Chapter 35: The Darkness Within
Digital World, File Island
February 7th, 2010
Henry had awoken. He tried to look around, but found his head completely locked in place. Dirt and debris surrounded his face, blocking his airways. He tried to breathe in, only sucking up dirt, and began coughing violently as a result.
"You can't stay like this." The voice in his head warned. "Use your strength, and free yourself from this prison."
Henry knew that the voice was right. He was going to die if he didn't use his abilities. Focusing, he began to materialize a dark mist around his body. It quickly ate away at the debris, giving him room to move. He unleashed the energy, sending it upwards. It disintegrated the earth around him, opening a hole to the surface. Henry crawled out, shielding his eyes against the harsh sun. Once they were adjusted, he began surveying his surroundings, finding that he was on top of Infinity Mountain on File Island.
"How long have I been down there?" He groaned, speaking rhetorically.
"It's been over a week." The voice inside his head replied. "You would have died, had I not enveloped you in a protective seal while you healed."
"What the…?" Henry looked around, searching for the voice. "Who said that?"
"I'm offended. Do you really not remember me?" It hissed. "After all those years, trapped in the bottom of that mountain: spend a few years topside and you forget all about me, your closest friend?"
"No…" Henry said as he realized who was speaking to him. "That's not possible. I made you up. I was just talking to myself so that I wouldn't go insane."
"Talking to yourself so that you wouldn't go insane?" The voice laughed. "Do you understand how ridiculous that sounds?"
"This can't be true. You can't be real!" Henry gripped his head as he began to develop a headache.
"Oh I am real, more so than you could ever imagine." It replied. "And I've been waiting for just this moment."
"What are you talking about?" Henry whimpered as his head began to pound harder and harder.
"I've been grooming you, Henry. Your body will become the vessel with which I return to tangible form."
"I don't understand. What do you mean return?" Henry inquired. "You've existed before? Who are you?"
"You don't need to know that. All that you need to know is that little outburst last week was just what I needed to be free. I couldn't capitalize the first time you did it back at Shichiri village. You weren't vulnerable enough for me to escape. But this time was perfect. You were trapped underneath the dirt, suffocating. You couldn't defend yourself. This allowed me to free myself from that hellacious prison you call a mind and seep into your body. Now I've finally gained complete control. All I needed was to wake you up so I could 'switch drivers', if you will."
"What you're saying, it doesn't make any sense." Henry shook his head. "This isn't real, you don't exist!"
"You can cry all you want but it won't change the truth!" The voice grew louder, as if it was echoing throughout his skull. "This body is mine now!" The voice spoke through his mouth. Henry gasped, clasping his hand over his mouth.
"No…" Henry gasped.
"I've been sitting on the sidelines for years, whispering in your ear, guiding you towards this moment. Now it's finally my turn to take control!"
"No!" Henry tried to fight as he began to lose control of his body. He dropped to his knees, gripping the sides of his head, as every muscle resisted his commands. He was helpless as he watched his body change color, becoming an even darker purple than before. He became detached from his body, falling into the back of his mind, as the voice inside his head took full control.
"This is my body now." The new Henry stood up and began to feel the side of his left arm with his right palm. He brushed his hand through his hair and took a deep gasp. "Ah, it's been too long since I've been able to walk around in a tangible body of my own. Even if it is an ugly meat sack such as this, it's still real!" He stretched his arms above his head, working his new muscles after they had been confined for so long.
"Let me out!" Henry yelled from within.
"I'm sorry, but you are no longer a part of my plan." He laughed. "Henry, your part is done. I thank you, now go away!"
"No!" Henry cried, "This is my body!" His voice grew quieter inside the imposter's mind. "I won't let you do this! Let me out!" His words faded, and eventually disappeared altogether. The new Henry was alone.
"Finally, I'm free of that foolish boy." He breathed in deeply once more. "Onto the next phase," The new Henry calmly began walking down the slope of the mountain, enjoying his newfound freedom. "Now, where is Primary village from here?"
Tokyo Subway System
Takato stared blankly out the window of the compartment, watching the walls of the subway tunnel pass by. He couldn't help but feel a little amazement as the metal tube flew through the passageway, admiring the tenacity of the structure. Throughout the entire invasion of Tokyo by the Digimon, the vast majority of the subway system had remained not only intact, but completely unharmed. It seemed that the Knightmon hadn't the time to fully infiltrate the underground passageways, allowing not only them but the large number of Tokyo citizens who had chosen to hide within them to stay safe from the intruders.
