Y/N: Yay, we've got the first Thanksgiving chapter! It's Takeru and Daisuke with a little hint of Iori. And I really enjoyed being Iori and Natsuni this time around. Daisuke was a little difficult. It was hard to get the balance right of him and Fanglongmon in his mind. I hope you like it though, and are looking forward to tomorrows update!

U/N: soooo... we said it would be up on Saturday, but Sunday-Monday is the actual holiday of Thanksgiving and there are two chapters so we decided to put them up one on each day instead, but you still get both this weekend, soooo you're welcome. They're both really dramatic and long and... well... i don't like the first, this one. it feels messy and chaotic... but it was kind of fun i guess to do. Well... i dunno, maybe i'm just sick of being takeru-i've been him a lot lately-i dunno. Anyway, i hope you like it, and i hope you review it... and stuff...

Title: Digimon Adventure 04

By: Yukira and Urazamay King

Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon or its characters.

Part 4: Chaos

Chapter 42: Shot Through the Heart


"Bro...?" I was pulled from my stare toward my father by Mantarou Inoue. "You alright?"

"Fine." I said simply. "Now what's the plan exactly?"

"We're going to Odaiba." Haruhiko said as his digimon, Centaurumon helped him climb upon his back. Haruhiko looked to the rest of us. "Well I am. You all want to come too?"

We all nodded, including Mantaru and Chiziru.

"It'll be fun." Chiziru piped up.

And then we were gone, without another word we were all hurrying down the street, Centaurumon and Haruhiko in the front of course. Jun had been taken aside by Mantarou and Chiziru to be questioned so it left me with some space and time to think.

I'd always known my dad would be upset with me if I followed my dreams, but the realization that it all happened right now... was different. It was almost as bad as a heart breaking—only... it was just my dad... and I used to love him, but the way he was recently... I did not love that.

"What are you thinking of?" I looked up, it was Meramon.

"Just my father." I told him with a fake grin. "It's okay though. What were you thinking about?"

"Actually you." Meramon said in his raspy voice. "At first I was thinking about how I loved the Yokomon—how I wanted so desperately to save them... and how I was stuck here... away from the only creatures who weren't scared of me. But then I noticed that you, also, were not scared of me. Why is that?"

"You're not so bad." I told him simply, "You come off a little strong, chasing people and trying to burn down historic schools, but at the same time, you really are nice. You're kind and you care for those who care for you. As far as I can tell, you're not a bad guy. There's nothing to be scared of."

"I'm not scared of you either." Meramon said, looking away.

"Are you... embarrassed?" I asked him, laughing.

"What?" He gasped, "No..."

"Well, it's true. You're a good guy." I told him. "And I'll help you find your Yokomon if it's the last thing I do. And I'll protect you."

"I doubt that I will need your protecting..." Meramon said, "But now that you've brought it up... perhaps I could protect you?"

"I'd like that very much, sir." I told him with a laugh, "And together we'll find those Yokomon—no matter how long it takes."

A ball of light seemed to pop into existence in front of me before disappearing and leaving behind a small grey device. A digivice!

"Looks like..." I said, picking it up from the ground where it had landed. "Looks like we're partners now."

"A partner?" Meramon asked, "I've... never had a partner before."

"Well no," I told him, "That's sort of the point."

"So we are friends now...?" He asked.

I nodded, "Yeah, I guess." I smiled up at him.

"Well... as your friend, I will help your friend find his lover. And then we will find Yokomon?"

"Y-yeah." I told him, "Sure thing."

"Good," he smiled at me.

So I wasn't really expecting a partner—and especially not from the digimon who had chased me down and tried to destroy me only a few hours ago, but I was happy... it was like, just knowing that I was important enough to have a partner made me realize that I had done right. I'd picked the right life path. I had Jun, I had a partner, I had two amazing brothers, and a handful of close friends. And sure Mantarou and Chiziru were a little off, but this was a good moment for me. I was happy... no matter what my dad wanted... this was what I wanted.


"Takeru, listen to me!" Hikari called out to me as I stormed through the twisting narrow hallways of the fortress. She was trying to calm me down. But that wasn't possible.

My mother... died.

In front of me.

I saw it happen.

I couldn't get the image of her face out of my head as the blade pierced through her... nothing seemed at all logical anymore. We'd been through so much in the past... from Devimon to where we are now... Sora and I had jumped down a giant pit of doom to save our friends... and yet didn't die. And so I thought... that just maybe—no one could die. It was a family friendly, super safe mission... Other than Oikawa I supposed. But...

Everything had always worked out the way I wanted. I'd never really had to face something... sad. I mean, sure my parents had gotten a divorce—but, like I had wanted, pleaded for—even prayed for... they had started dating again. Yamato and I had stayed close since the divorce anyway, and then, when I was at a loss of friends and hope... the digital world opened up to me and I found Patamon, and then, even more importantly... Hikari. At first I thought it was strange that they had given me the crest of hope—but I now understood... I always just... got what I wanted because of some strange force I had... hope. But now...

The worst thing ever.

My mother died.

"Takeru!" Hikari and Magnaangemon tried together.

But I ignored them. They were following me still. I didn't know where I was going and I didn't care. I wasn't paying attention. All I knew was that Piedmon had gone somewhere that I couldn't follow, and so I had to find a way to get to him. He needed to die. And I needed to save Mimi and Rosemon.

Also Willis I guessed.

But screw him. I wasn't in the mood to try and put up with him. He was too nice, and too perfect and he was dating Hikari. I couldn't pretend to like him anymore—at least not now. He sucked. And I hated him.

But I'd save him too.

I'd save him if it made her happy.

"TAKERU! LISTEN TO ME!" I suddenly turned around to see Hikari, her eyes clenched shut and her hands balled up into fists. Slowly she opened her eyes and stared at me.

"W-what is it?" I said through gritted teeth, trying to keep myself from crying.

"You need to calm down." She said stepping toward me and placing her hands on my shoulders. "I get that you're upset—in fact I'd be worried if you weren't, but you're focusing too much on revenge right now—it's not going to help you in the end. You need to focus on winning, and not going out of your way to fight Piedmon. That's what he wants. He's leading you to your death."

"And what am I supposed to do?" I asked her, "J-just let him win?"

"He won't win." She said flatly. "We will. But first, you need to trust me, and follow me." I looked over her shoulder and saw Magnaangemon nod slowly.

"Okay." I said nodding. Whatever she had planned was clearly important to her and so I decided it would be best to follow her. She smiled and hugged me around my neck.

"I'm really sorry about your mom Takeru..." She said. As she pulled away I could see tears in her eyes. She tried to hide them, turning away and rubbing her eyes quickly before clearing her throat and saying "Well, we'd better go..."

I nodded and followed her, back the way we had come,

Why was she going the wrong way? What was going on in her head...? Why was I following her? She wasn't right. I needed to kill Piedmon. I would make sure that happened too. Just... not yet apparently. Whenever Hikari decided to let me take him down... I would.

"Mom! I'll be good, I'll eat my vegetables, change my underwear, watch for angry animals—I don't need your guidance! Lay off!"



"Just go Takeru. It's not important anyway."

"I'm sorry..."

And then she was gone... I was a bad son. I yelled at her for trying to help—and apparently I needed that help. I hadn't eaten any vegetables, or changed my underwear, and I'd been attacked by numerous angry animals... Mind, it was because I'd been in an epic battle to save the world—but still. I was stupid... she wanted to tell me something—and I think I understood now that it was her dating my dad. I smiled slightly at the thought before remembering that it was too late for happiness. She was gone.

Probably... a part of me wanted to believe that the third mother was just another Bakemon... but my mother was missing—but that could mean anything. Piedmon didn't necessarily have her!

