And up goes another chapter. Fortunately I actually got it up at a decent time. No waiting three to six months, I think it only took a month this time. Good for me. I worked really hard trying to get this one done because I wanted to update before I went up to Winnipeg to start my fourth year of university tomorrow. And it looks like I did - just barely. I actually didn't have to cut it into two chapters this time either. Seven battles, one chapter, not bad if I say so myself. Anyway, I'll save anymore babbling until the end of the chapter. Read on

Oh yeah. Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon. This story is for my own fun and amusement, and anyone who reads it. I'd rather not be sued thanks.

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Chapter Seven: Round One Continues

"Bada Boom!"

Impmon held up a single finger and pointed it at his opponent, firing a ball of energy. Biyomon quickly took to the air to avoid the blast. This was followed up by a counterattack.

"Spiral Twister!"

Impmon chuckled and effortlessly dodged the attack - right before he conjured up an Infernal Funnel attack. Biyomon was now trapped within a small tornado of fire.

"Kill it," Gary - Impmon's partner - ordered.

He was, of course, referring to the Infernal Funnel. Soon the attack died down and Biyomon fell to the ground covered with scorch marks.

"What an unusual tactic," Tentomon announced. "That Infernal Funnel attack could have won Gary the match, but for some reason he called it off."

Alex curiously tilted his head as he watched the match. "You think he saw something no one else did?" he asked.

I sighed, and casually leaned back on my bench. "He saw jack-shit. He's toying with her."

I hadn't intended to watch the match, but that last match had shaken me. And Tony's "advice" hadn't relaxed me any. I wanted to see how good this Impmon was. Plus I was unfamiliar with that species; they were a new breed. As much as I hated to admit it, there was wisdom in Tony's words. I needed to learn more about newer Digimon, especially if since I was going to be fighting the winner fo this match.

I needn't have worried. Neither of them were very good. Allan had decent skill and a gutsy little Digimon, but all-in-all he had no special quirk that could throw me off. A perceptive person could effortlessly see the holes in his strategies. Meanwhile, Gary, though quite skilled, was too arrogant for his own good. Even before that Infernal Funnel attack, he had opportunities to win the match, which he didn't take. All simply because he wished to torture Allan's Biyomon for a little longer.

He was lucky he was only going up against that unskilled Biyomon. A combatalist who actually knew what they were doing could easily take advantage of that.

Alex leaned forward on the bench, watching the match intensely. "Are you sure? This is a big tournament. There's a lot on the line. Why would he give up a chance to advance when he had it?"

I placed my hands behind my head and rested my weight completely on the wall behind me. I closed my eyes for just a moment.

"She's right," Labramon said. "That Impmon is laughing way too much. It's a sick kind of laughter. There's no doubt what he's doing."

I let my body relax onto the wall just a bit more ."Some people are just like that Alex. They don't take things seriously when they should; not that this tournament is anything to take seriously."

Alex and Lopmon laughed, taking that comment as a joke. Labramon grunted and gave me a kick. She was always good at reading me.

"Bada Boom!" I heard Impmon yell.

"Oooh," Alex said. "That's got to hurt."

"And that's it!" Tentomon announced.

I immediately shot up in my seat, while my eyes shot open. Impmon stood on one end of the arena, chuckling maniacally with his partner. Biyomon, on the other hand, lay virtually lifeless in her partner's arms, covered in scorch marks.

"Biyomon has lost consciousness! Impmon is the winner!"

"Ah I missed the best part!" I whined.

They had finished the battle sooner than I predicted. I would have been watching otherwise. Maybe I had overestimated their arrogance. It wouldn't be the first time I had been wrong about an opponent. I'd have to watch that. Snap judgements like that had almost cost me the match last time.

Lopmon shuddered. "You should be glad you missed it - not pretty. Those two are ruthless. I'm glad I don't have to fight that Impmon next."

Labramon chuckled. "I am. I'd love to knock'em off his high horse."

I leaned forward, placing my elbows on my knees, while studying Gary and Impmon as they made their way back to the competitor's box.

"Don't underestimate them," I said in response to Labramon's comments. "He might be able to back up that arrogance."

Labramon laughed. "Oh come on! You saw the way he fought. He didn't take a lick of it seriously."

"Well yeah," I said hesitantly. "But still..."

My thoughts were interrupted by Tentomon's announcement.

"And with that, we have the end of the second match. Will the participants of the third match please step up to the battle floor? Let's hear it for David and Betamon, and their opponents, the reigning champs, Adam and Crabmon!"

I watched as David and Betamon walked straight out of the competitor's box onto the battle floor. However, Adam and Crabmon seemed to be taking their time. In fact, I hadn't seen them since introductions.

Suddenly a loud cheer went through the crowd, and a spotlight was cast towards the top of the bleachers. There stood Adam, Crabmon at his side. They were making their way down the bleacher stairs, while all the way down, he was soaking up the crowds' praise; he threw one hand in the air and cheered himself.

I sighed and shook my head. "What the hell is he doing up there?"

Labramon tilted her head as he stared at Adam's show. "Did he walk all the way up there just so he could make a fancy entrance?"

Alex shook his head in response. "Nah, the reigning champ gets a private box to watch the fights. That's where he's coming from." He laughed as he thought about Labramon's comment. "I wouldn't put it past that guy to do something like that though."

Meanwhile, David looked none to happy with Adam. Clenched fists, red face, gritted teeth. Yep, definitely angry.

"I hope he gets his ass kicked," Lopmon said. "I hate showboating."

I smirked at that last comment. "But you gotta love irony."

My smirk grew as Lopmon gave me a dirty look, and Labramon gave me a half smile; the first one she'd given me in awhile.

Adam, finally finished with his little act, took his position on the battle floor. He gave a chuckle and grinned at his opponent.

"Well, Tenty," he said to Tentomon. "Let's get this match started. I'm sure all these people are eager to see me win."

"Oh shut up already!" David yelled. "Is this a joke to you? I worked hard to get to this tournament, and you're treating this like it's nothing; like you've already won. Just because you happen to be related to a few powerful Digidestined doesn't give you an automatic victory."

Adam continued to smile his arrogant grin, and playfully shook his finger at his opponent. "Tsk, tsk, a little cranky are we? And my parents aren't just any old Digidestined. They're Dan and Janine, part of the elite team. I inherited their powers, including a D3 and a crest. I may gloat, but I don't exaggerate. I am every bit as powerful as they are. You must not have seen me fight in earlier tournaments, or you'd know that.

