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Old March 3rd, 2011, 02:46 PM
Fuyu's Avatar
Fuyu
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Who knows?
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky

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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.
 
__________________
"What Tama wishes for is..."

  #27    
Old March 8th, 2011, 05:33 PM
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Legendarian Mistress
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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!”
__________________
Credit goes to Sgt Shock for my signature and avatar
  #28    
Old March 16th, 2011, 01:50 PM
Fuyu's Avatar
Fuyu
Battle!
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Who knows?
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
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. “****.” 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.
__________________
"What Tama wishes for is..."

  #29    
Old March 20th, 2011, 03:54 PM
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Legendarian Mistress
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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.
__________________
Credit goes to Sgt Shock for my signature and avatar
  #30    
Old March 23rd, 2011, 01:52 PM
Fuyu's Avatar
Fuyu
Battle!
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Who knows?
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
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.
__________________
"What Tama wishes for is..."

  #31    
Old March 30th, 2011, 03:50 PM
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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.
__________________
Credit goes to Sgt Shock for my signature and avatar
  #32    
Old April 5th, 2011, 12:35 PM
Fuyu's Avatar
Fuyu
Battle!
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Who knows?
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
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}worse. Laura…[/I]

“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. [I]"Very true. We're counting on you all. They must live, no matter the cost."[/I]
 
"I understand Baihumon." She removed her glove, showing him her right hand. "We of the Storien Children will not fail."
 
"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..."
__________________
"What Tama wishes for is..."

  #33    
Old April 11th, 2011, 04:43 PM
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Legendarian Mistress
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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 ****s 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.”
__________________
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  #34    
Old April 15th, 2011, 08:55 AM
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Fuyu
Battle!
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Who knows?
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
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 ****s."
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.
__________________
"What Tama wishes for is..."

  #35    
Old April 20th, 2011, 06:18 PM
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Legendarian Mistress
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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 the corruption started its final exit out of his body.

The glow faded a moment later and Jay stood up, putting his gloves back on. “All set,” he announced, looking no worse for the wear.

Maria smiled softly. “Now then,” she gave Tai and Jonathan a pointed stare. “His punishment was decided by you, so you must tell it to him so it can be administered.”

The two leaders glanced at each other, with Tai nodding and giving the go-ahead to Jonathan. “Davis, your partner is going to be turned against you and also given the ability to naturally Digivolve without the aid of a Digivice,” Jonathan explained.

“That is your punishment. Acceptable?” She drew her rapier and held it, closing her eyes in concentration.

“What choice do I have?” Davis questioned, nevertheless nodding his head.

“Then this will hurt.” Seeing the normally invisible thread that bound human and partner, she slashed it in two and a great soul-wrenching agony ripped through him.

Davis collapsed to his knees, trying to stifle the moaning coming from his mouth. Chibomon screwed his eyes up, wishing for the pain to go away.

Suddenly, everything was gone. Every sensation of the other was cold, blunted, like there was a wall between human and Digimon. Davis whimpered now, feeling a terrible loss.

“This could be temporary,” Maria said softly. “It depends on how you live from now on.”

“I understand, thank you for sparing me,” Davis responded distantly.

“It was as Lady Norn bid,” she answered with a small smile. “However, I must also take something from you.” She took his D-Terminal from him and tapped it. Something floated out of the screen and disappeared. Handing it back to him, she nodded. “That power should not be touched for a while. It needs rest.”

“What about Chibomon?” Tai interrupted. “Does he have the power to Digivolve naturally now?”

Maria nodded. Jay snorted. “One look coulda told ya that, genius.”

“Jay, shut up!” Maria hissed. “Let your other side out! At least he’s friendly.”

“He’s tired. Let him alone.”

“It’s okay, Maria,” Jonathan butted in. “Tai’s sorry, aren’t you?” He looked at the other leader. Clearly, the boy wanted to say no, but he very reluctantly nodded.

Jay scowled. “Pfft. Humans!” He snickered. “You guys scream annoyed.”

Maria hit him. “Jay, stop!”

He waved her away. “Whatever. We done? Last I checked, I was in the middle of something.”

“Please proceed,” Matt said.

Jay smirked. “Oh, I can go? Thank you, Goddess!”

Maria sighed. “Jay, you have to give them the Key.”

He pouted at her but she gave him a firm glare. Jay sighed. “Fine, here this belongs to you two.” He held out a small light, which floated towards Blair and Jonathan’s Digivices. They entered the D-Cores and vanished.

“Whatever those were, thanks,” Jonathan answered politely.

Jay smiled and they could see the softer light in the red eyes. “You’ll understand when the time’s right!” He said cheerily. His hand glowed and he lifted it, opening a Digital Gate. “Bye now everyone!” Stepping inside, he was gone.

Maria bowed to them all. “Good luck from now on.” She walked away.

...

Agumon had done something unthinkable: he was away from Tai. No matter what kind of mood he was in, he just wouldn’t do that sort of thing. But he had to see her. He had to know the truth and his faulty memory wasn’t giving it to him. He stopped at the door of the house, well, mansion in a way. This place had been here for so many years, it didn’t even look out of place anymore. Before he could ring the doorbell, the door slid open and someone, an eleven year old girl, was at the door. She looked at him with a familiar gaze, her gaze.

“Do you have business with us?” she asked politely. Agumon started and nodded slowly, shaken from his fading past.

“Yes, I’m here to see your mother.” The curt voice he used made him wince. He hated sounding like that. But the girl was unaffected and simply nodded.

“Please follow me then.” He did, looking around shamelessly into other rooms. Faces and bodies peeked out and watched him. None of them, even the toddlers, wore a single feeling of surprise. “We were born knowing about your world, sir,” the girl said softly. “Digimon have passed to and from these halls for over thirty years now, at least. You are not a strange sight, except for the fact that you are alone.”

“I didn’t want my partner to know where I was.”

She nodded solemnly. “Understandable. Everyone wants to be left alone sometimes.” She stopped and pointed. “In here.” He slid open the door and paused outside.

The voice was calm, almost snappish. “Come on, drag your feet. You’ve waited all this time to come back. What’s a little longer?” He smiled to himself. She hadn’t changed at all. He entered the room, where his old friend was sipping the green tea she loved. At her side was a familiar man, one who also seemed unchanged.

“Hanabi,” he greeted softly. “It’s been ages, hasn’t it?”

She snorted. “It’s only been six since I last saw you, but since we’ve last spoken? Over thirty.”

“Wow, time’s flown, huh?” The man next to her laughed softly. “Tohru, you haven’t changed much either.”

“What do you expect?” the man asked merrily. “Someone in our group had to be cheerful in the end.”

Agumon snorted. “I guess that’s true. Tamaki and I... we really changed the most.”

“Of course you did,” Hanabi agreed. “His sister committed suicide right before his very eyes. If that hadn’t changed him, hadn’t changed us all, what would have?”

“So...” Agumon said darkly. “My memory wasn’t wrong. She killed herself and it wasn’t a sacrifice like everyone called it.”

“Of course it wasn’t,” Hanabi said quietly. “We remember that much.”

“What I can’t remember is why!” Agumon snarled to himself. “Why did she do that?”

“She couldn’t take any more,” Kiri said softly. The Rookie turned. He hadn’t even felt her there. Above Kiri’s hand floated a small globe of golden data. “I have the memory right here. Look.” Agumon watched the data and as the memory played out for him, fury began to grow again.

“Those bastards,” he hissed. “I knew they had a part in this! I won’t forgive them for this! I’ll...”

“No...” Tohru said quietly. “Don’t go down that road again, Agumon. You’ll drag your new partner with you.” Agumon gritted his teeth and nodded. That wouldn’t be fair to Tai.

“Core-Keeper,” he said suddenly, looking at Kiri. “There were requirements for getting that, weren’t there?” He earned a nod. “Tell me them and if I’m thinking right, we are very lucky.” She did and he scowled. “Just as I thought. We were in danger there.” He stilled. “I need to go.”

“Were any of us stopping you?” Hanabi asked sardonically. She smiled slightly, however. “Come visit again.”

“Like you can stop me.” He left with a wave. As he headed back to Tai, he thought grimly: Well, I’ll tell you Tai, but do you want to hear it?

...

Bill stood by the fridge with Tagashi as Blair and Jonathan entered the house with their partners. “You two,” he began. “Tagashi’s been on my case for a week now, so I may as well get this over and done with.”

“What are you talking about?” Blair asked. Wizardmon, on the other hand, tilted his head knowingly. He knew what was about to happen.

“Does this have to do with you being a partner?” Jonathan asked, watching him closely.

“That... and,” he paused, looking at Tagashi. Tagashi nodded firmly. Bill sighed. “When I was born, the Sovereigns fused a Sorcerymon’s Digi Core inside my body.”

Jonathan paled and reflexively rested his hand over his heart. “Why?”

“So that as I grew older, I would be able to master the Darnassian language which all elven and mage Digimon speak.”

Blair groaned. “Why would you need to know that?”

Bill made a point of staring at his younger cousin. “You have an elven Digimon, do you not?”

Blair flushed and didn’t reply with more than a nod.

Jonathan frowned. “That’s not all there is to this, is it?”

Bill nodded. “That’s right, Jonathan. The Sovereigns decreed Wisemon to be my partner. I even have my own D-Core.” He paused and showed the reddish-grey device off. “But as you said, there is more to it than what’s already been said. Like your sister, I am needed in the final battle.”

“What exactly will you be doing, may I ask?” Jonathan inquired, looking politely puzzled.

“The partners and the freelance Digimon will be helping the Digi-Destined and the Devas against Daemon and Ogudomon’s armies,” Wisemon answered the question. Commandramon and a Monodramon poked their heads out from behind the Ultimate’s robes.

“Fair enough. Thank you for telling us. It was... a great shock.”

“It wasn’t originally meant to be,” Tagashi interceded. “Bill promised me he would tell the two of you a couple of days after Kiri took Blair to the park.”

Blair snorted. “Well, at least he told us. Wait...” She frowned. “What do you mean it wasn’t meant to be?”

The Monodramon looked the girl up and down. “He means it wasn’t meant to be a great shock,” he rasped.

“How was I supposed to know my cousin was half elf?” She snapped in a mixture of irritation and embarrassment.

“Silly girl,” Commandramon snorted, before the two Rookies wandered off through the house.

“Bill?” Jonathan questioned. Why are they here?

“Monodramon has no partner. He didn’t want one,” he explained. “And Commandramon... well, he’s important to this. The Sovereigns wouldn’t have just let him die.”

“I see,” Jonathan answered.

“No Rookie calls me silly,” Blair growled.

“Oh, but Sean can?” Wizardmon muttered slyly, earning an embarrassed glare from his partner.

“He’s a human, Commandramon’s a Digimon. There’s a difference.”

All Wizardmon did was smile. He was sure there was more of a difference than that.

An hour later, Jonathan, Blair and their partners went out again. Tagashi turned to Bill with a disappointed expression. “You didn’t tell them the whole truth.”

“There was no way I could have. If Blair knew Shiro died not of an asthma attack, but because of the Sovereigns, she’d never forgive anyone. I will not go down that road, Tagashi. I will not have her bitter her entire life. Some secrets are best not known,” Bill answered.

...

The three teams plus the International Digi-Destined were once again in the park; they were to meet with Gennai, but at the moment the Watcher was nowhere to be found.

Gennai seemed to appear from nowhere, wearing the beige robe that covered him. “Hello everyone.” He paused, looking uncomfortable. “I have something to talk to you about. I believe a few of you know already.”

“You betrayed them, didn’t you?” Jonathan got a head-start on the Watcher.

Gennai didn’t seem surprised. “Triesta told you, eh?” He sighed. “Yes, I betrayed my friends, every one of them. I brought the Schism about, almost single-handedly.”

“Why?” Anna asked.

“Because I was a coward who only knew how to run away.”

This caused a number of the Digi-Destined to become indignant.

“It’s true,” he said bluntly. “Faolan was our centre, our strongest and best in the heart. He kept us all on our feet, just as our leader kept us walking. You couldn’t have one without the other. He was killed by Ogudomon. It was horrific. And without that balance... I lost my footing.”

“You lost your way, you mean?” Tai muttered.

“Why do you think that gave you any right to kill them?” Sora was horrified.

“Did I say it gave me any right?” Gennai asked them. “I lost my mind. I... out of everyone there, I was likely the one easiest to give up and I did. I had no right. I know it now as I knew it then. But... I just... I wanted the pain gone. No matter how much the others helped and encouraged me, I just turned away. I was a monster and I’ll freely admit it.”

Mimi stepped forward. “Which Digimon were your partners?” She inquired, taking a more submissive approach.

“We didn’t have any,” Gennai said coolly. “They were killed before we ever met them.”

“Oh,” she replied, lowering her face in shame. “I-I’m sorry.”

“It’s perfectly all right, Mimi,” he replied gently. “They fused with us instead, though I won’t tell you how painful it was.”

She nodded slightly. “I’d hate it if anything like that were to happen to Palmon.”

“I’m certain you would.” Kari stared at him. He was purposely deviating from topic now. Why wouldn’t he just admit it? She gave Jonathan a pointed look. When he looked confused, she gestured towards the Watcher.

“Gennai, get to the point, please. Just tell us the truth,” Jonathan sighed wearily, before nodding understandingly at Kari.

“I have told you...” He paused. “Ah. You're referring to how I caused the Schism, aren’t you?” Gennai almost laughed. “It was simple: I killed my brother Rion and tore my friends and their partners literally apart and took their “Pieces” from them. Then, when NEO was forming, I stabbed him with the dagger that had my brother’s blood all over it. The backlash caused the Schism.” Gennai frowned at them. “There, I’ve said it. Now go ahead and scream at me all you like.”

There was a very heavy silence as the Digi-Destined took in this information. Then they started backing away from the Watcher. “Monster,” Palmon whispered.

“Get away,” Matt only half said his statement, protecting Anna as they moved away from Gennai.

Anna was the opposite, however. She pushed her boyfriend aside and yelled at the Watcher. “How could you?! How dare you?! You, who gave us our Digimon!”

Gennai bowed his head. He knew this would happen.

Kari, to everyone’s surprise, stood up and walked over to him. “I think I get it now. This is what Norn meant.” She smiled faintly. “You really messed up.”

“Of course. Must you state the obvious?”

She smiled again. “I... I should be mad and like the others but... I can’t be. Siara doesn’t hate you and I guess... I guess I can’t either.”

Gennai sighed. “That’s because she’s gullible.”

Kari rolled her eyes. “Oh, and you aren’t?”

“Point taken.”

“Kari?” T.K.’s voice trembled. “What are you doing with him?”

Kari shrugged. “Forgiving him. He screwed up. We’ve screwed up only he prevented us from making the same mistakes. Remember what Norn said Tai: do not blame him. So I won’t. He’s worked with us all this time to make sure everything worked out all right. No reason for him to stop now.”

Tai froze as his face twitched. “She’s right,” he eventually admitted. “Come on guys, loosen up.”

They looked at each other, unsure. Gennai sighed. “I’ll leave you to your decision then. Farewell.” He vanished.

When he was gone, Luca was caught walking past. He snickered. “Looks like you know now. See, Triesta’s anger had a reason.” Before anyone could say a word, he was gone.

Mihiramon’s group of Devas were nearby. They sensed a powerful force coming from the other side. Sandiramon called out to them: “Sssomething’sss coming, Digi-Dessstined!”

“Heads up!” Vajramon bellowed and drew his swords.

A Digital Gate opened and a motorbike sped through it. A figure leapt through the air after it and seated himself perfectly. The Digimon withdrew two pistols, one from a holster on his back and the other from his pocket. “Hello kiddies. You’re not with your friends now, are ya punks? Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to annihilate them later.” He laughed disturbingly.
__________________
Credit goes to Sgt Shock for my signature and avatar
  #36    
Old May 1st, 2011, 02:40 PM
Fuyu's Avatar
Fuyu
Battle!
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Who knows?
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
All right, that was the end of the second arc up there. This is the start of the last, the name of which I cannot remember for the life of me and it goes from 33-44. I know, we're giving you too much to read. I'd apologize but the other stuff I write on my own is much worse. By the way, for anyone who has played Digimon World DS or any of those games, there's a reference for you.

Chapter 33: Corner Driven

"Who the hell are you, three-eyes?!" Blair snapped.

"What a polite wench we've got here," he drawled. "I'm Beelzemon, Demon Lord of Gluttony. Not that you'll live long to understand."

Ken growled. "Leviamon was bad enough, but now Beelzemon too?! What do you want?"

"To kill you. Isn't it obvious?" He fired casually at the Digi-Destined but, to everyone's surprise, Jordan leapt in and sliced the bullets into pieces.

A collective, shocked "Huh?" came from the groups as the Storien Child landed and looked back at the Demon Lord.

"Ya expect me not to do my job because I hate you?" he snarled. "Ya'll need to be alive, like it or not, and that means not letting this idiot shoot ya! Don't you guys have any brains in those ugly things you call heads?" He charged, fire burning all around him. Emboldened by Jordan's fierce statements, the Digimon Digivolved to their highest levels. They faced off against the Demon Lord who was fighting his own battle against the Storien Child.

Jordan move. Hearing Leith's mental order the boy dodged as the attacks from behind him hit. Beelzemon shook them off and laughed.

Jordan glanced back and snapped at Jonathan. "Oi, moron! You've got power, use it! Don't stand there like a fool!" Jonathan brought out his bo staff, which he'd named Gaia's Revenge. Sanako had declared him hopeless but said heh ad no choice, so she had let him awaken the weapon.

He closed his eyes, nodded, and steadied his footing. A faint green light came from his body and he charged. slamming one end of the staff down, missing the Demon Lord. but the vines soared into the air, heading for him instead. Beelzemon dodged and Jordan slashed his face with fire. Taking advantage of the momentary pain, Jonathan jabbed him in the stomach and spun himself to hit the Demon Lord's chest twice more. Stepping back, he remained battle ready. Did better than I thought...

The Demon Lord tilted his head calculatingly. "Huh, you weaklings are stronger than you look. But it ends here! Double Impact!" He fired the pistols; the four bullets headed straight for Jonathan and Jordan.

"Not today, I'm afraid!" Sandiramon shouted and curled himself around the two boys, protecting them from harm's way. By the time the smoke cleared, the Ultimate level was looking a bit worse for wear, but was still standing.

"Oh? How amusing," drawled the Mega. Jordan snarled and moved, slashing him open. Beelzemon growled and reached down to stab him with a claw. The boy blocked and continued to slash, this time burning the wrist and torso.

"Get out!" Jordan hissed, crimson eyes glaring into the Demon's own. "Get out of this world! You don't belong!"

Beelzemon huffed, ignoring the pain of his burning flesh. "As if I will listen to you."

"You will,” rasped the Storien. “Unless you want to miss your revenge."

Beelzemon smirked. "Fair enough... for now." He opened a gate and left. The others relaxed and Jonathan passed out, dropping to the ground. The others moved to his side at once.

“Jonathan, what's wrong?” Mimi half-screeched. “Wake up!”

“Leave 'em.” The black-haired male's tone was curt. “He's used up too much power with that thing. He ain't that strong. The kid needs rest, so let 'im.” Joe looked at the Storien, who let his chicken sickles disappear with a small grimace. That kid didn't seem nearly as hateful as he appeared.

“Uh...” Sora managed. “Thank you.”

Jordan huffed and waved her off. “Your gratitude makes me sick.”

“Hey!” Tai snapped but TK got in the way.

“It's all right Tai,” the blonde mumbled. “I think that's his way of saying you're welcome, or that he doesn't need thanks. Leith said the same thing to Blair.”

“What's so wrong about being thanked?” Matt really didn't see what his brother was getting at.

Kari replied for him. “I guess it feels awkward for them.” She watched the boy go. “They weren't shown anything like that since this started and it's offensive now when we try to make up for it.”

“Plus,” TK added. “It's their job. They don't expect us to thank them for something that's supposed to be done, in their opinion.”

Their older siblings eyed the pair strangely. “How do you two figure that?” Tai asked suspiciously.

Both shrugged. “That's just the feeling I get,” Kari said softly. “Siara told me about the Storien yesterday.”

“Anything we should know about?”

The girl shook her head. “I don't want to repeat it.”

“Why?” Mimi was afraid to ask.

“Because the truth is disgusting and there are some things you shouldn't want to know.” Agumon was leading the other Digimon back. Tai winced.

“Why do you say that?” Izzy was incredibly curious.

Agumon shrugged. “Lots of reasons. Most are because you guys are going to have enough troubles soon.”

No one knew quite what to say to that.

...

He was floating in blackness. Was this what it was like to die? It was cold, quiet, and almost peaceful. His body ached; it burned so much it was unforgivable. Wait, why was he burning if he had been frozen alive? That made no sense. Was he still alive? If that was the case then where was he?

“Hey you’re awake!” Jack winced and found himself turning around. The girl staring at him was smiling. He recognized her at once.

“You’re the Keeper…” Kiri grinned.

“That’s right! And you’re the traitor!”

Jack growled. This girl had sentenced him and his partner to death. He thought he hated her more than even Relena and Jonathan. “What do you want?”

“Isn't it obvious?” the young girl asked, flipping upside down where she sat.

“No, it's not!” he yelled. “You killed Dobermon and me, what the hell more could you possibly need?”

“You're dead?” she asked, unaffected by the yelling.

“Yeah I am!” Jack snarled as he ran to attack her, only to bounce off a forcefield. “You sent your weapon on me and he beat me to pieces and froze me! Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm dead!”

Kiri floated right-side-up in the air again, her legs crossed. “Well, physically yeah, but you're here talkin' to me aren't you? Your soul lives sir and I'm here to make sure you get something for being so persistent.”

“...What's the catch?” He doubted she would so willingly help him.

She flipped upside down for a second time, reminding him of the Cheshire Cat. “Oh you've already fulfilled that. That person should be here any time now, thanks to your life energy.”

“That person?”

“Nothin' for you to worry about. So anyway,” She leaned toward him. “You in?”

Jack paused. “Will I get Dobermon back?”

“If you're on your best behavior,” she chirped. He couldn't hold back a smirk.

“What do I have to do?” She floated over and placed two fingers on his forehead.

"Just hold still." That was his only warning before he was enveloped in orange and violet light.



The boy under the tree seemed not to see them, eyes locked on the little Digimon in his lap. "The Game has started," he sang out softly, violet eyes vague. "Come on Blackie, I want to play.”

"Not now," murmured the digimon, looking amused. His partner blinked innocently.

"But the Game is everyday, so I always play. You can play too."

"Relax, Colin," Gigimon ordered lightly. "You can play later in a bigger field. There will be more space to run."

The Digi-Destined looked confused as they stared across the park at the new arrival. "Who is he?" Palmon inquired.

Finally Colin looked up at them, vision blurred by dirty-blonde hair. "Players," the boy murmured vacantly. "Look Blackie, there are people here. Are they here for the dreaming?"

"I ain't thinkin' so," remarked the In-Training, who plopped from his lap, causing a strangled whine to come from his human. "Calm down Colin, I'll be back."

"Nnah, leaving," the boy whined. His partner sighed. The Digi-Destined tensed as the In Training Digimon approached them.

Gigimon frowned as he came closer. "Why are ya freakin' out so much?" he drawled, looking amused. "All I can do is bite."

“Wait a minute,” Mimi walked over to the In Training level. She crouched down. “You Digivolve into a Guilmon, right?” She glanced up at the boy, studying his appearance. Jack? No, she shook her head firmly. Jack was killed. Then why do this boy and his partner remind me so much of Jack?

"BlackGuilmon," he corrected mildly. "And that's Colin. He's kind of strange but means well."

"Who's he work for?" BlackGabumon asked, coming up beside Mimi.

"You, I would say," replied Gigimon before a strange whine came from the boy. "Oh no." He hurried back to Colin, who was twitching. "Calm down Colin I'm right here."

The Digi-Destined glanced at each other, not sure what to make of the boy. "Hey, maybe Kiri knows who he is," Sora said. "Where is she anyway?" She looked around, not seeing the other girl.

"He's Colin," Kiri chirped, appearing from nowhere. "Just a special Chosen named Colin whose soul is a bit off-center."

"I was the last, even though I'm from the future," Rei responded, dropping down from a tree. Gaomon landed beside her.

Kiri shrugged. "Colin is here isn't he? He defies Fate itself, in a way. Though he could be a Tamer, Norn wasn't too specific when she told me about him."

"True," Rei answered. "But you know, don't you?"

Kiri smiled. "What if I know? Should I tell you?"

Gigimon had forced his partner to stand up and he was walking over slowly, the red creature on his head for a moment.

"We would like to know," came Catherine's soft voice.

"Colin is Colin," Gigimon stated loudly as the two walked to Kiri's side. "Colin is a special Chosen, a replacement, is all." For some reason, Catherine glanced back at Luca at that line, who didn't react.

"Okay," the group said in unison, shrugging.

"Do you like games," the boy asked when they approached, purple eyes resting on each person almost too quickly. "Do you want to play?"

"Define games, if you'd care to," Willis answered.

The boy blinked at him quizzically. "Games? Fun things that you win! Like races. How do you not know what games are? Do you guys not have any fun?" Gigimon sighed. Kiri giggled, smiling at Colin's innocently confused expression.

Gigimon interrupted. "I think that you're supposed to play a different game with them Colin." The boy blinked but pouted.

"But that's not 'till later," he whined.

"Then you'll just have to be patient." The Digi-Destined were silent.

He looked at each of them. "Did I say something wrong Blackie?"

"No we said something strange."

"Oh." Kiri smiled quietly.

"Ne, Colin, don't you have somewhere to be?" He paused then nodded.

"Yeah, that place where the ghosts are. I'll go there right now." He held up a strange device, nothing like the Digivices they had seen before. Leith blinked curiously.

"Is that the Zero model?" Kiri nodded.

"Norn recommended it." The Destined watched as Colin left, still wondering who he really was.

Leith gave Kiri what could have been a pout. "You did that to piss us off, didn't you?" he asked in an almost whine. Blair stared in surprise.

Kiri grinned. "Maybe."



“What do you mean Agumon?” Tai snapped, feeling a fear and anger he had to struggle to hold back.

“Exactly what I said,” replied the reptile-like creature tiredly from where he laid on the bed.

“That's impossible though,” his human whispered.

“Clearly it's not, otherwise she wouldn't be as screwed up as she is.”

“The others... how can we tell them?”

“What do you mean, we? It's my story, not yours. And it needs to be ended. I'll tell what I can tell. And if she has some answers then thank Goddess because we need them.”



Tai sat in the park with Agumon. The others were looking at each other as they arrived slowly, talking amongst themselves. Matt turned to Tai, who simply said nothing, brown gaze cold. Agumon's eyes were closed, as though he were forcing himself to remain calm. He looked at the edge of the park, where, lastly Kiri was arriving with Tomoe and Leith, who gave them a vaguely amused look.

She raised an eyebrow as she approached. "You called all of them," she stated.

Tai nodded. "Where are yours?"

"Luca said there was no point in coming to hear things he already knew."

Tai growled softly. "Fine then. You two are the only ones we need to hear from right now. Agumon told me everything."

Tomoe looked at them for a moment, then hid again as Kiri replied, "Oh?"

"Yeah, now explain something to me," Agumon began slowly. "Explain to me why each of the Catal Keepers commits suicide!"

"And explain to me," Tai snapped. "Why the hell Kari could have been one of you damn Keepers!"

Shocked, Matt and T.K. stared at Tai. "There's no way that could be true!" Matt exclaimed.

"It is true," Tai muttered. "But she," He jerked his thumb at the Keeper, who observed them all dispassionately. "Is two years older than Kari and there was no data on either of us until eight years ago. Apparently, her bloodline's tracked."

Kiri simply smirked quietly. "I thought you would know why, especially from your partner. There are four requirements to be a Catal Keeper, all of which together are very difficult to find in one person at the right age. The first... is to have an intuitively parental heart, or a natural sense of care for others' well being as an adult would have. The second... is a sense of other worlds and feeling their changes. The third... is the ability to travel to the worlds without true need of a digivice. And the last..."

Against all warnings their minds were giving them, the Digi-Destined leaned in to hear what was coming next.

"The last," Kiri said with a eerie little smile. "Is that the person must have an innate connection and understanding with the Dark World."

This stunned the Destined beyond belief. "That's all?" Anna whispered.

"Yes," Agumon agreed. "Those four little reasons..." He snarled softly. "Would have, inevitably, caused Kari's death." He glared at the Keeper. "Now answer my questions: why does every Catal Keeper commit suicide? Why did a seven year old kill herself? Why are you going to do the same?" When Kiri didn't answer, he growled. "Answer me! You two have her memories! Why did Kikyo kill herself? Why?" He was in tears.

"No," they heard Jonathan whisper. "You can't." That was what you meant back then? Kiri gave him a cold, cool look that stated: I can.

Kiri looked away and didn't answer. But Tomoe did. "It's because it hurts."

Agumon looked at the girl as she landed on the ground. "What do you mean, both of you?"

Tomoe trembled. "The Catal Unit... it's so much, so much power and knowledge. It hurts so much. And if we... if anybody loses, we'll die anyway. So it doesn't make a difference. You don't know how scary it is, to know that all of the worlds rest on your shoulders, to have the memories of every single event of the worlds inside your head." She stared at them all with a broken stare. "Do you realize how scary that is, how painful that is? It's so much easier, so much quieter, if you make it all stop. The Gods stop talking, the worlds stop screaming, everything... it goes away..." She whimpered. "Until now." Until I came back to life. It went unsaid.

Sora felt Tomoe's loneliness, felt her despair, but felt helpless at the same time. She didn't know if she could do anything to help her.

Tomoe glared at them all. "How can you ask why Mama wants to die?" Her voice shattered. "How can you when your sister got saved from the same fate?"

The Destineds' faces screwed up in confusion. "What?" Mimi asked.

Agumon nodded. "Of course. Kari would have killed herself too if she had gotten the Catal Unit. That thing is dangerous as hell." He scowled. "Must be why the Sovereigns let the succession continue. Norn tries to make it easier but as Tamaki researched, there's no real way to calm the mental deterioration. Kiri's lasted one of the longest times, nine years before giving out." He glanced at her. "You have what? Two weeks, not even?"

Kiri nodded. "The final battle. I would have died anyway, might as well do it my way."

"Going out with a bang huh? Shoulda guessed." Agumon snorted. "I can't believe this. This is my second lifetime doing this and I've failed. Kikyo," he looked at Tomoe, who was staring at the ground. "Tamaki shouldn't have done this."

"Agumon..." Tai's eyes were tearing up, and he tried to still his twitching hands.

Agumon sighed. "You all deserve to know I guess." He sat down and the others copied him, Tai looking depressed. "My first partner Tamaki, was a lot like Tai. He was a brave and good guy, who only wanted to help people. Kikyo, she was so much like you Kari, nice, bright, full of that natural affection of Digimon. We, we were going after the Demon Lords the first time, hoping to stop this from escalating further. You actually know another one of our teammates. You've fought with her children and her husband was one as well. Not to mention," he cracked a faint grin. "Her mother's a Spartan.”

"Who?" Catherine asked.

"Your Lady Hanabi, though back then she was just Hanabi Ferro, a child of one of the strongest women in Japan, though her family immigrated here centuries ago.."

"You're kidding?" Anna whispered hoarsely.

"Agumon's terrible with jokes," the woman remarked as she walked up the path, observing them coolly. "Especially about this topic." As she passed Kiri, she gently tousled the girl's hair, causing her to flush. The man behind her gave them all a friendly smile and bow. Without looking Hanabi smirked. "You're always the friendly one Tohru."

He laughed sheepishly. "They don't seem too bad to me."

"Only because you haven't trained them."

"Well," he grinned. "There is that." He turned back to Kiri and asked something the others couldn't catch. The girl nodded. Tohru sighed. "This is all that will make it then. Hanabi, Reiko's dead."

The woman's expression didn't change barring the sadness that flashed in her gaze. Meanwhile Agumon groaned. "Are you serious? That sucks, it truly does. Your mother hit hard when it counted Keeper. I can say that for a fact." Kiri smiled quietly but didn't speak, eyes clouded over.

The news that Kiri's mother was dead shocked most of the Digi-Destined, but none more so than Blair. She could still clearly remember the day her parents died.

"She always was sick," Tohru said softly. "I guess she's better now."

All Kiri did was nod. "She's with Uncle Hikaru now and she's making sure you don't screw up again." Agumon paled.

"I'm in trouble." Tohru laughed.

"I feel sorry for you, Kiri," Blair muttered so that only the other girl could hear her.

Kiri simply smiled. "I barely knew her but thank you anyway." Tomoe let a soft cry of pain and Kiri reflexively rested her hand on the girl's head. "Don't let it control you." Tomoe bit her lip and struggled.

Agumon gave Hanabi a stern glare. "You knew all along."

She snorted. "Of course we knew! You two were planning to revive the dead! How could we not know?"

"That was their plan?" Sora couldn't believe her ears.

"What did you think I was?" Tomoe whispered brokenly. "Human? Luca told you I wasn't."

Agumon looked at the ground. "Tamaki... he couldn't stand losing Kikyo. We were all hit bad but... seeing him like that... I couldn't stand it. I would have done anything for him to really smile again, to be himself, but... it just kept getting worse. Everyone just kept dying... and the Sovereign just kept pushing us and pushing us. It had been bad enough before Kikyo died but after..."

"He changed," Tohru agreed. "He was like a shadow. Aki... and Michiru and Tsuki... they were haunting our dreams. Their screaming..." The man shivered quietly even now and Hanabi gave him a quiet smile.

"And he didn't want that to ever happen again," Agumon continued. "So, he started to look around. And... he learned about the Catal Unit from Reiko. She warned us but of course he didn't listen."

I didn't say you were human, Sora thought miserably.

"That explains why Kiri hated him so much, why she was afraid when he possessed Tomoe," Mimi stated.

Tomoe glanced at Sora then smiled. "Penmon would like her," she decided firmly. Tohru laughed, but this one was much shakier.

"That he would."

Kiri shook her head and whispered almost too quiet to be heard. "I didn't hate him, he just... he hurt. A lot and he wanted others to hurt along with him. That shouldn't be allowed but it always is."

Agumon sighed. "He couldn't access the Catal Unit outside of a vessel. So he waited and looked up how they were created. And, he found Kiri." Agumon lowered his head. "There are no excuses for what I did back then to help him, absolutely none."

Wisemon materialized with Commandramon and Monodramon by his side. "There may be no excuses for what you did back then to help him, Agumon, but you need to forgive yourself. A war looms and everyone is going to be needed to fight."

Agumon said nothing and turned away pointedly. Kiri smiled quietly. "That's right." She gave him a light poke on the snout. "I'm not angry and neither is Kikyo. We both just want, like every Keeper... for the future to be there.”Even if our existence is destroyed.

"Agu-nii..." Tomoe mumbled. "You're strong, you're really brave. And it doesn't matter. The pain, the sorrow, none of it matters. Remember Agu-nii, what we exist for."

Don't let any of it go to waste," Kiri added. Before she could hear his answer, she turned and left, her eyes hidden.

Kari turned. "Wait! Kiri I need to talk to you!" She caught up with her a short distance away.

Agumon growled softly. "I never said I wouldn't fight." He watched Kari, who was clearly anxious. "What the hell is she doing?"The others watched as Kari approached Kiri.

Kiri turned and the two were speaking. Tai groaned. "I can't hear them at all!"

"I can kinda guess," Patamon frowned. "Kari just said TK."

"What about T.K.?" Matt looked worried.

Patamon shivered. "No way. There's no way." He tried to listen again. "Holy..." He bit his lip to keep from swearing. "What do you mean?" he hollered, angry. "What are you two talking about? There's no way TK could have been a Core-Keeper!"

Matt stood up swiftly. "I refuse to believe this **** any longer! There's no way my little brother would ever be a vessel for the Catal Unit! Never!"

"Well of course he won't now boy," Hanabi said crossly. "Kiri already has it and Kari has more potential for it."

"But..." Agumon thought aloud. "Reiko carried the trait of Hope and she did hold onto the device for a time afterward. Hope and Light carry the potential incredibly well. Kiri only got it by well, birthright."

"Both Crest Bearers have the potential for it," Patamon translated. "Kiri says it wouldn't have happened because you are too old and your heart's changed a lot TK. She also says that..." He paused. "Oh. Oh wow."

"What?" TK asked softly.

"Kari just said she wanted to try and use the Catal Unit."

"ABSOLUTELY NOT!" Tai yelled. "Kari, think about what you're doing more carefully."
Kari glanced at her brother and turned back. She was speaking more insistently now with Kiri shaking her head.

"Okay the Keeper is saying not to and she still wants to," Patamon moaned. "Why is she wanting to?"

Finally they caught something. "I need to know!" Kari exclaimed. "There was something missing! I need to find it and the Catal Unit knows. Please!"

Kiri shook her head. "You won't be able to handle it!"

"I have to try!"

"Kari, don't!" Tai raised his voice.

"What does she need to know, anyway?" Sora asked.

"I don't care what she needs to know, she needs to know what she's doing is way too dangerous!"

"It's all right Tai," Kari said softly. "I know how dangerous this is. Besides," She smiled at Kiri. "You'll guide me, right?" Kiri looked at her a moment more, then sighed.

"Don't suppose I've got a choice. Tomoe-chan, come over now." The girl obeyed. Slowly the black diamond floated between the three, spinning all the while. It began to glow a faint golden. Kiri took Kari's hands. "Just relax now."

"Stupid sister," Tai muttered under his breath, before raising his voice: "Fine, I'll just tell Gatomon to inform our parents that you're dead then." After saying that, he went over to the wall, turned his back and crossed his arms.

"Tai!" Sora exclaimed, standing up. She was shocked at her boyfriend's behaviour. "That was rude!" The teen refused to answer.

Matt watched the trio, before snorting softly and speaking up. "Sora, it's a little thing called brotherly love." When the girl turned to tell the golden-blonde to stay out of it, he added: "Don't. Don't you get it? Tai loves Kari, just like I love T.K. He's extremely worried that this device is going to kill her."

"It won't," TK countered quietly. "Because I'm going too." Without waiting for his brother's reply, he hurried over to join them as the light grew brighter. He placed his hands just a millimeter away from it, as Kari had. His eyes widened and the four were engulfed in the shine.

"No, T.K., wait!"

"Don't freak out," Agumon said quietly. "They'll be just fine."

The glow vanished and the four stood there, green computer code forming a ring around them. Kari and TK's gaze were slackened, not there at all. Tomoe was not paying attention at all, but watching the Chosen. Kiri, however, was in deep concentration, her fingers moving on an invisible keyboard.

"Tai, answer me," Sora insisted.

Tai scowled. "Fine I apologize. But she's being more reckless than I am. They've just said it could kill her! And now TK's following her lead! What's gotten into them?"

Mimi seemed oblivious to the tension and innocently asked what they were looking for.

Agumon shrugged. "Beats me."

"The Future." Luca was watching them from a short distance, wearing one of his old shy expressions. "Light knows more than you do. She wants help with understanding what she knows. And Hope can feel it and wants to see." Jonathan watched on in wonder, though he was slightly concerned.

Luca's runes were glowing and he didn't seem to see the others. "Why don't you just believe in them?" The question held no hostility, simply curiosity. His gaze was dull. "Why not simply believe in other people? Sometimes, when stuff is complicated, that's what you do."

"Luca's right, as much as I hate to admit it," Matt stated. His faith reassured the others and, for some unknown reason, they all started to glow slightly.

Luca didn't react to them, but looked at the Catal Unit. "Pretty..." he murmured vacantly. "Do you like it?" Something seemed to growl in response, a violet shadow snaking around his arm.

Agumon suddenly growled at the boy. "Get away!" Luca's eyes slid toward the dinosaur, who kept snarling. "You, get the hell away from them! Leave them alone, monster boy!"
"Settle down, Agumon," Tai muttered.

"Not when the Chaos Unit is trying to overpower me," the Rookie spat. "Damn thing's using a kid! How low can you go?"

"You're wrong," Luca said softly, eyes already pitch black. "It needs me more than it needs you. But it wants you dead. It wants all of you gone, like I do." As he spoke, the thin shadow seemed to wrap around him more, and black eyes appeared on it, like a snake face.

Jonathan drew back mentally. "Leith, do something please."

Leith shrugged at them, his expression uncaring. "If you insist. I doubt I will be very effective however." Without hesitation, Leith moved, stabbing the boy with icicles. Blood spattered. Mimi cringed, hiding in Jonathan's arms at the splattered blood.

To the Chosen's surprise, Luca burst into laughter, the wild sound mixing with bubbles of blood from his lips. "You know that doesn't work. There's nothing there Leith!" Leith melted the ice to show the holes, including one where his heart rested. Other than the rapidly repairing rib cage and organ tissue, there was no trace of a heart.

"WHAT THE HELL?!" The male Digi-Destined yelled, while the females screamed in horror.

"Lu-ca... w-what happened t-to your h-heart?" Jonathan's Wormmon stammered.

Luca laughed as his body healed, grinning maniacally. "The Sovereigns took it away from me and gave me this damned Chaos You lose a heart and gain a Core! Of course you know what that means don't you?" He glanced at Jonathan who cringed and reflexively felt a hand rest on his chest.

Agumon snarled. "Was Zhuqiaomon high? The Chaos Unit was never sealed in a human before or in any creature! It was too dangerous! Why would they do so now?"

"Because it would be that much easier to perform the Schism if one was left free," TK answered monotonously as he and Kari walked back to them, hand in hand. Their eyes held very little emotion as they watched Luca, who smiled at them with a strange ecstasy. "They had to be kept safe."

Matt and Tai looked warily at their siblings, clearly noticing T.K.'s change of voice. "I hope you found what you were looking for," Matt muttered darkly.

"Matt, don't be like that!" BlackGabumon protested.

"T.K.? Kari?" Patamon and Gatomon nervously inquired.

Kari simply nodded, expression unchanging. "We're fine, just tired. You should watch out," she commented suddenly and a black tendril came stabbing an inch from Matt's neck. Leith blocked it but Luca was still watching the Chosen.

"It's all your fault," Luca muttered and the anger was back, his slit eyes glowing. "It's all your fault!" The tendrils kept attacking, avoiding TK and Kari but aiming for the rest of the Chosen. "I hate your kind!" the child screamed. "It's all your fault! You made them do it! You made me like this!"

In unison, the rest of the Digi-Destined rose to their feet. "Clearly you don't want to be around us anymore," Matt snapped. "Stay with these idiots for all I care!"

Jonathan looked shocked at Tai's second-in-command's attitude, but gave the order to leave. Soon the room was vacant barring Kari, T.K. and the rest of Kiri's company.

Kari watched them go. "This was necessary, wasn't it?" she asked softly. Kiri nodded and hugged Luca, who was crying brokenly as the Chaos retreated, returning him to a shred of sanity.

"I hate them, I hate them all... they're going to make me alone..." TK turned his back on the retreating Destined.

"There's no choice," he said quietly, his eyes full of hurt. "They can't be near us anymore.... not like this." Kari nodded but looked down at the floor.

"This isn't fair," she whispered. "This isn't fair at all!"

"No it's not," Leith agreed. "But it is necessary. And we all know... that they won't understand until the end." Kiri sighed.

"Let's go," she ordered smoothly. "We have work to do." Luca wiped his face, eyes puffy and red while the others nodded. Kiri turned and bowed. "By your leave senpai."

"Go," Hanabi commanded. All of them began to exit but Tomoe paused and looked back.

"This is very bad," Kikyo said quietly. "We can't tell those children anything, because of how easily they break." She left.



Tai could barely control his fury as he separated from the others to return home. Matt's expression told him the same thing. However, Agumon was watching him and it was clear the Rookie was thinking otherwise.

“I really don't see the problem with this,” his partner finally said, sounding calm.

Tai whipped around, looking furious. “What do you mean; you don't see the problem? Kari's been brainwashed and so has TK by that girl! She's trying to make us pity her because she's dying and they fell for it!”

Agumon stared at him a moment before snickering. “Tai, no offense but that's a bunch of crap. The Catal Unit doesn't have the power to brainwash, that's the Chaos Unit and I don't think its Keeper wants to do that, he has too much anger. Second, if you attempted to pity the Catal Keeper, she'd rip you to shreds because that's just offensive. There's no point to it. Third off, what you saw is a bad aftereffect of information search on the interface and they get a quick recovery.”

“How would you know?” Tai snapped, feeling this fury and hating it, hating it but not knowing what else to do.

“Because I saw it being used!” Agumon shouted, green eyes dark. “I used it once! Tamaki used it, hell, he converted it! And Tai, are you mad because Kari decided to use the Catal Unit or because she used it without your permission? Are you just mad because she has a free will and decided to use it?”

That struck Tai cold. “What was that?” he asked softly, not believing his ears.

Agumon could feel Tai's pure rage and couldn't help but smirk to himself. “The Catal Unit wouldn't have harmed her in any way while another Keeper was there! I wanted to tell you that but you wouldn't have listened. You were so mad that Kari did something in open defiance of your great rule and that's the same reason Matt's angry at TK. You can call it brotherly love all you want but to me you just sound like a dictator!”

Tai clenched his fists but didn't speak, unable to reply.

Agumon decided to hit home. “The reason Kari did what she did is to help you and all you thought was that they betrayed you! That's probably why they didn't follow: you don't want them or Kiri's group around because they get in the way of your power! Well here's the truth for you Tai: those kids don't care about Apocalymon or Myotismon or any of that! They don't care that you led two teams in defeating the same enemy three times! All they care about is fixing the **** we left ****ed up for the past fifty years and they want our help. But all we do is make it worse in their opinion. Kari went to change that. So stop whining about the fact that your sister put herself in danger for our sake. It's not like you didn't do the exact same thing when you were first fighting. Don't tell me you forgot SkullGreymon because I haven't.”

That clinched it. “Get out of here,” hissed the male. “Leave me alone Agumon.”

Agumon snorted. “Fine by me. Your Crest is crying.” The dinosaur turned and left as Tai went into his apartment. Tai slammed the door shut and screamed in fury, muffling it with his sleeve.

...

That night, Kari entered her and her brother's shared bedroom. Agumon still wasn't back yet, apparently still angry with Tai. Her eyes appeared back to normal. Tai simply rolled away from her on the bunk bed, refusing to look at her. She didn't appear to notice as she rummaged through a few drawers and moved around. Suddenly Tai felt a strange absence and rolled to see Kari clutching his Digivice. She held up her D-3 to it and the screen flashed before going blank.

"What'd you just do?" The boy shouted and launched himself off the bed to snatch it from her. Kari didn't react to him, merely let him take the device. He pressed a button anxiously and a strange symbol flickered on before vanishing.

Kari picked up the bag she'd made. "I fixed it," she replied.

"Fixed it to do what?" he asked suspiciously, moving toward her. Kari, to his surprise, shied back, looking startled. "What the hell's wrong with you Kari? You and TK have been acting weird the past few days!" His sister didn't answer but turned and left. "Come back and answer me!" Thank god their parents were out.

"No," Kari replied simply. "You won't believe me anymore. You don't want me around anymore. And you shouldn't." Tai reached for her and a shock buzzed through him, causing him to shy back. "Don't touch me Tai. Don't touch us. Stop interfering with us." For a moment, a pink light glowed from her D-3. "We aren't the same anymore Tai. Goodbye." And as she walked out the door, where TK was standing at the entrance. And Tai swore he could see a barrier between him and them as they passed. When they were gone, Tai snarled and dialed Matt. That girl Kiri had done something to them and that Luca kid was getting on his last nerve. They were going to fix what they had done or else. And just like with Davis, it would be a long time before they were forgiven.



