Chapter Sixty Six: Piedmon's Absolution

The Digital World, Hundreds of Years Ago

Piedmon sat in his throne. He had it imported from an exotic island in the Algorithm Ocean. The wood was strange, with a sweet smell wafting from it, yet soft enough without the use of water to warrant comfort. He drummed his fingers along the arm. He did this often. The soft wood held a record of that. Tiny indentions in the tip of the arm lay evidence to that. Once a month he had to massage various dents out of the throne. Well, Piedmon didn't. His servants did. But that didn't matter. The councilmen had requested his presence. Nowadays, he never really responded to the whines and issues the other Knights brought up at the weekly meetings, but they seemed rather urgent. His concerns were larger than that. He needed a better chair.

A knock on the double doors signaled the arrival of the councilmen.

"Come in." Piedmon moaned. The doors were pushed open, and five individuals entered. One was a white armored knight with two gauntlets of different shapes on each arm: one a wolf and the other a dinosaur. The next was a woman, dressed in light clothing with flowing white hair and a yellow fox mask concealing her face. Another white knight was at her side, this one more proportional. His blue dragon skin contrasted in the patches where it was visible, and a golden crown built into his armor signified some sort of importance. The next brought up the rear, and was not even a human knight at all. He was a red dragon, slightly larger than the others, with huge red and silver wings neatly folded into his back. His long tail was wrapped around his waist like a belt and some sort of retracted weapon attached to his right arm was tucked under his left. One final warrior led them all. He was dressed in black and gold armor, and had a long blue and white cape.

"Seraphim," The leader nodded respectfully.

"Omega, Saka, Paladin, Examon… Alpha: what a pleasant surprise." Piedmon said facetiously. "Would you care to explain to me what is so important?"

"There's no easy way to say this Seraphim," Alphamon sighed, "So we'll just come right out with it. The Royal Knights are concerned that since your, evolution, you may have become corrupt."

"I beg your pardon?" Piedmon stood up quickly and walked to the middle of the room a dozen or so feet away from the councilmen.

"You heard me Seraphim," Alphamon snapped back, "Your actions over the last year have been vicious and manipulative at best. What happened to you after that battle with Myotismon?"

"You dare have the audacity to question my methods!" Piedmon lashed out.

"The rest of the knights have spoken my friend," Omnimon added, "Until you can justify your actions to the rest of us we have no choice but to displace you as leader of the Royal Knights."

"Do you really want to do this?" Piedmon growled.

"I'm afraid we have no other choice, my friend." Alphamon sighed.

"Very well." Piedmon said with no intentions of going quietly.

The Digital World, Now

They lay there for a week, maybe more. It didn't really matter. Somehow they stayed alive. Dynasmon and Paladin had destroyed Dexmon after a lengthy and unnecessarily described battle. They procured all of the Digidestined and Leopardmon and arrived at the cliff where Matt and Tai resided just before Dexmon exploded, knocking the lot of them out. The world tore apart around them. But they were together. They were alive.

"Ow…" Eric sat upright and gripped the side of his head, a massive headache pounding his skull. "What just happened?"

"We kicked JumboGamemon's giant metal butt that's what," Tentomon groaned at his side, "Us and Rhodo."

"Who?" Eric groaned.

"Crusadermon," Tentomon answered, "Royal Knight: Salamon and Kari."

"Oh." Eric fell back asleep. Tai woke up later.

"Did we win?" Tai asked no one in particular as he sat up against a rock. "Oh my…" He looked around at his surroundings and almost fainted again. The cliff that they were all on was about the only solid object left in the digital world. It was sitting obscurely on the outskirts of the atmosphere. The digital world was now a googolplex of pieces of data scrambling around a central point, where the cries of a monster could be heard. Deep space was the only other scenery.

"Oh, this looks like a problem." Agumon slowly rose to his feet and stumbled over again.

"Could be worse," Elecmon woke up and added.

"How is that?" Eric inquired as he and Tentomon woke up again.

"That could be us in there."

"Instead of Apocalymon? Yeah, he's a real improvement." Renamon retorted. After her comment everyone else groggily began to wake up. They greeted each other with different levels of excitement for different people, and then returned to the conversation at hand.

"I meant the data Saka," Elecmon gave her a dirty look.

"So what are we going to do: now that Apocalymon is awake?" Ken inquired.

"What? Why?" Eric groaned. "What did you people do while we were out?"

"The usual," Ken groaned, "We kicked the bad guy's but and then he became even more powerful than he was before."

"Is that all?" Izzy added sarcastically.

"Seriously," Matt continued, "Apocalymon is in there, he's pissed, he's more powerful than all of us combined, and he's got three doses of revenge to dish out on us."

"Where did you get an arbitrary number like three?"

"Well that's just awful." Yolei sighed. "What do we do?"

"We fight him." Tai answered. "Or them. Or whatever the hell Apocalymon refers to him/her/itself/themselves as."

