Author's Note: I've been away for a GOOD LONG TIME but finally got my muse back and, like Doctor Who, I've "regenerated". Anyway, Izzy is the focus for this chapter and there will be some backstory finally introduced. Also, a new character is introduced.
The imposing figure of Pharaohmon looked out over the city that stretched before him, pleased to see everything proceeding on schedule. The powerful Mega Digimon was every bit as fear-inspiring as his Egyptian namesake, some calling him "the death king" because of his reputation. The area known as Desktop City would have been his by now if not for the efforts of a certain guardian. A guardian named Gennai.
Pharaohmon growled to himself as he remembered the misery the old man had caused him and his army. A former member of an ancient order entrusted to protect the Digital World, those inspired by his loyalty to the Digital Gods had become a thorn in his side. He always seemed to be ahead of him, each planning one move against the other like a living chess match. It was becoming irritating to no end. That AND that annoying little ward of his...
"Master Pharaohmon." He turned at the sound of Yashamon, an Armor-type and one of his best generals. "Sir, we have detected a new digital signature from the city. It may be another Chosen Child."
"I see." The powerful Digimon spoke. "It would seem that the human child, Neo, was correct after all."
"Shall we attack, sir? We would still have the advantage since there is only one other."
"No, not yet." Pharaohmon instructed. "For now, we wait. Gennai will reveal his plans in time. Then, and only then, will we make our move against him." With that, he turned his attention back to the domed city, a smirk growing on his muzzle as he contemplated what fate would befall his foe.
Koushiro bolted upright in shock as he snapped back to consciousness, his body feeling as if tiny electric pinpricks had settled on his skin. A curious feeling, yes, but his immediate attention was to where he was. He remembered being surrounded by a stream of light as he watched Tentomon...
"Tentomon?" Koushiro called as he rose from the impromtu bed that he had been laid upon. A light wave of vertigo assaulted the Child of Knowledge, causing him to sit back down as he allowed his body to calm down. Yet there was no response from the bug-like Digimon.
'I wonder where Tentomon is.' Koushiro thought to himself. 'Hopefully we haven't been separated during this venture.' The red-haired Child of Knowledge suddenly recalled his experience with Vadermon nearly a decade before, his memories and ability to think slowly stripped away by the Ultimate-level. Somehow, this seemed vaguely familiar.
"Izzy!" the familiar upbeat voice of his partner said as the Child of Knowledge turned and saw the insectoid creature standing in an open doorway. "I was starting to worry you wouldn't wake up."
"I'm fine, Tentomon, but where are we?" Koushiro asked. "My last memory was being caught in a beam of light and pulled away from the others."
"I don't know but I do know who can answer that question." Tentomon led his partner into the adjacent chamber, Koushiro's eyes slowly readjusting to the much brighter environment as they moved. The red-haired young man took note of the architecture as they walked through the corridor, various imagery of different Digimon along the otherwise smooth stone walls.
'Something about this place feels oddly familiar...' Koushiro noted mentally. It was then that in spite of the unfamiliar voices met his ears as they entered the main chamber, there was one that was all too familiar:
"We have already tried the other alternatives. There is no more time. If we delay any longer, Pharaohmon will eventually gain his way inside the city. We must rendezvous with Andromon and the battalion to form an offensive NOW."
"Settle down. I understand your concerns, Ami, but we have no choice."
'That almost sounds like...' Koushiro reasoned to himself as they entered the chamber, a smile of relief spreading across his face as he recognized a familiar face in the room. One of the speakers was a much older-appearing Gennai.
"Ah, I see you're finally up, Izzy." Gennai said to the Child of Knowledge. "You must have gotten my message, then. Ah, well. Better late than never, I suppose."
"What is this place, Gennai?" Koushiro asked as he approached with Tentomon, a look of relief across his youthful face. "Did any of the others arrive as well? Why haven't we been able to contact you in so long?"
"I see you're still the ever-inquiring mind." the elder member of the Order noted with a chuckle, a small smile across his worn features. "No, I'm afraid you and your Digimon are the only ones we found. Well, since you came all this way, I should make some introductions first." He then gestured to a young blue-haired woman leaning against a wall, her arms folded and an impatient look on her face. "This is Ami, a Digidestined like yourself."
"I should mention that she is the one who found us and brought us here." Tentomon added, seeing a spark of interest briefly glimmer in Koushiro's eyes.