Takato let his head role to the side, his body lazily sprawled across the empty seat. He saw a newspaper lying on the ground, and decided to read it out of boredom. The boy shook his head as he read the headline:
Tokyo Recovers from Mysterious Terrorist Attack
He admired the ability of humans to find the simplest explanation to a problem and roll with it, no matter how many holes that explanation might have. The story said that an unknown terrorist group had unleashed a massive assault on Tokyo, destroying hundreds of buildings and kidnapping thousands of citizens while dressed as medieval knights to hide their identities. It'd be a nice explanation too, had it done anything to account for the giant monsters that were raging about Tokyo the entire time.
However Takato had accepted that the citizens of Tokyo would convince themselves of this explanation. It was easier for them to forget about the giant monsters and assume a terrorist attack than to acknowledge the existence of otherworldly monsters. Not all were so easy to accept the easier lie, however. Tai and Matt's fathers had both been instrumental in fighting the digital horde, and a small SAT team had also experienced the fighting first hand. Satoshi, Katsu, and Matsumoto had quickly given up trying to convince their superiors that they had fought monsters from another world, but they wouldn't forget about the battle that had cost the lives of a number of their friends.
On the other side of the compartment, Kairo lay across the empty seat, sound asleep. The two boys were traveling to Odaiba from Kairo's residence in Shinjuku, on their way to a meeting with the other Digidestined. Following the aftermath of the battle, the Digidestined had not wanted to make a large fuss over their existence, so they had quickly dispersed, locating their parents and following them home. Takato's family had decided to stay at Kairo's house for a while, while repairs began on Odaiba. The island had seen one of the largest battles and was one of the most heavily damaged parts of the city.
Trapped in Shinjuku, Takato had almost no communication with the other Digidestined. He only had Kairo to talk to, who hadn't been very talkative without his partner around. His other companion he could only speak to in the silent safety of the room he had been sharing with Kairo. He looked down at his lap, into the open backpack that he was holding. Gigimon, the in-training form of Guilmon, was secretly nestled within, out of sight of curious eyes. Though even if someone did see the Digimon, he simply looked like a stuffed animal.
The train stopped and the doors opened, and the only other passengers in the car, a woman and her young son, exited. Takato, Kairo, and Gigimon were now alone. Takato sighed with some relief. He took the backpack off of his lap and placed it down on the seat next to him, pulling the bag wide open so that the Digimon inside could easily wiggle free. The small red dinosaur slipped out of the backpack, rolling onto the floor.
"I thought those people would never leave Takatomon," Gigimon lamented as he hopped back up onto the seat to speak with his partner, "I thought for sure I was going to be stuck in that bag all the way to Odaiba." The Digimon hopped back down onto the floor and began skipping up and down the aisle as he stretched his legs, glad to be free of the confines of the bag.
"Hey Takatomon, whatcha thinking about?" The Digimon once again climbed up to the seat. "You're looking kinda down."
"No, it's nothing Gigimon." Takato shook his head. "Actually, there was one small thing on my mind."
"Do you…" Takato hesitated to continue, "Do you remember what it was like when we merged together?"
"Of course I do, don't you?" Gigimon tilted his head-body.
"I didn't remember anything at first." Takato revealed. "The whole thing was just one big blur. It was like I was asleep. But now, I'm starting to remember bits and pieces. Nothing concrete, more like feelings I had at the time, you know?"
"I remember everything," Gigimon answered, "And you're right. It felt great. Becoming one with you granted me more power than I could ever imagine. I was a Royal Knight before I met you Takatomon, but even back then I didn't have nearly as much strength as when we fused together."
"Yeah, that's the feeling I'm talking about," Takato said in agreement, "It's not like I know exactly what the power felt like, but I know it was something greater than either of us had ever felt before. And someday, when we need to, I want to do it again."
"You might get your wish sooner than you think Takatomon." Gigimon said somberly.
"What do you mean?"
"It's hard to explain, but I can sense something coming." Gigimon's eyes became slits as he stared off into space. "I don't know what is, but it's something bad, and something incredibly strong. It is way stronger than anything we've ever faced before. Etemon was nothing compared to this."
