DISCLAIMER: "Digimon Tamers" is the property of Bandai, Toei Animation, and Akiyoshi Hongo. Original characters are the creations of either Megaraptor or myself.

NOTES: This series is a sequel to "Divided Pathways: Breakdown." It is recommended that one-shot is read first, as it lays the groundwork for what follows here. It can be found on my author page anywhere you're going to find this fic. Also note, the rating is subject to change. It all depends on how everything pans out.

Before it happened, there was seldom a night where the young girl had slept peacefully.

Since that incident however, since that terrible day when everything changed, things had been different. She found that all she wanted to do was to ignore the world outside, to keep from waking up into the reality she had been forced into. Even in those dreams where she saw and felt things she wanted to forever shut away, it somehow seemed preferable to what awaited her in the real world. She welcomed the chance to ignore the waking world, to escape what she lost.

It had been ten months since that day. Since her parents were killed, and the world was struck by a tremendous attack.

Ten months since the day Lee Shuichon started wishing she could escape the destiny she herself had chosen...

Digimon Tamers: Divided Paths
Factor of X
File 1.01 - "Chosen Destiny"
Written by Infinity Blade

October, 2007 - Japan

Twenty year-old Lee Jaarin sighed as the elevator came to a stop. Looking down at her business suit, she smoothed out her skirt in an attempt to look as presentable as possible. Despite how connected her family was to this place in the past, it somehow seemed so foreign now. She was there with good reason, however, and she needed to make the best impression possible.

As the elevator doors slid open, Jaarin stepped out and found herself immediately greeted by the presence of a familiar face. He was a young man, roughly around her age, with spiky brown hair, and was leaning against the hallway wall. He had on a dark blue suit that was worn in a decidedly sloppy and unprofessional manner. He wore no tie, his jacket was unbuttoned, and hadn't even bothered to tuck his shirt in.

Yawning, the young man looked up from his foam cup of coffee, and turned his head in her direction. He then grinned, giving her a small wave. "Yo! You're Jen's big sis, right?"

Jaarin blinked. This guy's appearance made her obsession over how she looked that day to be somewhat ironic. Laughing nervously, she nodded. "Yes, I am," she said. Though she recognized his face, she was having a slightly hard time remembering his name. "You're... Akiyama Ryou-kun, right?"

"Last I checked," he said, pushing away from the wall. He let out another yawn, causing him to rub the back of his head sheepishly. "Sorry. Still not used to these early mornings on top of the late nights... I think all the time I've spent in the Real World's made me soft."

Jaarin just sort of stared at him for a moment, while she let those comments sink in. She had heard her brother Jenrya talk about all the things this boy had done. They had seemed so fantastic and unbelievable, and yet, here he was, standing before her like a normal person. Of course, her own brother and sister had their own fantastic stories, but even then, Jaarin found herself a bit awed when she saw those same things in all the other Tamers.

"But hey, you didn't come here to hear me complain," Ryou said, leading her down the hallway. "We're busy tracking something right now, but Yamaki's been wanting to see you." He glanced back at her as they walked. "So, why did you decide to do all of this? Join Hypnos and everything, I mean?"

She frowned and looked away from him, her eyes finding the ground. "Isn't that sort of a stupid question?"

He sighed. "Yeah, guess it is... sorry. What I mean to say is... that is, I don't mean to pry, but... well, why now?"

Jaarin looked back up, and her lips curled into a sad smile.

"Growing up in my house, learning your way around computers and technology was something that just... sort of happened," she began. "Not that we're all naturally gifted with them, but with everything that Dad did, you just got very comfortable with them. And now, I look around and see you guys, my little brother, and even younger kids who aren't as experienced as you guys all risking their lives... After what happened with my parents, and with everything else that's happening in the world, I just can't stand aside and do nothing. Not when I know there are things I can do!" Her smile turned sheepish. "It might sound stupid, but I guess you could say it's in my blood."

Ryou blinked, and then smiled back at her.

"Hey, after everything that I've seen," Ryou said, "nothing sounds stupid anymore." Jaarin's expression brightened, just as they finally reached the end of the hallway, putting them before a large, steel door. Before she could reply, Ryou walked up to a security panel. Laying his hand on it, he spoke clearly, "Battle Commander Akiyama Ryou. One guest, with temporary Level-C security clearance. Requesting entrance."