Agumon kept walking, following the sounds of the stream. He cared for Tai, he really did, but the guy was getting on his nerves. He really did understand where the Storien got their opinions from now. No wonder they were murderous. Or was that something else? That Battle of Sacrifice maybe? He would have to look into it.

“Hello Agumon. Wandering by yourself again?” It was Tohru and Hanabi, the female of which clutched a flower vase. Tohru smiled at him and Agumon returned it, instantly at ease.

“My partner's an ass and I'm leaving him alone for a while to cool down.”

“It's a miracle you and Tamaki never did that.” Hanabi's comment made him blush.

“Tamaki was better at being calm than I am or Tai is.”

“He's also better at going insane,” the female added, making Tohru give his wife the closest to a scolding look that he could muster. But Agumon laughed.

“You got me there...Kikyo, what are you doing out?” The seven year old walked up and blinked at him, looking adorably confused.

“Tomoe-chan,” Tohru greeted, reaching to ruffle the girl's hair. “Kikyo must have fallen asleep waiting. Come on Agumon, we're going for a walk.”

“I knew Hanabi would get you into walking through graveyards.” He followed anyway, heading past the cemetery toward an oak tree, where a carefully made stone rested alone. Agumon knelt and read the kanji. He stepped back, paralyzed with shock. Tomoe silently patted his snout in understanding. Hanabi placed the vase down and began to pray in silence.

When she stood up again, Agumon had found his voice. “When?” he asked hoarsely.

“Six years ago,” Tohru replied quietly. “They had become corrupted. Our twins, they killed them both.”

“Tohru, Hanabi, I'm so sorry. This... they were...”

“We know,” the older man said softly. “I think it hurt the twins the most though.”

For a while the four just stood there as the wind blew, remembering the past they had all lived through, in a sense. Then Agumon sighed. “Suppose I should at least look for Tai. I kind of like my partner alive.” Tohru smiled and Hanabi gave a roll of the eyes. Tomoe followed in silence, her grey eyes ahead.

Agumon glanced at her “Well Tomoe, can you do me a favor?” She blinked. “Don't throw knives at me anymore.” She stared for a moment before bursting into silent giggles and nodding.

Agumon smiled to himself. Children look better happy.

...

Matt would have crushed his phone if he could but bystanders were watching. Quickly, he darted into an alley so he could swear and scream. He wanted to punch something, someone! TK and Kari had just done the same thing to him only half an hour before! What were they up to?

"Well hello there mister no common sense!" He turned to see that damned brat Luca only a few feet away, his partner at his side. Matt couldn't hold back a smirk. Well, here was a source of his fury waiting to get beaten. "Whatcha doin' outside?”

Matt was so furious that these mere children had taken his and Tai’s younger siblings away from them. His Digivice suddenly reacted without warning and, as BlackGabumon Warp Digivolved to the Mega level, he snapped at the eleven-year-old. “If it’s a fight you want...”

“... Then it’s a fight you’ll get,” Dino Tigemon finished, leaping at Liollmon. The Rookie barely had any time to react before the Mega was on him, crushing his small body with his giant silver-clawed paws. “You should feel the pain of a loved one being taken away from you,” the sabre-toothed Digimon snarled and prepared to sink his fangs into the lion cub.
Liollmon smirked. "Coward. Go ahead if that's what you want."

Dino Tigemon paused, his teeth inches from Liollmon's neck. "You don't really deserve to live, not after what your partner's friends did." The Mega stepped backwards, a sorrowful look in his eyes. "But I'm giving you a chance to fight me on even ground. Digivolve already!"

Liollmon shook his head as he stood. "My Tamer didn't come for a fight. You did. We were just walking. And we didn't do anything, they just followed what their hearts said was right."

Luca still was quiet, eyes half-closed. Finally, he spoke. "Liollmon."

"Tamer?"

"Give up. They're deaf." A vacant golden light lit up from his body. "He wants to die, let him." The light wrapped, not around Liollmon, but on DinoTigemon's throat.

"You say you came for a walk. How do I know you're telling the truth? And, more to the point, HOW did you know I'd be outside?!" Matt demanded.

"We were just going to the store." The boy held up a plastic bag. "We're out of rice again. As for how I knew," Luca shrugged. "Liollmon and I have strong senses. I can tell people apart and where they are even at the edge of the city." He shrugged. "I guess it's so I can help you."

"Alright, you can let my partner go... please." Matt said. "It just doesn't seem fair that you turn them against us and then expect us to welcome them back later on with open arms. It doesn't work like that, Luca. Even now, we still view Davis with wariness. That's exactly what's gonna happen to them if you don't warn them ahead of time."

Luca let go, expression dull. "I don't expect it. I don't expect anything of you. We haven't turned them against you. It's just... there's something they have to do, at least they think they have to. And... it's something they have to do alone. It's like when you left your team before. You'll be in danger if you follow them, unnecessary danger. They already know about the consequences of this. Just like Gennai knew the consequences of telling you the truth."

Dino Tigemon de-Digivolved back to the Rookie level and the pair left. Matt didn't want to talk about Gennai, especially with his recent “betrayal”. He didn't want the boy to compare this to his past. It... it was disturbing, almost disgusting.

Luca watched him go. "He didn't get it."

"Tamer..."

"I didn't let you evolve... the Keeper of Friendship didn't understand why. Whatt a failure of a Crest-Keeper." Luca stilled. "Oh no. Liollmon!"

"Right!" The Digimon evolved and Luca ran to catch up with Matt, just as a black claw aimed toward the elder's neck. Luca jumped and jolted, the claw having gone straight through his chest.



Tai found her at the park, watching the moon. Did she know I was coming? Kiri smiled at him, grey eyes strangely bright. "Hi Tai. I was thinking someone would be coming after today's performance."

His face hardened. "What do you want from me, from us?" He demanded, referring to himself and the other Digi-Destined.

"I've told you that already," she replied dazedly. "To live and to defeat Ogudomon."

"Why go to all of the trouble of deliberately separating Matt and I from our younger siblings? What was the point of that? In fact, what's the point of having a family if they're not gonna listen to their elders?"

"How would I know? I only had a brother and a cousin that were actually around. How would I know what that's like, having a family like yours where everything's perfect?" she shot back, Tai hitting a sore spot. "Didn't think about that right? And what was the point? Why don't you take a guess, show you're not as stupid as you're looking right now?"
Tai snorted. "If you don't want me for anything else, I'll be leaving, Your Highness. And here I thought you were worth it..."

Kiri snorted. "Worth what? Living? ********. Talking to? I don't care. Here's your point: Kari and TK are trying to help you. And they didn't separate from you: they left because you didn't believe in them worth a damn ****!" She laughed coldly. "You're such a great leader that your very family's leaving you! What use are you?" Kiri smirked now. "You know something interesting? Kari and TK stayed with me because I'm actually able to help them do something, which you obviously can't. They've got a job to do and that's help you. Why don't you actually act like you deserve that Crest of Courage you coward?"

"You asked for it!" The boy yelled as he turned swiftly and set upon Kiri, punching her.
Kiri blocked and spun, elbowing him in the stomach. She punched him herself, this a jab to the throat. "See, you're still doing it!" she yelled, eyes now blood-red.
"You just don't get it! Kari and TK don't trust you anymore and now you're having a temper tantrum because you don't know how to fix your own mistakes! Coward! You're just like Takahiro!"

"What d'ya want me to ****ing do?" Tai shouted back. "Not attack you? Wait till your little pet arrives? What, huh?"

"I have an idea," Kari's quiet voice was calm as she walked toward her brother. She was herself, clearly. "Why don't you actually trust me, trust her?" She gestured to Kiri, who had turned away. "She's helping us Tai. She shouldn't even bother but she is. I made the choice to use the Catal Unit and to do this. You and Matt told us to go so we did."

"And don't call Leith or Renamon a pet," Kiri snarled.

"Kari, you didn't give Matt or I a choice. You and T.K. disobeyed and ignored our warnings."

"Sometimes you have to. We didn't disobey you now." Kari sighed. "If it wasn't important Tai, would I have done it?"

Tai looked away, disgusted. "Yeah, but you didn't know that before you made yourselves slaves to them."

"The Catal Unit can't brainwash," Kari said matter-of-factly, coldly. "And maybe you'd change your tune if you realized that I wasn't hurt at all. Nothing happened."

"Kari," Kiri whispered dully. "Let it go. Just let it go."

"No, Kiri, I'm sick of them blaming you for this. You're just trying to fix this." Kiri looked away, not replying.

"Are we done?" Tai raised his voice.

Kari looked ready to say something but sighed. "I just... I'm just trying to make the war a bit easier on you. That means... I have to do things risky and cruel, but it's the only way. I guess you hate us all now. You should hate the trash you throw aside."

Kiri tried. "Kari, it's not-"

"He isn't denying it." Gatomon landed neatly in front of him. "I just talked with Agumon. He says you pretty much told him that too." Tai shrugged and walked off, assuming no one else had anything left to say.

Kiri froze. "Tai watch out!" She moved, knocking him to the ground. "Kari get out of here! Now!" Kari nodded, grabbing Gatomon and running up the path, just as many shadows began to form, red eyes gleaming. "Damn, why now?" She got up and tried to relax, listening to the enemies moving sluggishly around them.

"I thought these guys belonged in the Dark World, what are they doing here?" Tai demanded of no one.

"When the negative emotions in a person or area are strong, they're called to drag them down," Kiri replied softly.

"Now's when I could really use some Digital help," Tai muttered worriedly.

"It'll be all right," Kiri murmured, then raised her voice. "Come on! You want to have those feelings right? Well I'm right here! Come on now, come take my soul! I won't let you anywhere near him! Come on, you're hungry right?" The creatures began to swarm her, reaching and tugging at her limbs. “That's right, I have all the food you could ask for!”

"Kiri, NO! What the hell are you doing?" Tai yelled.

She smiled. "It's okay," she whispered. "This is what I'm for. This is my promise. If I can leave you all with the future's strength..."She planted her feet firm as the shadows wrapped tighter and tighter around her. "I can definitely do something like this to make sure you can use it." Her head lolled and she fell back into the black.



Leith sighed to himself, pinching the bridge of his nose. This morning had been troublesome. Then again, dealing with Chosen was troublesome at the least and downright agonizing at the worst. It almost tempted him to follow Jordan's lead and slaughter them.

"What's the matter?" Laura plopped down beside him. It was slightly odd, to see her with brown hair, so used to it being white. Her innocent hazel eyes pierced him, as they had when they were grey. Leith couldn't hold back a groan.

"How do you always know?" the boy muttered. Even now, at seventeen, she always knew. She was worse than Melissa sometimes.

"Mm... I guess?" He chuckled at her. She pouted at him, looking put-out. He poked her in the forehead and she giggled. Laura suddenly frowned, expression turning to unrest. "Leith, that girl earlier..."

He blinked. "Blair? What about her?”

She drew her knees up to her chest, looking miserable. "She hates me Leith. I didn't do anything though."

He patted her head, wondering how in the world she had grown up without hormones. "No she's jealous. It's a different thing than hate."

Laura whimpered. "It feels the same." Leith gave her a sympathetic smile. That was true. To him, negative emotions felt the same.

"But Leith why does she? We're like siblings, kinda, without the blood. What's wrong?"

"She loves." The girl froze before shaking her head in disbelief.

"Not you? She can't love you. She doesn't know you." Leith shrugged, looking pensive.

"That's true. She only speaks with the other one and he's not all that clear. He doesn't even understand."

"But... she loves a shadow!" Laura protested. "She can't love something that isn't real."

"The thing is Laura..." He smiled bitterly in unison with Sean. “I guess she can.”

Laura still wasn't believing it. “She can't love Sean without loving Leith! You're the same person, you always have been! And you existed first!” Jordan must have explained this to her, he thought, recognizing the vehemence.

“Are you jealous now,” he teased. She huffed.

“No. I just don't understand. She's afraid of you but she loves Sean! They're the same! You have to love both and she doesn't. I can tell. She sees what she wants to and she brings nothing but pain. Just like...” Laura shivered, looking at the arms that had overlapping bands of scars, some like a bird's beak had torn in.

“Well, why don't you test her and find out?” he asked, almost impishly. Laura paused, thinking it over. Then she nodded decisively.

“I'll make her get it,” murmured the girl. “I'll stop her before she makes the pain worse.”

Both suddenly stiffened, each for different reasons. Leith paused, opening the network. “Caleb's having a fit again. And...”

“There are lots of bad shadows out,” the seventeen-year-old finished, red eyes glimmering in the dark.

“Well, shall we?” Leith asked, standing up. Laura nodded and he gave an elegant bow. “Ladies first.” She giggled and disappeared.

“Blair would have killed you for calling her a lady.” Sean sounded amused, though he had a right to. Leith shrugged.

“She would have killed me for a lot of things, including kissing Kiri and...” He could feel Sean turning red and snorted.

“You mention that and I'll mentally strangle you. That was an accident.”

“You certainly enjoyed that accident.” The other personality sputtered in indignation for a moment before replying, sounding as though he had sense.

“Shut up and go help our mistress. I think she's being reckless again.”

“Be careful little brother. You're terrible at changing the topic.” Leith took off at a run. He thought to himself. Well the therapy's working on the pyromania but I don't think there's any for this. As he ran, he felt that terrible, disgusting fear again. Oh how he hated fear.



The younger boy fell onto Matt, with the elder recoiling, saying: "Luca, get off-... wait..." He looked behind him and his eyes widened. "Oh brother," he muttered. "I'm gonna need help. Tai, Sora, Mimi, Joe, Izzy; can you hear me?" The last part was directed at the others' minds. Matt hoped the plea would reach them in time.

"No," Luca rasped. "Won't let you do it... won't let you... harm them... we won't..." He forced himself back up. "Gotta keep fighting... gotta keep the promise we made to... TK and Kari... protect them..." Violet and golden light began to swirl around him. "Gotta protect... the Chosen Children... even if I die." He steadied and charged. "I won't lose!" He attacked, even as he bled out on the pavement. "Aah!" The shadows swarmed, reaching to choke him.

"Flash Bantyo Punch!" Half disappeared and the Mega level dropped. "This evolution is to protect others, nothing else," he said flatly to BlackGabumon. "I'd rather have died than tainted this evolution with your blood."

"I'm sorry," BlackGabumon apologized humbly.

BanchoLeomon merely nodded before turning back. "Luca, stop! You're going too far!" Luca didn't hear him, continuing to fight, numb gaze a mixture of red, black and violet. The Digimon cursed and pulled out his tanto.

"Shishi Raouzan!" More died, torn to shreds by the blade.

Fortunately, a couple of the cavalry had arrived; two each for Matt and Tai.

"Horn Buster!"

"Vulcan's Hammer!" BanchouLeomon turned, sighed, and leapt back into the battle, dodging the attacks as they passed.

"Sorry, BanchoLeomon, we weren't aiming at you." MegaKabuterimon rasped.

"We were aiming at them," Zudomon grunted as he pulled off another Vulcan's Hammer.

"It's fine," the lion said dismissively, moving toward his human to pick him up. Luca was growling softly. "Tamer..."

"They're coming," he hissed. "BanchoLeomon... the Gate. I can't smell the Shadow Gate they came through."

"Then that means..." He glanced at their shadows, which were beginning to twitch. "Open one." Luca closed his eyes and the runes began to burn.The boy bit his lip as he began to smoke but continued. "Keep fighting," the Mega told the other Digimon. "Don't let them drag you down."

...

"Don't!" Leith was there out of nowhere, tearing the shadows to shreds as he caught her., Kiri's body covered in grey water and bleeding, clothes torn to rags. "No Master, please no!" Never had the boy looked so upset, not even as Sean. He cradled her close, eyes flickering between red and blue. Her body phased again, the Catal Unit the only solid piece. Leith snarled softly and waves rippled over concrete, drowning what should have been ocean dwellers. Tai scowled. This was worse than bad.

"Hell Masquerade!"

"Flower Cannon!"


"A little late," Leith hissed. "Aren't you?" He tossed something into the air, which exploded into ice shards as the shadows reached.

"Hey don't diss us," Jonathan replied half sarcastically. "We came as soon as we heard the call." Then he realized Leith was clutching one of his teammates and paled. "Just what happened here?"

“Those things were about to get me,” Tai replied tersely as he stood back up. “For some reason, she drew them to her.”

"Wing Blade!" Sora and Garudamon turned up at that point.

Leith said nothing, merely placed Kiri to rest, watching in silent pain as the girl struggled to breathe. "Please bear with it a little longer," he whispered. "I'll kill them all for you, every single one." And he leapt into the fray, ripping through the shadows like paper. For a moment he paused, sensing Luca. "Buy time, huh? Hurry Chaos-Keeper."

...

"Horn Buster!"

"Vulcan's Hammer!"

"Static Force!"
Yolei and her Silphymon turned up to even the odds.

Luca sighed, sounding as though a heavy weight had left him. "Dark Gate, open." The shadows suddenly began to fade, scrabbling feebly at the air as they vanished. It was only when they all were gone that the boy collapsed onto the ground, unconscious and still bleeding. …

"Hell Masquerade!"

"Flower Cannon!”

"Wing Blade!"

"Scorpio Storm!"
Cody and his Ultimate level partner were also helping.

"It's over," the weapon remarked suddenly. Landing on the ground, Leith released his weapon and let the water remain flowing around his wrists. He went back to her and knelt, eyes dulled as he worked.

Yutaka, Bill, Hiroaki and Blair arrived at Tai’s group. “Is she going to be alright?” Hiroaki asked of Leith, referring to Kiri. He did not yet know about T.K.’s betrayal; but then again, the Kamiyas’ didn’t know about Kari’s departure, either.

Even though they were in different areas, both Tai and Matt wondered the same thing at that point in time. How are we gonna explain our siblings’ distant behavior to our parents?

Leith said nothing, merely tore his hand open and rested the bleeding palm over her lips. "It's all right mistress," he whispered gently, stroking her forehead. They watched, only mildly put off, as Kiri drank the blood but only Blair saw it wasn't blood, but a clear liquid that didn't seem right where it was..

After a few moments, Kiri coughed painfully. "Leith... I'm all right." She tried to move but Leith held her still.

"Don't."

"They got her pretty badly, didn't they?" Jonathan asked Leith.

"They attempted to separate a shattered soul from the body," Leith replied softly. “Souls aren't supposed to be that way.” The utterly childish words sent a shudder through all of them. He gently hugged her as her whole body began shaking, pale eyes wide. "It's okay, it's okay Kiriko. Relax." Kiri shuddered.

"I can hear them," she whispered. "The bells. The Death Bells."

"Not yet," Leith whispered. "Don't follow them yet. It's not time."

Jonathan paled. "What's she talking about?"

"The Death Bells," A child's voice split in two came from behind them. Tomoe stepped forward yet somehow they could see Kikyo, gaze almost blank as she approached. "They are our sign. The closer living creatures get to their end, the louder they chime. They... have a very beautiful sound. You almost forget they are there to kill you." Still confused, the Destined glanced at each other.

"Are they dangerous, other than that?" Sora asked.

"No **** they're dangerous." This came from Agumon, who had trailed behind with a desolate look in his emerald eyes.

"If this boy," Kikyo pointed at Tai, almost calm. "Had been captured by the Ocean Shadows, then yes. That means they succeeded in what they came for. He would have likely had his soul torn from his body and that would have been irreparable and the bells would have killed him. They take souls. You are all quite lucky that was stopped. Courage is needed for a higher duty, as are all Crest-Bearers."

...

BanchoLeomon devolved and Liollmon went to rest at his side, worriedly rubbing the boy's wound.

"It's not healing," the cub mumbled, trying to lift him onto his back.

Mina, Catherine, Anna and Willis arrived at Matt’s group, with Mina immediately going over to Luca’s side. “May I please, Liollmon?” Mina asked politely, bowing her head at the Rookie. The lion cub slowly nodded and the Indian Digi-Destined moved forward, placing her hands over the ripped skin. “I’m a healer; it runs in my family,” she explained to the Digimon who was wondering what she was doing. “Though I’m going to need permission from Leith and Kiri to take Luca to my family’s holiday house.”

Jonathan, can you hear me? Mina broadened the range of her thoughts.

Mina? Is that you? Jonathan responded.

I haven’t got much time; could you ask Leith or Kiri for permission to take Luca to my parents’ holiday house?

Alright; I don’t know how successful I’ll be, but I’ll try. The link remained open as Jonathan talked with Leith.
He was back a few moments later. Leith is adamant in his denial.

Fine, I’ll talk with him myself,
the Indian girl countered. Focusing her thoughts on Leith’s mind, Mina tried again. I don’t know how much you care about Luca, but leaving him to die doesn’t seem very appropriate. The whole of his left arm is shattered and his spine was nearly broken. Quite frankly, I do believe that’s more damage than the Catal Unit can deal with. You either let me take him to my parents’ holiday house to let me heal him or you can watch me leave him here.

Leith made to respond, but Kiri’s weak mental voice cut through, giving Mina permission.

Satisfied, Mina thanked her, asking her if she wanted help as well. Kiri politely refused, saying she’d be fine. With that, the conversation was terminated and the Indian Digi-Destined turned to MegaKabuterimon. “MegaKabuterimon, I need you to de-Digivolve to the Champion level. Luca needs attention and it needs to be administered quickly. I’ll need you to fly Luca to my parents’ holiday house; I’ll be there as fast as I can be.”

The Ultimate level rasped his acknowledgement and de-Digivolved to Kabuterimon. He gently picked up the unconscious boy, questioning Liollmon if he wanted to come for the ride. Liollmon accepted and shrunk to the In Training form of Frimon; he then bounced up into his partner’s curled form, huddling against Luca’s chest. Kabuterimon took to the air and headed for the house.

"Be wary," Luca whispered, still semi-conscious. "That was only the first attack. They'll be back."

"Don't worry," Kabuterimon answered. "I'll be sure to let them know."

"It follows the heart," the boy gasped, passing out due to blood loss.

"Hang on, Luca," the Champion stated. "We're almost there." Seeing the house loom closer and closer, Kabuterimon changed the speed of his flying and started the descent. Mina and Izzy were already waiting, Meramon stood nearby.

...

"You sound too old Kikyo," Agumon growled before snorting. "Then again, we were just with Hanabi."

"Jeez, Tai, great job." Sora grumbled, still a bit ticked off at her boyfriend for what had happened earlier.

Tai looked offended but forced his mouth shut. Kiri looked blearily between them and gave a weak shake of the head. "Don't fight now," she murmured. "There are enough rifts. They will come back and we'll have to do this all over again."

"She's right," Jonathan replied. "Kiri's still too weak. Would you like one of our Digimon to carry you?"

The girl shook her head no and allowed Leith to steady her as she stood and began to step forward. She staggered a moment before managing to walk. Leith stiffened. "Mistress-" Kiri coughed and they all saw the blood drip from her mouth. This time, however, she kept walking.

"Oi let us help," Agumon barked. "Swallow your damn pride!"

"This has nothing to do with pride Agu-nii," Kikyo mumbled. "If you or your Digimon touch her now, while that black stuff's still resting in her body, you'll be in lots of danger or even corrupted. She has to do this without you so you all can be okay. Just like TK and Kari. What they have to do is done without you, although... I think they're talking with friends right now."

Anna blinked, surprised. "Good friends, I hope?"

"You think they betrayed you," Kikyo said mildly. "So I suppose to you it wouldn't make a difference, but you don't believe in this friend and were once wary of the other."

"Huh?" That was Joe. The Destined who had gone to help Matt's group had arrived here a few seconds ago.

Kikyo shrugged. "One was once nearly the Emperor of the Digital World and once was once a leader, who used the power of the Digital World itself to vanquish Malomyotismon." A small smile rested on her face and Agumon shuddered at the resemblance toward his former partner. "Is that a good enough hint for you?"



Davis sighed and slumped back comfortably in his sleeping bag. “Ken, thanks again buddy, seriously.”

“It was no problem,” Ken replied, smiling kindly. “I figured we might as well keep up the act since it fooled your family so far.”

“Yeah... great parenting. Son's with a friend? Take your daughter to go see the old people. Glad I missed that though, Grandma's crazy.” Ken laughed sheepishly from on the bunk bed, observing his DNA partner. Davis was acting like his uncorrupted self but Ken could see the changes: the shadows in his eyes, the bags underneath the eyelids, the faint unhealthy pallor to the skin, the way he was slightly hunched and twitchy, as though the shadows were hunting him, and the way even his spikes seemed to droop. The violet-haired boy frowned and Davis caught it.

His expression turned trouble. “Ken... why are you doing this?”

Ken smiled gently. “You should know the answer to that Davis.”

“I don't remember,” the gogglehead admitted.

“We're partners and you forgave me. Some friend I'd be if I didn't do the same.” Davis smiled quietly and dropped the subject, seeing his Digimon walking in. Veemon stayed by him but it wasn't the same. It was like looking at a stranger. It made him sick and he knew the little dragon felt the same. Veemon sat next to Wormmon, who was quietly curled above on the computer chair.

There was a knock and Ken's mother called through the wood. “Ken-chan! TK and Kari are here for a visit.” Davis stiffened, looking upset. Ken gave him a curious look, wondering if he should let them in. Davis nodded after a moment.

The pair entered shortly after. Davis blinked and then groaned in surprise as Kari hugged him.

“Kari, what's the matter?” he asked dazedly as she stepped back. She glared at him.

“You were almost murdered!” she snapped in a mixture of relief and fury. “And it was my fault!”

“It wasn't completely,” Davis tried but Kari didn't seem to hear, shaking her head with anger and misery.

“I'm really sorry Davis, I honestly didn't see that my feelings had hurt you that badly.”

“Wait Kari!” he exclaimed. She fell silent. “I'm okay now. Well, as okay as I'll be for a while. Okay, yeah I was jealous but... I think I'd rather be friends. I can tell, I suck at crushes.” Ken couldn't hold back a small snicker, causing Davis to grin. He looked up at TK. “So, TJ, she drag you here?”

TK rolled his eyes. “No, we came to talk to you guys.”

“About what?” Ken asked, jumping from the bed and sitting smoothly on the carpet.

Kari hesitated and Gatomon gave her a stern look. “You're the one who wanted to do this,” she reminded her partner. “Kiri and Relena are buying time against the Ocean's slaves for this.”

Kari nodded and took a deep breath. “What do you guys know about the program NEO?” Both shrugged and Kari nodded. “We didn't know either until this morning, at least not what we do now. So listen to this.” And Kari began to explain. Sometimes she stopped, out of words and TK would continue.

When they were finished, Davis and Ken stared. “You're joking,” Davis stated. Kari shook her head.

“Do the others know?” Ken asked warily.

TK shook his head. “We didn't get a chance to tell them. They think we've betrayed them.”

“The Catal Unit sounds pretty dangerous, so no wonder,” Davis muttered. “Anyway, we believe you. Come on Ken, let's go talk some sense into them.”

His partner nodded and the four left, Ken telling his mom he'd be back in a little while.

...

"You're talking about me," Ken's voice was shaky as he arrived. "Me and Davis."

Kikyo nodded solemnly and bowed. "The Crest of Kindness. Nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you, too," Ken responded, nodding.

"Things are changing now," Leith said quietly. "Listen for someone is meaning to begin the war.It starts with the sound of bells in the soul, of shadows and sorrows and fallen, harsh goals."

"So says the prophecy," Kiri rasped. "So says the Fate to defy."

"What... no, let me start that again. Do you guys know anything about the upcoming war?" Jonathan asked.

"Of course," Leith said quietly. "We memorized each word of your prophecy, each order the Sovereign gave us as well. It starts with a death and ends with a life."

"Again rises the phoenix as the dragon's roar flies," Kiri intoned.

"One of two who Fate slew, One of two, who is reborn anew of fire and blood and sorrow." Leith's expression did not change. "The Chosen must go to Crossroads and kill Ogudomon. The path will be opened to the closed doorway by emotion, the path to the cursed battlefield by the season's element."

"The Chosen must survive even if the Storien die," Kiri stated. "Only they can open the Future's doorway."

"The war begins with two foretold deaths, one a queen and the other a warrior."

"A queen? Wait, that sounds like it's talking about Relena!" Catherine exclaimed.

Kiri smiled. "Yes and no. Her time will come, my friend of the Queen's Reign. But the ones who will die first are different. You will understand, and you will not like it." Her footsteps suddenly became firm and she started to run. "Goodbye for now." Leith bolted after her, Tomoe just behind.

...

After Luca was brought inside and laid on the couch, Mina carefully began to heal him. Luca moaned, his bones forcibly returning to normal. Frimon watched silently until he suddenly began to growl. "Get away from him," he hissed. Mina paused and turned. "Get away!" It shouted and the Indian girl obeyed, just as black tendrils stabbed from the boy's body, thankfully missing her. Luca started screaming, runes literally ablaze with violet flames.

"What on Earth's going on?" Izzy asked.

Frimon snarled. "The Chaos Unit's reacting to the injuries of its Keeper! Unfortunately, Luca used it too much today and it's overpowered his control over it." He bounced forward, evolving all the way to Liamon and placing his Tamer on his back. He winced at the pain. "There's nothing you can do anymore," he informed the shocked Mina. "But thank you." The Digimon headed toward the door, growling sharply at the writhing Chaos that hit him.

"Hey, no offense Liamon, but could you take him outside now please?" Mina questioned worriedly, though there was a slight hint of anger in her tone. "My parents will flip if they find their holiday house destroyed."

"Going as fast as I can kid," hissed the lion. "Chaos hurts you-"

"Now, Liamon, that is not how you treat a lady." The voice was playful, cheerful even.

Liamon snorted as he exited the home, placing the dark boy feet away on the grass. "Oh shut up Relena.”

Relena smiled sweetly and beckoned to a small boy. The child moved toward him, green eyes focused on Luca, not even noticing the Chaos. Relena gestured toward Mina. "This is a good technique for you to learn. Come watch. I won't let you get hit."

"Okay," Mina answered, moving forward.

A clear, nearly-invisible wall rose between them and the boy still paid no attention. Eyes half-lidded, he placed both hands over Luca's chest, letting them rest just above it. The flames licked but the boy ignored it. "Elly," Relena hummed. "I don't think you can wait anymore." She received a nod and a mist, pale as the moon, began to flow from the air. Luca's eyes shot open in screams and the boy's body writhed in pure agony.

Mina watched the younger child's face and wondered where his calm came from. "This is a technique that people are rarely born with and are usually taught, known as Equilibrium's Fog. It can repair anything overcome by the extremes of Lunacy and the like: it brings back the Balance. That isn't a calm you see; it is a trance and trances..." She carelessly blocked a tendril aimed at the child. "Are rather troublesome at times."

"So..." Mina hesitated. "I have to obtain the mist...?"

"No, this is a state of mind you need to obtain. Don't try now, Elly will show you later, when he wakes up and there's not as much danger. For now, just watch." The mist wrapped entirely around him and for a moment, Luca coughed black liquid. Mina, Izzy, Kabuterimon and Meramon watched the process closely.

The mist began to subside and Elly's eyes were slowly opening. Luca slumped to the ground, peacefully asleep. The Chaos had completely receded and the runes calmed. Elly relaxed, opening his eyes fully, and peered at Relena anxiously. The girl nodded and waved toward something. A Puroromon fluttered out from the trees and landed on the boy's head. Relena patted the boy's shoulder.

"Great job Elian."

"So this is your brother? The one who you were worried about?" Meramon inquired.
"Mm," Relena replied in a semi-dazed manner, hugging the child. Puroromon bounced to her head. "He can't speak a word or see very well. I have to worry."

"That's what I'm for," said the butterfly proudly. "I say stuff for him."Izzy and Mina glanced at each other, then their Digimon and nodded.

"Okay Elly," Relena said smartly, standing up and lowering the barrier. "We need to go. I think we've bought enough time for TK and Kari to find what they needed. Let's go Liamon." The Digimon nodded, threw his partner back onto his back and waited for them. "Thanks for fixing the breaks, that would have been real troublesome." She helped her brother up. "See you." The Champion raced away.



Ikuto Mazaar’s life had ended on the same day as Jack’s. Fortunately for Commandramon, Azulongmon had covered the overly aggressive Rookie with an anti-deletion mist because, as the heir of AncientVolcamon, Commandramon was still needed for the Ancient Ten’s revival.

Rei and the rest of the Digi-Destined had gathered at the community centre three days later, because the girl from the future had promised to tell them that day about not only her past but future enemies as well. But before she started, they all fell quiet out of respect of Ikuto’s lost life. When the minute’s silence was done, she gazed at all of them evenly, before drawing in a breath.
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"What Tama wishes for is..."

  #37    
Old May 2nd, 2011, 03:01 PM
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Since Fuyu apparently forgot, I'll give it here. This is the saga known as “Rising Dawn”.
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  #38    
Old May 5th, 2011, 03:59 PM
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Chapter 34: Destiny’s Cruelty

Community Centre, Monday, 2:51 PM

“Okay Rei... what do you have to tell us?” asked Matt with a stern glare. Ever since Rei had first joined, Matt had had doubts about her, but he had kept them to himself. Now he might get the answers to old questions he once had.

Rei sighed. Well... here goes. “Everyone, I’ve lied to you.”

Everyone remained stock silent. Davis, recently freed from his corrupted state, thought: Odd way to start a talk. “Uh... why?”

“Well...” Rei grimaced; this was harder than she thought it would be. “I lied to you about being here for a while.”

“Then tell us!” Veemon demanded.

Rei sweat-dropped at the Rookie’s temper. “Well, as you know, my name is Rei Lucas. And you know I come from the future. But I’ve been here a lot longer than a while.”

Jonathan and Mimi froze; just how long had Rei been here then? They both wanted to ask the same question and Mimi beat Jonathan to the punch. “But, how long?”

“Besides, for Rei to have been born from Jonathan and Mimi, they’d have to be four when Rei was conceived and that is clearly unfeasible,” Izzy stated with a knowing look in his eyes. “Of course, there has to be some other explanation for her claim.”

Rei chuckled. “Yeah, you’re right.” Her eyes drifted over the Digi-Destined before she added: “I’m sure you remember how I spoke of Ryo Akiyama and Milleniummon, right?”

Cody nodded. “Yes, wait...” A flash of realization hit the young boy. “Milleniummon’s time warp!”

“Bingo,” she answered as she looked at the ceiling. “Like I said, Ryo went back in time twenty-six years from now due to the time warp... but the thing is Gennai preserved that warp.”

...

Flashback
Local Park, Odaiba, twenty-six years from now


Gennai sighed as he pointed a rod-like device at the swirling vortex in the air. It crackled with blue electricity; it looked like nothing more than a rippling hole in the sky.

Gennai pressed one button on the rod and the large, one-inch cube attached to the rod’s end suddenly launched forward into the sky. It enlarged immediately, eclipsing the thirty-foot vortex in size within moments. Then, much to the shock of those watching him, the cube swallowed the vortex and moments after that; it shrank back down to its one-inch size.

The Watcher looked at the blue-coloured cube quietly; he had been slaving in his workshop for two days constructing it. Ever since Milleniummon had torn the vortex open two days ago — and since both Milleniummon and Ryo had been sucked into it — the whole time warp had been fluctuating.

Thus, he had created the Chronologic Preserver and with it, he would place the time warp in stasis.

Hopefully, this’ll keep it open long enough for Ryo to come back... Gennai would do all he could to preserve life.

And meanwhile — standing by her parents — was an eleven-year-old Rei Lucas, staring at the little cube that held the vortex her best friend had disappeared into. I hope Gennai can find a way to bring Ryo back...

End Flashback

...

“So... this ‘Chronologic Preserver’ ... it held the time vortex in a stasis?” Ken asked.

“Yes,” Rei answered, her eyes recalling the expression on Ryo’s face as he had been pulled back into the vortex. If only he knew what he was going to face...?

“But you still need to explain why you came back!” Yolei exclaimed. “I mean, one doesn’t time travel for the heck of it, you know?”

Rei sighed and Gaomon snarled a warning; this was going to tread into very uncomfortable territory. “...yeah. I did it because...” Her jaw clenched as her lip began to tremble; she hadn’t dwelt on the images running through her head for a long time.

“Because what?! Tell us!” Davis yelled; he was getting really into this intriguing tale.

“Tell us! Tell us! Tell us! Tell us!” chanted Veemon, Hawkmon, Armadillomon and Wormmon. Gaomon didn’t say anything; he already knew the story by heart and actually felt sorry for these Chosen Children and their partners.

“... Because... you all died.” There. She had said it.

Everyone remained stock silent.

Finally, Ken said: “Is that all?”

Rei looked at him incredulously. “What?!”

“He has a point,” Izzy admitted as his mind began working. “Time travel is a very theoretical practice, but there is one universally accepted truth: no matter what is done to change the past, the event that you went back in time to change will still happen.”

Even now, the looks Rei was getting from some of the other Digi-Destined were telling her that they weren’t taking her story seriously.

“That’s not it... I didn’t say how...” Rei muttered. “You didn’t die of old age, or sickness, or anything like that! You all died at the hands of Daemon!

The name caused Ken to pale; he was not aware of Daemon breaking free of the Dark Ocean but, regardless of that, the mere mention of Daemon’s name caused the Child of Kindness to shiver. “D... Daemon...?”

...

Flashback
Local Park, Odaiba, twenty-seven years from now


A twelve-year-old Rei Lucas’ eyes widened as she stared at the Odaiba skyline; red fire danced across the night sky, a result of the destruction a monstrous Daemon had unleashed upon the city. Screams could be heard in the air. ...he’s really going to do it... I’ve got to try and stop him!

With that, Rei burst off into a run.

That’s right... in my time; Daemon had battled the Digi-Destined sometime after Christmas Day. He was too powerful, but Ken used the dark power within his Dark D3 — trust me, things were different from now — to open a portal to the Dark World; he was sealed away there... but he said he would be back...

As Rei continued to run through the park, she ran through a throng of cherry blossom trees and then she gasped at what she saw above her. “No...!”

... and he did come back.”

The body of Mimi dangled in the air above; she was tied to a cherry blossom branch by a red scarf she had personally designed herself... and the scarf was strangling her neck. Her eyes bulged out of her head.

She was already dead.

Rei resisted the urge to scream. Daemon worked quickly. “The others... I’ve got to warn them!”

Yolei and Ken had already had their hearts torn out by Daemon the instant he broke out of the Dark World, so Mimi was the third to die... next was Matt...

Rei stared numbly at Matt’s body; it lay lifelessly in the street, blood pooling around it. The first-born Lucas child cringed at the grisly sight: Matt’s throat had been impaled by an electric guitar: Matt’s old electric guitar from his days as a member of the Teenage Wolves. Unfortunately, Matt’s glorious singing voice wouldn’t be sounding off any more. “Eew...”

Then, Izzy...

“No...” muttered Rei as she stared at the wall of an electronics store; Daemon had driven a laptop into Izzy’s abdomen... and not just any laptop: it had been Izzy’s old pineapple laptop. But that wasn’t all; he had given the Child of Knowledge a crude crucifixion: a mouse cord ran through each wrist, with the USB port of each mouse embedded into the wall behind him. He hung limply in the air, with the mice being the only thing holding him in the air.

Izzy had bled a very painful death.

Next was Joe...

Joe was lying on the sidewalk; he had met an end similar to Mimi. His entire body was wrapped in gauze and sealed with medical tape, turning him into a mummy, sans the head covering. However, Rei saw that Joe’s mouth and nostrils had been sealed with medical tape: he had been asphyxiated.

Rei could only grimace as she continued on. She had to get to her house. Hopefully, her father hadn’t died yet...

Cody was the next one I found...

Cody had been killed in a fashion much like his father: death by gunshot. Cody was found dead next by a sniper rifle... ironically, the same kind Hiroki Hida had been killed by. However, Cody hadn’t died a quick death: his entire body was laced with burns, courtesy of Daemon. The bullet to the temple had been the killer though.

Rei continued on.

Next, T.K....

T.K. was by far the grisliest death; red-hot stakes were embedded into his wrists and ankles, pinning him to the ground. Sitting beside him was a sizzling rod of steel... and after seeing the burn marks crisscrossing T.K.’s body, its use was obvious.

The greatest shock was that he was still alive. “T.K...”

T.K. shifted his eyes over to Rei; he was not long for this world. “Rei... Daemon passed by ten minutes ago... he already destroyed Patamon...” His burned face was etched with tears: he had seen Patamon die in front of his very eyes mere minutes ago. “MetalGarurumon already went to Tai... only Omnimon has a chance now... hurry...”

T.K. breathed his last.

It was harder for Rei: she watched a beloved friend — who treated all of her loved ones like family — die in front of her very eyes. It made seeing his dead body that much harder.

Rei stood up and burst off again.

I learned later that before Matt had died, he had sent MetalGarurumon off to Tai’s house...I only hoped he had caught up with WarGreymon in time... finally, I got to my house...

The Lucas house was on fire. Rei paled as she ran even faster. Oh no... Am I too late! I can’t be!

Suddenly, Jonathan ran out; following him closely were Rei’s three little siblings and Matt and Anna’s children: Rei’s eight-year-old fraternal sister and brother (Kitamura and Kazuya), two-year-old Morris... as well as ten-year-old Claude and four-year-old Zandra Ishida. All of their faces were blackened; a result of the smoke being exuded from the red fire. Plus, since it was night-time, they wore nothing but their pyjamas.

Jonathan yelled: “REI!” The Child of Wood quickly told the five children to go stand beside Rei. Jonathan glared down at his first child quietly. “Where have you been?!”

Rei withered under her father’s glare. “... I was in the Digital World... and when I came back, I saw this.”

“I see,” muttered Jonathan as he tried to console the wailing kids. “Listen... did you see anyone else?”

Rei frowned as she tried not to cry... not in front of her little siblings or the Ishida kids, and certainly not in front of her father. “Aside from Davis, Tai, Kari, Blair, Sean, Kiri, Luca, and Willis and Catherine, I’ve seen them all... they’re all dead...”

Jonathan’s teeth clenched together at Rei’s words. Was it really true? Were all of his friends... dead? “Listen... Anna’s still trapped inside. Just stay right here!” With that, Jonathan burst back toward the house.

Rei wrapped her arms around the frightened children. I wish Blair and Sean were here; they’d be able to help Dad!

“I highly doubt that.”

That’s when he appeared again...

Rei froze at the sound of that voice. “... No...” She risked turning around...

“Oh yes.”

...to see Daemon, standing triumphantly behind the five terrified children. His narrow blue eyes stared into Rei’s blue eyes quietly. Morris and Zandra immediately started whimpering at the sight of the monstrous Daemon.

Finally, Rei yelled: “GO AWAY! You killed them... you killed them!”

Daemon chuckled at the young girl’s anger. “Indeed... and I’d do it again. Now if you excuse me, there are only six left... and I’m about to eliminate two more.”

With that, Daemon rose into the air, his hands raised above his head. Rei looked up at him out of confusion. What is he doing...?

Then, an orb of grey energy formed in the Mega’s hands.


Jonathan wiped the sweat off his forehead as he knelt down beside Anna; her legs were pinned under a tremendous section of the ceiling, which had fallen down upon her in her attempt to flee the burning building. Jonathan asked: “Your legs okay?”

“Honestly, no,” muttered Anna as she coughed; the smoke and heat were starting to get to her. “What about the children? Are they okay?”

“They’re fine. Rei’s back and I left the little ones with her. Now just hold on, and let me get this off of you!” With that, Jonathan began trying to lift the section of ceiling off of Anna. But outside, Jonathan was unaware of Daemon’s impending attack.


Rei paled at the sight of the tremendous orb of grey energy in Daemon’s hands; it was even bigger than WarGreymon’s Terra Force!

The purpose of it became all too clear. No... He wouldn’t dare...

Daemon boldly roared: “And with this, two of the last six Digi-Destined die!”

Impulse. That was what gripped Rei’s body as she stood and roared: “NO...!”

“Apollyon...”

DON’T!

“CRUSHER!”

The grey orb was thrown. A tremendous explosion sounded as the Apollyon Crusher struck the roof of the house. The screams of Jonathan and Anna Ishida sounded as the building collapsed upon itself.

NO!” howled Rei as she watched the building vanish in a cloud of ash and fire. Kitty, Kazu and Claude joined Zandra and Morris in their crying; their young minds were incapable of handling such things as death and destruction in such a capacity.

Daemon laughed as he boasted: “Only four left! My revenge will soon be complete!” With a flap of his wings, Daemon flew off into the sky.

As Daemon disappeared from sight – as Rei glared at him – the girl felt an emotion she had never felt before: pure, unadulterated hatred. Daemon... I swear I’ll get you for this!

End Flashback

...

Rei’s body trembled as she tried not to cry. “He killed them in front of Kitty, Kazu, Morris, Claude and Zandra’s very eyes... do you know what that can do a young child’s mind? They were scarred... after that night, they withdrew... they never said anything after that.”

After this new information, the Digi-Destined were starting to treat this story more seriously. A catastrophic event had occurred to influence Rei’s decision to travel into the past... and Daemon’s killing of the Digi-Destined was that event.

“... But what about Kari?” Anna’s Unimon asked.

“And Davish! What happened to him?” exclaimed Veemon.

“And the others?” Tears were flowing from Anna’s eyes.

Rei sighed and tried to regain control of her emotions. “... I’ll tell you.”

...

Flashback
City Streets, Odaiba, twenty-seven years from now


Rei had taken the five children with her; she had to get to Davis, Kari and whoever else who wasn’t yet dead... otherwise, all of the Digi-Destined would be dead. And it’s my fault... all my fault...

Ken. Yolei. Mimi. Matt. Izzy. Joe. Cody. T.K. Jonathan. Anna... Almost all of them were dead. All because of me...

The guilt was almost too much to bear.

A large crowd of city denizens ran past Rei; most of Odaiba had been cleared out by now. It seemed like only she remained. I hope the others are still safe in Primary Village.

“PUT THEM DOWN, DAEMON!”

Rei recognized that voice. ExVeemon! She quickly herded the children — with Zandra and Morris in each arm — and rounded another intersection corner.

What she saw made her gasp.

In the very middle of the street was Daemon. In his right hand was Davis... and in the left, Kari. Blair and Sean were already dead, lying in pools of their own blood. Standing in a semicircle formation behind the Mega were ExVeemon, Angewomon, and Omnimon.

Kari — in pink pyjamas, her shoulder-length hair ruffled and unkempt — screamed: “Let us go, you monster!”

Daemon chuckled as his fists clutched the scruff of their pajama collars. “I think not... I’ve come this far to fulfil my vengeance, and I intend to do so.”

“Daemon, you’re surrounded... surrender now!” demanded Angewomon, her Celestial Arrow aimed at the demonic Mega.

Omnimon glared at Daemon with his piercing green eyes... it was if he was scanning the horned monstrosity. Finally, he said: “Come on Daemon... you’re nowhere near as strong as before... you only caught us by surprise. If you kill them... we’ll kill you.”

Daemon smirked at this. I know.

Finally, Davis — wearing a white shirt and blue shorts, his once spiky hair now cut into a flattop — glared defiantly into Daemon’s eyes. “Let me tell you this... one day, our children will be the end of you... they won’t stand for this.”

Daemon chuckled at the man’s words. “Defiant to the last...” Daemon smiled as — in less than a second — his hands let go of their clothes and latched onto their faces. “I look forward to that day... I will delight in proving your prophecy wrong. But until then... BURN. Chaos Inferno!

