Happy 13th Aniversary Digimon! 13 years of Digimon (anime) from 1999-2012! Woo Hoo! And what better way to celebrate than for me to post 3 new chapters at the same time? That's right! New chapters for Drowning Memories, Parent Worries and a HUGE update for the Ultimate Gathering of the DigiDestined. Woo!
I am so sorry that it's been so long since I last posted a chapter for this fic, but it's here now! However this doesn't mean that it's going to be updated regularly again. it's still on hiatus. Sorry. :P I just wanted to update it to show that I'm still going to be working on it in the future and that it will be picked back up again after i catch Parent Worries up with where it is right now. This is a SUPER long chapter and has a small snit bit in every DigiDestined's perspective. I really hope that you all enjoy this really long sneak peek into what's to come next story arc. Please don't forget to review.
NOTE: Bold type means speaking English for Michael and Willace Also the order of the POVs of the characters in this chapter was determined in a poll posted over a couple months time and will be starting with the least popular vote finishing with the most popular.
I DO NOT OWN DIGIMON ADVENTURE 02, FRONTIER OR ANY OF ITS CHARACTERS!
Chapter 46: Scattered
The Digital World: Locations: Unknown
Kazu screamed in terror as he felt himself hurtling towards the ground while the cold air tore at him. It didn't help that there were occasional flecks of something sharp cutting into his skin as he fell. Only five minutes ago he had been in the evacuation tunnels back in Shinrin City behind MarineAngemon's barrier before that Netamashiimon freak had broken though it and sent everyone flying. He remembered hitting a rock wall and seeing that freaky kid with a captured Davis and Veemon in his hands saying something about Ryo. Then there had been this bright light and now here he was falling from the sky!
"Guardromon!" he cried out desperately but if his partner was around and had replied at all Kazu couldn't hear him over the wind.
Seeing his situation as hopeless Kazu finally shut his eyes and braced himself for the worst has he sensed himself nearing the ground.
Kazu felt the air force itself out of his lungs as he landed, but couldn't suck in anymore as he felt himself tumble end over end for a good frightening minute before flopping over onto his back. For the next few long seconds Kazu focused on getting air back into his lungs. After a couple minutes of deep breathing Kazu realized that he was still alive! A fall like that should have killed him but it hadn't. Why? A few seconds after that Kazu realized that he was lying in a snow bank… and that he was freezing! He jumped up from where he was lying immediately.
"Holy crap that's cold!" he shuddered as he reached behind his back for his pack only to find it missing. Had it come off when he landed?
Looking around wildly Kazu finally found his pack – a dark spot in a blanket of white – on top of the snow-covered hill he must have tumbled down. He raced towards it as fast as he could in three-foot deep snow and the thin clothes that he'd gotten back in the fire city of Netsusa. He was shivering miserably by the time he reached his pack.
"W-w-where the HELL is Guardromon!" he coughed as he yanked his winter jacket out of the pack. It was the jacket he'd been given when he'd been to Himizu City… Wait… was that where he was now? Back in the cold northern icy tundra? He had to be. If he remembered right, there was only one icy area in this Digital World's continent according the map Digitamamon had given Tai.
Kazu toppled over as the ground shook from something impacting not too far from him.
"…Oh my poor circuits and gears," someone groaned. A very familiar someone.
"Guardromon?" Kazu cried out.
A minute later the bulky machine Digimon jettisoned out of the crater he'd form not even ten feet away from his Tamer.
"Kazu! Thank the Sovereign you're alright," the robot Digimon enthused.
"I won't be if w-we stay out here much l-longer," Kazue shivered.
"I believe that I can help with that," Guardromon stated as he opened up the hatch in his chest.
Without another word Kazu scrambled into his Digimon's chest cavity. It was times like this that he was glad that he had a robot Digimon. If he'd been any bigger than he wouldn't have been able to fit. Thinking back on it now Kazu wasn't sure how JP had managed to fit inside a couple weeks ago – had it only been a couple weeks back? Felt like months ago. It must have been cramped, but then again, the guy had been injured and discomfort was probably the last thing on his mind in all that pain.
"Yeah," Kazu sighed as he settled down into his Digimon's inner workings using his jacket as a pad. "Thanks man. Do you know where we are?"
"According to my calculations we are about twenty kilometers to the east of Himizu City. There is a small settlement closer to our current position though a few kilometers to the North. How should we proceed Kazu?"
"The settlement place," Kazu shivered. "It's closer right? We need to get out of here and find someplace warm. Besides, we're not awear of what's been going on up here since Mai stopped being this region's Zaigou. The city might be the wrong place to go for all we know."
"…That is surprisingly insightful of you Kazu," Guardromon stated.
"Hey!" Kazu growled. " Henry, Ryo and Rika aren't the only ones that can strategize you know. I can think of a good plan of attack every now and then!"
"We are going to attack the settlement?" Guardromon asked puzzled.
"No!" Kazu huffed. "What I meant was that I can come up with good ideas every now and then too!"
"Oh," Guardromon mused. "Are you admitting that not all of your plans are good ones Kazu?"
"Argh! Just get going!" Kazu huffed. He really wished that Guardromon wouldn't take all of his statements so literally.
Michael woke up with a huge headache.
"…Betamon?" Michael mumbled. "Where are we? What happened?"
"I'm not exactly sure where we are," his Digimon answered slowly. "But I do know that that Jervmon guy did something. We're not in the evacuation tunnels anymore. I know that for sure. I think were in the mountains."
Michael looked around and saw that Betamon was right. He wasn't sure if they were the Eastern Mountains of Shinrin or the Western mountains of Sekizou yet, but he did know that those peaks towering above them on his right were definitely mountains.
"Any sign of the others?" he asked as he slowly got to his feet.
Betamon shook his head.
"No," the Digimon sighed. "I didn't want to wander off too far while you were unconscious."
Michael smiled down at his Digimon partner before taking a steadying breath and forced himself to take a few steps. Once he was sure he wouldn't topple over he began to take a better look at his surroundings. They were in a pretty sparse area that had very little cover. That meant that he and Betamon had to be pretty high up altitude wise. He'd done enough hiking in California during the early fall season with his dad to know these things.
"No use hanging around here then," he stated firmly as he took off heading down hill. No point in going up.
The two of them traveled for roughly half an hour talking about this and that – mainly what they thought of the other DigiDestined and Digimon.
"…I hope Mimi is alright," Michael found himself wondering aloud.
"You humans can be so silly," Betamon smiled. "You should just tell her how you feel already."
"H-huh?" Michael stuttered, his face flushing brightly. "T-tell who?"
"Mimi," Betamon giggled. "You like her a lot right? You should just tell her already silly. And take her out to mate."
Michael skidded to a halt nearly tripping over his own two feet.
"I said that you should tell Mimi how you feel and then take her out to mate," Betamon restated sounding a bit confused by his human partner's reaction. "Why? Isn't that what human boys to with human girls they like?"
"…I think – or at least I hope – that you mean I should ask Mimi out on a date," Michael chocked out. "You think that I should take Mimi out to dinner or a movie or something… Right?"
"Yeah!" Betamon smiled. "That's what I meant! A date! You should totally ask Mimi out to date! …But if that's what going out to date means then what does it mean to mate?"
"Ah…" Michael blinked. How does one even start to go about explaining this to a Digimon?
Then they both heard a terrified scream and all awkward questions about mating and dating were forgotten. Someone was in trouble.
Sora gasped as she found herself falling through freezing cold air.
"Biyomon!" she cried. "You've got to Digivolve!"
"I can now that you're awake!" her partner squawked. "Biyomon! Digivolve to… BIRDRAMON!"
A second later Sora felt the talons of Birdramon wrap around her to halt her fall. She let out a gusty sigh of relief and watched as the white abyss passed by below her.
"Sora," Birdramon's thick voice spoke up above the howling winds. "I see a village beneath us."
"Land!" Sora ordered, trying to keep the panic and cold out of her tone. While Birdramon catching her had prevented her from dying from the fall, she was still in danger of freezing to death. Her thin slacks weren't helping her up here in the freezing air. Especially now that it appeared that they were back in the Northern tundra. Birdramon banked and a minute later the two of them landed on the outskirts of a town made up entirely out of igloos. Birdramon quickly dedigivolved back into Biyomon.
"Hello?" Sora called out. "Is anyone here?"
At first nothing happened but after Sora called out for a second time a Frigimon poked it's head out of a nearby hut.
"…Yes?" the snow-bear Digimon asked. "Can I help you?"
"You wouldn't happen to know where I could find a place to stay would you?" Sora shivered.
The Frigimon started at her for a moment before coming out of his igloo and shouting "IT'S OK EVERYONE! SHE DOESN'T APPEAR TO BE ONE OF KYUSHAMON'S GOONS!"
"My! Well for goodness sake get her inside!" a female Frigimon cried out. "She looks half frozen in those rags!"
Sora felt a little offended hearing her clothes being called rags, but after she was ushered into one of the bigger igloos she realized that her clothes were in fact torn in places. Maybe the term "rags" wasn't to far from the truth considering the state of her attire after a battle with two Zaigou and getting grabbed by Birdramon's sharp talons. The igloos were surprisingly warm inside considering the village's occupants. They even had fireplaces.
"Thank you," Sora sighed with relief as she and Biyomon curled up next to each other by the fire underneath a blanket the female Frigimon had offered them.
"It's no problem dearie," the snow Digimon said, eyes crinkling as if she were smiling. Who knew? Maybe she was. It was hard to tell on a Digimon that had no visible mouth until it ate.
"Sora," Biyomon said quietly. "What about the others? What if they're all out in that?"
"I don't know Biyomon," Sora said sadly. "I hope they're not, but I have a feeling that they aren't. Jervmon scattered us to split us up as a team, so I don't think he would have allowed us all to land in the same area."
"That means that we'll have to find each other all over again," Biyomon sighed.
"Yep," Sora nodded tiredly. "But we'll find each other again. We always do."
"Ma'am!" another Frigimon called out from the entrance of the igloo. "We've found another one!"
"Another one?" Sora, Biyomon, and the female host Frigimon repeated just as a stiff but shivering Guardromon was led inside holding a freezing Kazu in his arms.
"Kazu!" Sora cried, jumping to her feet to take the unconscious boy from the robot Digimon. "Guardromon what happened?"
When she didn't get a reply she looked up and saw that the robot Digimon appeared to have frozen where he stood.
"Quickly dearies lets get these two to the fire," the female Frigimon ordered softly as she and the other Frigimon picked up Guardromon. Sora and Biyomon nodded before dragging Kazu over as well. After the boy and frozen Digimon were settled by the fire Biyomon couldn't help but giggle.
"Well that was fast."
"What?" Sora blinked.
"You were right Sora," the pink bird Digimon laughed softly. "We always seem to find each other again no matter what even when we're not looking."
"Biyomon," Sora laughed, shaking her head.
Kenta wasn't sure what to think when he woke up. He was lying flat on his back in a patch of tall grass with MarineAngemon clutched in his arms.
"Oh man… What happened?" he groaned as he sat up.
MarineAngemon shrugged his wings before taking off into the sky.
"Do you see anything?" Kenta called.
MarineAngemon didn't answer him though so with a sigh he looked around for himself. With a groan he realized that there was tall grass all around him for as far as he could see in any direction.
"Aww man," Kenta sighed. "Just my luck. How'd we even get here?"
Startled, Kenta jumped and looked up at his Digimon partner who was flying around excitedly in circles making a ruckus.
"What is it?"
MarineAngemon flew around him a couple times before darting off to hover above the brush ten to fifteen meters away. Kenta forced himself to wade through the waist-high grass towards the area his partner was now circling. It was hard having a partner who didn't speak, but usually the two understood each other well enough. When he got there Kenta almost tripped over something.
After regaining his balance Kenta saw what – or rather who – it was.
"Zoe!" he gasped and kneeled down next to the battered looking girl.
She was knocked out cold and remained unresponsive to his attempts at waking her.
"What do we do now?" he sighed helplessly, looking up at his partner.
MarineAngemon made an uneasy sound before landing on Kenta's shoulder.
"We probably shouldn't stay here," Kenta frowned looking around while trying to fight down his panic. "We could be in enemy territory for all we know… then again practically every territory in this world belongs to the enemy. We should find shelter, but I don't see any in all this grass… MarineAngemon? Do you think you could fly high enough to see if there's anything around? A building, a hut, a hovel… something! Maybe one of the others! If Zoe is here then there's a good chance that the others are somewhere in this grass too!"
MarineAngemon nodded his head and with another excited incomprehensible squeal he was off. Kenta watched his partner until the little guy was too far to be seen… wow he sure could fly high for such a little thing. With another heavy sigh he returned his attention to Zoe.
"Now that I think about it, even if MarineAngemon does find someplace I doubt I could move you on my own. For a girl, you sure are tall and I'm not any good at carrying weights. I usually leave all that stuff to Kazu and Guardromon and Takato and the others… Aww man… I'm pretty useless aren't I? …Look at me talking to myself," he grumbled. "Sorry you had to be found by someone as useless as me Zoe. Any one of the others would know what to do… except maybe Ai, Mako and Suzie… but even they have helpful partners now that Impmon is able to Digivolve into Boogeymon and Lopmon into Turuiemon… I can't even exchange words with my partner. Not that it matters or that I even mind. We get along rather well without speech, but sometimes – like now – I just wish that he could talk like all the other Digimon. It would sure beat talking to myself."
