Chapter 103: Hunting Part 2

Hello everybody! It's Christmas Eve right now as I post this, so I wish you all Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it! :D

I hope all of you are in good health and safe, and I hope you all have a good festive season!

Many thanks to Gadget30thAnniversery, Turbo the Cat, Lilly The Omega Wolf and a guest reviewer for your feedback on the previous chapter. I'm glad that you thought the chapter was a good one. It's good to know that you're all expecting Metalseadramon to do something about the current situation, so I'll get on with the chapter …

Yolei glanced over the edge of Imperialdramon's side and down at the fields below. She'd joined Ken and the rest of Davis' group now after initially being part of Kari's team since she returned to action. The purple-haired girl had been on three more patrols after that one where they'd gone back to Atsugi Airbase before she'd switched. Tai's logic was that Davis' group needed more flying Digimon and Yolei could see the reasons behind his suggestion.

She'd swapped with Hiroshi, who had now joined up with Kari and the others as they patrolled and performed ambushes in Tokyo itself. Yolei was glad to be out here with her friends scouting the Chiba peninsular because it meant that she got to be with Ken. If she was being honest with herself, that was the main reason why she'd jumped at the chance to swap teams.

Yolei's gaze fixed onto the group of dark creatures that Ken had pointed out as the first target for their ambushes. She was surprised to see that it wasn't a horde of Deep Ones and marine Digimon like she had expected. Instead, it was a flock of purple armoured flying Digimon that were eating leaves from the trees on the edge of the woodland.

"I guess that explains why the Pteramon weren't starving like the Megadramon, Gigadramon and Airdramon were." She pointed down at the flying Digimon as they continued to eat, completely unaware that the Chosen were so close by. "They've been eating plenty of vegetation to survive."

"That would also explain why some of the trees we've seen have had their leaves ripped off and others haven't," Keiko thought aloud. "I wonder what the Skullbaluchimon eat though?"

Davis' eyebrows rose. "Do ghosts even eat?"

"They have a dark core in them, so maybe they don't eat," Ken theorised as he stroked his chin. "Maybe they don't need to eat because Dragomon provides them with dark energy."

"That sounds rather plausible." Joe nodded. "After all, we've seen that they're nothing but a ghostly skeleton and they don't seem to have an actual digestive system. It would make sense that they'd get their energy through other means."

"It would also keep them loyal to Dragomon," Cody added before he pursed his lips. "They'd have to keep going back to him regularly to get the energy that they need to survive. He could refuse to give them energy if they did something that he didn't like, so they have to follow all of his orders."

"That would make a lot of sense." Yolei nodded too. "It also explains why they weren't effected by the food shortages."

Davis sighed as he continued to watch the Pteramon. "All this talk of food is making me hungry."

"You just ate," Yolei quipped as she huffed, bringing a giggle from Keiko. "It's like you only think about food."

"Hey! I think about other things too," the goggle-head turned and protested. "I'm thinking about how we're going to ambush those Pteramon and I'm always thinking of Keiko."

The group laughed except for Keiko, who was trying to hide the smile and blush that were spreading across her face. Yolei was happy that Davis had found someone he liked who was also a Digidestined, but it wasn't like she could tell him that. She was certain that he'd mock her if she said something like that to him.

"Real smooth, Davis," Ken chuckled as he rolled his eyes. "Real smooth."

"I think my sarcasm detector just broke. I think you just overloaded it," the goggle-head cracked back as a grin spread across his lips. "That's also our cue to focus on dealing with these bad guys. After all, they won't ambush themselves."

Yolei snorted as she tried to suppress her laugh. "That's because they're only evil. They're not insane enough to ambush themselves."

"It would make our lives a lot easier if they did do that though," Davis sighed before patting his partner on the back. "You know what to do, Imperialdramon."

"Roger." The giant dragon nodded his head before starting his attack run. Yolei held on and focused on the Pteramon as Imperialdramon banked around before diving down. He lined up his shot as the cannon on his back lit up. "Positron Laser!"

The blue beam with purple energy helixing around it erupted and cascaded towards the unsuspecting Pteramon. It struck one of the armour birds on the edge of the group, vaporising it instantly and exploding on contact with the ground. Imperialdramon arced his dive so that his attack cut straight through his targets, finishing off over half of them in one go.

Yolei's ears rang from the blast as the giant dragon banked around for another shot to finish off the remaining enemies. She could see that most of the surviving Pteramon had been knocked to the ground by the explosion and were struggling to comprehend what had just happened to them. The purple-haired teen knew that they had to finish off them before they could get their bearings and take to the air because it would be a lot harder to deal with them if they were flying.