"Prodigious!" Koushiro said enthusiastically as he extended his hand to her. "It would be beneficial if we had another DigiDestined to help us against Neo."
The blue-haired woman studied the gesture as her steel-blue eyes met the red-haired Child of Knowledge's own, a look of faint recognition crossing her features briefly before dismissing the feeling. There was something familiar in those eyes, almost like a dream out of reach...
'Curious.' Ami thought as she cautiously took Koushiro's hand. 'Why would this young man invoke a sense of deja vu? He looks familiar, almost as if...' She shook her head and then turned her attention to a large insectoid creature sitting above them on a stone rafter, it's multi-faceted eyes studying them with a subtle sense of curiosity. The light gleamed off of her yellow exoskeleton armor as it glided to the ground in front of them, a slight buzzing from its thin wings as it acknowledged the young woman.
"ShineBeemon." Ami addressed to the taller insect Digimon. "We are needed on a recon assignment. Are you ready?"
"Yes." the reply came from the female Digimon. With that, the two of them prepared to leave on their patrol of the outskirts of Desktop, leaving the two holders of Knowledge and the elderly Order member as the sole occupants of the chamber.
"Well, that was a little rude." Tentomon piped up.
"Tentomon..." Koushiro warned his partner. A small chuckle erupted from Gennai but soon became a hacking cough. The duo went to the elderly-appearing avatar, a sign of worry on the red-haired young man's face. He had always considered Gennai a mentor in many ways, his advice and various e-mails through the years helping to expand his own knowledge of the Digital World and Digimon as a whole. Surely someone like his couldn't be affected THIS badly by Neo's machinations... could they?
"I'm fine, Izzy." Gennai told him with a small nod of reassurance. "It seems, though, that not even a prophecy's trappings can keep you all from trying to save this world."
"What are you talking about, Gennai?"
"You'd better sit down, Izzy." The elderly avatar told him with an almost-hacking cough. "I think it's time to tell you the secret history of the Digital World."
As Ami rode the back of her Digimon partner, she still couldn't shake the strong feeling of familiarity from her mind. She had come to the Digital World only a few years before with nothing, her memories from before that time nothing but a confusing maelstrom. All that she knew was that this world was her home and ShineBeemon was her only connection to who she really was. Everything else is an enigma, a riddle her mind refused to solve.
So why did she feel a kinship with the young man called Koushiro?
What links could he have with her forgotten past?
"Ami, look down there." ShineBeemon spoke, directing the blue-haired woman's attention. They had come to an area not far from the dome's inner edge, the sounds of battle permeating as they came closer. One of the combatants looked familiar, humanoid but laced with cybernetic parts around its body.
"It's Andromon!" Ami told her Digimon, also seeing that the Ultimate-level cyborg was fighting another group of Digimon. "We have to give him assistance."
"Hold on, Ami." With that, the insectoid glided downward towards the battle below, unaware that they were being observed by a small camera nearby...
"Although I and Azulongmon have told you all much about the Digital World's history," Gennai said as he began his story, "what we told you was only a small chapter of a much greater story... a story that began when our world was still young. You see, at one time, the Digital World was a primal place where only the strongest survive. There was no Primary Village back then so any Digimon who fought would face deletion or have their code absorbed by others. But a powerful creature came to the Digital World and began spreading its corrupted code through several Digimon, transforming them into evil but powerful creatures."
"What was this entity?" Koushiro asked. "Was it Apocalymon or another type of Digimon?"
"This creature was called Milleniumon, Izzy, and was far worse than anything Apocalymon could had ever been." Gennai explained, pausing only to cover another cough. "It's very presence was enough to throw the entire Digital World into chaos. One of its children was a Digimon named Lucemon, who sought nothing but power and dominion. He and six others ruled the Digital World in Millenniumon's name until ten ancient Warriors arose and defeated them one by one. As for Lucemon himself, there are rumors that he was sealed in the Digital World's core but no one's proved it yet."
"He sounds a lot like Myotismon."
"Indeed." Gennai coughed lightly as he continued. "Eventually, the result of all of these conflicts allowed Millenniumon to split the Digital World, throwing time and space completely out of order. In the midst of all of that chaos, the ancient Digimon realized that they couldn't defeat him on their own and decided to reach out to your world for help. Five special children answered the call and..."