I came back to reality as Hikari rounded a corner, heading down a hallway that I had decided against walking through. I wasn't sure how she knew what she was doing, or where she was going, but I could see the determination on her face as she ran, clutching her side. I realized suddenly that I was also in pain. I had cramps in my sides like I'd never had before. Running for two and a half days straight—not advisable apparently.

Suddenly though Hikari slid to a stop and Stared at a large cage.

I heard talking coming from inside as I took my place next to her. The entire wall was a prison cell, a very dark one at that. But there was no denying that there was something inside.


Hikari gasped suddenly as she hurried toward the cage and reached inside. A man burst through the darkness and grabbed her arm, a smile on his face. I recognized him as Hikari's father.

"You came to save me?" He asked her. She shook her head.

"I d-didn't even know you were taken!" She said, "But I'm glad I followed the sounds!" She looked toward me and saw that I was watching almost horrified. I couldn't change my expression... it was... stuck almost. Hikari cleared her throat, "Magnaangemon, can you open the cell?"

Mangaangemon, without a word, drew his sword and slashed it simply toward the lock on the door. The lock fell apart and fell to the ground as Hikari reached forward and pulled the door open. Her father rushed out of the cell door and threw his arms around her.

She pushed him off, glancing toward me, and then turning back to him. "How'd you get in here?"

"I was rebelling." He said with a crooked grin. "Masami and I." He laughed a little, pointing toward the cell where Koushiro's father stepped from the darkness with a digimon right behind him. I recognized the digimon instantly as Andromon.

"Where is Koushiro?" Mr Izumi asked me. I tried to speak, but no sound came out.

"Fighting." Hikari answered for me stepping back and taking my hand and squeezing it. "Like all the others." She looked displeased that we were all fighting. She shook her head quickly. "Anyone else in there?"

"The cell?" Mr Izumi asked, "Oh yes." He motioned toward some unseen people to follow out of the cell. I watched with wide eyes as over a dozen people stepped out of the darkness. I recognized one of them instantly as one of my brother's band mates. I didn't know, or care about his name. He was my least favourite of them all because he was just generally mean.

"Takeru?" A female asked. Her hair was long, blonde and wavy. "Is this you?" She stepped toward me and patted my face. She was wearing a red dress with a cardigan over top... and she looked very familiar. "Is me! Catherine!"

"Oh!" I managed to say before forcing a smile upon my face. She was the digidestined from France. As I looked to her feet I saw a Floramon peeking around. I should have known it was her.

"What's the plan?" Mr Yagami asked as he looked around for something. "Wait a minute, where is Kamemon?" He asked.

"H-here..." A small timid voice said from the darkness as a small turtle like digimon with a helmet stepped from the darkness.

"Well come here." Mr Yagami laughed as he hurried toward him, scooping him into his arms.

"Where is the battle?" Andromon asked, "I want to help."

"No." Hikari said flatly. "You and everyone else here need to leave." Everyone, including the random citizens that I didn't know looked very upset by this news. "Leave the fighting to us, and get yourselves to safety. I need you to all get out of here alive." I bit my lip as Hikari squeezed my hand gently again. "Follow that tunnel," She pointed left down a dark tunnel, "And it should take you to the entrance if you keep going. If you run into Piedmon—a clown... run."

"Hikari, I'm not leaving you here." Mr Yagami said quickly.

"Yes you are." Hikari said flatly, pointing down the hallway.

"But you're sick." He argued.

"Not anymore." She said with a smile, "Dad, trust me. Just go."

"Right..." He said, turning to me, "Keep her saf—aren't those Taichi's goggles?" He asked, pointing to the goggles around my neck.

Oh that was right! I had forgotten that I had them on. I was the leader... an emotional wreck, a failure, and a loser. Leading everyone... I supposed now was a good time to lead then. Everyone was split up and doing whatever they wanted anyway...

"Good luck." Hikari said before pointing down the tunnel once more.

"Good bye Takeru..." Katherine said to me, smiling before taking Floramon's hand and rushing down the hallway after the others.

"Now what?" Hikari asked.

"We find your brother, Hikari." Magnaangemon said.

"You know where Taichi is?" She asked.

He nodded. "I can hear him."

Hikari laughed a little as Magnaangemon, without an order, led the way. I wasn't paying any attention at all this time. I couldn't care less where we were going. In all honesty I just wanted to find Yamato and tell him what happened, but I knew it wasn't the time for that.

As we rounded a corner there was a flash of light engulfing a Metalseadramon and a loud scream.

"Betamon!" I heard Michael scream. "NO! Betamon!" My heart practically ripped from my chest as I realized what had happened. Fanglongmon... had caused us to fight one another—and now succeeded in weakening our army... luckily for Michael... digimon never really died... not like humans.

"Fanglongmon... he's preparing to fight." Miyako said as Sora ran to comfort Michael. He pushed her off and ran toward the place where Metalseadramon had just been where an egg was forming. Noriko and Natsuni were standing on either side of Iori, looking in shock to Michael.

"Damn it!" Taichi roared.

"Taichi!" Hikari shouted suddenly.

"Hikari!" Taichi turned sharply toward the two of us and was running toward us quickly. He threw his arms around Hikari, "You're okay?"

"Yeah." She said simply.

"Takeru...?" Iori asked me, stepping to the side to be seen over Taichi's shoulder. "What's... wrong?"

Before I could say anything the ground began to shake violently. Hikari grabbed my arm to balance, but it was no use, the two of us fell to the ground, landing painfully on the concrete. Soon Taichi had fallen just in front of us, and the others were falling over like dominos.

"What's going on?" Noriko asked loudly. It was then that I actually realized that they'd rescued them... I was happy for them of course... but not sure if I cared. I was also confused as to what Iori was doing on their side as I watched him fall to the ground.

"It's Fanglongmon!" Miyako shouted. "He's leaving!"

"Why?" Sora asked.

"I... don't know!" Miyako answered simply.

"Well does it really matter?" Natsuni asked as she grabbed the wall for balance, being the only one still standing. "No matter what he's doing, it's bound to be bad. We need to stop him!"

"Mhm!" A muffled voice sounded from behind her, bringing my attention to a strange digimon holding her around the waist. It looked like a small Ogremon...

Suddenly the ground stopped shaking and we all got to our feet and dusted ourselves off. Hikari and Taichi helped me up. Taichi was staring around my neck at the goggles but I just rolled my eyes. He saw my unimpressed expression and nodded, turning to the others.

"It's time to do something." He said, "We've been walking around, running in circles, or back and forth, splitting up, and then fighting one another, but it's officially time to do something. Let's get everyone together and fight Fanglongmon."

"Piedmon." I corrected him.

"Takeru..." Hikari said, placing her hand on my shoulder. "It's not the time for revenge."

"This isn't about revenge." I said flatly. "Well, it is a little. But he took Mimi. He has her—and we can't win unless we're all united as one. We need to find him and we need to kill him. We need Mimi."

"He has Mimi?" Sora and Miyako asked together.

"We can't just go looking for trouble though." Hikari said sharply.

"I'm not." I told her. "I'm trying to save Mimi, and your boyfriend—or do you not care about him? Actually, don't answer that. I'm wearing these goggles, and so we're going to go find Piedmon. And we're going to kill him. And we're going to take Mimi and we're going to kill Fanglongmon, and then I'm going to go to sleep."

"Is that a smart plan...?" Sora asked.

"Well he's wearing the goggles." Taichi said flatly. "Wasn't it you who made this rule up Sora? What Takeru says goes." Taichi smirked to Sora who rolled her eyes at him.

"Then I guess we're going to go... kill... Piedmon." Iori said shakily.

