Disclaimer: I do not own Digimon. It belongs to Akiyoshi Hongo, Bandai, Toei and all those other people I have no connection to. If I owned Digimon, my favorite characters wouldn't have gotten such a crummy deal.

This is an alternate universe Digimon Adventure 02 fanfic. Everyone still lives in Odaiba and fights in the Digital World, but some minor things in the timeline have been changed, which happens to have a huge effect on the plot.

I use the Japanese names and terms from the original Adventure 02, and I'm not going to clarify who's who in the dub. Please consult Wikimon if you're having any trouble figuring it out.

All chapters in this fic are going to be named after assorted songs and BGMs, inspired by or used in the Digimon anime.

The first chapter will be split into two parts because it's painfully long. This is the first part, and part two will be posted as soon as my beta is done hacking it up.

Speaking of which? My beta, Lithrael, is the best ever, and I am very grateful to her. Thanks man. Heart ya.

There you have it. On with the show!

Digimon: Butterfly

By Lord Puppetmon

Chapter 1: Yuuki o Uketsugu Kodomotachi e (To the Children Who Inherit Courage)

Part I

"There you go!"

Hida Hiroki straightened up and patted the computer he had been working on, grinning. "See, Inspector Tezuka? Piece of cake."

"Oh, thank you very much, Hida-kun!" the middle-aged police inspector took his seat at the desk, looking amazed. "My, you fixed it so fast!"

Hiroki shrugged. "Told you, Inspector, you had a Trojan. It was kind of a nasty one, so I had to log back on in Safe Mode and delete it manually. But your PC should work smoothly now." He paused for a moment, seeing Tezuka giving him a blank stare. "Uh. Did I say something wrong?"

The older man laughed. "Not as far as I know! I'm just completely out of the loop when it comes to computers. It's a good thing I have you in my squad, Hida-kun."

Hiroki grinned. "Glad to be of help, Inspector."

"Now, Hida-kun... I'm quite reluctant to ask you for more help regarding computers..."

"That's alright, inspector," said Hiroki cheerfully. "Even if it's not in my job description, you can count on me."

Tezuka chuckled. "Always the first to jump up and offer your assistance, aren't you." Hiroki smiled, and the older man continued. "Well, you see, Hida-kun, I'm interested in the 'Terminal' device that's so popular with teenagers these days."

"Oh, the D-Terminal? It's popular with everyone, Inspector Tezuka," Hiroki said, smirking. "Teenagers are just a lot more vocal about it."

"Yes... especially my youngest daughter," said Tezuka, crossing his arms and shaking his head. "She asked me to buy this... D-Terminal for her seventeenth birthday, but I know next to nothing about them. She will be very upset if I will buy her anything that isn't the newest and the best."

"The newest and the best, huh?" Hiroki repeated. "Hold on just a sec, Inspector," he said, rushing over to his own desk. Tezuka looked on curiously as the younger man opened one of his desk drawers and pulled out a rectangular object. Hiroki came back, handing the object to Tezuka. "This is what you're looking for, I think."

Tezuka adjusted his horn-rimmed glasses and inspected the object, a black device with a silver rim and buttons. "This is a D-Terminal? Why, I don't think I have ever seen one that wasn't white."

"That's because it's the newest edition of the D-Terminal," Hiroki explained. "It's called the D-Terminal Spectrum. Came out this December."

"D-Terminal Spectrum, is it...?" The grey-haired man hummed. "Was this name given to it because it comes in different colors?"

Hiroki grinned. "That, and is comes with a color screen. Also, the rim is made of silicone now, so it's more comfortable to hold, and there are so many new features they could make your head explode!" He gave Tezuka a quick look and laughed nervously. "Eheh, you know. Figuratively speaking."

Tezuka just smiled. "You seem to know a lot about the Terminal," the inspector commented.

"Well, I got the first model the moment it came out," Hiroki explained. "And I've had four months to familiarize myself with it. Besides," he shrugged, "I have a friend who works in the company that developed the D-Terminal."

"Oh, so you have 'connections' of sorts." Tezuka smirked.

Hiroki laughed. "Heh, something like tha-oh!" The D-Terminal started bleeping. "Someone's sending me a message. Could I..."

The inspector nodded, handing the device over to the younger man. He watched in awe as Hiroki flipped the cover open and started pressing the buttons rapidly. He could never get the hang of all these small electronic devices, and seeing someone use one with such great ease just astounded him.

Hiroki chuckled. "It's my son," he said, still pressing buttons. "He sent me a message to tell me that he'll be studying in the school library till evening."

Tezuka blinked. "Your... son? Iori-kun?"

Hiroki nodded. "Yup. Only son I've got, last time I checked."

"But... he's using a D-Terminal? Isn't he just nine years old?" Tezuka asked, flabbergasted.

"Ten years old next month, Inspector Tezuka," Hiroki corrected him with a grin, closing the cover on his D-Terminal.

O

Iori closed the cover on his own D-Terminal and sighed. He really would rather go home, but his teachers had the brilliant idea of giving the class a mountain of homework to remind them of the routine they would have to follow during the school year.

