Caring Hearts

Caring Hearts

Chapter 6: Finale

by Silver

*Disclaimer that I have written more times than I'd care to count: If I've said it before, I've said it a thousand times, I don't own any rights to Digimon or its creatures and characters.*

Author's Note: *Sob* The last chapter of "Caring Hearts" and the Crystal Digimon Saga. I'm all choked up. I'm glad I was able to finish this saga, but it's also good to be done. I'm ready to move on to other stories.

Special thanks go to ShannonL who gave me the inspiration for Gatomon's true crystal form. I also want to give an extra special thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed all my stories. Even though I write for the fun of writing, I take great pleasure in receiving feedback, so I am very thankful that so many people were generous enough to review my stories. Thanks, everyone!

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ArcaDemon's threads turned to an even darker shade of blood-red as they sucked the life out of Davis and Diamon. Davis was already slumping to his knees and the light from Diamon's armor was fading.

Yolei said, "Halsemon, let's go!"

Cody looked at his partner. "You too, Armadillomon! Digiarmor energize!"

"Armadillomon armor digivolve to… Digmon: The Drill of Knowledge!" The two armor Digimon charged at ArcaDemon. "Gold Rush!" Digmon fired his drills at ArcaDemon. The drill missiles connected squarely with the infant Digimon's body, but when the smoke cleared it became clear that ArcaDemon had not been phased by the attack. He didn't even seem to have noticed it.

"Tempest Wing!" Halsemon fired two blades of red energy at the fibers holding Davis. The energy blades struck against the threads that seemed as delicate as silk, yet the attack could neither break them nor free Davis.

Appearing to become annoyed, ArcaDemon unleashed another bundle of silken threads at the two armor Digimon. Halsemon and Digmon jumped back just in time to avoid being ensnared themselves.

TK managed to stand up, despite the fact he was still weak from his crest power being drained. "Patamon, you have to save Davis. Go for it!"

The small Digimon nodded, "Right! Patamon digivolve to… Angemon!" Angemon flew in with his staff held high. He brought in down on ArcaDemon's head. His staff shattered with a loud crack as it connected with ArcaDemon's armor-like skin. Angemon tried to fly back for a long-range attack, but ArcaDemon brought one of his legs up and batted Angemon aside as if he were a rag doll. Angemon fell to the ground and reverted back to Patamon.

"Spiking Finish!" Stingmon dove in and tried to cut the threads holding Davis as well. He had no better luck than Halsemon had. Stingmon aborted his attack as ArcaDemon tried to capture him as well.

Davis and Diamon were having troubling breathing now. Davis' face had gone from pale white to light gray. Kari could only stare in terror for a moment. He's dying. He's really dying…

Davis had been so kind to her through all her ordeals. He'd comforted her over TK and Gatomon while refusing to give in to his own doubts and he'd kept his promise to bring Gatomon back. He'd always been there for her, no matter how bad the situation had been or how mean she sometimes acted towards him. Even though he had an ego, Davis was a very selfless person. Kari couldn't stand the thought of him dying. I can't lose him, he's one of my best friends. It was then that Kari realized just how much she cared about all her friends. She had felt this way when she had rescued TK, and now she wanted to save Davis more than anything else in the world. An Ultimate Digimon like Angewomon wouldn't stop ArcaDemon, but maybe a second crystal Digimon could. If Davis could get Veemon to crystal digivolve on his own, maybe Kari could do the same. The thought of bringing Harpymon back terrified her, but Kari knew it was either risk a digivolution or lose Davis forever. I have to try again. Please let this work. "Gatomon, I-I have to ask a very hard thing of you."

Gatomon nodded, "I know, Kari. Let's try. I'm willing to try and crystal digivolve again."

Kari nodded and closed her eyes. Concentrate. She focused on her feelings of friendship with Davis, TK, and the others. They all meant so much to her. She wished with all her heart that she had the power to protect them. She didn't want to lose anymore people. She'd already lost Greymon, she would not fail her friends again. Kari could feel a small flicker of heat in her heart. She focused even more on her feelings and channeled them into her heart. Please, give me the power to save the people I love. I want to stay with them and protect them. The small flicker became a solid ball of heat. Kari opened her eyes and saw that her chest was glowing. It's now or never! "Crystal armor energize!"

Gatomon began to glow bright white as her body began to change. "Gatomon crystal digivolve to… Tieramon: The Beauty of Caring!" The light faded to reveal Gatomon's new form.

Tieramon bore a very strong resemblance to Nefertimon. She had a lone white lion-like body with a tail that ended in a purple fluff of fur. All four of her legs were equal in size with bright red claws. Her armor was also styled like Nefertimon's, but it was fashioned with sharp angles and was made of sapphire with silver trim. A silver design, similar to that of Nefertimon, was fastened on her chest. Tieramon also wore sapphire and silver shin-guards on all four of her legs. Two long white wings extended from her back.

