I'm really sorry this took so long to come out. I had issues come up in the past few weeks that I'd prefer not to delve into here, but that's all taken care of…for the most part. I was half-right though. This one is a lot longer than usual. Here you go! I still don't own Digimon.

If Only They Could: Chapter 15

Violet eyes stared up in awe at the large village. Tall buildings with the appearance of large stacked toys made up the bulk of what they could see, and trees bearing toys scattered around as well. The group walked through to the center of the town, and the Digidestined were surprised by how little there was to experience.

"Where is everybody?" Patamon wondered.

"It's a ghost town…" Henry thought aloud.

Not a single cradle sat in the field where thousands once stood. Not a noise, be it the cry of a baby or the laugh of a child was heard throughout the village.

The group split up, searching for anything to indicate where everyone had gone.

"Elecmon?" TK called out. "Where are you?"

A very familiar feeling of doubt settled into Rika's thoughts. She continued following her D-Arc, but after seeing the same buildings around her a third time in a few minutes, she put it away.

"Takato…" she said to herself nervously, "where are you?"

"Hey, guys!" Izzy shouted to the Tamers. "We've found something!"

Rika and Henry rushed to the building, seeing the Digidestined huddled in a circle. Rika pushed through to the center, noticing a small round object sitting pristinely on the cushiony floor.

"It's a Digi-Egg!" Izzy noted to the new arrivals.

Rika and Henry looked down to the object in question. It was roughly the size of a football, and deep crimson in color. Small black streaks adorned the outer shell. A D-Arc lay next to the Digi-Egg. The D-Arc had a golden ring around the display, with markings adorning it. Rika's heart jumped at the sight of it.

"That's Takato's D-Arc!" Rika said excitedly. "So is that…Takato?"

Izzy gave it some thought, before coming to a different conclusion. "Well, when Gennai brought us back to the time of our Digimon's creation and showed them to us, all of the Digi-Eggs had our accompanying Digivices and Tags with them, right?"

The Digidestined nodded in reply.

"Perhaps this Digivice has been repurposed," Tentomon finished Izzy's thought.

Rika's eyes lowered slightly, barely noticeable to the others.

"I guess we'll find out when it hatches," Henry said, before pulling out his communicator to inform Yamaki of the find.

Rika knelt down and picked up the D-Arc. On a hunch, she pointed it at Guilmon, whose ears rose in curiosity. Instantly, the D-Arc's display glowed, showing an image of the red dinosaur, along with various other information.

"It says it's still Takato and Guilmon's." Rika remarked, before pocketing the device. She then turned and lifted up the egg. Nearly instantly, she felt a familiar warm feeling rush over her. Almost as if all her troubles mystically vanished in the blink of an eye. Soon the feeling washed away, and she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what rested within the Digi-Egg.

"Wait…Are you?"

Takato felt something very close to him, but still far away. Something originally identified as Jeri was suddenly something different, but still the same. The pieces weren't fitting as well as Takato initially saw. Cracks formed along the edges of previously repaired fragments.

"Ryo, Jeri, Henry and I rescued Jeri from the D-Reaper. Jeri taught Jeri how to be a powerful Tamer. Jeri tried comforting Jeri after Jeri lost her partner Leomon. No… What is going on? This is all wrong!"

Something was not Jeri. The pieces didn't fit, no matter how much Takato wanted them to. Something was so close. Takato tried desperately to see what something was, but it was just out of reach. "Please…Let me see! Who are you?"

"Guys, get over here!"

The group turned to Patamon, who flapped his wings to keep airborne so that everyone could see him. "I've found someone!"

Everyone followed Patamon, who had turned a corner and led the team into one of the nondescript buildings near the edge of town. In the back corner of the brightly colored room was a small red Digimon, lying battered and bruised on the floor.

"Elecmon!" TK exclaimed, before rushing over to where he and Patamon sat.

"…ngh…" Elecmon struggled to lift his head. His eyes rested on the familiar face. "…Well, if it isn't the pipsqueak…" he said weakly.

