A/N: Second chapter, whoo!

Now it will resemble the story a bit more, as we begin down the road... to becoming the Digital King!

xxx

Digimon Adventure 03

Chapter One: East Lands

Episode 2: The Journey Begins, Meet Deckhand Nick!

Xxx

Digital World: East Lands

Kaishi Village

The Galley Outlaws were bandits on a ship, plain and simple both in appearance and intelligence. They happily flew a black flag that often would symbolize Outlaws in the changed timeline, but Tai related it to Piracy, which would likely be an alien concept in this world.

The black flag flown had a skull imprinted was from a side view point, and had a crescent moon branded on the skull's temple, and a pair of comical crossbones behind it in an 'X' formation. Tai scoffed at this as looked it down from the shore, the hulking beast looming ever closer until it ceased course and a thunderous roar sounded from the deck, possibly a war cry of some type.

Tai? Tai, are you sure you should be challenging a crowd of people and Digimon alone without working out your ability? You do know it might be something less helpful than fire, right?

Agumon, calm it down. I... can just feel it, okay? I just... can't feel fear anymore... maybe it's a side affect of the Crest of Courage we unified?

RAAAHHHH!

Tai's inner debate with Agumon was disturbed by the sudden swell of humans and Digimon at the front of the ship, nearly spilling onto the prow of it, before they began jumping down. The humans wore dirty button shirts, tattered shorts and sashes while the Digimon were all merely small ball like creatures called Ninjamon, all Champion level.

After they had all leapt off and landed on the port with a creaking of the wooden jostles that braced it, they all stared across to Tai, behind him two houses and a store on fire with every member of the village running in the opposite direction.

"What's with the kid?" one of them asked, "Why isn't he running away, Captain Galley?"

Captain Galley was a very short and spry human in his 30's, a vest topped by a purple frilled coat and a pair of crème pants dressing him as well as a small pirate style hat with his flag emblem on it, "Not sure, lads. Maybe he thinks he's a hero or something... but here in the East Lands, he is nothing compared to us Outlaws!"

East Lands...?

"Kill him, men!" Galley bellowed, unsheathing a small knife while the other humans drew flintlock pistols, the Ninjamon swiftly drawing their blades. Tai did not flinch for some reason, possibly his Crest showing its true colours.

The group of at least 30 men and Digimon charged at Tai full on, the one closest to him during the stampede taking aim with his flintlock pistol at the boy's heart.

BOOM!

A small smoke cloud arose from the muzzle of the weapon as the lead ball bullet sped toward Tai, whose eyes widened in focus. He couldn't explain it for some reason but... he could almost make out that black ball travelling through the air, all in a split second. He adjusted his body archly and turned to his side, intaking his inflated lungs and releasing his breath on instinct.

Had he just dodged a bullet? Quite literally, not in the metaphorical sense.

The stampede ceased not ten feet from him and stared. One of them spluttered, "C-Captain... what just happened...?"

"Isn't it obvious? He dodged the bullet, like most skilled Outlaws from the Liberty Belt are said to be able of doing... something people from the 'Outlaws Graveyard' are said to be capable of..." although he looked intrigued, the short Galley had a sweat bead run down his forehead.

Agumon... why could I see a bullet...? Why was I fast enough to sidestep it?

Because I used to be able to. Since we fused, you inherited my vitality, my strength and my speed as a bonus. It puts you at a natural advantage against weak enemies...

BOOM!

Another shot resounded before Tai could regain his composure, and he felt the painful strike at his stomach. Galley had a pistol drawn, and smoke was billowing out of it while his crew snickered and prepared to barge past Tai.

Yet blood never ran out of his body, but the bullet had hit... and his skin began to extend in cooperation with the bullet's force, so much so that his skin shot out of the back of his shirt with the bullet within, ceasing at a long distance, while the Outlaws looked on horrified!

Tai, kneeling down, noticed something strange as the pain he felt a second ago was gone, and he could feel from a long way behind him the wind, blowing against his elastic skin. Reacting on pure impulse, he shot his chest out in a thrust forward, sending the bullet back at Galley and cutting his cheek as it hit his ship's prow.

The Ninjamon all spat at once in horror, "A-a man with powers...? Just like in the tales from the Liberty Belt!"

