Yolei: Grow

Yolei: Grow

by Silver

*Disclaimer: I don't own or have any rights to Digimon*

Author's note: Sorry that this chapter took so long in coming out, but I have a good reason. College homework is, well, evil. I've barely had time to write two sentences in between my assignments. Don't you hate it when education gets in the way of real life?

This'll be the final chapter of Yolei: Rise, Learn, Grow. I'm sorry that this story was only three chapters long, unlike the ten chapter Walkabout, but there are two reasons for this. First off, Yolei isn't as flawed a character as Davis. That's not to say that Davis isn't a great character (he's my favorite, and flawed characters are fun!), but I don't think Yolei needs as much development as Davis did. Secondly, I'm eager to move on to the other Digidestined. I don't want to be tied down to just one character for a long time.

Anywho, this chapter features a few new Digimon, all of which are trademarks of the Digimon card game, with one exception. I have one of my own creations in this story, so please don't take it without my permission.

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The sun began to descend behind the mountains, bringing autumn colors to the sky. Yolei and Ken half-walked, half-limped their way down a rocky slope. They were exhausted from the long walk. There had been no further attacks since Triceramon, but the walk had been long and tense. Ken and Yolei hadn't spoke much since that one moment of peace between the two. Triceramon's death still weighed on Yolei, but she didn't let it slow her down. Finally, they reached the Ancient Valley.

Yolei looked at the area before them. It was huge and filled with vegetation that made the valley floor look like one huge carpet. A crystal blue river flowed through the center. It was one of the most beautiful landscapes Yolei had ever seen. "Wow…"

Ken looked down, "It hasn't changed a bit since I last saw it…"

Yolei blinked, "You were actually looking at the scenery while you were the Digimon Emperor?"

Ken gave a half-smiled, "Even evil geniuses can appreciate the view." He started to head into the valley. Yolei, Hawkmon, and Wormmon followed.

A voice whispered from farther down the path, "Psst! Hey!" Davis waved at them frantically. Ken and Yolei quickly joined him. Davis smiled at them, "I'm glad you two are okay!"

Yolei asked, "What happened to you after the Veedramon attacked?"
Davis whispered, "Keep your voice down. The walls make it easy for the valley Digimon to hear us. Vee managed to get us close to the Ancient Valley, and we walked the rest of the way. What about you two?"

Ken whispered, "We managed to walk here after defeating Triceramon."

Davis said, "Way to go, Ken."
Ken shook his head, "Yolei did it, not me. She saved us all."

Davis looked at Yolei, "Nice job." Yolei didn't respond. She didn't feel like being praised for killing a Digimon.

She changed the subject, "Where are the others?"

Davis motioned, "This way. Vee's hiding just outside the Valley, but the rest of us managed to sneak in closer." He led them just slightly further down the trail. The other Digidestined were hiding behind a series of boulders. Veemon was lying in Kari's lap, and was looking worse than ever. Davis kneeled down next to his friend, "How ya hanging in there, Veemon?"

Veemon looked up at him with vacant eyes, "I'm hot… so hot."

Davis wiped the sweat off Veemon's brow. He looked at the others, "We need those herbs, Ken. We don't know which ones to use, that's why I was waiting for you!"

Ken nodded. He poked his head around the boulder and surveyed the landscape. Yolei did the same. There was Digimon all throughout the Valley. She could see Greymon, Deltamon, DarkTyranomon, Mammothmon, Monochromon, and Tuskmon.

Yolei marveled at the sight, "All those Digimon!"
Ken nodded, "They don't call it the Ancient Valley for nothing. This Valley is home to older races of Digimon, most of which are Dinosaur type Digimon. They're all very strong. That's why I wanted to conquer it. But… something's wrong."

Yolei said, "Yeah, all the Digimon look really weird." The color of the Greymon was different from Tai's Greymon. They were blue and black, just like the corrupt version of MetalGreymon. Same for all the other Digimon. Their colors were different from what Yolei expected.

Ken realized it first, "They're all viral! They've all become viral Digimon!" It was true, Yolei could see the three missing Veedramon near the river. They were all red and black, just like the Veedramon that had attacked them at the gorge.

Yolei whispered, "How could all the Digimon here be viral?"

Ken looked around, "There's your answer." He pointed towards the end of the Valley. A dark control spire was lying lopsided with one end submerged beneath the river. Black liquid of some kind was flowing out of the broken spire. Yolei watched as a viral Greymon lapped up the dark water without even noticing its discoloration.

