Authors' Notes: Sorry about the extreme lateness of this chapter.  Don't worry that we've abandoned this fic.  Yuki's health has been pretty poor as of late so it became hard to get things in motion.  Hopefully the next chapter will be posted sooner.

      Thanks to everyone who left reviews and sent us e-mails! We really appreciate it!

Dreaming to Reality

By Neon Tiger and Yuki Ryu

Chapter 35: Puppet of Doom

*~*

      "Urrrgggghh..."

      Beelzebumon twitched, his head aching and his entire body sore, as he slowly opened his eyes.  "What the...?"

      Beelzebumon suddenly tensed and stared as he found himself suspended by pink cables in a hot pink room filled with big pillows and stuffed animals.

      "... ..." Beelzebumon sweatdropped.

      There was a steady thrum of 'Girl Band' music as it originated from an unseen source, and the air was filled with the scent of molten chocolate and children's' perfume.

      "..." Beelzebumon was at a loss.

      "Tee hee... oh, you naughty boy!"

      "...!?" Beelzebumon glanced about wildly, then stared in horror as a long black claw slipped through the shadows to shake a finger at him.

      "Sneaking into my hoooome... you peeping TOM, you!"

      Beelzebumon blinked at the claw, then stared as the monster it belonged to slowly slipped in to view.  He was large and bulky, covered with muscles, and wore a gold chest plate with a black gemstone in the middle, matching gold boots and gloves, and a large gold skull-face mask with a unicorn horn over a black bodysuit.  A red belt wrapped around his waist as a gold shoulder guard covered one shoulder while a steel gray one covered the other.  He had a massive gold claw instead of a left hand, with the rest hidden under a steel gray shield-like gauntlet.

      However, the horror did not end there as the titanic looking digimon wore hot pink lingerie over the entire get-up.

      "... W-what the hell...!?" Beelzebumon's jaw dropped.

      "Naughty, naughty," the digimon drawled as he scooted closer, swinging his hips 'sexily'.  "How could you peek on little old ME?"

      "... YOU'RE Reapermon!" Beelzebumon's eyes widened.

      "Ooooooo!  We're even on first name terms!" Reapermon giggled, then slid closer to Beelzebumon.

      "..."

      "Beelzebumon...," Reapermon crooned as he ran a claw along the other digimon's bicep.  "You have nooo idea how much I've thought about you since that day!"

      "... Eh?"

      "That day... when I stabbed you with my plates and almost killed you.  Oh, please understand!  I had to!  You were trying to rescue that girl from me!" Reapermon crooned as he leaned closer.  "... But I've thought about you every day since then... and it's so nice to know your butt is just as cute up close as it is plummeting to your death!"

      Reapermon whirled and squealed like a schoolgirl.  "OH!  I'm so embarrassed!"

      "... ... ..."

      "See?  I even wrote it in my diary!" Reapermon squealed as he 'pranced' over to his dresser and pulled out a journal with My Little Horsies on the cover.  He 'pranced' back over and opened it.  "I had to go back and write in those days in the Real World... since, well, I didn't have it then... but once I was squashed so rudely by those naaasty humans and accidentally bonded with the human data I took from that nasty girl, I just HAD to keep an account of everything!"

      "... So that's it...," Beelzebumon muttered.  "... When Operation Doodlebug tried to delete D-Reaper... it accidentally fused the D-Reaper with that fake Juri!  Now he thinks he IS a girl like Juri!"

      "Oh!  Oh!  See?" Reapermon leaned close and pointed at an entry.  "'I killed people'...  Oh, wait... that's yesterday's.  Let me see..."  Reapermon flipped through his diary, humming to himself.

      "..."

      "OH!  NOW I found it!" Reapermon giggled and leaned close again, holding the diary to Beelzebumon's face.  "'I killed humans today...  That HUNK Beelzebumon came to try and save that nasty puppet girl from me so I had to hurt him... but it's okay because he lived.  BOY does he have a nice butt!'!"

      "EEEE!" Reapermon whirled and held his cheeks as if blushing.  "I'm soooo embarrassed!"

