This Idea sort of began as a Xanatos Gambit on the part of GranDracmon, but then, in a conversation about something completely different (Astamon, to be precise), GranDracmon was cut out of the picture entirely, and was replaced swiftly by Lucemon. Of course, that had several problems, mainly because the idea (GranDracmon hypnotizing some hapless Chosen/Tamer and making him do his dirty, probably taking the role of conquering the Digital World) no longer really worked without Dracmon's ability to, well, hypnotize. Of course, in the long run, that was probably a good thing, since I decided pretty early on that I wasn't really going to enjoy writing an entire story about some brainwashed minion.
That left me with several problems, though; namely, how was I going to make the idea work.
This lead to a drawn-out conversation between Seiya and I that lasted several hours, but eventually resulted in this. The first thing that was covered was the first major plot hole left in the wake of GranDracmon's disappearance. Who could possibly pose a credible threat to the entire Digital World? This hole was swiftly filled by Lucemon, since the fact that we saw him destroy an entire Digital World lent credence to his ability to threaten it. Also, he's kind of a dick. So yeah, perfect. The second hole, 'who is the guy he's making do this', was complicated by the fact that I dislike writing stories about OC's. That meant we pretty much had to choose a canon character, and was further complicated by the fact that most of the obvious choices were both people I didn't want to write a fic about and also people who've tried this thing before, and failed.
Somehow, during all of this, the fact that in crossovers between either of the Adventures and Tamers, the former was always shown to be fictional, which lead to the thought that there were probably games about the Adventures in such a case, which lead to the realization that the Digimon Kaiser also thought it was all a game, which lead to this. It became quite easy when I remembered that we had someone who, while obviously very interested in Digimon, thought it was all a game (until that person realized it actually wasn't), and didn't think of Digimon as being real, and that person would likely jump at a chance to play a new Digimon 'game.' Of course, at that point we remembered that if we did the things we did in videogames (especially role-playing games) in real life, they'd probably be considered sociopathic mass-murderers.
And that just sealed the deal.
You Were, Perhaps, Expecting Someone Else?
"Let's play a game, Takato." The voice said. It came from the strange thing his card reader had become when he'd slashed the blue card through it.
Takato, who had stumbled away from the strange machine in shock, merely became more confused.
"A…game?" He asked hesitantly.
"Yes. After all…you are our winner."
"W-winner? Of what?'
"Of the contest, of course!"
There was a pause.
"You do know about the contest, don't you?"
"…I see. Then allow me to explain. You found a strange Blue Card with the Digimon Logo on it, right?"
"And since you're listening to me right now, I assume you slashed it?"
"Then congratulations! You've just won the Tamer King Contest!"
"Never mind that. As the winner, you get a very special prize. Don't you want to see it?"
As a ten year old boy, Takato was naturally interested in what was quite possibly something very cool, and set aside, for the moment, the fact that he didn't enter any contest.
"I said it before, didn't I? Let's play a game, Takato."
"What kind of game?"
"The Digital World has been taken over by the corrupt Sovereigns, and they've locked the true ruler away in its heart. The Chosen Children are pawns in their schemes. You're job is to defeat them. Can you destroy the infected Digimon to free Lucemon?"
"Uh…yes?" Takato was a bit hesitant, unsure of whether he should tell his parents or not.
But it sounded cool.
Though, he'd never heard of any 'Lucemon.'
"In that case, please bring your Digivice to a computer with internet access."
The sudden normalcy of that comment nearly threw Takato for a loop.
"Um, okay. There's plenty at school. I'll ask if I can use one after class."
"Take your time." The voice said.
"Okay." Takato said, getting on the computer. "Are you still there, uh…what do I call you?"
"I'm an advanced computer program; and AI. I'll serve as your guide to the game. So, I suppose you can call me Lucemon."
Takato thought it a bit weird that what was probably a really expensive computer was being used for a game, but he was honestly more interested in the game itself.
"Okay, Lucemon; what do I do now?"
"Are you in front of a computer with Internet access?" 'Lucemon' asked dutifully.
"Is the computer on?"
Even Takato had to roll his eyes at that question.
"Please raise your Digivice to the screen. It may take a few seconds for the wireless connection to begin; I ask you to please be patient."
Takato didn't say anything to that, he just lifted the Digivice.
It took a few seconds, but suddenly a strange screen appeared. It had a weird, irregular shape, a number of scattered buttons, a number of things that would have been knobs and buttons if it wasn't on a computer screen, and a green light.
But the most interesting feature of the screen was a small window.
He looked at it closer.
It was weird. It was like it really was a window, with something on the other side. It looked too realistic to be just a recorded image.
"By now, a screen should have appeared. Do you see it, Takato?"
"Yeah…" He said distractedly.
"Its voice activated, so to proceed, I need you to repeat after me. Digiport, open."
"Digiport, open!" Takato said, now eager to proceed.
And suddenly he was blinded by a torrent of light.
"What just happened…?" He trailed off as his eyes widened in alarm. "What the hell! Where am I?"