Ken theorized, "The control spire that I set up must have fallen over in an earthquake and landed in the river. Its energy must be contaminating the water, and the Digimon who drink the water are infected by the dark energy and turn viral." He banged his fist against the boulder. "Of all the rotten luck! There's only a one in a million chance that the dark spire wouldn't disintegrate upon destruction, but that one in a million chance actually happened!"

Cody, who had been listening in, said, "Looks like you left a legacy, Digimon Emperor."

Yolei said, "Cody, lay off. He's changed." Cody stared wide-eyed at Yolei, wondering where her change in heart had come from. Yolei looked back at the Digimon. They were all eyeing each other with aggressive eyes while roaring at anything that got too close. It was as if each Digimon had staked out his own plot of land, and no one could come close. How sad. Those Digimon are surrounded by so much beauty, but they're too preoccupied with what they own to appreciate the true beauty surrounding them.

Ken pointed beyond the control spire, "The medical herbs I mentioned are just beyond the dark spire. They're upstream, so the dark spire should have contaminated them."

Davis stood up, "Okay, I'll go and get them."

Veemon struggled to get up, "I'll come too."

Davis gently pushed his friend back down. "No you don't! You rest. I'll be back in no time." Davis looked at Kari, "Please take care of him for me."

Kari nodded, "I will. Be careful."

Davis gave her a confident smile, "Hey, it's me!"

Kari smiled back, "That's what I'm afraid of."

TK said, "I'll come too. You might need Patamon to cover you."

Patamon said, "TK, I don't think I can digivolve. I'm too hungry." His belly rumbled to stress the point.

Cody nodded, "All of our Digimon are tired and hungry. They won't be able to digivolve. We'll have to do this on our own."

Ken said, "I'm the fastest one here, and I know just what to look for. I am the logical choice to go."

Davis said, "Veemon is my Digimon. What kind of friend would I be if I didn't take care of him?"
Ken said, "You can care for him here. I promise you, I'll get the herbs."

Davis stared for a moment, then let out a heavy sigh, "Okay… we'll both go. Don't try and talk me out of this!"

Ken saw that arguing was futile, so he simply nodded. "Wormmon, stay here. We'll be back soon." Wormmon agreed hesitantly. Davis and Ken began to creep his way down to the valley floor.

Kari asked, "Can we really just let Davis go with Ken?"

Yolei said, "Guys, I know we don't have much reason to trust Ken, but I really do think he's changed. If you'd spend a little time with him, you'd agree with me." Everyone stared at Yolei in amazement.

* * * * * * * *

Davis and Ken slid down the side of the Valley and ducked behind a rock. A DarkTyranomon stomped by their hiding place. After a tense moment, Davis let out a quick breath, "This trip is way more than I bargained for. So much for me being the great planner."

Ken said, "You didn't have all the necessary data. It's not your fault."

Davis blinked, "Excuse me? Were you just being sympathetic?"

Ken's face contorted for quick moment, then fell. "I… guess so."

Davis smiled, "Thanks."

Ken sighed, "You're the first person in a long while that was willing to give me a second chance. I appreciate that."

Davis smiled, "Hey, I know what it's like to want a second shot at things. I'm sure everyone will see that you've changed soon."

Ken simply said, "I hope so." He took up a running stance, "Ready."

Davis prepared himself to run for the river, "Set."

"GO!" Ken and Davis took off at a furious pace. They sprinted over the grass fields and made it to the dark spire without being seen. They quickly ducked behind the remains of the black object and surveyed the landscape. Ken pointed to a mass of small red and yellow plants. Those were the herbs they wanted. It was fortunate that the herbs weren't on the other side of the river. Davis could see just how deep the water was; they'd never be able to cross the rapids.

Davis pointed to a nearby bush. It had small berries growing on it. "Are those things edible?"

Ken looked for a moment, "Yes, they are."

Davis said, "Let's bring some back to the Digimon. They might gain the strength to digivolve."

Ken nodded, "Good idea."

Davis smiled, "Thanks." Just as Davis and Ken began to gather the herbs and berries, a loud rumbling could be heard farther down the valley.

* * * * * * * *

TK, Yolei, Cody, and Kari watched Davis and Ken gather what they needed, but a loud thundering sound caught their attention. Something colored white and gray was coming closer. It was huge, bigger than any other Digimon in the Valley. In fact, all the other Digimon were abandoning their claims and running for shelter. The white and gray mass came closer.

Kari asked, "Gatomon, is that a Mammothmon?"

Gatomon shook her head, "No, that's SkullMammothmon. He's Mammothmon's Mega form. His Spiral Bone Crusher can grind just about any Digimon into dust." SkullMammothmon looked just like a large Mammothmon who had no skin. His bones were white and gray, except for his face and tusks, which were a light tan. Two black ears flopped from his sides, and a giant red core was suspended in his rib cage.

