The gathered Digi-Destined watched as Faolan beat the hell out of Megidramon.

“When she ain’t as stupid as you I will,” the boy bit out derisively. “God, wuss.”

Kiri rolled her eyes and raised her voice. “Both of you, lay off.” Luca scowled and fell silent and the other boy leapt to her side, still crouching on all-fours. The Digi-Destined glimpsed golden eyes glaring instinctively at them all.

Megidramon ran like a coward, shouting curses back at his foes.

Kiri snorted. “Imbecile.” She glanced at Davis. “We’re waiting.”

Luca bristled, almost like a cat. “Hurry up and attack already! Your killing intent stinks!”

Davis and Gaioumon went after the cowardly Mega, firing a combo of his attacks at the fleeing Digimon’s back.

Kiri knelt at Faolan’s side and murmured something the others couldn’t catch. The boy nodded and remained tensed up, watching.

“When’s Jonathan gonna come back?” Tai wondered.

Sora looked behind her boyfriend and pointed. “Isn’t that him now?”

Jonathan returned to the group, after Megidramon had fled, at the same time another teen showed up. He was roughly the same height as Jack, with platinum-blonde hair and abnormal brown eyes. The teen wore khaki-style clothes, with a dark green bandana tied around his forehead. His black boots were moderately expensive and a gold necklace was around his neck.

“Who’re you?” Tai asked.

“Ikuto Mazaar at your service, partner extraordinaire,” Ikuto introduced himself. Realizing Kiri was beside him; he slipped his hand into her pocket and fished out her D-Core. She caught him straight away.

The knife was a millimetre from his throat and she was smiling sweetly. “Try that again. I dare you.” Her other hand calmly took her Digivice from him and it chirped mechanically.

“Looks like we’ve got a kleptomaniac in the team now,” Catherine giggled.

“So where’s your partner, Ikuto?” Sora inquired, before he could launch into his half-a-dozen jokes.

“Right here,” the male answered as the Rookie jumped down from a tree. He was a dark speckled bipedal lizard who carried a small rifle in his clawed hands. Commandramon also wore an army helmet on his head. “But be careful; he is uncharacteristically aggressive and will strike without provocation. He will rein himself in only for me; everyone else has been warned.”

Kiri, Leith, Luca and Relena sensed something different about Jonathan and Kiri asked the question first. “Neh, Jonathan?” Kiri began curiously. “I sense Azulongmon’s power within you. Have you two interacted recently?”

“Yes, for want of a word,” Jonathan answered.

Kiri smiled. “Good,” she sang out softly. “That’s a good step forward.”

“It wasn’t as you would expect, though.”

“Probably not, but the Sovereigns always do interesting things.”

“I made a deal with him and I have to keep it a secret from Blair,” Jonathan replied.

Dorumon stiffened at the name and Leith’s eyes almost flashed. Kiri nodded. “Sounds about right. Hopefully, it won’t cost you your life. Otherwise, I would have to make a complaint.”

“I know, at least partially, what you guys are feeling. Ever since she came home that day, she’s been sulking and it’s getting on everyone’s nerves. Bill’s had enough; Mitsa and Ai have giggling fits to stave off the boredom and Tagashi is working on something on his computer. I don’t know what to do with her.”

“Punch her in the face,” Luca suggested slyly. Kiri bopped him on the head.

“Drag her out and try to understand the problem?” Relena thought aloud. Leith muttered something in Kiri’s ear and the girl laughed.

“What was that, Leith?” Jonathan asked.

Kiri shook her head, still giggling like a fool. “You don’t want him to repeat that. Believe me, you don’t.” Relena and Luca suddenly caught it and both grinned.

“That’s just mean, Leith,” Relena pointed out. “Pass that on to Sean for me. Tell him that was mean.” Luca snickered.

“I hope it wasn’t something about me,” Jonathan replied casually.

Kiri shook her head, still giggling.

Rei remembered what she’d planned to tell Jonathan and motioned for him to step away from the group for a few minutes.

“I found Jack,” she began quietly. “I saw all these wounds from his partner’s tail. I, well,” Rei shifted hesitantly. “I told Seraphimon to attack him, but it was a really weak one.”

“You what?” He answered, surprised. “Did he say anything?”

“Purge,” she replied quietly, remembering.

Jonathan was silent as he considered this information. “Hmm; he must want to be freed.”

“Maybe,” she said neutrally.

“You doubt him?”

“Not really him, but... I doubt his sanity.”

“Then you think the corruption has done irreversible damage?” The sixteen-year-old asked.

“If not irreversible, then very difficult to heal damage. Corruption does a great deal of damage to people and Digimon.”

“So if he was freed, he might be a bit insane?”

“It’s likely. However, I’m not nearly that knowledgeable about the corruption as I sound. Maybe you should ask someone who’s been previously corrupted how it is.”

“Alright, thanks Rei.” The teen looked at his watch, before glancing at Tai, who nodded in response.

“It’s been a huge day, so I think it’s time we started heading home,” Tai said pointedly.

“G’bye then,” Kiri commented, heading the other direction. Her friends followed, Relena whispering something in her friend’s ear. Kiri paused for a minute and turned back. “Get ready tomorrow, Jonathan! You aren’t getting off the hook from training that easily!”

“You’re going to get your weapon tomorrow,” Luca added and snickered. “Oh, that’s gonna be fun.” Faolan peered at them for a moment, and then dashed off.


After being told about Jack from Rei and confirming he was coming for training, Jonathan had gone home, dropping in at the Morgan residence. Tagashi was expecting him, as was Bill; they let him through. He went to Blair’s bedroom, knocked and waited for her to reply.

As he waited, something caught his attention on the very bottom edge of the door. Kneeling down to get a better view, the door was suddenly opened. Stunned, he gazed up to see Blair looking down at him.

“What do you want, Jonathan?” She spoke. He looked at where he last saw that object, yet it wasn’t there anymore.

“Nothing, I just thought I saw something,” Jonathan replied, making Blair grimace and leave the door open for him. He entered without hesitating, many things on his mind just ready to come out.

Wizardmon was already in the room, having been trying to convince his partner to cease the moods, but had obviously had no luck. “These sulking fits,” Jonathan began. “They have to end. The team can’t go on like this forever. Kiri, Luca, Relena and Leith made jokes at your expense. You are of the Phoenix Blaze, Blair. You must do something to restore their confidence in you.”

“What do you expect me to do, JONATHAN?” Blair’s voice was beginning to shred in her throat. “I’m breaking apart. Shattering like some kind of glass. You expect me to just get over it. I can’t get over it! I liked — no, I loved him. The scars on my heart aren’t going to heal…” Tears were falling from her face now. Jonathan knew how to deal with her yelling, but not like this. “You said that I was the Phoenix Blaze; but all I am feeling like... is the ashes.”

“Alright, I’ll fit some time in tomorrow to try and help you, but don’t question me if I start spending more time with them over you. Maybe then you’ll actually learn that I care about you.”

Jonathan walked out the room, not even stopping to close the door that had been left open. Blair only kept sulking, while Wizardmon tried to find a solution to the problem. They both knew Blair was upset, yet Wizardmon didn’t know how to react or what to say to the situation.

Fuyu
April 5th, 2011, 12:35 PM
Chapter 29: Shattered Hearts
 
The night was a bitter one: cold for the summertime.  Kiri scowled to herself, brushing at her blade. The night sky seemed to mock her. She closed her eyes and sensed. Blair’s anguish seemed to scream at her heart while Sean’s drowning voice was just as strong. She sighed. “Enough is enough. I don’t give a flying damn about delicacy anymore.” She jumped from the wall and walked up to Blair’s house. Seeing the closed window, she smirked. “As if that makes a difference.” Closing her palm, she concentrated, making a pin appear between her fingers. Kiri leapt to the sill and silently unlocked it.
 
“What are you doing Kiri?” Wizardmon hovered just behind her, causing the smirk to widen.
 
“I’ve had enough,” she said coolly. “You guys keep dancing around it and they’re both moping like a couple just after breakup. I’ll beat the sense into her if I have to.”
 
“I won’t let you do that.” Kiri glanced back at him and gave a derisive snort.
 
“Then what? Leave her to whine because Sean’s shunned her? Because he’s doing the exact same thing she did to him? Because he’s terrified out of his mind right now and doesn’t want to go near the fire for reasons she can’t understand? No Wizardmon, I won’t let them keep this up. I’m not that cruel and you’re not that stupid.” I hope.She opened the window and abruptly kicked the girl’s bed. “Get off your ass brat. Now, or I will bodily force you out the window.”
 
"What do you want?" Blair growled, not looking at the intruder.
 
Wizardmon sent his thoughts to Jonathan. Jonathan, Kiri's taking matters into her own hands. The elf had made sure to keep his mind closed while sending a plea for help.
 
"For you to get that stick out of your ass," Kiri replied darkly, allowing metal to shift around her fingers again. "Now you can be a useful woman for once and get dressed so we can get this **** done or I can drag your *****y, teenage, hormonal, antisocial, banshee body out the window and possibly get you into a full-body cast. Personally, either method works."
 
Blair growled audibly, but got up, went to the bathroom and got changed. She could hear Mitsa and Ai in the next room, watching some sort of movie. Wizardmon, however, remained at the window; he was watching and waiting for the "cavalry" to arrive.
 
Kiri sighed to herself. "I hate being the bad guy for this stuff. As if we didn't have enough problems right now..."
 
Talk about bad luck... Wizardmon thought and laughed mentally afterwards.
 
"What's going on here?" A familiar voice called out, as the owner burst into Blair's room.
 
Kiri rolled her eyes. "Well ****, I was wondering if you would come. Hurry it Blair, we're going." Kiri pulled iron ball bearings from her pocket. "I wouldn't interfere Jonathan. Goddess knows you're royally screwed this up already."
 
"I've screwed what up? What the hell are you on about?" Jonathan asked suspiciously.
 
Well, you’ve screwed up my life if you want me to be perfectly honest. She almost wished he could read her mind. "What do you think?" she replied coldly. "She is the blood of the Phoenix Blaze and that blaze is pretty much dead. You say you swore to look after her, well excellent work idiot! She knows nothing. And right now, she is in the most danger out of all of you." Kiri winced, clutching her head. "Ah ****." Baihumon would you chill? I know we aren't supposed to talk about the Crossroads Error okay? Why do you think I've avoided the topic? Hearing the reply, she frowned and lowered her hand. Yeah well Zhuqiaomon can go shove it up his ass. He knows I was right about that. Arrogant bird, worse than his Chosen. Even Sentri-nii wasn't as bad.
 
"I can't protect her from every single mistake! Look Kiri, I had a talk with her, all right? It didn't work. Besides..." He paused and listened to Bill and Tagashi's approaching footsteps. "Technically, you've broken and entered and I don't think Bill appreciates that."
 
Bill and Tagashi appeared at the doorway. "Jonathan's right. I don't want you on my property."
 
"Wait, Bill," Tagashi interrupted. "The girl has clearly come for Blair for a reason." Turning to Kiri, he added: "I don't know who you are, but I hope that what you're planning for my little sister isn't going to endanger the rest of us."
 
I know you can't do that you brat. You truly are a fool.Kiri bowed hurriedly. I sincerely apologize for breaking in." Turning to Jonathan, she glared firmly. "Then don't make a promise you can't keep dumbass. That's why I'm here making a point. And yes I intend to keep the rest of you out of danger. That's why I was trying to get her out of the house. If you," she glanced at Wizardmon. "Hadn't called him, we'd have been a lot better off." She moved toward the windowsill. "Blair we need to go. You want to beat the living **** out of someone; I'll let you. It'll have to be me though, I don't think Sean will let you punch him anymore."
 
"I wasn't promising it to you, anyway!" Jonathan yelled at Kiri's back as the two dropped down from the two-story house.

You might as well have idiot. I’m the one who has to watch over you fools and you know it. Kiri chuckled. "Yeah but it doesn't mean I'm not supposed to help you keep it," she called back, a giddy laughter in her throat. "The park awaits, Phoenix Blaze," she said to Blair, looking almost cheerful as she ran. Inwardly she cursed. Zhuqiaomon and Azulongmon, you so owe me for this ****. I think I've overdone my services. You're explaining the Crossroads Error, the Elesyn Experiment and Schism's bad enough. She sighed. Sean: hurry your ass. Otherwise I will let Blair attack you. She heard a quiet sob in her ears. Sorry but I can't be nice anymore.
 
The answer sent a sad pain into her heart. She wondered what would happen if this failed. He would never trust humans again, she bet. I know. It's not your fault. I'll... I'll try.

Good. That’s a start.

Bill frowned. I don't know what she's planning for Blair, Wizardmon, but look after Rana for me.

I will, don't worry.

Kiri didn't even attempt to eavesdrop, letting the metal around her fingers fade away. Fanglongmon, I know I said I was willing to take on this responsibility but can I take a rain check tomorrow?
 
There was a wry chuckle. I'm afraid not. Tomorrow is when the doors are opened you know. 

God I hate rushed due dates. The park was only feet ahead and she could see Sean standing there as close to stoic as he could be in this situation. Blair growled upon seeing Sean and closed her mind.

Sean saw Blair and visibly flinched. Dorumon glanced at the two girls and growled softly, ready to defend his human from Blair if he had to. Kiri turned back to her and glared. "Stop being such a brat. It's not like this isn't partially your fault to start with."

Wizardmon straightened his posture and crossed his arms, frowning. Very well then, he projected his thoughts out to the other two. Why did you bring us here?

Sean gave him a polite nod. Kiri wishes for this fight to stop. Wizardmon could hear the tremble in the boy's mental voice. We can't be shattering ourselves anymore, more than we are. We... we can't tell the truth if not everyone's there to see it. That's the way this works. And out of all of the Chosen, Blair is likely in the most danger.

"Alright, alright," Blair grumbled. "What do I have to do?"

"Get the stick out of your ass," Sean replied in a sudden, cold voice. His eyes were fixed on Blair. He glanced at Kiri for a second, who simply gave him a dark stare.

"Didn't know I had a stick up my arse," she answered sarcastically. "You say you can't tell the truth if not everyone's there to see it. What truth?"

That the world is a big fat lie? "You won't believe me no matter what I say," Sean pointed out dully. "The only one I'm going to say right now is that the worlds are about to shatter all over again and it'll be your fault if they do because you screwed up every chance we gave you."