Rei closed the children’s eyes. She forced himself to watch the horrible spectacle.

Davis and Kari screamed as the flames of Daemon incinerated their faces. Despite their words, ExVeemon and Angewomon couldn’t help but gape at the sight: despite the fact he was surrounded, Daemon had just attacked their partners!

Omnimon, however, had no such limitations. “WE WARNED YOU! TRANSCENDENT SWORD!

Daemon said nothing as the sword ran through his back, piercing his stomach and protruding out of his abdomen. Quietly, he dropped Davis and Kari to the ground. Their faces were unrecognizable: nothing but a pile of burnt and blackened flesh remained.

Daemon turned around at Omnimon... and smiled. The DNA Digivolved warrior looked at Daemon with confusion. “What the...?”

“I am a Digimon, like you. I will eventually reborn. However, humans do not have that luxury.” A smirk came to Daemon’s face as his body slowly deleted. “I have destroyed the Digi-Destined. My mark has been made on humanity. Deletion is a small price to pay... but I know that none of you will be around by the time I am reborn.” As his body dissipated from the feet up, he cackled. “Heh heh... till then, I’ll see your soul in Digital Limbo. Ha ha ha ha!”

Finally, Daemon was no more... but he had indeed made his mark.

The legacy of the Odaiba Digi-Destined was well and truly over.

Rei fought the bile that began rising up her esophageus; she felt like vomiting. So much death... so much devastation... all because of her...

“That’s when I discovered something truly horrific... something that Daemon already knew.”

“... I feel empty.”

Rei blinked; that had been ExVeemon talking. Man... That’s not his usual tone... Rei kept watching from a distance.

Angewomon placed a hand over her heart; her body trembled uncontrollably. “So do I... but why?”

“It’s a feeling this half felt when Matt died,” replied Omnimon as he raised his right arm, which signified MetalGarurumon’s half. “And the other half felt it when Tai met his end... I just know it.”

“Then what are we going to do?” said ExVeemon as he wrapped his arms around himself. “This feeling of pain — of failure — it hurts... I don’t want to live with this...”

“I don’t think we were meant to. As the partners of the Digi-Destined, we are connected with them...” Omnimon sighed as his arms limped by his sides. “If they die... we aren’t meant to live.”

ExVeemon and Angewomon understood... and, as odd as it was for them to comprehend, they found themselves agreeing with Omnimon.

They knew what to do.

Omnimon pointed his still-extended Transcendent Sword at his chest. Angewomon charged a Celestial Arrow and held against ExVeemon’s chest. ExVeemon grabbed Angewomon's throat, preparing to do the deed.

“On the count of 3,” said Omnimon. “1...”

“I’m sorry, ExVeemon,” whispered Angewomon as she held the Celestial Arrow tightly.

“2...”

“As am I,” replied ExVeemon as he tried to calm himself.

“3!”

ExVeemon tore through Angewomon’s unprotected throat; the angel didn’t even try defending herself. Angewomon pierced ExVeemon in the chest with her arrow. Omnimon ran himself through with his own sword. They dissipated into oblivion before their bodies even hit the ground.

Rei’s eyes widened at the sight: for all intents and purposes, they had just committed suicide. But... but... why?!

End Flashback

...

“Whoa, stop it! TIME OUT!” yelled Tai. “This is totally crazy!”

“A load of bull is more like it,” muttered Matt. "Suicide? Come on... our partners aren’t like that.”

“Exactly,” said Rei with a heavy tone. “But Digimon who are partners of Digi-Destined are quite different than other Digimon.”

“Uh... how so?” asked Gomamon.

“You Digimon have a deep connection to your partners, as does Gaomon to me. It goes very, very deep... almost to the level of symmetry, except it only goes one way. To put it bluntly, changes to the human affect the Digimon as well,” answered Rei.

Gaomon looked forward, saying: “What she says is true... Rei’s been in a very critical condition before... like with when Kimeramon mutilated us. I was feeling the same inner pain Omnimon, Angewomon, and ExVeemon felt... except not to the length that made me want to kill myself.”

Izzy’s face contorted into a dour expression as he said: “So... if we die... our partners are deleted.”

“No... They die,” Rei stated. “Gennai confirmed this for me... if a Digi-Destined dies, their partner dies... and even if their body is reformatted and reborn as a Digi Egg, their soul is not. But you already know this, right?”

The thought quieted the Digi-Destined; only Cody nodded. It was very unsettling... even though they never outright admitted it, they always held the belief Digimon were — more or less — immortal. But that wasn’t the case for their partners: like those they were partnered to, the Digimon had a limited lifespan.

Gaomon looked over at Rei quietly. “I believe you want to get back on topic to your story?”

“Oh, right.” Rei cleared her throat as she looked around. “Any more questions?”

Ken spoke. “Concerning the whole time travel thing, I still don’t understand the reason as to why you decided to do it.” Ken sighed as he impulsively rubbed the bandaged spot on his neck. “I understand your sorrow about the death of the Digi-Destined... but I went through the same thing when Sam died. Death is a natural part of life... and as much as I sound like a pessimist for saying this, it was just their time, no matter how much you may not believe it.”

Rei stood up at this; her blue eyes glowered fiercely at Ken’s violet ones. “You understand nothing.”

Silence.

“Um, pardon the interruption, but wasn’t that a bit rude?” Ken’s Wormmon meekly asked.

Rei’s body trembled even more; she was about to admit something that had kept her up for many a night. “You don’t understand... how could you? If it wasn’t for Daemon, none of you would’ve died... if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have to be here...” Suddenly, the tears came flowing as Rei’s face contorted into one of total rage... directed at herself. “IF I HADN’T FREED DAEMON, NONE OF THIS WOULD’VE HAPPENED!”

“WHAT?!” yelped the Digi-Destined and the Digimon — save for Gaomon — as they impulsively backed away.

Mimi stuttered: “Wh-wh-wh-what do you mean?!”

“I mean what I said,” said Rei as the repressed tears finally began to leak out, her hands clenched into tightly balled fists. “I was the one who freed Daemon... and it was because of me that you all died.”

...

Flashback
Local Park, Odaiba, twenty-seven years from now


“It was almost a whole year after Milleniummon had travelled back in time with Ryo... and it was about two weeks before the dark day Daemon broke free when I started hearing voices...”

Help me...

Rei looked over her shoulder swiftly. “Who said that?”

No one was within speaking distance behind her; the closest people behind her were at least twenty yards away.

“Hey, you okay Rei?”

Rei turned around to see her friend Nadir, basketball in hand. Nadir — like his mother before him — had inherited straight hair. His hair was light brown in colour, and he had a lean, muscular build. He wore blue denim jeans with black sneakers, and a white shirt — covered by a green vest — covered his upper body. His skin was tanned — a tad more so than Tai’s — and his eyes were green in colour. He was Nadir Kido: seventeen-year-old firstborn son of Joe and Jun Kido.

It was the month of July, and Nadir had come back home on vacation from his college university at Okinawa. He was only the first of many; soon, all of the Digi-Destined and their children would gather in Odaiba for a family reunion of sorts.

Rei — who had idolized Nadir for a long time — had been playing basketball with him when she had suddenly heard a voice come out of thin air.

Shrugging it off as though it were nothing, Rei said: “Just thought I heard something... now, where were we? Oh yes, I was winning, wasn’t I?” said the eldest child of the Lucas’ with a smirk as she lunged for the basketball.

Nadir smirked as he began dribbling. “Only in your wildest dreams!”

“That was only the first time... throughout the week-and-a-half that followed, I kept hearing the same voice in my head, saying things like ‘Rescue me’ and ‘Release me’... it was starting to get annoying... and then, on the day before Daemon killed you all...”

Rei lay on her bed quietly, staring out her bedroom window at the shining sky of the Odaiba skyline. Tomorrow, they were all going to go on a picnic at the park, and after the kids were all going to play in the Digital World...

She was contemplating whether or not to tell her parents about the strange voices she had been hearing. They had been coming a lot more frequently, and — to be honest — they were getting annoying.

As Rei turned to sleep, she heard the voice again.

Rei Lucas!

Rei blinked; the voice had never said her name before. She quietly said: “Who’s there?”

An old friend of the Digi-Destined.

Rei immediately sat up as she looked around her room, trying to find the source of the voice. "Who are you? Where are you?"

Like I said, I’m an old friend of the Digi-Destined...and I’m trapped in a horrible place.

“Why have you been speaking to me?” asked Rei, her eyes still darting from corner to corner of her room.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Digi-Destined... we were allies a long time ago in the fight against evil, but one of the enemies sealed me away in a horrible place... I’ve tried to contact the other Digi-Destined, but they can’t hear me!

Rei remained silent. “Go on...”

Then I tried reaching you! It’s taking a lot of my power, but I’ve finally managed to create a stable telepathic link with you! Now I can tell you how to set me free!

“But what can I do?” asked Rei. It was official; she had bought into the voice’s story.

That’s what I’m about to tell you! And once you help me escape from my prison, I can surprise the Digi-Destined! It’ll be so much fun!

Rei smiled at the thought of her parents and the other Digi-Destined meeting this old friend of theirs. “I love surprises! Okay... what do you want me to do?”

Just listen carefully...

“I was told what to do...and I memorized every facet of the voice’s plan.”

I’m sorry, but I have to shut the link down... I’m getting too tired!

“Wait,” whispered Rei as she stared into the air. “What’s your name?”

That’s part of the surprise! And remember; don’t tell anyone what I said!

Then the voice disappeared.

Rei couldn’t help but grin. Oh boy... this is going to be great!

How wrong I was...

The next day came, and all the Digi-Destined had gathered in the park. It was now late in the afternoon, and the Digi-Destined were going to enjoy some quality time amongst themselves while their children played in the Digital World on File Island.

Rei quietly walked over to Ken as she reviewed the plan in her head. Okay... that guy told me that I need Ken’s Digivice for the plan to work... don’t know why I can’t just use my silver D3, but oh well!

Yes, Rei had her own D3... however; she had no partner to call her own just yet. As a matter of fact, that’s what the kids were going to do that day; while the Digi-Destined spent time together, their children would head to File Island to get a partner from Primary Village. They had already left without her — except Kitty and Kazu, as they were still too young to have a partner — but Rei had used the excuse of having to use the bathroom to not go along with them. Now she could carry out the plan.

Rei walked up towards Ken and tugged on the Child of Kindness’ arm. “Excuse me, Mr. Ichijouji!”

Ken looked down at Rei quietly. “What is it Rei?” His overall physical appearance had changed little, although his body was a tad more muscular. He wore neatly ironed khakis, which went quite well with the blue dress-shirt he wore.

“Sir... as embarrassed as I am to admit it... I forgot my D3,” said Rei as she sheepishly looked down, trying to look the part of a meek and embarrassed girl who had forgotten something. “Is it alright if I borrow yours for the afternoon?”

Ken chuckled as he pulled out his Digivice — the dark D3 — and handed it to Rei. “Alright then... just don’t lose it, okay?”

"Okay!" Rei pocketed the dark D3 and ran off for the computer terminal. In that day and age, a computer terminal lined the sidewalks of every single park in Odaiba. It provided Internet access for a small payment... but it also served as a free DigiPort.

Ken smiled as the girl ran off. It’s good to know she won’t have to grow up facing the hardships we did. He turned away to join the others in the festivities-

Wait. His eye caught something.

He turned to see Rei hold a D3 towards the DigiPort... except it was silver. Wha-?

Rei, in her moment of excitement concerning the strange voice’s plan, had inadvertently pulled her silver D3 out of her pocket; she had had it with her the whole time. Okay... the voice told me to think of sector 01-000-ALPHA, and the D3 would take me there. “DigiPort, open!”

In a flash of light, Rei was gone.

Ken remained silent as his eyes remained fixated on the spot Rei had just stood at. She had her own D3 all along... but she asked to use mine because she said she forgot hers! Why did she lie to me?

Ken’s instincts as a Digi-Destined suddenly kicked in; something was up.

“KEN! HURRY UP!”

Ken turned around to see his wife, Yolei, walking towards him quickly. Since it was a hot summer day, she was wearing a red skirt, coupled with red sandals and a white T-shirt. Her lavender hair was as long as her back and she still wore glasses. “Ken, the others are already moving ahead of us! Let’s go!”

“Wait... I let Rei borrow my D3... even though she had her own with her,” said Ken quietly.

Yolei scoffed as she said: “This is why you’re lagging behind? Come on, the other kids probably just dared her to do it. Let’s go!”

“No Yolei,” stated Ken, his voice firm and resolute. “Something stinks about this... we should at least check it out. If I’m wrong about this, you can pay me back later.”

Yolei snorted as she pulled out her red D3, following Ken towards the computer terminal. Rass’n frass’n... silly Ken and his silly bad feelings... She stopped beside Ken at the terminal and said, “File Island, right?”

“No... Don’t think about any location at all. We’ll just let the DigiPort take us to the last selected portal.” Ken sighed as he thought about why Rei lied. Why would she lie anyway? She had nothing to lie for... did she?

“DigiPort open!”

In a flash of light, the husband and wife were gone.

End Flashback

...

Rei had wisely kept out the mention of Ken and Yolei — and earlier, Davis and Kari — being married. He didn’t want to stir up the idea of predestined marriages... because that would really mess things up.

“So you went to 01-000-ALPHA, the site of the Emperor’s old base, correct?” asked Cody. Ken slightly tensed at the mention of the Emperor; that piece of his past was still a sore spot for him.

Rei nodded. “It remained as ruins until Paildramon destroyed it a while later... but even though he destroyed it, the darkness that had powered the base still remained, if only in a faint form... and consequently, the barrier to the Dark World was very weak there.”

...

Flashback
01-000-ALPHA, Ruins of the Emperor’s base


Rei squinted at the sight before her; the wind was blowing the sand around the decrepit rubble of the Emperor’s base, making it hard to see. Okay... he said he would use his power to try and force open a gate here... but I would have to open the gateway for him. As she looked around, she saw it. In the sky above was a black circle. That had to be it. Okay... now to say the words.

As Rei aimed the dark D3 towards it, Ken and Yolei stumbled out of the gate behind her. Yolei muttered: “Hey, isn’t this your old base?”

“It is,” muttered Ken as his eyes glared upon the ruins that had once been his base. “But why would Rei come here? And why would she need my dark D3?”

Yolei suddenly saw the black circle in the sky. She gaped; Ken’s bad feeling had proven to be true! “I think it might be that!”

Ken tilted his head upward, gasping at the sight of the black circle. “What is that...?” Then, the words sounded out like a death knell.

“Dark portal, OPEN!”

Ken and Yolei remained stock silent as a black ray emerged from the dark D3 — for a small inkling of dark power still remained — crashing into the black circle. When the ray faded, the black circle was gone.

All that remained was a portal to the Dark World.

Yolei stuttered at the sight of the dark, empty place. “No... Why did Rei...!”

“Why indeed?” growled Ken as he stomped over to Rei. “REI!”

Rei froze as she turned around; Ken and Yolei had followed her! “Uh, look Mr. and Mrs. Ichijouji; it’s not what you think-”

“Oh really?” yelled Ken as he stood high above Rei. “And just why are you opening a portal to the Dark World?!”

“Simple.”

A chill ran down Ken and Yolei’s spines at the deep, coarse voice... the same voice of an old foe. Rei recognized it as the voice she had spoken to. “Hey! It’s your old friend!”

A horned being emerged from the portal, which immediately closed behind him. When the being slowly set down on the sandy ground in front of Ken, Yolei, and Rei, he could be seen to be none other than Daemon. “Well, to be truthful, I’m not their friend... but I am an old acquaintance.”

Rei looked at Daemon confusedly. Even though Daemon looked truly vicious, Rei had seen powerful Digimon. She innocently asked: “You aren’t their friend?”

“Indeed...” said Daemon as his blue eyes stared at Yolei and Ken, who were slowly backing away from the monstrous Mega. “I’ve come to settle an old score.”

Fear overtook the Ichijouji couple. They burst off, running away from Daemon.

Daemon grinned as he flapped his wings and zoomed towards the fleeing Digi-Destined; his clawed hands struck them, pressing them down into the ground. He flipped them over and placed his hands upon their chests. “I’m going to enjoy this...”

As Ken and Yolei struggled, Rei yelled: “Hey! What are you doing! Who are you?!”

Daemon chuckled as he tilted his eyes back toward the Lucas child. “My name is Daemon... and I’m going to kill them.”

“DAEMON!” yelped Rei out of eternal shock. She had heard Kari speak of him before... he had been one of the Digi-Destined’s greatest foes... and she had been helping him. “No... You tricked me...”

“Exactly,” replied Daemon with a smirk as his claws glowed with red-hot heat. His eyes stared at both Ken and Yolei, who continued to struggle under his claws. “The two lovers...”

SPLURTCH!

A dull groan escaped from both of the Digi-Destined as Daemon plunged his hands under their rib cages, clutching their hearts in his demonic grasp. Blood began leaking out of Ken and Yolei’s mouths as Daemon pulled their still-beating hearts out of their bodies. “And as lovers, your hearts die together.”

As Daemon turned around — incinerating the hearts with his Chaos Inferno — he saw Rei staring at him with wide eyes. “You... you killed them...”

Daemon chuckled. “Of course... they dared to think I could be so easily defeated. So many years ago, they sealed me away in the Dark World... I swore I would be back. And I am... thanks to you.”

Rei paled at the realization; she had freed Daemon. Daemon had spoken to her telepathically... and now Daemon was free. “You tricked me... YOU TRICKED ME!” Rei charged in a blind rage, aiming to punch Daemon’s lights out.

SLAM!

Rei went down to the ground in a flash; Daemon had swiped her face with the back of his hand, sending the girl downward. Rei winced at the stinging pain in her face.

Daemon calmly reached into Rei’s pocket and pulled out the dark D3. “I’ll take that.” With one swift movement, he crushed the Digivice in his hands, absorbing the dark power that remained within. “Once again, thank you for releasing me,” said Daemon with a smirk; watching the girl’s face clench was very enjoyable. “Now, I’m off to take my revenge. Ta ta.” Daemon cackled as a black ray of energy emerged from his palm, crashing into the television and opening the DigiPort to Odaiba.

In a flash of light, he was gone.

Rei grimaced as she slowly got to her feet. She couldn’t believe she had been tricked... that monster had deceived her! I... I have to get back and warn the others!

As she got to her feet, her eyes fell upon the lifeless bodies of Ken and Yolei Ichijouji, their lifeless eyes staring into the sky. A hole existed in the abdomen of both bodies: the spot where Daemon had plunged his hand through the skin and up to the rib cage where their hearts had been. She couldn’t just leave them like this...

So for the next couple of hours, she dug a large hole in the sand with her hands. After digging a ten-foot hole, she slowly lowered Ken and Yolei's bodies down into it, burying them in the same grave. After that, she dragged a large stone — a remnant of the Emperor’s base — and stuffed into the sand over the grave. She also took a jagged piece of metal and carved words into the stone.

HERE LIES KEN AND YOLEI: HUSBAND AND WIFE

As Rei let the metallic rod drop to the ground, she bowed. “Forgive me... I’ll avenge you both...

With that, Rei took her silver D3 and returned to Odaiba.

And when I returned, I found a fiery nightmare.”

End Flashback

...

Rei’s lip trembled as she scowled at the ground, twisting the grass with her hands. “He lied to me... he tricked me, deceived me... he used me to break free... and once he broke out, he killed you all...” Rei raised her head again, looking at them with weary eyes that made her look a lot older than she seemed. “Now do you understand? Daemon may have killed you... but your blood was on my hands.”

A wave of understanding finally swept through those listening to her. Rei went back in time not only to try and save them... but because Daemon had made it personal by using her. Rei was on a mission — not one that was necessitated by the others, heavens no — but one that she decided to undertake herself.

“So... how’d you go back in time anyway?” asked Agumon.

Rei snickered... but it had a sad tone, as if recalling something unfortunate. “This is when things unravelled...”

...

Flashback
Gennai’s Warehouse, Odaiba, twenty-seven years from now


Gennai had a house in the real world now... it was an old, abandoned warehouse that sat on the edge of Tokyo Bay. It was where he lived... and it was about one week after Daemon’s attack...

“GENNAI!”

Gennai turned around quietly; he had reformed the warehouse into quite a furnishable place. Sitting on the right side of the warehouse were his living facilities: bed, kitchen, and his television. On the left side of the warehouse, his equipment and workshop sat. Finally, a tremendous computer — transported out of his old house in the Digital World — sat at the very back of the warehouse. However, there was something else beside it: a giant pedestal with a ten-foot ring situated upon it.

Gennai looked at Rei, who stormed towards him quietly. “I need to talk to you, Gennai!”

“About what? Your foolhardy plan? Sorry, but I won’t do it,” replied Gennai with a resolute tone.

“You see, I had asked Gennai two days before about using the time warp in his Chronologic Preserver to go back in time by one week. I would simply prevent myself from freeing Daemon... and that would be it. Gennai declined.”

Rei frowned at the Watcher. “Listen... you owe the Digi-Destined. They’ve saved both worlds a lot of times... you owe them a chance to have their lives saved.”

“Impossible Rei! The time warp goes to a time period we don’t even know about! You could end up ten years in the past, or ten years in the future!” retorted Gennai.

Rei gazed up at the tremendous ring. “Yeah? Why have you been working on the Temporal Regulator?”

Gennai froze: he had mentioned the Temporal Regulator to Rei over the phone two days ago. The Temporal Regulator, for all intents and purposes, was capable of altering time vortexes. “Well... I’ve been working on it so that I can send scanners to different points in time. I’m hoping that I can find Ryo with this device.”

“And you can use it to send me back in time! I can stop Daemon from breaking free this way!” exclaimed Rei; she was very adamant about this.

“And I’m saying it’s untested! There’s no way to tell what’ll happen!” rebutted the Watcher.

“All the more reason to do it now! If we wait too long, there might not be a chance to go back in time if you can’t make it foolproof!” yelled Rei.

After an intense standoff between their glaring eyes, Rei finally said: “Please Gennai... please... Daemon deceived me... he used me to break free... the blood of my parents and the other Digi-Destined are on my hands... please, just do it.”

I was practically pleading... and he gave in.”

Gennai sighed as his shoulders slumped. “Fine... fine...”

Rei smiled a genuine smile as Gennai walked over toward his large computer. Thanks...

Two hours passed.”

Gennai remained silent as he inserted the Chronologic Preserver into a cube-shaped slot in the Temporal Regulator’s pedestal. The inner rim of the massive ring glowed blue... and the massive vortex opened up within the Temporal Regulator.

It was the same time warp that Milleniummon had created almost a whole year ago.

Rei looked upon the warp quietly. “So, I just jump into it?”

“No,” replied Gennai as he finished connecting the wires that laced between his computer and the Temporal Regulator. “You have to be converted into data first; this way, controlling your flow through the vortex will be easier. You’ll have to open up a DigiPort through my computer.”

Rei nodded as she took out her silver D3. She whispered: “... I’ll stop this from happening...”

“Leaving?”

Rei and Gennai whirled around to see three people enter the warehouse. All of them were people Rei and Gennai knew.

The one on the left was Nadir Kido himself; after news of Daemon’s attack reached Okinawa, he had immediately flown back to Tokyo.

The one in the centre was a male, about Rei’s age. Short, curly brown hair went down to the back of his neck, lending him an air of smartness. His blue shorts, black sneakers, and red t-shirt — an old one with a Slazenger logo on it — countered that modest air with a true boy’s aura. His eyes were pure blue, and his body was lean. He was Shinji, son of Davis and Bronwyn Motomiya.

The one on the right was a female, also about Rei’s age. She had a wild streak about her, which was characterized by her fidgety manner and her super-spiky blonde hair. She wore a blue denim vest over a jet-black shirt, and she also wore orange sweatpants. Her brown eyes had a defiant edge to them, and she was strangely quite muscular for her age. Finally, she wore white soccer cleats with blue soles. Her name was Mai, daughter of T.K. and Kari Takaishi.

The one who had spoken first was Nadir. Rei slowly nodded. “Yeah... this is the only way I can save our folks and the other Digi-Destined.” And my soul, thought Rei bitterly. Over the past week, she had been tearing herself apart over what she had done... and she knew she had to do something soon, or she would go insane.

Shinji calmly walked up to Rei... and slugged her in the face, sending the eldest Lucas child to the ground. “OW!” yelped Rei as she rubbed her face. “What was that for!”

“I’ll tell you why!” roared Shinji, his face a mixture of anger and disappointment. “You were going to leave without telling us!”

Rei grimaced as she got to her feet. “And? It’s only going to be back in time by one week! And how’d you know I was here anyway?”

“We followed you,” muttered Mai as she leaned against the warehouse wall. “You were acting weird all week. Just making sure you weren’t going to kill yourself or anything.”

Rei snorted at Mai. “I’m not going to commit suicide. I’m trying to save the Digi-Destined!”

Nadir looked calmly at the girl. Rei stared fiercely at her role model and said: “Let me guess; you want to stop me too?”

Nadir remained silent. Then, he said words that would stick with Rei for a long, long time. “Do what you must... but you must bear the consequences of anything you do.”

Rei had nothing to say in response to her role model... but she couldn’t help but think of Nadir still being the coolest guy in existence. ...thanks Nadir.

Suddenly, Shinji stepped up towards Rei, staring right into his eyes. Rei couldn’t speak in the face of the boy she had grown up with as a friend.

Finally, Shinji sighed, his tone becoming soft. “You’re going to go no matter what I say... but I want you to be careful. Okay?” To emphasize it, he leaned forward and kissed Rei on the lips.

Nadir chuckled as he thought: About time. Mai’s jaw dropped at the scene. “Hey! Since when were they an item?”

Nadir shifted his eyes toward Mai and quipped: “... let’s just say your picture would be next to the word ‘dense’ in the dictionary.”

Rei slowly stepped back, her face blushing at the sudden kiss. “Uh, well, uh... man, I knew you guys shouldn’t have come. You expect me to try and leave after that?”

“If you’re you, I certainly hope so,” muttered Shinji, his attitude momentarily morphing back to the enraged boy that had existed mere moments ago before the kiss.

The distance between Rei and Shinji quintupled in the span of a second. Even though he was the second child — and first son — of Davis and Bronwyn, he seemed to have somehow gotten Yolei’s legendary temper.

“It’s ready.” Rei turned around to see Gennai sitting in the large chair in front of his computer, re-verifying the coordinates. “The warp has been set to take you back in time by eight days. This’ll put you in the Digital World one day before Daemon’s attack. All have you to do is stop yourself from getting to Daemon.”

Rei calmed herself by taking a few deep breaths. She walked up towards the computer and pulled out her silver D3. She looked back once more at Nadir, Shinji, and Mai before aiming her D3 at the computer. “See you guys real soon.”

You have no idea how wrong I was.”

“DigiPort, OPEN!” Rei vanished into the computer screen with a flash of light... and she was gone. A radar-like dish extended from the base of the Temporal Regulator, and it shot a stream of 0s and 1s — assembled in Rei’s rough shape — into the time vortex. Things immediately went wrong.

“Uh oh,” stated Gennai.

“What do you mean ‘uh oh’!” exclaimed Mai, her fiery temperament showing. “Uh oh is not good! Don’t tell me you said ‘uh oh’!”

Shinji hurried up to the computer, demanding: “What’s happening?”

Much to Gennai’s chagrin, the time warp’s coordinates were already changing. “Darn it... the vortex is already warping the preset coordinates! I can’t keep a track on Rei!” Suddenly, and inexplicably, Rei’s D3 signal within the vortex disappeared.

Gennai growled. “She’s already exited the vortex...” When the Watcher looked at the final coordinates, he paled.

EXIT TIME: THIRTY-SIX YEARS AGO

EXIT POINT: SECTOR 00-111-IOTA

Shinji gasped at the sight of the number ‘36’. “No...”

Nadir scowled as he looked into the time vortex. His last words to Rei had turned out to be more truthful than he thought. Stupid thoughts... had to open my big, mental mouth.

End Flashback

...

Rei didn’t mention Shinji’s kiss, the fact that he was Davis and Bronwyn’s son, or that Mai was Kari and T.K.’s daughter. Man... This talk is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

“Hey, how’d you know what happened after you exited the vortex?” asked Palmon out of curiosity.

Rei replied: “One of Gennai’s scanners found its way to me some time later, and I learned what happened after that... but now back on-topic. Instead of taking me back by eight days, the vortex took me thirty-six years into the past... it’s been nine Earth years since I exited the portal.”

Everyone remained silent.

“Well, nine years isn’t that bad,” replied Izzy. “Definitely longer than eight days, but the wait is still doable, especially if you change your goal to destroying Daemon instead of stopping yourself.”

Rei snorted at Izzy’s logical remark. “Izzy... I said nine Earth years... only the last four years and the one year leading up to XeedMilleniummon’s destruction were actual years in both worlds. In the four years between XeedMilleniummon and Apocalymon... I lived on Digital World time.”

“What do you mean? What’s different about Digital World time?” asked Davis.

“XeedMilleniummon warped the temporal barriers around the Digital World... after the day he was destroyed, one minute on Earth equalled a day in the Digital World,” answered Rei.

Suddenly, Matt said: “You were the other Digi-Destined who fought with Ryo.” He had finally connected the dots whilst Rei had been talking.

“Bingo,” replied Rei with a sad smile. “I was the other child who fought alongside Ryo against Milleniummon...”

Everyone stood quiet as they let Rei gather her thoughts. Izzy was busy calculating the total amount of time that had passed. Okay, one Earth minute equals a Digiworld day. Sixty minutes... so one Earth hour equals sixty days...

“Something bugs me though,” interjected Tai. “If you didn’t have a partner when you went back in time, how’d you get Gaomon?”

Rei smiled as she patted her partner on the head. “This is the first positive thing I’ve had to say all day...”

...

Flashback
01-000-IOTA, Hidden Cave, nine years ago


It was about a week after I had emerged from the time warp... turns out I warped right outside of the Order’s base. Although I wasn’t in the time I wanted, it was nice to have humans around.”

Rei peered into the cave entrance quietly. “You sure this is where the seal is?”

Gennai nodded. “I’m positive.” His light purple eyes sparkled with intelligence, and his brown hair was cut into upward spikes. Of course, I was told by Azulongmon himself to come here, so I know it’s here.

In the past week, the Order had been thrown upside down by the arrival of Rei Lucas. Her story had been told already, and — all told — she wasn’t happy that she had been brought back thirty-six years into the past. As a matter of fact, she had been downright enraged.

But as Rei — and the Order — grew accustomed to this new situation, Azulongmon — the Sovereign of the Digital World’s Eastern Region — had given Gennai explicit (and secret) instructions to head to this cave in 01-000-IOTA. He had been told Rei would find here partner here. I certainly hope it’s worth it, though... this young girl is on the verge of snapping.

I have to say that, well... let me just say that I had a short fuse for the short week following my emergence from the time vortex.”

Rei seethed as she made large strides into the cave, her walk strong and forceful. She had been so infuriated... she was only supposed to go back in time by eight days! How was she going to stop herself from freeing Daemon if that event was thirty-six freaking years in the freaking future! Gah... stupid time warp and stupid Daemon and stupid stupid stupid...

Suddenly, she saw a seal... but it looked different than a normal seal.

Rei calmly put a hand on it. “Weird looking seal... looks like one of those special seals that kept Kitty’s team’s Digimon hidden.”

Suddenly, a dark blue light extended upward from the spot where the seal had been. When the light faded, Gaomon was standing there.

Rei’s blue eyes looked into Gaomon’s yellow eyes.

Finally, Gaomon said: “You broke the seal... you must be my partner. I was told by Azulongmon that the one who broke the seal would be my partner.”

Rei had no words to say. ...I have a partner?

End Flashback

...

Gaomon smiled as Rei rubbed his head. “Gaomon... well, he was the only thing keeping me sane in the beginning... not long after that, I changed my goal from stopping myself to destroying Daemon, like Izzy said.” Rei paused to take a quick breather. Finally, she continued. “Three months after that, I found my crest after it fell from the sky. Three weeks later, we achieved the Mega level. Two months later, Milleniummon appeared... and one month later, Ryo finally emerged from his time warp.”

“So you actually went further back in time than either Milleniummon or Ryo?” Hawkmon asked.

“That’s correct,” replied Rei with a smile. “That was certainly a happy time... but we didn’t have a lot of free time to enjoy. One month after Ryo appeared, he froze Milleniummon in the Crystal Prison. Three-and-a-half months later, Milleniummon digivolved into MoonMilleniummon. One week later, he became XeedMilleniummon... and one week after that — one full year after I emerged from the vortex — XeedMilleniummon was destroyed... but there was a nasty side affect.”

“The warping of the time differences,” answered Ken.

Rei sighed as she recalled the day everything went down the tube. “Exactly...”

...

Flashback
End of the World, eight years ago

Rei sighed as she stared at the devastation that the battle between XeedMilleniummon and Neomon. Massive chunks of land had been torn from the barren wasteland. Tremendous canyons had been carved into the ground. Any vegetation that had existed beforehand utterly ceased to be. Blackened shadows that had been etched into the land by the combatants’ energy attacks.
Rei sighed. Man... So much devastation. But it was worth it...

However, there had been one loss: Ryo and his partner Cyberdramon.

After XeedMilleniummon’s destruction, his collapsing data had combined into a time warp... and Ryo and Cyberdramon had both been drawn into it. Whether it led back to Ryo’s proper time was beyond him... but Rei was going to miss him. At least I had some time with him...

BEEP BEEP!

Rei blinked; her D-Terminal was beeping. She pulled it out and-

“Hey!”

“Davis... no interrupting...”

“But Rei, I just have one question!”

“Fine. What?”

“Where’d the D-Terminals come from anyway? You have one, my team have them, but the older kids don’t! What’s the deal?”

“The D-Terminals are communication devices developed by the Order. Gennai would’ve given D-Terminals to the older kids, but he had no time to work on them, considering the machine which manufactured them was destroyed by the Dark Masters when they invaded the Order Base. Satisfied?”

“Yep.”

“Good. No more interrupting! Continuing on!”


Anyhow, Rei pulled out the D-Terminal and read the message within.

Dear Rei,
Get back to the Order’s base. I have something important to tell you!
Gennai


“Well, that can’t be good,” muttered Rei as she walked over to the slumbering Botamon. She was already tired enough as is...

She picked up her sleeping partner and looked up at the Sovereigns. “Excuse me! Can I trouble you guys for a ride to the nearest DigiPort? I need to get to the Order’s base!”

Baihumon stepped forward and kneeled. “You have done much good by helping us fight XeedMilleniummon. I will grant this small favour to you.”

Anyway, after I arrived at the Order’s base... I got quite a shock...

“WHAT!” The echo of Rei’s shout could be heard outside of the Order’s base.

“... I discovered XeedMilleniummon had warped the temporal barriers around the Digital World. I wasn’t happy.”

End Flashback

...

“XeedMilleniummon exuded so much dimension-altering power that his very presence in the Digital World altered the time differences between worlds.” Rei sighed as she leaned back against the toy tower, her voice low and dull. “It made everything much more complicated...”

“NO WAY!”

Everyone, barring Rei, turned their heads toward Izzy; he was hunched over his laptop, sweating profusely. No way... I went over the calculations three times... there’s no way...

“Izzy? What’s wrong?” asked Tentomon.

Izzy slowly turned his head towards Rei, who now looked at Izzy as if she knew what the Child of Knowledge had discovered. Izzy mumbled: “If one Earth minute equals one Digital World day... and if you add the five years of normal time... you’ve been in the Digital World for 5769 years...”

“WHAT!” yelled the other Digi-Destined out of pure shock; there was no way that could be true!

Rei chuckled. “Bingo... you are absolutely correct...”

“But-but-but-but-but-but-but-but you’d be an old geezer by now!” stuttered Matt. “You don’t even look older than twelve!”

“A side affect of traveling through Milleniummon’s time vortex. It was something that affected both Ryo and I... throughout the five months he was here, he didn’t age... and I haven’t aged at all.”

As Rei stared into the infinite sky above, the words came pouring out on their own. Her voice sounded like it belonged to a lifeless husk instead of a child barely into puberty. “I’ve seen much... and I’ve suffered much... I’ve experienced so much war, death, and destruction over the five millennia I’ve been here. Any good times I’ve derived from this whole Godforsaken mission have been severely outweighed by the bad...” The tears started to stream from her eyes, even though she didn’t sob. “All those I love and have gotten near me these past millennia have died... my innocence is dead... my childhood is dead... even death doesn’t want to come near me. I’ve tried to kill myself to escape the pain...”

Everyone sat around in utter and total surprise; they would’ve never figured Rei as one to try and commit suicide.

“But I never could go all the way... my body always came back from the brink, struggling to hang on... because I still had a mission... and I am cursed to fulfil it.” An ironic smirk came to her face as she lowered her head to the ground. “Nadir was right... I have to bear the consequences of my actions... and I’ve come to two conclusions over the years. Either time travel is an endeavour that requires tremendous sacrifice to get what you want... or fate has it is in for me.”

Finally, she looked back up at the Digi-Destined... and they were shocked at what they saw.

Physically, Rei hadn’t changed. However, her blue eyes — which had once maintained a façade of youthful confidence — were now completely open. Within the murky depths of those blue eyes, the experience of one who had seen so much swam errantly. Rei now looked a lot older than she appeared to be.

Rei dully said: “That’s why none of you can understand my pain... or why you never can. There are many things my brain has blocked away, simply because they were too horrible to recount... and there were times where I became so hardened that I forgot how to weep...”

Finally, she stood, staring at the Digi-Destined around her. “Well... you have all just heard the story of Rei Lucas: a child who released the demon that killed the Digi-Destined... and a child who has suffered more than many men see in their lifetime... now if you’ll excuse me, I have to be alone...” As she turned around and walked away, the Digi-Destined could hear her mutter: “... Just like I’m destined to always be alone in the end...”

As she drifted out of sight, the Digi-Destined were left to their thoughts.

Matt, for one, was particularly shocked... but he finally knew why Rei neglected to reveal her past.

...

Outside Community Centre, Monday, 4:30 PM

“5769 years... who would’ve thought?” muttered Matt.

BlackGabumon quickly said: “For the record, I didn’t.”

Meanwhile, Davis was pacing back and forth; he was trying to think of ways to console Rei. I mean, come on: Rei did look bummed out, and for good reason. Surprise party? No. Surprise soccer match? No. Trip to the arcade in Odaiba? Hmm... No. Gah, what to do!

“Hey, where’d Jonathan go?” Sora asked.

“And Mimi?” Biyomon added, as she flapped her wings, hovering in the air.

...

Outside Community Centre, Monday, 4:35 PM

Jonathan and Mimi had a goal in mind: the consolation of Rei. In a way, they owed it to her. They finally found her, sitting Indian-style on a wooden bench. She was staring off at the horizon, her back turned to them.

As the Children of Wood and Sincerity neared her...

“I don’t expect you two to change your lives for me.” They both nearly jumped out of their skin; the voice belonged to Rei, who did not turn to face them. She continued to speak. “Even though you might think otherwise, you two are only my parents in appearance... I don’t expect you two to become my mother and father, because honestly you aren’t them. However, I’ll still fight my hardest to protect you and the other Digi-Destined, but my soul won’t know true peace until Daemon is dead.”

Slowly, Jonathan and Mimi stepped closer, finally stopping two feet behind Rei. Jonathan quietly said: “Listen, we might not understand the pain you’ve suffered and we probably never will.”

“But that doesn’t mean you have to carry that burden alone,” Mimi added in a sweet, motherly voice that she must’ve gotten from Sora training her. “We’re all Digi-Destined, so we’re all family in a sense. Family members help each other and we’ll help you with your pain.” As she said this, she placed her left hand on Rei’s shoulder.

Jonathan, who was standing to Mimi’s left, placed his right hand on Rei’s left shoulder as well. “All of us will.”

Rei said nothing. She simply replied by reaching up with her right hand and clutching Jonathan and Mimi’s hands tightly. In that one instant, that small gesture said more than any amount of words ever could.

...

Highton View Terrace, Monday, 4:50 PM

The Digidestined were dealing with the day’s aftermath in their own way.

Jonathan and Mimi were just hanging loosely around Rei, watching her remain in solitude away from the rest of the Digi-Destined. If anything, the two were curious about how the girl — well, a woman, if you think about it — was handling everything she had told them.

In a way, it seemed as though Rei was experiencing those events for the first time... but then again, who would be able to recount such events without feeling anything?

Cody was sitting on a bench seat, thinking about various things. Matt was doing the same thing, and he was thinking of a way to apologize to Rei for his suspicion during the initial period of time they had known each other.

Sora sighed as her eyes stared sadly at the five thousand, seven hundred and sixty nine-year-old child. “She looks down,” whispered Sora to Tai.

Tai whispered back: “Well, I would be too if I went through what she’s been through.”

“Plus, she's had to tell it to us... I bet that made it harder,” replied Biyomon.

Agumon blinked as he saw Rei step through the light of a stationary floodlight. She was... trembling. “Hey, I think she’s crying.’

Tai and Sora focused on Rei’s body; indeed, it was trembling slightly. Was she crying over a sorrowful memory?

Sora slowly walked over and muttered: “Rei...?”

Suddenly, Rei stopped. Tai and Sora stopped as well... and then they saw Rei turn around, her face illuminated by the light of a nearby floodlight pinned to the wall.

And she was... laughing. The trembling had been her trying to contain her laughter. Finally, she chuckled uncontrollably, almost slumping to her knees as her voice carried through the Terrace’s gardens.

“Gee, glad to see you’re cheerful,” said Tai, his tone unamused after expecting Rei to be sobbing.

Rei got to her feet, apologetically saying: “Sorry about that... just remembered something funny. I didn’t think about it much anymore, considering I don’t dwell on the past as much as I used to... but I just thought about it, and I couldn’t help but laugh.”

“Well, now that you’re thinking about it, mind enlightening us?” asked Biyomon innocently.

Rei grinned as she said, “Alright, how would you guys like to hear about how the rivalry between Leomon and Ogremon began?”

...

Flashback
11-000-ALPHA, Piximon’s Domain, five thousand, seven hundred and forty four years ago (Digital World Time)


The desert around the area was sweltering. To the north, more desert. To the south, a coniferous forest that stretched onward... and in the sector was an invisible barrier that led to Piximon’s private domain.

“It was twenty one years after I emerged from the time warp, and I had been convinced by Gennai to head to Piximon’s domain in 11-000-ALPHA. Apparently, Gennai thought it would be a good idea for me to get some training from the renowned Piximon... but as you know, I wasn’t the only one there.”

The diminutive Ultimate Digimon stared at the three in front of him. Although he was only ten inches tall, he held great power... and great wisdom. His body was small and round, covered by pink fur except around the face. His arms and shrimpy legs were also covered by pink fur, save for the hands and feet. Around his shins were black bands of leather, and his feet ended in three toes, each with sharp pink talons. Two feathery wings extended from his shoulder blades, and his black eyes were large and bug-like. In his right hand was a long blue spear, with a length of red cloth tied around the base of the spear’s sharp tip.

He was Piximon.

And right now, he was staring at three beings who wanted to be his pupils: Leomon, Ogremon, and the human girl known as Rei.

“So,” said Piximon, his voice high-pitched and nasally. “You three want to be my pupils, eh?”

Leomon, Ogremon, and Rei nodded quietly. They were sitting on their knees on the dusty ground outside of Piximon’s house. Behind them was the immense forest that led to Piximon’s barrier, and behind Piximon was the massive stairway leading to his Shinto-style house, which sat atop a colossal pedestal of gray stone. Leomon and Ogremon were not as muscular, they weren’t as battle-hardened, and they had no scars. They were young, eager, and itching to fight. Rei was a tad more experienced, but not capable of fighting adeptly.

“Well, tough cookies! If you want to be my pupil, you have to pass some tests first!” yelled Piximon, waving his spear around wildly.

Leomon implored: “Please master Piximon, let me be your pupil!”

THWACK!

Leomon winced as Piximon whacked him on the forehead with the blunt side of his spear. “Giving me a title is meaningless; I’m not your master because you’re not my pupil! Capiche?”

Leomon numbly nodded; Ogremon muttered: “Gee, what a tight-wad...”

KAPOW!

Ogremon yelped as Piximon struck his forehead. “Rudeness won’t get you anywhere in this camp, nope nope nope! If you want to be my pupil, you’ve got to have discipline, maturity, and patience!” He flapped his wings and hovered right in front of Rei’s face, staring eye-to-eye. “Any other questions?”

Rei blinked out of bewildered confusion. Tai was right, this guy is an ‘in-your-face’ type of trainer. Rei slowly shook her head.

Piximon smiled. “Good! Now that that’s settled, time for the first trial for you three.” He immediately pointed his spear to the stairway. “Up those stairs, on the double!”

Leomon, Ogremon, and Rei all groaned.

“Yep. Piximon was just as tough as he was when you guys met him... and over the next three weeks, we all ‘trained’ to meet Piximon’s pupil standards.”

Mopping.

Scrubbing floors.

Washing windows.

Racing up and down steps.

“Needless to say, Piximon’s ‘training’ was unorthodox... and by the end of the three weeks, it was clear Ogremon had fallen behind Leomon and myself in terms of performance. Now it was ‘graduation’ day."

Ogremon, Leomon, and Rei sat on their knees, which stood upon small floor pads. They were in the barren centre courtyard of Piximon’s house, and Piximon himself was standing in front of them all.

“Alright you slackers, the time has come to choose my pupils! Since I’m not one to be subtle, allow me to name my pupils: Rei and Leomon.”

Rei and Leomon breathed a sigh of relief. Ogremon roared: “WHAT?”

Piximon quickly aimed a retort at Ogremon. “Before you argue or quibble at me, I’ll say this: you’re immature, and you have no patience to be disciplined! But if you want to leave honourably, stay around and cheer for the successful ones.”

Ogremon grumbled as he sat back down. “Gah...”

“Of course, Ogremon had no intention of leaving honourably...”

“YEOW!” yelped Leomon as he brought his tail up; hanging onto its tip was a small crab. Rei blinked at the sight. Huh? How’d that happen?

She turned her head to Ogremon, who was snickering.

“I told Leomon about it later, after Ogremon had left. Piximon had given the both of us a week off before our training began... so Leomon hunted down Ogremon. As it turned out, Ogremon went to the Gazimon town in 01-111-BETA...”

Leomon looked at the small, two-story inn with silence; if what the denizens of the town had told him were true, Ogremon was currently taking up residence there. “Well, here goes.”

He ventured into the Inn, and walked up to the front counter, where a Gazimon was sitting there quietly. “Excuse me, but is there an Ogremon here? And if so, what room?”

The Gazimon muttered: “Room 12. He went out for a bit, but he didn’t check out.”

Leomon grinned. Perfect.

He quickly walked up the stairs to room 12 and entered; since the Inn was rather small in terms of budget, it didn’t have lockable doors. Leomon quickly walked into the bathroom and switched the shampoo bottle for another bottle and left.

Immediately after Leomon turned the corner of the street, Ogremon returned to the Inn. Leomon left 01-111-BETA with a smile.

“Leomon doesn’t know for sure what happened... but he told me what his plan was... I can imagine it went something like this:”

Ogremon grumbled as he grabbed a twig out of his hair. “Blasted Woodmon. Got to take a bath...” He quickly hopped into the bathtub, turned on the showerhead, picked up the bottle of shampoo and poured it onto his white hair...

After he got out of the bathroom and looked in the mirror...