"...they became the original Chosen Children." Koushiro concluded. Gennai nodded as he started to cough once more.
"Izzy... you have to listen carefully." Gennai wheezed. "Everything that is happening to this world... the prophecy Azulongmon spoke of... it was all part of Neo's master plan..."
"Gennai!" Koushiro shouted as the elderly-appearing avatar suddenly flickered like an old television signal. What is going on here? Gennai then grabbed the child of Knowledge's arm for support, feeling his time growing shorter by the second. He had to know, ALL of it, before it was too late.
"Izzy, Neo is trying to recreate what Millenniummon had done. Everything you and your friends had accomplished here is being rewritten because of him. The future Azulongmon and I told you all of... We had no idea at the time but Neo... He had manipulated everything..." Feeling weaker by the second, Gennai gripped the Child of Knowledge's arm tighter as he tried to pull the last of his strength together. "The future isn't written in stone, Izzy. You all can change it to make it a better one. You have to find the Original Five. Save our world before..."
"GENNAI!" Koushiro cried as tears came out his eyes but it was too late. His mentor's form grew static-ridden like an old videotape on 'pause' as his data began to disappear. He clenched his fists tightly as he helplessly watched the long-time mentor of the Chosen finally vanish, feelings of both sorrow and regret flooding him. Technology was something he could naturally relate to but the concept of death... of one's life fading away into nothing...
"Izzy," Tentomon said as he laid a reassuring forearm on his partner, "we should probably see if we can find Ami and ShineBeemon now. They might need our help and probably know how to find the others also."
"...You...You're right, Tentomon." Koushiro admitted as he returned to his feet and dried his tears. They HAD to find the others and make sense out of the madness around them. Sorrow would have to wait.
"Spiral Sword!" Andromon called out as he tried to use his blade arm against the various Yashamon, his attacks being blocked again and again. Although he was a Cyborg-type and one of the stronger Digimon protecting Desktop City, he had the level advantage over these Digimon. Something did not compute.
"Gordion Knot!" one of the Yashamon shouted as he used his kendo sticks on his adversary to knock him backwards. This had become a disappointing battle in his eyes. Trained to be warriors and Pharaohmon's elite, they had prided themselves at being the best and most skilled in combat among Champion-level Digimon. Yet Andromon, in spite of his reputation of being the finest protector Desktop City had to offer, was hardly putting up a fight. This was almost too easy.
Several of the Yashamon jumped out of the way as a yellow blur zoomed past him and stopped in front of Andromon, revealing the form of ShineBeemon as she used the stinger on her forearms to destroy many of their brethren. Ami jumped off of the insectoid Digimon's back as she approached Andromon, seeing that the Cyborg-type had developed cracks in his Chrome-Digizoid frame from the long battle.
"What is your status, Andromon?" Ami asked the Cyborg-type. "Are you injured?"
"Not critically," Andromon replied, "but I lost contact with Mekanorimon Team 7 from the west perimeter. When I came to investigate, I discovered them taken offline by THEM."
"Your friends were not much of a challenge for us, machine." one of the Yashamon told them. "Master Pharaohmon will be pleased that the city's defenses were so weak."
"WE are your opponents now!" Ami exclaimed as she turned to her Digimon partner. "ShineBeemon, begin attack pattern Delta-2!" With that, the two Ultimate-level Digimon charged forward to face the army of Armor-level Digimon. Just then, the group of Yashamon began to glow as their forms blurred with Digital code. A shiver ran through both ShineBeemon and Ami as they realized what was happening. They were evolving.
"Yashamon, digivolve to... Cyberdramon!"
As the group of newly-evolved Ultimates glowered before them, a feral grin platered on their faces, Ami braced herself as she swallowed hard. This twist of events was NOT going to end well.
"Faster, Kabuterimon!" Koushiro told his insectoid partner as they flew across the region, hoping they would arrive in time to help.
"I'm going as fast as I can, Izzy!" The large insectoid replied. "I'm not a fighter jet, you know!" He then looked ahead to see flashes of energy, the taint of death growing as they got closer. The two of them suddenly found themselves surrounded by desolation, the various structures around them having already collapsed or beginning to collapse. The air was charged as if powerful bolts of energy swept through the area. Koushiro looked down to see Ami lying amidst the rubble, her Digimon still attempting to fend off of Cyberdramon attacking them with a familiar-looking Digimon.
