The message went out quickly, all over the human world. Within a matter of minutes, children received a text message asking them to follow their destiny to Shibuya Station. The Digital World was in danger, and now the only ones who could save it were the Legendary Warriors. But the Warriors had been destroyed long ago, leaving behind their shells of soul-bonded armor, their Spirits. It was theorized that Digimon could take up the Spirits and regain the Warriors' lost powers, but all experiments had failed. Some had gotten power-hungry and caused far too much trouble. Others just went mad. So a gamble had to be taken: Human children were known to possess pure hearts, and perhaps that would be the key to keeping them from being thoroughly corrupted by the Spirits. Maybe humans were the only ones who could save the Digimon world.
This wasn't why they were being summoned, though. Seraphimon and Ophanimon, two of the Celestial Digimon who ruled over the Digital World, had suddenly turned traitor and now wanted to resurrect the Warriors to destroy the world. Cherubimon, the last of their trio to continue protecting the world, watched the events unfold in the Human World, wincing over injuries suffered in battle against Seraphimon. It had taken a great deal to seal him in crystal, and he knew he would stand no chance against Ophanimon in this condition.
If she manages to find those children, the Digital World is done for, he realized.
Suddenly, something happened that he hadn't anticipated in the least. A boy racing downstairs to meet the elevator lost his footing on one of the steps and smashed his skull against the floor. People rushed around him as he started losing consciousness, murmuring a name before closing his eyes:
Cherubimon sat up quickly, ignoring the pain in his side, and got to work. He hated what he was about to do. There was a chance the boy would live without his interference but a much lesser chance that he'd live with it. But if the Digital World was to survive, this was necessary. From a sealed room, he took out the Spirit of Darkness and started bonding it to the boy.
Chapter One: "Crisis"
Koichi Kimura stood atop the tower at the Rose Morning Star. It was the highest point in the Continent of Darkness, giving him full view of the area. He could see the peaceful forest, protected from evil by the superstitions surrounding the dark continent. Between it and the wastelands surrounding the tower was a crumbling old castle, where it was said that the Legendary Warriors first fought the tyrant Lucemon. He stared up at the three moons of the Digital World. As always, they were full, two shining brightly in yellow and blue through the red mist of the Rose Morning Star. The third's red light was masked by the mist, leaving the moon as just a disc in the sky. It had been several weeks since he'd come to this world, waking from a nightmare to find himself in a room filled with bright light. Cherubimon had called him here when Ophanimon threatened the world, giving him the Spirit of Darkness to use in only the most extreme of emergencies. But since then, Koichi had been confined to the Continent of Darkness, and even then, it was mostly the tower. Everyday, he heard reports of Ophanimon's forces destroying more and more of the Digital World, and he hated the helpless feeling he had.
He climbed back inside the tower. Oryxmon, Cherubimon's servant, had just burst in. Oryxmon was always lecturing him about going on the roof, worried that he'd fall. Koichi had the grace to look embarrassed.
"Why do you insist on going up there?" Oryxmon asked.
"I don't know," he confessed. "I just like the view. It gives me a chance to think."
"Think later," Oryxmon advised. "Come, Lord Cherubimon needs you."
They climbed down the many stairs of the tower before finally reaching Cherubimon's chambers. The whole time, Koichi wondered what he was needed for; Cherubimon hardly ever called for him. In the time he'd been there, he'd only seen the Celestial Digimon three or four times.
"You called for me?" he asked.
"Yes," Cherubimon answered. "We have a problem. I'd prefer that you stay in the safety of this continent, but you're the only one who can handle this."
"What is it?"
"Four children still remain from Ophanimon's summons," he explained.
"But I thought the Trailmon took everyone back to the human world when she found her Warriors," Koichi said.
"So did I," Cherubimon confessed. "Even so, I have heard of four children in Steel Town. I believe they may be the ones that can wield the Spirits of Wood, Earth, Steel, and Water."
"So you want me to recruit them?" Koichi guessed.
"No. I want you to send them home. They may take it better from a human like themselves."