      "..." Beelzebumon felt ill.

      "Look at this!" Reapermon whirled about and showed him another entry.

      "... 'I killed more people'," Beelzebumon read, slowly.

      "No, below that," Reapermon pointed at the bottom, at a heart drawing with his name and Beelzebumon's name drawn in the center of it with red ink.

      At least, Beelzebumon hoped it was red ink.

      "Tee hee," Reapermon 'blushed'.

      "..." Beelzebumon felt even more ill.

      Reapermon leaned close, practically purring, as he rested his head against Beelzebumon's shoulder.  "You're sooooooo cool!" he crooned.

      "..." Beelzebumon resisted the urge to throw up as he twitched.

      "Ohh, don't be shy!" Reapermon crooned as he stepped back.  "Just because I'm a psychopathic murderer who's slaughtered thousands of innocent digimon easily and have no conceivable limitations doesn't mean you should FEAR me!"

      "..." Beelzebumon's eyes widened.

      "Have a chocolate!" Reapermon giggled as he put a Hershey's kiss in Beelzebumon's mouth.

      "..." Beelzebumon blinked, unsure of how to react.

      "Don't be disappointed.  After you finish the chocolate kisses," Reapermon began.  "You'll get a REAL one."

      "..." Beelzebumon pondered suicide.

*~*

      "What do you mean by that!?" Janyuu demanded.

      Janyuu slammed his hands on to the table, practically quivering.  "We're supposed to be fixing Primary Village!  What do you mean it isn't top priority!?"

      "It just might get destroyed again anyways.  No point in wasting effort on something that'll only get destroyed again!" Dolphin replied, shrugging.  "Destroying this Reapermon is a lot more important than some silly baby village."

      "'Silly baby village'!?" Janyuu repeated, sputtering.  "It's the only chance the digimon have of getting their lives back!"

      "Tao, Tao, TAO!" Dolphin chuckled, quietly.  "We'll get to it later!  We've got something more important to work on!  If Reapermon really is the D-Reaper reformatted, what if it comes after us again?"

      "The D-Reaper was a threat to all humanity... so obviously, this Reapermon might be one too," Daisy agreed.

      "But you all KNOW what happened with Operation Doodle Bug!  The chances are just too great that we'll cause something like that to happen again!" Janyuu protested.

      "That's a chance we have to take." Dolphin replied.

      "It's too risky!" Janyuu shouted.

      "It's the best chance we've got," Dolphin shook his head. "The Real World's counting on us!"

      "But what about the Digital World?" Janyuu asked through clenched teeth.

      "... Man, we hafta take the chance," Babel shook his head.  "The D-Reaper was a big deal, ya know?"

      "I know, but the damage the D-Reaper did both here and in the Digital World was nowhere near as bad as the consequences of Operation Doodlebug on the Digital World," Janyuu tried to explain rationally despite the fact that he felt like tearing his hair out in frustration.

      "... We did what we had to do, Tao," Dolphin leaned back.  "And we still have to do... what we have to do."

      "... That's why we have to attack Reapermon," Daisy agreed.  "With Operation Doodlebug Two."

      "It'll be like Operator Doodlebug... but this time, we won't let him escape!" Dolphin agreed. "He'll be completely wiped out."

      "... But what if it completely wipes out the Digimon too?!" Janyuu demanded.

      Dolphin glanced at the others, then coughed and leaned back.  He obviously did not want to answer such a question.

      "..." Janyuu stared at Dolphin and the others for a moment, aghast, before his gaze turned hard.  "... I won't be part of it.  Not this time."

      "Look, we need you and Shibumi!" Dolphin barked.  "We don't have time for this silent rebellion motion!"

      "I won't work on something that could wipe out an entire species," Janyuu said firmly, his voice low and deadly serious.  "I won't.  I won't force my son to lose Terriermon again, or for his friends to lose their partners either.  If I did I'd never be able to face him again."

      "... But what if you never see him again, period?" Dolphin looked at Janyuu, irritably.