"But that's suicide." Kazu complained.

"Maybe. But we can't just sit around and wait for the situation to get better. Either we beat him now or everything that we've done since we arrived in the digital world has been for nothing."

"Is it possible that we could win?" Kari inquired.

"It's not a question of "if" Kari." Tai continued. "All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing."

"That's a beautiful quote Tai but you're forgetting that Susanoomon and Chronomon were much more powerful than any of the Royal Knights and even they couldn't beat him. The 12 Olympians had to sacrifice themselves just to destroy him." Eric replied.

"We have more than the Royal Knights Eric," Tai responded, "We have the entire support of the digital world behind us." An object floating in front of him then caught his attention. Tai turned to see his digivice floating through the air parallel to their rock. He grabbed the digivice in a quick and dramatic motion. "And we have a little bit of luck on our side as well."

"We're not just the Royal Knights are we though?" Renamon asked rhetorically. "We also have you." She indicated to the humans.

"With your power combined with ours, we definitely have the power to make a tremendous difference from the last time; maybe even win." Terriermon joined in.

"Then we'll all do this, together," Said Agumon, "Royal Knights and Digidestined: humans and Digimon."

"Is everyone ready?" Gabumon asked. They all nodded.

"Mushroomon, warp digivolve to… Puppetmon!"

"Betamon, warp digivolve to… MetalSeadramon!"

"Hagurumon, warp digivolve to… HiAndromon!"

"Keramon, warp digivolve to… Diaboromon!"

"Gomamon, warp digivolve to… Zudomon!"

"Our turn." Patamon smiled.

R-O-Y-A-L D-I-G-I-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N

"Elecmon, Royal Digivolve to… Leopardmon!"

"Rika!"

"Renamon!"

"Royal Digivolve to… KabukiSakuyamon!"

"Izzy!"

"Terriermon!"

"Royal Digivolve to… GoldenRapidmon!"

"Takeru!"

"Patamon!"

"Royal Digivolve to… Dynasmon!"

"Kari!"

"Salamon!"

"Royal Digivolve to… Crusadermon!"

"Eric!"

"Tentomon!"

"Royal Digivolve to… Craniamon!"

"Ken!"

"Wormmon!" "Veemon!"

"Royal Digivolve to… PaladinImperialdramon!"

"Tai!"

"Matt!"

"Agumon!"

"Gabumon!"

"Royal Digivolve to… Omnimon!"

"You should ride on me guys." Zudomon said to the remaining humans. The situation didn't need to be discussed any more. They clambered onto Joe's partner's back.

"We're missing a few people," Said Saka, "Gallantmon, Ulforce, Magnamon, none of them are with us. Are we still going to be able to do this?"

"We went to all the effort of digivolving, we might as well." Leopardmon replied.

"Let's do this." Omnimon extended his sword, and they were off. In the middle of space, the rock they were on was the only thing with any gravity, so they had no problem flying through the air. The humans were a little concerned about the air and lack thereof, but that issue seemed to have resolved itself so they put it behind them. They hovered their way over to the massive sphere of rotating data, which only took a few minutes, and then stopped to discuss their next obstacle.

"Councilman Paladin, would you like to do the honors?" Saka inquired in reference to making a pathway through.

"Why thank you councilwoman Saka." Paladin smiled. He hadn't had a conversation with his fellow knights for a very long time. "I think I will." He unsheathed his sword and made two huge slashes in the data, disrupting the flow in that region. It tore one large hole that was just big enough for everyone to fit through.

"And so we go." Omnimon dived into the sphere first, and the others followed suit.

"GRAAAHHH!" Apocalymon gripped his head in agony, a seething pain pulsing through it. He was a dark blue, humanoid warrior, with long fingers with long red nails. He wore a black helmet that looked like a smooth raven skull, and had a black and red cape with a huge collar that pointed far beyond his face. His legs were nothing more than strands of fleshy tubes attached to a metal base. But that was nothing. His real girth was about 10 times bigger than HerculesKabuterimon and his kin. A huge hexagonal steal polygon, 1000 feet wide and tall, held nine golden panels. One was at the top, and that was where Apocalymon resided. The other was at the bottom, and was a pyramidal point. The other seven concealed chain arms with claws like those seen on Machinedramon, Gigadramon, and Megadramon.

Alas, his pain. For many years now, Apocalymon had been six different entities: Parisimon, JumboGamemon, Phoenixmon, Pharaohmon, Vikemon, and Rosemon. Now, they were one again, and it was giving him a headache.

"Piedmon!" The master level digimon exclaimed. Immediately, Piedmon faded into view before him.

"What seems to be the problem Lord Apocalymon?" Piedmon asked a little condescendingly.

"We are having trouble readjusting," He said through grinding teeth, "The digidestined will be here soon. Hold them off while I recompose myself."