"But then, how do I explain that I can't go home?" he asked. "I'm still not sure how I got here and why I can't seem to leave."
That made Cherubimon pause. Koichi didn't know why, but he could guilt-trip him into almost anything. Finally, the Celestial Digimon said, "If the children want to fight and are able to, I can't stop them. But if the chance comes when they need to escape, they must."
"All right," Koichi agreed.
"But do not use your Spirit. You know what happened the last time."
Koichi looked down in shame. "But I have the Spirit of Wood still—maybe I could evolve with that?"
"No," Cherubimon answered. "You are already bonded to one Spirit, and a highly unstable one at that. Attempting to bond with another would be foolish. Oryxmon will accompany you in case you run into trouble."
"Do you anticipate trouble, my lord?" Oryxmon asked.
"I have to assume that Ophanimon knows of these children too and has someone spying on them," he replied. "The fact that they're still alive implies that she might be trying to get them on her side and steal my Spirits. If she realizes that she can't, her spy will kill them."
"We'll head there as fast as we can," Koichi promised.
It was just an ordinary day in Steel Town. A Saggitarimon tried some highway robbery on travelers, but they put a stop to it before breakfast. They went to one of the gardens, picked some tomatoes, and settled down to relax.
It was, Katsuharu Kobayashi decided, an incredibly boring day in Steel Town.
"This has got to be the dullest day ever," muttered Teppei Yamaguchi. Katsuharu grinned at his partner-in-crime's comment. Apparently, he wasn't the only one who thought so.
"You can say that again." He stood up and stretched. "Come on. Might as well see what Chiaki and Teruo are up to." But as he walked out of the building they'd claimed as refuge, he saw their guardian, Angemon, hovering nearby. "Hey, Angemon, what's up?"
"Chiaki and Teruo found a couple of Digimon wandering around near the terminal," he answered.
"Guess we should check it out," Teppei decided.
"I'll keep watch in case anything attacks," Angemon volunteered.
"Okay," Katsuharu said, shrugging and walking off. It was great that Angemon was protecting them, but he was far too serious for his own good. Besides, for the most part, Katsuharu had things covered.
Back home in the human world, he wouldn't have been doing things like this; protecting younger kids and leading them around. He and Teppei were usually the ones who would pick on weaker kids. Teruo Kagami was a perfect example of who they'd tend to target: shier, quieter kids who weren't good at standing up for themselves. Chiaki Arakawa, however, was someone they might have considered a female rival. She was sweet and kind, but she had one heck of a temper and didn't hesitate to stand up for Teruo when Teppei first picked on him when they got there. Teruo had gone red right then and there and thanked her for her help. After that, they'd become an inseparable quartet. Katsuharu decided that if they were going to be staying in the Digital World, he would have to be the one responsible for their wellbeing.
"Over here!" Teruo called, waving as they arrived at the terminal. Katsuharu waved back. It had taken a little while, but they'd gotten Teruo to be a little more social. He adapted to Digital World scenarios easier than the others; he was a big fan of fantasy novels, so he saw it as an adventure. He took to this world like the proverbial fish to water, grinning infectiously at every new experience.
"Who'd you find?" Katsuharu asked. Chiaki pointed out two Digimon who were ravenously eating tomatoes. One looked kind of like a yellow rabbit in red stockings, while the other was some kind of white creature in a pink waistband.
"They say their names are Neemon and Bokomon," she explained. "They've been running for a while, scared out of their minds."
"Did they say why?" Katsuharu asked.
Chiaki shook her head. "They haven't had a chance, and we didn't press. We figured the best thing to do was to just give them some food and water and let them rest for a while."
Teppei raised an eyebrow. "We don't usually get that many outsiders, and there's nothing going on nearby that should scare the hell out of them like this."
"Like I said, they've been at this for a while now," Chiaki insisted. "I don't have any idea what's going on."
"Well," Teruo started, and everyone looked his way. "I was listening to some of the Digimon in town. They mentioned something about a war. Do you think maybe that might be the reason?"