He pushed the white gadget into the pocket of his baggy cargo shorts and turned his attention back to his desk. As he retrieved his Japanese language notebook, he heard the sound of running echoing in the empty halls. The sound got closer while he searched for his math book.

The runners finally passed by the doorway of his classroom. Iori's green eyes widened as he heard what they were talking about.

"You mean there's trouble in the Digital World?"

He looked at the doorway, his mouth open in shock. He threw the notebook back into the desk in a hurry and rushed to the doorway, looking outside to see three children, all three older than he was, running in the direction of the stairway. One of them was a blond boy wearing a white fisherman hat and a loose yellow dress shirt.

"Takeru..." he mouthed. Takaishi Takeru was Iori's neighbor, two years his senior, who had moved into their apartment building a year ago. He was a nice guy and was a good friend to Iori, but never once did he mention the Digital World. Iori furrowed his brows. Homework can wait, he thought to himself as he started running in the direction Takeru and the other two went.

They had already disappeared from view, but Iori had a good idea of where the three had hurried off to. He made a dash to the computer lab on the second floor. As he ran, a few strands of dark brown hair got in his face. He frowned and swept them away. Maybe grandfather is right, he thought. I guess a haircut wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.

He came to a screeching halt near the door of the computer lab, hearing a sound. He listened closely. Indeed, there were three voices coming from inside the room, and he was quite sure he heard one of them say the word 'digital'. He inched closer to the door and opened it slightly, peeking into the room.

The three children from earlier were inside. His suspicions were confirmed; the blond with the fisherman hat was indeed Takeru. Next to him stood a girl with short light brown hair, wearing a jeans jacket and a pink dress. Iori didn't know her name, but he recognized her as a friend of Takeru's. He couldn't recognize the third person, a boy wearing the green-and-grey uniform of Odaiba Middle School, with cropped reddish-brown hair and a serious expression.

"Did you hear anything from the others, Koushirou-san?" Takeru asked the older boy, a hint of urgency in his voice.

The older boy, obviously the one named Koushirou, shook his head. "No. Just him."

"This sounds so awful," the girl said, looking worried. "I hope everyone's alright."

Koushirou furrowed his thick brows, looking thoughtful. "Well, Taichi-san said that the gate seems to be open. He couldn't check it, though. He had to speak with the coach, as the new captain of the soccer team. But he promised to come here as soon as possible."

Iori noted the talk about a gate. Maybe it was...?

"However," Koushirou continued, "he said that we can go ahead. Once he gets here, he'll monitor the computer lab for us."

"Then what are we waiting for?" asked Takeru. He pulled something out of the pocket of his pants; a small, white device with a blue screen. The other two pulled out their own devices, nodding, and pointed them at one of the monitors.

To Iori's surprise, the screens on all three devices started glowing, and a program window appeared on the monitor. It resembled a control panel, with control knobs, a small screen in the middle and a red light. The red light flashed green, and without warning, the computer screen glowed in a white light, enveloping Takeru and the others. When the light disappeared, they were gone.

Iori rushed to the computer. The program window was still there, although the green light turned red again. He stared at it in awe.

"I can't believe it..." he mumbled.

O

While Iori marveled at what he had seen in the Real World, the three children appeared in the Digital World. Looking around, they realized that they had ended up in a typical digital forest, with tall greenish blue trees and giant flowers.

"Right then... now we just have to find Patamon and the others," said Takeru. "Did Taichi-san say where the Digimon are?"

"He didn't," Koushirou muttered, scratching his chin. "He told me that he got a distress call and nothing more."

"How are we going to find our Digimon, then?" asked Hikari.

"I'm not sure. I'm not sure how we're going to find our way around here, as it is," said Koushirou, gesturing at the many trees that surrounded them. "I don't know my left from my right in this forest."

"No problem! Our Digimon will show us the way!" Takeru said cheerfully, pointing at four small figures that emerged from the woods.

Sure enough, one of the figures started speeding up toward the children; a small, winged creature with orange fur and big blue eyes. "Takeru!" it exclaimed, flying into Takeru's arms.

"Patamon!" Takeru laughed as his Digimon partner nuzzled him. "Long time no see!"

"I really, really missed you, Takeru!" said Patamon, looking up at the boy with glistening eyes.

"It has been a while, huh?" Takeru mused as he scratched behind one of the Digimon's wings.

It really had been quite a while since the last time they saw each other. The eight Chosen Children's Digimon tried to contact the Real World every chance they had, but the last time Takeru and the others visited the Digital World was nearly three years ago.

Meanwhile, Hikari and Koushirou reunited with their own partners.

"Tailmon! I missed you so much!" Hikari gave her partner a warm hug, a gesture the cat Digimon happily returned.

"Koushirou-han, you're looking well!" Tentomon told Koushirou, who smiled and held his beetle-like partner's clawed arms.

The last Digimon, a child-sized orange dinosaur, looked a bit disappointed. "Where's Taichi?" Agumon asked.