Imperialdramon fired another beam that exploded once more as he cut straight through the rest of the Pteramon. He flew back up into the sky as the Digidestined waited for the dust to settle before checking to see if any of the Pteramon had survived. He hovered there patiently, but it was rather obvious that their foes couldn't have escaped from that.

As the dust settled and the air cleared, Yolei could make out two gouges that cut straight into the Earth and all of the trees had been flattened around them. She was sure that the evil Digimon couldn't have survived that attack and that they were now able to move on to the next place to take a reading on Dragomon's location and perform another ambush. The teen girl's eyes scanned the area and she couldn't spot a single surviving bad guy.

"Nice job, Imperialdramon." Davis patted his partner's back once again. "Now let's head further south east and towards the coastline to get our next reading."

"Celestial Arrow!"

Kari's mahogany eyes followed her partner's attack as it flew straight at the last of the Scorpiomon in the group that they were ambushing. It struck the aquatic monster in the side of its head, puncturing through its tough shell and killing it instantly. That was the last of the evil Digimon, which meant that the Chosen Digimon only had the Deep Ones left to deal with. They changed their attacks and started funnelling them down the streets once again towards Magnaangemon's Gate of Destiny.

The Deep Ones were ripped off the ground by the pull of the portal as they flailed and tried to hold onto something. Their aquatic hands and feet didn't offer them any help on the paved road surface, leading to a constant stream of them now being drawn to their doom. Angewomon, Lillymon, Metalgarurumon and Garudamon pummelled the outer edges of the Deep One horde, trapping them in and hurrying them towards Magnaangemon.

"I think I can see Metalseadramon," Hiroshi gulped as he pointed over to the horizon. "He's definitely coming our way."

Kari glanced in the direction that he was pointing and she could make out the familiar serpent silhouette of the metallic monster. Several Skullbaluchimon and plenty of Pteramon were around him too as he flew straight towards them. It wasn't a surprise to the brunette teen because she'd been tracking Metalseadramon and his entourage since they'd left the DPD base earlier.

They'd ambushed three platoons of Dragomon's forces before the current one that they were attacking and Metalseadramon had started coming for them after the first one. Kari knew that he was following them around Tokyo again just like he previously had since he'd begun roaming around the city. She and TK had made sure that they had plenty of time to ambush their targets and escape, and she knew that they still had enough time to get away this time as well.

"We'll be ok." Kari spoke calmly as she kept her eyes on the sea serpent's shadow. "He's still a long way away and we're nearly done. We've got plenty of time to escape."

TK nodded as he gave her hand a gentle squeeze. "Yeah, we've nearly beaten the Deep Ones, so we have plenty of time to get out of here before Metalseadramon arrives."

"Don't worry, Hiroshi." Matt glanced across at the younger teen and gave him a reassuring smile. "We can hold our own against Metalseadramon if we do end up having to fight him. Even if we can't beat him, we'd be able to keep him at bay long enough for Tai and Wargreymon to get here, as well as Davis' team and Imperialdramon."

"I hope you're right," Hiroshi sighed and Kari could tell that he wasn't fully convinced. After what had happened to him and the rest of Noriko's team, she couldn't really blame him for being worried about Metalseadramon.

Kari's focus returned to the battle and she watched as the remaining Deep Ones were torn from the ground and up into the Gate of Destiny. The gold doors started closing and rotating before the gateway disappeared. The Chosen Digimon glanced around to make sure that all of the evil creatures had been mopped up before heading for the rendezvous point. They flew inside the barrier around Megakabuterimon and de-digivolved as they landed in the bug's hands.

"Head towards the east." Kari pointed in the direction that she wanted the giant insect to fly, prompting him to arc around and head off at that bearing. "There are less bad guys this way and we should be able to avoid all of them and Metalseadramon. It'll also allow us to get back to base easily if we have to call it quits for today."

Megakabuterimon flew over the rooftops and away from where they had just performed the ambush. Kari closed her eyes so that she could focus on her extra sense to track Metalseadramon. She kept them shut for a few moments just to make sure that he was still heading towards where they had been, but something didn't seem right.

Kari gulped loudly as she tightened her grip on TK's hand. She continued to focus on her sixth sense, not liking what it was telling her. The path that they were taking wasn't in the opposite direction to Metalseadramon and it was, in fact, at a right angle to the route that he'd been approaching them from. Her extra sense was telling her that the sea serpent was cutting the corner of that right angle when he shouldn't be.

She reopened her eyes and glanced to her right, meeting TK's sapphire pair. They were wide open as he gulped too and Kari knew that what she'd sense had to be correct from the expression on her husband's face. They both glanced in the direction of Metalseadramon and could see that he'd turned and was still coming for them.

"Crap," TK uttered before taking a deep breath. "I think that we might have a problem."

Matt glanced at his brother. "What is it?"

