Crystal Tamers



by Tremor3258



Quest for the Digital World



Fate's desperate message!



Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon! See previous disclaimers for those who do!



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Dark Pearl: yet another extension of the Dark Ocean's unholy powers, this is created from the energy of a Digimon with mystical powers (Piedmon, for example), and used to conduct the dark energy to an unsuspecting Digimon. Physicists have noted that the energy pattern (from what little data was ever collected) bears some resemblance to that of the D-powers (see entry). It was the seeding of these on Earth that marked the next phase in the great continuous battle between darkness and light.



World Book entry, 2074 edition (first edition offered on-line since the Tamer Crisis)



*****************



In a few hours, the real world would begin to panic as dark powers manifested themselves among the population. However, the ominous chill wind that suddenly breezed past the still-traveling convoy had a different meaning entirely. Skullsatomon paused, bone club held warily as he sniffed the air, and then shrugged as he was unable to decipher any clues from the air. The humans in the group, primarily, felt confused, feeling something taken away.

Margaret, however, suddenly started to shiver, as Piddomon next to her did the same. Demon, looked at them puzzled, for a moment, before a spot where his forehead presumably was on his robes suddenly gleamed blue. Margaret groaned as she felt something sliding over her skin and then seeming to probe within her. The humans started to back away, wondering if this was some additional test, but after a moment the probe stopped and switched to the Angel.



Demon said in a whisper, "That can't be right, he's a stable digivolution, isn't he?" It was enough to give him a headache, especially since scanning angelic Digimon was always a bit painful. Demon looked around. Every one of the humans he had selected and pressed to their breaking points, had rookies, except for Margaret. Demon scratched his left horn in puzzlement, and shook his head. He looked around, and saw their gazes filled with fear.



He shook his head frantically, "Please," he begged, "Believe me: I have nothing to do with this. Please, I need to know: did anyone of you feel anything happen just now?" Most of the Digidestined suddenly looked ill, and Demon started to brighten, before realizing how they might react to that.



Angie touched on the master demon's arm. Her face was pale, but she still managed to stay upright. Demon's shadowed eyes narrowed. Her eyes were glowing faintly as she spoke, "Please, do not force them to look back right now. A great rift has just been forced between the souls of human and Digimon, and far too close to here."



Demon's eyes widened again, and he whispered, "Not the human power to-" Angie held her hand up to where the mouth should be on his robes to shush him.



"Yes," she said simply. "The effects are starting now, and I, no, we fear they will be great." Angie looked downcast, "This makes the situation worse. These bodies are not yet accustomed of what they must do. We must be in partnership, not control."



Demon shook his head, "That is not for me to know. I fear that which has guided my actions in the past."



Eiko Daijoji, bearer of Sincerity walked over, with a Palmon besides her. Unlike Angie, her eyes had no glow, and when she broke into the conversation, it was a normal voice, "Yes... power and dark power is scary and hard to tell apart. I could only hear Sincerity clearly once, but there's some very bad stuff still happening. If we can bring Love fully into the Digital World, then it'll buy us some time."



Angie shook her head, eyes shining brighter, "I know of what you speak, that which dogs the steps of the two worlds. But I tell you this anyway for Angie's sake. We have little control, but power. That should warn them sufficiently to bring the others in."



Margaret shrieked again, and Angie looked downcast. "You see, it is so easy to forget the actions of an individual, which is all the Digital World has depended upon in the past." Angie staggered, and eyes fading, she said urgently, "They will come, but remember, your decisions shape all our futures." Angie suddenly jerked, as if cut loose from strings, and was left rubbing her head weakly.



Demon, didn't pay any attention, having already flown over again by the angel. With his mystical senses.. it was plain to see her life energy was being drained to something. Demon shuddered, but pulled himself together. He wanted the opportunity for the Digital World to grow on its own, and he'd just gotten a divine go-ahead on the subject. But this was no time for irony.



"You had better be right, Serenity," he prayed under his breath, "Or it's the end of all the spirits." Louder, he spoke forcefully to the shaking Margaret. "I'm sorry, child, but I see one choice in the time and conditions. The others are not yet in condition to care. Listen carefully, for I need your blessing for this to continue." Margaret listened, eyes growing wider as Demon outlined the plan, but sobbing slightly, she closed her eyes, accepting.