"Sorry, Agumon... he couldn't make it," Hikari replied, sympathetically patting the Digimon's head. "He's the captain of the soccer team, so..."

"Oh, it's okay if it's about soccer!" Agumon exclaimed, baring his sharp teeth in a toothy grin. "I knew he'd be captain if he worked hard!"

"This is no time for small talk," said Koushirou, shaking his head. "We got a distress call from you... what's wrong?"

"Everything," Tailmon replied, her expression grim. "Someone who calls himself the Digimon Kaiser is brainwashing and enslaving Digimon."

"Brainwashing them? That's terrible!" Hikari exclaimed, frowning.

"Who is this Digimon Kaiser person?" Koushirou asked with concern.

"We don't know," Agumon replied. "He could be human or Digimon... he never shows his face! He always sends his brainwashed Digimon to do his dirty work."

"Right, so you want us to help you evolve so you could defeat this Digimon Kaiser?" asked Takeru, pulling out his Digivice.

Patamon shook his head solemnly. "It's not going to work, Takeru..."

"Why not?" the blond demanded.

"We can't evolve anymore..." the winged Digimon mumbled.

The children gasped. "You can't evolve?! Why's that?" Koushirou asked anxiously.

Tentomon shook his head. "We don't know, I'm afraid. We tried to evolve to help the other Digimon, but it just didn't work. Even after we eat, our powers fail us."

"Besides..." Tailmon waved her long tail in front of her, showing it to the children. The Holy Ring at the tip of her tail, the source of her power, was missing.

"What happened?" Hikari asked, concerned.

The cat Digimon hung her head. "One of the brainwashed Digimon had me cornered... I had to leave the ring behind to escape. And now that I don't have the ring, I'm at half my maximum power."

Koushirou frowned. "Where are the other Digimon?"

"Patamon and I were with Piyomon just an hour ago," Tentomon replied. "She got hit by an attack from a brainwashed Snimon and had to stay behind to recover. I'm sure she's alright, though."

"We don't know where the others went... we all split when the attacks started," Agumon explained. "We were able to protect the other Digimon at first, but now we can't even evolve to our Adult levels, so..."

"This is really bad," Takeru muttered. "We have to find something that will help us defeat this Digimon Kaiser person."

"We did find something, though!" Patamon exclaimed.

"We're not sure if it will help us yet, Patamon," Tailmon scolded the smaller Digimon.

"What did you find?" asked Koushirou. "Anything can be helpful right now."

"Glad you asked. Follow me!" Agumon gestured for them to follow him, and started walking back the way he and the other Digimon came from. The children looked at each other and proceeded to follow the dinosaur, their own Digimon in tow.

O

The group arrived at a clearing several minutes later. Even before they exited the vast maze of trees, they could see the gigantic step pyramid, made out of large blocks of stone, but the sight of it standing alone in all its glory amazed them nevertheless.

"It looks like a Mayan pyramid," commented Koushirou.

"The Digital World never ceases to amaze me," Takeru admitted.

"C'mon, what we found is inside!" said Patamon, flying up the staircase. The others followed.

After what seemed like an eternity, they reached the end of the long stairway and entered the temple at the top of the pyramid. They walked through a short corridor, and at the end of it lay another staircase, much smaller this time.

"They're right up there," Agumon said, pointing at the end of the stairway.

At the top, four columns made of a smooth, marble-like material surrounded two simple granite pedestals. On each pedestal was a strange artifact, each different from the other. On the right was a white elliptical object, with two extensions resembling wings on each side of it and blue markings. The second object was similar in shape, but it was yellow and more mechanical in appearance, with a small hole on top from which a metallic spike protruded. Its markings were purple.

"What are those things?" asked Takeru, looking at the objects in awe.

"We don't know. Piyomon and I found these artifacts when we scanned the area last month," Tentomon answered. "But take a close look at those markings."

The children stepped up to the pedestals to get a closer look. Indeed, the Chosen Children had seen them before.

"That's... on the yellow one... the Crest of Knowledge," Koushirou breathed.

"And on the white one... it's Sora-san's Crest of Love!" Hikari exclaimed.

"But why?" Takeru asked. "This doesn't make any sense... the power of the Crests, we..." he trailed off.

"Even so, this could be the key to defeating the Digimon Kaiser!" Patamon exclaimed. "They have two of the Crests on them, right? That can't be bad!"

"You do have a point," said Takeru, smiling. "I think it's worth a shot."

Hikari and Koushirou nodded. "The real question is what are we to do with them?" Koushirou wondered.

"How about you try to pick up the one with the Crest of Knowledge, Koushirou-san?" Hikari suggested.

"Mmmm, I guess I could do that." Koushirou walked up to the pedestal and placed his hands on the yellow artifact, trying to pull it up.

Instead of leaving the pedestal, the artifact started glowing bright red, forcing Koushirou to squint. He tried to remove his hands from the artifact, but it seemed like his arms and hands were locked in place, unable to move.

The light left the artifact, and split into three small spheres of red energy. After vibrating in the air for a few moments, the spheres left the temple through a small, circular opening in the roof of the temple, jetting into the sky and out of sight.