I looked to Hikari almost triumphantly, but she wasn't happy. I should have guessed it... but it wasn't even unhappy. It was disappointed. Well... if she was in love with Willis, then I wasn't in any place to be worrying about her feelings. And it wasn't her place to be telling me what to do anymore... Piedmon was going down.


Something was not right about the experiment. It wasn't anything that had gone wrong during the process. From a strictly unbiased point of view, it was a roaring success. But there was something…

I couldn't figure out what it was, but I didn't like it.

I should have enjoyed it though. My master…Fanglongmon…he had wanted it, therefore to have achieved his will, that was to have helped creating greatness. Wasn't it? Of course it was. Fanglongmon had told me so, and therefore it had to be true.

But it wasn't.

And hearing Michael yell after his digimon, telling him to stop, all the while knowing that he was no longer Michael's to command…that seemed to cement that epiphany. It was scary, the way his voice broke, the wavering of fear. I should have thrived on it, as Kurayami had done.

I missed my Kurayami. This new one—old one?—was wrong. The Kurayami I'd known prior to coming back to the Digital World was nice. Very sarcastic, but with an adorable quality to it. She carried her guilt for her part in our last adventure, and was always careful not to mention Fanglongmon or what he'd made her do…and now... Fanglongmon took what made her Kurayami and replaced it with a dark, shadow of her. A mindless slave bent on the world's destruction.

And I was following her blindly.

She couldn't do this alone, and Fanglongmon…he needed me… He said he did anyway. It was all so perfect. I could spend time with Kurayami without needing to convince her, and I could help someone who needed a qualified leader.

Where in the job description did it say I'd have to genetically modify a friend's digimon—a friend in his own right—and watch as he sauntered away to his doom. Fanglongmon hadn't believed me. But I knew the Dark Masters couldn't be a match for the pure awesomeness that is the Digidestined.


I believed in Fanglongmon. Right. I believed in him, and in everything he said was true. That was why I followed Kurayami into this dark, ominous laboratory.

The ground shook violently, mimicking my tumultuous thoughts.

"He is moving," Kurayami informed me. I didn't have to ask who he was. She spoke his name as though she were speaking of the single greatest being in the world. It was reverent. Also rather terrifying.

"Where?" I asked.

"Onwards," she said simply. "He will need us, his devoted servants, in this fight. He has given up pretenses. Now, we fight to kill, no more play."

I should have been excited by that too.

"We will return for our allies," she said, standing and starting towards the door. She didn't pause even once, knowing that I would be following after her, like a lost puppy. Because I wanted to…or I used to, why couldn't I make up my mind?

Right. It was because Fanglongmon held half of it captive.

I was going to need therapy.

Even though I knew this, I still followed her. She led me through the dark narrow passages, until we were back in the cavernous room that the others were supposed to be fighting in. They weren't though. I supposed this was the reason that Fanglongmon had put a rush on his plans.

Ken and Yamato were sitting with Koushiro and Michael's girlfriend…Tatum maybe? They were happy, talking animatedly. It would be so easy to go and join them, but I couldn't. It would be stupid. Fanglongmon was going to win after all. And these traitors would fall with the rest of the pathetic human race.

"It's Kurayami!" Yamato exclaimed.

"It's time," she said to them.

"We know," Ken said with a smirk. "And we know exactly where we'll be fighting."

"Excellent," Kurayami purred.

I looked to her with a raised eyebrow. Could she not see that they weren't with us anymore? Was Fanglongmon's sanity going with the defeat of MetalSeadramon? It must've been, because she had the twisted look in her eye of someone who had lost their marbles.

"Follow me," she said.

"I don't think you understand," Yamato said. "You're on your own."

"I am never on my own," she exclaimed. "The master is always with me. And those loyal to him, those that fight for our cause. They are the only respectable human beings."

"You're a human too," Ken pointed out. "Or has the master made you forget that? He made me, but Phoenixmon helped me remember. She gave me control of myself. You need to fight for that control."

"Enough," Kurayami snapped harshly. I didn't like this desperation. Fanglongmon was taking a beautiful, strong girl and turning her into an ugly monster—not literally of course, she was still pretty…but…there was something off-putting about the strain he was giving her. She looked like she'd aged immensely since we'd re-entered the Digital World. I supposed it was a reflection of the damaged he'd done on the inside.

I missed my Kurayami.

"If you're not with us, you're against us, and you can only pray to whatever deity you find that Fanglongmon will make your death quick and painless, but rest assured, he will not spare a traitors like you!"

"Stop fighting!" Tatum yelled. "Sides aren't going to matter soon. It'll just be about survival. If you can't count on your friends, who will you trust?"

"I have no friends," Kurayami hissed.

That stung. I'd followed her, done everything she'd asked, so she wouldn't be alone, she wouldn't be scared of Fanglongmon, of the master. And she dismissed me like sour milk.

"Daisuke," she ordered. "Come. The master awaits us."

"You don't have to go," Koushiro said. "You can stay."

"He will come," she said. "Won't you?"

She turned and looked at me, and for a second, her eyes shifted back to normal. Just long enough for me to see the fear that they held host to. Fanglongmon was manipulating me. Again. The only difference was that this time I could tell he was doing it. Did that mean his grip was weakening? But it didn't matter. He knew exactly what strings to pull to make his little puppet move.

"I'm sorry," I whispered, looking back at them—noticing the two mega level digimon had yet to stop fighting, despite their partners' camaraderie—with sad eyes. I couldn't leave her. She needed me in a way that they didn't. I had to go where I'd be most useful.

"Good choice," Kurayami said haughtily, and I knew it was Fanglongmon mocking me. "You pathetic excuses of the human race had best hurry to your friends. The Dark Masters won't take kindly to their recent…dismissal."

"What do you mean?" Yamato asked, scared. I knew his mind had gone straight to his brother and girlfriend…perhaps ex-girlfriend… I really needed to keep up better. Not that it mattered. Only my master's bidding was important.

I shivered as Fanglongmon spoke through my thoughts again. I was starting to see how scary it was. I understood now why Kurayami was always so scared whenever he left. She knew he'd always come back, and take residence in the mind, lurking there, ready to pounce the moment you realize what he's up to. He'd never let me escape.

You don't want to.

That's right, I thought. I didn't want to. I wanted to follow Kurayami to the ends of the Earth, paving the way for digimon kind as we went.

"They've outgrown their usefulness," she said with that malicious smirk of hers. "And they'll be wanting to take that anger out on your lot."

"Takeru," Yamato whispered. A part of my mind revelled that I was right, but Fanglongmon crushed it down.

"Let's go," Ken said, blanching as he thought of Miyako.

Relax. Give your mind to me.

"Come Daisuke," Kurayami said, watching as they sped off down the hallways that they could not navigate. "Our master is most anxious for our presence."

"I can't say the same," I muttered.

A sharp pain started in my head and shocked my whole body.

"What was that?" she asked with a pleasant smile. Sadly that pleasantness was not in her eyes. It was a sadistic pleasure instead that hid there.

"We mustn't keep him waiting," I said louder, though my voice sounded muted to me.

"That's what I thought," she said, turning on her heel and stalking back into the hallway. And I followed her. Just like I always did.


"We shouldn't be looking for him." Sora said, running next to Hikari, the two girls holding hands tightly. Clearly Hikari had gotten to her and told Sora her opinion. But it didn't matter. I had the goggles and I was going to make one decision and one decision only. I wanted to kill Piedmon. I knew she was right about the revenge thing though, and I knew it was wrong to be so angry. I mean, I had reason to, but my mother always told me to keep my anger in check... but she was gone now and her opinion didn't matter...

I wanted to punch myself for even thinking anything similar to that, but I couldn't, we'd run into something rather unpleasant.