"Of course," Piedmon bowed respectively, "Nothing would give me more pleasure." He then faded away. He reemerged closer to the barrier of Apocalymon's temporary sanctum, sensing where his brethren were on the other side. "If I don't have some land or something to control at the end of this I'll be severely pissed." He spoke while staring at the countless pieces of data flowing before him.

Two slashes in the sphere suddenly cut through and disturbed the flow of data in that region.

"Of course, it is not like I could do anything about that." The slashes flapped open, and a string of individuals, 13 to be exact, flew through.

"What a surprise." Omnimon said sarcastically at the sight of Piedmon.

"You were expecting me?" Piedmon laughed in the same manner. "I'm flattered."

"Are you really going to try to stop us from getting to Apocalymon?" Saka asked skeptically.

"I figured I might give it a shot." Piedmon answered defiantly.

"Always a liar, aren't you?" Omnimon growled.

"Let's just cut to the chase, shall we?" Piedmon unsheathed a sword.

"Fine then," Omnimon answered, "Wait here." He told the others. They nodded, and Omnimon lunged forward.

"Trump Sword!" With a flick of his wrist, the other three swords sheathed on his back slipped out of their casings and jetted towards Omnimon quickly. Omnimon wind milled his sword arm in front of him, knocking the blades away easily. He then quickened forward with his arm drawn backwards. He stopped short in front of Piedmon and thrust his arm forward. Piedmon hopped backwards to dodge and then swung his foot at Omnimon's side. Omnimon blocked with his arm, then punched at Piedmon with his Garuru arm. Piedmon caught it; then he swung Omnimon away. Omnimon, with little surfaces or friction to aid him, flew rapidly through the air, barely screeching to a halt before crashing into the data field.

The swords returned to Piedmon's sheaths.

Omnimon barely had time to react before Piedmon was on top of him, punching and kicking with rapid fury. Omnimon roll-dodged and then flipped around Piedmon, kicking him in the back. Then Omnimon got a result he had not expected; Piedmon flew into the digital field, and disappeared.

"Did I kill him?" Omnimon asked with wide eyes.

He hadn't.

Piedmon's arm lunged out of the inner side of the sphere (a few feet from its original position) and grabbed Omnimon by the collar, dragging him into the field with him.

"Ugh!" Omnimon rolled into what he saw as a pitch-white room, with no distinguishable figures whatsoever. He quickly recovered from his fall and hovered into a defensive position. It was unnecessary, however, as Piedmon was floating near where they had entered.

"It looks like we have our own private fighting area." Piedmon chuckled as he drifted away from the exit, rapidly making its location more difficult to ascertain. "Shall we-UGH!" Omnimon rushed forward immediately and punched Piedmon in the gut. "Ow!" He complained obviously. Omnimon wasn't paying attention, however. He swung his leg up and kicked at Piedmon's head. The clown barely dodged and then pushed his heel into Omnimon's gut. Omnimon fell backwards, but not without a response.

"Supreme Cannon!" With Garuru arm extended, Omnimon blasted a deadly blow at Piedmon, who had little recourse but to curl into a defensive ball. The energy blast wounded his side and threw him back far. "I'm done with this." Omnimon then extended his blade (and retracted his cannon) and rushed at Piedmonn. The clown flipped away, and suffered a cut on his frilly pants. Piedmon then handstand kicked at Omnimon whilst spinning for multiple strikes. Omnimon balled away and then extended his Garuru arm once again.

"Clown Trick!" A cloth slipped out of Piedmon's sleeve as he flipped upright, and then tossed the form altering device at Omega.

"Supreme Cannon!" The blast could do little more than obliterate the rapidly grown cloth, but it spared Omnimon. He then had the chance to strike again. "Nova Blast!" From the tip of his sword, a great fireball jettisoned towards Piedmon.

"Trump Sword!" Piedmon crossed all four swords in front of his body to defend from the attack. He then directed the blades to slice at Omnimon, who knocked each one away with his gauntlets. The swords corrected themselves and dove again for Omnimon, who this time crushed two of the blades and kicked away the other two.

"Crap." Piedmon barked.

"That must be disconcerting for you." Omnimon mocked his former leader.

"Oh shut up." Piedmon rolled his eyes as he returned the two remaining blades to his palms.

"Are you proud of what you've accomplished right now?" Omnimon taunted. "You're trapped in here with half your weapons gone and completely at the mercy of someone you've wronged on multiple occasions. As usual you seem to have made a critical error."

"And as usual you seem to misinterpret the intentions of your enemy Omega." Piedmon smiled wickedly.

"What is that supposed to mean?" Omnimon growled.

"It means while we're trapped in here, locked in our epic battle, your friends are desperately trying to figure out how to free you, while Apocalymon has the chance to recover from the headaches he has been suffering from six minds recombining."

"Damn." Omnimon said after a few moments.

"If it makes you feel any better I didn't plan this, it was just a really fortunate happenstance."

"Have I ever told you how annoying you are?" Omnimon asked rhetorically.