After staring at the sleeping girl in silence for a while Kenta began checking for any sign that his partner might be coming back yet. It didn't make any sense to move now, but after thinking for a while he realized that sending MarineAngemon off on a search might not have been such a good idea after all. Here he was with an unconscious girl who had no physical Digimon partner (because the Warrior Spirits counted as partners right?) in what was probably hostile territory with no way of defending himself or Zoe.
"Aww man!" Kenta groaned. "I bet none of the others would have made this mistake!"
Just then the grass to his left a few meters away shifted and made him freeze. He didn't even breathe as he heard something stalk through the tall grass on his left.
'Oh man oh man oh man,' Kenta internally whimpered. 'I'm toast. And I just screwed Zoe over as well. Way to go Kenta. You can't do anything right can you? You're useless without the others.'
Every second passed by excruciatingly slow as he waited for whatever was slinking within the grass to find him. He didn't dare make a sound, but his heart was beating so hard, so painfully in his chest he was sure that it was giving him away. He was close to hyperventilating as the sounds got closer and closer to his position.
'I'm sorry Zoe,' he nearly sobbed out loud. 'After all you did for us back in the evacuation tunnels against Jervmon and Netamashiimon I can't even help stave off an attack from a Digimon… but maybe… if I run… it'll be distracted and won't find you and later you can wake up and save yourself. I'm sorry I can't do more."
Taking in a deep breath, Kenta braced himself and took off running as far from Zoe as possible in a direction that hopefully wouldn't lead the stalker in the grass across her path. For a moment he thought that the unknown monster had vanished and hadn't bothered to chase him, but then he heard the heavy padded footsteps of something big right behind him. With a shriek – that was not girlish thank you very much! – he pushed himself to run even faster. He prayed that whatever was chasing him was alone and that after it was finished with him, it'd leave Zoe alone.
He was then flung to the ground and came face to face with a Mihiramon! He couldn't believe it! What was one of the Devas going here? Those questions instantly flew out of him mind as the tiger Deva roared, fangs glistening and claws poised ready to slash him in two. Kenta's eyes grew wide and braced himself for the blow that would more than likely end his life.
Jeri let out a startled cry as Leomon held her protectively close to him while he ran. Jeri wasn't really sure what had happened but one moment they'd been in the evacuation tunnels and the next they were in a war zone nowhere near the mountains.
"Hold on!" Leomon's strong voice cried as he jumped high in the air to avoid being hit by what looked like a missile.
With another cry she tried to make herself as small as possible for Leomon to carry. She was jostled and at one point nearly crushed when Leomon held her too tight, but she was too terrified to care. For a fleeting moment she wondered if Takato was somewhere out there in this insanity. He had been right next to her before Jervmon had done whatever it was he had done. Then her thoughts shifted back to praying that Leomon would get them out of this. She felt overwhelmed as she felt every movement Leomon made to dodge attacks, smelled fire and churned up earth mingling with the smells of oil and gunpowder (or at least that's what she thought she smelled), but the worst was the screams and the cries of anger and pain and terror that broke through the sounds of explosions and hissings and cracklings of weapons being fired. Being unable to see since she was huddled up against Leomon's chest she was terrified beyond belief.
Then suddenly with a pained roar Leomon dropped her and she went tumbling and sliding across damp earth a few good feet. When she managed to orient herself she glanced up from where she now lay and got her first good look at their new surroundings. It was awful. There were hundreds – maybe thousands – of organized units of machine Digimon a few kilometers away firing missiles and bullets and an all manner of things at a couple hundred Digimon of all types. There were Monochromon, Snimon, Togemon, Tyrannomon (just to name a few) and many others fighting back. Looking behind her she could see even more charging ten meters past her position to join the others.
Looking around her she saw hundreds of discarded weaponry nearly buried in the churned up earth where some Digimon were only just starting to revert back into date. Rising slowly to her feet and with a growing apprehension Jeri looked up into the sky and saw that the wave of grey above her wasn't clouds… it was Digimon data. So many Digimon had died and many more where dying now. With a wave of panic she looked around her searching for her partner.
"Leomon? Where are you? LEOMON?" she screamed.
Where was he? He hadn't… had he? NO! Not again.
Jeri was nearly in tears as she screamed over and over again for her partner. Just then a stray missile landed and detonated nearby sending her flying through the air again. She was terrified. She was all alone in a war zone and Leomon was nowhere to be found. Her voice was hoarse from all her screaming and her body shook so badly that she couldn't move much without falling over in hysterics.
"Leomon," she cried, tears streaming down her face.
"Now what have we here?"
With a scream she turned around and came face to face with a Digimon she'd never seen before and she was too scared to pull out her digivice to find out. It was orange and serpentine with big purple wings, bright yellow eyes and mechanical cannon hands/claws.
"A DigiDestined?" the snake-dragon Digimon cackled. "Oh what a treat. Lord Kushyamon is sure to promote me once he hears that I destroyed one of the pesky chosen ones."
With a hiss it raised it's cannon claws, but before it could strike something rammed into it's side knocking it aside.
"LEOMON!" Jeri cried seeing her partner at last. He looked a little worse for wear, but more than ready to fight if his angry expression was anything to go by. Jeri and never seen her usually calm partner so angry before.
"Don't you dare touch her," he growled.
The enemy Digimon hissed and lashed out with it's tail, catching Leomon of guard but not for long.
"Fist of the Beast King!" Leomon roared, defeating the Digimon with one strong fiery blast. Jeri let out a sigh of relief but it was short lived. A clawed hand then hit Leomon from behind and his data began to glow.
"NO!" she screamed, terrified that she was going to loose her partner again as a Devidramon loomed over her downed partner.
The ghoulish dragon Digimon let out a high-pitched cry and burst into data. Looking up in shock Jeri saw who had saved her and Leomon.
Mako groaned when he woke up. He was very confused for a minute though. He didn't know where he was. He would have been scared if he didn't see Ai and Impmon sleeping next to him in a nice futon. He was in a large room with high wooden ceilings with exposed rafters. The room was bare apart from the bed and the hundreds like it. There was a set of doors on both ends of the rectangular room. He and Ai and Impmon were in a bed right by the door that he could now begin to hear voices coming from behind it.
"Are you sure?" a gravely old man's voice asked.
"Course I'm sure! Aren't you?" a high old woman's voice asked.
"No! I think you're nuttier than a fruitcake!" the man's voice answered.
"Quiet! You might wake the children!" the woman reproached.
"So what? They've been sleeping for hours!"
"Little human children need lots of sleep!
"What makes you think they're human? Humans are extinct! They were all wiped out by that dark lord guy."
"I've seen humans before and I'm tellen ya that those children are humans!"
"Yeah! Tell me something. Have you ever seen a Digimon like them?"
"What do I care for children? They cry and stink and-!" THWAK! "Sheesh! Don't you swing that broom at me Babamon!"
"Hey! Don't you swing your staff at me Jijimon!" Babamon roared.
"…What's going on?"
Mako jumped and looked over at Ai as she sat up rubbing her eyes. Impmon was still asleep though. The door then burst open and Mako saw two of the strangest Digimon he'd ever seen. One was an old man with so much hair it practically covered all of his face and most of his body. The other looked like an old woman in a patchwork dress with her grey hair pinned up in a bun on the top of her head. Her bangs were so long you couldn't see her eyes.
"Now look what ya did!" the woman cried. "You woke 'em up!"
"Like anyone could sleep with you yakkin'" scoffed the man.
"Shuddap!" the woman snapped at the man before kneeling down and began talking sweetly. "I'm sorry sweeties. My name is Babamon and the old coot is Jijimon. Do you know where you are?"
Mako shook his head and saw his sister do the same.
"You're in the Seidou Temple," the old man said. "Though in recent times, it's more like Seidou Hotel what with all the refugees comin' here."
"Don't use big words with the children! They won't understand!" Babamon snapped. "What my husband means is that this temple is offering a safe place for the good Digimon to stay while the bad Digimon destroy their homes. But enough of that! I bet you two are hungry!"
Mako's stomach chose to growl just them.
"Oi… that's all we need," Jijimon huffed. "More mouths to feed."
"Shut yer trap!" Babamon said bopping Jijimon on the head with the broom in her hand. Ai giggled and Mako could help laughing himself.
"…Waz with all the commotion?"
Mako smiled. Impmon was finally awake.
"Why were you still sleepin?" Jijimon snorted. "Common ya little lazy bums! Lets feed ya before yous starts a moanin and a groanin."
Mako got out of the bed and took Ai's hand as they followed Babamon and Jijimon. Impmon was right behind them. It didn't take long before the two older Digimon started arguing again about what to serve.
"Yeesh," Impmon sighed. "Could we have found ourselves in a worse dump?"
"It's not a dump Impmon," Ai scolded. "It's a temple. Babamon and Jijimon are being really nice letting us stay here."
"What those two coots?" Impmon frowned. "Bit loud ain't they?"
"I think they're funny," Mako laughed. "And they smell like Grandma and Grandpa."
"They talk like them too," Ai giggled.
"Accept for the broom," Mako nodded. "Grandma never hit Grandpa with her broom."
"Yeah," Ai nodded. "She liked to use her cane instead."
"…Just what kinda people are your grandparents?" Impmon blinked.
"Oh!" Babamon exclaimed. "It seems like the Lalamon found another!"
"Great that's all we need," Jijimon grouched. "Another guest. As if we don't have enough here!"
Ai and Mako and Impmon rushed forward to see what the two Digimon were talking about and saw eight pink flower Digimon float into the doorway. They were split up in two groups of four and were carrying two figures between them all.
"Mako," she cried. "That's Matt and Gabumon!"
Willace didn't remember much about what had happened over the last couple of minutes when he'd been conscious. One moment he'd been with the others underground leaving Shinrin City and then the next he and his two Digimon partners found themselves falling out of the sky. Gargomon had done his best to glide them down using his big ears, but the landing had been rough and Willace remembered hitting his head and then… nothing.
With a groan he started to wake up again, but something wasn't right. He could hear Gargomon shouting something and firing the guns that were his hands. That meant Terriermon hadn't dedigivolved when they ended up… where ever it was that they'd ended up.
"Willace? Are you awake now?"
"You sure know when to fall asleep!" he thought heard Gargomon yell before Lopmon answered him.
"Yeah it's me. You hit your head when we landed. We're in the middle of a battle field and Gargomon managed to drag you into this den before getting caught up in the fight."
Willace was going to ask him just what he meant, but the ground suddenly shook beneath him and he jolted awake, hitting his head on a low ceiling. He panicked for a second when he couldn't see but he quickly realized that it was because he was in a burrow of some kind. Loose chunks of earth fell down around his head and in his hair. He couldn't see much because Gargomon was blocking the entrance to their hidey-hole.
"What's going on Gargomon?" Willace asked as he crawled over.
"A war!" Gargomon stated. "It's just like something out of all those old war movies of your dad's. Are you ready to move? Those machine Digimon are getting really close now and I don't think our little hiding spot is going to last much longer. Not that the enemy hasn't already spotted us."
"Then lets get out of here!" Willace shouted and like that the three of them were running over uneven ground dodging bullets and missiles and who knows what else. It wasn't long before they were stopped by a menacing group of three Dokugumon. Gargomon was getting tired though and would probably be struggling against even one. Willace pulled out his Digivice and prayed that it worked.
"Lopmon?" he gulped. "Think you're up for this?"
His second Digimon partner nodded grimly.
"Then digivolve already!" Gargomon cried. "I'm good, but three against one isn't my idea of a good time."
Willace hoped this worked because Lopmon had never Digivolved before without the influences of the corrupt data he'd been in infected with after the incident with Diaboramon. Taking a deep breath Willace held out his digivice and was immensely relieved to see it and Lopmon glow with the light of DigiVolution.
"Lopmon digivolve too… Wendigomon!"
Willace gapped as he saw Lopmon change into the towering form of Wendigomon, looking much like he had last year. He had bad flashbacks to that time, but at least this time Wendigomon wasn't under the influence of the virus.
"Cable Crusher!" Wendigomon roared as he threw out his long arms and punched away two of the Dokugumon.
"Gargo Pellets!" Gargomon cried, dispatching the third.
Willace sighed with relief and ran after his two partner Digimon. Wendigomon knocked away any Digimon that attacked them and Gargomon shot any ammunition heading their way so that it detonated before reaching them. It didn't take the trio long to realize that they had landed somewhere on the fringes of the enemy troop's position and were in deep trouble. There were too many machine Digimon everywhere. Willace was having trouble keeping up with his partners as they moved over the rough terrain. At one point they got separated breaking over into the rebel's line and into more friendly territory. He could hear Gargomon calling his name and just after he spotted his two Digimon – though how he could have misplaced the mountain that was Wendigomon – an explosion of some kind went off behind him and sent him flying. He rolled a couple of feet before his right foot got caught under the body of a heavily armored tank Digimon. He screamed as the impact jarred his leg and he didn't like the sticky wet feeling running down into his shoe. A second later the Digimon burst into data bits, but the damage had already been done. He didn't have time to look at his injury before being swept up into the air by Wendigomon who set him on a broad shoulder. Willace looked around at the land surrounding him. He'd seen many war movies but this? …This was something else entirely.