"Yamato!" Taichi gasped as we all skidded to a halt. Yamato was on Metalgarurumon with Ken sitting right behind him, having just bounded around the corner in front of us roughly. Airdramon was twisting through the air around the corner with Koushiro and Tatum on his back just behind them.

"T-Tatum..." Michael stuttered from behind me. I looked back to see him holding his new digiegg tightly. I wanted to comfort him, I knew what it felt like to have a close friend ripped away—first with Yamato, then Patamon, then Patamon, then Patamon again, and then Hikari, and now my mother... but there was no time for comfort. Not yet.

"Greetings." She replied coldly. She was staring at the back of Ken's head, refusing to look away, but I expect if she had, and seen Michael's face, or his digiegg she would have responded differently—well I assumed anyway.

"Yamato, what are you doing here?" I asked him. "Get out of the way."

"We're not standing in the way." Yamato replied.

"I beg to differ." Sora growled.

"So you trust Iori, but not me?" Yamato asked, pointing to Iori who was standing with Miyako, the two of them had been attached at the hip ever since we'd started off. Natsuni and her digimon were standing right behind them with Noriko a little ways off, pretending like she wasn't watching him when she clearly was. She had been careful not to go too far back so as to stay in front of Wargreymon and Phoenixmon, to keep safe.

"I wasn't evil." Iori shot quickly.

"And Michael?" Ken asked.

"Ken, just move or I will destroy you." The urgency in Miyako's voice made me think she was possibly serious, and the look on her face made me positive that she was. I understood where she was coming from. I kind of wanted to pound Yamato's face into oblivion at that moment—but I knew that was just my random anger, and I needed to keep as calm as I could.

Ken looked in shock at her before looking down and nodding. "Miyako, I'm so sorry... I wasn't myself, it was Fanglongmon—I'm not asking you to forgive me, but at least know that I'm sorry... and don't blame me."

"Ken," Sora said, "Honestly, you need to stop trying to fix your relationship problems and get out of our way. Right now."

"Sora," Koushiro said quickly, "I have two things to say. One, I am with them, they're on our side—you were there. You fixed them. And two, where is Mimi?"

"Mimi is trapped with Piedmon." Hikari said quickly, "Along with Willis."

Before Koushiro could respond Taichi spoke up. "We don't have time for any of this. If you're on our side, turn around and help us look for Piedmon."

"Taichi!" We all spun around to see Wargreymon as he called for his partner. Beyond him and Phoenixmon stood Piedmon, smiling almost wickedly with small key chains hanging from his belt. There was Mimi, Rosemon, Willis and that small green cat...

My heart was suddenly pounding fast. I looked quickly toward Magnaangemon, but he shook his head. He knew what I wanted but refused to do it. Again, I knew he, along with Hikari was right... but I wanted them to allow me this one thing. I wanted him to pay.

"Fanglongmon has left me." Piedmon said slowly. "And now to destroy you is all I have left." He looked to the ground slowly. There was a moment of silence as we all held our breath, scared of his next move. "But... I can't do that. I can't do that without watching you all suffer... one by one." He looked up to us all, his eyes flared and red. "Takeru... boy... you've suffered already haven't you? Well that's rather unfortunate for you... you made me suffer before—you ruined my path for greatness... and now, I will show you the pain you've shown me."

"Takeru run!" I heard Yamato yell as Metalgarurumon soared over my head, landing by Piedmon. Yamato was still sitting on his back.

I shook my head quickly, "Yamato no!" I screamed, "He's not after me! He's after you!" I saw Yamato turn his head to look at me with a strange amount of realization upon his face as the white sheet surrounded him and his digimon. "NO!" I screamed, my heart ripping from my chest. Figuratively...

I couldn't handle him going—not now...

"Run!" Taichi roared suddenly.

Before I knew what was happening I was surrounded by screams and running people and soon Sora had shoved Hikari toward me. She grabbed my hand and the two of us started running. I looked to Magnaangemon and he nodded, scooping the two of us into his arms and setting off, flying down the tunnel. I knew we had to fight Piedmon, but not like this... not with him in a fit of rage—I should have listened to Hikari... she knew what she was talking about...

"He'll be fine." Hikari told me, drawing my attention toward her. "He will. Trust me. We'll get him back."

"Terra Force!" I heard Wargreymon scream.

"Crimson Flames!" Phoenixmon's attack followed suit.

I twisted around in Magnaangemon's arms and peeked over his shoulder. The attacks did nothing, as Piedmon swished his hands and dissipated the attacks as if they were nothing.

"It's not working..." I heard Hikari say next to me. I glanced over and saw that she was watching too. I looked back in time to see Piedmon clap his hands.

At first I thought nothing had happened, but then suddenly all of the lights in the entire hallway went completely black.

I felt Hikari's hand clamp tightly onto my leg, the closest thing she could reach, as Noriko and Miyako both screamed ahead of us.

I heard an almost blood curdling scream from behind me and I knew it was Sora instantly.

"Sora?" Phoenixmon asked loudly, "S-Sora?" The voice shrunk to that of Biyomon's and I knew that Sora was taken.

"Terra Force!" Wargreymon shouted behind us as I looked back. He lit up the hallway with his attack revealing that Piedmon was halfway between him, and us, throwing another sheet toward Taichi.

"No..." Hikari whispered as Wargreymon's attack faded as he shrunk to Agumon.

"This can't be good." I said quietly.

Magnaangemon stopped flying abruptly as what appeared to be Tatum let out a loud scream. I looked toward her, but could see nothing but total darkness.

"Boo!" a raspy voice said in my ear. I turned quickly as Hikari screamed to see Piedmon's mask outlined in the darkness next to me.

And then I was dropped, Magnaangemon opening his arms to draw Excalibur. The violet light was shining in the darkness becoming the only thing I could see.

"Miyako!" I heard Ken call from the darkness.

"I've got her." Iori said almost defensively. "Now let's run!"

Before I had the chance to try and decide where to go I had been grabbed around the wrist by, who I assumed to be Hikari and dragged down the hallway. I could tell she was running her hand along the wall, and soon she had turned a corner where a light was flickering up ahead. Apparently Piedmon hadn't shut out all of the lights. I could see Miyako, Iori and Ken up ahead, but there was no sign of the others.

I looked over my shoulder quickly and saw that Magnaangemon was following us closely. I almost wanted him to go fight—but if he did there would be no way to help those who were taken by Piedmon... because he would lose. He stood no chance alone against the beast—but soon there would be no choice... everyone was being taken and turned into keychains.

For some reason none of this seemed real to me... they weren't gone. Maybe because it was nothing compared to my mother—but they were. If those of us remaining didn't do something to stop Piedmon...

"AAUUURGH!" It was Koushiro and it followed a rather loud 'thump', "Tatum!" he called in between gasps of pain. I gathered that Tatum had pushed him off of Airdramon and he had landed on his bad shoulder—but that was just a guess really. There was no response from Tatum and so I didn't know if she had been taken or not... I couldn't see a thing.

The last thing I heard before the sound of Koushiro running after me was "Natusni! NO!" escaping from Noriko's lips...

There was no stopping him... he was a monster... how could we win if everyone was being taken from us? Ken and Koushiro's digimon were busy fighting each other from what I'd seen last, Miyako's was trapped somewhere with Jou whose digimon was MIA with Iori's, and Hikari's was already taken by Piedmon. That left me, Agumon and Biyomon—wherever they were... How was I supposed to fight him alone?

I looked over my shoulder and didn't see him... at least that was something...


Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no, no. This wasn't supposed to be happening. None of it. I wasn't supposed to be kidnapped by dangerous creatures, get locked in a cage with fellow victims, confuse reality with film magic—resulting in the kissing of my best friend—only to get attacked by a scene from a horror movie the minute I'm free.