      "... I trust my son and his friends," Janyuu said quietly.  "I know they'll come back okay.  Their digimon would sacrifice everything to make sure they come back alive.  The least we can do for them after all that we've done is to give them a chance to be reborn!"

      "... And if Reapermon kills them all?" Dolphin asked.

      "What if YOU kill them?" a small voice muttered.

      Shibumi looked up from his computer console to fix Dolphin with a level gaze. "What if you kill them?"

      "..." Dolphin's cheek twitched.

      "Operation Doodlebug caused the entire digital plane to implode in on itself.  What if Operation Doodlebug Two does the same thing... while the children are still there?" Janyuu asked softly.  "We'd destroy them AND the digimon so our work would be for nothing!"

      "..." Dolphin crossed his arms.

      "... Janyuu," Shibumi glanced at the other, and then smiled slightly.  "Would you help me over here?"

      "I'd be happy to," Janyuu nodded, smiling at Shibumi as he sat down next to the other man.

      "... What should we do, man?" Babel looked at Dolphin.

      "... They'll come around soon enough... we'll just get back to work," Dolphin sighed.

*~*

      "And then we had ice cream and watched movies and..."

      ChibiBa twitched.

      "And we played My Little Horsies and I got to be the princess and..."

      Ever since the Tamers found Shuichon fast asleep in the little room, which turned out to be 'The Perfect Little Girl's Room', complete with stuffed animals and wallpaper, they had found out just what kind of horrors Reapermon had done to her.

      "... That's nice, Shuichon," Jenrya sweatdropped.

      "And then we played with MAKE UP!" Shuichon giggled.

      "Looks like we didn't have to worry about Shuichon after all," Terriermon whispered to Jenrya.

      Unfortunately, those horrors included everything girly and enjoyable to a little girl.

      "And then we made cakes and cookies and, and-," Shuichon continued.

      Even worse, no one could get her to shut up about it.

      "... It's hard to imagine an evil digimon would go to such lengths to entertain Shuichon," Tsuyosa blinked.

      "And we drew pictures and played Candy Cane Land...," Shuichon ticked off on her fingers all the delightful things she and her 'hideous captor' had done.

      "..." ChibiBa twitched.

      Lopmon sighed, as she lay slumped on one of the incredibly soft pillows next to Shuichon.  Even if her Tamer did have the time of her life during the capture, the poor Rookie had been stressed past the limit with worry and fatigue.  The presence of the other Tamers was a certainly very much-welcomed relief by the rabbit-like digimon.

      "..." Tsuyosa glanced around slowly.  "... What are we going to do, though?"

      "The others are fine," ChibiBa grunted.  "So we should just worry about Little Miss Talk Too Much."

      "They'll be fine.  Takato, Guilmon, Ruki, and Renamon will be able to protect Sera.  They'll most likely find Beelzebumon, as he also disappeared through a similar portal," Jenrya pointed out as he walked over to grab Shuichon's hand, as the girl in question continued to ramble despite the fact that no one was listening anymore.

      Lopmon yawned tiredly before she hopped off the pillow she had been sitting on to follow after Shuichon and Jenrya.

      "And now that we've found Shuichon," Jenrya continued as he walked for the door.  "We have two digimon to protect us.  Terriermon and I can Biomerge while Lopmon can become her Ultimate naturally."

      Tsuyosa blinked and glanced at Jenrya, waiting for him to continue.

      "Two?" ChibiBa arched an eyebrow.

      "You're a great help too, ChibiBa," Jenrya added, smiling.  "You're a big asset."

      Tsuyosa tilted his head and waited for Jenrya to finish, then realized that he was when Jenrya proceeded through the door without even looking at him.

      "... And...?" ChibiBa pressed, suddenly rather agitated.

      "And?" Terriermon blinked.  "... And who?"

      "TSU!" ChibiBa snapped.

      "Oh, yeah, he's some help too," Terriermon waved a paw.  "When he's not getting sick."

      "Terriermon!" Jenrya frowned.

      "HEY!" ChibiBa snarled.