It is on Jonathan's head too but he knows already. Kiri thought to herself, sighing.

"So the future depends on me? How am I supposed to get stronger if the test is going to be that difficult?"

"It mostly depends on you now, since you're the most behind," Kiri commented quietly.
 
"It doesn't matter about how difficult the test is," Sean said coldly. "Others have taken it before you. They had no trouble and they suffered worse than you. Don't waste your time on whining, you do that enough already."
 
Kiri sighed. "Sean you aren't helping."

"You told me to be honest with her sister. I am being honest with her now. She's a brat who cries if everything goes wrong. And we wonder why she hasn't truly blazed yet. She's too pathetic to even try. Not even you can deny that." Wizardmon could see it: he was baiting her and judging by the look on the male's face, he didn't want interference.

"Where the hell do you get off insulting me you jackass?" Blair snapped. "You've been hiding from me this whole time! Hypocrite."
 
"You're one to talk," Sean muttered. Suddenly Kiri moved, whacking them both on the head.
 
"Okay children enough," Kiri began sternly. "Look, Sean, I said be honest not be a pain in the ass." He rolled his eyes.
 
"Well what am I supposed to do?" he asked, looking irritated. "I can't be nice to her, she looks at me like I'm being a jerk! And that's never worked with people like this anyway! People like her are the same! They act like they're the only ones with any sense!"
 
"Maybe we are," Blair snipped.

Sean gave her the cruelest look. "Obviously you're not because if you were, you wouldn't be breaking because I told you to leave me the **** alone after you treated me like ****! You would have actually gotten somewhere in that fight if you had actually listened to someone other than yourself and grown up for once! Blair, I'm annoyed that I of all people am telling you this but maybe I'd actually like you if you actually grew some balls, got the stick out of your rear end, and acted like someone who was actually worth being friends with!"

Silphymon appeared in a flash, but was content to stay and lean against a tree. "You talk so big. Maybe if you weren't addled, none of this would've happened in the first place!" Blair shouted back.

"So you're saying that if the Sovereign hadn't created me to make sure you had a world to live in at all, none of this would have happened?" Sean could feel his temper but reined it back. "You're telling me that if I had just stayed a tool; you'd have been fine? Goddess forbid someone other than you can be happy Blair! But you're taking that away from me too I see! Of course, you do that without thinking! You selfish, cold-hearted monster!"
 
Sean don't...
 
Why not Kiri? It's her goddamn fault and you and I know it!
 
She wouldn't get it. If Jonathan didn't get it, we know she won't.

I don't care Kiriko! She... she should be the one dying, not you!

You can care less as much as you like! I was actually referring to something else. Push a little more and see if you can guess what I'm talking about! Blair said mentally.

"Why don't you actually speak your mind you cowardly fool? We've actually been truthful to you for a change! How about a little courtesy? Oh wait you don't know what that is? You're too busy with stuffing the cotton in your ears!" Sean could feel it; he was very close to letting Leith back out. He could see his other personality observing impassively. He sighed and released his emotions. "You know what? Screw it." He lowered his gaze away. "I don't even know why I'm even attempting to care about you anymore. It's obvious you don't like me at all. You've just been screwing with me from the beginning right?" He gave her that icy stare. "Go on admit it. You just wanted a toy."

"If she spoke her mind, you'd just kill her," Silphymon responded softly. "Of that, I am sure. And quite frankly, I don't care what you think of me anymore, Dorumon. In fact..." He trailed off as he walked away. "Have fun, everyone. I'll see you back at the house, Blair."

Sean laughed darkly. "Kill her? Why? I'm not stupid enough to break the promise I made. Your partner has to live. I will make sure she lives." He gave a bitter sob. "I'm not going to give us any chance to lose, no matter what it takes. So go ahead and say what you need to say. I'm sure your kind have said worse." Oh yes they have, they’ve done

“I didn’t know what to think of you until you burned my arm,” Blair answered, giving him a you-sure-you-can-handle-this look. “Before that, you seemed like any ordinary boy. After that, however, things changed drastically. Wizardmon was wary of you and, even though I don’t want to admit it, I was scared. Time passed; I didn’t appreciate the goading from you during the Devimon incident, but it helped me to help Wizardmon. I thought we had a chance together, but I became jealous when I learned you loved Kiri more than me.

Then the day of the test came. I’d apologize for what I said, but you wouldn’t believe me, anyway; so why should I bother? Jonathan came home that day and told me you’d all made jokes at my expense… and I actually cried, I cried when I told him I loved you; but I didn’t see the point anymore.” She turned her back. “Go ahead, say or do your worst.”

Sean watched her for a moment. Then he sighed in relief. "Well it's about damn time you said it." Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his sister's knowing smile. "God Kiri stop boasting. I know you were right. Shut up."

Blair snorted, but it was tinged with a hint of a sniffle. "I tell you the truth and all you can be bothered saying is seven measly words?" Her right eye started tearing up but, with her back still turned, they didn't know that.

Sean laughed shakily. "No Blair you're wrong. I'm glad... I'm so glad you finally told me how you felt. Ahah... it's feels like there's a weight off our chest now. I'm really glad. If you hadn't actually said it soon, I probably would have given up."

 ...
 
Whilst Blair was talking to Sean and Kiri, Bill and Tagashi were discussing something back at the Morgan residence. “Rana still doesn’t know your secret, does she, Bill?” The seventeen-year-old asked.
 
“She does not, but neither does Jonathan,” Bill answered. “How did you know, anyway?”
 
Tagashi laughed. “Mitsa, Ai, myself — we all know. We heard it from Yutaka a long time ago.” He smiled haphazardly. “So when will you tell them?”
 
There was silence for a while. “This wasn’t meant to be my destiny; I wasn’t meant to have Wisemon as my partner,” Bill finally responded. “It should have been me dying in Shiro’s place. Shiro was the one Fate had truly picked...” He trailed off, eyes downcast.
 
“Do not say that, partner,” Wisemon rebuked softly. He emerged from the shadows. “It would not have been wise to die in Shiro’s place; for if you had died, where would I be?”
 
Tagashi tilted his head, amazed at the Digimon’s intellect. “He’s right, ya know, Bill? The Sovereigns chose you for a reason and you have to stay alive in order to reveal your secret to Blair and Jonathan.”
 
“I know that, and I appreciate your concern. It’s just... why did they have to take Shiro’s life to ensure their legacy continued on in me?” Bill complained lightly.
 
“Perhaps they saw Shiro as a threat,” Tagashi replied, asking his query again: “When will you tell them?”
 
“In a couple of days,” Bill stated.
 
...
 
“Well, alright; I’ve told the truth, you’re happy that I’ve been honest... what next?” Blair questioned. She had since wiped away the two rogue tears which had started to blur her vision, and turned back to face the two, looking between them.

Sean simply shrugged. "I have to say goodbye, in a way." Surprised, Blair was silent.

"Not the same goodbye," Sean explained calmly. "The person Sean Ladon is unnecessary right now. The weapon Leith Harper is needed. It's something humans can't understand, Ebonwumon says."

But you'll come back... later? The words were unspoken but somehow he knew.

All Sean did was shrug. "If a human is necessary after this then I will. If a human is unnecessary then I will not. It all depends on their decree." He removed his wristband and began to untie the bandages around his wrist and revealed a familiar mark on the limb. It was burning his skin anew, faintly shining blue. "I wonder if it matters in the end. Leith will always remain."

"Alright." All Blair could really do was nod.

Sean let a sly grin flit across his features. "I'll miss you too."

"Then I guess everything's back to normal, Kiri?" Blair asked.

Kiri sighed and coughed tiredly. "Something like that." Sean inclined his head in farewell and his pale-blue eyes dulled as Leith stepped into control. He gave Blair a blank glance. 
 
"Is there a change of plans Kiriko?"

Kiri bobbed her head exhaustedly. "Yeah. Blair, get ready. I'm going to awaken your fire, even if it kills you. Leith, go for it." The boy complied and waves sprung up endlessly around the three, quickly turning to ice. Kiri placed her blade on the ground gently before turning back to her. Kiri covered her mouth a moment as blood seeped through her fingers. 

Despite being concerned for Kiri, Blair charged forward with her right hand, since her broken left one was still in plaster. Kiri smirked behind her hand and used Blair's fist to leap up and kick her opponent in the throat. Leaping back, she knocked the other's feet from under her, knocking Blair to her knees. Blair quickly got to her feet and thrust her hand downwards, aiming to perform a karate punch.

Kiri sidestepped lightly. "To blaze," she began softly, continuing to dodge Blair's attacks, hands in her pockets. "Is a process similar to the other awakenings. It involves your heart. Like they told you, emotions, promises, and desires all can bring this about. What you have not done yet is combined those into one. It isn't very complicated. You start out small and then you focus more, you let that one feeling overwhelm you."

Becoming riled, Blair threw another punch, but then stopped and thought about what Kiri had said. And the pony-tailed, black-haired girl knew she was right. The reddish haze started misting over her form; she wanted to get stronger, she wanted to awaken her element... but hiding the truth had not been a good thing. Without warning, a fireball materialized in her hand. Her first instinct was to get it away from her, but then she realized it was hovering a few inches above her hand. “...” Blair was stunned.

Once you get your weapon, you’ll be better off. Zhuqiaomon’s gruff voice filled her mind. You can only sporadically control it with your hands.

Kiri nodded softly. "That's it. It'll take some time but you'll get it." She sighed. "Zhuqiaomon, I see you behind her eyes. Aren't you still angry with me?"

I am, but you've helped awaken her element. For the time being, I am satisfied with you, the Phoenix answered.

She smirked lightly. "Fair enough. But don't forget: I know your sins Zhuqiaomon. And somehow, I'll make sure they make you pay for them." The Sovereign didn't answer.

"What are you talking about?" Blair inquired, confused.

Kiri shrugged. "You'll find out tomorrow with everyone else."

"Has Jonathan received his weapon yet?"

"Sometime later today," Leith murmured. "Lady Ferro will send Chihiro for you later, unless you wish to get it now."

"Later thanks," Blair answered.

"Then do as you wish."
 
"Okay, see you later." Blair waved farewell and headed back to the house.
 
As soon as Blair was gone, Kiri felt her legs give out. Leith caught her gently. She rested her head in his chest. "Sorry," she muttered. "I guess I really am losing it."
 
"It's all right," he murmured. "You're doing your best."
 
"I guess..." She forced herself back up. "Come, your comrades are waiting."
 
Leith couldn't help but snort. "Comrades..."
 

 
Morning arrived and Jonathan found himself in front of the Ferro household. Instead of being bustled in, he arrived to see Sanako standing outside. She didn’t seem to notice him, instead clutching a quarterstaff in her hands about as tall as she was. The girl spun and almost slashed, knocking the metal ends into something unseen. The figure leapt and he realized it was Kiri, who had easily vaulted over and kicked the girl in the face. Sanako didn’t give in the slightest, adjusting herself to return the favor.
 
As he watched the two fight each other, Jonathan found himself being drawn more and more to the weapon Sanako was wielding. It was a very graceful thing almost, yet he could see the areas that if he used it, he would have to work on. Yet Sanako seemed all right in defending herself. For a few more moments he just watched, until Kiri backflipped to land a foot away. She turned and waved, looking slightly winded.
 
“Made it on time,” she greeted, coughing lightly. Sanako leaned on her weapon, looking exhausted.
 
“I swear Kiri, how is it that you’re on your death bed yet can still kick my ass?” The older girl sounded more than winded.
 
Kiri shrugged. “Get a Core inside your body and find out.”
 
“Smart-ass.”
 
“Oh come on you’re barely tired.” It did seem so, contrary to behavior. Jonathan barely caught this, as he was scrutinizing Sanako’s weapon. She saw and smiled.
 
“Interested?” He nodded slowly. “It’s a quarterstaff, similar to a Bo staff. I can teach you how to use one, if you’d like.” Again, he nodded, slightly captivated.
 
Kiri snickered. “Looks like you got a live one.” Sanako flushed.
 
“Shaddup and go play with Ruthie, Auntie.”
 
Kiri laughed. “See how she treats me? Last time I spar with you at six A.M. without dumping ice water on your bed.” Chuckling, the black-haired girl disappeared.
 
“My futon’s still damp!” Sanako snapped at her good-naturedly. “Honestly, she enjoys pranking me.” She turned away and beckoned to him. “Come on Jonathan. We need to fit you.” He followed, slightly amused. Maybe this family wasn’t just a group of cold killers.
 
The two walked down the hallway. Jonathan saw Relena through an open door, who for some reason, looked very pissed off. Sanako waved at her. The girl returned it slightly, looking preoccupied. With her was a young woman and her baby, who was giggling in Kiri’s arms.
 
“Another Ferro?” Jonathan asked disbelievingly. There are so many of them! Sanako giggled, looking incredibly amused.
 
“No, that’s Relena’s sister Cassie and her daughter Ruthie. Did you notice something else?” He looked again and saw a digimon on her head.
 
“She’s a Chosen?”
 
“Nope.” The reply was cheery. “Turned the Sovereign down. They were so mad about it.”
 
“How do you turn that down?”
 
Sanako shrugged. “She did. Thank God she did too. We like her alive, thank you very much.”
 
The male narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “What do you mean by that?”
 
“You’ll find out soon enough.”
 
“What is with all of you and denying me information?” He meant it as a bit of a joke but Sanako frowned.
 
“Well Jonathan, it’s pretty simple.” She turned to him as she slid open a door. “No offense, but you aren’t high priority in the need-to-know group. Besides, the real truth of everything… is something people can’t always understand.”
 
“Try me,” he challenged as they stepped on the surprisingly dirt floor. Sanako tossed a weapon similar to her own at him.
 
“Well then,” she held her weapon in the same grip you would a blade. “How about you try hitting me once? If you can do that, I’ll tell you something. Fair? The more hits you land, the more you'll know.”
 
“…Sure.” Something told him this wouldn’t be as easy as it sounded.
 
He was right. Not even moments later, he was flat on his back and disarmed, Sanako’s quarterstaff inches from bashing his head in. She frowned disapprovingly.
 
“Mother was right,” she commented sternly, stepping back and spinning the weapon. “We really needed to train you when you were younger.”
 