The children and Digimon stared in shock. Finally, Tailmon spoke. "Okay, what in the world was that?" she asked, her eyes wide.

"I wish I knew," Koushirou mumbled, finally letting go of the artifact. "All I know is that I'm not sure I want to attempt this again."

O

Iori threw a crumpled piece of paper into the bin, and crossed his arms behind his head. He had been waiting for Takeru and the others to return for a while, but there was no sign of them. He frowned. Maybe he should go to the library, get his homework done and come back... no, that was a terrible idea. What if they were to return while he was in the library? Homework was important, but it could wait; he had a lot of questions, and he had to ask them now. What were these devices? What was that program? Where did it take Takeru and the others? Was it the Digital World?

No. He shook his head. He couldn't ask them such a specific question. He didn't want them to start asking questions about his connection to the Digital World. He had promised his father he wouldn't tell anyone, right?

Iori's father had been connected to the Digital World since he was around Takeru's age. Through his game console, he had been able to contact the Digital World and talk to some of its inhabitants. He had shared this secret with his best friend, and ever since, the two had shared a dream of going to the Digital World. Even losing their connection to the Digital World, when Iori's grandfather forbade them from playing what he thought were dangerous games, had not stopped them. Iori's father and his friend started working on this project seriously when they entered post-secondary education, and their work continued even after Iori's father started a family and became a police officer.

One event almost put a stop to their work together; a few months before Iori's sixth birthday, his father was shot on duty, taking a bullet for an important political figure. Miraculously, he survived, but the project to contact the Digital World was put on hold until he could recover.

A few months after that, a wondrous event had driven Iori's father and his friend to continue the project. A multitude of Digimon came from the Digital World and attacked Odaiba, led by a cruel vampiric Digimon. However, eight of the Digimon that arrived at Odaiba were friends of children, and in an epic battle, they had defeated the vampire. However, their battle was not over, and the battlefield moved to another world. Every inhabitant of the Real World could see them in the sky, sealing their last enemy with eight points of light and saving both worlds from destruction. This event had proved to Iori's father and his friend that the Digital World and the Digimon existed, and that other people could get there and befriend the Digimon. Iori's father had promised Iori that one day, they will go to the Digital World together.

When everyone started forgetting, Iori's father understood that the world wasn't ready for Digimon, and told Iori to keep the project a secret. And Iori did. For four long years, he hadn't told anyone. And he wasn't going to tell anyone now, either. Though if they had already gone to the Digital World...

Iori crumpled another piece of paper and pouted. This was going to be harder than he thought.

He cast a look at the computer Takeru and the others had disappeared into and gasped, the crumpled ball of paper falling from his hand. The screen started glowing white again. Three points of light appeared on the screen; red, blue and yellow, surrounded by an eerie, flickering red aura. Without warning, three beams shot from the screen, the yellow one targeting Iori and the other two flashing out the door of the computer lab. Iori yelped and threw his hands in front of him, trying to shield himself from the beam. He closed his eyes and grimaced, expecting the worst.

But the worst never happened, and he felt like he was holding something in his hand. He opened his eyes slowly, confused. He was holding a small device, not unlike the devices Takeru and the others used to enter the computer. His was different, however, with an egg-like design and yellow rims.

Iori stared at the device in his hand. After a few moments, a big smile spread across his face.

"Awesome."

O

"GAH!" Takeru yelped as he fell back, hitting the floor hard.

"Takeru-kun!" Hikari rushed to his side, worried. Koushirou and the Digimon joined her. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah..." Takeru rubbed his aching back and gave the odd artifacts a look. "These things really won't budge."

Following the strange event, it took the group a while to convince Koushirou to try picking the artifact up again. When he finally gave it a second chance, nothing happened; it seemed that the artifact was extremely heavy, or attached to the pedestal. He had tried to pick up the artifact bearing the Crest of Love, for good measure, and Hikari and Takeru tried picking up both artifacts, but to no avail.

"Maybe us Digimon should try pulling them out too?" Agumon suggested.

"It would prove difficult to me, I'm afraid," said Tentomon, waving his arms. "I lack the appendages necessary for this task!"

"Well, you could just evo..." Agumon began, but stopped himself. "Oh, never mind..."

"Maybe we're not meant to take these out of the temple," Tailmon said.

"Perhaps, but they have two of the Crests on them," said Koushirou thoughtfully. "Maybe we should contact Sora-san?"

"Oh, and the two of you could move them together!" Patamon exclaimed.

"That's a good idea, Koushirou-han!" Tentomon complimented his partner.

"It is a good idea, but Sora-san is busy," said Takeru. "Yamato told me that since she's the vice-captain of the tennis team this year, she has to meet the coach first thing after school."

Koushirou frowned. "And sports foil our plans yet again."

"We seem to have reached a dead-end, then," Tailmon sighed, crossing her arms.

"We're not any closer to figuring out what to do against the Kaiser than we were the moment we got here," Takeru said, disappointed.

"Takeru-san!"