Yolei said, "He's heading for Davis and Ken! We have to warn them!" She began to head down. Hawkmon wasn't far behind. Cody was restraining Wormmon. The insect Digimon was too slow and couldn't digivolve, so it was best that he wait.

TK said, "Kari, you should stay here with Veemon. Cody, I want you to watch out for both of them." Cody and Kari nodded. TK and Patamon followed after the others.

* * * * * * * *

Davis was the first one to see SkullMammothmon coming. "We've got company!"
Ken looked up, "Blast! We were so close!"

SkullMammothmon stopped at the river's edge and sniffed around. "I know you are here, intruder! I sensed your presence. Why have you come to my valley?

Davis whispered, "He reminds me of an AeroVeedramon I once knew." He called from their hiding place, "We're looking for several Veedramon. We don't mean to barge in."

SkullMammothmon continued to sniff for them, "You are intruding. Come out and face your punishment. I rule here! I have since we were freed from the Digimon Emperor."

Davis spotted Yolei and TK making their way across the Valley. They were coming to help, but their Digimon couldn't digivolve! Davis whispered to Ken, "We've got to get this food to them. Hawkmon and Patamon can't digivolve without some food."

Ken nodded, "I will distract SkullMammothmon while you get the food and the herbs to the others."

Davis shook his head, "No, it's the other way around. I'll distract bone head while you run over with the food and herbs."

Ken said, "I'm faster than you so I should be the one to run from SkullMammothmon."

Davis said, "I need someone fast to get the herbs back to Veemon. You're the best person for that job. Besides, if SkullMammothmon does chase after you and Yolei and JB-"

"JB?"

"I mean TK!"

"Oh."

Davis sighed, old habits died hard. "If bone head does chase after you and those two, then I'll need someone fast to get them the food so that the Digimon can digivolve." He took off his ruined jacket. "Carry everything in this, and run like mad. Okay?"

Ken nodded, "Okay. Good luck."

Davis walked into view. "Okay, here I am!"
SkullMammothmon thundered up to him. "Who are you?"

Davis began to pace around the skeletal Digimon. "My name's Davis. I'm one of the Digidestined."

SkullMammothmon scoffed, "A Digidestined? You're not what I expected."

Davis scowled, but quickly steadied his face, "Um, yeah. I'm a Digidestined. And like I said, I came here hoping to find some missing Veedramon."

SkullMammothmon laughed, "Those weaklings? Why bother?"

Davis was beginning to dislike this Digimon, "They're friends of someone I know. Excuse me for asking, but who are you?" He was halfway around the large creature. SkullMammothmon was turning to keep his eyes on him. Davis risked a glance. Ken was ready to make a break for it, Davis just had to turn SkullMammothmon a little farther.

The Digimon said, "I am SkullMammothmon! I am a Mega level Digimon of great power!"

Davis felt the blood leave his face. Another Mega… Just like Ex-Piedmon. Why me? Does the Digital World have it in for me? Davis continued to circle around. A little further, just a little more! Ken made a dash for the others with the fruits and herbs tied within Davis' jacket.

Davis raised his voice to cover the sound of Ken's movement. "A Mega? Good for you! So, how'd you reach the new level?"

SkullMammothmon's voice turned deadly, "None of your business!" He stamped a foot for emphasis. Davis stumbled back from the force of just one stomp. SkullMammothmon advanced, "You are an intruder within my domain. This place is my grave and I will not allow outsiders to soil it with their presence!"

"Y-you're grave?"

SkullMammothmon said, "Yes, I'm already dead. And soon, you shall join me." He raised one massive foot.

* * * * * * * *

Yolei's lungs burned as she ran with TK to meet Ken. They met halfway, and Ken dumped the contents of Davis' jacket onto the ground. "Have your Digimon eat these berries. I will take the herbs back to the hiding place." He picked up the herbs in the jacket and ran off again.

TK grumbled, "Big shot." Where did the Digimon Emperor get off telling them what to do?

Yolei said, "Give him a chance, TK. Besides, he's right. We have to help Davis. Eat up, Hawkmon."
"Indeed I shall." Hawkmon began to devour the berries. Patamon did the same. After a moment, both Digimon declared themselves ready to digivolve.

Yolei smiled, "That was fast. Okay, Hawkmon, let's go Champion!" She held up her digivice. Nothing happened. "Hey, what gives?"

Hawkmon said, "The control spire must still be dampening the digivolution powers, even though it is damaged. I shall simply have to armor digivolve."

TK asked, "Hawkmon can become a Champion now?"