“AIE!” Ogremon screamed at the sight in the mirror; his hair was... was... PINK! “THAT WASN’T SHAMPOO... THAT WAS HAIR DYE!”

He checked the ‘shampoo’ bottle, enraged at what had just happened. That’s when he finally saw the wrapping around the bottle. It was in Leomon’s handwriting... and the face of lion was sticking a tongue out at him, with words right below it.

OGRES SUCK! LIONS RULE!

Ogremon crunched the bottle in his hands, staining his green palms with pink dye. “Leomon... THIS MEANS WAR!”

End Flashback

...

The Digi-Destined were sent to the floor again, their laughter echoing throughout the lush green gardens. Tai managed to choke out: “Man, I never thought such a serious rivalry would start like that...”

“You know, the ironic thing is,” said Rei, a sly smirk coming to her face. “They’ve fought and deleted each other so many times now that I think they’ve forgotten why their rivalry started.”

“That would be ironic!” exclaimed Biyomon, chuckling as she thought about it more.

...

01-000-ALPHA, Tuesday, 7:03 AM

Ogudomon smiled as he stared at his mighty invasion force. So many Digimon, and all of them would soon be crushing Earth’s puny defences. The dark Digimon was standing within his large lair, staring down at his invasion army. The real world would soon know his might. At that moment, he spoke.

Ironically, Daemon and Ogudomon began speaking to their invasion forces at the same time.

“Today is the day we have been waiting for... soon, the real world will know our might. All those who would dare stand in our way will be crushed by our superior strength. I will claim victory over the Earth, and all worlds will fall under this army’s great strength!”

How ironic that the two enemies delivered the exact same speeches.

In the Dark World...

“Now, to the real world!” Daemon’s hands crackled with black electricity and in the air above Archfiend Castle, a massive white portal opened up. Without hesitation, the Daemon Corps entered it.

In the other plane...

“Now, to the Real World!” Ogudomon extended his right hand’s index finger into the air as it glowed red; it tore a hole in the air, and Ogudomon tore a super-long fissure out of the atmosphere. After he removed his hand, Ogudomon and his mighty army entered the fissure; none were left behind.

...

Warehouse #7, Tokyo Bay, Odaiba, 7:11 AM

“FINALLY!”

Hiroaki stirred from his chair at Gennai’s shout; he sat up to see Gennai holding a CD. “Huh? Wha-?”

“I finished the program! It’ll only take a few minutes for me to upload it... and once I do, the ‘prime minister’ will be talking to all of Tokyo’s citizens over all television channels, telling them to evacuate the city!” Gennai smiled as he held the CD gingerly.

“Is the prime minister live or CG-animated?” asked Hiroaki.

“CG, but he looks exactly like the real thing, so don’t worry!” Gennai exclaimed. “Now all I have to do is-”

CHOOM!

The ground rumbled lightly as a massive boom — it sounded like a massive tear — roared through the atmosphere of Tokyo. Gennai grumbled: “What the? What was that?”

Hiroaki had already stormed out of the warehouse and what he saw didn’t make him feel good.
A bridge connecting Odaiba to the other districts of Tokyo was suddenly the centre of activity; on Odaiba’s side, a massive congregation of creatures was emerging from a red fissure, led by a long-limbed devilish figure. On the opposite side, a white portal had appeared, and a ghostly army was being led out by a demonic beast.

Hiroaki’s eyes narrowed at the sight. “Things are about to get really painful...”

Ogudomon and Daemon halted their armies at the sight of the other; Ogudomon’s seaborne Digimon had just begun pouring into the ocean when the army commanders had caught sight of each other.

“Halt!” yelled Ogudomon.

“Hold here,” commanded Daemon.

Both army commanders stared at their opposite number quietly; all that was separating them was a bridge and Tokyo Bay.

Daemon was the first to speak; telepathically, of course. Ogudomon, what are you doing here?

Since a telepathic connection with Ogudomon had been established, Daemon could hear the Demon Lord’s thoughts. I’m here for the same reason you are: domination.

Daemon chuckled; such a fool. You’re a fool, you will die along with your army before I take command of this world.

We shall see.

The numerical advantage lay with Ogudomon: he outnumbered Daemon’s forces a hundred to one. However, the Daemon Corps had the advantage of being better trained. However, no one could tell how the battle would end until it ended.

At that moment, both Ogudomon and Daemon roared the same thing. “CHARGE!”

A massive roar — one that could be heard as far as Mt. Fuji — emanated from the two armies and they charged at each across the bay and the bridge. The war for the real world had begun.

...

Highton View Terrace, Tuesday, 7:20 AM

“Oh, there was one other thing I had to let you know about,” Rei stated, finalizing her huge tale.

“What’s that?” Sora asked.

“Two of the enemies your children will face... they are Dragomon and Orochimon,” the twelve-year-old answered dramatically.

Sora and Anna paled significantly; Tai and Matt thought they were going to faint, so both boys rushed to their sides. “Dragomon?” Anna whispered. “I’ve heard about him...”

The Chosen Children are so far unaware of the war Daemon and Ogudomon have brought to Odaiba, but will quickly get drawn into it.


Not too far away, the pure Devas already knew. Mihiramon huffed in annoyance. “This wasn’t how it was planned,” the winged tiger said.

A reptilian laugh escaped Sandiramon’s mouth before the Snake Deva replied: “Thingsss never go according to plan. You ssshould know that by now, Mihiramon.”

“Well, I’m not about to give up,” Vajramon snorted before slamming a hoof on the ground. He waved his sword wildly. “The last three tainted Devas were eliminated and soon our ranks will be whole again, once the traitors reconfigure.”

Pajramon trotted up to be beside the Ox. The burly Sheep Deva nodded her agreement, before crossing her arms. In unison, the four glanced over at Indramon; the Horse hadn’t yet spoken. “Indramon?” Mihiramon prompted.

The Horse Deva turned to them, a sad expression crossing his face. “This war will be the end of me,” he responded.

“Ssstate your reasssonsss,” Sandiramon hissed, looking quite surprised.

“Yes, how do you know?” Vajramon added.

“The Sovereigns’ have predicted it,” Indramon replied.
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  #39    
Old May 10th, 2011, 12:18 PM
Fuyu's Avatar
Fuyu
Battle!
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Who knows?
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
Chapter 35: Grey Blaze

Blair had no idea who the hell was chasing but whoever it was was dangerously close to killing her. The wind sliced and stabbed around. She whipped over and shouted, "Who the hell are you?"

The girl's voice was soft. "I am called Laura Evans." She landed lightly on a tree branch, the wood unshifting. A boomerang rested in one hand as she declared, "You're going to leave my brother alone. Or my next one is in your throat."

"I didn't do anything!" Blair yelled back.

The Red Phoenix of the South appeared, screeching angrily. "Storien Child, leave her alone!"

Laura's eyes flashed and two boomerangs pierced through Zhuqiaomon's wings. I don't even have a name from you. You monsters. "Don't interfere," she ordered quietly, firmly. "You didn't interfere back then, I doubt you'll do so now." She winced silently, one hand moving reflexively toward her abdomen and falling again. "You're hurting my brother," she accused the younger girl, red eyes full of a vacant sort of anger, as though she deep down didn't feel it. "You're a filthy liar who can't see what exists. I won't let you do it, not again." Mist Shadow spun above her head. "This is my test, not his, not yours Sovereign. Can she even pass it? If not, it won't matter much, except for your heart."

"Don't even think about killing her!" Zhuqiaomon yelled. "She is vital to the end!"

Laura smiled at him, a strange sort of smile. According to you. "I know that silly bird, You don't need to remind me. However," Spikes fell, imbedding just by Blair's feet. "Necessity doesn't excuse cruelty. She's playing with the heart of an expendable, whether she knows it or not."

"Sean's not gonna die! Leave him alone, *****!" Blair snapped.

Laura watched her and leapt down from the tree she was perched in, landing only a few feet from Blair. "He's my friend, my brother. You're hurting him. I'm not the one who needs to leave him alone. You love a shadow. Sean isn't another person, he's still Leith. And because you hate Leith you're hurting Sean! You're a bully, a worse one than any other! Worse, you're a coward!" The girl vanished and Blair found herself pinned to the ground, Laura sitting lightly on top of her stomach. Her boomerang was in her hand, waiting to be thrown. "And you can't prove you aren't."

"Phoenix Fire!" A barrage of fireballs headed straight at Laura. A screech was heard behind the attack. "I told you to leave her alone!"

Laura lifted Blair by her shirt as she dodged, making sure neither was hit by the attack. "You scold me on keeping her alive," the girl muttered coldly. "See, look miss," she mumbled to Blair as she dropped her back down. "The Gods have to fight your battles for you. Isn't that pathetic? We have to protect you, even more pathetic, to be protected by those who shouldn't even exist. You two are weak you know?" She backflipped towards Zhuqiaomon and this time Mist Shadow went through two of his Cores. She kicked downward into the Digimon's eye as she landed. "Whoops," she muttered.

"That's enough!" Zhuqiaomon shouted and turned to Blair, nodding his head.

She returned the gesture and slipped her Awakener into her D-Core, which shone brightly as it changed colour from red to yellow and reddish-orange.

Laura sighed. "You still aren't denying what I'm saying. I should tell him, let them be smart and choose someone else before its too late. Hopefully not me, but he has always been quirky."

He's quirky huh?

He's a quirky and adorable little brother, just like you're a handsomely passionate twin. But don't let it go to your head now Jordan.

Oh like I would. By the way, incoming.
She slid away as the fire began to burn.

"Huh, what do I have to deny? They're two separate personalities," Blair countered.

She really is stupid, isn't she? Jordan asked. Laura shrugged.

"They're the same person in the end. Sean was created from Leith and they exist in the same body. That means that whatever you feel for one should apply for the other. And it doesn't right?" She swung and Blair's D-Core went flying out of her hand, bouncing against the tree Laura had just been standing on. "Because whenever you look at Sean, you feel love but whenever you look at Leith you're afraid and angry. And you still never told me you weren't a bully or a coward. Because you must be, after all, you're willing" The wind whipped, tearing Blair's clothing and nearly mauling her arms and torso. "To say you love him and support him while knowing he will die to keep you alive by the orders of that bird who's protecting you. Only a weak person will do that."

"Wizardmon Warp Digivolve to... Dynasmon!"

The pain was unbelievable, but Blair refused to submit to it, though her mental cries were kept private. She was growing tired of this girl's unjust anger at her, so she decided to end the conversation. "Alright," she began. "I admit it, but don't think you'll get away with this sorta stunt again."

Laura blinked at her. "Big words," she said softly. "Care to back them up? It looks like you're in too much pain to do that though."

"Laura, she looks like she's about to fall over," chirped a voice, the voice of a black cat. BlackGatomon jumped down and ran to her side. "It doesn't look very interesting. Even we make a better human-Digimon pair than her."

Dynasmon stared down at BlackGatomon, analysing her. Eventually, he grunted in disgust. "You're a Champion, I'm a Mega. Unless you can Digivolve, I don't think you'll be able to beat me."

BlackGatomon blinked down at him. "Well I don't wanna Digivolve," she replied smartly. "Why bother? It makes this no fun at all. God I think the higher in level you go the stupider you get."

Laura giggled softly and wind blades stabbed into the Mega's armor. "There we go," she mumbled. "Now you look even more dumb. You should focus on me and not my Digimon. I probably won't have her for much longer."

"Well then, let's grant that wish," Dynasmon growled through grit teeth. "Dragon's Roar!" He fired energy shots with attributes equal to those of the Warrior Ten from the palms of both his hands. BlackGatomon's form blurred and started vaporizing, but that was as far as she got. Dynasmon splayed himself and started absorbing the data. He grunted in disgust again. "A Champion's energy hardly fills the spot." He turned towards Laura, chuckling to himself.

Laura looked solemn. "You're a bully you know." Her voice was strange. Dynasmon felt a chill. She felt just like Caleb all of a sudden. Worse, her eyes were as blank as Leith's. "But that didn't do anything. You didn't absorb a Digimon, you just absorbed a memory and you did it because you could. You're just like Takahiro. You don't deserve to be a Chosen Child. People like Takahiro are monsters, they're bad. I... have to get rid of anybody who's bad. Otherwise... I'll get locked up again." She vanished and reappeared with her sharp boomerang against Blair's throat. The wind howled and tore into Dynasmon's body. "I'm not allowed to pronounce judgement, but... I am allowed to kill."

"No, actually, I did it because she ticked me off," the Mega sneered.

Now, it was Blair's turn to reprimand her partner. "Dynasmon, stand down NOW!" Something was wrong, something was very wrong with her all of a sudden.

Someone stood at the edge of the fighting. "Well this is kinda funny," Sean said softly, smiling brightly, a fake light. "Laura, you really are protective huh?"

She glanced mistily over. "Sean..." The boy walked over and poked her forehead.
"Stop that," he scolded. "Don't act like that again, Laura. We just got you to be a human being, so stop." Laura blinked and frowned, calling back Mist Shadow. He turned toward Blair and Dynasmon. "You know Dynasmon, I thought you were better than this. BlackGatomon wasn't even a Digimon and she wasn't even going to fight you yet you still killed her. That's something a bully does. I thought you and Blair were stronger than that. You really are falling for Daemon's trap. You're falling for Wrath, just like the other Chosen."

Sean glanced up at the sky. "You people and your destiny and your "deserving" of being Chosen, it's made you arrogant. And Blair, it hurts me to say this, truly, but if that's the sort of person you are, then I should just slit your throat because you won't even be able to touch Ogudomon like that and you'll die in needless pain. I'm not saying this to be mean, I'm saying this as a warning. All that anger, hate, arrogance, your vices, they'll lead you to die again. We don't want that again."

Dynasmon snorted, picked up his partner and flew off. "You don't understand," Sean screamed at him. "Ogudomon's power is that! All your malice, greed, whatever, if you have a bit of it, your attacks won't work. It..." he stopped and lowered his head. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," Wisemon materialized in the spot where Dynasmon had once stood. "She's just on edge at that moment. She will calm down later on, she always does. I will have a discussion with her when that has happened." He bowed his head in a sorrowful respect. "I'm sorry that the two of you had to witness Dynasmon's arrogance."

"Don't be," Laura said softly. "We're used to this sort of treatment."

"We're sorry you have to clean up the mess," Sean added, fake smile as bright as before. "What must be done is inform the others of Daemon's virus. It seems stronger in them than the other Chosen. Has Daemon personally interfered with them at any point?"

"Not that I'm aware of," the Ultimate answered. "But it's entirely possible. Unless... I wasn't able to fully nullify the virus in Wizardmon when the two transitioned and it mutated and spread to Blair. That can't be possible, though. That was over two weeks ago that happened..."

"It probably was nullified," Sean said calmly, taking Laura's hand, who for some reason was trembling, even though Zhuqiaomon was long gone. "However, the infection itself leaves them much more open to being controlled and affected by it. Even the nullification of the virus won't immune them to being safe." His blue eyes flickered red. "This is a problem. Her heart needs to settle now before Ogudomon takes it. Otherwise they'll end up like the Prince of Hell."

"How are you going to initiate the solution?" Wisemon asked.

"There isn't anything I can do. It's up to her. All I can do is believe she'll understand in time. If she doesn't..." He looked at his feet. "Then I'll just wait and be alone again. I'll just keep believing in her and hoping because, in the end..." Sean sighed. "Her life is her own and she chooses how to live it." He gave the Ultimate a silly grin. "Sorry that must sound really stupid, coming from a weapon like me."

"Not at all," Wisemon replied. "You have to remember I've been alive a very long time. Nothing is new to me anymore. Though, I will admit, I am not looking forward to this war."
"Anyone who looks forward to this war is foolish," Laura began quietly, glancing at her fellow weapon. "Foolish, suicidal, or desperate, possibly all three. This we both know." Sean agreed, bowing his head tiredly.

"The Ancient Ten will lose their lives." A different voice came out of the Ultimate's mouth; it seemed he was in a trance.

Laura gave a nod. "Many will lose their lives, but it is not time for yours yet. Soon though, it will happen."

"Soon," Sean repeated dazedly.

The trance was broken. Wisemon looked around. "I must be off; I've got a heart-to-heart talk that must be fulfilled."

"Farewell," the two chanted in unison, both turning and walking away. They needed to return, the battle was still going on.

"And good luck," Laura added gently.

"So, did she answer you?" Sean asked her as they walked.

"No, but you did, so I suppose she didn't have to."

"Good. You don't understand this sort of thing anyhow."

"Yeah, well neither do you." The two continued their playful bickering as they walked, almost forgetting that they were heading toward bloodshed. It wasn't like it really bothered them anymore.

...

Daemon watched with a satisfied expression on his face. The only ones who had come to the battle were the weapons and they were easily outmatched. One of the girls tore through another chunk of Ogudomon's forces. He frowned. Though it was good that they were not attacking his army, that sort of power worried him immensely.

He decided to interfere. “Evil Inferno!” The children moved in unison, dodging away. To his fury, the few surviving Devas arrived and began decimating his forces and the children had turned on him. Wind suddenly whirled through the sky and he bursst the tornadoes apart with his wings.

Maria hissed softly at the burn on the back of her leg. “Think I'm losing my touch.”

“Along with the rest of us,” Jordan quipped. “I hate old age. Anyway, get ready. Caleb, go for it!”

“Okay!” the boy chirped, leaping. “I'll tear off his wings!”

“Unlikely,” snorted the Demon Lord. “Evil Inferno!” Leith intercepted, a globe of water dissolving it into steam. In the midst, Caleb had jumped again, covered in golden light. Daemon smirked and threw another attack, one the boy couldn't dodge in time.

“No!” Indramon forced the Storien out of the way and before he could attempt to defend himself, he dissolved into data.

As the Deva died, Daemon laughed. “What a fool! He died for something that shouldn't even live! How worthless!”

The Storien all felt a familiar fury at that, each remembering their own anger seven years ago over that arrogance: the same arrogance that had gotten Takahiro Suzume killed.

But it was Miranda who was hit hardest. “Shut...up...”

“What was that you nothing?” Daemon felt an amusement. They really were just children.

“I told you to be quiet you ****head!” Miranda's furious scream ripped through the air mixed with lightning. “Hououmon's Starlight Explosion!” She continued and the fire tore through, breaking through his rising Evil inferno and into his body. When the smoke cleared, his entire army had been destroyed, along with Ogudomon's. And Jordan had a wide, violent smile on his face from below, his fellows each watching the enemy with bloodthirsty red eyes.

There was no choice. Daemon retreated.



Dynasmon arrived at the Morgan residence, placed Blair on the ground and de-Digivolved to the Champion level. They went inside, only to be grabbed from behind by a pair of mysterious figures. “I heard what happened and I’m not impressed at all,” said a voice in Darnassian. Wizardmon knew it was Bill, but said nothing.
 
“Quit struggling,” Wisemon responded. He knew that, if Blair didn’t stop struggling in his arms, he would have to knock them both out. The girl didn’t listen, so he went ahead with his plan regardless of what would happen later on. Even though Wizardmon wasn’t fidgeting in Bill’s grasp, he still touched the Champion’s forehead with one long black finger. Wizardmon was out cold in a split-second; the same thing happened to Blair when the Ultimate touched her head.
 
“Let’s get this over with... and don’t overload her brain with too much information, okay Wisemon?” Bill asked of his partner.
 
“I would never do that,” he answered. “Pandora Dialogue!” Normally this was one of his attacks, but this time he used it as a forerunner before reciting spells in Darnassian. Much like when Wizardmon used those mysterious hand gestures five years ago to heal Lillymon of Myotismon’s Nightmare Claw attack, Wisemon copied them exactly as he trailed his fingertips down the girl’s right arm. Digital code began appearing and full visions of the future entered her mind.
 
When Blair’s right eye scrunched up, Bill said warningly: “Wisemon...”
 
“Do not fear, partner. I haven’t gone that far... and now for the final touch.” He thrust his hands down on his partner’s cousin’s chest and, in Darnassian, recited a spell that would ward off any and all evil. “It is done; now she will be completely cleansed of Daemon’s control and be able to see what happens in the future.”
 
“Aren’t you going to wake them up?” Bill inquired, amazed at his partner’s abilities.
 
“They will come to on their own,” the Digimon replied. “It will take a while, but they are safe now.”

...

The Demon Lords had gathered together once again. But this time they were one short.
"Where is Lucemon?" The question came from an irritated Leviamon, who was still bothered at the loss of his corrupted Chosen.

Lillithmon frowned, looking around. "Yes, where is he? Awfully suspicious for him not to be here." Beelzemon scoffed and rolled his eyes.

Barbamon smirked slyly. "I believe I know..."

Lillithmon peered over at him. "Oh?" She purred, interested in a scandal. "Where is the dear fallen angel then Barbamon? Do tell."

"Simple, he is..." The Demon Lord of Greed smiled. "Betraying us. He has been taken, brainwashed by the humans."

There was silence a moment ,and then Daemon snorted, looking amused. "Barbamon tell a more believable story than that. Lucemon despises the worlds and humans more than even myself and Lord Ogudomon. There is no way that is possible. If so we would have already known."

"That is true," Barbamon allowed. "Only I'm quite certain. He stank of it."

Beelzemon snickered. "We'll find out soon enough. The brats are coming to us very soon."

"Yes, now let's get down to business." Leviamon's haughtily irritated tone nearly sent Barbamon into a rage but he contained it. He knew the truth, he had seen the fallen angel.

“Yes,” Lillithmon agreed, turning ****ty eyes toward Daemon. “You were such a fool, you know? Trying to defy the whims of our leader.”

“It is only foolish because it fails,” Daemon corrected. “And I have not failed yet.”

“Y' shouldn't even bother,” Beelzemon drawled. “Those weapons ripped both armies to nothin' cause you weren't workin' together. Stupid thing but it might've improved somethin'. Not to mention,” he cackled. “You saw the way those kids were looking at you, at us. Those freaks were laughing. Laughing, and they ain't even human anymore, they don't even care for the brats. They should be on our side.”

Lillithmon gave an airy laugh. “Here I thought you had a brain. The Storien never betray, even those they despise. It's one of their more honorable traits sadly.”

“Should it matter?” a cool, even voice asked. Lucemon stepped into the room, blue eyes full of laughter. “They'll die no matter what happens.”

“And where have you been?”

“Speaking with the master of course,” he replied drily. “Where did you think I was?” They said nothing and the fallen angel sighed. “Of course you do not believe me. It matters not. Daemon, our lord has summoned you. I'm wondering if he is angry.”

Daemon snorted. “I will not follow his whims, even if you tell me to.”

“I did not say you had to go,” the man countered smoothly. “It would simply be in the interest of your life to do so.” Daemon scowled under his hood and vanished.

Lucemon smiled cruelly. “Coward. Anyway, do continue, I have business to attend to. Oh and Barbamon:” The other Digimon did not flinch. “Do keep your information to yourself next time. It's not nice to play telephone amongst friends.” He vanished.

...

Tai and Matt saw their siblings, sitting right in the middle of a park. Both of their Crests were glowing brightly. Kari paused from whatever she was doing and turned to Kiri, pointing at something. The girl nodded. TK nodded firmly and placed his Digivice in the grass. His face contorted with pain as Kari kept writing on the concrete.

"What's he doing?" Matt grumbled. BlackGabumon looked on worriedly.

"Does it matter?" Tai muttered irritably. "We need to go stop it before he kills himself." His irritation grew as Kari held out her own Digivice, a bright light appearing. She clenched her teeth, ignoring it. "Oh now I'm gonna..." He started toward them.

Magnadramon and Seraphimon appeared, blocking their way. "Stay out of this," Seraphimon warned.

"Why the hell should we?" Tai snarled, clutching his Digivice in fury. Agumon stood silently, waiting.

A boy, no older than twelve, walked over. He stared blankly at Tai and stepped in front of the two Digimon, shaking his head no. His statement was clear: go away.

"Fine, we're going," Matt stormed off, BlackGabumon following in his wake. Tai hesitated, before hurrying to catch up to his second-in-command.

TK glanced up and saw them. He frowned and poked Kari who broke from her trance and looked over. TK raised his voice, loud enough for them all to hear. "Kari look, they're falling for it."

Kari nodded. "It's all over them, all that hatred. Daemon is really strong after all."

"Shut up, T.K. Just shut up!" Matt yelled back, not bothering to look back.

TK unconsciously drew back, a strange fright in his eyes. "But it's true," he whispered. Kari smiled encouragingly.

Magnadramon and Seraphimon nodded at each other and de-Digivolved. "We need to talk to Jonathan and Blair," Patamon told his partner.

"We'll be leaving for a while," Gatomon added.

Their humans nodded. "Good luck," Kari mumbled softly.



Jonathan sat on his porch with Wormmon, trying to relax for as long as he could, before trouble arrived. Unfortunately, he jinxed it by thinking so.

Gatomon landed lightly on his fence post. "There you are. I've been looking for you."'

Wormmon panicked and scurried off slightly. Jonathan sat up, seeing his partner flee. "Huh? Oh Gatomon. What's up?" He asked, slight tense.

Gatomon frowned slightly. "You all can relax. I'm just here to explain something. It's about TK and Kari and... it has to do with the final battle as well."

The Rookie timidly came back to Jonathan's side and the teen tilted his head. "Okay, we're listening."

Gatomon hesitated. "What do you know of the program NEO? Did Norn ever mention it?"

Jonathan and Wormmon shook their heads. "We heard references to it, but that was all."

"NEO is a high-powered computer. In terms for the Digital and Human Worlds, he is the future itself and the only safe method to hold the Chaos and Catal Unit together. He is created from the program known as the Digimemory Program. But as of the Schism, he is sealed away."

"Is this one of the things you and T.K. learned?" Wormmon's voice trembled.

"Kari's known," Gatomon said softly. "She knows a lot of things Kiri knows. What she needed to know was how to fix everything to a healthy state." She sighed. "It's a lot to take in, it takes emotions a while to catch up."

"Gatomon, I'd like you to take a message to Kari for me, if that's okay." Jonathan requested. "Tell her I always believed in her, no matter what the others think, act, say or do. Tell her... she can come and talk to me if she wants to." Wormmon nodded in agreement.

Gatomon managed a thin, tired smile. "I'll tell her. She'll like that but... I don't think you'll like what she tells you. Not when..."

"Not when it's so dangerous, right? That's fine, I'll understand."

"No," Gatomon disagreed. "Not when we'll already see enough death in this fight. Not when the plan is so close to moving forward yet falling apart. Not when we don't know the aftermath."

The boy sighed. "Either way, Gatomon, I still understand. Tell me, what do you know of Ofanimon?"

"She's one of my evolutionary forms but that's about it," replied the cat, leaping from the fence. "Any importance to her?"

"I've been getting this dream. It said you'll be needed in that form in the future," Jonathan replied.

Gatomon sighed. "Wonderful, I have to take on another destiny. Good to know, thanks."

"With that said, are you prepared to give up Kari when that happens? Because..."The teen hesitated, unsure if he should continue.

Gatomon sighed. "I don't think I have a choice. These sort of things, they can't be undone. It's not a matter of being prepared now, it's a matter of accepting it when it comes."

"He hadn't finished," Wormmon replied timidly.

Jonathan placed a hand on his partner's head. "It's okay, Wormmon, Gatomon gets what I was trying to say. But more to the point..." He glanced at the feline. "Ofanimon, Cherubimon and Seraphimon are, in that future, the Gods of the Digital World. Will you be able to guide the Children of that time?"

"As well as a Goddess can," she replied. "Sometimes it is best not to guide at all and let free will reign. But I will do my best."

"I'm sure you will. Alright, we're gonna let you go. I'm sure Kari's wondering if you're ever coming back. Sorry I kept you so long," the boy apologized.

"It's fine," she replied, turning away. "Oh, that's right, I forgot. I have a message from Kiri. She says don't give in, to anything or anyone. If you give in to Daemon, you'll lose to Ogudomon. Ogudomon has a power over emotions. If you feel the slightest bit of malice, you can't touch him at all. Remember that, and look at the other Chosen, including your friend Blair. You must help them, she says, because her presence makes it worse, no matter how much she tries to keep it away from them." The cat dashed off. "Good luck."

...

There was the sound of someone crying. The fallen angel swooped down, hearing the echoes of the sobs. He must have fallen again, the Digimon thought with a quiet smile. He raised his voice. “Toby, where are you?”

“Lucemon...” The boy shifted under the rocks.

“What are you doing down there?” Toby trembled, looking in tears.

“I-I tried climbing and...” Lucemon sighed.

“Of course you did. You just like worrying me don't you?”

The human sniffled as he crawled out. “S-Sorry.”

“I'm not mad.” The reply was calm as he carefully healed him.

“Well what do we have here? I was right after all.” The Demon Lord sounded amused.

Lucemon sighed. “Barbamon, I do believe you've just committed a crime called stalking.”

...

“You wanted to see us Ebonwumon?” Leith was on one knee in front of the two-headed Sovereign. Both heads nodded, the first indicating for him to rise. The boy obeyed, peering at him with the same empty stare he had worn seven years ago.

“Sean...Leith, you remember what you carry do you not?”

“Yes m'lord. Is something amiss with him that we have not sensed?”

“No... rather...” The Mega sighed. “The five of us have come to a consensus: I am to unseal him.”

Sean stirred, letting out a shocked yelp at this. Leith agreed with his personality but hid his emotions again. “Are you all quite certain this is the best option Ebonwumon?”

“The Chosen as they are, much as it pains me to admit it, will not be able to strike the final blow on Ogudomon. They are not weak, however...”

“The Demon Master cannot be killed by a human,” the Storien finished. “I understand m'lord, however...”

“I'm well aware of his mental strength,” The tortoise said with a sigh. “If I wasn't the creature I am, I myself would have been overpowered. However, there is no choice for you. It must be done.”

“We understand,” Sean said quietly.

Ebonwumon's two heads peered at the long since traumatized boy and sighed. “You should not be this way.”

The personalities shrugged. “Too late for that,” Sean stated flatly. “Too late for all of us. So, shall we?” Ebonwumon lowered his second head to the outstretched brand mark. It began to burn and the male felt a white hot pain enter his veins. He heard the sound of locks shattering, and chains clattering to a nonexistent floor.

For the first time since Leith appeared, the boy felt cold.



From the floor, Blair stirred, groaning. Her head ached terribly. At her side, Wizardmon was also waking up. Judging by his half-lidded eyes, he didn't feel too good either.

"You're finally up," Bill said kindly, staring at them both.

"Daemon was controlling the two of you through that emotional virus," Wisemon added. "But you are completely cleansed now. However, there is a little gift I left..."

Blair winced, feeling a stabbing pain in her head. "I have a feeling I won't like this."

"Maybe she will, maybe she won't," the Commandramon jeered as he entered the room.

"Put simply, human, you've been given the ability to see the future," Monodramon responded.

Blair scowled. "Great, just what I didn't need," she grumbled to herself. "Thanks though."

The two Rookies glanced at each other. "She should be seeing that vision just about..." Commandramon started, before stopping as Blair's right eye widened in shock.

"... now," Monodramon finished.

The vision finished and Blair was staring, almost blankly, at Bill. "Why? Why did Wisemon sacrifice himself?"

"For the good of the Digital World's future," the pair chanted together, both looking expectant.

"What sorta reason is that?" The girl complained.

"Sometimes that is the best reason, the only one. You'll understand soon enough. You just need more experience," Wisemon stated calmly. Commandramon and Monodramon snickered between themselves as they started leaving the room. "Wait until she sees that vision," Commandramon muttered, referring to one that they obviously knew about.

"Something tells me I won't like this wither."

"You just need to accept the visions as they come and also accept that there's nothing you can do to change it," Wisemon explained.

She nodded to herself. "I...I guess."

Bill glimpsed cushions flying across the room. "Hey you two, don't you break anything, alright?"

Monodramon snickered. “No promises.”

...

Kari twitched. She was standing feet away from Jonathan's house, looking anxious. Gatomon frowned from in her arms. "Gatomon, are you sure...?"

"Perfectly. You were the one who decided to tell him you know."

She shivered. "I know, but..."

"Jonathan said he believed in you. Trust him too."

Kari sighed. "I do. Just, will he be able to grasp this? This is more than the fate of two worlds, this is the future of them all."

"He'll know eventually so go for it."

"Okay." She walked forward and gently knocked on his door.

"I'll get it!" A male voice called from inside the house. However, the door was opened by Wisemon. "Wisemon, AARRGHH! You should be over at the Morgan residence." Noticing Kari, Jonathan blinked for a few seconds before shooing the Ultimate away. "Hey Kari, what's up?"

"Can we talk?" she asked softly, pointing out the door. "Outside?"

"Yeah, sure." He followed the girl out to the front garden.

Kari sighed. "Gatomon didn't get to tell you so I need to make sure someone else knows before its too late. A week from now, we will open the Crossroads Gate using the Digivices and D-3s. And we're going to get Akira Ryutori and his team and head to fight Ogudomon. But..."

"Some will lose their lives, I know. Or is there something I'm missing?" Jonathan asked, leaning against a tree.

"Before we face Ogudomon," she began softly. "Kiri will open the gate and walk through. No matter what calls you, no matter how much you want to stop her, you mustn't go. Because they will call you forward and you must make sure Luca doesn't follow either. If he does we have no chance."

"Very well," the boy nodded decisively.

She clenched her fists. "Do not touch Kiri's corpse, or you will hear the Death Bells. That will bring your death inevitably. Do not allow Luca to be caught by Ogudomon or the Chaos Unit and Catal Unit will meet again. And there is no hope after that. And..." She locked eyes with Jonathan. "Never forget what you are fighting for. Do not let their words reach your heart under any circumstances."

"It is after the battle," Gatomon stated. "That things get complicated." She sighed. "Ogudomon will die after a time and we will go to the first Temple, to open the Emotion's Door."

"The first Temple? Huh?"

Kari simply smiled sadly. "The Temple of Virtue, where the first Key will open the first door to the Future."

"Kari!" a child's voice hummed. "Aren't you being a bit vague? These people haven't seen it yet."

"Luca!" The Child of Light said softly. "You shouldn't be here!"

The blond boy grinned and his eyes were still that haunting black and violet. "I was worried so I came looking!" Gatomon shivered all over, glancing away from Luca. "Did I interrupt?"

"Yeah," Kari whispered. "You should go Luca. Kiri's probably worried." He smiled sweetly and walked away, waving goodbye. Kari trembled quietly. "He's so far gone and he's not even the worst off." She shook her head and forced her voice monotone. "The Temple of Virtue will awaken a piece of NEO using the Crest's final power and one of the Keys you were given."Jonathan nodded, vaguely understanding and knowing he'd have to think about this some more.

Kari suddenly stiffened. "We need to go," she mumbled, turning away. Pausing, she waited. "That's right: be afraid. He will be awake soon." The girl completely shuddered. "The true Demon."

"Oh. Bye then. See you later Kari, Gatomon." Jonathan seemed a little disappointed that they were leaving so soon, but guessed they were being called.

Kari shivered. "Watch your back Chosen Child." Her voice dulled, darkened. "The Demon of Icefire is waiting for its chance. Be careful you don't get caught in the crossfire."

The teen nodded sincerely, being very honest. "Don't worry, I'll be very careful."

Kari let out a strange, inhuman laugh. "Be careful around a Demon in a human's body? No, you should just pray because once Kiri dies, no one can stop Leith or that power."

Jonathan sighed. "Kari, you really need to lighten up. Your Light is being swallowed. No wonder Dragomon wanted you." He nodded goodbye and turned back to the house, noticing Wisemon again. "What did I say before Wisemon? Sheesh, don't Ultimate levels ever listen?"

Gatomon shivered. "That's a gross thought."

Kari burst into giggles. "Lighten up? That's a terrible pun." She sighed. "I don't have time though, need to go check on TK." She kept walking.

Gatomon frowned. "Are you sure it's all right he underestimates the power in Leith?"

Kari shrugged. "He'll get it sooner or later. The other Storien fear the demon for a reason."



The boy awoke suddenly. Ebonwumon was watching him. “It's done,” the Sovereign said quietly. “You've been asleep for a while now. Your dreams were strange.”

“They can be,” Leith said softly. “We remnants resonate with others it seems.”

“Even those in other worlds?”

“It's possible.”

Ebonwumon sighed. “Wonderful. So in another world, you killed the current Chosen and the world is gone.”

“When the hope is gone, so is the world,” Sean said quietly. “We've seen it many times now.”

“Why haven't you spoken of it?”

“It won't change the death. And it's unimportant to them.”

Ebonwumon had no way to convince the child otherwise. The Storien were too disillusioned with the Chosen now, Takahiro had seen to that. And they were always Storien first, no matter what Fate shoved in their way otherwise.

The teen bowed. “By your leave.” He vanished, leaving a small print of ice where he had stood.

Seeing this, Ebonwumon shuddered. This means danger.

...

Jonathan was waiting for Tai in the park, with Wormmon scurrying around, gathering apples from peoples’ discarded lunches. The boy laughed at his partner’s antics. “Wormmon, what are you doing? You can’t be sure those are fresh, you know?”

“They are,” the Rookie meekly replied. “I can smell the freshness.”

“So what is it this time?” An abrupt voice said from behind them.

Jonathan sighed. How would he get Tai to understand that Kari and T.K. weren’t going out of their way to hurt him and Matt? It was rather the opposite; the two thirteen-year-olds were actually trying to help their older siblings.

“Tai, I... Kari isn’t betraying you. Look, this is Daemon’s work. The two of you need to fight it; you need to fight off the anger. Wisemon said Daemon can affect emotions. When I look at you, he’s certainly done a good job of it. For crying out loud, you’re the Child of Courage, start renewing that Courage already!” Jonathan turned, observing his partner trying to give Agumon an apple. “God damn it, Tai! We’ve been friends for over a month, and you get angry because you think Kari’s betrayed us? Jeez, if I was Matt, I’d whack some sense into you. But I’m not Matt, so I don’t have that right nor am I going to in the first place.” The teen with a permanent blue stripe in his hair faced the other boy. “Thanks for destroying the trust we had in you; I’ll remember to call you the next time I have a problem... not. Come on, Wormmon, we’re going.”

The two walked off, Wormmon turning slightly to see Agumon wink at him with half the apple in his mouth. Jonathan’s tirade had hit a sore point with Tai, though. The sixteen-year-old Kamiya boy looked dejected as he realized the truth behind the other leader’s words. I’ve got to apologize to Kari somehow, he thought.



Lucemon crashed against the wall, burned. From nearby, Toby whimpered and attempted to crawl to his side. The blonde Digimon shook his head at once. Immediately, he scuttled back. Barbamon laughed cruelly.

“How weak,” hissed the Demon Lord contemptuously. “The great Lucemon, the strongest of us, fallen so low for a human child. You disgust me.”

“Well you disgust me more,” spat the angel. The man chuckled.

“Clever,” he drawled. “How about we finish you off? Then I can start on that boy. I won't give the others the pleasure of seeing you this weak. Pandaemonium Lost!

“Grand Cross!” The attack blasted through the blaze and into Barbamon, causing him to fall back in pure pain. Toby was staring at Barbamon, blue eyes holding a sudden fierce light. He was standing in front of his Digimon with arms outstretched, badly injured. “Leave Lucemon alone!” he ordered, not noticing the Digivice on his white pant loop shining.

“Oh?” Barbamon sounded amused. “What a spine this boy has. I wonder...” He raised his staff. “Death Lure!”

“No! Toby run!” But it was too late. The hypnotism had begun. The light faded from Toby's Digivice and the boy started screaming wildly as his partner tried to move. But Lucemon was overcome with a great pain. Again. He was being forced to Digivolve again!

He couldn't control it and fell into the deepest black. Meanwhile, outside his heart, a terrible violet dragon soared through the ruined castle. “Raagh!” Barbamon laughed, watching as the boy turned toward his Digimon and attacked in silence, blue eyes lusterless.

“This is a much better idea. Let's let them destroy each other.”

...

He was soaring again. It had been so long since he had felt the wind around him, his friend's wind. But he forgot his bliss at once. He had to hurry. They were in danger. Limbo was taking too long, much too long to travel through.

There was no choice. He burst into fire and dove up into the sky, into the world, a world made of ruin. Seeing the destruction before him, he let out a roar.


“That's enough!” The voice that declared this came from nowhere. Barbamon turned and saw a large blaze hovering in mid-air. Shock burned his expression.

“Impossible,” he hissed. “You're supposed to be dead, Sana Astarot.”

A male formed, one with red hair and green eyes. He gave the Demon Lord an almost friendly smile. “The Dragon does not die from pathetic injuries such as those.”

“Well let's change that!” Barbamon lifted his staff. “Pandaemonium Lost!” Sana spun into the blaze and it quickly vanished into nothingness. The Digimon stepped back. “Impossible.”

“Of course it's not. I am of fire.” Sana hopped down and went to the rampaging dragon. “Lucemon! Can you hear me?”

The Digimon actually stopped, his consciousness vaguely awake. Encouraged, the teen continued. “Your partner's suffering! You gotta calm down!”


“Impossible!” Barbamon huffed. “As long as that brat's under my control he can't do anything!”

Sana rolled his eyes. “You really are stupid. Come on Lucemon! This guy's humiliating you and making your partner cry! Just like that guy did.” Inside, the fallen angel froze, the attacks ending. “That's right!” the boy said. “I know all about it! Me, my friends, we were all almost the same way. But we got out. And that wasn't fair, not to you or Toby.”
Lucemon stiffened, the power beginning to fade. He knew this voice, he remembered it. He remembered a clear gaze, calm green and warm.

Sana kept talking, ignoring Barbamon's growing fury and power. “It wasn't right for us to abandon you. But we didn't know, honestly. If we did, we would have come for you, no questions asked. Because you had no reason to suffer that way and you don't now. So listen to me close. Your partner is going insane from this bastard's power. He's your partner, Toby is. You care about him a lot don't you? So fight back! Kick this guy's ass! Save Toby! I'll help you but this is your battle! Get up!”

He stirred. Why were these human words affecting him? Humans were cruel and hateful right? But Toby wasn't... and he was in pain.

This had to end. He felt the dragon's form instantly fade and turned to glare ferociously at Barbamon. Meanwhile, Toby dropped, wings and body drained. Sana caught him and gently hugged him. Toby froze but instantly calmed. Somehow, he knew, this person was safe.

“Enough,” hissed the angel. “Paradise Lost!” He punched rapidly, beating the staff from the enemy's hands. Kicking him up and pile-driving him back to the ground, he pinned the Demon Lord with his legs. He lifted one hand and released an orb of white light over the pair. As they were engulfed, he glanced back at Toby who was staring with wide eyes that were starting to tear up.

“Toby,” he whispered, voice reverberating in the power. “This is the end. I'm sorry I couldn't stay with you.”

“No...” Toby began to cry. “No, no, no...”

Barbamon spat. “Fool, dying for these scum.”

The fallen smiled. “Yes I am a fool but I couldn't be more proud.” As the dark orb formed, he turned to Sana. “Take care of him.”

“It's a promise,” the male said, wrapping his arms around the smaller child.

The dark orb fell and engulfed them in the spheres. “Dead or Alive!” The spheres exploded and when the power faded, both Digimon were no more.

“Lucemon!” wailed the child. Sana closed his eyes in respect before opening a Digital Gate.

...

A strange Gate suddenly opened, pure violet and grey. Faolan, who had returned days ago, stiffened suddenly and turned. Kiri stepped toward it and caught the person who fell out. The new person collapsed on the ground, panting for breath, clutching something in his arms. He glanced up at Kiri, gasping.

"T-Take h-him," he rasped. The girl obeyed, taking what was now a small, unconscious child. She stepped back and Faolan peered over. His eyes widened as the male managed to bring himself to a sitting up position as he caught his breath. "T-Thanks," he said and looked all around at his surroundings. He caught sight of Faolan and froze.

Faolan spoke first, amber eyes full of disbelief. "P-Prince..."

They stared at each other for a moment, then the man smiled. "Pup..." He opened his arms and Faolan tackled him, knocking him back over. "Easy pup, ease up! I missed you too!" But the male was laughing and hugging the boy even tighter.

Triesta stared openly, for she and Siara had responded to the disturbance. Both looked at each other and grinned. "Sana's back," Siara whispered.

"The Dragon soars again," Triesta cheered. Sana looked at them both.

"When did he fall?" the boy asked curiously and the three of them laughed.
__________________
"What Tama wishes for is..."

  #40    
Old May 16th, 2011, 03:42 PM
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Chapter 36: Inconsistent State

“Who’s Sana?” Catherine asked, somewhat boldly. Blair remained silent; her mind was still taking in the events of the future. This, of course, was a deliberate after-effect of one of Wisemon’s spells. The visions were set to repeat themselves in the girl’s head when they had finished each play through. Jonathan noticed his neighbour’s prolonged quietness, even Sean did; this made the first teen anxious, while the second wondered what had happened to her after she had left in Dynasmon’s arms.

“I’m Sana,” the male replied, standing up and lowering Faolan, who was smiling softly at him. “I am the Dragon, the first Chosen Child, and the only one who Ogudomon fears as of now.”

“And a bit of a braggart,” Triesta added with a grin.

“At least you say it to my face,” he commented with a smile, an odd sort of look. Triesta flushed and Siara beamed. “Anyway, my name is Sana Astarot, also called the Prince of Hell. Nice to meet you guys. I’m sorry it took so long for me to get back here. It seems my ahem-” he coughed and his team-mates laughed. “Injuries were a bit worse than I expected. Luckily, due to some messed up circumstance, I’m here to help out the best I can. Hope to be workin’ with you well.”

Meanwhile, Sean shifted uncomfortably. He thought he should speak to Blair but he quickly squashed the idea. He was already in a bit of trouble for being here at all. Storien interaction with Chosen was meant to be limited and he had probably surpassed the limit today. He simply looked down at his feet and said nothing.

Sean? Wizardmon asked. Is something wrong? After managing to get that thought out, the elf stiffened and trembled from the backlash of his connection to Blair’s mind.

Sean said nothing in reply, merely watched in silence. Then, finally he sighed to himself. It’s of no importance to your kind. Now scat. You have more important things to worry about.

Leith made an observation to his fellow personality. Chosen are very nosy, forgetting their own problems.

Leith, leave it. Please.

You can’t evade from telling them forever, little brother.

Please.

If you insist, Sean.

Wizardmon had heard the two talking, but stayed silent and it was just as well. Another vision hit him through his connection to Blair.

Leith sighed softly. The brand glows, little brother.

Our work is never done, Leith. Haven’t you learned that? He gritted his teeth as pain washed through him, the cracks burning his wrist as they spread, making a sick shattering sound, like falling porcelain. Kiri glanced at him and gave him an encouraging, knowing smile. Sean closed his eyes and lowered his head again, determined not to show what was happening.

Blair screamed and fell to one knee as an obviously horrific vision presented itself in her mind. Even Wizardmon stumbled, collapsing to his knees as well. Tai and the others hurried to help her, but Wisemon materialized with Bill at his side. “Stay back,” Bill warned. “It will ease soon.” He glanced at his partner, keeping his thoughts private. The Kamiya and Ishida boys need to be cleansed, too. It is the only way for the teams to be pure again. You know the time and place for their purification?

Wisemon merely nodded, answering with: “Only the Digi-Destined, the partners and the freelance Digimon have any hope of saving the worlds.”

“What’s wrong with her?” Sora asked. The Child of Love looked worried as she stared at Blair.

“Nothing,” Bill replied quickly, shrugging when Wisemon glared meaningfully at him.