I was supposed to be worrying about whether Iori would still be my friend, not worried over my life. I betrayed him…kind of. Well, a little bit. He told me right when we met pretty much that he would never want anything romantic, and I'd agreed. And the problem wasn't that I'd developed strong feelings for him that were too powerful to reign in; the problem was that I kissed him for no real reason. He probably was contemplating the pros and cons of having a friendship with me now that he thought I liked him that way.

And Noriko was annoying as ever. She watched him like a hawk. She was creepy, and scary, but nowhere near as creepy or scary as this clown—horror movie villain much?—that was chasing after us. I was running with Noriko, Goblimon and Michael of all people and we were trying very hard to keep up with the others, to keep ahead of the clown, but it wasn't working. Noriko and I had stayed in a cramped cell for the past day or two. I didn't even know how long we'd been there. But we weren't up for running. We needed to stretch our legs, start small and work our way up. This wasn't healthy. And a part of me wished I'd been on the other side of the cave-in with Momoe and Mr Kido.

That part was the part of me that was scared skinny.

The rest of me was trying to decide the best way to get out of this alive, preferably with my friends in tack, and as many of Iori's friends as I could.

But no matter which way I sliced it, I was one of the victims. The people in horror movies that are only put in there to be taken as easy pickings. I didn't have a digimon partner, I was weak from my stay in the cage, and I was one of the few that only had a tiny link to the group.

I was a goner.

"Three little outcasts, all in a row."

Correction, I was already gone. Piedmon was right behind us, insulting us. So what if we weren't part of the original twelve, we weren't the ones wearing clown make-up. That was supposed to be his motivation for destroying us all. He didn't fit in, he didn't belong, nobody wanted him. Something like that.

"Go, faster," Goblimon told me, pushing Noriko and myself ahead of him. Michael looked to him and nodded solemnly, before joining us. I didn't want to keep running. I wanted to stay with Goblimon, to fight with him at his side, but I wasn't his partner… so it would be awkward, and he was sacrificing himself to keep us safe.

It was a far cry from guarding our prison cell.

"You're the best they can offer? That's too bad," Piedmon told him. There was a sound, like the wind rushing through something, and then there was silence. "You didn't last long at all. Just another for my collection."

I didn't have time to cry. But I would have been if I could. He was my friend, and now he was a key chain. We just had to run harder, to make his sacrifice count for something. But there was nowhere to run. We came to a dead end—or maybe we'd just gotten turned around. Either way, there was a great big wall standing in our way on our path to freedom. Almost instinctively, Michael, Noriko and I turned to face our attacker.

"Backed up against a wall, with nowhere to go," Piedmon said with a smile. "Did you really think you'd be able to escape me?"

"We had to try," I said.

"Admirable, but foolish," he said. "And now you will join me…in my collection."

He tossed a bed sheet at us, and Noriko screamed bloody murder. And then she tackled me, pushing both me and Michael out of the way. That girl sure made it hard to hate her with stunts like these.

"A brave attempt, but not enough," Piedmon declared, before throwing another white sheet over Michael and I. Michael clutched his egg close to him, and wrapped his other arm around me, as I tensed up in fear. We were surrounded by the sheet, I struggled to get out, but I could feel my limbs getting stiffer. It was weird, watching myself turn into plastic, until I couldn't see anymore.


"Oh my god!" I screamed as I ran around the corner in shock with Demiveemon right behind. "OH MY GOD!"

"Hush!" Demiveemon growled, "We need to keep quiet! Or he'll catch us!"

"Oh I don't want that!" I said.

"Me neither, so shush!" Demiveemon said, rolling his eyes. There was only darkness now and the only comfort was the sound of the soft footsteps of Demiveemon. I knew he was there, at least... even if Jun couldn't be.

"Who's there?"

"AHHHHH!" I screamed. "Who are you?"

"Agumon!" The voice shouted. "And Biyomon." It replied. "Who are you?"

"Otamamon!" I shrieked happily. "And Demiveemon!"

"Where are you?" Demiveemon asked.

"Just here!" Biyomon replied through the darkness.

"Where did Piedmon go?" Demiveemon asked.

"He ran after the humans..." Agumon said solemnly.

"Then we need to too." Demiveemon said. "If Daisuke isn't going to be the hero, then I'll have to be. I can't digivolve, but I know I can help somehow... so long as I try real hard." We both stopped running as we came up to two outlined figures who were clearly Agumon and Biyomon.

"We're going... toward him?" I asked.

"Yeah!" Agumon said, "We can do this!"

"I'm out." I said quickly.

"Then have fun... alone." Biyomon said as they turned to leave.

"Wait!" I shouted as the four of us ran off after Piedmon.


"Where has he gone?" Hikari asked as Koushiro caught up with us, his arm clutching his opposite shoulder, a look of pain and determination on his face.

"I don't know." Koushiro said flatly, clearly not wanting to beat around the bush. "Who all is here?"

I looked ahead to see Iori, Miyako and Ken again. "Just those three. And us I suppose." I told him, nervously looking over my shoulder for Piedmon. I didn't see him, but I did see Magnaangemon floating through the air behind us as we ran through the flickering lights.

But soon Miyako had let out a scream and I snapped around to see her with Iori and Ken throwing themselves around her as she clung to Iori for comfort. I felt bad for Ken, though it was his fault for turning evil and all... Miyako and him belonged together, no matter what one or the other had done...

But thankfully it wasn't Piedmon that she was screaming at. It was Ankylomon and Plesiomon who had come through a hole in the wall. Was that the one that Metalseadramon had come through? Had we run in a circle?

"Where is Jou?" Plesiomon asked quickly, seeing our urgent faces as Ankylomon was hugged by Iori.

"I... don't know." Miyako said slowly. "He's with Valkyrimon and... Momoe."

"If your partner is protecting mine, then I shall protect you." Plesiomon said nodding simply causing Miyako to give a small smile in return.

"I'm really sorry about everything," Iori said as he stepped back from his digimon, "I shouldn't have tricked you—or anyone for that matter, and I'm so sorry."

"Honestly Iori," Ankylomon said, "Given the circumstances I don't think it matters in any way what we've done in the past. What matters is right now."

I smiled to him and Iori forgiving one another as Hikari, Koushiro and I caught up. Miyako looked to Ken who was staring at the ground.

"Can we go now?" Koushiro asked impatiently as he practically bounced on the spot. He was right though, we had to get going. If we were all that was left, then we were in for some serious issues when it came to facing Piedmon. I was scared. I don't think I'd ever been this scared while in a battle. There was always some glimmer of hope... but as it stood... we were surrounded by despair.

"Let's go." Hikari nodded, once again grabbing my hand and setting off at a run. I looked back to Plesiomon comfortingly and noticed that Terriermon and Lopmon were both on his back. They were watching us go. I knew it would be useless trying to convince them to come with us. They would want to help Willis... and for them—I decided that I simply had to save Willis.

"Hikari!" Iori said sharply, but she didn't stop. She looked over her shoulder and smiled at him though, trying to comfort him. But judging by the worried look on his face as he watched her run, it hadn't worked.

"Takeru, he's coming." Magnaangemon said slowly and quietly to me, startling me as he flew right next to me.

"What?" I gasped.

"He has yet to change his direction." Magnaangemon said.

"Speak in English." I was frustrated and flustered and I didn't have time for him to speak as he did.

"He hasn't turned the corner." Koushiro translated quickly. "We either need to get around that corner, or—"

"Or through that hole!" Ken hissed suddenly. Everyone stopped and turned to him as he pointed down the hole in the wall. No one had any idea where that hole would lead... but at the same time... we had to go. We had no choice really.