He was not in the computer lab, that was for sure. It was pretty easy to come to that conclusion, because he sincerely doubted that anyone had leveled the city, created a beach, and added an entire ocean in the last five seconds.
And even if, by some turn of events, they had, that still wouldn't explain everything. Because he was not on a normal beach and that was not a normal ocean.
Hell, that wasn't even the normal sky.
Everything, everything, looked like someone had painted it in shades of grey and black.
Even he was like that…
Takato's eyes widened as he looked at himself. And not just because of the change in coloration.
His cloths were different.
"W-what the…?" He wondered, looking at what he was now wearing.
His clothes had changed. In place of his Blue Hoodie and shorts, he was wearing long pants, a T-shirt, a jacket, and…fingerless gloves? And based off that familiar feeling…
Takato reached up to touch his head with one hand.
Yup, he was wearing his goggles. Which wasn't, by itself, weird, since he did wear goggles. However, he hadn't been wearing them in the computer lab.
"What is this?"
"Clothes more becoming of a hero, don't you think?" A voice startled him. Partially because he hadn't expected anyone, and partially because it was familiar.
But that couldn't be.
But he looked anyway, just to be sure.
There was a boy standing a bit further down the beach, and he was the only thing in sight that had color besides grey and black. Takato would have thought him a human boy, if not for the obvious inhuman additions. He had blond hair and blue eyes, and he was wearing something…a toga? Was that what it was called?
Takato wasn't sure.
Though, to be honest, he also didn't really care, because the boy had something else, and Takato found it much more interesting.
He had wings. Twelve flawless white angel wings.
The boy was an angel?
"Who are…?" Takato trailed off, because suddenly the boy was right in his face.
And Takato hadn't seen him cross any of the space between them.
Takato would have liked to be proud of the fact that he didn't suddenly scream, but he was acutely aware that the only reason he wasn't was because his heart was stuck in his throat.
That also might have been why he couldn't breathe.
"Don't you remember me, Takato? We've never met face to face, but…surely you remember my voice? It's only been a few minutes since last we spoke, after all."
Indeed, Takato did recognize the voice. That didn't keep him from reminding himself it was impossible, but he did recognize it.
But why deny what was right before his face?
Lucemon smiled and nodded.
"W-what's going on?"
"Welcome to the game, Takato." Lucemon said.
"The game…?" His eyes widened. "This is all a part of the game? But how? Everything looks so real…"
Lucemon lifted a hand and a torrent of bright light struck a boulder some ways away. Takato flinched at the light, but he saw what happened.
The boulder exploded, but…not the way it should have. Instead of shrapnel and debris, it exploded into…particles?
"Data." Lucemon corrected, as if he could read Takato's mind. "Everything in this place is made of Data. The beach…the ocean…the sky…even you and I are data in this place. Though we are slightly different; we're both real, outside this game. I'm a highly advanced AI, and you're a human. But otherwise, everything else is entirely data."
"This is…" Takato said, stunned but not stupid. "This is…really advanced."
He bent down to the beach and touched it. It felt real. He lifted a slightly sandy finger to his mouth and licked it. He cringed at the taste. It tasted real, too. He smelt the sea, and besides the color, it looked real, too. And he could hear things; things he'd associate with a beach.
"This is…probably more advanced than anything I've ever seen." He turned to Lucemon with a frown, since things didn't quite match up. "So why's it being used for a game?"
"Originally, it was for testing purposes. As you said, this technology is very advanced, but it's also very new. It needed to be tested in a controlled environment, and it has been; extensively. And it's proven safe to use. The organization responsible for this game also assisted in the creation and testing of this technology, and that testing took the form you see today. In truth, this technology is so advanced that it won't be ready for the public for some time, but before that happened, before we even started, we wanted to make sure everything would be safe when it eventually, which, as I said, it was shown to be. But we also wanted to make sure everything was fun, and that's where we need your help. If you're still willing, of course?"
"Oh, I'm willing. I'm curious, now." Takato said.
"Good, good. Then allow me to explain. We will be continually creating and modifying this world, and we want you to test it. This world is based off the popular franchise 'Digimon;' as you can see, for the purposes of this game, I have taken the form of 'Lucemon' the rightful ruler of this world. You, on the other hand, have taken to form of yourself, but also as a Digimon Tamer."
"You're probably familiar with the term 'Chosen Child,' but we're going to try to distance ourselves from that term; I'll explain why in a minute. A Tamer, like the Chosen, is a human partnered to a Digimon. In this game, Tamers will use their Digimon to fight and defeat enemies, gain experience, something we call gathering data, overcome challenges, and, of course, save the world. As you gather data, your Digimon will grow and evolve through the levels you are already familiar with."
Takato nodded to show that he understood.
"The premise of this game is quite simple. I, 'Lucemon,' am the rightful ruler of the Digital World. I have been overthrown and casted down by the traitors that now call themselves the Sovereigns. I'm sure you already understand the basics from just that."
"I need to defeat the Sovereigns and release you?"
"Yes. However, since we realized how predictable that would be, we decided to mix things up a bit. Your main enemies will be the Chosen Children."
"Wait, aren't they the good guys?"