Galley, although surprised, elaborated orders for his disgruntled crew, "If guns won't work, than cut him you idiots! He's a mere human child against adults and Digimon!"

Tai gave a low, snide laugh, "Not happening... I've just come up with an attack for this little power of mine... Who would have thought Courage would mean rubber powers...? It really must be a gamble for all Crest power users..."

Following up on this, Tai launched his arms into the air and then behind him, extending them to a great length, the Outlaws sensing something and skidding to stop themselves... too late.

Courageous... Bazooka!

He had just named it on the fly, and the effects were amazing. He had launched his arms forward at high speed with his rubber palms striking the ground before the Outlaws and sending them into the air, subsequently crashing around Galley, who looked a little disturbed with contorted features.

"I see..." Galley began after it ceased raining Outlaws, "You have the power of a Crest... a most very strange thing. They are very mythical and shrouded in mystery; hell, I doubted the existence of them, but here you are... what was your Crest?"

"Courage." He replied instantly, assuming a battle stance.

"Many Crest users are said to harbour and infest the Liberty Belt... the process involves devouring or absorbing a Digital entity, so what exactly is the real monster before the 'Justice' the Army brags about? Me... or you?"

Tai just stared into space, a dullard look on him, "Who really cares? I know one thing for damn sure; I will become the Digital King, and if I have to take out Outlaws like you and oppose this 'Army', then so be it. I refuse to die to you or anyone." And to finish his speech up, he cocked back his arm, "now then, let the journey begin."

Courageous Pistol!

It was fast; faster than Galley's reflexes, as a fist careened with blinding force from the elasticity of Tai's arm, drawing blood from the captain's nose and sending him with a thunderous crash into the prow. When he sat back up, he barked, "KILL THAT KID, NOW!"

The roars and outrageous cries of valour from the Outlaws and Digimon were irritating, and as Tai fluidly moved aside from no less than 5 slash attempts with Agumon's second opinion and sight within his mind, making it child's play, even after just learning of his rubber powers granted by the Crest of Courage.

Tai could only sigh as he got a feeling of déjà vu, the Outlaws charging him blindly. He scoffed now at the Harmonious Ones in his memory. Were these kinds of people and weak Digimon who coudn't harm a boy with unique powers really going to make it difficult to become Digital King?

Looking back on it now, he would have cursed his short-sightedness and relaxed demeanour.

Anyway, Tai promptly began punching the Ninjamon aside, dazing them on account of Agumon's incredible power contribution. As the Outlaws trailed behind in the charge, he provided them with punches empowered by a certain dinosaur as well.

"Captain G-Galley! This kid cannot be a human like us! He's as much a monster as a Seadramon!"

Galley gave a snicker, placing his index finger along his jaw as he did it, "Of course you fool... he's a Crest power user; he's got as much power as a Digimon now... he is a monster! If we had gone to the Liberty Belt, he would be considered 'normal'; it truly is a devils sea..." Galley stopped snickering as he heard a hysterical yelp beside him, looking up into his fearful face with terror, "Nick, you're cowering out again!"

Nick was a small boy of Tai's age range, with a pink bowl cut, a small, snout like nose and large black rimmed glasses that resembled the full moon. He wore a tattered white shirt and a pair of black pants. He didn't exactly fit the Outlaw profile.

"B-but Captain Galley," he said without feeling, "you're the most merciful, brilliant and powerful Outlaw on the high seas! Why don't you fight him?"

"What did you say? Did you just speak back!" Galley drew his small knife from the pouch that dangled beside his waistcoat, "I've had enough, Chore Boy! Get ready to die-!"

Before he could make good on his threat, he found himself soaring back into the now dented prow of his ship from repeated collisions as he was again stricken by the elastic punch of Tai, who snapped his arm back and ran over to Nick, who sobbed pathetically.

Once Tai reached him, he wasn't exactly sure of his course of action. Nick just trembled and stared out to the sea empathetically. Crouching down, Tai assured, "It's not that bad that you need to whimper like this, kid. You don't exactly look like the Outlaw type, so why are you with these... LOSERS!" he turned back and yelled at the defeated group with a hearty cackle as they all chided, but daren't move.