Ken motioned for Iori and Miyako to go through and they did so, hopping over the threshold. They were followed by Koushiro and then finally Hikari, Ken and I.

"I will stay. I will protect you." Plesiomon said. "Run."

"Ankylomon, come on." Iori said quickly, but his digimon, looking solemn shook his head. "No—"

"Iori," Miyako said worriedly, grabbing Iori's arm.

"No, Ankylomon!" Iori snapped, pulling free of her hold. "I'm not leaving you—not after everything I've just done to you!"

"I forgive you Iori." Ankylomon said. "And I can only ask that you forgive me to falling into Fanglongmon's hold while you remained pure of heart."

"I do!" Iori said nodding, "Of course I do!"

Suddenly Ankylomon lit up, lighting the entire tunnel with a blinding white light. "Ankylomon digivolve to... Piximon!" When the light dispersed there was a small pink bowling ball in the sky, it's large white wings spread wide as it clutched it's staff. I was definitely not expecting Piximon.

Iori was smiling at his new digimon now, before trying to climb over the threshold to help Piximon fight.

"Iori no!" Piximon said in his high voice, "He's coming soon!"

"He's coming now." Magnaangemon clarified.

"I see him!" Plesiomon called out.

Piximon turned toward him. "Pixi bomb!" he held out his small hand and a bomb appeared out of nowhere as he threw it quickly toward Piedmon. I didn't see where it had gone, but I heard the explosion and then felt the ground shake. He'd caused a cave in...?

"I'll stay here for when he breaks through." Plesiomon said nodding, "Piximon, save the others."

"R-right." Piximon nodded, turning toward Iori, "Come on Iori, it's time..."

Iori nodded as Piximon flew toward him and pulled him back into the hole.

"Good luck Plesiomon!" Miyako shouted as we all turned to run, "Be safe!"

I heard Plesiomon speak quietly in an ominous voice. "I will make no promises." It honestly made everything a thousand times worse. How could we win if the strongest digimon we had on our side at that moment was planning on losing? Admittedly, adding Piximon to the equation of Piedmon vs Magnaangemon made the scene a little brighter in the very least...

"What's wrong?" Hikari asked as Ken led the way down the random new hallway we had entered.

"Nothing." I told her. "Don't worry about it."

"Takeru, tell me!" She insisted. I thought about lying and saying that the problem was that I was in love with her. But just because Willis was currently out of our world, did not mean that I was willing to ruin her relationship with him, or her relationship with me. So I didn't.

"We can't win." I told her, "We don't have enough digimon."

"If only we had Angewoman..." Hikari sighed, "She'd help." And without even so much as a pause Hikari lit up. At first my tired mind jumped to her digivolving... Hikarimon digivolve to...

But the light was pink and the entire hallway was surrounded in the light.

"Are you trying to help him find us?" Koushiro snapped as the light faded.

"Well I didn't do it on purpose." She said defensively.

"It doesn't matter," Ken said, "No one found us."

"Well that's not true."

We all turned quickly, my heart was, once again, ripped from my chest. Too much excitement... too much fear... too much sadness for one day.

But it was Agumon! Biyomon was standing next to him, and behind the two of them stood Demiveemon and Otamamon.

"More digimon!" Hikari clapped her hands.

"But none of them can digivolve." Miyako sighed as Otamamon ran toward her and leapt into her arms. "They don't have partners."

"One of them does." Hikari said staring toward Demiveemon who nervously stepped forward before following Otamamon's lead and leaping into Hikari's arms. "And I have faith. All we can do right now is hope. Don't lose hope... we can win guys. We always have."

I smiled at her as she winked to me. This would be harder than any battle we'd faced yet—or any battle that I had personally faced. A super strong mega and no one to fight it...

"P-Piximon?" Agumon asked.

"It's me!" Piximon smiled, "Armadillo—"

"We can do this later!" Ken and Koushiro said together. "Let's go." Ken finished as he and Koushiro started running. The rest of us copied quickly.

I wasn't sure how much more running I could handle just now. I was going to crash. I was going to fall asleep in the middle of this battle... but I couldn't. Magnaangemon and I both had to stay alive. We both had to stay ready to win. Ready to fight. Either that or no one would be able to return to their normal states...

"There's a room ahead!" Iori said loudly.

He was right, ahead of us I could see a large brightly lit chamber. The lights above were orange still though, lighting the stone walls and the concrete floor ominously. As we entered the room I noticed that it was large and round, but there were no other exits. And that's all that mattered really.

"Dammit!" Koushiro snapped. "What are we supposed to do now?"

"We fight." Biyomon said, determined. "We can still win if we fight as a group."

"This is literally the scariest place I've ever been in." Miyako said, wandering the room with Otamamon in her arms.

"Stay close." Ken warned. "We can't lose you too."

"Herculeskabuterimon!" I said suddenly. "And Grankuwagamon!"

"What about them?" Ken and Koushiro asked.

"We need them to help!" I smiled. It could work... right? I figured two more mega digimon would set the odds in our favour.

"They're not going to stop fighting though." Koushiro said. "There's no chance of them helping. They're too deep in their rivalry to help us. It's like... Superman and that bad guy!"

I was pleased that he was trying to relate to me using comic book characters, but he could have at least bothered to remember Lex Luthor's name...

And then it happened. The wall burst open at the side of the room opposite to the entrance way, right near Miyako. I couldn't see Piedmon, but I knew it was him as a large sheet of white floated into the room and surrounded Miyako and Otamamon.

"MIYAKO!" Iori and Ken screamed suddenly as the sheet fell and Miyako was gone. Piedmon slowly stepped into the room.

"All of this running is making me tiresome." He said slowly, collecting his new key chains. "I'm rather glad you all can't leave now.

I looked to the entrance way and gasped. It was shut...? How? I looked back to Piedmon to see him attaching Otamamon's key chain next to a very small Plesiomon.

"And I'm done these games. Let's get this over with." He pointed toward me and I panicked, but I soon discovered it wasn't me that he had been pointing at. Hikari let out a loud scream as her hand was ripped from mine and she was dragged through the air and slammed against the hard, concrete wall.

"Save her!" Iori snapped, "NOW!" He was scared—more than scared. He was petrified—so worried for Hikari's life. I turned to her, fear on my face as Piedmon drew a sword from his back. This one had a diamond on the end of the hilt as he threw it. He didn't pause even for a moment, throwing it directly toward Hikari.

"HIKARI!" I screamed as Piximon flew toward Piedmon, but it was too late—the sword was in the air... it was going to hit!

"Celestial Arrow!"

A glowing arrow shot through the sky and hit the projectile sword, shattering it. Hikari fell to the ground and looked slowly toward the entrance to the room. The door had been destroyed, and standing in the entrance way stood Angewoman.

"Angewoman!" Hikari and I said together.

"I found you... by your light." She said to Hikari who turned to Koushiro and with a mocking voice said, "Ha!"

Koushiro stuck his tongue out at her and I suddenly realized how calm everyone was. Was it just me then, who was worried? Other than Iori of course.

Pidemon swatted Piximon from the sky as he came to attack. Piximon fell to the ground near Koushiro as Piedmon turned quickly to throw the sheet toward the two of them.

"Help them!" I said panicked to Magnaangemon. I was upset with him for not trying—but there wouldn't have been time, and he was still right. He needed to stay safe... Agumon and Biyomon however had tried desperately to save them, running toward them to try and get them out of the way...

But they failed.

They were all gone now...

"How are you here?" Piedmon asked Angewoman, not turning to look at her.

"I just said." Angewoman replied. "I found Hikari from her light—" I was confused as to how she had digivolved until I remembered the times Hikari's digivice had been glowing...

