Mushussu : Also known as Sirrush. A cosmic dragon in the mythology of ancient Babylon and Mesopotamia. Guardian of the Ishtar Gate of the city, associated with the god Marduk. It appeared in the video games "Final Fantasy" and "Castlevania: Dawn of sorrow". Mine is based on the Castlevania one. It has a scaly body, a long mane, lion's feet, horns, wings and a scorpion's tail.

PiedPipermon is based on the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

I own Mushussumon, DeviHyenamon, PiedPipermon (but not the original Pied Piper) and all of their attacks. Any resemblance to any made-up Digimon or attack is purely accidental.

An Armor Digimon's power is similar to that of a Champion's and were often equated as such in the card game. (Digimon Wiki)

I don't own the songs. This one is: "Falling for you", by Colbie Callait. Song lyrics are both italic and bold.

Chapter 9: Of War And Love

Victoire sighed.

- We've been walking for so long. My feet are numb.

Angel turned to her.

- Quit complaining! I'll see your numbness and I'll raise you a lower back pain.

Victoire rolled her eyes.

- Ha. Ha. Very funny. Where are we going, anyway?

Angel gave her an exasperated look.

- How should I know? We'll know when we get there. Jeez, you're worse than my three-year-old sister…

Victoire growled.

- What did you just say?

Beelzemon sighed and turned to them.

- Will you stop fighting, you two? I'm trying to think here!

Stephen snorted. Beelzemon narrowed his eyes at him, sharpening his glare to dagger points.

- Got something to say, little boy?

Stephen sniggered.

- Think you're scary, do you? Well, I'm not impressed.

Beelzemon clenched his fists.

- What the hell is your problem? Whatever really has you mad, why don't you just say it, huh? Come on. Let it out! Let's be done with it.

Stephen walked away from him, mumbling. Beelzemon heard the words "digital freaks" and he flinched.

"Human lovin' digi-slaves…"

He shuddered.

"Why do I get a bad feeling about this?"

Kory's eyes widened.

- Uh-oh. We got trouble. This one Digimon screams evil all over the place.

- Lookie lookie what I found. If it isn't the tamers.

Jamal looked at his D-Ark.

- Crescemon, Demon Man Digimon, Ultimate level. It is said that when she is showered under the moonlight, her power can be doubled.

She laughed evilly.

- Well, since you're here, let's play.

She clapped her hands. Two evil Digimon appeared out of nowhere. Jamal looked at his D-Ark for informations again.

- DeviHyenamon, Demon Beast Digimon, Champion level. Special attack is Crimson Sin. And Mushussumon, Demon Beast Digimon, Champion level. Special attack is Orb of Hell.

Angel clenched her fists.

- Time to digivolve.

Hope looked at her.

- Wait, I have a better idea. Victoire and I found our crest. We can take them all by ourselves. You guys keep your strength, I bet more evil Digimon are coming our way.

The team leader nodded half-heartedly.

- All right.

Hope turned to Wizardmon.

- You ready?

He nodded.

- Yes, let's teach them a lesson.

Determined, she swiped her crest through her D-Ark.

- DIGI MODIFY! MATRIX DIGIVOLUTION ACTIVATE!

- Wizardmon digivolve to… Mystimon!

Victoire turned to Tsukaimon.

- Your turn.

- Mmm hmm! Tsukaimon digivolve to… Darcmon!

Victoire swiped her crest through her D-Ark.

- DIGI MODIFY! MATRIX DIGIVOLUTION ACTIVATE!

- Darcmon digivolve to… HippoGryphomon!

Crescemon smirked.

- Do you honestly think you stand a chance against them?

Victoire laughed.

- Two Ultimates can take on two Champions. Your minions are toasted.

Crescemon narrowed her eyes.

- We'll see about that.

DeviHyenamon and Mushussumon sniggered. HippoGryphomon turned to Mystimon.

- You take care of the dim-witted dragon, I'll take care of the hyena clown. That's gonna be fun.