TK smirked. "What happened?" he turned serious again.

"We…were attacked," Elecmon strained to say. "It destroyed all of the Digi-Eggs, all…of the babies. I tried to stop it, but it was so fast, so powerful."

"Are you okay?" TK asked worriedly.

"I'm just a little roughed up, I'm fine." Elecmon said, trying to stand up. "Give me a few minutes and I'll be right as rain, you'll see."

Elecmon proved himself right after all. It didn't take more than a half an hour to get him back on his feet. After eating some of Joe's emergency food (inciting Guilmon's envy), he felt much better. Rika decided to see if Elecmon knew anything about Takato, or the egg.

"I don't know what to tell you," Elecmon said. "All the eggs just show up, and that one was no exception. That device appeared along with it, but stranger things have appeared around here, so I thought nothing of it, but then…"

"Then?" Rika prodded.

"It didn't hatch. It showed up a few weeks ago, and look at it! Digi-Eggs usually take a few hours to hatch, never more than a day, but this one still hasn't. You can usually hear the Digimon too, if you listen, but this one remains silent!"

Rika picked up the Digi-Egg, and held it close to her ear. Nothing.

"I didn't know what to do with it, so I threw it into one of the empty buildings. When that monster attacked, I guess it didn't find it."

"This has never happened before? You must have had something like this." Henry added.

"Well, I've had a few eggs that wouldn't hatch before, but not very many. It's very rare."

"So what do you do? How do you hatch them?"

Elecmon paused before continuing. "I don't. They never hatch. Eventually, they disappear, and their data gets recycled."

"Recycled?" Rika inquired.

"Yeah. It's our way of life. We're beings of data, designed to serve a purpose, in our case, form Digimon. When data can no longer fulfill its purpose, it itself is repurposed." Elecmon clarified.

"That makes sense," Henry noted.

"Anyway, what about the Digimon that attacked? What was it?" Izzy questioned the red Digimon.

"I don't know. I've never seen a Digimon like it. It had a skull for a head, and an enormous sickle on its arm. It destroyed every last egg."

"Sound familiar Tentomon?" Izzy asked his partner.

"I don't know for sure, but it could be a few different Digimon, and I wouldn't want to go toe-to-toe with any of them." Tentomon said nervously.

"How uplifting." Matt said sarcastically.

"Who exactly were you thinking of?" Henry asked the beetle Digimon.

"Well, I may be wrong, although I've never been wrong in the past, but it could be another SkullSatamon, possibly the one we encountered yesterday. It could also be a MetalPhantomon. But, unfortunately, it's most likely-"

"Bone Duster!" A massive ball of fire exploded behind the group, blasting a hole in the wall of a nearby building.

Everyone looked to the source of the fireball, and saw a Digimon that vaguely matched the description given by Elecmon. It was a tall, cyborg Digimon of mostly beige color, with two-clawed feet and a massive scythe on its right arm. The gaping holes in its skull's eye sockets saw straight through its enemies, showing it all their weaknesses. Rika pulled out her D-Arc and analyzed the monster.

"Uh-oh. Reapermon, Cyborg type, Mega level. Attacks are Grim Slasher, Bone Duster, and Burning Cyclone!"

"I've never heard of a Reapermon," Renamon remarked. "It doesn't look too powerful."

"That doesn't matter," Tai said. "Agumon, let's take him down!"

"You too, Gabumon!" Matt said.

Agumon, warp Digivolve to…WarGreymon!

Gabumon, warp Digivolve to…MetalGarurumon!

The two Digimon quickly Digivolved through their levels, reaching the Mega level in seconds. WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon now stood where Agumon and Gabumon were moments ago. Terriermon and Guilmon looked up in awe.

"Metal Wolf Claw!" MetalGarurumon unleashed a beam of extremely cold air at Reapermon, but he dodged out of the way quickly.

Reapermon laughed, with a gruff, ghostly voice. "You're no match for me! Bone Duster!"

MetalGarurumon leapt out of the way, barely avoiding the fireball as it exploded harmlessly where he was before. WarGreymon attacked while he was distracted.