"Oh, and I treat this match as a 'joke,' as you put it, because that's what it is, especially with such an unworthy opponent."

At that last comment, David's red face went up a shade. "You're a disgrace to combatalists everywhere! This tournament used to be honourable, back in the day when even the elite would compete. But ever since you entered it's been nothing but a joke. I'm going to enjoy this! I'll show you who's unworthy - Betamon!"

At his partner's command, Betamon jumped forward to the centre of the ring.

Meanwhile, Tentomon hovered nervously above the four participants. "Well - er - uh - Start the match!"

The moment the words left Tentomon's mouth, Betamon sprung forward.

"Hit it with your horn Betamon!" David ordered. "Full force! Just like we practised!"

Betamon, still flying towards Crabmon, curled up into a ball, horn pointed forward. The ball shape sped up Betamon's momentum, he flew forward at incredible speed!

However, as fast as that was, Adam seemed to react even faster, I was surprised. In a second, his hand snagged his Digivice and pointed it at Crabmon.

"Now Crabmon! Digivolve!"

"Crabmon Digivolve to...Ebidramon!"

I was amazed at how fast it happened. Never had I seen a Digimon Digivolve so quickly. I had barely seen the light engulf Crabmon. It was like he was a small blue crab one moment, and a giant red lobster the next.

Betamon was still flying at him. However, he needed little defence. Ebidramon just raised one of his claws, and the Betamon cannonball bounced harmlessly off it.

Betamon hadn't even landed before David was giving another order. "Bounce! Hit him again!"

Still curled up into a ball, Betamon hit the ground, and bounced back, once again aiming his horn at Ebidramon. Except now, with that added bounce, he was moving even faster.

"Bubbles!" Adam ordered.

Responding to Adam's orders, Ebidramon reared up and fired a jet-stream of bubbles from his mouth. The jet-stream hit Betamon dead on. The stream itself wasn't very powerful, but it was enough to blow Betamon back. He landed harmlessly a few feet in front of Ebidramon.

Betamon immediately uncurled himself. The bubbles had clearly disoriented him. His eyes were glazed over, and he was stumbling about.

"Be-Betamon," David stuttered, as he stared in disbelief at his partner.

"Finish it!" Adam ordered.

Ebidramon suddenly shot forward with remarkable speed! I had never heard of an Ebidramon moving that fast on land before. His skinny little lobster legs were a blur. His claw was even faster.

WHAM!

Ebidramon's claw came crashing down on Betamon's head.

It was as if the room froze. The entire stadium just stared, unmoving, at the little rookie Digimon trapped under Ebidramon's massive claw. Adam was the only one who had any reaction at all. He stood up straight and crossed his arms.

He brought his fingers to his lips, and kissed them as if he had just tasted something sweet. "And that, is how it's done." He jerked his head at Ebidramon. "I think it's had enough buddy, we're done here."

With that, Ebidramon lifted his claw off his stunned opponent and turned to his partner, immediately returning to his rookie state.

"Betamon!" David yelled in concern, as he rushed to his partner's side.

Betamon was in horrible condition. He lay, wide-eyed, the only movements he made were tiny little twitches. Ebidramon must have been holding back when he hit him. A full force hit from an Ebidramon claw could easily kill a rookie Digimon.

The hushed moment finally ended and the crowd gave out a mighty roar, cheering Adam and Crabmon's name. Responding to the crowds loss of silence, Tentomon broke his own shocked state and fluttered down to Betamon and David.

After a thorough inspection of Betamon, Tentomon held up his insect-like hand. "He's out cold! Adam and Crabmon are the winners."

Adam had apparently suspected as much. He and Crabmon were already walking up the bleacher stairs. Large members of the crowd rushed from their seats to meet him. Adam ate it up, he stopped and gladly accepted their kudos.

"See I told you," Alex said, laughing and shaking his head. "No skill at all. He just relies on the power of Digivolution."

I turned towards him, tilted my head in confusion. "That's what you've been talking about? I think you're underestimating him."

"What? Are you nuts?" he said, jerking his thumb at Adam. "Look at him. He's full of himself - just because his Digimon can Digivolve."

I laughed. I didn't disagree that Adam was full of himself. Even now, he was standing in the bleachers, bragging about his last battle. And surely exaggerating all the hard work he put into this tournament. The guy had a big head, he thought he was the best simply because he hadn't ever had any real competition. But there was definitely more to him than flash.

"He's got a big head alright," I said to Alex. "But behind all that there is definately skill."

"Skill?" Alex said, completely baffled. "Where we watching the same fight? All he did was Digivolve immediately, and use that power to overwhelm his opponent. Same thing he always does."

I sighed. "Maybe. But did you see how he executed that Digivolution. It was flawless. I'd never seen, or even heard of, a Digimon Digivolving that quickly. Adam accessed his power and gave it to his Digimon at a rate I've never even heard of. Not only that, but Crabmon's recovery time was incredible. Usually a Digimon needs some time to adjust to their new body, even if they've Digivolved hundreds of times. But Ebidramon seemed to take to it like the change was natural, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to block that first hit so easily."

Lopmon stared at me as if I had said something profound. "She's right," he said. "Whenever I become Turuiemon, I feel strange for a few moments. Like my body isn't my own. It takes me a second or two to get used to the fact that my arms and legs are longer, and that my body is bigger before I'm really able to do anything, but Ebidramon reacted as soon as he emerged from the Digivolution light."

I nodded as I watched Adam in the bleachers, still soaking up his fans attention. He was bragging to a group of younger kids that had surrounded him. He was giving them a pep talk on how they could "become just like him someday."

"The guy's definitely done some Digivolution training. Both he and Crabmon have gotten incredibly comfortable with the sudden change of power it provides. I don't think even our parents achieved that in their day. Behind all the flash is a skilled combatalist. He just hasn't had much of a chance to show what he can really do. His opponents don't have the power last very long."

Alex crossed his arms and grunted. "I still think he's just a blowhard."

I laughed as I continued to stare at him. "No one's arguing with that. He's just a skilled blowhard - a cute one too."

Suddenly I felt six eyes lock on me. I cursed myself. I hadn't just say that did I? Hell just thinking it would have been had enough.

I struggled to wipe the grin off my face, and replaced it with a scowl; one which quickly wiped the grin off Alex and Lopmon's faces. They avoided my gaze after that. Labramon wasn't so easy. I gave her a swift kick. She giggled and let it go.

I grunted and spoke gruffly to all three of them. "Just shut up and watch the next match."

