"You KNEW she was going to be there!"

"Oh come on! 'Defeat a group of rebellious Gazimon.' Did you honestly think it would be that easy?"

"So you sent her there before us? You know how we don't get along!"

"Oh please. You both serve under the same organization. You gotta learn to work together sooner or later."

"Like I care!"

"Hey, this is a dictatorship, not a democracy kid. What you want aint my top priority."

Jiro observed as the admin and GM argued with each other. It was rather obvious that Hyde hated this girl with a passion, but he couldn't help but wonder what it was that made him that way. Leo was simply observing the scene as well, his hands in his pockets, with Lucemon standing beside him. Lily was standing a short ways away from him, her Black Gatomon hanging onto her shoulder as they exchanged snide remarks, probably about Hyde, judging from how the two treated each other.

Aside from the four that Jiro already knew, two more teenagers had joined them in the admin room, each with their partners. One was a boy with a head of messy, red hair, with fairly tanned skin, looking of Mediterranean decent. He was sitting on the floor cross-legged, playing poker with what seemed to be a floating, living candle. The both of them were very into their game, not paying any heed to the bickering between the admin and the GM. Earlier, the boy had introduced himself as Al, the GM that they had been comparing him to earlier. Both him and his digimon had excellent poker faces, gazing into each others eyes intensely. The digimon, Candlemon, revealed his hand to his partner.

"Straight flush!" He said contently "Beat that!"

Jiro's attention then shifted to Al, who was smirking deviously and put his hand down for his partner to see.

"Royal Flush." He said in a proud manner "I win. You clean my room tonight."

"S-seriously!?" The digimon exclaimed, dumbfounded "Y-you cant be serious! And that place is a pig sty!"

"A bets a bet." Al responded, picking up the cards and shuffling them together once more. "Unless you wanna go double or nothing? Loser cleans the room and mows the lawn."

"Of course!" The digimon remarked, and swiped the deck out of his partners hand "I shuffle this time though."

"Heh, whatever floats your boat." Al said, and shrugged as his partner shuffled the deck. Jiro took his attention off those two. He had a feeling their game would go on for quite some time. He looked at the other person in the room.

She was another teenage girl, looking about Meg or Lily's age, and like everyone else, she was wearing the same Crimson Phoenix uniform that seemed to be standard for everyone. She had raven black hair, with a single stripe of blue going down it, most likely dyed. On her shoulder was perched a little bat-like digimon, which Jiro recognized to be a DemiDevimon. He assumed this was this Rin person who had turned up in Hyde and Impmon's gossip earlier. Jiro didn't approach her. She seemed scary, and put off that aura like she would rather not be there at the moment, her arms crossed with a rather annoyed looking expression on her face.

"Can we get on with this thing now?" She said in an annoyed fashion, interrupting the argument between the admin and GM. "Or do we seriously need to wait for him?"

Jiro assumed that by 'him' Rin meant the seventh demon lord. Looking around the room, Gluttony, Lust, Pride, Greed, and (he assumed) Wrath were all present, plus him, Sloth, left only Envy unaccounted for. Meg glanced over at the girl, and then back down at Hyde.

"If you've already been introduced to the newbie, you can leave." She said, scoffing at Hyde, who crossed his arms and headed off twords the lift, Impmon in tow. Rin walked twords it as well, but Meg spoke up once again "You stay here Rin." She instructed "Ive got an assignment I need to send you on."

Rin gave a dismayed groan, and returned to her spot. It was obvious she was not enjoying herself. Nobody else seemed to be leaving. Hyde was the only one who boarded the lift and left the room. Leo, Lily, and Al all decided to stay.

"Can you just give me the mission and let me be on my way?" Rin complained to Meg, the digimon on her shoulder smirking, seeming amused by the situation. "Id rather not stick around and wait for him. God knows how long hes gonna take to get here."

"Your gonna have ta wait till he gets here, like it or not." Meg told her, crossing her arms "Because he is coming with you."

"What?" She exclaimed, her eyes shooting a glare at Meg. "You know I don't particularly like anybody here, but at least the rest of them are competent! Why pair me up with him?"