Nick didn't look up, "I'm not supposed to be here..." he replied meekly, "For two years, I've worked like a save with hardly any food beside table scraps, and being their punch bag," he sniffed, wiping his eye, "all I ever wanted was to become a Soldier in the Bagdra Army... just so that I could lock up these criminals and make people happier... bad thing always happen to losers like me..."

Tai didn't understand the Soldier part, but it was good enough for him. The very nature that Sora and Mimi had praised in the past was coming into play. He stood up mechanically, turned to the Outlaws and shot the filthiest look of anger ever seen.

He raised his pointing finger and dictated, "Give... Nick, was it? His freedom, or else I will show you a few more attacks I just thought up; and believe me... they will hurt."

They all feared and felt beads around their faces, nodding with foolish grins. Galley was gathering himself over by the prow, blood trickling from his nose as he shot up and assumed an agitated stance.

"HEY YOU LITTLE BASTARD! YOU THINK YOU'VE BEATEN ME? WELL LET'S GET DOWN TO BUSINESS-!"

Without even readjusting his shoulders, Tai launched a backfist to meet his shoulder, launching his fist right back into Galley's face; the man staggering with his now toothless mouth opened before falling back, unconscious.

"H-HE DEFEATED CAPTAIN GALLEY!"

He pointed at them again, "I said; GIVE . HIM . HIS . FREEDOM."

xxx

After several minutes of rampant Outlaws running in the opposite direction toward the hills with their unconscious captain propped up like a mannequin as they went, Tai and Nick sat at the port, working out the knots that bound the dinghy to the wooden posts as Cobblepot gave them quick tips on managing the knotting for when they made land at the next patch of land.

Yes, while the gang ran to the hills, awaiting the time for when they could peacefully return to their now lacklustre and unsteady ship when the rubber man with strange power and reflexes had left. In that time, Nick had quickly agreed to accompany Tai to the next island, known as Esbern Town, so that he could enlist at the Army outpost located their. It was a win-win situation for the two.

Another few moments later and the small sail was lowered on the dinghy, with a sudden burst of south-eastern wind barraging the thin sail, forcing the dinghy out to sea. Tai stood at the foremost point of the ship, absorbing the digitized sea salt spray and salty air.

Although it was rough on the sinuses, it was somehow inviting and mysterious, like the air from 6 years ago when he fell into the Digital World.

"Tai?" he perked up as his new friend beckoned from behind, "Thanks for saving me... you have no idea how much this means to me; you can drop me off at the port, since you're an Outlaw and all."

Tai opened his mouth to repel the title pinned on him, but realised that it was probably the easiest way to move onward; being amongst the rest of the Outlaw rabble.

So he nodded in agreement, his eyes narrowed, but not angrily.

As Nick investigated the compass he had found in the dinghy and smiled (possibly to show they were on the correct path) a screech from above sounded, the same as a bird yet not at the same time.

Looking up, both Tai and Nick spotted a Digimon, called a Stampmon, flying high. It was a common seagull in type, but had a green cap on his head and a small, clustered bag wrapped around his body. He brushed his flight path and dropped a single newspaper almost precisely into Nick's hands, Tai clapping in response.

The paper was entitled 'EASTERN BLUES', with a large photo portraying the front, but it was crumpled too much by the small boy's reading to make out. Nick peered above the top of the paper, noticing Tai's glance and turning to the front page. His eyes widened on sight.

"T-the great bounty hunter's been caught! G-good riddance, I say! I was always wondering when he would attack me on that prison of an Outlaw ship!" he once more peered over, and Tai was none the wiser to what he was talking about, "Guess what, Tai! The 'Outlaw Hunter' Yamato Ishida has been caught!"

That full name... the way it referenced to a fantastic epithet; it was that Matt, the one who always despised his full name. The one who went out with Sora. The one with a fantastical new life on account of the Rewrite.

Tai switched on without changing his expression, Mission retrieval of Matt, begin, Agumon... what do you want to bet his new life is like?

Probably unique if he hunts these Outlaw people... I doubt he remembers you or the others, Tai. Agumon's consciousness responded.

"Well, let's go get him then..." Tai said aloud.