      Tsuyosa stopped short, as if he had been slapped, and stared as the others walked out without noticing he had stopped following them.

      "..." Tsuyosa slowly lowered his gaze to the floor.

      Something caught the corner of Tsuyosa's eye, causing him to slowly glance to his left.  He blinked slowly, and then stared as his eyes locked upon the tattered remains of the Leomon puppet.

      "... How'd you get in here?" Tsuyosa began as he walked towards the puppet, feeling drawn to it.  "... You're alone and forgotten too, huh?"

      Tsuyosa knelt down by the puppet, his expression soft as he looked at the truly pathetic-looking puppet.  "... You look so different now.  Sickly and discarded, almost.  ... Kinda like me."

      Tsuyosa picked up the puppet, glancing at the stuffing as it oozed out as if it were blood.  "... Is this what I look like?  All tattered and torn... and so disfigured that no one wants to look at you?"

      "Tsuyosa?" Jenrya blinked as he looked back, noticing the other Tamer was no longer with them.

      "Tsu!?" ChibiBa whirled; suddenly sensing something was amiss, and darted back in to the room.

      Tsuyosa said nothing as he held the puppet, oblivious to the blood stuffing as it oozed down his arm.

      "Uh...  Why're you holding a bleeding puppet, Tsu?" Terriermon asked, more than a little freaked out.

      "..." Tsuyosa stood up, staring at the puppet as it continued to ooze all along his arm and shirt.

      "... Tsu?" ChibiBa blinked.  "What's going on?"

      "Tsuyosa?  Are you okay?" Jenrya asked, suddenly having a bad feeling creep through him.

      "..." Tsuyosa hold the puppet up, looking at its face, and blinked.  "... You know what it's like, don't you...?  To be abandoned by everyone...  To be nothing more than an unpleasant thought that others wish they could be rid of."

      "... T-Tsu... what're you talking about?" ChibiBa squeaked, suddenly pale.

      "... Uh... Is anyone else getting creeped out by this?" Terriermon muttered, suddenly very wary.

      "... Hm, we ARE alike...," Tsuyosa tilted his head as one of his hands traced the cuts downwards.  "... My soul must look as tattered as you do right now."

      "Tsu!" ChibiBa squeaked, very much alarmed.  "What do you mean!?  What's going on!?  What're you saying!?"

      "... I don't like the feel of this...," Lopmon muttered, tensing in spite of her fatigue.

      "Big brother, why is he talking like that?" Shuichon blinked innocently at Jenrya before she looked back at Tsuyosa.

      "... I don't know, Shuichon," Jenrya muttered to his little sister.  "... Tsuyosa, what's wrong?" he asked the other Tamer.

      "... I wonder...," Tsuyosa's hand drifted lower.  "... If I even have a soul at all?"

      "O-of course you do!" ChibiBa felt very much afraid.  "Why... why would you say something like that?"

      "You're talking crazy, Tsu!" Terriermon exclaimed, his ears twitching.  "Throw the puppet away and stop talking like that!"

      "..." Tsuyosa paused, his fingers gently tracing the puppet's stitches.  "... Throw it away?"

      "Yes!" ChibiBa nodded.  "Get away from that thing!"

      "Yeah!  It tried to eat ya and everyone else, remember?!" Terriermon huffed.

      "..." Tsuyosa regarded the puppet.  "... No.  I won't."

      Tsuyosa slipped the puppet onto his hand.

      "Tsu!" ChibiBa squeaked.

      "... Hmmmm," Tsuyosa held the puppet up and regarded it, making it turn its head about and snap its jaws.  The blood slowly seemed to solidify, twisting about Tsuyosa's right arm and the entire right side of his chest and stomach in to solid tendrils.

      "Tsu-!" ChibiBa choked and darted towards his Tamer, then yelped and crouched back when Tsuyosa whirled to face him, puppet outstretched.

      "Yap, yap, yap, what ARE you barking about?" Tsuyosa chuckled; his eyes unnaturally empty as he sneered.  "You sound like a bunch of spoiled dogs!"