Yolei nodded, "Long story, and we don't have time. Digiarmor energize!"

"Hawkmon armor digivolve to… Halsemon: The Wings of Love!"

TK shrugged, "I'll want to hear that story later. Digiarmor energize!"

"Patamon armor digivolve to… Pegasusmon: Flying Hope!" Yolei and TK mounted their Digimon and flew off towards SkullMammothmon and Davis.

* * * * * * * *

Davis remained sprawled on the ground while talking to SkullMammothmon, "Hey, wait a minute! What did I do?"

SkullMammothmon's foot hovered menacingly over Davis, "You intruded. You defiled my grave! Now, join me in death!"

"Tempest Wing!" Red bolts of energy detonated against SkullMammothmon's side and sent him off balance.

"Davis!" TK and Pegasusmon flew in towards their friend. TK grabbed Davis' hand and lifted him onto Pegasusmon. They flew away from the Mega Digimon. TK asked, "You okay?"

Davis nodded, "Yeah. Thanks."

SkullMammothmon got up, "You dare challenge me? Spiral Bone Crusher!" His tusks shot out of their sockets and soared up towards the two Armor Digimon. The two bones exploded in midair and sent Digidestined and Digimon tumbling. Pegasusmon and Halsemon reverted back to their Rookie forms and hit the ground with their partners.

Davis moaned, "Ow. TK, Yolei, you guys okay?"

TK winced, "Yeah, great."

Yolei said, "I've had better days."

SkullMammothmon towered over the group. His tusks had reappeared on his head. "Now, intruders, learn your place! Spiral-"

"V-Wing Blade!"

"Rosetta Stone!" A blast of blue energy and a concrete slab impacted against SkullMammothmon's head. The skeletal Digimon staggered, but didn't fall. Vee and Nefertimon flew in. Vee was still in his Ultimate form.

Nefertimon hovered over the Digidestined, "The 'former' Digimon Emperor told us what's happening. Kari sent me to help. She is tending to Veemon right now."

Vee called, "Get to safety. We will slow this monster." The Digidestined got up and began to make their way back to the hiding place.

"Magnum Crasher!" Vee's body glowed blue and he screamed in at his opponent. SkullMammothmon jumped back and avoided the blow.

"Spiral Bone Crusher!" Vee barely had time to take to the air again before the attack detonated. Unfortunately, Vee could not outrun the blast's shockwave, and he was once again forced to the ground. He landed on his feet, but SkullMammothmon took the opportunity to charge and collided with the smaller Digimon. He caught Vee on his tusks as they charged towards the valley wall. Vee was slammed against the rock wall with a sickening crunch.

SkullMammothmon said, "You should have stayed away."

Vee winced and said, "Members of my clan, my family, are trapped in this viral domain. I will not stop fighting until I get them back! V-Wing Blade!" He fired another attack at SkullMammothmon, but the Mega Digimon barely flinched from the attack. "Rosetta Stone!" Nefertimon flew in while firing her attacks. They didn't seem to damage SkullMammothmon. He quickly backed away from Vee and brought his trunk up, then brought it down right on Nefertimon. She was knocked unconscious and reverted back to Gatomon. SkullMammothmon ignored the falling Digimon and resumed to crush Vee against the valley wall.

* * * * * * * *

Ken finished tying an herb bandage around Veemon's arm. He had cleaned the wound and dressed with all the necessary herbs. He had also fed Veemon a second set of mashed herbs, which would bring the little Digimon's fever down.

Kari and Cody watched him with a mix of curiosity and distrust, "When did you learn to use herbs?"

Ken said, "It doesn't make sense to rule a land without understanding it. I studied the flora and fauna of the Digital World before I began my invasion."

Cody said, "Good for you." He didn't sound complimentary at all.

Ken sighed, "At least I'm putting what I learned to good use for once. You can at least say thank you."

Kari's tone wasn't very genuine. "Thanks."

A loud smashing sound caught their attention. Kari could see SkullMammothmon pressing Vee against the rock wall. Kari's eyes widened as the life was squeezed out of the AeroVeedramon. Her eyes widened even further when Gatomon was sent tumbling. "GATOMON!" Davis came running out of cover and caught the cat Digimon. He then began to shout at the Mega Digimon.

Ken saw what was happening too, "That stupid fool!" He left Veemon in Kari's care and began to run down the rocky path. "Wormmon, stay here! You still can't digivolve with the control spire functioning. You'll only slow me down!"

Wormmon nodded, "Yes, Ken." He knew that Ken was actually thinking of Wormmon's safety.

Cody got up, "I'll go too!"