"Huh?" Takeru and the others looked back at the staircase. At the top of it stood a young boy, no older than ten, with messy dark brown hair and rather odd clothes; a baggy purple T-shirt with blue sleeves and a high collar over a grey long-sleeved shirt, dark blue fingerless gloves, and blue pants tucked into a pair of brown boots. He looked more like an adventurer than a grade school boy, but Takeru recognized him right away.

"Iori-kun!" he exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"

The others looked at Takeru in surprise. "You know him?" asked Hikari.

"He's my neighbor..." Takeru mumbled.

Meanwhile, Iori walked over to the group, a glint of excitement in his eyes. "Takeru-san, this place is so cool!" he said, spreading his arms as if to show how cool it was. "How come you never told me about it?"

"Well... I... what are you wearing?" Takeru asked nervously, fumbling a bit with his fisherman hat.

"Oh, that?" Iori looked down at his outfit. "I was dressed like that when I got here. I don't know how that happened, but... they're really cool, aren't they?"

"Y-yeah..." the blond rubbed the back of his head, puzzled.

"Speaking of which, why are you still wearing the clothes you came to school with?" Iori asked, crossing his arms behind his head. "Doesn't everybody get cool clothes in this place?"

"Not as far as I know... what are you doing here, Iori-kun?"

"I came to look for you! And the other kids that came here." He nodded at Hikari and Koushirou and bowed. "I'm Hida Iori, fourth grade. Nice to meet both of you!"

"I'm Yagami Hikari, sixth grade," Hikari replied, smiling. "It's nice to meet you, too."

"And my name is Izumi Koushirou," said Koushirou. "How did you get here, Iori-kun?"

"The same way you did," replied Iori, grinning. "With that weird device and the gate program thing."

"Weird device?" Koushirou furrowed his brows. Hikari and the Digimon looked troubled and surprised as well.

"Do you mean like this one?" Takeru asked Iori, showing him his Digivice.

"Yeah! Well... I think mine's a different model or something," Iori said, showing Takeru the device that came out of the computer. "But I think they work on the same principle."

Takeru's eyes widened. "That... what is that, Koushirou-san?"

"I'm... not sure, myself," the older boy admitted, stepping up to get a closer look. "It does look like a Digivice, although..."

"So that's the name? Digivice?" Iori asked excitedly.

Koushirou nodded. "That's right."

"But if he has a Digivice, that means he's a Chosen Child!" Hikari concluded.

"But wouldn't he have a Digivice like ours if he really were a Chosen Child?" asked Takeru.

"Like Iori-kun says, maybe it's a newer model," Koushirou said.

"Wait, what's a Chosen Child?" Iori piped in.

"A Chosen Child is a kid chosen to protect the Digital World, which is the name of this place," Takeru explained to his young neighbor. "Koushirou-san, Hikari-chan and I are all Chosen Children, and we each have a Digivice and a Digimon partner, who help up protect the Digital World."

"A Digimon partner?" Iori asked, looking at the Digimon. "Like... like one of these guys? Are they Digimon?"

"We were last time I checked!" Agumon said cheerfully.

Iori laughed. "Wow, that is way too cool! Nice to meet you all!"

Tentomon bowed. "Likewise."

Iori looked at the other children. "So these are your Digimon partners?"

Takeru nodded. "They are. Patamon is my partner," he said, pointing at Patamon. "Tailmon is Hikari-chan's partner, and Tentomon is Koushirou-san's partner."

"Agumon is my brother's partner," Hikari added. "But my brother couldn't make it today."

"And I'm going to get one of my own?" Iori looked as if he would burst from happiness.

"If this device you have really is a Digivice, then yes," said Koushirou. "And it brought you to the Digital World, so... how did you get it, again?"

"It came out of the computer you guys entered," Iori explained. "There were these three points of light on the screen, and they became beams, and one of them hit me, and..." he raised his Digivice. "Then I got this."

"Those spheres of light!" Patamon cried, flapping his wings excitedly. "The ones that came out of the artifact! That's where they went!"

"So it seems... and at least in Iori's case, one of them turned into this new Digivice," Tailmon concluded.

"How did you know which computer we entered?" Takeru asked.

Iori gulped. "Um, well... I kind of saw you going in and I hung around so I could ask you where you guys went to," he said sheepishly.

The older children grimaced. "Ugh... did anyone else see us...?" Takeru asked with a wince.

Iori shook his head. "Not as far as I know."

The others sighed in relief. "We really should be a bit more careful next time, even if it is an emergency," Koushirou mumbled, rubbing his temples.

"I apologize if I caused any problems," Iori said, bowing slightly.

"That's alright, Iori-kun," said Takeru, placing a reassuring hand on the boy's shoulder. "Nobody else saw us. And since you're a Chosen Child..."

"Hey, wait a sec!" Agumon cut in. "Since he's a Chosen Child, maybe he'll be able to pick up one of the weird artifacts?"

"That does sound like a good idea," Koushirou admitted. Takeru, Hikari and the other Digimon nodded.

Iori looked confused. "What weird artifact?"

"There are two, actually," Hikari said, pointing at the two pedestals. "Over there."