"Yes, exactly. Well, at least, they think themselves to be. But in reality, they are being manipulated by the Sovereigns. And honestly, in the process of serving the Sovereigns, they have accomplished a lot of good; you did see the series, right?"
"Just checking. However, now, they are a threat to the entire world. Or they will become such if you let things continue. You must stop them by any means necessary. And that's just the thing; you're going to be outnumbered and outgunned, so you're only hope is that you're not outclassed. To achieve victory, you're going to have to do a number of morally questionable things, which will hopefully make you wonder about things like right and wrong, and things like subjective morality. In addition, there's another variable in this game. He calls himself the Digimon Kaiser. He's going to be conquering the Digital World, taking it from the Sovereigns and the Chosen."
"Like me? So he's an ally?"
"It's designed to look like that, but no. He's enslaving and hurting innocent Digimon. He's there to make you question yourself; to make you wonder if what you're doing is right. To make you wonder how you are any different from him."
"But isn't that obvious? I'm doing the right thing. I'm not taking over for myself; I'm freeing you and overthrowing the traitors."
"Well…yes. But the things you see will make you wonder; we built them to wear you down emotionally. Will you be able to endure anyway? That is the question."
"The answer's yes." Takato told him firmly.
"We'll see. But you should know something. The game we're having you test? You're testing it on the highest difficulty level."
"No; 'Impossible.' 'Hard' is the lowest difficulty setting. On Hard, you fight the eight Chosen, their Digimon, the four Sovereigns, the Digimon Kaiser, and a number of other opponents, all with only your one Digimon and your wits. You will fight enemies with levels ranging from Child to Ultimate, backed by the rulers of the world, and their levels are independent of yours, so you could easily stumble into a fight with Perfect or even Ultimate Digimon as a child, while on 'Hard.'"
Takato licked his lips, partially in fear, partially in excitement.
"What's Impossible like, then?"
"It's basically the same, only you have no extra lives, no hp boosters, no mp boosters, the enemies are stronger, and, oh yeah, there are no save points. If you die, that's it."
"Holy…" Takato whispered. "And you want me to win against those odds? Why not just on Hard?"
"Because the tears of broken gamers taste like candy. Still up for it?"
Takato took a deep breath and nodded.
"Then let it never be said you don't have guts. Congratulations, Takato; you are officially the first player of the game."
"Let's get started then, shall we?" Lucemon said. "I'll explain several rules you're probably unfamiliar with, as well as the…fringe benefits you get for doing this for us, later during the tutorial level. But I'll cover the basics right now, just in case. The first thing you need to know about is that Digivice; it does much more then let you evolve your partner. I'll explain the features during the tutorial level. But for now, hand your Digivice to me."
Takato did, feeling a bit confused. Lucemon took it in his hands, and it glowed more a minute, before he handed it back.
"I just added the first of your fringe benefits; it will also be explained during the tutorial."
"Lucemon, you've mentioned my partner several times…who is he?"
"Good question; I was thinking it was about time we moved on to that anyway. Normally, a Tamer would be bonded to a chosen Digimon from a selection, but in your case, as thanks for your help, we're going to give you a special opportunity. You will get a chance to design your own Digimon."
"I will!" Takato nearly shouted.
"My, quite eager."
"I'm sorry, it's just…this is like a dream come true for me."
"Then I suppose you have several ideas in mind? A warning, I cannot make a Digimon that's too powerful; I can't just partner you with a Perfect or an Ultimate, as much as that would simplify things."
"Not a problem; I already know exactly what I want. I had it in a notebook that I got in trouble for drawing in earlier today. I got it back after class, though."
"Did you have the notebook on you?"
"Yeah, but that was back in the Real World."
"Check." Lucemon ordered.
Takato blinked, but did as he was told.
"Hey! It's here! How…?"
Lucemon just smiled and extended a hand. Takato forked over the notebook.
"Hm…Guilmon? Yes…this will work nicely. Very well then, prepare yourself Takato. You are about to become the Tamer of a unique Digimon." Lucemon said, giving back the Notebook. "Do you see the part of your Digivice that looks like a card reader? Slash this drawing through it."
Takato took a deep breath and gave it a shot. He brought the edge of the notepad down into the card scanner and…it got stuck. And nothing happened.
Takato frowned and opened his mouth to ask what's going on, but he was cut off before he could even begin by a strange noisy. A noise like something whirling. And then…a noisy like something tearing.
His Digivice was tearing the pages out of the notepad and scanning them like they were cards.
"That is so cool-AH!" He suddenly screamed as his Digivice erupted with a bright light. He made a note to himself; get used to sudden bright lights, 'cause they show up a lot in this game.
All around him, things started breaking down. The water, the sand on the beach, even the air; they suddenly exploded into data particles as the Digivice finished scanning the pages of the notepad. They began to swirl into a vortex with the Digivice at its center, and, in seconds, all of it was sucked into it.
After a moment of silence, Takato thought it was safe.
"What the hell was that-AH!" This time, the sudden light was accompanied by an explosion of force that picked Takato up and threw him away. "I can't believe I didn't see that coming!"