"And you're sure about this?" Takato inquired.
"Yeah I am, unfortunately. We have our work cut out for us Takatomon, and we might not be prepared for what is to come."
"Don't worry." Takato stood up, his fist clenched. "Whatever it is, we'll find a way to defeat it, no matter how strong it is. When we were fighting Etemon everything about the situation screamed that we should have lost, but we beat the odds and came out stronger than ever before. I don't care who or what is coming: we will defeat them."
"I like your attitude Takatomon!" Gigimon jumped up happily. As he did, the train stopped once more, and the doors opened.
"Oh no, someone's coming!" Takato ducked down, grabbed his backpack, and scooped his partner inside. The Digimon's tail wiggled violently as he tried to force him inside.
"Agh, Takatomon: that hurts!"
"Shh, be quiet!"
Takato and Kairo arrived on the rooftop of the Odaiba apartment complex. A large group of humans and Digimon awaited them. Izzy and Yolei stood over the computer, with Izzy rapidly typing on the keyboard. Tai and Kari stood with their parents, explaining the machine to them as best as they could, while Matt and his father Hiroaki watched them. Jeri, Iori, Davis, and Junpei were dispersed around the rooftop, talking with their partners.
"Kairo!" Monodramon, who was leaning lazily against the penthouse garage, bounced up when he saw his partner, and ran over to greet him.
"Hey Takato," Yolei looked up upon Monodramon's call, and seeing the newcomers, waved the boy over.
"Hello Yolei." Takato replied respectfully as he slipped his backpack off and unzipped it, allowing Gigimon to hop out. The in-training Digimon gasped for air, having been trapped within the bag for almost half an hour. "It looks like we're missing a few people." He looked over to Gomamon and Kudamon, who were also leaning against the penthouse garage with nothing to do.
"Joe's coming," Yolei answered, "And he's picking up Sora on the way here. They shouldn't be much longer: Joe called earlier and said he was only a few minutes away."
"Alright then," Takato nodded, "In the meantime, what are we doing here?"
"It'd be best to wait until Joe and Sora got here," Tai answered, "But basically we're going back to the digital world."
"That's kind of sudden," Takato scratched his chin, "Not that I don't want to go back, but what's the rush?"
"For one thing, we promised we'd come back after we finished helping our world." Jeri piped in. "It's been almost a week since then."
"In addition to that, there are a few loose ends we have to clear up." Izzy added.
"Like what?" Takato inquired.
"Like me." Junpei growled, glaring at Izzy. "Your friend thinks there's a 'dark needle' inside me that needs to be taken out."
"But there is J.P.," Kairo walked over to his fellow Digidestined, "They found the same thing inside of me." He reached his hand out for the boy's shoulder.
"Shut up!" Junpei knocked Kairo's arm away and sneered. "Even if there was something wrong with me, I don't need the help from you people." He glared angrily at Kairo, who stumbled backwards with a frown.
"You don't have much of a choice." Yolei growled. "You're going to the digital world and getting that needle taken out of you." She crossed her arms, standing over the boy in an intimidating pose. Junpei looked away and grumbled.
"What are the other loose ends?" Takato inquired.
"We need to go to the fourth plane, where the Devas were stationed," Izzy explained, "And figure out if Makuramon and any of the other Devas that were allied with him are still alive. We also need to figure out if any of the Devas that are still loyal to Etemon are alive and make sure that they don't try to cause trouble in the real world again." As he spoke, Joe and Sora arrived from the stairway and greeted their partners. Izzy recapped for them what the two main objectives were.
"There's one more thing we should all be aware of," Takato added, looking towards Gigimon, "Gigimon says he senses something coming from the digital world: something more powerful than anything we've ever faced before."
"What do you mean?" Kari bent down towards Gigimon, who was staring at the digital gate with widened eyes.
"It's just a feeling," Gigimon replied, never taking his eyes off the gate, "But it's definitely there. I'm not sure what it is, but it's in the digital world right now, waiting for us."
"How can you know that for sure?" Junpei inquired. "Is it because you're 'Gallantmon the incorruptible'? Give me a break." He scoffed.