Kari grabbed his arm, "Cody, no! I need you to stay here in case a Digimon attacks us. One more armor Digimon isn't going to make a difference!" Cody nodded reluctantly.

* * * * * * * *

Davis shouted while holding Gatomon, "Stop it! Leave him alone!" He couldn't lose his friend. He wouldn't lose his friend! "You were going to finish me first! What's the matter? Afraid you can't take down one Digidestined?"

Gatomon moaned in Davis' arms, "Ugh. What's going on?"

Davis said, "Don't ask. Just get back to Kari!" He let Gatomon down and she began to run up the rocky slope.

SkullMammothmon backed off and Vee slumped to the ground, too tired to fight any more. SkullMammothmon said, "I had no idea you were so eager to join me in death. Very well, I will accommodate you." He brought his tusks down at Davis. Davis ran away, but not fast enough. He was thrown down by a pulse of energy created from the collision of SkullMammothmon's tusks with the ground. Davis lay sprawled for a moment and was too dazed to move.

SkullMammothmon raised a foot again, "And now you die."

"Davis!" Yolei and TK were running towards Davis as fast as they could.

"Do not interfere! Spiral Bone Crusher!" The two Digidestined were both repulsed by the attack.

SkullMammothmon was about to resume crushing Davis when someone shouted, "STOP!" Ken appeared behind SkullMammothmon.

The Mega level Digimon sighed, "How many gnats must I swat away?"

Ken threw his arms wide. "I am no gnat! I am the Digimon Emperor!"

There was a heartbeat of unbearable silence. "The Digimon Emperor?" SkullMammothmon completely forgot about Davis and turned on Ken. "You are the enslaver of all Digimon?" Yolei and TK managed to reach Davis and help him limp away from the Digimon.
Ken's voice cracked as he spoke, "Yes. I am the one whom all Digimon despise."

SkullMammothmon growled, "No Digimon despises you more than I do. You are my creator!"
Ken frowned, "You're creator?"

SkullMammothmon howled, "It is because of you that I am damned to this existence. I was a simple Mammothmon when you took over this valley. You decided to use dark spirals rather than dark rings to control the Digimon here. But I was too weak to withstand the spiral's awesome power. I began to die, slowly and painfully. I limped to the river for one final drink, and my strength gave out. I fell in the water and welcomed the freedom of deletion."

"But fate intervened. An earthquake toppled your control spire, and it fell into the river. It's dark energy poured out into the stream, and into my body. I was given the power to become a Mega Digimon, but at the cost of my soul. Now, I am neither living nor dead. I am a ghost Digimon, cursed to wander his grave because of you! All who enter this valley deface my grave, and all the Digimon who live here must pay their respects to me! That is the only peace that I can find in this world!"

Ken shouted, "If you hate me so much, then spare the others and take my life! I won't fight back. You can kill me and I won't try to avoid you! Leave everyone else alone and take your revenge on me!"

Davis shouted, "Ken, NO!" He struggled free of TK's grasp.

TK shouted, "Davis, don't do it!" But Davis was already running for Ken at full speed. Surprisingly, so was Yolei. Hawkmon trailed behind his partner.

Ken watched mutely as SkullMammothmon raised his foot to crush the former tyrant. I deserve this. Ken closed his eyes and waited for the end.

A boy's voice and a girl's voice shouted in unison, "KEN!" Ken had the wind knocked out of him as something tackled him to the ground. He felt a puff of air and a loud slam as SkullMammothmon brought his foot down. Ken opened his eyes. Yolei and Davis were helping him to his feet with Hawkmon staying by their side.

Davis shouted, "GO! GO! GO!" He and Yolei half-dragged, half-carried Ken to the shelter of nearby rocks. They managed to duck behind one large bolder.

SkullMammothmon howled, "You will not escape!"
"Star Shower!" Pegasusmon had reappeared and was firing his stylized attack from above. He and TK were trying to offer the others cover fire. They only succeeded in making the skeletal Digimon even angrier.

"GO AWAY!" SkullMammothmon batted TK and Pegasusmon away with his trunk.

Meanwhile, Davis and Yolei were trying to restrain a practically hysterical Ken. He shouted, "You should have let him kill me! I deserve it! I have to pay for what I've done, and if this is my punishment than I'll accept it!"

Davis snapped, "That's stupid! You don't deserve to die for what happened! You've changed!"

Ken wailed, "I still have to pay!"

Yolei slapped him hard across the face. Ken winced and looked at her in stunned silence. Yolei had tears in her eyes. "Don't you think that people would miss you if you were gone? Don't you think that your parents would be sad if another son died? Stop being so selfish! Killing yourself is a coward's way out!"