Lucemon, for his part, was unaffected by the lights, the data typhoon, and even the explosion. He just stood patiently until it all subsided.
"It's safe now, Takato; you can open your eyes."
"You know, that's the type of advice I could have used earlier." Takato said, lifting himself up and opening his eyes.
Lucemon ignored his comment, and Takato turned his head to see what he was looking at.
Suddenly, all of his irritation was forgotten.
There, beside his Digivice, was a large spotted egg.
"For unto us a child is born." Lucemon said.
Takato sat silently on the beach, staring at the spotted egg.
"How long do you think it'll take to hatch?" He asked, not even looking away from the egg.
"I don't know. But given that we're in the Dark Area, and that it's a Virus type…probably not too long. You should go home for now, Takato."
That was enough to snap Takato away from the egg.
He's reply was cut short before it could go any further.
"You've been here quite awhile. Your parents are probably worried about you."
Takato's eyes widened.
"I completely forgot! I'm late by now! How long has it been?"
"Oh, a little over two hours."
His words just made Takato wince harder.
"You're right; I have to go. When can I come back?"
"Any time you have both your Digivice and a computer with internet access, you can return to this place."
"My parents have one; I should be able to get on later."
"Very well. I'll see you then."
Lucemon gestured and Takato was gone. He nonetheless waited patiently for a few seconds, just to be sure.
The moment he was, he walked over to the egg and picked it up with one hand.
"And so it begins." He muttered.
A mark on his hand began to glow. It looked like a triangle within a circle, with each of its vertices touching a spot on the edge. Where it did, another triangle was connected on the other side of the circle. All the triangles were equilateral.
Wherever Lucemon's fingers touched the egg, black veins, like liquid shadows, began to swim over the egg. They slithered over its surface until the entire shell was black.
And then it cracked. Cracks appeared in the darkness, as though it was a shell, and those cracks quickly expanded. Piece by piece, the Darkness fell, until all of it was gone. And it wake was…Guilmon's completely unchanged egg.
Lucemon put the egg down, exactly where it had been, and nodded to himself in satisfaction.
Takato made his way to his father's computer. It had been surprisingly easy to pacify his parent's worries. He'd told them he'd been allowed to use one of the computers at school, and had ended up getting distracted and losing track of time. His parents had accepted that easily enough, since he had a tendency to get distracted by all sorts of things.
Perhaps they were just used to it by now?
He wasn't sure he liked what that said about him.
Regardless, he'd made it through it all without getting punished, which was the important thing. Even better, his parents were letting him use the computer while they were working.
He was barely able to stand the wait as the computer powered up, and the moment it was ready he lifted his Digivice. In seconds the screen he was now referring to as the Digiport appeared.
"Digiport, open!" Takato didn't shout, but only because he didn't want to draw his parents attention.
Takato showed enough foresight to close his eyes before his was blinded by any lights, and he mentally patted himself on the back for remembering.
He counted to three, figured the light had probably faded by now, and opened his eyes again.
He was back on Lucemon's beach.
"Back again, Takato?" Lucemon's spoke from behind him. "Pretty good timing. Your egg has recently hatched."
"What!" Takato looked around, searching for his partner. "Where is he?"
"Don't worry; as a favor, I decided to give your partner his first meal."
"I missed Guilmon's first meal?" Takato said, and was surprised at how upset he was by the news.
Lucemon outright laughed at that. He floated over to Takato and patted him on the head.
"He was really hungry and I didn't know when you were going to be able to come back. But don't worry, it was just me crushing a few rocks and letting him load them. It was a snack, at best, but it was the best I could do from in here. He's probably still; he just isn't starving anymore. Go introduce yourself and we'll start the Tutorial Level so that you can get him some real food."
The chance to meet his partner blew away all of the sadness of not being there when he hatched.
"Where is he?"
Lucemon pointed down the beach.
"Over there; you can't miss him. He's surrounded by things I crushed for him."
Takato hurried off in that direction without another word.
He was, indeed, easy to find in that circle of destruction. Takato stood for a moment, just outside it, and just looked at his partner. He seemed to be sleeping. He looked exactly as Takato had drawn him; his body was reptilian, to be sure, and mostly red. Black strips and markings were spread artistically across his form; they usually took the forms of lines, but some were triangles, such as on his hands, feet, shoulders, and head. His belly was white and-
That shape…that hadn't been on his drawing.
Lucemon landed beside him.
"Impressive, isn't he?"
"Yeah, but Lucemon…what's that shape on his stomach…I didn't draw that."
"Ah, so you noticed." Lucemon extended one hand, and revealed that the same sign was on it. "It's another fringe benefit; this marking is placed on special Digimon such as Guilmon and I. I'll leave its effects a secret for now, but it's quite impressive. Don't worry about it."
Takato nodded in acceptance at that.
It did look pretty cool, anyway.
"Aren't you going to say hello?" Lucemon asked, changing the subject.
Takato whispered back.
"Only because he got bored. He was very excited to meet his Tamer when I told him about you. Come." Lucemon said, stepping into the circle.
The moment he did, Guilmon was on his feet and alert. His yellow eyes riveted towards Lucemon and Takato.