"Yes, quite a few times if I'm not mistaken." Piedmon answered anyway.

"Supreme Cannon!" Omnimon shot at Piedmon unsuccessfully.

"Crimson Lightning!" Piedmon shot at Omnimon unsuccessfully.

"Ice Wolf Bite!"

"Clown Trick!"

"Transcendent Sword!"

"Touch of Evil!"

A few short minutes later, neither of them had made any progress.

"Is this how you want to continue Piedmon," Omnimon groaned after a while, "Both of us hitting each other with sticks to no avail?"

"Whatever keeps you here." Piedmon breathed heavily.

"You disgust me," Omnimon growled, "The way you constantly betray us time and time again with no remorse for your actions."

"The feeling is mutual Omega." Piedmon same with the same irritation.

"What's that?" Omnimon asked in shock.

"You think I sided with Apocalymon because I wanted to betray you?" For once, Piedmon dropped his guard. "I did it because you betrayed me, by isolating me from the group and then killing me!"

"We had no intentions to kill you Piedmon!" Omnimon lashed back. "You were the one that had to make a fight out of it!"

"Agh!" Piedmon lunged forward with his blades drawn and dropped them down on Omnimon. His former ally responded by extending his Grey Sword and blocking. Piedmon persisted in pushing against Omnimon, however, their faces right in each other. "Do you know how horrid it was when you walked into my chamber? My friends of hundreds of years betrayed me just because I came back a little different and couldn't handle it!"

"Urgh!" Omnimon pushed back with his sword and jumped forward to attempt to strike at Piedmon's head. Piedmon knocked it away with his two rapiers and skidded to a defensive stance. "We deposed you because you were becoming a tyrant and none of us wanted an unnecessary revolution!"

"A tyrant?" Piedmon was outraged. "The digital world was a mess after the war; I had to crack down or we would have fallen into chaos." He re-sheathed his swords and lunged at Omnimon with a balled fist. Omnimon punched Piedmon away and then rushed at him with his gauntlets poised for pummeling.

"You neglected to consult with us! You didn't take into consideration what your policies were doing to the digimon! You taxed like you were the medieval Catholic Church, and then you rewarded those who squashed any resistance! Behind our backs! Your system wasn't preventing chaos, it was causing it!" Omnimon screamed.

Piedmon dropped down and shoved his foot into Omnimon's gut. The ultimate mega then flew over Piedmon and stumbled over a few yards away. "Maybe I was a bit of a tyrant then," Piedmon stood up and brushed himself off, "But my tyranny would have been vastly better than any social disorder that would have occurred had I done nothing."

"The digimon were ready to rebuild, voluntarily. But they needed a leader to unite them, not control them." Omnimon stood up.

"The digimon weren't prepared to do anything. They can't do anything without proper guidance."

"The Seraphim I knew would never have subscribed to such garbage."

"Well that's the problem Omega," Piedmon turned his head, "I'm not the Seraphim you knew. He was lost when Myotismon fought and killed him. But he sacrificed himself to create me, someone he thought could take his place. But he was obviously wrong." He turned back to Omnimon, who had disappeared. "Guh!" Omnimon appeared above him and kicked Piedmon in the head, knocking him down. Piedmon was too stunned to react.

"We removed you temporarily so we could have a rational discussion about your activities. We did not betray you, you betrayed us."

"You forced me out of my office with weapons drawn," Piedmon breathed as he began to stand up, "How was I supposed to interpret that." Omnimon, who had been walking away, turned around and punched Piedmon in the face. The former leader fell to the ground, too weak to continue. "Go ahead, finish it."

"You think I'm that stupid?" Omnimon tapped his head. "The gate out of the Dark Plane is gone. I'm not even sure if the plane exists anymore. I kill you, and then you take over my body? Fat chance. And the weapons were there, but not drawn. If that's the way you interpreted it, then I'm sorry. But that was your choice to view the disposition as a volatile act, and your decision alone." Omnimon began to walk away again.

"You won't even give me the dignity of a quick death," Piedmon sighed, "Betraying me again." At this Omnimon twirled around and stared at him with absolute hatred. "I wasn't going to take over you Omnimon; there'd be no point. I'd just have to go through this all over again, and most likely you'd have the consciousness to do the same thing that Seraphim did and combine our consciouses." Omnimon stomped over to Piedmon and kicked him in the side.

"You know what the worst part about this is?" Omnimon asked angrily. "I could forgive you, for everything. You haven't actually caused any irreversible damage, aside from bringing Apocalymon back. No one's worse for wear than they were before the dark beacon. But there would be no point, because you're so wrapped up in your self-righteous revenge crusade that you'd fail to see that we're still your friends. Do you think we enjoyed removing you Piedmon? Do you think I've enjoyed the three times that I killed you?"

"Well I didn't think it put a smile on your face but…" Piedmon struggled to laugh.