"This looks bad!" The Chosen Child of Knowledge said as he jumped off of Kabuterimon's back and ran towards the prone woman, privately wishing he were more athletic like Taichi and Daisuke as he moved over the debris. His mind was already working rapidly to come up with different ways to overcome the odds before them as he finally reached her, ignoring the glow of his digivice for once.
"Are you all right?" Koushiro asked as he tried to help the blue-haired Chosen to her feet. "Are you injured?"
"I... My injuries are superficial." Ami replied as she got to her feet, looking up to see her partner dodging multiple attacks from the Cyberdramon along with Andromon and a red insectoid Digimon. "I would surmise that the red Digimon is your partner?"
Koushiro looked up and was surprised to see MegaKabuterimon in place of his partner, dodging to avoid as many attacks from the Cyberdramon as possible.
"Yes, he is. Is that Andromon?" As if to answer his query, the Cyborg-type slammed into the ground near them, sparks coming from his frame along with light bits of data. Koushiro went to his old ally, concern written on his face.
"I-Iden-Identity c-c-conf-f-firmed. Gree-e-etings, Izzy." Andromon managed to get out as he struggled to get to his feet. He turned his optics to Ami, who had an unreadable expression on her face. "I'm afraid I-I-I could not suce-e-eed in holding the line here."
"We must keep trying." Ami said. "If the Cyberdramon defeat us here, it will mean Pharaohmon will gain a larger foothold in this region."
"But the Digimon are just barely holding them off." Koushiro pointed out. "If they're strong enough to do this to Andromon, it would be wiser to regroup and come up with a new plan."
"I do NOT remember asking for your opinion." Ami told the red-haired Chosen with a slight edge in her voice. "We have a duty to defend Desktop City. We cannot complete our mission if we withdraw."
"But if the Digimon get hurt, then there's no point!" Koushiro told the blue-haired woman, not understanding why she would be so stubborn. "What is wrong with you? Why are you determined to fight a losing battle?"
"Why are you determined to carry out a flawed agenda?" Ami looked into Koushiro's eyes, not understanding why he would be quick to run when they could have the advantage. "You claim to be the Chosen Child of Knowledge, correct?"
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Cyberdramon is a Vaccine-type. Your Digimon is also Vaccine while mine is Variable. With Andromon also being Vaccine, it is therefore possible to combine our efforts and win. You should know that."
"There's more to fighting a battle than just statistics, Ami. You have to know when to fight and when to pull back. If you don't, you would be placing your Digimon in unneccessary danger."
Realization crossed Ami's features as she remembered ShineBeemon, feeling as if she had been struck. Her partner was always able to take care of herself in battle, taking on Champion-level and some Ultimate-level Digimon easily. As long as they had the right strategy, they were a potent team, right?
So why did a sudden sense of dread cross her mind?
"Incoming!" Andromon interrupted as the two Chosen were thrown out of the way of something crashing in front of them. Koushiro and Ami looked through the smoke only to see ShineBeemon and a battle-scarred Tentomon in the impact crater before them.
"Tentomon!" Koushiro shouted, shock written on his face as he went to his partner. Although Ami's partner was weakened, she was at least able to stand as the blue-haired woman helped her up. His own partner, however, was faring far worse.
"...Izzy?" Tentomon weakly spoke as the Child of Knowledge gently helped him up. The Insect-type had minor cracks in his shell and one of his antennae was burned off. He had never seen his friend pushed this far before and it frightened him.
"Hold on, Tentomon." Koushiro said to his partner. "You're going to be fine."
"I... Somehow, I doubt that, Izzy." Tentomon weakly told his friend. He raised a shaky claw to place on the red-haired Chosen's shoulder, knowing that he didn't have much longer. "Izzy, I know you... You'll think of a way to help the others. You're the smartest... human I know. Otherwise, Gennai wouldn't have... Gennai wouldn't have trusted you with so much knowledge."
Koushiro gave a sad smile at the memory of his fallen mentor, remembering what the former Order member had entrusted him and his friends with. Then a look of shock crossed his face as he saw wisps of data leaking from his partner's body. He knew what was happening.
"Tentomon, no!" The Child of Knowledge cried as he hugged his partner, his mind trying to think of a way out of this situation. He had already lost Gennai. He couldn't lose Tentomon as well.