Lucemon didn't even slow down.
Since Lucemon didn't show any fear, Takato decided not to either, and followed after him. He sped up for just a second in order to match his stride, but then slowed down after he had.
Seeing this, Guilmon returned the gesture and approached. He ignored Lucemon entirely and headed straight for Takato who didn't back down.
It was just a game, after all, and he doubted his own partner would kill him in it.
Indeed, all Guilmon did was sniff him, and his expression shifted in happiness. Of course, since he was basically a miniature dinosaur, and Takato hadn't held back at all when giving his drawing teeth, it was more 'terrifying glee' than 'happiness.'
Takato thought it was amazingly cool.
"He recognizes me." Takato noted. "Does he know I created him?"
"He might." Lucemon said. "Shall we begin, then?"
"The Tutorial? I'm ready. Are you ready, Guilmon? Lucemon says there'll be a lot for you to eat."
Guilmon nodded happily at that and Takato had to laugh.
"Does he know my name?" Takato asked while Lucemon worked on…something.
"I don't think so." He replied distractedly.
Takato knelt by his partner.
"I'm Takato. I'm your Tamer."
"Takato. Tamer." Guilmon repeated.
Takato smile widened at that.
"There we go." Lucemon interrupted. Beside him stood a…television? Takato was a bit confused; there hadn't been one a second ago. "You should be able to use this the same way you used your own computer. It'll take you to the Tutorial Level."
"One question. If you can create ways out of the Dark Area, what's keeping you here?"
"I can't cross them, because of the seals in place."
"I'll explain later; there's nothing you can really do about them with a Child partner, anyway, so don't worry about it."
Takato lifted an eyebrow, but complied.
"Come on, boy. Let's do this. Oh, by the way, here's a tip; close your eyes. Digiport, open!"
Guilmon and Takato found themselves in a desert.
"Lucemon? There's nothing here." Takato told his Digivice.
"Not right there, no. This seems like a good time to introduce you do one of the functions of your Digivice; the Radar Function. Press the left button on your Digivice twice." Lucemon replied through it.
Takato did so. The first time he pushed it, nothing seemed to happen, so he pushed it again.
And suddenly, a holographic screen expanded from his Digivice.
"Your Digivice should be showing a location with lots of Digimon in it. That location is the Pyocomon village, and is your target. One of the main purposes on the Tutorial is to get you used to the combat system; your first goal is to destroy every single Digimon in that village and have Guilmon load them."
"Pyocomon? Isn't that a Baby Digimon?"
"Yes, so they shouldn't be able too much to your Guilmon if you play smart. Their role in this level is much like that of orcs or giant spiders; they're here for you gain data by killing them."
"Yeah, I get it. Kill them, and don't ask too many moral questions."
"Either while or after you destroy the Pyocomon, Meramon will appear. He's an Adult level Flame Type Digimon that lives near Mount Mihirashi, a volcano from which he can draw power. If you go straight to fight him with Guilmon while he's in the volcano, you will lose. However, if you draw him down to the village after loading everyone in it, you could win."
"Is that why we're destroying the village?"
"Yes. This is a lesson in how to play the game. There's more than one way to skin a cat, so don't limit yourself to the obvious solutions."
"Got it. Massacre the village, kill the guy who comes to save, and have a party later. I'm supposed to be the good guy right?" Takato asked, already walking towards the village.
"Tell me about it; you'll be shocked at some of the things you'll have to do as the protagonist in this game. Still up for it?"
"I'm going, I'm going."
To the Pyocomon, it was just another beautiful day. They'd gotten more water from Mount Mihirashi, whose heat had killed the bacteria in it. They'd also eaten the delicious seeds they all liked so much. The weather was perfect, the sun was shining, and everything was wonderful.
And suddenly, all of that changed with a single word.
"Fireball!" A voice they'd never heard before shouted.
A powerful blast of flame shot into the middle of a small group of Pyocomon, and the four of them were deleted in a second. In the stunned silence that followed, nobody noticed that the data was drifting towards someplace.
The screaming started almost instantly.
Quite a few of the screaming voices were suddenly silenced by a flash of scales, and teeth, and claws. Whatever predator had found its way amongst them, it was fast.
"Everyone, Hide-" The voice was cut off by another blast of fire, one that deleted the source and the Pyocomon behind it. The price of drawing attention to yourself.
Nonetheless, its message was heard. The Pyocomon scrabbled to hide.
Most of them succeeded.
But many went down to flashes of teeth, to glimmers of claws, and to flares of heat.
One Pyocomon, who'd managed to hide, tried to tell herself that she was safe. She was out of sight inside her house, she was being silent, and the entire area was so full of Pyocomon who spent their whole lives here that no one was going to track her by scent, since it was both all over the place and likely drowned out by the many, many other similar scents.
She was safe she told herself.
"Behind that wall, Guilmon." A voice said.
A human voice. A Chosen Child?
She managed to have one final thought before the claw that tore through the wall tore through her just as easily.
How did he know?
"Good job, Guilmon; just a few more." Takato said, most of an hour later. "Not getting too full there, are you? Lucemon, can Digimon get full on data?"