"Because everyone else just got back from a mission." Dracmon said in place of his partner, who was looking annoyed by the current defiance in her subordinates. Jiro was beginning to see how dysfunctional this whole place was. "Leo delt with Argomon, Hyde, Lily, and the Newbie had their own engagement in the Native Forest, and Al was on diplomatic duties in the Southern Snowfields. You and him are the only two operatives who are fresh and ready to go."

"Hes never ready for anything though!" She complained "Id rather go by myself the-"

Rin ceased her complaining at the sound of the lift rising. All eyes turned to the newcomer who rose onto the platform. He was a boy, looking around the age of the rest of the teenagers. He had light skin, looking to be American like Leo, and a short head of unkempt brown hair, matching his deep brown eyes. He seemed tired and out of breath as he stepped off the lift.

"D-Demon Lord of Envy, Lionel reporting for duty M-mam!" He stuttered out, gathering his breath. The rest of the room gave him a funny look, signaling that something was wrong. For a few seconds, he looked back at their stares, trying to figure out what was amiss, before he had an epiphany, and frantically hopped back on the lift as it began to take him down once again. Rin gave an annoyed sigh, and looked back at Meg with pleading eyes.

"Do I really have to work with him?"

Digimon Dusk: Evolved Chapter 3

Enter Lionel! The Worthless Demon Lord.

"Demon Lord of Envy, Lionel and digimon partner Penguinmon, reporting for duty mam!" Lionel announced, his breathing a bit heavy, as was his partners, rather embarrassed by the fact that, in his failed attempt to arrive to the meeting on time he had left his partner behind. His digimon, Pinguinmon, as one might guess from the name, was a short penguin-like digimon, with blue feathers down his back and flippers, and white feathers covering his belly. Atop his head two antenna-like feathers extended behind him.

"…Please don't address me as 'Mam.' it makes me feel old." Meg said, looking down upon the Lord of Envy. Who quickly nodded to the head admin, before she continued, motioning to Jiro, with Phascomon still asleep in his arms. "I assume you heard we have a new member?"

"Y-yah… So im not the new guy anymore?" He asked, and headed over to Jiro "Im Lionel. I just started out here roughly a month ago… I know how it feels to be the new guy, so… I guess I got your back if you ever need it."

"The new kid can already reach his adult form." Rin said in an annoyed tone before the Lord of Sloth could introduce himself, a bit bugged by the fact that she didn't refer to him by name, but he didn't voice it "And a stable one at that. He'll probably be achieving his Perfect soon enough too. I wouldn't worry too much about him."

Lionel was a bit taken aback. That little digimon in the kids arms could already achieve champion? And a stable one? He had been trying all month, and he still couldn't manage to hold Penguinmon's champion for longer than ten minutes! That was a letdown. Here he thought he would have someone to sympathize, train, and socialize with, but apparently not. Oh well. There always was the promise of the new mission he was to be going on. Meg must have had enough faith in him that he would not screw up.

"So…" He piped up, turning back to Meg "Whats this new mission I was told about?"

Behind Meg, a large digital screen popped into existence, displaying what seemed to be a village constructed of mud and clay houses, sitting within the middle of a desert. Nothing was moving, and a time and date was displayed in the upper right corner, depicting that this was a screenshot of the digital world, as the town appeared relatively one week ago.

"This small village exists near the center of the Delta Desert." She said, motioning to the picture. Lionel and Rin were watching intently "Starting nearly a month ago, there were several random disappearances of the villages inhabitants. We sent some Mods to investigate, however their searches came up fruitless. They seemed to have simply left. There were no signs of forced entry or struggle… nothing at all.

We passed the disappearances off as runaways, and thought nothing more of it. There was nothing to prove that they had been forced out of their homes in any way. Roughly two weeks ago, the disappearances stopped as well. Everything seemed calm.

The picture you see before you is the last screenshot of the village we were able to retrieve. One week ago, our Kuramon have stopped broadcasting their video signals from that area. Our tech team has quadruple checked our surveillance programs, and have found nothing wrong with them. We can no longer say this is a simple malfunction with our system, and because it has happened with such close proximity to the digimon disappearances, we believe the events to be connected."

"This is where you two come in." Dracmon continued off his partner "If the events are truly linked, this is no simple matter we want to leave in the hands of the Mods. As GMs, the two of you will be sent to the village, and asked to observe its condition, and relay it back to us when you return. We expect you two to provide at least a bit of evidence as to why these strange phenomenon are occurring."