She placed her hands on Ken's shoulders and look directly into his eyes. "Ken, I forgive you. I know now that you've changed and that you're sorry for what you've done. I know it's hard to keep going, because everyone seems to hold you to what you used to do; but I forgive you for all that. Don't lose hope, and don't ever give up!"

Ken just stared at her in utter bewilderment, "Yolei…" That was the first time Ken had called any of the Digidestined by name.

Davis looked at the Digivolution Crystal hanging around his neck. "Hey, it's glowing!" The Crystal rose into the air and strained towards Yolei, as if it wanted her to hold it. Davis reached up and slipped the chain off from around his neck. "Yolei, take it!" The crystal flew strait in at Yolei and stopped in her hands. Davis said, "Keep focusing on the feelings you were showing Ken a second ago. Keep focused and Hawkmon can crystal digivolve!"

Yolei held the Crystal in her hands and thought hard. I know I've been a real whiner lately, but I don't want anyone to die. Ken deserves a second chance, and I don't want to lose any of my friends. They all mean so much to me; I couldn't stand to lose any of them! I'll fight to protect the people I care about! The Crystal's shine grew even brighter.

Davis said, "Yolei, point the Crystal at Hawkmon and say, 'crystal armor energize!'"

Yolei held her hands out to Hawkmon, "Crystal armor energize!" White light shot out of the Crystal and enveloped Hawkmon.

"Hawkmon crystal digivolve to…" Hawkmon's silhouette began to change. He grew larger, as if he were digivolving into Aquillamon. However, instead of just one pair of wings, Hawkmon sprouted two pairs, and this new form was slightly bigger than his Champion stage. His tail feathers grew longer and hung in separate strands. His head became more pronounced and arrow-shaped. The light faded. "Rocmon: Crystal Purity!"

Rocmon was colored ruby-red with white feathers running along his four wings and his belly. A quartz helmet covered the upper half of his head, and his beak was golden yellow. His tail feathers were pure white, and he seemed to glow with energy.

Yolei frowned, "Rockmon? But he's not made out of rocks!"

Ken shook his head, "Not Rockmon, it's Rocmon! A Roc is gigantic mythical bird. People say that it could carry up to three elephants at once! It's supposed to be the largest bird in the world!"

The new Digimon nodded, "Yes, I am the Crystal Digimon Rocmon. As Hawkmon I harness the power of pure-hearted thoughts to crystal digivolve. My Tempest Storm is unstoppable, and my Shard Shower is devastating. Yolei, I draw my strength from the pure thoughts in your mind and I in your heart. As long as you care for others and are willing to forgive, my power is limitless!"

Yolei looked at the glowing crystal in her hands. "Really?"

Davis nodded, "That's right. Remember how Diamon drew strength from my will power? Well, Rocmon draws strength from your purity. As long as you keep focused on pure thoughts, then Rocmon can beat bone-head easily." Yolei nodded, closed her eyes, and focused on thoughts of her friends and the people she cared about.

Davis said, "Ken, let's go get TK and Patamon before the real fight starts!" Ken nodded. The two boys ran out from cover. TK and Patamon were lying dazed off to SkullMammothmon's right.

Rocmon looked at his opponent. "SkullMammothmon, stop your attack. You hatred will only result in more sadness. Stop following the dark path that you are on!"

SkullMammothmon scoffed, "I do not care for others! Their sadness is nothing compared to that of my own! Do not interfere with my revenge! Spiral Bone Crusher!" His tusks shot out.

Rocmon flapped his wings, "Shard Shower!" Bits of ruby rained down and batted at the two bones flying upward. They detonated under the barrage of stones. SkullMammothmon was driven away from Vee and the Digidestined by the falling gems.

Davis and Ken had reached TK and Patamon, and were now helping them limp back towards Yolei. SkullMammothmon spotted Ken, "EMPEROR!"

Rocmon flew in and interposed himself between Ken and his would-be killer. "I do this with regret, but you cannot be allowed to harm my friends." His wings began to glow an even brighter shade of red. "Tempest Storm!" He beat all four wings at once. Red lightning shot out along with an invisible shock wave that made the air ripple.

SkullMammothmon screamed as the lightning played over his body, and he was sent hurtling back by the force of the attack. He eventually rolled to a stop on his side. "Oh…" He could feel the life draining out of him. "What… power…" But instead of shame or anger at his defeat, SkullMammothmon felt peace. At last, it was over. At last he could rest and be free of this pain. He was free of the curse that had held him for so long. He closed his eyes, and his body dissolved.