"Not that I'm aware of. Though, with the way you've chewed through about a thousand Pyocomon in less than an hour, it's possible Guilmon's the first."
Takato laughed at that. He was pretty proud of Guilmon right now; maybe an hour old and already tearing apart armies.
"Where's this Meramon guy, anyway? Didn't you say he'd come down and fight if we destroyed the village?"
Takato didn't give the wave of fire a second glace, he just barked his orders.
The red dinosaur, who had been sniffing around in a vain attempt to find more Pyocomon to snack on, immediately disregarded his search and obeyed. A swift jump, a blur of red, and a dodged attack later, the Digimon stood by his partner's side.
He immediately growled. He sensed his attacker now that he wasn't distracted, and he would have found his location in moments, even if his Tamer hadn't nodded in the proper direction. His eyes adopted a feral gleam, his teeth bared; only his Tamers hand on his head kept him from attacking.
"He finally showed. It certainly took him long enough."" Takato said, mainly for Lucemon's sake, since he wasn't sure if he could see through the Digivice as well as speak.
"And only an hour too late to matter." Lucemon replied.
"Better late than never, I suppose."
He lifted his Digivice like Lucemon had shown him to with the Pyocomon. A holographic screen appeared, much like the one that had previously shown a radar. But this was no radar; this was a picture perfect image of Meramon, surrounded by data and information on him.
Takato spoke out loud for Guilmon's sake.
"Meramon, Adult Flame Type Digimon. This Digimon was born from the defense wall "Firewall" for the purpose of protecting the internet from Digimon who enter it illegally. He is rarely violent, and it seems the flames that engulf his body generally seem to scorch him. His special attacks are Burning Fist, Crimson Flame, Magma Bomb, and Fire Wave. Not bad. Are you still hungry, Guilmon?"
He got nothing but a feral growl in response, but he heard the undercurrents of rage and desire within it.
"I'll take that as a yes."
Some ways away, Meramon burnt with rage. He burnt with fire, too, and he fully intended to share the latter situation with these…these…these monsters.
"Why…" He demanded in a voice that was somewhere between a roar and a bonfire burning. "Why would you do this! Why would you kill all of these Pyocomon! What could they have possibly done to deserve this!"
The monster that was shaped like a man, for Meramon didn't consider him human, laughed and then spoke.
"Stay frosty, dude. They didn't do anything; they were just the, what's the word for it…hors d'oeuvres. As for the reason they're all dead…we just wanted you to come down here. Maybe if the main course hadn't taken so long, we wouldn't have eaten all the appetizers."
The manlike monster knelt beside the red Dinosaur. He pet his stomach, coaxing a growl may have had a note of pleasure in it.
"Poor little guy; I've had to stuff him with small fries and morsels while we waited. It's a miracle he hasn't gotten sick because of all the junk food he's eaten." The beast beneath that Manish façade lifted his head to look at Meramon. "He needs something with…substance. Something with a little more fight in it. Something he can sink his teeth into. Something like…you. Guilmon…eat until you're full."
The monster that looked the part changed his growl into a roar.
No, Meramon realized, he's just moving really fast.
Meramon narrowed his eyes. If he focused…yes! He could see more than a red blur. He could see-!
Meramon caught the creature by the neck, and swung him like he was weightless. He threw him into what had once been a Pyocomon's house.
The monster went through it, and straight into the house behind it.
"Crimson Flame!" He shouted. The blast of flame exploded from his fist, burning away what remained of the first building, and causing a huge explosion in the second.
Meramon turned, with narrowed eyes, towards the other.
The boy was casually reclining on a bench that had miraculously remained unharmed. He spared Meramon a brief glance before turning his attention to the location of his partner in crime.
He smiled and hummed a note of amusement.
Meramon had a moment to be confused before a blast of fire took him upside the head.
And, shockingly, it hurt. Only a little, but still, it was a blast of fire; it should have been an exercise in futility to use it on him.
"You're a Data Type, aren't you, Meramon?" The boy asked. "Hm…that makes things convenient."
Meramon spared him a growl before turning towards the source of the pain.
The red Digimon was pulling himself from the rubble. Well, really, he just stood up and it fell from him like rain water. He seemed unharmed by the attack.
Meramon was a bit annoyed; sometimes he hated being a Data Type, because it always meant he had a hard time with certain types of Digimon.
"A Virus, huh?" Meramon tilted his head to the side and cracked his neck, no mean feat since he didn't actually have a skeletal system. "It doesn't matter. It just means we have to do this the hard way."
The boy chuckled.
"You're right; since it looks like Fireball isn't very effective, Guilmon's just gonna have to tear you to pieces with his claws instead. Sic 'em, boy."
The beast snarled while he lunged at Meramon. Taken by surprise by how suddenly things had reverted to melee combat, Meramon barely managed to interpose his arm between Guilmon's fangs and his throat, and reduced a cry of pain to a hiss when the fangs sunk in. He hoped that the flames of his body would burn his opponents mouth, but had no such luck; likely a downside of fighting someone who spat fire.