"Great Tornado!" WarGreymon spun up quickly, spinning at Mach speeds toward Reapermon. Reapermon dodged again, slashing at WarGreymon with his scythe.

"Grim Slasher!" WarGreymon was unable to dodge the onslaught of slices, before Reapermon charged forward, bringing WarGreymon with him. Reapermon quickly generated a ball of fire beneath WarGreymon, giving him no opportunity to avoid it.

"Bone Duster!" WarGreymon was helpless as the fireball exploded beneath him, sending him hurtling into the dirt twenty metres away. MetalGarurumon launched another Metal Wolf Claw attack while Reapermon's back was turned. The attack impacted Reapermon square in the back, but he shrugged it off as nothing. Turning around, Reapermon prepared another flame.

"Bone Duster!" MetalGarurumon was equally unable to avoid the attack, as it exploded, sending him an even greater distance. The dust cleared, and WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon were struggling to get up. Reapermon walked slowly toward the two, cackling maniacally along the way. As he approached them, he lifted his scythe above his head, preparing to strike them down.

"Horn Buster!" A powerful electric shock from the freshly Digivolved MegaKabuterimon temporarily distracted Reapermon, allowing WarGreymon to uppercut him with his claw.

"This isn't going well," Rika remarked nervously. "Let's go help them, Renamon!"

"Wait for us!" Terriermon shouted excitedly.


Renamon, Biomerge to…Sakuyamon!

Terriermon, Biomerge to…MegaGargomon!

Cyberdramon, Biomerge to…Justimon!

Sakuyamon, MegaGargomon and Justimon joined the fray, but Reapermon was still just too fast. Either he would dodge their attacks entirely, vaporise them with his scythe, or redirect them into each other. Four Mega level Digimon and one Ultimate just weren't enough.

"We'd better help them!" Sora said. The remaining Digidestined pulled out their Digivices, and held them above their heads.

Biyomon, Digivolve to…Birdramon!

Birdramon, Digivolve to…Garudamon!

Palmon, Digivolve to…Togemon!

Togemon, Digivolve to…Lilymon!

Gomamon, Digivolve to…Ikkakumon!

Ikkakumon, Digivolve to…Zudomon!

Wormmon, Digivolve to…Stingmon!

Veemon, Digivolve to…ExVeemon!

Stingmon! ExVeemon! DNA-Digivolve to…Paildramon!

Paildramon, Digivolve to…Imperialdramon!

Hawkmon, Digivolve to…Aquilamon!

Gatomon! Hawkmon! DNA-Digivolve to…Silphymon!

Armadillomon, Digivolve to…Ankylomon!

Patamon, Digivolve to…Angemon!

Angemon! Ankylomon! DNA-Digivolve to…Shakkoumon!

Reapermon laughed again. "You'll never be a match for me!"

Reapermon lunged forward with blistering speed, slashing Lilymon with his scythe before she could even react. Lilymon screamed in pain as she flew backward, Dedigivolving back to Palmon as she fell. Mimi rushed over to her, deeply worried about her partner. Without warning, Reapermon turned on a heel, rushing toward MegaKabuterimon. Not even his rock-hard shell could withstand Reapermon's power, and he met the same fate as Lilymon. Garudamon was next, landing a few punches, but otherwise unable to defend herself from Reapermon's attacks. Zudomon threw his hammer, smacking Reapermon in the back of the head, but the effort was wasted, as Reapermon struck him down next.

"He's too fast!" Silphymon exclaimed, barely avoiding a blast of fire himself.

The eight remaining Digimon continued attacking Reapermon, but nothing seemed to work.

"Are we even hurting this guy?" Justimon wondered aloud.

"Let's give him everything we've got!" WarGreymon shouted.

Everyone launched their most powerful attacks all at once, giving Reapermon no time to escape. Every attack hit head-on, kicking an enormous cloud of dust into the air. As it settled, Reapermon remained standing, but the attacks had clearly taken their toll. Reapermon's armor appeared dented, and his soulless eyes glowed ever so dimmer. He knelt down in pain, groaning heavily.

