Wow... It's been a while, huh? :P Sorry for the wait, but here it is! As promised, the next chapter of Drowning Memories for your viewing pleasure! Happy 14th Anniversary for Digimon on this wonderful August 1st. Enjoy, and please don't forget to review! :)
I DO NOT OWN DIGIMON ADVENTURE 02, FRONTIER OR ANY OF ITS CHARACTERS!
Chapter 26: The Warped Island
Jun was having a blast as she swam through the ocean waters as Ningyomon beside Submarimon and Whamon. So far the trip had been smooth, but according to Submarimon, Izzi was saying that the edge of the storm was coming up and that the waters might get turbulent. She hadn't needed to hear that little tid-bit of info to know that though. She was the Warrior of Water after all. She could sense the on-coming change in the ocean's currents. Things were going to get a little bumpy, that was for sure, but nothing too serious. She told Submarimon as much just before they hit a strong underwater current that made things a little more difficult for the Armor Digimon.
When they were far enough into the rougher waters where she could actually make out the island they were heading for, however, she sensed a rather big and powerful current heading their way.
"BRACE YOURSELVES!" she shouted just moments before the current hit them.
Whamon had reacted fast enough to her warning and had dived down to ride out the current on the ocean floor, but poor Submarimon was a lightweight and hadn't managed to brace himself well enough before he was sent spinning, careening far off and away from the others.
"Submarimon! CODY!" Ningyomon gasped. "Whamon! I'm going after them. You go ahead with the others. Stick as close to the ocean floor as you can in case there are any more strong currents and get the others to that island!"
"Right!" Whamon nodded as she swam after the now missing duo.
Ningyomon turned fin and headed off in the direction she'd last seen the aquatic Armored Digimon and his human partner. She found them a couple of kilometers away buried deep into the ocean floor in a bed of coral and sea-rock. Poor Cody looked like he'd been knocked unconscious, and Submarimon was in bad shape from the crash, just barely holding his armor evolution together. She did her best to help him out, getting him unstuck from the tangles of coral, but she knew that they had to move fast, seeing as time was against them.
'What do we do?' Jun thought helplessly as she helped Submarimon make up the ground that they had lost, riding out another strong current for what seemed like every other kilometer.
"Jun, we need to become Sairemon," she heard her spirit partner's voice whisper in her head. "If we Slide Evolve into Sairemon we can control the waters and help move our progress along faster."
"Why didn't you tell me that sooner?" Jun grumbled as she focused on the image of the Water Warrior's Ultimate level form.
A flash of digi-code later and she was Sairemon again, reveling in the extra power that this form held. Her long fin also made swimming a lot quicker and easier than Ningyomon's two legs had. Following her spirit half's directions, she felt out the rough water currents around her and tired to imagine them flowing smoother, gentler, and calmer… and then suddenly they were. She found herself humming a soothing melody as she and Submarimon managed to cut through the now calm waters faster than they had been for the last five minutes.
"Just hold on a little longer, Submarimon," Sairemon panted. "We're almost there!"
Submarimon gave a grunt in reply as they cut through the remaining distance between them and the island.
Finally the two of them breached the surface along the coast of the island's beach. Submarimon could no longer hold his form, his DigiVolution breaking apart the moment they hit the beach. Sairemon grabbed the still unconscious Cody before the boy could sink beneath the shallow water and picked up a drained Armadillomon as well. Her fin had become legs so that she could walk up the beach towards the others who were now rushing to meet them from farther down the shoreline. Whamon was nowhere in sight, so she had to assume that he was resting further down in the surf just off shore.
Sairemon set the two down on dry sand before she allowed her own DigiVolution to break, turning back into Jun and Namimon. Jun smiled tiredly at her brother as he approached before her legs gave out on her.
"Whoa there!" Davis cried as he caught her, easing her fall to the ground.
"…That sure was draining," Jun laughed exhaustively.
"Yeah, spirit evolving for the first time sure can take it out of you," Koji sighed as he kneeled beside her. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, but what about Cody and Armadillomon?" Jun asked tiredly, glancing over at the boy next to her. Joe was already kneeling next to him checking his vitals and condition.
"Pupil response is normal. He's got a good bump on the head, but other than that, he's fine," Joe reported after checking Cody's eyes with a flashlight.