“I didn’t exactly know this would be my destiny at five.”
 
Sanako rolled her eyes. “You believe in destiny? How stupid. That’s something we need to lose too. Get up and attack me. You want answers, you have to earn them.”
 
The male couldn’t help but groan. This was gonna hurt.
 

 
Relena frowned in a mixture of impatience and irritation. Kiri rolled her eyes, bouncing Ruthie on one knee. Relena groaned and released her power. Cassie sighed.
 
“Relena, why don’t you just go after them?” she asked gently, taking Ruthie back.
 
The younger sibling growled. “Because I will look like I’m at fault, even though I didn’t do anything. And Goddess knows how well this has worked out so far being compliant.”
 
“I think that’s what she means,” Kiri said, listening to the sounds of training through the wall. “Damn, she is trying to kill him.”
 
“Not surprised,” Cassie murmured gently. She turned to look at her frazzled sister and reflected that that look was incredibly rare and she wasn’t sure she enjoyed seeing it. “What I meant was that maybe this passive behavior isn’t going to work anymore. You’ve given them plenty of chances to prove that they’ve been doing the right thing. Maybe this is enough.”
 
Relena paused and looked at her sister. Then she groaned. “God damn it, I hate when you make sense.”
 
Cassie smiled and Relena managed to return that smile. Kiri suddenly glanced at her Digivice.
 
“Gotta go,” she mumbled, sending Ruthie to her aunt. Relena took her and reflexively relaxed.
 
Kiri vanished and reappeared in front of Baihumon. She smiled almost placidly at the creature before her. "You wanted to ask me something Baihumon, before the test starts?"
 
"Are you four doing your job?"
 
"Jonathan and Blair are still alive aren't they?"
 
The white tiger snorted. "Very true. We're counting on you all. They must live, no matter the cost."
 
"I understand Baihumon." She removed her glove, showing him her right hand. "We of the Storien Children will not fail."
 
[I]"Good. Now... do pass this message on to Queen's Reign." The tiger crouched, ready to strike the child. "Her guardians are true."
 
"Very well." And she leapt toward him with Doumon just behind.
 

 
A while later, all uncorrupted Digivices began to chime suddenly, screens white. Everyone glanced at them as they glowed. Luca sighed and clutched his own, feeling the runes burning his body. What a pain. Before anyone else could react, they found themselves standing in a large room with blue walls and dull golden pillars.
 
The Sovereigns appeared through the hallways, landing softly or heavily (especially in Ebonwumon’s case) or even hovering above the ground as per Azulongmon’s standard procedure.
 
The one in front of Azulongmon was a tiger that stood at fifteen feet tall and twenty feet long. His body was muscular, and his fur was pearly white with blue stripes on his back, arms, legs, and tail. He was Baihumon, the White Tiger of the West… and technically, the most physically powerful Guardian Beast of them all. Kiri was behind him, looking pleased with Reremon on her head.
 
The one to Azulongmon’s right was a mighty bird that was fifty feet in height and sixty feet long from beak to tail. His entire body was covered by slim red feathers that looked like skin when seen from a distance; they were that fine. He was Zhuqiaomon, the Red Phoenix of the South… and he would fight longer and harder than any of the Guardian Beasts because of his willpower and his ability to hold a grudge.
 
The third figure that sat to Azulongmon’s left was a gigantic turtle whose full height was seventy feet, and his length was fifty feet, with his width being thirty-five feet. His skin was pale yellow in colour, and white scales covered the bottom of his body. He was Ebonwumon, the Black Turtle of the North… and he was the wisest of the Guardian Beasts.
 
And finally, Azulongmon’s entire serpentine body was easily hundreds of feet long, and it was about seventy feet in width. As for the body itself, it was coloured a ghostly blue, and it seemed transparent. Chains were wrapped around his entire body, and translucent wings dotted his body at various intervals. He was the Blue Dragon of the East, and he was the more reasonable of the Guardian Beasts.
 
"So here you are," Kiri sounded dazed, watching the group expectantly. "Fanglongmon isn't here I see."
 
"Of course not," Zhuqiaomon grumbled. "He is our creator; he sent us in his place."
 
Kiri sighed. "How inconvenient. You should probably head off Luca."
 
"He really enjoys making me take the long way," grumbled the boy as he vanished. 
 
"Now then, I'd prepare yourselves because Relena's on her way and," Kiri smiled softly. "She's pissed."
 
"Why did they take him anyway?" Whispers passed around the group. Yutaka had told them of Elian’s disappearance.
 
Relena's voice came from behind them. "Because they screwed up again." She strode past them to lock eyes with Azulongmon. "You took my Elian," she hissed levelly. "Tell me where he is." 
 
"He is safe," Baihumon answered. "That's all we can tell you."
 
"********!" She snapped, looking furious. "Everyone who gets involved with you is never safe! They're just game pieces to use at your leisure! They always are!"
 
"Now calm down," Ebonwumon's left head said with an Irish brogue.
 
Relena snarled low but paused at Kiri's arm on her wrist. She turned and Kiri pointed. The blond looked and paled. "****, I thought she had stayed behind..." 
 
Tomoe was curled in a ball, looking terrified as she stared out at the Sovereign. Her lips were moving but not a sound came out. The girl scrambled back, nearly bumping into where the others were standing.
 
Finally, a voice weak from disuse whispered, "You want me to die again, don't you?"
 
“What is she talking about?” Sora exclaimed. This girl just set off all her mental alarms. She understood why Kiri kept such an eye on her: she was a mess.
 
"Nothing to do with you, I'm afraid," Baihumon's voice was curt.
 
Tomoe kept shying back. "You want me to do it instead of Nii-chan," she whispered, shaking her head. "No! I don't want to again! He's scared! He'll hurt all over again! I won't!"
 
Agumon stirred, looking surprised. This sounds familiar. Tomoe's response left many of the Digi-Destined with confused expressions on their faces. But it was Agumon who tried to speak. "Kikyo..." Tai looked down at his partner. "Kikyo... it's you isn't it?" The Digimon's green eyes were very wide with barely controlled emotion. “How is this possible? How are you here?”
 
Tomoe saw him and paled. "Agu-nii..." she whispered. "They want to kill me for Tama-nii. They want him to get stronger and they want me to die again."
 
"Kiri, didn't Relena eliminate Tamaki for good?" Jonathan asked. Kiri nodded, her eyes cloudy. She rubbed at her left arm. Agumon was shuddering. He knew now. He knew. Why are you alive?
 
Baihumon turned to Zhuqiaomon. "I hear one of your own will not make it to the end."
 
"Indeed," the sparrow agreed. "It's a shame. They fought well."
 
"What are you talking about?" Kari questioned.
 
"All in due time," Azulongmon replied, looking forlorn. Mihiramon's band of pure Devas showed up at that point. Zhuqiaomon noticed the one who was destined not to make it and he covered his surprise by faking a cough.
 
"What an awful cold you have," Baihumon remarked with a roll of the eyes.
 
"Shut up," the Red Phoenix almost hissed. "They'll get what we mean if you don't pipe down."
 
Kiri snickered. "Wouldn't that be nice, these guys actually knowing something?"
 
"If you think you know what we're talking about, then prove it!" Zhuqiaomon screeched, getting annoyed.
 
"Well, wouldn't that defeat the purpose of hiding it," she countered cheerfully. But she flashed Baihumon a look and the tiger nodded. She grinned. "Called it! You just don't care who you kill do you?"
 
You are full of cheek, not to mention you think you can give us lip. The Red Phoenix angrily thought.
 
Well, I have to have some fun. The thought was cold as she knelt next to Tomoe, gently lowering one of the girl's arms. You enjoy terrifying and breaking children and I enjoy kicking Gods off their pedestals. Neither of us called each other perfect.
 
That's enough, Zhuqiaomon. You've taken this out of context like you do with so many other topics that are brought up, Azulongmon interrupted.
 
Thank Goddess, the older girl thought, watching Tomoe's gaze beginning to dull with fear and pain. She frowned. Memory merge. God I hate this sort of ****.
 
"If we aren't needed, we'll just be going then," Tai said as cheerily as he could.
 
"No Tai." Agumon was firm as he went to the girl’s side. "I won't leave Kikyo here, not with them." I won’t leave her again if I can help it. I won’t!
 
"She can come with us," Sora suggested. "Kiri?"
 
Kiri simply shrugged. "Do you want to go with them, you two?" Tomoe simply shook her head no, now clutching to the girl. "Looks like a no." She closed her eyes and let the Catal Unit leave her again. She slumped to the ground, shuddering all over. "Do believe you Sovereign got something to say, don'cha?" She slurred, sounding sick and almost giddy.

"Gennai's here," Baihumon stated.
 
He was not alone. At his side was Faolan along with Triesta. At once, Kari felt a sensation of tugging as Siara left her body. The white haired girl stumbled in surprise, then ran to Triesta's side. She was smiling as she hugged her cousin. Triesta gave a quiet smile and gestured to Gennai, who lowered his hood. Kari paled.
 
Relena gave her a look. "Recognize him?"
 
The other shivered. "Samael."
 
"Bingo." Yolei's mouth was open and twitching in surprise.
 
"Samael Gale," Gennai agreed, looking much younger than they remembered, around their age in fact. "One of the survivors of the Schism."
 
"Technically the only survivor," Triesta muttered good-naturedly elbowing him. He rolled his eyes.
 
"Wow," Kari breathed.
 
Siara smiled softly and put a finger to her lips. This was something the others did not know.
 
Gennai sighed. "Do you know what a Schism is?" When he got many negatives, he replied, "It is the splitting of a group into opposing factions. That's what it was really, what happened to our world and its Digital Counterpart. They shattered."
 
"And you're trying to prevent that from happening again?" Jonathan questioned.
 
"The Worlds wouldn't survive a second time," Faolan stated in a surprisingly clear voice as his amber eyes traveled over them all. "The first time was very, very close to destroying the multiverse. We are certain of what will happen if a second occurs."
 
"The Schism was caused by the shattering of the Future itself, which at that time contained the Catal Unit," Triesta said, grimacing at the pain in her palm. "So when both were turned to that state, well, you brats can guess right?"  Murmuring started up between the groups; they were confused like never before.
 
The air whirled and Norn appeared. Jonathan recognized her at once with her pale-blond hair and Western-style dress. "What Triesta refers to," the Goddess said softly. "Is the being known as NEO, a high-process computer. When the Catal Unit comes together in the way that it did, NEO is reawakened. The Demon Lords took advantage of that, and found a way to exploit it for their own purposes."
 
"And that was where we came in," Siara said softly. "The Digital World had been known to our Human one for many years and we were in the Diplomacy Program to ensure we didn't get off to rocky relations. Just when everything was being finalized..." she shivered. "That's when it all changed. We became... like Catalysts for the scattered Catal Unit pieces. It didn't change much, but... we weren't human... anymore. Our Digimon... they were..." The girl broke off and Triesta gently mussed her hair.
 
"Deleted?" Kari asked in a tone so soft nobody bar Triesta and Siara heard her.
 
Triesta shook her head no. "They weren't even alive. They were just Digital Ghosts. And they possessed us with the power of memory."

Kari paled. "I'm sorry," she whispered. Triesta gave her a quiet sort of smile.
 
Faolan contiuned. "Regardless of illness or whatever befell us when the fusion began and ended, the expedition still was to continue. It was when we learned of our mission after we completed the program that we left the Human World behind."
 
"We could have been experimented on," Samael said quietly. "We'd had enough."
 
"Not long after, our leader," Triesta mouthed his name, eyes crestfallen. "Learned of the threat of the Demon Lords. We decided to fight them, because we eventually learned we would have to anyway."
 
Siara wore a broken smile. "We almost had a chance, until..."
 
"Until what?" Sora spoke quietly.
 
"Until I died," Faolan said bluntly. "Everything fell to pieces after that. It was literally so later. They fought in such a broken, malleable state."
 
Siara agreed. "It was only natural that we lost."
 
Anna spoke up just then. "We're sorry," she said softly. "We had no idea that this had happened."
 
Kari jerked her head up, her eyes wide with denial and Jonathan shook his head. They knew, but weren't prepared to reveal anything just yet.
 
Triesta snorted. "We're well aware. Why do you think they haven't said anything?" She jerked her thumb at Kiri and Relena, who seemed to be barely paying attention. "This is our story and we waited so you all could hear it. Or as many of you as possible." She caught Kari's eye and smiled lightly. "There were other things we could tell you but... right now isn't the time." 
 
"What's going to happen after this?" Catherine asked.
 
Triesta frowned. "There are those in the Demon Lord's army who want to make certain of their victory, not that they need to. There is also, the two corrupted ones who must be dealt with and..." she trailed off. "The final battle awaits you."
 
Gennai had turned to Azulongmon. Something tells me the war is going to take a huge toll on them.
 
Azulongmon bowed his head. They will come in an army to this world to counter it, bringing unnecessary bloodshed. We should worry greatly indeed. It is likely some will not make it out alive.
 
Naturally, the mental conversation between Gennai and Azulongmon was held in their minds only. One of Zhuqiaomon's servants will lose his life. Rei and Gaomon won't make it back to the future, either.
 
I don't think they were meant to, Gennai thought. Time travel is risky that even if she was stated otherwise, there likely was no way for it to happen.
 
I suppose.
 
Kiri recalled the Catal Unit and a Digital Gate opened nearby. "Go on through," she said softly, gently lifting Tomoe into her arms. The girl had fainted from an overdose of fear, pain, and confusion. "You have heard enough." She gave Baihumon a solemn look. "We will see Elian and we will not take him away. Just put Relena's fears to rest."
 
"It's that or I rewrite all of your data," Relena said coldly. 
 
"You may go through," Ebonwumon's left head answered. "You're alright, lassie. We're fine with it," his right head added.
 
Relena snorted and took Triesta's hand. "You coming Kiri?" Kiri nodded and reached over.
 
"You've gotten as bad as me Relena," the older girl commented.
 
"Shut up." The three vanished. Samael sighed. 
 
"We should probably go, make sure Relena does follow Kiri's word."
 
"Like she wouldn't," Siara mumbled. She waved at the Destined as they too, left.
 
Mihiramon's group of pure Devas followed the Digi-Destined back to the real world. "We promised our masters to watch over you," Mihiramon answered the unspoken question as the teams turned around.
 