Nick shot up as quick as a disturbed, slumbering dog. Had he really just said that? An Outlaw, wanting to rescue the 'Outlaw Hunter'... his snicker at his accidental slip of tongue worryingly replied yes. Nick felt froth build up in his throat.

"Tai, you have nothing but my respect, which is amazing seeing I've known you for hardly 30 minutes but still...! Yamato Ishida is a merciless hunter of Outlaws! He's a master swordsman, said to be the strongest in the East Lands!"

So blondie might be useful... a master swordsman, considering he was a deathly average guitarist and sung like a choked hyena. Not to bad, all things considered. Tai joked in his mind.

"Not to mention," Nick continued with a shriek in his voice, "He's said to have a Crest power, but nobody knows what it is or what his Crest was!"

Friendship... and a power that suits him... maybe a reindeer! Then he can sing Christmas Carols to his enemies until they're begging for mercy!

"Umm... Tai...? What's so funny...?"

Tai quickly pursed his lips together, but the laugh was still trapped in his throat, emphasised by his cheesy grin. He couldn't hold it for long and released it in the middle of the sea as the howling wind pushed them toward Matt's location.

xxx

Digital World: East Lands

Esbern Island

Meanwhile, on the sunny, tropical inlet village known as Esbern, a tall shadow loomed overhead; blotting out much of the sunlight as a tall tower bleakly depressed the village. Imprinted in large on the face of the black polka dotted, blue tower was 'BA-16'. In the courtyard were three pillars of wood.

Tied to one like a grounded crucifix was a shadowed figure, wearing black khaki pants, a white shirt and a blackish green bandana over his lengthy blonde locks. It was Matt, his body almost exactly like it was before the Rewrite, except this time covered in blood and bruising...

xxx

Upperlands; Higher Realms

Holy Land Asgardia

The Juerusu sat in their shaded chambers, yet their piercing red eyes almost shining through the dark suggested that they sat in a circle. Their voices were more resembling of arguing dogs than mutual comrades.

Among the rambling voices, the one known as Anubismon spoke loudest, "Yes, yes. This is a vital situation... It has been nearly 2000 years since we Rewrote everything in the Digital Realm, and yet those rambunctious humans have led the world into dismay under the banner of Outlaws..."

Talismon seared, "That is not the problem, fool. According to my sources, this era has seen the rebirth of all of the original Digidestined. This time is the most dangerous of all..."

The one whose eyes towered above the rest erupted into a burst of hysterical laughter, "Have you still not heard from 'your' sources, Anubismon? Talismon? Because according to 'that', the Crest of Courage has emerged in the Digital World once more. Taichi Kamiya has returned somewhere in the Lowerlands..."

"What did you say...? Satamon, repeat that now!" Anubismon spat upward.

"Do not worry, my flimsy minded friend," he said, rousing a growl in the darkness, "I have alerted Yarai of his return cryptically, so it is only a matter of time until he seeks his friends. He cannot find them all without traversing the world as an Outlaw. When he rouses attention, we shall have him." He reassured in a dark, chortling gargle.

xxx

Digital World: East Lands

Open Sea, Headed Due South-East

Tai gave a hefty sneeze, wiping his nose quick, even though something eventful had happened in the last two hours.

He was bored beyond comprehension. The dinghy he had purchased with the gifted money he had received from the Harmonious Ones was just barely making any headway, compared to when they had started. Nick in the meantime was re-reading the article on Matt's capture for the 7th time straight.

But the pink headed boy perked up and tossed the paper aside, as he spotted in the distance the port of Esbern Island, evidenced by 'BA-16' tower branch. Tai let out a sigh; he had always strayed from sailing for just this reason; the wait was irritable.

Setting foot on the wooden panelling of the port, Tai stretched his legs, instantly scanning the surroundings for a possible stow away to keep Matt. Feeling deflated as he thought, Of course... he always picks the most difficult predicaments... even when his past has been changed...

Well, this is the first step to finding the others, Agumon consigned in his mind, Besides, with this Digital Government being your enemy, can you really expect the easy route?

Agumon, when has anything we've done gone done smoothly?

Tai and Nick walked side by side up the bustling street, getting infected by the smiling, warm greetings as they went up the small market stall lined street, bypassing playing children as they darted past.