"You know what, I am sorry. I'm sorry we removed you, I'm sorry we killed you. You were my friend and that was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. But you left us no choice. You're just as responsible for the past as we are, and maybe you should think about that next time you decide to make a statement." Omnimon started walking away, towards the invisible exit. "Goodbye Piedmon; have a nice life." Omnimon lunged through the hole and disappeared.

Piedmon lay there.

Omnimon exited the bubble in the data field's structure and immediately noticed that he was much farther away from the entrance they had made. The bubble must have been flowing with the rest of the field. Fortunately he hadn't gone too far. Omnimon looked on to see KabukiSakuyamon shooting fire foxes at large segments of the wall in order to find the hole.

"Saka!" He called to her. The Royal Knight immediately stopped her assault as Omnimon flew towards her.

"Omega, are you alright?" She asked her comrade upon his return.

"Yes I'm fine." Omnimon answered obliviously.

"What happened to Piedmon?" She inquired.

"I left him in that hiccup. We'll deal with him later."

"Of course." Saka nodded. The two then returned to the rest of the group (minus Craniamon, Dynasmon, and Paladin, who were searching for him as well). Once the others had returned, the digidestined continued on towards Apocalymon.

"So you just left Piedmon alive?" Yolei inquired Omnimon.

"If he combined with me, we'd be much worse off. We need everyone possible to defeat Apocalymon."

"Where do you think Apocalymon is in here?" Crusadermon inquired.

"I'd bet the center, ego maniac that he is." Paladin added.

"Then the center's where we'll go." Said Omnimon.

He recovered. The six digimon had successfully merged their minds. Now what once was many was now one: a legion. Apocalymon was whole.

"Where is Piedmon already?" Apocalymon whispered to himself.

"He won't be joining you." A voice said from behind spoke. Apocalymon's panel turned around so he could see who had spoken. Omnimon and the rest of the digidestined now hovered behind him.

"Omnimon, Paladin, the rest of you: are you proud of yourselves?" Apocalymon laughed.

"We did what we had to do." PaladinImperialdramon answered.

"I'm sure you did." Apocalymon smiled as he hovered to a position above them.

"Can we cut to the chase?" Omnimon asked.

"Very well," Apocalymon answered with an annoyingly smug smile on his face.

"Apocalymon, are you going to continue the actions that forced Susanoomon and Chronomon to turn against you?" Saka asked officially.

"I wouldn't dream of anything less."

"Very well then," Saka answered, "then we have no choice but to destroy you."

"You can try." He glared happily.

"Supreme Cannon!" Omnimon shot a usually deadly blast at Apocalymon, who responded by swinging his one of his claws upwards and blocking the shot. It had no effect.

"Aussterben!" Leopardmon slashed his sword, creating an electric shockwave that struck at Apocalymon. Another claw blocked this blast as well.

"My turn…" Apocalymon whispered, and then one of his claws slithered through the Royal Knights extraordinarily fast and stung at Leopardmon.

"GRAH!" Leopardmon immediately doubled over in pain, even though contact with the claw lasted for half a second, and began to fall through the air. Diaboromon lunged to catch him.

"What the hell was that?" Joe gasped.

"Each of Apocalymon's arms represents one of the deadly sins of humanity, all with corresponding effects." Crusadermon, who was closest, answered.

"That one is Belphegor, of sloth. It drains a digimon's energy extremely fast: ironic, no?" Dynasmon added. As he spoke, another one of Apocalymon's arms swung towards him.

"Look out!" Zoe warned. Dynasmon turned just in time to give him the reaction time needed to flip over the claw heading towards him.

"Asmodeus, lust: clouds a digimon's head with detrimental hallucinations." Crusadermon explained.

"We can't be exposed like this; split up." Paladin ordered. Everyone complied. Zudomon flew back to safety while the rest of the digidestined/knights surrounded Apocalymon in a loosely knit sphere.

"Oh, whatever will I do?" Apocalymon said sarcastically.

"Everyone attack together!" Omnimon ordered.

"Positron Laser!"

"Spirit Strike!"

"Breath of Wyvern!"

"Fist of Athena!"

"Shock Wringer!"

"Tri-Beam!"

"Puppet Pummel!"

"River of Power!"

"Atomic Ray!"

"Web Wrecker!"

"Thor's Hammer!"

"Aussterben!"

"Supreme Cannon!" 13 attacks shot at Apocalymon from all sides. The master had nowhere to go: because he didn't need to. Each attack bounced off of his polyhedron body, fading away in a wisp of harmless smoke. "No, it didn't do anything." Omnimon said with wide eyes.

"Even with the power of the humans with us it's still not enough." Saka cried in revelation.

"Yes, you all are screwed!" Apocalymon laughed, and then his seven arms lashed out in seven directions. The digimon dodged, but it was not enough. Dynasmon, Crusadermon, GoldenRapidmon, Puppetmon, MetalSeadramon, HiAndromon, and Diaboromon were all knocked out.

"No…" Omnimon whispered to himself at the sight of his fallen comrades.