Mystimon looked amused. The evil Digimon growled at the insult. DeviHyenamon attacked.

- Crimson Sin!

He fired a beam of crimson energy from his mouth and HippoGryphomon dodged it.

- Heat Wave!

Mushussumon laughed evilly and attacked.

- Orb of Hell!

Mystimon dodged it and smirked.

- Playing with fire? All right, as you wish. Blast Fire!

The dragon cried out in pain, then growled with fury. He charged his wings with energy and purple feathers shot out of his wings.

- Shadow Feathers!

Mystimon sent him flying backward and he landed with a heavy thud on the ground, cursing loudly. Mistymon smirked.

- Children, cover your ears. Ouch, that's gonna hurt in the morning…

Crescemon looked positively furious.

- Stop messing around and kill them!

Mushussumon glared at her and launched himself at the magic warrior. Mystimon kicked him in the jaw and sent him flying backward again. DeviHyenamon gave HippoGryphomon a look full of hatred.

- Everyone will get their butt kicked!

Mystimon smirked.

- Everyone being you, of course.

The dragon looked at him, enraged.

- You're done making fun of us, you, sorry excuse for a wizard!

HippoGryphomon turned to him.

- We're just getting started, you, sorry excuse for a mon.

Beelzemon fell to the ground, clutching his stomach. He was laughing so hard he had tears running down his face. Hope watched him with an affectionate smile.

"He should laugh more often. Poor Beelzemon, he's been through so much."

Angewomon smiled at him. He stopped laughing, blushed all over his face and looked away. Hope frowned. Crescemon was yelling at her minions as they attacked once again. DeviHyenamon bit HippoGryphomon and she cried out in pain. Mystimon flew over to her and striked DeviHyenamon with his sword. HippoGryphomon got away.

- HippoGryphomon, are you all right?

She groaned.

- I'll survive.

He looked at her.

- Let's combine our attacks and let's finish this.

She glared at the enemy.

- All right. Ready when you are.

Mystimon nodded.

- Blast Fire!

- Heat Wave!

The two evil Digimon started to dissolve into data. Hope and Victoire punched the air, grinning widely.

- Yay! We did it!

Crescemon screamed in frustration.

- You won't get away with this, you hear me? This isn't over!

She clapped her hands. Another evil Digimon appeared out of nowhere. Victoire looked at her D-Ark for informations.

- PiedPipermon, Demon Man Digimon, Champion level.

She turned to Crescemon.

- Champion level? You never learn, do you?

Crescemon laughed evilly.

- PiedPipermon is no ordinary Champion level mon. If you can break free from his mind-controlling spell, which I doubt, he will finish you off with his swarm of undead rats…

The evil Digimon played his magic pipe and the Rookie Digimon started fighting each others for no reason, their eyes glowing red. Jamal panicked.

- Coronamon, what are you doing? Stop it!

Kory freaked out.

- Bearmon, don't do it!

Takao tried to run to his partner, Dorumon, but Angewomon held him back with great strength.

-There's nothing you can do, you'd only get yourself killed.

Hope frowned.

- How come Ultimate and Mega level mon aren't affect by the spell?

Angewomon turned to her.

- I think the spell can only affect Champion level and lower level Digimon.

Crescemon smirked. Beelzemon looked positively furious when he saw his Digimon friends being controlled by PiedPipermon. Beelzemon knew all too well what it was to lose control of oneself.

"When I killed Leomon, I was so juiced with power that I couldn't think clearly. And now, my friends are under a spell and they're trying to kill each others. I can't let that happen."

He turned to Crescemon.

- YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY? I'M GONNA WIPE THAT SMIRK OFF YOUR FACE!

HippoGryphomon turned to Victoire.

- It's up to us now. We're the only ones who can stop this madness.

Mystimon turned to her.

- I'm going to help.

She shook her head.

- No, you stay right where you are and you protect the kids. We'll take care of PiedPipermon.

She turned to her tamer again.