"Did that do it?" MegaGargomon asked cautiously.

Reapermon chuckled to himself softly as he knelt on the ground. Slowly, his grave voice got louder. Soon, he was laughing very loudly, keeping everyone on edge.

"Uhh, what's going on?" Silphymon asked nervously.

"HAHAHAHAAA! You'll never defeat me!" Reapermon cackled. Slowly, he rose to both feet again, before bringing his arms and legs closer to his chest, lifting off the ground a few metres. Reapermon began spinning, slowly at first, but quickly, and alarmingly, picking up great speed. Wind soon started kicking up around him, forming a small tornado.

"Uh-oh." MegaGargomon said.


Hypnos and the Monster Makers were having all kinds of trouble finding the children back in the real world. From power outages, to server meltdowns, to ultimately disabling most of Hypnos' Network Interface just to route enough resources to the locator. Riley and Tally were in charge of maintaining the remaining real world functions, to ensure no wild ones interfered with their progress. Shibumi and Yamaki were overseeing the other Monster Makers as they worked on the Ark. Janyu watched over from his office, ensuring everyone stayed on task, for the most part. Ultimately his job currently boiled down to sitting there, making sure nobody got too chatty. The free time was doing numbers on his sanity. Normally, Janyu put up with these anxieties by burying himself in work, giving himself no time to worry about the danger his son and daughter go through, but this time his mind was given too much time to analyze the situation: Everything that could theoretically go wrong, all the ways he could lose his children forever, which were the most likely, which were the most devastating; it was maddening. Janyuu resorted to trying to keep himself busier by trying to locate the Seventh Plane. Dolphin was supposed to cover it, but he gave it up, being far too familiar with the strain Janyu could put on himself if he was given time to think. Janyuu tapped away furiously, slowly taking his mind off such matters as he searched through the Digital "Void" to find this plane. A window popped up in the corner of his screen, and Janyuu realised as he read it that he would never be able to take his mind off of it until his kids were home safe.

"Yamaki! We've got a message from Henry!" Janyu approached Yamaki as he sipped coffee at his desk. Mitsuo Yamaki turned sharply, quickly placing the mug on the desk.

"What did he say? Do they have Takato?" He asked hastily.

"Come see for yourself."

"You're not sure? What do you mean you're not sure?" Yamaki talked to himself as he read through Henry's message:

We're at the Primary Village. We may have found Takato, but we're not sure.

Yamaki quickly typed a response:

What do you mean? Is he alive?

A few minutes later, they received a reply:

We don't know. We found his D-Arc next to a Digi-Egg. Could that be him?

Janyu called Shibumi into the room to answer.

Shibumi stood staring at the screen with a puzzled look on his face, before typing back:

Possibly. His data may be reacting like a Digimon's would. After all, you did find his Digivice there too.

Messages continued back and forth, further detailing the circumstances. Shibumi concluded with a final question:

Do you want us to send the Ark down to pick you up?

No reply.

"Maybe they're going through a tunnel," Shibumi said half-jokingly. "Let me know if they reply again." He added before returning to work.

Janyu slumped back into his chair, fearing the worst. Yamaki noticed, placing a hand on his friend's shoulder.

"They're fine. We'll hear back soon, don't worry."

"I know…"

An intense ringing filled Rika's ears, coupled with blurred vision and general disorientation. Dust surrounded her, and a familiar sense of dread washed over her as her senses returned. Renamon lay next to her, battered and beaten. The others were scattered around as well, wiped out by the power of Reapermon's Burning Cyclone attack. The buildings around them turned to rubble, with the ones that were still standing nearing the same fate. Rika looked to Reapermon, who stood in the centre, laughing maniacally. Fear flooded Rika's mind. Not fear for her own safety, nor her partner's, fear for-