"Yolei? Are you awake yet Yolei?"
With a groan Yolei forced her eyes open.
"Sorry, but no," a woman's voice laughed softly.
"Then who…" Yolei frowned as she sat up and saw who she was speaking to. "…Darkmon?"
"It's good to see you again," the golden angel woman smiled.
"Where am I?" Yolei asked looking around.
"Back in Netsusa," Darkmon replied. "You've been asleep for a couple hours. You were unconscious when you were brought here."
"And Hawkmon?" Yolei asked with a sudden feel of apprehension.
"Your partner is in the recovery wing," Darkmon said softly. "He was injured when you arrived. He managed to protect you as Shurimon when you two fell out of the sky. He would only dedigivolve back into Hawkmon once your safety was assured. And even then we couldn't get him to leave your side until he was overcome with exhaustion and passed out. …He's a very loyal partner."
Yolei felt a twine of pride and guilt. She knew too well how loyal her partner was to her. He was more than she deserved.
"Wait," she frowned. "We fell out of the sky?"
"But how is that… I mean… we were in Shinrin and that's miles away, so how…! Jervmon! He did something! Am I the only one here?" Yolei demanded.
"No," Darkmon shook her head. "One other fell out of the sky on the other side of the city. Who it is yet I'm not sure. Someone else was given the responsibility to bring them here. This is no doubt the result of one of Jervmon's tricks. He can send objects and people flying everywhere at random. He'd done it to our troops before. I ended up all the way in Sekizou once. It takes a lot out of Jervmon though so I doubt we'll be seeing him anytime soon."
"Well that's something at least," Yolei sighed. "…Can I see him? Can I see Hawkmon?"
"This way," Darkmon smiled. "He is just down the hall. We weren't sure which of you two would wake up first so we put you in a room near the infirmary."
"Thank you," Yolei bowed before following the golden angel Digimon out of the lavish room and down the grand hallway a few doors down where Darkmon left her.
Hawkmon was lying on a bed with his left wing covered in bandages and in a sling. The other was bandaged too, but only around the hand part. Yolei hurried over to his side and took a seat. She didn't know what to do at first since she couldn't hold one of his "hands" but after a while she settled for smoothing down his feathers.
"Mmm… That feels rather nice," the bird Digimon smiled.
"Oh Hawkmon," Yolei whispered. "Are you alright?"
"A little worse for wear I'm afraid, but I'm fine knowing that you're alright," he sighed but his smiled never wavered.
Yolei smiled back, but she couldn't stop her tears from falling. Neither of them acknowledged them though and she went back to smoothing down and unruffling his feathers. It was quiet between the two of them in the infirmary but half an hour later there was a clamor in the hall.
"Oh the poor boy!"
"Quick! Get him inside!"
Hawkmon and Yolei looked up just in time to see the doors thrown open to admit Darkmon, a Lillymon, and a Togemon who was carrying a blood covered Henry with a teary-eyed Terriermon right behind them. Terriermon didn't even acknowledge the two of them as he watched the Togemon set his Tamer down on the bed beside Hawkmon's. The Lillymon zipped off to the other end of the ward and came back with what looked like healing crystals. Yolei and Hawkmon watched nervously as the flower child did her best to help Henry.
Now there are many ways he could have woken up, but Cody hadn't liked waking up to a rank smell. Wrinkling his nose, Cody forced himself the rest of the way to consciousness and sat up to take a look at his surroundings. It was dark and nearly impossible to see. He could only make out vague shadowy shapes and outlines. It was also damp and didn't smell too good.
"Uh," Cody groaned as he stood up. "Armadillomon?"
"Right here Cody," his partner's western twang answered from somewhere nearby on his right.
"Where are we?" he asked.
"If the smell is any indication I'd say we're in the sewer," Armadillomon sighed.
"You are correct. Are you two alright?"
Cody squinted into the darkness just barely able to make out a short blobby shadow in front of him. If they were in a sewer then there was really only one kind of Digimon that he could be talking to.
"Are you a Numemon?" Cody asked nervously. His experience with Numemon wasn't very flattering. Those kinds of Digimon tended to be rude and gross and…well, they just weren't very pleasant.
"You got it," the blobby shape answered. "My friends and I pulled you and your friend down here to hide you from the Scavengers."
"Scavengers?" Cody and Armadillomon repeated in unison.
"Digimon who the Zaigou send to pick off any survivors after a town raid," the Numemon explained. "You're a DigiDestined human right? We couldn't let them find you. You and your friends are our only hope. It's said that you'll save us all."
"So we're in the sewers below Shinrin?" Cody frowned.
"Shinrin?" the Numemon blinked. "Kid, you're in the sewer system below the far east coastal village."
"But how's that possible?" Cody asked. "We were in the evacuation tunnels leaving Shinrin City. We were fighting Jervmon and Netamashiimon."
"Jervmon? Well no wonder," Numemon sighed. "You ain't the first one that Mon magiced off. We had a couple rebel soldiers falling out of the sky over town cause of him too a short while back."
"He can do that?" Armadillomon asked.
"The Zaigou can do many things," the Numemon said ominously.
Cody looked up and listened intently as a second Numemon appeared in the sparse lighting of the sewers.
"We need to move! The Scavengers are starting to check the sewers!" the newcomer said.
"You heard him! Move it!" cried the first Numemon.
Cody and Armadillomon shuffled uncertainly after the two Numemon. Cody tried to ignore the slimy texture of the wall and not think about what he was wading through. There was very little light and that made it very hard to move quickly even with the noise of something entering the sewer far away from their current position. Cody's heart beat hard inside his chest as the noises of pursuers grew louder as more and more enemy Digimon entered the sewers. After fifteen minutes Cody, Armadillomon, and the two Numemon broke free into a bright open cavern that was full of light. But it was also full of at least a hundred Digimon.
"We gotta move further into the tunnel system! The Scavengers are coming!" the second Numemon cried out.
Many of the Digimon let out soft cries of alarm.
"But that place is a maze!" Someone called out.
"Who cares? It's better than being caught!" the first Numemon shouted. "Now move!"
Reluctantly the rest of the Digimon began to head off through a tunnel in the back to the left of Cody's current standing position.
"Who are these Digimon and how many of them are there?" Cody asked.
"Kid, these are the only survivors of the fifteen towns and villages that once lined the eastern coast," the first Numemon sighed. "There are only a couple hundred of us left out of the thousands that used to populate these areas."
The Numemon looked sad and Cody realized that out of all the Digimon present only a few other Numemon helped make up those numbers. Nine others aside from the one he was talking to if Cody was counting right.
"…What happened to all the other Numemon?" Cody asked.
"…A lot of them digivolved into Monzaemon and Garbagemon to help fight off the Zaigou," Numemon sighed. "Some died helping other surface dwellers like you escape down into the sewers. A few of them are still out in the tunnels looking out for Scavengers, but other than them… all you see is all that's left. We're refugees kid. Our homes are destroyed, the Zaigou are taking over, and it won't be long before we're all either killed or forced into slavery."
"What Zaigou rules this area?" Cody asked.
"Iramon," Numemon muttered. "The west had it easy with Aiyokumon and Paressemon, while we Digimon living in the east have been living in constant terror. Iramon leaves no survivors. He prefers to level everything to dust. Honestly Kid, we'll be lucky if we can make it out of these sewers and into the tunnels. Iramon's smart. He'll have some goons down here to pick us off one by one."
"Well that's a cheery idea. And people think I have pessimistic thoughts."
Cody whirled around, recognizing the voice.
Joe held Gomamon close to him as they found themselves falling out of the sky and landing in a haystack. Joe sneezed.
"Uh!" he groaned. "That's all I need. Something to aggravate my hay fever."
"Joe," Gomamon sighed. "Can you complain after we get out of the hay?"
With something that was between a sigh and another sneeze Joe managed to roll them out of the haystack.
"At least we managed to land in something soft," Gomamon chuckled.
"I don't –ACHOO!– see anything amusing about falling out of the sky and into –CHOO!– hay," Joe grumbled.
"Aww! Don't start getting all cranky now Joe," Gomamon grinned. "People'll think you're regressing. You're supposed to be the cool – ok, maybe not cool – but the responsible one, remember? What happened to the sense of humor that took you three years to get?"
"Shut up," Joe grumbled. "Considering the circumstances I think I'm entitled to be grumpy."
Gomamon gave his version of a shrug.
"Instead of gripping about it, why don't we look around and see where we are?"
"Fine," Joe sighed.
The two of them looked around and found that they were on the outskirts of a small town. Wandering in they found that the place was home to a bunch of plant Digimon like Mushroomon, Floramon, and Palmon and everything appeared to be peaceful. Joe was just about to suggest that they ask someone where they were, but right at that moment the ground gave a tremendous quake nearly knocking him off his feet.
"What the-!" Joe gasped just as a flash of light caught his eye.
Turning to his left he found himself looking down the main street which gave him a clear view of something detonating a couple miles outside the town before a concussive shockwave blast was followed by a roaring BOOM!
"It's the Zaigou's army!" screeched a Floramon a few feet away just as some dark shapes started to appear on the horizon that were rapidly making their way towards the town.
"We're under attack!" cried a Palmon.
"Hurry! To the underground shelters!" hollered a Mushroomon. "We have to try to escape into the-!"
A blast and a heavy wave of hot air cut the Digimon off. The town soon fell into chaos as Devidramon, DarkTyrannomon, and Warumonzaemon seemed to materialize out of nowhere with the air assault led by a squadron of Digimon Joe had never seen before. Next thing Joe knew he was running with Gomamon tucked under his arm.
"Easy Joe!" Gomamon squawked as they skidded around a building and just narrowly avoided a fireball.
"Sorry!" Joe gasped as he nearly tripped for the fourth time. "I'm a little preoccupied with running for our lives!"
A couple minutes later Joe finally lost his footing and tumbled hard into an alley. Instinctively Joe wrapped his body protectively around his partner as he fell. He ended up banging his head really hard on the wall as he went down.
Joe heard Gomamon's cries from within his arms, but that collision of his head against the wall had done it's damage. His vision was fading and there was a ringing in his ears. He struggled to prop himself up or to at least flop over onto his back so that Gomamon could get free. He succeeded getting onto his back, but only just. The action had taken more out of him than he'd thought.
"Joe!" Gomamon cried as he scrabbled out of his partner's arms. "Get up! You have to! They're coming!"
The rest of Gomamon's pleas were lost in the roar of another explosion; one that blew apart the building on their left. Joe felt more than saw the rubble collapse on top of him because Gomamon threw himself over Joe's head. After that his consciousness began to fade in and out. The last thing he remembered before blacking out completely was the sound of rubble moving and a shaft of light that fell across his eyelids because Gomamon wasn't shielding his face anymore. Not that it mattered. He couldn't see anything without opening his eyes. But he could hear the voices speaking above him.
"And his Digimon."
"Do we kill them?"
"No! Bring them. Lord Kushyamon will be most pleased."
Joe blacked out after that and the next time he woke, he was in a dark cell.
JP wasn't too sure what to make of his situation. One minute he had been fighting one of Netamashiimon's clones and the next he was waking up in a pitch-black space on what felt like a bed. With a groan he forced himself into a sitting position.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," a familiar voice chided.
Then the room began to glow green. JP recognized the source as the strange glowing fungi he'd seen in Sekizou. When the room became sufficiently lit he spotted who had spoken.
"Digitamamon?" he blinked.
"That's right kid," the egg Digimon nodded.
"…I'm back in Sekizou?" JP asked.
"You got it," Digitamamon confirmed. "Now why don't you get up and come get something to eat. Floramon made you something."
"Ah… Sure," JP nodded and he hoisted himself out of bed with a groan.
"Fighting those Zaigou is no walk in the park, huh?" Digitamamon sighed.
"No," JP said through gritted teeth. Oh why did everything have to hurt? "They're tough bastards."
"I won't argue with that," Digitamamon said grimly. "You kids have instigated quite a storm taking Paressemon and returning her to being human."
"Mai?" JP blinked.
"Yeah her," Digitamamon nodded. "Kushyamon's making his move. He's sent out troops to the east and is completely devastating to coast. Shinrin isn't the only area coming under fire. I've heard that the eastern coast is nothing but rubble now. Iramon is leading the armies in a merciless genocide. So far we've been lucky but now that this side of the continent's Zaigou's are gone, it's only a matter of time before we're wiped out too. There aren't too many safe places in this world anymore. Half of Sekizou has evacuated into the mountains… fat lot of good it'll do them. That was Aiyokumon's territory. The Zaigou know those passages."
JP felt a lump catch in this throat.
"Is there nothing that can stop them?" he asked.
"You DigiDestined are our only hope," Digitamamon sighed. "The rebel armies are doing their best, but at this rate our world is going to be left in nothing but ruins."
JP frowned but remained silent as he followed the egg Digimon into a dining room.
"…Are we in Sekizou Palace?" JP blinked.