Placing his hands behind his head, Tai sighed for the umpteenth time, "Hey, Nick... I've been trying to deceive myself, but there's no other place, is there? Mr. Ishida's waiting at the doom engulfed base up there, isn't he?"

He noticed an awe stricken silence around him at Matt's mention, even if it was just his surname, it was impressive. What had he done to make him notorious, exactly?

Nick tried to alter the conversation, "Well... even if you're insane for looking at him as a possible crewmate... he can't move; Captain Gant is said to be stationed here!"

Again a stunned silence, families hurrying along from the two like they carried the plague.

"Is there a problem with this Gant guy, then?"

"I-I don't know... he's a commissioned officer in the Bagdra Army, so he should be renowned... just not like that..."

xxx

Digital World: Esbern Town

Outside the Front Gates of BG-16

The Bagdra Army seemed to know a little thing about imposing architecture. The cylindrical tower that rose up from the ground and was decorated by the black polka dots and white 'BG-16' that twisted around its structure. It seemed like miles away with the large courtyard that slipped of to another iron barred gate into a large, dust ridden field. Tai followed the direction of the second gate and came before a sheer brick wall which, thanks to Agumon's physical prowess, allowed him to jump up in one and firmly grab on, pulling Nick up and letting him dangle beside him.

"H-h-hey!" Tai emphasised ecstatically, "It's really Matt! Look, Nicky, its Matt!"

Nick, still strained from dangling, replied, "What is with the formalities? 'Matt'? Are most cruel men who hunt and injure for money really worth such-... such..." he had spotted him, and fell back onto the ground with a 'thump'.

"Umm... Are you okay down there...?" Tai kindly doted, before turning back to the grounds.

"Green pants... green bandana... and a green belly warmer...! It's actually him! It's Yamato Ishida!" he quivered as Tai pulled him back up, "I-I hope these are the execution grounds, or else we're in trouble!"

Tai gave him an odd look; half scolding, half compliant and agreeing. This look was washed away as Matt spoke up from the small crucifix he was fixated too, "Hey... hey, the jerk with the big hair!" the blonde sounded weak, but proud in his weakness.

Jerk with the big... so, he's still the same as when he knew me... I'm flattered, blondie.

"C-could you please... come over here and untie me...? I've been bound here for 9 days and I cannot stand it anymore..." the former rocker sounded more violent. Almost like he was threatening Tai from afar, "I'll catch you a big bounty head and give you the reward in repayment... I'm a man of my word."

Nick cut into the prompted trade, "N-no! Don't be deceived by the demon's words, Tai! If you free him, he'll kill us all!"

The big haired boy chortled to himself while dangling on the edge of the wall, "Believe me, he wouldn't be able to. I know him better than he knows himself right now... not to mention I'm strong now!"

Matt gave a sudden growl, restless in his bounds as Nick shuddered and rolled his eyes back, HE'S LOST HIS DAMN MIND~~!

GATA!

Between the two of them, a pair of wooden stilts seemed to prop up, on closer inspection revealing itself to be a wooden ladder, with a dainty figure climbing up it.

It was a small little girl, with slicked back hair tied in an amateur ponytail, and dainty features making up her face. She wore a basic, periwinkle dress and plimsolls. She indicated to both the boys beside her to remain quiet as she dropped down gracefully in the yard.

Matt growled and hounded nervously, "What the hell are you doing here?" he spat down to the approaching chirpily.

"I made you some riceballs!" she said kindly, offering the food in flat palms, "You haven't eaten in a while, have you?"

"Get out of here, now!" he said, sounding almost desperate as a clunk of metal sounded from nearby.

Nick took the sense of malice as a warning, "Tai, you've got to save her, or he will kill her!"

Tai smiled, "I know him a little better than you; just watch."

"B-but..." the girl stammered.

"Do not make me kick your ass, little girl! Beat it!"

Too late, as the gates opened and revealed three men approaching. Two were smartly dress military men with braes and a different, almost imposingly annoying dresser, with a smart bowl haircut of blonde and a purple suit.

His mere voice was like nails on a blackboard, "Now, now Ishida, you seem to be forgetting your manners in front of a small child, don't you think?"

"Not you... Balthier the idiot is what I would call you if you could comprehend something that didn't include you're old man's rear..."