"Takato." Rika thought to herself. "Of course!" Rika looked around, desperately searching for where the Digi-Egg may have landed. She spotted it, not far from where she lay, next to Tai and Matt, who were tending to their fallen Digimon. She tried to muster the strength to move, but found herself unable to do anything. She felt powerless as Reapermon continued to laugh and gloat, paying no attention to anyone. Rika felt a new feeling bubbling up inside her, a much more familiar feeling. Anger. She grabbed hold of the feeling, allowing it to strengthen her as it used to years ago. She remembered like it was only yesterday, using her anger to keep going in the face of adversity. She needed it now, and it came to her. Slowly, she crawled along the ground, making sure not to alert the frighteningly powerful Digimon to her right. She reached the Digi-Egg, grabbing it with both hands and pulling it close to her. Slowly, she reached for her locket. Her fingers shook as she unclasped the locket, freeing the data inside. The data immediately started shining a bright crimson, before slowly approaching the egg. The egg glowed a similar color, before the data merged with the egg, making it gleam much brighter than before. Rika felt the egg become quite warm in her arms as something inside the egg awakened.


That was it. The something was Rika! Takato slowly remembered, and the memories filled in the gaps seamlessly.

"Ryo, Rika, Henry and I rescued Jeri from the D-Reaper! Rika taught Jeri how to be a powerful Tamer! Rika tried comforting Jeri after Jeri lost her partner Leomon! I remember now!" All of the missing pieces had fallen into place. Takato saw clearly now. Nothing was disappearing quickly, until nothing was left of nothing. Something joined with everything again, making Takato whole again. Nothing was something of the past, and something was everything now. Takato felt himself return from nothing. He felt everything returning to him, like returning home after a long trip to a faraway place. Takato was again, but something felt different. There was no nothing left, but black still surrounded him. In fact, Takato felt rather…cramped.

"Where am I?" Takato strained to see, and slowly he saw more than black. Takato felt strange, seeing something after all this time had passed. Takato saw Rika, much closer to him than he would ever expect Rika to be.

"That's weird," Takato thought. "Why is she so big? Rika? What's going on?" Takato tried calling out to Rika, but she didn't seem to hear him.

"What is this place? What's going on out there?" Takato directed his attention to the large skeletal monster standing far behind where Rika sat. As Takato became more reacquainted with his thought processes, he realized something was definitely wrong. He saw vaguely familiar bodies strewn about around this Grim Reaper-like thing, as well as Digimon.

"Ryo…Henry…Rika…They need my help!" Takato felt strange. He felt as if wherever he was was reacting in the same way he was. He felt angry, and he felt anger around him.

"I need to help my friends!"

Guilmon felt something strange. He felt like he did right before he Digivolved into WarGrowlmon for the first time. He felt Takato!

"Takato! I'm coming!" Guilmon followed the feeling, as it led him to Rika and the Digi-Egg.

"Guilmon, what are you doing?" Rika asked the Dinosaur.

"I hear Takato! He wants to fight!" Guilmon said seriously, as his mind switched to 'Battle Mode.'

"More opponents?" a ghostly voice echoed directly behind Rika and Guilmon.

A sharp chill went up Rika's spine as she dared turn around to face Reapermon, who now stood less than two metres away from her. Guilmon's eyes narrowed and a low-pitched growl emerged from his throat. Rika's eyes gazed up to where Reapermon's would be, but Rika only saw black holes, devoid of anything. Rika looked around to all her friends, taken down by this monster. Rika was overcome with fear again, unable to move. Reapermon slowly raised his scythe, preparing to strike her down. Rika found herself unable to do anything but watch, waiting for the inevitable. Guilmon's eyes looked down to her, confused why she wasn't moving. He looked to Renamon, still out cold. Guilmon looked down to the egg still in Rika's arms. Guilmon felt Takato, and he knew what he had to do. Slowly, Guilmon reached over to the egg, and just as he came in contact with it with one of his claws, Reapermon attacked. Rika shut her eyes, hoping to wake up from her nightmare. A bright light engulfed the area, piercing Rika's mind.

"Come on, Rika! You aren't giving up already, are you?"