"NO!" Piedmon snapped, turning toward her, reaching to his waist and pulling a keychain off of his belt. The small green cat. "You're right here!"

"No, clearly she isn't." Ken said with a grin. "Looks like the trickster has been tricked. Funny how these things work out, huh?" Piedmon, in a fit of rage threw one of his bed sheets toward Ken.

"NO!" Iori bellowed as he dived through the air and tackled Ken out of the way.

Piedmon stood in the center of the room and screamed loudly in a fit of rage, stomping his feet wildly. He was going mad... which would probably mean bad things for us... and all that was left... was Angewoman, MagnaAngemon, Iori, Hikari, Ken DemiVeemon and I. Things were not looking good as Piedmon turned toward us.


I was confused. Kurayami wasn't leading me to the exit like I'd thought she would. Fanglongmon had left the building. If we were meeting him, should we not do the same? It wasn't until she started chuckling to herself with a vicious smile that I started to worry though. I wasn't going to like wherever she was taking me.

"You still awake old man?" she asked.

"Let me out!"

I recognized the voice, and could see a faint outline of a human in one of the cages that lined the walls. Fanglongmon wouldn't let me remember his name though. He worried over my allegiance. It made me think this guy was important to me before Fanglongmon took over.

"Now, now," she said. "You know I can't do that. The master enjoys seeing you in there. It means there is nothing standing in his way any longer. Your people at the Temple are meddlesome, but they won't do anything without your say so. And if you can't tell them anything…"

"Benjamin is second in command. Before I left, I told him to take charge," the man said. He reminded me of the Jedi warriors in that movie Iori made me watch after seeing it with his friend-who-just-happens-to-be-a-girl.

Jedi. Gedi. Genie? Gennai… Gennai!

He was the resistance's leader. He like handpicked the digidestined or something. He was incredibly important. And Kurayami had locked him in a cage. Why do you care?

I couldn't answer him. I honestly couldn't come up with a reason not to care.

"He will fall with the rest of them," Kurayami hissed. "All wondering where there great leader is. Wondering when he'll come to save them. They'll think you abandoned them. Just as you did the digidestined. They can't stand you, can they? Your greatest heroes refuse to listen to a word you say. How does it feel to have fallen so far?"

"As long as the children are alive, there will always be time for retribution," Gennai told her calmly.

"As long as they live," she repeated. "Precisely. And they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"What do you mean?" he asked. He moved closer to the bars; I could see him much more clearly now. He was tired, I could tell that much, and disheartened. He didn't like the way she was talking. Her harsh voice, her cruel words. And he was clutching something to his side with one hand. I looked harder. It appeared to be…and egg? Why did he have a digi-egg here of all places? It wasn't a good spot for a baby to hatch.

"Piedmon wants revenge," she said sounding thrilled. "And they are the perfect distraction for him. I'd wager they'll last twenty minutes, if even."

"They are stronger than you or your master," Gennai insisted. "They can do anything they set out to achieve. It is why they were chosen. They can handle this."

"When will you open your eyes you fool," Kurayami snapped. "The time for games and childish antics has long since passed. They're now fully grown, but fight the same as they did as children. We have improved vastly, and they are standing still, letting those who seek power and control to grow around them. They will not win!"

"We'll see," Gennai said firmly, but in a gentle voice. He knew this was aggravating her. The way he could ignore her attempts at riling him up.

She growled, narrowing her eyes into slits, before spinning on her heel.

"Keep up," Kurayami ordered me. I was quick to comply. Trying to think through Fanglongmon's tightened grip was proving to be exhausting anyway. It was better this way. I shook my head, trying to get him out, but all it accomplished was making him laugh at me.

His laughter almost drowned out the loud cry of "Help them!"

I don't know what made me do it, but something snapped inside of me at that sound. Takeru was screaming for help. Something had hurt someone else, and he was worried about them. Was it Yamato or Taichi? Could it be Ken? What if it was Hikari, or DemiVeemon?

He needed me. More than Kurayami did at that moment. It was enough to defy Fanglongmon. Not escape him, and I knew I'd be punished for it later, but I was able to do something he'd never allow. I stole the key that Kurayami had been taunting Gennai with, and threw it at him.

"Open it," I yelled at him, as he caught it with his free hand. He struggled to open the cage while juggling the egg, but he managed.

"What do you think you're doing?" Kurayami said in an outrage. "He is our prisoner. He's the symbol of Fanglongmon's triumph!"

"He's got somewhere else to be," I told her. "He's got to save the others."

"The traitors you mean?" she asked with a fake sense of calm.

"With our friends," I said.

"You are dangerously close to treason," she warned me.

"Fanglongmon can stuff it," I told her, before turning to Gennai. "Get going. Now! Before she stops you."

"Of course," Gennai said. "Thank you."

"Don't thank me," I said. "Seriously. Don't."

Fanglongmon was outraged, and Gennai's thanks was pushing him closer to the edge. He was very much displeased by my disobedience. He was letting me know it by squeezing my mind, trying to make me squirm, to scream out in pain. But I wasn't going to give it to him. I was only trying to clean up his mess after all. Piedmon was out for revenge, and it was Fanglongmon's fault.

And if Piedmon destroyed Hikari, then how would Fanglongmon get what he needed from her?

My thought process seemed to placate Fanglongmon. For now. I could tell that he'd be tightening his leash on me. And there wasn't much I could do to loosen it again.

Gennai started running towards the sounds, and at Fanglongmon's urging, Kurayami and I followed. He needed Hikari dead, but there was something he needed from her. It was enough to save at least one of my friends for now anyway.

Gennai stopped running only when he was standing in from of what I assumed was Piedmon. I hadn't actually paid attention when Kurayami had introduced the Dark Masters to me. I didn't care. Now I wished I'd listened a little closer.

"Oh?" the clown digimon said. He sounded highly amused. "Did someone else want to fight me?"

"Gennai!" Hikari shouted happily.

"It is you and me now," Gennai told the clown, after nodding in Hikari's direction. His eyes never left Piedmon's, though he handed her the digi-egg. To be honest, mine didn't either.

"How exciting!" Piedmon said, clapping his hands together. Instead of seeming childish, I found it quite creepy. "Let's."

Both Gennai and Piedmon reached to their waist, where they drew a sword each. They held them in front of themselves, and nodded as one.

"Begin!" Gennai shouted.

And the fight started. The two ran at each other, and just as I thought the swords were going to clash, Gennai ducked underneath Piedmon's blade, sliding behind him, and raising his sword as he spun to face him, bringing it down on him. But Piedmon expected this. He brought his own blade back up to meet it, starting a battle of wills.

"You going to use your mind tricks on me?" Piedmon asked in what he thought was a witty way.

"I leave the mind tricks to your master," Gennai said. Then he left a short but dramatic pause. "Oh, that's right. You were fired."

Piedmon didn't take too kindly to that, and pushed Gennai and his sword away from him. They started doing quick sword movements that I thought looked kind of silly, kind of like fencing—you know, where it looks more like you're playing than actually trying to win?—while moving their feet much to gracefully.

Figuring Gennai had Piedmon busy, I took a quick glance around the room. I was shocked by how few people I saw. I shuddered, realizing that Taichi, my mentor was gone. And Miyako and Willis. Michael and Yamato, who until very recently were my own teammates, were also gone. I'd seen Yamato no more than ten minutes ago, and the last thing I'd done to Michael was aid in the destruction of his digital partner.

And my best friends were fighting for their life. DemiVeemon, Ken, Takeru, Iori, they were trying desperately to keep Hikari safe, while two angel digimon tried to keep the humans from the battle. Now Kurayami and I were in danger as well, and Gennai. All because of one digimon's need for absolute power.