"Ssso we have to follow you wherever you go," Sandiramon hissed.
 
Indramon separated himself from his companions and stood beside the three teams and the Internationals. "I'll guard them for the time being," the Horse Deva declared.
 
Matt nodded slowly. "Um... that's fine...I guess? Tai shouldn't mind too much."
 
Pajramon snorted through her nose in amusement, before turning in unison with her fellow Devas to watch the sunset.
 

 
Relena bolted down the hallway, having left the others in the dust a while ago. A little butterfly, a Puroromon, fluttered out of a room and saw her. It squealed with delight. “Relena! Elian come quick!” There was the sound of rapid, clumsy footsteps and a small boy with dark-blonde hair peeked out. His face brightened and he tackled Relena to the floor. Relena fell over, smiling and laughing as she examined the boy all over, looking very much the mother hen.
 
Triesta sighed. Hope they learn from this. Don’t steal Elian. I hate when Relena gets angry.
 
Kiri smiled a moment before she walked away. She had to go get her cousin.
 

 
“Agumon, why do you care about Tomoe so much?” Tai knew this was more than simple fear for someone younger and more vulnerable. They were back in the park with Sora, where the pair had been playing a casual game of soccer.“What’s this have to do with Tamaki?”
 
His partner sighed. “Tai, I can’t say.”
 
“Why not? We’re partners, I’ll believe you.”
 
“No you won’t,” the Rookie replied softly. “Because Kiri and the others made sure you wouldn’t and he agreed with that. If you knew, if you knew the truth, it would make it all so much worse. The Crossroads Error has been wiped from history for a reason.”
 
“But if we don’t know, how are we going to stop it from happening again?”
 
“Measures have already been taken for it,” the digimon replied. “Leith for example.”
 
“You knew this whole time?” Now Tai was furious. Why hadn’t he said something?
 
“I guessed,” came the answer. “Once Gennai said who he was, everything clicked. Besides, I’ll be sure eventually. If I’m right, then we might have a problem. So hope I’m wrong.”
 
“Why?”
 
“Because if Leith’s any indication, they might have screwed this up too. Humans are very unpredictable at times.”
 

 
Kiri turned to grin at Fanglongmon as Luca ran up to her, clutching his orange-gold D-Core. "Your fellows left things out," she accused playfully, smiling.
 
The Digimon snorted. "Did you want me to tell them the truth?"
 
"Well it doesn't change my plans one way or another," her voice chirped.
 
"They'll be here soon." She vanished.
 
“Sadly for you.” Footsteps echoed somehow in the black place he resided in.

"It's been a while," the dragon stated. "It is time to pronounce judgement. The Goddess shall give you your targets."

There was a cold laugh. "Sounds like fun."

Another, a more childish voice asked. "Will I get to rip off some wings?"

"Who knows," a female voice answered.

"Come on now, we're interrupting Fanglongmon," the last, also female, sounded softer than the rest. "Let's get started."

"I like that idea," declared the first male with another cold, hateful laugh. They disappeared, leaving the Sovereign to sigh.

"Just what have we done..."

Legendarian Mistress
April 11th, 2011, 04:43 PM
Chapter 30: Storien Frontline

This was the second time Jonathan had found the boy playing soccer by himself, with Liollmon watching from nearby. That ball looked ready to fall apart. Luca didn’t even look over at him, expression carefully blank, but his Digimon was observing the leader with a mix of amusement and curiosity. Jonathan inwardly scowled. The other half of his team hadn’t spoken to them since they had learned of the Schism. In fact, they had been avoiding them. It was rather odd. Now that they knew, wouldn’t they be treated better? Luca sighed and stopped practicing against the tree, catching the ball underneath his foot.

“What do you want, Fearless Leader?” The boy’s voice was bored.

“I was advised to talk to you by Rei about how you’d previously been corrupted,” Jonathan answered. Wormmon edged closer to his partner.

Luca groaned, sitting down in the grass. “Well, that’s specific. What exactly do you wanna know?”

“Jack has to be freed, one way or another. What was it like? How badly did it damage your mind?”

The boy glanced at him darkly, feeling insulted at being asked such a question. “What was it like? It’s drowning, as though you’re falling into an inescapable pit of hell over and over, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t feel amazing at the start. How badly does it damage your mind? Let me put it this way Jonathan.” He placed a hand on the ground and let the Chaos shift by his fingertips. He gave the older boy a cold smile. “You can’t recover, not really. It’s always inside you, always calling and singing and giving you sweet tastes of power. I’m sure that kid, Ken, remembers that.” He turned away to hide the dancing madness in his eyes. “It shatters your being. That’s something more terrible than any simple suffering. The only real way of recovering is repairing your soul and that’s something that is almost impossible. There is a way but you won’t want to take it.”

“So we just have to let Jack stay insane? There’s no way to heal him?”

Luca sighed. “I said there’s a way, damn it. Let me finish.” Liollmon rolled his eyes. Luca gave him a scowl. “Look, the only person I know who can do this is in a whole other world right now. You’ve met him before.”

“Jay?” The question came in a surprised tone.

“Jay is the Heart of his team,” the eleven-year-old said. “He’s meant for this sort of thing. He’ll need help, but there’s someone with him who can probably do that.”

“Rion?”

This time he got a shake of the head. “Nah, Rion’s good, but you haven’t met the other yet. Rion has something else to do.”

Then who? Jonathan questioned mentally.

Luca pinched his nose. “Look, his name is Alex Palmer. He’s an artificial Chosen like Jay, but not nearly as screwed up in the head.”

“I see.”

The wild boy grinned. “Yeah, no you don’t. Look, do you want us to try and get them or not?”

“Yeah, why not? The more help, the better, I guess.”

Luca rolled his eyes. “Good. Now kindly go away. Goddess knows your kind have better people to talk to than someone like me.”

“Could be a bit more gracious,” Jonathan muttered as he walked off.

“Wait a minute!” The boy called back. “Isn’t there someone else you’re worried about? That kid with Leviamon!”

“Davis?” Jonathan turned around. “Yeah.”

“You do realize he was corrupted too, right? Probably not as bad as that friend of yours, but he’s likely in more danger of insanity than him.”

Jonathan hadn’t realized this, but he knew it now and this worried him even more.

Luca sighed and walked over. “Well, what do you think Leviamon did to him? Did you think he just randomly decided to turn emo and destroy everything? I thought you knew this guy!”

Liollmon rolled his eyes. “Aw, leave him alone, Tamer. None of them could have been able to tell.”

“Sean told them! He flat out said that the Demon Lord did something.” Luca groaned. “Oh man, you guys are seriously screwed. Those guys are in Japan already!”

“The Demon Lords?” Wormmon asked.

Luca groaned again. “No! Why would they come here? They’re getting what they want hand-delivered. No, the Storien Children are here!”

“Who are they?” Jonathan questioned, curious. His partner shuddered and huddled in against his leg; just those words alone were enough to make the Rookie nervous.

“Someone meant to kill shits like you,” a voice snapped and Jonathan felt the tip of a blade against the back of his throat.

Luca face-palmed. “Too late.”

Jonathan turned around and backed away carefully.

He faced an older teen with long, straight black hair and a cold green stare, wearing summer clothes. In his hands were two short sickles. The boy snorted. “Cowardly little ****. Just like the last ones. Hmph.” He spat at Jonathan’s feet. “You Chosen are all alike, nothing but pure scum. And you’re supposed to be above us.” He scowled. “Your scent makes me sick.”

“Who’re you?” Jonathan half demanded.

“Name or number?” The boy recited reflexively, looking annoyed.

“Just your name.”

“None of your ****ing business, human,” the boy replied coolly, flipping him off.

“Fine,” Jonathan answered.

“503? Why are you antagonizing them?” Leith’s voice issued from behind the male.

He turned and smiled. “976! Heya!”

Leith sighed. “You are a crass, uneducated child Jordan Salem.”

Jordan rolled his eyes. “Better that than one o’ them.”

Leith shook his head emotionlessly. “As unforgiving as always.”

“What were the names of the other Chosen Children?” Jonathan inquired.

Jordan's eyes flickered blood-red. “Don’t lump us with you, arsewipe,” he hissed. “Your kind are nothing but traitors. I won’t taint the air with their names. All that matters is they’re gone and I enjoyed tearing two of them to pieces.”

Jonathan’s eyes narrowed. “Which two?”

Jordan licked his lips. “I dunno. Lessee... there was that piss-ant... a coward who would’ve ran and coulda lived if he had listened to us, to her really... what was his name...”

Leith covered his mouth. “503, enough! We are forbidden to speak of that time!”

Luca shrugged. “The kid asked.” Leith glanced at him. “If the kid wants to hear how his fellows betrayed and died then let him hear.”

“Luca, why do you want him to know?”

The boy smiled cruelly, showing pointed canines. “He dared to ask about the corruption so callously. He deserves it.”

Jordan moved away from Leith and smiled. “I knew I liked you, Tamer. That first one, the coward, I think his name was Claude. I don’t think his mother would have recognized him. It was a shame though, he could have survived. That other one, he was, oh he deserved to die, his name... it was Taka, right?”

“His name was Takahiro Suzume,” Leith’s ice-blue eyes, just as Jordan’s had, flickered blood-red. “And I enjoyed every second he died. No one hurts our comrades.”

“No one,” Jordan agreed.

“Oh,” was all Jonathan said, before he heard a soft whisper in his head.

It’s all right. Claude has a second chance.

How? He thought back.

Being in the Digital World saved him as data. We managed to save a little. I believe your friend Luca knows of the process.

His partner will be reconfigured as well?

That’s the idea. He has a different destiny now but, in the end, he will qualify.

That’s good then.

Leith ignored them, turning toward Jordan. “So that’s our new assignment?”

The elder nodded. “Straight from the Goddess. Those two... I can’t wait. Maria might be the one to finish it though. She hasn’t done anything in ages. She always makes it so beautiful too, with the blood turning her flowers red. It’s a shame, though.” He almost smiled. “For once, it ain’t completely the Chosen’s fault.”

“Sounds like you’re talking about Davis and Jack,” Jonathan conversationally stated.

Jordan smiled darkly. “That’s their names? To be honest, I don’t care. They’re traitors. The Storien exist for the destruction of traitors.”

“You plan on killing them?” Wormmon panicked.

Jordan shrugged. “If that is what Norn wishes of us to do, then yes. They are corrupting the Digital and Human Worlds. That gives grounds for it.”

Luca sighed. “Their corruption levels are very high. Much further and they reach the point of no return. For expendable ones like that, execution is considered the only option. Isn’t that correct 503, 976?”

Jordan nodded. “It’s why you’re so lucky, Tamer. You went past that point years ago.”

“You can kill Jack after Megidramon reconfigures, but leave Davis alone,” Jonathan said firmly.

“So quick to abandon your friends,” Leith observed coolly. “Regardless, it is not our choice. They are both our targets.”

“Kiri could stop it,” Luca commented cheerily. “But why should she? You and Blair are the only truly important ones now.”

Jordan scoffed. “You are so ****ing naive. I don’t obey anyone but Norn. Convince her and our commands change. Can’t and we end up with two corpses. Makes no difference to us.” He turned and left. “See ya, Leith.”

Jonathan watched the boy leave, arching an eyebrow as he did so.

Leith sighed. “I apologize for him. The Chosen Children before Taichi committed a very unforgivable crime against us and our former wielders. None of us hold much respect for your kind, but Jordan hates all of you.”

Jonathan snorted softly. “Raphael was a Chosen Child, was he not? How come he was spared?”

Leith vanished and reappeared in front of Jonathan, lifting the older male into the air. “He does not know of Raphael and you will never tell of him,” he hissed, now crimson eyes glaring. “Raphael did not deserve any of what he got and he will not die due to your existence!”

Luca whistled. “Damn Jonathan, you managed to hit Leith’s berserk button. Haven’t seen that happen in about seven years now. Not since Laura...”

“Alright, alright. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for you to react like this. Honestly, I’m sorry.” Jonathan’s eyes were wide with shock.

Leith dropped him, eyes fading to their cold blue. His gaze fixed on Jonathan for a moment longer, and then he turned away, snarling softly to himself. Luca sighed and reached to take his hand.

“You would do well, Tamer,” Leith hissed through grit teeth. “Not to speak her name around me.”

“I told you Leith, Laura’s alive.”

“Regardless...”

Jonathan could see the two were having issues, so he left, sending a mental farewell in Luca’s direction.

Luca didn’t glance back and sighed. “Leith... they’re really just kids, aren’t they? They don’t understand what it means for all of you to be here. The Storien are the signal.”

Leith nodded, having returned to calm. “It’s begun. The invasion isn’t long away.”

...

Roughly an hour later, Jonathan found Kiri, noticing all too well that her breathing was laboured. “Kiri? I need to talk to you,” he started off. He was well aware of the fact that she was hanging around outside his house.

“Oh?” She glanced at him. “What is it?”

“Could you please convince the Storien that Davis is to be spared? His Digimentals are needed, that’s all.” His face showed concern.

Kiri peered at him curiously. “Why not Jack?”

The teen’s face changed, hardening. “Jack can die for all I care. He doesn’t deserve a future anymore.”

She gave a wan smile. “What a cruel thing to say. What brings this on?”

“Think about it... all he ever did was be bossy and get on the nerves of you and the others, not to mention he’s been lying in hospital doing absolutely nothing in any way, shape or form to come and apologize to us for the damage Megidramon’s caused.” He gestured vaguely to the city around them, indicating the destroyed buildings. I had an encounter with Jordan...

She giggled. “True. But Megidramon has a hold over his heart. The original corruption has been overwhelmed by a deeper one, one he can’t overcome alone.”

“Megidramon needs to die to shove Jack out of this meek, mindless mindset he’s currently in.”

“Does that involve Jack’s death as well then?” The girl looked amusedly curious.

A firm nod was her reply.

“That’s a strange decision for you to make, but if you wish his death that’s fine. This will work out perfectly for us then.” She held up her right palm, which had a white blade symbol on it. Jonathan thought it looked familiar.

“Wait, you’re a Storien, too?” Jonathan tensed.

“All of us are, even Tomoe-chan.”

“Oh.”

“We Storien must be either very terrifying or interesting.”

“But you aren’t like Jordan, are you?”

“How so?”

“You aren’t going to kill me, are you?”

