Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon.
Chapter: 81/ Truth Revealed
Ryuuji Tamashiro folded his hands together as he gazed at the three cameras. On one hand were the remainder of the Nightmare Soldiers that he sent after Takehito Uehara, arriving with the man in question. In the middle lay his daughter, Minami; insurance and pressure to make certain that Takehito would cooperate. Finally, on the other was Takato Matsuki, Growlmon, and an unknown, though vaguely familiar boy. Leaning forward, he gazed at him before recognition came to mind.
"Ah… Yes. You were with the Hazard Tamer when he arrived in Okinawa. You're not in my database with regards to Digidestined and Tamers… You're just human."
Satisfied that he had only the Hazard Tamer to be concerned about, he shifted his attention over to the camera with Takehito. The three Nightmare Soldiers had him overlooking his daughter now to show him what was at stake if he didn't cooperate. He glanced back at the image of Takato and Growlmon as they now fended off a series of rocket launchers.
I still have time, he thought. All I need is the vaccine.
Getting up from his chair, he adjusted his shirt and smiled. "Time to go put on a show," he said.
Takehito gasped upon finding his daughter lying on the floor down below him, and for the briefest of moments he completely forgot about the digimon behind him.
"Minami!" he shouted, slamming his hands upon the glass window. At his voice, the girl stirred and sat up, looking confused and exhausted.
Takehito's heart clenched in his chest, thinking about what these digimon could have done to her just to bring her to this place.
"Where… Where am I?" he heard her say – the room making it as easy as possible for him to hear his daughter's voice, no doubt specifically for his 'benefit' – before continuing in a louder voice as she looked up, spotting him. "Dad…? Dad!"
"Minami!" he called out again, but before he could say anything more – ask her how she was doing, if she was all right – he heard noise behind him from the digimon, and then Ryuuji was there, slamming his back into the window in a half mad panic.
"Get away from me!" he shouted, his voice cracking in fear at the four digimon that stood in front of him, laughing at the helplessness of the two humans. Takehito glared at them, his eyes sliding from a cactus wearing what appeared to be a Mexican hat and a poncho; a bat with sickles in place of hands and feet; an ape wearing a long, colorful mask that stretched down to its feet; and finally, a beastly-looking man with a demonic-looking mask. Great horns erupted from its skull and a red cape flowed down over its green shirt and pants. This last had a sense of authority about it, and Takehito immediately saw it as the leader of the group.
"Takehito, what in the world is going on around this place?!" Ryuuji rasped, struggling to maintain control of himself. Turning around so as to face the digimon more fully, he ground his teeth together.
"These digimon are after me. They're using you and my daughter as leverage."
"What do you mean?" Ryuuji said, turning toward him in shock. Takehito glanced away guiltily.
"This is my fault," he continued. "I never should have created the V-Pet."
The tall, caped digimon – Baromon, if Takehito remembered correctly from the brief, hushed conversations between the four – gave a dark chuckle and stomped toward them.
"All right. Hand over the vaccine," he demanded.
"Vaccine?" Takehito arched an eyebrow. "What's he talking about?"
"I devised a vaccine program," Takehito replied. "It can stop these guys."
"Hand it over before something happens to your daughter," Baromon persisted, causing Takehito's eyes to widen, gasping fearfully.
"Dad! What's going on?"
Hearing her voice, the man spun around and pressed his hands against the window. "Minami!"
As if at some signal, holes in the walls surrounding the girl opened up and a series of globes emerged from them. Spinning around, they sighted upon the girl and a red laser shot forth, blazing a path toward her, only stopping short of the girl as she jumped back, shouting in surprise. More lasers joined in, forcing Minami to back up against the wall behind her, scorching it.
"Minami!" Takehito yelled, pounding on the window as she screamed in fear. With a roar of rage, Takehito leapt at the four digimon, punching the cactus-poncho digimon – Ponchomon – out of the way. While it didn't hurt, the sheer suddenness of the attack, coupled with its ferocity, was more than enough to send it crashing to the ground.
Baromon, however, was not so caught off guard, and with a single, simple punch of his own, he sent Takehito careening back toward Ryuuji, who ran over to him.
"Takehito!" he exclaimed, dropping down beside him. "Are you okay?"
Baromon gave a mocking laugh at the fallen human, fully expecting that it wouldn't be long now before the vaccine would be surrendered.