Power belongs to those that deserve it.

"Take that!" Piedmon shouted. "And that."

"Talk less with your words and more with your sword," Gennai instructed. "You're voice is causing me more pain than the blade."

Fanglongmon forced back my laughter. I'd never known Gennai could be so funny, and Fanglongmon didn't agree with humour.

"Engarde!" the digimon shouted, pushing Gennai back with all his might. Gennai went flying into Angewomon, who caught and steadied him. It was enough of a distraction though. Piedmon took advantage of the moment, throwing what looked to be a bed sheet over at the two. When the sheet was pulled away, I was horrified to see that there were just key chains left behind. Intricate key chains, that depicted the two fallen warriors.

"Angewomon!" Hikari cried. "I just got you back! No!"

Takeru had to hold onto her, to keep her from running at the key chain. Piedmon walked over and picked them up, attaching him to his belt, where I saw he had quite the collection going. Maybe Fanglongmon should have tightened his grip on Piedmon instead of me. He'd be winning right now, instead of losing to a "despicable Dark Master".

I heard Fanglongmon roar in my mind.

"Right," Takeru said. "Okay. MagnaAngemon. You need to get out of here. We can't save them if you become a key chain too."

"Then you have to leave too, Takeru," Hikari said. "He won't be MagnaAngemon if you're taken."

"Damn," Takeru said. He didn't sound anything remotely like himself. He had a sort of crazed aura, as though he was desperate for revenge. I wished I knew what he needed it for. Maybe I'd help him…


Maybe I wouldn't help him then.

"You are dropping like flies," Piedmon said.

"Didn't you know," I said before Fanglongmon could stop me. "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

"My vinegar seems to be working just fine," Piedmon snapped at me. Then his eyes slid off of me towards Ken and Kurayami.

My heart started pounding.

He remembered them—oh who was I kidding, of course he remembered them—and he knew just how highly Fanglongmon held them.

"No," I whispered. He couldn't take Ken, he couldn't take Kurayami.

If they are weak enough to be caught, they deserve to be.

"No," I repeated, louder. "Ken, Kurayami, watch out!"

But it was too late. Piedmon had captured them in another white sheet. My hands were shaking in my rage. That damn clown though he was funny, eh? Well he had another thing coming.

"DemiVeemon," I said loudly. "It's time for us to kick this clown out of the circus."

"Daisuke?" Hikari asked. "Are you back?"

"And ready for action," I said, glaring at Piedmon. "It's time to teach this guy who's boss."

"I suppose you think that's you, then? How could you measure up to a digimon like me?" he asked me.

"Why don't you ask Fanglongmon," I said with a smirk. "You got the pink slip. He wanted to keep me. It's not my fault I'm too awesome to be tamed."

"Oh, you've got a mouth on you," Piedmon commented.

"A funnier one than yours," I said. And then I winced. That was terrible. "DemiVeemon, I'm not strong enough to do this on my own. I'm going to need your help. And maybe Takeru's too."

"On it!" DemiVeemon said, and he started glowing. He changed from DemiVeemon to Veemon, on to ExVeemon and finally to "AeroVeedramon!"

"Good to see you again buddy," I told him.

"Good to be back," he told me in his low, rumbling voice.

"Is this the cavalry?" Piedmon asked, sounding more amused than afraid.

"No," I said. "I'm Daisuke. And Ronald MacDonald called, he wants his outfit back."


I was both horrified and thrilled, as bad as that sounds. Everyone was getting turned into key chains, which no one bothered to explain to me, and the final Dark Master was turning out to be too big of a challenge for us, but Daisuke had broke out of Fanglongmon's hold, and that was worth celebrating. He did it on his own. He wasn't faking like I was, and he didn't have the help of Phoenixmon like Ken did. He broke the enchantment because of his loyalty to his friends, which is something I hold with a lot of esteem.

The timing, however, could have been better.

Now, though, he managed to show some form of humility—by admitting he needed help—while still sounding like a cocky moron. We had just two ultimate level digimon against this one super-charged mega level digimon. But with the right amount of planning, we could do it. Unfortunately, planning took time. We didn't have time. And Daisuke was too excited to just wing it that he wouldn't have bothered if we did.

"What's this?" Daisuke said with a snort. "You mean clowns can't learn new tricks? That's gotta be why your jokes are so stale, you can't be bothered to write new material."

"Why mess with the classics?" Piedmon asked.

"They've been around long enough," Daisuke started, signaling something to Takeru. "That you can tell where their weak points are. A good joke is new, it's fresh. And it doesn't involve key chains!"

"Or swords, I imagine," Piedmon said dryly. "Perhaps archery?"

"I'm not a big fan of archery," Daisuke said with a cheeky grin. "It has too many drawbacks. Get it?"

Daisuke laughed at Piedmon's outraged face. He didn't like Daisuke's…uh…wit. Instead of firing off another joke, Piedmon threw a white sheet. I watched, wide-eyed as Daisuke slid underneath it—much like Gennai had with that sword—and rolled out of the way.

"Like I said," he lectured. "You need some new material. You're act is dead. Give it up."

"New material," Piedmon said, his eyes flashing darkly. "I'll show you new material."

Takeru and MagnaAngemon were circling around him, and I couldn't grasp just what Daisuke had instructed them to do. AeroVeedramon was getting antsy, and Daisuke was really letting loose. Unfortunately, he was making Piedmon mad. And not the angry kind of mad. He was getting crazy.

"How about I strike at the very heart of your little band of misfit survivors?" he asked coldly.

"I don't see how that's anything new," Daisuke said. "Now AeroVeedramon!"

AeroVeedramon started to fly forward, but Piedmon paid him no heed. He pulled a dagger out of his pocket, and raised his arm high. I went cold. I knew that dagger. Why did I know that dagger?

"Gate of Destiny!" MagnaAngemon called out. I risked a peek over at him and saw that he'd used his sword to open a gateway. A gateway Piedmon would surely get trapped in if AeroVeedramon hit his target. But the dagger drew me back again. And it was a good thing too. Piedmon was throwing it. And he'd aimed at Hikari. As soon as the dagger had left his hand, he was tackled by the giant blue dinosaur.

"Exit, stage left!" Daisuke shouted happily. "We did it!"

But I didn't stay to congratulate him. I was running. I had to stop it. It couldn't hit Hikari. I'd promised to protect her. It was just like my dream, and even though I'd never stopped a vision from coming true before, I had to stop this one. She had to live. She was just staring at the dagger, frozen in fear. I had to get her out of the way.

I'd promised the fairy queen I'd set free.

I didn't back out of my promises. To break a promise is to lie. And I couldn't do that…

But I had. Betamon had made me promise one thing in the entire time I'd known him, and I couldn't do it. All I had to do was ask out a girl. Something so simple, and I couldn't do it. And now he was gone. Destroyed by a friend no less. And I'd never done as he'd asked.

And chances were, I never would.

There wasn't enough time to get her out of the way. It was closing in faster than I could move. There was only one thing I could do to keep her from being hit. And it wasn't a move that would allow me to rectify past promises in order to honour a friend.

I put all the energy I had left into throwing myself forward. My feet slide across the shiny floor. I heard Takeru call out for Hikari, Daisuke had stopped his cheering.

"Iori!" Hikari screamed behind me, as I came to a stop directly in front of her.

And then the dagger hit, and all I knew was pain.

Next on Digimon Adventure 04: Alright. Arc 4 is over now, and it's time for the final stretch. Taichi and Yamato take the first chapter, as we deal with the now injured Iori? How will the digidestined survive this with Momoe going into labour at the same time? You'll just have to read to find out.