Katsuharu shrugged. He too had heard the rumors of a war that had broken out all over the Digital World, but Steel Town hadn't seen any sign of trouble yet, minus the usual suspects. And as Teppei said, they hardly got anyone new in town. Those who usually came by were from nearby towns. Still, Bokomon and Neemon definitely hadn't come from anywhere nearby, and they were scared of something, so war could certainly be a possibility.
"I'll talk to them," Chiaki said. "Maybe I can find something out."
"Yeah, good plan," Katsuharu agreed.
The Digimon had nearly emptied the basket of tomatoes Chiaki and Teruo had given them. They looked a bit calmer now, so she decided to take her chances with conversation.
"Are you okay?" she checked. "We can get you some more food if you're still hungry."
"No, we're fine," Bokomon answered, taking a large green book out from under his pink belt. He was about to open it before giving it up as a lost cause and tucking it away again. "Thank you for the hospitality."
"And the food!" Neemon piped in. "We haven't eaten that good in days!"
"Well, there's plenty more where that came from," Chiaki assured with a smile. Then with careful control, she shifted to a concerned expression—it took a great deal to try and appear convincing without arousing suspicion. "But are you okay? You said you were running for so long…"
"We plan to rest here for some time before setting off again," Bokomon replied. "We were told that Steel Town was far out of the way for most of the fighting."
So it was the war, the children realized. The boys came closer as Chiaki asked, "Where do you plan to go? Maybe we can help."
Bokomon looked down sadly. "We don't know. We just keep fleeing from one refuge to another."
"Well, there's nothing to worry about here," Teppei insisted. "Steel Town is just one dull span of city, and no one bothers with it. And in any case, we've got Angemon for when there's any trouble. It's perfectly safe."
"Nowhere's safe from the Warriors," Neemon lamented.
"I'm afraid so, Neemon," Bokomon agreed sadly. "As long as they're under Ophanimon's control, the Digital World is done for."
"Wait a second, what?" Katsuharu interrupted. "Who's under whose control? And why is the Digital World done for?"
"The Legendary Warriors," Bokomon explained. "They were once our friends, before Ophanimon cast a spell on them or something. They were good kids—determined to save a world they didn't belong to. They'd never do something like this."
"Maybe you just didn't know them well enough," Teppei muttered. Chiaki gave him a glare. "What?"
"Anyway," Katsuharu interrupted, "there's no chance those Legendary Warriors caught up with you, if you've been running this long without a sign of them. And Angemon can take care of them no problem if they show." He looked the Digimon over. They were thoroughly exhausted, probably running only on fear. Anyone who would chase down two small Digimon this long, literally scaring them half to death, didn't win any sympathy points in his book.
He ignored the nagging voice in his head that reminded him he was once the same.
"That's very kind of you, but I'm afraid your friend might not be a match for them," Bokomon warned. "There are five Warriors, using Ophanimon and Seraphimon's Spirits of Flame, Light, Thunder, Wind, and Ice. Now they're looking for their Beast Spirits. With that much power, they could be unstoppable."
"Why come after you?" Teppei questioned. "No offense, but neither of you seems to be much for them to worry about."
"It's because of the book," Neemon answered.
"You mean that book you pulled out before?" Chiaki asked.
Bokomon reached inside his belt once again and pulled out the green tome. "This book has information on the history of the Digital World. I was in the process of adding entries for the Legendary Warriors when I found a hidden page on the Beast Spirits."
"So they probably want to keep information on them out of anyone else's hands and find whatever other secrets the book has," Katsuharu mused.
"Bokomon, can I see it?" Teruo asked. Chiaki giggled, making him flush in embarrassment. "Sorry. I don't mean to sound rude…"
"You won't be able to understand any of it," Bokomon replied. He was about to reach for the last tomato in the basket, but Neemon got to it first. He glared at his companion before putting the book back in his belt. "It's not in a language you'll understand. Takuya didn't every time he tried to sneak a peek."
"He got a headache trying!" Neemon chirped, finishing off the tomato.
"Wait, Takuya?" Teruo said. "That wouldn't happen to be Takuya Kanbara, would it?"