Yolei watched SkullMammothmon's body vanish into the air. That's another Digimon I've killed. But I didn't have a choice. Why do we have to keep fighting? Wouldn't it just be better for Digimon to live peacefully? She shook her head sadly.

Rocmon landed next to her, "Yolei, are you alright?" He could tell that Yolei was hurting.

Yolei said, "No, I'm not. But I will be. Thanks for caring, Rocmon."

Davis and Ken returned with TK and Patamon. "Yolei, Rocmon, you did great!"

Yolei smiled, "Thanks, Davis. Is TK okay?"

TK said, "I'm okay."

"TK! Davis! Everyone!" Kari came running down the path with Cody, Armadillomon, Wormmon, Gatomon, and a still recovering Veemon. Kari ran up to TK and threw her arms around him. "Oh, TK! I was so worried about you!" TK turned slightly red.

Davis' eyebrow began to twitch. That's… nice. It's good that she was WORRIED about TK. I can handle this…

Kari let go of TK and then proceeded to hug Davis. "Thank you so much, Davis. You saved TK and Gatomon. Are you okay?"

Davis turned an even brighter shade of red than TK. "I-er-em… I'm ah…"

Kari smiled, "I'll take that as a yes."

Davis shook his head and looked at his partner. "Veemon, how are you feeling?"

Veemon sounded more energetic, "I'm better. I feel a lot stronger."

Davis smiled and looked at Ken, "Those herbs really helped. Thanks, Ken."

Kari nodded, "And thank you for helping TK… I know I've given you a lot of grief, but you helped us anyway. Thank you."

TK said, "Yeah, thanks for saving me."

Ken nodded, "You're welcome, JB."

TK blinked, "JB?" His eyes narrowed, "DAVIS!"

Davis laughed nervously, "Hey, I just made a slight slip of the tongue. No biggie, right?" Everyone sighed.

Cody remained silent throughout the whole conversation. He couldn't forgive Ken. Not yet, anyway. He looked down the Valley. "Uh, guys? There's a problem." The viral Digimon of the Valley were approaching to investigate the disturbance.

Davis pressed a hand to his head, "You mean we have to fight all of them now?"

Kari said, "Wait! We don't have to fight them. TK, if you can digivolve Patamon into his Ultimate…"

TK snapped his fingers, "That's perfect, Kari! Yolei, can you have Rocmon destroy what's left of the control spire!"

Yolei nodded, "Sure. Go for it, Rocmon!" Rocmon nodded and took to the air.

He flew over to where the control spire lay and held out his wings. "Shard Shower!" The black monolith was reduced to rubble under the hail of rubies.

TK held up his D3. "Now, Patamon!"

"Patamon digivolve to… Angemon!" The crest of hope began to glow on TK's chest. "Angemon digivolve to… MagnaAngemon!" Patamon's Ultimate form floated above the children.

Davis' jaw hit the floor, "That's Angemon's Ultimate form?"

Kari nodded, "Neat, huh?"

Davis crossed his arms, "He's not as cool as Paildramon."

MagnaAngemon asked, "What was that?"

Davis said hastily, "NOTHING!"

TK said, "MagnaAngemon, try and remove the dark energy from the Digimon."

"Right. Magna Antidote." MagnaAngemon's top four wings began to glow with multiple colors. Rainbow colored beams shot out and played over the approaching Digimon. The Digimon screamed and shrieked, but their colors began to change. The Greymon began to change from blue and black to the familiar orange and light blue. The DarkTyranomon became normal Tyranomon. All the other Digimon were purified as well.

MagnaAngemon soared up and down the valley, raining down purifying light. The control spire's dark energy was expunged from the river and the Digimon. For the first time since the Valley's "liberation," the Digimon were free of the evil energy controlling them.

TK smiled, "That was a great idea, Kari."

Rocmon returned and reverted back to Hawkmon. Yolei handed the Crystal back to Davis. "Thanks for the crystal and the advice, Davis."

Davis fastened the crystal around his neck. "No problem. Thanks for being there for us." Kari also returned Davis' ruined jacket that Ken had left with them after delivering the herbs.

The newly cleansed Veedramon approached, "Scar? Is that you."

Vee/Scar moaned, "If I hear that nickname one more time, I'm going to hurt someone! My name is Vee now." Vee hadn't reverted back from his AeroVeedramon form. He looked up at his long-lost "clansmon". "Brothers, it is good to see you again. Much has changed since you've been gone. There is a great deal that I must tell you."

* * * * * * * *

The Digidestined, Vee, and the recovered Veedramon all stood at the spot where they Digidestined had first arrived. Veemon was well on his way to a speedy recover, although Davis had still insisted on carrying him back so that he could save his strength. All of the Valley Digimon had bade them farewell and thanks. Now, it was time to say goodbye to Vee and his friends.