As the door opened, Ryou quickly escorted the young woman inside. They were greeted with another long stretch of hallway lit by bright lights above.

"Hypnos as it used to be had been compromised way too many times since D-Reaper in 2001," Ryou began, explaining as they walked. "However, due to what Yamaki called a 'grievous lack of funding,' it basically had to run as it was for a long time. After GranKuwagamon's attack ten months ago, however, the higher-ups were convinced that a change was needed. So, Hypnos was moved to a new, hidden location.

"That explains the blindfold they had me where when I was being brought here," Jaarin added, a touch bitterly.

Ryou let out a nervous laugh. "Hey, you know how security procedures are, right? I mean, it's not like we don't trust you or anything. It's just that Yamaki would have ALL our asses if anything classified slipped out, so we have to apply the same standards to you that we do everything else."

Jaarin frowned. "Yeah, yeah. I suppose."

The two finally entered a small, circular room. It was rather empty, having only yet another large door, and a desk. Paperwork was piled high on that desk, and seemed to be the only thing there until a small young woman's head peaked around it. "Oh! Commander Akiyama!" she beamed brightly, with a voice so high pitched it sent a shiver straight up Jaarin's spine. "Operations Coordinator Yamaki just came in and is waiting for you!"

"Uh, thanks Nozomi," Ryou muttered lightly, briefly acknowledging her with a wave as they walked past.

"She seems... cheery," Jaarin said under her breath, leaning towards Ryou and saying it quietly so only he could hear. "Disturbingly so."

"You don't know the half of it," Ryou groaned, leading Jaarin over to the door. On the panel next to it, she watched as he punched in a password. He then took out a security card with his ID and slid it.

Jaarin stared. That was about the fourth thing they had to go through, after the two hallways and the last security panel. And what's more, they weren't even inside yet. "Just how much security does this place have anyway?"

"More than you probably want to know," Ryou said as the door finally slid open, giving way into the main chamber.

Over the years, due to her siblings being Tamers and her father working as part of its staff, Jaarin had seen the old Hypnos several times. It was originally housed in a rather dark, dimly lit chamber, with the only source of light being computer monitors and the network monitoring system built into the ceiling. Thus, her first impression of Neo Hypnos' operating center was that it was very... bright.

Bright light illuminated the entire chamber, revealing clean, sterilized white walls and devices. It was elliptical, like the old Hypnos, and the systems were obviously based on the previous ones, though it had definitely taken some significant leaps in technology. Dozens of computer terminals lined the walls, each one state of the art. Wrapping all around the upper wall and ceiling was the massive tracking system, which was currently processing so much information, Jaarin couldn't even begin to figure out what it all might mean.

In the middle was a large platform that allowed one to look over the entire room. There was a number of computer terminals set up there, and in addition to the stairs leading up to it, there was another set that led down, seemingly leading to another chamber below. Ryou led Jaarin up the first set of stairs, where a red-haired woman was busy observing the work that was being done.

Ryou coughed lightly, announcing their presence. The woman wheeled around, and smiled. "Oh, Ryou! And this must be our newest staff member."

Ryou grinned. "Sure is," he said. "Jaarin, I'd like you to meet Operations Coordinator Yamaki Reika."

"'Reika' will be fine," the redhead replied, as Jaarin bowed. "I know you were scheduled to meet with our administrator, but Mitsuo's currently occupied with some work that just came up."

"N-no problem, ma'am," Jaarin murmured, a sheepish look on her face. "I just hope that I really can help here."

Reika patted Jaarin on the shoulder, and then started to lead her off the platform. "Well, lets go and talk about that, then. Think you can handle things here for a few minutes, Ryou?"

The Tamer gave a slight shrug, then turned around to look at the monitors. "You mean, yell for you if something happens? Sure, I can do that."

Reika laughed slightly. "Something like that."

Every time Lee Shuichon woke up, she was instantly struck with one thought...

Everything was wrong.

The bed was wrong; it wasn't the one she had slept in since she was a little girl. The smell was wrong; it was too new, too unfamiliar. The look was simply wrong; it didn't have her room's colors, or any of her old toys.