"I believe so," Bokomon answered. "I think that's what he said his whole name was."
"Wow," Teruo declared, grinning. "I didn't know Takuya was here. This is great!"
"Wait a second, who's Takuya?" Katsuharu asked.
Teruo was about to answer, but a Trailmon started to enter the terminal and the noise cut him off. Everyone froze, except for Bokomon and Neemon, who started panicking. Had the Legendary Warriors tracked them down?
"Oh no, Neemon! They've found us!"
"They're going to scan us for sure!"
The Trailmon came to a halt with a hiss of steam. The compartment doors opened to let off a boy and a goat-like Digimon. Bokomon and Neemon started quaking in terror as the boy walked closer. Unconsciously, the kids started to move in closer, as if to protect their new friends. But the boy looked too kind and, well—there was no way to avoid saying it—clueless to be evil; he and his Digimon companion looked at each other in absolute confusion over the reactions they got.
"Are you the children who have been protecting this town?" the Digimon asked.
"So what if we are?" Katsuharu challenged.
The boy sighed in relief. "That's good. I was afraid Ophanimon's Warriors might have gotten here before we did."
Teppei picked up on his comment before anyone else did. "Wait a second, you're not one of those Legendary Warriors?"
"Not really," the boy answered.
Bokomon stopped flailing long enough to get a good look at him. He sighed in relief. "False alarm, Neemon. They just look alike."
"Whew," Neemon sighed. "That's a relief!"
Seeing the persistent confused look on the boy's face, Katsuharu explained, "These two were chased down by the Legendary Warriors. Because of that, we're not exactly sympathizing with anyone on Ophanimon's side."
"That's good news for us," the Digimon said. "My name is Oryxmon, and this is Koichi. Lord Cherubimon sent us to be sure Ophanimon hadn't attacked you."
"Well, as you can see, we're all fine," Teppei answered rudely. "So you can take that to your Lord Whoever…"
"Wait a minute there," Bokomon interrupted. "Cherubimon is the last of the three Celestial Digimon who still wants to protect the world."
"Then what's he doing with a kid who might be a Legendary Warrior on his side?" Teppei demanded.
"I'm not a Legendary Warrior, not really," Koichi insisted. "I do have a Spirit, but it's too dangerous for me to use. But Cherubimon thinks that you four might be able to use the last four Spirits that aren't in anyone else's hands."
Katsuharu wasn't in a mood to cooperate with anyone today. Someone who was supposedly a hero was trying to recruit kids to fight for him? And he'd apparently already brainwashed someone else into it.
"Sorry," Katsuharu said, not feeling it at all and his tone showed it. "We're not exactly willing to risk our lives for something like this. All that matters to me is protecting my friends and keeping them out of trouble." Koichi raised his hands in defense as Katsuharu clenched his fists.
"We're not asking that," Koichi argued.
"You don't have to fight," Oryxmon reasoned. "We just need to find the last three Spirits before Ophanimon does. If we can and if it's necessary, we'll destroy them. Ophanimon cannot have ten Legendary Warriors at her disposal."
"And if she does?" Chiaki challenged, just as argumentative as Katsuharu.
"You know it won't be good," Koichi replied. Bokomon and Neemon nodded, which started to convince the children. "Please. You have to get out of here. It's not safe. If Ophanimon finds you…"
"We've got plenty of protection," Katsuharu affirmed. "We don't need your help."
"But…" Koichi protested.
"We believe Ophanimon may already know you're still here," Oryxmon warned. "She may have someone spying on you at this very moment."
"And so she does," answered Angemon, hovering to the kids' right and looking at them with killing intent. The four children stared at him in horror as Bokomon and Neemon hugged each other tightly. "Lady Ophanimon told me to be patient and the book and the Spirits would come to me. But this is even better—the book and the last five Legendary Warriors."
He drew back his fist, and with a shout of "Hand of Fate," released a golden energy beam toward the children. In a split-second, Oryxmon jumped in its path, shielding the others from most of the impact. Even so, all five children and their Digimon companions were thrown across the platform. Koichi was the first to recover, only to see the disappearing Fractal Code of his friend and guardian.