After Betamon was carried off to seek medical attention, Tentomon announced the beginning of the fourth match. I didn't bother to watch it. The two combatalists and their Digimon were nothing special. They used basic attacks and techniques. It was your average rookie on rookie battle.

I didn't even need to see their strategies, I wouldn't have to face either one of them anyway. Whoever won this match would fight Adam in round two, and I was confident he could defeat either one of them. I was starting to feel a bit better. Round one wasn't even over yet and I already knew my next to opponents. Impmon, in the quarter finals, and Crabmon in the semis. I felt a plan forming in my head. It would take a little extra work during the intermission, but I'm sure both Labramon and I could handle that. I'd be able to stay in the tournament and keep an eye on things.

Still though, I felt there was a part of me that still wanted to lose. A part of me that felt overwhelmed by everything. Overwhelmed by the pain these creatures had brought me, by the responsibility of having to deal with whatever was going on, and worst yet, everything that might happen in the future. I hadn't forgotten my conversation with Izzy. I tried to, but it kept creeping back into my head. That along with everything else that was bugging me. There were times I felt okay, but then there were the other times. The times I wanted out of this place so bad I could just scream!

But those moments would pass. I'd suck it up, ignore the feelings and try to lose myself in the tournament.

I had to admit though - that Adam had made it a lot easier to do so. His blow hard antics were annoying, yet pleasantly distracting. I grinned just at the thought - then immediately slapped the side of my face.

I scolded myself - you're not a ditz Krystal! Stop thinking about that guy and think about - about what? My parents? My duty? My future? No thanks, he was so much better to -

I slapped myself again. I didn't want to think like that either. I was not some teenage ditz. Focus on the tournament Krystal. The tournament!

I opened my eyes just in time to see Goblimon's club come down hard on Damemon's head. Damemon stood in shock for a moment and then fell to the ground.

"Oh a crushing blow from Goblimon!" Tentomon announced. "Will Damemon be able to recover?"

The little blue Digimon struggled to get to his feet, but in the end it was too much, and he collapsed.

"Oh it looks like that's it for Damemon!" Tentomon said. "Goblimon and Josh are the winners, and will go on to face Adam and Crabmon in the quarter-finals!"

With that match completed, Alex anxiously stood up. There was an enormous smile on his face.

"Time for the fifth match," he said. "It's about time."

I was about to say something to tease him, but held myself back. This was his moment, even a well intentioned joke wasn't appropriate here.

Instead, I just asked. "Excited?"

"You bet I am," he said, not even noticing my sarcasm. "I've been dreaming of being a part of this tournament for years. And now, not only have I gotten to participate, but I'm actually in the real tournament. Not just the stinkin' preliminaries. The actual tournament. I love this sport!"

I bit my tongue. That last comment made it hard not to make fun of him. But still, I held true - I'd let him have his momenht.

The battle floor had finally been cleared out, so Tentomon made his next announcement. "We're halfway through the first round, and already things have been very exciting. That being said let's start the fifth match! Can Alex, Erika, and their Digimon partners please take their positions on the battle floor!"

Alex didn't hesitate, he bolted to the battle floor. He moved so fast he had to skid to a stop as he reached his position. Lopmon could barely keep up with him.

"Well we've got an enthusiastic one here," Tentomon said. "Your opponent hasn't even left the competitor's box yet."

In fact, in the short amount of time Alex had taken his position, Erika had only found the time to stand up. She started moving to her position, and stopped as she reached the box's doorway - right next to me. Her partner, Kokuwamon, hovered eerily beside her, emotionless.

"You're skills really surprise me..." she said turning to me. "...Krystal."

I jerked in surprise. I wanted to slap myself as soon as I did. Regardless, I tried to play it cool.

"Excuse me?"

It didn't work, that subtle little jerk had given me away. She simply laughed at my pathetic attempt to cover it up. Luckily she spoke softly, only I - and possible Labramon - could hear her.

"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone your secret. It wasn't that hard to figure it out you know. Your attitude gave it away. I've only seen one person with a Digimon partner show such a negative attitude towards Digimon. I always wondered why exactly you hated Digimon so much." She turned her gaze away from me before she spoke her next words. She spoke them softly. "It's because of your parents isn't it."

I felt myself freeze up. I didn't even care how she figured out who my parents were. The strange thing was, now, I actually wanted to answer. I actually wanted to confide in her. This woman had always irritated me in class, always pushing me to have more of an interest in Digital Science. She always said I had so much knowledge, I should use it. But now - now there was so much comfort in her voice. It felt kind of nice.

I felt overwhelmed with emotion, so I didn't say anything. I just turned towards the battle floor and stared.

"You could only be Kris and Jenn's daughter," she continued to speak. Now I wish she would shut up. I had enough going through me. She didn't, she continued to speak.

"I used to go to high school with your parents. Your grandparents told me what happened to them. I'm sorry." She turned to me and smiled. "I can't believe I never noticed it before. You look just like your mother, and you have your father's spirit; strong, yet introverted - and somehow timid, all at the same time. It's those very qualities that make you a natural in this sport. If you could just get over a couple weaknesses, you could become unstoppable. Don't forget that." She took a step out of the box. "Now if you excuse me, I have a match. I look forward to seeing you in the finals."

She started to walk forward, but she stopped when she heard my voice.

"You know-" I said, she turned eagerly towards me. "My friend is really good. You might not do as good as you think."

She smiled. "I think you'd be surprised at what I can do."

Those were our parting remarks; she turned away and took her position, opposite Alex, on the battle floor. Her Digimon hovered just in front of her.

"Now that both of our competitors are in place, let the battle begin!"

I felt the mood suddenly change. Erika had been so calm when she had spoken to me, but now she was all business. I could sense all of her attention shift towards the battle.

Her Digimon, however, was a different story. He hadn't changed at all. He continued to hover in front of Erika, wearing an emotionless face as cold as the metal he was made of. Of course, all Kokuwamon were like that.

"Okay Lopmon," Alex said. "This battle is different than the preliminaries. We're not going up against amateurs. This girl made it to the tournament for a reason. She won't fall prey to simple teasing."

"Right," Lopmon nodded. "Good old fashion strategy this time."

For the longest time neither of them did a thing. For what had to be, at the very least, five minutes, they just stood there staring at each other.

Tentomon was getting anxious. High above the battle floor, he circled the "battle."

"Both competitor's seem to be preparing for the match," he said. "I'm sure there's a lot going on in their minds right now. Unfortunately without the ability to hear it, the match is very boring."