Curious, Iori walked over to the pedestals, examining both artifacts closely. "What are these weird symbols?" he asked.

"Those are Crests," Tailmon explained. "We used their powers four years ago to get stronger. The symbol on the white artifact is the Crest of Love, and the symbol on the yellow artifact is the Crest of Knowledge."

"That one is Koushirou-han's Crest," Tentomon added. Koushirou nodded, confirming his partner's statement.

Iori looked at the artifacts again. "So... should I try to move them or something?"

"You can definitely try!" said Patamon.

"It didn't work for any of us, so don't feel bad if it won't work," Hikari reassured.

Iori smiled. "Well, we'll never know if it works for me or not if I won't try," he said, placing his hands on the yellow artifact. "I'll try this one first."

He pulled with all his might, only to fall back and land on his butt, pulling the odd artifact with him. He sat up and looked at the object in his hands, puzzled. "I didn't expect it to be this easy..." he muttered. He looked back at the pedestal and his jaw practically dropped, as he saw a huge column of purple light extending from it all the way up to the ceiling of the temple. Something appeared in the middle of the column, a large, brown ball.

The others were equally shocked. "What is it?!" Agumon cried.

"It's... is that a Digimon?" Hikari wondered aloud.

The ball moved. Suddenly, it had four yellow legs with sharp claws, and a mammalian head with fan-like ears. Iori realized that it was rolled up before, like an armadillo. The armadillo-like creature opened its eyes and looked at Iori. Its jagged mouth widened to form a big grin.

Before Iori could react, the creature jumped out of the column of light and into Iori's lap.

"Da'gya!" the creature exclaimed cheerfully in a thick Nagoya dialect. "You woke me up! Thank you!"

Iori just blinked, stunned.

"I've been waiting for you to wake me up for ages, da'gya!"

"You... you've been waiting for me?" Iori asked the creature.

It nodded.

"Are you my... Digimon partner?" the boy hazarded.

The monster armadillo nodded again. "That's right da'gya! I'm Armadimon!"

Iori was unable to speak, and only looked at the Digimon nervously. His Digimon. His Digimon partner. He just couldn't wrap his head around the idea.

Feeling a hand on his shoulder, he looked up. It was Takeru, who smiled at him. "I guess that means you really are a Chosen Child."

O

The corridors of the school were very quiet now, save for the sound of footsteps that echoed through the halls. The sound was made by the blue boots of Motomiya Daisuke, a sixth grader whose day was starting to get very, very weird. For starters, his friends, Takeru and Hikari, were acting all weird. When he asked them if they want to hang out after school, they agreed, but after they got a message on their D-Terminals, they said they had to go and refused to tell him why. He didn't think too much of it, figuring that they were going on a super secret date or something like that. He'd stopped being jealous of Takeru for having such a close friendship with Hikari ages ago. After that, he'd participated in a short meeting with the soccer coach. Okay, so that wasn't weird. He was a regular now, after all, so he had to participate in the meetings. They had turned out to be incredibly boring, but in the end, he was going to play soccer, so he didn't mind.

The really weird thing was, on the way back to switch his school shoes with his boots, a blue beam had almost hit him square in the chest. Next thing he knew, he'd been holding a weird white device with a small screen, several buttons and light blue rims.

In the fifteen minutes since he'd got the device, Daisuke had tried to figure out what it was. He had inspected it closely, shaken it a bit and randomly pushed buttons, hoping it'd do something interesting. So far, the only interesting thing about it was the way it had arrived out of the blue.

He exited the school building, making his way to the gate. He ran his hand through his spiky burgundy hair. "What's up with this thing?" he wondered aloud. He adjusted the square goggles he wore on his forehead. Maybe it was just a broken game? Maybe Taichi would know what it was? Either way, Daisuke knew he had to figure out what it was soon, or he'd die from suspense.

At that moment, Daisuke, who was too deep in thought to pay attention to his surroundings, crashed head-first into someone who was standing by the gate. He yelped, falling back and landing hard on the pavement. He winced, rubbing his aching back with his free hand and looking at the device in his other hand. Thankfully, it was unharmed. Daisuke frowned and glared at the person he crashed into, a purple-haired girl wearing round glasses and the green and white Odaiba Middle School girls' uniform. As she got up, he opened his mouth to say something, but was taken aback when the girl gave him a glare of her own.

"Can't you watch where you're going?!" she demanded, dusting off her skirt. "Really, crashing into people like that...!"

"Hey, it's not my fault!" Daisuke protested, jumping back to his feet. "You were the one standin' here right in front of the gate! You were askin' for it!"

The girl gasped. "Excuse me?! I was asking for it?! You've got some nerve!" She walked up to Daisuke and stopped right in front of him, crossing her arms and staring him down. "Didn't anyone ever tell you that you should respect your elders?" the girl asked sternly.

"Eh?!" Daisuke placed his hands on his waist, raising an eyebrow at the girl. "What elders? You don't look that much older than me! And we don't even go to the same school!"