"We think that Metalseadramon is following us." The younger blonde pointed in the direction of the metallic monster and Kari could see the evil Digimon even clearer now. "He's changed direction and is still coming for us."

"How is that possible?" Mimi asked before she turned to Izzy. "Our barriers are working, right? He can't see us."

Izzy quickly checked both his laptop and D-Terminal before nodding his head. "Yeah, both of the barriers I've set up are working fine. They have a large enough radius to make sure that we're hidden and that we can't be seen. They're working fine."

"How is he following us then?" Sora asked the question that everyone was thinking. "We're not leaving some kind of trail, are we?"

Kari shook her head. "Not that I know of."

"I couldn't sense you and TK through the barrier when we were ambushing Dragomon's forces," Gatomon added. "That means that he can't be tracking the light energy coming from you both because the barrier is still keeping you hidden."

"It could be possible that he has guessed our most likely escape route," Izzy thought aloud. "After all, we usually take the path of least resistance and then perform an ambush in that direction. Metalseadramon is smart, so he's probably figured it out and decided to try and get a jump on us."

Megakabuterimon banked around and flew in a more north easterly direction that would take them closer to the base but not directly to it. Kari wasn't sure if that was the best route to take because it brought Metalseadramon even closer to them. She could now see the individual Digimon surrounding him as well as the features and metallic armour of the mega level Digimon.

Her grip on TK's hand tightened further as Megakabuterimon sped up and tried to get away. She kept her eyes on Metalseadramon, hoping that he wouldn't turn in their direction and that he'd continue onwards. Kari's heart suddenly skipped a beat as he turned his head and his demonic red eyes stared towards the Chosen.

"I think he might hear us," Izzy gasped. "I think he heard us when we sped up. Quickly land, Megakabuterimon, so that he can't hear you flying."

The red insect nodded and quickly landed in the middle of a road as Metalseadramon stopped and gazed intently. Kari remained perfectly still, being careful to not make a single sound just in case he could actually hear them. The other Digidestined were being as quiet as they could be too as they hoped that the sadistic serpent would move on and think that they hadn't stopped.

"Get ready, everyone," TK whispered as he slowly unclipped his digivice from his belt. "Get ready to digivolve just in case he does come this way."

"Let's not take the risk." Matt slid his bag off his back and pulled out the laptop that the DPD had given to him. "Even if he doesn't attack us, we might accidentally lead him back to the base and that's the last thing we want."

"Agreed." Izzy nodded. "Let's go through the digiport and use them to get back to the base just in case Metalseadramon is tracking us and we're leaving a trail that we don't know about."

Megakabuterimon placed his hands down on the ground, allowing the Digidestined and their partners to climb off. Light engulfed his body as he turned back into Tentomon before the Chosen quickly ran inside a nearby convenience store to make sure that they were hidden. Matt placed his laptop down on the ground in one of the isles so that they had their escape route ready.

Kari used her extra sense once more to double check on where Metalseadramon was and she hoped that he'd not heard them moving or seen any light from Megakabuterimon's de-digivolution. She gulped loudly again as her senses told her that he was slowly moving in their direction. The brunette teen quickly reopened her eyes and unclipped her digivice.

"I think he heard us," she informed the others as quietly as she could. "He's slowly making his way over towards us."

Matt grabbed his digivice. "Then let's not stick around any longer."

"Right." Kari, like the other Digidestined, aimed her digivice at the screen. "Digiport open!"

Light erupted from the laptop and engulfed them, pulling them to safety. Kari could feel the familiar weightlessness that came with the journey to the Digital World before she was gently placed in a meadow on the other side. She glanced around and did a quick head count to make sure that everyone was there before she sighed in relief.

Mimi glanced over Izzy's shoulder at his computer screen. She had no idea what any of the text on it meant but she did know that it was something to do with the programming for the digital barriers that the Digidestined were using to stay hidden. Her boyfriend had been sitting at his desk in their office within the base since they had returned following the scare that Metalseadramon had given them.

"Here you go, Izzy darling." Mimi placed a glass of his favourite oolong tea next to him before taking a sip of her coffee. "I thought you might want this."

"Thanks." The red-haired genius pulled his eyes away from his computer for a moment and smiled at his girlfriend. She returned the smile before he took a sip of the tea and refocused on his work. "I really needed this. It might end up being a long night."

"Here you go, Ken." Yolei caught Mimi's attention as she handed her boyfriend a coffee. "Some caffeine to keep you going."

Ken gave a slight chuckle. "Thanks, Yolei. Izzy's right that this is probably going to be a long night for us both."