Pathetic humans… They worry so much about those that are helpless instead of fighting for themselves. It's no wonder that they fall so easily to one such as I…that they need to enslave other digimon to give them aid! This one and his daughter… They are helpless. There will be no one to…
The room shook with a ferocious explosion, causing him to look up in surprise.
"What's that?" he asked as more explosions soon followed.
"Growlmon! Get the launcher!" Takato shouted as everyone ran to keep ahead of the rockets as they soared through the air, detonating and sending shrapnel flying in every direction. Takato bit back a cry as something hot and very much metal flung by him with blinding speed, narrowly avoiding taking out his eye in the process. He shut it out before the knowledge of his near death could hit him. They had work to do.
Growlmon was more than happy to obey as he ground to a halt, taking a couple rockets in the process, before rearing up and firing a ball of fire directly at the launchers on the gangway above them. The fireball struck it and detonated, ending the rocket fire and causing the gangway to crumble like tissue paper and collapse to the water entrance below. Takato and Kai raised their hands reflexively as the remaining munitions exploded within their compartments, and looking again, they saw the remains of the entrance start to cave in, and water began to flood up into the room.
The two boys looked at each other, both realizing what was going on.
"Time to go!" Kai shouted and with nothing more to be said they both took off at a run, Growlmon and Seasarmon right behind them. Pipes began to burst all around them, and now those thoughts reemerged with a vengeance in Takato's mind.
We could die here, he thought, wiping at his head wound once more. We might really die here…
His feet pounded the floor with even greater force and his lungs drew in even more air to facilitate the increased effort.
We won't die! he thought with growing determination, blotting out the explosions behind him. We won't! I refuse to let it happen! We'll find a way! We'll rescue Minami and go home! Nothing's going to…
Another explosion, and Takato coughed as they ran full tilt into a cloud of black smoke. Coughing, Takato pressed onward, hoping that wasn't a bad sign.
The laser barrage had ended, as had her father's cries, leaving Minami alone in the room. With a loud sob, she fell to her knees, clasping her hands in front of her as the hopelessness of her situation overwhelmed her. Shaking, she turned to an old habit of hers… One she turned to for comfort ever since her mother died.
She prayed. She didn't know to who or to what…or if it was to anything really. Faith in another world…or even that of gods…never quite meant much to her, yet there were times, in her most private of moments, where she would pray, if only to have something – some kind of hope – to hold onto when there was nothing left.
She searched inside her for that small warmth of hope that gave her light in the darkness, and, quite to her surprise, a name escaped her lips.
"Wait!" Seasarmon growled, suddenly drawing to a halt.
"What?!" Kai exploded, flustered. "What, are you nuts?! Why…?!"
Seasarmon's growl drowned him out and he zeroed in on a door. He could have sworn that he heard Minami calling… Calling his name…
"There!" he roared, bounding off toward it. His body glowing, he bowed his head and slammed his horned head into the door, shattering it completely, revealing a startled Minami cowering against the wall. His aura receding, Seasarmon smiled – as best as he could with his gaping maw – and their eyes met.
Minami shook as she looked at the white-furred digimon, taken aback at his sudden arrival…almost immediately when she had called to him!
And she had… In some way, for some reason she didn't understand, she had called to him! This strange digimon that she knew nothing about, yet for some reason came from her computer and seemed to want to protect her at all costs.
"Seasarmon…" she whispered, but the moment was gone almost as quickly as it came, as the ball turrets zeroed in on the dog-digimon, lasers firing. With a roar, Seasarmon leapt up and bounded along the walls, deftly evading the blasts with almost contemptuous ease. He raced from one to the next, shattering them with his feet until, finally, on the last one, he broke it out of its holding just as it fired, and the laser surged upward, shattering the glass above. As it rained down, Baromon approached, his face a portrait of fury at this interruption. With a grunt, he leapt into the room to deal with this situation personally. He fell toward Seasarmon, his foot narrowly missing him as it crunched into the wall just as the dog rebounded to the floor. With a startled gasp, Minami rushed toward the broken door, just as Takato appeared at the entrance.
"Come on!" the goggle-wearing boy called, taking her by the hand, and by surprise as she suddenly realized both he and Kai were there.
"You found me!" she exclaimed as Kai appeared, grinning triumphantly upon seeing her.
"Well, yeah, we rock!"