"Ladies first," Alex said.

"I was just waiting for you. I thought I'd give you at least one chance to make a move. This match won't last long enough for a second."

"If you insist," Alex said with a smirk. "Ice it Lopmon!"

"Blazing Ice!" Lopmon yelled, firing his attack.

A bright blue beam of ice sailed straight towards Kokuwamon. Neither Erika nor Kokuwamon seemed concerned. Erika simply grinned at the sight of the attack. While Kokuwamon, as always, was emotionless. Regardless of how they felt about it, the attack was closing in. Erika gave her command with a single word.

"Go," she said pointing forward.

The command finally given, Kokuwamon shot forward like a missile. In an instant, he electrified himself and broke through the Blazing Ice attack unharmed. Alex didn't have time to react, Kokuwamon was moving too fast. Fortunately Lopmon's instincts were enough.

Closing his eyes, he turned sharply to the left, throwing one of his massive ears forward. Kokwamon collided with it and became tangled within.

Alex reacted to the new situation quickly. "Slam it!"

Reluctantly, Lopmon swung his head around. His ears hit the ground, and Kokuwamon with it. He gave his head another jerk, and slammed Kokuwamon into the ground again.

Erika cursed. "The ears must be insulated Kokuwamon! Amp up the juice!"

Suddenly a muffled sizzle could be heard beneath Lopmon's ears, followed by bright flash of light. For a moment Kokuwamon's silhouette could be seen within Lopmon's ears. Lopmon let out a horrible scream massive jolt of electricity shot through him.

"Hold on," Alex said. "We can't give up our advantage. It can't keep this up forever."

Erika let out a laugh at Alex's words. I didn't doubt why.

"Let it go!" I yelled to my two friends. "Kokuwamon produce electricity on a daily basis. It can keep up a charge like this for hours."

"You heard her!" Alex said.

"Rah!" Lopmon grunted, and with all his strength, gave his head one last jerk. This time he flared his ear and released Kokuwamon, sending him rolling across the battle floor.

"Strike!" Erika ordered.

Kokuwamon responded immediately, and shot forward; he was electrified as before. This time Lopmon didn't dare use his ears for defence; he took Kokuwamon's attack head on! The metal bug plowed right into Lopmon's stomach; not only hitting him like a missile, but sending another jolt of electricity through him. Almost immediately he did a backflip and landed a few feet in front of Lopmon, who now stood gripping his stomach and staggering for breath.

Kokuwamon's assault was far from finished. He lifted up a metal arm and fired a jolt of electricity at Lopmon.

"Lopmon!" Alex yelled, his voice filled with concern.

What Lopmon did next was nothing short of amazing. Despite Kokuwamon's last assault, he managed to muster enough strength to leap several feet into the air. Before he began to descend he puffed out his ears and began to glide, circling above Kokuwamon.

Alex breathed a sigh of relief. "Nice one buddy. Now that you've got the high ground - open fire!"

"Blazing ice!" Lopmon yelled, firing another blue beam at Kokuwamon.

Erika yawned, and gave Kokuwamon his next instructions. "No counter-attack this time, just dodge."

Kokuwamon did just that. His metal insect wings buzzed, and he effortless flew out of the way of Lopmon's attack. The attack caused a small dent in the battle floor, but Kokwamon was unharmed.

That didn't stop Lopmon from attacking though. "Blazing Ice! Blazing Ice! Blazing Ice! Blazing Ice!" Lopmon fired a volley of Blazing Ice attacks at Kokuwamon, but none of them even came close to hitting him.

"Okay now counter-attack!" Erika suddenly ordered, as the last Blazing ice hit the ground.

As usual, Kokuwamon didn't hesistate to obey his masters orders. He shot upwards, towards Lopmon, his body completely electrified.

Fortunately Alex thought quickly. "Blow it away, try that technique we practiced."

"Tiny tornado!" Lopmon yelled executing his newest attack.

With his ears still extended Lopmon began to spin at an incredible speed. So much so that he did indeed look like a tiny tornado.

It was too late for Kokuwamon to halt his attack; he was moving too fast! He plowed right into the Lopmon tornado; the force of which sent him crashing into the ground.

Unfortunately Kokuwamon's charge had it's effect on Lopmon as well. A portion of his electricity seeped into the tornado, and gave Lopmon a decent shock, forcing him to stop the tornado and fall to the ground. He still, however, had enough energy to recover and land on his feet.

Unfortunately though, it didn't look like Lopmon would be able to continue this match for much longer. He stood staring down Kokuwamon, barely able to stand up. He stumbled on one leg, and was panting heavily. The last couple of hits must have drained most of his energy.

Kokuwamon, on the other hand looked no worse for wear. As Lopmon stood there panting, Kokuwamon both effortlessly, and emotionlessly, pulled himself to his feet.

Despite how bad things looked for him, Alex chuckled. "I have to admit, you're better than I would have thought."

Erika laughed at Alex's comment. "Of course I am. Kokuwamon and I have been fighting since before you were born. And those were in the days when these fights were life or death. I'm sure you heard of the incident when Digimon were appearing all over the world. That's when I became Digidestined. And even then, as a newfound Digimon, without the ability to Digivolve, Kokuwamon was still able to hold his own against Champion level Digimon. Do you want to take a guess how much better we've gotten in twenty-four years?"

"Not really, I'd rather see for myself," Alex said with a big grin on his face. He reached for his Digivice. "We'll see how much truth there is to those words. Lopmon - Digivolve!"

Erika's eyes went wide with surprise, as Lopmon was engulfed with the Digivolution light.

"Stop it Kokuwamon!" she ordered.

Too late! The process had already begun. That didn't stop Kokuwamon from trying though, obeying his master's orders he electrified himself and shot forward.

"Lopmon Digivolve to...Turuiemon!"

Kokuwamon moved as fast as he could. He shot into the Digivolution light before it cleared away. I cringed and turned away. I wasn't sure I wanted to see what had happened next. The newly Digivolved Turueimon had precious little time to recover from the Digivolution and still deal with Kokuwamon's attack. I doubted he'd be able to do both.

The light began to clear away, but before it did, a loud clank could be heard from within it. I breathed a sigh of relief; I knew what that sound meant.

Sure enough, when the light had cleared, there stood Turuiemon, holding his arm in front of his face, blade up. Kokuwamon was clamped onto it. Turuiemon had successfuly blocked the attack. Better yet, in his Champion state, Alex's Digimon seemed to be withstanding the electricity emanating from Kokuwamon's body.