Rika opened her eyes in time to see Reapermon's attack coming down at her, but another form was appearing between her and Reapermon. The Digi-Egg no longer sat in her arms, and Guilmon was nowhere to be found, both of their data's joining together.


Rika felt herself pushed backward as a familiar entity materialised in front of her.

"Guilmon, Biomerge to…Gallantmon!"

Gallantmon's lance parried Reapermon's scythe, knocking him off balance. Gallantmon then spun on his heel, slamming Reapermon with his shield, sending him back a considerable distance. The Digidestined looked on in awe, as the shining knight Digimon gleamed in the light. Reapermon rose to his feet, challenging Gallantmon. Gallantmon accepted.

"Lightning Joust!" Gallantmon aimed his lance at Reapermon, firing a blast of lightning at Reapermon. Reapermon shrugged off the hit with only the lightest of flinches, before delivering his own attack. Lunging forward with incredible speed, Reapermon caught Gallantmon with his scythe.

"Grim Slasher!" Gallantmon cried out as he was sliced many times with Reapermon's scythe, before being knocked back with a long lunge. Reapermon then attacked immediately with a large ball of fire, giving Gallantmon no opportunity to defend himself. The Bone Duster attack exploded beneath Gallantmon, launching him into a pile of rubble. Gallantmon steadied himself, before striking back.

"Lightning Joust!" Gallantmon launched another attack, with the same result as the first. This time, however, he readied his lance for Reapermon's counterattack.

"Grim Slasher!" Reapermon charged, but Gallantmon deflected his scythe and struck back. Reapermon and Gallantmon locked weapons, butting against each other. Reapermon let up slightly, giving Gallantmon the opening he needed. He slammed Reapermon with his entire body, knocking him back. Then, he forced him back further with another Lightning Joust attack, stunning him momentarily. Gallantmon took the opening to ready his shield.

"Shield of the Just!" A massive beam of scarlet energy was released from the centre of Gallantmon's shield, piercing straight through Reapermon. Reapermon let out a loud cry in agony.

"You're finished!" Gallantmon shouted.

"Who is that?" Tai wondered from the sidelines.

"I don't know," Matt answered, "but I'm glad he's on our side."

Gallantmon panted heavily, exhausted from the battle. He turned back to the children standing across the rubble.

"Who are they? Hmm…" Gallantmon thought.

Gallantmon glanced over to Renamon, who had since woken up. Renamon was more or less shocked at the arrival of Gallantmon, and greatly relieved for Rika. Renamon looked around, and saw a figure standing behind Gallantmon.

"Grim Slasher!"

Gallantmon was knocked to the ground from behind, taken by surprise by Reapermon's attack. Gallantmon quickly righted himself, standing in front of Reapermon.

"You're in my way. Stand aside!" Reapermon boomed.

"I won't let you harm them!" Gallantmon raised his lance. "Lightning-"

"Grim Slasher!" Reapermon lunged forward before Gallantmon could attack. Reapermon continued attacking, unleashing an endless onslaught, giving Gallantmon no chance to defend or counter. Gallantmon continued trying, but Reapermon was just too fast for him. Gallantmon panted heavily, forced down onto one knee in pain. Reapermon continued laughing as he attacked, extinguishing the children's last hopes of victory.

"What can we do?" Mimi cried. "He's too strong!"

Gallantmon shut his eyes, admitting the same thing to himself.

"I've let everyone down…" Gallantmon murmured.

"Give up, and I may spare some of you," Reapermon taunted. "There's no use fighting! Give up now, or die!"

Something inside Gallantmon ignited. A final flame lit up, sending a new burst of energy through him. A bright light lit Gallantmon up, lifting him into the air. Reapermon shielded his eyes from the light, groaning in agony. Gallantmon felt power coursing through him.

"Gallantmon, Mode Change to…Crimson Mode!"

"What is this? So…Bright!" Reapermon shouted in pain.

"I feel…strong again!" WarGreymon felt a sudden surge of power flow through him.

"Me too," MetalGarurumon added. "I've never felt this kind of power before!"

