Breaking Free

Justice

Ch 1: Vitium

by Silver

*Disclaimer: I doubt anyone would actually sue me for not using a disclaimer, but I'm throwing this in any way. I don't own Digimon, or its characters and creatures.*

Author's note: It's Cody's turn to change! This story will hopefully develop his character further, but it will also put focus on other characters. For the sake of clarity, this is a continuation of the Crystal Digimon Saga that started with my story "Walkabout." If you need clarification, please read "Walkabout" and "Yolei: Rise, Learn, Grow." Those are the first two story arcs of this saga.

By the way, Vitium is Latin for crime. I'll be using Latin terms as titles for each chapter, and I'll give the definitions. Actually, I don't speak a word of Latin (maybe this isn't such a good idea), but I found a nice English to Latin translator at http://www.histopia.nl/onldict/lat.html. It might come in handy for someone's next Latin project.

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Cody Hida's eyes were unfocused as he walked towards the school computer room. He was still thinking about the Digidestined's journey to the Ancient Valley during the previous week. The whole ordeal had confused him. Why had the others forgiven Ken so quickly? Didn't they remember what he had done as the Digimon Emperor? He was a criminal, and weren't criminals supposed to be punished? Cody's grandfather said that it was only after justice had been served could a criminal be truly forgiven.

Cody was currently debating whether or not to mention this to the others. It might get in the way of their plans for the afternoon. The Digidestined were beginning a new campaign to destroy all the remaining control spires. They all agreed that the spires were too dangerous to simply leave around. After all, there was always the danger of another SkullMammothmon appearing.

Davis was already sitting in front of the computer with Kari and TK. They were debating over where to go first. Yolei was feeding all five Digimon snacks before the journey. Cody walked up to the computer and looked at the screen. There were countless dark gray areas on the map. Those were areas that still contained control spires, but were no longer under the Emperor's control. The Digimon were free to live their lives, but they could not digivolve as long as those spires were operational. Cody wasn't sure if any of the Digimon were still under the control of the dark rings, but the Digidestined were going to find out.

Kari pointed to an area on the screen, "How about this area?"

TK arched an eyebrow, "The beach?"

Kari smiled, "Hey, it's a great place to start!"

Gatomon said, "Sounds purrr-fect."

Patamon said, "I'm in."

Davis smiled, "You'll get no argument from me."

TK said, "Me neither."

Yolei chimed in, "I'm up for the beach!"

Upamon, Poromon, and Demiveemon jumped up and down. "Beach! Beach! Beach!"

Cody said, "You guys! Shouldn't we be worried more about our mission than going to the beach?" The cheering ended. Everyone began to look humbled.

Davis grumbled, "Party pooper." He never understood why Cody was the no nonsense member of the group, even though he was the youngest. Didn't the kid know how to have fun every now and again?

Cody came up and pointed at a thick cluster of dark gray areas. "There are a lot of control spires here. We should eliminate the hardest areas first, then we can 'hit the beach.'"

Kari sighed, "He's right. We should hit the hard areas while we're feeling up to it. This can get pretty tiring."

TK nodded, "Okay, let's go where Cody says." The Digidestined assembled in front of the computer.

Davis let out a short breath, "Alright. Digiport open." They were all sucked into the computer's light.

* * * * * * * *

The digiport released the Digidestined into a volcanic field. Red mist hovered throughout the land, and smoke made it hard to breathe. The heat came upon them in waves. Davis had to remove his newly repaired jacket. Yolei and TK removed their headgear, and Kari took off her gloves. Cody tried his best to bear the heat on his own.

Armadillomon sighed, "Out of the air conditioning, into the fire."

Veemon said, "It's too hot, even for cool guys like us!"

Hawkmon said, "I recommend that we complete our task with the utmost haste, and get out of this unbearable heat."

Davis said, "Good idea. Let's do it!" He and Veemon lead the group in the search for the control spire.

They searched for over an hour, but they found nothing. There wasn't a control spire in sight. Yolei had refrained from complaining for the whole journey, which was a great tribute to her, but now everyone was past the point of patient silence. "Where the heck is the stupid spire?"

TK said, "I think I'm gonna pass out!"

Kari said, "Maybe we should head home and take a break. That spire isn't going anywhere."

Cody was the only one who projected an aura of calm. "Guys, let's keep going for just a little farther. That spire's here somewhere."

Yolei moaned, "But the heat…"

Davis, who had been checking up on ridge, shouted, "GUYS! Come quick!" Everyone forgot their discussion and ran up to join Davis and Veemon. They couldn't believe the sight before them. They had found the control spire, or rather, what was left of it. The spire lay in a small trench. It was crumbled and broken, and its color was drained. The rubble was pale white, there was no sign that it had ever been dark.

Kari looked on in utter bewilderment, "What happened."

TK said, "Maybe… maybe a Digimon destroyed before us?"

Yolei asked, "Then why is it white?"

Davis said, "Well… it's destroyed, right? So, we don't need to stay here. We can think about this at home."

Cody nodded, "Yes. We should go home and consider this further."

"Wait." Armadillomon ran down the hill. "What's that?" Everyone followed him down. He stopped at what looked like a big pot whole.

TK noticed it first. "It's a footprint!" A huge four-toed footprint had been made recently. Something big had come through the area and destroyed the control spire. The only question was what kind of Digimon could do such a thing?

* * * * * * * *

Back in the computer room, the digidestined were re-analyzing the digital map. Yolei pointed to a white area. "Okay, this is where we were. It's completely white now, so I guess the control spire really was destroyed."

Kari said, "But whatever destroyed the control spire had the strength to survive the heat of that area. There aren't many Digimon that would enter that place willingly."