It wasn't the home she had grown up in. No, this was her brother Rinchei's apartment. A place he had managed to acquire, with some definite outside help, to house what was left of their family, plus two digimon. This was where the sons and daughters of Lee Janyuu and Mayumi had been living since the incident that had claimed their parents' lives.

A distinct feeling always came over Shuichon once she was awake and alert enough to know it wasn't some bad dream. She wanted to cry. For many days and weeks after her parents had been killed, she had done just that. It got to a point, slowly but surely, where she realized that no amount of tears would bring her mother and father back.

She knew, of course, that she wasn't the only one who lost loved ones on that day. The amount dead at the hands of both GranKuwagamon and the bombings was still being debated and tallied.

That's all they were to anyone else, though. Numbers. Statistics. To the people that knew Janyuu and Mayumi, to the people that loved them, there was a gaping hole left that would never be filled.

Shuichon knew that she had a power that few in the world did. She knew that if she ever discovered the party responsible for her parents' deaths, killing them would be as easy for her as swatting a fly.

There were, indeed, days where she couldn't help but dwell on that fact... After all, how dare another living creature live, laugh, and enjoy life when they had so unjustly snatched it away from someone else? Even if it were humans responsible, she could do the same. After all, she had already brought an end to the lives of several digimon in her lifetime. Why would a human be any different?

It was there, typically, that her darker train of thoughts would stop. She had been raised better than that, she knew. How would her parents react if they were alive and knew that their youngest child could possibly harbor such thoughts?

Throughout everything, though, Shuichon knew that this life - the power and responsibilities of a Tamer - was something she herself had chosen. By wanting so earnestly to follow her brother's footsteps into the Digital World, and by truly wishing a connection to be forged with the Deva Antiramon... Becoming what she had was her choice.

Of course, unlike most of the other Tamers who came to be in that year, she was only seven. She couldn't have possibly comprehended what having that power would bring upon her. How it would undoubtedly change her over the course of the years. Seeing so much death, destruction, and fighting since she was that young would change almost anyone.

It only took a day after she became a Tamer to see Leomon effectively murdered before her eyes. To see Juri practically go mad with grief. To see Takato's anger explode to the point where he nearly became what he was fighting.

So now, Shuichon was thirteen years old. She had long since gained a greater comprehension of the gravity of her responsibility. Ever since the loss of her parents, however... she couldn't bring herself to face up to that any longer. No one tried to force her, either. Despite it all, no matter how much she wished to just leave the life of a Tamer behind... she couldn't. Even if she didn't participate in any battles, there were still things that would keep lingering with her. Things that would probably be with her forever...

"Good morning, Shuichon."

The girl tilted her head to see Lopmon standing on the table next to her bed. Even after everything, after how she had treated him before, the little digimon still remained her loyal companion. It made her feel somewhat guilty, but she figured that was something she deserved...

"M-morning," she muttered groggily, sitting up and rubbing her eyes. "What time is it?"

"Roughly an hour and a half before you need to be at school," Lopmon replied, and then smiled slightly. "Jenrya's preparing breakfast, if you want it."

"Thanks Lopmon," Shuichon said, smiling back. "I'll be right there after I get dressed."

Nodding slightly, Lopmon leapt off the table and hurried out the door. Sitting next to where he had been was Shuichon's D-Ark, and the girl quickly averted her eyes from it. She would gladly remain Lopmon's Tamer, but she didn't see any need for her to use that thing anymore. For everyone's sake, that was for the best...

"...I think it was awhile before the GranKuwagamon attack," Reika said as she led Jaarin on a tour of Neo Hypnos. "Even before then, Mitsuo realized the system that we had was broken."

They were currently heading down a hallway, towards the older woman's office. Away from the operations chamber, everything looked rather ordinary. It was just like any typical office working environment, aside from the underlying fact that their job helped decide the fate of the world.

"They had long since taken large portions of our funding away," Reika continued, "and yet still expected us to continue dealing with the rising threat of Wild Ones. The politicians wanted so desperately to turn a blind eye to the fact that things weren't improving, and were instead steadily becoming worse and worse. We couldn't officially employ the help of the likes of your brother and sister, either."

Jaarin nodded, knowing full well that despite that, it hadn't stopped her younger siblings from getting involved. For so long she had just sat there, watching them, thinking there wasn't much she could do...