"It's the only safe place left in this region. Sekizou's army is small, but strong," Digitamamon informed him. "Lord Byakkomon is evacuating the entire city to bring them all into his Palace walls. He's even sending troops to encourage those who've fled into the mountains to come back where it's safer. But it's like I said, there are few safe places left in this world. Lets hope that your friends have made it somewhere safe."
"Yeah," JP sighed, staring off into space. "Me too."
With a jolt JP looked up at the table and saw that Izzi seated at the end of the table with his laptop open before him.
"Izzi!" JP grinned. "Boy is it good to see you."
"Good to see you're finally awake," Izzi smiled back tiredly.
"Isn't anyone happy to see me?"
"Hello Tentomon," JP laughed as the beetle Digimon flew in and landed next to his partner.
"Hello JP. It really is a relief to see you awake," Tentomon tittered. "You weren't looking to good when we found you."
"Really?" JP blinked. "What happened?"
"Jervmon scattered us all over the place," Izzi frowned. "Tentomon and I managed to land in the palace pool. You weren't so lucky. You fell through the roof and the floors of a two-story building. We found you in the basement. From what I can tell you were still in your Warrior Spirit form when you fell. It absorbed most of the impact so you're not nearly as bad as you should be."
"Funny, I ache enough," JP chuckled as he sat down opposite Izzi in front of a plate of food. "So what are you up to?"
"I'm trying to track down the others using their digivice signals," Izzi sighed. "Unfortunately I can only locate those who have my model of digivice. The seven signals I can locate are all over the place."
"Do you think you might be able to find my friends if I give you my D-Tector?" JP asked before taking a bite out of what he assumed was a salad.
"It's worth a shot," the older boy mused. "I might be able to if I…"
While Izzi trailed off into techno-babble JP took out his D-Tector and handed it over. He continued to eat his meal and chatted with Tentomon and Digitamamon about the goings on in Sekizou while the genius poured over his laptop. It sounded like the palace was pretty large and wasn't even full yet since only half of it's citizens were behind it's walls while the other half resided in the mountains. JP hoped that Izzi could find their friends, but more importantly he hoped that everyone was safe.
Everything hurt. Oh God why did everything hurt? There was a sharp pain in his left wrist, his right leg burned, and everything ached. What had happened? He tried to gage the severity of his injuries by flexing slightly, but even the slightest movement hurt. Apparently he was in pretty bad shape.
"…Terriermon?" he gasped. Gods even talking hurt.
"Easy Terriermon. He's in a lot of pain."
That was a girl's voice… he knew that voice too. It wasn't Ai or Suzie's voice, or Jeri or Rika's… Didn't sound like the older girls Mai, Mimi, and Sora. It didn't belong to any of the female Digimon he'd met so that left Zoe and Yolei… He wasn't sure how long ago the fight with Jervmon and Netamashiimon was, but Zoe had used up a lot of energy in her fight so that left…
"…Yolei?" Henry whispered. Ah much better. Low voice, less strain on the vocal cords.
"Yeah it's me," the girl said softly. "How are you feeling?"
"…Sore," Henry murmured and finally managed to open his eyes.
"Well ya did fall through a thatched roof, crashed through a second story floor and landed with a crunch on top of a quilting loom!" Terriermon cried with a huff, but his exasperated tone was ruined by the worried wobble and crack at the end.
"Is that what happened?" Henry mused. "Now that I think about it, I do remember getting caught up in web of thread. Did I end up skewering myself or something? My wrist and leg hurt quite a bit."
"…The outside of your right leg was slashed open by a sharp spoke that splintered on impact. It went in pretty deep," Yolei explained. "As for your wrist the Lillymon that treated you thinks it might be broken. She's going to give you another healing session as soon as the healing crystals are recharged. You lost a lot of blood out of that gash in your leg."
"What about you? Were any of you injured?" Henry asked.
"A little bruised, but I'm fine," Terriermon huffed.
"I'm alright too," Yolei smiled slightly. "But Hawkmon got hurt when he shielded me. His left wing was banged up pretty bad. He's resting now."
Henry looked past Yolei and spotted the lavender haired girl's partner dozing in the bed next to his.
"Is he alright?" Henry asked.
"He's fine," Yolei smiled more sincerely. "It's mostly healed by now. Those crystals that they use here for healing are quite amazing."
Henry nodded but after looking around he realized that something was missing.
"Is Suzie here?" he asked.
"Sorry Henry," Terriermon shook his head. "We don't know where she is."
"According to Darkmon, everyone was scattered by Jervmon's teleport ability," Yolei said quietly. "I'm sorry Henry, but there's now way of knowing where Suzie ended up. She could be anywhere."
Henry had to hold back a sob. Gods… Suzie. What if she fell as badly as he had? Was she hurt? Was she even alive? No! He wasn't going to think like that. She had to be ok… she HAD to be. She was only five! Oh God…
"Hey, I'm sure she's fine Henry," Yolei said softly, resting a hand on his shoulder, gently massaging it. "Suzie's an amazing little girl. I bet she can charm any Digimon she meets and maybe one of the others found her. We landed in the same area. I'm sure she landed near someone else who could help her. And she has Lopmon."
"She's right Henry!" Terriermon rallied. "Suzie's one tough little cookie. I'm sure she's safe. We'd know if she was in any real trouble. Your brotherly instincts would tell you that."
Henry looked up at his partner and over to Yolei, both looking at him earnestly.
"Henry as soon as you're better, I promise we'll try our best to find out what happened to Suzie," Yolei informed him. "I'm sure Lord Suzakumon has plenty of connections to help with the search and I'll have Darkmon get right on it the next time I see her, but right now you need to rest. You can't help your sister if you're still hurt."
Henry sighed, nodding. A minute later he allowed himself to fall asleep once more.
Mimi gasped as Lillymon snatched her out of mid air.
"Whoa!" Lillymon gasped. "And I thought you were heavy when we were fighting the Dark Masters!"
"I'll have you know I am extremely fit! I'm a size one!" Mimi cried.
"Whatever," Lillymon grunted as she smoothed out their descent. "Hold on tight! This is going to be rough!"
"Hold on to what?" Mimi squeaked indignantly as they came closer and closer to the ground.
"Here we go!" Lillymon cried and the next thing Mimi knew she was rolling down a steep hill.
"Oh these grass stains are going to be murder to get out," Mimi huffed as she examined her green streaked attire after she came to a stop. She was really glad that she didn't have a mirror on her. She was sure that she looked horrible and was covered in grass and dirt.
"That could have been better," moaned the voice of not Lillymon, but little Tanemon, her Digimon partner's In-Training form.
"Tanemon! Are you alright?" Mimi gasped as she picked up her partner.
"Just a little tired," Tanemon muttered. "It's been a while since I've reached Ultimate."
"Well you just rest," Mimi ordered as she rose to her feet and readjusted her pack on her back with her free hand. "I'll take it from here. Oh boy just where in the Digital World are we?"
Looking around Mimi realized that she and Tanemon were standing in the middle of a battlefield. After all she had faced with her friends during their first adventure she knew a battlefield when she saw one.
"What happened here?" Mimi gasped.
"A victory against Kushyamon's forces."
Mimi squeaked in surprised and spun around to face a familiar face.
"Hello Miss," the knight Digimon bowed. "And just what are you doing here?"
"I honestly don't have a clue," Mimi laughed. "We just sort of fell out of the sky. Now tell me Gallantmon, where are we and what happened here?"
"You're in the plains west of Kushyamon's domain," Gallantmon informed them. "Kushyamon's forces were moving to ravage the west like it's done with the east, but my troops succeeded in holding them off. The battle was won only last night."
"Then what are you doing out here? Shouldn't you be with your troops?" Mimi asked.
"I saw you fall from the sky," Gallantmon stated. "I thought you might be one of my scouts. I've been waiting for one for a while now from Embermon who's fighting the harder fight in the east."
"I see," Mimi frowned.
"Come," Gallantmon sighed. "This is no place for idle chatter. My men are tired and in need of treatment. You look like you could use some treatment yourself."
"It's only a couple of scratches," Mimi blushed. "I'm sure your men need treatment more than I do."
Gallantmon merely shrugged and let her off the battlefield and into a nearby forest. When they entered a clearing Mimi had to swallow her gasp. Injured Digimon were everywhere and there was the strong smell of burns and gunpowder. There was also a prickling buzz in the air that told her that a lot of healing crystals had been used. But what really got her was how few in number these Digimon troops were.
"The price of victory," Gallantmon muttered grimly. "I lost hundreds of good men today. Half of my guard is gone. Two thirds of my volunteers completely wiped out. This is all that's left.
"…Is there anything I can do to help?" Mimi asked.
"Do you know how to use healing crystals?" a voice asked.
Mimi jumped and faced a Digimon that looked like Wizardmon, only with a snow theme.
"This is Sorcermon, our field medic," Gallantmon introduced. "He'll show you what you can do. If you'll excuse me Miss, I need to talk to my captains."
Mimi nodded at the knight before facing Sorcermon.
"No, I don't, but I'm willing to learn," Mimi stated. "Anything I can do to help."
"You sound just like that boy," Sorcermon's eyes crinkled in a smile.
"Boy?" Mimi blinked. "What boy?"
Suzie cried hysterically as she clung tightly to Turuiemon. They were being chased by these mean birdie Digimon.
"Faster Turuiemon! Faster!" Suzie screamed.
"I'm trying Suzie," her partner gasped as she bounded over a fallen log.
Suzie couldn't remember being the scared before. Henry wasn't anywhere and neither was everyone else.
"Someone help us!" Suzie cried.
"Big Ice Blast!"
Suzie gasped as the bird Digimon scattered back with an alarmed squawk as a beam of ice froze the ground right in front of them.
"Hen-wee?" Suzie gasped.
"No! It's Michael and Seadramon!" Turuiemon cried with relief. She just wasn't in any sort of condition to fight so seeing those two was a huge relief.
"Seadramon! Take care of those Kiwimon!" Michael ordered as he and his Digimon appeared out of the tree line to their left.
"On it!" the serpent Digimon nodded before chasing off the Kiwimon with large swipes of it's tail.
"Are you two alright?" Michael asked as he rushed forward to join them.
"We're good," Turuiemon sighed. "But I don't think I can hold this form much longer."
"That's ok. You can rest now. Come here Suzie," Michael said softly.
Suzie eyed the yellow haired man for a moment before allowing her partner to hand her over to the American. A second later Turuiemon sighed and dedigivolved into Kokomon.
"Lopmon!" Suzie cried. "Are you oh-tay?"
"I'm fine Suzie," the In-Training Digimon sighed. "And I'm Kokomon now, not Lopmon."
"Oh," Suzie nodded before Michael lowered her to the ground so that she could pick her now-small partner up and hold her like she would with one of her baby dolls that she had back home. "Are you hurt?"
"No, Suzie," Kokomon smiled. "I'm just tired."
"Oh-tay," Suzie nodded. "You west then. Nurse Suzie is gonna take good care of you."
"And I'll take good care of Suzie," Michael promised.
Suzie looked back up at the blonde boy but didn't say anything. She hadn't ever talked to this boy before so she was understandably a little nervous, but he'd helped chased the mean birdies away so he had to be good. Suzie also liked his smile and anyone who had a nice smile like Takuya had to be a nice person.
"All clear!" cried a voice.
Suzie looked away from Michael and saw the tadpole Digimon waddle over to them.
"That's great Betamon," Michael smiled.
"So what do we do now?" Betamon asked.
"Umm…" Michael looked around them and so did Suzie. "Keep going down hill? We'll reach the summit sooner or later."
"We could take the tunnel!" Suzie squealed after she spotted the dark hole to their right.
"Tunnel?" Michael blinked.
"Yeah!" Suzie grinned. "It'll keep us out of da wain."
Michael blinked again and looked up. Sure enough there were dark clouds hovering ominously above them.
"Ok then," the older boy smiled. "The tunnel it is."
"Yay!" Suzie cheered.
"Common then Suzie," Michael said as he took her free hand. "Lets get in that tunnel before it starts to pour."
"Oh-tay!" Suzie laughed, swinging their arms. "Maybe Hen-wee's in there!"
"Uh… yeah," Michael paused. "Maybe."
"He will be because Hen-wee's smart," Suzie said firmly. "Hen-wee won't stay out in da wain so he will be in da tunnels to stay dwie."
Confident in her opinion Suzie marched toward the tunnel with Michael's hand wrapped warmly and firmly around her own. It wasn't Henry or Takuya's hand, but it was still warm and Suzie knew that she could trust this boy. He'd keep her safe until she found Henry and Terriermon.
"I think I've got it!" Izzi cheered. He'd just managed to find the other four digivice signals belonging to the other four Warrior DigiDestined. Takuya didn't have one though after his digivice was cremated with his body, so he was the only one Izzi wouldn't be able to locate.
"Really?" JP asked, looking up from his conversation with Tentomon and Digitamamon.
"I believe I have," Izzi nodded confidently. "I have four D-Tector signals and seven digivice signals. The closest signal is actually in the mountains."
"From what kind of digivice?" JP asked.
"One of the digivices like mine," Izzi stated. "Everyone else is scattered all over. Two of the digivice signals are even paired together."