"Your trailmon leaves in one hour. It will take you to the closest stop to the village, and you will have to walk from there." Meg finished, looking over at the two GMs and their partners. "Any questions?"

"Um…" Lionel spoke up, raising a hand "When you say… 'the two of us' do you mean me and Pen' here? Or do you mean-"

"She means both of us and our partners working together" Rin cut off, glaring over at Lionel and his Digimon "You don't honestly think she would trust you and him alone with something like this, do you?"

Lionel gulped, and shook his head 'no'. He became very nervous. Him and Rin? Working together? Out of all his fellow GMs, he knew Rin bore a great resentment twords him. It seemed that he annoyed her the most, not that he tried or anything. He was the type of guy who wanted everyone to like him, though his efforts didn't seem to work out the ways he planned them to. Rin scoffed at Lionel, and walked over onto the lift.

"Ill see you at the station in an hour." She said as it began to descend "Don't be late again, or im just leaving without you."

He gave a nervous nod as she disappeared, and sighed. It looked like his mission would be a lot less enjoyable then he had first thought.

---

"Its hot…"

"Really hot…"

"So very hot…"

"Extremely hot…"

"WE GET IT! ITS HOT! WILL THE TWO OF YOU SHUT UP!"

It had been DemiDevimon who had snapped, tired of Lionel and Penguinmon's unproductive exchange on how efficiently the sun was performing its job.

"Easy for you to say!" Penguinmon shot back at the bat monster "Who's been sitting perched on their partners shoulder for the past hour! I wasn't built to take heat like this! My skin keeps heat in, it doesn't give it off!"

"Don't go thinking the heat is any easier on me kid! Im wearing all black! The sun is attracted to me just as much as it is to you!"

The two began to quarrel, Lionel jumping in too, and soon the sand dunes were a din of protesting voices. Rin cringed. She couldn't believe she had been restraining herself this long. If she planned to make it through this mission with her sanity intact, she would have to lay down the law now.

"ALL OF YOU SHUT UP!" She shouted, her fists clenched, yellow digital flames flowing off both of them. "UNLESS YOU GUYS FANCY A DIGISOUL FIST TO THE FACE, QUIET THE HELL DOWN BEFORE I DO SOMETHING I REGRET!"

All three of them looked to the human, and, as instructed, shut up. Penguinmon and Lionel took a step back out of fear, while Demi simply gave a cautious look to his partner, though he knew she wouldn't raise a finger against him.

"I don't give a DAM if your body was constructed to withstand subzero temperatures, its going to go through the desert, and your gonna have to deal with it." She growled, pointing an accusing finger at Penguinmon, who gulped "Complaining will change nothing except my attitude, so I suggest you refrain from that. And you" She continued, turning to Lionel "You shouldn't be complaining at all. I understand the other two's complaints, but you and me are only human. If I can wade through the hell that is your company within a scorching desert, then I very well assume you should be able to do the same.

"Y-yes mam…" The two of them squeaked out, and shrunk away so as to not anger Rin anymore. She scoffed and continued to walk ahead of the two, her digisoul disappearing from her fists.

Lionel was seriously doubting he could do this. Why pick him anyway? To the extent of his knowledge, he was the weakest out of all the current Phoenix GM's. Surely Rin and Demi could handle themselves on their own right? He was already beginning to feel like he was a hindrance. Perhaps he should volunteer himself to return home. Rin would enjoy that, he could tell. She would be better off with him not around. Suddenly, the earth shook, and there was a large 'Boom' in the near area.

"Wh… what was that?" Penguinmon eeped once it was all over. Rin glanced back at the digimon.

"Seems this is where things really start heating up." She said, and took off over the sand dune before them. "Hurry up!"

Hesitantly, Lionel followed after her, him and Penguinmon continuing twords the source of the noise. Well, it looked like backing out wouldn't be an option this time…

---

Just beyond the sand dune was the village in question. Easily recognizable from the screenshot they had seen, but vastly different at the same time, mainly because a number of buildings were crumbled and in shambles, the remaining ones taking on quite a bit of damage from an attacking digimon. It seemed to be some type of large cat creature, its body being made up of flames that burned brightly in the scorching hot desert sun. Rin held up the optical lens on the back of her digivice IC, and its image popped up on-screen.