      The puppet snapped its jaws, then started to giggle as it seemingly started to heal, all of its slashes disappearing as it slowly engulfed Tsuyosa's arm in a mass of pink goop.

      "The puppet is controlling him!" Jenrya gasped.

      "Oh GREAT!  How do we get it off of him!?" Terriermon asked tensely.

      "Tsu!" ChibiBa whimpered.

      "Oh stop," Tsuyosa snorted.  "You never cared anyway."

      "... How... how can you say that?" ChibiBa's expression grew pained.  "Of course I care!  I've always cared!"

      "Hmmm," Tsuyosa tilted his head and smirked.

      "It's true!" ChibiBa cried out.  "It's that puppet, isn't it!?"

      "It's not him saying that, it's the puppet," Lopmon deduced as she eyed the demented puppet.

      "Hmmmmm," Tsuyosa tilted his head the other way as the puppet snapped its jaws, tail lashing.  "Maybe it is... maybe it isn't.  Maybe it's really me, saying what I've kept hidden for so long!"

      "No!" ChibiBa flailed.  "Tsu KNOWS I care about him!  You nasty piece of FLINT!  Let go of Tsu NOW!"

      "Hmmmm."

      "... It must be feeding off of Tsuyosa's negative thoughts like the D-Reaper did with Juri!" Jenrya exclaimed, eyes widening with realization.

      "But... but why would Tsu feel that way!?" ChibiBa demanded.

      "Maybe it has to do with how overprotective you are," Terriermon muttered.

      "Oh, yeah, he's some help too.  When he's not getting sick," the puppet snapped its jaws as Terriermon's voice crept out.

      "..." ChibiBa whirled to glare poisonously at Terriermon.

      "... Hey!  I didn't mean to hurt his feelings!" Terriermon protested as he held his paws up to ward off ChibiBa's anger.

      "Look!" Ruki's voice echoed through the room.

      Tsuyosa tilted his head and smirked as the puppet snapped its jaws again.  "Look at him!  He's practically useless!  He's either slowing us down or getting knocked unconscious!  Do you really want to endanger us and him!?"

      "..." ChibiBa twitched again, his lips curling up slightly.

      The puppet whipped about almost unnaturally and wiggled its paws.  "...  It was a bad idea to bring him," Ruki's voice continued.

      "Ruki was just worried about you, Tsuyosa," Jenrya said, hoping to get through to the other Tamer.  "She just has a funny way of showing it."

      The puppet snapped forward in to Jenrya's face, smirking.  "... You do have a point there, Ruki," Jenrya's voice 'sighed'.

      Shuichon clung tightly to Jenrya's hand.  "Big brother...  He's scaring me...," she whimpered.

      Tsuyosa whirled about, chuckling, as the puppet continued to wave its paws.

      "You know Tsuyosa can't help being sick," the puppet observed, still in Jenrya's voice. It giggled insanely and covered its mouth.  "Sick, sick, sick!"

      "We were all worried about you, Tsuyosa!" Jenrya exclaimed as he gripped Shuichon's hand comfortingly.

      "Worried about how I'd weigh you down," Tsuyosa snickered. "That's what you think when you see me. In the way!"

      "That's not true AT ALL!" Jenrya protested.

      "Tsu!" ChibiBa practically sobbed.  "I don't think that way at all!"

      "I can't handle it anymore!" a hysterical woman's voice filled the room.  "I can't live with this!  I can't live each day wondering if he's going to live or die!  I can't do it!  So what if he lives through this one!?  What about the next one!?  Or the next!?  I can't spend the rest of my life like that!  I wish he had died!  I WISH HE HAD DIED!"

      "..." ChibiBa paled as his eyes widened.

      "... Who the...?" Terriermon whispered, blinking slowly.

      Tsuyosa paused to stare at the puppet, curiously.  "... I was only one at the time...  I heard... but I didn't understand.  I couldn't comprehend what she was saying... but I heard...  So that's what she said when I didn't die from my attack?  So that's what mommy said..."