Davis said, "Maybe it was Leomon, or Vee. They said they'd try to take care of a few control spires."

TK shook his head, "If they did destroy the spire, then it wouldn't have turned white. Something else took care of it."

Davis nodded. "Okay… Maybe we should ask Ken. He might know."

"No way!" Cody shouted. Everyone looked at him. Cody demanded, "How can you even think of asking for his help again? Don't you care about what he did to the Digital World."

Davis held up his hands, "Whoa, hold on! Ken's not the Digimon Emperor anymore. There's no reason to hold a grudge."

Cody said, "Not hold a grudge? He hasn't paid for the crime he committed, how can you just simply let him go?"

Yolei said, "He's sorry for what he's done."

"And that makes it okay? One 'I'm sorry' and instantly the Emperor gets off the hook? That isn't right! My grandfather says that a criminal can't be fully forgiven until he pays for his crimes."

Davis said, "Well, I don't agree with your grandfather." Cody was starting to get mad.

Kari held up a hand. "Hang on, guys. We don't need to ask Ken right away. Let's give this a little more thought before we bring him into the loop." In truth, Kari just wanted to keep Davis and Cody from fighting. She actually agreed with Davis, but that would only cause more friction with Cody.

Demiveemon pointed at the screen, "Hey, what's that?" Everyone looked at the map. A section of the screen turned black, then white again. The next adjacent area turned back, then reverted to white. One by one, line of sectors turned black and then changed back into white.

Davis leaned in, "Is it me, or is a control spire actually moving?"

Cody nodded, "That's what it appears to be doing. And it's moving pretty fast."

Yolei noted, "And it's turning the sectors black, as if they were being controlled by Ken again."

Cody said, "You see? Ken hasn't given up, he's just been fooling us!"

TK said, "Wait a minute. There's no proof that it's Ken who's doing this. Don't forget: 'Innocent until proven guilty.'"

Davis paled, "Oh no…"

Kari asked, "What is it?"

Davis keyed in an area to which the portal would lead. "It's heading in a strait line for Meadow Town! Digiport open!" He was sucked into the computer.

Kari took out her D3, "Hey, wait for me!"

TK held up his digivice, "Me too!" They were both pulled into the computer.

Yolei rubbed her head, "Meadow Town, that sounds familiar…"

Cody said, "Davis visited Meadow Town on his walkabout. The moving control spire is heading for the town." They both held up their digivices and the computer pulled them in.

* * * * * * * *

Davis ran ahead of the group along with Veemon. He could really move when his friends were in danger. He and the others were running through the forest just outside of Meadow Town.

Yolei called, "Davis, what does Meadow Town look like?"

Davis called back, "It's a small fort with a bunch of huts inside. The leader of the place is called ExTyranomon."

Cody frowned, "ExTyranomon? How is that different from a normal Tyranomon?"

Davis smiled, "You'll see." They exited the forest, and stopped dead in their tracks. Davis' jaw dropped, "They did all this in two weeks?" Meadow Town was no longer a "small wooden fort." The wooden wall was gone, and huts covered at least three times as much land as they had when Davis had last visited.

Yolei blinked, "This is fort?"

Davis shrugged, "Well, it used to be. Guess they decided to build more huts after Darklizardmon attacked." He started to walk down the path and everyone followed. Davis was about to head for the town entrance, when something else caught his eye and he veered off towards a small patch of ground. Everyone exchanged confused looks and followed Davis. He stopped at a small bit of upturned earth.

"Davis?" Kari could practically feel the anger and sadness coming off of Davis. His fists were clenched, and his body was shuddering. Cody looked around Davis. There was a small wooden cross lying broken and smashed at his feet. Dirt had been upturned and strewn around.

Cody asked, "Davis, what's wrong?"

Davis' voice was tense with anger, "Those jerks… how could they do this…"

Armadillomon asked, "How could who do what?"

Davis released some of his tension with a quick breath, "When I was here, I made friends with a Digimon named Blossomon. Blossomon was in love with a Floramon, but Floramon loved another Digimon, Deramon. Ex-Piedmon somehow brainwashed Blossomon into betraying Meadow Town by making Blossomon think that everyone hated him. Blossomon destroyed the Town's defense against Darklizardmon, and then Blossomon was killed in Darklizardmon's attack. I made this little mound after Raidramon and I beat Darklizardmon. But… someone destroyed it. No one believed that Blossomon was being controlled, and they still haven't forgiven him. Those jerks." He began to shudder again.

Cody asked, "Can you prove that Ex-Piedmon brainwashed him?"

Davis shook his head. "No… I'm the only one who saw that freak. But I know he did it!"

Kari placed a hand on Davis' shoulder. "I-I'm sorry, Davis."

Davis shook his head, "We… we have more important things to worry about. I'll have to talk to ExTyranomon about this later…" He turned around and headed for the main entrance to Meadow Town.

Cody looked back at the ruined monument. Poor Davis. And poor Blossomon This isn't right. Blossomon didn't mean to betray his home, but no one will forgive him. That isn't right. It isn't just! Why can't the Digimon forgive Blossomon now that he's gone? Cody couldn't understand. Blossomon wasn't like the Digimon Emperor. He didn't betray everyone on purpose. Why is Ken wandering around free while an innocent like Blossomon is hated? That's not fair! Cody sighed and followed after the others. He'd have to give this more thought later.

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Cody's got very strong views on what is just and what is unjust, but are they the correct views? Next chapter, Cody is going to meet someone whose life parallels the Digimon Emperor's career in many ways, and that will lead to more questions. And what is this "moving spire?" That answer is coming next chapter as well.