The Ultimate level heir to AncientWisemon sighed disapprovingly at the twenty five-year-old. “I had to cleanse her and her partner completely of Daemon’s control. Afterwards, I gave her a little gift, as such.”

“What do you mean?” Anna questioned; even now, she was still struggling to master Japanese.

Bill and Wisemon shared a glance, with the end result being that Bill nodded at his partner. The Digimon turned back to the other Digi-Destined. “I gave her the ability to see the future.”

Any further responses from the Digi-Destined were abruptly halted when two Digital Gates opened and five different Digimon came through, in small groups of four.

The first group were dragons covered in red armour with orange wings. Their feet were mechanical and white, like their heads. There was golden Rudri Tarpana on their arms.

The next lot were mechanical white wolves with wheels attached to the backs of their paws. Their backs had two wing blades.

Following them were cyborg tanks, blue and yellow with three pronged arms and cannons on their heads.

After them were tall, human-shaped dragon warriors covered in red and yellow armour. The armour was of mechanical dragons and there was a large blade on their backs.

Lastly, the final group were pale blue wolf cyborgs with multiple guns on their bodies as armour. They had a large gun covering one arm and one attached to their other arm.

In order, Rei identified them as BurningGreymon, KendoGarurumon, MetalKabuterimon, EmperorGreymon and MagnaGarurumon.

“Who’re you allied with?” Matt snapped.

Bill glanced at Wisemon again, the look said it all: It has to be done today. The Digimon returned the gesture by nodding.

“We are not allies of Ogudomon, if that’s what you’re implying.” One of the BurningGreymon answered in a grating voice.

One of the MetalKabuterimon added in a rasping tone: “We’re freelance Digimon. We came from another world, because we heard you needed all the help you could get.”

While some of the Digi-Destined spoke with the freelance Digimon, Jonathan and Stingmon were worriedly watching Blair’s condition worsen. Wizardmon had already fallen unconscious, most likely due to the severity of the vision that was still plaguing Blair. The teen hesitated, clearly wanting to touch his neighbour, to reassure her. He was stopped by Wisemon, who grabbed his shoulder.

“Don’t,” the Ultimate said simply.

Jonathan jumped slightly at Wisemon’s presence. He turned to face the Digimon. “Why not? She’s my neighbour,” he inquired.

“Because if you touch her now, you will end up a vessel for the visions,” the Virus-attribute explained.

“Oh,” Jonathan responded. “But Wisemon, why did you do this to her?”

“Rei will not make it to the end, that much you know already,” Wisemon clarified. “Someone had to be a vessel for the future and Blair was the one I chose.”

“Why couldn’t it have been-” Jonathan started, but was cut off.

“You? Please Jonathan, don’t be ridiculous; you’ve got enough to worry about as it is. You’ve still got to fight Azulongmon, remember?”

A strangled moan made the two look down sharply. It was clear that Blair had reached her limit; soon she was going to pass out. The vision must’ve drained a lot out of her, Jonathan realized. Whatever it was.

She was witnessing the rebirth of the Ancient Ten as human children, Wisemon answered. Of course it would drain her reserves.

Sean overheard this and sighed. “You people just don’t know when to let it alone. You don’t always need to know what comes. That’s what makes life so special.” Kiri gave him that familiar beaming smile and he flushed slightly.

The bundle in Kiri’s arms squirmed and rustled, a strange sound coming from it. Kiri quickly manoeuvred it better in her hold and her face suddenly paled. “Sana-san... he’s...”

Sana nodded and put a finger to his lips. “Don’t scream.”

“I won’t,” she replied softly, gently humming. “Poor thing has suffered so much in its time, so much in these millennia. He needs more than rest to heal that, Sana-san.”

Sana nodded. “I know. I promised...”

“We’ll help you keep that promise,” Siara said earnestly, her blue eyes full of empathy. Triesta nodded emphatically. Sean agreed silently, watching the motherly smile blossoming on his sister’s face. “I bet they will too,” she added, looking at the Chosen.

Sana sighed gently. "Even if the promise was to an enemy?”

“I thought you liked her, Sean,” Mimi countered quietly.

“Yes, even to an enemy,” Willis’ voice rose. “We will fight to the end.”

“And we’ll be right by your side, fighting alongside you,” a KendoGarurumon added.

Sean frowned at Mimi. “I love Blair,” he admitted without a flicker of doubt. “And that’s exactly why I don’t want her to know what will come. Because if she learns the truth of this end, well...” He gave a raspy sort of laugh. “Where’s the fun of the relationship?”

Sana couldn’t help his smile. “I think Lucemon would be mocking you now, if he was alive.”

“I wish you’d told me that before I recited the spell,” Wisemon grumbled. “I can try and block certain visions... other than that, the spell was cast in such a way that removing it is practically impossible even for an experienced mage like myself.”

Sean shrugged emotionlessly. “I’ll simply change the future. Nothing new for us, right sweet sister?”

"Of course not dear brother, it’s a teaching of m’lady Ferro.” Willis snickered and she grinned at him. The bundle shifted again and Kiri moved to hush it. “Don’t move child, you’re hurt and tired. Just rest.”

Wisemon touched a finger to Blair’s forehead; this would ease the pain she was feeling at the moment. But, of course, the help had come too late; Blair was already unconscious. The Digimon motioned with his head to Bill and Jonathan, after he’d picked up the girl. Understanding the movement, Jonathan said farewell to the others and walked home with Bill and Wisemon. But his neighbour’s cousin and Bill’s partner only went a little way before Wisemon handed Blair over to Bill, saying: “It has to be done, so I’m going to do it now.” He dematerialized in front of them.


Tai and Matt stared uneasily at their siblings, who were turned away almost shyly from the others. T.K. whispered a joke in Kari’s ear and the two started laughing. Tai felt a shudder up his spine and scowled, refusing to speak. He wanted to apologize; he needed to, but...

“Well, hello you two,” Wisemon began as he materialized in front of them. “Your co-operation is appreciated,” he added, moving towards them.

“Co-operation with what?” Matt snapped, moving back uneasily. BlackGabumon growled softly, uncertain. Tai remained still and Agumon simply sighed.

Seeing that Matt and BlackGabumon were going to pose a problem, no matter how small, Wisemon moved like lightning. “Pandora Dialogue!” Touching the two on their foreheads, he turned to Tai and Agumon, not bothering to observe the other two collapse.

Agumon shrugged. “I’m good, pal. Just tired.”

Tai sighed. “Go ahead. I have a feeling I don’t have a choice.”

“The tiredness you’re feeling is coming from your connection to your Child,” Wisemon answered softly, before touching their foreheads with one black finger. He nodded at the younger siblings. “You will get your older brothers back and they will be pure, I assure you.” He picked the two Destined and their partners up and dematerialized.

“Pure?” They both repeated to one another.

“If there are rainbows and unicorns, I’m hiring a therapist,” T.K. declared and Kari giggled again.

...

At the Morgan residence, Mitsa, Ai and Tagashi were worriedly huddled around their younger sister’s bed. Bill and Jonathan had repeatedly told them not to touch her. Thankfully, so far, they had listened to the warnings.

“How much longer is she gonna sleep?” Mitsa asked softly, watching.

“It can’t be too much longer,” her twin soothed. “She’s been out a while.”

“When did Wisemon say he’d be back?” Bill questioned Jonathan.

“Not sure,” the teen answered. “He said he had to deal with Tai and Matt.”

Blair began stirring, moaning before grabbing her head.

“That doesn’t help at all, Blair,” Sean said mildly from where he stood on the windowsill. “Believe me, it makes it worse.” In his head, he could almost feel Leith sighing in a mixture of amusement and concern.

Jonathan jerked his head away from his conversation with Bill. “Sean? I wasn’t expecting you to show up.”

Sean shrugged, still wearing that emotionless stare. “Mistress doesn’t need us right now; she has a child to watch and a boy staring at her. But the sleeping beauty might have use of us, even if it’s only to stand guard while her partner is out cold.”

“I’ll kill him.” A ragged rasp came from Blair’s throat as she sat up.

Guessing who she meant, Bill laughed and tsked. “No, you won’t.”

Sean laughed to himself. “Now that would be rude and aren’t you supposed to be a lady?” Leith actually snickered at that.

“Lady, my arse,” Blair growled. “I was talking about Wisemon-”

“That’s enough, Blair,” Bill interjected. “Sean’s doing you a favour, so be polite.”

Sean waved off the older male. “Eh, she’s fine, I was teasing her. Someone has to keep her off the high horse. And besides, what’s the point of killing someone who’s already gonna die soon? Pretty unnecessary to us.”

It is written that she of the Phoenix Blaze will risk her life for he of the Icefire Demon, a mysterious voice echoed in their minds.

Sean snorted. “I wouldn’t recommend it. Unless they really want...” He trailed off, expression fading into a puzzled look.

“Who the hell was that?” Jonathan exclaimed, looking around everywhere.

Sean didn’t guess; he was staring off into space, still looking puzzled. Leith didn’t sense a thing from him but, unfortunately, couldn’t move.

“Sean?” Blair’s voice was shaky.

He looked down at her, but it didn’t seem like his or Leith’s stare. “What is it?” A sly smirk tugged at his lips, but there was concern in the aged blue gaze.

“That was the voice of Fate, wasn’t it? Did you really mean what you said earlier?” The girl looked forlorn, as if the pain from the visions would make her cry.

Sean watched her with that same distant stare. “You have a lot to learn,” he said softly. “I am a person who won’t say something he doesn’t mean. So, naturally,” he smiled gently. “I meant it, didn’t I?”

“Oooohhh, my head...” Wizardmon groaned as he came to.

Sean landed lightly on the floor and padded over to Wizardmon. A pale blue light shone around his fingers. He held a hand up just an inch away from the Digimon. The misty light wrapped around the Digimon and a cooling sensation ran through his body. “You both will feel better soon.”

Blair stood up abruptly, unsteady on her feet for a couple of seconds, before stabilizing. “I don’t want you to leave,” she muttered, hoping the boy would catch the hidden meaning.

Sean gave her a tired smile. “I don’t have a choice,” he replied gently. “I’m not supposed to exist.”

“Can’t they give you an equal chance?” Wizardmon questioned, holding onto his staff.

Sean looked down at his cracked wrist, swearing he saw a hole in the skin. “Of course they can’t,” he replied gently. “Our kind doesn’t get those. We just get thrown away. In the end,” he winced as his brand burned. “That’s all we’re good for because we were never meant to be at your side in the first place.”

“We’re gonna have to change that,” Blair stated stubbornly.

There isn’t anything to be changed, Zhuqiaomon said gruffly in her mind. What’s done is done. Although, we might be able to sort out a deal if you win against the Demon Lords.

Sean sighed and let the power fade. “You shouldn’t give false hope, Zhuqiaomon,” the boy commented.

I’m not. We have plans for your alter ego that can only be carried out if the Demon Lords are crushed.

“Plans, huh?” He asked. Interested Leith?

Not in the slightest. Happy now Sean, you could live.

But there’s still the problem of that...

If we both can keep him still...

Ebonwumon removed the seal, he’s possessing me now. It’s not gonna happen.

Blair and Wizardmon wondered what the two were talking about, but Zhuqiaomon wasn’t going to stay silent. Be quiet about that, boy!

Zhuqiaomon, if we don’t say it, who will? Jonathan is here as well and Kari had tried to tell him. Leith almost sounded annoyed.

“We should say it,” Sean agreed, plastering a fake smile on his face. It was so fake it hurt. “It’s not like they’ll never find out.”

On your head be it, then, the Sovereign grumbled.

Sean and Leith smirked. “You’re such a grump,” they said together. Sean sighed. “The Sovereigns have many Digital Cores in their possession. However, the original always remains inside the body. Until a few years ago, that was always the case.”

Wizardmon realized instantly. “The Demon of Icefire is the Digi Core that had been inside Ebonwumon’s body.”

Sean nodded. “Exactly. For the past few years, it’s been sealed away inside of us. Now, however,” he sighed again. “Ebonwumon has seen fit to remove that seal and let it merge freely with me. It’s quite the dangerous manoeuvre, considering that dangerous power and the personality it has.”

“What was the purpose of that?” The Champion asked.

Leith cut in. “Because we resonated with the Core subconsciously when we attempted to kill Gennai. So we didn’t end up overpowering Ebonwumon, it was placed inside us and the original Core was replaced. It was the safest thing.”

Blair and her partner merely nodded.

Sean simply rested his head on his knees, looking tired. “The Demon of Icefire knows nothing of friend or foe, nothing of...” He trailed off suddenly and his gaze dimmed. He slumped and Leith felt a familiar tingle in his body. Sean, wake up! But he didn’t, gaze devoid of life.

Blair walked over to Sean and gently shook him. “Sean please, don’t succumb yet. You have to fight it.”

If Sean heard, there was nothing, not even Leith was replying. There was a low growl from the doorway, where Dorumon suddenly appeared. “Get away from him,” the Rookie snarled, glaring, unexpectedly, at his partner. “Dash Metal!” He leapt onto the human, reaching to attack his vitals.

Blair’s eye widened in shock and her head jerked back. “Dorumon, what-” Wizardmon asked. Wait... “You’re trying to free him from the Demon of Icefire, aren’t you?”

“I dunno,” replied the Digimon softly. “I want to free him, but... if he goes too far...” He was brutally thrown off and bounced back up. “I will fulfil my promise to him.” And he charged again, engaging in combat with the silent boy, who none of the others could see his gaze.

All Jonathan, Blair and their partners could do was watch silently.

Dorumon leapt away suddenly. “Sean... you’re back.”

There was a tired whine and the boy fell to his knees. “Just barely.” His body was covered in deep scratches, but they strangely enough weren’t bleeding. It was as though he were made of paper and was full of holes. Dorumon went over and rubbed his head against his partner’s arm. “First order of business: get Ebonwumon to turn me back.”

“Back to what?” The whispered question came from Wizardmon.

Sean laughed. “A human being,” he replied tiredly and lifted up his wrist for them to see, the hole in his arm void and bloodless.

Blair’s mouth dropped open.

Sean looked away from her, expression troubled. “We’ve said it over and over to you: the Sovereigns were not kind to us. After our Battle of Sacrifice, I... Leith tried to quit being a Storien. It... It didn’t work out very well. We were discarded, but... there was a price for it.”

Wizardmon suddenly stared out the window. “The time for worrying has passed,” the elf simply said. “There’s a fight going on and the others need our help. Blair, Sean... are the two of you ready?”

Sean simply nodded and leapt to the windowsill. “Whenever you wish.” He leapt down, Dorumon waving as he followed.

Blair nodded at her partner as they, too, jumped down from the two-storey house. “It is done,” Wizardmon answered. “Wizardmon Warp Digivolve to... Dynasmon!” The lavender-winged Royal Knight was a horned Digimon with mainly gold and white armour. Both palms held a red orb which was used when he initiated his Dragon’s Roar (or DNA Disintegrator) attack.

...

Satisfied with his handiwork, Wisemon viewed the two sleeping boys with a smile on his otherwise hidden face. He decided to leave them both at the Ishidas’ unit, since the Kamiyas’ unit wasn’t that far away. The Ultimate’s expression darkened when he thought how close Tai and Matt had been to completely severing ties with their younger siblings. Wisemon shook his head; the Digi-Destined were friends to each other, there was no time for petty bickering like what had already passed. No more will you control the Digi-Destined, Daemon, not if I have anything to do with it. Your reign of emotional terror is over.

He sensed his name had been spoken, more than likely by Blair, and snorted softly in amusement. The girl always managed to come up with some sort of idle threat against him; of course, he didn’t take it seriously... what harm could she possibly do? For now, he had one last thing to do before returning to the Morgan residence. Wisemon dematerialized, heading for where Kari and T.K. were.

...

T.K. put his Digivice back on the ground and wiped sweat from his forehead. “Hey Kari, I think we’re good!”

Kari sighed and plopped down. “Thank Goddess, that was a lot of energy,” she murmured. “How did the Originals create this program?”

“Well, Norn said she saw them die, so that pretty much sums it up.”

“Mind if I interrupt?” Wisemon appeared from thin air in front of them.

Both shook their heads. “Good timing,” Kari chirped, turning to him. “What’s up?”

“Your brothers have been purified,” the Digimon answered. “Daemon won’t get near any of the rest of the Digi-Destined, not while I’m still breathing.”

They both grinned. “That’s a relief,” T.K. said. “Thank you.”

“Have you heard about the future, T.K.?” Wisemon asked the blonde boy.

T.K. gave a solemn nod. “I understand. We aren’t the only ones who will lose our partners, so we’ll have to deal with it.”

“Does Willis know as well?”

“I talked to him earlier,” Kari said quietly.

“How did he cope with it?” The Digimon inquired.

“As well as you can expect,” Kari replied solemnly. “I think he’s a bit comforted by the fact that he still will have Terriermon.”

“Alright, I must go,” Wisemon responded. “Just expect the unexpected. Something may happen sooner than I predicted.” He dematerialized.

“Well, where’s the fun in predicting things?” T.K. muttered and Kari smiled tiredly.

...

A couple of hours later, Tai and Matt came to, with the Kamiya boy realizing he was inside the Ishidas’ unit. “Argh, that hurt,” he groaned.

“Oh, now you wake up.” Agumon sounded slightly amused from where he sat against a wall.

“What’d he do, anyway?” Matt rolled over, almost instantly swearing when he realized they were on the floor.

“Fixed you and your temper tantrum,” Agumon yawned. “Still could use more sleep, though.”

“Maybe now’s a good time to go and apologize...?” BlackGabumon suggested, also stretching out, before getting to his feet.

“Yeah...” Tai said quietly. “We should.”

The four left the Ishidas’ unit and headed to where they thought their younger siblings would most likely be at.

...

Daemon had appeared in the real world again, complete with his army of dark Digimon. Gatomon stilled. “We’re in trouble.” She Warp Digivolved to Magnadramon and soared up to the sky.

“Well, what do we have here?” Daemon stated mockingly in a deep voice. “The Child and Angel of Light.”

“Well, what do we have here?” Kari quipped back. “A cowardly fool who fell to the corrupted dark.” She let the Crest of Light glow.

“Quiet human!” Daemon vanished and reappeared mere inches in front of the girl. “Do not back chat me!”

Kari shrugged and stepped to the side.

Seven Heavens!” The seven lights blasted into Daemon’s back, causing him to stumble forward.

T.K. smirked. “Oops.”

“Fools, all of you!” Daemon whirled around. “Evil Inferno!” He fired a stream of flames from his hands.

Miranda appeared from nowhere, slicing through the flames with many shuriken. “He who boasts loudly is a greater fool than the rest,” she commented.

“You’re just a Storien!” Daemon faced the new arrival. “You’re a nobody!”

Miranda clicked her tongue. “Tell me something I don’t know traitor,” she sneered. “You who lost your balance, you disgrace the Demon Lords and the Dark Area which you attempted to claim!” Her weapon began to spark and electricity blasted from the metal as it came into contact with his cloak.

He immediately brought his wings down and around his body, protecting himself, before launching Evil Inferno again.

She yanked T.K. and Kari out of the way, rolling them to the side. “Where are your comrades?” she muttered to herself, throwing again.

Dino Tigemon and WarGreymon suddenly appeared, as if they had heard the Storien Child’s mutterings. The grey-furred, red-armoured Dino Tigemon turned his head towards the three children. “We were looking for you two,” he spoke to T.K., Kari and their partners.

“Good timing,” T.K. said cheerily, standing up with Kari.

“Let’s save the pleasantries until after the fight,” Magnadramon ordered, soaring to the attack.

Highland Fang!” Dino Tigemon snarled as he leaped into the air, aiming his long sabres at Daemon’s chest.

Terra Force!” WarGreymon unleashed an orange ball of energy.

Seven Heavens!

Holy Flame!

Daemon dissolved the first two attacks, but the last two hit hard and he stumbled slightly.


Jonathan approached the fight the others were waging against Daemon. He glanced down at Wormmon, remembering his challenge against the Blue Dragon of the East.

The Sovereign of Wood floated above him, lightning flashing in his clouds. “Are you ready to begin?” Azulongmon calmly questioned from above.

“As ready as I’ll ever be,” the teen answered. He brought his Core Awakener out from his pocket and held it in his hand.

“Very well then. Sourai!” He swirled in a circle and electricity leapt down toward the human.

Jonathan dodged, thrusting his Awakener in the air, letting it catch some of Azulongmon’s power.

“Good,” the Digimon complimented. “Fushikaden!” The lightning burst, blasting wildly on the ground.

“I have to get back to the others; they need my help, so let’s finish this!” Jonathan waited until the last second and then back-flipped before the lightning could strike him.

“As you wish then. Sourai!” The electricity headed straight for him, too fast to be dodged.

Here goes nothing... Jonathan stood defiantly, bracing himself and grimacing when the lightning bolt struck him. A few tense minutes passed, during which Wormmon panicked for his partner’s life, before the glare faded and the electricity had been absorbed.

His Core Awakener glowed and changed colour, the lightning bolt flashing as it changed. The colour transformed from black to black and brown, causing the teen to look down at his D-Core in surprise. “Congratulations Jonathan,” praised the Sovereign. “Go now, your friends need you.”


“Let’s do it, Wormmon, they need all the help they can get.”

“Right,” the Rookie timidly replied. “Wormmon Warp Digivolve to... TigerVespamon!” He was a golden and black bipedal insect warrior with stingers in place of hands. The stingers glowed blue with electricity. There was a red bandanna around his neck.

Breath of Wyvern!” Dynasmon yelled, charging his body’s energy, its form closely resembling a dragon.

Mach Stinger V!” TigerVespamon stung Daemon with his twin blades.

Evil Inferno!” The flames burned into both Mega level’s armour. Before the Demon Lord could continue the assault, vines wrapped firmly around one arm. Maria watched with a small smile.

“Hey Caleb,” she asked softly. “Think Demon Lords bleed?”

“Let’s find out,” her partner chirped and sliced the arm open, leaving it raw.

The six Mega Digimon stood back to let the Storien complete their work.

Before they could blink, Caleb had severed the arm and Maria had moved; the poison fast-acting. Leith landed lightly on the ground, having just torn a good chunk of the army into bloodied corpses on the ground, which were luckily turning into data. The Digimon couldn’t help but wince. Daemon attacked again, only managing half of his original power. Jordan and Laura retaliated, the fireballs vanishing into a tornado and the blood beginning to boil.

Suddenly Jordan started laughing, the sound wild and hollow. “Weak,” he hissed. “You Demon Lords are so pathetic!”

“Unnecessary,” Miranda rasped, eyes shining with malice. She had not forgotten Indramon’s death.

“So,” Laura chirped. “Let’s end this.”

Daemon snorted weakly. “Monstrous nothings,” he snarled. “You think this is the end?”

“There is no end for this,” Maria said cheerily.

“Only yours,” Caleb finished. Around the six, a white light seemed to glow faintly.

“It’s been a while since we’ve done this,” Leith mused. “Jordan, shall you do the honours?”

“Of course.” The leader stepped forward, chicken sickles glowing white as it faded from the Storien. “Here stands a traitor, a weakling and a fool. We end his story here today.” The boy grinned greedily and the white light turned blood red. “Congratulations, you have no happy ending.” And fire burned around him as he literally tore the Demon Lord to pieces. To his credit, Daemon did not scream, only laughed as blood and flesh and data vaporized. A piece of his cloak fell, only to vanish just as quickly.

“There will be vengeance for this.”

...

It was late in the day, the sun already beginning to set. Leith was knelt over the bundle Kiri had been carrying all day, a pale blue light around his hands. The others saw them still knelt under an oak tree. It was a strange sight.

Kiri’s voice floated softly over to them. “This is sick.”

Leith nodded. “Truly and we have seen quite the disgusting images in our time.”

“Then again...” She sighed. “I understand having an arsehole for a father. He probably couldn’t do anything either.”

Sana, who was watching with Faolan in his lap, frowned. “Can’t people have a good family life?” he muttered.

“I guess not. How is he?”

Leith shifted slightly. “These are very bad, corrupted wounds. You may need to help soon.”

“Sure.”

“What are you holding?” Mimi asked quietly.

“A boy,” the young woman replied. “Toby. He’s a very hurt boy.”

Sana looked suspiciously at her. “I never said his name.”

Kiri shrugged. “He told me his name when he woke up before.”

“What happened to him?” Catherine questioned.

Sana looked off into the distance. “He and his partner fought a great battle. They won, but his partner died in the end. He was gravely injured when I managed to get to him.” T.K. winced, feeling a familiarity from this. It wasn’t the good kind. Patamon nuzzled him from his arms.

“Was it, by any chance, against the Demon Lords?” Anna inquired.

“It was and it wasn’t,” the leader replied. “You know of Lucemon, I take it?”

Ken stepped forward. “After our first encounter with Leviamon, I decided to research the Demon Lords on my computer. I found Lucemon Falldown Mode was one of them.”

“Of course you did,” Sana replied gently. “And what did you find out?”

“Unfortunately, there wasn’t much information about him,” Ken responded.

Sana shrugged. “There probably wasn’t any correct information on him, except his attacks. What about Barbamon? Did research tell you about him?” In his lap, Faolan growled softly. “Easy pup,” he muttered. Faolan didn’t answer, watching the Chosen warily. He knew what Sana was trying to hide.

Wizardmon knew as well and, quite quickly, Jonathan and Blair did, too. Get to the point, please, Wizardmon thought.

Sana shrugged and sighed. “You’re looking at Lucemon’s partner right there.” He looked at the unconscious boy, who was starting to stir. “Lucemon died preventing this boy from being corrupted and killed Barbamon in the process. He was a very powerful, heroic Digimon, one worthy of true respect.”

This information shocked the Digi-Destined and their faces showed it. Mina came forward, Izzy by her side. “Would that then mean there are only four Demon Lords left?” The Indian girl wanted to know.

“Five,” the leader corrected mildly. “Ogudomon’s also a Demon Lord and the one to be the most cautious of.”

“Lilithmon, Beelzemon, Belphemon and Ogudomon; hmm, am I missing something?” Matt inquired to nobody in particular, counting their foes off on his fingers.

“Leviamon’s still alive,” Davis stated quietly.

“Ah, see,” Matt muttered to himself. “I knew I’d missed one of them.”

Sana nodded before looking over. Toby was stirring again and this time seemed to wake up. Kiri frowned. “The three of you move back.” Leith complied and the boy let out a small whine as he sat up on all fours.

“Well, look who’s up,” the Dragon chirped with a smile. Toby froze completely, looking very, very scared. He relaxed slightly; about to turn and sit down before his gaze caught that of the watching Chosen. He let out a cry of fear and blasted upward, eight powerful wings flapping erratically as he broke the branches.

“Holy ****!” Matt exclaimed, with most of the others moving back in a mixture of shock and surprise.

The boy trembled in mid-air, almost falling. “Oh, now you’ve done it,” Sana muttered, about to move. Kiri stopped him.

“It’s okay, Sana-san,” she reassured. “I’ll get him.” She moved over until she was just a few inches from him. Toby was floating just to the side of the lower branches. His blue eyes held nothing but terror and tears pricked the corners. “It’s okay, Toby,” she said softly. “They were just surprised, is all. Look, see?” She spread her arms. “Nothing. We won’t hurt you, Toby. Sana’s okay and you trust him. Nothing will happen.”

The small boy sniffled. “Pr-Promise?”

Her smile widened. “It’s a promise.”

Slowly, carefully, he floated back down, still watching the Chosen with fear. He collapsed in her arms again and she sat down, holding him and humming in his ears, the wings on his head still fluttering. Eventually, the boy turned his head to look at them.
“Toby is an experiment,” the little boy said softly. “Toby is human and Digimon. He was created from human interference.”

“Ohhh, poor you,” Sora moaned, feeling sorry for the young boy.

Before anything more could be said from anyone, the Kamiyas’ called out to everyone that it was time to come in, because their parents were waiting and their dinners would be going cold.

Toby stared at her blankly. “I don’t get it,” he whispered in Kiri’s ear.

Kiri sighed. “I can’t help you with that Toby, because I don’t either.” She stood up, still clutching him. “We’re going home for today since you guys need to as well,” she said quietly. “See you later.” She walked away, the other three following. Sana was chatting with Leith, who seemed interested.
__________________
Credit goes to Sgt Shock for my signature and avatar
  #41    
Old May 21st, 2011, 05:18 AM
Fuyu's Avatar
Fuyu
Battle!
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Who knows?
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
Chapter 37: End of Respite

The Digital World was calm, true crisis temporarily evaded. The air rippled suddenly and a boy stepped from nowhere. Looking down at his body, he smirked softly.

“Well,” he murmured. “This should be interesting, neh partner?”

“I suppose,” commented a Digimon at his side. The human smiled.

“Then let's go,” the boy commanded. “It's time to get started. Hehe, time for revenge. Thank you ever so kindly for this... my lord XeedMilleniummon.”

Deep inside a distant time-space, an old foe smirked again. “My pleasure... old servant of mine. Let's see how you do.”

...

They were all just trying to relax, making sure they had plenty of energy for the upcoming battle. Wizardmon suddenly looked to the left and saw the odd boy Toby they had met just a couple days ago standing only feet away. He had appeared silently, like a mirage. He was shaking, clearly still scared of them. He stopped walking a few feet away and fidgeted anxiously.

"Hello Toby," the Champion said quietly.

The boy jumped and locked eyes with the Digimon. He nodded timidly and instantly looked away, still shaking. "H-Hi."

"It's okay. Like Kiri said, we're not going to hurt you."

"I...I know b-but...." He shook his head. "I... I can't help it. I'm so confused." Wizardmon fell silent; he looked away from the young boy, over at Gatomon.

Gatomon frowned. "How many humans have you met?"

The little boy shrugged. "I...I dunno. There are so many here now, it's really loud."

"Cities usually are," she said gently. The boy looked at her.

"U-Um... what's a city?" He honestly didn't know.

"It's a place where humans live," Floramon responded softly, coming over from Catherine's side.

Toby frowned and looked down. "So humans... don't live in cages or cells?"

Gaomon merely shook his head. Rei spoke for him. "No, we reside in houses. Cages and cells are mostly for animals, not humans."

"Oh." The boy frowned. "I'm confused again. I was put in a cell, does that make me an animal too?"

"Of course not," Gaomon replied. "Whoever it was that experimented on you, had the wrong train of thought."

Toby shook his head. "He had the right train of thought, I was just a failure."

Gaomon turned away, his right eye starting to twitch. He felt sorry for this kid, and wondered why he couldn't understand that he wasn't a failure, wasn't meant to be in a cage.

Toby looked up at the sky, suddenly distracted by the sound of wings. "Oh wow," he whispered suddenly, watching the birds soar overhead. "That's so pretty!"

“They are, aren't they?” Mimi knelt beside him, watching kindly.

The boy was so excited he forgot his fear. "So those are birds!" he exclaimed gently. "I've never seen them before. They're so amazing!" The cerise-haired fifteen-year-old tilted her head and smiled. Toby saddened all of a sudden. "This is my first time outside and it's so beautiful. I...I wish Lucemon was here to show me. He... he was always good at telling stories."

"If you don't mind me asking," Catherine began, approaching the small group with an offering of a sandwich for Toby. "What was Lucemon's point in all of this?"

Toby took it and paused, thinking. "Um...I dunno very much, but... they said when I was really little I fell into the Digital World. I.. erm..." He struggled with the memories. "S-Sorry, it was a really long time ago, thousands of years ago I think he said. Well, when I fell," he sat down and nibbled lightly. "Lucemon found me and took me back. I didn't want to go home, he said. B-But Papa and the others caught him before he could go home and started doing weird things to us. Lucemon, he tried to leave but... he digivolved first. And they, um..." Toby trembled softly, both from recall and the effort it brought. "They... split his data I think."

"...Ah." The little group was slightly shocked that humans would do that to a Digimon.

Toby thought back again. "I...I think they took his bright data and gave it to me."

"Bright?" Jonathan's partner inquired.

"Holy," came Sana's quiet translation as he walked forward. He sat down next to Toby, who gave a small, shy smile his direction. "They warped Toby into a human with the data of a Holy-powered Lucemon. So it turned Lucemon's evolution into one of dark data."

Toby nodded. "Lucemon got out but...Toby was still needed so they kept going. After that..." He shook his head. "I don't remember. I'm sorry."

Sana took over, thinking of what he had seen. "Lucemon never forgave those scientists for what they did but couldn't just abandon his human partner. So he saved him while the world shattered. He wanted, he wanted to make all of humanity taste the pain he suffered. It was over the top but... it was something unforgivable done by humanity, by Toby's father no less." Mouths immediately dropped open.

Toby nodded. "Papa wanted to see how Digimon data affected humans and what transfers and stuff did." An odd, childishly bitter smile rested on his face. "I was happy: Papa needed me."

Sana scowled softly. "If we hadn't left when we had, we'd probably have been like Toby too."

"Jeez," Tai stated, as he, Sora, Matt and Anna came over. "Talk about a run of bad luck. But we can't focus on the past right now, as sucky as it is. We have to get ready to destroy the Demon Lords."

Toby nodded. "Yeah, they will but it won't be over then. The door's not open."

"It will be," Willis stated with a half-crazed, happy expression on his face as he playfully nudged Kiri.

Kiri grinned at him again and muttered so only a few could hear. "If Colin's still doing his job right it will be."

Suddenly, from further back, near a native tree Izzy exclaimed: "Tentomon!" Mina simply giggled. Toby looked over and blinked in confusion.

"It's nothing," Mina replied, seeing the boy's confused face. "Meramon and Tentomon were just making some crude jokes."

Toby blinked again and nodded slowly. He suddenly turned away from them, looking into the distance. He began to tremble, looking completely and utterly terrified. Both the Digi-Destined and their partners sensed a disturbance and followed Toby's gaze.

Davis hissed sharply. "Leviamon."

The Demon Lord laughed. "You do remember Chosen. I'm quite flattered."

"What do you want?" Ken barked.

Leviamon gave a fanged smile and did not speak. To their surprise, Luca piped up. "Yer lookin' fer me ain't ya?" The boy strolled up to the enemy, looking completely unafraid. He stopped feet away and smirked.

Jonathan stepped forward, but Liollmon stopped him."I wouldn't do that," the lion cub muttered. "Luca's pissed."

True to word, the golden light was already mixed with Chaos and the boy's black eyes were glowing with red. "Shall we get started?"

"Of course. But I am a bit curious..." Leviamon flicked his tail. "Where's your malice coming from?"

"Oh that. Well you see," The boy's smile twisted. "You killed Kudamon, even if indirectly. You broke Tomoe-chan. You made my little cousin cry!" Violet shined. "And you ask why I'm full of malice? Idiot!"

"Your... cousin?" Sora exclaimed.

Liollmon sighed. "Half-cousin. Tomoe was born out of wedlock to Kiri's mother. Tamaki loved her, loved her more than her husband ever did. And..."

"My mom was a very selfless person," Kiri commented solemnly. "I guess she thought that would help Ryou-san, if just a little. So... that's what happened." Surprised, the Digi-Destined nodded slowly.

Luca snickered. "Enough talk! Time to go!" He vanished and Leviamon roared in sudden pain. His large jaws had just been torn open, violet fire burning the mouth. He slashed with his tail, only to meet air as the boy moved again, his eyes glowing. "Why'd they send you to take me?" he asked contemptuously. "You're worthless!"

Leviamon snapped his jaws toward the boy, who moved again. "It's time to begin," the Digimon said simply. "And you are the key to that beginning."

"Be careful, Luca!" Jonathan called out to the younger boy.

"Be careful of what? His bad breath?" Luca cracked the ground and Leviamon stumbled. Flipping back, he hovered for an instant, before slamming Leviamon into the cracked earth. "I'd end this fast but i can't see the damned..."

"Here." Jordan yanked him aside and let fire consume his body. He slammed blazing fists into the Demon Lord's scaly spine. Leviamon cracked his tails again to no avail and they all saw a grey sphere floating in the middle of the flames. Luca pulled back and punched clear through the Core. Wizardmon winced, remembering the feeling of his own Core being cracked. The Digimon roared and exploded.

"That was a bit too easy," Luca muttered to himself, looking annoyed. "Thanks Jordan."

"You're welcome." Everyone frowned at that, noticing the distinctly more polite treatment the boy was given.

"What now?" The teams asked more-or-less in unison.

Luca shrugged. "'S up to you really. The Crossroads Path will be open soon. You need to prepare. This is going to be a two-sided fight." He frowned and stated in a flat voice, "Time stands back-to-back with space as defiance trickles against the laws that live. The deaths that are will be and the heart will shine as brightly as the soul once did."

"Oh, we'll be ready, alright." This comment came from Tai, as he, Matt, Davis, T.K., Jonathan and Blair stepped forward as the leaders and second-in-commands of the three teams.

Jordan snorted. "Showing off your authority? How annoying." He sighed to himself as Leith appeared behind him. "What?" The boy whispered in his ear and the Storien leader frowned. "All righty then." He left and Leith bowed to Kiri politely as he disappeared.

"We'll be going, too?" Jonathan asked Kiri. By "we", he meant the teams.

Kiri smiled distantly. "If that's what you want." Willis remained next to her, playing absently with Terriermon's ears. Toby waked over and plopped down, curling up to take a nap.

With the exception of Catherine, who remained behind with Luca, everyone else dispersed. Luca grinned and took her hand. "Come on, let's go. I know someplace fun."

"I swear if it's the soccer field..." He rolled his eyes at her.

"I'm not that crazy... we're going to the garden." They left.

Kiri groaned with relief. “Glad that's over.”

“Too many living people?” he quipped, causing her to laugh.

“Something like that.” She leaned on his shoulder companionably and he flushed slightly with a smile.



Luca watched the older girl run through the garden. His hands were in his pockets and he grinned slightly. “Having fun?”

“You're not?” she asked breathlessly as she examined each plant.

“I'm having fun watching you,” he commented with a sly smirk. Catherine rolled her eyes and yanked him by the sleeve.

“Stop you sick minded ass,” she quipped. “I want you to show me something you like here.”

“Shoulda said somethin' earlier.” He turned right and started walking toward a fenced area.

Catherine glared at Luca playfully. “I swear if there are giant animals...”

“Of course not.” Reaching the fence, he glanced at the supervisor. “Mind?” He shook his head and opened it. When the metal shut behind them, Luca whistled. Immediately, they were attacked by puppies. Catherine yelped as she was dragged down by their weight on her chest. Luca laughed as he sat down and let the dogs run all over the place.

“What's going on?” she screamed before bursting into helpless giggles at the chaos around her.

“It's an animal shelter. This is the dogs' playpen. The garden's here for those who don't like pets.” Catherine let out a soft screech that turned into another giggling fit as a black dog knocked her over, licking her face. Luca smirked and lunged at one of the pups, growling and playfully batting at them. Seeing this she giggled more.

“You're such a wild boy.”

“Duh.” Liollmon's comment came from nearby and the lion cub smirked at her. She was forced away by the dogs, who were still sniffing. Finding a tennis ball, she threw it energetically. This would be fun.



The next day, most of the Digi-Destined were walking back from an impromptu meeting when they saw a glow past the nearby hill. The other Digidestined looked down at the meadow below, surprised to see it lit up and people all over the place of all ages. Kari ran up to them with TK. The pair was beaming.

"What are you all standing around for?" TK asked. "Hurry up!"

"Everyone's waiting for you!" Kari added, looking excited.

"We only have a couple days before the final battle.” Gatomon stated, running past them.

"So they all decided we should have one get together before we go on, since we won't be a full group again," Patamon finished, soaring over his partner's head.

"T.K.'s right; what are we waiting for? Come on!" Blair yelled happily.

The teams, plus the partners and even the freelance Digimon moved in unison as they all charged down the hill.

The pair laughed and moved to join them. Kari suddenly looked up. "Leith, why are you up in the tree? Your parents are down here you know?" Leith looked down at her and shrugged.

"Ah leave 'em." Melissa walked down, gently clutching Raphael's wheelchair as they moved. "Leith doesn't wanna be social right now, he's waiting for the Storien to get here." Emma grinned shyly at them from behind. She ducked away, looking around anxiously.

Leith called down, "Emma, he's not here yet." The girl turned red.

"Shut up Leith!" Melissa snickered.

"Aw, you do have a crush on Sano."

"Shut up!"

"You two stop annoying your sister," A brunette woman walked up to them, looking vaguely amused. "Emma can hide from him all she wants.”

She colored red. "Mom!" Her siblings snickered and the woman turned to Jonathan and Blair.

"I'm Mrs. Ladon but do call me Tracy. My foster son and daughter must be quite the hassle, I'm sorry you have to look after them."

The pair of siblings laughed. "Think it's the other way around Ma," Melissa quipped.

Jonathan shrugged. "We've done our own share of protecting, though it wasn't as much as what they did for us."

She gave a quiet laugh. "Is that so?" Tracy looked up at her son. "Leith, you don't mind if I steal your wife for a while do you?"

"If it's you Mother I'm certain Blair will be just fine." The woman rolled her eyes, amused at her son's lack of reaction. Blair fought down the blush rising on her face.

"Mama, wrong personality," Raphael said politely, bowing his head to the woman who was like a mother to him.

"I know Raphy; I'm just teasing." She looked over at Blair. "Mind if we go for a walk?"

"Alright." Blair followed Tracy, wondering what the woman wanted with her.

As soon as they were in the dark, the woman relaxed an inch. "So now, it's just the two of us," she commented airily, smiling to herself. "You seem tense for such a young girl. A lot bothers you I can tell. " She sighed. "Does it feel strange to be surrounded by such a large family who simply accept whoever they wish into their ranks?"

Blair blinked, not expecting the woman to start off with such a friendly question. "I guess," she answered.

She earned a smile. "When Leith introduced us to the Ferro family for the first time, you should've seen how terrified we were." Her voice was full of laughter. "There were so many people in the house, all talking and working like a well-oiled machine. They were intimidating in their ways and the head-to-be was firm in her words and actions." Tracy glanced down at her. "Do you know what cured it?"

"No," came the quiet response.

Tracy moved silently in the dark and hugged Blair, an extremely foreign gesture. "It was the way my son smiled when he saw them. It was so alive." she murmured. "There were no barriers there, social or physical. You belonged there, no matter what you thought or someone said." The girl recoiled slightly, before realizing Tracy wasn't going to hurt her.

"You've forgotten what this feels like haven't you?" the woman asked. Without waiting for an answer, she pulled the girl down to rest on the grass. "Well at least you didn't bite me like Leith did when I did this."

"I'm not a Storien, that's why. I have... beliefs. Sorry, that was rude, wasn't it?"

Tracy laughed. "No it wasn't. And that wasn't a weapon thing, that was a "Stranger is touching me" thing." she laughed. "Trust me, I did it to Raphael, who isn't one and he attacked me. I think it comes from growing up where they did. They've gotten better though." She smiled down at the teen. "So what are your beliefs?"

Blair looked away; clearly she didn't want to have to reveal this memory. "I was brought up to respect everyone, no matter who they were. But everything changed when my parents were killed, not to mention my older brother Shiro."

"Ah," The woman's reply was very calm, very kind. "How has it changed?”

"I first started becoming mysterious and bitter after Shiro died, it worsened when Myotismon killed my parents." She couldn't help but wonder if the woman was stupid.

"No you misunderstand," the woman corrected kindly. "How have your beliefs changed? Have you lost hope?"

"I did for a while, which is why I despised contact. But Sean helped me to see the light again."

"He did huh?" She laughed. "That's kind of funny. When I saw Sean instead of Leith for the first time, he was a lot like you. He disliked others and didn't talk much to us other than formalities. He always walked around with despair-filled eyes." Blair gave her a look of disbelief.

Tracy laughed again. "It's hard to believe isn't it? Sean used to be anti-social, quiet, withdrawn. He got into fights, set people on fire, anything to be left alone. Not even Melissa could get him out of it. I worried so much, I thought he would have been expelled."

"Him? But I've seen him so well in class."

Mrs. Ladon smiled. "If I hadn't seen it myself, I wouldn't have either. It all changed when we moved here seven years ago. He started reaching out to people, helping them, and never stopped smiling."

"I take it you approve?" The question was hesitant.

Tracy smiled. "Would I have come talk to you if I didn't?" She stood up and helped the girl to her feet.

"I guess not." Blair accepted the offered hand and rose.

The woman released her hand and looked her straight in the eye. "Let me put it this way, as I was told three years ago: Kiri pulled my son from the darkness of his heart but you kept him out. And that's what makes you the right person. Just like Sean showed you your own light, that makes him the right one for you. Relationships must function to be proper, not simply love. And it seems for each other, that's what you have."

"I see." She sighed. "Then we will win, we will crush the Demon Lords. And I'll... I'll stay by his side." She stared back at Mrs. Ladon.

Sean's mother simply smiled again. "There was never a doubt you would, it was just afterwards that we worried about."

"Mom!" Sean ran up to them, the glow of the party bringing light from behind him. "I know you wanna be all welcoming and all but she can do it herself, I think." He grinned widely and held out a hand for Blair to take. "Come on, Luca and Ken are facing Tai and Davis in a soccer match! Don't wanna miss it, do ya?"

"Over my dead body," she stated happily. "Race ya!" She charged forward, gaining a few steps as an advantage over her boyfriend.

Sean laughed and ran past with a casual speed. "You shouldn't try that. I run track for a reason!" And he was gone, steps ahead.

"Hey, cheater!" She called to him, hurrying to keep up.

"It's not cheating," he chirped and disappeared into the crowd. "It's talent." There was a loud whoop and suddenly he shouted. "Okay, okay I'll do it Riku! Geez... Greedy little..."

Blair watched the soccer game between Luca, Ken, Tai and Davis. The points were so close, she wondered who would win. Finally, when the game finished, it was clear that Tai and Davis were the victors.

"Nice!" Tai cheered and grinned at the other three. Davis was grinning right back while his DNA partner sat down, looking just as enthused. Luca was collapsed, laughing and breathless on the ground. Kiri tapped Sean on the shoulder and pointed at something Blair couldn't see. He paled and she nudged him. The male threw up his hands and walked in the pointed direction. At this, Riku whooped again.

"Your pupil's gonna shine Tori!" His older brother flushed faintly and rolled his eyes goodnaturedly.

"Don't know what all that was about," the black-haired girl muttered before wandering over to Izzy and Mina. She soon found out, as the soft sound of a piano made its way through the clearing. The chatter almost instantly lowered to a murmur. Sean continued to play, eyes closed in concentration. Blair was amazed, as she stared over at him in awe.

"It's a therapy," Kiri commented softly to her under the music. "It helps him, so he doesn't set so many fires." She twirled to the tune. "Beautiful right?" Sean glanced at the two girls, winked at Blair, and continued, the song growing louder and softer in turn. Blair's eye widened again and she blushed.

Sean smiled to himself, then ended the song, tapering off into a soft fading note. Applause erupted. Sean bowed his head softly. "Any requests?"

Kiri grinned. "Forgiveness."

Sean laughed. "You always like me playing that."

"Of course I do. You wrote it." He sighed mockingly and began to play. The Digi-Destined listened as the song played.

The song ended after a few moments and applause erupted once more. Luca looked at the Destined. "When the battle is won," he said quietly. "We'll have another party. Would you like that?"

"Are you kidding?!" Davis yelled. "We'd love it!"

"Good," the boy said solemnly. He glanced at Kiri, who gave an impish grin and firmly dragged Willis off.

"Barbeque's started!" The sound of an unknown male echoed.

Luca grinned. "Last one there doesn't get any." He bolted off, in time with Sean. Hearing that, Izzy and Mina deliberately lagged, because they'd brought their own lunches.