"Alright!" Alex cheered. "Nice one Turuiemon!"

I didn't like the sly grin that had just appeared on Erika's face.

She spoke a single word, as if announcing her victory. "Perfect."

"Use your other blade!" Alex instructed Turuiemon. "Cut it down and finish this match."

Turuiemon raised his other arm, and flipped out his second blade, hoping to claim victory. Unfortunately Erika had other things in mind.

"Zap it Kokuwamon!" Erika yelled. "Full blast!"

BZZZZZAAAAAAP!

The electricity emanating from Kokuwamon's body was suddenly amplified ten fold! It short through Turuiemon's blades and straight into his body.

"Ah jeez!" Turuiemon screamed, as he gave his arm a jerk, throwing Kokuwamon from it. The little metal bug stopped himself in mid-air and fluttered just in front of Turuiemon.

"Ow!" Turuiemon snapped, as if the jolt was just a minor shock, even though it clearly had hurt him more than that. "I only felt that shock for a second, but damn! That really stung."

Erika burst out laughing. "Those metal blades conduct electricity pretty well don't they?"

Turuiemon rubbed his arm. "Jeez, I'll say. That's some pretty tough juice for a rookie."

Erika continued laughing. "Of course it is. Kokuwamon have some fo the most powerful electric attacks out there. It's metal body help electricity flow through it. And those blades of yours only speed that process up."

Turuiemon's face suddenly jerked, as if he had realized something. "That's right. They do don't they?"

"Yes, they do," Alex repeated. "Flip them back Turuiemon. They'll only hurt us."

Turuiemon grinned slyly, and shook his head. "No."

"What?" Alex said, taken aback at his Digimon's defiance. Frankly, so was I. Turuiemon/Lopmon could be a smart ass, but he was always very loyal to Alex. I couldn't understand why he would ever disobey him.

"Take this!" Turuiemon yelled, taking a swipe at Kokuwamon with his blades.

Kokuwamon, not having been given an order, did not counter-attack, he simply dodged the attack - quite effortlessly at that.

"What are you doing?" Alex yelled. "I said pull the blades back. If you keep them out you're going to lose us the match."

Turuiemon ignored the orders, and took another swipe at Kokuwamon. The little bug effortlessly fluttered out of the way again.

"I know what I'm doing," Turuiemon said to Alex. "Trust me." He took yet another swipe, only to miss again. "Come on you little bug! Fight back! Too afraid to do anything without your master's say so."

Erika sighed and shook her head. "You heard him, Kokuwamon. Fight black - grab a hold of that blade and shock'em."

Kokuwamon did exactly what he was told. As Turuiemon took another swipe at him, he clamped himself onto Turuiemon's blade and let loose with another full blast electricity jolt.

"No! Turuiemon!" Alex yelled. "Why couldn't you have just listened to me?"

Turuiemon winced in horrible pain, as he felt Kokuwamon's electricity pulse throughout his entire body.

"It's alright Alex," he said. "I know what I'm doing."

Turuiemon struggled to make his next move. It wasn't easy. The electricity was definitely doing a great deal of damage. Yet, despite that, he managed to lift his second arm above Kokuwamon, ready to strike. However, it didn't. The blade didn't come down with any fast movement to hit Kokuwamon off. Instead, it came down slowly, and merely tapped Kokuwamon's back. Though strangely enough, that seemed to be all he needed to do.

"Aaaaaaaaaah!"

Kokuwamon let out a horrible scream. It was the most amount of emotion I had ever seen him show. I couldn't believe it! The tables had suddenly been turned. The electricity now shot straight into Kokuwamon, and Turuiemon was the one delivering it!

The blast sent Kokuwamon flying. He landed on the battle floor in a smoking heap. Again, I didn't believe it. Had Turuiemon just won? Apparently, everyone else felt the same way. Along with me, Alex, Tentomon, Erika, and the entire crowd, stared at Kokuwamon's seemingly unconscious body in silent shock.

Tentomon fluttered down to the floor and examined Kokuwamon. He circled him once, looked into his emotionless metal eyes, and lastly, gave him a couple of curious taps, before making his decision.

"Well," Tentomon said, turning to the crowd. "It seems as if Kokuwamon has been knocked unconscious. That means Alex and Turuiemon are the winners!"

Virtually everyone stayed silent. The crowd, who normally would have been cheering, began to mutter, trying to figure out what had just happened. Erika finally asked what everyone else was thinking.

"H-how," she stuttered. "We had you? How did Kokuwamon take the shot."

Turuiemon chuckled, rubbing the back of his head with the flat of one of his blades. "I completed the circuit. I used my second blade to conduct the electricity back to it's source, and overloaded it, and because the electricity was moving through me, and not to me, I wasn't hurt. It was if I was zapping him."

I burst out laughing. Leave it to Lopmon/Turuiemon to come up with an explanation like that - complete bull.

"What?" Erika yelled. She was obviously not satisfied with Turuiemon's answer. "That's not how an electrical circuit works! I majored in electrical engineering! None of what you said makes any sense."

I shook my head and sighed. I truly pitied Erika if she could only look at the world with such a narrow mind. Apparently Turuiemon agreed with me. He began to glow, and reverted back to his Lopmon state. He held up a finger and shook it at Erika.

"Tsk tsk. That's the science of this world. The science of the Digital World is quite different."

Erika began walked up to her damaged Digimon, she grunted in annoyance as she passed Lopmon.

"Oh? And how does it work, smart ass?"

She bent over and took Kokuwamon into her arms, as Lopmon gave his answer.

He simply shrugged. "Dunno. It's just always worked the way I believed it to. I think up an explanation, and that's how it's worked."

Erika stood frozen, in disbelief at Lopmon's answer. She laughed and shook her head. "Must be paradise for a person like you, and most of my students. You think of whatever bullshit answer you want, and you're always right."

Once again Lopmon rubbed the back of his head. "Of course, it's so much simpler that way. You humans and your equations and formulas, you complicate things."

It didn't take very long for the once shocked and silent crowd to become noisy again. Not long after Erika and Lopmon's discussion they had exploded a scream of cheers for the tournament's most recent victors. Alex accepted their praise with a single gracious bow. Lopmon, on the other hand, wasn't so modest.

He enthusiastically hopped upon Alex's shoulders, clasped both hands together in grateful acceptance of his fans praise. Normally I would think it was pathetic, but this time I couldn't help but laugh. Lopmon had a certain charm for vanity that somehow denied any form of arrogance.