Not taking a second to celebrate, Takato drew out his digivice and quickly scanned Seasarmon's opponents – and opponents there were as more poured in. He drew in his breath with a hiss as he took in their stats.
"Four Armor digimon… Baromon, Sepikmon, Pepismon and Ponchomon. This is going to be a bit tough…" Looking up, his face tightened and he looked over his shoulder. "Okay, Growlmon! Now!"
Just as Seasarmon avoided another attack, a great torrent of fire blew through the wall where he had just leapt from, slamming first into Ponchomon and then careening into Pepismon and Sepikmon, smashing them both into innumerable shards of data. The wall shook as Growlmon slammed his face into the hole he had made, plowing through it. Turning, he spotted Baromon, just in time for the Armor to shout his attack.
Like rockets, seven knives ripped free from beneath his shirt and shot toward Growlmon, slamming hard into him and detonating with ferocious force. Leaping off the wall, Seasarmon howled with rage, claws outstretched to catch their opponent, but Baromon was ready for him. Spinning in midair, he launched another Storming Knives attack, catching Seasarmon in a series of deadly explosions.
Baromon laughed at the seaming ease of his victory. These 'tamed' digimon were nothing against him, just as he suspected.
To think that we lost the war with these pathetic hu-
Turning at the sound of the pronounced attack, Baromon had just enough time to see a glowing blue blade cut through him as Growlmon sliced his arm through the air. Pain erupted throughout his body and the last thing he saw was darkness folding around him as his body evaporated into nothing.
"Nice one!" Kai congratulated as the remains of Baromon's lower torso struck the floor before joining the rest of its owner in digital oblivion. Seasarmon and Growlmon both came in for a landing shortly after, and upon landing, the dog digimon turned toward Minami, and once again their eyes met.
Seasarmon… Minami thought, feeling that fear toward the digimon return. He was so alien and strange… So savage, and yet…
You came for me, she thought, and in spite of her fears, she approached the digimon. Coming to a halt, she held out her hand, waiting to see what he would do.
He doesn't…seem so scary now… she thought, now that she got a good look at him. He reminded her of the Komainu – lion dogs that guarded the inner shrines of temples, warding off evil spirits. She had one once as a very small girl as well, and though it was long lost, she cherished the memory of the item all the same.
At her offered hand, Seasarmon pushed his head against it and then leaned on her, growling happily, eager to give affection back to her so as to let her know that he was for her and that she needn't fear anything, so long as he was by her side.
A small smile drew across Minami's face at this, and she felt herself relax. In spite of not knowing anything about the digimon, she found that she could trust it.
Turning at the sound of her father's voice, Minami's smile bloomed upon seeing him running toward her. "You're okay!" she exclaimed, falling into his arms with relief. She hadn't lost anyone today!
"Dad!" she cried, hugging him close to her as Takeheto pulled her close.
"I'm glad you're safe," he breathed with relief, holding her for a moment until Minami pulled away, gesturing to the two boys with them.
"These guys saved me before. That's Takato and Kai."
"Well thank you," Takehito nodded gratefully to them, causing Takato to blush and become a little flustered while Kai grinned and laughed again.
"Ah, it was nothing," Kai said for the both of them.
The moment was ruined however as the room shook. Turning, Takato's mouth fell open as he saw a surge of water rush toward them from the direction they had come, reminding them of everything that was going on.
"It's flooding! That's right! We've got to get out of here!"
"Let's get out of here!" Takehito said, taking Minami by the shoulder.
Needing little urging, everyone quickly dashed out of the room, Growlmon shoving himself through the hole he made earlier so as to interpose himself between the water and his friends, forming a crude, makeshift dam. Water splashed over him, but for the moment he managed to hold the worst of it at bay, allowing them to hurry off to find safer ground.
Ryuuji stared at the now empty room, forgotten by Takehito in the mad scramble to rescue his daughter and get her out of harm's way. He sighed in dissatisfaction, disappointed that things didn't go how he hoped it would. Still, a dark smirk drew across his face.
"Well, I guess it's up to me to stop you," he said. "You should have just given up the vaccine!"
"Seasarmon came from the laptop you gave me!" Minami said to her father as they finally reached the top floor of the island, safe from the flooding below. "Why…Why do you think that happened? You gave it to me…"
"What?" Takehito asked with a surprised gasp. "No, I don't know how that happened! The laptop only contained…"
Lightning cracked and thunder boomed all of a sudden, causing Seasarmon to growl and turn away from the window and press himself against Minami's legs.