Soon enough, they reached Reika's office, and the redheaded woman let Jaarin in. The room was neat and tidy, with dozens of shelves packed full of countless folders and files. "Despite Hypnos dealing with digital threats," Reika said as the two women took seats at a table across from one another, "we have to make sure to keep most of our records on paper, too. Our greatest strength, our network, is also our greatest weakness, as I'm sure you know."

Again, the younger woman nodded. There was no need to explain that, given that she fully knew where D-Reaper leaked into the Real World from all those years ago.

"Anyway," Reika said, "continuing from what I was saying before... All that has changed, now. We're not an organization smiled upon in the public. Even now, people lobby against us, thinking our methods insane. Thinking that we're recklessly endangering children... but you and I both know things they don't. We both know that people like Jen-kun and his friends are going to act whether we help them or not. Hypnos still focuses on what it did back when Wild Ones first started to appear... we want to protect innocent people from dangers they can't hope to fight. Only now, we have a much clearer idea of just how to do that.

"On top of all that," she went on, "there's the fact that new Tamers sprout up constantly across not only Japan, but the world. Though there's certainly something special about the first Tamers, at the same time, what they are is becoming less and less unique. They were the start of something that has yet to cease occurring. And we don't expect all these children to act in the same way as your brother and his friends. We don't expect all of them to try and risk their lives for the sake of everyone and everything... if anything, there's enough of them now that most don't have to. But they still need protection. From not just the Digital World, but from this one, people who would let their prejudices lash out at these innocent children."

Reika took a breath, and then smiled. "Of course, I know that you know about a lot of these things, Jaarin. I'm just saying all this to paint a picture... To let you know what all we have riding on Neo Hypnos. We not only have to protect our city, our country, and our world, but also those innocent children that are caught up in these battles and politics for no reason other than making friends with a digimon. All of these things are heavy burdens, and you have to make certain that you're willing to dedicate yourself one hundred percent to everything involved in this organization."

Jaarin looked down, sighing lightly. "When I had Jenrya come to all of you with what I wanted, I had already made my decision. I want to help this world. I want to..." She blinked hard for a moment, finding her vision slightly blurred from tears. She shook her head, tried to blink those tears out of her eyes again, and looked Reika in the eyes. "I want to, in a sense, pick up from where my father left off. I don't have his brain. I don't have his research or intricate knowledge of digimon and their creation... But I want to continue, in spirit, what he did. That spirit of trying to help everyone in this world. That same spirit Jenrya's been living by since he was ten. And of course, I know that Shuichon doesn't want any part of this anymore... That's something I can't blame her for. No rational person really should want any part of this. I feel, though, that I need to be part of this."

"I think," Reika replied, "that you'll have the capabilities to do many great things here." She stood up, extending one hand. "Let me be the first to welcome you as an agent of Neo Hypnos, Lee Jaarin."

Jaarin bolted up out of her seat clumsily, but took Reika's hand and shook it all the same. "Thank you so much, Reika-san. I promise you, I won't let you down!"

Reika smiled again. "You're your father's daughter, Jaarin. I don't think that's possible."

Shuichon gave a wistful sigh, pushing her glasses up on her nose as she neared her school. This was certainly a place she didn't enjoy going. Not simply for the reasons most teenagers disliked going to their designated institute for learning. For the young Tamer, it was something much different.

Upon entering the school yard of her Junior High, as she did every morning that she needed to, Shuichon was instantly met with a few distinct reactions. The fact that she was a Digimon Tamer was something that, without even ever having a chance to hide it, was very much common knowledge. To say she was one of the most well known people in school would be an understatement. This, naturally, was not necessarily a good thing. One of the first reactions, and the most common, were people who would actively try to put as much distance between them and her as possible. Many people feared digimon, this was a fact, and many of those people also feared Tamers in turn. These same people would often place the blame of digimon-related travesties on Tamers themselves, even when there was nothing that they could actually do about them.

Then, there was...


...the fans. Or, as the case was, fan.

She looked further up ahead to see a blonde girl running up who, like Shuichon, had a pair of glasses planted squarely on her face. Unlike Shuichon's, however, the lenses were decidedly thicker, and the frames looked as if they had been through hell. In fact, Shuichon was sure those glasses constantly looked worse and worse as time went on, despite never seeing this girl without them.