"I'm fine, thanks fer asking," Armadillomon grumbled as he got back on his feet. "Tired, but I'm good."
"You sure?" Joe asked as he turned his attention on the dazed looking Digimon, checking his eyes with the flashlight. "You're reactions seem to be a little slow."
"Just kinda stunned, I suppose," Armadillomon grunted. "I did take a mighty fine nose dive in ta a patch of coral back there."
"Why don't we take a break you guys," Tai suggested. "We'll get moving after Cody wakes up. By then, Jun and Armadillomon will hopefully have recovered."
"Sounds good," Koji nodded before looking inland.
Now that she'd caught her breath and regained some of her bearing, Jun also took her first look at their surroundings. It was a slight shock for her to see everything looking so… sullen. Everything looked as if she were looking through a monochrome lens. Everything, even the grass, sand, and trees were tinged with grey. Looking back out at the ocean, she saw the dark sea blue-green waters and a patch of bright blue sky beyond the storm clouds in the distance, but everything else…
"It's like the Dark Ocean," Kari whispered softly.
"Kind of," TK frowned. "Sure, everything on the island is in negative, but the ocean isn't and we're not either. In the Dark Ocean world everything, even us, were muted with grey. But here, we're not."
"It kind of reminds be of the time we fought the Dark Masters," Mimi shivered. "Everything was grey when I was traveling alone with Joe after we all split up to go our own ways. It was really depressing."
"Yeah…" Joe frowned. "I remember. The real downer was finding the Primary Village like that… like this…"
"Hey, what's that over there?" Zoe asked, pointing in the distance beyond the forest tree line just half of a kilometer from their current spot on the beach.
Jun squinted her eyes, but from where she was sitting she couldn't really see anything over the looming forest.
"Give me a sec," Tai said as he began shuffling through his pant's pockets. He pulled out a mini-telescope and held it up to his eye.
"Wow. Haven't seen that thing in a while," Sora smiled.
"I thought you lost that thing ages ago," Kari blinked.
"Found it last night while cleaning out my desk," Tai grinned, as he focused on the ridge above the tree line. "I don't see anything… Oh wait! Hold on… No way…"
"What is it Tai?" Matt asked.
"…Piedmon's Castle," Tai breathed, lowering his mini-telescope.
"What?" Izzi gasped, "Let me see."
Tai handed over his mini-telescope, showing Izzi where he should look.
"It's in ruins," Izzi frowned, "But there's no doubt. That's Piedmon's old castle."
"Piedmon?" Jun repeated.
"The worst and strongest of a group of evil Mega-Level Digimon we fought that called themselves the Dark Masters," Sora informed the other girl. "He was their leader."
"And the hardest one to beat," Tai frowned. "It took all of us at our strongest just to beat him."
Jun looked up at Davis. Seeing her gaze, he shook his head. "That was before I joined them Jun. Five years ago now, it had only been Tai, Matt, Sora, Izzi, Mimi, Joe, TK and Kari. Yolei, Cody, Ken and I joined them a little over two years ago."
"Oh," Jun nodded.
"And three to four years before then, we'd been DigiDestined," Zoe smiled.
"And now we've come full circle," JP mused. "The old and the new, working together to prevent the end of two worlds."
"Again," Koji huffed.
"Again," many of the others chuckled.
"What's everyone… laughing about?"
"Cody!" Yolei cried happily. "You're awake!"
"Oww," Cody moaned as Joe helped him into a sitting position. "What happened?"
"You and Submarimon got swept up in a strong current and crashed into a patch of coral," Jun explained.
"As Ningyomon, we helped dig you out," Namimon said in her casual monotone voice. "Then we became Sairemon to get you two to shore before Submarimon's Armor DigiVolution failed."
"Oh… Thank you," Cody said, bowing his head towards Jun and Namimon.
"It was no problem," Jun smiled. "I'm just glad that you both are alright."
"Well now that Cody's up, why don't we get going now?" Tai suggested. "That is, if Joe thinks that it's alright to do so."
Joe nodded after another quick check over Cody and Armadillomon, and soon everyone was moving off the beach and into the forest nearby. TK caught Cody up to speed on what was going on and about Piedmon's castle. Jun was grateful that Joe had hung back with her and was explaining to her more about who Piedmon and the Dark Masters had been. Izzi added in his two cents here and there whenever he wasn't focusing on his computer's signal readings. The other Warrior DigiDestined and Michael were gathered around behind her to hear more about what Joe was saying and get a better sense of what might be ahead.