"Any other great ideas?" Apocalymon laughed as he did the first decent thing of the day and threw all of the fainted digimon in an invisible corner together.

"Our entire plan has been ruined Omega," Saka said sorrowfully as she, he, Paladin, Craniamon, and the partially wounded Leopardmon regrouped in front of (and between Apocalymon and them) Zudomon and his passengers, "What are we supposed to do?"

"I don't know." Omnimon replied with the greatest fear in his eyes the other knights had ever seen.

"That's because there is nothing you can do." Apocalymon answered for him, "My powers are un-stoppable. You should never have let me re-combine, for now you will all die!" The satisfaction on Apocalymon's face was immense. "Crimson Flame!" A long flamethrower began to fire from all seven of Apocalymon's claws, spiraling towards the digidestined who now could not move because of Zudomon's precious cargo behind them. Fortunately, the situation didn't escalate, for a red and white figure faded into view in between Apocalymon and the digidestined, forcing Apocalymon to cease his attack.

"Piedmon…?" Omnimon whispered in confusion. The other Knights did as well.

"Piedmon, what the hell are you doing?" Apocalymon grilled his servant. Piedmon didn't answer. He was just floating there, staring to the right of the Royal Knights and not at them or Apocalymon.

"I didn't think you'd have any energy left after our battle." Omnimon glared at Piedmon with confusion and anger.

"Shut up." Piedmon complained.

"Piedmon, would you care to tell me what you are doing?" Apocalymon cocked his head. "I mean, I don't mind moving but I have a lot more girth than you and I'd rather not have to deal with the inconvenience."

"Dear Yggdrasil you listened to me." Omnimon gasped.

"I said shut up." Piedmon said more irritated than angry.

"What is going on here?" Both Saka and Apocalymon whispered.

"A lot of this could have been avoided if we had talked beforehand." Piedmon spoke in the general direction of the Royal Knights.

"I agree." A hint of a smile popped into the corner of Omnimon's mouth.

"Admit that you were too rash when you dragged me out of my chamber." Piedmon turned to Omnimon.

"No!" Omnimon was offended.

"You created a situation that made me think I had no other choice Omnimon." Piedmon demanded.

"Okay, I'll concede that." Omnimon answered.

"I still don't agree with you, not by a long shot." He hovered over to the Knights' position.

"At least we still have something in common." Omnimon answered. "I don't agree with you either."

"Oh Yggdrasil…" Paladin realized what was going on.

"Oh shit." Apocalymon realized as well.

"Am I hearing this correctly?" GoldenRapidmon flashed before the group. Apocalymon was too stunned to react as the rest of the digimon woke up and rushed over to the main group. Zudomon migrated to the others as well.

"Yes you are," Craniamon gaped, "Piedmon's absolving himself."

"We all are," Omnimon added, "We've all contributed to the situation at hand: some more than others, but in the end we're all responsible."

"I don't give a damn whoever's at fault as long as we keep this situation going." Dynasmon said with glee.

"This is messed up." Apocalymon's face dropped.

"Then are we all okay with this?" Omnimon asked everybody.

"I couldn't imagine many reasons why not." Crusadermon spoke for everyone as they all nodded.

"Good." Omnimon extended his hand. Piedmon grasped his palm firmly.

"I'm not happy about this: not one bit." Piedmon said through grinding teeth.

"None of us are too thrilled, but it's for the best, and you know it." Omnimon smiled.

"I hate you." Piedmon growled.

"I hate you too buddy." Omnimon laughed.

"No!" Apocalymon groaned. "This is completely unnecessary! After everything they… and you… what the…"

"Apocalymon has another accomplice," Said Piedmon, "One who created the Dark Beacon and manipulate the digital world a few times, to create that mountain and to open the portals from the Dark Plane."

"We'll deal with that later." Said Omnimon. "Now let's kill him please."

"Why? Couldn't you do that without my help anyway?" Piedmon gave the faintest hint of a smile.

"Funny." Omnimon answered. "Transcendent Sword!"

"Spirit Strike!"

"Positron Laser!"

"Final Spell!" With palms together, Piedmon fired a sonic blast at Apocalymon.

Apocalymon blocked with three claws, but the combined efforts of four councilmen was finally enough to crack one of his arms, Satan.

"GAH!" Apocalymon yanked his arm back in fury. "Damn you!"

"No how about damn you- Supreme Cannon!" Omnimon fired at Apocalymon.

"Crimson Fire!" From six positions fire began to overcome the digidestined.

"Miracle Missile!" GoldenRapidmon joined in on the assault.

"Web Wrecker!" As did Diaboromon. Matter of fact, everyone fired back at Apocalymon.

"Concentrate your fire!" Omnimon ordered. Everyone did. They focused their shots on one position, and their combined energies ripped through the fire, killing it, and rocketed towards one spot on Apocalymon. He wasn't fast enough to dodge. The combined attacks of fourteen digimon slammed into Apocalymon's polyhedron and cracked it.