Her head was just like Harpymon's, with the except that it was much kinder. Harpymon had possessed great beauty while having a cruel look to her face. Tieramon's face looked just like Angewomon without her helmet on. She had long flowing blond hair and bright sapphire-blue eyes. There was a kind look on her face, and a small gold tiara adorned her forehead. She's beautiful. Kari starred in awe.

"I am Tieramon. As Gatomon I harness the power of a caring heart to crystal digivolve. My crimson paw can cut through anything, and my prism beam will have my enemies seeing stars." Tieramon smiled down at Kari. "Kari, because you care about your friends so much, I have been able to crystal digivolve correctly. Thank you." Tieramon jumped up and flew towards ArcaDemon and Davis.

Kari whispered, "She's incredible…"

Ken said, "She looks like a manticore. They're mythological creatures with the head of a human, the body of a lion, and the wings of a bat."

"A bat?" Yolei frowned. "But Tieramon doesn't have bat wings."

Ken shrugged, "I never said she was an exact copy of a manticore."

Tieramon began her attack on ArcaDemon. "Crimson Paw!" Her front paws glowed bright red as she sliced down at the threads holding Davis. There was a flash of energy as the claws connected with the threads. After a moment of straining, Tieramon broke through the threads and severed ArcaDemon's hold over Davis. Yolei and Ken ran in and helped Davis limp away from the fight.

ArcaDemon screamed in rage and pivoted to get a better view of Tieramon as she flew in a loop to make another pass. That move was a mistake. As ArcaDemon turned to watch Tieramon, Diamon managed to free one claw and found the strength to press it against ArcaDemon's belly. "D-Diamond Ray!" The beam was less than half as strong as usual, but Diamon's attack succeeded in lifting ArcaDemon off of him and propelling him into the air.

Tieramon dove in. "Crimson Paw!" She looped underneath ArcaDemon and cut the threads holding Diamon. ArcaDemon fell back to the ground a far distance from Diamon. Despite Diamon's best shot, ArcaDemon still remained unscathed.

With another war cry, ArcaDemon jumped at Tieramon, intent upon feeding on a stronger power source. Tieramon's armor began to glow a rainbow of varying colors. "Prism Beam!" A blast of energy emitted from her body and struck ArcaDemon head on. While it could not inflict physical damage, the force of Tieramon's attack drove the evil Digimon back to the ground and kept him pinned down.

Meanwhile, the Digidestined where tending to Davis and Diamon, who had been pulled back by Ken, Yolei, Digmon, and Stingmon. The color was slowly returning to his face, and his was having an easier time of breathing.

Yolei asked, "Are you hurt?"

Davis coughed, "Only my pride."
Yolei smiled, "No big loss."

Davis smirked, "When I get my strength back, you are so dead." He looked at Kari. "Way to go."

Kari frowned, "What do you mean?"

"You got Gatomon to crystal digivolve, and without the crystal's help to boot."

Kari smiled, "I was worried about you. I couldn't stand to lose such a good friend."

TK said, "We should get Davis out of here until he regains his strength."

Davis weakly shook his head. "No. We have to stay here."

Cody said, "Davis, you're in no condition for a fight, neither is Diamon."

Davis tried to lean forward. Kari helped him up. Davis said, "I finally get what Kari's been trying to tell us about ArcaDemon. He's too powerful for even a crystal Digimon. We have to stop him here and now or he'll digivolve and destroy everything. I know that Diamon has the strength to keep fighting, and so do I!" A light began to glow over Davis' heart again.

Diamon also began to glow. He rolled onto his belly and slowly pushed him self up while growing stronger with each passing moment. Digmon and Stingmon helped him to his feet, but by that time he was already near full power. Diamon looked at Davis. "I can keep fighting, as long as you don't quit."

Davis nodded, "I won't. Go help Tieramon." Diamon nodded at took off.

Kari looked at TK and the others. "We'll need your help too."

Yolei blinked, "US?"

Kari said, "If Davis and I can get our Digimon to crystal digivolve without the digivolution crystal itself, then all of you can as well. We need to attack ArcaDemon as a unified force if we're going to win this." The others looked hesitant.

Davis said, "Kari's right. We made it this far because we acted as a team. We never would have survived the Ancient Valley, or beaten GrandKuwagamon, or rescued Patamon from Avatar if we hadn't worked together. Sure, in the end it was a crystal Digmon that finished each battle, but none of us would have lived long enough to use the Crystal if the everyone else hadn't chipped in as well."

Kari added, "Tieramon is holding her own against ArcaDemon, but she can't destroy it. I doubt Diamon will be able to stop it either. We need all our power."