"I'm proud of you, Izzy... Don't give up..." The insectoid felt himself fade into tiny bits of data, the cries of his partner the last thing he would ever hear.
Ami watched the two from a distance, feeling remorse and something unexplainable in the display. Why did this feel so familiar? Was it another time... Perhaps another place even?
'Why is he so familiar to me?' Ami thought to herself. She then looked up to see the Cyberdramon circling above them, appearing like winged serpents ready to strike. She looked at ShineBeemon, seeing that she was still willing to fight as she extended her forearm stingers. After taking a deep breath, she then turned to Koushiro.
"Your name is Izzy, correct?" Ami asked, still seeing that the Child of Knowledge was still in shock. "I regret the loss of your friend but, right now, you are a liability. If you remain, you will be in danger."
"Ami is correct." Andromon added as he readied his arm for his Spiral Sword attack. "You have to escape. We will hold the line here."
"..." Koushiro was oblivious to them as his mind continued to make sense of what had happened. He wondered if this is what Tai had been feeling during his five-year journey.
"Snap out of it!" Ami called as she clutched her digivice. "You have to escape! Run!"
"Izzy, you must run!" Andromon said, the Cyborg-type readying himself as the Cyberdramon began to swoop down to them.
'...Tentomon?' Koushiro thought as he suddenly felt the presence of his partner and friend, barely registering the screech of his digivice as the LCD screen shattered or the energy surrounding him as the Cyberdramon dove toward the small group.
"Tentomon, burst digivolve to..." Koushiro felt himself grow taller, his skin being surrounded by red armor with purple piping in various places. Gauntlets covered his wrists as a helmet resembling a Hercules beetle's head covered his face, the crest of Knowledge emblazoned on his chest.
Koushiro Izumi was gone.
Tentomon was gone.
In their place was...
Ami braced herself, knowing she and ShineBeemon would not survive an onslaught of this many Cyberdramon even with Andromon's help. Suddenly, she felt herself scooped up and moved out of the way just before the attack would've claimed her life.
"What in the..." She looked up to see SonicKabuterimon holding her, his multi-faceted eyes seeming to study her. Glancing over to see that Koushiro was missing, the newfound Digimon's identity was obvious.
"Are you injured?" He asked the blue-haired Chosen in the dual voices of Koushiro and Kabuterimon, a slight hiss coming from the thrusters on his back as he set her on the ground.
"No, but... How did you..." Ami shook her head as she returned her attention to the battlefield. "I'm all right. The others need help." She received a nod as SonicKabuterimon braced himself for a running start, the thrusters on his back beginning to glow brightly. A light shockwave knocked her back slightly as he took off, speeding towards the incoming Cyberdramon.
"Thunder Fist!" SonicKabuterimon called as he drew electric energy from the air around him into his claws. He moved rapidly from one Cyberdramon to the other, his fists colliding as energy punches with each of them. The Ultimate-level Digimon roared in rage and pain as the multitude of hits connected in rapid succession. The red-armored Insectoid stopped in front of Andromon and ShineBeemon, quickly assessing the damage to the two Ultimates.
"Are both of you still able to fight?" SonicKabuterimon asked. All he received was a nod from ShineBeemon as Andromon quickly scanned the new arrival. It wasn't possible or even logical but, given all he had experienced during his tenure aiding the Chosen, anything was feasible now.
"My scans are still inconclusive but… is that you, Izzy?" the Cyborg-type asked.
"Yes, in a manner of speaking, but I have to explain later. Can you still battle, Andromon?"
"My primary weapons are still active. I will do my best to assist you."
"Good." The trio of Digimon prepared to charge after the Cyberdramon with everything they had left. They were prepared to put everything into one final assault when...
"ENOUGH!" A booming voice thundered, causing both sides to stop their attack. SonicKabuterimon looked up to see the large figure of Pharaohmon tower over the battlefield, his multi-faceted eyes scanning the imposing Mega-level Digimon as the Cyberdramon parted for their leader and king.
"I admire your persistence in defending this city but it is a waste of time." Pharaohmon told the group before him. "Tell me, has Gennai become so wizened with age that he would still use the young to fight in his stead?"
SonicKabuterimon failed to noticed that Ami had managed to join them, her eyes darkening with an anger he hadn't seen before. A wave of guilt swept through him at the mere mention of the former Order member, feeling the burden of responsibility for the task he was given and, ultimately, would have to also entrust to the other Chosen as well.