It took two hours to transverse through the forest, cutting their time down. Even though it was a Sunday, tomorrow was a school day. When they reached the edge of the forest and into a clearing where the ruins of what looked like an observatory were, Jun thought she saw a flash of movement out of the corner of her eye, but when she turned her head, there was nothing.
"You saw it too?"
Jun jumped and faced Davis who was glaring into the tree line next to them.
"What did you see?" Koji asked.
"I didn't really get a good look at it, but Takuya sensed it," Davis frowned. "All I saw was a flash of brown and green."
"I didn't see anything really, but there was a flash of movement out there," Jun added.
Koji frowned, stepping out into the clearing, his eyes searching, penetrating the area that Davis and Jun had gestured to. Everyone remained still, waiting for the Warrior of Light to move. Finally his stance relaxed and he stuffed his hands into his hoodie's pockets.
"Well whatever it was, it's gone now," he sighed. "But all the same, everyone be on your guard."
"Agreed," Tai nodded warily. "Already this place is putting me on edge."
"Yeah, can't really say we have any fond memories of this place," Matt muttered.
"I remember being really scared," Joe shivered. "I never liked clowns. Still don't. Piedmon was in my nightmares for months after we got back."
"Lets just get this over with, shall we?" Sora asked.
Jun looked around and noticed that all eight of the DigiDestined that had faced this Piedmon Digimon were all looking rather unsettled.
"All right you guys," Tai sighed, squaring his shoulders in a determined fashion. "Lets get a move on. We'll only spend an hour here, ok? Then we have to start making our way back home."
"Agreed," Izzi nodded, setting a timer on his laptop so that they didn't loose track of time.
Once they entered the building, they were met with complete darkness.
"Could this place get any creepier?" Mimi huffed.
"Please don't say that," Joe sighed. "Because saying that is just asking for things to get-!"
Koji, Strabimon, and Flamemon threw orbs of light and fireballs out to light up the space, revealing numerous large lengths of spider webs, jagged gashes and holes in the floor, and a thick layer of dust all over everything.
"…creepier," Joe finished with a gulp.
"Well who's ready to face Shelob?" JP snarked.
Zoe elbowed him, but Jun agreed with JP. This place looked like the huge spider's lair from the Return of the King.
"Dokugumon, most likely," Izzi mused as he examined a nearby web. "A lot of them. We better be on our guard. This many webs could only mean an infestation."
"Just what I needed to hear," Mimi groaned, leaning into Michael as the boy rubbing his hand up and down her arm in a comforting gesture.
"Well we'd better take down these webs if we hope to get anywhere," Davis sighed. "Veemon, you ready?"
"You betcha!" Veemon smirked, as Davis pulled out his D-Terminal. SilverVeemon pouted a little bit, but stepped back so that his friend could digivolve.
"Flamemon, you help too," Davis said while Veemon was Armor Digivolving.
The mute Digimon grinned and gave him a thumbs up.
"Right!" the two Digimon nodded, joining the Armor Digimon and the Rookie Fire Warrior in burning down the thick curtains of webs that blocked their path. Biyomon got in there to help as well with her Spiral Twister. Yolei, TK, and Kari had their Digimon Armor Digivolve into Halsemon, Pegasusmon and Nefertimon to use their lasers to cut through the webs as well.
"This is going to take a while," Koji sighed as he watched.
For a half hour the team slowly made their way deeper into the dark ruins, with only Strabimon and Koji's light orbs for a light source, with the flashes of fire and lasers from the Digimon burning down the webs.
"Am I the only one that thinks that it's strange that we haven't found even one Spider Digimon yet?" Davis frowned, looking around. "We've been destroying all these webs after all. You'd think that they'd get mad and come confront us about it or something."
"You want a fight?" Koji raised an eyebrow.
"Well it'd make things more exciting, that's for sure," Davis smirked.
Koji shook his head and Yutaka, Jun and Zoe rolled their eyes while Koichi, JP, and Tommy snickered.
"Bored are we? Well… we can't have that now, can we?" a low feminine voice asked from the shadows.
Everyone went tense and was on guard in moments as a figure glided out of the dark beyond the webs and into the firelight and the glow of the light orbs.