The symbol on the beast's stomach pulsed red, and the flames around his jaws began to change color, darkening to red and quickly progressing towards black.
Meramon's hiss reverted to a cry. His flames were burning him, at least where the flames were changing color.
Unfortunately, that area happened to be increasing. The colors around the wound were also changing, as though-
Meramon cursed in realization.
As though being infected by a Virus.
"Burning Fist!" Meramon shouted, delivering the attack at point blank. This time his attack tore a yelp of pain from his target.
Of course, he didn't come away unscathed either. He'd blown Guilmon off his arm, and though his uncorrupted flames didn't hurt him, he'd still basically torn the creature off of his arm.
Without prying away his teeth.
And so, in the process, Guilmon had torn a chunk of digital flesh from his arm.
At least those flames were changing back now that Guilmon was no longer connected.
And he'd managed to burn its face in the process.
Meramon also noticed something that improved his morale; the boy was looking a lot less cocky now. He'd lost his relaxed smile, and was now frowning at him. He didn't take his eyes away from Meramon as he talked to his partner.
"How you doing there, Guilmon?"
A growl was his only response.
The boy nodded, but still didn't look away.
"Well, on the bright side, those teeth of yours hurt him quite a bit." In contrast to his eyes, he spoke as though Meramon wasn't there. "I guess we have two choices now; we can wear him down over time from long range, which would be safer but tedious. Or, you could just tear those arms of his off. It's your choice."
Guilmon lowered himself closer to the ground and attacked again. This time it was no senseless lunge; it was a predators dash. He ran with his body nearly parallel to the ground, and low enough that if there was a table between him and his opponent, he likely could have gone straight under it without slowing.
And he was certainly moving fast.
He attacked with his right claws first and aimed for his enemy's unprotected belly, but Meramon was prepared this time, and he didn't even make contact. Instead, Meramon leaned backwards maybe five centimeters, and the claws hit nothing but air. As soon as they had missed, he leaned back forward, and he brought his fist with him.
The blow took Guilmon across the face, and slide along the ground nearly three meters, before he turned the slide into a roll, and landed back on his feet.
He attacked again, in much the same way, but he aimed for Meramon's thigh with his left claws.
Meramon responded by brushing aside Guilmon's left arm with his right, and slamming his right knee into his chin.
Guilmon slide back once again, but only half a meter this time, and his feet never left the ground. As soon as he stopped, he attacked again.
And so it continued. A bite aimed for Meramon's left arm was answered by his right fist to the left side of Guilmon's face. Another attack to the stomach was responded to by grabbing his arm and pulling him into a punch. A successive strike to the stomach caught Meramon slightly by surprise and inflicted a minor wound, but was returned with a punch to Guilmon's own stomach. An attack to Meramon's right side missed entirely as he stepped lightly to the side and slammed his elbow into Guilmon's face.
And then everything began to change.
Another attack to the thigh missed, but this time, Meramon's responding fist was dodged. Guilmon attacked again, and scored a blow to Meramon's left side before his left fist succeeded where his right had not.
A bite that was aimed for his knee was dodged with a swift sidestep, but so was the replying kick. Guilmon's claws never connected with his thigh, but Meramon's fist didn't connect with his face, either. And then Guilmon did manage to claw at his left hip, and dodge the angry backhand. He scored another blow to the left side, slightly above the first, before Meramon retaliated successfully with his right fist.
Guilmon focused more on the left side in response to the successful attacks.
He attacked twice with his claws, and missed, but he was vicious enough to push the injury-favoring Meramon back enough to not worry about dodging any attacks. He then took Meramon by surprise; he swiftly turned and swept his tail at Meramon's legs.
Due to Meramon's superior size, it did little more then throw him off balance, but throwing him off balance was enough; Guilmon raked his claws across Meramon's left thigh.
Realizing that he was losing, and to a Child, at that, Meramon quickly decided he'd had enough.
The sudden rain of magma rocks dissuaded Guilmon's attempted advance. Using the brief pause granted by not being under attack, Meramon attempted to shift the tide of the battle by putting Guilmon on the defensive.
The flames of Meramon's body grew and intensified and he rushed towards Guilmon who was forced to quickly backtrack away from the flames. In truth, while the flames were a dangerous attack in and of themselves, their true purpose was to keep Guilmon out of melee range.
Safely out of harm's way, Meramon took advantage of his ranged attacks, knowing that Guilmon's weren't very damaging to him.
"Crimson Flame!" He cried, punching with his right fist as he stepped forward with his left foot.
Guilmon was forced to scrabble way from the flames, for though he knew they couldn't really hurt him either, he was also aware that being put in a position in which Meramon could rain down blows was a bad idea.
"Crimson Flame!" Meramon repeated, stepping forward with his right foot and firing with his left. Guilmon was also forced to repeat his evasive maneuvers.
Meramon didn't let up; he attacked with each step he took. He had the advantage now, and more to the point, he knew the area better. If he could lead Guilmon into an area where evasion was impossible, then he could simply rain down blow after blow until his enemy stopped moving.
Just a few more steps and his opponent would be trapped between Meramon and a rock wall, with Pyocomon houses on either side.