Tieramon was still playing cat and mouse with ArcaDemon. As the evil Digimon continued to shriek and jump at her, Tieramon continued to fly out of its grasp and used her attack to further annoy ArcaDemon. Her blasts were ineffective against ArcaDemon's shield, but they did serve as a distraction for the beast. ArcaDemon cried out again and lunged at Tieramon.

"Gold Claw!" Diamon flew in and slashed at ArcaDemon's underbelly. The blow sent ArcaDemon flying off-kilter, but there was still no physical damage. Diamon touched down beside Tieramon. "Mind if I join in?"

Tieramon replied, "Be my guest. Prism Beam!"

"Diamond Ray!" The two shinning beams of light merged into one blast and struck ArcaDemon between the eyes. There was a blinding flash as ArcaDemon vanished in an explosion.

TK asked, "Did they get it?" The answer came when the smoke cleared.

ArcaDemon was still stand. This time, however, his body was charred and smoking. His defenses had fallen for a brief instant. Realization hit Kari. Because TK and I escaped from the Control Spires before they could fully drain our power, ArcaDemon's defenses against light and holy attacks are incomplete. We can still overwhelm him. She called out, "Tieramon! Diamon! Keep combining your attacks and you'll be able to hurt him!"

Just then, a loud hissing came from ArcaDemon. It was rhythmic and short and it repeated over and over. It took Kari a moment to realize that ArcaDemon was laughing. Fear welled up in her gut as ArcaDemon began to glow a dark purple energy. "NO! It's crystal digivolving!"

ArcaDemon's body vanished in the darkness, but the aura continued to grow. Within moments the evil power had grown to the size of a large building. Two black wings with purple lining and ruby-red spikes, similar in design to Demon's, jutted out from the darkness. A long gray tail emerged next as the aura began to fade. Kari finally saw ArcaDemon's crystal form.

It was massive. It rivaled VenomMyotismon in terms of size, and probably had five times as much power. Its body was medium gray and it wore obsidian and ruby armor. Its head was still teardrop-shaped but it now had two dark gray horns curving backwards and a mane of long white hair. Half of its head was covered with a pitch-black helmet with two fangs curving down over his mouth. Its eyes were blood red, and a bright ruby located on his forehead gave the illusion of a third eyes. Its body was large and oval-shaped with two breastplates covering its chest. An inverted ruby pentagram was stylized on each breastplate. Its waist was incredibly small and slender. It curved in an "S" shape where it connected with ArcaDemon's hips, which were also protected by obsidian armor. Its arms and legs were long and muscular. He wore shoulderpads with ruby spikes. Ruby spikes were also located on its shin guards. Its hands were encased in gauntlets, and it had five long fingers on each hand that were as sharp as knives.

ArcaDemon stretched out its long arms and let out a sigh in a very masculan voice. Kari hadn't been sure until that moment on what ArcaDemon's gender would be, but she knew now that ArcaDemon was definitely a "he."

Tieramon and Diamon flew up and began their attacks once again. "Prism Beam!"

"Diamond Ray!" The two attacks merged again, but this time the shots bounced off of ArcaDemon's body without leaving a scratch. His defenses are stronger now. We'll need even more power.

ArcaDemon didn't pay either crystal Digimon any attention. There was no mouth on ArcaDemon's head, yet he spoke to himself, "At last… At long last I have reached full perfection." He surved the area around him and gave a small spitting sound in distaste. "Such an ugly, imperfect world. It is undeserving of my grandure."

Cody shouted at him, "What are you talking about?"

ArcaDemon ignored the Digidestined and held up one hand. "Dark Oblivion!" A sphere of black energy formed above his hand, which he tossed towards the horizon. A small mushroom cloud shot up as the dark sphere collided with the ground. The shock wave was upon the Digidestined before they even realized it was coming. Digimon and Digidestined tried to shield their faces from flying rocks, plants, and gravel. Overhead, a large number of trees that had been uprooted and carried by the shockwave careened towards the Rock Maze.

Kari looked to where the sphere had hit after the winds died down. A large smoking crater now defaced the landscape. All that power in just one shot. He's a monster… Kari shouted up at ArcaDemon, "Why did you do that?!"

Finally, ArcaDemon registered the Digidestined's presence. "Ah, Digidestined. It is you who I have to thank for my perfection."

Ken demanded, "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It was the power from the crests of hope and light that awakened me and gave me power. And the energy from the Digidestined of courage and friendship along with his crystal Digimon has given me the power to crystal digivolve. Everthing that I am I owe to you." He chuckled. "All this time you've been fighthing to protect the Digital World and became stronger with each conflict you faced. But, ultimately, it was your own power that brought about the Digital World's destruction. How ironic."