"Can you tell who's who?" JP asked.
"…Not yet," Izzi muttered. "I still can't pick up the signals belonging to the Tamer's digivices or the D3's belonging to Davis and his group… No…"
Izzi's eyes grew wide as he checked the locations of each digivice.
"What is it?" the other three demanded.
"…Someone is with my digivice model is being held in Kushyamon's territory," Izzi whispered. "Someone other than Davis and Ryo has been captured."
"Wait, Ryo got caught?" JP blinked at him. "How do you know that?"
"Netamashiimon said something about another of the Zaigou taking him," Izzi frowned. "That means at least three of our friends are being held captive. But for what purpose?"
"I don't think I want to know," JP frowned. "If it's anything like what happened to Takuya… it can't be good."
"What do we do now Izzi?" Tentomon asked him.
Izzi frowned. He wasn't sure. Even though he was a strategist Tai was the one that usually came up with the plan. There were so many things they could do. He could try to locate more of the other DigiDestined, they could help with the evacuation of Sekizou into the palace, they could help around the palace, they could help with the Digimon hiding in the mountains… or even better they could find the DigiDestined in the mountains.
"I think we should see if we could join the next expedition into the mountains," Izzi finally stated. "If we do we might be able to find whoever it is that's up there."
"Sounds good to me," JP grinned.
"Indeed," Tentomon nodded.
"I'll see what I can do about that," Digitamamon stated, "But you, JP, need more rest. You're still beat up from your fight with the Zaigou."
Izzi watched the younger boy wince.
"You too smarty-pants," Digitamamon stated, glaring at Izzi. "Get off your computer and get some sleep. You're going to be no help to anyone if you can't even stay awake. Trekking through Sekizou Mountains is quite a hike. Rest now while you can. I'll wake you if I have any news."
"…Right," Izzi sighed. Now that he thought about it he really was tired. "Common Tentomon."
The three of them retreated to their rooms that were in a private wing and located right across the hall from each other. Izzi set his laptop to the side before falling back against the soft sheets of his bed. He mentally ran the locations of his friend's digivices over in his head wondering who could be where. Some part of him told him that Tai was still in Shinrin. He hadn't gotten caught up in Jervmon's scramble so he was the only logical choice to go with that digivice signal. As for the others he had no clue. None of them were with each other, though one of them was with one of JP's friends.
He tried to sleep but his brain wouldn't shut down and he kept worrying about the one digivice signal that told him that one of his friends was deep within enemy territory. Matt, Sora, Mimi, Joe, Michael, Willace… it could be any one of them. The thought made his throat tighten.
"Please be safe whoever you are," Izzi whispered as he prayed for whichever of his friends was somewhere in enemy territory. Then he drifted off into a deep restless sleep.
Takato didn't like this. He didn't like this one bit. For one he was alone and chained to the wall of a dimly lit cell and he had no idea where he was or where Guilmon was. All he knew was the he was in trouble and that Guilmon was nowhere that he could see.
"Hello!" he called out for what felt like the hundredth time, but like all the times before no one answered him.
With a sigh Takato contemplated his situation. There was nothing else to do anyway. The last thing he remembered was that bright light that Jervmon had ignited and the sensation of falling. After that… nothing. He just woke up in this cold dark cell, his pack gone and Guilmon missing.
Some time later he finally heard a heavy loud clang followed by the scuffle of feet.
"You're in luck kid," a gravely voice told him as whoever was approached his cell. "You've got a new cellmate."
Takato looked up wearily as the cell doors were opened and a Diaboramon entered the cell with a limp Joe in his arms. The Digimon dropped the unconscious teen in a heap on the side of the cell opposite of Takato and proceeded to chain the blue-haired teen's arms up like Takato's. He didn't look good even in the dim lighting of the cell. There were spots of blood all over him. The sight made Takato feel sick.
"Joe?" Takato called out to the other hesitantly after the Diaboramon left.
When the other boy didn't respond Takato crawled over to him, taking in all the injuries. There was a bad looking gash on the side of Joe's head where the hair was matted and dusty. Looking around, Takato spotted a water pail near the door to their cell and scrambled over to get at it. He tore a section of his shirt off and dunked it in the water before bringing it back over to Joe. He then gently began to clean the wound to the best of his abilities in the poor lighting. The blood was dried so it took a little bit of scrubbing to clean it away. Takato could only pray that he was doing it right.
What felt like hours later, a new bucket of water was supplied along with a meager meal of hard bread and some dried meat. With a sigh, Takato ate his half of the meal and saved the rest for Joe. He wondered if any of the others were somewhere in this dungeon. He hoped not.
"…Ngh…" groaned the teen.
"Joe?" Takato gasped. "Joe, can you hear me?"
"…Takato?" Joe blinked his eyes open before clenching them shut in pain.
"Don't move," Takato warned. "Your head is hurt pretty badly. There was a lot of blood. I tried to clean the wound as best as I could."
"I can feel it," the older boy groaned. "I've never been a fan of pain. Especially hits to the head. Gah… Where's Gomamon?"
"I don't know," Takato sighed. "I haven't seen either of our partners since I woke up here. You were brought in alone."
Joe seemed to consider this for a while. Either that or his head wound was affecting him more than Takato had thought.
"Any ideas where we are?" Takato asked.
"…Well we're definitely in enemy territory," Joe sighed. "I'm not sure how deep we are, but we've got to be pretty close to the center of it."
"How do you figure that?" Takato blinked.
"Can't you hear the sound of marching?" Joe asked. "And the hum of Tankmon? It can be pretty annoying."
Takato cocked his head to the side and listened. Sure enough he heard the crunch of gravel beat down by heavy feet and a low hum in the air.
"So we're close enough to the enemy's troop base," Takato frowned.
"No, I think we're in the base," Joe whispered.
Takato swallowed. He really didn't like the sound of that.
"We have got to find Gomamon and Guilmon and get out of here," Joe said firmly. "As soon as I'm better we need to form a plan."
"So what do we do for now?" Takato asked.
"The smart thing," Joe grimaced. "We keep our heads down and be good little prisoners, but keep watch. Always watch."
"You mean like in those action movies where they learn the feeding schedules and guard shifts?" Takato asked.
"You got it," Joe nodded, but flinched right after with a groan. "We learn everything there is to know about where we're being held. Hopefully once we've gathered enough information we'll find a way to get out of here."
Takato nodded. He hoped it worked.
"Oww…" Kari groaned. "That could have been a better landing."
"At least the tree's broke our fall," Gatomon sighed, jumping from branch to branch to reach Kari where she was dangling from her belt that had somehow gotten snagged on a branch. Her whole stomach felt bruised from the impact.
"So what do we do now?" Kari sighed. "Can you get me down?"
"Not without dropping you the rest of the way to the ground," Gatomon snorted.
"Well are you up to Armor Digivolving into Nefertimon?" Kari asked.
"I could, but the trees are too closely packed together," Gatomon scowled in frustration. My wings would get caught in the branches before I could even free you."
Kari sighed. "Now I know how Miko feels when he gets stuck up in a tree."
"Oh what are we going to do Gatomon?" Kari cried exasperatedly.
"Need a hand up there?"
Startled, Kari and Gatomon looked down and saw Koji staring right back up at them with one eyebrow raised.
"Koji!" Kari cried feeling relieved.
"You alright up there?" the boy Warrior of Light asked her.
"Well I've been better," Kari sighed. "I could use a hand getting down though."
Koji shook his head, but he began to climb the tree Kari was in. When he reached her he began to check out the situation. Kari suppressed a blush as Koji's eyes roamed over her backside. She knew that he was seeing how stuck she was, but the woman in her couldn't help but think that he was checking her out.
"Alright, it doesn't look too bad," Koji sighed. "You just need to be lifted up high enough back over the branch. I'll lift. Gatomon, cut the branch when I get her high enough."
Kari saw Gatomon nod and then felt an arm wrap around her mid-section. She gasped a bit when she felt Koji lift her.
"Don't get excited," Koji grunted. "Just remain calm."
'Easy for him to say,' Kari thought. 'And what does he mean "don't get excited?" I-! Ah!'
Kari blushed as Koji's arm drifted up a little resting right below her bust line.
'Ok those are bad thoughts Kari. You're dating TK!'
"Kay Gatomon," Koji gritted out. "Kari I need you to be prepared to find a hand hold. I'm not going to be able to hold you for more than a few more seconds."
"O-OK," Kari nodded.
"Ready?" Gatomon asked. "Three, two, one!"
Koji lifted Kari a few centimeters higher before she heard the crunch of Gatomon's Lighting Paw breaking the branch off. Then Kari felt herself spin to the side and her hands thrust forward to grab anything. She was relieved to find a sturdy handhold in a hole in the tree. Her heart thudded rapidly like a rabbit's within her chest as she gasped, clinging to the tree.
"You two alright?" she heard Gatomon ask.
"Just fine," Koji growled.
Kari looked back and saw that Koji had slid down half the length of the tree below her.
"I-I'm OK," Kari shuddered. "Thanks Koji."
"No problem," the boy grunted. "Lets just get out of this damn tree before we kill ourselves.
Kari agreed full heartedly and began to carefully climb down.
Matt wasn't sure what had happened after Jervmon unleashed that blinding light, but right now he knew that he wasn't where he should be. His first clue was that he was in a bed and not on Shinrin's evacuation tunnel's floor. Second there were two voices – older sounding voices at that – arguing in the background.
"Mister Matt? Are you awake now?"
Matt blinked his eyes open. What the-?
"Yay! Ai! Mister Matt's awake!" the little boy yelled.
Matt winced. He forgot how loud little kids could be. It didn't take long for the boy's little sister to rush over.
"It's about time," he heard their partner, Impmon snort. "Yous can sure sleep buddy boy."
Matt shook his head as he sat up.
"Where's Gabumon and the others?" Matt asked looking around for his partner.
"Your shag carpet wearing friend is off runnin some errands fer Jijimon and Babamon," Impmon shrugged.
Matt frowned at the Rookie.
"And who are Jijimon and Babamon?" he asked.
"The Digimon that run the temple," Ai answered.
"Ah! You're awake now," an old woman's voice cried out happily followed by the appearance of the Digimon herself.
Matt winced again. Why was everyone being so loud?
"Uh yeah," he smiled. "Thanks for helping me."
"Oh it was no trouble young man," the old woman Digimon smiled with stitched lips.
"Nah, not with all tha other moochers stayin 'ere," an old man Digimon with a ridiculous beard and head of hair scoffed.
Matt raised his eyebrow at that, but noticed Ai and Mako snickering behind their hands. Impmon rolled his eyes.
"Are you hungry dears?" Babamon asked. "Of course you are! You're all growing boys and girls! I'll just step out and get you something. That Gabumon should have gotten back with those supplies with the Lalamon by now."
Still chattering away Babamon left the room with a grumbling Jijimon.
"They're funny aren't they?" Ai giggled.
"They're something alright," Matt shook his head.
"They're a buncha nut jobs if ya ask me," Impmon snorted.
"Impmon be nice!" Mako scolded.
Matt sat back and watched Ai and Mako talk about Jijimon and Babamon. He couldn't help but feel a little uneasy. He wasn't that good with little kids. His past experiences as an older brother hadn't helped. Tai had been better with that sort of thing. Matt just didn't have much patience with the subtleties' that needed to be taken with little kids.
Matt blinked. It was also weird to be called Mister.
"Are you ok?" the little boy asked. "You were sleeping when the flower Digimon brought you here."
"Oh uh… I'm fine," Matt smiled, hoping it didn't look as fake as it felt. Kids just made him feel awkward. "What about you two?"
"We're OK," Ai smiled.
"We haven't been awake too long anyway," Mako smiled. "We had just waked up when you came."
"Here we are dears," Babamon's voice trilled as she reentered the room with a large tray covered in small plates full of food.
"Thank you Babamon," Matt nodded, taking the tray from her and started divvying out plates between himself, Ai, Mako and Impmon while also saving something for Gabumon.
As they ate Matt thought about what should happen next. He knew he had to find the others, but it wouldn't be safe to bring Ai and Mako along on his own. He was more than likely to endanger them. But he couldn't just leave them here at the temple either. Who knew how safe this place was and for much longer? So for the moment Matt decided that they'd stay there and help out at the temple to see how things went. Who knew? Maybe one of their friends would wind up at the temple like he had.
Tommy grimly looked around at the place that he had landed in only half an hour ago. He'd seen his own Digital World devastated by war once back on that floating island where those human and beast type Digimon were having a civil war. Then there had been the time the Royal Knights were stripping the Digital World of it's Fractal Code. The current situation in this world wasn't all that different from either of those times. Digimon lay wounded all over the Rebel Army's camp and it appeared that Sorcermon was the only medic, so it had felt only natural to ask the healer Digimon if he could help in anyway.
It was a little surreal seeing a Sorcermon though after his pervious adventures in his own Digital World. He'd thought that Sorcermon were soldiers and fighters… not medics. But then again, Gallantmon had informed him that Sorcermon was a field medic as opposed to a normal one. Of course Sorcermon had taken off someplace not even a minute after telling Tommy that he could be taught how to use healing crystals. Tommy doubted he'd be as efficient at it as JP and (especially) Joe, but some skill in healing was better than none. The medic had been gone for nearly ten minutes now.