"I wasn't lying about that," Gigimon growled, darting his eyes towards Junpei. The boy looked away nervously when the Digimon's gaze reached him. "My master Susanoomon created me specifically with an incorruptible data core, so that I could be an impartial judge for the Royal Knights. But no, that's not why I know about the evil in the digital world. As a Digimon, I'm connected to it, and can feel when there's a disturbance. My connection is stronger now that my memories as a Royal Knight have returned as well."
"While we're on that subject," Matt looked down at the Digimon, "Why did you become a Royal Knight at the mega level? The rest of our partners had to reach ultimate mega before they regained their memories."
"Not all of us Knights had reached ultimate mega when the first wave of the dark beacon consumed the digital world." Gigimon answered. "I and a handful of other Knights were of the mega level when it occurred. However that does not mean we are ordinary megas. We possess strength far superior to any mega-level Digimon, with or without the activation energy required for a first time Digivolution."
"If you're done interrogating my partner," Takato interjected, "We should get on with this discussion of the digital world, please."
"Sorry Takato," Matt apologized.
"Anyway," Izzy continued, "Since the gate is now fully operational, and there's no longer any interference from Etemon and whatever signal he was using to bring the data field into the human world, there's nothing stopping us from returning to the digital world. I suggest that the active Digidestined split up into two groups. Kairo, Iori, Sora, and Joe can go to the fourth plane and search for Makuramon. Meanwhile Takato, Jeri, Davis, and J.P. can go to the digital world proper and find a way to purge the dark needle from Junpei, as well as investigate Gigimon's claims of a new evil."
"We will be coming too." Tai stepped forward with Matt standing behind him. "We want to go to Primary village and assess the situation with our partner Digimon." A grunt from behind him directed Tai's attention towards his parents. "I mean, if that's okay with you guys." He smiled at them innocently.
"We're not comfortable with letting you go into this new world that you've just told us about all alone," Susumu responded, "You're just kids for God's sake."
"However you all proved to be able to handle yourselves last week better than any of us ever could." Hiroaki added.
"Come on Dad," Matt rubbed the back of his head and smiled, "You kicked ass back there."
"Nonetheless we still worry about you all, but we know we can't stop you from leaving if you are really determined to go." Yuuko added. "And on top of that, it wouldn't be right of us to do so. You have an obligation to that world and we can't stand in the way."
"However we want you all to stay in constant contact with us." Susumu ordered. "If we know that you are safe, we can be comfortable with letting you head off into an unknown situation."
"That might be a little difficult." Iori added. "We don't really have a fast way of travelling between the worlds, at least not the return trip."
"I can modify everyone's digivices to be like mine." Kairo proposed. "In maybe half an hour I can make everybody's digivice able to travel between the human and digital worlds with the press of a button."
"Dad, if it's not too much to ask," Tai scratched his head, "Would you be able to cover for the rest of the Digidestined who are going there, so that their parents don't worry?"
"I'm not comfortable lying to other parents who would be as worried as we would be," Susumu shook his head, "But as long as you stay in constant contact and let us know that everybody is safe, I can tell the other parents that their children are safe as well."
"Can do." Kairo nodded. "Now if everybody could give me their digivices." He reached his hand out for the first digivice, which was handed to him by Takato. Half an hour later, Kairo had finished. Now everybody's digivice was equipped with a new button that could open a portal to the human world.
"Alright, if everybody is ready, we can begin." Izzy began typing away on his computer. "I'm programming the gate to open in the digital world in the last place where a portal had formed, which will be the fourth plane." The machine began to whir, and a sheet of plasma formed in the center, surprising Susumu and Yuuko. "It's good to go."
"Let's move then." Joe stepped forward with Gomamon.
"Wouldn't it be a good idea to bring supplies like last time?" Sora inquired.
"There is no need, as long as you can quickly travel between the human and digital worlds." Izzy responded. Sora nodded unsurely, and then joined Joe along with Kudamon, who was riding on her shoulder.
"I'm ready, let's do this." Iori nodded as he and Kairo walked forward with their partners.
"Let's just hope we didn't leave the digital world in too large a mess." Kairo sighed.
"Come on!" Joe stepped forward and fell into the portal. Gomamon trailed after him, followed by Sora.
"Let us venture forth once more my friends!" Coronamon cheered, and leaped into the portal as well. Iori looked hesitant for a second, but soon followed after him. Kairo looked at Monodramon, and the two nodded to each other, and then stepped into the portal together. Once everyone was clear, Izzy turned off the machine. The plasma sheet disappeared, and the machine was silent.