Davis found the strength to shout, "We're not beaten yet!" On cue, Diamon and Harpymon attacked again.

"Gold Claw!"

"Crimson Paw!"

Both attacks bounced off harmlessly against ArcaDemon's armor. He laughed, "I am too powerful to be wounded by such pitiful attacks. My creator, Demon, made sure that I would have a defense against every conceivable attack. I am immune to fire, water, physical, and mental attacks. And thanks to the children of hope and light, I do not suffer from holy attacks either."

Kari whispered to the others. "That's not totally true. His defenses against holy and light attacks are limited, but we need a large amount of power to break them down." Kari's implication was clear to the others. Clear as crystal.

ArcaDemon continued, "Demon wanted to use me as a tool for conquering the Digital World, but I have different plans. When I absorbed Demon's powers, I also gained his sense of consciousness and reason. I also gained access to his pain and lonliness, which have given me untold strength! I have decided that I want to be alone. No one else is deserving of being near my perfection. I will eradicate the Digital World and find pleasure in being alone again."

Yolei called up, "But you'll be lonely if everyone is gone."

ArcaDemon nodded, "Yes. And in that loneliness my powers will only grow more powerful!"

"We won't allow that. Diamond Ray!" Diamon fired another pulse of energy at ArcaDemon. The towering dark crystal Digimon blocked the attack with one hand.

"Pathetic." He brought one claw down on Diamon before he even had the chance to move. Diamon collided with the ground, forming a small crater upon impact.

"Dark Oblivion!" ArcaDemon fired a small burst of black energy from his fingertip at Tieramon. She flew away from the blast but it detonated in the air and sent her careening downward.

Halsemon and Digmon jumped forward. "Tempest Wing!"

"Gold Rush!" Their attacks bounced off ArcaDemon like a pebble that bounced off a steel wall.

ArcaDemon didn't even bother to use an energy attack on the two armor Digimon. Instead, he brought his foot down on the ground with a loud stomp. The sock-wave knocked both Halsemon and Digmon off their feet and forced them to revert to their rookie forms. The Digidestined were also forced onto the ground by the indirect attack.

ArcaDemon took another step towards the Digidestined. "I will reward you for your help the only way I know how: by allowing you to feel the full force of my perfection!" His body began to glow with dark energy.

"V-Wing Blade!" An explosion sprung up on ArcaDemon's back. ArcaDemon snarled and staggered forward slightly before turning around to face his attacker. Vee floated in the air with his claws ready for battle.

ArcaDemon said, "You dare defy me, you imperfect weakling?!"

Vee replied, "You are a creature of destruction that has no place in our world. For the sake of the Digital World and the human world my clan will destroy you!" Vee's speech was punctuated by a storm of V-Nova Blasts shooting up from the ground and raining down on ArcaDemon.

ArcaDemon laughed as the blasts of energy bounced against his body without causing any harm. "Foolish weaklings! Dark Oblivion!" He tossed a sphere of dark energy at the Veedramon ranks. Vee and his clan scattered as the fell towards them. Veedramon were tossed in the air like pebbles in a storm as the explosion tore another crater into the landscape.

Kari looked at TK, Cody, and Yolei. "Guys, you have to get your Digimon to crystal digivolve now while Vee and his clan distract ArcaDemon!"

Cody frowned, "But we've never done that before. I'm not even sure where to start!"

Davis said, "You didn't know how to crystal digivolve in the first place, remember? We each learned how to do it by focusing our emotions! Try and do that again."

Yolei said, "I'm not sure I can."

TK shook his head, "No, we can do it. We can't beat ArcaDemon unless we stand together as a team." A light began to shine over TK's heart. "We made it this far because we stuck together as a team. I wouldn't have been able to get Patamon back from Avatar if it hadn't been for all of you. I know we can win this! We just have to work together!" Patamon's body began to glow pure white. TK looked down at the light in his heart and smiled. "Here goes… Crystal armor energize!"

"Patamon crystal digivolve to… Shinmon: Shinning Faith!" Patamon's crystal form flew over to join Tieramon and Diamon.

Cody looked at ArcaDemon. "I still think it's wrong to kill a living creature, but if we let ArcaDemon win he'll destroy everything. I'm willing to take responsibility for my actions in order to save both worlds. I know that's the right thing to do!" Cody's heart began to glow, as did Armadillomon. "Crystal armor energize!"

"Armadillomon crystal digivolve to… Creeyamon: Firm Justice!"

Yolei looked at the others. "I-I don't want to hurt anyone. I can't stand the idea of killing another living creature. But… I don't want to let any of you down, and I certainly don't want anyone else to die. ArcaDemon is a living creature, no matter how he was born, so I can't simply kill him without thinking."

Davis nodded, "But can you let him kill other Digimon? It's a hard choice, I know, but it's one you've gotta make."