"LadyDevimon," Kari scowled, Nefertimon tensing at her side.
"She has issues with this particular Digimon," Sora whispered to the incredulous stares of the Warrior DigiDestined. "A LadyDevimon was Piedmon's right hand henchwoman when we faced him last time."
"Hello girly," the devil woman Digimon smirked at Kari. "I see you've grown."
"I see you've been reborn with your memories intact," Kari glared back.
"Is she the same one we fought when Daemon came to our world?" Yolei asked.
"No," Kari shook her head. "This is the LadyDevimon that Angewomon fought when we were getting ready to face Piedmon. The LadyDevimon we faced back in Tokyo was a different one, less malicious and more mischievous."
The LadyDevimon in front of them cackled.
"What do you want?" Kari demanded.
"What do I want?" LadyDevimon mused, "How about your heads on a platter in memory of Lord Piedmon? Dokugumon!"
There was a sudden increase in noise as the sound of many pinchers clattering, stubby feet pattering, and thumping deep in the dark. LadyDevimon let out a high cackle of glee, jumping up to hover high above their heads in the air.
"Pull back!" Tai yelled.
"I don't think she'd going to let us," Koji growled, pulling out his D3-T. "Strabimon!"
"About time!" the wolf Digimon barked. "Lets do this!"
"Fractal Code Digitize!" Koji cried, reducing his partner into the familiar a ribbon ring of data, "Execute! Spirit Evolution!"
Jun watched in awe as Koji transformed into the wolf-man Lobomon, hardly waiting for his form to settle before lashing out at LadyDevimon, holding her off and allowing everyone else to regroup.
"Is that what it looked like when I Spirit Evolved?" Jun gaped.
"You got it," Namimon nodded grimly. "You up for another go?"
"Uh… yeah," she finally nodded. "Koji can't do this on his own."
"And he won't," Zoe said firmly stepping up beside her with JP, Tommy and Yutaka. "Lets do this you guys!"
"RIGHT! FRACTAL CODE DIGITIZE!"
The five Warrior DigiDestined's partner's data unraveled and formed rings around their human partner's outstretched hands.
"EXECUTE! SPIRIT EVOLUTION!"
Five cocoons of data formed around the Warrior DigiDestined before they burst forth battle ready.
The five Warriors had Spirit Evolved just in time to ward off the Dokugumon that had just arrived. There appeared to be hundreds of them.
"Aren't we going to join them Davis?" SilverVeemon asked.
"In a moment," Davis frowned as he studied in the swarm of Dokugumon. "Flamemon!"
The rookie Digimon jumped over to his side, looking at him questioningly.
"I need you to stay here and keep an eye on Koichi," Davis said, nodding over at the only member in their group who didn't have a Digimon partner of his own. "You two stick together no matter what."
"Don't worry, I'm not about to go running off," Koichi laughed nervously. "Especially not with this many enemies around."
"Maybe in your right mind you wouldn't, but if you go into your spirit sensing trance, Flamemon should be with you to watch your back," Davis stressed.
Flamemon's eyes flashed in understanding before he gave a determined nod. Davis nodded back and faced Flamedramon.
"Are you good in that form or would you prefer ExVeemon?" Davis asked.
"Fire is more effective against these guys," Flamedramon grunted before sending a few fire punches towards a Dokugumon that was trying to attack Kazemon from behind.
"Alright," Davis nodded. "Be with you in a second."
"Is it our turn yet?" SilverVeemon huffed, exasperatedly.
Davis turned to his newest partner and smirked, nodding. SilverVeemon grinned back, punching the air in excitement and anticipation.
"Fractal Code Digitize!" Davis shouted. "Execute! Spirit Evolution!"
In another whirlwind of data Davis and SilverVeemon were gone, replaced by the strong looking armored Warrior of Steel.
The Warrior of Steel wasted no time joining the fray, drawing his broadsword and cleaving the first Dokugumon he encountered in half.
The Odaiba DigiDestined watched in awe as they witnessed their new friend's transformations and battle skills. However, many of them were disturbed by the efficient and almost absent way the Dokugumon were dispatched with, reduced to data after a few well-placed blows. Even Davis as Tetsukomon wasn't hesitating to cut down the Digimon he faced.