Kiri grinned at them all. "We hope you continue to enjoy yourselves today." And so it continued.



Blair hesitated in front of the apartment door. It was Sean's house. After the party, Tracy had asked her to visit her son and meet the others of the family a bit more formally. Well she was here now... and god was she nervous. Sighing, she knocked on the door.

The person who opened it was someone she vaguely recognized. It was Emma, the other sibling. The brunette glanced at her and frowned. "Mom called you here right?"

"Yeah," Blair answered, nodding.

She grinned, looking slightly sly. "Come on in then girly." She held open the door for her then turned around and shouted. "Mom! Guest is here!" The rest of her sentence was lost in a midst of what to Blair sounded like gibberish. She thought it could be Spanish, judging by the accent but then it switched mid-sentence into something else. Someone else replied in almost the same manner. Blair almost felt a headache.

As she stepped inside, Emma swung the door shut and grinned. "Sorry about that."

"Uh... it's okay," the girl replied, looking baffled. What just happened?

"You live in this house and fluency in six languages gets you your bread and butter," she remarked and muttered something in Italian. "If you manage nine you're considered a respectable human being, at least to Dad."

"You do realize I understand everything you say right?" This came from a tall, well-dressed male in the hallway. He continued speaking to Emma, who gave him a particularly sarcastic remark. He sighed good-naturedly and looked at the newcomer. "So you're Blair. Glad to finally meet you." Thankfully he spoke that in Japanese.

"It's nice to meet you too," her response was a little stiff from unsureness.

He gave a friendly smile. "It's all right you know. Our family's crazy but you're plenty welcome."

Emma rolled her eyes. "Your fault we're crazy Dad, all mental illness aside." A snort of amusement came from Blair.

"No it's our fault you're crazy Emma, your siblings are another issue." He cocked his head, hearing faint piano notes.. "Your brother's practicing again, it seems."

"That's what he does when he's home; plays piano and practices cooking." She gestured to Blair. "Come on, I'll show you where he is. Mom's not done with lunch." Blair followed Emma down the hallway.

The older girl rapped on the door and shouted in Spanish through the door then switched to Japanese. "Oi your Phoenix is here ya stinking Number! Open the door!" There was a click and Dorumon peeked through a slit. He opened the door a bit wider. Emma grinned. "I love Digimon and their sudden learning of how to use thumbs. Go on." Emma stepped away and the Rookie blinked owlishly at Blair from the doorway as he moved back.

"Hi Blair," the Digimon greeted.

Wizardmon joined the gathering, appearing mysteriously. "Hello to you too," they both said.

Dorumon blinked. "Teleporting's kinda weird," he mumbled before shutting the door behind the other partners with his tail. He looked over at Sean, who was still playing, apparently oblivious to the others. He turned the page and Dorumon frowned. "Sean..."

"What?"

"Blair's here."

"Clearly."

"So stop." The human frowned and let his fingers leave the keys. "Yo Blair." He analyzed her. "Judging by your face, I'd say you got language swamped."

"... Yeah, you could say that," she answered.

He gave her a sympathetic look. "Sorry, dad does translation for a living and he made us learn how. So we do random language swamp as an exercise. Believe me, it gets very confusing around here."

"It makes my head hurt," his partner said cheerily and Sean laughed, scratching the beast's ears. Unintentionally, the girl had zoned out. Coming back to the present, she muttered something about a boy having a mix of her and Sean's personalities.

Sean laughed at her. "Well I certainly hope that doesn't happen!" he remarked teasingly. "A kid like that wouldn't just be crazy, he'd be taught by Lady Hanabi! Dear god, insane and physically able to help it, what an odd mix for the schools."

"It might be truer than you think," Wizardmon remarked dryly, before smiling at the confused expression on Dorumon's face.

The boy just shrugged. "It could be worse." Dorumon frowned again, looking puzzled before turning to Sean.

"Hey Sean, was I ever this confusing?"

The boy smiled faintly, Leith shining through his eyes. "Nope, Guilmon and Dorumon are simple but smart." Dorumon bounced happily and his human laughed. He glanced at Blair. "Do ya remember the day we first met?"

"Yeah," Blair responded. "It was the day we first entered the Digital World."

Sean sighed. "Actually it wasn't. We met about...I wanna say four years ago, after the fight with Apocalymon. Not surprised you don't remember, you were going through a fair amount."

Silence stole over the girl and her partner. "... Yeah," she replied after a few moments.

Sean gave a sheepish smile and didn't elaborate. "Honestly, when I actually recognized you again, I remembered and thought you were gonna kill me."

Wizardmon snickered. Blair raised an eyebrow. "Why would you think that?"

Sean sighed. "Well... god how can I put this right..." He took a deep breath. "I saw you in class and even at eight years old I could see it in your eyes; you were heading down the same path I was. Mom told you right?" A nod was his reply.

"Yeah... and I could tell you were getting close to doing what I did. So, despite having a vague clue who you were from the news and what had happened, I saw you and Jonathan walking home... and I kinda chewed you out." He looked slightly apologetic. "From what I remember I was pretty harsh." Her head tilted and a faraway look entered her expression as she struggled to remember what had been said.

"You were yelling at Jonathan to leave you alone, no I didn't know him back then... and I told you that you should be happy someone cares enough to stay by you even though you're being such an insensitive brat. I said that if you kept this up, you would be all alone." Sean paused. "I think you yelled at me and said I couldn't understand what you were going through and I replied that I didn't have to understand to see what a coward looked like."

"I think you tried to punch me after that." He chuckled shakily. "Except my reflexes kicked in and I kinda flipped you flat on the ground." A weird expression crossed Blair's face, a mix between amusement and embarrassment.

"Yeah whoops, though I don't remember if the fight lasted any longer than that." A smirk came over her after that comment.

Sean frowned at her in puzzlement, then placed his fingers back on the keys and started playing. Without glancing at the piano he asked. "Could it be you have a sense of humor?”

"Maybe she has developed one after all of this time," Wizardmon answered.

"What a thought," he muttered and sighed, ending the song. "I must be boring you both to tears."

"Oh come on," Blair growled, but it was a happy sound. "Why would you say something like that?"

"I dunno, maybe because you're just sittin' there twiddlin' yer thumbs?" He muttered something to himself in English for a moment. Then he smirked. "Perhaps I'm just that good looking that you can't help but stare."

Wizardmon snorted. "Is that all you're good for, I wonder?" The question was spoken in Darnassian and because Blair had been hanging around Bill, who graciously started teaching her about the ancient language, she managed to get the gist of her partner's statement.

Sean blinked, analyzing the language. "Digital," he muttered irritably. "Unfortunately I only know ancient and Code. Oh well." Dorumon frowned.

"I think he's insulting you."

"Unless he takes a leaf from Takahiro's book, I don't care." He switched languages in the next bit. "Not that it matters, they're too innocent to actually get that far."

The Rookie let out a whine, understanding him perfectly. "Sean... don't talk like that. They aren't like that anymore."

"Uh Dorumon that wasn't me." Sean sighed softly and let the pulsing headache pound a moment more before letting go.

Dorumon groaned. "Even worse."

Wizardmon smiled. "I was just having some fun, that's all."

The boy licked his lips and Dorumon frowned. "I wasn't." The blue eyes flickered coldly and a slyly cruel smile made its way to his lips. "So..." he said, looking amused. "You're the weak one who got the name Phoenix Blaze." A soft, cold chuckle came from him. "Boy, what a dud. I knew Zhuqiaomon was stupid but this is a new level of foolishness." Blair and Wizardmon were silent, not liking the Demon of Icefire at all. Even Dorumon looked at his partner with narrowed eyes. He laughed. "Well, aren't you friendly? When those two talked about you, I just knew I'd hate your guts and you mine. And I was right!"

As Blair was about to say "Sean, we need you to come back", Wizardmon jerked his head to one side and listened intently.

"There's a Parrotmon outside and it's not Anna's partner," the elf stated quietly.

"Well, I don't know about you," Blair began, referring to the possessed Sean, as she turned and followed her partner to the door. "But I'm going to fight it. If you care to join us, we'll be on the ground level."

They exited the unit and Wizardmon Warp Digivolved to Dynasmon. He picked up his partner and flew down to the ground.

Icefire smirked at her as she left. "Shall we watch Dorumon?" The Digimon nodded slowly and followed him out.

"What's going on?" Raphael's expression was curious and wary. He could see it without fault. "Why are you taking control right now?"

The boy shrugged. "I was bored. Sean is tired. Leith passed out a while ago."

"That's your fault," Raphael accused. He was one of the few people who could stand up to the Demon equally and win. “If you had allowed them to finish the program, you would still have a vessel that was healthy.”

"And your point? He's not exactly human, which makes up for it." The boy left, seeing them fight. "This doesn't look very interesting." A trident suddenly spun between his fingers and Dorumon frowned again. He didn't like that weapon.

"That's Twisted Waves."

"Yep. And this is the end." He threw the weapon and the three prongs stabbed through the throat, killing the bird instantly.

"Hey!" Blair's voice floated up to him. Dynasmon simply frowned.

"Hi," the boy replied blankly. "You told me to follow you so I did. And you were fighting so I ended the fight. Is there a problem?"

Dynasmon shook his head in disappointment, whilst Blair answered: "I meant come downstairs!"

Icefire shrugged. "If you say so." He went down. "But you were gonna kill him anyway, why's it bad I did it?"

The girl snorted in frustration. "Oh, I give up. Well, I'm gonna go if Sean doesn't need me for anything else." Dynasmon de-Digivolved to the Champion level.

"You're just gonna go because of me?" The boy paused and seemed to be thinking. "Even after all these years I still don't understand humans. You all seem very prickly."

"Of course they're annoyed with you." Sean sounded exhausted as he forced his way through. "You're such a silly one Tempest and they don't understand you either."

"Now I'm really confused."

"Then you're getting the hang of it."
He glanced at Blair. "Leave if you wanna leave but Mom's waiting upstairs to give you food and treat you like a decent human being would. I can't say I won't be a bit annoyed with you if you turn it down because you don't like Tempest. He's not a good enough reason."

Wizardmon nodded his head. "Thank you for returning; we'll go back up there." Blair nodded as well.

Sean shrugged and watched them go. He spoke very quietly, but was certain they heard him, "You act as though I always can come back." He looked out on the balcony. Dorumon watched for a moment. "I'll be along in a bit Dorumon. Go on. I want to see the sun set again." The beast Rookie nodded.

It is written that you are together, Wizardmon sent that thought to Sean. Wisemon told me.

This body is written to be hers. The person she fell in love with is unlikely. And you'll need to get along with Tempest eventually. He's always with me.

Wizardmon didn't answer that and Sean was glad. If he had, he would have ended up with two furious people on his back. He watched the sky, which reminded him immensely of fire.

“Enjoying yourself?” Kiri's voice was soft as she made her way over.

“Do you always have to bother me when I'm thinking?” he asked jokingly and she smiled.

“You never think so how could I be a bother?” Sean rolled his eyes as she settled next to him. “You can appreciate the beauty of it can't you?”

“Everything looks clearer when you're an inch from death,” he agreed. Kiri relaxed and slumped her head companionably on his shoulder.

“Will you ever tell her Sean, about...?” she trailed off.

“Which part? What happened a year ago or...”

“You know perfectly well what I mean.” Her voice took a curtness to it.

Sean gripped the railing tightly with both hands, feeling it compress beneath his fingers. “No, I'll take that to my grave.”

“Why won't you tell her what you are, what we are, and what we see?”

“A whole person isn't allowed to know the world of a remnant, you heard Fanglongmon.”

“That didn't stop Mom.”

“So what? Your mother, jackass husband or not, didn't exactly adhere to rules or common practices. I've got to obey remember?” He showed her his branded arm. “You saw what they did to me the last time I told them to shove their regulations up their ass. For Norn's sake Kiri, have you shown your boyfriend the right side of your body yet? Have you told him what they did to keep your mouth shut about the dreams and the glass?” Kiri flinched almost unnoticeably.

“Sean that was a low blow.”

“So what?” He gave her a fierce blue glare. “You swear never to tell those Chosen. You swear it on our vow, on the Catal, and on NEO's Judgement.”

Kiri watched him a moment before smiling faintly. “Tell them about what?” She asked with a false innocence. She clasped his bloody hand. “I swear it Joker and the others will follow my lead.” He huffed and turned away from his friend.

“Why are you two standing together?” Emma was frowning as she walked down to them. Kiri grinned at her.

“Came to steal him.” Emma glared, looking slightly put-out.

“Got guests. Try tomorrow.”

“No time tomorrow,” she replied with a sigh. “The Storien have been summoned. Emergency level is high.”

“From what?” Sean felt the world starting to spin. Leith was up and curious.

The Catal Keeper stepped onto the untouched railing. “The dead have risen.”

Leith scowled, purposefully yanking Sean away from the incoming carnage. He was getting a bad chill. The other glared at him half-heartedly. “Emma,” he said curtly. “Go inside, keep the others occupied.”

“Oh come on Leith, this is special. Your girlfriend's here!” Dorumon, sensing a problem, brushed past the girl.

“Blair could be a dead girlfriend if we're not careful,” Kiri commented coolly. Emma gave Kiri an irritated look. She liked the girl well enough but this felt extremely like a cheating boyfriend scene.

“I'll be back later,” Leith assured. “Tell Raphy and Melissa to be on alert and watch the building. And keep Blair here as long as you can.” Emma scowled but nodded. She knew there wasn't anything she could do.

The weapons vanished, as if they had never been there.

...

Blair dashed down the stairs, glad to be out of the apartment. They, for some reason, had been delaying her. Maybe it was for Sean. The boy hadn't come back inside. The sun had set, thank God. Blair wiped sweat from her face and sighed at the cold. "That was... an interesting visit."

"It was," Wizardmon agreed. "I think I understand where Sean gets his quirks from."

"Agreed." Blair found herself laughing. Abruptly, Wizardmon stopped. "Something the matter?"

"Well, well," a voice purred, male and sounding amused. "Look who we have here: a little girl and a little mage. How...interesting."

"Who the hell are you?" Blair snapped, whipping around to see a taller male with black hair. His brown eyes were cheerfully friendly and his aura gave off no hostility.

The boy chuckled softly. “Me? I'm just one of you. I'm just a Chosen Child no one talks to. Ain't it sad?” He gave her a kind smile. “Just call me Zephyr.”
__________________
"What Tama wishes for is..."

  #42    
Old May 25th, 2011, 03:47 PM
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Chapter 38: An End’s Beginning

The Digital World was calm, at the moment, anyway. The air shimmered suddenly and a girl stepped out from nowhere. Looking down at her body, she smiled softly.

“Now then,” she stated. “This should be interesting, shouldn’t it?”

“I suppose,” commented a Digimon at her side.

The human beamed. “Then let’s not keep my cousin waiting,” the girl responded. “It’s time to take this second chance and use it well. Thank you so kindly for this... Guardian Candeena.”

Within the depths of the Digital World, the half-Watcher answered telepathically. It is my pleasure... original healer.

...

At the Lucas residence, almost everyone had gathered to hear one of Bill’s legendary tales. “Well, since we’re coming up to the final battle, I thought everyone who could make it should hear the rest of my past... as well as Blair’s.”

The Digi-Destined were shocked by this statement, Jonathan more so. “What do you mean?” Mimi inquired.

Bill sighed and glanced at Tagashi who nodded decisively, before clearing his throat. “Blair and I, seventy years ago, were siblings. Yoshino and Noriko Kimura were our names; we were part of the very first Chosen Children team, just after the Digital World was created. We had-”

“Now hold on a damn minute!” Tai spluttered. He went on to detail that he was finding it hard to believe this story. “Seventy years ago? That’s just way too crazy!”

Bill answered that he could find it as hard to believe as he wanted; but, the fact remained was that he and Blair had lived that long ago, and it was only through a second chance given to them by Candeena that they were even here now. He added that while he was granted his full past life’s memories, Blair’s were partially sealed and that the seal on hers could only be broken by snow’s caress.

Immediately after saying that, Bill stiffened slightly, sensing a familiar presence. Wisemon, go investigate please. I do believe it’s her.

As you wish, partner, the Ultimate responded; he teleported out of the room, leaving the other Digi-Destined wondering where he’d gone.

“He’s just gone to look for Blair, that’s all,” Bill replied. “Anyway, back to the story. Noriko, Rukia, Hiroshi, Zoë, Tanner and I fought against many evil and corrupted Digimon. Noriko and I were the ones who inflicted the most damage against Megidramon’s army.” He paused, seeing the looks on his companions’ faces. “No, not that Megidramon; this was one who Warp Digivolved from a Devidramon. Enraged that Noriko and I had been the ones to practically obliterate his forces, Megidramon killed us, leaving the other four to die from old age. But, out of grief, Zoë killed herself afterwards...”

Mimi burst into tears, with Jonathan hurriedly trying to calm her down. “Zoë was related to you, wasn’t she?” Sora asked quietly.

Several minutes passed before Bill nodded grimly. “She is my cousin.”

“Is?” Izzy blinked in surprise. “You just said she killed herself.”

Another sigh. “She did. Wisemon didn’t go out looking for Blair, though I’m sure he will do that regardless.”

Jonathan looked up swiftly. “Then what did you send him out-” He tried to start, but Bill cut him off.

“Alright, I guess everyone should know this. Zoë is alive and she is here in Odaiba. When I stiffened before, it’s because I felt her presence. I’m still like Yoshino in some ways,” he responded, muttering the last part to himself. “When I mentioned snow’s caress earlier, I was referring to how gentle she is when she touches people. Zoë is the only one who can set Noriko’s memories in Blair free.”

This set everyone off in a mild flap. Bill and Blair, actually brother and sister, seventy years ago? Zoë, still alive? How was this even able to occur? Even Izzy and Ken were mystified, though they were trying to figure out a logical reason.

...

“You aren’t related to Tempest, by any chance, are you?” Blair asked snarkily, narrowing her eye. Wizardmon stiffened, feeling it now; this boy was hiding his true aura, if he could just get a lock on it.

The boy gave a friendly smile. “Who’s that? Like I said, I’m just a Chosen named Zephyr. Nice to meet ya.”

“You aren’t,” Wizardmon disagreed. “You’re hiding your true aura.”

The smile didn’t waver. “Am I?” He offered the Champion a hand to shake. “Well, everyone has something that they don’t want to talk about. I don’t like my name, is all.”

Wisemon materialized near Blair and Wizardmon, with a teenage girl and Digimon beside him. “Blair, we have to go, something’s come up.” He nodded at Wizardmon, which seemed to confirm the Champion’s suspicions. Wisemon dematerialized, taking the girl and Digimon with him. Wizardmon wasn’t far behind him, as a bright light started overtaking him, after Blair placed a hand on his shoulder.

Zephyr watched them go and laughed. “Something’s come up, huh? What do you think about that... Hawkmon?”

“It seems familiar,” replied the Digimon as he fluttered to the boy’s side.

“Sounds like fun,” Zephyr commented. “Let’s go.”

“Understood...” They walked away.

...

Lilithmon couldn’t hold back a sigh. “So the eight were whittled down to four: Daemon, Lucemon, Barbamon, and now Leviamon has died. What a waste they were.”

“Huh,” Beelzemon drawled. “Who knows which of us will be next, I wonder?” He asked sarcastically.

There was a low growl. “None of us. I’ll slaughter them all.”

“Well, well, you’re awake Belphemon,” Lilithmon commented amusingly. “This should be interesting.”

“When is he ever not asleep?” Beelzemon muttered.

Belphemon snarled. “When I must do a job. When are you actually competent: on your death bed?”

Immediately, the two pistols were brought out. “Sleeping is all you ever do, ya whining lump of data!” Beelzemon shouted. “Double Impact!”

“Lampranthus!” He burst the bullets into nothing. “I am simply lowered to the will of my sin. Don’t lose your temper so easily.”

“Pah, you who sleeps disgraces the Demon Lords,” Beelzemon shouted as he left. “I’m going to have some fun with the kiddies!”

Lilithmon cackled. “Impulsive fool.”

“I heard that, *****! Shut that mouth of yours or I’ll shut it for ya!”

Lilithmon rolled her eyes. “Menacing, aren’t you, arrogant boy? Go have your fun, fool. The end is soon.”

...

Wisemon appeared in front of the Morgan residence, not going inside for the simple reason that the girl’s Digimon companion wanted to take care of some unfinished business. “Please come back safely,” the girl pleaded.

“I will return,” the Digimon assured. “But on the off-chance I do not, never fear for I will always be with you in your mind and in your heart.” After the Digimon left to take care of his job, the quartet made their way inside to find a rather stunned Bill waiting for them, along with the three teams and Internationals.

Zoë, how...?” Bill whispered.

“That’s Zoë?!” The Digi-Destined exclaimed, appearing quite taken aback.

“Candeena gave me a second chance,” the white-haired girl answered. Even after seventy years, Zoë looked exactly the same. “And these people are?” She asked quietly.

“They’re my friends,” Bill replied quickly, silencing the others’ with a stern gaze.

“I see. Well then, I suppose I better unlock Noriko’s memories. Blair, was it?” The black-haired girl nodded apprehensively, which caused the albino to smile ever so gently. “Don’t worry, it won’t hurt at all. Please step forward.” Blair did so, anxiety now eating at her. Zoë placed two fingers on the other girl’s forehead.

There was a soft sigh. “That’s gonna hurt.” It came from Luca, who looked at the older girl with something close to sympathy. “Believe me, after all this time, that’ll hurt like hell. Not to mention the backlash.”

Yoshino almost flashed before their eyes, with his blonde hair and blue eyes. “Zoë is the perfect healer, able to lessen any pain to basically nothing. Blair will be fine.”

Luca sighed. “Forgive me for giving a **** then.” He knelt down and murmured to Tomoe, who frowned and nodded.

...

At the same time that was happening, a motorbike was prowling the streets of Odaiba, with Beelzemon’s leather jacket-covered form on it. “Huh, how hard can it be to find a large group of punks?” He drawled, but his tone was becoming irritated. He suddenly stopped his vehicle and whipped his head to the left. His senses were picking up a group of children. “Eh, the Storien brats? Maybe I can have some fun with them...”

Revving the bike, he turned the mode of transportation to his left and roared down that street; the street sign was labelled Nishijuku. Jordan turned, sensing a foul aura. “****. Sense that?” The others nodded. Kiri gave Luca a firm nod and he took Tomoe and vanished. The leader snarled. “An interruption... just what we don’t need.”

“So we meet again, Storien filth,” Beelzemon stated.

There was a flash of lightning and a throwing star was imbedded in his arm. “Leave,” Miranda commanded coolly.

“You’re interrupting us,” Maria added, her rapier in one hand.

“We have no time for your games today,” Jordan finished, blades aflame.

“Oh? Looking for that Zephyr kid, right?” The Demon Lord asked. “He went that way.”

All of them looked at one another. “Thanks, we believe you,” Miranda began, watching her star. It burst into lightning, causing him to roar. “There’s your gift for helping us.”

Jordan gave a cocky smile. “G’bye!” They started to walk away, the leader sighing. “Of all the times...”

“Eheh!” Caleb had a small, calculating smile on his face. “That just means another judgement, right?”

“Probably not, but we’ll see.”

...

Meanwhile, the BlackWarGreymon who was Zoë’s companion had arrived at the other plane where three of the last four Demon Lords were residing. Being a Virus-attribute helped tremendously; he had heard Belphemon’s voice resonating across the air currents, even throughout the layers of the worlds separating them when he and Zoë were in the real world.

He intended to destroy the slothful Demon Lord for what he said, not on his watch would he allow Belphemon to slaughter the Digi-Destined. Even if killing Belphemon cost him his life, it would repay the debt of kindness that both Zoë and Gatomon had shown him during his existence. Belphemon floated out into the area. “Do you wish to challenge me?”

“No,” the dark Digimon replied. “I wish to kill you. Shadow Gaia Force!

Lampranthus!” The two blasts negated one another. “Interesting,” commented the Demon Lord. “You’re powerful. This should be fun.”

“If you were not evil, I could say the same to you.” The two quickly engaged in a battle of claws, only to be evenly matched. The large Digimon dodged a Black Tornado and head-butted him. No one gave in and the pair continued their clash, where the two finally ended their slicing, both bleeding and broken.

The same thought entered their heads: This must end now. Black energy grew on both sides; one a large orb and the other flames.

Lampranthus!

Shadow Gaia Force!

It was at that moment, in Gatomon’s mind, a gentle warmth flooded her body. It’s been a while.

She started. You’re the...

The one who gave you your tail ring; yes, I am that Mistymon. I am very sorry, but I will not see you again.

... You’re one of our losses, aren’t you?

Yes.

I’m sorry.

This is all right. I’ve repaid my debt. It’s enough.

...

Between the three teams, Tai, Davis and Jonathan had searched what little of Odaiba they could for Sinead’s team. Then, Anna remembered something. “She approached me the other day, saying that something big was happening back in Ireland, like they had their own Digimon invasion. She apologized to me and told me to pass the message on.” The Russian girl’s expression looked downcast.

Tai sighed in frustration. “Great, just before the big day, too.”

Sora comforted her boyfriend, reassuring him that everything would turn out okay and that the Demon Lords would be crushed.

...

There was a wild gust of wind. All of them paused and Bill looked around, a suspicious feeling in his gut. “What is with this?” He muttered aloud. He was feeling slightly sick.

“Just a bit of an issue for ya,” chirped a voice. The boy Zephyr dropped down from nowhere next to Blair. He swept her up easily. “Ale-oop. I’m borrowing the pretty princess here if ya don’t mind.” He leapt up and hovered, the wind helping him to float. Bill tried to move but was paralyzed, body trembling as the black wind whirled. Zephyr grinned. “Oopsie daisy. All of you, even the little missy here, are about helpless to that. It preys on your hearts and souls, my Fallen Wind.” He waved. “Thank ya kindly for the gift, sir!” He started to jump away, looking pleased.

“Not if I can help it,” Wisemon stated angrily, the first time aggression had entered his voice. He made a series of hand movements, before thrusting his hands down and out. The paralysis faded instantly. Leith, it’s up to you. “I’ll properly help the others.”

Leith felt a jolt in his chest. He sighed from the tree branch he sat on. “You haven’t changed at all... I suppose that’s what happens when you die...” He clutched a torn envelope in his left hand. “Don’t you think the same at times, Sean?”

... How would I know Leith? Death enjoys taunting me.

I suppose.

Meanwhile, Zephyr hummed to himself as he leapt. “Wow, that was easier than I expected!” He was laughing. “That Digimon shouldn’t assume that the Fallen Wind is so easy to get rid of. I think that little power should activate right about now!” As he spoke, there was a sudden surge of raw pain from nonexistent wounds for the infected. Blood began to ooze, some from the mouth. “Naive creature.” He looked down at Blair. “You know, you’d be even prettier if you scowled a bit less.”

Magna Antidote!” MagnaAngemon declared, negating the poison and successfully healing the Destined who were affected.

Continuing to scowl at Zephyr, Blair spat blood on his face.

To her horror, he licked it off, a cruel little grin on his face. “Nice, but next time, aim correctly and not towards my eyes. I fall and drop you from this height, well; I’ll be a-okay, but you’ll just go splat! Or get skewered by tree branches! Won’t make you any less dead, will it?” He smiled. “I wonder what reaction I’ll get from that. Anyway, little princess, do you know why I kidnapped you?”

“Don’t call me that,” the girl growled.

“Aw, then what should I call you?” He cupped her chin in one hand. “My bride? Or my toy? The options are amazing, right?” His friendly smile was offset by the cruel light in his brown eyes. “But you didn’t answer my question and soon you won’t again. Why do you think I chose you?”

Wizardmon teleported beside his partner, handing her the loaded crossbow. “Do your thing,” he said in Darnassian. She nodded and broke free of Zephyr’s grip, falling, only to be caught be Leith.

“Payback time!” She shouted and the crossbow immediately lit up, blazing brightly with fire. “This is Blazing Archer; hope you’re afraid of fire.” Fiery arrows shot out from the weapon, aimed directly at the male’s throat.

A shadow leapt in the way, taking the arrows from midair and dropping them smoothly to the ground below. Zephyr grinned and hovered. “Thanks a lot, Hawkmon.”

“Of course,” the Bird Digimon flapped his wings as he led them to a true battlefield. “It would be quite rude to disturb the sky.”

“Nag,” Zephyr commented, looking amused as he landed. Leith dropped, walking over to set Blair gently beside his Digimon. Something about Dorumon’s eyes was strange. It wasn’t childishly clear. The black-haired male smiled. “It’s been a while, huh Leith? You’re still getting the girls. First Laura and now her... you find the odd ones.”

Leith’s eyes were half-closed as he sighed. “I hoped I would never see you again, Takahiro Suzume.”

“Missed you too,” said the other boy with a smirk.

Suddenly, Zhuqiaomon’s voice resounded through Blair’s heart. Hide now! You’re in more danger than you think!

Wizardmon also heard Zhuqiaomon’s voice. Placing a hand on his partner’s shoulder, a bright light overtook him as they teleported away, back to the Morgan residence.

“Cowardly girl left you to die,” boasted Takahiro with a smirk. Leith said nothing. “Hope your friends come soon.”

“Friends?” The other repeated. “Storien are not friends, but comrades.”

“I know,” Takahiro said. “But the Chosen,” he sneered the word, “should come to help you.”

“Why would they do that?”

“Because I have this and you know what that means.” Takahiro held up a crimson orb and Leith showed fear for the first time.

“Why-Why do you have that?” He stepped back.

“Because I took it for him,” Hawkmon replied as he Warp Digivolved to his Mega, Valkyrimon.

“That’s right,” his human whispered gleefully. “Now then, you worthless Storien ****,” he clenched it tight and the orb began to pulse. “Suffer in hell!”

At once, Leith dropped to his knees with his hands over his heart, actually howling in pure pain. Nearby, the other Storien fell, clutching their chests. Luca yanked firmly on Tomoe’s arm, who was crying from the agony. Takahiro laughed and walked over, kicking Leith brutally to the ground and continuing to slam his booted foot into the boy’s ribs, Leith unable to defend himself.

“Storien or not, no-one harms our partners!” The rest of the Digi-Destined arrived, with all of their Digimon at the Mega level. That statement had been shouted by Willis and Blair. Even the spirit of Zoë’s companion was there to help. “Group attack!”

Highland Fang!

Terra Force!

Strike of the Seven Stars!

Glorious Burst!

Dragon’s Roar!

Mach Stinger V!

The sudden arrival of the Digi-Destined took Takahiro and his partner by surprise and the corrupted Child dropped the crimson orb, where it rolled safely to Leith’s chest.

Terra Destroyer!” BlackWarGreymon’s spirit sent the black energy ball hurtling towards Takahiro. The child was ripped to pieces instantly, also permanently deleting his partner.

Blair hesitantly walked over to Leith, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Are you okay?”

Leith was trembling. “I-Idiots,” he rasped. “T-This isn’t...”

“The end?” Takahiro sounded amused from where he stood, reformatting with his black wind, Hawkmon at his side. “God, you’re good!” He sneered at them. “You think I would be brought back to die so easily again? Hah!”

“Y-You...” Leith snarled, blood-red eyes darkening.

He earned a smile. “Heh... you’re not angry enough yet, Leith! Look at you, so weakened by these humans! Look at you, being beaten down by these “whole” fools.”

“S-Shut u-up about that... you don’t know...”

“I don’t?” The fallen laughed. “I broke Laura myself, remember? Of course I know!”

“L-Leave...”

“Her alone? No chance. You don’t know how much fun I had with her, especially when she finally screamed...” He laughed. “It was beautiful...”

Leith stood, let out a wordless scream of rage and moved. Behind him, the orb shone and he collapsed again. Takahiro held out his hand and his partner soared over to him, taking it in his beak and returning it. “Stay on the ground, you little scumbag, where worthless filth like you belong.”

“Every single ounce of our power went into those attacks, and yet he’s still standing. How is this even possible?” Dino Tigemon growled, at a loss.

“My master is stronger than you,” the human replied, grinning savagely as Fallen Wind rose again, slashing brutally at them.

“You will not harm them,” BlackWarGreymon’s spirit shouted, rushing to protect Zoë, who was the direct target of Fallen Wind.

“That’s right,” Dorumon’s voice was different, older. “You won’t harm them." He moved forward and vanished suddenly. He reappeared, knocking the orb from Takahiro’s hold into his claws. Dropping it in Blair’s hands, he went to his partner’s side.

Takahiro snorted. “A Digimon who is partnered to a Storien? What a fool, dying for nothing.”

“Do not insult my partner in my presence,” the Digimon commanded, causing the others to bolt with surprise. This wasn’t like Dorumon at all. “Do not insult my personally Chosen partner.” He placed the envelope his partner had been carrying on the ground and removed a crystal. “Here you are, Leith.” Leith grasped it, standing up. Behind his eyes was Sean, who was enraged.

“Your spirit is familiar,” Hawkmon noted. “Who are you?”

Dorumon stared at him coldly. “Who am I?” He moved to a fighting position. “I am the Alpha: I am the beginning. And this is the last time I shall fight as I was.”

Leith snarled weakly. “Y-You won’t... get away with this, a-any of it.” The crystal between Leith’s fingers shone. “Crystal Evolution, activate!” Thank you for this miracle.

Dorumon shone. “Dorumon, Crystal Evolve! Alphamon!” In place of the beast appeared a silver and gold knight in a tattered blue cape.

Dynasmon and Kentaurosmon kneeled in the presence of their age-old leader. Catherine’s partner spoke humbly. “It is an honour to have you back with us, Lord Alphamon.”

Alphamon waved them off. “I will not be here for long. I did not wish to battle in this form again. Stand back now, all of you.”

The two Royal Knights moved the Digi-Destined back a fair bit, before standing in front of them, to protect them from any stray attacks.

Alphamon raised his hands. “Digitalize of Soul!” The sky tore open and a great monster soared down from the hole. Takahiro stepped back, watching almost excitedly.

“Is this how it ends, then?” He asked breathlessly.

Leith gave a weak nod. “It is,” he said softly. “Goodbye, Takahiro. Maybe we could have been friends.”

The boy snorted as he was yanked into the air with Hawkmon. “You would know that best of all.”

Leith bowed his head and didn’t reply. As soon as the hole vanished, the boy fell back down, blood oozing from his mouth. Alphamon de-Digivolved and went to his partner’s side after taking the orb from Blair. “Thank you,” whispered the Digimon softly. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” The little Rookie nuzzled his partner, tears at the edges of his eyes.


BlackWarGreymon knew he was being called, but he wanted to reassure Zoë that everything would be fine. He reached out with one clawed hand, wanting to touch the girl one more time. The action resulted in a small spark of electricity, which caused Zoë to gasp mildly in surprise, before she shut her eyes in denial. BlackWarGreymon performed one final gesture and that was to salute Gatomon. She merely nodded, her eyes filled with tears.

What was left of his data dissipated, as it had begun scattering after Zephyr was removed from the area, and his final words were: “Stay strong, Digi-Destined...”

...

The long day had ended and the battle was waiting to start. The Digi-Destined saw Kiri and her party with T.K. and Kari, who had gone ahead that day. Kiri and Leith looked terrible, clearly having been unable to fully recover. Relena was holding Hopmon silently in her arms, watching the party with an amused smile from Kari’s side. Her sister and brother were not far away with the Ferro family, who were looking various mixtures of amused and violent. Raphael sat near Melissa, waving goodbye to Luca and Tomoe, who was walking back over to them.

“Just call us an army,” Sanako said cheerily as she walked past with various blades in her arms. There were whoops and cheers as she placed them on the ground, like kids in a candy store.

“And so begins the final battle,” Wisemon stated huskily. Everyone was present; the Digi-Destined, the partners and even the freelance Digimon.

“The final battle together,” these words came from Relena, who rose to her feet. Kiri moved toward an unseen slab of concrete and T.K. and Kari rushed to her side, looking agitated. “I’m sure you’re ready?”

“Yeah, we’re ready,” Jonathan replied, half distracted by the other girl. “Kiri, what are you doing?”

Kiri shrugged silently and gestured for them to walk over. Beneath her feet, blood-red light began to glow from runes gouged into the ground. Kari and T.K. watched warily as the light shone brighter. Suddenly, Kiri cried out in pain, Catal Unit burning her chest.

“What’s going on?” Willis asked, his voice raised with concern.

“Nothing you can interfere with, silly whole child,” Relena replied calmly, walking through the seal.

Kari exclaimed. “Hold on Relena, you’re in...” The blonde put a finger to her lips and kept walking, taking Kiri’s hands. She winced in pain. “You went the wrong way.” The cries quieted a moment later. Tomoe tugged anxiously at T.K.’s shoulder and pointed. The male nodded and lifted his D-3, Kari mimicking him with reluctance. Golden and pink light flew out of their respective Digivices, a symbol Tai and Matt recognized on the screens.

Luca let out an irritated growl. “Hurry up!” His body trembled with anticipation.

“What’s going to happen?” Anna inquired.

“The first side of the Gate will open,” came Cassie’s soft tone from the tree where she stood. “And you will enter the Borderline.”

“Or it would if you damned Virtue wielders would activate your Digivices!” Luca sounded annoyed and was still twitchy.

Leith weakly reached over and mussed his hair. “Be patient. You’ve waited seven years now; you can wait a few more minutes.” The teen’s tone was raspy, broken, ice-blue eyes dark with death.

Luca whined softly, still shaking. “Easy for you to say.”

Tai, Matt, Sora, Izzy, Joe and Willis pointed their 01 Digivices at the seal; Ken, Davis, Cody, Yolei, Kari and T.K. did the same with their D3s.

The respective lights began to shine. Kiri and Relena both cried out in unison. Willis almost jerked his away, but there was a shake of the head from T.K. Before their eyes a grey door began to form, ornate and wooden. The blood red light dulled and the two on the seal sighed.

“It should open now to the Borderline,” Kiri murmured. “This is your last chance,” she said to Jonathan. “Do you have everything you need? Is your heart settled?”

Jonathan and Blair spoke as one. “We have everything, they are.”

Kiri smiled. “I’m sure.” She walked toward the door and took the handle in her hand. It was warm. She turned it and the door swung inward, revealing a grey backdrop. “Come now,” she said softly. “The future is waiting for us.” Kiri stepped through, Relena, Luca, Tomoe, and Leith steps behind. Relena waved at her sister as she left.

The teams, partners and freelance Digimon entered after Relena; everyone was mentally tense, waiting, hoping the last three Demon Lords wouldn’t ambush them.

“Relax,” came a cheerfully calm voice as the door swung shut. “You’ve got one stop before that. And that’s to meet your friendly seniors.” Kiri laughed as she leapt, tackling her brother into a hug. Akira stumbled and fell backwards, landing on the ground and laughing. Hopmon bounced around eagerly, grinning with his two fanged smile.

“Hey, Akira!” Jonathan called. “We’re to free your team, I take it?”

Akira grinned and stood up, looking off in the distance as he picked up his partner. “I suppose you are,” he said cheerily. He pulled something from his pocket and spoke into it. “Hey guys, they’re here.” His voice was soft and suddenly very sad.

Two voices chimed in from above. “There you are.” The first was a male with long red hair. Blair felt a chill across her spine. Fire. The second was a female with short pale-blue hair. The two each had a Digimon similar to them. “Hello there,” the two spoke in eerie unison. “Nice to meet you all.”

The boy grinned. “Twin telepathy, a major pain in your arse. Name’s Sentri Ferro. Glad to meet ya... I think.” He frowned pensively.

His sister smiled indifferently, bowing elegantly. “My name is Rina Ferro, I welcome you to your fight.” She glanced at Akira. “Akira-nii, Talia-chan and Liam-kun are on their way; just a Digital reaction went through Talia-chan’s Elesyn.”

“Is that so?” Akira mused. “All righty.”

“I’m Jonathan, that’s Tai and over there’s Davis. We’re the three leaders of the teams,” the blue-striped brownish-blonde boy responded to Sentri and Rina’s introductions.

The twins looked at each other and nodded, stepping back. Down dropped a male with short black hair and a female with long brown hair. At their sides were a Falcomon and a Labramon respectively. The male gave the younger children a nod and went to Akira’s left. The girl locked eyes with Jonathan and gave a kind smile before stepping next to her leader.

“You two are slow you know Talia, Liam?” Akira’s voice was amused.

The girl playfully scowled and whacked him over the head. “We don’t all fret for a living, Akira.” She got a grin.

“Supposin’ you’re right.” He looked over at his sister, who had separated herself from them and was watching the bleak, unchanging sky. “What are you doing over there?”

“Eh?” She turned and laughed shakily, grey eyes bright and glazed with despair and pain. “Eh-heh, not a thing! Really! I’m just looking off...”

“Are you okay, Kiri?” Jonathan looked worried.

She gave a nod. “Uh-huh, just fine! Yeah...” She trailed off and looked away again, face pale. “Almost,” she whispered. “Almost...”

Akira turned away for a moment, collecting himself. His heart hurt, like his soul was cracking. “How much longer?” He asked hoarsely.

Kiri gave him a teary smile. “I don’t know. I’m trying.”

“Akira,” Matt began, “why are you letting her go off by herself?” His voice was coldly quiet, the harshness directed at the older Ryutori out of concern for the younger.

Akira turned back, giving the younger blonde a sardonic smile. “Because she’s going to die,” he said softly. “Because this is what she wants and because I am a hypocrite to tell her she doesn’t have to die when I would do the same in her place.”

Kiri trembled slightly. Everything was pulsing. “Nii-chan... I... I’m so sorry...”

“Why?” He walked over and patted her head. “I’ve never been more proud of you than I am right now. You’re following your heart and no matter how much it hurts, I’ll accept that. Thank you,” He hugged her tight. “For being born.”

She flushed, a sad gesture. Then Kiri completely froze. Small orbs of light were beginning to flow from her body. “No,” she whispered, “not yet, just one more moment, please...” She plunged her hands into her pockets and pulled out her D-Core and Core Awakener. “Tomoe-chan!” The girl caught them and stared at her with a broken gaze. Kiri managed a weak, broken smile. “Renamon’s yours now. Take good care... of each other...” The lights vanished faster and faster and her body was fading all too quickly. Looking around at everyone, she managed to make a genuinely happy grin. “Thank you everyone!” Before she could say goodbye, she was gone, leaving Akira hugging air. His arms dropped hollowly to his sides.

“I’m guessing that was Ogudomon’s work,” Catherine Ambrosine whispered brokenly.

“Was it really?” Akira shook his head, grey eyes like a deep fog. “No, this was the prophecy’s work. One gives for death’s defied, enters in darkness, leaves in light. Ogudomon simply carried it out.”

“He’s a fool.” Sana’s calm tone entered their ears and they turned. He shrugged, Faolan at his side. “The door was still unlocked.”

“We proceed, don’t we?” Anna Petrova’s question came out slightly stronger.

“’Course,” stated Liam, whose cool gaze traveled over them all. He pulled a card from his pocket, which was silver with a black stripe. “We came to kill, not to cry.” He held out a rectangular device and spun the card between two fingers. The other three took their own out— red, blue, and green respectively — and each tossed their card up into the air. Akira was last, and his own was golden. The five merged together, creating one coloured grey and black. Akira caught it and seemed to slash with it. The four turned their Digivices to the side and it scanned through Akira slashing it himself. On the tops of their Digivices, gems began to glow.

“Elesyn activate,” Talia said softly. Before their eyes emerged five Mega levels; Justimon, Anubimon, Ravemon, and two newer Digimon, called Apollomon and Dianamon. The five let their screens glow and the light moved towards the door.

The five D-Cores began to react. Leith, Luca, and Tomoe silently slipped the Awakeners into their Digivices, causing there to be three Digivolutions: BanchoLeomon, Kuzuhamon, and instead of Alphamon came a new creature: Dorugoramon. Jonathan and Blair placed their own Core Awakeners into their D-Cores; Dynasmon and TigerVespamon appeared.

Five D3s activated, as well as some of the 01 Digivices. Of Davis’ team, there now stood Slayerdramon (whose bond was still separated from Davis), T.K.’s Seraphimon, Kari’s Magnadramon, Yolei’s Valkyrimon, Ken’s Gran Kuwagamon and Cody’s MetalSeadramon.

The Digimon belonging to the few 01 Digivice (the Digivices that had chosen to react for the lead-up) holders were Rosemon, Regulumon, WarGreymon, Kentaurosmon, Dino Tigemon, MegaGargomon, Cherubimon and Hououmon.

Gaomon Warp Digivolved to ShineGreymon, though he didn’t really need Rei showing off the technologically advanced silver D3.

Even the four remaining Devas and the freelance Digimon were prepared.

“Relena,” Talia said softly. “Open the door please.” The blonde immediately complied and this time, they all felt it, a sickening tainted aura; yet, it called to them, singing cajolingly. A gust reminiscent of Fallen Wind blew through, only gentler.

Kari bit her lip. “Don’t yet,” she said softly.

The Chosen fidgeted, waiting for the right time to go inside.

Faolan suddenly burst into howling, a chilling sound. Sana grinned calmly and stepped through without hesitation. “Come along now,” he sang softly. “Come along now and watch the Dragon raze this world to ashes.”

The teams strode forward, confidently now.

What greeted them was an inhumanly large black and red creature with seven legs and eight eyes, seven of the eight eyes on the under part of the legs. He had two mouths: one in the middle of his legs and the other on his head. Two of his legs were terribly scarred, while one was bleeding afresh. The creature sneered down at them with one eye. On one of his legs was a corpse, brutally torn to shreds, covered in blood and shattered. The Digimon chuckled. “Recognize it? They fought well... the little Catal Keeper did, for such a weak human.”

“Stop it...” Luca whispered, trembling not with fury but with misery. “Put it down... stop disgracing the dead like that.”

“Disgracing the dead?” Came a mocking voice. “Stupid brat!” The voice came from Lilithmon, who stood loyally at her master’s side.

The leaders and second-in-commands had already warned their team-mates who didn’t know not to touch Kiri’s corpse.

“So,” Beelzemon drawled, standing behind them. “The brats finally showed themselves. About time, huh?”

Indeed,” their master agreed, eyes moving to observe them all. At Sana, he paused. “You irksome fly.”

“As if the Dragon would fall to such pathetic injuries as those,” the boy retorted calmly, unafraid.

I’ll have to be certain next time, but first...” His gaze locked on Leith, who had been silent since they had been in the human world. “We have some unfinished business, don’t we Leith Harper?” Leith didn’t speak, expression forcibly still.

Tai, Davis and Jonathan looked curiously at the Storien Child, wondering what the Demon Lord leader meant by his words.

Or maybe I am not speaking to you,” the Demon Lord mused. “Maybe I am speaking to the one inside you, the one who is trembling right now... Tempest?

Finally Leith spoke, his voice sadly soft. "Leave Tempest alone. He didn’t do anything.” The ice-blue eyes didn’t look up, just remained staring vacantly, miserably into space. “It was all your fault anyway.”

Matt raised an eyebrow and glanced at Tai. What’s he talking about? His expression seemed to ask.

Leith continued miserably. “If you hadn’t created Tempest, if you hadn’t abandoned him, it would have been better for him. You created him for your revenge and then... you just threw him aside.”

You’re pitying a virus, a program meant to destroy the Digital World?

“Of course I am.”

Beelzemon snorted. “What kind of weapon are you?”