- Victoire, I need you to listen carefully to what I'm about to tell you. It's time for us to fight together as one. Remember this, darkness doesn't have to be evil. Darkness isn't a bad thing unless you choose to make it that way. Our friends, Beelzemon and Lucemon are proof of that. So don't be afraid if we turn into something scary, okay? I'm your friend and I'll always be your friend. You're safe with me, I will protect you no matter what.

She nodded. Hippogryphomon reverted to her Rookie form.

- What do you want me to do?

Tsukaimon looked at her.

- I think you know what to do. Deep down, you know, Victoire.

Victoire held her D-Ark in the air.

- BIOMERGE ACTIVATE!

She moved her D-Ark to her heart. It began glowing as did she.

- Tsukaimon biomerge to… Murmuxmon!

Victoire looked around and found out she was inside her biomerged partner, surrounded by a bubble of light. She also discovered that they were able to feel each other's thoughts and feelings. Her partner was a Demon Lord Digimon with bird-like feet, a black tail, blue draconian legs and arms, bird-like armor, red bat wings and a mask was on her face. Even though Murmuxmon exuded dark energy, she wasn't scared. She felt safe. She knew that she had a part to play in this fight, lending her strength to her partner. The other tamers looked at the Mega Digimon with wide eyes. Angel shuddered and Kory made a step backward. Beelzemon was wondering why Angewomon wasn't looking at Murmuxmon, or him, with disgust and hatred. Jamal freaked out.

- What the hell just happened? Where is Victoire?

The Mega Digimon made her way to PiedPipermon.

- I am Murmuxmon and I won't let you hurt my friends.

Victoire spoke from inside Murmuxmon

- I'll ask only once, stand down or suffer the consequences.

PiedPipermon ignored the Mega and kept playing his magic pipe. The Mega looked at him with anger.

- Fine, you asked for it. Gehenna Flame!

He spat out a purplish flame from his mouth, kinda like Tsukaimon, but much more powerful. The magic pipe broke into thousands of pieces. Meanwhile, Beelzemon was fighting Crescemon. She laughed evilly.

- Lunatic Dance!

He dodged the Nuova Luna blades and growled with fury.

- You think you can just turn my friends into freaking mindless puppets and get away with it? You're working for a cold-blooded, evil mass-murdering monster. You even take pride in your evil acts and show not a shred of remorse. The bad seeds must be rooted out before the whole of the community is infected. TASTE THIS, YOU, UGLY MAGGOT! DARKNESS CLAW!

She evaded the attack, jumped and landed on her feet, away from him.

- You're pathetic, you know that? You'll have to be a hell of a lot quicker than that if you want to delete me. And you're one to talk. You murdered one of your own.

- How…?

- Lord Daemon knows everything that's happening in the Digital World. News travel fast in our world. You can talk about good deeds and the safety of children all you want, but deep down, you're just like us. You enjoyed every minute of it, your claws cutting through Leomon like butter.

He gave her a look of pure hatred.

- SHUT UP!

She had an evil smile on her face.

- You're a monster, just like us. Might as well join us.

He clenched his fists, shaking with fury.

- NEVER!!!

He pulled out his Berenjena guns and pointed them at her.

- Double Imp… Where?

She moved so quickly he hardly had time to react. She reached out with frightening quickness, snatched Angewomon by the hair and put one of her Nuova Luna blades to the Archangel's throat.

- Maybe if it's someone you care about…

He clenched his teeth.

"What do I do, now?"

When PiedPipermon saw that his magic pipe was gone for good, he became enraged and attacked Murmuxmon.

- Vermin Attack!

But the attack barely affected the Mega.

- Gehenna Flame!

When he saw how easily Murmuxmon had burned his swarm of undead rats to ashes, PiedPipermon panicked and tried to escape.

- Oh, no, you don't! Necro Interrogation!

PiedPipermon started to dissolve into data. Angel was furious.

- Digivolve now and take care of Crescemon.

Mystimon walked over to her.