"I wouldn't worry about the lives of the Digimon their fighting," Koichi informed them. "The Dokugumon here are only shadows of the real thing. They were bred for numbers, not as actual Digimon. They are little more that LadyDevimon's minions. Her puppets as it were."
"But they are living Digimon," TK muttered.
"…Yes," Koichi nodded, "but in their case, death would be a much kinder fate. They are slaves of LadyDevimon. Slaves of this island. They have lived in the dark for so long that even if you were to free them of LadyDevimon's control, they wouldn't know what to do with the freedom you'd give them. They are mindless in their servitude and the only thing left for them is to follow her orders. You take that away and they will destroy themselves. Better to kill them in battle and allow them to be reborn anew in a newer better life, than to free them, and leave them to their own self-destruction where their data will deteriorate in the tainted shadows they have only known since they found themselves on this island. As Warriors of old reborn, the others have the ability to purify the data of the Digimon that they have to kill, giving them a greater chance to be reborn with a fresher start than most."
"How do you know this?" Tai asked, frowning at the morbid picture Koichi had just painted.
"I can hear them," Koichi whispered. "The newer DigiDestined like Davis, Jun and Yutaka might not realize it yet, but they can too, and that's why they aren't hesitating in this fight like the others. The souls of the Dokugumon are crying out for release from the darkness, and the others are responding to it. "Won't you help us?" they ask? Won't you …free us…?"
"Koichi?" Joe asked, concerned as the boy's eyes dulled into a by-now familiar trance-like state.
"He's right… I can hear them," Kari whispered, ignorant of the Child of Darkness' sudden distraction. "They're suffering in the dark. The ones that are killed cry out with happiness…"
"Then lets free them," Nefertimon growled reverting back into Gatomon before taking a fighting stance in front of her partner. "Kari!"
Kari snapped out of her sorrowful daze, eyes blazing with righteous anger as she eyed the witch that were causing these Dokugumon such pain that they wanted to die, practically throwing themselves at the Warrior DigiDestined to be destroyed. Gatomon's form glowed brightly before being enveloped in the light of DigiVolution.
"Gatomon! Digivolve too…! Angewomon!"
"Get her," Kari said softly, watching as her partner knocked a Celestial Arrow and shot it at LadyDevimon who'd just forced Lobomon back with her Darkness Wave attack.
Cody had Armadillomon digivolve into Ankylomon who joined Halsemon and Pegasusmon as the group that stayed back from the fight, guarding those who couldn't fight away from the immediate battlegrounds. Everyone watched as Angewomon and Lobomon worked in perfect sync as they started to drive LadyDevimon back while everyone else fighting took care of the Dokugumon who appeared to just keep coming.
LadyDevimon was no longer amused, stabbing and slashing at both of her opponents. In a desperate bid to gain the upper hand, the devil woman allowed both Light attribute Digimon to get within striking range before unleashing a powerful blast of her Darkness Wave attack. Lobomon and Angewomon were sent flying backwards after taking the attack point blank. Lobomon was fell to his knees and Angewomon was grounded momentarily.
LadyDevimon let out a delighted cackled, ready to unleash another, stronger wave of her attack when her raised hand was suddenly pierced with an arrow, halting the attack and causing her to cry out in pain.
Lobomon looked over at Angewomon, but the angel Digimon looked just as stunned as he was. Not one to waste an opportunity though, Lobomon aimed his Howling Laser and fired, knocking the Fallen Angel class Digimon into a wall. Angewomon followed up the attack with a Heaven's Charm, which obliterated the witch like it had five years ago.
LadyDevimon's been defeated! But who shot that arrow that stopped her? Will Koichi find his spirit partners in Piedmon's old castle? Find out next time on Digimon Digital Monsters!
DONE! Whew! This was the last chapter I needed to write for my three digimon stories and I'm so happy to have it completed (if not to my satisfaction). :P
I'd usually leave a longer author's note, but I'm tired, it's late, I've been working all week helping my parents renovate our house, and I just want to get these chapters out! I've posted the chapters for PW and this fic tonight (2:15 AMish where I'm at), but look forward to UGotD's new chapter that I'll post either after I get up later this morning, or in the afternoon during some stretch of downtime after I've helped with whatever projects my dad comes up with for me to do for the day. Anyway, hope you liked this chapter, and PLEASE REVIEW!