"Hello, Miyamoto," Shuichon said in a deadpan voice, lacking any sense of meaning or purpose. This Miyamoto Akiko wasn't a bad person by any stretch of the imagination. She was just considerably obsessed with all things related to technology. Which thus led to a vested interest in digimon. And thanks to being one of the most well known Tamers in the world, and the sister of another one, led to a great interest in her.

"HI!" Akiko greeted cheerfully once she reached the other girl. "How's it going?"

"It's cold," Shuichon muttered, starting to walk past the other girl. "And before you ask, no, I did not bring Lopmon."

Akiko pouted, folding her hands behind her back and turning to follow Shuichon. "I wasn't going to ask."

Shuichon frowned, eyeing the blonde suspiciously. "Then what is today's question?"

Akiko's cheeks went slightly red, and she laughed nervously. "What makes you think I was going to ask you a question, silly? I just figured you might want some company on the way to class!"

Shuichon blinked, looking back at the girl. "Really?"

"Really!" Akiko replied, and then looked at the ground a bit. "Though... I was wondering if later on you could look at a diagram I compiled based on all recent digimon Realization points, Tamer battles, and evolution activations that have occurred in the past two weeks... You see-"

Shuichon's shoulders slumped as she gave a slight groan. "For the love of..."

Akiko blinked a bit, obviously oblivious to what was annoying the other girl. "What? Was it something I said?"

Shuichon stopped in her stride, spun around, and gave the blonde girl a stern look. "How many times have I said I don't want anything to do with that kind of stuff anymore? I have Lopmon, my brother has Terriermon, and that's it. I'm not interested in realizations, battles, evolution, or anything of the sort!"

The blonde girl's eyes went wide, and she took a step back. "I- I'm sorry. I just... I mean, you're..."

"I'm what?" Shuichon asked, crossing her arms.

Akiko frowned, bowing her head. "You... your brother... all of the original Tamers. You're all heroes. I thought that, if anyone would..." She sighed, shook her head, and looked back up, giving the most horribly forced smile ever. "I- I'm sorry, Shuichon-chan. I'll see you in class..."

With that, Akiko walked off, looking as if someone had just run over her puppy or something. As such, Shuichon felt rather distinctly like she should be kicking herself. Just because you feel the need to be mad at everything, she scolded herself inwardly, doesn't mean you have to treat everyone else like crap, you idiot. So, there were the people that feared her. There was the fangirl. And then, as Shuichon's thoughts got the better of her, and she had the rising urge to go and apologize to the girl...

"Geez, Lee. Think you could be a little meaner?"

...there were the others.

Turning around, Shuichon instantly recognized the voice as belonging the black-haired boy that she now found herself facing. To either side of him was a brown-haired girl, and a blond boy. The girl instantly elbowed the black-haired boy in the side.

"That wasn't exactly very nice, either," the girl - who Shuichon knew was named Iimuro Sada - scolded him as he held his side.

"Ouch," the black-haired boy, Hirai Takao, groaned, and then glanced at her, "neither was that!"

The blond boy, Inafune Genki, grinned nervously at the display of the other two, and then glanced at Shuichon. "Hey, are you doing alright today? I mean, I know that Akiko-chan can get a little overbearing at times, but..."

The last thing that Shuichon really needed on that day was to look like a total ass in front of anyone she would be in class with. Unfortunately, she had succeeded in doing just that. And as these three saw her, it became very apparent that they weren't the only ones, as several others were staring at her. More so than usual, anyway.

Shuichon groaned, burying her face into her hands. At least the day couldn't get much worse than it already was. "Listen," she muttered, not even bothering to look at anyone. "I'll apologize to her later. Just... leave me alone, alright?"

Then, she turned away from Takao, Sada, and Genki, and tried her best to ignore everyone else as she made her way into the school building. The day wasn't going to be a good one, and she got the feeling that if she paid attention to everyone's reactions, it was going to be considerably worse...

The day continued and classes passed, otherwise without incident. Shuichon did her best, sitting in the back of her class, to ignore the stares from her classmates. Particularly those who she had actually talked to that morning. Namely, Takao and Akiko, both of whom she had the 'privilege' of sharing a classroom with. Not that it was so bad normally, but on that day, it was proving to be nothing but a distraction. Both in thinking about the things she had said, and what she had been told.