Yolei lowered her head. "I know. I'm going to hate it, but I'm willing to take responsibility just like Cody is. I'll fight to protect my friends and my family and both worlds! I just hope I can be forgiven for what I have to do…" Yolei's heart began to shine as well. "Crystal armor energize!"

"Hawkmon digivolve to… Rocmon: Crystal Purity!"

Kari smiled, "Alright, guys! You did it! You got your Digimon to crystal digivolve without the Digivolution Crystal."

All five crystal stood ready to fight ArcaDemon. Creeyamon and Rocmon towered over the smaller forms of Tieramon, Shinmon, and Diamon. Diamon gave the order, "Everyone, attack at the same time!" They all plunged into the final battle.

"Diamond Ray!"

"Tempest Storm!"

"Emerald Destroyer!"

"Shinning Strike!"

"Prism Beam!" All five attacks struck dead-on. ArcaDemon fell off balance and toppled to the ground.

"Great shot!" Davis cheered as his strength returned. "Now, finish him off!"

The five crystal Digimon fired their attacks again. "Dark Oblivion!" ArcaDemon's counterattack dwarfed the other blasts of energy and collided with them in a huge mass of fire and smoke. The Digidestined were thrown to the ground by the force of the blast.

"He's tough." Ken winced. Stingmon helped him to his feet. "We're useless in this fight. Maybe I should have tried to get you to crystal digivolve too, Stingmon."

"A little late for experimenting, Ken. We'll just have to work with what we have."

Yolei said, "How are we supposed to beat this guy when he can resist all our attacks? There's gotta be some way we can beat him!"

Kari said, "We need to focus all our attacks on one part of his body so that we can punch through his defenses. But to do that we need even more power."

TK snapped his fingers, "That's it! Focus! Kari, do you remember how we beat Myotismon? Before he became VenomMyotismon, that is."

Kari nodded, "All our Digimon gave their power to Angewomon so that she could defeat Myotismon."

Cody's eyes brightened, "I get what you're saying TK. If all our Digimon focus their power into one attack, we can punch through ArcaDemon's defenses."

TK said, "Everyone, have you're Digimon focus their power through Tieramon. She'll give the final attack."

Davis nodded, "You hear that, Diamon?"

Diamon nodded, "Gotcha."

Cody asked, "Ready, Creeyamon?"

Creeymon said, "Ready and willing."

"You too, Rocmon!"

"Understood, Yolei."

"Give it all you've got, Shinmon!"

"I will, TK."

Kari looked at her partner. "Let's do this for Greymon and all the other Digimon Demon has hurt. Okay, Tieramon?"

Tieramon replied, "I'll give it everything I have, Kari."

All five crystal Digimon began to glow their respective colors. Diamon shone in bright white, Rocmon became ruby red, Creeyamon shown in emerald green, Shinmon produced an amber aura, and Tieramon illuminated with a sapphire blue light.

Diamon gave the order. "All together! Diamond Ray!"

"Tempest Storm!"

"Emerald Destroyer!"

"Shinning Strike!"

All the attacks flew towards Tieramon and were absorbed into her aura. Tieramon's light intensified and began to glow with all the colors of the Digidestined's Digimon. "PRISM BEAM!" The multi-colored attack shot out, as big as Tieramon's body, and cut through the air strait towards ArcaDemon.

Seeing the attack coming, ArcaDemon brought his hands up to block the blast. A shield of dark energy formed around his palms and caught the blast in front of his chest. The energy's force slowly pushed ArcaDemon backwards. He braced his feet, which created deep trenches in the ground as the energy pushed him back even farther. "You... you will not defeat me! I am perfection!"

Kari felt despair rising up inside of her. "It's still not strong enough."

Davis said, "He's still having a hard time blocking it. Keep up the pressure! Everyone, keep focusing on beating ArcaDemon. If we give up, our Digimon will lose power." The Digidestined closed their eyes and focused on their emotions.

Ken looked at Stingmon. "We can't help out here, but I have an idea. Come with me." Stingmon nodded and picked Ken up. Ken called to the others, "I'll be back!" He and Stingmon flew off.

* * * * * * * *

How dare they? How dare these imperfect, insignificant bugs challenge him? ArcaDemon strained against the force of the intensified beam, ashamed that he should have to struggle against such a pathetic group of opponents. I am perfection! I am the ultimate end of digivolution. How can they even think of challenging me? And yet their attack was almost more than he could bear. Almost.

There had to be a reason for why he was having such difficulty resisting the attack. It had to be the fault of his creator, Demon. This had to have been a flaw in his design. ArcaDemon accessed the memories he had absorbed when he devoured Demon. And it was there that he found his answer. The children of hope and light had escaped from their containment before they could give all their power to him. My defenses are incomplete! I am not invulnerable as I should be.