- Wait, she has Angewomon. Murmuxmon and I will take care of this.

Murmuxmon joined them and Mystimon let them in on the plan.

- Here's what we'll do. Murmuxmon and I will sneak up upon her and attack her from behind. She will be in pain so she will drop her weapon and let go of Angewomon. Then you all digivolve to stop her from fleeing. She's very quick, so you'll have to surround her in order to trap her. Then Murmuxmon and I will finish her off for good.

Hope looked at her partner with such pride and respect. He felt his heart warm up. She was his best friend and he knew he'd never be lonely again. He felt sorry for the mon who didn't have human partners, those who weren't chosen.

- Let's go.

Beelzemon saw Mystimon and Murmuxmon sneaking up on Crescemon, so he kept her talking, silently praying Angewomon wouldn't get hurt. Still holding her Nuova Luna blade to Angewomon's throat, she pulled the Archangel's hair.

- You care about her, don't you, you, stupid Demon Lord? But light and dark were destined to hate each other.

"Then how come I don't hate her? There is so much I don't understand that It boggles my mind. Why do I feel so strange around her? Why do I feel weak in the knees everytime I look at her? And why can't I stop questioning myself so much?"

- Does she knows that you murdered a chosen mon? Does she knows what kind of monster you are? Does she knows how much you enjoyed it?

Angewomon closed her eyes as if she wanted to disappear. Beelzemon's eyes widened in horror.

"No! Please! Why don't just stick that damn blade in my gut and put an end to my misery?"

Mystimon slowly raised his sword and Murmuxmon got closer to Crescemon. They attacked together, simultaneously. Crescemon cried out in pain, drop her blade and let go of Angewomon. The Archangel got away. Mystimon turned to the Rookie Digimon.

- NOW!!!

- Coronamon digivolve to… Firamon!

- Dorumon digivolve to… Dorugamon!

- Bearmon digivolve to… Grizzlymon!

- Elfmon digivolve to… Magykmon!

- Gaomon digivolve to… Gaogamon!

They, along with Beelzemon and Angewomon surrounded Crescemon in order to trap her and stop her from fleeing. Mystimon and Murmuxmon attacked.

- Blast Fire!

- Gehenna Flame!

She laughed.

- You think you've won? You, fools. When you meet Groundramon, you'll wish I'd killed you all…

She started to dissolve into data. Jamal shuddered.

- That doesn't sound good…

Beelzemon couldn't bare to look at Angewomon, but he had to ask.

- Are you hurt?

She turned to him, but he avoided eye contact with her.

- I'm fine. Uh, Beelzemon…

She reached out a hand to his shoulder. He tensed and moved away from her. Jamal's eyes widened.

- Did you heard that?

Angel frowned.

- Heard what?

- Quiet. Listen.

They heard a moan and a sob. Mystimon looked at them.

- I think a Digimon is hurt, somewhere. Let's search the area around for injured mon.

Murmuxmon turned back into Tsukaimon and Victoire. Mystimon reverted to his Champion form and the Champion Digimon reverted to their Rookie form. Angel nodded.

- It's our duty as tamers to help them.

They took a look around. Victoire ran to them.

- I think I found something.

They followed her. Angel nodded.

- There must be more than one. This one can't moan or sob because he's unconscious.

The Digimon suddenly regained consciousness.

- That's it. Now, I'm personally going to give her the beating of her life…

Hope looked at her D-Ark for informations.

- Chamelemon, Reptile type Digimon, is the Armor digivolved form of Armadillomon through the digiegg of kindness. A Digimon who can blend into his surroundings thanks to his specialized skin.

Chamelemon looked at them.

- Where is Crescemon? Have you seen her?

Jamal looked at him with wide-eyes.

- You tried to fight her? But you're a Champion level mon! Do you have a death wish or something? You're lucky to be alive.

Chamelemon narrowed his eyes at him.

- I'm not afraid of her! What, you think I'm a weakling or something?

Beelzemon gave Jamal a warning look. Hope smiled.