"Lynxmon… Vaccine attribute, Armor level digimon." She muttered out after reading his information. Several of the villagers were running in the opposite direction of the attacking feline, most of them being rookies. The large cat creature proceeded to continue busting down the town and attacking the innocent bystanders there. Rin turned her head to Lionel. "Hes made of fire. It looks like you got a chance to go and make yourself useful kid."

Lionel gulped and nodded, a blue digisoul flame igniting in his hand. He cautiously looked over at Pen, who nodded slowly, and brought out his own digivice. He was worried and nervous. He didn't want to screw this up. Not infront of her.

"D… Digisoul…" He said, and held his palm over the top of his digivice, a blue symbol appearing on screen "Charge!"

He brought his hand down upon his Digivice, his Digisoul flowing into it, and Penguinmon began to glow brightly, starting to grow larger. His flippers extended into tentacles, others extending from his body, but the two made from his flippers being much larger, complete with a set of finger-like claws.

"Penguinmon…" His voice said, seeming to echo as he grew and changed "Evolve!"

The light faded, and in its place revealed a large squid-like digimon, his main body seeming to be a rather large mouth, held up by his various tentacles, his skin white in color.

"Gesomon!" He called out as the transformation completed, staring down the Lynxmon standing before him. "Hey little kitty! Pick on somebody your own size!"

The Lynxmon turned its head to the large squid digimon, growling angrily. Lionel had a smirk on his face. Perhaps he could do this. His digimon seemed confident enough… and perhaps he could hold out champion long enough to make some decent progress. He could hear his heart pounding lightly against his chest, and could tell that the digisoul burning in his fist wasn't gonna last that long, but hopefully, it would be enough.

"Knights Dome!" He called out, and raised a large wall of water, bursting out of the ground. With a wave of his tentacles, it flew forward and collided with the Lynxmon, who cried out and was thrown back a ways. The various digimon around the battle scene took cover in the remains of the houses around them if they were not able to immediately get out of firing range.

When the steam produced from the water coming into contact with Lynxmon's flaming body faded, and its form became visible again, it was rather obvious that it was not in the best of spirits. It was glaring down Gesomon, a rather angered look within its eyes… inhuman, it seemed. True, digimon themselves were not humans in the strictest sense, but they still had thoughts and feelings just like you would suspect any human to have. The current adversary was different, and Rin, Lionel, and their digimon, understood that.

"What the hell is wrong with you!" Rin demanded "Sorry buddy, but you cant just go around demolishing towns when you happen to get angry. It doesn't work like that!"

The digimon simply growled and roared, not showing its ability to interpreted human speech very well, or perhaps it just didn't care. It didn't look any happier then before though.

"Thermal Mane!" It bellowed, flames flying off its body, scorching anything unfortunate enough to be in its path as they made their way twords Gesomon, who raised another wall of water with his Knights Dome, reducing his flames to nothing but a cloud of steam. Lionel felt his spirits lift. His digimon was doing well as it was. There was no way that a fire based monster would best the water one. He could do this! And then maybe Rin would start to appreciate him a bit more…

"Thermal Mane!" Another voice bellowed, and this time it came from behind the two humans. Lionel's eyes widened as he turned to see a second Lynxmon, the same anger shining through its eyes as there was in the first one, and a large wall of flames heading twords his way. He closed his eyes and held up his arms, as if that would somehow avert the 3rd degree burns that he was about to endure. Those burns stayed within his imagination, however, as he opened his eyes and parted his arms to see that there was a large devil-looking creature standing before him, having swatted the attack away with a glowing red claw. Rin was facing the newcomer, her bright yellow digisoul shining within her hand, the Devimon obviously being the evolved form of her partner.

"What the hell are you doing!" Rin shot back to the boy, looking over her shoulder at her fellow Demon Lord "You gotta keep ontop of the ball pipsqueak! If I hadn't noticed this brute, the two of us would be nice and toasty right about now!"

Lionel felt a pit grow in his stomach at Rin's aggravation twords him, and began to become aware of the heavy beating of his heart resounding in his chest, beginning to sweat slightly, and felt an odd burning sensation in his palm where his digisoul was lit. His confidence had been shot with that remark. Perhaps things wouldn't be going to plan as he had originally thought…

---

"Hey… Megumi?" Jiro asked, looking up at their admin. He had left to home for a short while, checking in to make sure his family had not gotten worried over his absence (they had not) and returned to the castle because of the lack of anything to do. Actually, he had plenty to do at his house at the moment, but whenever he thought about that he never could decide upon what to do first, and ended up doing nothing. Coming here was actually more productive then staying at home, for him.