Still, all was not lost. He could resist their beam until these Digidestined grew weary and gave up. Then, he would devour the children of hope and light and complete his defenses. After that, no one would be able to stand in his way. All he had to do was hold out until the Digidestined lost their will to battle.

Suddenly, shouts of "V-Nova Blast" came from behind. ArcaDemon risked a glance over his shoulder to see a storm of blue flames hurling towards him. ArcaDemon winced and faltered as explosions raked across his backside. With all his defenses focused towards the Digidestined, ArcaDemon could not afford to block the lesser attacks. Pain danced across his whole body as blast after blast of white-hot fire struck him. His muscles trembled and his armor cracked, but he did not lose his focus. His body was strong; he would endure everything.

Then he sensed two very strong forces coming up behind him. They were nowhere near as strong as a crystal Digimon, but there were powerful in their own right. The Digimon known as Stingmon and AeroVeedramon were flying towards him on what seemed to be a collision course. They both weaved between the V-Nova Blasts that continued to plague ArcaDemon. Their purpose became all too clear. NO! Stay away! ArcaDemon's mind froze in terror as he realized that we was powerless to stop them. If he dropped his defenses for even a moment, the blast from the other crystal Digimon would kill him.

The final blow came. "Spiking Finish!" Stingmon dove in with his energy stinger extended.

"Magnum Crasher!" The AeroVeedramon's body became encased in energy as he flew down as fast as a bullet.

Both attacks struck ArcaDemon at the base of his neck. Pain seared through his mind and the world vanished in red agony. ArcaDemon's defenses weakened for only a moment, but that was enough. The blast of energy from the Digidestined's crystal Digimon broke through is barrier and collided with ArcaDemon's waist. The world became lost in a bright white light.

And then everything went numb. ArcaDemon could feel himself falling from a very high place. His eyes came into focus and he saw a pair of legs, his legs, standing upside down. Confusion filled his mind as he tried to understand what was happening. The answer was terrifyingly simple. He thought, I have been bisected, and then he thought no more.

* * * * * * * *

The instant ArcaDemon's two halves dissolved into scattered data, the Digidestined let out a great whoop of joy. The "perfect Digimon" had been defeated.

Kari exclaimed, "We did it! We shave the Digital World!"

Davis nodded, "Now that's what I call teamwork!"

Yolei was less ecstatic. "Still, we had to kill a Digimon…"

Cody nodded, "But it was the right thing to do, even if we didn't like it."

Diamon, Rocmon, Creeyamon, Shinmon, and Tieramon all began to glow bright white as their bodies began to shrink and revert. When the lights faded, Demiveemon, Poromon, Upamon, Tokomon, and Salamon were standing on the ground. Each of the Digidestined ran over and picked up his or her respective partner. Davis was still wobbly from ArcaDemon draining his strength, but he was quickly recovering.

He chuckled, "Guess you guys used up a lot of energy with that last shot."

Demiveemon sighed, "You ain't kiddin'."

Upamon said, "I'm so hungry. Can we please eat?"

Cody smiled, "Good to know your hunger hasn't been effected."

"Hey, guys!" Ken and Wormmon came running up with Vee close behind.

Kari waved, "Ken, we were wondering what happened to you. You left in the middle of the fight."

Ken shook his head, "I didn't leave; I just changed tactics. I realized that ArcaDemon had focused all his power in front of himself, so I regrouped the Veedramon clan to launch an attack from behind and weakened his defenses."

Vee said, "Stingmon and I focused all our power into one attack and struck ArcaDemon from behind while my clan provided cover fire. The hard part was getting out of the blast range when your attack pierced ArcaDemon's defenses. We nearly didn't make it."

TK said, "Good plan."

Ken smiled, "Thank you." His smile wavered, "But, we might not have had such a close call if I could get Wormmon to crystal digivolve."

Cody said, "There's no guarantee that we would have won if Wormmon had become a crystal Digimon. ArcaDemon was still holding his own against our attack. If you and Stingmon hadn't been here to attack from behind, we might not have won."

Ken nodded, "Thanks, Cody."

A startled gasp came from the group. "He said Cody's name!!!"

Davis smiled, "That's because we're all friends now. Right, Ken?"

Ken said, "Yes. We're friends."

Kari looked around the ruined landscape. What had once been the Dark Forest was now blackened ground with craters darting the landscape. Still, it was a small price to pay to keep the entire Digital World from suffering a similar fate. "I guess there's nothing else for us to do here. We should get home. Tai and Matt will want to hear about what happened."

Yolei nodded, "They'll probably be hopping mad when they find out we left them behind. We promised we'd take them with us when we went to rescue TK and Gatomon."