The girl hmphed. "Well, I'm only a first year student in middle school, but that still makes me older than you," she said, poking Daisuke's forehead pointedly. "And you should respect anyone older than you no matter what!"

"Forget it!" Daisuke crossed his arms stubbornly. "You're just a year older than me, and I only crashed into you 'cause you just stood there. You were askin' for it."

The girl snarled, clenching her fists tightly. "That's it! I have officially lost the patience to deal with you!"

"Oh yeah? Then what're you gonna do about it?" Daisuke inquired, glaring at the girl. She glared back.

"Oi, Daisuke! What's going on?"

Startled, the two broke their glare to look at the older teen that walked up to them. He had wild brown hair and wore the Odaiba Middle School boys' uniform. Like Daisuke, he wore a pair of goggles on his forehead, though his goggles were round and were worn over a blue headband. "Daisuke, what're you doin'? Picking fights with strangers?"

Daisuke blushed a bit. "Taichi-san, I..."

"He crashed into me when I stood in front of the gate, senpai!" the girl explained, bowing.

"W-well she was askin' for it!" Daisuke cried, pointing accusingly at the girl.

"Again with that?!" the girl groaned. "You're the moron that didn't look where he was going!"

Taichi scratched the back of his head. "Okay... this is an argument I'd rather stay out of. Just don't start hitting each other or anything. Anyway, I gotta head into school."

"Huh? Why's that?" Daisuke asked. Suddenly, his eyes widened as he made the connection. Didn't Takeru and Hikari say they had something to do...? "Wait, is this about whatever it was that Takeru and Hikari-chan had to do that was really important?"

"Uh... well, kind of..." Taichi answered nervously. "Hey, what's that in your hand?" he said with excess enthusiasm, changing the subject. "A new virtual pet?"

"I dunno," Daisuke shrugged, showing the weird device to Taichi. "It looks really cool, but I think it's broken."

The girl gasped. "Wait, you have one too?!" she retrieved a device identical to Daisuke's, with red rims instead of light blue.

"Hey!" Daisuke cried. "They're the same!"

Taichi's expression was suddenly very serious. "Hey, you... what's your name?"

"I'm Inoue Miyako!" the girl said, bowing again. "Pleased to meet you, senpai!"

"Where did you get that device?" Taichi asked.

"Oh, well..." Miyako looked a bit nervous. "Would it sound weird to you if I told you that it pretty much appeared out of nowhere?"

Daisuke gasped. "Did a blue beam hit you and you found yourself with that thingamajig in your hand too?"

Miyako glared at him. "If you have to know, yes, except it was a red beam." Then, she gave him a puzzled look. "Wait, how did you...?"

"Hey, you two," Taichi called, getting Daisuke and Miyako's attention. "Can you stick around for a while? I think I'm gonna have to explain some things to you now."

"You know what these things are, Taichi-san?" Daisuke asked eagerly.

"Well, I believe I do," said Taichi, smiling a bit. "They look similar and came to you in a similar way..."

"You're being cryptic, senpai!" Miyako protested.

"And I'm going to be even more cryptic now!" Taichi grinned. "So, Daisuke, Miyako! Do you guys believe in monsters?"

O

As the children and their Digimon reached the bottom of the pyramid, Armadimon came to a shocking realization.

"I'm starving," he sighed, tapping his underbelly with one paw.

Iori couldn't help but giggle. Even after they had a proper introduction, he still couldn't believe he has his very own Digimon. A living Digimon that experiences things like fatigue and hunger, at that!

The armadillo-like Digimon gave him a look. "What's so funny da'gya? Humans have to eat too, don't they?" he asked, tilting his head.

"Don't worry, we'll find something to eat soon," Iori assure, patting Armadimon's shell sympathetically.

"Not right now, though," said Koushirou. "We haven't found any sign as to what these artifacts are on top of the pyramid, so we still have to investigate."

The others nodded. Iori looked at the yellow, egg-like artifact he was hugging to his chest with one arm. It really didn't weigh much... it was really a strange thing, the fact that none of the older kids could lift it. They were all bigger and stronger than Iori. So why was he able to pick it up so easily? Maybe because he was chosen to. Iori smiled to himself. That was the most logical reason. He was a Chosen Child, after all, and the other kids already had their own Digimon. It was Iori that was chosen to lift the artifact and release Armadimon.

"I suggest we circle the pyramid and search for any signs," Koushirou continued. "Any weird symbols or Digicode on the stones... anything that would explain what these artifacts are all about."

"We should split up to cover more area," Takeru said.

Hikari looked back at the pyramid. "That's a good idea. This place is enormous!"

Koushirou nodded. "So, should we split into teams of human and Digimon partner, or..."

Suddenly, they heard a loud roar, followed by the sound of violent rustling in the bushes. "What is that?!" Iori asked, startled. It sounded to him like a dinosaur would sound in a movie.

As it turned out, it really was a dinosaur that burst out from the bushes. Iori inhaled sharply. It looked like a monoceratops. It was mostly black and white, with tough-looking armor on its back. Its eyes were bright red, and it really didn't look very friendly.

"That's a Monochromon!" Takeru exclaimed. "I thought they were usually docile Digimon!"