"Are you scared of lightning?" she asked the dog digimon softly, patting his head comfortingly.
Takato furrowed his brow thoughtfully at Seasarmon. He too had wondered where the digimon had come from. All the portals to the digital world were closed, preventing computers from being used as a means of entering the real world. The cogs in his mind turned and a thought came to mind.
"He came from the V-Pet…" he said aloud, earning him a surprised look from the others. Feeling anxious at all the attention, he stammered on. "It's the only explanation that makes sense, right? I saw on the news that the V-Pet was made from digimon data, so I thought… What if Seasarmon digivolved from Minami's V-Pet and then bio-emerged into the real world from her computer?"
He glanced at Minami. "He's protecting you just like Mei would have."
"No!" Minami shouted suddenly, shaking her head violently as he said that. "He's not just a replacement for Mei!"
"I'm not saying that, but you have to admit it makes sense, doesn't it?" Takato replied.
Minami's memory flashed back to Mei – her puppy who had loved her so much…who drowned trying to be with her. She looked at Seasarmon, sorrow swimming in her eyes, uncertain as to what to say…or how to feel.
"I based the V-Pet on Mei. I wonder if the program's in his data…" Takehito said, picking up the thread of conversation now.
"What do you mean?" Takato asked the man, ears perking up. "What program?"
"I wrote a program that will destroy all the other V-Pets wherever they are in the world."
"What?!" Takato's eyes widened in horror at that. "Why?"
Destroy all the V-Pets? He's planning to kill them?!
"I recently discovered that every single V-Pet has a virus hidden deep inside its programming. Once I found that out, I wrote a vaccine program. I uploaded it into Minami's V-Pet because I was starting to think that someone in the company was keeping track of me because of what I discovered. I wanted to make sure that, in case anything happened to me that it would at least get out into the outside world…"
Gasping in surprise, Takehito turned to find Ryuuji approaching them, hands in his pockets and looking casual, as if the presence of Growlmon and Seasarmon were of no concern to him.
"Tamashiro," Takehito greeted before taking notice of Growlmon behind him, making a deep, guttural sound in the back of his throat upon seeing the man.
"You hid it inside the very first V-Pet," Ryuuji continued. "Bravo! And who would have guessed it would turn into a digimon?"
"Takato!" Growlmon said in a hushed hiss. "He's a digimon!"
"What?!" Takato gasped, mirroring everyone else's surprise.
"Your digimon is smarter than he looks," Ryuuji laughed, rolling his head on his shoulders as his body began to quiver and shudder. "There's no need for this costume!"
"Tamashiro?" Takehito whispered softly, not fully grasping what Growlmon had said. Not wanting to believe it! There was just no way that the man he had worked with for all these months – had worked for over the years – couldn't be…human.
It can't be true… It can't be…
"Quick joking around!" Kai growled. "This is serious business!"
"Oh, you have no idea!" Ryuuji said, lightning flashing as his body began to swell and expand. Not wasting time, Seasarmon jumped forth, launching himself at Ryuuji, only to be knocked aside as a massive, harry arm slammed into him. Seasarmon howled as data broke away from his body, his body changing and losing its form… Regressing in its evolution. Gone was his horn and lion-like mane. Floppy ears fell over its face as he shrunk and his gold fur became brown.
That, however, was nothing compared to the transformation Ryuuji was going through.
Cloven hooves slammed down on the ground as bat-like wings spread out from his swollen, hunched back. Ryuuji's face stood smack in the center of dark fur, twisted and leering at them, enjoying the shock that painted their faces. Stalking forward, he lifted the devolved Seasarmon in one hand.
Takato's digivice shone as it revealed his new stats. Labramon. Takato took no notice however, as in the shock of Ryuuji's transformation, he thought back to that day that was now so long ago, when he, Henry and Rika first encountered…
"Mephistomon…" he breathed, and Ryuuji grinned. His head warped and twisted, his body giving the impression that it was swallowing his face until it reappeared, back in its original form, elongated and goat-shaped.
"And now that I have the vaccine program, no one can stop me!"
Lightning flashed as Mephistomon hoisted Labramon into the air while Minami looked on in growing horror.