- Your problems are over, Chamelemon. We took care of Crescemon.

Chamelemon sighed.

- Ah, well… But this isn't over. There are more of them. Like Dynasmon and that gold Cyborg Digimon who hunt down poor mon to delete them with his sickle.

Hope turned to Beelzemon.

- Reapermon… Lucemon warned us against him.

She heard a sob. Victoire gestured to them to follow her.

- I think It's coming from over there.

It was a baby Digimon. Victoire looked at her D-Ark for informations.

- Xiaomon, Lesser type Digimon, In-Training level.

Wizardmon reached out a hand to him.

- Are you all right, kid?

Xiaomon bit him.

- Ouch! What did you do that for?

Terrified, the small dog-like Digimon closed his eyes tightly, shaking like a leaf. Wizardmon felt compassion for him. He talked to the child in a soft, soothing tone.

- It's all right, kid. Take it easy. Nobody's gonna hurt you.

Hope gave Xiaomon a reassuring smile.

- We're here to help you.

Xiaomon flinched in pain.

- You're hurt!

He looked at her.

- Is the bad Digimon gone?

She nodded.

- We took care of it. Will you let my friend heal your wounds?

- Okay.

Wizardmon used his magic to heal the child's wounds and soothe him. It so happened that the In-Training lived in a nearby village and they brang him back home. The villagers insisted that they stay the night in the village, but they declined and left. They gathered around a fire to talk and most of them went to sleep.

-Beelzemon, Are you all right?

It was Angewomon.

- Yeah, I'm fine. I couldn't sleep is all.

I don't know but

I think I may be falling for you

He didn't turn to look at her.

- Why are you talking to me? You heard her. You saw…

Her face hardened.

Dropping so quickly

Maybe I should keep this to myself

- What I saw was a monster who threw your past back into your face when she did far more worse. There are wounds that affect your behavior and sometimes don't let you be yourself. Nobody's in a position to judge anyone. You've seen the errors of your ways and obviously, you've changed.

He tensed.

- So you don't think I'm a monster?

Waiting till I know you better

She shook her head.

- I don't think you're a monster, Beelzemon. Far from it.

He felt so relieved that he nearly broke into sobs. She made a step forward.

I am trying not to tell you

But I want to

- Can I sit with you?

- Sure.

He nodded, sliding over on his rock and trying to put enough space between them so that they weren't touching. She looked at him.

I'm scared of what you'll say

So I'm hiding what I'm feeling

- That girl, Hope... you're watching over her.

He looked at her.

- Yes, I'm her foster father.

But I'm tired of holding this inside my head

She gave him a questioning look.

-Her what?

- I raise her and take care of her. Her real parents were murdered and she was an orphan, so I took her in.

I've been spending all my time

Just thinking 'bout ya

She looked down.

- I'm really embarrassed, you know. I'm never taken hostage.

He gave her a weak smile.

I don't know what to do

I think I'm falling for you

- It's not your fault. In fact, the fault's mine. I let that happen. I should've been more careful.

She shook her head.

- It's not your fault. You were pretty amazing, standing up to that evil mon.

I've been waiting all my life

And now I found ya

He was glad that the dark night hid his blush at that comment.

- I, uh… thanks. You were very brave out there, when she held that blade to your throat. I'm glad you weren't hurt.

It was her turn to blush.

I don't know what to do

I think I'm falling for you

Falling for you

- Thanks.

He suppressed a nervous laugh.

- What do you think of Dark Digimon?

As I'm standing here

And you hold my hand

Pull me towards you

And we start to dance

She smiled.

- I don't judge on appearances. At least, I try not to. Nobody's perfect, right? I like to get to know mon or humans before I make up my mind about them. What do you think of Light Digimon?

He ran a hand through his hair.

All around us

I see nobody

Here in silence

It's just you and me

- I don't mind them much.

She frowned and he slapped himself mentally.

"Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!"