"Let's go get him!" The two said in unison, as their bodies started glowing brightly.

"WarGreymon! MetalGarurumon! DNA-Digivolve to…Omnimon!"

"I feel it too! Let's help them!" Imperialdramon felt Gallantmon Crimson Mode's energy flow through him as well.

"Imperialdramon, Mode Change to…Fighter Mode!"

"Don't count us out yet either!" MegaGargomon joined in too with his batteries recharged.

Reapermon now found himself staring down four extremely powerful Digimon.

"Finally, a worthy adversary!" Reapermon directed his comment to Gallantmon, blatantly ignoring the other three. "But a wasted effort. I shall still rise victorious! Bone Duster!"

Gallantmon effortlessly swiped the ball of fire away, making Reapermon more than a bit nervous.

"Impossible!" Reapermon stepped back, surprised. "I am the most powerful! Me alone! BURNING CYCLONE!"

Everyone braced themselves for a second whirlwind of destruction, but found that it never came. Instead, Gallantmon used the time Reapermon took spinning up to launch an attack.

"Crimson Light!"

Reapermon was unable to avoid the attack, being trapped in the middle of his own vortex. The blast sent him skyward in a daze.

"And…pull!" MegaGargomon shouted, raising his arms to aim at Reapermon. "Mega Barrage!"

Each and every missile impacted Reapermon with devastating force, keeping him in the air, even sending him higher. Omnimon lifted both arms, aiming the WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon heads directly at the falling Digimon. "Double Torrent!"

The fire and ice blasts exploded in unison as Imperialdramon linked the Positron Laser into his draconic chestplate, and unleashed an enormous beam of destructive energy. "Giga Crusher!"

The beam enveloped Reapermon in a bright light, forcing everyone on the ground to avert their eyes. The beam dissipated, and Reapermon, fighting for strength to continue, plummeted to the ground.

With a loud thud, Reapermon laid face-down in the dirt, struggling to move. Finally, he summoned enough strength to stand, but his balance swayed, forcing him on his knees.

"We will not let you hurt our friends!" The four said in unison, before preparing their attacks. "This battle has gone on long enough!"

"So this is what true fear is like," Reapermon thought to himself. "It seems every warrior must fall, and I am no exception..."

"Supreme Cannon!" "Gargo Missile!" "Positron Laser!" "Royal Saber!" Each of the four launched their attacks directly at Reapermon, who knelt in the center of them. Reapermon lowered his head in defeat. The four attacks connected simultaneously, causing a massive explosion, rocking the ground beneath the Digidestined's feet.

As the smoke cleared, eight figures lay unconscious around a massive crater, and Reapermon was gone for good. Terriermon and Henry were the first to awaken, too exhausted to move.

"Okay," Terriermon spoke loudly, but weakly as he rose to his feet. "I don't care how much you ask, or how much you offer me in return. I will never, ever, do that ever again."

"Agreed." Henry replied, equally worn-out.

Tai, Matt, Davis, and Ken ran over to their Digimon, finding them to be in about the same state as Henry and Terriermon. Renamon had since made her way over to Rika, who clearly wasn't as calm and collected as she appeared from a distance. She was frozen in place, unsure of exactly what to do, if anything. They had beaten Reapermon, but she didn't feel any more at ease with herself as Renamon tried to get through to her.

"Rika? Rika, are you hurt?" Renamon didn't really know what to do. Physically she was fine, but inside she was locked up. And mental health wasn't exactly Renamon's forte. Henry came over too, wondering exactly what was up with Rika too. And then he remembered exactly what had happened in the last half-hour, and decided to see what had ensnared Rika's gaze.

Henry turned around and looked Takato straight in the eye.


Whew, this one was a doozy. I solemnly promise to make a determined effort to ensure the next (and final) chapter won't take nearly this long. Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee this, as problems I previously thought dealt with seem to be coming back to fuck with my head again. Until next time, thank you all for reading, reviewing, and all-around being very tolerant and understanding of me. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to PM me, or meet me in person if you somehow know who I am. Only one chapter to go!