Demon motioned, bringing Lady Devimon closer, "I am going to break the seal," he explained. Lady Devimon nodded, a bit confused about bringing her over. Demon shook his cloaked head, "No, there is no time for subtleties. I must remove all the darkness I have cast, and the only ones with knowledge about the powers I have left to slumber are not yet in this world."



Lady Devimon's eyes widened. If Demon pushed things with the Children's psyches too far while removing his influence, they could call down sufficient power to crack the Digital World in two. "I trust your powers in this regard, my lord," she stated, eyes lowered, "But surely there are better soldiers to find them. I was their enemy!"



Demon nodded, "Yes," he confirmed, "But you have access to the sealed gate I placed in that area, and have knowledge about them that no one else who is trustworthy possesses. Even with the Gods moving so quickly, your connection should see the way through to getting information to them. They can contain this energy somehow, and we need that information."



Angie, still rubbing her head nearby, whispered, speaking for herself, "Put my name on it." The two powerful demons looked at her, and she insisted, "It may help them come here sooner. If things are getting so bad here... Jessica won't leave without some face on it."



Lady Devimon hesitated for a moment, then nodded, "All right. I will see about seeking her," her voice catching for a moment, "attention out specifically, and work on creating a path through the Net. I fly, my lord." Demon bowed, granting her leave, and her wings unfurled as she took to the air through the dark sky.

Demon watched her go for a moment and allowed himself a single deep breath, before returning to command. Quickly, he shouted out orders to his followers. "We're going to need whatever medicinal herbs you can find as soon as possible, as well as some sort of defensible area." Demon's voice became more grim as he explained, "I'm not sure what damage this maneuver will inflict on someone tied to the Digital World." The various Demon Corps scurried off, aided by some of the Children as they tromped through the woods.



The might viral Mega, however, simply knelt down, putting one hand on Piddomon and the other on Margaret's head. After a moment of internal preparation, he shouted, "Evil Inferno!" Dark flame sprouted from both his hands, but the two under the attack did not burn, physically at least. After several moments, Piddomon screamed as grey energy began to flow out of his body, before being consumed by the hungry flames. Several agonizing moments went by before Piddomon started to shrink, glowing golden as he reverted to Patamon.



A ways away, a mighty hunter could feel the diseased power begin to spill from the Angel Digimon. Baihumon bared his teeth in a toothy grin. "So, you pass the second hurdle sufficiently. You will yet prove to be the worthy challenge I feel we need." Done overseeing for the time being, the Holy Beast went to report to his brothers on what they wanted to know about progress, and then, a little messaging work.





****************



The Real World, several hours later, was also reacting to a series of ill events. "Reports continue in from around the globe. The powerful Digimon who have pledged their loyalty to humanity have suddenly lost their greatest power, that of digivolution. Reports also indicate berserk Digimon appearing in large numbers for the first time in decades, but still equipped with the digivolution power," came the voice of a frantic-sounding newsreporter over the radio in Allen's apartment.



Allen shook his head sadly at the reports, but Guilmon looked offended at the term, "'Pledged loyalty?' What are we, conquered nations?"



Allen pat the Digimon's head, "It's more difficult for humanity to give what you do freely. Even the Digidestined are having trouble reaching higher levels in today's world, right?" he explained, before going back to searching his room for additional cards. The children still stuck in the Digital World had sent an e-mail begging for them, and Allen and Guilmon had shot out of the room, past the girls' hesitation on the matter.



"You really miss her, don't you?" Guilmon asked.



Allen paused in his search, sighing deeply. "You never know how much someone means until they're gone, Guilmon," he said softly, "But if we're having this much trouble here, than the Digital World's probably in worse shape! If Margaret's there, I'll do whatever I can to help her."

Back at school, another conference was taking place. A massive white dragon, western-style, lay curled into a mound of sparkling scales against the reddening sun. The school area was more or less quiet, but it was a quiet tension. The streets were quiet, people unsure of what would happen next.



"What should we do, Chromamon?" Hikari asked, lying down on the dragon's warm back. Tanemon was sleeping on her chest, exhausted by the long day. Jessica, however, was as far up as Chromamon's side-spines would permit, and she was searching the area for more of the black orbs with her D-power raised high.



"I don't know, Hikari," Chromamon rumbled softly, as not to disturb her partner, "It's gotten so confusing lately. All this power flowing in, and it's related to evolutions, and my friends, and Jessica, and we can't even truly help... all we can do is stay here and deal with shadows." Chormamon huffed, neck sagging slightly. "I wish I'd stayed small forever, when the big problem was a few punk kids, then maybe this wouldn't have happened."