Leith just shrugged and felt Tempest’s tugging gently, fearfully at him. “I’m someone who doesn’t give up. I care about him, we’re... like siblings, kinda.” He let go. “Why don’t you talk to him yourself?” He let go and the air thickened, not with rage or killing intent, but this distinct despair. Tempest seemed to be crying, but his eyes were dry.

“Always,” he whispered. “You all always do this sort of thing.”

Cowardly creature,” Ogudomon snorted. “Die.” He raised a claw to crush him but Tempest held up a hand and blocked it, holding it steady.

“You all always leave me alone,” the program said sadly. “But Ebonwumon didn’t and they didn’t. Leith, Sean, and Sarah... they wanted me around and you... you just let go. Bonds... you don’t understand them, you don’t understand them at all.”

Beelzemon and Lilithmon moved into battle positions as the Digi-Destined did the same.

“Just like before...” Tempest began dully.

“We’ll show you...” Sana finished. “The power bonds can have!”

“The three of you,” Wisemon began, as he Digivolved to AncientWisemon, “are going down.”

Commandramon and Monodramon Warp Digivolved to AncientVolcamon and AncientTrojamon, as Yutaka and Hiroaki’s partners moreover became AncientGreymon and AncientGarurumon. Joe’s AncientMegatheirumon, Izzy’s AncientBeetlemon and Sora’s AncientIrismon also appeared.

Talia glanced at her Digivice, which beeped cheerily. Her partner de-Digivolved and Warp Digivolved into AncientSphinxmon while Cassie glanced at Veemon, who complied and formed AncientMermaimon. “Thank God Ruthie isn’t here,” the woman muttered.
__________________
Credit goes to Sgt Shock for my signature and avatar
  #43    
Old May 30th, 2011, 05:11 AM
Fuyu's Avatar
Fuyu
Battle!
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Who knows?
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
Chapter 39: Virtue's Path

The army fell back again before rising like a one-minded mass. Sano Ferro growled to himself, the seventeen-year-old lifting himself back up. “Honestly, what the hell is up with this?” He slashed with a blade before falling back once more, reflexively dodging to the right.

“Sano, get up!” Melissa was there, yanking him to his feet. “Don't die here! They're counting on us! Besides, Emma's watching!” The teen resisted the urge to hit his classmate, a faint flush on his face.

“You're such a-watch it!” He knocked her aside as an attack went soaring over their heads. A large dragon slashed to destroy the monster.

“You two okay?” OwRyumon asked as Elian went running up to them. His young face was pale and scared. Melissa felt sympathetic: this was likely the kid's first real battle.

“Yeah fine, thanks!” the male answered, pulling his friend back. Melissa glanced at the sky, where the sun was setting.

“Just a bit longer until night falls.”

“Yep,” agreed Raphael who was sitting where they stopped. He was unaffected by the war as always, despite the wounds on his arms. “They won't attack then.”

“Why are you so sure huh?” Masaki asked coldly as he walked over, covered in what could only be Digital blood. Melissa winced faintly.

“C-Cause...” They looked to see Toby weakly hovering, his wings tattered and stained. “You can't kill as many if people aren't outside to watch, not the way they want. They want to see them die.” The half-Digimon child looked toward the fray. "They want to bring this world to despair." With that statement, his body once again was covered in blue armor and he soared back into the battle.

“Pride does go before a fall,” Raphael commented as Patamon went to his side.

“Yeah,” Melissa agreed. “Let's just hope it isn't ours.”



Beelzemon's Double Impact went soaring toward them, causing Dorugoramon to slash back, countering. Lilithmon moved toward Sana, eyes full of vengeance, but the boy moved, easily sidestepping, His expression never left its calm as he dodged. "Not much of a fight, are you?" he sang out gently. The pair snarled and their attacks grew stronger.

"Need some help?" Regulumon roared, his tone indicating his question.

Sana shrugged. "Whatever you'd like." He jumped into the air over Beelzemon's claw, kicking him in the face.

"Regulus Cutter!" He sliced with his sword and a blade of energy was sent from it towards Beelzemon.

The Digimon laughed and destroyed it with a simple firing from his gun. Landing on his motorcycle, he sent it flying toward them. A ring of data soared, turning the bike to scrap data. Scowling, Beelemon aimed at Cassie, who was unarmed. Tomoe took the bullets and sent them flying back.

"Don't touch my sister," Relena ordered with a smile. "Or it'll be your last moment alive."

"River of Power!" Cody's MetalSeadramon yelled.

"Feral Sword!" Yolei's Valkyrimon added. Both of their attacks were aimed at Beelzemon.

Sana moved to gently rest behind him. "Faolan," he sang out softly. "Break him for us." he second the attacks were deflected, the smaller boy leapt in the onslaught, a wild howl bursting from his lips.

"Tekkousou." Iron claws tore into Beelzemon almost ripping him apart.

"Why aren't you killing me?" the Demon Lord rasped.

"Simple," Faolan said quietly. "I follow my Alpha's orders and Sana wants this."

"That's right." Sana walked over and knelt next to the fallen Mega. "Goodbye Demon Lord." He placed a hand on Beelzemon's head. The Digimon screamed, a blood-chilling sound, as he melted. All the while, the strange Dragon boy smiled softly.

AncientWisemon had been watching the event. "One down," he responded hoarsely, before turning his attention to Lilithmon. "Two to go."

"It won't be as easy as it was for that arrogant fool," she hissed. "Phantom Pain!" A mist came from nowhere, headed toward the others. Meanwhile, Tempest was clashing silently with Ogudomon, water freezing and melting at measure. Luca watched helplessly as BanchoLeomon attacked. He wanted to fight, so badly he did, but he was in the most danger here and knew it.

"Laplace's Demon!" With ultimate wisdom, he calculated the coordinates to the spirit world and aimed to imprison Lilithmon for eternity in a separate universe.

But the tainted one was quicker. "Nazar Nail!" She was gone and reappeared behind the Ancient Warrior, hand through his chest. She licked her lips. "There you are, much better off dead."

"Ha," he coughed, bringing up a little bit of blood. "Not yet." He managed to teleport out of the way, as the energy from an EmperorGreymon's Dragonfire Crossbow technique struck Lilithmon directly in the back.

"Nor am I." The energy left a burn but she recovered. Her smirk widened. "Nazar Nail!" The attack was aimed for Blair, but surprisingly Tempest knocked her aside and was stabbed through. He let out a grunt of pain as there was the sound of cracking.

"Oh no, Tempest!" The girl exclaimed.

Tempest said nothing, stood up, and turned around. "Is that..." he began quietly. "Everything you've got?" He raised a hand misted ice-blue and rested it over the hole. It healed instantly and Tempest returned to fighting Ogudomon.

"You must not be worth it Lilithmon," Liam said coldly, slicing just past her, only to slice her torso open.  The Demon sighed and a ghostly mist eased out toward him and she struck with her claws to be blocked by Talia's chains.

Rosemon went over to AncientWisemon, almost begging him to let her heal him, but was refused every time. "Incoming pest, Rosemon!" A MetalKabuterimon shouted.

A flaming wheel soared past her and knocked the assailant back. "Try not to be so close next time!" Sentri called as he tossed another, hitting more deformed shadows.

"Electron Cannon!" MetalKabuterimon yelled, aiming at Lilithmon.

Lillithmon dodged easily, only to be face-to-face with Tomoe. "What's this? A foolish resistance."

Tomoe and Kikyo shrugged and replied in unison. "Only because you're stupid." She uppercut the Demon Lord with a blade plunged through the temple. Flipping back made room for WarGreymon to use his Dramon Claw, killing her.

"Two down," Matt muttered. "And the hardest to go."



Meanwhile, Emma watched from the sidelines, Sanako at her side. She stiffened, feeling a sick darkness in her chest.

“What's up,” her friend asked, Ruthie in her arms. The baby was watching the battle around her, not quite grasping the situation but knowing something was wrong. Below her were Digi-Eggs, silently forming and waiting for their time to hatch.

“Something's happened to them,” she whispered. “To Leith.”

“Is he dead?” the Ferro asked worriedly.

“No,” the sixteen-year-old shook her head. “But something is wrong and I'm sure Melissa can sense it too.” She clenched a fist. “I hate feeling useless!”

“You're not useless at all.” This comment came from Lady Ferro.

“Grandma!” Sanako exclaimed, snapping to attention. “What are you doing here?”

The woman chuckled. “I am a warrior yes but these old bones are not meant to fight these creatures any longer.” She looked at Emma, who shrank reflexively. “You say child... that you are useless?”

Timidly, Emma nodded. “I can't fight, I can't heal, there's nothing useful I can do. All I can do is sit here and hope they're okay.”

“That's the best thing for you to do.”

“Eh?” Lady Ferro sat down beside her and looked out at the darkening sky.

“I think many of those Chosen have forgotten... the value of believing in others without everything being known. They have been with each other so often and seen their skills in action, so doubt is never something to think about. But sometimes... that sort of thing is the most necessary of all.”

“How?”

“Belief... gives someone strength to keep going forward, no matter what it takes. Belief gives someone heart, someone hope. Remember your sister's Virtue?”

“Faith...”

Lady Ferro's voice grew stronger. “She is not the only one who can believe. You have that strength. And that belief will go to everyone. That belief... is a mighty power. Those who can harness it... are strong, but those who give that belief... are the strongest and most useful of all.”

“So don't think that way,” Sanako ordered. “Your heart's enough. I've always said that.”

Emma managed a teary smile. “I-I will.” She prayed and some part of herself felt something surge. It was only later she would realize what it was:

Power.

...

“You are good fighters,” the Demon Lord praised.

“We don't need compliments from you!” Luca snapped darkly, causing Ogudomon to chuckle.

“I am quite certain you don't, Chaos Keeper,” came the reply. “however, you may prefer this to what I have now.”

“What do you mean,” the wild boy asked, dread coiling up in his stomach. Ogudomon chuckled again, the deep sound sending shivers down their spines.

“What I mean... is this.” Above Ogudomon's head floated a familiar black diamond. The Catal Unit was shining green, a sick, tainted color. There was a shifting nearby and Luca turned. His eyes widened in horror. The others paused for a moment and looked over. Even Sana, whose expression usually never changed, and Liam's endless cold calm, was filled with nothing but terror.

Kiri's corpse was rising up, bloody and torn. Her eyes were blank and glassy, holding nothing but a faded grey iris. On her chest, where her heart should have been, was a diamond-shaped hole, showing through to the scenery behind her. Like Luca, she had no heart. A familiar black blade, that of Steel Reaper, was forming in one hand.

“Wh-What...?” Tai gasped.

“What's going on?” Matt snarled, filled with pure disgust.

“Y-You...” Akira's voice was choking but he managed to finish, staring at the Catal Unit. “You're using her body... to do your dirty work?”

“But of course,” The Demon's reply caused Akira to shudder. “It's still mostly intact and it can be accessed by this dear device. You must use your tools well correct?” Akira gritted his teeth and kept silent but Luca did not.

“**** you!” The boy's roar was inhuman, black. “Go to hell you *******! How dare you! How dare you use someone like that?!”

“Luca calm down!” Jonathan commanded, hurrying to his side. “This is what he wants! You can't-”

“I don't care!” Luca snapped, knocking Jonathan aside. “You listen to me you goddamn bastard, I don't care! **** the laws and the Codes! They're worthless! This bastard's killed one of the only family I have for power, his minions have broken every single one of my kind, he likely killed my parents, and he's using my cousin as a ****ing tool! How can you tell me to calm down now huh? How can you tell any of us to do that? You arrogant piece of trash!”

“Enough.” Akira moved to his cousin's side. “Leave him be Luca. If you won't listen to him, obey me. Leave it be.” The boy gave his cousin a glare.

“Why aren't you-” Akira cut him off.

“Oh believe me, I am.” The twenty year old clenched a staff in his hands tight, grey eyes full of murder. “You have no idea how much I want to kill him. But that sort of thinking won't get me anywhere. Besides,” he gestured toward Tempest, who had stopped attacking. “Shouldn't we be worried about them?” Luca turned and paled. He could feel it now.

“And I thought the Chaos was overwhelming,” the twelve-year old muttered, covering his mouth.

“What are you talking about?” Jonathan asked as he stood back up. He could vaguely sense something but... “I don't feel anything too off.”

“That's just it,” Rina's voice was the calmest of all of them. “You don't. And you should.”

Blair felt annoyed, then, she did feel it... nothing. Her fists clenched. “Where are Sean and Leith?”

Ogudomon smirked. “That's two.”

"What do you mean; two?" Tai asked.

"They're his now, their bodies." Talia's eyes were on Ogudomon, unflinching. "They're easy to possess, those who have sinned. Those... who have murdered. It's easier to possess though, what is already his."

"How could they be his?" Blair demanded.

"He holds the Catal Unit now. With that, he can control the Keeper. And Tempest was his creation, who resides in that body. So that is his as well." Talia frowned pensively. "Though to control the bodies so fluidly... could you be..."

"Using fragments?" Ogudomon seemed to smile. "Yes. You're a bright one aren't you?"

"Unfortunately," Talia muttered, spinning her whip. Blair prepped Blazing Archer and Jonathan readied Gaia's Revenge. Everyone else tensed as the controlled bodies started walking towards them.

"Ease up children." Akira stepped toward his sister, spinning Stable Way in one hand. "You have no chance, These two are masters at close combat. Besides..." He caught it in both hands. "This is my battle, not something I'd just hand over." He charged forward and slashed over her head, only to have it blocked. He smirked. "Looks like neither of us have been playing around all this time huh?"

Luca moved toward Tempest, who held both tonfa almost crossed. "Looks like I finally get to beat sense into you," he muttered, Lion's Pride gleaming. He licked his lips and his eyes turned black with red pupils. "Let's go then!" He charged forward, kicking off the tonfa to land a fierce punch at the older male's head. It was blocked and the two kept fighting.

Kari gestured for them. "Come on, while they can hold everyone back. We need to go!" The Destined followed Kari and T.K. as they went in another direction.

Kikyo jumped past them, bolting just ahead of them. "She can hear it."

Kari paled. "Are you serious?"

"Yeah, they can hear us but they can't do anything to stop it." Kikyo's indifferent stare rested on TK. "So I bet right now, they're pleading with those two to stop them, begging to die. Because they know what'll happen otherwise."

TK frowned, seeing the stone structure up ahead. "The Future will be..."

"Nonexistent," Kari finished. "Just like the last time this was tried." She paused at the stone steps, waiting for the others. As she arrived, Blair's D-Core began to flash erratically.

"Huh?" Blair looked down at her D-Core in confusion, wondering what was going on. As she spoke, a seemingly invisible barrier vanished and the D-Core's light disappeared.

"The Gate of Virtue has opened," Kari declared, looking forlorn. "We don't have any time to waste. Get inside." She bolted, causing the others to follow. Kikyo paused, watching Rei.

"You know," the girl began conversationally. "If you wish to die, stay out here. You said you lived a long time and had enough of it, but could never end it. Maybe that was the timestream's way of punishing you for changing the way the world had gone. Living in a world without your parents... it would have been painful and dark, but believe me when I say this..." She sat on the stone, staring just past Rei. "It's preferable than to be on the brink of two kinds, as you are now... little child with the cracked soul."

Suddenly, Rei stood up and quickly pushed Kikyo inside, Gaomon Warp Digivolving to Shine Greymon in a split second. "Don't argue, Kikyo, just go." Rei stated firmly. "This is my chance to give you guys some time." Lilithmon's spirit had reformed and lunged straight at Rei.

Kikyo simply watched from inside. "It's... not going to take long," she mused, watching as Lillithmon struck,slicing from shoulder to hip on Rei's body.

"GeoGrey Sword!" The Mega pulled out the dual-bladed sword, imbued with the element of fire and swung it at Lilithmon.

Lilithmon tore through it like it was cheese, slashing through to knock ShineGreymon to the ground. "It isn't... that easy," hissed the spirit, full of hatred and fury. The data-based spirit swiftly grabbed Rei, with the intent of having her as a shield only to kill later. "Now what do you intend to do?"

ShineGreymon growled. He could do nothing, his attacks were too area consuming. There was only one thing he could think of. "Kikyo..." he asked the girl, who had been watching. "Would you... kill us?" Rei frowned.

"ShineGreymon..."

"Either way Rei, this is our end. I'd rather have it be... with her gone." Rei sighed. This was what she wanted, wasn't it?

Kikyo stepped forward. "If this is what you will." A pink light glowed faintly around her as she pulled out two of the blades.

"You think you can aim to kill us both?" Lillithmon's spirit snorted.

"Of course," the seven-year-old girl said coolly. "Miracles happen more than you think." She threw, skewering both females through the heart, the knife fueled by the crest of light. Lillithmon vanished with a scream and Rei fell to the ground, to be caught by a rapidly weakening ShineGreymon. Kikyo smiled softly. "You did good kid." She left to let them die together, intent on assisting the others in the temple.

The two's data dissipated completely as Kikyo just re-entered the temple. Mimi had a blank look on her face and Jonathan was trying to convince her that it was what Rei wanted, to not have to put up with the pain anymore. The cerise-haired fifteen-year-old didn't seem convinced.

"She's happy now isn't she?" the little girl said, walking past them with a set expression on her face. "You will survive this thanks to her and she got to see you alive. Everything she did wasn't for nothing, not now. Don't run out there and die because you don't like that. Be happy for her," Kikyo went into the tunnel. "She's freer than anyone." 

"We need to keep going," TK began, following.

Jonathan put his arm around Mimi's shoulder, the girl just accepted it as they followed Kari and T.K. They came into a room with the symbols of the crests shining on the walls. Some were glowing but a few, such as Kindness, Hope, Light, Courage, and Miracles were dim. As soon as the last person entered, a door slid shut, leaving them trapped.

"I'm assuming some of you have noticed already," Zoe mentioned quietly. "For those who haven't, I am not whole."

Kikyo simply nodded at her, eyes closed. Matt turned. "What do you mean... not whole?" Blair asked slowly.

"Like Kiri and the rest of the Storien, I am a remnant," the albino answered.

Catherine stiffened. "You too?"

"Wait a minute back up," Jonathan looked between Kikyo and Zoe. "What is a remnant?"

Zoe frowned at the child. "You never told them?"

Kikyo shrugged. "We weren't allowed to."

"While Megidramon had Yoshino and Noriko killed, he had ordered two of his underlings to keep me on the ground. I was helpless, as I was forced to watch my cousins die..." Zoe partially explained.

"That will cause a soul to crack, those sorts of events. Things like despair, wrath, watching loved ones die, dying, all those strong acts,"Kikyo's voice was very scared for some reason as she spoke. "It will break it in some cases as it did with us. It is... cruel and some are not human anymore. Also..." she hesitated before continuing. "It can be forced to shatter in some cases. Those pieces of souls...”

Glancing at Jonathan, Zoe finished. "Are remnants." They all looked at each other, not sure what to say.

Kikyo shook all over, her face paling. "Not supposed to say anything," she muttered darkly. "In so much trouble now." Unconsciously, the Crest of Light began to shine on her chest.

"I'm sorry," Zoe apologized.

"Don't blame yourself for it," Kikyo replied. "It was bound to be revealed eventually. We'll just take the punishment when it comes." Her eyes told a different story than her forced composure. "Anyway," she whispered. "let's get started." The crest began to shine brighter and in unison, so did the one on the wall. The majority of the Digi-Destined appeared confused at the Crest's reaction.

"Get ready," Kari mumbled. The Crest began to shine on her as well. "The Crest power is necessary."

"NEO... we need to wake him," TK added, letting Hope shine. 

"Or at least start," Magnadramon commented. Tai nodded firmly as the Crests of Courage, Friendship, Love, Reliability, Knowledge and Kindness also shone.

TK frowned. and looked at the symbols. "Not enough," he muttered. He glanced at the younger girl. "Kikyo where's the other crest power?"

"The original bearers never returned them," she said to them, looking troubled.

"That's not good," Kari stated quietly. "Now what?"

There was a rustle and a kind voice entered Kikyo's ears. "Need some help?"

"Miss Reiko!" The spirit formed, the young woman standing in the middle of the temple.The return of Kiri's mother, even if she was in spirit form, stunned the Digi-Destined; though they were starting to get used to it.

"When I died, my soul came here to wait for you but it looks like I am the last to meet you," the woman muttered. "Pleasure. As a former temporary Keeper, I believe it is my last duty to finish this task." Kari nodded and motioned for the others to step back.

A grey light began to wash over them. The symbols began to glow brighter, each lit by their Virtue. Kikyo stiffened and let out a sudden cry of pain. She fell, clutching her head. Outside, Kiri's corpse temporarily hit the earth before rising again, slashing at her brother's throat. Luca let out a screech of agony, mixing with Sana and Faolan's winces. Their Digivices began to flash and vibrate angrily.

"What's going on with our Digivices?" Blair questioned.

"They're responding..." Kikyo gasped. "To the call of NEO's power. The Future sings to them, asking for energy to awaken them." Her hands wrapped around her torso and she could sense Tomoe's self being blocked away. Collapsing to her knees, she coughed heavily. TK moved to help her but she shook her head. "Reiko-nee please!"

"I'm trying," the dead woman responded gently. "The Catal is starting to overflow with the energy of sin. It's a miracle I can even access it."This statement alarmed the Digi-Destined.

"Ogudomon is of sin itself," the younger whispered, remembering the time they had fought him. "So... we need to..." She collapsed, sick shadows running across her body.

Reiko frowned with concern. "Looks like there's no choice then," she murmured. "My children, please, live on. I am so sorry."

"Miss Reiko don't!" Kikyo's cry came too late as the woman vanished into golden light.



Akira skidded back. “****,” he muttered darkly, glancing back at his friends, who were watching the Gate and guarding it from the strange grey wisps that had attacked them before. “Stupid sinlings, you guys okay?”

“Course we are,” Liam replied, slashing one in two as his partner did the same. “Though you're not. Want me to take over?”

“No way,” retorted the younger, cracking the earth and kicking her in the face, only to be glanced aside.

“This isn't right for you Akira.” Talia's voice was soft as the whip wrapped itself around her enemy's throat. She yanked and tore it out. “You shouldn't fight your own sister.”

“I'm not fighting my sister,” he countered as he leaned back from the attack. Above him Justimon was back-to-back with Sana, attacking the large legs of Ogudomon. “I'm fighting a look-alike. And even if I was fighting her,” He knocked it to the ground. “I'd see it through to the end. I won't go back on any of it. That's what a coward does.”

“Akira...” Talia nodded and a firm look crossed her face. “Then we'll help too!” Her Digivice began to glow again. The other three looked at one another and nodded. An emblem appeared on the screens. “AncientSphinxmon buy time!”

“Got it!” Akira looked at his teammates and wondered what he had done to get such great friends.

“You grew up to be someone to be proud of, someone you would want to follow.”

He froze. “M-Mom...”

“Goodbye my son. I love you so much. Live, I beg this of you.” For a moment, he saw her smile, kind and loving, a predecessor of his own, of both of his siblings'.

“Mom!”



Luca fell backwards, toppling over. His body was in so much pain, the Catal's sin was leaking out. Or it had been. Auntie.... Rage burned his throat, turning his face from pasty to red now, as the runes shining their endless violet. The Chaos was struggling inside of him. They were so close to the Catal Unit, it was inching to get out. Meanwhile, Tempest was looming over him, the formerly ice-blue eyes as blank as a slate.

“Having fun,” he snapped at the boy, who didn't answer other than a burst of water. He broke through the ice and kept attacking, glancing at Dorugoramon and BanchoLeomon, who were trying to ignore the combat behind them. “What the hell do you three think you're doing? I had faith in you, you little idiot. Are you just gonna let that ******* control you? It's your head and guess what Leith?” He socked him in the stomach. “Kiri is your wielder, not this jerk! So...” He punched him to the ground. “Get up you damn coward!”

Coward? Sean stirred. Don't call me that.

Luca laughed and slashed his comrade's face open, seeing the gaping void with a vague satisfaction. “Then fight back. Wake the hell up!”

Easier said than done, Leith commented as he slowly awoke. We've lost too much energy keeping this body moving. You'll have to hit where our heart used to be. He's using the Core Program. And you know how to hit it I presume, Tamer?

Luca stopped and crouched. “Who the hell do you think I am?” Letting the Chaos burn just slightly around his fingertips and fist, he charged, dodging the swinging silver. “I may not be able to beat you in a straight up fight but when it comes to playing dirty...” He whipped behind his friend and punched through, careful not to crack the Core. “I'm the best there is!” Tempest woke suddenly, surrounded by ice-blue light. Ogudomon watched, unafraid.

The second the light faded and Tempest landed, looking furious, Luca hit the ground, bleeding and ripped to shreds. In those last seconds, Tempest had hit hard.


"We need to kill him, right?" Anna questioned in regards to Kikyo's statement.

"It doesn't matter now," she said. "It won't bring Miss Reiko's soul back, it won't repair theirs, any of it. It..." She fell silent and her eyes turned the color of ice. "We've wasted enough time, enough lives," she muttered, lifting her left hand toward a pillar in the center of the room. A lightless orb hovered above it. Davis stirred.

"That... it feels kinda familiar."

"Is that... the power of Miracles?" That was Anna.

Davis nodded, eyes bright. "That's it concentrated all right. I almost forgot it."

"What do we do next?" Sora asked.

"Go and fight."  Kari's tone was strained. "We need to break those curses."

"Wait, you mean fight Ogudomon?" Mimi's voice was strained.

"How else will we truly free those two?" TK retorted, placing his hand over the exit door. It opened at his touch. "Miss Reiko's sacrifice will mean nothing if we don't get the Catal away."

"We'll be fine," Kari said with a strange cheer. "Sana and Akira are there. It'll work."

"Right!" Matt said decisively. "Let's do this!"

Kikyo went to the place where Reiko had been standing. Just like before, a grey light pulsed. "Do attempt to hurry," the girl muttered weakly. "Keeping it still is a bit of a pro-" She fell silent, Data Interface activating. As she did, the door opened and Willis ran out first, followed by Catherine. The others quickly followed.

They came out to see Relena crouched over someone, her face pale.. "Luca, I swear if you cause me this much trouble again, I'll make you regret meeting me."

The blonde choked out a laugh. "Sure I don't already?"

"*******."

He turned his head toward the battle. "Where the hell's Tempest?"

"Killing things. Where else?" For a moment the boy flashed into their vision, spearing one of Ogudomon's legs. Then he was gone, having been knocked brutally aside only to stand back up.

"Highland Fang!"
 
"Terra Force!"
 
"Mach Stinger V!"
 
"Dragon's Roar!"

 
Dino Tigemon, WarGreymon, TigerVespamon and Dynasmon attacked at the same time, leaving Ogudomon's weak spots available for the other Digimon.

"Terra Force!"

"Flash Bantyo Punch!"

"Metal Impulse!"


"Catedral!" The shockwave knocked them all back. As they got up, they saw Akira, who was staring almost blankly at the Catal. Then he shook his head and smacked his sister's body down. He moved to continue the assault, attacks fiercer than before. They could all faintly see it, a golden aura.

Kari suddenly shook her head, looking upset. "Akira is crying..." Dino Tigemon, WarGreymon, Dynasmon, TigerVespamon and Kentaurosmon attacked as one, focusing on the leg closest to them.

"You." Faolan's voice was hoarse, irritated as he looked at Blair and Jonathan. "You two have weapons don't you?"The neighbours didn't respond, merely pulled out their weapons and prepped them before attacking.

Sana dropped. "Don't attack recklessly," he scolded. "That's not what your weapons are for! You could hurt an ally instead. Look closely at your enemy."

"We weren't," Blair's voice came as she half-turned her head.
 
"That's right," Jonathan answered. "We were waiting for an opening, in case you missed that."

"Then you kids missed about six," someone remarked. "Honestly, that was bad even for newbies."

Sana snorted. "You're such an ass Samael." A familiar brown-haired male rolled his eyes as he landed on the ground, looking incredibly amused with a single raised eyebrow.

"And you weren't?"

"Yeah but for Sana it's not a default setting!" This came from Triesta, who was grinning widely, causing the elder to snicker. "He was just worried for Tempest's safety, considering we have a girl with fiery arrows trained in the wrong direction and a boy who could have just been stepped on."

"You really do love me don't you Triesta?" The girl rolled her eyes. 

"I'd rather be drowned again, thank ya kindly."
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"What Tama wishes for is..."

  #44    
Old June 2nd, 2011, 03:29 PM
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Legendarian Mistress
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Chapter 40: Touch of Frost

"Eh?" Blair's face half turned, showing her remaining eye with a confused expression.

There was a low groan from the older male and Samael rolled his eyes coldly. "Typical. More ignorant and inept that a cage of untrained monkeys."

Sana gave a calm sigh. "You do know that's rude, Erion?"

"I'm perfectly aware," came the answer. "And do avoid calling me that, there is no need to treat them like they have working brain cells when it is clear they do not."

"Ass," Triesta stated cheerily.

"I don't know what your problem is, Samael," Jonathan stated evenly. "But if you're here to help, then help. Don't go badmouthing Blair for no reason."

Samael opened his mouth but Triesta overrode him. "Don't take it personally, Samael's rude to pretty much everyone, probably due to the oak tree up his ass. The only person he isn't..."

The male glared at her. "Shut up about that."

Triesta rolled her eyes. "Hardly, you can't deny it. Anyway..." She suddenly moved, knocking the younger two out of the way of an energy wave. "Pay attention. He's after you for a reason. Also, Sana's right. Don't prep a weapon if you don't already have an opening locked on. You're just running in blind."

The two neighbours nodded.

To their surprise, Tempest went flying past them, bouncing on the ground and landing in a defeated heap. He struggled to move, reaching vainly with cracking fingers for a handhold. "Not... yet..." he panted. "Not... now... there's still a chance... please... don't give up now... she... we have to protect her...p-please..." He kept struggling.

"Who said we were giving up?" Dynasmon answered.

TigerVespamon stepped forward. "That's right." He looked around at the other Digimon, who were all fighting valiantly. "This ends now."

Tempest gave a bleary smile. "You're so stupid..." He stood up shakily and glared defiantly up at the Demon Lord. "This is it. One... last... try." As he spoke, the formerly muted ice-blue glow blazed bright, almost like a sun.

Ogudomon snorted. "You're well aware of what you will do to yourself if you attack like that?"

The three all wore a weak grin, the personalities sharing resolve. "Of course..."

"That's why we're doing it," Leith stated coolly. "What we wish for right now..."

"Is the miracle of this moment," Sean finished. "And that's what we're going to get." They moved, leaping over all of their heads. As the Digimon attacked, his partner took him up to the sky, holding him tightly as the light glowed brighter and brighter, almost too bright to see. The boy leapt, his tonfa sharpening like blades.

"You two," Relena stated to the D-Core keepers. "Destroy the eyes on his legs! Now!"

At once, Jonathan and Blair held up their D-Cores and the light emitted from them destroyed the eyes almost straight away.

Ogudomon roared in pain but laughed. "Silly Storien, you think this will change anything? Your life will change nothing you understand? Your sacrifice is worthless!"

"Of course it is to you," Sean retorted. "You don't understand it. And even if you did, it wouldn't matter. Even if it is worthless, we'll still do it! So..." He slashed downward and tore through the last eye and the Digi Core. "Who cares?" Ogudomon's data immediately began to disperse and the Digimon laughed.

"I am not the end," he hissed. "Sin will always flow in the worlds and one way or another I will return to make sure it surpasses any miracles."

"...Yeah?" Leith's voice was weak as he half-turned to look at him. The cracks reached his face now and his ice-blue eyes were almost blank as a genuine smile touched his lips. "Then someone else will kick your ass. Wish I could see it..." He fell, collapsed to the side as Ogudomon vanished completely from Crossroads. His body didn't move, and they could all hear the sound of breaking ceramic. Dorugoramon instantly devolved all the way down to his Baby level, looking weaker than they had ever seen.

"Leith!" Blair screamed and ran over to him, hesitating before placing a hand on his shoulder.

To her horror the shoulder cracked and fell from her fingers, revealing a black, gaping hole. "He didn't feel that." Relena's voice was hollowly soft. "He can't hear us anymore. The curse has finally consumed his body. He's just a living statue now."

Luca managed to stand up and kneel at the side of his friend. "The curse got to him ages ago," he said quietly. "When we were first summoned here actually. He should have fallen that day." He turned and locked gazes with Blair. "He forced his body to move, forced himself to live, for your sake."

"Then... he's gone?" Her voice seemed empty.

"Not for long," Zhuqiaomon said. "Don't you remember I said we had plans?" The Red Phoenix appeared, along with the other Sovereigns.

"His soul remains there," Relena stated, her tone growing cold at the sight of the Sovereign. "What's left of it anyway." She sneered at them and Ebonwumon's eyes flashed with guilt. "Lift your damned curse!" She raised her voice, so that Akira and the others could hear. "There are enough people dead, we don't need one more."

Ebonwumon gave Zhuqiaomon a pointed look, his eyes saying; you put it there, you remove it.

"Very well," Zhuqiaomon answered. He stepped forward and lightly touched the boy's body with one talon.

The boy's body began to shimmer, cracks slowly healing and the hole in his shoulder returning to the look of flesh and blood. His eyes slowly lost their glassy nature, filling with life again. When the glow faded, he was fully recovered but still didn't move.

Blair's eye widened slowly in disbelief. "He has to come back," she breathed.

There was a weak groan. "Don't tell me what I have to do girly," Sean quipped raspily. "I'll move my ass when I feel like it."

"Oh joy, he's back," Matt said good-naturedly.

Sean coughed. "Sort of." He inched to move, face pale and tired. "You guys... are real morons, you know that?"

"Oh?" Tai asked, sounding almost sardonic. "Why's that?"

"Well... maybe... cause of that?" A black cloud shot toward them, only for a faint blue barrier to disperse it. Sean's pale face was flushed with exhaustion. "We remnants... can't protect you like this forever... Besides, even if the curse is gone, there's still..."

"Sean... your kind are already in jeopardy," Ebonwumon's warning was soft, kindly. "Do not bring a darker punishment on yourselves than there already is."

"The war has been won," Zhuqiaomon stated. "So now let's witness what's happening in the real world. Fanglongmon, if you would..."

The golden dragon gave a muted nod; watching his Tamer as he created a screen for them all to see.

They turned their heads to the screen, with most of them gasping as they saw parts of the Digital World displayed in the sky over Odaiba.

"The borders have been weakening for a long time now," Luca commented almost to himself, turning to see Tomoe walking to their side. The girl's grey eyes were narrowed, hostility flickering in them. "The Schism is dangerously close to happening again."

"So how do we stop it?" Jonathan and Mimi asked at the same time, before glancing at each other in surprise.

Luca glanced up at the Catal Unit and back at his cousin, who was also staring at the device, his Elesyn glowing. "Miraculous Bonds."

"What do you mean by that?" Sora questioned.

"Bonds can bring out power," Akira stated, lifting the glowing screen toward the Catal Unit. "The Power to defy something that's already been decided. They bring about a Miracle, one with a true Golden Radiance." Wizardmon stirred. Those words sounded similar to his own warning a year ago.

"That's your power Akira-nii." Luca looked almost excited. "That's your power, Bonds!"

"That's wrong Luca," Relena smiled kindly. "That's everyone's power. That's why they are bonds."

"All you need to do with them," Sana grinned passively. "Is channel them. Channel that power to the best place to repair the pain and it heals."

The Digi-Destined closed their eyes and focused, holding their Digivices at chest level. Each of the Crests' powers and the strength of the hope that the remaining Destined had shone brightly.

Akira's Digivice resonated, matching their glow with his own. His team looked at one another, and pointed their Digivice crystals at Akira's Elesyn. Their Digimon grinned at them and gave firm nods. Their bodies instantly began to dissolve into data, the data pouring into their human's Digivices.

"Maybe we'll meet again," Monodramon offered shyly.

Sentri spoke for his leader. "Of course!"

As the partners vanished, Talia opened her mouth before closing it, looking upset. Rina jumped in gently. "Focus your hope towards Akira-nii's Digivice. He can channel it to where it needs to go."

Tai, Davis and Jonathan's teams, plus the Internationals aimed their Digivices at Akira's and all of the light shot towards it.

The device shone white and just like that, the Catal Unit resonated. The black diamond began to spin to the ground, turning grey.

Kiri's body started floating to a standing position and all of the wounds she had sustained in her fight against Ogudomon were healed. Life returned to her, slowly but surely.

The others' eyes widened, unable to believe what they were seeing. Kiri's vacant eyes seemed to flicker with life.

"Mama..." Tomoe's soft awe said it all. Akira grinned to himself.

"Good girl."

"Welcome back, Kiri." Jonathan answered. Relief was evident in everyone else's eyes.

"What happens now?" Tai asked the Sovereigns. "Do we go back to the real world?"

Kiri didn't speak at first, her grey eyes dull and wide. At Tai's question though, she pointed at the old door, which swung open to the real world. She frowned at him curiously, stare solemn. "Does that help?" Her voice was younger and slightly higher. The grey gaze held a spark of fear.

"Kiri, what's wrong?" Mimi questioned, looking between her leader and the younger girl in confusion.

The gaze locked on her now and true fear flared. "Who are you?"

"Oh great," Jonathan muttered worriedly. She doesn't remember us.

Kiri looked them all over, an almost calculating look in her eyes. "There's something... wait."

"Where do you remember them from?" Akira's voice was measured.

The girl glanced at her brother and back again. "I remember now: they're all dead."

A "Huh?" of surprise came from Izzy's mouth.

"You're all dead. My siblings and I saw the pictures on the screen, when Ogudomon enslaved us all. We were shown the battlefield where you fell, your corpses left to rot on the ground. We went back later and buried the bodies next to you," Her gaze went to Luca, voice never leaving the hollowly soft lilted monotone. "You were killed with your parents, because they resisted. You were made an example of."

Sean tried to sit up. "How old are you now?"

She simply blinked. "Eight."

Willis' eyes widened. "Something went wrong in the rebirth," he realized.

"Yes and no." Norn's tone had a new melodic tone to it. "Kiri could not be reborn from a death like that. She is no longer on a plain currently reachable through mortal methods. However, a bit of her soul, which has been residing in another world, could be returned to her body, which has plainly occurred."

"Oh," was all that the Destined could say.

"Is something the matter?" the girl asked, causing Akira to sigh kindly and muss her hair.

"They're overwhelmed." She nodded and a vaguely crestfallen look crossed her face.

"I'm sorry."

Noticing that the old door was still open, Jonathan asked the other groups if they wanted to come back with them to the real world.

"We need to," Talia said softly. "Our families..."

"Right then!" Davis declared. "Let's go." He made to rush off, but Yolei quickly grabbed his shirt's collar and pulled him back.

Willis clearly wanted to be around Kiri, but wasn't sure how her now eight-year-old self would react to a sixteen-year-old.

The girl smiled shakily and slipped a hand in his for a second. Then she went to help her friends up. Pulling Sean to his feet last, she mumbled, "Whatever you did, you overdid it Sean."

He froze. "You remember me?"

"Of course," Kiri replied. "We're friends. And you saved me."

He flushed. "Just repaying a debt." She giggled quietly and returned to Willis' side.

"You're warm," she said simply and took his hand again.

The Colorado-born teen blushed in embarrassment and walked with her as Sana and Akira's teams followed Tai, Davis and Jonathan's.

Akira smiled slyly. "Don't get in too much trouble now," he teased, causing Liam and Talia to roll their eyes.

Everyone walked through the door, going through the Gate and emerging in the real world.

Sean was instantly tackled by his sister and they stumbled and fell back. Melissa was in tears.

Most of the Digi-Destined's parents came forward and hugged their children, tears streaming from their eyes.

Sentri and Rina looked uncertainly at their leader, who smiled sadly and nodded. Both shook their heads firmly and stubbornly remained. Akira shrugged and gestured silently as he left. His family and team followed, Sana leading any others who wanted to join. Sean paused, glanced at the Chosen, and joined them, allowing Jordan to steer him on.

Catherine didn't hesitate in following Luca, which left the other Digi-Destined milling about. In the end, they kept to themselves, with Blair looking pensively in Sean's direction.

"Where are you two going?" A calm, light voice resounded, causing Leith and Melissa to turn. Leith frowned pensively and tilted his head while Melissa, surprisingly, to let out a low growl. Her brother looked over.

"Melissa what-?"

"What the hell do you think you're doing here, you stupid old *****?" Melissa's screech was definitely unexpected and Leith flinched away.

The woman frowned. "That's not the best way to treat your grandmother after fourteen years Melissa. We thought your parents had raised you better."

Wondering what would happen, a small group of the Destined watched.

"You should have raised us!" the girl screamed, eyes full of a sick hate. "You left us behind in that ****** place all that time! Why? Why did you abandon us?"

"You can blame your father for that, your father and your hiding partner." The woman's tone never wavered as she looked over at Leith, recognition in her eyes.

The opposing hazel eyes flashed. "Don't you dare blame my Digimon!" Melissa ran to attack the middle-aged woman, only to punch Leith, who had gotten in the way. Leith forced to spin and held her firmly by her wrists. "Let go Leith! Let go of me! Let me get her! Let go!"

"No," her brother replied sadly. "Sarah didn't do anything wrong."

"She didn't do anything at all, her or Grandpa!" the older redhead retorted, still struggling. "If-If they had just stepped in, we never, we never would have..."

"You would have never met me," retorted the soft voice of a Digimon, a Yokomon. "That would have been so lonely Melissa." The older girl froze, tears streaming down her face.

"Dad would have killed her," Leith reminded her. "He hated Digimon and he hated Sarah and Fayte for having them. You know that. He denied them being our guardians; there wasn't any way they could have done anything."

The teams wondered who the lady was and Anna asked how a human could hate Digimon so much.

"Her name is Sarah Harper," Leith began solemnly. "She's our grandmother and one of the first users of Armor Evolution. As for our father..."

"A Digimon killed his parents," the woman replied simply.

Luca snorted. "The rumours say one killed mine, big freaking whoop."

"Would you be saying the same thing if you saw them killed in front of your eyes?" she asked him quietly.

"I dunno," he answered, slightly testy. "I haven't had that experience have I?"

"All right, Luca, lay back." Akira stepped forward, smiling kindly at them all. "We're all tired and stressed and gonna jump each other in a minute. Why don't we talk later?" Melissa looked ready to disagree but the older male knelt and whispered something in her ear. She stilled and went limp, prompting Leith to release her. Gently he tugged her forward and she followed, hazel eyes full of muted misery.

"Boy," Sarah began softly, causing Akira to look back as the others left. "You're finally free from Limbo after six years yet you still wear such a fake smile."

Akira blinked before shrugging. "I guess I expected something to be different," he replied softly. "I guess I forgot there was no one waiting for me." With that depressing comment, he walked away, whistling merrily. "See you later Chosen," he called, sounding happy again. "Don't be surprised if your friends avoid you tomorrow!"

"Okay," Matt whispered in a hoarse voice.

Mimi had gone over to Jonathan's side while Akira, Luca and Sarah had been talking and said something softly in his ear, to which he nodded. They left, with Jonathan saying he'd meet up with Tai and Davis' teams tomorrow.

Kiri paused for a moment and watched them, with what should have been young eyes ancient with trauma. "Bye-bye," she whispered as she left, looking exhausted as her fingers brushed against her throat.
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  #45    
Old June 9th, 2011, 06:49 PM
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Fuyu
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Chapter 41: Exchanging Hearts

“You're staring off into space again,” a sing-song voice commented in Samael's ear. The male jumped and glared behind him at Sana, who was looking amusedly down at him. They rested in the Digital World, uncomfortable in the human world that wasn't theirs.

“Must you always bother me when I'm thinking Prince?” Samael gave a low growl, causing his leader to laugh.

“You think too much Erion,” replied the red-head, looking out at the Digital night sky. “...It's over now,” he said softly.

“It's only over in this world. Our goal isn't completed.”

“Spoilsport,” grumbled Triesta as she walked over. “Can't you just be happy? The other three can come here now, the worlds aren't able to be shredded again, and we'll get to go home. Can't you at least pretend to give a ****?” Siara limped to their side. Old habits died hard.

“Tch, you're one to talk.”

“Enough, the pair of you,” Faolan ordered tersely. “Look up at the stars.” The four obeyed and saw one shining brighter than the others. “There's a Gate opening in that world. I have a feeling that one of our own is waiting.”

“Only one?” Siara said softly. “Then that's...”

Samael paled and clenched his fists tight. “Rion.”

Triesta gave a sympathetic smile. “It's gonna be fine.”

“Easy for you to say,” the genius whispered. “You didn't kill him.”

“Rion never seemed like the type to hate anybody Erion,” Sana stated with a solemn nod. “I think it'll be okay.” Samael glowered.

“How can you say you know my brother better than I do?”

“Maybe because I talked to him?” The older teen gritted his teeth and didn't reply.



The Digi-Destined found themselves quietly alone for the first time in a long time. None of Kiri's team was near. Willis and Catherine were talking quietly to each other, both with bothered expressions.

“Didn't expect you two here,” Matt noted and Lopmon snorted derisively.

“I don't think anyone expected you to look so girly but there's nothing we can do about that either.”

Willis sighed. “Lopmon...”

“What?”

“...Never mind,” the blond mumbled, flashing Matt an apologetic look.

Blair snickered quietly at the remark and Jonathan frowned pensively. “Where are they?”

“Who knows?” Terriermon said tiredly. “Akira said they were busy yesterday and nearly slammed the door in our faces. Then again, he looked like he was in the middle of something.”

Catherine nodded. “I think they were talking, not quite sure about what though. We went by today and the door was locked.” Before Jonathan could wonder aloud what was happening, his phone rang.



Jonathan frowned to himself. He had no clue, almost literally, what to expect right now. Leith had suddenly called both himself and Blair to speak with his grandmother. They were where they said they were, sitting inside a small hotel room. Or rather, the woman was sitting up and Leith was next to her, laying there limply. On the other bed was an adult with white-blond hair. He wore a vacant smile and his eyes slid from one teen to the other, expression almost frozen.

"So you came after all," the woman said quietly, absently stroking her grandson's hair.

"We did," Wizardmon answered.

"Is something the matter?" Jonathan asked politely.

Sarah smiled down at the motionless boy next to her. "Tempest... he wishes for me to warn you of something that may come."

"Alright," Wormmon nervously spoke.

The male, who had been previously silent, spoke now. "You all are much too tense. There's nothing to be afraid of, nothing for you as of yet."

"Well Fayte, at least they aren't as bad as Len," commented a quiet tone from a small yellow fox. The Viximon waved its tail as it joined the man.

"Thank Goddess," Sarah mumbled. "Tell us; what do you two know of Armor Evolution?

"We know that Veemon, Hawkmon and Armadillomon are ancient Digimon who possess the power to Armour Digivolve. Other than that, we don't know much at all," Wizardmon admitted.

"Many other Digimon possess the power inside them," came a soft voice. It was a Biyomon, one with a gruesomely scarred left eye socket. "Ourselves for instance." She gave them a warm smile with her beak, not seeming to notice the long made scar.

"Leith," Sarah ordered quietly. "Show them." Leith's hand moved limply to his pocket and he held something out, his crystal from before.

"It's a Virtue Gem," the boy said, almost unable to be heard. "It has a trait inside of it, like a Crest. This one's..."

"Miracles," Sarah explained quietly. "Mine."

"So that explains how Dorumon was able to Digivolve to... uh..." Wormmon hesitated, momentarily forgetting the name of Dorumon's Mega level.

"Alphamon," came Dorumon's sad tone. "I hate that form. Hate it so much."