She frowned. “Why would I kill the person I am ordered to protect?”

“So, you’re more a protector?” Jonathan still seemed tense.

Kiri smiled to herself. “That’s right. I’m surprised you don’t remember.”

“Remember what?”

She sighed. “I said you are the ones to defy the prophecy. Wouldn’t it make sense to protect him?”

“Oh that? Yeah, I remember now. So how are you going to convince Jordan otherwise in regards to Davis?”

“He obeys Norn.”

“But she possesses you, doesn’t she?”

“Yep, so he’ll follow me.”

“Okay. Oh, one more thing. It’s about Sean and Blair.”

“This should be amusing,” she commented slyly. “Tell me.”

“Do you see them being together in the future?” Jonathan asked, his face cracking a smile at her reaction.

Kiri giggled. “If Blair isn’t as stiff, it’s likely. However,” she frowned. “I wonder if Sean will still exist in the end.”

“You think he won’t survive?”

Kiri smiled to herself. “Physically he will, but as Sean and Leith... that is where the uncertainty lies.”

“I see. Thanks for the talk, Kiri.”

Kiri smiled sadly. “Sure.” She stood up weakly. “For the record Jonathan, I’m really sorry.”

“Huh?” His eyes narrowed in confusion. “What are you sorry about?”

The girl closed her eyes. “I’m sorry... for everything that will come. And everything that has and is. I’m sorry that you don’t remember the past, that all of you are suffering and will.” I’m sorry that I caused you to be involved in my plans.

Jonathan placed a hand on Kiri’s shoulder, which caused her to reopen her eyes. His expression was a gentle smile. If this is how destiny lays the road, then it shall be one we will follow. Your apology is accepted; now go see if you can twist the minds of those boys before Davis ceases to be. As she walked off, he waved farewell, before heading over to the Morgan residence.

He was moderately surprised to find the house lacking Blair. What stunned him even more was that Wizardmon had been told to stay behind. “Where did she go?” The teen asked the Digimon.

The elf shrugged. “She was writing a note; that’s all she told me,” he answered.

A thoughtful look crossed Jonathan’s face, before it almost instantly changed to realization. “She’s gone to see Sean... no, no, no. This isn’t a good time, Blair.” He hissed half angrily, fearing for her safety now.

“They made up; why isn’t it a good time?” Wizardmon questioned.

Three words: The Storien Children. Chosen Children haters, the leader replied mentally. He began pacing up and down as he fretted on what to do, exhaling deeply at the same time. “Wizardmon, you’ll have to come with me; Wormmon, you stay here.” Jonathan instructed.

“Where are you going, Jonathan?” Wormmon’s voice trembled.

Wizardmon was at the teen’s side in no time as he responded to his partner’s question. “I’m going to talk to the others and let them know of the Storien threat. If Blair isn’t back by five... well, then I’ll start worrying.” Jonathan and Wizardmon rushed out the door, heading for the community centre where he hoped he’d find some of the others.

...

Kari and T.K. were out on another of their dates and Cody was at home alone with Armadillomon. His mother had forbidden him to go out to meet his friends for a couple of days. A shadow had been watching the Hidas’ unit for a number of hours and finally decided it was time to strike. Smashing a window, before jumping into the kitchen, the figure waited for the inevitable arrival of the ten-year-old and his partner.

Hearing Cody’s swift footsteps, the figure made his move. He lunged at the boy’s chest, knocking him down. The veil of mist surrounding him finally dissipated. He was a white rat with his legs in golden armour. There are two small wings on his back, a green pestle as well, and three tiny horns on his head. “I am Kumbhiramon,” he squeaked nastily. “You’ve been eluding us for a long time. You’ll be coming with us now.”

Cody stiffened as a humanoid-like monkey swung in through the broken window and landed lightly beside the Rat Deva. He was brown and beige and wore a hat. “They call me Makuramon.”

The boy had only enough time to send a message for help, before being vaulted into Makuramon’s arms and the Devas fled, with Armadillomon unable to do anything except wait for help to arrive.

...

Tai and Sora were the last to arrive at the community centre. “Kari and T.K. are on another date,” the boy explained to the others. The rest of Tai’s team, Yolei, Ken, Jonathan, Mina, Rei and the three International Digi-Destined were already at the community centre, waiting for the stragglers. The groups already knew about Cody’s “grounding”, but were in the dark about his recent kidnapping.

“So tell us about these Storien Children,” Matt requested.

“Leith, Luca, Jordan, Tomoe... heck, even Kiri; they’re all Storien, but Kiri’s a protector. Jordan mentioned another name, it was Maria. Jordan and Leith were looking forward to killing their targets,” Jonathan answered. “Oh, and Storien have brands on their bodies. Kiri’s was a white blade.”

“Their targets?” Mimi paled. “Not us?”

“Thankfully, not us; they’re after Jack and Davis. I convinced Kiri to go and tell them to spare Davis,” the teen responded, his eyes narrowing slightly.

“Jack will die?” Sora felt numb. “How...?”

Tai put an arm around his girlfriend and hugged her reassuringly. “It’s for the best, Sora. He didn’t really fit in with Jonathan’s team, anyway.”

The carrot-haired girl nodded automatically, her expression full of shock.

“Another thing you’ve got to watch for is their eyes, especially Leith and Jordan’s. They can become red, blood-red.” Jonathan added.

This caused Sora to shudder; even Mimi stiffened. “Their eyes are unnatural,” she whined.

Suddenly, Ken and Yolei’s D-Terminals beeped, alerting them that there was a message. Yolei opened hers and her face became white, like a ghost’s. Ken noticed and leaned over to read. “Uh, we have trouble,” he stated.

“What is it?” Tai and Jonathan worriedly demanded.

Yolei’s hands were shaking. “It’s Cody; he’s sent a plea for help. Something’s happened.” Her voice cracked.

...

Blair looked over the note one last time and nodded mentally to herself. Kiri had found her a few minutes ago and brought her up to the unit that she, Luca and Leith were living in. Curious as to what was on the note, the girl questioned Blair. Kiri frowned at her from where she lay exhaustedly on the couch. “What is that, Blair?”

“It’s a note for Sean,” she answered.

“Ah,” Kiri said with a solemn sort of curiosity. “Not Leith?”

“No.”

Kiri’s smile turned incredibly wan. “No need for hostility now,” she murmured. “I won’t ask what it says.” Her eyes seemed to dull as she stood back up again, walking toward the kitchen and coming back with Tomoe, who clutched a tray of tea. The girl silently placed the cups on the table, leaving one in front of Blair. She then sat on the couch, staring vacantly into space.

“Thanks,” Blair replied. She took a sip of it, testing its temperature, before drinking it down quickly. Leaving the note on the table, she got up and prepared to leave, saying: “Please make sure the note gets to Sean. Bye.”

“Of course,” Kiri replied softly, glancing at Tomoe. The girl nodded and took the piece of paper, disappearing into the nearest room. Kiri smiled sadly, closing her branded hand. “Are you sure you don’t wish to say hello? He’s on his way here now.”

“But as Leith, right?” Blair asked, before shaking her head sadly and adding: “Sorry, no thanks.”

“You don’t like Leith very much, do you?” Kiri asked good-naturedly.

“It’s that and the fact I’m not sure of him,” came the response.

“Not sure of him?”

“That’s what I said,” Blair replied.

“Not sure he what? Likes you? Not sure he wants to kill you or not? Your answer leaves an awful lot to be desired, girly.” Luca smirked from the kitchen entrance, leaning on the frame.

Kiri sighed. “You should be resting.”

The beastling rolled his eyes. “I should be a lot of things. Resting’s dull.”

“Fine, I’m not sure of what he thinks of me, of whether he’ll let Sean read the note, of heaps of things. There, does that answer your question?” Blair muttered.

Luca groaned. “Touchy, aren’t you?”

Kiri sighed. “Why wouldn’t he? Leith honest to god does not care one way or the other. If Sean wants to give this a try, then he’ll let him. But anyway, if you’re gonna leave before he gets here, you should go. He’s almost to the building.”

Blair shrugged and waved farewell, exiting the unit.

As Blair left their unit, Kiri sighed. “I’m surprised you didn’t say anything, Sean.”

There was a soft snicker as the boy exited the room where Tomoe had gone into. “I thought she would have been able to tell I was here.”

“She is a newbie,” Luca pointed out. “You can’t expect her to sense you that well.”

“I wasn’t exactly hiding.”

Sean fingered the paper between his fingers. Sighing, he turned it over and opened it.

Sean, you have a right to exist; I will wait. Maybe you were right and we had time. We should try and understand each other.

Reading it quickly, he snorted and smiled softly. “Blunt as ever,” he commented good-naturedly. “You’ll be a while yet, dear girl. I hope you understand that. I’m sorry you ain’t got a normal boy as your lover, but I’m tryin’.”

Kiri snickered. “You probably shouldn’t mention Laura. She might get jealous.”

“As if. Laura wasn’t even my age.” The three laughed and Tomoe cracked a small smile. Sean sighed. “I hope she finds it all worth it. I ain’t exactly the best of guys.”

“It’ll be fine,” his sister murmured, lying on the couch. Within moments, she was sleeping.

Sean watched with a quiet smile. “I hate it when you’re right.”

Fuyu
April 15th, 2011, 08:55 AM
Chapter 31: Judgement Day
 
The two were on the couch together, Tomoe playing target practice and Kiri watching the television vacantly. She really wasn’t paying attention, more falling asleep than anything, which she had been doing more and more lately. Decaying life force perhaps? Norn stirred suddenly and Kiri paused. What is it?
 
They’re here.
 
Mm. She stood up off of the couch, causing Tomoe to look over at her curiously. “I have to go greet someone. Want to join me?” Tomoe shook her head solemnly and returned to throwing knives at the wall. Kiri smiled tiredly and mussed the girl’s hair. “He would want you to talk.” Though after the other day, I wouldn’t expect her to.
 
Tomoe gently shook her head, eyes answering for her. Too bad. I don’t want to talk again.
 
Kiri sighed. “Suit yourself. Have you had any headaches recently?” The little girl nodded and the teen frowned pensively. “I thought they would have gone by now. They should have settled again.” Tomoe simply shrugged. The elder groaned playfully and mussed the child’s hair once more. “Make sure Luca stays in bed this time. And Tomoe-chan,” She paused for a moment. “Relax okay? You both are way too stressed.”
 
Tomoe nodded again and watched her go. The girl frowned in puzzlement. But… Mama, you’re scared and stressed. I want to help but I’m useless now. What should I do?
 
If Kudamon was here, he could tell me. But he wasn’t and that made her lonelier than before.
 
Salamon’s gone too, Kikyo whispered vacantly. All of them are gone.
 
Not all, she countered the dead girl gently, but Kikyo was curled up again, lost in her past. Tomoe whimpered. Everything was too much.
 

 
Leith appeared very suddenly in front of the gathered Chosen. He moved from his kneeling position to stand straight, glancing at the leaders with a pensive stare. Jonathan couldn't stop his eyes from moving downward toward the boy's right arm. He could see a faint blue shine just at his wrist.
 
"Haven't seen you in a while," Tai greeted, managing to not sound shaky.
 
Leith let his gaze rest on him for a moment and nodded. "Yes. Hunting has been an interesting experience. It's been a long time since we've gathered like this." He licked his lips. "It's been fun."
 
"So what brings you by now?"
 
He received a shrug. "Our prey awaits."
 
"You're finalizing a life?" Kari whispered.
 
Mimi shook her head, silently asking Kari to stop. She knew what was coming next.
 
Leith simply bowed his head. "There is no turning back from this Child of Light." Unlike the previous time he said it, his voice was very calm and uncaring. "However, he must be captured. And that is not what I am here for. That is another's job."
 
"Then what?" T.K. questioned.
 
There was a merry giggle from behind them. "He's gonna kill him but it's my turn first."
 
Leith turned and nodded. "Number 215, Caleb Turner. You look excited." 
 
Another giggle echoed. It came from a childlike dark-blonde boy, who was smiling like a clown. He bounced up and down, causing them to see a faint golden light on his torso. "It's time!" the boy announced, eyes shining crimson. "Time for blood! Lots of blood!"
 
Sora shuddered. "Why do your eyes always turn red?" She asked Leith, referring to the few Storien she was aware of.
 
"Someone would call it bloodlust," Caleb whispered delightedly, watching her. "But in truth..."
 
"It is a sign of Storien souls synchronizing emotions and will," Leith replied. "It is also an awakening of our existence and power as Storien, as ones who end the stories of lives."
 
Tai nodded, unsure of what else to say.
 
Caleb suddenly stilled. His crimson eyes flashed. "Leith... I hear wings."
 
To everyone's surprise, Leith smiled coldly. "So can I Caleb. There's a dragon coming."
 
Caleb's eyes widened darkly. "Wings..." he hissed cruelly. "I hate them. Hate them so much." His hands went to his head and they could see his mad eyes from between his fingers, teeth grit in insane fury. "Hate wings. Hate. Hate. Hate them." He snarled sharply. "Want to kill them. Want to rip them off. Want them to bleed and suffer and die over and over. Ahah..." He giggled crazily. "I'll kill them all Gaomon. I'll rip them all apart. Their wings are bad and dark. Wings are bad. Let me rip. Them. Off." A yellow light flickered all around him, tinged blood red. Kari shuddered suddenly. She felt a tug in her chest, one speaking of pity.

He’s lost something and he can’t get it back, she thought suddenly. He shouldn’t have been turned into this.

Tai looked down at his Digimon, who was simply watching. There was a savage triumph in those eyes, as though saying, we told you this wouldn’t work. What sad Gods you make.

Leith's smile seemed to widen slightly. "He's awake Jordan."

There was a bark of a laugh. "Awesome." The male dropped down next to Leith. "This should be fun. Caleb's already a little cuckoo from the mission as it is but now that there's a flier involved..." He whistled. "I hope we can pronounce judgement. Hopefully Maria's fast enough to stop him or he might kill everyone else here."

“Nothing will happen,” Leith said steadily. “He knows our duty.”

“He knows the meaning of our existence,” Jordan corrected. “That doesn’t mean he’ll always follow it.”

“Of course we won’t. I didn’t.” Leith gestured to his arm and Jordan glimpsed the cracks that had spread all up the limb, like porcelain.