TK said, "I'm sure they'll forgive easily, this time. Let's get home."

"Wait." Davis stopped the group. "There's…. there's something else we need to do before we go home." He looked at Vee. "Vee, I know it's a lot to ask, but you could give us a lift to Primary Village?"

Kari frowned, "Primary Village?"

Vee said, "It's not a problem at all. In fact, I was going to go there anyway. We lost several Veedramon to ArcaDemon's attack, and many more were wounded. It is my duty as the leader of the clan to go to Primary Village and retrieve the digieggs of my brethren."

Davis looked at the others, "Let's get going."

Kari asked, "Davis, what's this all about?"

Davis replied, "You'll see. Just come with me, please."

Kari nodded, "Okay, let's go."

* * * * * * * *

Primary Village had improved since the last time Kari had seen it. The small scars resulting from the attack of the anti-Digidestined faction were almost repaired, and the village itself looked as cheerful as ever. Many of the rioting Digimon responsible for Primary Village's damage had returned to repair their mistakes. Even now Kari could see them filling in holes from when Control Spires has sprung up. They still kept their eyes averted as if they still felt shame over what they had done.

When Kari voiced her concern over this, Ken commented, "They'll eventually accept their mistakes and move on. It'll just take some time."

Vee glided down and landed without jarring a single passenger on his back. The Digidestined slid down and walked towards the village. Davis was unusually quiet and looked a little tense.

"Davis?" Kari asked, "What is going on?"

Davis sighed, "I'm not sure I should have pushed for us to come here, but I guess I can't turn back now." He looked Kari strait in the eyes. "Kari, I didn't ask Ken, Yolei, and Cody to come to the Digital World earlier to scout around for Demon's base. I asked them to go to Primary Village to find a digiegg."

Kari frowned, "Whose digiegg?"

Davis replied, "Greymon's. You were so sad over what had happened that I hoped we could find Greymon's digiegg so you two could talk. I was sure that Greymon or whatever baby form he has would clear things up and you'd feel better."

Kari smiled, "That's very kind of you, Davis."

Yolei asked, "Do you want to give it a try? Harpymon attacked us before we could ever get to the village."

Kari nodded, "Yes. I want to try and see my old friend again." She took lead of the group as they walked into Primary Village.

"Hi!" Elecmon ran up to greet them. "Good to see you guys again! What's new?"

TK sighed, "Don't get us started."

Kari giggled, then said, "Elecmon, did you receive a digiegg for a Botamon recently?"

Elecmon frowned, "I receive tons of digieggs each day. I'm sorry, but I can't help you find one specific egg."

Kari's shoulders slumped as she felt defeat welling inside of her. Maybe I'll never see Greymon again…She shook her head. She wouldn't give up that easily. If there was anything the last two days had taught her, it was that giving up was never a solution. She closed her eyes and concentrated on the memory of meeting Koromon in Highton View Terrace, and how he had digivolved all the way to Greymon in order to save Kari and Tai from Parrotmon. Greymon, where are you?

Kari felt a burst of warmth on her chest. She opened her eyes and found that she was glowing again.

"Kari?" Davis sounded concerned and took a step towards her. This was the first time he or any of the new Digidestined had seen her powers. TK placed a hand on Davis' shoulder and gently held him back. A shake of the head told Davis that this was nothing to be worried about.

Kari looked among all the digieggs strewn about the landscape. There was so many it seemed as Greymon's egg would be lost in the sea of unborn Digimon. But then Kari spotted one egg that seemed to have a different feel about it. Even though it looked just like any of the other eggs surrounding it, this digiegg brought about a feeling of peace and warmth inside of Kari. That's the one. The light faded from her body.

Kari ran over to the digiegg, careful not to step on any others as she did so, and knelt down before it. She reached out with her hands and caressed the smooth surface of the egg. The digiegg began to glow bright white and then vanished in a small poof of smoke. Kari jumped back slightly as the smoke settled. She'd never gotten used to that.

After the smoke cleared, Kari could see a small pudgy black ball with two tiny ears and two very large yellow eyes. A cradle sprung up around the baby Digimon, Botamon.

"Bo bo?" The Botamon looked up at Kari with what she thought was recognition.

Kari could feel tears welling in her eyes, and her lips were trembling. She forced the words out of her mouth. "H-hi… I'm not sure if you remember me, but we've met before. In fact, I consider you to be one of my best friends. But… I made a mistake, a horrible mistake that you ended up paying for…"

"Bo?" The little Digimon didn't seem to fully register Kari's story.

Kari choked back a small sob. "I can never make up for the mistake I made or the suffering I caused you; and I wouldn't blame you if you hated me for what I've done, but I want you to know that I'm sorry. I never meant to harm you."