Why hate being a Royal Knight? Wizardmon asked mentally. Has something happened in the past while you were in that form?

I hate it because it's useless, Dorumon thought coldly to himself, once again sounding unlike the child he acted like. It can't do anything, it can't protect anyone, all because of honor and pride. I hate it.

Wizardmon sighed, almost in despair. "I didn't realize that being a Royal Knight could be that bad," he replied softly.

Leith rolled over and rested his hand on his partner's head. "It depends on who you ask, and how you are," replied the Storien. "I think Dorumon did his best and that was enough." The boy's glassy stare and voice never left the whisper or empty inflection.

"That's a reasonable response," Jonathan responded.

Sarah laughed musically. "I do love your way of thinking," she mumbled. "Tempest..."

"What?"

"You seem troubled."

"...I'm scared Sarah."

"Of what?" Wormmon timidly questioned.

"I'm going to make more suffer,"Tempest was staring hollowly out. "And there's no way for me to stop it."

"Oh, that's..." The foursome didn't know what to say really, so they trailed off.

Sarah sighed and stroked his head again. "That's something you can keep an eye on. The earth can be infected with Tempest's power, who is like a virus, which can corrupt. If you keep your Digivices with you, it will likely be able to fix that."

"Ah..." Fayte started to speak but fell silent.

"What's the matter?"

"Ah, I just thought... these two have never heard of the Twin Program."

"It's hasn't been used in a while so no wonder."

"What's the Twin Program?" Wizardmon questioned.

Fayte smiled to himself and opened a drawer, and pulled out a piece of paper. On it was a picture of two Digivices, foils of each other. Then he pulled out something else, a strange bracelet with a hole shaped like the crystals they wore. "On the picture are Digimon Twin, the only Digivices we ever saw for the longest time. They could counteract Tempest's unintentional corruption of the Digital World."

"How long ago were they created?" Wormmon inquired.

Fayte simply shrugged. "Who knows? Likely not long after Yggdrasil's birth."

"They're meant to be a fail-safe," Dorumon said suddenly, golden eyes dark and intense. "They're meant to purify the corruption of the God of this World, just like the Storien are to be for the Chosen Children." Wizardmon merely nodded.

"So in the end," the Digimon mused, glancing at Sarah. "Things haven't changed at all, have they?"

"Not a bit," the woman replied, turning her gaze to Jonathan and Blair. Leith tossed the gem into the air, causing Blair to catch it. "I wonder, if they will resonate with you as well. It only reacts to those it finds worthy bearers of the trait." The crystal glowed brightly in Blair's hand.

Leith watched silently and spoke to Sean. Do you think this implies something?

I think it implies it's a miracle she's with us.

Are you saying I would have killed her?

You are impatient with those you think slow on the uptake.

That's true. However, a part of him was greatly relieved.

Wizardmon, does this mean I should have been a Crest holder? Blair asked her partner.

I'm not sure but, by the looks of it, yes. The elf answered.

Fayte watched with interest for a moment then shrugged. "All Chosen have an inclination toward that trait supposedly but it wouldn't surprise me if you were." Leith sat up abruptly and moved toward the window. Dorumon watched him as he pulled out a familiar crimson orb. "Calling your friends Leith?"

"... Maybe." For a moment, he looked at Blair, almost into her soul. "It's good," he said softly. "That it resonated with you. It means that you definitely have the strength. It means it's all right for me to go."

“Go where?" She asked, looking confused.

"Wherever the Sovereign wish me to go," came the quiet reply. "All I know is that I have to leave Sean and I don't think I want to."

"I'm sorry that they have plans for you," she whispered.

"It's not me I fear for," replied the male, watching the orb shine. "It's Sean. Even with Tempest here, he's still alone." A haunted despair-filled expression crossed his face and both teens saw tears on Leith's face for the first time. "I can't leave him alone," the boy whispered, voice filled with defeat. "He's not ready yet, I can't just leave him. I've been at his side for so long. I can't..." He lost his words and simply let his tears fall in silence. The two teens were silent, feeling Leith's pain but not knowing how to help him.

Dorumon nuzzled the weapon's arm. "Come on now Leith," the Digimon said quietly. "Don't cry. You're supposed to be strong remember? Sean isn't supposed to see you cry. And you're not really gonna leave. I'm right here and a piece of you is in my Digicore: those memories of Guilmon. And don't worry, 'cause Sean isn't alone. I'll stay as long as I can and besides; you just said it would be okay. You said Blair was here so it would be okay. Right?" the Rookie asked, glancing at the two teens innocently.

"That's right, Dorumon," Wizardmon answered.

Dorumon smiled merrily at his partner, nuzzling his face energetically. He grabbed Leith suddenly by the hand and yanked the boy onto his back. He leapt from the window, laughing excitedly.

Sarah smiled faintly. "He has such an excitable partner, my grandson," she mused. Looking up at the two remaining, she nodded firmly. "If you'd like to leave, you may. I suspect you'll want to catch up with them."

Jonathan and Blair leaped onto the window as well and jumped down, with their partners Warp Digivolving to Dynasmon and TigerVespamon as the humans fell. They were caught by the Megas in time and they continued on after Dorumon and Leith.

Dorumon sang out with laughter and after a moment, Leith was laughing as well, almost looking carefree. Dorumon glanced back and hurried. "Come on!" the Digimon called. "We have to hurry and say hello. They're almost here!"

"We're coming, don't worry!" Dynasmon called, his tone still aristocratic.

Dorumon glanced at his partner. "Whatcha think Leith?"

"I dunno," his partner replied sleepily, eyes slipping shut. "It's kinda uncertain, ain't it? The future."

"It should be."

"Don't think it matters now though," Leith mumbled. "The eight are going to finally be united again. We can worry... later..." He slipped unconscious, barely held on by his partner.

Dorumon smiled softly. You fought really hard protecting everybody. Just rest now, I'll keep an eye out.




As the three landed on the ground with their Digimon, two figures appeared from a gate, both female. One was an older teen with short strawberry blonde hair and green eyes, her hair streaked red, dressed in a T-Shirt and baggy pants. The other was a small, mousy-looking child with brown hair and an olive-green dress. Kari stilled and couldn't hold back her cry.


“You're Mica and Arlen!” Her eyes glowed with excitement as she looked. “You two are okay?”


Tai turned and frowned. “You know them?”


“They're two of ours,” Sana stated cheerily as he strolled from nowhere. “Yo,” he greeted. The older female's eyes lit up and she walked over. However, instead of greeting him, she punched him in the stomach. Sana half-fell, but was grinning widely, looking amused.


“*******!” she shouted. “I thought you were stuck in hell for all this time! I've been thinking you were dead and that's what you say?”


The other girl looked bothered. “C-Come on Lady Arlen,” she mumbled. “He's okay, that's good, right?”


“Not even close!”


There was a low laugh. “Our Lady hasn't changed, has she?” Mica whipped around to see Faolan observing her with a small smile. “Spriet,” he greeted warmly. “I missed you so much.” She walked over to him and hugged him once.


“Missed you too.” Samael watched these interactions with a growing nervousness.


“You're really jumpy,” Matt said quietly. Samael snorted.


“Weren't you?”


Matt frowned. “...Yeah. But TK forgave me for being an idiot, why wouldn't your brother forgive you?”


There was a cold laugh. “As far as I recall, you didn't kill TK.”


Matt rolled his eyes. “Yeah but I came close. You prevented that.”


He earned a shrug. “I just didn't want history to repeat itself.”


“I'm sure.”


Samael stiffened and looked toward the other side of the meeting place. Five people were walking toward them. One they all knew at once. It was Jay, who was talking with a girl with brown-blond hair. Her expression was shyly happy and she giggled at whatever he was talking about. Jay looked amused as he related the tale. A taller female with orange hair was watching the pair, her eyes showing a warmth her expression didn't portray. Next to her was a male with spiky black hair. He rolled his eyes and snorted while the other male grinned cheerily at him. The spiky teen slapped his foil's hand away and watched with interest as Jay looked over and waved childishly.


“Hi! It's been a while,” the boy greeted. “We won!”


“Your leader's not here,” Sana commented, ignoring Arlen's angry growls from behind.


The spiky male smirked. “She's sleeping.”


“Sleeping off what, huh Daichi?” the other muttered slyly, causing the first to punch him.


“Shut up Alex.” Alex laughed and laughed, grinning with an infectious mischief, causing the other boy to crack a grin.


“Boys,” the older female said flatly, eyes betraying only the faintest amusement. “They have the brains of tadpoles at the best of times.” Jay and the other girl looked at one another and burst into giggles, amused by a joke only they knew. Everyone watched this exchange in puzzlement, until Kitsune suddenly twitched. “Feel that?”


Instantly, the others froze. The other girl shivered. “Something is running here at a very high speed. Ah... it took off!”


“Gigastick Lance!” All of them dodged instantly. There appeared a winged dragon with dark blue and yellow armor, the lance on its right side radiating power.


“Found you brats!” it hissed. “Time for vengeance.”


“Tch,” Daichi grumbled. “We picked a bad time for our Digimon to be resting. Jay you said Lucemon's close earlier right?” Jay nodded.


“He's tired though. We'll have to do without him for a while.”


Alex glanced at him. “Think ya can fight?”


He earned a nod. “I'm gonna protect Yuu-chan,” the twelve-year-old said firmly. “No matter what.”


The girl flushed shyly. “Jay...”


Alex smirked. “I like those words. Let's go! Kitsune, keep Yuuko close ya got it?”


“Don't tell me what to do now,” she muttered derisively, moving to step back near the others.


“We'll help,” Jonathan began but Yuuko shook her head.


“P-Please don't,” she said softly. “Too many fighters will inter-look out!” She knocked Blair out of the way of a Dark Roar, the large dark blast hitting her directly. Kitsune cursed, actually losing her temper.


“Why did you choose now to be reckless,” she hissed, moving to Yuuko's side. Yuuko's irises were almost engulfed by her pupils and her whole body shook. Without warning she started screaming. Jay turned. His blood-red eyes darkened visibly. Immediately Alex and Daichi stepped away.


“****,” Daichi breathed. “Yuuko get up. Hurry...”


“Jay's about to lose it,” Alex moaned.


Darkdramon snorted. “Oh how terrifying. He can't possibly-” A fist rammed into his face, knocking him back. Jay landed gently on the ground, fists up. A violent smile appeared on his face, eyes hidden underneath his bangs.


“Weak,” the boy hissed and Jonathan could feel it: both sides of Jay were aware right now, and both were seriously angry. “A Mega level and that's all you've got?”


“Hmph,” the dragon snorted. “Gigastick Lance!” The boy dodged, using the attack as a platform as he balanced on one hand, kicking the dragon's throat. The onslaught got abruptly stronger, and Jay kept moving too quickly.


“Emotion Amplification,” Alex muttered. “His specialty.”


“We can't stop him like this,” Kitsune stated, gently stroking the crying Yuuko's hair as the darkness pulled and ripped at the girl's heart.


“... You hurt Yuuko,” the boy hissed, eyes full of pure hatred. Like Jordan's, Jonathan thought randomly and shivered. “I'll kill you and make you pay.” He raised a fist and broke through the Digizoid armor.


“Now that's not like you Jay!” A cheery voice said. A brunette was standing, literally, on the highest tree branch. Next to her a small dragon balanced precariously.


Daichi groaned and facepalmed. “Renna you imbecile.” Jay glanced up and almost instantly stopped, moving toward the ground to watch.


The brown-haired girl grinned, having heard. “Yeah, yeah Daichi, you ass I've heard it all before.” She cracked her knuckles. “Alright you bastard!” The girl roared at the enemy. “I'm gonna state your track record for everybody who gives a ****! You've attacked my team unfairly, hurt Yuuko, and pissed off Jay! All when I wasn't here! Damn!” Her face wore a wise-ass smirk. “You must have a death wish.”


“Well what are you gonna do about it? You're nothing special!” the Mega challenged.


“Heheh.” For some reason, Jay was snickering. The older three were all wearing small smirks on their faces. Even the fallen girl was smiling faintly through her pain.


Renna looked amused. “What am I gonna do?” she repeated, looking interested. “Well, it's obvious what'll happen next:” She leapt off, her right palm suddenly bright with power. “We're gonna kick your ass! Let's go Ryudamon!”


“Of course Miss,” the dragon replied promptly. “Ryudamon Warp Digivolve to... OwRyumon!” The golden armored dragon didn't even give a chance. “Eiseiryuoujin!” He threw both blades into the Digimon's chest just as Renna's fist connected, enveloping everything in a bright explosion.

When the light faded, Renna appeared, coughing. She grinned. “Well that good aim was a fluke.”


“Definitely,” Daichi muttered with a sly grin. Jay knelt at his friend's side, and let out a faint light. Slowly she began to calm and sat up. After a moment, she hugged the albino around the neck.


“D-Don't,” she whispered. “D-Don't... again...please...” Jay nodded slowly, returning her embrace.


“We won't,” he replied simply.


“Jay!” A child's voice cried. All of the Destined saw Samael freeze again, his expression full of apprehension. Out came a child, one with light brown hair and wide green eyes. He wore a blue shirt and black pants. The boy hurried to his friend's side. “You did something weird,” the boy cried. “What did you do?” He abruptly paused and turned, locking eyes with Samael, who was pale.


“Rion...” The younger gulped, suddenly looking scared. For a moment, it seemed like he would flee. But then, he turned and ran, straight towards his brother.


“Sammy!” He tripped and the older male caught him, the crying boy. “You left me!” wailed the child. “You left me behind! I was scared! You promised you wouldn't do that! I thought you hated me!”


Samael remained still for a moment, before smiling softly, almost to himself. “Yeah... I know. I'm sorry Rion.”


Sana watched with approval and gestured for the others to leave. They complied, except for Renna and her team, who couldn't move Yuuko just yet.


“See you tonight,” the dragon commented.




The night was as lively as it had been the first time they had celebrated, only it seemed more so. The Ferro family was practically everywhere, welcoming the return of the children who had been sealed away. Jonathan reflected that if he hadn't been in this house before, he would have gotten lost. Wormmon was scuttling at his side, He stopped abruptly, looking ahead.

"Wormmon?"

"S-Something's wrong," the timid Rookie replied and hurried on. Jonathan followed and saw someone crouched on the floor. The person looked up, revealing Willis. The sixteen-year-old's expression was upset but his blue eyes turned relieved.

"Thank God," he muttered, standing up. "I didn't want to leave her by herself." The male stepped away and Jonathan glimpsed Kiri curled up in herself, hands over her head. Her whole body was shaking and her pupils were smaller than normal.

"What's the matter with her?" he asked.

Willis shook his head. "I don't know, she won't tell me. I'm gonna go get Akira." He was gone before Jonathan could think of refusing.Confused at what was going on and concerned for a team-mate, Jonathan approached Kiri and knelt beside her.

Kiri shook her head, gaze toward the wall, toward someone only she could see. "D-Don't w-wanna go... ev-everyone's d-dying. Don't make me leave...P-Please C-Captain, don't make me." Jonathan glanced at Kiri, wondering who this "Captain" was.

Her eyes suddenly locked on him and they seemed to shine with despair mixed with recognition. "Why...?" she whispered. "I was fine with dying... that was okay, but why... why didn't you take the chance when you had it? You could have saved her! You've been fighting all this time so you could save her!"

"Save who, Kiri?" The male asked.

"Your friend, Captain" Kiri's voice managed to grow stronger. "The one... who you saw with Ogudomon, that one with black hair." Jonathan froze when he realized Kiri was referring to him as Captain and that the girl she just mentioned was Blair. Without warning, Kiri's hands shot out and grabbed his collar, but not trying to hurt him. "Why?" She whispered. "Tell me why. Why did you abandon her? She needs you, there's no one else left right now! Why do you keep abandoning people?"


"I haven't abandoned Blair..." He whispered. "But as for the Blair of that world, if she is waiting for me, how do I help her?"

"Help your counterpart," Akira replied softly, walking past and rapping his knuckles on Kiri's forehead. The girl blinked, suddenly awake. She let go of Jonathan, shaking her head slowly.

"Why...?" Her eyes looked briefly lost.

"You were flashing back again," her brother said, causing her to pale.

"O-Oh." She turned and gave Jonathan a small, hurried bow. "I-I'm sorry."

"It's alright," Jonathan answered.

Kiri said nothing, merely looked away. Akira frowned and glanced at Jonathan. "I can answer your questions, if you'd like. She and I were talking yesterday."Jonathan simply nodded."What do you want to know first? I think we only have time for specifics."

"What happened to Blair? Why did Kiri call me Captain? How did Ogudomon come into power? What kind of person am I in that world?"

"During the Digimon attack on Hikarigaoka back then, Ogudomon got crafty and made a move early." Akira's voice turned to ice. "He killed the Odaiba Chosen that were scanned that day. It wasn't long after that he took control, having no one able to stop him. Apparently, our family was with the Ferros, having a reunion, and your parents and Blair's had been invited out of friendly behavior. But Blair's weren't alive for long."

"So in this other world, it wasn't Myotismon who killed Blair's parents?" Jonathan inquired.

"W-We dunno," Kiri replied shakily. "But she thinks... she thinks you did and more than anything she wants you dead."

"I would never do that," Jonathan insisted.

"We know," Kiri replied, watching him. "But Blair was hurt more and Daemon and Ogudomon are strong in emotional brainwashing. So she believed them and you clinched it when she found you clutching her mother's body. That was when you changed and when you became who you are."

"I don't understand."

"You're..." Kiri trailed off, looking suddenly contrite. "I don't want to offend you." Jonathan stared at Kiri, slightly perplexed. She returned the gaze unflinchingly after a moment, deciding he wouldn't let her hide it. "You're a quiet, dark person. You keep an eye on everyone but you never get too close, not like when it started. You... you want revenge and... you've forgotten that there are people fighting this battle. As of recently, our Captain's temper, usually so calm, has been hair-trigger. If Akira-nii wasn't around as your second, no one would follow you, not that many initially have."

"I'm not like the Jonathan in this other world," the teen insisted, looking pleadingly at Akira.

Akira gave a faint little grin and, oddly enough, mussed the younger leader's hair. "We know man. Don't worry. People here believe in you. There, there are very few who do." Jonathan still had a half confused expression on his face, but smiled anyway.

"It's probably because of his age when he began commanding," Kiri said softly. "He were eight years old when the Sovereign called him. Some were older and didn't like being commanded by a "child"."

"Well, he's eleven now," Akira said suddenly, moving his hand. "And to me, he sounds like a brat that needs straightening out. Who better to give it to him than an older counterpart right?"

"Inter-world travelling isn't rough, is it?" Jonathan inquired, looking worried.

Akira simply shrugged his shoulders. "Not on you," he replied simply, glancing at his sister. "Will you be all right? Your body's still not recovered."

Kiri nodded. "If he really wants to do this, then I can handle it."


"You sure, Kiri?" Jonathan questioned, before turning to Akira. "I take it they live in a parallel Odaiba?"

Kiri nodded. "I chose to follow the Captain in this Revolution," she said firmly. "but even Sean and I are starting not to trust him. We need to remind him of the truth, of why he started fighting in the first place. Otherwise," Her fists clenched. "I'll have to take more than just a piece. Someone will have to die."

Akira nodded darkly. "As close as it'll get."

"Alright, let's do this," the other male stated. Kiri grasped Jonathan's hand and stepped back. In an instant, the pair was gone and Jonathan found himself floating in a strange space. "Wha-? Huh, where are we?"

"Between," came his guide's reply, releasing his hand as she walked forward. As she walked, she grew younger, losing the age that Kiri's body had given her. "To those outside it takes only a few seconds to pass but here it may seem like forever." Jonathan blinked. What just happened? Are my eyes playing tricks on me? Kiri glanced at him with a child's old eyes, her outfit one of thin, old clothing. "Why are you staring?" she asked curiously, moving her bangs from her face.

"Uh, no reason," he replied quickly. "When will we arrive at the parallel Odaiba?"

"Now," came the quiet reply as they stepped down onto concrete. The city around them was quiet, almost deathly so. Some of the buildings were crumbling and others had toppled completely. Kiri walked forward, not seeming to notice the destruction around her.

"****," Jonathan breathed, looking around himself at the ruined district. "How did this happen?"

"When Ogudomon took over, his Demon Lords made an example of Odaiba and other districts. Almost everyone was killed. The Chosen and their families were sucked into the Digital World at the last second by the Sovereign. The Gods used up almost all that was left of their free power in that act." Kiri 's eyes passed over as she turned left into an alley, looking completely unconcerned. Her voice never changed from the monotone, but her eyes glinted coldly. "No one's attempted to repair it: they're too afraid that Ogudomon will kill them."

The sixteen-year-old sighed heavily. "Jeez... so where's my upstart counterpart?"

"This way." Her hand rested on a brick wall. It passed through and she walked forward, waiting in front of a steel door.

"This is the Storien pathway," a female voice stated. "State your number."

"Number Zero," Kiri replied confidently. There was a pause.

"P-Please repeat." The voice commanded shakily.

Kiri smiled faintly. "I am Number Zero, Kiriko Ryutori. Come on Relena, you should know who I am." Another pause and suddenly the door spun into nothing and a blond girl leapt out, tackling Kiri hard.

"I'm dreaming," the nine-year-old whispered. "I have to be..."

"Nope," Kiri replied softly. "This is real." She gently removed her friend and looked at Jonathan. "Come on, this way."

"Hold it," Relena ordered. "Kiri, you're supposed to be dead. Just what are you doing here?"

“World travel,” the eight-year-old stated.

"We're here to teach Jonathan a lesson," the male answered.

The girl blinked in confusion as a creature, a Keramon, went to her side. "C'mon we gotta close the door," it hissed. The pair nodded and pushed the older male in, shutting the door behind him. Around him, lights burst to life.

"Different world?" Relena asked as soon as they were walking down stairs. Kiri nodded, for some reason stroking her neck again. Relena saw and flinched. "I'll take him then. You... you should go check on Sean. Maybe... maybe you can wake him up." Kiri nodded emotionlessly, turning down another path. Relena squeezed Jonathan's hand tightly and yanked him down the farthest, as though trying to get away form her best friend. Jonathan followed the younger Relena.

Relena shuddered to herself. "Scary..." she mumbled. "No one expected this, not at all. And to think she remembers her head being cut off..."

Keramon shook his head. "Don't be afraid, I'll keep you safe no matter what. That's my job as your partner."

"... I know." She stopped at a door and knocked. "Are you asleep yet?"

There was a quiet for a moment. "Not even close. If you're bringing pills Relena, you know I won't take them."

"I'm not," she said, sounding slightly cross, gripping her Digivice in her left hand, concealing her fury. "Someone wants to talk to you."

"...If it's about the execution plan, I won't hear it. That route was the only way for the event to work."

"I don't know what he wants to say, just let him in and let him say it."

"... It's unlocked." Relena twisted the knob and nearly slammed it open. With a small scowl, she entered first.

Jonathan followed, elicting a very loud gasp of surprise from the upstart. "Hello Jonathan," the elder said, staring at the younger with disapproval in his eyes.

The younger paused a moment. "Either a future vision or another world," the boy muttered, instantly returning to calm. "More probable the second one. What are you here for? Are you going to help us win or are you just going to keep glaring at me like an angry parent? I can go home to deal with that."

"Or just go to the mess hall," Relena muttered icily only to shrink back at the ice-blue glare that was sent her way.

"I'm here because I heard the Blair of this world thinks you killed her parents."

The eleven-year-old snorted. "That's it?" he asked, coldly incredulous. "I thought you were here to be some use, not bring up a past I don't even know. It's not like it'll matter for much longer anyway."

Jonathan raised an eyebrow, before placing his hands together and cracking them outwards. "Hold still, this won't hurt." He strode towards the other, eyes narrowing. The sixteen-year-old grabbed the pre-teen by the shirt collar and shoved him up against the wall. "Don't interfere, Relena." The elder commanded. "If you really want to win against Ogudomon, then you need to believe in yourselves." He punched the eleven-year-old in the stomach before slamming him into the ground, the boy was already unconscious. Jonathan straightened, and turned to Relena. "We will return and help you fight off the Demon Lords, that is my vow."

Relena snorted. "Knocking him unconscious won't do ****, believe me." Keramon hissed at the curse word. "Oh shut up. You know we've all kicked his head in."

"That said..." a weak voice rasped. "You're really gonna come back?" Kiri walked into the room, supporting a familiar brown-haired male who had spoken. Sean gave him a weak green stare, the child's expression exhausted.

"Kiri why'd you bring him here?" Relena scolded.

"I asked," the boy murmured hazily.

"You just woke up from a coma," she muttered irritably.

"Yes, Sean. We will come back," Jonathan answered.

The boy nodded weakly. "'Kay... but you'd better keep your promise. Otherwise, on my vow as a Storien, I'll tear you to pieces." His head lolled and he slipped unconscious. Kiri carefully moved him to rest in Relena's arms and watched Jonathan.

"Whenever you're ready." Jonathan nodded and took her hand. As they reappeared back in their world, Kiri's hand fell from his, still small and thin. The girl collapsed on the ground, face flushed with fever. Jonathan moved to help but Akira was quicker. He scooped his sibling and sighed.

“Knew that was gonna happen,” he muttered irritably. “I swear we need to stop overdoing it.” He didn't even glance at Jonathan as he walked off. “She's gonna be fine. Go enjoy the party. It's Toby's last day.” Jonathan obeyed beforethe rest of the sentence sunk in.

“It is?” There wasn't an answer.




The portal in front of them was almost like a storm cloud, electricity flashing at the edges. Toby stood in front of it, his face solemn and old. Sana was next to him, a hand on his shoulder. The wings fluttered anxiously. The boy glanced up at Sana shyly.

"You ready to go?" the Dragon asked softly. Toby nodded.

"I...I can't stay here."

"Why not?" Mimi asked curiously. "We don't mind."

The boy shook his head. "It's not safe here. People might try to mess with me more. Sana's sending me to a good place. I'll be okay."

Sana smiled gently. "I'm not sure when you'll end up in," he admitted. "This sort of Gate's tricky. Just when you get there, look for Tsuna. Say you're looking for the Savior. If no one knows keep looking. You'll find him and you'll be okay. Got it?"

Toby nodded and paused as he walked toward it. "It..." he whispered. "It was nice being with everyone. Thank you. Bye bye."

"Goodbye Toby," Mimi said for all of them. Sana grinned and Faolan and Mica waved. Tomoe smiled shyly as he left. The boy disappeared, the Gate vanishing into wisps.

"Stay strong Tobias Reed,” Kiri said softly. “Stay strong for all of us.”
__________________
"What Tama wishes for is..."

  #46    
Old June 14th, 2011, 03:36 PM
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Chapter 42: Faith’s Beginning

The next day, the teams were approached by a sixteen-year-old with straight blonde hair. He wore a white long-sleeved school shirt, brown trousers and a blue and beige tie.

Luca bristled, disliking the new scent. “Who the hell are you?”

He bowed dramatically, before straightening up. “Shinji Hikaru at your service,” he drawled in a calm and even-toned manner.

Luca snarled softly, still agitated. Kiri placed a hand on his shoulder and he instantly calmed. “Pleasure,” the girl said softly, fixing her cousin a pointed look that stated behave. The blonde lowered his head.

Not bothered at all by the younger blonde’s behaviour, Shinji studied each of the children’s faces, analyzing them and deciding who he did and didn’t like.

Sean gave a lacklustre smile. “First impressions are gonna suck, I’m sure." He tried to sound amused, but his heart wasn’t in it. His eyes dulled pensively and he reflexively slumped against Dorumon.

Shinji turned his head towards Sean’s. “Don’t know why you’d think that,” he answered, before speaking to them all. “You’ve all got spunk. I look forward to working with you.”

“Spunk, huh?” The boy repeated warily. “If that’s what you call it.” His eyes flashed red a moment, not menacingly, just casually.

“Establishing contact?” Kiri asked softly, Jonathan noticing she had recovered, her own eyes flickering.

Shinji saw the flickering change in their eye colour and arched an eyebrow at Jonathan, whom he rightly guessed was a leader. Jonathan shook his head, mouthing the words: I’ll tell you later.

Sean whistled. “Whoo,” he muttered. “Jordan’s ticked off, man.”

“No ****,” Luca hissed, looking annoyed as his own returned to blue. “And you say I hold a grudge.”

“Hopefully Miranda beats him.”

“Then he knows, hmm, Sean?” Jonathan asked casually. “Shinji’s going to become one of us, isn’t he?” He had no need to worry about a reaction from Shinji, since the blonde had left after the flickering eye colour changes.

Sean shrugged neutrally and nodded. “Yes, he is. Interesting, neh Kiriko?”

“Doesn’t really matter,” the girl mumbled softly. “We just need to keep him alive, unless he betrays.”

“Unlikely,” Luca snorted. “He seems too stupidly straight-laced to do that without a really good reason.”

“I wonder who his partner will be.” Wizardmon speculated.

“Probably someone with blades,” Kiri mumbled, suddenly giggling.

Sean rolled his eyes. “So not funny.”

“I’m with Sean,” Wormmon mumbled.

Kiri flushed faintly in embarrassment, before another smile crossed her lips. “You missed the point of it.”

Sean frowned in puzzlement, before taking a glance in her head. Then he snorted. “That’s just rude.”

“Well, Caleb thought of the comment,” she mumbled defensively.

“No wonder the joke sucked arse,” Luca muttered. “The guy’s sense of humour’s faulty. Then again, so is his brain.”

“Luca!”

“Oh, come on! You know it’s true!”

“You know better than to talk about it,” Sean hissed and Luca cowed, still glaring.

“So, what did you think of him?” Jonathan asked everyone else.

“He seemed kinda interesting,” Tai mused with a grin. “I liked him.” Sora and Mimi nodded and Matt shrugged.

“Not quite sure we need him, but he’s fine by me.”

“Davis? Akira?” Jonathan continued.

Davis grinned energetically. “I found him kinda cool.”

Akira thought for a moment, before a silly smile made its way to his face. “Interestin’ kid,” he said coolly. “Think we’re gonna have some fun times ahead.”

“Alright, then.” Jonathan nodded, before turning to Kiri and Sean. “Can I have a word with you two privately please?”

Both nodded passively, following him. Luca watched coolly, before turning to speak with his older cousin.

“This probably isn’t my place to say, but I think Davis has done an excellent job since the severing of his bond with Veemon. Are the Storien going to restore the bond soon?” Jonathan asked quietly.

Kiri frowned. “You should talk to Maria,” she commented to Sean, who nodded.

He had told her the gist of what had happened. “I think she can do something about it, unless you wanna try, sis.”

Kiri shrugged. “It makes no difference, but Maria should do it just to be on the safe side.”

The younger teen bowed his head. “No problem.”

“Where would we find her?” Wormmon inquired nervously.

“Maria loves flowers a lot,” Kiri mused. “She’s probably in the outside garden.”

“She’s alone right now,” Sean added. “Caleb is in therapy right now. It’s a good time.”

“Okay, thanks you two. Come on, Wormmon.” Jonathan set off towards the garden, with his partner following. Both waved and went back to Akira, who started chatting at them.

After a few minutes of searching, Jonathan and his partner found Maria completing a rose wreath, about to place it on her head. The girl glanced up, lowering the dead flowers from her head with a mournful gleam as she buried them in a small hole. “’ello there,” she mumbled. “You wanted to see me, sir?” She placed the wreath over her head, carefully having cut the thorns.

“Kiri and Sean advised me to come to you. I’d like to know if Davis and Veemon’s bond can be restored since they’ve done so well from when it was severed...”

The odd girl pondered the idea, before nodding slowly. “Mm-hm, they could, but I need to fix it... and, well... this seems kinda dumb to ask, but I have to follow protocol.” Her kind eyes turned cold. “Can you say, by your name as a Chosen Child, that these who were corrupted and betrayed their own, have truly repented for the acts they committed against the balance and deserve their sentence repealed? If the repeal is done and your verdict is declared a lie, your partner is forfeit to you.”

“I believe they have. Davis came to me last night saying how weird it was, not being with Veemon.” Jonathan paused, sighing in contemplation. “The poor kid was crying, I felt sorry for him. There’s one thing you should know about me, too. I’d never lie unless I had good reason to.”

Maria sighed. “I suppose you wouldn’t, but I’m not sure pity is always the correct way to feel either. Though I guess I’m the wrong person to think about pity, considering I hate the idea of it.” She brushed off her clothes as she stood, her rapier snaking down her hand as it formed. “Take me to him.”

A few minutes later, they were standing in front of Davis, with Ken and his partner on the Child of Kindness’ shoulder. Maria inhaled slowly, concentrating. “Ah...” she breathed, closing her eyes. “A severed thread. To repair it...” Invisible golden vines began to wrap around Davis and Veemon.

At this point, Jordan walked forward. “Are you truly wishing for your partner’s return?” The boy asked Davis, expression unchanging.

“I am,” Davis replied.

Jordan shrugged. “Better not screw this up, then.” He snapped his fingers and Maria nodded as the vines connected, tearing down the figurative wall between human and partner. Night Blossom retreated and Maria placed a hand on her head, getting a headache.

“Davish!” Veemon cried happily, as if the broken bond had never happened.

Davis hugged his partner, crying with relief. Jordan watched a moment, with a faint envy before turning on his heel and leaving. Maria gave a small snort. “Your heart’s on your sleeve again.”

“Ah, shut up!” But he was smiling faintly.

“How does it feel to be back, Veemon?” Ken’s Wormmon asked quietly.

“Great!” The dragon cried, spinning around excitedly. “I feel like a million bucks!”

Jonathan smiled; he was pleased to see Davis and Veemon back together. But he had other things on his mind right now, so he went over to Kiri. “I promised Sean, and I intend to keep that promise,” he whispered to her. Looking up, he did some calculations before facing her again. “How many can you handle?”

Kiri blinked softly. “I can just...” She closed her eyes and held out a hand to the north. A gate coloured ice-blue, like a vortex, appeared. “Do that.” Instantly, she paled and looked ill. “I-If you’re g-gonna go, p-please hurry. I can keep it open, but not for all that long.”

Disappointed, he walked to the gate, half turning and saying: “You couldn’t handle a group?” before entering.

“Too many people will fall off,” she replied to thin air. “Your friend was there was, nearly crossing to the Ocean. I can’t protect that many people from having their souls destroyed.” She shook her head. “You have no right to be disappointed,” a cold voice issued from her mouth. “At least there is a way through.”

Maria glanced up. “NEO...”

Kiri glanced at her and looked away. “Is anyone else going through?”

A couple of minutes later, Jonathan and Wormmon arrived at the alternate Odaiba. Someone was watching him. “Well, you came back fast.” He whipped around, only to see Relena with a small smirk on her face, her Keramon at her side. “’ello there,” she greeted cheekily. The nine-year-old glanced at the Gate. “Wonder why it’s still open.”

“I made a promise and I kept it,” Jonathan answered.

“It’s still open because we’re coming through.” Another voice added. Blair and Wizardmon emerged from the Gate.

Kiri stepped out behind them as the gate closed, standing next to Luca. The boy was strangely enough, struggling to breathe. “So how do we make them see sense if you’ve tried what happened before?” Jonathan asked.

Relena snorted. “Aside from nearly killing him, we might be outta luck. He won’t listen to you anymore, right Kiri?” The girl nodded, a look of guilt flashing across her face. Relena scowled. “Stop kicking yourself, all right? Captain has no right to blame you for what happened to Yutaka. She was a big girl, she handled herself fine. It just wasn’t good enough at the time and that was the end of it. If anyone should be taking blame, it’s him for what happened to Emma’s parents, though she’s taking it fine.”

“That’s probably it,” Kiri commented quietly. “He’s taking the blame for everything.”

“Yeah and pushing it on us.” The blonde girl growled quietly. “The guy needs to be shown his methods aren’t working, but since some moron barred him from combat that’s gonna be kinda hard. Stupid bird...”

“Yutaka? What happened to her? And who barred him from combat?” The older teen questioned.

“She died,” Kiri replied simply. “She died while we were on an invasion mission and I had been her other team-mate. For some reason, she ordered the pair of us to separate, possibly because of the vendetta of hers against Lilithmon, but I dunno. I couldn’t change her mind and apparently, the Captain couldn’t either. He told me I should have followed regardless but...”

“But you had some common sense and let her fight,” Relena interrupted. “She, unlike a lot of Chosen, had some actual ability but that wasn’t apparently enough. I’m not sure what snapped but something did. As for who barred him from combat...”

“It was Azulongmon,” Kiri finished. “It was a few months back, I think. Something about-” She cut herself off, shaking her head. “Never mind, he simply believed Captain was unsuited for it.” She gave Relena a nod, who flashed her a grateful look.

“Can we go already?” Wormmon snipped, seemingly not nervous for once.

“Then don’t waste time with questions,” Relena snarled, looking incensed. Kiri placed a hand on her shoulder, mouthed something, and went forward. Relena snorted. “Like it’s that easy.” The others moved to follow, but Blair found herself caught as a steel weapon made its way to her throat.

“Don’t move now,” hissed a quiet male voice, a young one, and a bladed object rested at her back. “I can hit a lung if you jerk the wrong way, traitor.” Blair froze. Sean...

“Sean, she’s not the Blair you’re referring to. We both came from the other Odaiba,” Jonathan answered, half turning.

The boy’s eyes flashed. “I. Don’t. Care. Her blood is of traitor’s blood. Better it’s spilled, rather than kept alive.”

“What did I do this time?” Blair’s question was edged with tension.

“Do?” Kiri asked solemnly. “You tried to kill him for defending our Captain, as he is bid to do. You left him in a coma for almost a year. You betrayed your cause and are attempting to take your best friend’s life. You destroyed your first partner to grant you a new one. You shot both of Sean’s foster parents in the throat in front of Emma to prove your worth to Ogudomon. What did you do? Please take a moment before opening your mouth next time, Chosen Child.”

“I know for a fact my partner has never committed any of those crimes you speak of,” Wizardmon defended. “If you’re having so much trouble with the younger Jonathan and Blair, let’s go, so some sense can be “beaten” in to them, as such.” He started to move forward, only stopping when he realized the others weren’t following.

“976,” Kiri began softly. “Stand down. You know it’s not her.” Sean obeyed this time, but the child’s eyes held nothing but pure hate toward the female. Walking over to Kiri, he hissed something at her, to which she flicked him emotionlessly on the head. “You were just buying time, right? Trying to make them see sense before it’s too late.”

Sean tched. “Captain said to let ‘em rot in hell.”

Relena scowled. “Yeah, he’s said that to me, too. I still bother him.”

Kiri frowned. “It’s different for you. You have special circumstances.”

Relena glowered at the ground. “Shut up about that.”

This time, Wizardmon didn’t say anything as he moved forward, with Jonathan and Blair following him.

Sean snorted suddenly. “Uh, dude, wrong way.” He went to what appeared to be empty space and placed his palm in mid-air. A gap opened. “Go on. You say you want to do something, that she ain’t a traitor. Prove it. Go change the Captain’s mind. Good luck and godspeed. You’ll need it.”

“More like they’ll need a hospital trip,” Relena muttered derisively.

“What, quarrelling again?” Sean quipped. “I thought couples were supposed to get along...”

“Not with him, jackass!”

Kiri sighed and turned away. “Inside, go down three floors and make a left. Second door.”

The two Chosen Children and their partners went down the three floors and turned left. Finding the second door, they entered, finding the younger Jonathan lying on the bed as he was the first time the elder came here.

The boy’s left arm was over his eyes, his right bandaged heavily. “****...” he muttered. “I told Sean to divert you in whatever way possible. Why the hell did they let you in? I don’t have the energy for this...” His eyes slid over them a moment. “Dear God Blair...” he quipped at the sight of her. “You actually look like a woman. Imagine that. I thought you could only look like a harpy.” He didn’t sit up as he spoke. “Like Sean’s treatment? He doesn’t have much of a choice now. He tried to keep her alive. Not even I can fix the hole she dug herself into. Traitors have to be executed. That’s our duty...” For a moment a cold gleam appeared in his eyes and the elder swore they changed colour. “Ain’t that so?”

The elder chose not to respond to that comment, instead saying: “You need to convince Blair to stop attacking even for a moment and to have doubt in what she’s been following all these years. Only you can do that.”

“Only I can, huh?” The boy snorted. “Garbage. No, let me correct myself.” He looked over to give the two a glare like Sean’s: hatred mixed with annoyance. “Stop spouting that happy-go-lucky ********. That’s what I said when I started this. Take a look around.” He gestured. “Nothing,” the younger hissed. “Nothing except the dead. You never had them on your shoulders, did ya? Naw, they took care of their own, your team-mates only needed you to sit there and look like you knew what you were doing. You didn’t help anyone, you were just sheltered and protected.” His voice rose an inch and Relena appeared in the doorway, clutching something in her hands. “You were unnecessary,” the boy spat. “No matter what they told you. That sort of **** is a lie and always has been!”

“You’re a spoiled brat, you know that, dip****?!” Blair snapped at the younger boy. “Get out of that mindset! That’s not gonna get you anywhere, why else do you think your team-mates have given up hope? Because they don’t believe in you anymore! So do something about it or we won’t come back again!”

The younger Jonathan almost seemed surprised then a different look passed into his blue gaze, which melted to a murky brown. “Get out,” his voice was a rasp. “Get the hell out of here, you hypocrite. You tell me to do something or you won’t come back, huh? Who cares? Who cares about you and your god-complex huh? You sheltered-” He was falling into incoherence, fury consuming him. Relena firmly moved forward and went to his side. He barely saw her, rage and something colder running through his body. The next thing he knew he was up in the air, Relena gripping him by his shirt collar. She reared back and punched him in the face. He dropped, clutching the bruise.

“There,” she said harshly. “I kept my damn promise just like I always do! Stop getting on them! Okay, they’re saying it wrong, I get it! But they’re right! Everyone’s losing faith in you. You can’t save Blair with this self-destruction act. And she’s a hypocrite, I get that too. But... we can’t do anything without your help. We’re not like their team. They knew from the start what would happen. We don’t know! That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? That’s why you’re our leader, right?”

The murky look faded only slightly. “Relena...”

The strength in her eyes dimmed. “Look,” she said miserably. “I know the world needs to be here, but we can’t be the only ones left alive! It doesn’t work that way, it can’t, even if the Sovereigns forced this betrothal. A world with only one person... that sentimentality is stupid!” She turned and left, marching with her head held high.

The group stood there a moment, before the younger groaned and stood up again. “God, I hate it when she hits me... can’t believe they’re making me marry her and her mood swings...” The ice-blue eyes turned over them, suddenly looking thoughtful. “You say your way works? You say belief is everything. Prove it to me. Prove it to me by planting one seed in Blair’s heart. If you can do that, I’ll consider it. If you can’t, well...” His smirk was cold. “I guess you have no reason to be here, do you?”

“Oh, be quiet. Just be grateful we’re even here to help you,” Wizardmon growled.

The boy snorted. “Your help will be greatly appreciated when your existence is worth a ****. Anyway, I’ve been meaning to ask this a while now: why the hell are you guys still pulling off this damn charade?” His voice carried through the open door and Kiri peeked in with Sean at her side.

“Dunno what you’re talking about,” the boy drawled, looking amused.

The male snorted. “Spare me, Jordan. I know for a fact Leith,” he stressed the name, “is downstairs in the recovery den. Now take off the wig.”

“Sean” snorted. “Damn you and your chivalry,” the male grumbled, removing it to reveal a mane of shaggy black hair. “They actually confused us for a while.”

“I told you that you were too tall,” Kiri mumbled.

The boy whacked her on the back of the head, his arm revealing a symbol that was certainly not Leith’s. “Spare me brat. You were the one who gave me the idea.”

Jonathan and Blair merely blinked at the truth behind the charade. They’d known it was Jordan, because they were able to distinguish the difference in his voice from Leith’s.

Kiri twitched suddenly and turned outside. “Luca!”

The boy had collapsed and Jordan caught him. “What the hell’s wrong with this kid?”

The younger Jonathan moved to his side, seeing the boy gasping like a fish for air. “Ah... of course. Recognize that, Kiriko?”

Kiri twitched and he scowled. “Yeah, I do. He insisted.”

“They always do. Get the pills from the back right.” She obeyed and he tore a blue pill from its case and forced it into the child’s mouth. “You need to take him back before Fate repeats itself. I’m not sure how well the medicine will react.”

“Well, at least we knocked some sense into one of them,” Wizardmon muttered.

“It’s best to go back,” Blair added.

Jonathan nodded. “Since your challenge is still open, brat, we will return.”

The younger rolled his eyes. “Respectful little ****s,” he muttered. “Go and Kiriko.”

She glanced over at him. “What Captain?”

“The last time...” he said quietly. “You have your orders for afterward. Do follow them.”

She gave him a sly little smile. “Of course, sir. I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Adjusting Luca, she took the elder’s hands. “Do tell Leith, I can’t wait to make our combination soar.”

Her leader snorted. “Will do. All three of us as a team, what a mess.”

“That’s the best time.” She stepped back and they were gone.

Back in the real Odaiba, Jonathan turned to Kiri. “I’m guessing Jonathan doesn’t want us back there anymore?”

She shrugged. “His pride’s just hurt, he’ll be fine. He gave you a challenge after all, that’s a good sign. It means he’s willing to take a leap of faith.”

A nod was her response. “I’ll leave you guys to do whatever you need to, Blair and I are gonna go find Shinji.” He paused, looking at Blair. “That okay, Rana?”

Blair must’ve nodded, but Kiri didn’t see as she began to walk away. Her grey eyes dulled sharply and for a moment flashed blue. Then she sighed and left, waving with her free hand. NEO... Norn stated. He’s so impatient. Kiri giggled to herself.

“The nerve of that guy, putting a blade to my neck when he knew I wasn’t that Blair,” the one-eyed girl grumbled.

Jonathan shrugged it off. “It’s a different Odaiba, you have to remember; they are younger and don’t know what they’re doing. Wizardmon, were you able to discern any of their thoughts as to who the younger Blair’s partner is?”

“All I know is a blade and that was what Kiri told me. She said I would understand later. It was odd; it didn’t feel like me at all, like it wasn’t my data.” The Champion replied.

“Hmm,” the boy answered, looking thoughtful. He was soon brought of his daze when someone crashed into him. “Ah, ****. Hey-” He cut himself off immediately when he realized it was Shinji. Jonathan looked further down the path which Shinji had been running on and there was a giant dog. “Uh...” The male sweat-dropped and glanced back at Shinji, silently asking for an explanation.

“Uh... you wouldn’t believe me if I told you?” The blonde answered unsurely.

“Out with it, Hikaru,” Blair half growled.

“Ooh, touchy.” He grinned. “I annoyed my partner. There’s your answer, happy?”

You don’t have a partner yet, or have you forgotten that, Shinji Hikaru?” Azulongmon declared as he descended from the Digital Gate he emerged from. Directing his attention to Jonathan and Blair, he continued: “The dog that was chasing him was merely a common domesticated animal. I don’t know why it was chasing him, and I don’t want to know, either.”

“Different kind of partner,” the human said. “The friend’s ownership one. I’m supposed to keep an eye on him.”

“Huh?” Wormmon was confused.

Shinji sighed. “He’s my friend’s dog; I’m watching him, and I accidentally stepped on his tail.”

Blair snorted, it was almost laughter.

Jonathan narrowed his eyes at his neighbour, before turning to Shinji. He was going to ask something, but Azulongmon got in before he could start. “What do you know of the Digi-Destined, Shinji?

“They get picked by you to save the worlds. They have partner Digimon. What about it?”