Apocalymon flailed around in pain.

"Look at that; all we needed was one more Knight to make this thing work." Omnimon chuckled. Unfortunately, the digidestined's victory shrouded the fact that Apocalymon's flailing was actually a ruse to strike at the closest one.

Belphegor slung through the air and snapped onto Piedmon's waist."Agh…" Piedmon winced. He was already weak from his fight with Omnimon. But Belphegor wasn't draining his power. It was squeezing. Apocalymon wasn't playing around.

"You talk about betrayal like you're so righteous and then you commit it right before me. If you want to return to your old alliances so badly then you can be the first to join them: in hell!"

"No! Seraphim!" Omnimon lunged at his ally, but Apocalymon knocked him away with another claw.

"I guess… this wasn't… the best idea…" Piedmon gasped, "But you know what they say… if at first you don't succeed…"

"Seraphim no!" The three councilmen yelled once they realized what was happening.

"Die!" Apocalymon screamed and crushed Piedmon's body.

"Redefine what you did as success!" Seraphim gasped before his body exploded into thousands of pieces of data.

"All done," Apocalymon whispered.

"Not quite!" Yolei screamed.

"Yolei!" Omnimon silenced her to draw attention away from the vulnerable digidestined. "Not quite!" He snapped at Apocalymon.

"What is that supposed to mean?" The master growled.

"You don't know very much about Piedmon, do you?" Crusadermon asked triumphantly.

"I don't…" A lurch in Apocalymon's gut stopped him from speaking. "What in the name of Yggdrasil…" He doubled over in pain, some unseen force taking over him.

"You may be all powerful Apocalymon," Omnimon glared, "But you're still a digimon like any other, which makes you susceptible to the techniques that Piedmon learned in the digital core."

"Digital core!" Apocalymon screamed mostly out of pain. His head then began to vibrate quickly, and a second later Apocalymon had dropped to where his knees should have been and breathed heavily.

"Run." Piedmon instructed them.

"Don't do this Seraphim." Someone protested.

"I don't have much of a choice now do I?" He chuckled. A pain in his thigh signaled that Apocalymon was trying to regain control.

"We can find another way." Said Saka.
"We really can't." Piedmon replied. "This data field around us: it contains the entire third plane, maybe even all of the digital world. It won't break on its own, but if I destroy it than the data can re-settle and fix itself."

"How do you know?" GoldenRapidmon inquired.

"I'm a part of Apocalymon now." Piedmon answered.

"I'm so sorry this had to happen." Omnimon said in reluctant acceptance.

"It's okay, now run." Piedmon barked. "Get as far away from here as you can, past the data field. I'll hold off and give you as much time as possible."

"Thank you Seraphim." Crusadermon spoke.

"Go!" He ordered. The others complied. The digidestiend/Royal Knights flew through the air back in the direction they came, and escaped through the hole that Paladin had made back to the rock they had started out on.

"I should have just stayed in that freaking grotto." Piedmon struggled to say. "Total Annihilation!" With that, the pent up energy inside of Apocalymon exploded and both he and Piedmon were no more. The energy shock waved through space and severed the data field that contained some unknown bulk of the digital world.

"Damn him…" Paladin said from their fortified rock.

After only a few seconds, the explosion ended. The shock wave disappeared, and the sound faded away into the deepest reaches of space. Once over, the destined looked on at the aftermath of the explosion. A googolplex of data flakes were slowly rotating through the air, now in no particular order. Some were clumping together, others layering into a ground. Soon, the digital world would be reformed and everything would be back to normal.

"He did it." Omnimon commented as the lot of them stood on the rock.

"He stopped Apocalymon." Paladin sighed.

"But he did cause them to come back." Zoe reasoned.

"Piedmon said the Dark Masters had an outside accomplice: someone who created the Dark Beacon, opened the portals out of the Dark Plane, and created that mountain that disrupted us on our travels. He was just their tool at first: they would have come back anyway."

"What's that?" Puppetmon pointed into the air. The group looked up to see a long tube snaking across the sky. Upon further inspection they saw that it was a system of tubes webbing around the entire sky.

"It's the data streams." GoldenRapidmon answered. "Now that there's no physical digital world they're visible to the naked eye." After his statement, an entire tube to their left exploded and disappeared. "Uh oh."

"What's happening?" Koichi panicked.

"No…" Craniamon whispered, "The explosion, it must have shattered the data streams. They won't last much longer."

"What does that mean?" Asked Kazu.

"It means we have to get you home: now." Omnimon announced.

They were off once again. Zudomon shepherded the digidestined up to the highest data stream tube, where the massive bubble that was the hub between the digital world and the internet was located. They stopped just below the entrance to the hub, where part of the surface of the tube was shattered and offered an entrance into the stream.