      Shuichon whimpered and moved closer to Jenrya, clinging to his leg.  "Why would your mommy say that?" she whimpered.  "Mommies don't say that!"

      "I WISH HE HAD DIED!" the puppet repeated in the woman's voice, then flailed and giggled hysterically.  "Dead, dead, dead!  Maybe everything should die?"

      Shuichon flinched and whimpered again, fearfully, as Jenrya held her closer to him.  "Tsuyosa, don't listen to the puppet!  It's just playing with your feelings!" he cried, hoping to get through to Tsuyosa.

      "So that's what mommy sounds like," Tsuyosa muttered, dazedly.  "I barely remember...," Tsuyosa paused, and then giggled insanely.  "She sounds so funny!  Does she always scream like that?"

      "Let's find out!" the puppet cackled.  "Let's kill her!  Let's kill everyone!  Then we can all die together!  No one will ever be alone!"

      "... Can Tsu even hear us?" Terriermon asked quietly, flinching slightly at the puppet's insane cackling.

      "Tsu!" ChibiBa darted for his Tamer, then squeaked when the puppet whirled to cackle at him.

      "ChibiBa!  You'll die with me, won't you?" Tsuyosa smiled.  "You won't leave me alone, right?  Everyone else does!  Even Takato!  But YOU'LL stay, right?  You'll stay right here and die with me, right?"

      "He's scary!" Shuichon whimpered as she buried her face into Jenrya's hip.

      "It'll be okay, Shuichon," Jenrya muttered to his little sister.  "We'll get that puppet off of Tsuyosa somehow..."

      "Tsu-!" ChibiBa's eyes widened with alarm.  "D-don't say things like that!  I don't want you to die!"

      "Silly ChibiBa," Tsuyosa chuckled, then stepped back as the puppet appeared by his head and snapped its jaws.

      "Enough talk!  We've gotta get that puppet off NOW!" Terriermon cried as he hopped off Jenrya's shoulder, landing next to Lopmon.

      "Rawr!" the puppet observed.  "They're going to attack you, Tsu!  They'll make you die all by yourself!"

      "Oh, we can't have THAT, can we?" Tsuyosa laughed.

      "We don't want to hurt you, Tsuyosa!" Jenrya cried.  "Stop listening to that puppet and let us help you!"

      "And who am I supposed to listen to?  YOU?" Tsuyosa smirked.  "You don't even want me around!"

      "Is even ChibiBa going to hurt poor Tsuuuu?" the puppet wiggled its ears.

      "... N-Never...," ChibiBa quivered as he stepped back.  "I wouldn't... I couldn't... not Tsu... I couldn't...!"

      "Hmmm," Tsuyosa grinned, then flinched visibly as the puppet twisted about, then snarled as a bunch of spikes burst out of its back.

      "Come get me, then!" the puppet snarled, suddenly sounding not nearly as cute as before.

      "Tsuyosa!  Please LISTEN TO ME!" Jenrya pleaded.  "The puppet is messing with your thoughts and memories!  It wants to kill you and all your friends!  It doesn't care about you!  It's just using you!"

      The puppet's button eyes seemed to flash as dark energy flickered up the puppet's spikes like electricity before it let a resounding 'rawr', blasting Jenrya and Terriermon with a powerful blast of energized sound waves.  Jenrya gasped and shoved Shuichon out of the way just in time to get hit, soaring backwards in to the wall.

      "Tsu!" ChibiBa gasped.  "No!  Don't!"

      "Big brother!" Shuichon cried as she saw Jenrya slump against the wall next to Terriermon, both Tamer and digimon unconscious from the strong blast and impact against the wall.

      Tsuyosa chuckled darkly as the puppet whirled about to snap its jaws at Shuichon and Lopmon.  "Awwww, sorry."

      "Shuichon!" Lopmon hurried over to her Tamer.  "Are you okay?"

      "Why?" Shuichon sobbed as she looked at Tsuyosa.  "Why'd you hurt big brother and Terriermon!?"

      "Aw, are you crying?" Tsuyosa tilted his head.  "As if you even know what pain IS!  You couldn't possibly comprehend!"