Vee had not changed back to his Veedramon form. "I guess I'm done digivolving. I shall remain an AeroVeedramon forever."

Davis smiled, "Until you reach Mega level, right?"

Vee laughed, "Now that would be interesting! However, I am beginning to wonder if the Digital World does not need a few good Mega Digimon now. Between Ex-Piedmon, the Dark Masters, and now SkullMammothmon…"

Yolei waved a hand, "Don't worry about it. Rocmon and I can handle anything!"

Davis said, "Hey! Don't forget about Diamon! He could whoop Rocmon any day of the week!"

Yolei got right up in Davis' face. "Oh yeah?"

"Yeah!"

Hawkmon joined in, "Oh really?"

Veemon retorted, "Really!"

TK said, "I bet Patamon's Crystal Digimon form (whatever it is) could lick both of yours."

Kari said, "No way, TK."

Davis smiled, "Yeah, no way, TK."

Kari continued, "Gatomon's Crystal form could take you all down!" Gatomon agreed.

Both Davis and TK's faces fell, "Kari!"

Cody said, "I'm actually eager to see if Armadillomon could crystal digivolve."

Armadillomon said, "I bet I'd be the toughest Digimon ever!"

Everyone else shouted, "NO WAY!"

Ken looked at the spectacle. Weirdoes. As the Digidestined and Digimon quarreled, Vee said to Ken. "I cannot forget that it was you who stole my brethren away from my clan. However, it was also you who helped to return them to us. I thank you and forgive you, Ken." The Veedramon agreed.

Ken nodded, "Thank you."

Vee said, "Davis, you are a true friend. You kept your promise to find my family. I thank you."

Davis smiled, "I'm glad I could help. And I'm always happy to help a friend. I'll see you again, Vee."

Vee looked at the other Digidestined, "I thank you as well, my friends. We will meet again. Perhaps in a 'dark ally?'" Yolei giggled. The Digidestined waved goodbye as Vee and the Veedramon vanished into the sunset.

Davis said, "Let's go home."

* * * * * * * *

Back in the school computer lab, the kids were saying their good-byes to Ken.

Ken held out his hand, "Thank you for inviting me, Davis."

Davis shook the outstretched hand, "You're welcome, and thank for all your help."

Yolei said timidly, "You'll join us again some time, right?"

Ken gave her a slight smile, "Perhaps." He turned and left. Minomon waved a tiny hand as they exited the room. Yolei reddened a little.

"Ohh." Kari leaned in towards Yolei, "Someone has a crush."

Yolei's face became an even darker shade of red, "I do not!"

Kari chanted, "Yolei and Ken, sitting in a tree."

Davis joined in, "K-I-S-S-I-N-G."

TK said, "First comes love, then come marriage…"

Yolei growled, "You guys, shut up."

All three of them sang, "Then comes the baby with the baby carriage!"

Yolei shouted, "SHUT UP!" Davis, Kari, and TK all backed away in fear of their lives.

Cody said, "Yolei, you don't actually like that guy, do you?"

Yolei smiled at her friend, "I'm not exactly sure, Cody. He's not as bad as I though he was, but he's still got some major flaws." She rubbed her cheek, remembering when he slapped her.

Cody said, "I just don't understand how you can forgive him for all he's done."

Yolei kneeled down and placed a hand on Cody's shoulder. "You will in time."

The End

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Yes, Cody will come to understand in time, because the next story arc is about him!

*Rocmon is my creation, so please don't take him without my permission. All the other Digimon are in the Digimon Card game, so I have no rights to them.*

Author's note: Attention Cody, TK, and Kari fans! Please e-mail me at TGC4860@aol.com. I'd like to correspond with all of you on what you think are the strengths and weaknesses of each Digidestined's personality. I know that TK and Kari seem to be pretty much perfect, but if that were true, they wouldn't be human. I need some ideas for special quirks that they can deal with; the same is true for Cody.

I hope everyone has enjoyed Yolei: Rise, Learn, Grow. I appreciate any constructive criticism, and suggestions for future stories. I'd also like it if someone could offer advice for the new Crystal Digimon forms. I'm starting to run out of ideas!

By the way, Roc can also be spelled Rukh (for better pronunciation). This information and inspiration comes from Gareth Long's Encyclopedia of Monsters, Mythical Creatures, and Fabulous Beasts. http://webhome.idirect.com/~donlong/monsters/monsters.htm. If you browse through his listing of creatures, you might find something to make a new Digimon out of.