She wasn't a bad person, was she? She had the right to not be very happy with things in her life, did she not? They might think they understood what she had been through, but they didn't. Not really. Not even her fellow Tamers - not even her brother - truly understood everything...

Still, time marched on. Before Shuichon knew it, class was over, and her classmates wasted little time in lingering, as most who could bolted out the doors as soon as humanly possible. Except, naturally, Takao and Akiko, the latter of whom was always slow to get out anyway. The former, however, caused Shuichon to give an annoyed frown. What did he expect to do? Sit there and force her to apologize?

Sighing, Shuichon finally rose up and walked over towards Akiko's desk, where the girl was still getting her stuff gathered up.

The fact that things would always linger over from her younger years was a fact she needed to resign herself to, Shuichon supposed. She would always be looked at as a Tamer, and it wasn't something she denied. Everything she had seen, and everything she had done, would stay with her for the rest of her life...

And as she neared Akiko, one of those lingering aspects of her battles as a Tamer struck her like a bolt of lightning. Just as it had when GranKuwagamon appeared, and just as it had done many times before and since then, she felt a tremendous jolt of pain run through her body. The girl doubled over and dropped the ground as she screamed, clutching her head.

Akiko and Takao both bolted out of their seats, rushing over to her. Akiko dropped down next to her, confusion written on her face.

"Just prop her head up!" Takao said once he got over to them. "Just let her breathe."

Akiko blinked in confusion, but did as she was told, pulling Shuichon over a bit and resting the girl's head on her lap. "Takao-kun," Akiko said, glancing at the black-haired boy as he knelt down, "I didn't think you two were very good friends..."

He gave a slightly bitter laugh. "Oh, trust me, we're not. I just know more about her than she'd like."

"What's going on over here?" a deep voice asked, and they looked up to see one of their teachers, Kamiyama, standing over them.

Shuichon could see all of this happening, but couldn't say anything. Her body just felt so tensed up... so frozen... more so than when this had ever happened before... But she knew what it meant... She knew exactly what it meant...

"She'll be fine, Sensei," Takao said. "Just, uh, don't move her. Or else you might make her brother mad. Trust me. You don't want to see her brother mad."

"N-near," Shuichon finally gasped out. "It's... nearby."

"Gotcha," Takao said, rising up and pulling out a cell phone. "I've just got to make a c-"

Before he could even finish his sentence, the entire building shook from the ground up, and the lights started to flicker on and off.

"Told you so," Shuichon murmured.

"Greeaat," Takao groaned before dashing out the door as fast as he could.

Akiko scratched her head a bit, and then glanced down at the girl in her lap. "Does he know what he's doing?"

"Probably not," Shuichon said, and would have laughed if she could. "Not that little things like that stop people..." She was glad the pain had subsided enough that she could talk now, at least.

Soon enough, the teacher left to fetch a nurse, and Akiko frowned. "Shuichon-chan... how did this happen to you, exactly?"

Shuichon averted her eyes from Akiko's gaze. "That's... kind of personal. Sorry... and, sorry again, for this morning... I was out of line..."

Akiko's frown flipped to a smile. "It's alright, Shuichon-chan! Everyone has bad days, right?"

The girl was certainly right on that account, Shuichon knew. However, Tamers' bad days tended to be worse than others'...

Living in Shinjuku seemed to deem in recent years that, if you were going to attempt doing this, being able to flee for your life, and do a good job of it, was a requirement. A few residents were quickly reminded of this as they ran, screaming at the tops of their lungs, while everything around them shook and a large beast stepped out of a sudden patch of fog.

The being was like a humanoid bull. A minotaur. Or, to be more precise, Minotaurumon. The digimon grunted, eyeing the fleeing humans with as much contempt as he could muster. They were nothing compared to him. He could mash them like little gnats if he so much as chose. In fact, he realized, that sounded like a pretty good idea! Raising his one mechanical hand, which acted as a pile driver, he sent it crashing towards the street. "DARKSIDE QUAKE!"

He never had the chance to fully pull this off, however, as there was the sound of a large gun being fired. Something hit his pile driver, throwing his arm back and making him stumble a bit. Growling, he looked around wildly for the culprit, and quickly found it.