"Everyone, into the Trailmon!" he ordered.
No one hesitated. Once everyone was inside, the Trailmon took off, but Angemon wouldn't relent. Attacks rocked the train, throwing all the occupants everywhere. From the floor, Chiaki asked, "Why?"
"I can't believe we trusted him," Katsuharu muttered. "All this time, he was waiting to kill us."
Teppei looked out the window and saw Angemon come toward them. He ducked as the homicidal angel blasted an attack through the window. "Can't you go any faster?" he demanded of the Trailmon.
Koichi was still shaking with the horror of Oryxmon's death, but he got to his feet and clutched his D-tector. "I'm not letting him die for nothing," he decided.
"What are you doing?" Katsuharu asked. "You said using that thing would be too dangerous."
"I have one other Spirit, the Spirit of Wood," he confessed. "I had to take it when its last bearer went insane. I hardly kept my own head after that." He couldn't forget having to track down Arbormon all across the Continent of Darkness and beyond only to find the chaos he'd wrought. He had had a hard time remaining sane during the fight, and he'd wound up killing Arbormon to get the Spirit back. Cherubimon forced him to devolve, making him promise never to do it again.
"Will it work?" Teruo asked cautiously.
"I don't know," Koichi admitted. "But I have to try." He formed a ring of Fractal Code around his hand and brought up the Spirit of Wood. "Execute Spirit Evolution!"
The Spirit did not want to cooperate with him. A bright light flashed inside the train, and Koichi screamed in agony as it felt like his body and mind were being torn apart by the stress. It forced him to drop his D-tector, and the Spirit ejected itself from it. Chiaki and Teruo caught Koichi as he fell backwards, nearly passing out. The Spirit, however, stayed in place—hovering before Katsuharu.
"What the…" he started, but a vibrating sensation and a flashing light from his pocket stopped him. He reached in for his long-forgotten cellular phone and stared at it as it beeped and flashed. Before his eyes, it glowed and changed shape into a D-tector much like Koichi's, only in a tan and red scheme. Looking back up at the Spirit, he held out his new digivice and watched it enter.
Wood—it hardly sounded tough. Wood splintered and broke under pressure and burned quickly in fire. But then, wood was used for support in housing. Trees provided a safe haven for all sorts of creatures. It was a good element for someone who wanted to protect people.
In his mind's eye, a strange-looking Digimon walked toward him and then passed right through him. Suddenly, he knew exactly what to do. A ring of Fractal Code formed around his hand, and he scanned it into his digivice.
"Execute Spirit Evolution!"
The power of the evolution was unexpected. It didn't hurt, but it certainly caught him off-guard. The sheer amount of energy tore his clothes away from his body and froze him in place as wooden armor was placed over his body. When it was finished, he could feel the difference. He was stronger, faster, and had more abilities than he ever could have dreamed. He was a Digimon now, and yet he still could feel himself as a human.
He saw that his new body was surrounded by a globe of Fractal Code. He swiped his arm across it, dissipating it. His new name came to him at once:
His friends stared at him in shock and—in the case of Koichi, Bokomon, and Neemon—caution. Arbormon looked at them, knowing his armor didn't allow for any facial expressions, and told them, "I'm still me. Don't worry." His voice was rougher, which was a bit startling, but it was still his. Reassured, Koichi nodded. With his blessing given, Arbormon leapt out of the window and headed off into his first battle.
He jumped onto the roof, where he got a good view of Angemon attacking. The angel sneered upon seeing him, recognizing the human underneath the armor.
"Well, looks like you've found a new tool for protection," he observed.
"Guess I have," Arbormon answered, still trying to get used to the sound of his new voice. "But it's not to protect myself—it's to protect my friends."
"How touching," Angemon replied.