      "Sniffle, sniffle, temper tantrum!" the puppet growled, evilly.

      "You're mean!  You shouldn't hurt your friends 'cause you're sad!" Shuichon cried, tears trailing down her cheeks.  "You hurt them!"

      "Shuichon, that's not Tsuyosa saying that, it's the puppet," Lopmon tried to explain.  "It's making Tsuyosa do these things."

      "Mean?  I'm not mean!" Tsuyosa smirked.  "Why, they practically asked for it!"

      "Heh, heh, heh!" the puppet purred.

      ChibiBa shivered and covered his head, rocking back and forth as he tried to come to grips with what was happening.

      "They didn't!  You're just mean!" Shuichon sniffled angrily as she shakily climbed to her feet.  "You're mean, mean, mean!  Friends don't hurt other friends!  You hurt others WORSE than you hurt!"

      "Shuichon, please don't provoke him!  He'll hurt you!" Lopmon pleaded worriedly.

      "Yip, yip, yip, listen to her BARK!" Tsuyosa cackled, merrily.  "She has no idea at all, does she?"

      "She's too young and spoiled to know!" the puppet agreed, sneering.

      "I not spoiled!  YOU'RE spoiled!" Shuichon pointed an accusing finger at Tsuyosa.  "You got friends dat love you and you hurt them when they try and help you!  YOU'RE MEANEST OF MEAN!"

       "Please stop this!" Lopmon pleaded, although it was uncertain whether she meant Shuichon, Tsuyosa and the puppet, or all of them.

      "I have friends?" Tsuyosa blinked.  "Where?  I only see a bunch of vicious people who only tolerate you because you have something they want!  Is that friendship?  How can you have a friendship with a puppet?"

      "That's why we're both alike!" the puppet agreed.  "We're so much alike!  No friends, no soul, nothing!  Hee, hee, hee!"

      "You don't have friends anymore 'cause you're so mean!" Shuichon exclaimed.  "You hurt dem and make dem go away!"

      "Tsuyosa, please, stop this right now," Lopmon pleaded then pointed at the puppet.  "You're not the puppet, THAT is, and it's controlling you!"

      "I haven't done anything," Tsuyosa muttered, solemnly.  "They're the ones who can't see me as anything but a sick little boy to use for your own gains!  But that's not going to happen anymore.  I'm cutting own strings!"

      "And I'm going to cut YOU!" the puppet hissed as it sneered, claws forming on its little paws.

      "You hurt them!  You hurt my big brother and Terriermon!  You're hurting your partner!" Shuichon whimpered, both angry and fearful at the same time.  "You hurt everyone!  Stop it!  You're mean!"

      "I won't let you hurt Shuichon!" Lopmon cried as she held out her paws and ears in attempt to shield Shuichon from any blasts the puppet might try on them like it did to Jenrya and Terriermon.

      "Tsu...," ChibiBa snuffled, shaking.

      "Heh, you're right.  I'm mean.  Whatever," Tsuyosa's expression turned cold.  "Die."

      "RAWR!" the puppet agreed as it started to spark again.

      "Shuichon!" Lopmon cried out and quickly tackled her Tamer out of the way of another blast of energized sound waves sent their way by the puppet.  The Rookie grunted and grimaced in pain as the blast partially hit her and sent her flying a few feet from Shuichon.

      "LOPMON!" Shuichon cried, tears in her eyes as she scrambled to her feet and darted over to her fallen partner.  "Lopmon!"

      "Shuichon...  Run," Lopmon grunted as she staggered to her feet in spite of her wounds.  "I'll keep him busy... while you get away..."

      "No!  I won't leave you!" Shuichon sobbed as she grabbed Lopmon in a tight hug, accidentally aggravating the poor Rookie's wounds.

      "Yes, don't leave.  Die together," Tsuyosa growled as the puppet sparked again, eyes glowing.

      "Shuichon!" Lopmon grimaced.  "He'll hurt you!  Run!"

      "No!  DON'T HURT LOPMON!!!" Shuichon screamed as she looked at Tsuyosa and the puppet through tear-filled eyes.