"They are, but not when they're controlled by the Digimon Kaiser! Look!" Tailmon pointed at the Monochromon. Iori noticed a thin black band circling the dinosaur's body.

"So that's how he controls them..." Koushirou muttered.

Agumon ran in front of the others. "Stand back, everyone! Baby Flame!" he shouted, inhaling and then breathing out a ball of flame that hit Monochromon square in the snout. It winced a bit, but recovered quickly, opening its jaw wide. Iori noticed something glowing inside its throat. Something like... fire?

"Oh crud... RUN!" Takeru yelled. The group scrambled as Monochromon breathed out a gigantic flare at them. The flare missed Iori by mere inches as it hit the steps of the pyramid.

Tailmon ran up to Monochromon, growling. "Cat Punch!" she cried, hitting the dinosaur with all her might. It responded by lowering its giant head and striking Tailmon with its long nasal horn. She fell back on the ground. "It's no use," she muttered. "I can't do anything without my Holy Ring..."

Armadimon looked at his partner. "Iori! Use your power da'gya!"

Iori raised his eyebrows. "Power? What power?" he asked hesitantly. "I don't have any power..."

"Sure you do! If you just say "Digimental up", I'll be able to help!" Armadimon insisted.

"Digimental Up...?" Iori looked at the object in his hands. "You mean... is this it? Should I use this thing?"

Armadimon grinned. "That's it dag'ya! You're really smart, Iori!"

Iori looked at the Monochromon, who stomped his way towards them. He wasn't completely sure how saying "Digimental up" would help... but he had to try, right? If he wanted to live on to help protect and explore the Digital World, he had to trust his partner.

He held the artifact up. The others looked at him, astonished. "Iori-kun, what are you doing?" Koushirou asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Helping," Iori replied. He took a deep breath, and yelled at the top of his lungs.

"Digimental UP!"

Armadimon started to glow in a bright purple light. Monochromon stopped in its tracks, shocked. Iori watched in awe as the glowing form of Armadimon started changing.

"Armadimon, Armor Evolution! Steel Knowledge, Digmon!"

The light disappeared, revealing Armadimon's new form. Iori gaped. Armadimon was replaced by a... giant yellow mechanical insect with a drill for a nose. There were drills at the end of his arms, and small scoops came out from his elbows. The purple symbols of the artifact were scattered all over the new Digimon's armored body, with the Crest of Knowledge in plain view on his back.

"Armadimon..." Iori breathed.

"Digmon now, Iori!" said the giant insect cheerfully. "Now that you released your power, I can really help da'gya!"

Iori laughed. Under all the armor, it was still his Digimon. "You... you've really changed!"

"He evolved..." said Hikari, eyes wide in shock.

"But... with the artifact?" a puzzled Takeru looked at Patamon, who was floating beside him, as if searching for answers. Patamon shook his head; he didn't know anything either.

Monochromon roared, charging at the group. Digmon lifted his arms. "Okay, guys, take cover! I'll do the rest!" The children nodded, running to the sides.

Digmon raised his arms and straightened up. "Big... CRACK!" he yelled, driving his nose drill and arms in the ground. From the spot where Digmon stood, the ground started cracking. As the crack reached Monochromon, it grunted in terror, and tried to move away. Its attempt to flee only caused the ground to break under its feet, and it disappeared inside the hole it created.

"He did it!" Agumon cheered.

"Or not!" Tentomon waved his hands frantically as Monodromon's upper body appeared over the edge of the crack in the ground, narrowing its red eyes.

"Don't worry! Everything is under control da'gya!" said Digmon, his voice confident. He crossed his hands over his chest. "Gold... RUSH!" he yelled, spreading his arms and releasing the drills from his arms. They flew at Monochromon like rockets and exploded as they made contact with the dinosaur, creating a cloud of smoke around it.

Once the smoke cleared, Iori could see that Monochromon was still trying to stay on the edge of the crack, grunting slightly. However, its eyes were no longer red, and he could see that the band around its body disappeared. "Digmon, you did it!" he exclaimed.

Digmon nodded, and the purple light engulfed him again. As his form shrunk, a purple beam hit the screen of Iori's Digivice. Before Iori could register what just happened, the purple light flickered on the screen of the Digivice, and he noticed something glowing with the same light in the pocket of his pants. His D-Terminal! He'd forgotten he even had it here. He pulled it out of his pocket and flipped it open to see a wireframe model of an egg on the screen.

Armadimon was back in his original form, and tapped Iori's leg, smiling. "I wouldn't have been able to do anything if not for Iori da'gya!"

"That was really amazing!" Takeru said, walking up to Iori and Armadimon. "This armor evolution is really something special!"

"So, that's what the artifact was all about, huh?" Koushirou scratched his chin, smiling. "Or, what did you call it, Digimental?"

A loud crash and the sound of Monochromon's growl brought them back to reality. "Everyone, I think that since Monochromon isn't chasing us anymore, he's going to need a little help," said Hikari, pointing at the crack in the ground nervously.

To Be Continued…