He aimed an energy blast at Arbormon, who leapt into the air to avoid it. Spinning around in the air, Arbormon tried his Roundhouse Punt. His appendages detached from his body and threatened to strike his opponent with roundhouse-style punches and kicks. Angemon held up his staff to block it, but Arbormon's limbs were still connected to him by cables. One quick jerk in the opposite direction yanked the staff away and gave Arbormon room to attack again. This time, it connected, striking Angemon in the side. He drew back, clutching his wound.
The battle continued, growing more vicious as time went on. The Katsuharu within Arbormon felt tears burning his eyes, though he refused to let them fall. Angemon had betrayed him, playing the part of friend for so long. No matter what happened, he was not going to let Angemon win.
Suddenly, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Dreading to find what he thought it was, he quickly glanced in that direction while sending off another attack toward Angemon. Teppei and the others were standing on the sidelines, watching the battle.
Oh no, he inwardly groaned. "Guys, what are you doing? Get out of here!"
Unfortunately, the shout only alerted Angemon to their presence. He blasted Arbormon out of the way, throwing him to the ground. As he picked himself up, he saw Angemon flying at the others. Desperation filled his mind—he couldn't let Angemon kill them! The panic and fear nearly crippled him, but instinct took over. His breastplate opened to reveal a missile, which he fired right into Angemon's back. The not-so-angelic Digimon recoiled and went limp before a ring of Fractal Code finally appeared around him. Arbormon took out his D-tector.
You lied to us, pretending to protect us when you were really spying for Ophanimon, he thought. I don't think I'll ever forgive that. Aloud, he called, "Fractal Code, digitize!"
The shimmering data stream entered his digivice, leaving behind an egg. The digiegg, now purified, sailed off elsewhere for a second chance. Arbormon, meanwhile, devolved into a doubled-over, panting Katsuharu.
"You okay?" Teppei checked.
"Don't know if I'm trying that again," he breathed. "Not without a whole lot of help." Looking at Koichi, he asked, "Does this kind of thing happen every time?"
Koichi shrugged. "It's worse for me since I can't control mine. I don't think you'll have too many problems after, though."
"Okay," Katsuharu agreed. "'Cause if I'm going to save this world, I don't want any more problems than I already have."
"You mean you're really going to stay and fight?" Bokomon asked, surprised.
Katsuharu offered a tired grin. "I'm not going to let a bunch of bullies like Angemon destroy this place." Teppei nodded grimly in agreement. "We'll all stay. We've got something worth protecting."
They headed back into the Trailmon, and Katsuharu took the opportunity to lie down. He was about to drift off when Teruo said, "Hey, Bokomon, you said you knew Takuya, right?" Cracking one eye open, he looked over to his friends. Bokomon and Neemon were sharing Chiaki's lap, and the kids were all looking at them with interest. With a grimace, Katsuharu sat up. Bokomon and Neemon, however, were looking regretful.
"What's wrong?" Koichi asked.
"Takuya's one of Ophanimon's Legendary Warriors," Bokomon explained. Teruo stared in shock, his mouth open as he tried to find words. Bokomon continued, "He and the others were put under a spell one night when we discovered the page on the Beast Spirits. We don't know exactly what happened."
"How many other Warriors does Ophanimon have?" Katsuharu asked.
Bokomon shook his head sadly. "Five. Takuya has the Spirit of Flame, but four others hold Light, Thunder, Ice, and Wind: Koji, J.P., Tommy, and Zoë."
After today, it didn't seem as though the children could face any more betrayal. But Bokomon could tell from the looks on their faces that all five of them were about to face one more.
Standard disclaimer applies: I do not own Digimon Frontier; it is the property of Toei Entertainment and Disney. I haven't been in the fandom for a while, so the style will be a little different for me, especially with this plot: having the heroes be evil and using villains (and minor characters) as heroes. Depending on plot necessities, some other good minor characters will remain good, where others, like Angemon, will be evil. Major thanks to Ryan Griffin for his help throughout.
Updates will be sporadic, as I have college and other projects to focus on. But expect a new chapter every six months at most, updating roughly alongside "Survival Diaries."
ETA: Revised as of May 25, 2007. Mostly edits to Katsuharu and Chiaki's dialogue, to match characterization.