All the while, Tentomon gave his standard end of the match speech. The "congratulating the winners" kind of thing, while throwing in the occasional remark about potential and "going to go far."

Erika and Kokuwamon took no part in any of this. Their part played in the tournament, they simply slunk away. I think Erika finally recognized that she was out of her league.

Now, Alex and Lopmon sat next to Labramon and I in the competitor's box, quite pleased with themselves.

Alex placed his hands behind his head and relaxed against the back wall. Lopmon was curled up in his lap. His eyes were closed but he wasn't sleeping.

I kept looking for signs of tension between those two. After all, Lopmon had defied a direct order from Alex. Granted, doing so had won them the match, but still - that wasn't something a Digimon was supposed to do.

Yet, Alex wasn't upset at all. In fact, he was quite happy and relaxed. It was impressive how forgiving Alex was being. I shouldn't have been surprised. I'd known him all my life, I knew he was a relaxed guy, not prone to anger, but still - I didn't think he'd forgive Lopmon's disobedience so easily. I sure hadn't when Labramon had disobeyed me. Alex didn't seem to care at all.

Seeing how relaxed he was sent mixed feelings through my heart. Sure it was great for them, but I felt - I felt - envious. So much so that it bordered on resentment. I had always thought Labramon and I were close - and we were, I was closer to her than anyone, but compared to those two, our relationship was nothing.

I didn't like it. This tournament was revealing, in more ways than one, how distant Labramon and I had become. Even with our most recent reconciliation, I still felt like our connection had dimmed. I shuddered at the thought. Labramon was supposed to be my life-long companion. Someone I was linked to, not just emotionally, but through a the strange mystical forces of the Digital World as well. We should have been closer than this!

I scanned over what I knew of the Digidestined that had come before me, desperately searching for a relationship similar to ours. I couldn't think of any. Every Digidestined had been close to their partner. Sure their may have been the occasional spat, but they didn't have the sort of tension Labramon and I now had.

Ken and Wormmon had problems before, butthat was due to the Dark Spore. There wasn't anything inside me modifying my behaviour. Everything I did was due to my crappy personality.

I let a grunt escape my lips. That was just something else to add to my list of faults. Some Digidestined I was turning out to be. I was nothing like my parents.

Alex let out a relaxed sigh. "You know," he said. "As much as I like participating, it is really nice to just sit back and watch, knowing that your head isn't on the chopping block this match."

"Your head," Lopmon said with a grin, keeping his eyes closed. "I'm the one doing the fighting out there."

"Oh you've got the easy part," Alex said. "I'm the one who's got to think up the strategies. You've just got to follow the step by step orders. How much brain power does that take?"

Lopmon let out a chuckle. "Apparently not very much, considering I've got to think of my own."

Alex laughed and ruffled Lopmon's head fur. "Eh you just got lucky."

Lopmon laughed back, and protested. "Watch the hair, watch the hair."

"You might not want to relax so much," I said, motioning to the next combatalists entering the ring. "You're going to be fighting the winner of this next match. And that cousin of yours might be worth watching."

Lopmon stretched and sat up, and put on a face of mock sulk. "Spoil sport."

Tentomon announced the match and the four participants stepped into the ring.

"So far we have witnessed five exciting matches, but don't go away, things are just getting good. We have two very skilled combatalists battling in this match.

"First we have RJ, son of Rob, a member of the elite Digidestined. With his D3 and crest he's sure to have some incredible skills. And I'm sure you all know Billy and his Candlemon. These two have participated in the last two Digital Combat tournaments, and for two years in a row, they have only been bested in the finals by our reigning champ Adam. Truly the workings of a great match folks." Tentomon stopped his speech just long enough to fly to a safer altitude. "But don't take my word for it. Let's see for ourselves. Let the match begin!"

Billy chuckled, and Candlemon tensed up his muscles, preparing to strike. "Okay let's get this wimp taken care of. We'll stomp old Robbie Junior here, and we'll be one step forward to that rematch with Adam."

Candlemon laughed a response. "Oh yeah! I don't care who his daddy is. I'll whoop that pipsqueak Digimon of is."

"Ya' hear that Junior!" Billy yelled to RJ. "Your little dinosaur isn't going to last five seconds in the ring with my Candlemon."

RJ didn't respond. He just continued to stare forward coldly with his arms crossed. A tiny grunt was all he got from him. Monodramon's response was identical.

"Aw lookit'em Billy," Candlemon mocked. "They're so scared they can't even think up a proper comeback."

Billy kept up his cocky little grin. "Let's get this over with. I don't enjoy feeling pity. Charge'em and hit'em with a wax ball. I doubt he'll even be able to take that."

Candlemon nodded. "On it. Aaaaarrrrgh!"

Instructions finally given, Candlemon charged Monodramon. He reached into his body and pulled out a ball of wax. It soon began to melt under the heat of the flame atop of his head. With a mighty heave he chucked the blob of wax at Monodramon.

RJ jerked his head at Monodramon slightly, and spoke his instructions coldly to his Digimon. "Go, quickly."

Monodramon suddenly disappeared and the blob of wax landed harmlessly on the ground.

"What the -" Candlemon said, immediately halting his charge. His eyes began darting back and forth as he searched for his vanished opponent.

"I can't believe it!" Tentomon announced. "After Candlemon let loose a vicious Wax Ball attack Monodramon simply disappeared."

I shook my head. I was disappointed in Tentomon. First of all, Candlemon's attack was hardly vicious, it was arrogant and reckless. Secondly Monodramon hadn't disappeared he was just moving incredibly fast. If Candlemon had any senses, he'd know that Monodramon had leaped into the air. I suspected he was moving in for the kill any moment now.

"Candlemon look out!" Billy suddenly yelled, pointed above Candlemon's head where Monodramon had just appeared. He was descending towards Candlemon - and fast!

"Burn it!" Billy ordered, his voice filled with panic.

Candlemon gave his head a toss, throwing a fireball from his wick. The ball was an inch away from colliding when Monodramon suddenly "disappeared" once again.

Labramon's ears perked. "Right in front of you buddy," she whispered to herself.

Labramon was right. What happened next only took a second. Monodramon reappeared directly in front of his opponent, and, as quickly as he had appeared, he delivered a kick to Candlemon's head. It wasn't much of a kick though. It was more of a tap with the edge of his foot. It may have just been a tap, but it was precise - right between Candlemon's eyes.