Ken was helping out his friend to make sure that there wasn't any kind of fault in the digital barriers that Metalseadramon was exploiting. They'd decided to check that everything was ok just in case there was some kind of error that Izzy hadn't spotted when he'd modified the program for them to use on their patrols. Neither of them thought that there was an issue, but they agreed that they were going to make sure because it wasn't worth the risk.

"I'm still working on the theory that Metalseadramon heard us." Izzy took another sip of tea as he continued scrolling through the lines of code. "He might have been far away but it is still possible that he has excellent hearing and heard Megakabuterimon. The way Metalseadramon reacted when we sped up makes me think that it's the most likely hypothesis at the moment."

Tentomon sighed. "Sorry, Izzy."

"Don't be, Tentomon." The teen genius stopped before he patted his partner on his head. "It's not your fault. We could have left sooner and not left it to chance. We could have also flown in a different direction to get away from Metalseadramon. We just need to be more cautious next time."

"Yeah." Tai added with a nod of his head. Both he and Noriko were staying up with the other two couples because he wanted to do anything that he could to help out. "It's not your fault and it's something that you guys can plan around in the future. Just leave earlier next time."

"Is there some way of making it so that the barriers can hide sounds too?" Mimi asked before taking another sip of her coffee. "That'll give us another layer of protection."

"Hmm." Izzy stroked his chin. "In theory it might be possible because the barriers currently stop Digimon and the Deep Ones from sensing certain things, which stops them from seeing us. It also stops them from sensing the energy coming from the spore inside Ken, and the light energy emitted by Kari and TK. The barrier essentially stops Digimon from being able to sense certain things on the other side of it, so we could program another sense to the list."

"One problem might be how much coding we would need to do and how that might affect the current barriers," Ken took over from his friend. "If we start altering things, we might accidentally allow the bad guys to sense those of us who emit energy or we might accidentally break it so that they can see us. We wouldn't know for sure until we're in the middle of a fight to properly test it."

"It's better to make sure we're not visible to the bad guys because that makes it much easier to sneak up on them," Yolei thought aloud as she ran her hand through her hair. "Making sure that they can't sense Ken, Kari and TK is also more important than hiding any noises we make when we're escaping after an ambush."

"I think that the barriers are still working fine," Palmon chipped in as she glanced up at her partner and Izzy. "I couldn't see Megakabuterimon or sense TK and Kari during our patrols earlier. Metalseadramon must have found another way to follow us."

Hawkmon nodded. "I couldn't see or sense them either when we left the base earlier. The barriers are working fine right now, so we shouldn't risk breaking them. Plus, we wouldn't be able to hear any instructions that you give us while we're fighting if the barriers blocked out sound."

"Yeah, that would be terrible," Tai sighed as he nodded too. "Whilst adding the ability to stop Metalseadramon from hearing us might be helpful, there are many other reasons why that would be a bad idea. It's more important for us to be able to pass on messages and information than it is to hide any noise we make."

"It would be a huge disadvantage if we couldn't tell our Digimon things," Noriko added. "I can think of plenty of situations where that would be disastrous for us."

"Yeah, it could result in things going very wrong if we need to change strategy part way through a fight and can't communicate it." Izzy replied before he took another sip of his tea. "We'll just need to be more careful next time and plan accordingly."

Mimi took another sip from her coffee as they all agreed that her suggestion might not have been the best one. It didn't bother her though because she was only putting it forward and didn't think about the potential problems. After all, she had her darling Izzy to think about those things for her. She gazed at him as he started checking the coding on the monitor once again and Mimi hoped that there weren't any issues or, if there were, Izzy could fix them.

So, do you think Metalseadramon has found a way to track the Digidestined? Or do you think that he was lucky and guessed the right direction? I'm curious about what your thoughts are on it and how things might turn out for the Digidestined from here.

Part of me really wants to write some more banter-filled moments between Yolei, Davis, Ken and Keiko after writing the first scene of this chapter. It was a lot of fun because of the way they all played off each other, so I kind of want to write more.

I finally found a chance to include a scene in this story that explains why the Pteramon and Skullbaluchimon were able to survive and why they aren't starving like the Megadramon, Gigadramon and Airdramon were before they defected. The Pteramon are omnivores and have been eating plants to keep them going. As for the Skullbaluchimon, do ghosts even eat?

On a different note, today marks ten years since I published my first fanfic on here. It's been a long time and I never expected to be on here as long as I have been. Hopefully, during that time, my writing has gotten better and more enjoyable for you to read.

I decided to celebrate this personal milestone by writing a Takari Christmas story, and the first chapter of that is out now. Forgive me for the shameless plug. I just thought I'd mention it because my first story was a Christmas themed Takari one-shot, so I decided to write another festive Takari fic for this landmark :D

Please can you let me know what you think about these things and, of course, this chapter as a whole by posting a review?

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :D