Hey all! Here I am with a quick update after my recent post of my other story. I'm going to attempt to speed up as much as I can now, and I need all the spurring on I can get, so I hope that you enjoy this chapter and the action that arises from it. It was very fun for me to right, so I can only hope it's just as fun to read.

Also, some of you noticed that IceDevimon could understand some the Pokemon in the last chapter when he shouldn't be able to. I noticed it myself shortly after I posted the chapter and changed it immediately but apparently it took a while for those changes to take effect. So, a cookie to all those who noticed. To those who didn't, IceDevimon CANNOT understand the Pokemon. No Digimon but the ones altered by Uxie can. If I make that mistake again in the future, please point it out to me.

Enjoy all.

Quest of the Gods

Chapter 19:- Partnerships

"Let go of me, you creep!" Rika growled as she faintly struggled against IceDevimon's grip. She had been pressed right into the bat-symbol on his chest and though she was taller than she had been in her last encounter with this guy her feet were still a considerable distance from the ground.

"Hold your tongue," IceDevimon hissed as he moved through the tunnels, trying to get to one of the few ways out that he knew. "Or I might be forced to remove it."

"Now, now," Rika sneered. "Is that any way to talk to the person you want to be your Tamer you pathetic Ice Bastard."

"You seem to make it quite clear that your desires lie elsewhere," IceDevimon replied tersely, whooshing down another long passage. "If I cannot have you as my Tamer then I will dispose of you if necessary. But if it comes to that then first I will find a way of killing your partner and her two accomplices and making you watch."

"You were no match for them before," Rika growled. "And there's no way that you ever will be. Now let me go!"

"Silence!" IceDevimon seemed to lose it slightly and pressed his claws right up against her throat. "Or I will be forced to drop you here."

Rika fought the urge to swallow, certainly if she did then she would catch her throat on the hooked claw of IceDevimon's hand. But a voice behind her said, "Do that, and there will be nothing to stop me from tearing you to pieces right here!"

IceDevimon turned to see Renamon bound out of the corridor behind them, with Houndoom and Glaceon not far behind. "I had a feeling that you would follow me," he sneered, turning to face them completely and prominently displaying his claws, while his other arm locked Rika firmly in place against him. "But this changes nothing. Make a move against me and your precious Tamer will die. Yes, you might kill me afterwards, but I will die in the knowledge that I robbed you of your exquisite human, which is almost as good as killing you yourself."

"This guy is really starting to piss me off," Houndoom muttered.

"Can't you hit him with a Sucker Punch or something?" Glaceon asked.

"That only works if he's about to attack someone, which he isn't," Houndoom replied. "He's only threatening to. I could probably hit him from behind with a Faint Attack but his claws are still a bit close to the girl's throat. I could cause an accident."

"IceDevimon," Renamon stated, eyes blazing. "You have nowhere left to run to. We will pursue you through this maze of icy tunnels for days if we need to but you will not escape from us. Make it easy on yourself and release Rika and I might grant you a quick death. One blow to the head or something. But I swear to you, if you so much as damage a hair on her then I will make your suffering as excruciating as you made the suffering of those poor Pokémon back there. The ones you murdered."

"Then I shall die in the knowledge that while I was not able to beat you, I turned your way of thinking into mine," IceDevimon cackled. "Meaning that I lost to another version of myself who was already the Tamer of this Ice Queen."

Renamon growled, but could say nothing more, clutching the D-Arc firmly in her paw as she glowered at the Champion-level Digimon with intense hatred. IceDevimon leered at them and began moving slowly through the passage backwards, keeping his claws at Rika's throat to keep the other three at bay and stop them from trying anything.

Renamon and the two Pokémon followed, keeping pace with him, so the distance between them never actually changed while they moved along, but it almost seemed to be like some form of stalemate now. Renamon and the others could do nothing but IceDevimon equally could not carry out his threat without fear of retribution. But it still seemed that IceDevimon was very much not bluffing.

Terriermon, Renamon murmured in her head as she followed IceDevimon and Rika steadily, keeping them in sight at all times. I hope that you guys have things set up soon.

We're almost in position, Terriermon replied. Lucario's doing a pretty good job. Don't worry. We'll sort this out in a minute.

Thank you, Lucario replied with his telepathy as he bounded through the tunnels alongside Aayla. Alright, he's moving northwest along another tunnel, and will shortly emerge in another cavern. Move up the corridor until you reach a second left and then take it down to the first right and await my signal, he directed one of the other members of the plan. Houndoom, Glaceon, can you guys hear me?

Loud and clear, Glaceon replied. Is there a plan?

Yes, Houndoom added. What's going on?

Both of these sentences were said at the same time, for while Lucario could use his aura to communicate with others via telepathy, Glaceon and Houndoom could not use it to hear the thoughts of one another, meaning that often when Lucario was trying to hold conversations with multiple people he would get a confusing jumble of a lot of people talking at once. It had taken a lot of mental discipline and training on Lucario's part to be able to separate and distinguish individual messages simultaneously and sometimes he still had trouble in large groups, but he was improving all the time nonetheless.

There is a plan, Lucario provided. We're going to see exactly how good this IceDevimon creature is. Hold your position and do not attack him until I give the word. The others are moving into place as we speak.

Gotcha, Glaceon acknowledged.

Fine, Houndoom sounded a bit reluctant.

Nothing rash, Houndoom, pressed Lucario, before he pulled out of their minds. "It looks like everything is about to fall into place," he said verbally to his companion.

Aayla chuckled. "Your skills are impressive," she said. "Perhaps if there were Lucario in my universe they would all be members of the Jedi Order, whether their aura techniques are actually the Force or not."

"Thank you," said Lucario. "But we must now focus on our objective of rescuing the human girl."

"Agreed," Aayla nodded. And the two of them bolted away to get into position.

As per Lucario's prediction, IceDevimon's slow progress brought him out of the tunnel and into another cavern. A very large cavern as it so happened, and one of the largest in the Seafoam Islands. As soon as he did so he flared his holed wings and lifted up into the air, taking advantage of the space to ascend somewhere that would be more out of the reach of his pursuers, all of which could not fly.

"AVALANCHE CLAW!" he yelled and said wings flexed outwards, sending another cascade of enormous icy shards slamming down towards the entrance of the tunnel and making Rika flinch as the deadly hail passed all around her and the cold bit into her skin. Renamon, who had been about to exit it, sprang backwards between Houndoom and Glaceon as they pounded into the place where she'd been as well as the tunnel mouth, slamming through the rock and splintering it into several pieces.

This resulting in another rockslide similar to the one he had created by punching Renamon into the ceiling earlier that day, though this time it all fell in front of the three pursuing canines in a tumultuous jumble. When it settled, the tunnel entrance had been completely sealed by rocks, cutting Renamon and the others off from the cavern.

IceDevimon sneered. "That ought to keep them from following me for a while," he said. "Looks like your little foxy girl can't do anything more to help you."

"Don't underestimate Renamon," Rika growled. "You've already made the mistake of doing that once today."

"Ah, maybe," IceDevimon replied. "But I intend to be long gone before she can figure out a way to find me this time. Let us continue."

"I really don't think so," another voice cut across IceDevimon's thoughts, and he blinked, turning to look down at another tunnel entrance. Rika looked to and blinked at what she saw. A tall black haired young man was standing there with his arms folded and an impassive expression on his face, and on either side of him were a pair of much younger children, one boy and one girl and both with brown hair.

"Felkan?" Rika started. "Ai. Mako. What are you guys doing there?"

"We came to rescue you, Rika," Ai said with a peace sign.

"Don't worry, we won't let him get away with what he's been doing," Mako grinned.

IceDevimon almost doubled over as he burst out laughing at the sight before him. "What? What did you just say? I have never heard anything so ridiculous in all my life! Do you think that you, three mere humans and two of you barely out of your Baby stages, could possibly stop me from doing… anything that I intended to do? You are no threat to a Digimon like myself. This human is mine."

"I am nobody's," Rika yelled.

"Why do you want her?" Felkan asked steadily, catch both of the airborne duo's attention. "Surely she is just a 'pathetic human' too. What makes her so important to you?"

"You would question me?" IceDevimon sneered. "Well, you have some nerve, human. But I shall answer regardless – she is my ladder. My stepping stone. Humans are weak, but I know better than other Digimon that they have a different kind of power within them – a power to make me stronger. I had hoped that Rika would be the same as she was during our first meeting but I shall make her that way again."

"Like hell you will!" Rika glared.

"So, that is it?" Felkan raised a brow. "Well… that's extremely childish of you."

"Eh?" IceDevimon blinked, not really knowing what to say to that.

"You know what you remind me of," Felkan replied. "You remind me of all those young imbeciles out there who start their Pokémon journeys so that they can become the best. Pokémon masters, I believe they visualise themselves as. I was like that once, determined to come strong just for the sake of being strong. But I grew up. I don't care about that stuff anymore. You, on the other hand, have the ambition of a little kid. No offence," he added to Ai and Mako.

"No, you are right," Mako said, and pointed at IceDevimon. "You're just like all those bullies we used to have who thought they were cool by picking on little kids."

"We have to get stronger too, as Tamers," Ai nodded. "But we do it because we've gotta fight hard to protect each other and our partner. And our friends."

Felkan glanced down at both of them for a moment, and he could see the sincerity in their faces. For a second his mind delved off the issue at hand and wondered if he might have misjudged these guys. If the other Tamers were anything like Ai and Mako then maybe… well… they just looked so earnest.

He shook himself, focusing back on the present situation and said, "Well, what do you know? These kids that are "barely out of their Baby stage," whatever that means, are still more mature than you. So, would you kindly return the girl? You're getting in the way of saving the world."

IceDevimon bared his fangs. "You dare to mock me and my destiny!" he cried. "You will pay for that with your lives! TUNDRA FREEZE!"

"Ai! Mako! Run!" Rika shouted as the freezing beams exuded from IceDevimon's eyes and fell down towards all three of the humans. But before any of them moved, a sudden barrier sprung up in front of them and took the attack, preventing it from hitting any of them, though a wall of ice still formed over the barrier itself. IceDevimon and Rika both blinked at the ice dome which had formed over the tunnel entrance the humans had been standing in, but moments later it shattered as something on the other side cannoned into it and shot upwards towards at such a speed that if either of them had blinked they would have missed it.

"What…AAAGH!" IceDevimon suddenly cried as razor-sharp talons suddenly clawed at his eyes and scaly feet struck him in the face, sending him reeling backwards and almost causing him to lose his grip on Rika and drop her, though he managed to catch her again and lock her securely against his chest before she could squirm away and plummet to the ground.

IceDevimon's eyes had managed to survive the assault but his face was now covered in scratches. As he whipped around to try and get a look at his attacker, all he saw was a blue and red shape moving sweeping with the speed of an arrow around for another pass before it cannoned into him again and knocked him down towards the ground.

"ENOUGH!" he yelled, grabbing Rika by the neck in one hand and holding her outwards, so the orange-haired Tamer could only hack and kick her feet futilely as she tried to get some air into her lungs while IceDevimon's other hand held his claws up in front of her face. "Attack again and she will get it!"

The blur slowed to a halt and alighted on a nearby boulder, revealing itself to be Swellow. "Damn," he said, in a sarcastic voice. "You have completely and utterly foiled our plan. Whatever shall we do now?"

IceDevimon didn't understand any of that, which was probably a good thing because it meant he was completely unprepared for what happened next. He suddenly screamed in pain as something sliced into his back and through the ice between his wings like a stake. His hands slackened and suddenly Rika plummeted out of his grip and down towards the ground, but before she could even scream Gardevoir teleported out of thin air right next to her, seized the Tamer into her arms and pulled her close before blinking out of existence again.

She re-appeared moments later next to Felkan and held Rika close, steadying her as she uncertainly tried to find her feet and shake her disorientation – that was the first time she had ever been teleported after all.

IceDevimon, meanwhile, snapped his head around and wrenching himself free of whatever had impaled him. He found that it was Scyther, how had somehow appeared behind him when he wasn't looking and slashed into his back with one huge blade. IceDevimon took a swipe at him but his hand passed right through Scyther as if he wasn't there. He blinked as the Substitute faded away, and the real Scyther appeared out of nowhere moments later and Slashed IceDevimon across his chest in a swift, decisive move that left a huge line across the bat symbol.

"AAGGH!" IceDevimon screamed as he fell backwards, clutching his chest. Moments later he felt a powerful invisible force smack into him and he was thrown backwards as if shot from a cannon and slammed against a nearby wall. He looked up to see that Aayla had appeared out of nearby tunnel and had just hit him with the Force, and Lucario was charging towards him now with his arm raised, ready to launch a full-powered Force Palm straight at the Champion level Digimon.

IceDevimon rolled aside and Lucario's palm struck the stone and ice behind him to fracture it with the strength of the blow, but Lucario didn't miss a beat and spun his leg around to slam IceDevimon right in the face with a fiery Blaze Kick. IceDevimon screeched and stumbled backwards again, clutching his severely wounded face in agony… only to be struck by a bolt of lightning a mere second later.

He span about to see that his newest attacker was Luxray, who was wearing a smirk on his face and he dispelled the Discharge attack that he had just let off. He backed away from the bristling lion-like Pokémon until he was in the middle of the room and found himself surrounded on almost all sides now. From each direction he turned in there seemed to be an angry looking Pokémon glaring at him. That, or a Twi'lek or a human.

"You pests!" he hissed. "You are nothing more than wretched natives of this world. You would dare to attack me? A superior Digimon?"

"Surely they answered that question before you even asked it," Aayla pointed out as she stepped forwards, activating both of her lightsabers as she did so. IceDevimon growled and his eyes sought out Rika once more, who was just being released by Gardevoir as she realised what was happening. He surged towards her angrily, determined to reclaim his prize but a small fireball surged from a tunnel right next to her and brushed past his shoulder, pulling him to a stop when he spotted Impmon standing there.

"Just try it," he said, lighting up another Bada Boom.

"Weakling," he hissed and decided to charge forwards anyway. Gardevoir turned her head to look at him and her eyes flashed. A split second later and IceDevimon was being hurled towards the other side of the room so suddenly he almost missed the change in direction and was flung straight towards the rock pile he had created before that was blocking Renamon and the others from entering.

Before he reached it, the rocks exploded outwards as something cannoned into them from the other side and crashed into him, forcing a yowl out of his throat as he was slammed silly, but he managed to twist his head to look around and see an angry looking Sceptile standing there with the fading glow of a Focus Punch around his fist as he flipped into the room and glared at the Digimon. IceDevimon balked when a furious looking Renamon, Houndoom and Glaceon poured through the gap on either side of him and decided that this might not be worth it after all.

He turned to flee, heading towards one of the few remaining passages away from the chamber that didn't have anything standing in front of it, but suddenly Absol bounded out of it a rammed IceDevimon with a Pursuit attack, doing double the damage thanks to the fact IceDevimon had been trying to run away. IceDevimon was hurled right back towards the centre of the room and collapsed in a heap.

When he looked up, he saw no escape. The Pokémon had him surrounded on all sides. Each one of them had emerged from a different tunnel and now they were all working together to cut him off.

Renamon stepped ominously forward and surveyed the group that had surrounded the icy devil. She was mildly surprised by the vehemence on the faces of all the assembled Pokémon. Practically the entire group of twelve were here, except for Milotic who was still obviously outside. Renamon briefly wondered where the other two were, but dismissed it after a moment and turned to face IceDevimon.

"There is no escape for you," she declared. "The 'pathetic locals' as you refer to them as have got you surrounded and outgunned. I haven't known these guys for very long but I know full well that they're all very strong. And you've already taken a severe beating from the three of us before they arrived."

"What will you do, Renamon?" IceDevimon sneered. "Are you going to show me mercy? That sounds like the kind of thing you and your pathetic hearts would do."

"I say we fry his sorry ass into next week," Houndoom growled.

"I hear that," Luxray agreed.

"Every one of us Pokémon here either knows Hyper Beam or Giga Impact," said Swellow. "We could do some serious damage if we catch him in the crossfire, wouldn't you say?"

"Been a while since we really allowed ourselves to cut loose, hasn't it?" Scyther grinned.

"No," Renamon said, raising a paw to quieten the crowd. "No. Not this time. I appreciate as much as the next Digimon that there is no kill like overkill, but I don't want to kill him like that. Not when we have him cornered."

"So you are showing mercy?" IceDevimon sounded surprised, but turned it into a sneer moments later. "You will come to regret that decision, I promise you."

"You don't cower like other evil beings might in this situation," Renamon noted. "That does you credit, I suppose. But no, I do not intend on showing you mercy," she growled, with her eyes narrowing as she stepped further forward. "I am simply going to choose the honourable thing to do. I am a warrior. That is what warrior's do. So, I give you a choice IceDevimon. Either die here at the hands of all of us or fight me one on one here and now. If you manage to defeat me then we may even allow you to go free. If not, then we will not hesitate."

"You are requesting some sort of duel?" IceDevimon blinked.

"Yes," Renamon nodded. "You and I. Right here." She held up her paw, palm upwards, the D-Arc that she had picked up from the chambers before nestled in-between her furry paws. "Champion versus champion."

"What?" IceDevimon frowned, but Renamon's eyes drifted over to Gardevoir, who nodded. Moments later, the D-Arc suddenly lifted itself out of Renamon's paw, surrounded by a pulsing blue aura and zipped across the room, shooting past IceDevimon's head like a bullet and making him flinch to hit Gardevoir's hand like a baseball into a mitt. The Embrace Pokémon then passed it down to Rika, who looked up at her partner across the room.

"Rika," Renamon said, turning back to IceDevimon. "You know what to do."

"Are you sure about this, Renamon?" Rika asked. "Don't you want to show him what the full power of a Tamer and Digimon in sync with one another can do."

"Tempting as that may be it would not be a fair contest," Renamon replied. "Besides, when we met with this guy the first time, I lost to him as Kyubimon. Now, I shall defeat him as Kyubimon. It is not often I say this…" her eyes narrowed into slits. "But this is personal."

Rika nodded, producing a card from the holster that IceDevimon had not removed from her belt and bringing it up to the D-Arc. "Very well," she said. "Here goes. This is how a real Tamer and Digimon work together IceDevimon." She swept the card through the slot.

"Digi-modify!" she cried. "Digivolution activate."

Renamon smirked as she burst into bright light, forcing IceDevimon and some of the Pokémon to shield their eyes from the intense glare. But all of them forced themselves to look back up as they watch with amazement as Renamon changed shape. This digivolution process certainly seemed to be a lot flashier than their own evolution process. A Pokémon glowed too when they evolved, but not this brightly.


As the lightshow died down and the larger quadrupedal Champion level fox stepped forwards, moving into a position ready to spring, Rika glanced round at the Pokémon to gauge their reactions to this extraordinary thing… but she frowned when she saw bemusement on all their faces.

"A Ninetales?" Absol blinked.

"Huh?" Impmon asked. "Yeah, she's got nine tails. What of it? A lot of Pokémon have strange shapes and many of them have more than one set of limbs."

"No, not nine tails," replied Sceptile. "A Ninetales."

Impmon blinked. "Sorry, you've lost me," he said.

"There's a kind of Pokémon called a Ninetales which looks more or less exactly like what your friend Renamon has turned into," replied Gardevoir, staring in wonderment at Renamon's new form. "But without the neck adornments and the flaming paws and tail-tips. But other than that the resemblance in body-shape is startling."

"Is that so?" Kyubimon asked, with a smirk as she stepped closer. "Well, if that is the case, then I hope that I can make any Ninetales who might hear of this event proud."

IceDevimon glanced about him as Renamon replied to the words which sounded like complete garbage to him. "How are you able to understand these creatures anyway?"

"Magic," Kyubimon stated blandly. "Now, I shall I allow you to make the first move. And nobody else is to interfere with this battle, understand? I shall fight him honourably, one on one."

"If that is your decision then we shall abide by it," Lucario bowed his head, while Aayla sheathed her blades but still kept a wary stance.

"This is hardly a fair contest," IceDevimon protested. "I am injured while you are still healthy."

"Perhaps," Kyubimon purred. "But this is the fairest contest you are going to get. Now, would you like to begin or shall I?"

IceDevimon snarled and sprang into the air. "TUNDRA FREEZE!" he roared and lanced out another beam of flash-frozen light from his eyes that fell towards Kyubimon. The fox sprang aside and it hit the ground behind her to produce an icy coating, before dashing around and haring towards IceDevimon, who immediately spread his wings and lifted into the air before the fox could reach him.

"Going somewhere," she called after him and sprang into the air after him, flipping over so her tails lashed into the air like a set of nine lassos. IceDevimon was startled as they all wrapped around his limbs and wings and one lashed around his neck, and Kyubimon suddenly heaved him downwards as she completed her flip to slam him straight into the ground.

"Oh, nice!" Swellow spread his own wings. "I don't think a Ninetales would ever think to try that. They hate having their tails touched."

IceDevimon pulled his head out of the ground and spun around to dash at Kyubimon with a Frozen Claw, slashing out at her with his vicious claws, but Kyubimon sprang into the air and jumped right over his strike to hare off and around him, coming towards him from the side. IceDevimon sprang backwards and brought both Frozen Claws slamming downwards towards her, but Kyubimon pulled to a halt so fast that it was a wonder she didn't fall over and the claws crashed into the ground in front of her.

Before IceDevimon could react, Kyubimon's tails lashed out again and curled around his wrists. He blanched as Kyubimon shouted, "FOX TAIL INFERNO!" and the tips of her tails suddenly burst into flame, searing at his arms. IceDevimon screeched and wrenched backwards in unbearable pain, pulling Kyubimon off her feet with the force of his convulsion and heaving her into the air. IceDevimon, through the blur of his pain, quickly took advantage of her disadvantage and slammed her with another Frozen Claw that knocked her further into the air.

Kyubimon grunted under the blow, but IceDevimon quickly shot up after her and slammed into her with an Evil Wing, his razor sharp wings slicing into her side and eliciting a yelp as she tumbled down.

"Kyubimon!" Rika cried.

"I'm fine," she grunted landing cat-like on all four feet and looking up at the airborne devil Digimon. "But he won't be."

"I wouldn't be so sure of that," IceDevimon cried. "I am the stronger Digimon here. AVALANCHE CLAW!"

"You obviously are not very strong in the head," muttered Kyubimon as the huge shards of ice pelted down towards her. She raised her tails above her head and started them blazing, before narrowing her eyes and zeroing in on each of the shards in a split second, before roaring, "FOX TAIL INFERNO!" again. In a flash and one by one, each of her tails lashed forwards and lobbed a flaming ball of blue fire at an individual chunk of ice. Each one impacted with its target dead on and consumed it in a fiery blaze, melting it away.

IceDevimon blanched, watching in disbelief as Kyubimon's tails launched volley after volley of small fireballs up at him, each tail lashing out seemingly at random to obliterate another piece of ice.

"What?" he gasped. "How is this…?"

"I was like you once," Kyubimon replied as she continued her endless volley. "I once thought that strength was everything. But I am not the person I was anymore. Despite that though, because of that, I have become a lot stronger. And I have learned a few new tricks too," she added with a smirk as she wiped out the last shard and flung a volley of nine fireballs straight at the icy devil.

IceDevimon flared his wings and tried to dodge to the side but three of the nine still managed to strike him in the chest and knock him for spin, gasping as he sagged and clutched at his sizzling wounds. He gritted his teeth and saw Kyubimon charging towards him again out the corner of his eye. He spurred his wings downwards in an attempt to meet her head-on, trying to draw the fight into closer quarters. H

e slashed out a Frozen Claw and drew forwards with another Evil Wing. Kyubimon rolled aside to avoid the first strike and took a flying leap straight over IceDevimon, her tails lashing around his ankles like bolas and pounding him chest-first into the ground and causing him to gasp yet again.

"Throwing your attacks at enemies and hoping they will do damage will get you nowhere," Kyubimon replied. "I have learned the value of thinking your way through a situation and using anything you have to your advantage."

"I have my strength!" IceDevimon screamed, wheeling around and sending another volley of ice shards at her. Kyubimon sprang backwards to try and avoid them but a couple of them still struck her in the stomach and knocked the wind out of her, followed by a claw attack that crashed into her chest and threw her across the room towards a wall. Not about to be caught out like she had been before, Kyubimon twisted violently out of IceDevimon's grip and landed to barrel straight towards him again in a full-on charge.

IceDevimon was beginning to get incredibly frustrated, but he had one last strategy that he wanted to try. He swept out a Frozen Claw to try and keep her distracted, causing her to leap into the air again, but this time IceDevimon focused his gaze on her.

"This time when you're open! TUNDRA FREEZE!" he sent the beams straight towards the airborne Digimon, aiming to hit her while she was defenceless and unable to shift out of the way.

"You're mine!" he cried.

"DRAGON WHEEL!" she cried, turning the air and throwing herself into a spin, head over tail tip and flying directly into the beams. IceDevimon almost gawped at this rash action but even as ice began to form over Kyubimon's fur bright blue flames welled up around her as well, consuming her and taking on the shape of a giant, angry dragon-like serpent which lunged down towards IceDevimon with fiery fangs blazing.

IceDevimon knew then that he had lost this confrontation. Kyubimon was too strong. He could see that now. She was indeed much more powerful than she had been during their last meeting. But IceDevimon refused to admit defeat and die here so he quickly intensified his Tundra Freeze, putting all the energy he had into the attack. The Dragon Wheel whooshed through it, the two attacks equal in magnitude with IceDevimon freezing the flames themselves while the flames melted the ice at an equal rate.

But Kyubimon wasn't slowing down.

Still, IceDevimon saw the two straining attacks were generating an enormous amount of steam out of almost nowhere as Kyubimon's fire melted his ice straight into gas with barely enough time to become a liquid at all. The steam enveloped the area and IceDevimon dived backwards as the Dragon Wheel slammed into the spot where he'd been, the flames rearing up and searing at his icy skin.

But he suppressed the howl that was threatening to tear out of his throat as the attack which hadn't even hit him scorched at him. He needed this chance. This was his one opportunity at escape and he was determined to take it. He turned around, battered and burned and about three-quarters dead and threw himself with all speed right at one of the tunnels which he had previously identified as being one of the least guarded. Before the Pokémon standing nearby could realise what was going on he had flown out of the steam and shot through the opening.

"Hey! Come back here!" Luxray shouted. "He's escaping again."

"Coward," Houndoom sneered. "He knew he was losing so he bailed."

"Kyubimon, are you alright?" Rika cried as the fox emerged out of the steam, ice coating parts of her fur but otherwise fine.

"Yes," she said. "But we must get after him. We cannot let him escape now, with or without Rika. As long as he lives he will be a danger to innocent lives."

"He's already murdered a bunch of innocent Pokémon," agreed Glaceon. "He can't be allowed to get away with this."

A sudden dark look flashed over Felkan's face. "Has he now? Murdered innocent Pokémon, you say?"

"Froze them all into blocks of ice," Glaceon nodded. "But they were definitely dead. I could tell."

"Then that is a step too far by some distance," Felkan growled. "Anyone who can kill innocent Pokémon has no place in this world, no matter what world he originally comes from. What do you say, Lucario?" he asked, turning to the humanoid jackal. "Shall we teach this guy what it is like to be the one being hunted for a change?"

"He shall regret disrupting the peace of our world, Master," Lucario nodded shortly.

"What are you planning to do?" Aayla asked.

"Let him know that there really is no way of escape for him," Felkan replied. "And we'll do that… by working as a team."

IceDevimon was on the run now. He no longer cared about getting that Tamer that he so craved – his only thought now was to escape from this place and recover, then find a way of getting his revenge on that blasted fox. They had not seen the last of him if he had any say in the matter, but for now he had to get away from here, and fast. He was certain he could hear the sounds of pursuit already.

Unfortunately in his haste to escape he had delved into a section of the islands that he did not know well and now he was not sure which way to go to get out. He took a right at the first opportunity and shot down the corridor with his toes skimming the ground then shot down another right and an immediate left, then passed on by a couple more junctions before taking another right.

Which way was out? Which way to the main exit he had found?

He rounded another corner and immediately pulled to a halt, eyes widening in shock. "What?" he gasped. "How did… how did you get here so fast?" he asked, addressing the white robed Pokémon that was filling the corridor in front of him.

Gardevoir's eyes opened and she smiled at him. Knowing that words were useless when they came from the mouth with this guy, she spoke to him with her mind and said, You have made a mistake by picking on the inhabitants of our world. But you've made a bigger mistake in underestimating us all. You call us weak and you have murdered our brethren. Do not think that we will stand idly by.

IceDevimon blanched and hurled another Avalanche Claw at her. Gardevoir's eyes suddenly blazed a bright blue and the ice shards all suddenly came to a stop in mid-air inches before they hit her. IceDevimon balked and watch as they fell to a ground in a heap, and a second later Gardevoir hit him with a blast of Psychic energy, tossing him backwards to impact with the wall behind him. IceDevimon scrambled upwards and dashed down another corridor. Gardevoir just watched him go solemnly.

IceDevimon whirled around another couple of passages, desperately trying to find a place that he recognised and get away from the people pursuing him. But a mere half a minute after his encounter with Gardevoir he rounded another bend and found Absol standing there. He faltered in surprise yet again and Absol reared up onto his back legs and slashed his head-horn through the air violently, generating a blade of pure energy that lanced through the air at him.

A Psycho Cut.

IceDevimon shielded himself with his wings and yowled as the attack sliced through them and ripped another rent in each of them and in his stomach. He scrambled backwards and hurried the other way as Absol walked slowly towards him, scrambling against the wall and dashing off into the labyrinth yet again.

"Going somewhere," said a voice he didn't understand and his head whipped around to see Luxray charging straight towards him, his body crackling with electricity and his yellow eyes glowing like lamps. IceDevimon backpedalled and fled and Luxray responded by flinging a Swift attack at him from behind, the high velocity stars hitting him between the wings and making him stumble as he hared away once more.

"What's happening?" IceDevimon grunted as he took to their air, straining his damaged wings as he tried to soar away. "How are they doing this?"

"Peekaboo," Scyther grinned as he suddenly appeared right in front of IceDevimon and slashed down with one scythe. IceDevimon screeched and pulled to a halt, but not fast enough to prevent Scyther from slicing one of his hands clean off. The Digimon shrieked as his hand disintegrated into data but he was still able to duck under Scyther's next strike and dash on ahead. Scyther did not pursue. He just settled on the ground and turned to watch, waiting to see what would happen next.

IceDevimon swept through a smaller cavern at high speed in a mad bid to outrun his many pursuers, but he was taken off guard yet again when something detached from the ceiling and smacked straight into his back, knocking him from the air and causing him to crash painfully onto his shoulder. He looked up furiously at the culprit, Swellow, and angrily threw a Tundra Freeze as the bird Pokémon. Swellow easily avoided the attack with a swift barrel-roll and the ground underneath IceDevimon exploded upwards at the same time.

"AAAGH!" IceDevimon cried as Glaceon appeared below him and hit him hard with another Dig attack. He stumbled over, rolling some distance and trying to lash out with a Frozen Claw, only to use the arm that didn't have a hand anymore and getting nowhere. Glaceon smirked and prepared another Shadow Ball, but IceDevimon sprang up again and winged away, another Quick Attack from Swellow knocking him further ahead as he disappeared into another tunnel.

A few twists and turns later and he skidded to a halt yet again. "What?" he blinked. "How…?"

For he was facing Luxray yet again. Luxray grinned and suddenly his body burst into a huge bright light for a brief second. IceDevimon wailed as the Flash hit his eyes and effectively blinded him, especially in the dark space of the cave, and he stumbled backwards, blinking wildly as he tried to see, only for Luxray to hit him in the chest with a Headbutt moments later.

He turned to scramble away in an undignified heap, trying to find his way around the tunnel system with his eyes hazy and unable to focus properly on anything. He ran headfirst into a wall and stumbled along, tripping over another boulder and almost falling flat on his face.

"Exit…" he hissed to himself. "Where's the way out? Where am I?"

"On quite a slippery slope it seems," said a voice he understood, and also recognised to be Impmon's. He pulled to a halt right as a Bada Boom hit him in the back. He grunted and winced and tried to turn around, believing that even in his blinded and weakened state he could deal with a simple Rookie. He was completely unprepared for the Focus Punch which slammed straight into his face courtesy of Sceptile, sending him flying back down the corridor to crash into another corridor wall.

"Oh, I bet that felt satisfying," Impmon chuckled.

"I know it probably shouldn't, but it did," Sceptile nodded.

"You little pests! How are you doing this?" cried IceDevimon, his vision clearing up as he beheld the small imp and the large green lizard standing in front of him blearily.

That would be my doing, said another voice, and IceDevimon's head snapped around to see Lucario standing at the entrance of another tunnel, with arms folded. The jackal's eyes narrowed as he glared at him and said, I have a lock on your aura signature now. I can trace your progress throughout these tunnels as if a tracker had been placed on you. And through a combination of mine and Gardevoir's telepathy, we're able to tell everybody else which directions to take to meet up with you. There's no escape for you, IceDevimon. You cannot avoid us.

"Then I shall kill you and be done with it!" IceDevimon threw himself at Lucario and raised his remaining hand to launch his claws right at Lucario's eyes. Lucario's eyes turned pure blue and his body suddenly blazed with pure aura as he raised a paw and seized IceDevimon's red middle claw, catching it mid-strike and halting its progress instantly.

No, Lucario stated simply, throwing the stunned IceDevimon's hand aside. You will not. He brought his clenched fists together and spread them out, generating a long bone-like staff between them and lunging forwards in a frenzy of motion. IceDevimon was clobbered upside the head by the strike and span about only to be slammed in the stomach and then the back of the head moments later. Lucario span around to deliver a hefty kick to the small of his back before he could even fall over and launch him back down the corridor.

Determined not to give up on his life yet, IceDevimon threw himself into a stumbling run and hurried away, but there was one thing he still didn't know. The Pokémon were pulling their punches. They were deliberately making sure that they did not kill IceDevimon with their hits, and the Digimon was so wounded that it was possibly any one of them could finish him off now.

But first they wanted him to understand. To understand the fear that been coursing through IceDevimon's own victims before he brutally killed them. They wanted him to know what he had done before they finally destroyed him.

And so IceDevimon ran on, unaware that he was effectively being toyed with like a mouse by an entire colony of wild cats.

"Someone order toast?" Houndoom asked, as he was the next to run across IceDevimon. IceDevimon couldn't understand but he recognised the voice even though he was still finding it difficult to see and immediately back-pedalled as Houndoom sent a huge plume of flame down the corridor, filling the space from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. IceDevimon dived round a corner and just missed the flames, but as he ran on he suddenly ran into Gardevoir again.

Gardevoir's fist was already flaming as she reared it back and teleported behind IceDevimon to hit him in the shoulder-blades with a Fire Punch attack. IceDevimon cried out and fell forwards, but Gardevoir seized him by the bases of his wings and suddenly teleported away, dragging IceDevimon with her as she re-appeared in another cavern nearby.

A cavern that was full of water.

Gardevoir dropped IceDevimon in the shallows and he turned around to swipe at her, but she was already on the other side of the room before he could hit her. Moments later, there was an explosion of water from the middle of the in-cave lake and IceDevimon whirled around, wide-eyed, as Milotic fountained upwards from down beneath the surface.

"I just wanted to get in on the action," she said, having swum through one of the underwater tunnels the Lapras had pointed out to her to get in here. She then raised the water around her in a colossal wave, a Surf attack that washed right over IceDevimon and dunked him beneath the surface. Coughing and struggling for breath, IceDevimon was washed by the attack down another tunnel, and twisted through several more in the watery torrent before it petered out and deposited him in a heap on the floor…

…right in front of Kyubimon and Rika.

"You liked inspiring fear and watching the suffering of others," Kyubimon said as IceDevimon's head snapped up to look at her. "Do you enjoy it as much when you are on the receiving end."

"RAAAAAGHH!" IceDevimon screamed as he reared up to his feet and prepared to slash out with his claws and launch a Tundra Freeze at the same time, but before he could do any more than scream, Aayla suddenly vaulted past Kyubimon and spun around a stalagmite to crash the bottom of her foot straight into the side of IceDevimon's now hornless head, making him smash head-first into a wall.

"Nice, Aayla," grinned Rika.

Aayla looked like she didn't know whether to smirk or sigh. "I'm not entirely sure that I approve of this, you know," she said.

"This isn't the Galactic Republic, Aayla," Kyubimon said. "I'm afraid that the realities in this situation are far different from back home."

"I know," Aayla replied. "We don't have the facilities to keep him prisoner for one thing. And he has indeed gone too far here for us to allow him to go for it. That doesn't mean that I have to like this though."

IceDevimon coughed as he stumbled to his feet again, barely able to stand by this point. "You pity me?" he sneered at the Twi'lek.

"I pity anybody that strays from the path of the light," Aayla shrugged. "Even you. But I do agree with one thing about this – you should indeed be made to understand some of the suffering you have caused in your life."

IceDevimon sneered. "That pity may lead to your undoing," he said. "You may have won and gotten the advantage over me this day. But trust me when I say, your triumph will be short-lived. I decided not to follow him, but this world shall burn at his hand, and I highly doubt that there is anything you can do to stop him."

"Him?" Aayla raised a brow. "What are you talking about? Does this have anything to do with how you got to this…?"

IceDevimon yelled and slashed at her with his claws, trying to catch her off guard while she was distracted by his words. But IceDevimon clearly had no idea what he was dealing with. It took a hell of a lot to take a Jedi off guard and Aayla reacted almost at the same time as IceDevimon. Her blue lightsaber was in her hand and activated almost the microsecond he started moving and the humming blue blade cut through IceDevimon's fingers as easily as butter.

IceDevimon howled as he reared back, staring at his hand in disbelief, only his thumb remaining of the five fingers that he had used to have. Aayla threw her hand out and blasted him with the Force to toss him against another wall.

"What did you mean?" she demanded of him. "What were you talking about before?"

But IceDevimon merely shot a Tundra Freeze at them both and scrambled to get away again. Both Aayla and Kyubimon dived aside to avoid it and IceDevimon scrambled away, forcing his tattered wings into motion once more as he mad one last desperate bid for escape. He piled on all speed, determined to finally outrun his dogged pursuers.

He did not succeed. Everywhere he went, there seemed to be somebody there to meet him. He encountered Glaceon again about half a minute later, and the small fox lobbed a Signal Beam at him, forcing him to retrace his steps and dive through another corridor, running wildly and flapping to try and stay aloft. But about twenty seconds later both Sceptile and Scyther sprang out of the shadows ahead of him, preparing a Leaf Blade and a Night Slash respectively and cutting deep lines into either of his flanks as they barrelled straight past him.

IceDevimon gasped and scrambled away, but Houndoom was waiting for him round the next corner and bit into his arm with a Super Fang attack. IceDevimon gasped as he felt his remaining energy and health suddenly deplete by exactly half and he knocked Houndoom away desperately and rushed on. He ran past another corridor completely and then came to a T-junction, scrambling to the right without pausing for thought.

Absol was blocking his path, and IceDevimon swiftly tried to go the other way as Absol's eyes flashed, but other than that nothing happened in this particular encounter. But as IceDevimon tried to go down the other tunnel of the T-junction he found his route cut off again by Lucario, who threw an Aura Sphere at him and blew another hole in his wing.

IceDevimon struggled back the way he had come and took the passage he had bypassed before, sure that he must be close to an exit somewhere. He had to be… surely… But there was nobody ahead of him in this corridor so…


Swellow cannoned into his back, having rounded the corner behind him and shot after him at incredible speed and slammed him in the back of the head with a Steel Wing. IceDevimon collapsed to his chest. Oh, what was the use? These creatures. They had him well and truly cornered. IceDevimon could feel it. The fear inside him. Was this really what the fear of being hunted felt like? This was what all of his prey had been feeling as he chased them.

He looked up blearily as Swellow flew on, leaving him behind. The bird Pokémon curved upwards when it reached the end of the tunnel and disappeared from sight and up into…


IceDevimon gasped. He knew this place. Just up ahead was the main entrance and exit to the Seafoam Islands that he had located – an enormous hole in the ceiling which would provide space for a very large avian being to move through and was partially concealed from the outside due to an overhang. He could do this. He could escape.

Fuelled by his desire to get away and recover he threw himself forwards again, spreading his tattered wings and lifting himself into the air, flapping hard and gaining speed, dragging his battered body along as if his life depended on it, which it did. As he soared into the chamber, he found that the majority of his pursuers were already there, watching impassively from the along the edges of the enormous chamber.

"You are too late!" IceDevimon screamed in delight as he shot up towards the huge gap in the ceiling and the daylight up ahead. "I am free! You will not catch me now! I have done it! I've escaped! I HAVE ESCCAAAAAAARRGGHH!"

Suddenly he was hit by yet another invisible force that seemed to imperceptibly seize him in mid-air and shove him back down towards the floor, slamming him into the ground slap-bang in the middle of the huge, icy chamber. The Pokémon and the few Digimon lined the walls around him impassively, keeping their distance.

"No!" IceDevimon cried as he struggled to get up and failed. "Who…?"

And he saw them. Two draconic creatures with red and blue markings on their bodies hovering in the gap in the ceiling side-by-side. One carrying a human girl and a Lopmon on its back and the other carrying a human male and a Terriermon. Both with eyes glowing with Psychic energy.

Latios and Latias.

"Noooo!" IceDevimon cried. "Not when I'm so close."

"You were never close," said Felkan as he folded his arms from nearby. "These guys saw to that. And I think it's time for the big finish wouldn't you say, you two?" he looked up towards the gap. For a moment, IceDevimon thought the was talking to the two dragons… and indeed he was talking to two dragons. But to two different ones. Moving into view to hover on either side of Latios and Latias were two new figures, who had been sent outside by Felkan to await their turn at the action.

Tail tip and eyes blazing alike was Charizard.

And fangs bared and huge claws brandished was Garchomp.

These two were the largest of Felkan's Pokémon and would have had a more difficult time moving around in the tunnels, which is why they had not been used up until this point. But here, they had all the space they needed to carry out their task.

"This guy's time is up," Charizard remarked, his body lighting up with an intense orange aura.

"Let's give it to him," Garchomp snarled, his body glowing with orange light that concentrated into a ball at his chest.

IceDevimon watched with wide eyes as their glow around the two increased tremendously, seeming to pulsate up towards their throats and up closer to their mouths, which opened and began to glow from within with burning orange and red light. IceDevimon felt the psychic energy pinning him to the ground dissipate, but he found himself paralysed with fear as he felt the power building up in both of them.

He then blinked in surprise when Garchomp fired a small orange ball straight towards the ceiling and Charizard spat out a small red glob of flame that arced down to the floor so it would land in front of him instead of hitting him.

IceDevimon could help but burst out in derisive laughter. "That is it?" he cried. "That is all you have? Looks like I was beginning to overestimate you after all if those measly things are all you can…"

"Wait!" Aayla cried as she and Kyubimon finally entered the room, but it was too late.

The moment the small glob of fire hit the floor it erupted into HUGE inferno that spread out from its point of impact across the floor like a small napalm bomb. Simultaneously the glowing orange ball exploded near the ceiling and replicated into a dozens of huge orange meteors which thundered down to the ground like the comets they were. IceDevimon barely had a moment to scream as the firestorm washed over him and the meteors pummelled down on top of his body all at once. He was obliterated instantly and fractured into millions of particles of data which floated out of the blazing remains of the two attacks.

As the group watched, a small black hole seemed to appear in the air before them and suck all the bits of data inside, before closing again in a snap.

IceDevimon was finally on his way to meet with Anubimon. And he would not be making a surprise return again this time.

"Whoa…" Henry breathed as he took in the fractured burning remains of the middle of the room – the fire attack from Charizard had stopped before it reached the edges, so everyone crowded around the was perfectly safe. "That was… intense…"

"I should hope so," Garchomp nodded. "Those are the most powerful moves in our arsenal. Draco Meteor, the strongest Dragon-type move any non-Legendary can learn."

"And Blast Burn," Charizard added. "Only a very few Fire types are able to learn that one."

"Heh," Sceptile said from down below. "I could have wiped him out with Frenzy Plant if I wanted to."

"Course you could have," Charizard grinned. "But we're the ones who did it."

"Seems you were right Kyubimon," muttered Rika from her partner's back. "Looks like there is no kill like overkill after all."

"Hey, is that a Ninetales?" Garchomp asked.

"Er… long story," said Terriermon.

"It looks like we've finally did it," Kyubimon glanced up at the Tamer on her back. "We've finally got rid of the icy git for good."

"We thought that the last time," pointed out Rika.

"True. But I don't think he will be able to come back from Anubimon's realm. I don't believe there has ever been a case so far of that happening to an evil Digimon. He is truly gone this time."

"Yeah," Rika breathed and then smiled. "To say I am relieved would be an understatement. He's finally gone. And he perished in fire at the hands of dragons, just like last time."

"It would have been more satisfying if I had been the one to defeat him," Kyubimon replied. "But I think that this will have to do. Thank you, Charizard and Garchomp. In fact, thank all of you. You have rid Rika and I of a pestilence on our lives. Not a frequently recurring one, but a serious one nevertheless. And in quite the display as well."

"I take it you liked our performance then?" Charizard chuckled.

"I never had doubts that you were strong. But to see it first-hand is quite special. Both of those techniques were extremely impressive."

"What, don't we get a mention for preventing his escape?" Latias pouted.

"Yes, well done to you too, but as remarkable as that was," Aayla said, stepping forwards. "I fear that it would have been better if we had kept him alive a little longer."

"What do you mean?" Felkan asked, a little derisively. "That guy needed to die. You said it yourself that we couldn't afford to show sympathy this time."

"I'm not referring to sympathy." Aayla shook her head. "Nor I am I referring to mercy. I just mean that there are still a few questions that it might have been better for us to have answered first. There are many things that we still don't know about this. Such as… how did he get here?"

"Surely he must have fallen through a rip in time and space like those last guys?" Felkan pointed out.

"No, I don't think so," Rika shook his head. "That wasn't the impression that I got from his story anyway. It sounded more like he found himself here by… other means. It didn't sound like an accident to me."

"Yes and there is one other thing," Aayla added. "He also made a reference, during our stand against him in the tunnels, to a "he." He said that the world 'shall burn at his hand.' What was he talking about there? Who was he referring to? What relevance does his have to IceDevimon's appearance here in this world? There must be some if IceDevimon knows about it."

"Excuse me?" Luxray frowned. "Are you saying that there's some other evil being out there who this IceDevimon could have been working for or something."

"It sure sounded like it," Rika grimaced. "And that makes me worry. IceDevimon wouldn't work for just anyone. He's one of the most prideful idiots I've ever met in my entire life."

"Could it not have been some kind of tactic to try and throw you off pace?" Glaceon asked.

"I don't think so," Aayla shook her head. "I could sense no deception from him when he was making those comments, though he did attempt to use it to strike at us, that much is true."

"But what does all this mean?" Swellow asked, perched on a boulder as he was. "What exactly are you implying?"

"I am saying that our problem might be even worse than we initially realised," Aayla mused. "The arrival of the Seadramon and Plesiomon was just a coincidence, which was swiftly dealt with but there has been a lot of mystery regarding this quest and the circumstances around it. But I do not think that running into yet another Digimon in such a short amount of time can be a coincidence. Either they are much wider spread and numerous than we thought… or something peculiar is going on. Something… sinister."

"Or we've just been veeery unlucky," suggested Sceptile.

"Somehow I doubt that," Aayla shook her head. "One thing the Force has always taught me is that nothing happens by accident. Luck, or lack of it, has nothing to do with this situation."

"IceDevimon said that he received help in getting out of the Dark Ocean, which is an alternate universe that once existed where darkness ruled," Rika explained.

"That doesn't sound so bad," Houndoom yawned. Everyone glanced at him and he said, "What? I am a Dark type you know."

"Be that as it may, in this sense I mean evil," Rika said. "But the Dark Ocean was meant to have been destroyed when GranDracmon was killed, so if anyone escaped from it they must have done so at the last second."

"But that doesn't make sense," Impmon shook his head. "According to the Celestial Angels, only GranDracmon and the Seven Demon Lords had the ability to make a portal out of the Dark Ocean to the Digital World. Who could have helped IceDevimon escape. GranDracmon and Belphemon were both killed that day. That's why…" he faltered. He was about to say, "That's why GranDracmon needed me because I used to be a Demon Lord," but he faltered. He wasn't quite ready to share that bit of information with everyone here yet.

"Exactly," Rika nodded. "But someone evidently did help him escape. And if he can create a way out of the Dark Ocean… who's to say that they can't create a portal here too? But Parallelmon's been destroyed and I can't think of anyone else who could have done this so… who is it?"

There was an ominous silence as everyone digested this piece of news. Was it possible? Was it possible that there was some malignant force out there causing all of this in the first place? There was so little that they knew about the fact that the universes were colliding with each other… but could it really be orchestrated by a 'someone?' But if it was… what possible reason would that someone have for wanting the Digital and Pokémon worlds to collide?

One unpleasant thought did occur to Aayla, and it spread across the group with the mind-link instantly. Was it just misfortune for the Pokémon world that this was happening to them? If there was some evil Digimon out there doing this, was he maybe trying to destroy the Digital World, and the Pokémon world had just been the unlucky candidate for the universe that it would collide with? They did not voice this out loud, but it was still a disturbing thought.

"What's your verdict Absol?" Gardevoir suddenly asked, making everybody look round.

Absol had his eyes tight shut and was shuddering slightly, but after a moment he opened his eyes and said, "I'm not sure. When I focus on the subject I can sense… something. Like there is some kind of force out there that this is causing all of this to happen. I think the Jedi, Aayla, is right. I don't think this is a coincidence. But as to how it's not a coincidence… I have no idea."

"But IceDevimon definitely mentioned a 'he,'" Lucario uttered. "Is there no chance that you could have misheard him?"

"We can hope. But I'm afraid I don't think so," Aayla stated. "I am certain that he mentioned a 'he.'"

The silence that fell over them once again was extremely palpable. All of them were beginning to feel a certain sense of unease, as they wondered together exactly what it was that they were up against. Saving the universe was one thing and it was hard enough seeing as they had to find twenty-five beings that were almost impossible to find within two to three months. But the thought of something deliberately trying to do this… something they would have to overcome in order to succeed…

That was a scary thought.

Eventually, Terriermon suddenly broke the silence and said, "Oh look at us… just worrying on about what might be going on. Everybody's being so negative. Why don't we look on the bright side of this little altercation with IceDevimon?"

"And what would that be?" Latios asked him.

"It would be that this is the first true boundary that we have faced on our quest to awaken the gods and we have overcome it. Yes, it was a threat which probably could have been dealt with quite promptly by either of our groups, but still… we actually managed to work together to achieve a common goal. Maybe Loppy and I didn't really do much but you guys all rescued Rika and stopped that guy by working together, right?"

"He is right," Lucario nodded, a small smile appearing on his muzzle. "We did indeed co-ordinate ourselves together to overcome this threat to one of our number."

"Yeah, Digimon and Pokémon fought side by side," Glaceon cried gleefully as he bounced up and down on the spot. "That's gotta be the first time that's ever happened. Me and Houndoom were totally fighting in sync with Renamon when we were fighting against that guy. We were so epic together I can't really believe it."

"You were very good fighters," Kyubimon chuckled. "It was a pleasure to fight beside you today."

"I'm sure it was," Houndoom smirked.