It was as if the two Digimon had frozen. Candlemon stood, frozen in place, in absolute shock at the hit. While Monodramon remained in midair, being held up only the toe he held to Candlemon's head.

Monodramon pushed off with his toe, did a back-flip, and landed gracefully on the battle-floor. Candlemon fell backwards, and lay there twitching.

Billy was the only one more shocked that his Digimon. "C-candlemon?" he stuttered.

"It's over. Let's go Monodramon."

Monodramon eagerly followed his partner as they walked back to the competitor's box.

Tentomon fluttered down to the Candlemon, and gave him a quick inspection. In a matter of moments he gave his decision.

"I can't believe it, but Candlemon is out cold! RJ and Monodramon have won the match with a single hit! And with a simple tap no less!"

Billy was at his Digimon's side in a second. Though that's not what I was focusing on. The tournament was the last thing I thinking about. RJ, was ridiculously skilled. At the moment, he had my full attention.

Alex ran up to RJ as he and Monodramon stepped into the competitor's box. "Wow Robert! That was incredible, congratulations."

RJ's head angrily snapped towards Alex. He gave him a look that could strip paint. "What did you just call me?"

Alex cocked his head in confusion. "Robert. That's your name isn't it?"

RJ continued to scowl at Alex. "Nobody! And I mean NOBODY calls me by that name! If a worm like you must address me, call me RJ. That is my name, not that pathetic name I inherited from my father."

"Jeez sorry," Alex said. He didn't look as taken back as he should have. If it had been me, that kid would be swallowing his teeth right now. "I was just trying to congratulate my cousin."

RJ continued to stare coldly at Alex. "Cousin?"

Alex smiled, as if RJ hadn't just snapped at him. "Yeah, I'm your uncle Andrew's son. Don'tcha remember me?"

RJ grunted. "Yeah, barely. You're Mr. optimist aren't you? Do me a favour, keep out of my face! I don't need any more of that crap in my life."

He didn't say another word. He just turned, and walked towards the farthest corner of the box. Monodramon didn't follow right away. He cringed a bit and turned to us.

"Sorry about that," he said. It had been the first time he had spoken. "He's really not a bad guy. He's just been through a rough couple of years. He misses his -"

"Monodramon!" RJ yelled sharply.

Monodramon quickly responded to his partner's call, and cut a hasty retreat to his side.

"Nice guy," Lopmon said.

I'm not sure why, but I laughed as I watched him sit down. "Not exactly a people person is he? He makes me look nice."

All four of us got a good laugh at that last comment. Alex especially agreed. "Yep," he said. "Not a team player. It's a good thing there's no need for a new group of elite Digidestined right now. He sure wouldn't work good with others."

I couldn't help but shudder as Alex spoke. His words shot right through my spine. "A new group of elite Digidestined." I suddenly felt like that's exactly what was needed right now. Especially with all the weird stuff that was going around this tournament - among other things.

Needless to say I hated the idea, and not just because I had no interest in following in my parent's footsteps. Because what Alex said was probably true. Between the four Digidestined children we had, we didn't make much of a team. There was me, a Digidestined who hated Digimon. Adam, a kid who was too arrogant for his own good. Sure he had skills, but that only went so far. An evil Digimon would floor him. Then there was RJ, who was so cold he could never function on a real team. The only one who could ever make a decent Digidestined was Alex, and he sure couldn't handle whatever was happening, not on his own. Yet, it was coming. I sensed it. In a short amount of time we would all have to step up, and be like our parents. A team of Digidestined. I didn't have much confidence in anyone else in this world.

It scared me. If both worlds were counting on us, the worlds were in big trouble.

The tournament went on. The seventh match didn't offer anything special. It was just two rookie Digimon, Gomamon and Kunemon, exchanging blows and energy attacks. In the end Kenta and Gomamon emerged victorious.

"Well," Tentomon said. He landed in the center of the battle-floor and began his standard speech.

"What an exciting match that was. And now it's time to move on to the final match of Round One.

I stood up in my seat. This was the match I had really been waiting to see.

"Would the combatalists competing in match eight please report to the battle floor."

I watched closely as Fonce and Wizardmon took their positions. This guy was bad news, and I wanted to make sure I studied every move he made; both in and out of the ring.

His opponent was nothing special. A little girl, about ten years-old. She had a cocky look in her eye, but I doubted she knew what she was getting into.

I didn't expect any miracles from her Hagurumon partner either. It was a little gear-like Digimon. They played the role of lackeys mostly. They were most known for monitoring Machinedramon's network when he ruled over Spiral Mountain's cities. I don't think I had ever seen them in battle before.

"Once again we have two very talented combatalists here," Tentomon said. "Wendy is an accomplished combatalist, who though has never participated in an official DC tournament. Has won every school division tournament she has ever entered. But will her experience be enough to handle the power of Fonce's Wizardmon? A Digimon so powerful, that his common state is the champion level? Few Digidestined can make that claim nowadays."

"We end this quickly Wizardmon," Fonce said. "We will not waste our time with weaklings."

Wizardmon only nodded. That Wizardmon gave me more of an uneasy feeling than his partner. He was acting just like Saqure's Dorugamon had. Cold and emotionless. Kokuwamon acting like that was one thing. That was normal for them, but I knew for a fact that Wizardmon had personalities.

"You're making the mistake a lot of my other opponents did," Wendy said. "Don't underestimate me because I'm a little girl. I'm really good."

"I have no doubt, in this league, you are skilled, but where I come from the weakest warriors could easily toss you aside."

In a second Tentomon was fluttering in Fonce's face. "Oh! And perhaps you could tell us where you're from. It would shed some light on the origins of your Digimon. You know, we don't see many Champion Digimon here, let alone Wizardmon."

Fonce waved his hand at Tentomon, as if he was shooing a pesky insect.

"No, I'd rather not thank you. Now would you please announce the beginning of this match. I have business at this tournament, and I do not wish it delayed a great deal by a girl who hardly worth my time."

I felt a chill run through me as he spoke the word "business." He hadn't said it sinisterly, or even abnormally, but something within just told me that there was something dark behind it.

Tentomon responded to the rude comment, by fluttering away to his usual altitude. "Well, oh, why - yes. I believe I will. You may begin."

"I'll begin and finish at the same time thank you," Fonce said. He turned to Wizardmon and gave him a nod.

Wizardmon once again nodded back and turned his attention to Hagurumon.

Meanwhile, Wendy had grown quite angry at Fonce's arrogance. "I'll show you who's worth your time. Hagurumon! He wants this battle to be quick, then we'll make it quick. Use the Gear Blade!"