"Okay, now for the next group. I'm setting the coordinates to Primary Village on File Island." He set to work, and a moment later the gate began to whir.
"Yeah, this is going to be great!" Davis cheered, grabbing his partner's arms. "Veemon, we're finally going to get to go to the digital world!"
"Uh, yeah, it'll be great." Veemon said unsurely.
"What's wrong?" Davis inquired. "Aren't you excited to see your home?"
"Well, truth be told, I've never been there before. I was born here last week, remember?" Veemon laughed nervously.
"Oh yeah." Davis nodded. "Then it'll be an adventure for both of us." The gate before them opened.
"It's ready." Izzy stated. "There's a clear path to Primary Village. You're all good to go through."
"Let's do this!" Davis yelled happily, and pulled his partner along with him into the gate.
"Wow, he has no fear." Takato observed. "Well, are you ready Gigimon?" The small dinosaur looked up at him with beaming eyes.
"Let's do this Takatomon." It nodded. The two then leaped in after Davis and Veemon.
"Well, no sense dawdling." Tai stepped up behind Jeri and Junpei, pushing them both forward.
"He's right, let's go Lunamon." Jeri nodded to her partner. The two confidently jumped into the portal and vanished from sight.
"Your turn." Tai shoved Junpei forward once more.
"Eh, I'll pass." Junpei shrugged apathetically.
"Agh!" Gaomon yelled. Junpei looked up to see Matt tossing the rookie into the portal.
"You just gonna leave him out there?" Matt smiled.
"Asshole," Junpei grumbled, stepping forward slightly. As he did so Tai pushed hard at the boy's back, and Junpei tumbled into the gate.
"Alright, you ready Matt?" Tai smiled at his fellow Digidestined.
"I almost can't believe it." Matt smiled as well. "After all these years, I finally get to go back to the digital world. It almost seems too good to be true."
"Don't get too excited." Tai warned. "Apparently we're in for a fight once we get there."
"That's what's so exciting." He said jokingly. The two boys then ran forward together and leaped into the portal, vanishing into the sheet of plasma.
Library of the Devas
Fourth Plane, Digital World
Alone on the fourth plane of the digital world, home of the Devas, there stood a large, black Digimon. He was covered in ebony armor, with massive silver blades jutting out from his wrists. The canine Digimon had two shoulder pads that were each shaped like the head of a dog, and he also bore a helmet similar in design over his head.
Cerberumon stood deep within the catacombs of the Library of the Devas, flipping through a thick leather bound book. The volume was a physical rendition of the files stored within the digital core, something the Deva Antylamon had developed a long time ago. Having seen off the other Devas to begin invading the digital world, Cerberumon finally found himself alone, with complete access to the library. He had browsed volume after volume, searching for a specific topic.
The Devas had been gone for a week, and Cerberumon didn't know if they were dead or alive. He rightly didn't care which. All he desired was access to the library, and the contents of a particular book, the one he was reading now. Using the tip of his claw, he flipped the page, and smiled upon viewing the information written there. He closed the book and grabbed it within his jaws. He maneuvered the book under one of his shoulder pads, pinning it against the teeth like protrusions.
The monster smiled as it began climbing out of the catacombs, satisfied with the information it had just procured. He pranced forward gleefully, his deed finally complete. He had infiltrated the Devas a very long time ago, and the fruits of his labors had finally paid off. He now had access to the information he needed, and no longer had to keep up the charade of being a loyal servant to Etemon.
As the canine stepped outside, he heard a loud ripping noise. The Digimon stared out into the open space of the fourth plane, down a wooden walkway towards a circular platform floating in the clouds. A large blue circle of light had appeared in the middle of it, and a number of small figures were stepping through.
"Someone is coming." The Digimon growled. "Odd; it's not the Devas." He said with curiosity in his voice. "I wonder what they're up to."
Primary Village, File Island
New Henry stood at the top of a hill, overlooking the tranquil Primary Village. He smirked as he contemplated how best to execute his plan, wondering exactly where he would begin. As the entity began to walk down the hill, however, he saw a large blue portal open in the distance. A number of humans and Digimon piled out, landing in the field outside of the main village.
"Perfect," New Henry smiled; "Now the fun can begin."