"Time to go," Omnimon spoke, and then held his hands to his chest, focusing to remove two spirits from within his body. He unleashed them and a second later Matt and Tai stood in a daze before him. The other Royal Knights did this as well, releasing Rika, Izzy, Kari, T.K., Eric, and Ken.

"Omnimon what's going on?" Tai asked in a daze.

"The data streams that connect the human and digital worlds are crumbling due to Apocalymon's explosion. If you don't return home now, you might be trapped here forever.

"But we can't leave you like this." Matt protested.

"We don't have much of a choice." Omnimon sighed. "I'm so sorry." Everyone said a quick goodbye, and then the digidestined began to file into the data stream tube to prepare to travel into the hub. It was just about to burst, signaling the entrance to the internet.

"Any electric device should open a wormhole to the human world once you guys are inside," Said GoldenRapidmon, "Use Eric's phone or Izzy's laptop and you'll make it back fine."

"I'm sorry we have to part like this, but it's for your benefit that you return to your world before it's too late." Said Omnimon.

"Will we ever see you again?" Kari asked sadly.

"I'm sure of it," Crusadermon answered, "But for now, this is the way it has to be. Goodbye." With a wave from all of the partner digimon, the last human slipped into the data stream, and they were all dragged into the central hub. Once there, the hub exploded and the destined filed into the internet. Izzy manipulated his computer, and a wormhole to the other side opened up. The destined then solemnly marched into the wormhole, expecting to see each other on the other side.

A bright light shone in Tai's face. He covered his face with his arm, and then realized he was asleep. He slowly opened his eyes and looked around. He was in a forest. A beam of morning light had penetrated the canopy and was shining in his face.

"Oh God not this place again." He moaned, thinking he was in the File Island forest.

"Tai!" Kari called to him, marching through the trees towards him. He stood up and hugged his sister.

"Where are we?" He asked.

"It's the forest, right near our park: don't you recognize it?" Kari inquired.

"Oh, right. I guess we're back." He said bitter sweetly.

"Where are the others?" Kari asked.

"I guess the wormhole returned them to where they first came to the digital world from." Tai speculated. "We should probably try to get into contact with them though, just to be safe."

"Yeah," Kari said as the same solemn truth hit her as well. They had abruptly left the digital world and barely had time to say goodbye to their friends. And they weren't sure if Crusadermon was sincere when she said they would see each other again, or had just given them false hope.

"Tai!"

"Kari!"

"Taichi Kamiya!" Suddenly, they realized that voices in the woods were calling their names.

"Is someone looking for us?" Kari inquired.

"Oh crap!" Tai exclaimed. "We've been gone for 16 hours real world time. We never came home last night; our parents must be worried sick!"

"Oh… how are we going to explain where we were?"

"We could always tell them the truth." Tai said with a smile on his face. Kari giggled, and together they walked towards the call of their mother, father, and their family friends the Matsukis, pondering how they were going to explain themselves, but mainly their thoughts were filled with memories of their digimon partners, and the horrors and ultimate triumphs they had faced in such a short time. Would they see each other again? Tai and Kari didn't know. But the future held many secrets, and Tai and Kari were willing to bet that their adventure with the Digimon wasn't over.

Epilogue

The woods were alive. Life on File Island was bustling. A gang of Elecmon frolicked through the grass, leading the baby digimon on towards the cafeteria in the middle of Primary Village. With new hope instilled in the inhabitants of the digital world, the future was looking bright. Digimon were marching through the forest, confident that an evil demon wasn't about to jump out and burn them or something or other. Citizens of the metropolis confidently marched out of their houses to work on their farms, without the looming shadow of the citadel over them. Sepikmon authorized nearly every budged request that came through his office. After all, it was a time to celebrate.

But things were not as great as the inhabitants would have liked to believe. As the frolicking Elecmon and baby digimon bounded out of the fields of digimon eggs and into the main center of Primary Village, a dark figure stepped quietly out of the woods. Blue hair, orange vest, and brown pants, the figure was shrouded in a dark veil, making his facial figures difficult to determine. But his disturbing persona was not nearly as worrisome as his task.

Marching softly across the fields, the human child held his palm out to feel for the right egg. Using a new sense granted to him by a mysterious power, he could detect the best vessel for what he was about to release.

He found it too. A pair of twin digi-eggs leaned next to each other was the boy's target. He quietly slipped over to them, and after carefully weighing which was better calmly placed his palm over the right egg. His influence was barely noticeable, but some of the darkness covering him snaked over the egg and then phased into it. His job done, the boy set the egg down and walked back to the woods, as quietly as he came. Then he stopped. He spotted a tree a short distance away from him in the woods.

He hated it. He didn't know why. It was like all of the other trees. All he knew was that it didn't need to be there. He walked up to it and placed his palm against the trunk. His dark veil began to snake into it. Within the minute the leaves of the tree withered and died, and after that the trunk caved inward, the life giving liquids within it gone. Satisfied, he carried on.

They're all going to pay, thought Henry Wong, I'll make sure of it.

...