      It was in that instant that Shuichon's D-Arc started to glow with a brilliant pink light.  The light engulfed both Tamer and digimon as it shone blindingly.

      Tsuyosa's eyes widened slightly in surprise as the puppet flailed.

      "Oooh, what, what, what?" the puppet squeaked.  "Rawr?"

      "... Evolution?" Tsuyosa furrowed his eyebrows.

      ChibiBa paused and then whirled to stare, horrified, at the sight before him.

      Instead of Shuichon and Lopmon, a large angelic-like rabbit digimon with a large frill around its neck hovered in its place.  Bright white and pastel pink, it held its massive paws out as if in a welcoming gesture.

      "... Cherubimon," Tsuyosa blinked slowly, immediately recognizing the Mega from his cards.  "... Lopmon's Mega..."

      "Rrrrrrrr," the puppet growled.

      "You can't attack Tsu!" ChibiBa yowled, instantly fearing the worst.

      "... I will save you, Tsuyosa...," Cherubimon whispered softly as she lifted her head, then blinked and squealed like a little girl.  "WITH MY POWERS OF LOVE!"

      "... Eh?" Tsuyosa blinked slowly.  The puppet blinked as well, then giggled insanely.

      "Silly! I'm not afraid of you!" the puppet sneered.

      "I can not forgive what you have done to Tsuyosa, Jenrya, and Terriermon...," Cherubimon said softly.  "In the name of love I WILL PUNISH YOU!"  She then stretched out her arms to her sides.  "HOLY HUG!"  Instantly she lunged at Tsuyosa with glowing hands and captured him in a bear hug.

      "Meep?" the puppet 'blinked'.

      Tsuyosa yelped in surprise as the giant Mega engulfed him in a hug.  He squirmed, trying to get free, as the puppet yapped irritably.

      "TSU!" ChibiBa squeaked.  "What are you DOING to him!?"

      "Freeing his mind," Cherubimon said as she held Tsuyosa in a firm, inescapable hug.  She glowed with a brilliant pink light, which in turn surrounded the Tamer because of her hug.

      Tsuyosa gasped sharply as his eyes widened, the puppet starting to yowl angrily as it smacked at Cherubimon with its paws.

      "Don't hurt him!" ChibiBa jumped about, torn between protecting Tsuyosa and letting Cherubimon get rid of the puppet.

      "I'm not," Cherubimon assured calmly, then burst out in an ear-to-ear grin.  "I'M SAVING HIM WITH MY LOVE!"

      "..." ChibiBa blinked.

      "Eee-!" Tsuyosa squirmed, then gasped when the puppet snapped about to glare poisonously in to Cherubimon's face.

      "RAWR!" it roared, then suddenly whirled and chomped down on Cherubimon's shoulder.  The puppet started to glow brilliantly as it dug its teeth in to the Mega's skin, letting out a deranged hiss.

      Cherubimon screamed as the puppet continued to glow, her own light dimming drastically before it disappeared entirely.  The puppet let go of Cherubimon as the Mega released her hold on Tsuyosa, falling backwards with a weak groan.

      "Eeee!" ChibiBa stared as the puppet licked its jaws as it watched Cherubimon de-evolve back in to Shuichon and Lopmon. The two looked highly roughed up and unconscious, as if the puppet had sucked their energy out and absorbed it.

      "... Looks like love really isn't that strong, after all," Tsuyosa muttered, then blinked as the puppet whirled to face ChibiBa, Jenrya, and Terriermon.

      "Yip!  Yap!  RAWR!" it cried, then snapped its jaws as its eyes glowed brilliantly.  ChibiBa let out a gasp as he started to hover in the air, along with Jenrya and Terriermon.

      "... ChibiBa, don't worry," Tsuyosa smiled at his partner, who stared at him in alarm.  "Everything will be okay."

      "...  ... Tsu..." ChibiBa whimpered.

      The puppet giggled evilly as it covered its mouth with its paws.

      "Rawr! Now the fun really begins!"