"I must admit," Aayla said, turning to face the Pokémon. "I was very impressed with your co-ordination and skill with working together. You were bouncing off one another and moving with the speed and skill of a team of Jedi that have been working together for years to reach that point. And while you might not have a specific mind-link like we do, you utilised what resources you did have such as your telepathy, to create a stunning display of harmonisation in the face of the enemy. I thoroughly believe that IceDevimon would not have stood a chance against you if he had been at his full strength."

"High praise indeed," Gardevoir chuckled.

"It reminded me a lot of ourselves," Aayla nodded. "Back when we had the other Jedi in our group and we formed the Tenacious Ten. We used to exploit our mind-link to pull off missions which would have been exceedingly difficult for anybody relying on ordinary transmission means, and you did the same thing here. And you integrated us in too. This gives me a great deal of hope for the future, regardless of what we may face. Milotic and I found that we were capable of working together yesterday, but with the display today I think that the same thing applies to us all. We might come from two different worlds… three if you include myself and my own universe… but we are none of us so different from one another at all really."

"She has a point," Glaceon grinned. "Maybe we can really do this after all. Maybe we can save the world."

"We just need to make sure that we work together to achieve our goal," Scyther nodded firmly.

"And to kick the butt of any Big Bad Guys who dare to stand in our way," Terriermon added. "Like we did here today."

The silence that fell after this was not the same tense one as before, but a silence of companionship. As Rika clambered off Kyubimon's back and the fox de-digivolved back into her Renamon stage, startling those who had not yet witnessed such as thing, the whole group noticed that they were not standing in two separate groups like they had mostly been doing so far. Sceptile stood next to Renamon, Impmon next to Absol, Rika next to Swellow… they were all intermingled.

The Pokémon and Digimon were beginning to feel a strange sense of unity springing up among them now that they had accomplished this first thing together. An odd sensation, but a familiar one to them all, like they were completely surrounded by comrades. That they could trust one another completely. Like they had been fated to meet or something like that.

Grins began to break out as the sensation of camaraderie settled over them like a blanket. They had seen today a little of what the other group was capable of. Perhaps the situation was not so hopeless as it had been painted out to be after all, even with the addition of this new possible thing they might have to face at IceDevimon's hint. As far as the monsters, Pocket and Digital, were concerned, they could and would unite under one banner.

Predictably, Felkan was the one standing to one side and surveying all of this as if he was an outsider. He wasn't sure what to make of all of this really. The fact that his family of Pokémon were mingling well with the newcomers both gladdened and worried him. He liked to see them happy, but he still worried about the long-term implications of this. And whether it was the right thing to do.

He was rather startled when Ai and Mako ran up to him and looked up at him with shining eyes. "Felkan, you were really awesome," Mako cried.

"Yeah," Ai agreed. "Those things that you said to IceDevimon before he attacked us… that was so cool. You just like standing there all cool and what you said annoyed him so much…"

"I hope that I'm as cool as you when I grow up," Mako nodded eagerly.

"Er…" was about the only thing that Felkan seemed capable of mustering, as he stared at the two small kids. That was the first time in his living memory that another human had referred to him as 'cool.' At least in front of him, and Felkan was willing to bet it had not happened often when he wasn't in earshot either. He had been keeping his distance from the other humans for the whole journey and only an hour ago he could see that Ai and Mako were nervous around him.

Now they were standing next to him as if they'd known him forever.

He was suitably unnerved by this and didn't quite know how to react, but before he could recover himself another thing happened which blew his mind. Rika moved past Luxray and Scyther to stand close by, rubbing her arm and looking down at the floor so as not to see Felkan's face.

"Look," she said, before Felkan could say anything. "I just wanted to say… I just… wanted… look, I'm sorry, okay," she said, looking up and then looked back down at her feet immediately. "I… I was cold to you before but… even though I said some stuff that I… that I shouldn't have… I heard that you were against the thought of leaving me behind too. And you called out your whole team so that you could help me. I… I might have misjudged you a little bit and… I wanted to say thanks."

Felkan just stared at her like she'd grown an extra head for several moments. No human had, to his memory, thanked him for anything in years. He didn't know how to respond at all, so he merely said… "Er… you're welcome...?"

Rika blinked. She herself had been certain that Felkan had been about to make some snide comment. Something like, "I did it for Renamon, not for you," or "I just wanted to be part of kicking that ice guy's ass." She looked up, bemused, and saw Felkan looking as uncomfortable as she felt.

Before she could stop herself, she immediately said, "'Course I still think you're an anti-social jerk… but maybe you're not all bad after all."

Felkan raised a brow at that and Rika looked away, wondering why she had felt the need to say that. But Felkan just rolled his eyes and said, "Always nice to feel wanted." And that seemed to settle things a bit more back to normal. But Felkan did not fail to catch the significant look and smirk that Gardevoir was throwing his way.

"I really hate to put a negative spin on all of this," Latios said after a moment. "But what are we going to do now?"

"Do now?" Felkan asked him.

"Yes. I don't really know the full extent of the situation with this IceDevimon guy, but apparently he's been here for a while. Long enough for him to murder several Pokémon and for the rest to run away. And that definitely proves one thing to me… Articuno isn't here."

Another heavy silence fell once again.

"Are you sure?" Aayla asked after a moment.

"Dead sure," Latias nodded her head. "Articuno's always been a very warm-hearted Legendary. If she was still here then she would have noticed what was going on and she would have put a stop to it. She would have done something about that guy straight away. And if he's been here for some time that means Articuno hasn't. Latios and I have looked all over the islands for her mental signal but we can't find her."

"I cannot sense her with my aura either," Lucario agreed. "And I am sure that I would have done by now if she were here."

"So this is a dead end?" Impmon asked. "We came all this way looking for her and she's not here?"

"Pretty much," Latios nodded.

"Maybe she just hasn't visited for a while," Suzie suggested. "When might she come back?"

"We don't know if she even will," Aayla said. "Sightings of her here have decreased dramatically according to what Oak said. It seems that she may have indeed stopped coming to this place after the volcano went off. If we waited for her to come back we might end up wasting a lot of much-needed time."

It was a blow they all felt. Finding a Legendary after only two days had been a long shot but that didn't stop them from feeling disappointed at the fact that she wasn't here and obviously hadn't been for a while.

"So… what do we do now?" Suzie asked.

"We move on, I guess," Charizard snorted.

"But where do we go?" the little girl asked. "Where do we look next?"

"And wherever we do go, can we leave soon," Felkan piped up. "Gardevoir had to hypnotise the human we found here so he wouldn't see Absol and I would personally like to be somewhere else by the time he comes round and starts looking for us. In fact, he probably already has. I have no interest in resuming our battle."

"Shame," Houndoom wrinkled his nose. "I would have kicked that Rapidash's ass into next week."

"I guess we have no choice but to attempt option number two," replied Aayla. "Who knows the way to the Kanto Power Plant?"

There you go. This wasn't quite like I was originally planning this arc to turn out. The idea of re-introducing IceDevimon at all was quite a late one, but I think that it all worked out very well. Unfortunately they haven't found any more Legendaries yet, but perhaps they will eventually. Hehe. Hope you liked this chapter everybody and I WILL see you soon. I swear it this time. If Chapter 20 is not up by the end of Tuesday feel free to scream at me. Geehee.

Next time…

Those in the Pokémon world are not the only ones with an icy problem. The other Tamers, led by their new guide, must continue on their way across the Tundra Level in search of the castle of the Royal Knights. But a couple of their encounters will leave them a little more hot under the hood.

Coming up:- Chapter 20 : Tundra Troubles