"Hey, hey... do not make me report to my father about you!" he thundered, clearly unsettled in many ways as his piercing eyes met the small girl's, who shivered as he approached, "Ah, some respect! You went to the trouble of making me riceballs? I'm almost touched." He finished harshly, swiping one of the confectionaries.

The little girl reacted, pounding at Balthier's leg as he took a bite and contorted his face, "This crap is sweet, dumbass! You need salt in these foods!" he spat, literally, some clinging to the young girl's hair as she sniffed and wiped at her eyes.

Throwing it down to the ground, the blonde suited man began stomping at them, stomping on the girl's hands as she reached for them, making her cry more about Matt's food, while he remained silent. Tai mimicked him closely and watched, not having been noticed yet.

Nick was infuriated, "That bully...! How dare he do that to a small child!" he viciously growled as the stomps against her small hands sounded out like pounded meat, blended in with crying.

"Don't worry, kid. The men who've been executed in the grounds attract ants, so they'll eat that crap!" he giggled like he had just helped, the girl holding her bruised hands to her chest while he pointed over to a sign in the far corner, "Can't a peasant read? 'ANYONE FOUND TO BE AIDING A PRISONER IS AS GUILTY AS THE PRISONER HIMSELF'. Now then... you! Throw her out, immediately!"

The soldier he had indicated seemed less than jubilant, but somewhere between sickened and downtrodden, "B-but sir! She's an infant, for goodness sake!"

Balthier retained his maddened look from before, "A traitor... my dad just loathes traitors... some say with a violent tendency for mercilessness."

"Y-yes sir..." he replied meekly, dejectedly striding over to the hurt young girl and picking her up shakily as she writhed in his grip. Catching sight of Tai and Nick, he gave a small nod and tossed her toward them, Tai jumping back and grabbing her in the air, taking the force of the landing on his back like a shield.

Nick ran over and helped her up, checking her hands, "Are you alright? Those people are 'Justice'? Are you kidding me...?"

Tai brushed himself off and began strolling back to the town, the others in tow slowly, Just a little longer, Matt... we'll be back together again, and soon with the others!

Back over the wall, Balthier was happy slapping Matt's bloodied face before he bite him and made him retract backward, fearing an incapacitated man.

"I-I must admit, such endurance is far beyond a normal person; it's more like a Digimon's!" he joked, rubbing the bite marks.

"I just have to stay alive for a month in this place...! If you don't keep your promise, be sure to expect me slitting your throat, dumbass!"

"Scary... well then, I shall be seeing you in 3 days, then!" he let out a loud snicker as he said this... before he and the soldier vanished behind the closed gate.

Matt narrowed his gaze as he turned back, Tai having reappeared without a sound. He was by no means enlightened by his forgotten friend's presence, "You're still here? You'd better go now, or else he'll bitch to his old man, Captain Gant."

Tai didn't know how to go about it, since all of their memories together were erased, so he worded it simply as, "I'm looking for someone to rock the world with me... want to be an Outlaw?"

"Become the scurge of the sea and land; be hounded by the Bagdra Army for the actions as an Outlaw and possibly die lonely due to having killed anyone I met... no, not for me. Enjoy your dumbass way into an early grave."

Tai wasn't expecting or willing to accept a refusal, "It's my goal to become an Outlaw in order to locate people precious to me." He stated flatly.

Matt gave a small laugh, "Well unfortunately my schedule is filled up right now... I have my own dreams to seek out, so as a man, I refuse. Find some other sucker. Balthier promised to let me go if I survived here a month without trying to escape."

"Really now, Matt? You look like you're on the verge of starvation to me."

Matt's steely, agitated face clenched still further beneath his bandana, "I can survive without your help. And only my friends can call me Matt, so get lost, before you find a large boot print on your face."

Tai complied, turning and beginning to walk away before Matt perked up, "W-wait... can... can you give that to me before you go...?" he motioned with his head toward the trampled mud pile that was once foodstuff.

Picking it up, Tai investigated it from a distance, "Are you sure? It's mostly a pile of mud crushed into a ball with rice..."

Matt opened his mouth wide, "Shut up and throw it in." And ever compliant, it was thrown into his mouth. Matt's face tightened as he swished the mud and ruined sweetness of the flavour in his mouth. He swallowed it like a bombshell, "Tell... tell the girl it was tasty... and tell her that I'm sorry about her hands getting hurt because of me..."