"Ah! Tommy! So sorry about leaving you like that," Sorcermon's cheerful voice called out to him from across the way. "I was picking up another student. Might as well teach you both at the same time then separately right?"
Tommy was wondering what on Earth and Digital World the field medic was talking about when he was suddenly engulfed in a hug.
"Tommy! Oh I am so glad to see you," a whirlwind of pink and green said.
"Mimi?" Tommy blinked, after taking a second to recognize the older girl.
"Good to know you're well acquainted," Sorcermon chuckled. "Lets get to work now shall we? We've got a lot of troops to heal."
Tommy nearly did a double take as Mimi went from bubbly and cheerful to serious and determined. He'd seen the same look on Zoe's face once too. Were all girls this confusing? Shaking his head to clear it of the distracting thoughts that Mimi's appearance brought on, Tommy followed her and Sorcermon into the healing tent. He tried his best to focus on what Sorcermon was telling them as the Digimon dived right in, giving them a crash course in using healing crystals. It was very complicated and he was starting to wish he'd paid more attention to JP when his friend had explained about the energy flows.
Tommy tried to be patient, but he was becoming very frustrated very quickly after they had reached a point where Mimi had learned how to use the crystals well enough to go off on her own while he was still struggling. After a devastating attempt fifteen minutes later, Tommy took a break and calmed himself down. His negative emotions were only hindering his efforts, because he genuinely wanted to help these Digimon.
"If it helps, I think about all of the friends I've lost in the past," Mimi's voice sighed.
Tommy nearly jumped out of his seat and stared at her. The older girl was covered and scuffs, scratches, earth and grass stains and there was now sweat mixed in with the dirt. She smiled sweetly at him.
"If you think about all the friends you've lost in the past, try to focus on how many friends you can save in the future with these crystals," Mimi added on to her pervious statement. "Think of how it can come in handy when Joe and JP aren't around. At the moment they aren't and who knows where they are. We need to do our best in what we can do. Now I don't know about you, but I've never felt like I contributed enough to my team back when it was just the eight of us in the old days. Tai's the leader; Matt's his best leader and acts as secondary leader; TK and Kari were the little kids of the group everyone looked out for and are sort of the golden pair who can be wise beyond their years; Sora is the voice of reason and makes sure that everyone's alright; Joe's became our go-to guy who's always prepared and reliable and of course now he's our unofficial medic; and then there's Izzi and he's… well he's Izzi. What can't he do? Sometimes I think he's more important to the team than we all give him credit for. Me? …I used to be the girly-girl whiner who talked or complained too much… though Joe probably gave me a pretty good run at that when we first became a team."
Tommy stared at her. Why was she telling him all of this?
"Oh I'm babbling aren't I?" she laughed. "I suppose I'm trying to say just do your best. Don't think of this as something to do for everyone. Think of it as a way to improve yourself; a way to improve how you can help your friends. Do it for yourself though, Tommy. Because if you keep trying to live up to other's expectations… you'll only hurt yourself when you have a set back. You need to want to do this because you want to. Not because it would help others. It may seem selfish, but I think that we need to be able to help ourselves before we can even start to help others."
Tommy considered her words and nodded, smiling. "Right."
Mimi beamed. Then she got up and started to leave.
"But I think you're wrong!" Tommy called after her. At her bewildered look Tommy grinned. "I'm sure you weren't just a whiner who talked too much, Mimi. You're someone who's completely honest and knows just what to say to inspire others. You're someone who makes others want to be better than they currently are."
That said Tommy turned away from her and went back to Sorcermon to try using those healing crystals again.
Ken wasn't exactly happy with where he'd ended up. It would just figure that he'd land in a bog. Now he was in damp clothing and he couldn't seem to get rid of the insects that swarmed around him. Did the Digital World even have normal kinds of bugs? Well this one did apparently. Miserably Ken traded his sticky clothes for a fresh pair out of his pack, which had mercifully remained dry. It was only a minor improvement. The insects still swarmed him.
"Common Wormmon," he sighed as they moved towards dryer ground. Unfortunately this led them into waist high grass.
"This isn't getting us anywhere," Ken groaned as he pulled out his D3. It still wasn't getting any kind of signal. Apparently no one was around (no one being TK, Kari, Davis, Yolei or Cody that is).
"Don't worry Ken," Wormmon said. "I'm sure we'll find someone soon."
"I suppose," Ken sighed and then nearly got his head taken off by a pink squealing blur that came flying right at his face. "What the?"
His dodge hadn't seemed to dissuade the pink thing though because it only spun around and came right back until it latched onto his arm squealing happily.
"It's MarineAngemon!" Wormmon blinked.
Ken immediately stopped mid-motion as he was prepared to attempt to fling the thing off his arm.
"MarineAngemon?" Ken blinked, angling his arm so that he could see the small Mega Digimon better.
"Puu!" it cried in delight.
"Wait… where's Kenta?" Ken asked, remembering the round faced bespectacled boy who was it's Tamer.
MarineAngemon twittered in a little panicky manner at the name before taking off, stopping every few meters to make sure that Ken and Wormmon were following. Not even five minutes later were they tripping over Zoe. Not who Ken had been expecting, but he wasn't going to complain. She looked like she could use some help too.
Ken looked up and saw that MarineAngemon flitting about in full panic mode. There were signs that Kenta had been there and had only left recently. Just where had to boy gone? Then he heard the terrified scream.
"Wormmon!" Ken cried. "Digivolve and find Kenta."
His partner nodded and didn't waste a second more with words.
"Wormmon digivolve to… Stingmon!"
Once his partner finished digivolving and had taken off to find Kenta with MarineAngemon, Ken turned his attention to Zoe. He managed to lift her bridal style and took off after Stingmon. As he drew closer he could hear the sounds of a fight coming to a close. When he entered an area of trampled down grass he saw a hysteric Kenta cowering opposite him as Stingmon threw a Spiking Strike right through the heart of a tiger Digimon.
"Are you alright?" Ken asked.
"I-I-I… Th-th-think so," Kenta gasped. "Oh man… I-I thought I was d-dead!"
Ken nodded and passed the still unconscious Zoe over to his partner. Stingmon held her while he checked Kenta over and tried to calm the other boy down.
"It's okay, Kenta," Ken smiled. "You're safe now."
"And Z-Zoe?" Kenta shivered.
"Still asleep, but she looks alright," Ken nodded.
"I-I tried to l-lure that… lure Mihiramon away from her," Kenta gasped. "I-I was stupid… sent MarineAngemon away to find help or shelter… couldn't let her… couldn't let her pay for my mistake."
"It wasn't a mistake Kenta," Ken said gently. "Wormmon and I wouldn't have gotten here if time if you hadn't sent Marine Angemon away."
"…Just got lucky," Kenta mumbled.
"Everything is a gamble in the Digital World," Ken sighed. "And you made a good one, but right now we need to move. There might be more Digimon like Mihiramon out there."
Nodding, Kenta rose shakily to his feet with Ken's help. Ken looked around helplessly for a moment deciding that any direction was as good as the next. He could only hope that they found some shelter soon, because he didn't like the look of those clouds in the distance.
TK looked around his new surroundings wearily with Patamon resting on his shoulder tensely. They were a little beat up from their fall, but aside from a few new bruises and scrapes they were fine. All around them though was an empty town. A small town, granted, but there wasn't anyone around. There were signs of quick hurried packing and even downright abandonment in every house they checked. There were a few signs of breaking and entering in two of the wealthier looking homes, but still there wasn't any sign that anyone had been living here for at least a few days.
"Just were is everybody?" Patamon asked.
"I don't know Patamon," TK sighed. "It's practically a ghost town."
"What do we do now?" Patamon asked.
"Keep looking," TK frowned.
"But we've nearly searched every building!" Patamon exclaimed softly.
"I know Patamon, but we have to if only to figure out where we are," TK huffed. "Common, I think the building over there is the mayor's or whoever was in charge of this place's house."
The two then entered a nice house situated at the head of the town. Unlike the other simpler structures this one had a second story. The first floor was an office space. TK and Patamon combed the place looking for any clues. So far they could only tell from scattered paperwork and a couple photos that a Starmon and Deputymon had run the place. It was kind of ironic. Hadn't Davis, Cody, Sora and Yolei mention something about a western town being run by a Starmon back home in their Digital World?
"TK!" Patamon called from the back of the office space. "I found a map!"
TK looked up from the desk he's been going through and headed over to where his Digimon was hovering in front of a large wall map. Together they scanned it trying to figure out where they were. It didn't take long. Someone had put a star sticker over the dot meant to indicate the location of Star Plains Town. According to the map and star, TK and Patamon now found themselves in the Digital World's equivalent of America's Midwest. The two over them were literally in the middle of nowhere. The next settlement was several miles in any direction. The town was also situated right between Himizu City and the center of the continent where Kushyamon and his forces dwelled.
"What do we do now TK?" Patamon asked.
"We try to find clues as to why this town's occupants vanished," TK stated. "Everyone left in a big hurry for a reason. Some of those houses still have half eaten meals on the table."
"Where do we look first?" his partner asked.
"Here's as good a place as any to start," he answered. "I'll finish checking down here. You can get started upstairs Patamon."
"Ok TK," Patamon nodded before flying up the stairs to the second story.
TK began to look at the town records more carefully now, but not even five minutes later he heard Patamon let out a loud cry of alarm.
"Patamon?" TK shouted, but was met with silence.
Alarmed, TK raced up the stairs taking two at a time.
TK ducked just in time to avoid getting hit in the head and sent tumbling back down the stairs. He instinctively crouched down and rolled to the side coming up into a defensive position just in time to see…
"Nice moves Blondie."
TK stared owlishly at the red-haired girl who was poised to strike with what looked like a mop. She was a little worse for wear all scratched up and covered in dust, but looking up at the ceiling of the room, he realized that she must have fallen through the roof. Ouch.
"Are you alright?" he asked her.
"Of course I am," she snorted, but then she paused. "Renamon's not though. I got lucky and landed on the bed. She landed in here."
TK then noticed the large dent in the splintered flooring to his left. Double ouch.
"Common Hat Boy," Rika sighed. "We'd better get under cover before they come again."
"Before who come again?" TK blinked.
Rika paused before looking over at him nervously.
Koji grunted as he hopped down from the tree. Looking at his hands he grimaced. He'd scrapped them in his rapid decent right after freeing Kari. If the stinging was any indication he had a few splinters in there as well.
"Just great," he muttered.
Looking up he could see Kari finishing her climb with her partner practically hovering over her the entire time. The girl looked shaken, but otherwise fine. With a sigh he sat down to rest next to his pack back where he'd left it at the base of a nearby tree. Climbing had not been fun. He was exhausted and if it weren't for the newfound irritating stinging in his hands he might have just dropped off to sleep right there.
Koji looked up and found Kari hovering worriedly over him. Had he fallen asleep after all or was he just that out of it that he hadn't noticed her finally get out of the tree and approach him?
"What?" he muttered sounding irritated. He winced internally. Great. Now he was being a complete jerk. She didn't deserve that. Not anymore at least. She had been pretty nice to his brother all things considering and it wasn't as if he wished her any ill will.
The girl frowned at him, but wordlessly took one of his hands in hers and examined it. A couple seconds later she was shrugging off her pack and rummaging through it before coming up with a case of some kind. It didn't look like a med kit, but thank goodness it had a pair of tweezers inside. Kari took his hand back carefully and began to take the splinters of wood out. Now normally he wouldn't let her do that for him, but since he was so thoroughly drained Koji grit his teeth and put up with it.
When she was done with that hand Gatomon handed her the mini first aid kits the packs had come with and the girl gently cleaned, sterilized and wrapped his hands. Then she moved on to his other hand and did the same. Koji's attention wavered and he found himself drifting in and out of consciousness under her careful ministrations.
"There," the girl sighed with a hint of triumph in her tone. "All done."
Koji blinked up at her, raising an eyebrow at her confident manner before closing his eyes again.
"Koji?" he heard her say worriedly. "Are you alright?"
"Just tired," he murmured, his consciousness going again. "Fighting Netamashiimon was no picnic and then getting you out of that tree? …I'm completely wiped out."
"Oh," Kari muttered, sounding embarrassed. Why? Koji's head was too far gone to figure it out.
"…Thank you," he managed to whisper before slipping into unconsciousness completely. He hoped she heard him. He wasn't good at this sort of thing, especially around girls.
Rika checked everything as she led TK into the bedroom she had landed in. Renamon was now resting on that bed and had remained where she's left her.
"Is she alright?" TK whispered.
"I'm fine," Renamon's cool voice answered. "Digimon are fast healers."
Rika nodded at TK in confirmation before peeking out the window, watching the shadows. TK must have noticed her cautious behavior because he asked, "Rika who are the Scavengers?"
She wasn't scared per se, but she was nervous. She'd heard about the Scavengers in both Himizu and Netsusa from the Digimon that worked in the palaces but when she had arrived in this town she could now appreciate their fear.