Standing up the street next to a blond boy was a... pirate. A pirate with an unusually large hook in place of his right hand, and holding a gun in his left. "BULLSEYE!" the pirate cackled wildly, pumping his gun into the air. "See that, Genki? He didn't even know what hit him!"

"Easy, Hookmon," the boy said calmly. "I think it's safe to say he sees us now."

Minotaurumon's anger began to rise. How dare some filthy human's pet attack him like that? Roaring wildly, the digimon began to rush his knew opponent... only to be quickly met with something else. Unexpectedly, another digimon dropped down from above. It was a humanoid, dinosaur-like digimon wielding a gigantic sword. Not caring about being stopped, even for an instant, Minotaurumon roared and punched out with his pile driver. The sword-wielder blocked the blow, but was sent skidding all the way back to where Hookmon and his Tamer were before dropping to his knees.

"Dinohumon!" a young female human cried as she ran up to him.

"Sada-dono!" Dinohumon shouted at her, picking himself back up and hefting the large sword into the air again. "Stay back!"

Snarling, Minotaurumon stared at the gathering. How many interferences was he going to get here?

"Comin' through!"

The cry came as if in answer to the large digimon's question, as something suddenly dashed past him, striking him in the side. The unexpected blow made him fall over with a loud thud, cracking the asphalt beneath him. When he got up, he found the source as a large, blue, bear digimon. Which, of course, had a human riding on it. That made Minotaurumon absolutely sick.

"Nice shot, Grizzmon!" the boy exclaimed, giving the bear a playful hit on the head.

"HOW MANY OF YOU FREAKS ARE THERE?" the large digimon finally exclaimed.

Grizzmon grinned. "Aww. I think we made him mad, Takao."

Takao snickered as he slid off Grizzmon's back, allowing the bear to stand up on his hind legs. "Well, ain't that just a shame?"

"So, Takao," the girl said as the digimon took up positions in front of their Tamers. "What did Commander Akiyama say when you called him, anyway?"

"Oh, that we should sit tight and wait for back-up," Takao said, causing the other two humans to slap their foreheads. The black-haired boy just smirked and waved a hand dismissively. "Relax! I've seen this guy in my little brother's cards. He's just an Adult-level! We can take him easy."

Genki gave an audible groan. The other two humans looked as the blond boy was going over some display coming out of the device he was holding. "Yeah, uh. Slight problem with that, Takao."

"That being?" Takao asked, still smirking.

"This Minotaurumon's a Perfect-level digimon," Genki said simply.

Takao's smirk vanished, and his face went a little pale. "Y- you mean... we just pissed off an Perfect-level?"

Genki nodded solemnly. "Yes. Yes we did."

Grizzmon slapped his face with both front paws, groaned, and then spun around baring his fangs. "TAKAO!"

Takao laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his neck. "Uh, heh, err... sorry?"

Minotaurumon's anger quickly became amusement, and he laughed. These kids may have been Digimon Tamers, but they weren't them. They weren't those who stood as legends in the Digital World.

No. These kids? They were going to be nothing more than a warm-up.

-To Be Continued

NOTES: Well, took me long enough to get this series running. As I've said before, if you've not read "Breakdown" this whole thing may not make sense. I just hope I put things across well enough here. I'm very glad I'm doing Divided Paths like this, as certain things, such as Shuichon's characterization, need more room to be fleshed out. So hopefully I'll be able to provide that in time and make everything make sense.

So, what else do we have here? For anyone worried that this series is going to be completely focused on original characters, don't be. I wouldn't be using them if I didn't have all the canon guys filling roles in this universe, and I need more than the Tamers that we have to paint the picture of what this world has become. The specifics of all that will continue to be elaborated on throughout this series.

Trust me, all the characters you know and love have VERY big parts to play. They're definitely the stars of this. Everything you see here is just scraping the surface of what's going on in this world, and everyone involved in this chapter is only a fraction of it all...

However, credit must be given where credit is due. Takao, Sada, and Genki are the creations of my friend Megaraptor. They were originally created for a series he's been planning out for some time, and when discussing things, we found they could also fit very well into this world-setting. So thanks to him for giving me something else to work with. And also for looking over this chapter and helping with editing duties.

Digimon Tamers: Divided Pathways
Factor of X: File 1.02 - "The Hazard's Reflection"