I am trying not to tell you

But I want to

- I mean, I have no problem with them at all… as long as they're not trying to kill me… Actually, one of my friends is a Light Digimon. He's harmless and he has a weak spot for cream puffs.

I'm scared of what you'll say

So I'm hiding what I'm feeling

She laughed.

- I bet that's a Calumon you're talking about. Since the Catalyst became a real Digimon other Calumon have been walking around.

But I'm tired of holding this inside my head

He smiled.

"I made her laugh."

- Um, Angewomon?

I've been spending all my time

Just thinking 'bout ya

- Yes?

He looked at his feet.

- I'm really glad you joined us in our quest to save both worlds.

I don't know what to do

I think I'm falling for you

She smiled.

- I'm glad I met you, because you are such a pleasure to be around.

"She doesn't look like she's making fun of me."

I've been waiting all my life

And now I found ya

She looked at him.

- Beelzemon, can I be honest with you without you flipping out and hating me?

"I could never hate you."

I don't know what to do

I think I'm falling for you

Falling for you

- Sure.

She nodded.

- You really should stop thinking about the past and torturing yourself so much.

Oh, I just can't take it

My heart is racing

The emotions keep spilling out

He thought about it and then turned to her.

- You're right. I won't make the same mistake again, so I should stop thinking about it and focus on the present.

She smiled.

I've been spending all my time

Just thinking 'bout ya

- That's the spirit. And there's something else…

- I'm listening.

I don't know what to do

I think I'm falling for you

She looked at him.

- I never felt that way before I met you.

"HUH!?"

I've been waiting all my life

And now I found ya

- What way?

She shifted slightly on the rock and then looked up at the moon.

- I feel strange around you.

I don't know what to do

I think I'm falling for you

Falling for you

His eyes widened.

- You too? Do you have an explanation for this?

She turned to him.

I think I'm falling for you

- Do you think that maybe we're meant to be together?

"Yessss!"

He leaned forward so their faces were almost touching.

I can't stop thinking about it

I want you all around me

And now I just can't hide it

I think I'm falling for you

- We're gonna have to find out.

He brushed his lips softly against hers and pulled back a little.

- Do you want me to stop?

I can't stop thinking about it

I want you all around me

And now I just can't hide it

I think I'm falling for you

She took his hand into hers and looked him straight in the eyes.

- No.

Falling for you

He kissed her gently and she responded. The kiss was all he had known it would be. He felt like he belonged with her, he felt as if she belonged with him. And she felt just the same.

Oohh, oh no

No, ohhhh oh

Oh oh…

Oh, I'm falling for you

She pulled back.

- I should get some sleep.

- Yeah.

She laid a hand on his arm.

- Wake me up when it is my turn to stand watch.

He nodded.

- Okay, no worries.

She smiled at him. Then she walked away and went to sleep. Overwhelmed with emotion, he looked up at the moon and sighed.

- Beautiful isn't? I love to look at the stars too.

It was Magykmon. Wizardmon looked at her.

- You couldn't sleep?

She shook her head.

- Not really. Do you mind if I sit with you?

Wizardmon was a shy Digimon, but he didn't want to look rude.

- Not at all.

Wizardmon turned to her.

- I'm sorry for what happened to you today. It must be horrible, having no control over yourself.

She sighed.

- Yes, it is. But thanks to Murmuxmon, Hope and you, everything worked out just fine.

He shuddered.

- When you were under PiedPipermon's control, I was afraid you would get hurt. I was worried about you.

She nodded.

- I felt just the same when that Boogeymon knocked you unconscious. Wizardmon, there's something I need to tell you. I deeply care about you, I have for a long time.

He looked at the stars again, blushing and fingering his hat nervously.

-I care a lot about you too.

She looked at him.

- I'm sorry If I'm making you feel uneasy. I just thought you should know.

His lips curled in a genuine smile, one that touched his eyes.

- You're not. And I'm glad you told me.

Their hands linked. They spent a whole hour in silence, looking into each other's eyes and being lost into one another. Then they left and went to sleep.