"The Scavengers are small teams of Digimon that Kushyamon sends out to abandoned and devastated towns and cities that his armies have already hit. They go along collecting anything of value and kill any stragglers and survivors from the initial attacks."
"So that's what happened here," TK frowned joining her by the window. "This town wasn't attacked. It was driven out."
"More like they had enough of a warning to evacuate before Kushyamon's army could get this far. There was no reason for the army to attack," Rika snorted. "So they sent in the Scavengers."
"Have you seen any since you've been here?" TK asked.
Rika shivered. She had. It hadn't been like any Digimon she'd ever seen before. The one she'd seen was serpentine in appearance and had a face straight out of nightmares with blazing red eyes, and fangs set in razor sharp teeth.
"I've seen one," she said softly, careful to keep her voice steady. "Coming out of the front of that house down there. And trust me, you don't want to see him."
"So we should probably stay here until the coast's clear and this Scavenger and his buddies clear out," TK frowned.
"No," Renamon stated. "We should do the opposite. It's dangerous to stay in one place for long. Rika, we've been here too long already. We need to move."
"Any ideas?" Rika asked.
"I think I know," Patamon piped up. "TK and I have already been in most of this town's buildings."
Rika looked at the hamster with bat wings.
"You're lucky you didn't run into anything," she muttered.
"But that only proves my point that we have to keep moving," Renamon sighed sitting up. "If we keep moving, the harder we become to find. These Scavengers aren't actively looking for us."
"Yet," Rika muttered.
"Then lets get a move on," TK stated. "Can you walk Renamon?"
"I can manage thank you," Renamon nodded.
"Lets go to the house down the street," Patamon suggested. "The Scavengers already looked there right? They might not come back for a while then."
"That sounds like a good idea," Renamon agreed.
"Fine," Rika muttered. "Lets go then before one comes and checks here."
Rika nodded and led the way down the stairs and to the front of the office. She peeked out the door to make sure that the coast was clear. After a minute of silent surveillance she was about to give the go ahead, but froze when the saw movement in the house across the street from the one they were headed to. It was the same Scavenger she'd seen earlier and he wasn't alone. There were two more with him and they were the same kind that he was. She heard TK take in a sharp, but thankfully soft gasp. So he had seen them now too. The three Scavengers seemed to be talking amongst themselves but then they turned and headed right towards the building that Rika, TK, Renamon and Patamon were in.
"Get back," Rika hissed. "They're coming!"
"Rika," Renamon's voice called out softly to her. "I found a hidden trapdoor."
Spinning around Rika and TK rushed over as quickly as they dared to where Renamon was holding up a small door that was beneath a desk.
"Get in there," she hissed at TK when he stopped – probably to offer her a 'Ladies first' kind of gesture. With a soft yelp he did as he was told and practically jumped into the dark space. Rika snatched Patamon out of the air where he was hovering and threw him in after his human before she scurried into the space as well. Renamon was right behind her and carefully lowered the door back into place.
The space was a little snug with three full sized beings inside since it seemed to be no bigger than a broom closet. Rika was grateful that TK's Digimon partner happened to be so small. The four of them waited with bated breath as they heard the door to the building above them slam open.
When Ryo woke he wasn't sure where he was or even if he was actually awake. All that he knew was that he was in pain. Terrible pain. Everything was on fire and there was a high-pitched keening drilling into his ears… or was that just him screaming? It didn't matter. He was in so much pain that he was beyond carrying and beyond thinking about anything other than the pain at this point. All he knew was that everything hurt and burned and that if he wasn't dead then he was in hell. Just how long was this going to last? Would it be like this forever? If so, would he get used to it or would it always be as bad as it felt when it started?
"It's ok Ryo," A voice managed to say through all the pain. "Your suffering is coming to it's end. It won't be long now."
"Just hold on. The transformation process is nearly complete."
"You'll soon have all the power you desire. You'll soon become the partner that you feel Hopmon deserves."
"The process is going along better than I expected," the voice suddenly said gleefully. "He can't remember a thing."
Funny… he could hear the words… but couldn't understand their meaning. Oh Gods it hurt too much to think. What was happening again?
"But Garbamon! If he's forgotten everything then how will he be able to work with his partner?"
That voice… it's different from the other one… younger… a kid maybe? Oww… it hurts to think… and so much fire! Was he being burned alive?
"Oh but that's part of the fun little brother," the other voice laughed. "We can control what he remembers and how he remembers certain memories."
"Ohh… Sounds like fun!" the kid's voice laughed.
"Doesn't it? He's nearly done. See? He's starting to heal now."
The burning seemed to suddenly increase ten fold. Ryo gasped, screamed, coughed, he wasn't really sure, but it felt like every inch of skin was being flayed off his body and every muscle, organ and bodily fluids were being scorched until they were burnt to a cinder. He wasn't capable of any thoughts now, any scrap of conversation that he'd just heard was wiped out of mind and all that he could feel and focus on was the intense and blinding pain. Oh God if only it'd end!
And then it did. The burning suddenly stopped and a cool and wonderful feeling of relief spread all through him. It was as if someone had put a balm cream on a blistering sunburn. Ryo sighed as the feeling covered him from the tips of his toes to the ends of his hair. And slowly he drifted off. He could feel darkness descending upon him in a blanket made of the same comfort and relief that he had felt after the burning stopped. He gratefully sank into it's depths and the dreamless pain-free sleep it offered him.
"Hello Cody," Koichi smiled warmly at the other boy.
"How did you end up down here?" Armadillomon asked him.
Koichi grimaced. It hadn't been fun to say the least.
"I crash landed through a rusted manhole and into an old sewer line upstream so to speak," he wrinkled his nose. "I nearly thought I was going to drown. If it weren't for a refugee pair of Veggiemon I probably would have. You?"
"Don't really know," Cody shrugged. "The Numemon dragged us into the sewers to save us from the Scavengers."
"I've heard quite a bit about these Scavengers," Koichi mused. "The stuff of nightmares some say."
"Are we in any danger right now?" Cody asked.
Koichi raised an eyebrow at that.
"I think no matter where we go there is danger Cody," he sighed. "This world is being taken over by a hostile force. I doubt any place is safe for long."
"I meant to ask if we are in any immediate danger," Cody asked looking a little irritated. "Your… err… you know. Can you sense anything? Like if the Scavengers are close by or not?"
Koichi chuckled, feeling slightly amused how self conscious Cody was by being – or at least trying to be – discreet about his Warrior Element. He tried to focus though. Hearing about these Scavengers was enough to put him on edge. There was nothing overly sinister nearby, but there was definitely some darker movements in the shadows further behind them in the sewers. Without deeper concentration, though he couldn't make out much other than a flicker of malicious and murderous intent. Those must be the Scavengers. They were still a ways off, but were heading in their direction. He told Cody as much as they kept up with the rest of the refugee group.
"Are they moving fast or slow?" Armadillomon asked.
"…A moderate pace," Koichi shrugged after concentrating on the dark shadows again for a moment. "But that's probably slow for them. We're in the sewers and if these things hunt by picking up an following a scent then sewer and the buckets of Numemon slim are probably slowing them up."
"What have you heard about these Scavengers?" Cody asked.
"Oh the usual," Koichi frowned with a shudder. "No survivors and all that boogieman stuff. I've even heard that Kushyamon created these creatures himself and that they aren't really Digimon… but I've also heard that they are wicked fast and that that's why no one can fend them off and that there are no survivors."
"I think there might be some exaggeration though," Koichi smiled grimly. "Someone's had to have survived an attack if there are such rumors. How else would we hear about them?"
Cody looked a little at ease hearing that, but Koichi shivered internally. He knew that just because there was a survivor to spread the rumors didn't mean that the survivor hadn't been allowed to live. Some cruel sick minds did that sometimes. They'd leave a survivor or two alive enough to spread the word of their infamy.
Koichi had to hold back another shiver. Sometimes being the Warrior of Darkness and having worked for the other side was more of a burden in these situations. Koichi had too well of an understanding of what kinds of plans Kushyamon could be planning for this world's inhabitants. Hell! He could probably come up with a rather few gruesome plans of his own. As useful as this knowledge could be, it did nothing to keep the nightmares at bay. Koichi was surprised that he was even able to sleep most of the nights he'd spent in this world. It was so steeped and cloaked in Darkness he felt both empowered and overwhelmed. It helped to have Koji and TK around but neither of them were nearby. He would have been able to sense it through the links he had with them through the personal bonds he had with them.
Koichi was listening to Cody talk to one of the Numemon about the route they were taking to the tunnels when Koichi suddenly felt a huge spike of pain. With a gasp he fell to his knees into the sewer water.
"Koichi!" Cody shouted, but he sounded like he was far away even though he should only be about a meter or two away.
But all he could comprehend at that moment was a burning pain… melting…utter agony… Someone was descending into darkness. Painfully so… Someone he knew…not close, but someone… He was fading…falling away from the light…yo…Ryo… It was Ryo!
"What about Ryo?" Cody asked.
Suddenly everything snapped into focus and Koichi found himself draped across Armadillomon's shell which was the only thing keeping him out of the sewer water completely.
"Ryo's dead," Koichi gasped and knew with a chilling uncertainty that his words were true in so many different ways.
Zoe was floating. Or at least that's what it felt like. She felt weightless and free as she rose and fell with the wind's currents.
She was really out of it. She couldn't remember much after fighting Jervmon after the bright light… were those voices? She tried to listen as she came nearer and nearer to consciousness.
"…Asleep for a while," someone was saying. A boy.
"I'd assume so," another boy said back. "She fought with Jervmon the whole time. He didn't look like an easy opponent. She knocked him down with everything she had and he still got up with enough energy to scatter us like this."
"Do you think she'll be alright Ken?" a different voice asked. This one was male too, but it had a slight wobble to it.
"I don't know Wormmon," the second boy answered – Ken she assumed.
Wait… Ken. She knew that name. Yeah… Ken was that boy who looked like he could be Koji and Koichi's triplet. And that wobbly voice belonged to his partner Wormmon. She really hadn't spoken to Ken much at all.
"Look! She moved!" the first boy exclaimed. A happy squealing sound followed as if echoing the boy's sentiment.
His voice was starting to sound familiar too… Yeah. The small round faced glasses boy with the cute Digimon partner that didn't speak. MarineAngemon. Wasn't his name Ken-something too?
"She must be close to waking," Ken said, sounding relieved.
How long had she been out? Well it was time to wake up and find out… of course that was easier said then done when her eyelids felt like they were made of lead and glued shut. Then again her whole body felt as if it were made of lead. She let out a frustrated growl.
"She doesn't sound happy," Wormmon's voice worried.
"That's cause I can't move anything," she grumbled, eyes still shut.
"Kenta, hand me my pack," Ken ordered.
Ha! Kenta! That was the other boy's name. She knew it had started with Ken!
"Thirsty?" Ken asked.
"…Parched," she admitted.
"Help me sit her up," Ken said.
A minute later she was propped up against something so that she could drink. God did that water taste good! She splashed some of it into her eyes to help get them open. She wasn't sure she liked what she saw though. Ken and Kenta both looked like they'd taken a trek through the mud. Hair was covered in sweat and grim and their clothes looked just as soiled. Wormmon only looked marginally better and even MarineAngemon looked a little more ruffled and dirty than normal. She could only imagine what she looked like. Now she could practically feel the grim coating her own skin and clothes.
"Where are we?" Zoe asked.
"As far as we can tell? Somewhere in the middle of a never ending field of itchy tall grass," Kenta grumbled.
"Climate is way too different to be anywhere near Shinrin," Ken sighed. "I'd place us somewhere more south geographically speaking. Maybe somewhere between Netsusa and Sekizou. This was the only form of shelter we were able to find."
"Fantastico," Zoe grumbled as she looked around their earthen shelter. They appeared to be in a small hovel of some kind. It looked like an abandoned bunker.
"Could be worse," Kenta sighed.
"How so?" Zoe groused.
"We could be out in that rain," the glasses boy nodded towards the hovel's entrance where she could now see a steady stream of water pouring down. How their underground shelter wasn't flooded she wasn't sure, but she wasn't going to complain.
"I don't know about that. Give me ten more minutes and I'll be out there washing this gunk off me," Ken grumbled as he pushed grimy raven locks away from his face. "Next time my mom offers me a hair cut, I'm taking it."
"I think I'll join you," Zoe grimaced as she pushed back a lock of her own hair.
She contemplated their situation for a minute before she reached out and snatched up her pack to look inside. Good. There was a thermal blanket still in there. Ken seemed to have caught on and checked his pack as well.
"Ready for a little improvised shower?" she grinned.
"You have no idea," the boy groaned before standing and helping her up. Together they made their way out into the rain.
"Hey! Wait for me!" Kenta yelled after them with Wormmon and MarineAngemon at his heels.
Davis looked around his new surroundings. He wasn't sure where he was, but he knew one thing. He didn't like it. He had woken up on a King sized bed in a room that looked like it belonged in the Grand Hyatt Tokyo Hotel or some other swanky five star joint. It just reminded him too much about what Koichi and TK had told everyone about their stay with Mai when she'd captured them as Paressemon. There was that and this room was just totally not his style. Way too clean and streamline. He was a kid for goodness sake, not an adult! Plus Veemon was missing and that made him feel extremely vulnerable.