The elder winced. “Dude, they actually…”

“It’ll be repaired later,” Leith said dismissively. The older male rolled his eyes as he stared back up at the sky.

Megidramon roared as he descended, carrying his puppet (who he'd taken from the hospital) in his remaining arm.

Caleb burst into delighted giggling. "A dragon! Hooray!" The smile turned demonic. "Let's go!" He clenched his fists. "Shine Dawn Spirit!" The golden-red light swirled around his hands and manifested into golden gloves. He smiled and vanished, reappearing to punch the dragon in the face. There was a sickening crack and Caleb was still laughing.

Jordan licked his lips. "I've missed that sound." An inhuman roar of agony was heard, followed by a splat as Jack landed face-first on the ground. Jordan didn't hesitate and snapped his fingers. "Miranda, restrain."

"Righto." Two throwing stars imbedded themselves in Jack's sleeves. Electricity went through the air and Jack let out a wild screech as his body burned.

Meanwhile, Caleb had knocked Megidramon to the ground and was beating him down further, cracking the earth. The boy giggled. "Let's rip them off!" A piercing sound was heard as Megidramon's wings were torn from the base, the appendage dangling from the spinal cord. The Great Dragon gave a strangled roar of sheer pain and Jack moaned an inaudible word.

Jordan looked amused. "What was that? I couldn't catch that, scum." He didn't raise his voice in the slightest yet all of them could feel it, the pure hatred and killing intent radiating from this boy like a wildfire. "Caleb, go on." Like tearing paper, the wings were both torn off, the tattered things feeble on the ground.

"Pathetic," Caleb chirped merrily and moved to punch into the Hazard symbol, where a crack still remained.

The Mega roared again, but it was getting weaker. He breathed heavily for a while, before speaking. "Why are you pathetic, cowardly humans torturing me?"

Jordan blinked at the dragon sleepily. "Why? Well isn't that obvious?"
 
"It's because, well..." Leith walked toward the human partner, looking almost amused.
 
"You exist, you know?" Caleb chirped.
 
"And besides," a female voice began, striding forward, more throwing stars between her fingers. "You are a traitor to the Balance."
 
"Our existence," added another girl, who stood at the edge of the trees. "Is for the destruction of your kind."
 
"We Storien,"Jordan finished, his crimson eyes blazing brighter than the others. "Live as the cutthroats of the Digital World. And we love our job."
 
"Leave him alone," Jack's voice moaned.
 
Jordan turned to look at him, then burst into helpless laughter. "Him? You're worrying about him? Oh man, that's the best line I've heard all day!" He laughed harder, clutching his sides. "Go on Caleb, finish it! Hurry so we can kill this poor, worthless sap!" Hurry so we can get this mission over with. I’m sick of actually caring.
 
"Okay Jordan!" A disc went soaring toward the air and Caleb raised one hand to the sky. "Code Ally, activate! MirageGaogamon's Full Moon Blaster!" A golden light burst from the disc and stabbed through the Mega level's body.
 
Megidramon had reached his limit. "Good bye, Jack." But it wasn't Megidramon's voice that had issued from the Mega's mouth; rather, it was a voice that flowed with understanding, loyalty and sorrow.
 
"Dobermon, no..." Jack moaned again. The Digimon vaporized into nothing; there was no Digi Egg.
 
Caleb cheered. "He exploded!"
 
A yell of anguish was heard as Jack broke down. "Dobermon's gone."
 
Jordan rolled his eyes. "Dear God you brat, shut the hell up." He whacked Jack in the face, breaking his nose. "This is why your kind are so disgusting. Whiny little shits."
The Digi-Destined seemed like they were watching from afar; inwardly they were numbly shocked by the callous violence the Storien were using. Jordan turned away and spat. "Damn, got scum blood on me. Leith, start."

"Understood." Leith stepped forward, expression returned to dullness. "Here stands in front of me a Chosen Child fallen by will or by corruption not his own. You are accused of the following: betrayal, murder of innocents, threatening to harm those who follow the Balance Code, attempting to disband the Chosen Children, disruption of the balance, and summoning the power of the Hazard for ill will? Do you admit to these crimes?"
 
"Not sayin' anythin'," Jack's voice slurred as it came out of his mouth. Thorn vines snaked up his body and stabbed into him, causing Jack to bleed from multiple holes.
 
Jordan slashed and the wounds began to burn, both from poison and literal fire. "Go ahead and defy us," he said cheerily. "It won't change a damn thing. Your partner's still dead and it's your fault, you're pretty much dead where you lie, and you're about to be judged. So you might as well admit it or we'll make this judgement last. We've done it you know." He knelt in front of Jack with the cruelest smile. "Let me see if you and I can understand one another, one monster to another you know?"
 
He gestured to Leith. "My pal here is likely the coolest and nicest of us all. He prefers protecting others but he ain't naive enough to say that's all he does." As he spoke, he gestured at each person." Miranda, she may be a calm one, but to her traitors are worse than Chosen. Caleb, he's one of the most polite children you ever met, except you were stupid enough to get somethin' with wings. Maria's the sweetest girl in the world. She doesn't enjoy this like Caleb and me. But you were the one dumb enough to break the rules, so what choice does she have? As for me..." He smiled almost sweetly. "Your kind make me ill, loyal or not. I'm the one who enjoys seeing your corpses."
 
He stood up and looked at the Chosen, specifically at Jonathan, who shuddered at the red gaze. "Let me clear this up for all o' ya'll. We ain't nice, thank the Goddess. However, you and your kind got no right to have done what you did to us. You don't have any right to call us your trash. Lady Norn's is kind enough to include you all in the list of being protected by us Storien. So humble yourselves right quick. I am not like Leith here. He gives chances, I don't. Not anymore."
 
Tai spluttered in indignation. "We haven't done anything to you. Don't judge us on Digi-Destined who came before us. And when did we call you trash, anyway?"
 
Jonathan shook his head, trying to tell the other leader to stop, but it seemed Tai was ignoring him. Sora spoke then, apologizing for her boyfriend's behavior.
 
In front of them, Jack struggled to his feet, trembling violently from the poison racing through his body. "Don't care what I used to be, but you're all bastards in the end. Die in hell..." He collapsed again.
 
"We already are going to hell idiot." Jordan scowled. "Filthy scuts," the boy muttered. He gave Tai a cold, firm stare. "Don't pretend you don't think yourself high and mighty compared to us, the monsters we are. You are killing one of our comrades. Your partner killed one o’ our own! You ****-spewing-"
 
"That is enough," a calm, melodic voice interrupted. Kiri walked forward, grey eyes mixed with blue. At once, Jordan and the other Storien turned, dropping to one knee.
 
"Lady Norn!"
 
The girl waved him off. "Ignore the formalities for now." She gave Leith a polite nod, and he turned away.
 
Leith gave Jack a stilled stare. "Our crimes are well-known by us, but you must admit to your own. We killed your partner but you caused us to follow that action. It is your fault for giving up, Chosen Child, for turning away for what you chose to do as your duty."
 
"It's your fault," Caleb stated, his voice no longer crazed, but politely dull. The contrast was disturbingly quick.
 
"Alrigh', alrigh'. I admit it." His voice was slurred again as he lifted his head. But what alarmed the other Digi-Destined was that his face now had a crazed, insane look about it. Jordan made to kick him, but he yelled: "I already said I admit it. Leave me alon'."
 
Leith bowed his head slowly. "Congratulations sir. You have been pronounced guilty."
 
"Congratulations," echoed three voices.
 
"Congratulations," Jordan finished.
 
Leith almost smiled. "Congratulations sir. Now then, let us begin. Drown, Tempest Nexus." Around his hands swarmed blue light and turned into two sliver tonfas, which continued to shine.
 
Here we go, Jonathan thought and prepared himself. I wish it hadn't of happened this way, but so be it.
 
The other girl, who had been standing by the trees, walked over to them. Unlike Caleb, Jordan, or Leith, whose crimson eyes held painful emotions, colder than winter, hers actually held warmth and life. "You all should close your eyes," she advised gently. "It's nothing new for us but you don't need to see this unless you want the nightmares." All of the Digi-Destined closed their eyes.
 
Jordan sighed. "Miranda." Wind rushed through their ears as the sound of muffled splats and groans echoed through the air. Maria lifted her voice very softly and began singing, hiding the rest of the sound from their ears. Jonathan, Tai, Matt and T.K. turned Mimi, Sora, Anna and Kari's heads away gently and covered their ears.
 
Ken watched silently, not hiding himself. "This," he said to Jordan quietly. "This could have been me dying couldn't it?" Jordan nodded. Ken shivered. "I'm sorry."
 
Jordan frowned at him, looking as hostile as always. "For what?"
 
"Just... I don't know really. I guess I'm sorry for what you have to do."
 
Jordan smiled at him, and Ken found without his cold nature, the boy next to him seemed friendly. "Don't be. It won't change anything. Just protect the Balance." Both turned at the sound of rushing water freezing at once. Maria stopped singing and looked at the icicles stained red.

"Well Leith?" The boy bowed softly and the ice was gone. All that was left of Jack was scraps of gauze and flesh, with blood scattered in the now cold puddle. Sora and Mimi shuddered and Catherine almost screamed.

Jordan sighed but didn't speak as he watched his team recall their weapons. Maria gave the Chosen a gentle smile. "It's over now," she said kindly. "He won't be able to hurt you anymore. There's only one left now and we won't harm him more than we must."

Tai, T.K. and Jonathan nodded. "Alright," they said in unison.

"Maria," Jordan clicked out, looking cold again. "You're being too nice again."
 
Maria smiled. "Well you're too prickly so it evens out right?" The other girl, Miranda, snickered. Leith went to Norn's side, who mumbled something. 

Leith nodded and raised his voice. "Maria, you have a deviation to attend to." The girl turned. "You are to retrieve the missing Chosen and wipe out the rebels." She nodded and turned on her heel, immediately leaving.

The female Digi-Destined, whether they were in teams or International, stared after Maria with fear in their eyes. "When you say you won't harm him more than you must, what do you mean by that?" T.K. Asked.

Jordan groaned. "For ****'s sake, it's Maria. She ain't gonna kill him!"
 
"They don't know that," Miranda snickered.

Caleb shrugged, the calm persona instantly setting people worried. "The most Maria will do is beat him unconscious unless you want his partner to reconfigure." The boy grinned slightly. "He might bleed a bit though. Not to death but thorns do prick the skin."

Tai and the others looked at each other, clearly still worried.

Norn gave them a reassuring look. "It's perfectly fine. Your friend Davis will still be alive. But... I would still be worried for him. Just because the corruption will be purged, doesn't mean your friend couldn't fall again. Leviamon will not have a hold over him, but the feelings that turned him the first place still linger." The Digi-Destined shared understanding glances.

Caleb looked at her. "Lady Norn..."
 
"It's all right Caleb."
 
"Still..."
 
"Tell them then."

"Yes my Lady." He sighed. "Your friend has fallen, there is no denying that. So he must be judged. However this does not mean death. But there must be retribution. Inform us now so it can be administrated."

"I think Veemon should be turned against him, but also given the ability to Digivolve naturally without a Digivice like Rei's Gaomon can." Jonathan replied.

Caleb closed his red eyes. "If that is what you desire Chosen Children. Just remember, your friend is not quite sane anymore. Your future behavior towards him could make it worse."

"As long as he's freed, we'll be on our best behaviour," Sora countered.

Jordan scowled. "Idiot, that isn't what he meant. He meant-"

"Don't bother Jordan," Miranda interrupted. "Let them figure it out themselves. They won't listen to the words of Storien."

"Never have," the boy agreed coolly. Norn giggled softly, causing the pair to blush red.
 
Leith glanced at his comrades. "You need to go." Jordan nodded, almost to himself. The three quickly turned and disappeared without a farewell. Leith stood by Norn, who was watching the Chosen. "Better now," the boy asked sardonically. "Your helpers are gone."
 
"So?" Tai responded, miffed again.
 
Leith simply shrugged. "So nothing. I'm just wondering if you feel better knowing that one part of your problem has been taken care of. I'm wondering if there's a weight off your shoulders. Weapons worry for the safety and well-being of their protectors."
 
Jonathan sighed and closed his eyes at the same time. Tai, Tai, Tai... you're gonna get him annoyed. "I, for one, feel better. The weight's off my shoulders," he admitted.
 
Leith simply nodded to himself. "Time to go then." He left and Norn vanished. Immediately, Tai whipped around, looking furious.
 
"Jonathan, what were you thinking?" Tai almost yelled. "Getting them to turn Veemon against Davis?!"
 
"Makes sense to me," Luca remarked softly as he walked over. "They hurt each other as partners but maybe they won't separated."
 
"Getting them to make Veemon a freelance Digimon was a pretty smooth move," Willis stated.
 
"Norn was here. Nothing would have happened." Luca gave the eldest leader a scowl. "Count your blessings. No one said it was permanent."
 
"Yeah, yeah," Matt said dismissively.
 
Luca smiled to himself. This guy really sent his alarm bells ringing. If only he was allowed to rip people apart. "I always knew you had no sense." His eyes flickered red and he smiled again.
 
"Just because he's balanced doesn't mean you have to insult him all of the time," BlackGabumon said worriedly.
 
Luca smirked. "You think I care? Your human could have a soul like pitch and I'd still be annoyed with him. Or all of you."
 
"Alright everyone, just break it up," Jonathan raised his voice. "No fighting, okay?"
 
"Not fighting just saying." He was really getting a bad headache now.
 
The Digi-Destined began to disperse, going their separate ways. "Wait, aren't we gonna go rescue Cody?" Yolei called out.
 
"Maria's on that," Luca replied dully as he passed her. "Your buddy's fine."
 
"Luca, can we hang out for a bit?" Catherine's voice called. Luca glanced back, smiled faintly, and nodded, gesturing for her to follow as he walked. The blonde-haired thirteen-year-old hurried after them, waving farewell to Willis and most of the others.
 

 
“So,” Luca drawled goodnaturedly, watching her sip her drink with a vague interest. Liollmon was curled under the table with Floramon watching not too far away. “Any particular reason why you wanted to hang out with me?”
 
“Not really,” she replied, swirling the contents of her glass with her straw. “Just felt like it.”
 
“You don’t seem all that whimsical to me,” he remarked, reaching down to stroke his partner’s fur.
 