Of course, Meramon wasn't the only person to notice this, and he quickly cursed himself for forgetting about his other opponent when he heard his voice.
"Guilmon, attack his wounds!"
The beast didn't even hesitate, its loyalty was so unquestioning.
Meramon's assault faltered as the attack connected with his left side. It didn't do too much damage, but it felt like someone was rubbing salt on his wounds.
"Get behind him!" The beast's master ordered.
Guilmon took advantage of his opponents pause and dashed between his opponents legs. Meramon's invigorated flames burnt him as he did, but he seemed to pay them no mind in his hurry to follow his orders.
"Push him back!" The voice followed up, and Meramon noted a great deal of glee in it.
And he knew why.
He was about to be shoved into his own trap.
"Fireball!" The blast didn't hurt, but it made him stumble.
"Fireball!" Again, he stumbled, but this time he managed to turn around in the process.
It did him no good.
"Go for the face!" The boy commanded.
"Fireball!" The blast took him straight in the face and forced him back yet again.
"Fireball! Fireball! Fireball!" The three successive blasts to the face hurt, and more importantly, knocked him off his feet.
Meramon felt fear. He was lying prone; he knew what was about to happen.
"Get on him, boy!"
The beast landed on him with a pounce, and bared him down with his superior position. Those slavering jaws opened and flames lingered in their depths.
Five blasts; five successive, point-black blasts to the face slammed Meramon's head into the ground one after the other. It hurt.
The monster would have continued, too, if a voice hadn't interrupted.
Meramon had a suspicion he wasn't going to say anything good.
"Break him." The statement fell as though it was an executioner's blade; an example that was, Meramon noted, probably fitting.
"Rock Breaker!" The beasts claws came down, and true to the attacks name, the force of the blow was powerful enough to crack the ground all around his head.
"Rock Breaker!" Guilmon repeated its attack, and the cracks grew alongside Meramon's pain.
"Rock Breaker!" He did so again.
"Rock Breaker!" And again.
"Rock Breaker!" And again.
"Rock Breaker!" And again.
"Good job, boy." Takato said, as his partner loaded the remains of his opponent. "I'd say that went well. What do you think, Lucemon?"
"I'd say you passed the Tutorial Level. Not bad. So let me give you a reward."
Takato's Digivice began to glow. In particular, light was emitting from the card reader.
There was a familiar whirling sound, with an undercurrent of something different…printing, perhaps?
And that observation seemed to be correct, because something began to emerge from his Digivice.
Takato recognized it before it even fully emerged.
After all, he'd spent the last few minutes looking at the thing printed on it.
"Meramon…" He whispered. "A Meramon card?"
"A victory prize. This is the result of the gift I gave you earlier; the fringe benefit I installed into your Digivice. Any Tamer can augment their partner with cards…but only you can produce them yourself."
"Awesome. I can do this with anyone Guilmon loads?"
"What about the Pyocomon?"
"Why would you want Baby Level Cards?"
"For memories sake, you know? Besides, I don't think there even is a Pyocomon card. I'll be the only one who has one."
Moments later, he was holding a one of a kind Pyocomon card.
"Thanks, Lucemon; you're the coolest."
"Thanks, I guess."
"Think we should call it quits for today?"
"Yeah, the end of the Tutorial Level is a pretty good place to end things for today. You've proven your worth as a Tamer by helping Guilmon defeat a statistically superior opponent. Congratulations."
"What's Level One like?"
"Well, the only real level is the Tutorial Level; everything else is divided into quests, though you can also just wander around."
"So I have to beat all the quests to free you?"
"Not quite. A number of them are for freeing me, but many others involve doing things for me while I'm stuck in the Dark Area. You know, taking control of certain areas, defeating certain enemies…it's all stuff that helps me in some way or another, and they all come with rewards of some sort or another. And of course, there's the Chosen Children and Sovereign Plotlines, as well as the Digimon Kaiser, which exist independent of the Quests; rather then there being anything specific that they're doing, they mainly complicate things until they're dealt with. For example, if you're trying to reclaim a city for me, they'll likely attempt to interfere. Not every time, of course, but sometimes, and they generally complicate things."
"What happens if I complete all the quests?"
"I'll tell you what; if you can complete all of the quests, on Impossible, then in addition to all the rewards you will get in the game, I promise I'll permanently have you crowned Tamer King, even if I have to hack some records to do it. Everywhere in the Digital World, the name Takato will be mentioned as the Tamer King's name. I'll work on some other rewards, too; maybe I can program a temple for you or something. But I think you'll like the in game rewards, too."
"Sounds awesome, Lucemon. What do you say, Guilmon; should we aim for one hundred percent completion?"
Guilmon rubbed his head on his Tamer's leg as though he were a cat. Takato chuckled and pet his partner.
"There you have it, Lucemon; we're game if you are."
"I'll see you tomorrow, then?"
"Sounds good. I'll be here."
At the same time, in New York, a girl who once went on an Adventure sat at her computer and listened to an old friends dying words.
And then there was nothing.
"Meramon…" She said, looking at her screen in fearful concern.