Tai smiled, and Agumon echoed in his mind, Still the same old Matt; to proud to admit his own worries...

...

"He did?" The girl (who gave her name as Mina) said happily in the town alleyways, her hands wrapped in bandages while held in a prayer pose. Tai nodded, much to her delight, "I'm so happy to hear that!"

Nick sat on a barrel he had found in the empty alley, his chin planted in his palm, "Is Yamato really such a bad guy...? His reputation make him seem much more unhinged than he is in person..."

"He is not!" Mina firmly stated, stomping to prove her point, "He's actually a nice person, but he's misunderstood!"

That's puberty for you, Tai joked in his mind.

"He's only up there because of me... Balthier was acting like a jerk and let these rabid Dobermon's loose. One was about to kill me, but he arrived and turned into a werewolf. After cutting them all, they broke apart into small squares and Balthier ordered his surrender, or else he would've killed me."

"Werewolf..." Tai murmured lightly, going unnoticed, "So you're saying that Matt's under arrest in the execution grounds... because he deleted violent dog Digimon?"

Mina nodded, still rubbing at her bandaged hands.

Nick continued, "Well, he showed concern in his own way for you before Balthier walked in... so he has compassion."

"It's Balthier and his dad, Captain Gant that are the bad ones! They're the ones that rule the village through fear! Everyone's scared of his dad because he's got no remorse!" Mina said amongst screams down the street. Looking down, they spotted Balthier walking down the street like a king, bows lining the street; meanwhile two uncomfortable soldiers followed him.

"That's right, peasants! Bow your heads low! You don't want me to tell dad on you, do you?" judging from the yelps, no one dared, "Well, I'm rewarding your loyalty three days from now; a public execution of the famed monster, Yamato Ishida! That should assure your loyalty."

Tai sprang up, "Three days...? I thought you gave him a month, Balthier!"

"Who are you, scum? Your fool of a fellow thought he was smart, but being outdone by mere cheap words...?" He burst into a fit of laughter, reeling his head back as he did it.

BWOOF!

Balthier's skinny frame jarred as he was forced back, a fresh fist imprint on his face already welting as Tai released his collar and let him fall after the punch, Nick too late in stopping him.

"Tai, don't! Calm down, don't stir up the Army so quickly!"

"Nick, I've decided. Matt will come with me, whether he like it or not. Even if he doesn't know who I am, I will not let him die, for old time's sake."

Balthier was twirling his head with stars in his eyes as the soldiers rocked him, snapping him back as he rubbed the welt, "You bastard...! Do you have any idea who I am? I AM ARMY CAPTAIN 'BROADAXE' GANT'S SON! I'M TELLING DAD ON YOU!" everyone in the crowd flinched at that proclamation, but Tai struggled firm against Nick's grip.

"Fight me yourself, daddies boy!" he barked, Balthier being picked up the two soldiers by the arms as they turned toward the towering base.

"You've signed your own death warrant," he spat venomously, "I'm sure dad will enjoy snipping away your life." And so they began heading back, Balthier's shrill voice echoing, "JACKASS' as they went.

Tai sighed, "He's like Davis; he's just not worth hitting."

Mina was beyond happy at the bruise that hit was going to leave on Balthier, "Big Bro, that was so cool! I was scared to death!"

Her mother quickly quipped this and called for her shakily, telling her not to make friends with 'those people'. Before going inside like every other resident of the town, Tai flashed a quick wave at her.

Nick quickly realized what the audacious boy had done, "Tai, do you realize what you've done-?"

Tai however, was halfway up the street, motioning to his friend to hurry up, "C'mon, I got to free Matt before the moron thinks he can one up me." The rubber man calmly inferred, beginning a straight march toward the tower and Matt.

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Next Episode: One Digidestined Down! Reunion Defying Time!

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A/N: Oh no. Tai may have let the power of his Crest go to his head. Not only has the Juerusu noticed his return somehow, but he has managed to gain the wrath of Balthier, who has gone to tell his father, a Captain in the Bagdra Army.

Does he have any chance of lasting much longer?

Please review, it's always appreciated.