"Don't you dare say that, ever!" commanded Jessica angrily, smacking Chromamon's scales with a resounding slap. "Whatever this power is, it's not some form of darkness! I know," Jessica said, a bit sullenly and voice dropping lower as she sat down besides Hikari on Chromamon's back, petting Tanemon. "I can feel it," she repeated childishly, and rubbed her neck.



Hikari patted Jessica's hand tenderly. "I believe in you Jessica," she said resolutely after Jessica looked at her, startled. "It's... life, or something, whatever you have, and whatever you gave me, and I envy you for it. You're brighter because of it, and this area is better. Whatever happened seems to be rare around here, for once," Hikari said, darkening for a moment. "Allen's shown that people can have powers to, and you show that power isn't an end." Hikari held up her D-power for a moment and sighed. "I just hope I can be an example some day too."



Jessica's mouth hung open in astonishment, Chromamon, head arched around, mirroring her expression. It took a few moments for Jessica to find her voice, "You really think I've managed to be all that?" Jessica asked tentatively.



Chromamon nodded at Jessica, "Naturally. I'm so happy you're my partner." The champion giggled, "I'm just surprised by Hikari. I didn't know she was this well spoken."



The young girl blushed and stammered, "I was inspired."



Jessica's eyes smiled and took Hikari's hands for a moment, "Thank you, that means a lot to me." Her eyes narrowed and the Tamer spun around to riding position on Chromamon again, "And you reminded me that we don't have to always be reactive. Chromamon! To the game shop! If that message was true, then we're going to need more cards!"



**************



"Allen..."



Allen unable to sleep, shot straight upright as he heard his name whispered sibilantly. A quick look around his room, lit by a sudden (if now expected) crackle of icy energy from his D-power on his dresser, had the only thing out of place being Guilmon sleeping on the foot of his bed, rather than the floor. Allen blinked a few times and lay back down, rubbing his eyes. "I need more sleep. I'm turning into Jessica and hearing voices!" Allen chuckled nervously to himself.



"If you were Jessica, then you'd have remembered me," came the voice again, but with less hissing. Allen could now tell the voice was female. The shadows cast by the D-powers light began to flow together into a humanoid shape, and Allen's eyes widened in recognition. "Ah, THERE you go," she said encouragingly, "I seriously wonder what Margaret sees in you." A slight pause, and then, spitefully, "I mean, besides being the obvious catspaw."



"Lady Devimon," Allen said, cold as death itself, "Get out."



Lady Devimon stepped out of the shadows, profile fully visible, hands raised in a gesture of surrender. "Come now, Allen. You must have figured out we're working towards similar ends here. There are forces working to control-"



"And you're one of them!" he said, stress making his voice scratchy, "Or you think I'll ever forget what you did?"



Lady Devimon shook her head, then smiled ferally, "Of course not. It was a test, boy, in the way of the Digital World. And now... I'm going to offer you what Jessica would never see, or even think to look for."



"Ten minutes of relaxation?" the host of Friendship asked skeptically.



Lady Devimon hissed at that, "Do not seek to play games with me, Allen! I could still yet crush you... except the next bearer of your Crest may not be as strong." She paused for a moment, looking abashed at something, then continued, "No. Jessica has many strengths, but in this case, one is a weakness. She is more than content to stay and try to guard your world, for ever, and let others continuing to seek your friends. You, however, can see that the chaos is continuing to rise. The two worlds do not have much time left, with the Tamers yet uncomplete. Do not look surprised, I have been watching you. Your sleep is disturbed, and you know where you must go now from your dreams, if not yet your mind."



"The Digital World?" Allen asked, anger forgotten, replaced by sadness, "It's impossible. The gates are sealed.. the only thing coming out are more problems, and Jessica and my D-powers can't open gates."



Lady Devimon smiled again, "Too focused on what is in front of your eyes. You have passed every test, your strength is at a peak for what can be achieved in this world at the moment... but you forget one gate exists NOT of the Guardians, you even said you would never forget it!" She chuckled at Allen's look of shock, "I made that gate, and can feel it... your powers have an impact on it... you think now, if you focused on that dark gate, your powers could not tear it open as easily as they did the skies with Kamiya?"