“Well you don’t seem all that open-minded but I suppose there’s a lot of things we don’t know about each other,” she shot back with a bit of a wild grin.
 
Luca laughed. “I think I like you.”
 
“Should I feel flattered?”
 
“No, feel disturbed. It means you have a twisted streak.” Catherine found herself laughing.
 
“Well I’d rather have that than whatever you’ve got.”
 
“You mean the stick up my ass?” Catherine turned red as she giggled. Floramon was watching from the sidelines, smiling to herself. This was the happiest she had seen her partner in a while. Maybe this rough kid was a good match.
 
“S-Stop! I’m gonna spill my drink.” Luca put up his hands in defense.
 
“Okay I get it. You just don’t wanna mess up your pretty little dress.” She rolled her eyes.
 
“I can’t tell if you’re flirting or insulting me.”
 
He gave an airy jerk of the hand. “A little of both, helps keep people a mixture of amused and pissed.”
 
“Speaking of that,” she changed the subject as she put the glass away. “Why do you keep getting on Matt’s case? You two are kind of similar, I’d think you’d get along.”
 
Luca snorted. “He’s an arrogant little ass.”
 
“You’re one to talk.”
 
“Yeah but I know that already but he doesn’t seem to figure it out. Besides, he wants the respect and adoration of the world. All I want is a day to hang out with my friends without someone or something screwing it up.”
 
“You want to be normal?”
 
He and his partner both barked out a laugh. “Normal?” Luca said cheerily. “Screw normal! Do you realize how jealous we are of the Chosen? Jordan will not admit it but we are.”
 
“Because we have Digimon? Because we are more stable than you?”
 
“Got the second one right.” He reached out and moved her hair from her face. “Catherine, look at me.” She did and frowned at the runes. “Fanglongmon told me, when I took my test, that we remnants are only here for the sake of getting you all to the other side without too many hitches. They don’t want us or need us. We just take up space. But your kind is so important that they want us to keep you around. And like Relena said to Jonathan, they make sure we never forget it.”
 
“But Jack-“
 
“Jack lost,” Luca said simply. “They found a replacement. And it was Norn’s decision. The Sovereign simply agreed with it.”
 
“Luca…” Catherine looked him all over and now could see faint cracks, almost invisible, on the runes. “I’m sorry.”
 
“Don’t be,” he replied, getting up and offering her a hand. “There’s nothing you can do.”
 
“Yes there is,” she said with a sudden, fierce strength. She ran forward and hugged him.
 
He blinked at her curiously. “What’s this for?”
 
The thirteen-year-old was glad he couldn’t see her face because she felt like crying. He didn’t even understand what this sort of thing was, did he? So she took the sarcastic route. “It’s a hug genius.”
 
“No ****. What I meant is: why are you hugging me?”
 
“Because you need a hug,” Catherine replied stubbornly.
 
“I do huh?”
 
“Yes!” The vehemence of her words surprised even her. “I think you guys just need hugs and people to understand you and treat you equally and it needs to be real. Everyone’s trying to do that but you guys keep pushing them away!”
 
Luca pulled back to look at her. She was proud she didn’t flinch. He then laughed; laughing so hard he fell over. For a few moments they remained that way. Then he wiped his eyes and smiled at her. “You know somethin’?” he asked happily. “You’re probably right.” She smiled before making a puzzled frown as he continued. “But do you guys actually really seem like ya wanna be friends? Seems more like you’re doin’ it to be polite.”
 
Catherine grinned. “Well I’m not, I don’t think Willis is, and I’m sure your friends aren’t.”
 
Luca laughed again. “Well that’s four out of what? Twenty?”
 
“It’s something.”
 
“Yeah.” He stood up again, grinned slightly, and patted her head. “Thanks. You tried.”
 
“…Sure.” She liked that.
 

 
Once again there was a knock at the door. Blair yanked it open and prepared to snap but froze. There was Riku, looking as though she hadn't first met him drunk in his house.
 
"Ready to go?" Blair hesitated briefly, before nodding and exiting the house, with her partner following.
 
Riku bounced ahead, looking ten years younger. "Well you're just a happy little ball of sunshine huh?" He seemed to be teasing.
 
"And the purpose of coming to my cousin's house is..." She asked evenly.
 
He didn't seem to notice her forced calm. "Well Missy, it just so happens you need to have a weapon so you don't end up with your head bashed in. Just so happens I'm the guy for the job."
 
"Oh-kay..."
 
"Well that or set yourself on fire, whatever's more gruesome."
 
"Why did they send you?" Wizardmon asked.
 
In answer darts whizzed through the air and knocked both Wizardmon's staff and hat off, piercing them and sending them twelve feet. "I have better aim than even Grandmother. I trained Tomoe-chan and now I'm training you." Bringing forth and manipulating her ability, Blair prepared herself for the next round, whatever form it would come in.
 
Riku rolled his eyes. "Look girly, I don't mind beating the **** outta you but it won't be fair to you."
 
Blair, what are you doing? You heard what the Sovereign said; you can only control your ability sporadically, Wizardmon thought at her.
 
Blair found herself pinned by blades as the earth reached for her and Riku grinned. "Told you it wasn't fair.” She struggled and her ability flared in her panic, making Riku draw back.
 
"Wow you have no control," he remarked.
 
"What do you expect?" She answered. "I'm sure you would've heard my partner's thoughts, I can only control it sporadically."
 
Riku groaned. "Dude I'm not smart enough to read minds. And even if I was, why would I waste time poking in yours? It probably has more cobwebs than our basement." He watched her pinned to the wall. "Anyway, to control your fire... try melting the knives to get down." Blair brought her hands up to the knives and grasped them, sensing them slowly melt into liquid steel as the flames consumed them.
 
Riku smirked quietly. "Come on now. Follow me or just stand there while that melts your skin off. Either option's interesting." He paused for a moment as he turned. "I really am sounding more like Grandma." The flames vanished in seconds and she followed him again, with Wizardmon staying close to her side.
 
"So," Riku began cheerily. "You haven't been explained much on how you and Jonathan are supposed to beat the Sovereign right?"
 
"That's correct," Blair answered.
 
"Wow you're formal," he observed. "You see, your Awakener has to be at full power. However, lots of Digital Cores don't have it in 'em. The Sovereign do in, well extra. So what you gotta do is keep it with ya when you fight. Not your Digimon: you. While you fight, it'll absorb the excess power leaking out from them. When ya do that, it'll eventually change color. Then all ya do is insert it and boom! All set."
 
"Thanks for explaining that," she responded. "I always wanted to know how it happened."
 
Riku shrugged. "Nothin' all that special," he replied. "Just something you couldn' a guessed at." In a half amused way, Blair rolled her eye.
 
 The man sighed. "God damn it Sentri, this was your job." He entered his home and shouted a greeting down the hall. There was the sound of wheels as Raphael came to the hall.
 
"Hello," he greeted Blair. "Suppose you're here for a weapon?"
 
Riku answered for her. "Tha's right buddy. Now can ya take her down there so I can go get somethin?"
 
"Course," he replied, beckoning her forward. Tokomon bounced up to his head, waving. Blair followed Raphael down the hallway.
 
She heard the sound of two people fighting in another room. "It's Jonathan," the boy said breezily. "He's improving a bit. Better than the first time." He weakly slid the door open. "Think you can do the same?"
 
"I'll certainly try."
 
Raphael smiled lightly. "Best thing I've heard all day." He held out a hand. "Hand me your Awakener please."
 
The girl handed over her Core Awakener to Raphael. "What do you intend to do with it?" She asked.
 
"Just this." He closed his eyes and seemed to be listening as he clutched the chip loosely in his hand. "Well there's a problem. Neither of you are actually synchronized to your Awakener yet. It's probably due to the fact that neither of you completely understand the nature of your elements as they are to people."

"Oh?"
 
"Mm." The boy's eyes seemed far away as he spoke the next words. "Fire... wild and free when blazing its strongest, bright and open, showing its pride. When it has been tamed, when it is low and tired and needing more power, it flickers to live, not weak but steady. It sparks to remind others of its power yet people are drawn to it, enjoying the warmth, called by the light. Those kind of people..." He gave her a steady stare. "Are those you count of to defy the fiercest, love the strongest, and be easily blown down at times. They are the ones who are emotional, who are unable to be completely tamed, who draw people in and enjoy that feeling yet snap at them to keep them too distant to be burned."
 
"Then it sounds like it's time the frost melts, right?" The question was calmly confident.
 
Raphael shrugged. "If that's what you call it." He hummed to himself, listening. 
 
"So... I have to do what you listed in order to understand my ability? I'll do the best I can."
 
Raphael shrugged. "You have to understand fire first and allow your heart and soul to become fire, in a sense. You are fire so you need to apply the emotions and existence of fire to yourself. The best way to start is to imagine it in your mind, every sensation. Once you can do that, we'll move on. I'd sit down though, it'll take a bit." An eyebrow arched, but she sat down regardless.
 
"Just relax and concentrate on fire." He seemed to be distant, watching his Digimon run around the room. In moments, small fireballs appeared, hovering above her hands. Blair, of course, had closed her eye and focused.
 
"You're overdoing it," the boy cautioned. "You shouldn't overuse your power now, not when you've barely got a grasp on it." He hummed to himself and let the light wrap around his arm. "Just concentrate on one fire and try to make it dance, move to your will, make shapes." As if it had heard Raphael's command, the left fireball vanished in a puff of smoke. A mental order must have been put forward, because the remaining fireball moved away from Blair and started circling below the ceiling.
 
Riku walked in. "Working hard?"
 
Raphael shrugged. "She's improved."
 
The male nodded. "Mm." Without waiting, he fired into the ember and it poofed away as the dart imbedded itself in the ceiling. "Alright, time to teach you how to fight. Up girly." Blair rose to her feet and nervously followed the male.
 
Without looking he fired again. She managed to dodge. He kept firing without glancing from Raphael. "Dodge and take this weapon from me, or you will get impaled." Moving rapidly like wildfire, she dodged again and appeared in front of him, knocking the weapon to the floor. She then put a foot on it. Riku smirked and knocked her feet from under her, retrieving the weapon smoothly and resting the tip at her throat. "Your balance sucks."
 
Blair had had enough. She pushed the dart gun away, rolled swiftly and positioned the crossbow correctly in her hands.
 
Riku grinned. "Ooh, girly's angry now. I'm so scared of you. Can you actually hit?"
 
"Watch me," came the angry growl. She fired just to the right of him. "That was a warning shot." She strafed across and got him, once in the arm and again in the upper leg.
 
He didn't seem to notice and simply, very calmly, fired and hit her in both arms and legs, the wounds clean through, followed by one imbedded in her kneecap. "That wasn't painful. Mother's whip is worse than that. And your aim seriously sucks. You need to aim," He fired and just grazed her head, nearly hitting her ear. "With the intent to kill. And you needn't..." He ran forward and charged the gun into her chest, holding back from firing it but the tip bruising. “Assume your targets stay still.” She found herself knocked to the ground. "Now then, you're almost out of shots." He placed a dart just a millimeter from her throat. "This one has poison. I wouldn't move."
 
Blair froze in response to the poison-filled dart at her throat. "You aren't gonna do it, are you?" She hissed, but the male could tell there was a little bit of fear there.
 
He looked down at her for a moment, as if considering the idea. Then he gave a cheery grin. "Nah." He removed the gun and helped her back to her feet. "Why would I poison a cute girl like you? You'll look like a hag trust me. Now..." he frowned. "You need moving targets and more arrows. But that'll come after you head home and chill and analyze each part of your weapon. You need to be able to disassemble and reassemble this thing. Got it?"
 
She gave a nervous laugh. "Okay."
 
"See ya later then pretty lady. Go fix yourself up, you're ruining your good complexion. Your boyfriend's gonna come at me with an axe when he finds out it was my fault."
 
"Bye! Oh wait, how's Jonathan doing?" She stopped in mid run and half turned.
 
Riku frowned. "Well he's alive. Last I checked, Imouto was beating him into the floor again. She's enjoying this too much."
 
"Okay, thanks for that. Bye!" She hurried out of the house with her weapon, the crossbow.
 
Riku smirked. “Well ain’t she in a hurry.”
 

 
Maria paused just outside of the stronghold. Her bracelet scratched at her skin. “So this is what’s left of the fallen Devas,” she mused aloud. She hummed to herself, feeling her heart growing colder. “What a match this will be. Bloom, Night Blossom.” By command, her flowered bracelet began to wrap itself around her hand, shifting into a black and vine rapier with the blue flower in the middle.  She smiled softly. “Time to make a bang. Code Ally, activate! Floramon’s Allergy Shower!”
 
The pollen soared and settled over the fortress, sneaking into the castle air. Covering her mouth, Maria disappeared inside. Inside the occupants were stumbling around or paralyzed and she walked past them, looking amused.
 
“You assume too quickly Storien brat.” She barely even paused.
 
“So there you are Makuramon.”
 
The monkey smirked. “You realize you won’t make it out of here alive correct?  Even if I fall, Vikralamon and Kumbhiramon will take up the fight.
 
“I’m aware of my struggles yet I’m not too worried. You’re already dead after all.” He stared at her for a moment then looked down the see that vines had caught him. Without time to even cry out, he burst into data. Maria almost smiled. “One down, two to go.”
 
She kept walking, running into little resistance. The less energy I use the better, considering I have to torch the place.
 
“Stop where you are!” squeaked a voice, that of Kumbhiramon’s to be precise. She turned.
 
“Oh good,” she said pleasantly. “I was getting lost. Could you show me the way to the cells?”
 
“I will not show you anywhere except hell filthy human!” snapped the Ultimate level, causing Maria to frown politely.
 
“Well it looks like I’ll have to teach you how to treat a lady,” she murmured as she spun Night Blossom in her hand.

Meanwhile, Cody quietly curled up in the cell, as far away from the bars as possible. He was storing up his energy for later, when he could climb out of the really high window, if he could make it that far. There was a sudden, loud crash and the Rat Deva went flying into the wall. It trembled as a shadowed figure.
 
“Stop. I give up!” the creature screamed. “Have mercy, please stop!”
 
“I have more mercy than you know,” the shadow said in a soft, feminine voice. “That poison you took earlier is very slow and who knows what you could do during that time?”
 