Hagurumon looked hesitant. "Gear Blade? Are you sure? I thought we were saving that for Adam?"

Wendy spoke through gritted teeth. "This guy deserves it just as much as him. Hit him with it!"

Hagurumon raised right gear-arm hesitantly. "Uh - all right."

Suddenly razor-sharp blades emerged from the stubs of the gear.

"Gear Blade!"

Hagurumon gave his new and improved arm, a mighty heave, and sent it flying at Wizardmon at break-neck speed. However, Wizardmon was even faster. In a moment, Wizardmon's raised his staff and it began to glow bright yellow, bringing the deadly blade to an immediate halt in front of him.

There was utter shock throughout the stadium. I could see why Hagurmon was hesitant about using that attack. The speed the bladed gear had moved was incredible. If it had been Labramon and I out there, there was no way either of us could have responded to it. It would have sliced up Labramon in a matter of seconds. Yet Wizardmon had stopped it effortlessly. No one was more shocked than Wendy and Hagurumon.

"Im-im-possible," Wendy stuttered. "The Gear Blade is unstoppable! Nothing short of an Ultimate Digimon could stop it."

Fonce didn't respond. He simply waved his hands as instructions to Wizardmon. Wizardmon didn't hesitate. He raised his staff. It began to glow even brighter, and, even faster than Hagurumon had fired it previously, it shot towards Hagurumon.

Neither Wendy nor Hagurumon had time to even think of a way to respond. The Gear Blade hit! I could feel everyone in the stadium cringe as Hagurumon toppled over - with the blade embedded in his face.

"Hagurumon!" Wendy screamed, jumping to Hagurumon's side.

Tentomon soon followed. He began giving Hagurumon his usual inspection. Except this time he wasn't checking to see if he was unconscious, he was checking to make sure he was still alive.

Fonce began to make his way back to the competitor's box. Tentomon stopped him cold as he hovered in front of him.

"What are you doing?" Tentomon practically yelled. He had dropped his overly-enthusiastic announcer persona, and grown suddenly angry. A strange emotion for Tentomon to have.

"This is supposed to be a friendly tournament, pulling a stunt like that could have killed Hagurumon. And with the primary village in the Digital World, this little girl would be without a partner."

Fonce's head suddenly snapped towards Tentomon. For a moment he just stared at the little bug Digimon. Even though he was wearing a mask, you could still see he had a horridly hateful expression on his face. I felt the temperature around me suddenly drop - like I had just been thrown into a freezer.

Fonce spoke to Tentomon in an angry, and very cold tone. "You have inspected him, have you not? He's alive! I do not see the problem!"

Tentomon shoved his insect-like hand into Fonce's face. "The problem is you could have!"

"But I didn't," Fonce said. "And you best change your tone insect! I do not enjoy being talked down to. It deeply, deeply irritates me! And you do not want to see me irritated. Mistakes happen when I am irritated! I had no intention of breaking your tournament's rules. I was in full control of what happened. The girl's Digimon will recover." Fonce suddenly raised his hand and smacked Tentomon to one side, sending Tentomon stumbling pathetically to the ground. After which, he and Wizardmon began their trip back to the box.

"Now please announce my victory," he said coldly as he walked. "So we can get on with this event, and perhaps I can examine a worthy adversary."

Tentomon's anger was replaced by fear. His eyes widened, and he shrunk into his lady-bug like body. I didn't blame him. He must have gotten the same feeling I had from Fonce. It scared the hell out of me. Fonce was more than just aggravated when he spoke to Tentomon. There was nothing but pure hate in his voice. I don't know what it was, but I felt nothing but darkness from that man. I had gotten the same feeling when I battled Saqure, but this felt ten times worse. There was something seriously wrong with them. Seriously wrong.

He began to stutter. "W- well - yes, yes of course."

With tears streaming down her face, Wendy rushed from the battle floor; probably so she could get Hagurumon some aid. Fortunately he would be fine. Digimon recovered from an injury much quicker than humans. His data hadn't dispersed, so he was alive; and as along as he was alive he would recover.

Meanwhile Tentomon walked to the center of the battle floor. I don't think he had the mental energy to fly.

"A-hem well," he stuttered, trying to regain his composure and become that enthusiastic announcer again. As annoying as it was, I would have loved to see it now. "After quite the - er hit. Hagurumon is down, and Fonce and Wizardmon are the winners."

There was no cheer from the crowd; just a wave of murmurs and whispers. The closest they came to applause, were a few awkward and slow claps. Perhaps an attempt to get the old mood back again.

Tentomon went on anyway. He began to regain a some of his senses. There was still a bit of hesitation in his voice though.

"And that concludes our first round. And what an exciting first round it's been. We've seen some fierce battles, and some one hit wonders. But regardless of how the fights went they sure have kept us on the edge of our seats! There will now be an hour and a half break before the second round commences. But don't go away! I have no doubt that the second round will be even more intense than the first."

With that he ended his speech, and a good portion of the crowd began to pour from their seats. I didn't so much care about them though. I shifted my attention towards Fonce. He didn't head towards the temporary food court, and concession stands like everyone else. He led Wizardmon to one of the exits. I had an urge to follow him, but I fought it. That was just asking for trouble.

I now had know doubt about he and Saqure. Digimon changing, chaos in the Digital World, even my parents' death. They had to be a part of all of it. Hell, saying they were a part of this was probably an understatement. His quick conversation with Tentomon had been one of the scariest things I had ever seen. Never had I felt so much hatred come from a single person. I was glad the mask had hidden his face. I'd hate to see the expression that matched it.

I'd have to watch him. I'd keep my distance for now, and just watch him fight. See how he reacted, and see if I felt that feeling again. The thought of it made me sick, but at this point I don't think I had a choice.

All I had was intuition, added to the very little evidence I had considered, but whatever was going on, they couldn't be just a part of it. They were probably - no, they had to be the source.

---------------------------------------------

Thus ends round one. I'm not quite at the point where things start getting good, but I'm getting closer. Two more chapters and the real part of the story actually starts. No more sneaking around it with hints and crap. I know I made up several of the attacks for the Digimon in there, but you know artistic license. I thought they worked. Well maybe a little. As always I greatly appreciate reviews. I'll try to update as quickly as I did this time, but no promises, especially with school starting soon. Thanks for all of you who have been patient and have continued to read this despite my slow updating.

Stay tuned for Chapter Eight: Quarter Finals!