Lady Devimon bowed and then began to slide out of view, back to the darkness, "I have said my peace... though I must warn you, the gate works because it uses a common connection between both worlds. Find it, and your powers can yet stop the destruction of all. Unless, of course, you wish to continue your card games." A harsh, derisive chuckle echoed around the room, as it came to a stop, so did the presence of the powerful dark Ultimate, quiet but for the sounds of Guilmon's continued breathing.



Allen sat up and turned on the light, hugging his knees, as his eyes saw scenes far removed from his room. He did not return to sleep that night.



**********



The next morning... the city was quiet, but for the sound of sirens in the distance. More dark orbs had appeared in the night, and emergency crews were desperately trying to rein in the berserkers. A battle as futile was raging in the school computer room.



"Digi-port open!" Jessica said for the tenth time, holding out the D-power, but the computer remained silent. "Open! Please?" she tried finally, before throwing her hands in the air in disgust and slumping down next to the reverted Crystalmon, who was watching with amused interest on top of a small pile of luggage... mainly card cases, and a backpack.



In the chair next to where Jessica spun sullenly, Hikari and Tanemon rested. Hikari consoled, "Relax, Jessica... even swiping the digi-port card didn't do anything, and it's not like anyone else can get a digi-port to work right now."



"I know... but if messages are coming out, I was hoping people could get in," she complained, "I just want to find the people, get them back, and go back to worrying about not getting shaken down for lunch money. I'll bet you... I don't know, one of those super-deluxe Wargreymon plushies that the e-mail is just a product of our hopeful imaginations. The gates just aren't opening."



A sudden thunder crack interrupted the conversation, crashing the conversation to a halt as the windows rattled in their frames. Crystalmon and Tanemon, protecting their Tamers, and with better hearing, rushed to the wall nearest the blast and peered out a window. "What is it?" asked Hikari, frightened "Another dark digivolution?"



The two shared a glance, but did not speak for a minute, despite continued prompting. Finally, Crystalmon spoke, not turning to meet her partner's gaze. "Sorry Jessica," Crystalmon said, "But I think you just made a bad bet, for once." The humans rushed to join the Digimon. Out in the playground, where it had begun, a lifetime or two months before, stood Allen with Growlmon. The Tamer was eerily lit from raw energy pouring out of his D-power, impacting against a dark aura in the air, as well as a ghostly presence that flickered and faded around him. It seemed to have been going on for some time, for the lights of another place were visible from their perspective against the ground.



Jessica glanced at her D-power, and the blood drained from her face. The Tamer scooped up her Rookie, who clambered onto her head without a word as she struggled with a backpack and a few cases. Hikari rushed to join her mentor, picking up the rest of the luggage. "What's going on?" she asked, "How is that possible?"



"I don't know," said Jessica thinly, alarm and (to be honest) irritation in her voice, "But I don't know how he decided to do it, but if he keeps using the D-power like that, the drain could kill him!"



************



Three minutes later, the four were on the playground, behind Allen's back. The portal was now half the size needed for Growlmon, and displayed a strange world of linear structures, simplistic, without much detail, and no visible support. Allen called to them, an odd doubling in his voice, "See, Kindness... I did it. And it wasn't that hard, either. All I had to do was... reach." Allen's shoulders trembled at the last word, but the hand holding the D-power was rock-steady.



"Great!" said Jessica, sounding more frightened than enthusiastic, "Just hang on for a second and let me help you. It's really no fun burning yourself out like that, trust me." Jessica clambered a bit for her D-power, but Allen's next words forestalled her.



"You wouldn't want to help this way... you're not built for it." Jessica blinked, confused but ready to make the transition over to anger. Allen continued, not noticing, "It isn't me that's the worry... it's all my friends there. I have to protect them."



Hikari spoke up timorously, "Allen, we're your friends too. A team, remember?"



Allen nodded slightly, "Yes, that's why I waited for Kindness to come as well. The Digital World needs our strength to stop the darkness." The portal, meanwhile, continued to expand, growing faster as it became larger. "This gate will soon be spotted. We need to go."



"I'll help with the luggage?" Growlmon offered weakly, shrugging at the confused glance he got from the assorted girls. His Tamer's behavior was troublesome... but he could feel through their link Allen clearly thought this right.



Jessica sighed, rubbing her eyes for a few seconds, before straightening to stare at Hikari with a faint smile. "I'm sorry, Hikari, but I think this field trip is one you can't go on yet. I'm sorry, but I think I'm going to have to wait to finish your training."