"Yes?" The admin responded, looking down from her platform at Jiro, not doing anything in particular at the moment either.

"Um… I was wondering… about digisoul." He said, looking down at his hand, where his dark blue flame appeared "I mean… I know the gist of what it does… that its important to digimon evolution and such, but I don't really know exactly what it is... or how it works or anything… Leo mentioned something about emotions earlier…"

"Well, he would be right on that mark kid." Meg responded, a light smirk appearing across her face at the boys question "Digisoul is the digital manifestation of human emotions. I assume you are aware that the digital world was formed from the various human communication networks out there, right?"

Jiro nodded to this. Most anybody knew this nowadays. They taught it in schools. As humans expanded their various forms of digital communication that collectively formed the internet, they spawned a whole alternate dimension. The digital world, the world existing upon the information super highway.

"Well, one of the primary purposes of the internet is for humans to express themselves. Every day humans access the internet to do a variety of things. Play with their friends on online games, hang out in chatrooms, or build virtual shrines devoted to themselves on Myspace or Facebook. Humans broadcast their emotions to the world through the internet, and those signals are what eventually develop into digimon."

"That's why your digisoul is able to evolve us kid. It gives us a charge of the emotions that created us, allowing us to ascend to the next level of evolution." It was Dracmon speaking now. "It's both a good thing and a bad one at the same time though kid. Lets look at it this way: That initial charge you give your digivice is the spark that starts up the engine, and evolves your partner. However, past this initial evolution, you are still providing your digimon with a constant stream of digisoul to maintain this evolution, shown by your 'soul remaining within the palm of your hand." Jiro looked down at his palm where his digisoul was currently burning, and allowed it to fade away "If your emotions are in check, then everything runs smoothly. However, if you lack proper control, it results in what is known as an 'unstable evolution'"

"Unstable evolutions are a danger to both the human and the digimon." Meg said, taking over for her partner "By releasing imperfect emotions through your digisoul, it begins to take a toll on both the digimon and the human. You noticed how Hyde looked back in the forest, didn't you?" The boy nodded, recalling Hydes heavy breathing and sweating. He seemed very fatigued, though he hadn't been doing anything physically straining "His digisoul had became unstable, because his emotions weren't fully controlled anymore. This resulted in his digimon performing poorly and his body receiving increased strain. An unstable digisoul backlashes upon both the human and partner, and several times may cause more harm than good."

"Additionally, digisoul has some other uses at times…" Dracmon continued, wrapping things up "Take Hyde, Rin, and Al for instance. There are times that they, especially Rin, do not enjoy simply sitting on the sidelines and watching their digimon fight. With digisoul charged into a persons fist, its possible to force this energy into a digimons body through physical contact… say, a punch. Digisoul allows effective hand-to-hand combat between humans and low level digimon, though most don't try it."

"And that just about wraps things up!" Meg ended, Al (Who was on what likely was his twentieth game of poker with Candlemon) giving a small applause, which lead the admin to give him an odd look. "So, anything else?"

"Well… If everything works how you said… The Envy guy… Lionel? He didn't seem too confident around Rin…" Jiro mentioned, recalling the scene where the two discovered they were paired with one another "If digisoul is based on emotions… was it really a good idea to pair the two of them up?"

"Kid, all of us are a part of one big family here." Dracmon responded, looking down at Jiro "Everybody has to know how to get along with everybody. We paired them up together specifically because they have some problems between each other. Hopefully, they can get past their problems together."

"Yes… and once they've accomplished that…" Meg added, trailing off.

"You still going on about that?" Dracmon said "Seriously, I doubt that Rin will reach that point with anybody, much less Lionel."

"Hey, I have a good intuition when it comes to these things!"

"Er…" Jiro cut into the debate between Meg and her digimon "What exactly are you guys talking about?"

The admin and her digimon exchanged glances, looking down at Jiro momentairily, before Meg chuckled a bit.

"Its nothing kid." She she said, smirking "Its probably nothing…"

---END CHAPTER---