"What is your business here, Pharaohmon?" Ami said, careful not to let her anger at the insult to her mentor seep into her voice. "Did you allow this attack merely to insult him? That isn't your style."
"I would watch your tongue, child, before I have my Cyberdramon remove it." The Egyptian-themed Digimon told her. "Tell me, why would I go to this much effort if it WASN'T as a test of your supposed capabilities?"
"I wanted you and your Digimon allies to give your all in this fight as a message to your precious mentor. Although," he then pointed to SonicKabuterimon, "what I had NOT foreseen was an ally with an unusual power coming to your aid. Tell me, Chosen, are you another of Gennai's prodginy?"
The insectoid Digimon refused to rise to the bait as he continued to scan Pharaohmon, searching for anything pointing to a weakness of some sort they could use. A wry grin passed over Mega-level Digimon's face, seemingly amused at the newcomer's silent defiance yet aware of what he was looking for. He would also understand that it wouldn't make any difference soon enough.
"So, it seems my adversary did have some tenacity after all. A pity such an act would mean nothing in the end." Pharaohmon then raised his ankh-shaped staff high, a sick feeling of dread running through Ami as she sensed what was about to happen. There was only one occasion when the Egyptian-themed Digimon would use his staff.
"No!" Pharaohmon looked to see Andromon desperately holding back his staff, the Cyborg-type's servos straining from the pressure. His eyes glowed with anger, insulted that a mere Ultimate would try to stop HIS will.
"Andromon, what are you doing?" Ami called out, ignoring the growing sense of dread in her blood.
"I will attempt... to prevent Pharaohmon from attacking. In the meantime, you must... you must leave..."
"This is not part of the strategy! You cannot stop him as just an Ultimate-level Digimon!"
"I was not... pla-a-aning on it..." The Cyborg-type could feel the mechanisms in his body start to give out one by one, his vision becoming static-ridden as system after system began to fail. He glanced to SonicKabuterimon, a silent communication between the two as the insectoid nodded.
"Pro-o-otect her... Protect G-eeeenai's legacy..."
"ENOUGH!" Pharaohmon bellowed as he finally raised his staff, ripping Andromon's arms out with it. Ami then found herself being scooped up by SonicKabuterimon as he sped away with ShineBeemon in tow, glancing back at the cyborg Digimon as his data began to finally stream away, an attack she had only heard once before echoing across the wasteland. It was an attack that killed anything it touched or corrupted beyond redemption.
SonicKabuterimon stopped as they finally reached the entrance of the ruins that once served as Gennai's home, letting Ami down to the ground as she was joined by ShineBeemon. The blue-haired woman turned away from him, an icy fury running through her eyes over the sacrifice of their fallen friend.
"...Why?" Ami asked, her eyes downcast in bitter confusion as they went inside. "Why would he make such a foolish move to save us? Why wouldn't Andromon... why would he do this?"
"Ami, there's something you need to know." SonicKabuterimon started to say to her, noticing that her steel-blue eyes widened in shock at what she saw. On the floor was Gennai's robes, all that remained of the former member of the Order. She knelt to the ground and gingerly picked them up, unaware that ShineBeemon placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Ami. I wanted to tell you before we battled Pharaohmon's group but..."
"Don't." The woman in question spoke with a slight edge of coldness in her tone as she rose from the floor, not even turning to acknowledge the Hybrid-type. "I do not blame you, Izzy. If anything, the blame is on Pharaohmon as well as this Neo's efforts in this world."
"Ami..." ShineBeemon began to say to her partner, the words dying in her throat with a silencing look from the blue-haired Chosen. Ami then reached into Gennai's robes and pulled out a small device resembling a USB drive, handing it to SonicKabuterimon.
"Gennai wanted to give this to you once you were awake. He said you would need it once you returned to the real world." She then turned away one last time, struggling to keep herself from breaking. "...You should start locating your friends now. I... have to tend to other matters."
SonicKabuterimon let out a sigh as he slipped the device into a housing in one of his gauntlets, feeling worse than ever that he was helpless to do anything to comfort the young woman.
"Thank you." As the insectoid sped out of the ruins, his enhanced hearing could hear Ami whisper something that almost gave him pause before he continued onward to find his friends.
(End Part 11)