Tanemon puffed up, "Don't worry, Jessica. I'll digivolve for sure any time now, and then Hikari and I will keep this place safe! You just hurry up and do... whatever it is Allen wants and not have to worry about us!"



Hikari smiled, and nodded agreement. "I'm sure you'll be fine... you guys have beaten up all the darkness here so far, so I'm sure you and the other kids can finish it up in no time... Just be sure to hurry back before that Wargreymon goes off sale! I'd feel bad taking all your money."

Jessica smiled, weakly, which her insides twitched. Things were moving faster and faster... and if it wasn't for the reassuring reality of Crystalmon's weight on her head and shoulders, she'd be certain she was dreaming. "All right, Allen," she said, "You seem to know where we're going, I guess." Allen nodded confidently. "I just wish that made me feel better," she mumbled, and then shook her head. The old feeling of helplessness seemed back in this place. She chuckled, and explained at Crystalmon's worried glance, "I guess I am just a control freak... Not in charge, and now I'm panicking."



Crystalmon patted her on the shoulder with a foot, "Relax, Jessica. I'm sure Allen's just rushing because he found a sudden opening... we'll go in, and do the good we've always done. Now cheer up, kiddo! I don't want to have to worry about the Digital World AND you." Jessica smiled, wanly, but started moving forward as Growlmon got the luggage.



"It's time," Allen said, cutting across the empty playground. Indeed, the portal was easily large enough to pass the large dinosaur. Jessica squared her shoulders and marched forward. Next to Allen, she dropped one card case to wave at Hikari, but Allen stopped her with a phrase, "Hurry.. I can't maintain this very long." Sighing, Jessica stomped forward, Crystalmon waving in lieu of her Tamer... as the four passed through the portal with a faint shimmering of light... which then snapped to a close with a deafening crash, knocking Hikari to the ground.



"What now?" Tanemon asked after the ringing in her ears stopped.



Hikari stood up, brushing the gravel off her rear, and said, with only a faint quaver, "Do what we would normally do when we're in a bit over our heads... Be brave, don't run... and call for help! Let's hope Mr. Kamiya's willing to do us some favors," Hikari said, walking towards her home and a phone, with only a single mournful glance behind her.



**************



"Where are we, Allen?" Growlmon asked, as the four floated in mid-air on the other side of the portal. Wherever they were, it was unlike any space any had seen before. They hovered in some space with no horizon, surrounded by white, broken up regularly by a black gridwork. All around them floated bright squares, whose interior were scenes as mundane as a traffic light, and as fantastic as entire galaxies.



"The Internet," answered a harsh feminine voice. The four spun around, despite no surfaces, and Allen growled when he saw the speaker. Lady Devimon floated in mid-air, apparently just behind where the portal had been. She gave a short bow, "This is where the world's connect... and the only pathway still open across the barrier. You've shown great personal strength to make it so far alone, and I give you congratulations."



The demonic Digimon bowed, but when she straightened, one arm had a heavy blade attached. She continued, saddened, "But it is with a heavy heart that I tell you that a strong heart is no longer enough... but strength of arms as well." She glared at Jessica, until Crystalmon leapt in front, growling. There was a slight, sad smile on her face as she continued, "My lord requires the true keepers of the Crest Spirits, and it has long been my task to obtain them." She snapped her fingers, opening a square... beyond which was a blighted forest landscape. "Make it past me... and the way to the Digital World is clear, and my chosen duty is at an end. Fail... and pray that the world lives long enough to find the ones it needs."



***********



To be continued....





Author's Notes: I'm sorry... it's been about a year and a half since I posted, and I deeply apologize for that... A great sticking point was to get the Digital World scene at the beginning of the chapter just right... it was critical for the future development of the story, but it took me a ways to get it until I felt it right for the characters... and to introduce more of the other Crest-bearers. Hammering the rest of it into place was easy, but finally deciding on a chunk of time to do it in took FAR too long. As I said, I'm sorry.



Still, it's up... and the search for the Digital World is almost complete, as the story moves into another 'arc' of episodes... with more of why things are the way they are is revealed, with some character origins, the source of the Crest spirits, as well as the unveiling of more of the grand design and those unfinished prophecies. to be completed.... soon? I hope, if school doesn't get away from me again.