Reluctantly he rolled out of the bed to explore. Maybe Veemon was in one of the other rooms of his "guest suite." There was a kitchen/dining room, a bathroom, and a library sitting room… oh Gods just kill him now and spare him from dying a slow and painful death cause by boredom. With a sigh Davis decided to make himself something to eat. No point in waiting with an empty stomach. To be honest though he was trying really hard not to be scared. Netamashiimon had captured him at last. He knew that much. But…
This place didn't really feel like it belonged to Netamashiimon though. It was… too mature. He was sure that if he was ever taken to whatever room that belonged to the Zaigou of Envy it would have everything a spoiled little brat could ask for ranging from a bouncy floor to a wall dedicated to sports or videogames. Something insanely childish like that.
Hours seemed to roll by and Davis was becoming increasingly on edge. He wished that something would happen already. The waiting was killing him. He wished that Netamashiimon would just do whatever it was he wanted to do with him and get it over with. …Wow… Was he really that suicidal? He'd never thought about that before. Sure things certainly hadn't been going for him over the last year but he still had his friends. Surely he wasn't that far gone to actually want to die… right?
"Finally beginning to have doubts about that now are we?"
Davis jumped and tumbled off his chair. A gleeful cackle echoed around in his head. Davis looked around wildly before realizing that the voice was coming from inside his mind… Oh man… was this how Takuya had felt when Aiyokumon had possessed him?
"But I'm not possessing you," Netamashiimon's voice pointed out amusedly.
"No but you're in my head you little freak," Davis scowled.
"No need to be rude," a different voice scolded lightly – this one a man's.
"And who are you?" Davis blinked. Oh man he was going insane. He was talking to voices inside of his head. As if Netamashiimon wasn't enough… maybe he was dreaming… no, he was awake. That meant that he had to be hallucinating!
"Hey! Garbamon! Don't break him! He'd mine to play with! You have Ryo. If you want to talk to my new toy you're going to have to go speak to him in person so get off my telepathic chat line!" Netamashiimon shouted, sounding peeved. Davis was so going to have a headache later. Wait…
"Ryo?" Davis gasped. "Where is he? What have you done to him?"
"Oh Mister Akiyama is with us – the physical us – at the moment resting," the unnamed voice answered in an offhanded tone. "After all, dying and being repurposed is such a tedious manner."
"Dying… he's dead?" Davis choked feeling like he was going to be sick.
"For the moment," the man's voice stated uncaringly. "He'll be good as new soon enough. Even better though I must say."
"What did you do to him," Davis demanded.
"Oh dear I think I've upset him," the man sighed. "You'll see soon enough Mister Motomiya. I'll be brining him by later so that you won't be alone much longer."
After that both voices stopped talking and Davis felt everything inside of him go cold. He wasn't sure he wanted to know what Netamashiimon's colleague had done to Ryo. But if he had been scared before, he was terrified now.
Tai sighed as he sat down heavily onto his chair across from Mai. The beautiful redhead was nursing a cup of what smelled like tea.
"Got anymore of that?" he asked.
Her only response was to reach and slide a full cup over to him. He nodded back in thanks.
"…Any luck?" she asked him after a few minutes of silence.
"No," Tai shook his head.
He had been out the last few hours with Agumon and SilverEmbermon trying to find Ryo. After hours of searching the ruins of the leveled buildings they couldn't find any signs of the other boy or his Digimon.
"I don't want to believe what Garbamon said, but…" he said softly.
He felt Mai's hand on his shoulder and he squeezed it back with one of his own. They stayed like that for a moment longer before she sat back in her seat. Tai was feeling drained bother physically and emotionally. Looking over at the bed where Takuya was still sleeping he couldn't help but feel at a loss. If Mai weren't there… Tai wasn't sure how he'd still be sane. While out looking for Ryo he, Agumon, and SilverEmbermon had ended up helping free some Digimon from the rubble. The air had been ominously still and quiet. Every now and then they'd hear the sound of rubble settling, but other than that… Tai could practically feel the sense of loss coming from Shinrin city itself. After their unsuccessful search the three of them had returned to the house that they were taking up refuge in. SilverEmbermon was standing silently in a corner with Salandermon and Agumon was resting at the foot of Takuya's bed.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
Tai jumped and sloshed tea all over his hands. Mai handed him a towel before making her way towards the door. Tai rose from his seat as well and joined SilverEmbermon and Salandermon as they edged towards the door to back up Mai just in case.
Tai looked over her shoulder and saw that it was indeed a Renamon, but the he knew better than to hope that it was Rika's Digimon partner. The fox Digimon looked relieved to see them though.
"I've been looking for you for a while now," Renamon sighed. "Is it just you two?"
"No, Takuya is with us but…" Tai shook his head.
"May I come in?" Renamon asked.
"Oh! Of course!" Mai gasped and scrambled back into Tai.
Instinctively Tai wrapped his arms around her to keep the redhead upright. He blushed when he realized how close they were. Mai immediately pulled back and squeaked out an apology, her face almost as red as her hair. When Tai looked up at Renamon the fox Digimon looked almost amused.
"So what's the word going around?" he asked to help move past the embarrassment.
"Have you heard anything about what happened in the evacuation tunnels?" the fox Digimon asked.
"No," Tai shook his head. "We only know that our friends have been scattered around the continent after their fight with the Zaigous of Envy and Gluttony."
Renamon blinked then let out a huge sigh of relief.
"Why?" Mai asked. "What happened?"
"The evacuation tunnels collapsed completely," Renemon whispered. "At the moment… there are no found survivors."
Tai shared a shocked look with Mai as he felt his insides go cold.
Mai could feel herself trembling. She could still remember seeing all of those Digimon fleeing into the tunnels ahead of her and the DigiDestined and then there had been all those others that had she had passed when she had left with Tai to find Takuya and Ryo. Looking into her companion's eyes she could see that Tai was remembering that too.
"We're digging to see if we can reach any survivors," Renamon stated, but she didn't need to say anything more for Mai to know that there was little hope. Thousands of Digimon had been in those tunnels and not one had been found alive yet.
"Do you know the cause?" she asked.
"For sure, no," Renamon shook her head. "We assume it had to do with the battle with the Zaigou. I was asked to see if I could find the DigiDestined that had stayed behind in this city to fight. I need you to come back to the palace with me."
"Why? What's going on?" Tai asked, sitting forward.
"Netsusa is gathering it's troops and the rebel army is calling out for aid," Renamon said grimly. "Kushyamon is making his move and allowing the Zaigou to strike all over the continent. Everything to the east of the mountains is completely ravaged. There's nothing left standing. With Shinrin in such a state of duress the east is as good as defeated. Lord Seiryuumon is gathering the remaining Digimon that survived last the siege and has decided to abandone Shinrin to move our troops to Netsusa where we'll join forces with Lord Suzakumon's."
"Sound's like the Four Lords are planning to a combined strike," Tai frowned.
"Combined strike?" Mai blinked, trying to clear her head enough to get on the same page as Tai.
"If Seiryuumon and Suzakumon are joining forces I'm going to assume that they're going to try and gain support from Byakkomon and Genbumon's forces as well," Tai stated looking at Renamon who nodded in confirmation. "Mai what do you think Kushyamon is up to right now loosing the Zaigou on the continent like he is?"
"He's going to wipe out every town and city until there is nothing left. That's what the Zaigou were created for. Creating complete and utter chaos," she answered.
"So what would you do to counter such a devastating attack on the world?" Tai asked.
Of course. Mai shut her eyes and sighed.
"I'd do exactly what the Four Lords are planning," she sighed. "Gather everyone together for a desperate campaign and hold off Kushyamon's forces as long as possible."
"Exactly," Tai and Renamon nodded in unison.
"We are all hoping that you DigiDestined will be able to help us defeat them if we can force Kushyamon into this head on assault," Renamon stated.
"So no pressure then."
Mai nearly jumped out of her skin as she, Tai, and Renamon turned to see Takuya sitting up on the bed with SilverEmbermon and Agumon's help.
Takuya grinned seeing Mai and Tai's shocked expressions.
"Seems that I've missed quite a bit since I've been asleep," he sighed.
He noticed Mai staring at him in astonishment.
"Something wrong?" he asked her.
"Oh… Nothing. It's just… You…you shouldn't be conscious yet," Mai blushed.
"No rest for the weary," he shrugged. "I don't think that I can move much though. Actually I don't think I'd be sitting if it weren't for Agumon and SilverEmbermon."
"Are you alright?" Mai fretted as she rose from her seat and began to fuss over him.
Takuya couldn't help but smile warmly at her. It was hard to believe that only a week ago this girl had been an enemy. She was so caring and had such a gentleness to her. And, if he was reading Tai right his bonded partner had a genuine feeling of romantic affection directed towards her as well and Tai was a good judge in character. It just shocked Takuya how such a sweet girl could be taken and warped into an agent of evil. He'd seen the same thing when he'd first met Koichi.
"I'm fine Mai," Takuya smiled reassuringly. "I could use something to drink though."
"Is tea alright?" she asked as she stepped back from him and hurried to the table where he could see a few cups and a pot.
"Tea is perfect," Takuya smiled at her before facing Tai. The older boy looked like he'd aged a few years since he'd last seen him who knows how many hours ago.
"You look like hell," he said flippantly.
"Have you looked in a mirror?" Tai retorted, but the older leader's irrepressible grin was ghosting around the corners of his lips. "It's good to see you up though. Mai was worried."
"And you weren't?" the redhead scoffed.
"As nice as this all is," Renamon cut in, "I'm afraid that I'm going to have to insist that you all come with me to the palace."
"Right then," Takuya nodded, taking his cup of tea from Mai and adjusting himself accordingly with SilverEmbermon and Agumon's help so that he could drink it. "As soon as I'm done with my tea."
"Takuya you can't even sit up on you own," Mai frowned.
"I could carry him," SilverEmbermon offered.
"Ah!" Takuya sighed after he managed to down all of his tea in one big swallow. "There! All set. Shall we?"
Mai opened her mouth to protest again, but Tai intervened.
"Let him be Mai. SilverEmbermon is more than capable of carrying him. We're not too far from the palace anyways."
Mai pursed her lips but nodded.
Takuya gave a grateful nod to Tai.
A few minutes later they were all set for real and headed for the palace. Although Takuya wasn't too happy about being carrying across SilverEmbermon's shoulder as if he were a sack of flour. It took about an hour to get there since they had to navigate through a lot of rubble. The reality of the battle that he'd fought not even twenty-four hours ago struck Takuya hard when he saw the devastation that had befallen Shinrin in the siege. As they got closer to the palace more and more injured Digimon could be seen limping up to medics stationed at the various gates. The entire courtyard before the palace was littered with wounded.
Inside the palace staff were racing about with messages and reports and updates on statuses from all over the city and troops were coming in and out of their barracks to prepare for the abandonment of Shinrin. Renamon brought them to the far most building of the barracks and left them there until Seiryuumon was free for a meeting. It was nicer than the hut they'd been staying in that's for sure.
Takuya found himself settled in on one of the beds as he watched Tai pace and Mai worry her lip as she watched him. Agumon was passed out on another bed and Salandermon and SilverEmbermon were both standing in a far corner conversing quietly amongst themselves. The two fighter types were probably talking strategy or about what might come to pass with Kushyamon's latest move. Takuya couldn't bother himself to heighten his senses enough to listen in. He was having enough trouble as it was keeping his acute focus off the amount of pain he was really in. Heightened senses were not what every kid reading a superhero comic thought and built it up to be.
"Tai, get some rest," he sighed. "You're worrying Mai and frankly buddy you look like you're about to pass out. So do us both a favor and sleep."
Tai stopped his pacing, glared at him for a moment, but eventually nodded and flopped limply onto the bed next to his.
"I will if you do," Tai muttered.
"Right behind ya buddy," Takuya chuckled tiredly. "…Right… behind ya…"
Will the DigiDestined be able to survive their verious trials and be able to find each other again? You'll have to wait and find out next time on Digimon Digital Monsters!
Man Takuya I am right behind you and as well. It is 5:19 AM where I'm at and I am tired but proud and excited as hell that I can finally bring this long ass chapte to you all. i really hope you enjoyed it because I litterally spent the last two days writing the last 2/3s (basically from JP to the end) of this chapter and only just finished it five hours ago before proof reading all three chapters i posted tonight so if there are grammer mistakes i am too damn tired to care right now. :P
I'll post a poll later today asking wich pair/group of character you want to follow in the next chapter for UGotD (if you don't want to participate in the poll just tell me in a review or PM), but please remember that this fic is still on hiatus. sorry. I know you've all waited a long time (7-8 months now), but hopefully this long ass chapter makes up for it. :P
Fun fact though, to decided the pairings/groups (except for Tai, Mai, Takuya, Davis and Ryo) I wrote everyone's names on a slip of paper and drew for lots for who would end up where so this really was a random process (though I did make sure that no one from the same group was paired together because that's just boring).
Thank you so much for your patience with this fic, i hope you enjoyed it, and please don't forget to review!
Happy 13th Anaversary Digimon! And go Michael Phelps who is now officially the greatest and most decorated Olympian ever! :D