"BO!" The Botamon jumped forward and somehow clung to Kari's face to deliver a big wet kiss.

Davis, of course, was the first to react. "Hey, YOU!" He ran to Kari's side. "Stop kissing Kari!!!"

"Bo!" Botamon released its grip on Kari and firmly attached itself to Davis' face.

Kari laughed despite the tears coming down her face. "He thinks you're Tai!"

"Mmmrphh! Mrrrrrr!!" Davis sounded like he'd be smothered under Botamon's body. Finally, the newborn jumped off Davis' face and went back into Kari's arms. Davis gasped for air. "I didn't know newborns had such lousy breath."

Yolei smirked, "Look whose talking Mr. 'Nova Blast breath.'" Davis scowled.

Kari nuzzled the little Digimon against her cheek. "I'm so glad you've forgiven me. Thank you."

"Booouu." Botamon cooed.

Kari stepped over to Davis. "I want to thank you too, Davis. I'm not sure I would have made it through this if it hadn't been for you." While holding Botamon with one hand, she reached up around her neck and lifted off the whistle that she had given to Gatomon four years earlier. "Davis, since you gave your goggles back to Tai and the Digivolution Crystal's been destroyed, I want you to have this as a way of thanking you for helping me and rescuing Gatomon."

Davis' face brightened. "Really?" He took the whistle and placed it around his neck. "How's it look?"

Kari giggled, "Very nice."

TK smirked, "You'll have a real fun time at school when the other guys see you where a whistle on a pink string."

Davis waved a hand. "Aw, who cares what they think?" Davis wouldn't have looked prouder if he'd won the Nobel Prize.

Vee came walking up to the Digidestined with several digieggs cradled in his arms. Cody said, "Vee, did you find your friends?"
Vee nodded, "Indeed I have. I located them through their scent. Elecmon, with your permission I would like to take there digieggs back to the Rock Maze where they can be raised by my clan."

Elecmon nodded, "Sure. That's a few less mouths for me to feed around here."

Vee looked at the Digidestined. "I must return to my clan as soon as possible, but I can drop all of you off at the nearest portal to the real world."

Yolei checked her watch. "We should be getting back. We're already in enough trouble for skipping a whole day of school."

Davis smiled, "Not a problem. I faked a call from my Dad to the school saying that we were all out sick."

Ken looked at him dubiously, "And you expect the school to believe such a story?"

Davis shrugged, "Sure, it's worked before." Everyone else sighed.

Kari handed Botamon to Elecmon. "I'll see you again soon."

"Bo Bo!!" Botamon bounced up and down excitedly as the Digidestined climbed onto Vee's back. With one flap of his might wings, Vee took the air and soared above Primary Village.

As Kari watched Primary Village shrink away in the distance, she felt a deep sense of peace inside of her. She had found Gatomon and Greymon/Botamon had forgiven her for her mistakes. Kari felt that she had become stronger through her ordeal and she felt closer to all of the Digidestined. Despite their doubts and shortcomings, the Digidestined had banded together and mastered the art of crystal digivolving. Even Ken had the potential to have Wormmon crystal digivolve if he willed it, but there wasn't a need for that now. Demon and ArcaDemon were defeated, and Kari felt confident that the Digidestined would be able to handle any threats that arose in the future.

Many people and Digimon had been sacrificed for this victory, however. Davis' friend Blossomon and Gennai's friend Lazio were gone, and Kari would always think of SkullMammothmon, GrandKuwagamon, and Avatar as unwitting victims of Demon's deception. Even Demon had suffered for his evil ways.

Despite these losses, Kari knew that the Digidestined would fight as hard as they could to save others from a similar fate. She had come to realize how much she cared about her friends, and she would fight with all her strength to protect everyone. Leaning back with Salamon in her arms, Kari enjoyed the feeling of the wind in her hair as Vee flew on towards the horizon.

The End

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Author's Note: Woo-hoo! I'm DONE! I finished the Crystal Digimon Saga and it feels good. I've enjoyed writing this series that took me all the way through 02, but it's time to move on. I know a lot of people would like to see Ken get a crystal Digimon, but I had never planned to write a Ken story arc. I conceived this saga back when Ken was still the Digimon Emperor, so I didn't fully understand his real personality all that well.

Besides, I've got so many other stories bouncing around in my mind that I can't stay fixed to the CDS much longer. I began to lose interest in the story and when that happens the plot suffers. I want to wipe the slate clean and move on. I have many more stories in mind, and I hope that some of them will be as good as "Walkabout," which I still consider to be my best work.

By the way, ArcaDemon's crystal form is a modified version of his Ultimate, which can be seen in the V-Tamers Manga. Just go to Megchan's Digimon Messageboard and look around for the image. Thanks for reading my story and reviewing. I'll be back with a whole new story line soon.