As if reading her mind, Kumbhiramon shattered the door and yanked Cody roughly out of the corner.
 
“Don’t you dare try anything!” it squeaked ferally. “You attack and you’ll kill him!”
 
The older girl examined him. “Funny,” she remarked dully and Cody shuddered at the crimson stare piercing them both. “That’s true… if I was Jordan or Miranda. But Caleb and I… are much more precise than they are. Watch.” And she moved and slashed through the Ultimate level smoothly, grabbing Cody gently. Kumbhiramon screamed and began to writhe on the ground, beginning to foam at the mouth as he bled onto the stone floor.
 
“Wha-“ he rasped. “What did you just do to him?”
 
“He’ll only be suffering for a little while longer. Worry about yourself.” Cody found himself obeying as they ran. Now they landed at the edge and there was a giant boar, almost completely covered in fur.
 
“Bao Lun!” Maria suddenly clutched Cody close to her chest and leapt high, avoiding the energy ball. Placing him on the ground, she sighed. “This is gonna be a pain,” she mumbled.
 
A cheerful voice cut in. “Here I’ll help! Engulf Mist Shadow!” Two boomerangs slashed into Vikralamon, slicing through him. The Digimon roared but did not fall. Maria turned and smiled softly. She ran forward and stabbed between the eyes. Vines snaked on the Digimon’s body and wrapped him up. This one roared loudest of all, its cry echoing in the stronghold as it died.
 
“Now then,” she began cheerily. “Shall we burn this hellhole and all of its inhabitants down?”
 
“I’ll do it,” stated a calmly friendly voice.
 
“God Flame!” Cody watched the prison be engulfed in fire. He was frozen until his savior gently took his wrist.
 
“It’s all over now,” she said and gestured toward where a Gate was opening. “Let’s get you back to your friends, little Chosen Child.” Cody nodded slowly and followed, his green eyes numb with shock.


 
Tai and his team sat with Yolei, TK, and Kari. Jonathan arrived with Blair, and Leith appeared just as the Digital Gate startled them all as it opened. The Gate closed as the small group exited. "Be careful, you'll fall." This voice was young and male like a little boy. Jonathan frowned. Is that...?
 
"I'm okay," This was a girl's voice and everyone saw Leith freeze with pure surprise. He trembled. He knew that voice. It was older, lighter somehow, but he could never forget it. "I'm not that clumsy anymore."
 
"You never were clumsy," Maria's clear lilt countered politely. She appeared first, clutching Cody's wrist. The boy looked uninjured but his eyes were wide and full of terror. Armadillomon ran to his side and Cody immediately knelt to hug his digimon.
 
"You okay Cody," drawled the Digimon, feeling the boy's hands tremble as he stroked the shell.
 
Cody nodded numbly. "She, they were trying to kill me, but- but they..." He whimpered, completely broken from his calm, stoic self. "They didn't deserve that!" He turned to glare at Maria, finding his fury, who stared back in a vivid lack of fear. "You didn't have to torture them like that!"
 
"It's a bad side-effect," she said quietly. "The poison I used was slow-acting. I didn't have time to use another when they were attacking you."
 
He shivered again. "Still, you had no right."
 
There was a soft snort from Agumon, someone no one expected it from. "If you've battled this whole time and assumed there are any rights involved, you are a seriously stupid person Cody. I honestly mean that in the nicest way possible."
 
"Lay off him Agumon," Armadillomon growled. "Cody's smart. He doesn't like fighting." Agumon sighed and didn't reply.
 
There was a soft sigh. "Do you guys always fight like this? How does anything get done?" Two others stepped out. Jonathan recognized the white-haired boy at once but it was Leith who knew the girl.
 
"Laura?"
 
She paused, looking around. She saw him and smiled. "Leith!" She ran over and hugged him, while the boy was frozen with surprise. "Leith you got taller!"
 
"Laura," he mumbled, returning the gesture slowly. "You're alive. And..." You're actually acting like a human being.
 
She beamed at him. "Yes and I blame you. It's all your guys' fault. Here's your punishment." She flicked his forehead and grinned.
 
All the Chosen could do was stare.

Legendarian Mistress
April 20th, 2011, 06:18 PM
Chapter 32: Revelations

Seeing Cody still trembling, even with Armadillomon’s comforting presence, Yolei snapped at Maria.

“Who the hell are they?” Tai grumbled, referring to Laura and Jay.

Blair’s right eye narrowed. “Why are you so friendly with Leith?” She asked Laura.

Yolei glared. “What the hell did you do to him?”

Maria was unruffled. “I saved his life. I had to be a bit brutal to do so.”

“Brutal?” Cody whispered. “Kumbhiramon was foaming and bleeding to death on the floor! That was something a monster would do!”

Maria shrugged. “I am a monster, a Storien Child. We don’t know what honour is.”

Jay merely gave Tai a sweet innocent smile as he gestured for someone to come out. Out came an angel boy, who was dressed in a toga. “I’m Jay!” The boy bowed politely. “Nice to meet you!” He didn’t seem to notice the hostility at all.

Laura smiled. “Because we’re comrades,” she said happily, mussing his hair. Leith’s cheeks flushed a faint pink and he smiled slightly.

Fury overtook Blair, but Jonathan reacted instantly. He dragged her off, while she was kicking up a stink.

Laura frowned shyly. “What’s wrong with her?”

Leith simply shrugged. “Human thing.”

Laura nodded. “Humans are weird,” she decided and Jay giggled at that.

“We could have told you that.”

“Blair, stop it,” Jonathan hissed. “Sean is Leith at the moment; you can’t be Sean’s girl when he’s Leith.”

Laura paused. “Um Leith, what’s he mean?” Jay leaned up and whispered in her ear. She froze and her eyes widened. “No way! No! I don’t like him that way, uh-uh!” She stepped back, waving her hands. “No way, he’s like my brother! Why would I like any of them like that? That’s gross, you pervert!” Leith watched her for a moment, and then burst out into quiet laughter.

Maria did the same, muffling her giggles with her hands. “You’re so innocent, Laura!”

“But it’s true!”

Jay giggled again.

Yolei pulled Cody away from the group, with their partners following. “Cody needs rest,” the lavender-haired girl stubbornly insisted.

“Wait!” Jay ran up. “It’s gonna be okay,” he said suddenly, his bare hand resting on the boy’s wrist. The grimness in the boy’s eyes faded and he smiled faintly. Jay smiled back and hopped away, running back toward the group.

“Jay!” his partner cried. “You dropped your gloves!”

“I know!” he chirped, putting the fingerless gloves back on.

“Thanks,” Cody said softly, but he was too late; Jay hadn’t heard him.

The boy’s partner waved at him. “I’ll tell him you said that!” The creature soared off and hugged Jay’s neck.

“Lucemon!” the boy exclaimed, grinning at his blond partner.

Laura giggled. “Lucemon’s so affectionate. It’s so cute!”

Leith smiled softly. “You’ve changed so much, Laura.”

The girl twirled. “Isn’t it great?”

Maria nodded. “We just didn’t expect you to be so... lively.” She smiled. “I like it!”

Mihiramon’s band of Devas was nearby and they were getting restless; they could sense something dark was looming in the very near future. “Digi-Dessstined, it’sss time to go,” Sandiramon hissed.

Jay smiled at them. “Wait please! I need to know where that one is! They told me I was here to heal someone’s heart! I need to find them!”

Alerted immediately, Jonathan poked his head up from trying to talk sense into Blair. “He’s probably at the park, hanging out with Gaioumon.”

The boy perked at this. “Okay Jonathan! Thank you again! Come on Maria, Lucemon! Let’s go, they’re waiting for us!” The boy’s watch began to shine and a Gate took the three away.

Laura frowned pensively. “What do I do now, Leith?”

“Go find Jordan.” Laura brightened at this idea and ran off, her eyes now red. Leith watched her go, smiling amusedly.

“I’m sorry for Blair’s behaviour, Leith,” Jonathan apologized.

“It’s quite all right,” the boy replied. “She couldn’t have known.” He offered Blair a polite smile. “Laura is like a sister to us all. She’s very innocent. Please take good care of her, she doesn’t mean any harm outside of orders.”

Jonathan nodded sincerely. “We will take good care of her. Does she have a Digimon?” He added quietly.

“Of those who fought in the Battle of Sacrifice, I am the only one has received a Digimon a second time,” came the reply.

The sixteen-year-old bowed his head. “I’m sorry I asked.”

“It’s perfectly all right,” the boy repeated. “She doesn’t really know the difference between Digimon and what are designated for the Storien. As I said,” he smiled dully. “She is a very innocent child.”

“Alright, thanks. We have to go now, don’t we Blair?”

The girl scowled angrily.

“Goodbye,” Leith said politely. “You really shouldn’t fear her, girl,” he added to Blair as he left. “Laura doesn’t know what a boyfriend is. She’s like Dorumon. Though I guess to you even that’s a challenge.”

“Easy for you to say,” she growled as she and Jonathan left.

“Silly girl,” he quipped to himself. “Sean thought you would think that way.” And he was gone.

“Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?!” She demanded, but he was already gone.

...

Maria, Jay and Lucemon were at the park looking for Davis and Gaioumon. They suddenly heard a raspy voice that sounded like it was edged with knives. “Pah, Spinomon wasn’t even a challenge! What a weakling! VictoryGreymon, on the other hand... he was a worthy opponent; he was one I’d like to fight again.”

Jonathan was right, after all, Maria thought.

Lucemon frowned, flapping his wings to hover in the sky. “What a bully. Spinomon was sick and he should know it.” Jay patted his Digimon’s arm.

Maria sighed and raised her voice. “Well, I’m sorry VictoryGreymon won’t be here but...” She smiled sweetly and spun her rapier between her fingers. “Why don’t you settle for me instead?”

Jay frowned. “Maria, we can-”

“Save your strength, Jay,” she said quietly. “Your battle is with another. I think Lucemon can fight without Digivolving instead, but don’t just yet.” The boy nodded and his partner clenched pale fists.

The samurai dragon turned, hardly surprised there were others listening to his conversation with Davis. “Well, look here, Davis.” The male viewed the recent arrivals. “I could do with another battle,” the corrupted Mega sneered.

Maria giggled softly, eyes turning crimson as her blade was surrounded with a green light. “Someone as weak as you won’t bring up a fight, it’ll just be an annoying game,” she chirped gently, channelling Caleb. “And I’m not like Caleb. I don’t have patience with games.” As she spoke an angry screeching filled the air.

Gaioumon snorted dismissively. “That supposed to scare me?” He answered abruptly, sounding a lot like Beelzebumon.

“Well,” she paused. “It should because...” She vanished and reappeared, with one of Gaioumon’s large blades in her free hand. Twirling it effortlessly, she finished, “I exist to watch you suffer in hell.” With a soft laugh, she tore into his armour with his blade, then snaked vines into the gaps, each thorn poisoned.

Gaioumon grunted in pain as the poison raced through his blood. He struggled to remain standing.

Maria flipped Night Blossom. “Come on now mister, you were boasting so much before,” she said softly. “Fight me. This is boring even for someone like you.”

“Fine,” he growled. “Gaia Reactor!” He induced an atmospheric explosion in front of her by concentrating those atmospheric energies there.

“Code Ally activate! Griffomon’s Solo Roar!” The noise blasted a counter, destroying the Gaia Reactor.

“Rinkazan!” This was his dual-sword battou-jutsu technique that would cut an adversary in half in one swift sword-draw; leaving trails of phosphorescent light from the blade of the Kikurin. The Mega had drawn his swords, forcing Maria to think instantly.

“Grand Cross!” Lucemon had leapt in the way and fired ten spheres in the form of a cross, which broke through his Rinkanzan and directly hit Gaioumon. Maria leapt over him and stabbed into Gaioumon’s left eye and let vines sprout.

Gaioumon had reached his limit. His form began blurring and the Mega level data vanished, leaving Chibomon in its wake.

“So easy,” she commented softly. Seeing Davis, she frowned. “Just to be on the safe side... Allergy Shower!” He was coated in pollen and found himself paralyzed. Maria walked over and picked him up, followed by Chibomon. As they began walking back, she smiled at Jay and Lucemon, who grinned.

...

Maria dropped down in front of them. Davis was on her back, a hologram clutching his Baby level partner. Behind her was Jay, who observed silently.

“I believe this belongs to you,” she began softly, placing him on the ground. “As you can see, he is mostly uninjured. Shall I begin judgement for you?”

Jonathan nodded.

Maria closed her eyes softly. “Here stands in front of me a Chosen Child fallen by will or by corruption not his own. You are accused of the following: murder of Chosen Digimon, threatening to break the Balance Code, using the power of Miracles for corrupt purposes, betrayal, harming your former allies, and threatening to perform the Schism once more.” She turned to the Chosen. “Are these crimes correct?”

Sensing his companions’ thoughts from what happened to Jack; Davis took the easy way out instead of denying. “It is.”

Maria smiled gently. “I congratulate you sir on being pronounced guilty. However, before your punishment is given, it is time for treatment.”

“What do you mean?” He asked, the question coming out in a slightly rough manner.

Jay stepped forward. “That means me,” he said softly, gently. He took off his gloves and placed his hands on the male’s chest. His eyes closed and something around his neck began to glow. “Ooh, it’s dark,” he murmured. “You’re in a lot of pain, so much. I’m sorry.”

Davis simply closed his eyes and didn’t answer.

“Though,” Jay murmured to himself. “Should I be the one apologizing?” He sighed softly and the glow spread to his entire body.

“Jay,” his partner whined. “That’s too much.”

“The corruption’s almost seeped in,” the albino said softly. “Even he says it’s necessary.” A grey smoke began to wisp out of Davis’ body.

“Is it working?” T.K. and Kari asked.

There was a snort. “I dunno. Is it?” The crimson eyes glared through them. “Be patient. It’ll work when it needs to.”

Lucemon whimpered. “He told you to stay down, Jay.” The boy snorted at him and said nothing, keeping his tongue in check.

Jonathan sighed. The sarcastic Jay was back. The sixteen-year-old half nodded at the other Digi-Destined, telling them to be patient.

Jay blinked and frowned. “He’s always so mean,” he muttered as the grey smoke grew larger and larger. Davis suddenly shifted in pain, eyes open wide.

Not normally one to scream, the boy cried out in agony as th